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Marc Costa

Pikachu, I choose you!

It's Marc Costa again! Most of you should remember your first steps in the competitive Pokémon TCG scene, so today I'll share with you my experience in my first ever Regionals!

04/10/2016 by Marc Costa

Like Ash Ketchum did years ago, my career as a competitive player has begun.

As some of you might know, I started playing in 2007, but the only official tournament I’d played was the ECC 2014, mostly because my country, Spain, has been without Organized Play until this year.

At the start of the 2015-2016 season, some Spanish people were already aware that the OP was coming, so a little group of players started travelling around Europe in order to get some CPs to qualify for the World Championships hold in San Francisco, myself included. So today I’m going to talk about my first steps on the competitive Pokémon TCG career, let’s do this!

 

My first ever Regionals

I’ve always been a huge fan of tournament reports from all the people around the world, so now that I’ve participated in multiple sanctioned tournaments, I’d like to share what’s the experience for a newcomer in the competitive scene like me, and encourage those who are a little bit afraid of going to bigger tournaments than League Challenges.

At the beginning of the season I started searching sanctioned tournaments in France because it’s the closest country for us, and living in Barcelona we could go by car. My searching wasn’t too long as I immediately found the pokecardex.com, the biggest French forum, where all the tournaments were announced, so we started to plan our first trip. We were basically looking for Regional Championships in order to get the maximum number of CPs from our trips, so we ended up planning our trip for the 5th and 6th December 2015 in order to participate in the Nice Regional on Saturday and the Marseille Regional on Sunday. We had to wait some weeks, but the waiting was definitely worth it.

From September to November we had no option to get CPs, but as always, we have weekly tournaments in my hometown, where I was doing pretty well, getting multiple wins and second places. The only big tournament we had before the double Regional was the MetroPokémon Day, hold every year at Metrópolis Center shop, in Madrid, considered the unofficial National of Spain. I was really hyped for the tournament and I tested a lot, but oh God, out of 63 players I ended up 9th missing the Top 8, in fact, I was the only player who missed the cut with a 4/1/1 record, where my only loss came from a Metagross deck in round 2 (I was playing M Manectric EX/Regice, I still don’t know how I managed to loss against such a favorable match up with even an Ace Trainer in my deck haha) and my only tie was an ID with one of my best friends in round 5 who was also holding me at his house during the weekend (fun fact: he ended up winning the next round and placed 8th).

Whatever, after this tournament the next set, XY - BREAK Point, came out, so we had to test a slightly different format for the French Regionals. I was tired of playing M Manectric EX for so long, so I decided I’d play a faster deck. Night March was always in my mind, but I wasn’t performing well with my all-time favorite deck, so I shifted to Vespiquen/Bronzong/Crobat deck, which had a better match up against Seismitoad EX, Night March and Yveltal.

 

Friday

With the deck already decided, I left Barcelona with Eduard Luque, Alfred Parellada, Adrián Gómez and Roberto Sánchez in Edu’s car on Friday in order to arrive to Nice at 10 PM, but due to the traffic we arrived at 2 AM. We arrived to the apartment we rented, but there was nobody that could give us the keys of the apartment, and after 10 minutes of fear thinking how 5 guys were supposed to sleep in a car, our calls finally found a receiver who gave us the key. The apartment was HUGE, it was by far bigger than we expected, it had a large bathroom, 4 gorgeous beds, an astonishing living room… the sad news were that it was 2:30 AM and we had to wake up at 9 AM. I was absolutely crushed after a stressful week at university, so I went to sleep at 3 AM, but my friends stayed awake testing his decks until 4:30 AM.

Roberto, Adrián, me and Alfred. Edu is the typical guy behind the camera haha

 

Saturday

I slept like a child. I woke up with energy, mostly because I was really nervous about my first ever Regional. I hadn’t tested the deck more than 20 games, but it was fine to me. I also think that I must be a unique case: first official tournament, ECC 2014, second and third ones, Regionals, fourth one, League Challenge, and finally, Cities on 30 April in Barcelona.

We finally arrived at the hotel that was holding the Regional. The saloon was really big, we were fascinated for the set up made by the French organizers. The deck check was quick, there was a little store selling Pokémon products and merchandise… it was overall perfect.

I won’t distract you more than needed with my round by round run, mostly because I don’t remember them at this point. I only remember I won the first 2 rounds, then tied against Jimmy Marcus Larsen, won the next 2 rounds, tied against Mehdi Hafi (I was SO hyped to be playing against him, one of the reasons I was so excited coming to those Regionals was that they were coming good players from France, Italy, Portugal, Great Britain, etc., and I wished to play against them to prove my level and learn about them), and finally won against an Italian guy. I finished my first ever Regional with a 4/0/2 record!! I was sitting at second place out of approximately 70 players from all around Europe, and what’s more, Roberto was in the first place with the same record as me!!

After then we were deckchecked again, and I was paired against Joel N’Guyen, which some days later I was told he is one of the best players of France. I feel really confident going into the match, but he ripped me with a Judge and Silent Lab on his first turn, and I lost the first game. I started the second one and easily defeated him. On third game we ended on turns, where he cleverly managed to take 4 prizes, giving him the win. During the whole round I was really pleased and grateful to have my 3 eliminated friends pushing me up between games and cheering me up, I have no words for them. It’s really supportive to have such a great and united crew with you. Roberto ended up losing on Top 8 too, but hey, at least we received 75 fresh CPs!

My amazing playmat :3

The only “bad” thing of Saturday was that Roberto and I received two miserable booster packs each one for making Top 8, but the organizer told us that prizes changed for this season, so hey, let’s take it.

We left the tournament after being eliminated and we went to Marseille, where another huge apartment was waiting for us. We were really tired, but this doesn’t mean we didn’t have energy left for having some laughs, test some more and prepare decks for the next day. My dream had already come true playing against great players like Mehdi Hafi, Joel N’Guyen and David Ferreira, while also making Top 8. I was completely done, so I just changed two cards for the next day and went on.

 

Sunday

Marseille was an effervescent city contrasted with Nice. The tournament was held in a shop, but oh man… the local was really disappointing. The set up for the event was so bad, the shop was okay but it wasn’t planned to afford +80 people in the upstairs. It was also being painted, so the smell was annoying. Overall, it didn’t feel as a Regional.

Anyway, we had to play the tournament the best we can. First round I was paired against Joel N’Guyen’s brother. He won a close first game, then I defeated him, and in the last game I was clearly defeating him but due to a bad time management by my part using a Battle Compressor when I didn’t need to, time was called. I ended up 1 prize left against his 6 prizes remaining, so I was a little disappointed by my little fault.

Next round I was paired against a good friend of mine, Mathieu Romanet, a PokéDad from France who’s currently living in Barcelona, whose child is one of the best players of Europe (I will talk about him in my next article). We went to our table, but something was missing… Mathieu’s deck was stolen. He leaved it on the table he played the previous round, and no one had seen it afterwards. We waited for some minutes, but the judge finally decided he must take a game loss, and I reluctantly signed the paper too. Mathieu and I started to search it, but we couldn’t found it. After the round finished, the judges decided to check all backpacks from the players at the exit of the store, and after some bags were revised, Mat’s deckbox mysteriously appeared on a table. The thief must had seen itself with no option but to leave the deck on a random table, so that he wouldn’t be caught.

After this chain of events I wasn’t concentrated anymore. The Pokémon community is well-known for its kindness, and this attempted robbery disconcerted me. I was also feeling bad for Mathieu, and also I had been given a win because such a sad event. I ended up winning next round, tying against a kind French guy on the next one, after then I tied against the British Charles Barton leaving both of us with no options to Top 8, and lost my last round against the Portuguese Filipe Cardoso.

I ended up with a 2/1/3 record, but I wasn’t sad about it, mostly because my 3 Spanish friends who didn’t make it to the Top 8 the day before, they all made it on Sunday!! Eduard Luque fell in Top 8, Alfred Parellada in Top 4, but Adrián Gómez won the whole Regional!!!!

I won’t be extending anymore, even though I could talk about my Regionals experience for days. I’m going to link you a video I made about those magic days in France, and do a shout out to those who deserved it.

The ECC 2016 champion, Mehdi Hafi, and Roberto Sánchez

Obviously, in the video we are talking Spanish and 80% of time doing stupid shit, but if you want to see our beautiful faces, you can do it right there!

 

Acknowledgements

- Shout-out to Roberto Sánchez, Adrián Gómez, Alfred Parellada and Eduard Luque for being such great friends, the “Quaking Top car” returned home plenty of CPs for all of us! Wish to share lots of travels with all of you next season.

- Shout-out to Mathieu Romanet and Pol Romanet for being always so nice and friendly. And Pol, keep your way to the Top 22 of Europe, you are going to get it. I’m sure!

- Shout-out to the two Portuguese guys, Filipe Cardoso and David Ferreira, we connected really well at first sight (no love, but a good friendship instead haha), you rock!

- Shout-out to Mehdi Hafi for being so nice while we were playing, for teaching me some tricks about Night March and for being so nice to all the Spanish crew!

- Shout-out to: the French guy I tied against in Marseille who was playing Night March and friend of Mehdi, the girl I (sadly for her) won both days, and the Italian guy I won in Nice who was playing Marowak, all of you were great players to meet!

- Shout-out to Danilo Cavalieri, one of the judges who joked with the Spanish crew especially in Marseille, you were so funny buddy!

- Shout-out to Bauke Wijnsma, I saw your comment on my last article on 60Cards, I wish that every country that deserves the OP gets it too! And thanks for the positive feedback!

- Shout-out to… finally, all the stuff (organizers and judges) who made the Regionals possible, it was a great experience overall, and obviously to all the players who at least exchange some words with the Spanish crew. Nice to meet you all!

 

Final thoughts

So, after this incredible experience, I had to drop my road to Worlds. I’m doing an Engineer career and I can’t afford to waist so many time on trips. Also, with the arrival of the Organized Play in Spain, I became an official judge, and I’m saving money and time for the next season, while also practicing my writing skills thanks to 60Cards.

And hey! As you have read, Spain now has regular League Challenges on 5 cities all over the country, and Madrid and Barcelona have been given 2 Special Premiere Events with City level, I will link them in case you want to come and visit our beautiful country! Things keep on rolling here, next dream to come true, Spanish Regionals!

Madrid (17/04/2016): https://www.pokemon.com/es/play-pokemon/eventos-pokemon/16-04-000539/

Barcelona (30/04/2016): https://www.pokemon.com/es/play-pokemon/eventos-pokemon/16-04-000785/

 

Best regards to all of you, and thanks for reading!

Marc Costa

Contact: laboratoriopkmn@gmail.com

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