The Drill That Will Pierce the Heavens

My Players Cup II Experience (So Far), Moving Forward to Phase 2, and Two Favs: Excadrill Control + Excadrill Beatdown
Or: The Taming of the Shrew.

The Players Cup II (PCII) Top 256 (for some, Top 128) double-elimination bracket tournament is coming up soon (read: this weekend!). For those who survived the qualifier period with enough Rep to make it into T256, congratulations for making it this far. It is an accomplishment in itself to have made it through those events. Those who have done so had to fight their way through 50 mini tournaments, up to 150 games, and a ton of other strong players playing a variety of decks (meta and rogue alike), all without giving up hope after those brutal, soul-crushing losses in the first round. If your run was in any way similar to mine, you had a handful of first-round losses in a row, and if you made it through the gauntlet with any hair remaining, you deserve a pat on the back.
“As you can clearly see, I earned 250 Rep after 50 Keys. EZ.”

Jokes aside, the first phase of PCII was a load of fun despite its grueling nature. The community did not have much of an opportunity to anticipate a meta with the way the tournaments were set up—outside of ADPZ being the top contender and deck to beat—so unfortunately we don’t have any significant data to take from the event besides spreadsheets and infographics that some players were kind enough to create for everyone. The spreadsheets mostly include small sample sizes with some detail as to how the games went. While that isn’t anything meta-defining, we can at least tell that if somebody went on a tear with a specific deck for 20 tournaments in a row, we should likely include that deck in our testing. The most popular strategies for deck choice for Phase 1 of the PCII were to either run the same deck throughout (potentially with slight deviations in variant or engine) or switch it up by cycling through a handful of decks.

“Ridin’ with LucMetal.”

For example, I started out toting Azul’s Psychic Mew3 Toolbox deck, but when there ended up being too many Eternatus VMAX and Centiskorch VMAX decks for me to succeed, I decided to run LucMetal/Zacian for a while. I then tried out a strategy where I would use LMZ for one event, Psychic Mew3 for the next, and ADPZ for the last. I was cycling between the three decks for a while, but I ended up seeing my best results with LMZ, so stuck it out with LMZ for around 30 or so Keys, which is where most of my Rep came from.

I finished at 107 Rep, which solidified me somewhere in the 100s for Top 256, and I am excited to be able to continue in the PCII as my first Players Cup ended with some poor luck where I came up a round shy of advancing to the third day of competition.

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