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Marc Lutz

ECC Top 8 Tournament Report

Marc Lutz talks about his experience at the recent ECC and how he made it to the top 8.

03/03/2016 by Marc Lutz

Hey guys, it's your boy Marc Lutz again. This time I'm going to tell you about my experience at the last European Challenge Cup and how the tournament went for me. I already won the event two years ago and had some good runs almost every other year so it was time for me to try my best again and maybe take the title one more time. Since I already got some practice in with a lot of decks for the last article I wrote on ECC preparation I had a good idea of what's good and what's not. In the end I wasn't too far off with what I predicted so let's get right into the article, shall we?

So the deck which I would bring to the ECC was pretty obvious to me. In the beginning of my testing sessions I debated whether Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX was the best play or not, but in the end I figured that my version of Manectric-EX/Crobat was the best. I also playtested some Gardevoir-EX decks with friends but that wasn't the right thing to play as it was too fragile against Night March.

So this is the deck I was playing.

Manectric-EX/Crobat! I played a lot of games with the Manectric-EX/Crobat deck I posted in my last article, but a few hours before I left for the ECC, I had some interesting ideas which I wanted to try out with the deck. I felt that the straightforward Manectric-EX/Crobat deck wasn't good enough for some reason because it was lacking options in my opinion. That's why I came up with this really weird version of the deck, but it worked out in the end.

So the general strategy of Manectric-EX/Crobat is to manipulate damage with Overrun and the Bats so that you can either get easy knockouts on bigger stuff with Manectric-EX's Assault Laser attack in combination with Head Ringer or just to take multiple Prizes against smaller things especially against Night March. Head Ringer was also really good at slowing down Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX if you can get them out soon enough. One of the problems this deck runs into is if your opponent is playing a deck focused on non-EX attacker and doesn't attach any tools because that way your damage output is really limited. However I though the only deck that would fit that criteria is Yveltal/Zoroark/Gallade and the Yveltal are weak to Manectric-EX so that was okay.

 

The changes I made to the basic list of Manectric-EX/Crobat were pretty neat in my opinion. I played three Shaymin-EX for maximum consistency, to make sure I would have enough room on my Bench for all of that because I was also playing Crobat I put in some Sky Fields. That way I can just play multiple Shaymin-EX on turn one to get the best setup possible while also playing down multiple Zubat so I can evolve them later whenever I need the extra damage. I also added a copy of Hoopa-EX so that a single Ultra Ball would guarantee me a great lead on the board as it was able to grab Shaymin-EX and also Manectric-EX. The most crucial thing was getting an Energy attached to Manectric-EX on turn one because I didn't have any Energy acceleration in this deck so Hoopa was a great addition.

Having Shaymin-EX in play can really backfire in the wrong situation because those are generally free Prizes for your opponent if they can Lysandre them out. That's why I also played the one copy of Parallel City Gym in my deck to get rid of the Shaymin after I used them. That stadium card can also be decent against Entei because of the other effect, but I didn't play against that deck. In some games I also used the 'Giant Stump' effect against my opponent to lock them out of the game after they flooded their Bench with smaller guys, it's a really cool card concept!

Another minor change I made to the deck was taking out some of the Professor Sycamores to rely more on shuffle-draw Supporters like Professor Birch and Judge. I'm not exactly sure if Professor Birch was the best card because it lost me some games, but I like the idea of not discarding important cards.

 

 

The last addition I made to the deck were the two copies of the promo Jirachi. Jirachi is really insane against decks that only run Special Energy like Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX and Night March. I decided to play two of those so I had a really good matchup against those decks. In combination with Super Rod and a lot of basic Energy there was literally no way my opponent could stop me from streaming Jirachi’s if they were playing one of those decks. I don't think I would've made it as far without the Jirachi techs.

Alright guys, that was some talk about the deck so let's start with round one of the European Challenge Cup and see how the tournament went for me!

The Main Event

Round 1 vs. Night March

Game 1: I had no Supporters and my opponent played Hex Maniac. I had only Pokémon to play and he proceeded to knock out all of them with 180 hits from Night March attackers. I lost that game rather quickly.

Game 2: He only had Shaymin-EX and a Joltik, didn't draw anything in three turns. He lost to three consecutive Overruns from Manectric-EX.

 

Game 3: He played four Super Scoop Ups and Milotic in his Night March deck so that he could use like eight Hex Maniacs in a row after setting up. He started hitting me with 180 from Night March starting turn two and kept playing those Hex Maniacs over and over. I couldn't do anything and lost that game.

Turns out Hex Maniac is a pretty good card!

0-1

Round 2 vs. Lucario EX/Hawlucha

Game 1: I Evolved a Crobat and attached a Muscle Band to it and used it as my main attacker. Hitting Lucario-EX for 100 damage each time and using Jirachi against his Strong Energy quickly finished that game.

Game 2: Pretty much the same thing, this match wasn't the most exciting thing I played during that weekend, sorry guys!

 

I must say that this game wasn't that competitive, but what can you expect after starting the event 0-1? I'm not even sure if he played Shaymin-EX.

1-1

Round 3 vs. Sceptile EX/Ariados/Crobat

Game 1: I followed my gameplan in that game. I attached Head Ringers to his Sceptile-EX so that his attacker is generally worse than my Manectric-EX. Apparently he didn't play Mega Sceptile-EX which made this a whole lot easier. I also focused on getting a knockout on Ariados with my Crobat so that his damage output is limited. Unfortunately I was rather unlucky with the flips on Sceptile-EX's Sleep Poison attack and one of my Manectric-EX got Knocked Out for free. But in the end, he couldn't keep up with the Head Ringers and lost the game. 

 

Game 2: I followed my gameplan in that game. I attached Head Ringers to his Sceptile EX so that his attacker is generally worse than my Manectric EX. I also focused on getting a knock out on Ariados with my Crobat so that his damage output is limited. In the end he couldn't keep up with the Head Ringers and lost the game.

2-1

Round 4 vs. Night March

Game 1: I locked him down with Jirachi and multiple Crobat. He got a few knockouts with his Night March attackers, but after I discarded all of his Double Colorless Energy and he no longer had an out against Jirachi he conceded the game.

Game 2: The game went back and forth with knockouts on each side. At one point he didn't have a Night March attacker left. However, I was rather unfortunate and couldn't Evolve my Zubat, so he used VS Seeker on Lysandre to promote my Zubat and knocked it out with Shaymin-EX and Muscle Band. I was very frustrated after that loss.

Game 3: Due to the first two games taking forever, we were in the time out after two turns. The match ended with a draw.

After that round I was really worried about my score because I lost Round 1 which really ruined my tiebreaker and with that score after Round 4 I had to win more or less all other games this day to get a good seat in the Top 32.

2-1-1

Round 5 vs. Manectric EX/Crobat


Game 1: He started with two Shaymin-EX and two Zubat in play and passed. I used Parallel City to lock him out from playing more Pokémon on his Bench. This forced him to use Shaymin-EX's Sky Return attack after attaching two Basic Energy to it. Thus, his setup was way too slow and he lost after a few attacks from my Manectric-EX.

 

Game 2: We both got a decent opener in that game. After some Prize exchanges back and forth he lost the game because I had more experience with the mirror match. I got some good damage in with my Crobat and he couldn't keep up with the Head Ringers. I felt if this guy would've played that game different at some point he would've actually had a chance to come back and maybe even win, but he didn't see it.

3-1-1

Round 6 vs. Manectric-EX/Crobat

 

Game 1 & 2: Unfortunately, there's not much to say about this match. I got the best opener possible in both games. I got a turn-one Hoopa-EX to get my Shaymin-EX and Manectric-EX. I also got three Zubat in play as well as Muscle Bands attached to both of my Manectric-EX and an Energy attached. He only had one Zubat in both games and lost because he couldn't keep up with the pressure. Apparently Sky Field with four Shaymin-EX is really good for consistency!

4-1-1

Round 7 vs. Mega Mewtwo-EX/Yveltal

Game 1: I had nothing in the beginning and he quickly 6-0'd me with a Mega Mewtwo-EX. I really don't like these kind of games and I was also pretty tilted after that game so I had to focus on the second game.

 

Game 2: I got a good opening in that game. I used multiple Golbat and Crobat to get a fast knockout on one of his Mega Mewtwo-EX and during the same turn, attached a Head Ringer to his Benched Mewtwo-EX so he didn't have the chance to get a knockout on my Manectric-EX in return. That way I got to pick up double Prizes two turns in a row and won the game.

 

Game 3: He only got one Mega Mewtwo-EX in that game. During the midgame he struggled a little bit because one of his Shaymin-EX was Prized and I had more Supporters in general. So I got a big lead on the board during that stage of the game and used the advantage to sweep him in the lategame.

5-1-1

Round 8 vs. Isabel Rotas (Night March)

Game 1: All games against Night March are pretty much the same. They do their Night March stuff during their turn and I setup multiple Crobats to get knockouts without attacking and of course I have the Jirachi to get rid of their Double Colorless Energy while having a wall active. I put down a Jirachi with an Energy turn one. One of the surprising things during that game was that she played Pokémon Catcher in her Night March deck. Luckily she didn't flip heads and lost the game against Jirachi.

Game 2: Game 2 was almost the same as Game 1. The only difference here is that she tried to get the last two Prizes by using Super Rod on both Feebas and then Teammates to get them into play which increased the odds of getting a Double Colorless Energy back next turn. However I used Parallel City the turn after to discard all of my Pokémon-EX in play and she conceded right after.

6-1-1

Round 9 vs. Night March

Game 1: I started the game with Shaymin-EX and had no chance to get another Basic Pokémon into play. He got an easy knockout on my Shaymin-EX and won the game. This is the third time I lost a game because I simply had nothing in the early game. However since I was playing against Night March here I was pretty confident to still win the series as my deck was heavily teched to win against Night March. Also the first game didn't take much more than three minutes so there wasn't the chance of drawing the game because of timeout.

Game 2 & 3: I locked him out of the game with my Jirachi and Crobat tactic like I explained in the other games against Night March. I would really like to tell you guys more about these games, but I literally didn't do anything special to win them, Jirachi is just super good against Night March, especially in combination with multiple Crobat.

7-1-1

 

I was really satisfied with my result after Day 1. I had a guaranteed spot in Day 2 and also a very good record going into Day 2. I only needed three more wins to have a chance at Top 8! After day 1 was over I decided to head home pretty much immediately because I was really tired and had a long way to get to Arnhem. I didn't prepare much for day 2 as well, but after day 1 I was really confident in my deck choice.


After checking out the decks represented in the Top 32, I saw a lot of Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX and Night March decks which my deck was teched against so I thought it would be pretty easy to get three wins the following day.

Let's move on to Day 2 of the ECC!

Round 10 vs. Yveltal/Zoroark/Gallade

Game 1: He starts with Yveltal-EX and didn't Retreat it after a turn. I got a quick knockout on that Yveltal-EX with Manectric-EX and a Head Ringer followed by a knockout on his Shaymin-EX. He didn't get his Gallade in time during that game and lost to my Manectric-EX.

 

Game 2: He got a pretty good start in that game. He set up some Yveltal, Zoroark and also a Gallade. I used Manectric-EX's Overrun attack to deal 20 damage to his Gallade. That way I bait out his Gallade because he thought it was an easy Prize on my Manectric-EX. After that I evolved a Golbat into Crobat, dealt another 30 damage to his Gallade and knocked it out with Crobat and Muscle Band. After that I reduced my Bench with Super Scoop Up so his Zoroark wasn't able to get a knockout on anything. Now I could start picking up Prizes again with Manectric-EX because he wasn't able to play Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick to get his Gallade out again because he would deck out if he would do that. It was a pretty close game, but I managed to win it in the end.

8-1-1

Round 11 vs. David Roodhoof Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX

Game 1: It was a pretty weird game. The opener was pretty standard on both side, but at one point I had a Super Rod and my second Jirachi Prized so if my one Jirachi got knocked out I was in a pretty bad spot. Also I couldn't retreat at one point because of his Aqua Base stadium card and I just conceded the game because I felt there was no way I could turn it around anymore.

Game 2: I used the double Jirachi strategy again to discard most of his Energy. After a few turns of doing so I felt the time was right to start taking Prizes with Manectric-EX and Crobat. I won the game after a few more turns because he couldn't attack anymore.

Game 3: There wasn't much time left and we both agreed on a draw.

8-1-2

Round 12 vs. Niklas Rappel (Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX)

Game 1 & 2: He got some early Quaking Punches in against my hand full of item cards. After a few turns of Quaking Punch he decided to play Judge and attack with Giratina-EX to get a knockout on my Manectric-EX. In game one I drew a ton of Stadium cards after the Judge and game two wasn't any better. It was a crushing defeat, but what can you do!

Even though I lost the game Niklas had super high chances of making it in the Top 8 now so it wasn't that bad I still had to get good results in during my next games.

8-2-2

Round 13 vs. Nico Sutter (Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX)

Game 1: We both had decent openers in that game and the first couple of turns went as usual. I played some Zubat on my Benched and setup a Manectric-EX for attacking. However at one point I asked him about his hand size before playing either Professor Birch or Judge. He replied 'five' so I played the Professor Birch. Next turn he played Lysandre and I saw he had seven cards in hand including the Lysandre. I called the Judge to clear this situation. Apparently he put the Lysandre in his hand from his discard pile or his deck or simply did a double draw, we don't really know. In the end he got a game loss for that. This took forever though and we extended the round timer by quite a margin so I wanted to finish my next game as quickly as possible as I was getting quite tired at that point.

 

Game 2: He attached a Special Energy card to his Active Pokémon on turn one and passed after a few items. I got heads on Super Scoop Up to get my Jirachi Active on turn one. I also attached a Head Ringer to his Benched Giratina-EX and then used Stardust to discard the Energy attached to his Active Giratina-EX. Also one of his Giratina-EX was Prized so he had to attach three Energy to the Benched Giratina-EX to even attack. He couldn't keep up with the Jirachi and the Head Ringers on the other Seismitoad-EX and lost the game rather quickly.

9-2-2

Round 14 vs. Phillip Schulz (Straight Seismitoad EX)

Philip was already guaranteed a spot in the Top 8 and with 30 points I thought I was guaranteed a spot as well so we quickly decided on an intentional draw to save us some time and relax before the Top 8 began.

9-2-3

During the last Swiss round I figured out that somehow 30 points wasn't enough to get a guaranteed spot in the Top 8 so I was kinda regretting my decision of drawing in the last round. However my tiebreaker was really good so I got in the Top 8 just barely! After they showed the final standings after 14 rounds of Swiss they immediately told the players in the Top 8 to take their seat. This time I had to play out my match against Phillip Schulz!

 

Top 8 vs. Phillip Schulz (Straight Seismitoad EX)

Game 1: I flipped tails on Professor Birch on turn one and got a really bad hand after that. He attacked me with Quaking Punch during his turn one and I conceded immediately after that.

Game 2: We both had nothing for the first couple turns. However his Rough Seas stadium card completely negated my damage output in the early game and in the end, I couldn't keep up with his disruption cards. He used Lysandre on my Hoopa EX. I got a lucky heads on the Super Scoop Up to return my Hoopa-EX to my hand, but then he used another Lysandre on my Shaymin-EX and I lost the game because I had no options left after Quaking Punch.

Once again, here's the deck I was playing at the tournament. The single Basic Metal Energy didn't make a difference in the end as I never attacked with Jirachi's second attack, but I also didn't lose a game because of it. Congrats to Phillip for getting second at the ECC with a rather unique deck even if it doesn't seem like that!

My Other Deck Choices

However, before I close out the article I'd still like to go over a few decks I was considering before I registered with Manectric-EX/Crobat. As some of you probably know I posted like 8 decks before the ECC which I playtested most of them. There were three decks besides the one I played which I really liked as well and two of them even made it in the Top 8 so I wasn't too far off with my prediction.

The first deck I was closely considering obviously is Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX. Undoubted one of the format's strongest decks at the moment. Seismitoad-EX itself is already a powerhouse on its own. Locking your opponent out of their items can easily win you the game if they don't draw their Supporters in time. Also Giratina-EX is really strong. Being able to lock anything that Seismitoad-EX doesn't lock is great and its ability is also really good especially against the Mega Mewtwo-EX which some good players brought to the tournament.

On top of that you have a ton of powerful disruption cards like Crushing Hammer, Team Flare Grunt and even Team Aqua's Secret Base. This deck is also super consistent which I really liked as well. If you have a single Ultra Ball you're pretty much guaranteed to have a full setup as you can use it to search both Seismitoad-EX and Giratina-EX as well as a Shaymin-EX to draw additional cards after that.

One of the main reasons I considered this deck was its good matchups across the field. Being able to get easy wins against Night March if they don't overrun you on turn one is really good and also Giratina-EX's ability would put me in a decent spot against Mega Mewtwo-EX. However when playtesting the deck I encountered some situations where they would just play Hex Maniac and OHKO my Giratina-EX with their Mega Mewtwo-EX because I had 4 Energy attached to Giratina-EX most of the time.

That's also where I got the idea from for my actual deck by the way. I didn't want to play Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX because it relies too much on special Energy and I was afraid of opposing Jirachi’s, but I still wanted to beat the most common decks on the top tables. So if you can't beat them, join them, right? Also here's a deck list for the Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX deck.

Another deck I was considering and actually one of my favorites for taking the tournament is Yveltal/Zoroark/Gallade. This deck is really interesting and also leaves some room for tech choices which I really like.

This deck has a lot of different attackers which makes it difficult for your opponent to deal with them as they're easy to get into play. The regular Yveltal is more or less your main attacker. Being able to attack with basic Energy only is really good against Jirachi and Enhanced Hammer. Also it fuels your Benched attackers while attacking. This card alone is able to OHKO both Joltik and Pumpkaboo for a single Energy and is a non-EX attacker itself which made the Night March matchup actually winnable. Against Seismitoad-EX you could just start attacking with it and setting up an Yveltal-EX on your Bench which could pick up some Prizes afterwards.

The second attacker of the deck is really good against decks which use their Bench such as Crobat decks and most decks which require multiple Shaymin-EX to setup. Mind Jack was able to deal huge amounts of damage for just a Double Colorless Energy if your opponent wasn't careful with their Bench. Also its ability which is similar to the one of Keldeo-EX is really good. Combined with Float Stone your entire board has free retreat which is great because you generally can't use Energy to retreat in this game. Also it would prevent you from getting Lysandre stalled in the late game.

There's also Gallade in this deck which is actually pretty easy to get into play with Battle Compressor and Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick. Once in play it does not only help you with your topdecks due to its ability, but it also serves as a huge threat for your opponent. Generally it can't be OHKO'd by many things in the format so it is safe most of the time. As a fighting type Gallade is able to deal with Manectric-EX pretty easily which is really necessary in this deck as Yveltal and Yveltal-EX are both weak to lightning and if your opponent is smart enough they can play around Zoroark. Also with Lysandre you can just pick up easy Prizes on Shaymin-EX with Gallade.

Overall this is a really strong decks with great matchups across the field. In the end I didn't play it because I haven't playtested it enough and I wasn't that confident with the deck as I was with the Manectric-EX/Crobat deck. I probably would've gotten a good result with it, but oh well. Here's a deck list for it!

The last deck I was closely considering is Night March. As one of the top tier decks going into the tournament I had to playtest this as well, whether I liked it or not. The deck is really powerful if you get a good hand on turn one and it also has a ton of autowins across the board as most decks which rely on Pokémon-EX such as the Mega Mewtwo-EX deck that made it in the Top 8 can't ever keep up with the pressure that Night March decks provide with just basic non-EX attackers.

Everyone obviously knows how the deck works if they have everything so I'm going to explain why I didn't like the deck. Most decks still have a chance to get back into the game after a bad opener, however this deck is not the best at catching up on even grounds. Also if you don't have the nuts on turn one and your opponent attacks with Quaking Punch the turn after you pretty much lost the game. The fact that this deck relies on so many item cards as well as only 4 Double Colorless Energy to attack makes it really fragile against disruption cards.

Of course you have backup mechanisms such as Milotic to get back important pieces, but if your opponent plays a Hex Maniac or simply knocks out your Feebas with Lysandre you can't rely on that anymore. On top of that this deck also struggles a lot against the promo Jirachi as you have to use Lysandre to get out of the lock and most of the Night March decks don't play Escape Rope because there isn't much room for tech cards.

Night March did win the tournament in the end so it's definitely not a bad deck, it's just that I don't like these kind of decks myself. Here's the tournament winning Night March deck in case you're interested in it, credits to Medi of course for winning the tournament!

 

Conclusion

Unfortunately my run at the ECC ended quickly after the Top 8 began. I think I had a good chance to win against any of the other guys in the Top 8 except for maybe that Mega Mewtwo-EX deck. However I had to play against the worst matchup out of the other 6 guys. Still I think I had a good run and I'm satisfied with my result in the end. I got a box of Breakpoint and some more CP towards my goal of the top 22 at the end of the season.

After I lost my game in the Top 8 I had to leave the event because the other people in my carpool didn't even make day two and they were waiting for me to finish. We still had a long way to go and it was kinda late so the event ended for me after that.

It was great to play at the ECC again, I met some cool people and fans from all over Europe and had another deep run as well. I'm really looking forward to the ECC next year! I'm sorry if I missed out on your name if I played against you, but I really don't remember most of them and I can no longer find the pairings online.

That's it for my tournament report guys, I hope you learned something from it. As always if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments and I will gladly answer them. Thanks for reading and I will see you next time!

-Marc Lutz

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