For the first time in a long time, I finally made it to a Regional Championship! I had begun to feel somewhat inauthentic as a player, given that I’ve kept writing for SixPrizes without actually competing at anything beyond the local level of events. I knew that I wanted to compete, but actually making it to events was starting to feel more difficult every day. At times, it felt like I should just throw in the towel and stop chasing the invite since my motivation was seemingly in another place, but I persisted hoping that my time away from competition would merely be conflicts and not voluntary avoidance.
Memphis was a tournament I planned on attending, but a work conflict came up at the last moment and every other tournament was simply too far or also conflicted with work. I knew that Dallas would be my last chance to start my chase of 400 Championship Points, and if it didn’t go well then maybe it would be time to throw in the towel.
I began my search for the right Expanded deck with Night March, which seemed to everyone’s favorite—or, at least, it was perceived to be the most popular. I’ve never had much experience with the deck, so I took most players’ opinions on how it played and what it beat on faith alone. I’ve had plenty of experience losing to the deck since its inception several years ago, so I felt like I would still be at a decent starting position. Despite that, I quickly found that there was something about the deck that did not click with me.
It was not necessarily that I was making simple errors or not manipulating Battle Compressor in the most economical way. Rather, it was dealing with the “counters” to the deck that I struggled with. I had always been somewhat of a skeptic in this regard, but to me, the counters did seem good enough to keep Night March out of the top tables. Dealing with Oricorio and Karen every single round seemed like a daunting task, but any time I would voice this weariness to a more seasoned Night March player, I would simply get responses like “a good Night March player will always beat Oricorio” and so on.
Perhaps this is still the case, and I am indeed NOT a good Night March player. I dropped my Night March testing after a day or two, but still felt like it was something I could fallback on. From there, I tightened my focus onto a Zoroark deck, knowing that it would have the extra consistency I would need to survive in a field as large as Dallas.
The Golisopod-GX was the most appealing variant for me, as I believed Grass typing would be incredibly strong for the metagame and thought it had the tools to survive the Zoroark-GX mirrors as well. While that last claim I now believe to be incorrect, I felt very confident in playing a simple but consistent list very similar to what Jose Marrero had had success with in weeks prior at some tough Florida League Cups. It was not until Tuesday before the event that Travis Nunlist turned me onto the new Zoroark deck that he and others had been quietly working on.
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