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Marc Lutz

ECC 2015 Recap

Marc Lutz talks about the ECC 2015

02/22/2015 by Marc Lutz

ECC Report

 

I just came back from the European Challenge Cup (ECC) and have plenty of interesting things to write about. I arrived late on Friday due to heavy traffic while we had to pick up a friend who was staying with us as well.

However, we played a few games and made some final adjustments to our decks before we finally went to sleep. In the morning, I was still tired because I only had very few hours of sleep, but I was confident to make another deep ECC run this year.

Metagame Predictions

I predicted Yveltal EX variants to be played a lot either with or without Manectric EX. I didn't think Manectric EX would be popular in other decks. I also expected some Landorus EX/Crobat decks, as well as a decent amount of Virizion EX/Genesect EX decks. The deck that I thought would underrepresented is Donphan. That is the main reason why I decided not to play the Golbat/Crobat line unlike David and Niklas. 

The decks I thought would be unpopular were Fairy variants and Pyroar variants which, in hindsight, was a correct prediction. In the end, my metagame predictions weren't too far off and Virizion EX/Genesect EX was definitely the right choice for me.

Niklas and David both played a Virizion EX/Genesect EX deck with an interesting twist. David played a Crobat line to counter Donphan and other fighting decks while Niklas figured it was enough to just play a Golbat line. I decided not to run any of these to maximise my consistency.

 

 

I played a Jirachi EX to search for supporter cards, turning every Ultra Ball into a possible supporter and a Shaymin EX for late-game OHKOs. Let's see how useful those two Pokémon turned out to be!

 

The decks I decided not to play

The choice between this Yveltal EX or a Virizion EX/Genesect EX deck was incredibly difficult. The two Seismitoad EXs alone give you a good chance to beat most decks, simply because Quacking Punch is just so powerful. The deck also contains 2 Head Ringers which are great against Virizion EX/Genesect EX decks as it stops them from attaching their G-Booster to Genesect EX and possibly avoiding Virizion EX’s Emerald Slash on turn 2 as well. 

The regular Yveltal in combination with Hard Charm ensures Donphan decks have difficulties, considering it now resists 40 damage. While Fighting Stadium is useless because Yveltal is not a Pokémon EX

I play 3 Shadow Circles to improve my matchup against Manectric EX decks which I thought will be popular. It also makes Seismitoad EX's grass weakness redundant if you could manage to attach a Darkness Energy which is good against Virizion EX/Genesect EX decks, but in most cases this option was too slow.

In the end I decided not to play this deck; not because I felt it would be an underdog in the ECC metagame, but I am more comfortable playing Virizion EX/Genesect EX due to my past success with the deck.

This Yveltal EX/Seismitoad EX eventually won in the seniors division, so it definitely wouldn't have been a bad choice! 

I've had some success with this deck at smaller tournaments recently, so I decided to give it a try in our ECC testing sessions. As I mentioned in my article about Fairy decks, the biggest strength of this deck is its favorable matchup against Donphan without adding any unnecessary cards. However I wasn't certain whether Donphan would played a lot at the ECC. I felt the metagame was prepared for Donphan decks resulting in a lower number of players deciding to play it. Those who enjoy fighting decks would opt for the Landorus EX/Crobat deck which indeed happened at the ECC.

Landorus EX/Crobat, while also being a fighting deck, is more aggressive than the Donphan deck which is a problem for the Fairy decks. This was the main reason why I didn't play this list in the end. The fairy deck also had a very poor Virizion EX/Genesect EX matchup. This could be altered by including a lot of cards to have a better chance at winning this matchup. 2 Head Ringers were a given to prevent Genesect EX from using its G-Booster which was the biggest problem in this matchup. I also added a Spiritomb for the same purpose. The Master’s division runner up played a similar Fairy deck with Spiritomb, so this deck wasn't too bad of a choice either.

That pretty much concludes the pre-tournament report. Let's jump right into the first round of the European Challenge Cup 2015! 

Round 1 vs French Guy #1 (Seismitoad EX/Garbodor)

 

Game 1: I won the dice roll to go first and start with Virizion EX. I play Skyla to search for a Muscle Band to prevent my active Virizion EX from being Head Ringer'ed. He couldn't do anything to prevent my turn 2 Emerald Slash which ensured I was ahead in the game. By stalling with Lysandre, Escape Rope and Head Ringer he could pick up a few prizes with Seismitoad's Grenade Hammer. Fortunately I was able to play N to disrupt his play. After the last N he couldn’t make a comeback and I won the game.


Game 2: My opponent started with a Seismitoad EX and no supporters in hand. I could play around his Head Ringers with a combination of Escape Rope and Energy Switch and was able to beat him that way.

1-0

Round 2 vs Bruno Benetti (Yveltal EX/Manectric EX)

 

Game 1: On turn two, he was able to Evil Ball my Shaymin EX, followed by a turn three Y-Cyclone against my Jirachi EX. I immediately conceded the game to save some time and we move on to game two. 

Game 2: Game two was the mirror image of game one. He couldn't get set up while I was able to get my hands on everything I needed to knock out his Pokémon.


Game 3: We both had an excellent start. He had a chance to take control over the game by playing aggressively, but chose not to, thinking I was a strong player that would exploit his aggression. This misplay cost him the game.


2-0

Round 3 vs French Guy #2 (Virizion EX/Genesect EX)

 

Game 1: I started with Shaymin EX and played Ultra Ball, however I couldn't find Jirachi EX as it was prized. Not having a supporter put me in a bad spot right off the bat. Not only did he win the dice roll, but he also got a turn two Emerald Slash. After a few turns of a supporterless hand I made a comeback. My opponent played too aggressively and lost to my N, which considerably reduced his hand size and therefore his options. I took control and won after he played a Jirachi EX to get a supporter which was an easy knock out for me. I still can't believe I won that game.


Game 2: I open up with my preferred starter Pokémon: Jirachi EX. Again he was able to use Emerald Slash on turn 2 and won by knocking out Jirachi EX. Additionally, Lysandre's Trump Card was prized, meaning I couldn't get back the G-Booster I had to discard turn 1.

Game 3: Finally, I had a decent start, but he could negate my advantage with his Potion and Max Potion. After he G-Boostered my Genesect EX, while having a backup Genesect EX with 2 energies attached to it, he had 4 cards in hand after picking up two prizes. There was no Shadow Triad in his discard pile. My thought process was the following: he must have a Shadow Triad in his hand and he was probably thinking that I couldn't play N to reshuffle his hand and Shadow Triad to get my G-Booster back at the same time. Therefore I opted for the safest play by attaching a Plasma Energy to promote his Genesect EX with 2 energies attached and used Shadow Triad to knock out his Genesect EX. By playing this strategy, I needed an Energy Switch and another energy to use G-Booster again the turn after, however I could prevent him from winning the game next turn in case of Shadow Triad was in his hand. He then played an N which brought both players down to 2 cards in hand. Due to the increased consistency of my deck with 3 Bicycles I could come back faster and won the game.


3-0


Round 4 vs Simon Erriksen (Donphan/Wobbuffet)

 

Game 1: I start with just Jirachi EX and no supporters in hand. He attacked with Hawlucha's attack turn one, dealing enough damage to knock out my Jirachi EX.

Game 2: I open up with Shaymin EX, which is my second favorite Pokémon to start with. I bench a Virizion EX and attach an energy to it. My opponent knocked out my Shaymin EX with his Hawlucha. I respond with a Muscle Banded Virizion EX and use Emerald Slash to knock out his Hawlucha and attach 2 energies to my benched Genesect EX. He had no supporter card in his discard pile, so no target for VS Seeker, while also lacking a much needed supporter in his hand. After two turns he had no basic Pokémon left in play and lost the game.

Game 3: I got a slow start and couldn't keep up with his pace. His Wobbuffets prevented me from using Red Signal to promote his Donphans which is why I lost in the end.

3-1

Round 5 vs Steven Mao (Landorus EX/Crobat)

 

We agreed on a friendly intentional draw, because we didn't want to ruin the chance for both of us to make the cut.

3-1-1

Round 6 vs Mees Brenninkmeijer (Fairy/Manectric EX)

 

Game 1: We both had an excellent start. I got my turn two Emerald Slash while he had a turn two Mewtwo EX. I managed to draw some early prizes and kept a G-Booster in my hand in order to win next turn, but he benched Spiritomb which I forgot he played. I could still win with Shaymin EX and Muscle Band if I draw into an Energy Switch. After a Professor Juniper and 3 Bicycles for 3 cards each, the last card in my deck was the Energy Switch, which I couldn’t reach. He used Lysandre to knock out my Shaymin EX to win the game.

Game 2: I had the perfect start while he drew no supporter cards. He conceded after a few turns.

Game 3: After his first supporter he didn’t draw another supporter nor an energy card to set up. After two more turns he conceded the game.

4-1-1

Round 7 vs someone from Poland (Landorus EX/Crobat)

 

Game 1: I start with Jirachi EX again. This matchup is not good if you don't have a good start; a single energy on Landorus EX was enough to win him the game.

Game 2: Even though I had a very good start, his deck dealt too much damage for me to keep up with him. I lost this game as well.

4-2-1

Round 8 vs Adam Hawkins (Yveltal EX/Manectric EX)

 

Game 1: He struggles in the early game by not drawing a supporter. My Plasma Energy every single turn ensured he didn't have a chance to get back in the game.

Game 2: We both had a decent start. When he played Spiritomb to prevent me from playing G-Booster, I thought about a way to win the game without it. His benched Darkrai EX had 100 damage so I figured out a way to win with 4 Megalo Cannons. In addition to that I benched a Dedenne to prevent him from using Yveltal EX. This worked out perfectly and I won the game.

5-2-1

Round 9 vs Klára Mojzísová (Florges EX)

 

Game 1: I start with Jirachi EX again, nice! Because I had no supporters, I was forced to use Dedenne's Call for Family attack twice! While doing so I found out that my G-Booster was also prized. My strategy was to knock out her Spritzees to pick up the G-Booster from my prizes which was a lot easier thanks to Town Map. I knocked out her Aromatisse followed by a double G-Booster to win the game. 

Game 2: I had a very good start and simply used G-Booster to knock out 3 of her Pokémon EX to win the game.

6-2-1

Round 10 vs David Sturm (Virizion EX/Genesect EX/Crobat)

 

Game 1: I knock out my opponent’s Virizion EX by turn three with Emerald Slash followed by a Megalo Cannon. He couldn't get another basic Pokémon in play after that so I won the game.

Game 2: Although he used Emerald Slash and my board was full of damage, he wasn't able get a lead in the game because he lacked an important Plasma Energy. I used G-Booster to knock out his Genesect EX and he lost the game.

7-2-1

Round 11 vs Jan Scheerlinck (Landorus EX/Crobat)

 

Game 1: I start with Jirachi AGAIN! He knocked it out with Landorus EX and won the game. 

Game 2: I got a turn two Emerald Slash to knock out is Hawlucha and he was forced to play a Jirachi EX after that. He couldn't come back after I knocked out the Jirachi EX as well after which he conceded.

Game 3: We both had a good start, but he made a mistake by playing Escape Rope. He had the choice between promoting a Zubat and a Golbat while it was obvious that I would promote my Virizion EX. Golbat would lose to Muscle Band and Zubat would get knocked out for sure. He decided to promote his Zubat which lost him the game in the end, because I could knock out the Zubat and his Hawlucha during the next turn. After that I knocked out 2 of his Pokémon EX to win the game.

8-2-1

Round 12 vs Tobias Thesing (Yveltal EX/Garbodor)

 

Game 1: I had a very slow start and couldn't deal with his powered-up Yveltal EX. He won after a few turns.

Game 2: It came down to both of us having two prizes left and his Garbodor protected him from my win with G-Booster because I couldn't use Red Signal. I retreated my Genesect EX to promote Dedenne and played an N. He couldn't prevent from using Escape Rope and G-Booster for game the next turn.

Game 3: We only had about 5 minutes left so the game ended with a draw.

8-2-2

Round 13 vs David Hochmann (Virizion EX/Genesect EX/Crobat)

 

Game 1: My opponent had a turn two Emerald Slash and while I struggled to set up. I conceded after a few turns to save some time.

Game 2: I start with Shaymin EX. I had to play Jirachi EX to get into the game which then cost me the game because he drew 4 prizes by turn 4 with his Genesect EX. I couldn't come back.


8-3-2

Round 14 vs Isac Calmroth (Virizion EX/Genesect EX)

 

Game 1: I go first and dominate the game with a turn two Emerald Slash followed by a turn three G-Booster. He couldn't do anything to stop me, while not being able to draw his Head Ringer.

Game 2: He got a 4 prize lead, but after my N to 2 he didn't draw his Plasma Energy to win the game. After playing Lysandre's Trump Card, I reduced his outs and made a huge comeback with double G-Booster.

9-3-2

Conclusion

With a record of 9-3-2 I still had a chance to make the cut. Unfortunately my tie breaker was really bad and I ended up at the 11th place while 2 players with the same record made top 8. I wasn't too unhappy with the result, because I still got half a box of Primal Clash and earned enough Championship Points to get my day 1 invite.

 

In the end I still think I made the right choice with Virizion EX/Genesect EX, but it might have been better to play the Golbat/Crobat line like Niklas and David did; to have a better matchup against the fighting decks I lost against. However it was still a nice event and I got to see a lot of friends again!

 

See you all soon,

 

Marc Lutz

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