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Martin Janouš

6th Place World Championship Report with Night March

Martin discusses the process that led him to his 6th Place Night March deck and gives a complete tournament report.

09/02/2015 by Martin Janouš

Hello, everyone! I am back from the World Championships where I took 6th Place, which is really amazing. I want to share my experience with you and describe my road to this success.

As many of you know, I placed in First Place in the Championship Point rankings this season. It gave me free trip to Worlds and a Day 2 invite. However, the fact that you are first place in rankings doesn't guarantee you anything since Worlds is a whole new tournament.  You play from first round and need to win every game that you play.

So this year, I took a big responsibility for my play and deck choice. Last year in Washington, I was so lax and finally made a bad deck choice (Flygon) and dropped from the tournament after a few rounds. However, this year I tested hard during July. With my team, we found that there is no real "best deck". There were, like, fourteen decks that were viable and if you took one of them, you would have bad matchups against at least three other decks from the pool. But as we went deeper and deeper in our testing, we found that the deck that really doesn't have an autoloss in this field and can beat anything on paper (with a good setup) is Night March. We tested Night March a lot and tried to make the most consistent list that could do turn-one 180 in at least two of three games.

In the first part of testing, we tried the Empoleon/Archie combo and Bunnelby as well. However, after deep testing, we found that these cards are not so good overall. When you want Empoleon, you probably need to waste one Battle Compressor for it and this wasted Battle compressor could cost you game because instead of putting three Night March Pokémon in the discard, you're discarding Empoleon, and than you can't do the turn-one 180. We expected lot of Seismitoad decks and against them, you needed to put your Night March Pokémon in the discard on turn one no matter what, and so you had no time for Archie/Empoleon. We cut these cards from list and made the list more consistent. We increased Trainers' Mail and Acro Bikes lines. After testing, I felt really confident and I knew that this was "the deck" that would let me repeat my success from Vancouver. 

Before Friday's tournament, we did not expect so many mirrors, but during Friday, we found that many good players thought the same as us, because there were many Night March decks. 

Anyway, this is the list my team played on Day 1. 

 

They played just three VS Seekers because Seismitoad fear was so big and four Junipers were better against Seismitoad. Two Escape Ropes were for Retreating on turn one if necessary and for easy Knock Outs when opponents wanted to stall with non-EX Pokémon in the Active position.  Sadly, neither of my teammates were able to make Day 2, with 1-3 and 3-1-2 records in Day 1.

I was really frustrated from the Day 1 results. My secret plan to break the format with Night March was revealed. People knew that Night March was strong and I was really afraid that people would be prepared for it on Day 2. I immediately started testing something new, a Raichu/Crobat/Seismitoad deck that I thought would be a good meta call for Day 2. However, it was too late. I had no good list and the list that I tested was so inconsistent. Also, my teammates were tired from playing on Friday and wanted to sleep, forcing me to stay with my Night March choice. However, I made some changes. I cut Juniper for the fourth VS Seeker because Seismitoad was not as popular as I expected, and I put Float Stone in the deck because it was good in the mirror match. So, my final list looked like this:

 

I knew this tournament would be hard. I knew that many people would play Crobat and Night March and I made a plan for playing against them. I had a big advantage, though, in that I tested so hard in July, so I had tested the Crobat matchup and the mirror and had a plan for both. So, I was ready to go, and fell asleep.

Round 1 - Andrew Mahone (US) - Night March 

Andrew won the flip and decided to go first. He didn't know what I was playing and the fact that I started with Shaymin and no more Basics influenced Andrew a lot since he couldn't figure out what I was playing. So, he attached Energy to his Active Mew-EX and a Muscle Band as well, did some setup and passed. Andrew's face was not happy when I put down Battle Compressor and discarded three Lampent. He knew that he was in a bad position, especially when I Knocked Out his Mew-EX on turn one. Andrew played Virizion-EX and Grass Energy instead of Lightning, so my Joltik with Lightning Energy were ready to attack and save my DCEs.  However, as in most Night March mirrors, it all came down to N. Andrew N'd me to one card. It was nothing, but I topdecked Trainers' Mail and I found Juniper and had just seven cards left in my deck, including my last DCE. 

In the second game, I went first, of course. I still had a strong start, but Andrew did as well. All in all, everything came down to N again. But this time, I N'd Andrew to one card. He drew his top card and threw both the on table (Joltik and Muscle Band) and shook my hand. 

1-0-0

Round 2 - Diego Cassiraga (AR) - Landorus/Crobat 

I played this game on stream. Diego is a good guy from Argentina and we had a lot of fun after Worlds in the open gaming room with other Argentinian players. When we started Game 1, I was little nervous. Diego flipped Hawlucha and put down some Zubat on turn one. I knew the hard road to the top was starting now.

Agaisnt Landorus/Crobat, you must play very well, have a little luck, and know how to play the matchup. The key to the match-up is to Lysandre the Crobat line until it is low, so try to take out Zubat or potentially Golbat. Every Crobat that comes to the game reduces your chance of winning quite a bit. In the first game, Diego helped me a lot. He went first, put two Zubat on his Bench, and Retreated his Active Hawlucha (with Strong Energy and Muscle Band) to the Bench. I started with Joltik. I couldn't draw Energy for so long and I was little upset, but finally on my last Shaymin, I drew a Lightning Energy and was able to use Gnaw with Muscle Band. That was so huge. It let me save my DCE, which I used in last turn to Retreat my Shaymin and take the final Knock Out on Landorus-EX. Unfortunately for Diego, he didn't draw his Focus Sash in the first game.

The second game was a bit harder. Diego had a strong start with two Landorus. Also, he was able to put Focus Sash on one of them, and this Focus Sash was the biggest reason Diego won, because I had nine Night March Pokémon in the discard but could not KO him. So, Diego, with the help of Crobat, Knocked Out my Pokémon with Hawlucha taking out my Mew-EX.

There were not much time for a third game and we ended with a tie.

1-0-1

Round 3 - Brad Curcio (US) - Landorus/Crobat/Leafeon

Brad had an interesting deck, again, with Crobat. However, he dead-drew both games, each time after his own N. I easily took Game 1, and in the second game, Brad made a little mistake, in my opinion. He promoted Bunnelby as his Active and used Burrow to discard one card from the top of my deck (DCE, of course!) and with his second attack, used Rototiller to return his N (the only Supporter in his discard pile) to the deck. After I took another KO, he drew Korrina and searched a Pokémon and VS Seeker, but N was gone, so I knew he would have to use Korrina again. This play from Brad helped me a lot, because I was not afraid of N the whole game.

2-0-1

Round 4 - Aaron Tarbell (US) - Archie's Blastoise

When I think about it, I think that Aaron played a very similar list to the one that won the World Championship.  In the first game, I went first and had a good setup. Aaron used his Archie on turn one to put Blastoise out, but didn't draw Superior, so he couldn't put Energy into play. I had Lysandre ready to Knock Out his Blasotise next turn. And for Aaron, that started troubles. My setup was brutal and every time he put something down, I had an answer to it. 

The second game was harder. Aaron went first (don't remember if he had Blastoise on turn one) and passed with Plasma Kyurem Active. I again had a good setup and Knocked Out his Kyurem. Next turn, Aaron had Blastoise ready and used Articuno to Knock Out my Pumpkaboo. This put me in a bad position. I had cards to Knock Out Articuno and did it, but still, Aaron was in a Prize lead. However, he missed a Superior Energy Retrieval again and that was the game since my Lysandres were ready to Knock Out Shaymin and Keldeo.

3-0-1



Round 5 - Daniel Altavilla (US) - Manectric/Genesect 

Everybody knew what I was playing since I was on stream in the second round. I sat down against Daniel and he looked very nervous. He immediately asked me if I wanted to tie. I didn't want it becuase for me, a tie was nothing. He mulliganed his first hand and I understood why he was so nervous. I saw Manectric Spirit Link and Grass Energy, a relatively easy matchup for me, but I knew I could not be lax and make some stupid mistake just because I had a good matchup. 

The first game was fast. I had turn-one 180 ready to go and passed to Daniel's turn. He had a slow start and I won in three turns.  The second game was so bad. I had just Joltik and nothing else and Daniel KO'd me on his second turn.  Now I started to be nervous, but I knew I could still win easily. Just don't dead-draw. Luckily, the third game looked like first one and I could start to think about Top 8.

4-0-1

Round 6 - Junichi Kakinoki (JP) - Manectric/Yanmega

Another good matchup. I took the first game easily. The second game was sad because I dead-drew after his N to two cards. Because Junichi sometimes took too long to think about situations, there was not much time for the third game. I was in a rage because I thought I could not get an easier match-up. If I had won I would've been in Top 8 for sure. But that didn't happen and I had to find my concentration again for the final round. 

4-0-2

Round 7 - Dylan Dreyer (US) - Night March

I went to the table (still in a rage from previous round) and I promised to myself that I would win. I knew I could do it. When I saw who my opponent was, I got a little nervous again. I knew that Dylan played Night March as well because he sat next to me in the previous round. He was 5-1-0, so for him, a tie was enough. He offered it to me just for fun, but I must say that I seriously thought about it. A tie would've guaranteed me a spot in Top 16, while a loss was probably just Top 32, but a win would be Top 8. Hard to decide. But I decided to play because I knew I was just a few steps from my dream to stay on stage with the Pikachu trophy. 

Dylan won the flip and I started. I was able to get ahead in the Prize trade because Dylan had to attack my Pumpkaboo with his Pumpkaboo, leaving his Shaymin on the Bench for me to Lysandre.  However, like always in mirror match, Dylan N'd me and I drew nothing and took the loss. 

After losing the first game, I raged more.  Fire in my soul flared up. Many players, when they are in rage, are more prone to misplays, but for me, rage is like calm. When I am in a rage, I am totally concentrated on the game and don't take notice to other things.  I ended up taking the second game. However, Dylan surprised me with a smart Xerosic play in the end of the game, discarding the DCE on my active Pumpkaboo. I had one prize and he had two, with no Pokémon-EX in play. I had my two Lightning Energy in hand, so I just attached first and after Dylan passed his turn, I took the final KO. 

I didn't know how much time we had left, but I knew it wasn't much because many tables were empty. So, again, I started to wonder if Top 16 was enough for me and whether I should just force the game to tie. However, Dylan helped me change my mind. I started and had a good setup. Then Dylan just drew and passed. This move made me realize, "I am the only one who can win this game.  Dylan will just hope for a tie." I started to play as fast as possible. I remember U.S. Nationals, where the Runner-Up lost because he spent too much time thinking instead of taking an aggressive "draw-pass" strategy, so I used the "draw-attack" strategy.

Dylan passed his turn, I drew, put down a Pokémon with Energy and said "Night March". My turns took something like five seconds. I drew a card and didn't even look at it.  I just attacked. Then time was called and I was rewarded for my fast play. Dylan had four Prizes, so he could not win, while I had two. I drawn Town Map in my first additional turn. I flipped my two Prizes and there was Juniper. Nice to see her. I put DCE on my Benched Pumpkaboo and attacked with Joltik and took Juniper. Now Dylan couldn't N me because I had the final KO on my board already. He used Xerosic to discard the DCE from Pumpkaboo and Knocked Out my Joltik. I had one DCE in my deck and one or two Shaymin. I felt like I was in the casino because I really flipped for my spot in Top 8. I played Juniper, drew DCE, and could make the winner's roar! 

5-0-2

I was so happy about making Top 8, but the hardest match was waiting. The next match was for everything because the prize difference between Top 8 and Top 4 is huge, so making Top 4 is like a win.  All other wins afterward are just a bonus. I started to concetrate again. I knew I was going against Jacob, playing Archie's Blastoise. I was thinking about my match against Aaron and I knew I had the deck and the skill to win. I just needed a little luck one more time; until now, my luck was up and down. I sat against Jacob and the match began.

Top 8 - Jacob Van Wagner (US) - Archie's Blastoise

Jacob had a really good build. He got Blastoise turn one, but he started with Shaymin, so he just attacked my own Shaymin. I started to take the tempo and Prize lead. However, I had to play so many Junipers to discard my Night March Pokémon.  I had, like, fifteen cards in deck and still three Battle Compressors there (one Prized). I had to discard my VS Seekers and Lysandres with my Junipers as well, and that cost me the first game. I had two Prizes left in my last turn, but four VS Seekers and two Lysandre in my discard pile. Jacob had an active Wailord-EX. If I had Lysandre, I could win. Jacob had his own Lysandre ready to go and used it to Knock Out my Shaymin.

The second game was so salty for me. Now I understood how Dylan must've felt in our match in the seventh round. I had just Pumpkaboo and nothing more. I played two Battle Compressor on turn one and discarded five Night Marchers and Juniper. Jacob was also unlucky and dead drew. He just played Battle Compressor, attached Water Energy to Mewtwo, and passed. Jacob made a huge misplay there. He had just Mewtwo and I had Pumpkaboo. He searched Eggs with his Battle Compressor but left them in the discard. I had DCE in hand. I hoped for a Dimension Valley topdeck to Knock Out the Mewtwo. However, it was Muscle band. I just passed.

Jacob probably realized his misplay and took his Eggs from the discard pile, put them on his Bench, attached another Water Energy and used X Ball for 40 damage. Now I had one chance to do something. I drew. Dimension Valley. So I Knocked Out Mewtwo, took Shaymin-EX and Pumpkaboo from my Prizes, and was ready to take the lead if I survived my turn. However, Jacob drew his card and it was the card that he was waiting for. He played his hand down and put down Archie and put Blastoise into play. My only hope was that he would not draw Superior Energy Retrieval. However, he did and Knocked Out my only Pumpkaboo with Blastoise.

And that is end of the story. I am still happy about my results. It is incredible to make Top 8 (6th Place overall) at Worlds because so many people just dream about it, and even if my luck left me in Top 8, I must say that Jacob had a really good deck because his setup was incredible. Congratulations to him. 

So I have 100 CP for next season and I am ready to start working toward my invite again. In the end, I would like to thank all my opponents from Worlds for the good and sometimes very close games, and hope I will see all my Pokémon friends next year in San Francisco!

Martin "Onix" Janouš

[+11] ok


 

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