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Søren Neumann

"A Scorching Whiff" - Søren Neumann's Arena Cup Berlin report

Extended, Pyroar, Games decided on flips, top decks, skill, locks, and a whole tournament, decided by destiny.

10/01/2014 by Søren Neumann

Hello everyone! And welcome to!


My first tournament repot for!


So I will start of by telling you a bit about myself.

I live in Denmark and I have played Pokémon TCG competitively since 2003, where I at my first tournament ever placed 2nd and it was even a regional! Since then, I have lived and breathed for Pokémon and tried to make my breakthrough with a few crazy ideas at nationals.


3 top 8's at nats

17th at my first worlds

9th at ECC

And 8-9 regional finals are the best results I've had so far.


But enough about my previous tournaments let’s talk about the Arena Cup in Berlin


I had the pleasure of driving to Berlin with Jesper Madsen and his 2 kids from my league and Nicklas Danielsen, a good friend of mine. We left Denmark at approx. 12 and arrived at the Grunau hotel at 19:40. A nice 7 and a half our drive where I used most of the time to think about the play for the arena cup. It was either Pyroar to try and predict the format since Germans tend to like Virgen a lot, (they won the ECC with it, 6/8 top 8 decks at nats was Virgen, top 4 was only Virgen, and it just won worlds) or Virgen to play solely of my skill and good matchups against everything I would be afraid of playing against with Pyroar (Accelgor, Empoleon, and garbo/toad).


We play tested for a few hours after getting something to eat and now I was totally split. I didn't win once with Pyroar and Virgen seemed more consistent but I had only played it in a tournament once before and I had played Pyroar for a month. We went to bed and got a little less than 6 hours sleep before we had to get up at 0700 to get ready and leave the hotel at 0750. We found a baker about 200 meters from the place where the Cup took place, so we got a little something to eat before it all started. Registration. Check. Full bling decks. Check. Deck list. Still double check.. Sadly.. Still had no clue what to play. I had seen some guys post their list on Virbank. Pyroar, Virgen, and Trevgor ugh... a free win, a insta lose, and a 50/50...

Ended up shuffling my deck lists and let Nicklas rip a random one apart. I was now forced to play Pyroar. Of course I had to be like "no! I wanted to play that!" But Nicklas told me I would have reacted like that either way and I knew he was right. I used a good 20 minutes to scout other decks and saw quite a bit of Virgen, Rayeels, and a few plasma decks  so I was really happy with Pyroar.

Normally I make really bad meta calls so letting Nicklas randomly decide ended up okay.


The tournament began. Pyroar was the play and I felt confident with the deck even though the deck didn't work that well in playtesting.

Here is the list


I made a consistent pull/stall (lots of catcher effects and Pokémon’s who can't get hit, in this instance Pyroar ) deck. It might seem inconsistent but I did the math for the deck and it ended up as consistent as I thought it could be. Lots of balls for a small amount of Pokémon’s let me stream them easily. Setting up 3 Pyroars is crucial in almost every match up so 3 level balls was a minimum, but since I had greater chance of starting with a Litleo than anything else, the 4th Level Ball would end up being a dead card and I couldn't afford that. 3 skates. Now why 3 instead of 4? Well, mathematically I should do heads on 1 out of 2 Skates. Drawing 1 Skates on another would mathematically be a dead draw so playing the 4th which should be a tails anyway instead of a card I could use for something seemed like a bad choice. I now there are some flaws in this explanation but I can go deeper into if you want to know.

Same idea worked for Catcher at least 1 should be head even if I was unlucky, and with Lysandre it would be 3 EX KOs against Virgen.


First round against Jens Nisch (Dusknoir/Gourgeist)

I setup perfectly in both games and kept his pumpkaboos down. 1-0

Of too a good start, I saw that Jens was (probably) only playing because his child did so I knew my tiebreaker wouldn't be as good as I had hoped for.

Second round against Konrad Kowalski. (Speed Lugia)

Not much too say, Pyroar vs speed Lugia. He had no counter for Pyroar. So I benched 3 Litleos turn 1 and just had to evolve one of them to win the game. After that, I should just stop benching basics and the win would then be secured. Pretty easy but not because of the player I was against (he placed 4th afaik) but because of the matchup. I see this match up as an 80-20. Konrad is a cool guy; I enjoyed talking with him after each round on how we both did and so on. 1 of the people I look forward to meeting again!



This starts pretty well! Konrad seemed like a good player so I felt good winning against him since he could make up for the mad tiebreaker I would get from Jens.


Meanwhile Nicklas played against Carl Peters, the German national champion and he managed to pull it off in a nail-biting match! Nicklas was also 2-0 at this point. Nicklas played Fighting.deck + Garbo


Round 3 vs Emil Vestre (Virgen/Beartic)


I knew this name, his big brother usually helps out at the Danish nationals so I expected a good player (we were 2-0 at this point so I would have expected a somewhat good player anyway),


I start it off, starting with 2 Litleos and he turns over an active Genesect and a Cubchoo on the bench. Hmm, no Virizion, I could be lucky and see no Virizion from him in turn 2 and maybe KO his Cubchoo when I got my turn again. I ultra ball 2 energies away for a Charizard EX as It can OHKO Beartic I attach a fire to my Litleo, Blacksmith to Charizard, and play down beach. He level balls for another Cubchoo attaches grass to Cubchoo, plays down Juniper and passed, great! I had DCE, Pyroar and Catcher in my hand so I could take out his Cubchoo with the grass. I attach, evolve, and flip for Catcher! Tails.. Urgh.. I play an N, bench Litleo and KO his Genesect. 4-6 in prizes. He bench Virizion and Genesect, attach to Cubchoo, evolve it, and attacks. 120 to Pyroar. 4-5 in prizes now. I had nothing in my hand, I move up Charizard since it can't be OHKO'ed I draw for my turn. Lysandre. Wait. That is really good! I can muscle band attach a fire to Charizard and KO his Cubchoo on the bench. I do so. 3-5 in prizes. He attached plasma to Genesect and pulls up my Litleo for the KO. 3-4 in prizes. I draw, attach fire to Charizard, bench a Litleo and took the KO on Beartic. 2-4 in prizes. He place Virizion on the active spot, attach to Genesect and passed (Skyarrow was also in play now). I retreat to Litleo, evolve it, attach fire and pass. He attacks with attaches grass and passed. I draw. Roller Skates, Heads, got Switch and took the last KO on Genesect with Charizard. 1-0 for me


He leads the second game with the same set up as before, I only got Mewtwo EX in play. He attaches grass to Cubchoo and passed. I draw. DCE to Mewtwo, level ball for Litleo, and Juniper. Catcher.. This time I get heads! Muscle band to Mewtwo for the first turn KO on Cubchoo. From here it is pretty much game, He benched his second Cubchoo and a Virizion and attaches to Virizion. I draw, Lysandre the Cubchoo, evolve Litleo, fire to Mewtwo, and KO 4-6. From here, i set up 2 Pyroars and Takes a KO on my 2 following turns.




So far so good


Only good matchups so far, maybe I should let Nicklas choose my deck from now on?


Round 4 vs Marcho Escher (Yveltal/Garbo/toad)


Urgh, had to hit it at some point I guess..

Why is this such a bad match up? Well, he can trainer lock me, so most of my consistency cards are useless, and I am stuck with 7 consistency cards, 2 Lysandres and 3 Blacksmiths. My only way to win this match is to setup Pyroars fast and KO all his Trubbish before he gets Garbo in play. 1 Toad is not a problem but 2-3 is really hard to handle.  I can’t remember a whole lot from this match but I end up losing 2-1. He wins first game really convincingly and I take game to by drawing my 3 catchers (these were the last 3 cards of my deck and my last prize was Lysandre) needed 1 head to win game 2 by using Catcher to pull up Garbo and take a KO with Charizard. I head on the second catcher but I failed the first one and thought I would miss every single one. Game 3, about 5 minutes left. I had to stall this out. I have no way to win this match up fast since he started with Yveltal and Trubbish. I start of with 3 mulligans. Great, this takes about 3 minutes so 2 minutes left of the game. Now I just need 1 of my ex’s and another basic to stall it out. I start 2 muscle bands 1 Lysandre 2 fire 1 beach and Litleo… He plays laser and Virbank, energy to Yveltal and pass. I draw. DCE…. I play Lysandre to catcher Trubbish and beach, 30 HP left on Litleo. Marco draws, Plays N and gets Virbank.. Right after he plays it down time is called. So close.. And he could see it in me. “keep your head up. You will make it to top cut the way you play” he tells me. I smile, and look back at the game. I played it well and was so close, but it was a bad match up and that is how it goes, I knew that.

Nicklas is 2-1-1 at this point. Jesper was 1-1-2 and his kids ended up 2-2.

Nicklas and I could still both make it. I could afford a draw, and Nicklas had to win the rest.

5th round against David Hochmann (Fighting.deck)

I knew him, and I knew he was a really good player. And I also knew I couldn’t afford to lose. I still felt bad from last game.

We start, I start with Charizard. He starts with Lucario and Hawlucha. He Level balls turn 1. I fear a Trubbish, but he finds Voltorb? Maybe he doesn’t play Garbo? Could he just be playing Electrode for a bit more consistency in certain matchups and Garbo for Pyroar? But, why wouldn’t he find Trubbish then? He can see my Charizard. He ultra balls away Mr Mime and an energy. I am certain now he doesn’t play Garbo. This could end really well! He finds Lucario I feel safe. He got nothing to counter my Pyroar. He attaches fighting to Hawlucha and passed. I play down 2 Litleos attach to Charizard and pass. He plays Muscle band and strong energy to Lucario and hits me for 60. I draw evolve into Pyroar and passed. I had a dead hand but still felt quiet safe; after all I had Pyroar in play and didn’t need to bench anything else. He draws, attached to Lucario and evolved. Wait what? I was stunned for a few seconds. Mega Lucario? Really? I wanted to laugh but looked down on my field and saw I could do nothing. He could OHKO everything.. 2 turns after that I scoop. I knew about Mega Lucario now and knew how to handle it. Mewtwo could OHKO it with DCE and muscle band. In the second game he shows me his Focus sash.. What the… I couldn’t even OHKO it now! I felt like that deck was only made to beat Pyroar. But saw the potential against Rayeels and Virgen too. I end up winning game 2 in a close match, and game 3 is somewhat dominated by Mewtwo early and Pyroar later as I set up pretty well. Game 3, I start with Mewtwo and got a strategy this time. Hit Lucario for at least 120 early to stop the Focus sash from working. He starts off. I play DCE to Mewtwo and catcher his Lucario for 120 since there is an energy on it. That is pretty much useless now, since I set up 2 Pyroars in the following turn. Next turn I do the same with another Lucario. And I end up winning the game by using Lysandre to KO one of the Lucarios after taking my prizes with Pyroar.  4-1 and a good comeback from being behind. I Compliment David on his idea with the Focus Sash and Mega Lucario I honestly really, really liked the idea and it was surely something I would remember when building a fighting deck.

If I remember correctly, Nicklas lost this 1, so I was the last chance of for us to make top cut.
4-1 I looked around. A few eels, a few toads, lots of plasma and lots of Virgen. This could end well.

6th round, so close.  1 win and a tie and I were through.

Vs.  Simon Fritz

How I loved this game! Not only was Simon a cool guy to talk to even though he was in a tough situation through both games. But I flip head on almost every single coin I flip that game. 6/6 roller heads 4/6 on Catcher and I had 3 Pyroars in play at turn 2 in both games. Simon only played a 1-1 Drifblim line and ofc G-Booster to KO Pyroar. And since he prized Drifblim in the first game and G-Booster in the second, well, let’s just say it was a good game for me. Had a chat with Simon and his friend Patrik after the game and Patrik and I both had a chance to make it through to top 8. I saw he was playing Toad and told him I would prefer not to play him. But he had 1 point less than me so the chances were really slim.

7th round. Here we are, 1 tie and I was through, I could tell my opponent we could tie and both be through so I was really happy. Then Patrik comes over “You are Søren right?” yeah? “We have to play each other!” I was the 5-2 player with the lowest Tiebreaker so I had to win to make it through.

First game I start. Not much to say he wins in round to because of an amazing draw on a juniper. Float stone to his active Darkrai, Toad, DCE, and muscle band. I lose on his turn 2. Urgh…

I get set up okay as I get to KO a Trubbish early and he used 3 of his lasers early and the same goes for his Dowsing. And I know he only plays a 2-2 line without Rod or Ash.
Karma hits me from last round, as he bikes for 2 and gets his last laser. No problem chances of him getting heads and I tails afterwards are pretty slim and I pretty much got the win in my hand with a Lysandre to KO his last Garbo. He heads. I get tails… What? I lose on stuff like that…. I lost a few turns after as I could do nothing. I was quite sad about losing that way but that is how the format is at the moment so I can’t hate Patrik for playing the good cards the format brings. 5-2 I finish with in top 16 as number 12. I am okay with that 45-50 CP is okay and I feel good being able to leave “early” (22:15 or so)instead of in the middle of the night.

Overall, a great tournament. We had a delay on 45-60 minutes before the tournament started but it always seems to be like that at a bigger tournament. I got a few new friends I look forward to meeting against and I can now go back to bragging about having the post points in Denmark since I lost that right at Nationals.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to your feedback!

P.S here is the Virgen list if anybody wants it. Feel free to ask about it since I only post the list and no explanation for the cards.

Also, pictures of my match slips didn't get uploaded since there was an error everytime I tried. But I will upload them to up the quality ASAP.

Here is the list:

[+3] ok


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