So I went to a Battle Roads in a small city out in the middle of Illinois. It was my first constructed tournament, and given that this is a Battle Roads, I thought, "Hey, there probably won't be that much competition here, right?" Wrong. There were two Seniors who went to Worlds last year, now Masters, not to mention JWittz and a whole variety of people who were pretty big into competetive play. Wahoo. (It was kinda funny, because there were seven Juniors, five Seniors, and twenty-four Masters. I had a long day ahead of me.) I brought a Sablelock deck, mostly because it's the deck that I've been playing since forever and I didn't have the Spiritombs for my VileGar deck. (Sorry I don't remember everyone's names. I'm terrible with names. >.<) Match 1 Vs. Kabutops/Empoleon/Flygon He was a really nice guy, and explained that he was really new to the game. He was just making do with what cards he had, and I felt kinda sorry for the guy, especially with the incredibly competetive atmosphere that had developed in the room. Needless to say, it was a pretty quick match. I started with Sableye, and he started with Sandshrew and Piplup, so I attached a Special Dark to Sableye and KO'd his Sandshrew. He promoted Piplup, benched a Dome Fossil, attached a water energy to Piplup and hit me for ten damage. So I drew, and given that Overconfident wasn't too great of an option with a damaged Sableye, Pokemon Collectored for a Garchomp C and a couple Crobats; then, I Cyrus'd for an Energy Gain. I had a Garchomp C out doing Earthquake, and with a Crobat G drop, it made short work of the remainder of his Pokemon out on the field. I spent the rest of the round playing him again and giving him pointers on deckbuilding. Hope to see him again and hopefully play a better game than that. =3 1-0 Match 2 vs. LuxChomp He was really quiet. I didn't really get to talk to him much, but he seemed like a nice guy. (Aren't they always?) I got a Sableye start with a Dragonite FB on the bench. He started with a lone Crobat. So I dropped a DCE onto Dragonite just in case I'd need him later and, naturally, Impersonated for a Judge. I got a mediocre hand, but as luck would have it, I gave him a Collector. So he Collectored for a Garchomp C, Roserade GL, and an Uxie. He put all three of them down and managed to get out an Ambipom G, then put an Energy Gain and an electric energy on the Garchomp. I got out a Garchomp C, stuck an Energy Gain on it, and Impersonated a Cyrus' Initiative. Of course, I got double-tails. He attached another electric energy to Garchomp, promoted it, leveled it up, and Dragon Rushed my Garchomp. So about then, I noticed he only had four cards in his hand -- if I can drop the important ones and give him terrible topdecks, he'd be prime for Sablelocking. So I used an Energy Exchanger to drop the Special Dark in my hand for a DCE and Impersonated a Pokemon Collector and grabbed a Chatot G, Garchomp C, and an Uxie. He dropped an Azelf, which I Power Sprayed, and responded by sending out a Roserade GL and locking my Sableye active. Then, I dropped Chatot G and Impersonated a Cyrus' Initiative. Got one heads, so that meant I got to see his hand. It wasn't spectacular -- I dropped an Aaron's Collection from his hand. Then he retreated Roserade to Uxie and leveled it up. He used Trade Off and got a second card into his hand, so I knew my strategy was working. Most importantly, he dropped the Roserade lock on my Sableye. I played Cyrus' Conspiracy and used that to start the chain and get myself an Energy Gain. I retreated Sableye to Garchomp C, attached a DCE and Energy Gain, leveled it up, and Dragon Rush + Flash Bit his Uxie X for the KO. I got another DCE from my prizes. He responded by sending out Roserade and locking my Garchomp active. I Poke-Turned the Garchomp, sent out Dragonite FB, attached an Energy Gain, and KO'd the Roserade. I knew Dragonite wouldn't last forever, so I started building my Honchkrow SV on my bench. He sent out Ambipom and Tail Coded my DCE to Sableye. I just attached my other one and KO'd that, too. He sent out Azelf to stop Mach Blow from being so powerful, but I attacked it anyways. He retreated to something else -- Smeargle, I think, but by that point, I didn't have any more supporters in my hand. So I Poke-Turned the Dragonite, promoted Honchkrow G, and with the help of another Crobat, I sniped the Azelf off his bench. He passed for his turn, and Honchkrow SV made short work of his Smeargle. Then, he sent out his Luxray and leveled it up. I Power Sprayed the Bright Look. Then, he dropped an Uxie, which I also power sprayed. Even with Honchkrow's weakness to lightning, he had no way of KOing it at this point, so he scooped. Good game! 2 - 0 Match 3 vs. Kingdra/Donphan This was the guy who beat JWittz at the table right next to me, so I was kinda nervous. If he were to ever get Donphan or Kingdra out, I wouldn't stand a chance -- they both just have far too much HP for Sablelock to deal with. And I don't know what it is with me Judging other people into their Pokemon Collectors, but it happened again. I sat there with my Sableye and Garchomp while he Collectored for an Uxie, a Horsea, and a Phanphy, use Crobats and Poke Turns to Flash Bite my Sableye and Garchomp multiple times, and end his turn by attacking my Sableye with Horsea. I lucked out that he didn't have any Rare Candies or a BTS. But just like with the last guy, by the time he was done, he only had four cards left in his hand. So I Pokemon Collectored for Chatot, Honchkrow G, and an Uxie, Impersonated a Cyrus' Initiative, and hit one heads, and dropped a Professor Oak's New Theory from his hand! Chatot G gave him terrible top-decks (I Poke-Turned it a couple times to keep up the lock) and just sniped the rest of his Pokemon off the bench using Garchomp and Honchkrow. I won when I took out the last Pokemon on his side of the field. Good game! 3-0 Match 4 vs. LuxChomp And this is where my luck turned. I'm not even going to go into the details -- I started with a lone Garchomp C, attached a dark energy to it to prevent Ambipom donks, and ended my turn. His turn, he got a Garchomp C of his own out, and DCE + Energy Gain = donk. Figures that this is the only donk this deck ever saw. My opponent was a really nice guy, though. I got three Call Energies off him for $10. 3-1 Match 5 vs. SP Mish-Mash This was against one of the guys who went to Worlds last year. Awesome match-up for my first constructed tournament ever. To make a long story short, despite my Judging and Cyrus' Initiative, he got a Dialga G Lv.X and a host of other SP pokemon out really quickly. (He had some really lucky topdecks, and didn't have enough SP on the field to Power Spray anything.) Now, this is where I was being really stupid -- I Azelf'd an Uxie out of my prizes to give myself a decent set-up, but I put my second Judge in there, not thinking I'd need it. Then, when I got a fully-charged Garchomp C Lv.X out, instead of Dragon Rushing and KOing something on his bench, I attacked the Dialga, which he just Poke-Turned during his turn. So, I figured, because he's playing SP, too, Honchkrow SV would make short work of Dialga. Honchkrow was in my deck last I checked, but guess what I forgot was a prize? So I thought to myself, He has a HUGE hand. If I can Judge, I can cripple his ability to respond to anything I do. Whee. And this is where I made the key misplay. I forgot that my second Garchomp C Lv.X was in my prizes, so instead of Impersonating an Aaron's Collection to get my KO'd one out of my discard pile, I Impersonated a Cyrus' Conspiracy to grab an SP Radar. Yay. 3-2 Now, I was really anxious to figure out who made what. There was a set of 4-0's battling, and two sets of 3-1's battling, and a handful of 2-2's battling. That meant that of the myriad of 3-2's, one person would make it into top cut, right? Wrong. There was one 3-1 who was dropped down to battle a 2-2, so there was one 5-0 and three 4-1's in the top cut. I made fifth. On top of that, looking at the statistics, the people I fought had much higher win percents than the people the other 4-1's fought. Bah. Props: Sablelocking! Got some really good trades in. Slops: Coming one short of top cut Getting donked. Isn't Sablelock the one that's supposed to do the donking? Not being smart with Azelf.