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Ole Stognief

"Whales of Fun" - Interesting Deck Choices from Innsbruck and Paris

Ole tells his experiences from the tournaments in Innsbruck and Paris and introduces two interesting deck choices which were played there.

03/30/2016 by Ole Stognief

Hey 60cards readers! It’s Ole again with a new article. It’s an interesting point in the game right now as players are taking their first steps into a new format with the cards from BREAKpoint. I would like to tell you what I experienced at three tournaments I played recently.

 

Introduction

The weekend before Paris, I participated in an Arena Cup in Innsbruck. From Berlin, the Austrian city in the alps is about seven hours to drive – but Arena Cups are often rewarding for me. I’ve won three Arena Cups since 2011 and had some Top Cut finishes in addition. For those who don’t know what an Arena Cup is: It’s a special tournament series on a Regionals level.

I didn’t do much testing with the new expansion BREAKpoint prior to the Arena Cup. Besides the most important Trainer cards I didn’t even purchase many cards to use. I focused on three already established decks to find out how they work in the new format: Night March, M Manectric-EX and Yveltal / Zoroark / Gallade. The old-and-new Garbodor from BREAKpoint drew my attention though – Seismitoad-EX / Garbodor was the deck with which I felt the most comfortable during playtesting.

There were some bad matchups for Toad / Garbodor such as Greninja or Manectric when playing Rough Seas. I was pretty much settled to play that deck regardless – just until I “accidentally” picked another deck on Pokémon Trading Card Game Online.

Yveltal / Zoroark / Gallade

I was looking at a build of Yveltal / Zoroark / Gallade similar to Carl Scheu’s version for City Championships. I wanted to see if I could include Max Elixir and / or Darkrai-EX into it. The YZG deck is too tight to change many cards though – I would’ve needed to cut both Zoroark and Gallade from the deck. I decided to build a Yveltal / Darkrai deck from scratch later and left the Deck Manager. For my next Versus game, the YZG deck was pre-selected which I noticed after starting the game. Okay then, let’s give that deck a try!

 

During Citys I didn’t pay much attention for YZG because I wanted to perfect my Night March deck for the European Challenge Cup. I soon began to like YZG then because there are so many options what to do and which attackers to use in different matchups. I realized that this would be a great deck choice for a new and undefined format.

 

I think that there are a couple of different ways to access a new format:

(1) Playing the deck you played before (with some tweaks if needed)

(2) Jumping aboard the hype train and playing a new, promising deck

(3) Inventing a deck with the new cards which hasn’t been discussed yet

 

Option 1 is probably the easiest thing to do and absolutely not a bad approach at all. When you feel comfortable with a deck you already know and if it doesn’t die from any of the new cards, just continue playing it for the first tournament and see how the format is developing.

Option 2 is more difficult. Even though there are a lot of sample lists in articles etc. to choose from, it takes some time to get used to playing that new deck and to find the best list. On top of that, you should already be prepared to people playing counters to that new deck if it seems to become quite popular from the beginning. 

Option 3 is the most difficult approach by far. Inventing a new deck isn’t easy, especially in an undefined format. Many inventions happen while the format is developing as they emerge as “counter decks” to the most successful decks in the format.

I went with Option 1 here. Carl’s build of YZG had already performed well before. I just wanted to fit in at least one copy of Reverse Valley, the new Stadium card from BREAKpoint which supports Darkness and Metal types. I decided to play just one Unown AOR instead of two in favour of Reverse Valley. The original build contains a Giovanni’s Scheme which is a card that I don’t like in general. I switched that card for a Judge. The last card I kicked was Xerosic because I didn’t feel very comfortable when playing only 6 Darkness Energy. Xerosic was the least important card from my testing even if it could get rid of the new Fighting Fury Belt.

 

Arena Cup in Innsbruck 

The tournament in Innsbruck went pretty good for me. The first match was against the reigning Austrian National Champion Lukas Peer. He played a Night March deck with Maintenance from XY to help with saving Double Colorless Energy and Puzzle of Time from being discarded early in the game. Our match ended in a tie. 

After this match I got paired-up against players with more points several times. In Round 2, I played against the eventual winner Tobias Smutkowski. He had won the first round with his Seismitoad-EX deck. I beat him 2-0 which made me believe that this was a manageable matchup for YZG.

Until Top 4 I only lost against M Mewtwo-EX due to bad draw (it would’ve been an unfavourable matchup for me anyways). Then I faced Tobias again and lost 0-2. Maybe he had figured out how to play that matchup against me better than in Round 2. Nonetheless I was happy about my Top 4 finish at the Arena Cup in Innsbruck!

Easter Weekend in Paris

Innsbruck was a good practice for the following weekend for when two tournaments in Paris were scheduled. My friends and teammates had to convince me to go there – I wouldn’t have travelled to Paris alone because the flights were too expensive even for two Regionals level tournaments. 

In November 2013 I participated in a very similar Regionals weekend in Paris. It was my first tournament after Pokémon Catcher was nerfed to require a coin flip. That weekend I had a pretty good tournament on Saturday where I just missed Top Cut with Blastoise. On the next day, I decided to play TDK to have a better matchup against the suddenly popular and successful Empoleon / Leafeon deck. It didn’t go well for me though and the same player won both tournaments with his Empoleon deck.

I decided to play Yveltal / Zoroark / Gallade again in Paris. The only other deck I could’ve played was the Seismitoad-EX / Garbodor deck which I had tested before. But I was convinced that YZG was the better choice here.

Day 1 went pretty good for me but I missed Top Cut by one win. Here are the matches that I played:

 

Round 1 vs. Night March – Win

Round 2 vs. Trevenant – Win

Round 3 vs. Trevenant – Win

Round 4 vs. Seismitoad-EX – Loss

Round 5 vs. Night March – Win

Round 6 vs. Toad / Tina – Tie

Round 7 vs. M Manectric-EX – Loss

I was happy that I could beat all of the Night March and Trevenant decks there. It’s important to have positive matchups here. Otherwise I wouldn’t succeed here because my chance to win against M Manectric-EX / Flash Energy or the secret Wailord deck (which won later) is quite small.

These decks were in the Top 8 on Saturday:

1. Wailord (with Durant FLF, Lucario-EX and Aegislash-EX)
2. Seismitoad-EX
3. Seismitoad-EX
4. Night March
5. Seismitoad-EX / Slowking
6. M Manectric-EX
7. Vespiquen / Crobat
8. Manectric (?)

The tournament on Sunday didn’t go well for me though. I played the exact same list and got similar matchups until Round 4 – but I lost against a Night March deck and a Trevenant deck that day. Both losses were close and maybe I wasn’t as lucky as the day before. It was still weird because I 2-0ed those decks multiple times on Saturday. Anyway, I chose not to finish the tournament and went for sightseeing in Paris with my teammates instead.

 

The Top 8 on Sunday were different from those on Saturday:

 

1. Greninja
2. Seismitoad-EX / Giratina
3. Night March / Vespiquen
4. Darkrai (?)
5. Vespiquen / Vileplume
6. Yveltal / Zoroark / Gallade
7. Vespiquen / Crobat
8. Yveltal / Zoroark / Gallade
 

Interesting Deck Choices: Wailord and Greninja

 

Wailord

I would like to go over some interesting deck choices from that weekend. The first one is Wailord obviously. The whale had a strong appearance at last year’s US National Championships (where it placed second) and it was included as a one-of in Jacob van Wagner’s winning list from the World Championships 2015 in Boston. It hadn’t appeared again afterwards though – until Paris last weekend. Why is Wailord so strong again today? Did it get some helpful cards from the new BREAKpoint expansion?

As I don’t know the exact list that David Roodhof played to win the Regionals in Paris, I can only suspect which cards from BREAKpoint could help Wailord. First of all, there is Max Potion to heal Wailord completely without using the Supporter for the turn. In addition, Fighting Fury Belt and Puzzle of Time could help to become even more bulky and not to run out of important resources.

I believe that other things were more important here though. The format is extremely fast at the moment – decks like Night March crawl through all of their cards in just a few turns. The more resources a deck needs to set up, the more likely it is that it can’t keep up the fight against Wailord in the late game.

On top of that, David chose some very smart techs to help with several threats. There is Aegislash-EX which functions as a wall against Double Colorless Energy. Decks like Night March and Vespiquen need to play Hex Maniac to KO that Aegislash. Lucario-EX should KO an opponent’s Bunnelby which could try to speed up the mill game against Wailord’s favour. Durant from Flashfire is similar to the Hugh supporter that Enrique Avila used at US Nationals last year. I think that Durant is even stronger than Hugh because it only forces the opponent to discard cards from his or her hand.

Greninja

Another interesting deck that did pretty good in Paris was Greninja. Benjamin Pham played it on Sunday and won the Kalos Easter Tournament – again a special tournament on a Regionals level with a 300 € payout for the winner.

Again, I can’t provide the winner’s list. I watched Benjamin’s match against my teammate Karl who tried to beat him with a straight Seismitoad-EX deck. 

Remember the three options I suggested before? I think that Greninja belongs to Option 2. Some parts of the deck already existed before but the new Greninja from BREAKpoint as well as the Greninja BREAK add a lot of power to that deck.

As every Stage 2 deck nowadays, Greninja struggled quite a bit during the early game. The new Frogadier from BREAKpoint is a very strong card to get multiple Greninja into play but it still takes some turns for the deck to setup. Benjamin realized this and included at least two copies of Ace Trainer to penalize his opponents for taking early prizes.

He chose to play Rough Seas which I believe is mainly a counter for Seismitoad-EX. When under Item lock, Greninja’s setup is even slower than usual. Rough Seas can buy a lot of turns here as a Seismitoad-EX + Fighting Fury Belt only deals 40 damage of which 30 damage can be healed immediately.

That’s it for today – I hope that my article is able to fuel some more deck ideas as Regionals in Europe and States in the U.S. continue. Maybe a Politoed deck could work finally? We’ll see…

 

Ole

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