Hola once again! I’ve just revived after the exhilarating weekend I just had and I was eager to get back on track with everything Youtube and 6P related to tell you guys all about my Worlds experience!
Where to even begin, though…
My Anaheim trip was one of, if not the most amazing, trips in my life. Not only did I enjoy some very decent success at the event, I got to spend quality time with lots of friends, make new ones, and was able to visit Universal Studios and Disneyland with my girlfriend.
I arrived to Los Angeles a week before Worlds, with the idea of spending some quality time and enjoying a mini vacation before switching to full Pokémon mode on Thursday. I enjoyed some fun adventures at Universal Studios on Saturday with Sam Chen and Mike Fouchet, where we went on most of the rides and had time to talk Pokémon on the longer queues. On that day, Sam was eyeing Gyarados as his deck choice, Mike was torn between Golisopod and Gardevoir, and I was contemplating Gardevoir as my top choice, with Mega Ray and Greninja as back ups. We finished the day on a high note with some delicious Pho at a local place that Sam knew and took me there for dinner back at Anaheim Regionals.
pokemonscreenshots.tumblr.comNext up on the list was Disneyland and Caifornia Adventure Park. I went to each of those on Tuesday and Wednesday before Worlds but only with my girlfriend this time around. I had little time to test but a lot of time to think about my deck choice and Gardevoir just felt to me like the most solid choice at the time. I definitely think this ‘break’ from actual testing helped me get into the right mindset before Worlds, as I had been very stressed and playing a lot of games but not very optimally.
As Thursday came around, I knew I had to actually get games in. Shopping and fun was over, and now it was time to get to testing seriously. I spent some time with my students (coaching) on Thursday and then enjoyed a wonderful dinner with them.
Many of my friends were playing on Day 1, so I went to their Airbnb to talk decks and offer my insight on Gardevoir. Many of them were set on using it for Day 1, and only our friend Eric decided to go the Gyarados route. Only our fellow writer Mike Fouchet managed to make it past Day 1, going an impressive 4-0 with the same Gardevoir list we both used the next day. Another Mexican friend, Juan Espinola, made it through at 4-1 with Drampa Garb, so that was pretty cool, as he’d be joining Mike, Sam Chen, Ross Cawthon and I.
Mikey was, of course, sticking with Gardevoir—and so was I. There was talk of the Golisopod-GX/Garbodor deck, and it was built. However, it was so last minute that I really didn’t think switching would be a good idea. In the end, Mikey and I played Gardy, Sam and Juan played Drampa Garb, and Ross settled on M Rayquaza as that’s what he felt most comfortable with.
The final Gardevoir list that Mikey and I ended up using was the following:
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 31
Energy – 12
Some of the last minute cards we were discussing were Fisherman and Sudowoodo. With 7 M Rayquaza decks going through, and pretty much assuming no one changes decks from Day 1 to Day 2, there would be at least 8 M Ray decks in the field. We really had no clue what card we could possibly change, however, and my efforts to convince them of dropping Fisherman and Rescue Stretcher, to add a Super Rod and Sudowoodo were fruitless.
When comparing to Diego’s list, there are a few other differences, such as 2 Guzma, 0 Lysandre, 0 Float Stone, Alolan Vulpix + Diancie, and the 2-1 Octillery. However, the core of the deck was the exact same and I can’t help but feel that had the games in my Top 8 match could have been more even…
Anyway, I’m still very happy with my result and how I was able to close out 2017 with two big finishes in the end. To say Worlds is the toughest tournament is an argument that not many like to make, simply because it was literally 10× smaller than the North American International Championship this year. However, you’ll see by my opponents during the rounds that quality and quantity might be very comparable when talking about a tournament’s difficulty.
Bare with me as remembering specific details on games is always very hard for me, but I’ll try to be as detailed as possible of key plays I remember.
Round 1 vs Ryo Yamamoto [JP] w/Gardevoir-GX (0/0/0)
When I saw the pairing and found out I was playing a Japanese player, I figured I’d be up against a Garbodor or Fire type deck. He flipped over Ralts, and, of course, immediately knew it was a mirror match. I started Diancie, but he went first and managed to set up with Brigette turn 1. My turn 1 was iffy, as I prized my Brigette, much to my dismay as I looked through my deck with an Ultra Ball. Thus, I was at a disadvantage from the get go. I was fortunate enough to draw into extra Basics on my turn and started to set up behind Sparkling Wish.
In order to try to take advantage of my slower set up, my opponent ended up rushing through his deck, discarding 2 Gardevoir-GX along the way. He had 1 Prized, which that meant that after I KO’d his only Gardevoir-GX in play, he had no response to mine.
Game 2 was completely different, as my opponent dead-drew pretty badly and I was able to beat him rather quickly, despite having a Tapu Lele start and prizing the other 2 Tapu Lele.
This was the first time I ever played against someone from Belgium at World, so that was pretty cool. After he flipped over the regular Volcanion, I was pretty happy as this is usually a really good match for Gardevoir. Props to him though, as a heavy Turtonator focus is definitely a lot harder to deal with than Ho-Oh based decks. The downside for that, of course, is the turns they essentially lose Energy and have to power themselves up again, but the match wasn’t as straightforward as I would’ve hoped for.
Game 1 was close, as we were both trading attacks and he used Shell Trap from Turtonator very effectively to make sure he never missed a 2HKO. This made it as difficult as possible for me to score 1HKOs on his GX’s. In the end though, he needed too many things to keep up and the turns he used Turtonator’s GX attack or Power Heater gave me the openings I needed to steal the game.
Game 2 played out very similarly at the beginning but in a crucial turn, Jimmy found out he had prized 2 Volcanion-EX’s, making it impossible for him to use Steam Up twice and get a return KO on my Gardevoir that turn. Instead of my plan of recovering from that KO taking effect, the game just snowballed from there as that Gardevoir survived and it was a decisive victory for my deck.
Round 3 vs Chris Siakala [US] w/Garbodor + Drampa-GX (2/0/0)
(You can watch the game here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hs5J35y36n0&t=236s)
This was my first time EVER going on the official Pokémon stream, so I was pretty excited and nervous. Lots of people don’t particularly like it and now that I’ve been on it, I can understand why. The white noise to prevent you from hearing the commentators does get a bit old for sure, and the lights and headphones and whatnot can definitely be potentially distracting. Having said that, it felt awesome to me and I really enjoyed it. It was something I had been looking forward to for a very long time.
Now, if you haven’t seen the games I’ll provide a brief recap of them here, but I do advise that you finish reading this report and then go watch them, as they were pretty intense.
Game 1 I drew passed two turns and lost. Yeah, that was my first ever game on the official stream. Very lackluster, and reminded me of when I was streamed back at Orlando Regionals at the beginning of the season in a Greninja vs Mega Ray match.
I knew I had enough time to win 2 whole games after that quick loss, and the matchup definitely favors Gardevoir so I was pretty confident in my ability to pull off the comeback.
Game 2 started a much better pace for me, even without the turn 1 Brigette. I was able to find basics and slowly set up. Gallade was very important here, along with his Garbodor BKP not being in play early on. After I used Twilight-GX, and with no real threat from him, I knew the game was mine.
Game 3 was a lot more scrappy and started out pretty aggressively with a turn 2 KO by each of us. After a few trades that left us with 3 Prizes each, a key Field Blower and the late game Twilight-GX + N allowed me to seal the comeback.
Round 4 vs Sam Chen [US] w/Garbodor + Drampa-GX (3/0/0)
Game 1 was a repeat of my previous round, where I drew passed twice to lose the game. This definitely didn’t help my mindset when thinking about the quality of my opponent, but I had already managed one comeback, nothing was stopping me from doing it again.
Game 2 played a lot more fluently for me, and although it was close thanks to Sam’s different inclusions in the deck, such as Plumeria and Acerola, I feel like the lack of Po Town was huge here as it gave my Gardevoir’s that little bit of extra HP which can turn 2HKOs into 3HKOs with careful Item usage.
Game 3 was a lot closer, as per my previous round. We traded a few blows early on, and once the game slowed down after my Twilight-GX, Sam was still able to pressure me through Tapu Lele. I knew he had Acerola so I always tried to pick up 1HKOs, but that meant committing more energy, which in turn made his Tapu Lele that much more effective. Toward the end, it came down to a late game N where I was able to draw off of it and Sam couldn’t, and I had the Lysandre in the final turn for game.
At this point I was feeling ecstatic! I had a flawless record, I had beaten two powerhouses in close, tight matches in Sam and Chris, and I was up against another Fire type deck I was very confident in playing against.
Ho-Oh-GX needing 4 energy to attack meant that Gardevoir could take some very easy KOs. He only runs 2 Volcanion-EX, so Steam Up isn’t even a reliable way to get 1HKOs against Gardevoir, thus Game 1 ended pretty quickly. A single Gardevoir KO’d 3 GXs without too much energy investment, and there were already 2 more Gardevoir on the bench ready to go as well.
Game 2 was a bit closer because I had a bad start, but once I stabilized, I simply came back and just made sure I never let a Salazzle-GX in play for it to be able to 1HKO me through it’s first attack. At this point, I was the only undefeated player of the whole tournament since Tord Reklev and Jimmy Pendarvis tied their round.
Round 6 vs Tord Reklev [NO] w/Garbodor + Drampa-GX (5/0/0)
After arguably the easiest round of the day so far, I was feeling very confident in my deck after 2 convincing victories against Garbodor decks. The one only other time I have played against Tord was at the first European Challenge Cup back in 2012, where he knocked me out of Top 8.
Game 1 I prized Brigette, which made my start incredibly shaky. I had to N and hope to draw into more Basics, which I did, so my start was a bit alleviated as I managed to open Diancie. He took the first 2 quick KOs and I even considered scooping the game early, in the same fashion as my previous 2 rounds, but I felt I had an opening as his board state wasn’t that good. It all came down to an N to 1 where he was hoping I wouldn’t hit an energy, but I drew Professor Sycamore off of it and was able to find it for the win.
Game 2 was actually very peculiar and I remember it exactly:
- Tord goes first with active Tapu Lele, attaches DCE and passes.
- I open Diancie and a dead hand, but have 2 Fairy energy and DCE in my hand (key cards), along with a Guzma, Lysandre, Gallade and VS Seeker. I just pass.
- He draws, attaches Rainbow to Tapu Lele and hits for 60.
- I topdeck RALTS! Bench the Ralts, attach to Diancia and Sparkling Wish for Kirlia.
- He draws and attacks Diancie for a KO.
- I promote Kirlia, and the plan was to evolve into Gallade, attach DCE and see if my next 5 cards were any good. However, I topdeck GARDEVOIR-GX! My brain didn’t compute immediately that I had the win, but after a few seconds, I evolved into Gardevoir, Secret Spring the other Fairy, attached DCE and KO’d Tapu Lele for game.
I know Tord is known for playing slowly, but he definitely played at a good pace our series in that first game, and the second game was done super fast.
Still the only undefeated player, and with Top 8 pretty much locked up, I was very happy with my performance during the day. “One game at a time” was my motto throughout the day, but I couldn’t help but start dreaming…
Round 7 vs Reiji Nishiguchi [JP] w/Garbodor Toolbox (6/0/0)
Unfortunately for me, my opponent didn’t want to ID at 5/0/1, but it obviously made sense. I had no idea what he was playing as I didn’t scout the nearby tables the previous round. I assumed Garbodor but hoped mirror or Fire.
He flipped over Tapu Koko Promo and used Brigette on turn 1 for triple Trubbish. This surprised me. as he didn’t search out for Drampa-GX—and it turned out he didn’t even run it. The games are a blur to me, but he had a lot of tricks up his sleeve, with Ninja Boy, Necrozma-GX, Espeon-EX, etc. and I definitely misplayed at some points by making suboptimal plays. The unexpectedness of his deck and the surprise factor were huge in this match, and I lost Game 1 after whiffing a DCE off of a Sycamore.
Game 2 was a bit more of the same. but I felt more ready. The match looked to be in my favor and I was ok with a natural tie to 100% guarantee top cut, but in a crucial turn I once again missed a Y Energy to get a KO on a Garbodor, and that allowed him to turn the match around.
So I took my first loss of the day, but that was still ok. Worst case scenario, I’d lose the next round and my resistance at 6/1/0 should still be very high to squeak in.
Round 8 vs Naoto Suzuki [JP] w/Golsipod-GX + Garbodor (6/1/0)
I was afraid ID’ing would be hard due to the language barrier, but my opponent knew perfectly well the ID was the best idea for both. We high fived and Table 1 ID’d as well and it was smiles all around.
So at 6/1/1, with guaranteed Top 8, I was very very happy. My girlfriend could tell how relieved and happy I was. I knew that no matter what happened, this was more than enough to gain my confidence back after such a shaky 2017 season.
Standings went up and I was 3rd seed, but as I looked down I was sad that I was paired against my good friend Diego, whom I’ve known for over 12 years now.
I didn’t have any information on his list or any special cards he played. We actually never talked or anything about deck choices before the event, and even though our lists were similar, the Acerola he had in his deck proved to be a huge differential in our second game of the match.
Top 8 vs Diego Cassiraga w/Gardevoir-GX (6/1/1)
We were sat down at the back up stream area, which sucked because we didn’t get streamed but we had all the white noise inconveniences around our game.
Game 1, as was tradition at this point, gave me a dead hand. I started Diancie, and all my non draw Supporters: Hex Maniac, Fisherman, Guzma, Lysandre, along with 2 Fairy energy. I knew I was in for an uphill battle after I also lost the initial coinflip. Diego’s turn was the exact opposite of mine, as he used Ultra Ball for Tapu Lele, discarding VS Seeker and N. That meant he had tons of draw in his hand, and there was no hope for a turn 1 N saving grace for me. He was cautious in his set up, with no information regarding my hand yet, and passed the turn to me.
I drew a heartbreaking Double Colorless Energy, used Lysandre to promote his Remoraid and passed my turn. His body language immediately changed as he knew he had a huge advantage in this match, and he got a turn 2 Gardevoir-GX, Kirlia and Octillery, but no way to retreat it.
He passed the turn to me, and I topdecked a Tapu Lele-GX. Now I had a choice here, to either go for Brigette and get Octillery via Diancie, or just go for N and hope for the best. Seeing the current board, I knew I had a pretty much nonexistent chance of winning, but I wanted to drag the game a little longer to get more information from his deck. With this logic, I went for Brigette and chose to set up.
He kept drawing well and took a KO on my Diancie that turn, but through the Sycamore I saw the Acerola so I knew I had to be ready for that in the next 2 games. I also saw a 2nd Remoraid but didn’t think that would be impactful at all. I didn’t do much, and I was only drawing 1 card off of Octillery during my turns, so I just scooped, hoping to move on to better things in the second game.
I went first Game 2 but my hand wasn’t much better. I open Ralts once again, this time with Brigette in hand but no other Supporters, and 4 Y Energy. I Brigette for Ralts, Remoraid and Diancie, retreat into Diancie and pass. Diego opens Diancie and has the Brigette too, but no energy to Sparkling Wish thankfully.
I draw a Rare Candy and attach to my Diancie and Sparkling Wish into Octillery. At this point my set up is very slow but at least it feels like I’m getting somewhere. Diego’s turn 2 was a lot stronger as he Rare Candied into Gardevoir, evolves Kirlia and uses Sycamore, ending his turn with a Sparkling Wish for Gallade.
I top deck something, use Abyssal Hand and draw into a dead hand. At this point I’m very frustrated and disappointed that despite this being a mirror match, and consistency being essentially the same in both decks, I just wasn’t drawing half as well as he was. I go for Kirlia and end my turn.
During his turn, he’s able to Guzma out my Octillery and uses his Gallade to Knock it Out. At this point my heart sank as I knew as the game went longer, even if I miraculously topdeck something this turn, I’d always be short on resources when compared to him. I do topdeck Sycamore, and am able to get a better board presence and KO on his Gallade.
The game dragged on longer from this point, but he always had the upper hand in the energy count and the Gardevoir counts.
During my final turn, I KO’d his Octillery with my 3 energy Gardevoir to go down to 2 Prizes. He also had 2 Prizes left and had 2 Gardevoir powered up, one with 2 energy and one with 3. He had used several resources at this point, including 3 DCE and 2 Choice Band, so I was hopeful he wouldn’t have the 2 energy to win and maybe I could avoid an N, as I had the win in my hand next turn. However, he had more than enough energy in his hand and he just took the last KO to seal his victory.
There really wasn’t much to do during my games that could’ve turned the tables around. In mirror matches such as this one, key cards like Acerola and the micro management decisions such as where and how many energy you attach, benched Pokémon, resource management, Hex Maniac timings and more are crucial, but I was never able to get to that point as my hands didn’t allow me to play out those scenarios more evenly.
I’m still very happy with my 7th place, and I’m eager to keep practicing and doing well in the upcoming 2017-2018 season! The year-round grind is real, as Ft. Wayne is less than 2 weeks away, and I’m traveling to play in my first ever Expanded Regional tournament (second Expanded tournament ever).
Puffed-Up Format: Thoughts on Expanded
As a complete Expanded newcomer, it feels pretty daunting to take on what will likely be a 700+ Masters player tournament. I have a lot of older Expanded cards saved up in my collection, and I’ve played with all of the cards available before, so that’s not what worries me. The thing that nags me is how big of a metagame it actually is. The amount of viable decks, especially with the Forest of Giant Plants and Archeops bans, is humongous.
This makes it very difficult for me to actually pick a deck, or to try and innovate (coupled with the short amount of time between Worlds and this tournament). However, it also means that I’m going to play it more safe than anything and I’m going to play something super standard.
There’s a lot of people who shame net decking, and it’s always a big controversial topic in all the online discussions groups. Despite that, I strongly encourage it as a way to quickly learn not only what composes a great Pokémon deck, but also to just get a better feel of the mechanics and right sequencing of cards. I’m definitely going to netdeck for this Regional, and I’ve narrowed down my choice of decks to the following, simply based on their continued prowess shown time and again at previous high prestige events.
My number 1 option right now is Night March. Why? I played it during its Standard peak, and it still plays out strongly in this super fast paced metagame. It also has new tools in Marshadow-GX and it continues to do well in Japan, where their XY-on format mirrors our Expanded more so than our Standard.
Next up on my list is Trevenant. It has the biggest target on its back, but for good reason. It can steal games simply based off of Trevenant XY’s Item locking Ability, and it gained Necrozma-GX in the new set. Once Tapu Lele Promo is released, this will surely be a huge powerhouse in this metagame and despite it’s glaring weakness to Turbo Dark decks, Necrozma and Tapu Lele should definitely help immensely against those.
Third in pecking order is Volcanion. There’s a reason why Japanese players love it so much. It’s the most consistent performing deck behind Garbodor at their tournaments, and access to Blacksmith just makes Turtonator-GX just that much better. I’ve never played Volcanion at an official tournament, so perhaps Expanded is where I finally give this deck a chance.
Finally, last on my shortlist is good old Seismitoad-EX/Crobat. I’ve never liked control-based decks such as this one, they’re just not my style. With Grass decks taking a big knock with the Forest ban though, Seismitoad-EX could be back in style and with Decidueye-GX no longer a good partner option, Crobat seems like the way to go.
With these options, I hope I pick a solid enough option to get me through the day succesfully, and I’m aware of how the decks work because I’ve definitely seen them work and/or used them in the past. I don’t expect to create a metagame breaking deck in less than 2 weeks for this tournament, nor is it my specialty. I’d rather go with something solid and well tested, perhaps based off of someone else’s list, and that is perfectly valid.
With this, I will conclude this extra long article. Thank you so much for reading, thank you so much for your support throughout this season, and I hope to achieve bigger and better things in 2018! You can follow me on Youtube, Twitch, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram if you want to follow in on my footsteps as the Road to 2018 Worlds beings now!
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