User blog

Orion Craig


Discussing Flareon as a deck choice for Florida Regionals and how it performed.

03/06/2015 by Orion Craig



Hello 60cards readers! My name is Orion Craig, and, with this being my first article here, I thought it would be best to introduce myself. I have been playing Pokemon since I was about 6 or 7, meaning I’ve been playing for roughly 14 years with a 2 year hiatus during 2013 and 2014. It all began when a new neighbor showed us a Base Set theme deck, and my parents were so intrigued they immediately drove to the store to purchase theme decks of our own. Little did we know this would still be a hobby over a decade later.

Throughout my time as a Junior and Senior I won more cities and states than any of you care to read about, so I’ll cut my winnings down to a list of what I consider some of my greatest accomplishments.

1st Place FL Regional Championship 2015

3rd Place FL Regional Championship 2012

3rd Place FL Regional Championship 2010

3rd Place FL States 2009

1st Place National Championship (SR) 2008

Now that you hopefully have some faith in my abilities as a player, let’s review FL regionals and the days leading up to it!

Deciding On A Deck


As FL regionals grew near and countless test games had been played, I had to make a final deck choice soon. My decision hinged on only one thing: figuring out what decks I expected others to play, and choosing the deck that had the best all around matchups against those decks. This led me to Night March with a Virizion EX and 3 grass energy to counter Toad variants. The only deck I was afraid of with this choice was Landorus EX/Bats, but I didn’t expect to play more than two in day one swiss. I was pretty much sold on playing Night March, that is, until the Monday before the event.

Feb. 23rd marked the fateful day that a good friend sent me Rahul R and Grafton R’s craziest rendition of an already crazy idea: Flareon paired with Empoleon and Archie’s Ace in the Hole. Here is the list I was sent.

A quick glance over the list during a lunch break at work (oh who am I kidding? I was on the clock.)  left me both confused and intrigued. Could this really work? After a few initial test games with my roommate and testing companion Mike Canaves, I determined that not only was the deck utter garbage, but Grafton and Rahul had probably lost their minds. This hasty judgement may have stemmed from a long-time hate of Flareon, mostly due to the deck being extremely inconsistent every time I tried to play it regardless of the variant used. The irony of this still haunts me as I write this article. Giving up on Flareon/Empoleon, I started making some final changes to Night March in preparation for the big day.

I gave up, that is, until Mike made a hefty amount of changes that streamlined the deck by dropping the likes of Swampert, Milotic, Virizion EX, and Deoxys EX, adjusting the trainer lineup to include 4 Acro Bike, adding a second Jirachi EX, and a few other minor tweaks. Holy crap, this deck actually works! Suddenly the deck seemed nigh unbeatable, and we began testing the new and improved version with only 3 days left until Regionals.

Finally, due to Mike and I both working full time jobs we were only able to get about 15 test games in with the deck total. With Mike taking lead on the deck, I was only able to play 3 of those games with Flareon before the tournament, meaning our deck was based almost entirely off of theory. It was this theory that brought us to the following 60 cards for day 1.

Let’s take a bit to talk about the star players of the deck, followed by what may seem like strange but key decisions in the list. There are so many oddities and cards I would like to explain in detail, but I will try to be a brief as possible for your sake and save the nitty gritty for my next article where I go more in-depth talking about the decklist in detail, explaining certain card decisions, analyzing matchups, and discussing possible changes for the upcoming State Championships.



This pokemon is the primary attacker in the deck. Flareon’s damage adds up extremely quickly with Vengeance, due to cards like Battle Compressor, Ultra Ball, Acro Bike, and Empoleon’s Diving Draw ability allowing you to discard pokemon from your deck and hand faster than ever possible before.



Energy Crush works wonders against Seismitoad EX decks, which are one of the hardest matchups for Flareon due to shutting off access to nearly half deck. Plus, if you happen to get a Silver Bangle and Grass energy on this bad boy, Leaf Blade will dish out one hit KOs on any amphibians standing between you and a 1st place trophy as you will later see in my top two match versus Justin S.



You clearly messed up your list, Orion. I see you have Empoleon, but you forgot to list your Piplups and Prinplups.

Dear reader, may I refer you to Archie’s Ace in the Hole? This practically absurd card allows me to play Empoleon directly onto my bench, granting me access to Diving Draw for added stability and a chance to discard unwanted pokemon from my hand. Attack Command is also very useful for taking one hit KOs on Landorus EX and anything with a Silver Mirror attached.

3-1 Eevee Lineup


What on earth am I thinking running the PLF Eevee? Don’t I know this card is bad? Contrary to popular belief, Bobby M (long time friend and fellow SR National Champion) provided solid logic for running the PLF Eevee. Running only 1 grass energy and 1 professor’s letter, it seemed unlikely the Energy Evolution ability found on the more commonly used FFI Eevee would come in handy. Additionally, the 60 HP on PLF Eevee meant Landorus/Bats, one of Flareon’s hardest matchups, wouldn’t be able to snipe a benched Eevee with a Hammerhead+Golbat’s Sneaky bite combo. Additionally, a Seismitoad EX would need either Muscle Band+Hypnotoxic Laser or Hypnotoxic Laser+Virbank City Gym to one hit KO an Eevee with Quaking Punch. Finally, the Signs of Evolution attack on PLF Eevee could be used much more reliably to search out Flareon and Leafeon while under trainer lock. If, however, I open with grass in hand, I am still able to ultra ball for FFI Eevee if I need to. Every single one of these cases occurred during my Regional’s run, and I can’t thank Bobby M enough for this suggested change.

2 Jirachi EX


Oh my goodness, Orion! Don’t you know you’re going to start with Jirachi EX every game?! Besides, benching Jirachi EX is bad!

Woah there, reader. You need to calm down and use less exclamation points. It’s bad form, or so my English teacher taught me. First off, let me say I did start with Jirachi more than I would like to admit. Normally, this would strike feelings of dread into a player who is running a less-than-crazy deck. For Flareon, however, opening Jirachi is surprisingly harmless. If the opponent spends a turn using Lysandre to bring up and knock out Jirachi EX after your retreat it, this means they’re not playing a Lysandre’s Trump Card, and they’re not knocking out your Flareon so you’re free to return the KO. This makes Jirachi EX relatively safe on the bench, especially if Mr. Mime has anything to say about it.

I’m sure the benefits of running two Jirachi EX are fairly obviously, so on this point I will be brief. With two Jirachi EX, you are able to still bench a second Jirachi EX and use Stellar Guidance to search for a support card if you start with one. With stability being one of my primary goals with this deck, this option was too good to pass up. Additionally, there were several games where I bench two Jirachi EX out of necessity to keep my hands flowing. Finally, with Flareon having such an infatuation with putting pokemon in the discard, you can always Battle Compressor away extra Jirachi EXs for more damage later in the game.

Archie’s Ace in the Hole


Please allow me to be brief, since the card’s use is pretty singular: getting Empoleon out at break-neck speed. Running a deck designed to burn through it’s entire hand through the use of Battle Compressor, Ultra Ball, two Exeggcute to ensure Ultra Ball was always playable, dropping extra energy in favor of Professor’s Letter (which can be fail searched when necessary), etc left me with roughly a 40% turn one Empoleon success rate throughout all of regionals. Woah.

Lysandre’s Trump Card


This can be a confusing one at first. By nature, Flareon wants cards in the discard pile, and this card causes pretty much the exact opposite of that. Trump Card is really good to prevent yourself from running out of cards in your deck (you haven’t seen draw power until you’ve seen Flareon), and can be very useful against mirror match and Night March. Simply play a Trump Card the turn you swing with a menacing 140 Penguin and your foes are sure to fall.

Florida Regionals Tournament Report


Round 1- Seismitoad EX/Garbodor/Victini EX/Mewtwo EX, 1-0-0


After being reassured time and again by Mike Canaves that Toad/Garb decks were seeing less and less play, you can imagine how annoyed I was to play against one the very first round. Fortunately, nailing a turn 1 Empoleon in tandem with his unique strategy of using Victini EX to get energy on the board early game allowed me to keep up with and eventually outpace him games 1 and 3 with early game Leafeon swarm and late game Flareon KOs. I was pretty worried after G2 ended with a turn 3 Garbodor+Quaking Punch lock bashing me into defeat, but losing the best of 3 series was not in the cards for me.

Round 2- Empoleon/Swampert, 1-0-1


After flipping over Eevee, my opponent made a comment about Flareon being his worst matchup, so, with the right combination of cards for a turn 1 Empoleon, I immediate had full confidence in this match. G1 was a quick one, with Flareons tearing through unevolved Piplups while my opponent drew mostly dead, and I prepared for a what I thought would be a similar G2. My opponents chooses to go first, and gets out both Empoleon and Swamper turn 2 in combination with a training center and swings with a 170 HP non EX attacker for the one hit KO. In the following turns, he set his deck for a Lysandre’s Trump Card using Diving Search and pretty much destroyed any chance I had to win. Time was called shortly after setting up for G3, resulting in a tie.

Round 3- Landorus EX/Crobat, 2-0-1


This matchup has always been tough for Flareon whether you have Empoleon or not. Game 1 involved a quick Empoleon (noticing a pattern?) and equally speedy one hit KOs on his Landorus EX thanks to my benched Eevee sporting a beefy 60 HP, followed by Mr. Mime providing full bench coverage. Empoleon was able to really shine through by providing a crucial return KO any time he used Landorus EX to deal damage, and with Hawlucha being nigh useless, there were few options for my opponent during the final turns of the first game. Game 2 involved Mr. Mime being prized, and Empoleon wasn’t as quick as I would have liked, but G3 involved a turn 1 Empoleon and a turn 2 180 damage Vengeance on an unsuspecting Landorus EX. I’m sure you can imagine how that game ended...

Round 4- Yveltal EX/Seismitoad EX/Garbodor, 3-0-1


Sadly I was subjected to yet another Seismitoad EX/Garbodor based deck. A quick Empoleon+Leafeon combo enabled me to fend off fist fighting frogs, forcing him into attacking with Yveltal. Once the trainer lock was broken, I was able to go crazy with trainers and start bringing the heat with Flareon, lending me a clean G1 victory. Game 2 resulted in a dead draw from my opponents, granting me an easier finish to the set.

Round 5- Flareon/Slurpuff, 4-0-1


Carson R, older brother to Grafton R, was my opponent this round. He let me know early on he wasn’t playing Empoleon due to feeling more comfortable with previous iterations of the deck, lending me some confidence knowing I would have the edge if I could pull off an Archie’s Ace in the Hole. Getting out turn 1 Empoleon both games certainly helped me in this matchup, knowing I could threaten the Lysandre’s Trump Card+Attack Command play at almost any time. The matchup went as expected for Flareon mirror, with each of us trading KOs until Empoleon eventually gained me an advantage, getting me one waddle closer to top 32.

Round 6- Night March, 4-1-1


Night March, my old friend, why have you betrayed me? This is a really tough matchup for Flareon due to the apparent similarities between the two decks, with the major difference being Night March only needs basic pokemon to attack, whereas Flareon requires marginally more set up.

Game 1 I simply could not draw the cards I needed to setup, resulting in a quick but not painless defeat. Game 2 appeared to be going in a similar fashion, forcing me to Propagate Exeggcutes to my bench just to prevent a loss via benching. I eventually got going with Flareon and was able to Trump Card twice, winning the game if he missed the KO on my Flareon either time. Sadly he was able to hit the KO both times, resulting in my one and only loss. Drew G, my opponent, will never let me live this defeat down.

Round 7- M Manectric EX/Mewtwo EX/Electrode, 5-1-1

Game 1 was probably the toughest game I played during swiss rounds. M Manectric EX’s menacing 210 HP in combination with max potion and rough seas almost caused me to forfeit game one in hopes of winning games 2 and 3. Fortunately my better judgement won out and I was able to barely pull out the game after my opponent admittedly misplayed and Turbo Bolted 1 energy onto his benched Manectric just before his M Manectric died. Because of this, he had to draw Spirit Link, M Manectric EX, and an energy off of Juniper to take the KO, whereas attaching to Mewtwo EX the previous turn would allow him to win the game with only a Double Colorless Energy. Game 2 was a much quicker game where I was able to outspeed his deck and take back to back KOs on his pokemon EX to win the game.

Round 8- Night March,  6-1-1


My arch nemesis returns to haunt me a second time. Game 1 was a total slug fest with each of us taking KO after KO on each other until eventually a Trump Card played by yours truly slowed the 1 to 2 prize card (my lead) game to a crawl. My opponent, Adrian, was forced into bringing up a Mew EX with only 1 energy, leaving only a Pumpkaboo on the bench. He wasn’t able to attack due to lacking the necessary energy, enabling me to spend another turn catching my breath, so to speak. I evolved a benched Eevee into Flareon and immediately regretted the decision, knowing I had given him a new option: copying my Vengeance to get knock outs. I wasn’t able to take a knock out on Mew EX that turn, forcing me to pass. At this point, my opponents made a self-admitted mistake by using Battle Compressor to discard 5 trainer cards and a Mew EX, and playing a VS seeker for N. Had he instead discarded pokemon with Battle Compressor and VS Seekered for Lysandre, he could have knocked out my benched Jirachi EX for the win. Fortunately, due to this fumble I was able to clinch the game the following turn using Vengeance on his Pumpkaboo after using a Lysandre of my own. G2 resulted in an uneventful dead draw from my opponent and landed me my 19 points needed for top 32.

Round 9- Yveltal EX/Seismitoad EX/Garbodor, 7-1-1


After finding my seat, my opponents offered an intentional draw to guarantee us both a seat in top 32. I would like to spend a moment going over why I declined his offer. Number one, I was much more confident in my deck choice for standard format. At this point I still had no idea what I was going to play for expanded the following day, so I figured I should try and get as many points as possible today. Secondly, I was already almost positive I would make T32 with only 19 points based on my resistance, so I felt I could take a loss if necessary, but the extra 3 points would come in handy the following day to make T8.

At this point I was so exhausted these games show up as a blur in my memory. I assume it went pretty normal, with Leafeon taking point to pressure him into using Yveltal, and Flareon granting me one hit KOs after his use of Y Cyclone.

Day One Impressions


Whew, I made it past the first day, and in 3rd place no less! A strange but pleasant mixture of excitement, anticipation, and complete exhaustion filled me during the car ride home. I stopped off to grab a Monster energy drink, knowing I could use the caffeine the following day, and headed to sleep. My friends mocked my decision, saying I needed to test play for the following day, but their jeering words were thoroughly thwarted by my snoring.

During the ride back to the venue the following morning, Mike Canaves (also in T32), Bobby M, and I brainstormed about any changes we would like to make for expanded. We decided on only two changes, and man if only I knew then how impactful those changes would be.

We decided to exchange to 1 Audino and the Professor’s Letter for a Training Center and a third Leafeon. Swiss matchups had proven Seismitoad was more prevalent than we originally anticipated, making a 3rd leafeon seem mandatory, and Audino was the clear cut since he was less useful against Toad than Leafeon due to the abundance of Garbodor. Training Center was put in for the dreaded Accelgor/Silent Lab matchup. With Silent Lab preventing Audino’s Busy Body to wipe away paralysis, a counter stadium seemed necessary, and Training center seemed to have the most benefit than any other stadium to create bulkier Leafeons and Flareons, with the added bonus of enormous 170 HP Empoleons.

Top 32 Swiss


Round 1- Yveltal/Seismitoad EX, 7-1-2


I must admit that after seeing my round 1 opponents was Justin S, long time friend and fellow national champion, I grew a little nervous. This great man and Yveltal have had a longer relationship than most celebrities, so I knew he would not be prone to making serious mistakes during our game.

Game 1 started off with a pretty decent opener: Exeggcute. You might be thinking I’m a bit odd for saying this, so let’s do a quick analysis. This hardened band of beaten and boiled eggs may have low HP, but since your opponents can’t attack when they go first, nothing but a Hypnotoxic Laser+Virbank Gym will knock this Pokemon out before you have a chance to ready make ready a Flareon for a return KO. This means Exeggcute will almost always die when you’re ready to attack with Flareon or Leafeon, so you won’t have to waste resources to retreat. Additionally, I’m sure you understand the advantages of having an Exeggcute in your discard pile.

Anyway, back to the game. Very early on Justin made a self-admitted careless move, using Quaking Punch on my Exeggcute without noticing the egg’s resistance to water. This enabled me to spend an additional turn preparing for battle while my eggs took the brunt of Justin’s assault. Justin later showed me he could have used a Hypnotoxic laser in his hand to cause the knock out, had he been aware of my resistance. After this, things went from bad to worse for Justin as he swung into a Leafeon for what he thought would be the knockout with Quaking Punch+poison, but in reality left Leafeon with just 10 HP, allowing Audino to make quick work of his poison and Leafeon survived to absorb yet another attack. These two crucial mistakes put Justin significantly behind in game one, and he ended up forfeiting shortly after in hopes of taking our match to a game 3 and securing a win for himself.

Game 2 began completely opposite from the previous game. I opened Jirachi EX vs his Seismitoad EX, and things began to go south for me very quickly. Due to his immediate trainer lock, my entire hand became unplayable, forcing me to draw pass and hope to stall our game out until time was called. Seeing as I won the first game, this strategy, if successful, would result in a win for me. Unfortunately, I hadn’t considered the fact top 32 has a much longer time limit, coming in at 75 minutes instead of the 50 minute time limit from the previous day. Justin made relatively slow progress through my field dealing only 30 damage at a time, resulting in a draw just 3 minutes into our third game.

Round 2- Landorus EX/Crobat, 8-1-2


Click here for the replay

Any hopes I had for an easier round 2 were immediately thwarted when I saw my round 2 pairings. Not only was I playing against one of Florida’s best players and fellow 60cards writer Jose Marrero, but I knew he was piloting one of Flareon’s toughest matchups. To make matters worse, Jose has been practicing Landorus/Bats with near flawless execution since the deck was first invented. This last bit was learned not through word of mouth, but by personal experience. Ouch.

Game 1 was one of the toughest games I played throughout the entire tournament. I opened Ditto as a turn one Ultra Ball revealed my Mr. Mime was prized. I knew coming into this game it would be hard, but Mr. Mime being prized made for a brutal game. My only solace was knowing my Eevees would have 60 hp, meaning Golbat+Hammerhead would be just shy of a knockout on my benched Eevees.

Jose takes an early lead by using Lysandre on my only benched Eevee+DCE two turns in a row. Fortunately, I am able to tie up the prizes with an Attack Command from Empoleon. The game boils down to a prize trade I am almost sure to win, with Jose’s benched Jirachi EX in my sights. Sadly, a super scoop up from Jose keeps the game going, and he is able to take his 4th prize using Crobat’s Surprise Bite+Skill Dive on a benched Eevee. With both of us at two prizes, I know Jose’s plan is to Lysandre my benched Jirachi EX for the win next turn, so I computer search for an N and take my 5th prize with Vengeance, shutting him out of the game with no way to kill my active Flareon.

Game 2 was pretty bizarre to say the least. I open Egg for the second time in top 32 and the game is underway! This was one of my slowest starts to date with Flareon, resulting in Jose having plenty of time to build up 2 Landorus and deal plenty of damage to my bench using Sneaky Bite and Surprise Bite, causing an early death to my Mr. Mime. I am finally able to take a knock out on Jose’s Hawlucha, which is returned by a Land’s Judgement, followed by Vengeance for 190, a Hammerhead+Surprise bite for 100, and finally an Attack Command dealt by Empoleon ends the practically medieval madness. If you were able to keep track of that, you’ll know I was left with one prize card to Jose’s three. While this may seem like a dominating position, I notice Jose is able to win next turn by playing a Lysandre to bring out and KO my Jirachi EX, and using Surprise Bite for a knock out on my Exeggcute. For this reason, I play an N just before using Attack Command, keeping Jose from winning the game.

Round 3- Yveltal EX/Seismitoad EX/Garbodor 9-1-2


While I may not have recognized my opponents name, I went into this game knowing he must be a skilled player to make it this far at Florida Regionals. After a quick shuffle and a handshake, game 1 is underway.

Game 1 starts off pretty normal for both of us. He gets off an early Quaking Punch, and I apply pressure to his Seismitoad EX using Leafeon’s Energy Crush hoping to break the trainer lock. After Leafeon is knocked out, I promote a Flareon and use Vengeance. The following turn is when things get interesting. Jordan uses Quaking Punch with a Muscle Banded toad, dealing 100 damage. Now, under normal circumstances this would land him a one hit KO, and he begins drawing his prize accordingly. However, much to his chagrin, I point out the Training Center that I had played on turn 1 of the game. Jordan replaces his prize card and the game continues without a knock out. My turn proceeds without much fanfare, and another Vengeance grants me the KO. At this point Jordan makes a move that seems both brilliant and risky. He uses a Lysandre to bring up my benched Flareon and deal another 100 damage. This means that if he were to play Virbank City Gym at a later point in the game, both of my Flareons would be reduced to 100 HP and subsequently knocked out without Jordan even needing to attack. Unfortunately for him, no such Virbank is drawn and Leafeon is able to clean up my last few prizes.

Game 2 goes very much in a similar fashion to game 2 versus Justin S. A nearly instant Quaking Punch+Garbodor lock sets me up for failure, and I try to stall the game out until time is called. Once again I am unsuccessful and he wins a rather quick game using exclusively my amphibian nemesis.

Game 3 is fortunately dissimilar from my game 3 with Justin, however. I get a turn one Empoleon and take control of the game almost immediately. I am able to draw all 6 prizes in just a couple of turns using Vengeance for back to back knockouts.

Round 4- ??? 9-1-3


We don’t even take out decks out and intentionally draw (ID) the game, granting us both enough points to make top 8.

Round 5- Landorus EX/Crobat 9-1-4


I sit across from Harrison L, a long time friend, as he contemplates IDing. Harrison’s choice to ID here is controversial to say the least. He could either play it out and win, making him a shoo-in for top 8, tie and hope his resistance was high enough, or lose have no way of making top 8. Ultimately he decides to ID, guaranteeing me a spot in t8, and he has the misfortune of ending up in 10th place.

Top 8


Looking at the possible matchups in top 8 I felt really confident that I could win the tournament. I saw a lot of Toad variations and knew well and good I could win that matchup from the earlier rounds of the tournament. I was particularly afraid of a rematch with Adrian, my round 8 opponent, who was once again using Night March. As luck would have it, he was knocked out in top 8 by Jordan giving me a clear shot at the title.

Top 8- Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff 2-0


Honestly I wish I had more to say about these games. Both games Simon N drew completely dead and both games end in under 15 minutes combined. Sorry for the bad luck, Simon. I really wish we could have had a better match.

Top 4- Yveltal EX/Seismitoad EX/Garbodor 2-1


Click here for the replay

While setting up for this game, Jordan mentioned that he hoped to play 3 close games, and his wish certainly came true. I can honestly say I played neither a tougher nor more stressful best of 3 set during the entire tournament. Huge props to Jordan for this battle.

Game 1 looked very promising at first, with all the makings of a turn one Empoleon using Archie’s. Sadly, my only Archie was prized, denying me my pleasant penguin. Jordan gets off a turn 2 Quaking Punch, locking down my trainers. I made a pretty serious misplay the following turn, deciding to hip bump with my active Audino instead of retreating into a one hit KO with Energy Crush thanks to Silver Bangle and Jordan having 3 energy attached to his pokemon. It ended up working out OK after Jordan got a tails, breaking the trainer lock. The biggest turning point of the game was a 170 damage Vengeance on Jordan’s Yveltal directly following a Lysandre’s Trump Card from Jordan.

Game 2 continues my tragic trend of trainer lock smashing me to bits. I start off pretty well and get a Flareon online to do a crazy turn 2 Lysandre on his benched Yveltal EX and vengeance for 170 damage, but a mid game hand filled with trainers under the ensuing Quaking Punch lock does little to help me win. To make matters worse, Jordan was able to get a pretty quick Garbotoxin to shut off my abilities as well.

Game 3 was an emotional rollercoaster to say the least. I go first and open with Eevee and put two more on the bench. Jordan responds by knocking out my active Eevee with non-EX Yveltal. I am able to Archie an Empoleon onto my bench and one hit KO his Yveltal with Vengeance and the prize trade begins. The game eventually builds to a climax where I make a very controversial play. An Acro Bike leaves me in a bind, choosing between taking my last VS Seeker (with no supporters in deck) or my last water energy. There are many players who feel I should take the VS Seeker to play Trump Card and hope to get rolling again the following turn with high damage Vengeances, but I feared this would prompt Jordan to Quaking Punch lock me into oblivion. Ultimately I decide to grab VS Seeker for N, taking him down to three cards. If Jordan draws an energy he wins the game with Evil Ball, and if he doesn’t I Vengeance for 180 and take my last prize card. He manages to hit a Juniper off of the N, and I mentally resign myself to ending at top 4 this year. Jordan stares at his hand for about 20 minutes (it was actually 47 seconds), and with each passing tick I gain a shred of hope back. Finally Jordan throws his hand on the table showing no energy and I enthusiastically shake his hand. What an amazing three games.

Top 2- Yveltal EX/Seismitoad EX 2-0


Click here for the replay

Justin S and I showdown once again. I can say there is not another person in top 8 who I would rather battle for the title of Florida Regional Champion. Both Justin S and I are former National Champions and Florida natives, yet neither of us have won a Regionals. This game was sure to break the curse for one of us, and I went into this game with high hopes that it would be me. While I am glad about my victory, I really wish we could have had a better match overall.

Game 1 gets off to a blazing fast start with Egg taking the lead. I am able to bench an Eevee and attach a silver bangle plus a grass energy, generating a lot of threat on Justin’s Toad start, and I end my turn after attaching a float stone to my Exeggcute. After Justin Quaking Punches for 10 damage, I evolve into Leafeon, attach Double Colorless, and one hit KO his Seismitoad with Leaf blade. The following turn I Lysandre his benched Seismitoad and take yet another one hit KO, leaving me with only two prize cards remaining.

At this point, the game starts to swing back into Justin’s favor after he Ns me down to just two cards. I am fortunate enough to draw what I need to Archie an Empoleon onto my bench, but I just can’t get my hands on an Eevee. Justin is able to close the prize gap a bit after my Nascar-speed start, turning what first looked to be a blowout game into something of a nail biter. Another N hits the board from Justin, forcing me back down to 2 cards, and he draws his second prize off my Egg. At this point I look at my two benched Jirachi EXs and I’m certain Justin’s game plan revolves around knocking both of them out. I manage to draw a Juniper and get an Eevee on the bench, but I am still unable to attack. It is at this point Justin played yet another N. I am lucky enough to draw yet another Juniper and attach a water energy to my Empoleon. I try and fail to kick myself in the face with regret after realizing I have Leafeon in hand, and could take my last two prizes off of an energy crush for 200. I ask Justin if I can take back my energy attachment because I am totally not above doing that, and he agrees, proving himself to be a paragon of spirit of the game. I quickly evolve into Leafeon, attach my energy and we continue to game 2.

Game 2 was a tragically quick defeat for Justin. He never drew a supporter card and I knocked out his lone Darkrai EX on turn three. Once again I really wish we could have had a better game 2, but all in all I had an amazing time playing against Justin and I’m sure this won’t be the last match we share.

Closing Thoughts


I honestly couldn’t be more happy with how Florida Regionals ended up. It felt good knowing I was one of a select few who was able to effectively pilot Flareon/Empoleon, and it was great to have my friends cheer me on throughout top 32. I am looking forward to seeing many of you at Alabama, Georgia, and Florida states, and I am excited for any future articles I am given the opportunity to write for With this being my first article, I encourage you to leave any helpful feedback, nagging questions, or just discuss some of the deck’s tougher matchups in the comments section. Stay tuned for next time, as I plan to write an in-depth article about Flareon and how it will fare in the new metagame that is sure to evolve for states. Understanding the ins and outs of Flareon, whether you plan to use the deck or develop one to combat it, will surely be paramount to your success, so be sure to drop by after I finish my next article.



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