Catstoise: A story of blood, sweat, and bitties
Mike Newman's 12th place Worlds report, featuring an in-depth look at his sort of rogueish Blastoise build and lots of cute pictures of him.
09/10/2014 by 60Cards
Hey dudes, my name is Mike Newman and I'm from Indiana. I've been playing Pokemon for the better part of the last two years, I'm a not-so-proud member of Team Hovercats, and I love food. I've never really written a tournament report before, but I suppose there's a first time for everything. My Worlds story is a bit of an odd one; after Cities I was at just over 100 points and not really on track for an invite. However, thanks to an insanely lucky States and Regionals run and almost maxing out on Spring Battle Roads points, I was able to hit exactly 400 CP going into Nationals. I finished in the Top 64 at Nationals, which I'm quite happy with given that I was focused on fun, and wrapped up my season with 430 points.
Out of my 430 Championship Points, I earned a little over 300 with the same deck: Rayquaza/Eelektrik. However, I opted not to play it at Worlds despite it treating me so well all season, even at Natoinals where the format was the same as what I'd be seeing at Worlds. My choice to play it at Nationals was mostly a gimmick since I had the two byes and was not that concerned with doing well. I think the deck has a very hard time against Plasma and Gothitelle, and after Nationals I was expecting to see no shortage of those two at Worlds. As soon as my Worlds testing began, Rayeels was off the table.
What I did decide to play was a somewhat unique (but not THAT unique) Blastoise build I came up with. I didn't play Black Kyurem EX, but instead only played the Blastoise line and 4 Keldeo EX as my main Pokemon. The idea was to take big OHKO's just like standard Blastoise, but since you don't discard energy, you put far more pressure on your opponent and make it harder for them to respond.
This is the list I played in Vancouver:
Catstoise by Mike Newman
- 3x Blastoise
- 1x Mr. Mime
- 2x Wartortle
- 4x Squirtle
- 4x Keldeo EX
- 1x Computer Search
- 2x Energy Retrieval
- 3x Pokemon Catcher
- 3x Rare Candy
- 3x Tropical Beach 11
- 2x Colress
- 4x Professor Juniper
- 3x Superior Energy Retrieval
- 1x Level Ball
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 3x N-supporter
- 4x Skyla
- 13x Water Energy
It doesn't require much explanation, but I'll cover a few of the more off-the-wall counts:
I have always thought 1 Wartortle and 4 Rare Candy to be the play in any Blastoise build since Plasma Kyurem came around. When one of the most popular Pokemon in the format has no trouble OHKO'ing your Blastoise, you need to be able to keep them coming out. If you have a Blastoise out and a Squirtle on the bench, a Catcher kill on Blastoise can be a very potent play. If that Squirtle were a Wartortle instead, your odds of getting out a second Blastoise would be far higher and your opponent would think twice about targeting the Blastoise. I played 2 Wartortle though, for two big reasons: fear of trainer lock and general consistency. I found that with 2 Wartortle it was almost impossible to miss a Turn 3 Blastoise, and with only 3 Rare Candy I was still hitting the Turn 2 somewhat regularly and didn't really miss the fourth.
3 Superior Energy Retrieval, 2 Regular Energy Retrieval
6 Energy is a big magic number for the deck as that's how many energies a Keldeo needs to OHKO a 170 HP EX, and it was far easier to play 1 Superior Energy Retrieval + a regular Retrieval or two attachments than it was to play 2 Superior Energy Retrieval in a turn, especially out of the same hand.
I already played such high counts of everything that Dowsing Machine never felt super clutch, and with so many consistency cards and heavy trainer lines, Computer Search honestly wasn't that great either. Believe it or not, the card I probably Computer Searched for most often was Water Energy! I think in hindsight I may have played something wacky like Rock Guard or Gold Potion as the consitency Ace Spec just felt uneccesary.
That ought to be enough about the deck, I'll do my best to remember some or all of my games and put together a report! I'm not positive if they are in the correct order and there a few rounds I'm totally blanking on, but bear with me (or don't.)
Round 1 vs. ???? ??? (Plasma)
Before I explain this game, I'll discuss the intricacies of the Plasma matchup. A typical game against Plasma will hopefully begin with them setting up the offense they would normally use against standard Blastoise, and by the time they figure out your gameplan, they've exhausted too many Prism/Plasma Energy outs and resources to return knockouts on your 6-7 energy Keldeos with Deoxys and that's how you win. The matchup gets tougher (but 50-50 at worst) when they know what you're playing from the start, but it's pretty favorable if they don't.
So anyway, on his first turn, he Colress Machines to a Deoxys, and on his second turn he attaches a second Plasma energy to that Deoxys, retreats discarding the two, then Colress Machines to a Kyurem. This ends up losing him the game, as his fourth Plasma energy was prized meaning he couldn't power up a Deoxys in one turn to respond to a 6 energy Keldeo. This allows me to take consecutive EX knockouts and by the time he was able to knock out the first one I had taken four prizes and had a second Keldeo ready to take the last two.
Round 2 vs. ????? ?????
Round 3 vs. Simon! (Hydreigon)
Simon is probably one of the coolest people I got to meet at Worlds. He was a total class act and I had a great time playing him. Unfortunately, the game wasn't terribly interesting. I ran incredibly hot and began taking EX knockouts on my third turn, and since he had no way to respond, he didn't do much besides watch me take 6 prizes. He was playing a really interesting Hydreigon build with an emphasis on Cresselia EX; he told me that the Plasma and Gothitelle matchups were highly favorable but he kept running into Blastoise!
Round 4 vs. Jon Bristow (Rayeels)
Well, I guess it was about time Rayeels came back to haunt me. I drew very poorly this game and wasn't able to get a Blastoise out until it was far too late. However, had I been drawing better i'm still confident Jon would have won as his setup was insane and the matchup was very much in Rayeels' favor to begin with. At one point the game came down to me needing 11 energy on a Blastoise to OHKO an undamaged Rayquaza EX, but I was only able to get 7 and he showed me that he most likely would have had game regardless. Oh well!
Round 5 vs. Dylan Dreyer (Darkrai)
I had heard of Dylan before and I was excited to be meeting someone new, much less getting to play against him! He grinded in to the event which is an incredible feat in and of itself, so another big congratulations to him! I go first and play an Ultra Ball, but then something weird happens. I take a minute to check my prizes (something a lot of if not most players do on their first deck search) and as soon as I begin shuffling, a judge comes and stops our game. He says he watched what just happened and was giving me a warning for stalling, which perplexed both Dylan and myself. I didn't really feel like dealing with the appeal process but it was Worlds and I didn't want this to come back and bite me later, so I asked to talk to the Head Judge. Dylan and I both tell him that I took a reasonable amount of time on the search and that I'd have no reason to be stalling (as it was my first turn of a game that would almost surely not go to time) but he sided with the original call and I got a warning. Bummer! Dylan was really cool about it and it didn't come up for the rest of the day so all's well that ends well I suppose. Unfortunately, things didn't end so well for Dylan. Darkrai is Catstoise's best matchup and it played out exactly as expected; I took a OHKO on a loaded Darkrai with a 7 energy Keldeo, and since his deck has no way to return a OHKO on Keldeo, I was able to take a second catcher kill putting us at 2-6 prizes and essentially sealing the game. I'm not totally positive how the game ended, but he had no way to take 6 prizes before I took a mere 2.
Round 6 vs. ???? ? ? ? ?????
Round 7 vs. James Good (Blastoise)
James is a swell guy and a good friend of mine, so I was excited to see him at 5-1 but moreso bummed to be playing him. Standard Blastoise is Catstoise's hardest matchup, so I wasn't expecting much to begin with; but for as little as I expected, I sure didn't get a whole lot. My opening hand was one of the worst I've ever seen and I was drawing and passing as he was setting up multiple Blastoise and Black Kyurems. I was finally able to get out a Tropical Beach and start drawing cards, and after a few crucial whiffs on his end I was almost able to make it a game, but it came down to him having the energy to Black Ballista one last time and he did. GG.
Round 8 vs. Xavier Chua (Plasma)
Xavier is an incredibly friendly player from Singapore, and while we were both pretty bummed about being on the bubble for top cut, we still did our best to remain enthusiastic and friendly. This game played out exactly how the Plasma matchup was tested to play out. He went for early Kyurems thinking I was playing a standard Blastoise build, and I knocked one out with a 4 energy Secret Sword. He came up with a Thundurus EX and Raiden Knuckled an energy onto another benched Kyurem anticipating a Black Ballista, but instead I attached two more energy to the Keldeo and OHKO'd his Thundurus. He was not able to immediately respond to the 6 energy Keldeo and the game ended pretty shortly after. I was pretty heartbroken to be taking a spot in top cut from such a cool dude, but he took the loss very well and told me he'd be cheering me on. What a guy!
Top 32 vs. Sami Sekkoum (Darkrai)
I was pretty nervous to be playing against Sami and half-expected to be another stepping stone on his 500th annual Top 8 finish. However, when I heard he was playing straight Darkrai, I started feeling a bit more confident as the matchup is tilted very heavily in my favor. I'm afraid I don't remember too many details about the game, but I guess I'll take this oppurtunity to talk a little bit more about the Darkrai matchup and why/how I was able to beat such an incredibly skilled player strictly by coasting on a matchup.
You can expect to begin attacking around the same time as Darkrai. Although technically a turn one Night Spear is possible, a turn two attack is usually the goal and more often than not you'll see a Night Spear on turn 3. Blastoise is the same way, as you'll hit the turn 3 more often than not but occasionally hit the right combination of cards for a Turn 2 Secret Sword.
So you begin attacking at the same time, but the primary difference is that your attack is much, MUCH better. Mr. Mime shuts down their snipe damage so Darkrai is doing between 90 and 140 for 3 energy, while you are able to OHKO Darkrai's once your setup is in full swing.
Darkrai has no way to OHKO a Keldeo (and Mr. Mime thwarts any hope of KOing two Keldeos in two turns by doing 140+30 twice) so once a 7 energy Keldeo takes out a Darkrai, it is gauranteed to take another prize after that, making it all but impossible for Darkrai to keep up.
Game 1 played out pretty much just as I described. W
Game 2 came down to two very important factors:
1) A misplay on my part: there was a turn where he sort of telegraph'd having three Dark Patch in hand, but I figured he was bluffing and played as if he didn't. He did.
2) My Mr. Mime was prized, and it was only in this game did I realize that the matchup goes from immensely favorable to hardly favorable when Darkrai gets that extra 30 damage!
Game 3 played out pretty similarly to game 1 albeit a bit closer as he made some very clever plays and had obviously become more familiar with my deck.
Top 16 vs. Jon Bristow (Rayeels)
When I saw that I was playing Bristow again the first thing that went through my head was "Well, I had a good run." I was expecting an absolute bloodbath and that's exactly what happened. Catstoise just cannot keep up with Rayeels! He stomped me in two very short games.
That being said, it seemed fitting that Rayeels of all things would be the deck to knock me out of cut at Worlds.
So with that, my Worlds run came to a close. I was incredibly happy to finish as well as I did, and even more happy to watch my best friend Dustin finally hit his big break and make it all the way to the top 4.
I don't really have any input on the new format but I suppose I can talk about what little I think Catstoise gains and loses with the new format. Most importantly, nothing in the deck rotates, so it's far more gain than loss. What it gains is Scoop Up Cyclone. You may remember when Blastoise was first released people were playing heavy counts of Super Scoop Up as one heads on one could win games outright. Scoop Up Cyclone is that one heads, and since my Ace Spec is already a blowoff spot, this seems like a no brainer. The only other thing I've seen people consider in Blastoise decks (or any decks that use Tropical Beach) is Caitlin. I played around five games with the above list -2 supporters +2 Caitlin, and I'll tell you, she really pooped the bed. I found myself with Caitlin in hand in what should have been the ideal situation (8 card hand after a Beach + draw, Candy but no Blastoise or vice versa) but the problem is that when the rest of your
hand is good, you can't play any of those good cards before the Caitlin or you won't draw as many. Needless to say, I wasn't impressed. What this deck loses, however, is quite a bit of playability. I think the popularity of Genesect will greatly influence how much play this deck can see in the upcoming format, and a shift back to Black Kyurem may be required. Only time will tell!
Well, I'm not very good with goodbyes so I guess i'll just sign off here. Thanks for supporting this new site, and I'd love it if you supported On The Bubble as well!
Written by Mike Newman
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