From the League to the City!
Here we go again! Marc Costa is going to share his recent first steps in the Spanish competitive scene, showing the decks he used in the last League Challenge and City he attended
05/12/2016 by Marc Costa
So here I am back to 60Cards writing another article for all of you. Plenty of things happened to me the last 2 weeks, and I’d love to share my personal experiences with all of you. Today I’ll include the 2 decks I used in the last 2 events I attended, because I feel that in my last articles there were missing some decklists (as a player, I also like to see in people’s articles haha) and I think they can give you some new ideas.
The two events I’m going to talk about had nothing to do with one another, but they had a huge relation for me as you’re going to discover.
We have to go back some weeks ago, until April 24th 2016. The previous day I had the opportunity to attend to Barcelona’s Judge’s Seminar with the presence of Becca Mander and Thorsten, two employees of The Pokémon Company International who came to Barcelona to see if the Organized Play structure was running well in our country, as well as most of the TCG and VGC judges from Catalonia. The seminar ran smoothly for all the people who attended.
But the next day I had the monthly League Challenge in our favorite shop in Barcelona, Freegame. I hadn’t touched my Pokémon cards neither played PTCGO for 4-5 weeks, so I was really uncertain on what to play. During the week I talked with one of my best friends from Madrid, José Luís de Oro, who planned to participate in the first Special Premiere Event in Spain (City level) with the good old Wailord deck. Talking with him I realized that the deck had so many good matchups across the metagame, so I decided to play it for the League Challenge. I wanted to stop playing my all-time favorite deck Night March (at least for a week) and play something funny. My friend shared with me his list, I made some changes to it and that’s the list I ended up playing:
- 2x Aegislash EX
- 4x Wailord EX
- 1x Giratina EX
- 2x Durant
- 1x Bunnelby
- 1x Dedenne
- 4x Shauna
- 4x Pokémon Fan Club
- 1x Steven
- 4x Cassius
- 4x AZ
- 4x Team Flare Grunt
- 2x Xerosic
- 2x Delinquent
- 2x Lysandre
- 4x VS Seeker
- 2x Hard Charm
- 1x Fighting Fury Belt
- 2x Head Ringer
- 4x Max Potion
- 4x Crushing Hammer
- 3x Rough Seas
- 2x Fighting Energy
The list is pretty understandable, so I won’t go in detail with my card choices. My friend’s list was playing Lucario EX in order to OHKO opposing Bunnelby, but I wasn’t expecting any rabbit at all and I cut the Lucario EX but left the Fighting Energies by accident. In the end, it ended up being a great idea, because if my opponent saw any Fighting Energy he would’ve thought I was playing Lucario EX, and in some emergency cases, I could use my Fighting Energy to draw some extra cards if a Scorched Earth made some appearance. What Energy could have been more useful than the Fighting one?
I was really busy with university, so all I was able to do was theorize with the deck and its matchups, I didn’t play a single game with it! But I just wanted to have some fun and disconnect from my stressed atmosphere, and that’s exactly how it turned out because I can’t remember any tournament more relaxed and funnier than that League Challenge.
I’m going to quickly narrate my League Challenge run:
Round 1 vs León Cuervo (Night March)
I won first game because his Hex Maniac was prized and with the energy denial and walling with Wailord I was going to get an easy win, so he scooped.
Second game he had better luck and managed to completely steamroll me, I got completely smashed and unable to properly set up some walls.
Third game was intense… I managed to wall with Wailord several turns, and he burn through some key resources. At some point I realized he was out of Puzzles of Time, 2 VS Seeker left and 3 Night Marchers on the table, so I proceeded to wall with an Aegislash EX with Fighting Fury Belt attached through the win.
Round 2 vs Alfred Parellada (M Mewtwo EX Y/Metal)
First game was a traditional Wailord game; my opponent trying to KO some Pokémon while I was healing all my Pokémon, and it took more than 30 minutes to end. My opponent started hitting with Quaking Punch for 40, but Rough Seas was in play, so I was okay with that. At one point he started hitting big numbers with M Mewtwo EX Y, but he misplayed attaching DCE to it, so all I had to do was wall with Aegislash EX with Fighting Fury Belt attached. My opponent was forced to Xerosic his own DCE, but lots of resources were gone, so I wall some more time with Wailord EX and Giratina EX (fun fact: because I had never played the deck before, I wasn’t aware that Giratina EX, which I wasn’t even aware that I had one copy of it in my deck, was able to completely stop his M Mewtwo EX Y, until he said something like “lucky me that you aren’t playing Giratina EX…”, then I smiled, and in my next turn I played Pokémon Fan Club for Giratina EX to start the nightmare) until I Lysandre up his benched Hoopa EX for the game (he had no VS Seeker, AZ neither switching cards, and all Metal Energy were attached to his M Mewtwo EX Y and all DCE in the discard pile).
Next game all I had to do was wall as much as I could, and so I did. The game was pretty intense and it was decided on extra turns, where I was able to survive one more time.
Round 3 vs Christian Ruíz (Yveltal/M Mewtwo EX Y)
That was an easy matchup for Team Wolololo… except if it happens that you start with a single rabbit active and no way to search any other Pokémon. Still, I don’t know what my opponent was doing, but he was unable to attack until turn 6 or 7, somewhat annoying, but no basic Pokémon nor Pokémon Fan Club appeared.
I knew I had to at least tie the series… and so I managed to do. The match up went as expected, with my opponent unable to score any OHKO, all his DCE in the discard pile and decking him out in a “fast” game for Wailord.
There were 10 minutes left, we started the next game, but in my first turn I was able to search for 2 Wolololo EX and I asked my opponent if he wanted to tie instead of play out our third game. He immediately accepted (Wolololo blows lots of minds hahaha), so I had some extra time to recover for the last round.
Round 4 vs Cristopher Delgado (M Sceptile EX)
Oh gosh… the final round was against a grass deck. The worst matchup possible is, for sure, Vespiquen with Hex Maniac or Basic Energy, but next one is M Sceptile EX. I started the first game really good discarding 4 Grass Energy from his active Virizion and benched Sceptile EX, but thanks to Fisherman that wasn’t a problem for him, and I was unable to heal off my Pokémon turn after turn.
There wasn’t any time left for a second game, so we didn’t play our second game.
3rd position, 10 CPs, and I didn’t start a single game with Wolololo EX. There were some problems with the final results and some mistakes by the organization were made, but we are a strong community and everything ended up properly solved. Everyone was surprised by my deck choice, and we had some good laughs of it. I enjoyed so much the tournament that I felt again that kind of enthusiasm and desire to play more and more Pokémon TCG, and all was thanks to my good friend José, with whom I talked later to acknowledge him for making me revive my child side as a Pokémon player, a side that every Pokémon player should have.
The tournament, held on May 30th 2016, was called “International challenge – Torneo del Silbato”, in honor of the card Target Whistle (Whistle = Silbato in Spanish), which has a funny story behind in Spain. I was really hyped to attend my first ever City, in Barcelona’s first ever City, in Spain’s second ever City. Madrid celebrated his SPE (City level) one week before, where two close friends of mine staged the final out of +60 players, and Alejandro Felices, the best player from Spain by most of us, ended up taking the whole tournament.
The wished trophy for Masters Division
It would be a huge honor to share the first Spanish Cities wins with Alejandro, and the trophy that was awaiting for the best player of that day was another incentive for all of us to do our best. At the beginning of the tournament I expressed to my friends my desire to take home the championship because it had a special meaning to me: I hadn’t won any important tournaments this season, I got 9th at the unofficial National of Spain back in November (being the only 4/1/1 missing top cut), I couldn’t attend to the ECC on February and I saw myself unable to attend Worlds for personal reasons, which hurt me a lot because it was my dream at the beginning of the season.
My deck decision was really easy: my closest friend from Barcelona, Roberto Sánchez, talked to me Tuesday before the tournament. He’s an amazing player, but he is even better at metacalling, so I decided my deck choice based on his reasoning. I was debating between Vespiquen/Vileplume, Night March/Milotic, Night March/Vespiquen and Seismitoad EX/Slowking, but after talking with him, properly answering his metagame thoughts, I ended up on Night March/Milotic, the point where he wanted me to end. So, since Tuesday, he had his deck built up for Saturday, and I did the same, playing the list which gave me the last spot on my first ever League Challenge back on February (and as far as I’m concerned, the only time I ended up in the last position in a tournament), just changing an Enhanced Hammer for a Startling Megaphone, here you have it:
- 4x Pumpkaboo
- 4x Joltik
- 4x Lampent
- 1x Feebas
- 1x Milotic
- 3x Shaymin EX
- 2x Professor Sycamore
- 1x Judge
- 1x Lysandre
- 1x Hex Maniac
- 1x AZ
- 1x Xerosic
- 4x VS Seeker
- 4x Battle Compressor
- 4x Trainer's Mail
- 3x Acro Bike
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 2x Fighting Fury Belt
- 1x Float Stone
- 4x Puzzle of Time
- 1x Startling Megaphone
- 1x Target Whistle
- 1x Town Map
- 3x Dimension Valley
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
I won’t overextend my games because this article is taking too long, so here we go:
Round 1 vs Jordi Ceperuelo (M Rayquaza EX/Jolteon EX)
I met him at the train early in the morning and we head up together to the shop Freegame, where the tournament was held. We shared our deck choices, so we knew what deck we were playing. In the first game he was forced to drop 2 Shaymin EX, a Hoopa EX and a Rayquaza EX before throwing Jolteon EX to the table, so I took my 6 prizes really quick.
Next game was somehow difficult for me, as he set up his Altaria and I had a slow start. I killed Altaria for my first prize, then managed to 2KO a M Rayquaza EX, after then KO’d another Altaria and finally I smashed a Shaymin EX for my first tournament win.
Round 2 vs Alba Passerell (Aromatisse/Xerneas EX/Florges EX)
Next round I was facing a really dedicated girl with the Pokémon community, Alba, who was playing her favorite deck, Fairies. It should be an easy match up for Night March, but let’s see. I won first game with relatively ease as I was OHKOing everything.
Second game things got scary… I started with a dead hand, which left me with a Pumpkaboo alone, and it took her 3 turns to kill it. My hand was 3 Lampents and garbage.
In the last game Night March did what it’s supposed to do, and I managed to OHKO all the active Pokémon she threw me.
Round 3 vs Iria Moll (Seismitoad EX/Giratina EX)
I was running hot, the 2 first rounds are the most influential ones IMO. Next round Iria was waiting for me at the table number 2, so whoever won the round should’ve an almost guaranteed spot at top 8 (only 5 rounds because we were 30 players total). It was a hard match up for me, and even more taking into account that I cut my Enhanced Hammer thinking they wouldn’t be any SeismiTina at all… and so I was absolutely smashed in the first game, where she was able to start the game after the coin flip (something I found very important in this kind of match ups, whoever starts has a great chance to win).
I started game number 2, so I gained a good advantage about that. I accomplished to 4-Xerosic special energies from her Giratina EX, and in some frenetically last turns I managed to get the win.
Third game started well for me, but she hasn’t started bad either, but time was called and neither of us had the opportunity to take 6 prizes.
It was time to have some extra energy, so it was time to have lunch in our consecrated kebab for the big events, where you can eat a 1kg kebab for just 4,50€. With an approximately extra kilo into our bodies, we went back to the shop to play out our last two rounds. I was feeling confident in my chances as I only needed a win from the two rounds left.
Round 4 vs Eduard Luque (M Manectric EX/Raikou)
I was paired up with the only 3/0/0 of the tournament, but it was a good match up for me. On the first game the deck ran smoother than ever, I played amazingly well and I managed to get a quick win. One win away of the top 8.
Next game was by all means the opposite… I just dead draw and after 5 turns of surviving I ended up losing really quickly. It was somewhat positive to have more than 30 minutes for the third and decisive game because he would’ve been fine with a tie, and even though he never slow played during the whole round, I was playing extremely fast, I was really on fire!
Third game started really well for me. I took an early prize advantage, but I overextended on my resources. I was 2 prizes away from winning when he Lysandre’d one of my Shaymin EX, putting him down to 2 prizes, and I had another Shaymin EX on my bench. All I had to do was burn all my Night Marchers off to the discard pile, DCE and to the win… but then I figured out a HUGE mistake I’d done two turns before. I got a stupid Trainers’ Mail out of my last 3 prizes, leaving a Pumpkaboo and another card for the last prizes, and with my 2 Fighting Fury Belts in the discard pile, I was unable to OHKO a M Manectric EX. Taking that into account, my only way to win was hitting the active M Manectric EX with Shaymin EX, leaving him with no option to take 2 prizes and leaving his M Manectric EX in Night March range, so that’s what I did. But oh… in his next turn he just played a Pokémon Center Lady, OHKO’d my active Pokémon, and all I could do in my turn was to call a frustrating “Night March” for 200, and after then he just smacked my poor Joltik. I took the fair loose, congratulated my big friend for making in the top 8, and I focused on my next game.
Round 5 vs Alejandro (Yveltal/Zoroark/M Mewtwo EX Y)
Fortunately I was paired with an interesting matchup (again, that’s the result of a good metacall) for me. The first game went somewhat strange, as I never controlled the game, and he was able to take his first prize first while also OHKOing a Shaymin EX, which put me 3 prizes behind. He was in a winning position, but to my surprise he took his penultimate prize with a lonely Zoroark BREAK in the field… so I burnt my deck to OHKO it and take a really strange win.
Next game was significantly easy and normal for me. He was unlucky and had to start with Mewtwo EX, which he retreated to the bench and KO’d my active Joltik with his Yveltal. On my turn I Lysandre’d up his Mewtwo EX and I took the prize advantage. I was really careful about not benching more than 3 Pokémon in order to avoid a Zoroark OHKO on some of my Shaymin EX, and I accomplished that. We traded Night Marchers for baby Yveltal, until I had 2 prizes left, where I used Target Whistle to his already OHKO’d Mewtwo EX to OHKO it one more time thanks to Lysandre. I was in top 8!
In the second game we had some confusion with his Parallel City, as I benched 4 Pokémon when I couldn’t, thinking the Stadium that was in play was Reverse Valley (Marc, you should be careful about this things!), so we called a judge. We rewinded my last movements with the judge, and my opponent trusted them, so I just took a warning about my little mistake and tell my opponent I really appreciated that.
It was time to have some break as my mind was going crazy. We waited for more than half hour for the top 8 deck check, where I got 5th seat, and the guy I was facing in top 8 was…
Top 8 vs Joel Nevado (M Manectric EX/Garbodor)
It was a positive matchup as long as I kept the Garbodor out of play. His deck was lacking some consistency that Eduard’s deck had, and he struggled to get things going on first game, so I took an easy win.
Second game was a short one… he started with an active Manectric EX, attached energy and passed, so going into my turn, I checked my deck with my first Battle Compressor and I saw I was able to send 9 Night Marchers to the discard pile, so I went for the all-in strategy throwing down my 3 Shaymin EX and burning tons of resources to finally get the OHKO and my top 4 spot.
We ended up in like 15 minutes, so I had a lot of time to hang out and stress out. I knew my opponent on top 4 would be either Greninja or the SeismiTina I tied against in my third round… and both of them were scary matchups, even though I preferred Greninja because I thought I had a better chance on winning with some quick KO’s and some late-game Hex Maniac spam.
Top 4 vs Mathieu Romanet (Greninja)
It was finally the Greninja deck who came victorious. The first game of the series came out scary on my first turn already: I figured out that my only Hex Maniac was prized, so it would be important to search Town Map as soon as I can or get lucky with my first prizes. I managed to put some early pressure on him taking key KO’s but with 2 prizes left I was unable to get Hex Maniac out of the prizes zone, so he managed to achieve a huge comeback with abilities-spam until he was one prize left. I had to burn through all of my resources, so I took my fifth prize with no cards in deck, and after then he wasn’t able to take his sixth prize, and I ended up decking out.
Next game started really well for both of us, even though he couldn’t Wally going on his first turn. I managed to take down some frogs, and this time, with Hex Maniac in my deck, I played it two turns in a row, leaving him with no option to do a comeback and I tied the semifinal.
The deciding game was really disappointing… my opponent drew poorly and he had huge problems to set up. He had nothing going on and I had already taken 3 prizes… he even bought a turn by paralyzing my active Joltik, and he did the same to another one, but this time I sacrificed a DCE, AZ my active Pokémon and continued getting prizes. I think I won 6-0, pretty unlikely for a Night March deck against a Greninja deck.
Top 2 vs Roberto Sánchez (Night March/Milotic)
And here we are! My best friend and I achieved the huge goal to star the finals of the tournament! I’ve been dreaming with a big tournament final against him for a lot of years, and it couldn’t be better than that. I feel his wins as mines, so whoever won the final, I’d be really happy for both of us. It seems like we did the optimal metacall!
Let’s jump into the games. It was really funny, because in our first two turns we both played Hex Maniac in a row, stopping any kind of set up play with Shaymin EX, which caused the laughs of all the people who was watching us through the streaming, even the judges. After then, I started miserably, but Roberto started winning the prize race with a huge advantage. I realized I couldn’t won the game by leaving him with no DCE available nor getting Shaymin EX KO’s and trying to catch him in the prize race, so I opted for the third and less used way to win the mirror match: leave him with no Night Marchers on the field, as soon as I realized he had 11 of them resting in the discard pile and his last one was on the active spot. I went for the YOLO route, took down his Pumpkaboo and cross my fingers in hope he hadn’t any crazy Milotic or Puzzle of Time recover time. Fortunately he didn’t manage to, he played a Judge to me, but I previously thinned out my deck conscientiously leaving just 6 cards, which included DCE, VS Seeker and an Acro Bike, so even with a Judge play, I would draw 5 cards out of 6, and I could draw the sixth one with the Acro Bike, so I took game number one at the buzzer.
Game number two was a different story. I started with Pumpkaboo, played Sycamore with a Shaymin EX in hand but decided to not throw it down because I could’ve only drawn one card, and get nothing with the Sycamore. I passed, and Roberto didn’t miss the opportunity to take my present and tied the finals.
We moved on to the last game… we were tired but concentrated for the last game of the day, Roberto and I have a friendly competitiveness, so they were some future laughs between us in play. My face scrambled when I had to start with a Shaymin EX… and it just got worse, because I was able to find a Float Stone, but I didn’t find the DCE needed to start taking prizes, so Roberto took the first prize of the game. Next turn I managed to KO his active, then he returned the KO back, and then I started the Shaymin EX party: I Lysandre’d a Shaymin EX, putting me ahead 3-4 on prizes, he took down my active Pokémon, leaving the prize race 3-3, and after then I was able to Lysandre back another Shaymin EX to put me 1 prize away of the trophy. I saved a Shaymin EX, an Ultra Ball, a DCE and 2 VS Seeker in my deck, so it would be strange if I couldn’t found my last DCE out of my thin deck after a Judge or a Hex Maniac… he went for the Judge play, but I drew the Ultra Ball, put Shaymin EX down and met my last DCE for the win!
I got emotional. I shook hands with Roberto, hug him for the amazing performance we accomplished, and I came back to the table to pick up my cards. It was then when I couldn’t stand up again, I was thinking on how lucky and fortunate I was to win the tournament, to play Pokémon TCG with such an awesome community and enjoy the game so much. Prizes started to be given to the top 8 participants, but I didn’t have any strength left to came and congratulate the players; I was in my own world thinking about the games I played over the day and mentally-acknowledging the people who helped me out over my Pokémon TCG years.
I wasn’t even aware when people called me, they had to do it two times because I wasn’t responding, and I received the goods and the awesome trophy, here you have it:
Me with the trophy, the "Champion Target Whistle" and the amazing T-shirt that team Spain used in the ECC 2016
That was my personal birthday present, as the next day it was my birthday (21 already!). Couldn’t ask for a better farewell to my 20 years.
So yes, I grew a lot in only 7 days, from April 24th - 30th. I learnt so many things not only about Pokémon TCG, but also about life as a human being too. I want to end this article acknowledging some people who totally deserve it, sorry because some of them are personal messages, but I see myself forced to recognize their merits.
- Roberto Sánchez, “contigo empezó todo”. I always have a huge time with you. We are optimal players as individuals, together we are much stronger, lots of trips and experiences are waiting for both of us.
- Eduard Luque, Alfred Parellada and Joel Nevado, the Tri Attack team, you’re always there, and I’m going to say the same as Roberto: lots of trips are waiting us.
- Damián Broens, Alejandro Felices and Adrián Gómez, we have been friends for so many years and you’ll be always a part of me, you are some kind of inspiration and examples to follow in various aspects, a piece of the trophy is for you.
- Alberto, the Freegame shop owner, it’s been amazing how you have achieved to become the reference shop in Barcelona, pushing always the game and always worrying for us. This love is much appreciated, I’m sure that without Freegame the Barcelona community wouldn’t be the same.
- Jordi Olivera, I honestly don’t know what to say. It was you who taught me my first steps in the Pokémon TCG adventure, you were the first person who believed and me and said to a 15 years-old Marc “you should better travel around Europe, you’re good at this”. I don’t know if I’ll become a World champion someday, but be sure that I’ll do my best to accomplish it, we are made of dreams, and only a few come true!
- José Luís de Oro, I kept you for the last one. Man, I honestly wish that you can recover your motivation and leave all the problems behind as soon as possible and come back to the game. A piece of my trophy is for you, feel it as yours, as without the talk we had some weeks ago I wouldn’t have been capable to achieve what today I feel is my best performance in Pokémon TCG.
Thanks to everyone for reading, I know today I have thrown lots of words to you, and this is proportional to the passion which I feel those last events.
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