Turbo Mode Engaged

A Thorough Top 32 LAIC Recap w/ Mew Box and Just-Maybe GardEon for Daytona Beach

Hey there, SixPrizes readers! It’s great to be back amid this hectic schedule of Regionals that we’ve been having recently. With this being my last Monday as a graduated bum, I come to you with details on my LAIC preparation and how my tournament went as a whole.

LAIC

Cosmic Eclipse

Heading into LAIC, we were introduced to a brand new set (Cosmic Eclipse), as has become tradition with International Championships lately, and at first glance there appeared to be a handful of game-changing cards and cards that gave a few old decks slight power spikes.

I wrote about my Top 5 cards from Cosmic Eclipse in my last article. I was far off with Reshiram & Zekrom-GX and Mimikyu CEC 97, but the other three cards that I listed made an instant impact at LAIC. Great Catcher proved itself to be the best card from the set, but I overlooked Mallow & Lana until my initial day of testing CEC, which is when I realized how incredible the card was.

Preparing for a Major

“Limitation”

Time and time again we see the same names conquering the international stages, with the most impressive being Tord Reklev and his three International Championships wins in a row. How do they do it? How do I do it? Since Oceania Internationals 🇦🇺 of last year, I began working with what many of you may know as the Limitless TCG group of players. Since that International, I have learned how to prepare for a new set better than ever before. When you’re able to garner the respect of players of that caliber, you learn to rise to their expectations. Being the player who brings nothing to the table is a terrible feeling, but having friends who will cover you in case you can’t prepare as well is a relieving feeling.

What was the first step that I took before approaching the group with my own ideas? I sat down and read through every card in Cosmic Eclipse and picked out the ones that I believed would make an impact. I found myself with a buy list of what I wanted, and, just in case, I bought excess of everything, like a 4-4-4 line of Empoleon CEC and Emboar CEC on the off chance that we break those decks.

Time is of essence when an International is on the table, so at most you have two weeks to figure everything out, and at least a full day of that is spent traveling to the destination, and another half day of that spent checking in and getting your bearings together.

Testing Flow

Right off the bat I built a few decks that I personally wanted to try and took them to the ladder before talking to the testing group. It’s important to come to a discussion ready to accept criticism and know that at any moment your idea that you’ve poured time into can be discarded because of obvious flaws that it presents.

1. Malamar

The first deck that I tinkered with was , and I was less than impressed. This was a valuable few games because I learned how strong Mallow & Lana was. After losing to it a handful of times, I made a mental note.

2. GardEon

The second deck I put time into was . The deck was functioning well, but as I played more games, it became clear to me that there it had obvious flaws and a lack of out-play potential, so I shelved it rather quickly.

3. Pidgeotto Control

The third deck I played was Pidgeotto Control, “the deck to beat” in everyone’s mind heading into the event. The deck was one of the best at getting the lock up every single game and winning, especially with the addition of Bellelba & Brycen-Man, which accelerates the game so quickly to a deck-out position.

The biggest factor stopping me from playing Pidgey was my lack of tournament experience with the deck. A blind metagame also meant that my list was closer to 70 cards because I couldn’t decide on the tech options that I wanted to bring along.

Inexperience with a deck that heavily relies on sequencing, such as this one, can be the make-or-break factor at an International-level event.

4. Green’s ReshiZard

After making my way through three decks and not finding something I liked, I went back to my pick for the World Championships this year, Green’s ReshiZard. With the addition of Charizard & Braixen-GX, the deck gets a power spike and can set up much faster off of a single Green’s Exploration.

If you’re reading this, it didn’t work. The deck was almost depressing to play into the metagame.

5. ADP

This is where I learned about a card that many players had slept on until they began testing in general, Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX. I didn’t pay too much attention to ADP-GX when I read it. I simply moved on from the idea of it even being good, despite the GX attack being game-changing.

After playing against one on ladder, it instantly piqued my interest and I began building a list for it on my own. I put some time into it. Then I proceeded to work on my old faithful, Mewtwo.

6. Mewtwo

I refused to believe that the deck was dead because of a silly card like Mimikyu. I spent time refining a list that I was confident in and almost played to LAIC, but last-minute gut feelings changed what I actually brought to the event.

Initial List

Pokémon (16)

1 Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX

1 Naganadel-GX UNM

1 Charizard & Braixen-GX

1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

1 Magcargo-GX

1 Charizard-GX HIF

3 Dedenne-GX

2 Solgaleo-GX SM104

1 Espeon & Deoxys-GX

3 Mewtwo & Mew-GX

1 Greninja-GX SM197

Trainer (31)

4 Welder

1 Cynthia & Caitlin

1 Guzma & Hala

1 Mallow & Lana

 

4 Cherish Ball

3 Acro Bike

3 Pokégear 3.0

3 Tag Call

2 Great Catcher

2 Reset Stamp

2 Switch

1 Stealthy Hood

 

3 Giant Hearth

1 Viridian Forest

Energy (13)

8 Fire

2 Psychic

2 Weakness Guard

1 Water

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 16

* 1 Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX CEC 226
* 1 Naganadel-GX UNM 160
* 1 Charizard & Braixen-GX CEC 22
* 1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX UNB 20
* 1 Magcargo-GX LOT 218
* 1 Charizard-GX HIF 9
* 3 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 2 Solgaleo-GX PR-SM 104
* 1 Espeon & Deoxys-GX UNM 72
* 3 Mewtwo & Mew-GX PR-SM 191
* 1 Greninja-GX PR-SM 197

##Trainer Cards - 31

* 2 Switch HS 102
* 4 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 1 Stealthy Hood UNB 186
* 1 Viridian Forest TEU 156
* 1 Giant Hearth CEC 263
* 2 Great Catcher CEC 264
* 3 Pokégear 3.0 HS 96
* 2 Giant Hearth UNM 197
* 1 Mallow & Lana CEC 198
* 3 Acro Bike PRC 122
* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 2 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 3 Tag Call CEC 270
* 1 Cynthia & Caitlin CEC 189
* 1 Guzma & Hala CEC 229

##Energy - 13

* 2 Psychic Energy SMEnergy 14
* 1 Water Energy HS 117
* 2 Weakness Guard Energy UNM 213
* 8 Fire Energy XYEnergy 4

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=78389 ******

This was the list that I almost brought to the event. It looks similar to Bryna’s list that got 2nd, so I wasn’t too far off with how my preparation went. Why didn’t I play this deck? The last day of testing can often be the most dynamic one…

Thursday Testing

pokemonkorea.co.kr

After arriving in São Paulo I met up with the Limitless group and we began to whittle down our ideas quickly. Actions speak louder than words, so we began setting up multiple games to test the various matchups and options we had come down to. Pedro had brought his ADP list that he finished Top 16 with and was impressing us all with how it was playing, but the biggest point of fear came when he exclaimed that it couldn’t beat a good Mewtwo player.

After swiftly dismantling the deck over four games, I realized that if other good players realized that Mewtwo was a good deck, I would have no chance at winning the tournament if I played ADP. Pedro and the others wanted to secure their stipends and travel awards, but I wanted a chance at the crown. I tried my Tag Call version of Mewtwo against all of them, and it was winning games, but these wins weren’t nearly as convincing as I would have liked them to be. I felt like I was getting lucky to win, and that’s a terrible feeling to have in the final day of testing.

I took a few minutes and threw together what ended up being my final list for the main event, based purely on my gut instinct and prior experience with Mewtwo.

Final List

Pokémon (18)

1 Turtonator DRM

1 Naganadel-GX UNM

1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

1 Magcargo-GX

1 Charizard-GX SM211

3 Dedenne-GX

1 Solgaleo-GX SM104

1 Espeon & Deoxys-GX

1 Latios-GX UNM

2 Marshadow UNB

1 Mewtwo UNB

4 Mewtwo & Mew-GX

Trainer (30)

4 Welder

 

4 Cherish Ball

3 Acro Bike

3 Great Catcher

3 Mysterious Treasure

3 Pokégear 3.0

3 Switch

2 Reset Stamp

1 Energy Recycle System

 

3 Giant Hearth

1 Viridian Forest

Energy (12)

9 Fire

3 Psychic

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 18

* 1 Turtonator DRM 50
* 1 Naganadel-GX UNM 160
* 1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX UNB 20
* 1 Magcargo-GX LOT 218
* 1 Charizard-GX PR-SM 211
* 3 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Solgaleo-GX PR-SM 104
* 1 Espeon & Deoxys-GX UNM 72
* 1 Latios-GX UNM 78
* 2 Marshadow UNB 81
* 1 Mewtwo UNB 75
* 4 Mewtwo & Mew-GX PR-SM 191

##Trainer Cards - 30

* 4 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 3 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
* 1 Viridian Forest TEU 156
* 3 Great Catcher CEC 264
* 1 Energy Recycle System CES 128
* 3 Switch CES 147
* 3 Giant Hearth UNM 197
* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 2 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 3 Pokégear 3.0 UNB 182
* 3 Acro Bike CES 123

##Energy - 12

* 3 Psychic Energy Energy 5
* 9 Fire Energy Energy 2

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=78389 ******

The deck itself was as straightforward as I could make it. “Pure unadulterated aggression” was the phrase I coined for describing how the deck was meant to work. I knew that I would have to get a little lucky to win the tournament, so why not hedge my bet on something I knew would work? The field was slowing down with TAG TEAM Supporters that put them one turn behind a deck that could abuse Welder every turn.

After convincingly taking down the whole room and going 50/50 against Robin’s Ability Zard deck, I felt confident that I had made the right choice for myself.


I retired to my room where Sam Chen and Xander Pero were testing. I came in and managed to force my opinion on Xander who hadn’t tested too much because of university and he began searching for the cards to play Mewtwo despite his desire to play an ADP deck he had been concocting. I locked it in and I went to bed at a relatively early hour.

…Oh, you wanted me to talk about some of the card choices? I suppose I should do that then before continuing.

Key Cards

1 Turtonator DRM

This card was my nail-in-the-coffin answer to ADP. Reshiram & Charizard-GX was the first answer to taking down ADP. The second was making sure I can’t lose the matchup, and Turtonator will cover that for me. Unless it ends up being in my last 2 Prize cards, then I have a chance that I could lose the game. Even then, I can attack with the Mewtwo UNB to put on pressure and force another Basic to hit the board.

0 Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX

I originally had this card in the slot of the 4th Mewtwo & Mew-GX, but found that after 20-ish games that I never used it. In fact, opening this guy was the reason that I lost a few games. It felt like a card that would punish players for poor play, but a skilled player would never give you the opportunity to use it. That was the last decision I made before heading to bed; the bunny didn’t make the cut.

2 Marshadow UNB

Chaotic Swell is one of the best Stadiums in the game? Power Plant gives you a hard time because you need Abilities to function? Why don’t I offer a simple solution in your trying time: a 2nd Marshadow UNB, which coincidentally is a Mysterious Treasure out.

This brings the Stadium counters in the deck to 6, and the number felt incredible throughout the tournament. I was never worried about a Power Plant (although, as fate would have it, that ended up being my downfall).


The rest of the list is straightforward and it’s currently my top pick heading into Daytona Beach. The only change I would make is taking out the 4th Mewtwo & Mew-GX in favor of the Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX to give myself a chance at free wins, in case my opponent oversteps and allows me to capitalize on their mistakes.

Tournament Recap

R1: Ability Zard … WW
R2: … WW
R3: GreenZard … WW
R4: ADP … WW
R5: … LWL
R6: SlowTwo … WW
R7: Ability Zard … WW
R8: Mewtwo … WW
R9: Ability Zard … LWL
R10: ADP … WLW
R11: Ability Zard … LWL
R12: /Pidgeotto … WLW
R13: TinaChomp/Mismagius … LL
R14: ADP … ID

Final Record: 9-4-1, 30th Place

My tournament began at a blistering pace with all of my early games taking no more than 15 minutes per set. In Round 5, I found myself sitting down face-to-face with fellow writer Alex Schemanske, where losing the coin flip hurt me the most it had all day. In a matchup with a lot of swing turns, Alex’s Fire Box was able to out-tempo me. I was left struggling to find an answer after the dust had settled and handed my first loss.

Still feeling that my deck was powerful and could take the entire tournament down, I headed into Round 9 at 7-1 facing another Ability Zard. After two volatile games, the third game began. I found myself with 6 Fire Energies on my Active Mewtwo and somehow I didn’t have a single attacker I could use. I had the Great Catcher in hand as well for my opponent’s ReshiZard, but not a single attacker. I checked afterward and hadn’t prized any of them either. It was just a strange coincidence that I never drew into them or any Cherish Balls.

Heading into the Day 2 at 7-2 I felt beyond confident and knew that with the right matchups I could find myself in another Top 8-of an International. I was greeted by the eventual Champion Robin Schulz and his Ability Zard in Round 11. It was a familiar setting—two friends who had tested together and knew that matchup inside and out—but one of us would have to take the loss that puts us on the edge of elimination. In Game 3 my deck failed me; a hand of unplayable cards followed by a whiffed Pokégear 3.0 led me to concede the game because it was unwinnable.

Round 13 pitted me against Gustavo Wada and his Garchomp & Giratina-GX/Mismagius deck which was a shell of the Naganadel & Guzzlord-GX deck that DDG piloted, but it had a Green’s Engine and an Omastar TEU line to deal with Control. The two games I lost were the most frustrating losses I had all tournament as I wasn’t able to preemptively get a Marshadow UNB down. With 13 cards remaining in deck the first game and 15 the second, in both situations I had over half my deck as literal outs to end the game by bouncing Power Plant, and both times I drew for my turn and stared at cards that weren’t a Stadium, Marshadow, or Mysterious Treasure.

I was eliminated from Top 8 with that loss and I had to take a walk because it was a heartbreaking one and felt like I couldn’t control it whatsoever, but for as many bad luck stories I’ve told I have just as many ones where fortune has favored me.

I found myself with the information that an ID would get me Top 32, which would secure me a stipend to attend Oceania IC. I had a favorable matchup in the last round, but I was mentally defeated already, so I took the ID and locked up my stipend to Australia and respectable Top 32 finish.

GardEon

I can’t see a world where I don’t pilot Mewtwo again, but this is a deck that I’ve put some time into. With the way things have shaken out, I think could be a solid pick heading into Daytona Beach.

Pokémon (4)

4 Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX

Trainer (47)

4 Green’s Exploration

3 Cynthia & Caitlin

2 Guzma & Hala

2 Mallow & Lana

1 Faba

 

4 Custom Catcher

4 Pokégear 3.0

4 Tag Call

3 Reset Stamp

2 Energy Spinner

2 Switch

2 Tag Switch

1 Cherish Ball

1 Great Catcher

1 Choice Helmet

1 Fairy Charm Ability

1 Fairy Charm UB

1 Fairy Charm N

1 Fairy Charm P

1 Island Challenge Amulet

 

4 Power Plant

2 Chaotic Swell

Energy (9)

7 Fairy

2 Draw

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 4

* 4 Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX UNB 204

##Trainer Cards - 47

* 1 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 2 Tag Switch UNM 209
* 3 Cynthia & Caitlin CEC 189
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 264
* 4 Pokégear 3.0 HS 96
* 1 Fairy Charm P LOT 175
* 2 Energy Spinner UNB 170
* 2 Mallow & Lana CEC 198
* 2 Guzma & Hala CEC 193
* 3 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 2 Chaotic Swell CEC 187
* 4 Tag Call CEC 270
* 1 Island Challenge Amulet CEC 194
* 1 Faba LOT 208
* 1 Fairy Charm Ability UNB 171
* 4 Power Plant UNB 183
* 1 Fairy Charm UB TEU 142
* 1 Fairy Charm N LOT 177
* 4 Green’s Exploration UNB 175
* 1 Choice Helmet LOT 229
* 4 Custom Catcher LOT 171
* 2 Switch CES 147

##Energy - 9

* 7 Fairy Energy SMEnergy 18
* 2 Draw Energy CEC 209

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=78389 ******

A simple GardEon deck that sports a lot of Tools and can abuse the Guzma & Hala engine. The biggest bonus the deck gained was Island Challenge Amulet which allows it to cut Xerneas-GX because now one of your Gardevoir & Sylveon-GXs is a 2-Prize attacker.

I think the deck is straightforward. Because of Power Plant and the Charms, it can garner auto-wins. Not nearly as many as last format though, because the collateral damage that comes along with any deck teching for Keldeo-GX.

If you’re not scared of Ability Zard or Mewtwo, then this is a deck that can handle almost everything else this format has to offer.

I’ll be putting a small amount of time into it to just get the itch out of my system before I head down to Daytona.

Conclusion

I’m heading to Daytona Beach right away and I’ll be more than likely piloting 58–60 of the same cards I piloted in Brazil. I know I made the right choice for that metagame, and any deck that aims to counter Ability Zard into this metagame will have a slightly unfavorable Mewtwo matchup, so I’ll be aiming to capitalize on that.

I can’t wait to see what the tournament brings and how the last two majors in this Standard format shake out. Good luck to all heading into Daytona and San Diego. I’ll be at both before I start my new job and have to deal with the adult world. It’s been fun, but I guess this is my dissertation, welcome to graduation.


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