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Matthew Babcock

600 - The Rogue Wars, The Anaheim Regional Tournament (February 18-19, 2017)

This tournament was the first to officially include the Sun and Moon expansion and it's many new GX Pokemon. With the 625 TCG seats sold out...

02/20/2017 by Matthew Babcock

This tournament was the first to officially include the Sun and Moon expansion and it's many new GX Pokemon. With the 625 TCG seats sold out, no one knew what to expect. As the Top-25 sorted themselves out, the rest of us got to enjoy "600 - The Rogue Wars."

600 - The Rogue Wars 

Will the Rogue Warriors rise up?

Firmly entrentched, the Clone decks have proven their strength and reliability, but can they successfully defend their dominance against the Rogue uprising? The first battlefield has been spotted and the opposing armies are marching to battle. Who will be left standing when the dust settles?

February 17, 2017 - The Day Before

Hello and thank you for taking time to visit my first post to 60cards. As I start this article, it is the day before the Anaheim Regionals (February 18-19, 2017), and I'm trying to come to grips with the fact that my deck list is now finalized. Plenty of self-doubt setting in as this is my first tournament above League Cup. WOW, 625 TCG players, a bit overwhelming to me right now.

For some inexplainable reason, as a player, I fell in love with Zygarde when Fates Collide was released. Finally, after eight months, I started to see my deck come into its own. For this tournament, I also had to include a way to deal with the MASSIVE threat from Sun and Moon's new grass GX cards.

Calling my deck Turbo Zygarde Toolbox, this is what I took to Anaheim:

The premise of the deck is rather simplistic when compared to others. Setup fast to hit hard early, then gain strength to finish the match through the use of tool cards, switching them around to meet the needs of the battle. Once setup, reliance on item cards becomes less critical (when facing item lock), and the threat of ability lock can be dealt with effectively, as needed.

I have used Regirock-EX and Carbink/BREAK in the past, but with bench space at a premium and both being weak to grass, I decided to streamline and go without them.

Enough of the pre-tournament jitters... This will continue once I return home after day one! (I left this optimistic comment in for laughs as I was dead tired after day one.)

February 18, 2017 - Day One

My first day of the tournament started as a continuation of the day prior. With my final round of local league practice finished Friday, I packed up my gear for the tournament. First challenge of the day was nerves causing no sleep (hopes of sleep during the drive up didn't materialize); second was the 40 minute walk to the US border at 3:30am and clearing customs to meet my ride. The crazy things we do for a game we love...

Venue Observations and Comments

Since this was my first tournament of this size, I did not know what to expect. That said, I was underwhelmed once we reached the venue.

Finding parking was fun and doing so should have counted as some sort of victory since it seemed like it was all "find if you can" street parking. Something in me says there should have been better planning on the organizer's part to see to this detail. I don't know if this is normal for regional tournaments, but I was surprised.

Not knowing what to expect inside the event, I was underwhelmed again. Nothing to complain about specifically, but everything felt squeezed or tight (maybe it was just me). Every member of staff I interacted with or observed in action was most courteous, helpful, and professional. If I was to offer the organizers two bits of advice for future events, they would be:

1) A little more personal space for the players at the tables as an extra 6 inches of table top space between players would go a long way.

2) Review the round match-up list posting procedure (ie. faster printer and post the lists in areas that allow for better player flow so they can find their assignment and clear out).

I did not get a chance to review the vendors or check into the side events.

Preparing for Round 1 - Anaheim Regional Tournament, February 18, 2017Preparing for Round 1 - Anaheim Regional Tournament, February 18, 2017

Round 1 - Steve Crouse - Lurantis-GX/Vileplume

Wow! Thank you organizers (I know they had no way of knowing, but wow...) for starting my day in a position of weakness. Coming into the tournament, I both feared and tested against this very deck. feeling 50/50 or better when my first turn was not under item lock and a solid 40/60 if the item lock happened before my first turn. I do not consider this match up to be an auto loss if I can get a Weakness Policy in place, and my odds increase with a second one.

All players were to be in their seats, ready to start by 8:45am. Steve and I were both in our seats ready and had a few minutes to chat before our round began. If all of my first round opponents were like him, things would be awesome.

For both games, my shuffle failed me worse than I'd ever seen before, and I was unable to get setup for this challenge, even though I was not under first turn item lock in either game. Knowing my deck is better than I'd just seen, I was calm and prepared for my next round.

(Round 0-2-0, Tournament 0-1-0)

Round 2 - Steven Oviedo - Mega Raquaza

Another fine opponent with a good deck. Unfortunately for me, I thought this deck probably would not see much play at this tournament and did not specifically practice facing it (don't ask me why), but a lot of people seemed to bring it. As with my Round 1, my shuffle failed me at an unprecedented level for the first game. For the second game, I was able to scrape something together and mount a comeback, but we ended the game with each of us close to victory as time ran out. Unlike most decks that have a resistance to my Zygardes, I felt the impact it can have in this match.

(Round 0-1-1, Tournament 0-2-0)

Round 3 - Ernest Espinosa - Lurantis-GX/Vileplume

Ok, so I get to go first and what do I see as my opponent flips his opening cards? Fomantis and Oddish! What?!?! Come on Pokemon, can't I get a break? lol... (For those who do not know, opponents are selected by pairing same and similar records. In this case, both of us were sitting at 0-2-0.) Determined to ride the mental high I was on from nearly pulling a tie out of my Round 2, my first game shuffle was a little better to me, enough to give my opponent cause for concern, but not good enough to bring me up to the victory. The first game was a scrapper for both of us with him winning in the end. Pushing into the second game, I started off pretty well and was able to confirm my ability to beat this deck. I won my first game of the tournament to tie the match, and it was against a bad match-up, excitement was riding high.

(Round 1-1-0, Tournament 0-2-1)

Round 4 - Victor Jaime - Waterbox (Lapras-GX)

Yet another fine opponent to face. By this time, I was noticing that I was lucky to not be facing any uptight or rude opponents like others were. His deck was not something I knew or even recognized (I asked him what it was called after the match). Lapras-GX had Manaphy-EX and Shaymin-EX as team mates, but I forgot what else. I secured victory in our only game as time was called.

(Round 1-0-0, Tournament 1-2-1)

Round 5 - Ben Tully - Turbo Darkrai

This one was an interesting match for several reasons. First of which was that I was sitting at my table without an opponent. So... As I'm sitting there shuffling my cards, looking around for movement to indicate my opponent's approach, a member of the tournament staff informs me that I was at the wrong seat and my opponent awaits my arrival in the VIP seating. Me facing a VIP? Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't be getting myself too happy over finally wining a match...

There I was, walking to the separate room to face my VIP, and as I entered the room, heads turned. Unlike the general battle area, the atmosphere in this room "felt" different (maybe it was because they actually had heat in there). Thinking I had heard Ben's name before, I asked him about it while getting setup. Famous in the Pokemon community? No. YouTuber? No. Author of articles? No. At this point, I'm guessing that he was pretty much like me. lol... Conversation between us was relaxed throughout our match.

When we started our first game, he flips over a Tauros-GX in the active and a Darkrai-EX on the bench. Having heard that there were a lot of "dark" decks at the tournament, I had finally been matched against one (I wish I could have recorded the sound he made when he saw my Zygarde flip over). My first turn wasn't great, but good enough to get mostly setup to my satisfaction. I was able to take control and hold the first game to victory.

On the second game, I had a picture-perfect first turn. When I attacked on my second turn, I had a Zygarde-EX with two strong energies in the active and a Zygarde-EX with three basic energies on the bench (both attacking for 100, double that for weakness against Tauros and Darkrai), plus another Zygarde-EX already having one basic energy. During my dream setup, Ben commented how nice it was to hit all 4 of my Max Elixirs. When I knocked out his first card, Ben scooped in concession and encouraged me to loudly say "and I attack with 400 for the knockout" because one of the kids in the room would get a kick out of hearing it.

I was on Cloud-9, hoping for more opponents with this deck.

(Round 2-0-0, Tournament 2-2-1)

Round 6 - Jeremy Jallen - Mega Mewtwo

The interaction between us got off to a rocky start. Between me finding my table assignment a little late (I refer you back to my organizer recommendations) and me licking the fingers on one of my hands when sifting through my deck (my fingers are too dry to effectively grip the cards enough to push through them), he was obviously annoyed. He even asked that I cut his deck with my non-licked hand. After I pulled out (and routinely used) a bottle of hand sanitizer and he noticed my service dog under the table (he likes dogs), he relaxed and we had a good match.

I didn't have a very good first two turns in either of our games, and he beat me as solidly as I had done to my last opponent. The way his cards flowed was perfect and I doubt I could have won this round, even with a perfect setup.

(Round 0-2-0, Tournament 2-3-1)

Round 7 - Joshua Maack - Mega Raquaza

With Joshua, I was back to having a friendly opponent, but he had that blasted Raquaza deck I didn't think about testing against before the tournament. Coming off my devastating Mega Mewtwo loss, I was ready to seek retribution against Raquaza and regain my positive flow in the tournament.

Game one went about as well, maybe slightly better than the two I lost in my last Raquaza match-up, but it still resulted in a loss. Game two was an absolute picture perfect start, including the Max Elixirs, and my use of tool cards and stadiums allowed me to dominate the second game to victory and tie the match.

(Round 1-1-0, Tournament 2-3-2)

Round 8 - Jeffery Shaw - Yveltal-EX/Garbodor

At this point, the day was quickly becoming a very long one, especially with no sleep the night before; but as I walked up to this match, Jeffery had a logo on his sweatshirt that allowed for us to relate and have a good chat throughout the match.

Good thing the conversation was good because my deck decided to stop cooperating with me again. I put up a fight, but both games were pretty much doomed from the start. His deck's fighting resistance and me not getting the resources I needed made the match one of the quicker ones of the day.

(Round 0-2-0, Tournament 2-4-2)

Round 9 - Minh Mai - Decidueye-GX/Tauros-GX

My opponent for the last match of the day was a friendly face I battled in a League Cup last month. I don't remember what deck she had last month, but I won that encounter.

Going into this tournament, I was very confident against the Decidueye deck because I could OHKO everything in the deck. Unfortunately, I was unable to get setup. The second game started about as weak as the first, and I scooped after my first Zygarde fell without another setup.

(Round 0-2-0, Tournament 2-5-2)

Day One Wrap-Up

The final match of the day ended just after 9pm, making for a very long day of battles. I knew it was going to be a long day, but I had no clue just how mentally exhausting it was going to be.

My crew and I waited for standings to be posted before driving home. Knowing that I had done poorly, I almost decided to wait for my standings to hit my player account, but knew people would be asking... If I read the paper correctly (my eyes were pretty dead too), I finished in 301st place. I read somewhere today that there were 525 in the Masters division, but I don't know if that is accurate.

I strongly suspect that if I had faced one or more Turbo Darkrai opponents early in the tournament, I would have finished much higher in the standings. The same could be said about having better luck with the shuffle.

Personal Highlights

I was able to meet two of my YouTube tutors, Tablemon and YellowSwellow. To me, they are bigger celebrities than all of Hollywood (Anaheim and Hollywood are both a part of Los Angeles). I hope they are able to continue with their instructional videos for a long time.

Pokesquad Tijuana with Reigning Mexican National Champion Tablemon
Pokesquad Tijuana with Reigning Mexican National Champion Tablemon
at the end of Day 1 - Anaheim Regional Tournament, February 18, 2017

February 19, 2017 - Day Two

Since no one in the crew I rode with to the tournament made the cut to compete in the second day, we decided we would not drive back up. We were all exhausted beyond explanation.

Conclusion - Clones or Rogues?

The Top-32 cut list for the tournament had eight deck types with Sun and Moon listed. Some were primary attackers, but most were auxiliary attackers or placed in support roles. For this tournament, I have to say that the Clones continue to be the force in control. I also have to say that the Rogues are making their presence known. This battle may be over, but the war continues with Rogue subversives (other cards from Sun and Moon, like the new balls and Professor Kukui) definitely creeping into important positions.

Thank you for taking the time to read my report.

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