"Green Is the New Black"
"A lone VirGen Player's report of Autumn Regionals 2014."
10/30/2014 by Bradley Curcio
Hello everyone! Before we get into everything, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Bradley Curcio, and I’ve been playing the Pokémon TCG for a little over 4 years now.
Some of my more notable accomplishments include:
•U.S. National Championships - 2x Top 16
•Regional Championships - 1x Win, 2x Top 8, multiple Top 16/32(or Day 2)
•State Championships - 1x Win, 2x Top 2, 2x Top 4, multiple Top 8/16/32
•City Championships/Battle Roads/League Challenges - multiple Wins and Top 2.
With that said, I’d like to explain my choice for this past Regional Championships. I used to live and test with 60cards.net’s own Jose Marrero, and although I may not live in Florida anymore, he’s still the person I go to for Pokémon advice. I’d been talking and testing with him for the weeks leading up to this big event, and we were sold on either Donphan PLS or Virizion EX/Genesect EX (VirGen) for Day 1.
After making it to the venue Friday, and seeing how tons of people were either looking for Donphans or playing it in the League Challenge, I decided that I wouldn’t play it for Day 1. I’m not a fan of any mirror match in Pokémon, let alone with a deck I wouldn’t have much experience with. Instead, Jose and I worked on finalizing our VirGen deck (well, 99% his, but I did suggest quite a few changes, some of which made the cut for our final list). And so, here’s the list we both used for the Houston Regional Championship:
- 1x Jirachi EX
- 3x Virizion EX
- 3x Genesect EX
- 2x Pikachu
- 2x Raichu
- 1x Mewtwo EX
- 1x Seismitoad EX
- 2x Skyla
- 3x Energy Switch
- 3x Muscle Band
- 4x Professor Sycamore
- 1x Lysandre
- 1x G Booster
- 2x Virbank City Gym
- 2x Switch
- 4x N-supporter
- 2x Ultra Ball
- 2x Shadow Triad
- 2x Colress
- 1x Escape Rope
- 4x Hypnotoxic Laser
- 9x Grass Energy
- 2x Double Colorless Energy
- 3x Plasma Energy
A lot of the list is pretty standard, but I’ll go over some of the choices that might be different than most.
3 Virizion EX (instead of 4)
This is without a doubt the ideal starter for the deck, since a Turn 2 Emerald Slash is how you win with this deck, and I do wish I had a 4th Virizion EX for that reason. Unfortunately, the list was extremely tight, and this was one of the first cuts. The deck still functions well with only 3; your odds of starting with Virizion EX are just a little lower.
1 Seismitoad EX
Having an option to attack Turn 1 is always great, no matter what the deck is. Delaying your Turn 2 Emerald Slash doesn’t seem so bad if you’re able to deny Trainers to your opponent, making them less likely to have an explosive start.
In addition to delaying the opponent, running a Seismitoad EX gives you the chance to knock-out (KO) a Litleo FFI or a Phanpy PLS on Turn 1, giving you a much needed edge in already iffy match-ups.
Quaking Punch is also great in conjunction with Red Signal.Being able to bring up a Pokémon and potentially keep them stuck active, due to shutting off Switch, can be huge. Seismitoad EX can also do some decent damage with Muscle Band and Hypnotoxic Lasers.
1 Mewtwo EX
Big Mewtwo EXs are still a thing in this format, although rare compared to previous formats. X Ball is such a good attack that he’s not going anywhere. With Double Colorless already in the deck, having a specific answer to a big Mewtwo EX or a Lucario EX, and just having another attacker that can be powered up in one turn, definitely seemed worth the one slot in the list. And it paid off several times.
2-2 Raichu XY
Raichu XY is far from unheard of in VirGen decks, but I figured I’d mention it anyways. This card was additional insurance against Yveltal EX and Lugia EX decks, both of which could cause this deck problems if they got an explosive start. Raichu XY also helps against Pyroar FFI, making the match-up have a small glimmer of hope.
4 Professor Sycamore
After U.S. Nationals, running Professor Juniper seemed like a poor play because one mistake on your list could hurt your deck. Most people wouldn’t drop 4 Supporters for 4 Basic Energy, so this seemed like an easy call to make.
4 Hypnotoxic Laser/2 Virbank City Gym
Skyarrow Bridge used to be the stadium of choice in most VirGen lists, but after rotating, people either dropped Stadiums all together or switched over to Virbanks and Lasers. With all of my different attackers, I liked having the option to do an additional 30 damage, with the potential to stall or do even more damage somewhat frequently.
This card alone can bring back losing games (albeit on a flip, but I’ll take a 25% chance to win over 0% any day). While they’re not very useful in the mirror match, I wasn’t expecting too much VirGen to be played. Also, most Donphan PLS lists were running Outrage attackers instead of Trevanant XY, which made Lasers great for trapping the Active Pokémon. Finally, the only Item locking I expected would be from Seismitoad EX, which VirGen could already handle pretty easily.
2 Ultra Ball
This seemed strange to me originally. As another consistency card, you usually want to max it as much as possible, and most standard lists played 3 to 4 copies. Like the 4th Virizion EX, it was one of the cards I ended up cutting. With the 2 Skylas and heavier copies of the more important attackers, I rarely struggled to fill my bench with what I needed to. Therefore, I could get away with only 2 Ultra Balls.
1 Escape Rope
I’m usually a big advocator behind the idea that playing both Hypnotoxic Lasers and Escape Rope in the same deck is a bad idea, but I went against my better judgment this time. I expected a lot of Donphan PLS and a decent amount of Pyroar FFI, and this card is a good way to disrupt these decks. Most of the time, they’ll leave something Active that they’re either okay with getting knocked out or as a stalling tactic (Sigilyph LTR, Pyroar FFI, etc.) Escape Rope worked as another way out in addition to Red Signal and Lysandre.
3 Plasma Energy
Since Genesect EX was the only Pokémon you’d ever really want to attach this Energy to, I opted to only play 3. With 2 Shadow Triad to reuse them as needed, as well as the 1 Lysandre and 1 Escape Rope, I never needed an additional ‘Gust of Wind’ effect.
2 Double Colorless Energy (DCE)
Raichu XY, Mewtwo EX, and Seismitoad EX all love this card. Being able to fully power any of them in one turn makes them even more powerful. I didn’t want to focus fully on these attackers, so I didn’t run 4 DCE, but I did want the option on a regular basis throughout the course of the game. Another cool trick is being able to G Booster and discard only the DCE, but that rarely happened for me.
Enough about the list; now on to the actual event!
Round 1 vs Yveltal EX/Raichu XY/Zoroark LTR
I get to go first Game 1, and open up Virizion EX, 2 Grass Energy, Professor Sycamore, and Muscle Band versus his lone Pikachu XY. I attach a Grass Energy and pass, not wanting to discard the rest of my hand. He draws, attaches a Darkness Energy to his Pikachu XY, and passes. I draw, attach a Grass Energy, attach the Muscle Band, and Emerald Slash for 70. Just like that, I start off 1-0 in my first match. I'll take it!
Game 2 doesn't go much better for him, as he never gets off a real attack (he uses Ascension on Turn 3 I believe) compared to my Turn 2 Muscle-Banded Emerald Slash into a Turn 3 Megalo Cannon sweep. Win 2-0
Round 2 (1-0-0) vs TDK Plasma
I don't get to go first this game, and my opening hand is pretty poor. I'm able to start Virizion EX to his Deoxys EX. His hand didn't seem too solid either, as he just plays N, benches a Thundurus EX and Kyurem PLF, and then passes. From there, we're both pretty much draw-passing, only I'm able to attach Energy and slowly take an unsurmountable lead, winning 6-0.
Game 2 was much more interesting, with him setting up a Turn 2 Blizzard Burn to my Turn 2 Emerald Slash. Lucky for me, he whiffs the Switch to attack again on Turn 3, and I'm able to Emerald Slash for an extra turn, which probably ends up giving me the game. Since I played the Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym combo, one-shotting Kyruem PLF with Megalo Cannon was easy, and I was able to win Game 2 pretty convincingly. Win 2-0
Round 3 (2-0-0) vs Fighting.deck
Game 1 was very interesting. I go first, and we both start off pretty quickly. He hits me with a Turn 1 Hawlucha, but I'm able to respond with an Emerald Slash KO. Eventually, he gets a huge 3 Energy Lucario EX that's able to one-shot everything I bring up. My G Booster is prized, and even though I have two fully powered Genesect EX, I know it's going to be tough to one-shot him.
I was going to use Hypnotoxic Laser to try and two-shot him while he's asleep, but if he wakes up, there's no way I can come back. I play N giving us both 4 cards and surprisingly hit my Mewtwo EX and 3 Energy Switch. Unfortunately, he's able to take the revenge KO with a Mewtwo EX + DCE + Muscle Band, and again I feel like I'm in a poor position. Luckily, I top deck an Ultra Ball.
I have Seismitoad EX on my bench as well as an Energy and Energy Switch in hand, and he has a Landorus EX on his side of the field. I play Ultra Ball for Jirachi EX, Stellar Guidance for a Lysandre, and bring up the Landorus EX. I'm able to lock up his Landorus EX with Quaking Punch and barely steal Game 1.
Unlike Game 1, Game 2 was just my deck working and his deck failing on him. I was able to take 6 Prizes pretty quickly, while he couldn’t do much to stop me. Win 2-0
Round 4 (3-0-0) vs TDK Plasma
He goes first Game 1 and has an amazing opening. He fills his field with an active Thundurus EX, double Kyurem PLF, and double Deoxys EX, and then plays Professor Juniper for a fresh 7 cards. He attaches an Energy, plays Colress Machine, and even drops a Fairy Garden for good measure.
My Turn 1 attachment of a Grass Energy to Virizion EX and pass seemed pretty pale in comparison. He sits behind his Thundurus EX, I sit behind my Virizion EX, and we both build up attackers for a while. Luckily for me, I'm able to hit key Hypnotoxic Lasers to one-shot his Kyurem PLFs, and I use G Booster to one-shot his EXs. Just like that, I win Game 1.
Game 2, he starts off by having to discard 3 Plasma Energies. To make it worse, he whiffs an Energy attachment to his Thundurus EX afterwards. I whiff a Genesect EX to Emerald Slash to, but luckily that was easier for me to recover from. I didn't see his Ace Spec Game 1, so I played around his only real out Game 2, which was Scramble Switch, and I was able to win. I found out after the match he'd been sitting on it most of the game! Win 2-0
Round 5 (4-0-0) vs Mirror (VirGen)
Game 1, I get to go first, which is huge. We end up trading blows, with Emerald Slash, Megalo Cannon, and even G Booster. Fortunately for me, I went first, so I end up winning one turn before he could.
Game 2 was a lot different. He starts abysmally, with a Jirachi EX opening and even whiffing an Energy attachment on his benched Virizion EX. I end up Lasering his Jirachi EX, dropping Virbank City Gym, and attaching to my Virizion EX, basically making it as if I had gone first. He's unable to retreat but finally finds an Energy for his Virizion EX (unfortunately for him it's a Plasma Energy, though). Taking two prizes off of my first Emerald Slash was a huge swing.
After we trade another set of Emerald Slashes, I have two Genesect EXs ready to go compared to his one. Usually, that's almost impossible to lose from, but unfortunately for me, my G Booster is prized. I KO his Virizion EX with a Megalo Cannon, and he's able to come back and G Booster me. With no G Booster to return the KO, I was scared. Luckily, I realized that he didn’t have a Virizion EX in play. I'm able to come back with a Muscle Band, Hypnotoxic Laser, and Virbank City Gym, to Megalo Cannon him for 150. With the 20 damage I had put on it before, I knock him out for the win. Win 2-0
Round 6 (5-0-0) vs Yveltal EX (without Garbodor LTR)
Game 1, he gets to go first, so I'm already somewhat nervous. After I attach and pass, he even uses Jirachi EX's Stellar Guidance for a Team Flare Grunt to get rid of my only Energy. I start off pretty far behind, but with him being unable to use Hypnotoxic Laser due to Verdant Wind, and my Raichu XYs getting one-hit KOs, I was able to still take it. Game 2 was pretty similar, only I'm able to explode for a quick start. Without the Turn 2 Team Flare Grunt, I overwhelm him and take the game. Win 2-0
Now, I'm the only X-0, and I've 2-0'd every opponent so far! Obviously, I'm feeling extremely confident for the rest of the day.
Round 7 (6-0-0) vs Pyroar FFI
I kept seeing Pyroar FFI being played right next to me, so I was pretty sure it was only a matter of time before I had to play against it. I ask my opponent to ID, since I figured there was no way I was going to win this match, and of course, he says no. Game 1 goes pretty much exactly how you'd expect. He sets up several Pyroar FFI, and with me being unable to set up a Raichu XY, he easily sweeps me.
Game 2, everything went perfectly for me. I get a Turn 2 Emerald Slash KO on a Litleo FFI, and attach the 2 Grass Energies to a Raichu XY. He responds with a Pyroar FFI, which I'm able to KO with my Raichu XY, as well as set up another. He is only able to attack with Seismitoad EX, and I'm able to respond with constant Red Signals into my own Quacking Punches to KO every Litleo he benches. Unsurprisingly, I win Game 2.
Game 3 starts, and he bluffs me into thinking he has a horrible hand. I attach a Grass Energy to Virizion EX, and figuring my only chance to win is to watch while he draw passes, I decide not to use my N. Unfortunately, he is holding everything in his hand. With Computer Search, Pyroar FFI, Energy, and Professor Juniper, he's able to come up and KO my Virizion EX, knocking my Energy off the board and putting me in a horrible position. I'm able to keep him asleep a few times with Hypnotoxic Laser and Quaking Punch, and although I kept it somewhat close, he's able to take the win. Lose 1-2
Round 8 (6-1-0) vs Donphan PLS
I was stupidly paranoid and decided to take the intentional draw (ID) instead of going for an extra win just to secure my spot in Day 2. ID
Round 9 (6-1-1) vs Mirror
I get paired down this round. My opponent needs a tie to make it in, while I'm guaranteed no matter what. I don't necessarily like grinching, but I wanted to give myself the best chance to win the entire event, so I'm reluctant to just ID. He gets to go first, and attaches to his Virizion EX. He also plays Korrina, for a Lunatone PLS, which is very interesting. He uses its ability, Premonition, and passes.
I sort of copy his turn, only without playing a moon to my side of the field. His next turn is where it gets amazing. He draws, Switches into a Genesect EX, and plays Colress Machine attaching a Plasma Energy to the active Genesect EX. Then he uses Premonition and plays an Ether getting one Grass Energy onto the Genesect EX. Finally, he manually attaches a second Grass Energy and uses G Booster to KO my active Virizion EX and wipe my Energy off the board. At that point, I know there's nothing I can do, especially since I don't even play Startling Megaphone, and I offer him the ID. He takes it, and Day 1 is over. ID
End of Day 1
My record on Day 1 is 6-1-2, and I end up 8th after an amazing 6-0 start. We didn't finish until after 11 PM, and had to be back at 8 AM. Great. We try going to get some food, and after waiting for an hour, end up going to a local fast food joint. I try talking to a few people about advice on what to play tomorrow, but nothing really jumps out at me. I figured I'd just go home, get some rest, and wake up a little early to work on tweaking a few lists.
I make it home at close to 3 AM, and have my alarm ready to wake me up at 6 (as well as 6:15 and 6:30, just in case). The next morning, I wake up, but to my surprise, it was already 7:30. I live 30 minutes from the event, assuming there's no traffic (and in Houston that's being very hopeful), so I was pretty sure I was going to miss Round 1. I speed to the event and barely make it in time, but not in time to try and figure out anything else to play. I thought about tweaking my deck from Day 1, but nothing seemed worth dropping to me, so I end up turning in a decklist with the same 60 cards.
Round 10 (6-1-2) vs Donphan PLS/Accelgor DRX
I was expecting there to be a lot of this, after the surge of Donphan PLS on Day 1, but I'm pretty sure I played against one of the only people playing this deck. Sadly for me, the games were very uninteresting. Game 1, I Nuzzled with Pikachu XY for 5-6 turns, and while I got several heads, it didn't matter, since that was the only attack I was ever able to use.
Game 2, I didn't even get to attack, as my lone Genesect EX was knocked out on Turn 3. This was one match where only running 2 Ultra Balls appeared to back fire. After running hot Day 1, I figured it was about time for the opposite to happen. Lose 0-2
Round 11 (6-2-2) vs Accelgor DRX/Trevenant XY/Victini EX/Victini NVI 15
I go second, and he has a pretty solid start. He fills his bench with Shelmets, Phantumps, and Victinis (both the EX and the regular one), and then uses Tropical Beach to refill his hand. Luckily he doesn't attach an Energy, so I hope for the best. I attach to my Virizion EX, N his hand away, and abuse his Tropical Beach myself.
He benches a Jirachi EX and uses Stellar Guidance. I assume he's going for the Skyla + Victory Piece combo, but lucky for me it seems to be prized. He starts setting up Victini NVI 15 for V-Create, and we start trading blows. I'm able to revenge his KOs each time with Raichu XY and keep the prizes relatively even. He's able to take a final KO on my Genesect EX to win Game 1.
Game 2 goes a lot more according to plan. I'm able to pick apart his Basics and start powering up my side of the field. He keeps the same plan with his Victinis, but I switch to using my Mewtwo EX as efficiently as possible. Since he doesn't really have an answer to it, I win Game 2. Both games took way too long, and time was called as Game 3 started. We both realize there's no way to win, so we just scoop up our cards and take the tie. Tie 1-1-1
Round 12 (6-2-3) vs Mirror
At this point, I know I need to win out to make cut, so I'm hoping for the best. I get paired against the same mirror match (Round 5) from Day 1 and get ready. Lucky for me, I'm able to go first again, and the match goes almost the exact same way. I Emerald Slash first, Megalo Cannon first, and G Booster first, so I easily win.
And much like Day 1, Game 2 starts off pretty similarly. He whiffs attaching for the first turn, and I'm able to set up flawlessly, and everything proceeds as planned. I'm able to G Booster the first Genesect EX he attempts to power up and win pretty convincingly. Win 2-0
Round 13 (7-2-3) VS Yveltal EX/Garbodor LTR
I go first, but I end up having to discard both of my Raichu XYs very early. Just as I'm unable to set up Raichu XY, he's unable to set up Garbordor LTR, so I have free reign to use my Hypnotoxic Lasers, while he's stuck with dead cards in his hand. He didn't get a very explosive start, so I'm able to take a pretty easy Game 1.
During Game 2, he starts off pretty poorly. I'm able to start off very quickly and rip apart anything he tries to set up. With a Turn 2 Emerald Slash turning into a Turn 3 G Booster, as well as setting up Raichu XYs that are ready to one-shot anything he brings up, I take a very quick Game 2. Win 2-0
Round 14 (8-2-3) VS Mirror. No, wait, Pyroar!
Pairings go up, and I see I'm paired up against the Mirror. My opponent can afford to lose and still make Top 8. I know he's very likely to scoop to try and avoid the single Pyroar player until at least Top 4, so I feel pretty confident that I'll be able to make Top 8! Sadly, they tell us not to set up, as there's a likely re-pair. I anxiously wait, and as soon as the new pairings are up, I see that I'm against Pyroar FFI. Great. I went from being confident about making Top 8 to pretty confident I wouldn't make it.
In Game 1, he gets several Pyroar FFI out, and there's nothing I can do against the onslaught of lions and lose very quickly.
Game 2, I get a Turn 2 KO on a Litleo FFI with Emerald Slash from Virizion EX, and I start powering up a Raichu XY. He answers with a Pyroar FFI, which I immediately respond with a Circle Circuit KO. He responds with another Pyroar FFI, and through a decent amount of luck, I'm able to respond yet again with a Raichu XY for the KO. He's forced to bring out his Seismitoad EX to try to stop me from killing more Litleos. Luckily, I have the Plasma Energy, as well as the Lysandre, at the right time to KO the last Litleo. As soon as his last Litleo dies, he scoops. I went from 100% sure I was done, to having hope I could win.
Game 3, he starts with Seismitoad EX, which is fantastic for me. I'm able to hit it before he can retreat it, and eventually knock it out coming into my turn after a Hypnotoxic Laser. We do the exact same Pyroar FFI/Raichu XY trade, after some more lucky draws on my part, and I get very close to winning. I get down to 2 prizes, and I know that I can KO his second Seismitoad EX for the win. I know I won't have the energy to set up a Genesect EX to one shot it, so I go for the Mewtwo EX to try and kill off his last threat, the litleo.
I play Lysandre to bring up his final Litleo FFI, and hit it for 40, knowing that he is out of Switches, and after using N to bring him down to 2 cards, I hope he can't respond. He is able to retreat with a DCE, but I know I can still find my final Plasma Energy to all but seal the game. I try to dig for it, but can't find it, so I just opt to hit his Seismitoad EX and go for the win that way.
Next turn he's able to evolve the Pyroar, Lysandres up a Jirachi EX of mine, and Quacking Punches. I'm able to manually retreat, and put his Seismitoad EX at 20 away from the KO. He retreats it next turn, brings his Pyroar up, and Lysandres up my Jirachi EX again. At this point, there's no chance for me to win, as I only have two cards left in my deck. He's able to just pass with his Pyroar active, and get the win in a very close Game 3. I was sad, but I knew that I had played to the best of my ability and just couldn't overcome this almost autoloss. Lose 2-1
Final standings go up, and I finish in the Top 16 with an 8-3-3 record. I was still sad about my final match and missing Top Cut, but I was reasonably pleased with my Top 16 finish, especially since I didn't change my deck whatsoever after Day 1. Sure my weekend had its ups and downs as I started with 6 straight wins, and then went 0-2-3, before finishing 2-1-0 in my last 3 games, but getting those last couple wins on Day 2 definitely made making Top 16 feel a bit better. I wasn’t able to attend another Fall Regional Championship, but I'll definitely be around to sweep some upcoming City Championships!
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