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Pablo Meza

So Close, Yet So Far.... One Win Short of a Travel Award

Pablo talks about the Latin American meta a bit and how he almost made Top 4 for travel awards, and discusses two League Cups with Darkrai and Greninja.

02/22/2017 by Pablo Meza

Hello everyone and welcome back to a brand new day of Road to… Err sorry my bad, old habits you know?

Excuse my silly little bad joke there, I’m back with another tournament report (two actually!) regarding the crazy weekend I had before the Oceania Travel Awards were announced this week.

Coming off a rather disappointing performance at ‘big events’, namely the London International and Athens Regionals, I was really eager to get back on top of things, specially in Mexico, and add some serious CP to my total for the season.

I only had 2 League Cups to play in and I had to perform flawlessly in both, meaning I had to win 2 in order to get to 212 CP and TIE a Chilean player in CP at 212 as well, whilst having a higher ELO would position me in 4th place.

I decided to go with the ‘safe’ choice of Turbo Darkrai for the first one, as even though many people would maybe expect the deck, I also felt very safe piloting it in a Best of 1 format over something like Greninja due to the deck's inherent “consistency” (quotation marks because the deck didn’t perform ideally and let me down pretty badly in Top 4, but more on that later). 

After talking to my friend Russ from some1spc who had recently won 2 League Cups himself, I settled on the following list:


Round 1 vs Vespiquen/Zebstrika 0-0-0

Deck started off super slow, he got an OK start, and with smart Sky Returns prevented me from trying to get 2 prizes on some turns. I N'd him down to 2 but his deck was small and I couldn't find my last Silent Lab so he just went Shaymin EX drew his whole deck and OHKO'd my Belted Darkrai.

Round 2 vs Turbo Darkrai mirror 0-1-0

My opponent started off super slow vs my OK start, yet he was able to force me to attack into the baby Yveltal whilst he stabilized, so I didn’t get very far into the prize trade off. As the game progressed I started to tumble in my set up and his kept getting better as I whiffed my EXP. Share to make sure I had a good stream of attacks going.

In the end a couple of Lysandre plays off of 4 and 2 card N’s allowed me to seal the game with KO’s on his Shaymin’s as I struggled to get more energy, but if those weren’t there he certainly would’ve taken the game as he was on the verge of overwhleming me with enough energy to get back to back OHKO’s.

Round 3 vs Mega Gardevoir EX 1-1-0

I got to go first this game and he flipped over a Gardevoir EX. I started lone Darkrai EX and purposely chose to sacrifice a few resources in my hand such as a Max Elixir and EXP. Share to Sycamore and have the highest odds of hitting a turn 1 Silent Lab in order to try and deny any set up. I did hit it off my Sycamore and that alone made his hand completely dead (he had Ultra Ball + a Hoopa already in hand but not much else). Thus I was able to overpower him and by the time he finally drew out of that situation I was down to 2 prizes and had the Lysandre for the win.

Round 4 vs Mirror 2-1-0

I started off pretty rocky, he started better, BUT mismanaged his bench into only having 1 Darkrai EX at any point in the game. His bench was 1 Darkrai EX, 2 Shaymin EX, 1 Regirock Promo and 1 Yveltal, with an active Yveltal. We traded a few Oblivion Wings, neither wanting to commit, but I was running super slow as he hit 3/4 Elixirs and I hit 0/2 total I played... Eventually it came down to me KOing with Lysandre a Shaymin EX, going down to 1 prize and him having 1 baby Yveltal on the bench with 10 HP left. I was resigned to losing after he N'd me to 1 and I drew an Elixir off of that while he KOed my active Darkrai EX. I had 1 Darkrai EX left with 3 energy and that was it, and I rip the Lysandre from the top deck! None of this would've happened had I only hit 1 of the 2 Elixirs though, OR seen an EXP. Share at all, as I had to 3HKO a Belted Darkrai EX of his which set me behind in the middle of the game...

Round 5 vs Mega Gardevoir EX 3-1-0

Impossible for me to ID as I check the standings and realize two 3-1-1 will miss and I'm literally 10th place at that point with the lowest resistance. I go first and turn 1 Silent Lab puts me too far ahead along with a few key Lysandres to KO a Mega and a Hoopa before he could get rid of them to prevent the KOs.

4-1 After a round 1 loss was pretty nice. Got second seed going into top cut vs Greninja.

Top 8 vs Greninja 4-1-0

Game 1: I go first, he starts Talonflame plus Froakie but is pretty dead otherwise and the turn 1 Escape Rope prevents the Aero Blitz, which sets him far behind and he scoops like 5 turns in with nothing but Talonflame in play.

Game 2: He goes first, I whiff the KO on lone Froakie and he sets everything up and overwhelms me with abilities. His turn 1 Silent Lab hurt me too much.

Game 3: Repeat of game 1 except he eventually did do the Water Duplicates for 3 Frogadier and had a Froakie in play too. I Escape Rope the active Frogadier, he absentmindedly promotos Froakie and I play Parallel to for him to discard a Frogadier, and then Lysandre KO another Frogadier. He gets a Bubble flip somewhere but I'm too far ahead at this point for it to matter.

Top 4 vs Rainbow Road 5-1-0

Game 1: Brick city for me, Turn 1 220 for him and I lose in 3 turns.

Game 2: Brick city for him, I overwhlem and he kinda is about to make a comeback but a Lysandre on a Shaymin EX puts me down to 1 prize, and I have 2 Darkrai powered up with enough energy in the field and EXP. Share to OHKO Xerneas as my last prize, and anything else he brings up doesn't threaten me so he can't prevent me from winning. I could've KOed the Xerneas the turn before instead, leaving him without any attackers but I wasn't able to N him down to 4 so I figured this was safer.

Game 3: Turns out 2HKOing non-ex's and them OHKOing you back is not a good trade off...

I felt pretty confident with this list going into the tournament, expecting to face Darkrai/Dragons, Mega Gardy, assorted Vespiquens and possibly Volcanions. I also purposely chose NOT to use Greninja as that’s what I’m known for down here and everywhere else and I’d rather keep them on their toes and make sure their teched in Garbodor’s into every deck don’t necessarily benefit them every time they play against me.

Having said that though, I felt like decks were heavily underprepared for Greninja overall and I barely beat my opponent in Top 8, so I decided to go back to Greninja for Sunday, hoping that seeing me NOT play Greninja on Saturday would make the locals even less likely to tech against it.

So with that in mind, I talked to my friend who borrowed my Greninja for the day before and he told me he got why Talonflame was good but it was very frustrating to have 4 completely useless cards in the deck when you don’t start with it, which is quite common too.

In my own personal testing I’ve probably played 90/10 between no Talonflame and Talonflame, and I wanted something reliable for the League Cup, so this is what I settled on:


It is 1 card off the ARG lists used by Brad Curcio and Jimmy Pendarvis, the one card being the lone Talonflame which was absolutely clutch throughout the day.

The logic behind me using only 1 Talonflame was the fact that the list was already pretty consistent without it, but Talonflame offered an extra Basic, 20% odds of starting with it, and if I didn’t, I had 1 useless card in the deck instead of 4.

Dropping the N was not ideal and I would drop an Ace Trainer instead, but that’s the list I used and it ended up working out pretty great.

Round 1 vs Vespiquen/Raichu/Garbodor (0-0-0)

I start off against Vespiquen once again, with their tech Garbodor solely to beat Greninja, but I actually start my Talonflame and am able to KO Trubbish before it becomes Garbodor. This gives me free reign with my Giant Water Shurikens and allows me to have some 2 prize KOs which he can’t come back from as I run him out of attackers. The fact that he had Sky Field over Forest of Giant Plants also hurt him as he couldn’t immediately evolve Combees to protect them from the Greninja BREAK.

Round 2 vs Turbo Darkrai (1-0-0)

Same guy I beat in Round 2 the day before, and honestly this is a pretty good matchup as long as you’re able to stabilize which I did. He didn’t get enough energy to OHKO a BREAK so getting two attacks + abilities off, alongside a Max Potion heal settled the deal. Taking KOs through Giant Water Shuriken damage placement is very important here as you want to target anything that has energy in order to lower their damage output and prevent EXP. Share from activating.

Round 3 vs Yveltal EX/Jolteon EX (2-0-0)

No Garbodor in the Yveltal EX deck meant it was actually a bit faster than normal but eventually, just like in the previous round, my abilities were too much and I was able to trade non EXs for EXs quite easily.

Round 4 vs Volcanion (3-0-0)

Couldn’t hope for a better matchup to hopefully pull off a win and allow me to ID the last 2 Rounds to guarantee Top 8. This guy actually beat my friend the day before as he prized THREE Frogadier, so we joked about that before the game, knowing the odds of that happening were quite low. I did prize TWO, although Silent Lab + Shadow Stitching was enough to secure the game and my 4th win in a row.

Round 5 vs Vespiquen/Zebstrika/Garbodor (4-0-0)

We of course agree to ID.

Round 6 vs Regice/Jolteon EX/Glaceon EX/Garbodor (4-0-1)

We also agree to ID, and I was happy to have this deck in Top 8 since I figured with average Bubble flips I should be able to beat him and he had a great matchup vs the Vespiquen decks as they had no way to get past a Glaceon EX.

So pretty different scenario where from the day before where it was all or nothing in the last round and now we’re in a Bo3 setting, where one should definitely feel a lot more comfortable when playing Greninja.

Top 8 vs Vespiquen/Zebstrika/Garbodor (4-0-2)

This guy got to the final the day before, which he lost to the Rainbow Road that beat me. Out of all the Vespiquens in the field, he was certainly the strongest opponent.

Game 1 I went second and he got a pretty much perfect hand. Trubbish with Float, quite a few Combee down, all 4 Unown and 3 Klefki in discard pile, whilst I drew/passed to try to turn 2 Water Duplicates with 2 Froakie in play. He got consecutive turns of KOs and I was never able to recover.

Game 2 I went first of course, and I was able to find the Silent Lab on turn 1. This made his deck extremely slow and by the time I had my BREAKs out, Trubbish hadn’t even hit the field yet so I won pretty easily.

Game 3 I went second once again BUT I started Talonflame! Had I not started Talonflame I probably would’ve lost right here but instead I pulled off a Turn 1 Aero Blitz on his Trubbish, which was eventually later KOed by my Greninja off of a VS Seeker into Lysandre and with free reign with my abilities I was able to control the match and make sure he had no attackers left. At one point where he knew he was going to lose, he actually tried to N bait me which I felt was really scummy. He played a VS Seeker, announced N, and then he took a good 20 seconds to look through his discard pile, all the while being attentive to what I was doing until eventually grabbing the N, playing it down and shuffling his hand in. During this I waited because he is known for doing this and earlier in the tournament had tried to pull off something similar against another opponent.

Top 4 vs Volcanion (5-0-2)

This guy actually beat the Regice/Glaceon/Jolteon/Garbodor deck, so I was pretty happy to see Volcanion over that in my Top 4 match.

I can’t say the games were anything out of the norm. Greninja set up beautifully both games and I was able to control momentum at all times with Silent Lab and Shadow Stitching, and I got a pretty quick 2-0.

Top 2 vs Yveltal/Garbodor (6-0-2)

My friend who borrowed Greninja the day before, pretty happy to see him back in the final. Unfortunately for him, both games he dead drew whilst I didn’t, as we both joked how it was supposed to happen the other way around as is usually the case with Greninja, and I took down two 5 turn games where I got my Greninja BREAKs and KOed whatever he had in play.

So the toughest match ended up being the Top 8 one, and I pull off another undefeated victory with Greninja, netting 50 CP and putting me at 192.

Unfortunately, the only other person in Chile who could’ve passed me ended up winning a League Cup too, so instead of both of us tying at 192 CP, he had 212 and thus I was once again 5th in the LATAM rankings towards the Travel Awards for the International event.

Such has been my season so far, always 1 win away from cutting Regionals Day 2 or simply being 5th when 4th is the minimum requirement. Nothing to do but keep at it though, as the season is not over, as I’m writing this there are still 3 International events to play for and that coveted Top 8 spot to get a direct Day 2 invite into the World Championships.

Anaheim Regionals just took place and honestly Sun&Moon didn't have a huge impact on the metagame. There were new decks such as piloted by Vileplume / Decidueye GX /Tauros GX by John Kettler, and we also saw Tauros GX get included in pretty much any big basics decks, but overall people fell back on solid/familiar choices, including myself as I got Top 64 with the following list:


1-1 Espeon GX has so many benefits, and it was a genius last minute inclusion to the deck. Props to Ross Cawthon for mentioning it in the morning:

- Another out to KOing Giratina EX /Regice / Glaceon EX

- Auto-confusion is a really good status condition

- Acts as a 4th attacker

- Really good in mirror

Many players ended up including this tech 1/1 line, and Travis Nunlist made Top 8 with a list 2 cards off mine and we never discussed anything regarding Mega Mewtwo.

The most interesting deck to come out of Anaheim is certainly Solgaleo GX / Lurantis GX, and in case you're interested in learning more about it, you can watch my deck review over at!

Thanks so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed the article. Until next time!


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