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Tord Reklev

Consistency is king

ECC TOP 32 report with Yveltal. Check it out!

02/18/2015 by Tord Reklev

Hello 60Cards readers

 

My name is Tord Reklev. I am a 20 year old Norwegian Pokémon player and this will be my first article for 60 Cards. I have played the Pokémon Trading Card Game since I was 6 years old. I started playing competitively in 2006. Since then, I have qualified for Worlds every single year. My performance at tournaments has been consistent; in the last three years I was able to win Norway nationals twice and became runner-up once. I made top 4 in the European Challenge Cup twice. Additionally I regularly topped the World Championships namely; top 16 once, top 32 twice and a top 64 finish. I am a player who favors consistent lists,  and focuses purely on consistency, rather than using a list full of tricks. The deck list you are about to see will confirm this. For now, hopefully I have earned your trust as a Pokémon player, let's move on to the main theme, Yveltal! 

 

 

When looking at the meta-game, I was frustrated. It seemed that every deck had a horrible matchup of some kind. I decided that I needed a consistent deck for the European Challenge Cup (ECC). The reasons that end up costing players most games (and elements I want to avoid in my deck lists) are the following:

Bad openers 

Opening with a Pokémon that you eventually have to retreat is not an option for me, it often costs you a valuable energy attachment, 1 attack, or potentially a whole turn in the prize race. Having as many good starters as possible was my ideal goal. 

Missed supporters 

There is no need to say this, but playing a supporter card every turn is essential to keep up with your opponent. This can range from Lysandreing one of your opponents key Pokémon, using N to disrupt them, or just to using Professor Juniper to draw cards. Missing supporters sets you back, this should be the underlying thought when building a deck. 

Missed energy drops 

Your Pokémon need energy to attack, and if you trade evenly with your opponent, frequently players will get caught in a situation where the next attacker is not powered up yet, resulting in a turn without an attack when your Pokémon is not powered up yet. Attacking every single turn, starting turn 1 will give you a significant edge over your opponent if he fails to do so. 

This may seem like common knowledge for most of us, but often I see players overteching their deck to counter various match-ups; this may end up costing them more than they think. This is just my approach to the game, however some players like to counter every deck, there is really no right or wrong in Pokémon. It is all about the way you personally feel most comfortable with, and about predicting the meta- game to some extent. 

I expected a lot of fighting variants at the ECC, which again would scare away, or hopefully beat, the players who were planning to play Manectric variants. This is the reason why I figured Yveltal was a good option: a deck that meets all of the above-mentioned criteria. Pokémon is such a fascinating game as it allows you to win a match-up by focusing on consistency. An inconsistent decklist may lose you an auto-win. That’s how the Genesect EX/Virizion EX decks can beat Pyroar, just because the former is a lot more consistent. (See David Hochmanns article, top 8) 

Now that I have given you enough insight in my mindset, let's look at the Yveltal list I chose for the ECC.  


Let us take a look at the list. You will notice a lot of Yveltal. The reason for this is because Yveltal is our main attacker and a great starter (both the EX and the regular Yveltal). The EX let you attack on turn two after attaching two energies. Hopefully with a Darkness on turn one, preferably not a Double Colourless Energy (so your opponent can't use Enhanced Hammer, which is pretty common these day). Then the following turn attach a Double Colorless Energy to attack for a lot of damage; or use Y-Cyclone if you are afraid of the Yveltal being knocked out the following turn. The regular Yveltal lets you charge up your benched attackers and set them up for later KOs. Seismitoad EX is also a great starter against every deck but Virizion EX/ Genesect EX. 

You will notice that the decklist runs 12 Pokémon, of which 8 are ideal starters. The only truly bad opener is Jirachi EX, because its sole purpose is to allow you to search your deck for a supporter, potentially winning you the game or freeing you from a supporterless hand. 

Spiritomb is played because of the huge popularity of Virizion EX/Genesect EX and their G Booster. It is also a decent opener because of its attack, which allows you to match the hand size of your opponent. 

Keldeo EX may be a problem to open with, but if you can get Darkrai EX on the bench, all your Pokémon will have free retreat for the rest of the game when you attach an energy. 

Darkrai EX itself is decent to open with, just attach an energy and retreat it for a regular Yveltal the following turn. (This is the suboptimal opener which we try to avoid) The deck plays just 1 float stone, but you can search for it with Computer Search if needed, so you don't have to waste an energy attachment in case you open with one of the 4 suboptimal starters. 

Next up is the trainers:

I play a high number of supporters so I can use them on the first turn. I decided to play Bicycles over Colress to increase the odds of a better opening hand, and I often find myself using Lysandre/N in the late game over Colress anyways, so cutting Colress seemed the right play for me. So in our opening hand we have good odds of seeing a supporter by playing 4 Junipers + 4 N + 3 Bicycles + 1 Computer Search + 4 Ultra Ball for Jirachi Ex + 1 Jirachi Ex. That's 17 cards that allow you to refresh your hand on your first turn. After the first supporter ends up in the discard pile, we’ve got 4 VS Seekers to maintain our consistency throughout the game. 

I decided to play as few situational cards as possible, to increase the consistency of the deck as a whole. I just wanted all of my cards to be good most of the time. That's the reason I don't play Enhanced Hammer in this list, considering not all decks play special energies. Even though Enhanced Hammer is very good, at times it is completely useless. I also decided to opt for Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym over Shadow Circle/Hard Charms. Again, that is because Hypnotoxic laser/Virbank is a strong combo at all times, even against Virizion EX/Genesect EX. For example, you can Lysandre a benched Pokémon without an energy attached to it, and use the Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym combonation and get the knockout. 

The Pokémon Center Lady is a situational card, but it can be really versatile and useful in every match-up; Seismitoad EX decks being the strongest reason for running it. 

Lysandre is also good against every single match-up, and playing 3 of these plus 4 VS Seekers will ensure that you can access it when needed. 

Muscle Band is a card that adds 20 damage to your attacks, I really wanted to run 4 of these, but I didn't want to cut any other of my consistency cards. However, muscle band is a card that is never bad to have in your hand. 

Then we got the energy:

You might think: "Wow, that guy is crazy, he is running way too many Energies". There are 14 Energies in the deck, the absolute best opening for this deck is attacking turn one with a Regular Yveltal, hereby charging up an Benched Pokémon. To do this, you will need 2 Darkness Energy in your opening hand (and a way to discard one of them). Playing 10 energies will make approximately every 6th card to be an Darkness Energy. Your opening hand is 7 cards + the top deck, making it 8. This will statistically give you at least 1 Darkness energy. But knowing that you play 10 Darkness, I often use Juniper discarding my only Darkness Energy when I open with the regular Yveltal, just because I know that the odds of me drawing another Darkness energy are reasonably high. (You will draw 7 cards, and the odds predict that every 6th card should be an Darkness Energy.) You could also Ultra Ball and discard your only Darkness and use N for 6, which also should be able to provide you with one of those precious Energies. 

That's enough about the list, let's see how the ECC went. 

My Norwegian friends were pretty much set on playing Fairy/Toolbox and felt comfortable with that deck. I thought it lacked consistency although it being very strong. We arrived at Best Western in Arnhem on Thursday, and then went out for a drink like true Norwegian Vikings. On Friday we started play testing, drank some beers, and slept to be prepared for the big day.

The organizers had some problems getting the tournament started, but it ran smoothly after some initial start-up problems.

Round 1 (NL) Night March with Gourgeist/Celebi EX 

Won the coinflip 

Game one, I open with my Jirachi EX to his Sigilyph. I immediately Ultra Ball for Seismitoad EX to get a turn 2 Quacking Punch. He is unable to use his battle compressors the following turn, allowing me to Lysandre every turn and sweep his board until my regular Yveltal was ready to KO the Sigilyph. 

Game two my Seismitoad EX is prized, bummer, but I had a strong opening hand consisting of the regular Yveltal, allowing me to kill his Pumpkaboos and charging up my Yveltal EX. However he attacked me with Gourgeist Night March with Grass + Psychic + Dimension Valley + Celebi EX for 180, knocking out my Yveltal EX. My next Yveltal EX then only needed two energies to deal an astonishing 200 damage to his Gourgeist for the KO (due to the darkness weakness). He was unable to recover, and also drew dead the last couple turns. 

1-0-0 

Round 2 (FR) Metall Bronzong/Dialga/Aegislash EX

Lost the coin flip 


I lost the coin flip and open the first game with Jirachi EX, which is always painful. He gets a turn two Keldeo EX/Float Stone; 2 Bronzong; 2 metal in the Discard Pile and a Dialga Ex with an Double Colorless Energy to take a knockout. I tried to navigate through his start by using Lysandre on his Bronzongs, but it was really hard to make a comeback. On one of his last turns, he is forced to use Dialga’s Chrono Wind on my Seismitoad EX. The Dialga EX had 80 HP left. The game ends when I Juniper in need for a Keldeo EX + Energy + Laser to win the game. I got Keldeo EX and Energy, but missed the laser, losing me a close game one. 

Game two went pretty much like the first game, but this wasn't as close. He ended up Lysandreing 3 consecutive turns after I N'ed him 3 times, giving him the victory. 

1-1-0 

Round 3 (DE) Virizion EX/Genesect EX

Lost the coin flip 

My opponent was able to get his G Booster down before I got my Spiritomb in play. Additionally I struggled drawing Yveltal and any of my Energies. The game comes down to my opponent needing to hit a plasma energy after being N’ed to 2 cards. He draws a Juniper of that, and subsequently draws the plasma energy, winning him the first game. 

Game two was not really interesting at all. He started with just Genesect EX and had to pass. I killed that Genesect by turn 3 to win game 2. 

Game 3 was one of the weirdest games I have ever played. I start of well, although he had the advantage of going first. However, he was unable to play a single support the entire game, BUT top-decks all the cards he needed every turn. The game becomes extremely close, when I N him to two, he needs his last plasma energy in the deck to win. He gets the Juniper and my heart starts beating. Fortunately for me he did not hit it, and was forced to retreat his Genesect EX and promote an energyless Virizion EX. I play down a Virbank and a Laser, attach Muscle Band to my Yveltal EX, Juniper and pray for an energy to win the game. Fortunately I drew a Double Colorless Energy to win a close game 3! 

2-1-0 

Round 4 (DE) Landorus EX/Crobat 

Lost the coinflip 


The first game I open with Spiritomb, and my hand is absolutely horrible. I attach to Spiritomb, use Hexed Mirror which luckily allowed me to draw a new hand. During this game I took advantage of the regular Yveltal being immune to Hawlucha, while Landorus was weak to Seismitoad EX. I remember using Pokémon Center Lady several times with VS Seekers to heal damage of my benched Pokémon allowing me to get the upper hand. She missed a crucial Energy attachment on her Landorus EX, which resulted in me winning the game.

The second game my opening hand was great, and I felt much more in control of the game. Once again Pokémon Center Lady gave me the upper hand and I used Lysandre on her Jirachi EX to take my last two prize cards. 

3-1-0


Round 5 (?) ? 

This game is just a black hole to me, I can't remember my opponent or the deck played, I am really sorry. 

4-1-0 

Round 6 (UK) Seismitoad EX/Garbodor 

Won the coin flip 


This was a really friendly guy, we chatted and I had a great time during our matches. Unfortunately, all of our games were really boring. 

Game 1 he has a dead opening hand and is not even able to Quacking Punch until the middle of the game, meaning I took down game one pretty quickly. 

All I remember from the two other games is using my Junipers and drawing close to 7 item cards most of the time (yes, really). I also stayed asleep on some of the laser flips, leaving me absolutely no chance to win the match. 

4-2-0

I knew that all I could not afford to lose any more matches, I needed to pull myself together to do this. 

Round 7 (DE) Florges/Aromatisse/Kleqi 

Lost the coinflip 


On paper this deck is a nightmare for Yveltal, Klefki resists 40 damage, making it difficult for me to deal damage. In addition, my opponent also played Muscle Band so Florges could one hit KO my regular Yveltals. Game one we both have a pretty decent start, however he wins game one. I try to steal the game with a sleep flip on my laser, but he woke up to attack and win the game. 

After game one I noticed that he did not play Mewtwo EX, which gave me a new game plan. I sacrificed my regular Yveltal to power up two big Yveltal EX and just OHKO his whole deck, even with the resistance. 

The first two games took a considerable amount of time, so we only had limited time left for game 3. He opens with a dead hand, on which I try to capitalize, hoping to pull off a turn 2 Evil Ball and starting to knock out Pokémon as fast as possible. I end up being one turn short of finishing the game, having one prize left to his 6, so the game ends in a tie. 

4-2-1


Now I really needed to win the last two matches, I can’t even afford any ties.

Round 8 (FR) Landorus EX/Crobat 

In this series my deck worked perfect. I got optimal starts and felt really comfortable with my deck. I trapped his Landorus EX in the active position with Seismitoad EX, and used Pokémon Center Lady to heal the damage of my Seismitoad EX. 

In game two two he was not able to properly draw what he needed, giving me a comfortable victory after a few turns. 

5-2-1 

Round 9 (DK) Donphan/Wobuffet/Robo Substitute 

Won the flip 


Finally Donphan, was my first thought. He played a similar list to the one Simon Eriksen used to get first seed after day 1. 

Game one I got a strong opening hand, namely the regular Yveltal and some Dark Energies. The game comes down to a key moment where he missed his Dedenne to knock out my Yveltal EX, which ended up costing him the game. Every time he sends up Robo Substitute I had a Lysandre ready to catch a Donphan from his bench ensuring a KO every turn. 

Game two was very much alike the first one, but with the information from game 1, I was aware he played Dedenne and was able to adjust my strategy to play around it. In the end my deck was more consistent than his, which was my intention when I build the list, outplaying less consistent decks. A Lysandre for my last prize allowed me to win this game. 

6-2-1 

I made it! I was really happy to have made Top Cut after my early losses. Unfortunately only one of my Norwegian friends advanced. I entered as 28th seed, so I knew that I needed 10 points (3-1-1) on day two if I wanted to advance to the top 8. 

When I arrived at the venue at the start of day two, one of the judges told me there was a serious problem with my deck. It turned out that the Computer Search was not bent like all my other cards. The reason for this is that I only used the Computer Search for 2 days, as my list originally contained Dowsing Machine, favoring more aggressive play in opening hands. The judge believed me and gave me the most lenient penalty: a game loss in the first match against David. This just set the tone for me that day. (Good thing David Hochmann finished in the top 4!) 

Round 10 (DE) Virizion EX/Genesect EX/Crobat

Lost the first game due to the game loss.

So I sat down, and the judge informed me and my opponent (David Hochmann) that I would be given a game loss. He opened Zubat, and I almost benched my Seismitoad EX, thinking he was playing Landorus EX/Crobat. Fortunately, I didn’t as he quickly played down a Virizion EX and Genesect EX on his first turn. I knocked out the Zubat, giving him an advantage because his N was a lot stronger now, and I still had to knock out 3 Pokémon EX to win the game. Later I N’ed him to 3 cards, and was praying that he would not draw his G Booster, unfortunately drew it off the top after playing a Juniper. That pretty much decided the game in his favor, especially after he was able to Enhanced Hammer my Double Colorless Energy away, meaning I had no opportunity to take the revenge KO with my Yveltal EX. 

6-3-1 

Round 11 (FR) Seismitoad EX/Garbodor/Super Scoop Up

Lost the coinflip 


I realized during the tournament that my match-ups against straight Seismitoad EX decks were not as good as my play testing indicated. I expected my deck to be better against Seismitoad EX decks than it actually was. I always found myself struggling to attach my energies and get my attackers in play, even though  the high counts of these. 

He quickly won the first game with an early Quacking Punch, not allowing me to set up. The second game I manage to power up two big Yveltal EXs, making him concede the game considering he did not play Mewtwo EX. 

The third game I had a small chance of winning because he drew dead mid-game. He eventually drew the cards he needed to win the last game. 

6-4-1 

I was devastated, losing my first two games on day 2 was not what I expected. However, I decided to play the rest of the games, hoping to make top 16 (I am trying to get enough points for the top 22 EU travel award, and entered the tournament with 495 CP).

Round 12 (DE) Virizion EX/Genesect EX/Crobat 

Won the coinflip 
This guy looked completely unmotivated to even play when we sat down, as he went through the same unfortunate start of day 2 as me. Game 1, I got a great start with Yveltal and an early Spiritomb. I managed to take down the first game comfortably. 

I don't remember much of the second game, but that I lost a close game. 

The third game was also very close. He has numerous cards in his hand on his last turn. I could not afford being N’ed nor Enhanced Hammered, otherwise I would lose the game the following turn. I have 2 cards in hand, and 2 prizes left. He decided to just knock my Pokémon out, allowing me to attack and win the game. After the match he confided in me that he had a Skyla, but that he was so focused on whether to play N or not that he forgot about the possibility of playing Enhanced Hammer. 

7-4-1


Round 13 (NO) Mirror Match


This round I played against one of my good friends Mikael Jacobs. We sat down and chatted in Norwegian, we were not aware that this would lead to any problems. One of the judges became suspicious and asked us to switch to English to continue our conversation. We spoke in English for about 10 seconds and quickly forgot about the comment the judge made when we reverted back to Norwegian as this was most natural/common to us. The judge reminded us to continue the conversation in English, and once again we did not comply, because we could see no harm in what we were doing. After our match, we were both awarded a double game loss for not complying with the rules. I am not saying the ruling was incorrect or unfair, but it would have been nice to get a warning before being awarded a game loss. Our game ended in a tie due to the double game loss.

7-4-2


Round 14 (NL) Mirror Match 

The first game was rather unusual, my opponent had a fast start, but lacked a supporter to keep the pace up. I ended up being able to win after my Darkrai EX knocked out a benched Seismitoad EX. 

I don't remember much of the second game, just that he missed a crucial Hypnotoxic Laser, while I was able to draw them when I needed them. 

 

Final thoughts: 

I finished 20th with a record of 8-4-2. Of course I am a little disappointed about it, considering I have made it to the semi-finals twice at the ECC, but never been able to actually win the tournament. Looking back, I think my deck was decent, and I wouldn't have changed it drastically. I felt really comfortable with the deck, and it ran smoothly in almost all of my games. To me, consistency will always be king. 

The next set is legal in about a week. I still think this Yveltal list will continue to be very strong even with the new additions of the the upcoming set. 

Thanks for reading, hopefully I have been able to provide you with some insights about the consistency aspect in Pokémon. Until next time! 

Tord Reklev 

 

 

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