About London's International and testing habits
Hi everyone! After a long time I'm back at it explaining my London's International Championship performance and another way to test and have fun while playing Pokémon, I hope you enjoy the article!
02/06/2017 by Marc Costa
Hey there! It’s Marc Costa back to work after some months without writing for 60Cards community.
This time around I’d like to start with some acknowledgements as I attended at London’s International and met some cool people: Philip Schulz, for being the greatest player I’ve ever played against and for the good talk, Jay Lesage for the kind words about Spain and our national hero Pedro Eugenio Torres, Jesper Eriksen for being such a cool guy as his brother Steffen is, Nicolas Galaz for the good games and talk, the Portuguese crew, all the players I played against and the worldwide known players who took a second to talk with me and the ones who played against my Spanish friends.
I was feeling very comfortable with my deck decision, Rainbow Road, as I placed second in the biggest Spanish tournament of the season (the MetroPokémon Day 5) celebrated 20th November with it, and I didn’t have time at all to playtest any other decks as extensively as I did with Rainbow Road. It was almost mandatory for me to pick the same deck, even though I was aware that Yveltal/Garbodor was the powerhouse of the format and my good friend Roberto warned me about my bad match up against it and was trying to convince me to play Yveldor for the International. I did some little changes to my National runner-up list and ended up with this:
Round 1 vs Jorgen Frydenlund (Gyarados) [1-0]
I went to my table and the round started without an opponent in front of me. I looked around and I was the only player without an opponent. I called a judge, and two minutes before being given the round win my opponent appeared. He told me he had some problems with the standings, he complained, I understood and we started the first game. I was scared about their Magikarp as soon as I saw them, but he had some trouble setting up Gyarados and I gain a two prizes advantage which he couldn't recover. The first game took a long time, adding the start delay, there were like 15 minutes left. Time was called when I had a good board control and my opponent was doing some mistakes because he had to play as quick as possible to tie the series, but he had no option to do so even if we had time to end our second game.
Round 2 vs Philip Schulz (Yveltal EX/Garbodor) [0-2]
One of the reasons I attend to big events is to play against good players, and my goal was already achieved in round 2. Game 1 I draw poorly and I was quickly demolished by his Yveltal EX full squad. His Jirachi was also a pain for my Xerneas when I was trying to keep on in the prize race. Game 2 things got better for me, where I got aggressive and took 4 or 5 prizes whereas he had 6 prizes remaining. He did the play that, sadly, I was exposed to and which I suffered in so many games all the tournament long: Parallel City + N to 1 + Garbodor activated + KO active Xerneas. He was able to completely turn around the situation, and I ended up completely outplayed by him, I guess that’s what great players are able to do!
Round 3 vs Takeshi Tosa (Rainbow Road) [1-2]
That was my first time playing against a Japanese player. That was the quickest round I played: I dead draw first game, he dead draw second game, and I dead draw third game. 25 minutes and we were done. At this moment I was in a critical point where I was regretting my poor deck choice, but I had to keep on doing the best I could.
Round 4 vs ??????? (M Mewtwo EX/Talonflame) [2-0]
I was paired against a guy with blue hair, sadly I don’t remember your name mate! His deck was lacking some consistence and I was able to kill their Mewtwo EX before evolving and leaving him with no energies in play. I took the round convincingly.
Round 5 vs David Vong (M Gardevoir EX) [2-0]
That would be the only positive match up I would face all the tournament long. I took both games by storm, with my opponent missing some key energy attachments that gave me even more advantage.
Round 6 vs Pedro Medina (Yveltal EX/Jolteon EX/Garbodor) [1-1]
First game he quickly loaded his Jolteon EX but I was able to find my Xerneas Break on time and OHKO’ed it. I was in an absolute board control with two prizes remaining while my opponent had 4 or 5 prizes remaining, when I did the only major misplay of the day: I had to find an Energy and two Pokémon to close out the game, and had Teammates and Sycamore in hand; I opted to play Teammates in order to search for the Energy and an Ultra Ball for Shaymin EX, draw some more and I was almost guaranteed on drawing another Pokémon… but Garbodor was in play. My opponent let me rectify my Shaymin EX drop, but it was my only card in hand, so I opted to bench it to hit for 190 his active Yveltal EX and activate the top-deck mode. A DCE (to attack with Shaymin EX) or a Fairy Energy (to attack with Beedrill EX) would’ve given me the win, but after 5 turns my opponent cleaned my field and came up victoriously. I was absolutely in shock after my lack of concentration. Second game I was able to steamroll him and I took a quick win. Third game was almost a “can some of us donk the opponent?”, which didn’t happen, and as we had 5 minutes remaining the round ended up in a tie. My Top 32 dream was over.
Round 7 vs Nicolas Galaz (Volcanion EX) [1-2]
A tie would mean we were out of Top 64. We talked about it while shuffling, well, we talked about everything because it was the only Spanish speaker (Nicolas was from Chile) I faced that day, so we even shared thoughts about our deck decisions. He took first game, I took the second one, and time was called when he was up in the prize race on third game. I had the opportunity to stall for the tie and cross my fingers so he couldn’t take their last prizes, but I politely conceded (event though I think he then showed me he had the right combination of cards for winning me) because he absolutely deserved it. The round ended up 2-1 in Volcanion’s favor, the record he told me he was repeating again and again while he was testing both decks one against each other, he nailed it!
Round 8 vs Sami Sekkoum (Yveltal EX/Garbodor) [2-1]
I was out of any Top 64 possibilities and the last thing I was expecting was to face a player I consider a legend of this hobby we share. For my surprise Sami was extremely friendly, and as we were just playing for fun we had a good time. First game he came back out of a 6-1 on prizes in my favor, I won second game with bad luck on his side, and third game I was able to defeat the 2009 World’s runner-up and multi UK National Champion on turns. While playing we talked about Pokémon, about Spain, about what he was doing since he retired from competitive play, about football… it was a great round overall! And I didn’t miss the opportunity to take a photo with him. Legend!
Round 9 vs Karol Blesak (Yveltal EX/Garbodor) [1-2]
Before starting, we both agreed that we wouldn’t be tying the last round of the tournament, both of us wanted to finish with a positive result! I won a long first game, and after that a friend of mine came to see us play. He sat next to my opponent, which he didn’t complain about as there was nothing in stake. I was also talking in Spanish with my friend, but my opponent didn’t complain about it, so thanks for keeping the fun environment Karol! He was in a dominating position on second game and I conceded early, something I wouldn’t do considering the match up and that it was only like the third or fourth turn of the game, but I wanted time for the last game of the day and we talked that we didn’t want it to end with a tie. We went to the third game, where all my bad luck came together as I was left with a Shaymin EX loop for 4 or 5 turns while sacrificing other Pokémon as walls and I had plenty of energies in my hand. He easily won me, we both shook hands and we were done for the tournament!
To end up the first half of the article I want to mention that we had stellar performances by the Spanish crew, with Adrián Gómez not reaching Top 32 after starting with a 5/0/1 record, Miguel Ángel reaching Top 32 and Pedro Eugenio Torres putting Spain on the map thanks to an awesome Top 8 performance!! It's worth mentioning that also his brother, Ángel Javier Torres, made Top 8 in Seniors Division! All of them played Volcanion, and the three guys from the team who decided to play Rainbow Road for the tournament (myself included) did absolutely deceiving. Team Volcanion demolished Team Rainbow Road by far!
Pedro Eugenio Torres (Masters Top 8), Ángel Javier Torres (Seniors Top 8) and Miguel Ángel (Masters Top 32) holding the Andalusian flag (Andalusia is a region from Spain)
As those trips are more for fun and having a great experience than anything else, we did a friendly tournament on Saturday night where a part of the Spanish crew was staying at. Instead of a tournament, you can pick this idea for playtesting with your friends, as we just played swiss rounds where the winner of the “tournament” would won a beer payed by all the other players. The tournament or testing procedure is as follows:
- Every player puts his deck and the decklist next to it on a table
- On every deck you put a different number (we did it with dices)
- Once the pairings are up (there are some cool apps to help doing them) every player is given a deck with a randomizer, with the condition that the player can’t play the same deck more than once
- After all decks are given to players you give 5 minutes to players for looking at the decks they have been given so they can understand the decklist choices and what are they playing
- Time to play! Both times we did something like that we followed the official rules (50 minutes + 3 turns)
After doing that twice with my friends I came out concluding that’s a great way to play decks you might have not played once in your life, test with different decklists of the decks you might have played before, and overall, have fun while learning more about the game. Of course, you can also put a little incentive for the winner, a beer for every participant, a weird deck in the field, and other fun things that might be waiting to be discovered.
Let's keep the Pokémon Trading Card Fun Game going!
Marc Costa (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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