Dan's Domain #1: Entering this Season with a Vengeance
Miami player Daniel Shiekh gives his insight into the deck he's spent all season trying to master, Vespiquen/Flareon.
01/26/2016 by Daniel Sheikh
Hello, guys! Welcome to my first article as a new member of 60cards. Before I start my article I want to introduce myself to you guys. My name is Daniel Sheikh and I have been playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game competitively for four years so far. During those years I've met a countless number of people who, just like me, enjoyed this game. For the past couple of years in my local area (Miami Florida), I have been competing for my invitation to the TCG World Championships. Two years ago I ended up with 275 CP, one round shy of placing 2nd in the Last Chance for Championship Points tournament at Nationals, and last year I ended up with 232 CP after an unfortunate series of Regionals and States. This year I'm currently at 155 CP, and I plan on attending the TCG Regional Championship in Florida in a month or so.
I've had a number of achievements, but here are my best ones so far:
- 12th Houston Regionals
- 11th Florida Regionals
- Top 8 Florida States
- 3 City Championship Wins
- 12th Last Chance for Championship Points
Unfortunately I was always one round shy of a big achievement in many of my tournaments that I attended. This year though, I only strive for better!
- 4x Combee
- 4x Vespiquen
- 1x Eevee
- 3x Eevee
- 4x Flareon
- 4x Unown
- 1x Exeggcute
- 1x Jirachi
- 1x Audino
- 3x Shaymin EX
- 1x Jirachi EX
- 4x Professor Sycamore
- 1x N-supporter
- 4x Battle Compressor
- 1x Teammates
- 1x Blacksmith
- 1x AZ
- 1x Lysandre
- 1x Wally
- 4x VS Seeker
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 1x Town Map
- 2x Silver Bangle
- 1x Computer Search
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
- 3x Fire Energy
As of now, this is the deck that has netted me 120 CP and I have a good understanding of how to play it. From my original list to now, I have made around 5 or 6 tweaks, many of them being to favor the meta down in South Florida.
Let's go over the list in great detail:
27 Pokémon never seemed to be either too many or too few. Maintaining a constant amount of "fuel" in the discard pile to power up either vengeance or bee revenge is absolutely essential if you plan on winning the Prize trade versus EX hitting decks. Often I find myself with the perfect amount to have in the discard, and by the time 2 of your attackers go down, you're normally hitting at 180-190 for the majority of the time (as long as you draw decently).
4-4 Vespiquen and 4-4 Flareon is essential if you entail to stream your attackers. I chose to go with a 3-1 split between the furious fist ability Eevee and the plasma freeze 60 HP one because for the majority of the time attaching a Fire Energy turn one and evolving was something I wanted to take advantage of, as attaching a DCE makes you prone to enhanced hammer, Xerosic, and other unfortunate mishaps. The 60 HP Eevee helped to a great extent against Seismitoad/Crobat and Darkrai because of the fact that it could survive a Sneaky+Surprise Bite and using Audino, can survive being benched sniped twice. The unknown were for extra draw and for fueling the attackers, the Exeggcute is there for discard material off of the first Battle Compressor (don't forget it's superb ability), the Audino is there for its Ability (however, Hip Bump did win me a few important games), Jirachi is there for discarding special Energy in crucial matchups such as Seismitoad/Giratina, Seismitoad/Crobat, mirror, Tyrantrum/Giratina, Night March, and the three Shaymin-EX and one Jirachi-EX help to maximize consistency in the deck's draw power.
4 Sycamore is essential as it is probably your favorite Supporter in this deck, as it discards what you don't need (excess Pokémon and 1 of Supporters) with the opportunity cost of discarding material that you do need (however it is more rare to occur than the one previously mentioned). Playing two other cards helped me draw around discarding Double Colorless Energy, but nothing is safer to have than a Sycamore at the end of the game to draw the game-winning cards. Teammates is an amazing card to have versus Manectric decks, night march, and mirror as it gives you a stream of attackers and a chain of attackers for a turn (and maybe more!) AZ exists to pick up benched Pokémon you don't need (mainly EX's that your opponent could try to take cheap Prizes off of to neutralize your Prize trade advantage) or for picking up a non-attacker from the active spot to make way for one. It's a great card to have. Blacksmith is an amazing card to play as well. Not only does it get around Aegislash and Giratina, but it's your backup way of getting Energy on the board. Also, attaching a DCE and playing Blacksmith in the same turn can very easily guarantee you a win even after an N from your opponent the following turn (to force a "checkmate" position).
1 N is there for disruption for your opponent, or for helping you when you have multiple cards you do not want to discard in your hand. 1 Lysandre is here to bring up another one of your opponent's Pokémon. I tested around with 2 Lysandre at first, but often found myself using it only once (sometimes twice) a game against EX decks, as they normally run 1-2 non ex Pokémon. Plus utilizing Battle Compressor and vs seeker, we can use that Lysandre whenever we need it. Town map helps dig it out of the Prizes too. Lastly, we play 1 Wally. Now Wally is a card I didn't think of playing earlier (first it was a hex maniac, then a second Lysandre, before finally becoming... a Wally). However, more times than not, getting an Evolution card down on the first turn can very easily save me one Prize from my opponent, as while they are able to deal 40-50 damage turn one, they cannot reach that 90-100 HP mark. Also, against Crobat decks, there comes a time where benching a Basic only results in it getting sniped. Now however, you give yourself an option to play around it. I'm not 100 percent set on it, but I guess it's because my meta has been changing here in Miami, but as for now I'm going to keep it in as reassurance of not hitting one of my 8 Basic attackers turn 1. Onto Items!
(If you aren't asleep by now, then my hat's off to you for putting time in to improve your game in Pokémon!)
4 Battle Compressor is a must. Getting 1 of Supporters, unnecessary Pokémon (mainly Exeggcute), and just discard fodder cards and cards you don't want to draw late game is a skill that I greatly advise you to practice. Even now I still sometimes may misplay and discard the wrong card at times, so there is always room to improve in that aspect. 4 Ultra Ball helps you maximize consistency and grabbing whichever Pokémon you need at times. With Exeggcute you don't have to pay the extra card, which is very helpful. 4 VS Seeker allows you maximum usage of your 1 of Supporters, and in case you discard 1, it won't be as much of a big deal compared to if you ran 1 copy fewer. 2 Silver Bangle helps with the numbers and math in terms of making it much easier to get knockouts on Pokémon-EX, most notoriously being Mega Manectric and Mega Rayquaza. I used to run 1 of these and 1 Float Stone, but adding in the second one swung my Mega matchup to a more favorable one, as I was more likely to draw into the Bangles when I needed them. I played 1 Town Map for the sole purpose of picking out what I needed from my Prizes. With N being played in lesser counts, picking out the game winning Lysandre or DCE or attacker forces my opponent to make a play to stop me. It also gives me insight on how to play my hand down before taking a Prize (such as discarding a Supporter with Ultra Ball, etc.), as I know what I will be taking from the Prizes. Lastly, for my ACE SPEC I chose Computer Search. Before, I ran Life Dew. While it was helpful at times, more than not I felt myself needing that extra consistency to draw what I needed. Overall from playing both I learned this: While the benefit of Life Dew can win you matches, the overall consistency of Computer Search can win you tournaments. Taking that knowledge into account, I stuck to Computer Search (plus Xerosic/Tool Scrapper exists as well and I already play two Tool cards).
3 Fire was a good amount to play to get me to utilize retreating well, Blacksmith, and attacking for 1 Energy 2. It's consistent (even if 1 is Prized). 4 Double Colorless is a must if you ever plan on performing consistently with this deck. The attack requirements of the attackers and some of the support Pokémon require two Colorless Energy, so this is a must-have. To perform well with this deck, not only must you stream attackers, but you must also stream Energy in order to even be able to attack in the first place.
Final thoughts: If you've managed to read all the way up to this point, give yourself a huge pat on the back. Hopefully my insight on playing this deck can give you the knowledge you need in order to pilot it as well. Looking forward into BREAKpoint I can imagine just how powerful certain decks can get (Sableye!) with the release of powerful Supporters such as Delinquent and even more powerful Item cards such as Puzzle of Time. While the popularity of this deck remains Unown, I still beelieve that this deck has the potential to win any of the Winter Regional Championships as long as the person playing it is aware of what to do in those important key matchups versus Seismitoad, Manectric, Sableye, etc.
Special shoutout to my friend Chris Roque for helping me figure out the theory of the deck and its matchups, as well as for inspiring me to get back into the game (twice!) and giving me rides to tournaments. Couldn't do it without you!
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read this article. I plan on making more soon!
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