2015 South African Nationals 1st Place Tournament Report
Hi Guys I am Zahir "Zedz" Hamid for those that don't know, this is my second article on 60cards.net (actually my second article ever), I am writing to help inform people more about the game where I am from (Here far away from most in South Africa) and also to try my hand at winning the write your way to worlds competition.
07/01/2015 by Zahir Hamid
This Article will tell you about the 2015 South African Nationals and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the experience.
After I managed to qualify from the first part of the competition, I was really excited but on the other hand I was worried since I already qualified for Worlds and wasn't planning on attending Nationals, I wasn't sure what I was going to write about for this article, luckily around a month before our Nationals someone very important to me told me about a special one of the airlines were having a special on flights so just like that I had a way to take part in Nationals! I ended up booking flights for 7 other friends as well so I knew I was going to have fun this weekend!
So getting closer to Nationals, I did something stupid and took part in Mortal Kombat X qualifiers so that started up ruining any free time I had and made it quite hard to practice both (I ended up top 16 for that tho and got a cool bobblehead haha) See Below
So once I was done with the Mortal Kombat Nationals, I had another bright idea of trying to take part in both in TCG and VGC since I thought I had a pretty good idea of the format we were playing in, Boy was I wrong after firing up my Pokemon Trading Card Game Online account and testing a few things my win percentage was looking anywhere where I needed it to be was making more misplays then I would like to admit as well. That was when I decided to start taking this tournament a bit more seriously just before the weekend of US regionals (The first one with Roaring Skies Legal) I tuned into the stream and as I watched I realised Ross Cawthon and Andrew Mahone (Two very good and well known players in USA) had a similar idea to me to try and make Raichu work and they did very well!
After that weekend the Lysandre's Trump card ban was announced but it didn't affect our Nationals so I stuck to trying my best to make Raichu work, as it was the only deck that I wanted to play since it looked so enjoyable to play with, after quite a bit of testing I finalised a build and this is what I ended up going with
- 4x Pikachu
- 4x Raichu
- 2x Eevee
- 2x Leafeon
- 3x Zubat
- 3x Golbat
- 2x Crobat
- 1x Kecleon
- 1x Mr. Mime
- 2x Exeggcute
- 3x Shaymin EX
- 1x Jirachi EX
- 4x Professor Juniper
- 3x N
- 3x Colress
- 1x Lysandre's Trump Card
- 1x Lysandre
- 1x Wally
- 3x VS Seeker
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 1x Muscle Band
- 1x Scoop Up Cyclone
- 3x Sky Field
- 3x Grass Energy
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
The reason for this deck besides the fact that it was fun, was that I felt it would have been good for our Nationals Meta which I expected to be the following decks:
Raichu is such a dominant force against this deck easily trading 1 for 2 and sometimes 1 for 4, if they are running toad as well then Leafeon isn't a bad secondary attacker as well.
As you can see the deck only runs 9 items and you end up playing a few of them on the first turn when you get to use items, a full bench with Raichu + muscle band or a Golbat Ko's a Seismitoad Ex so another favourable match here.
This match should usually be a decent match for Raichu without the Leafeon but I find the Leafeon heavily swings it in your favour, especially with any awkward starts or perfect starts for your opponent.
Another positive match here, with weakness (if they not playing Altaria) and a match where Kecleon can pull its weight as well, I wasn't too worried about this match as I thought people will play the speed version as I would have but ended up only seeing tons of Altaria, but it worked out in the end I guess.
Raichu out speeds and trades to well for this deck to really be too much of a problem, if you go first and have a decent opening hand you should win 9/10 times usually.
I wasn't really expecting this to be a highly played deck, just because I thought people would feel safer playing Seismitoad, I didn't even test against it but I see it as a pretty even match especially if you get to go first.
This is a horrible match up for this deck, the Mr. mime might help a bit but the way I saw it was that if I could hopefully avoid it for the first and second round then it would lose to more of the popular decks and I wouldn't have to vs it
So hopefully that gives you a bit of insight on how the deck works in these matches
Finally it was time for Nationals, we weren't staying to far from the tournament and I knew the area quite well since I attended a Regionals here last year, so we woke up, got ready and headed towards the venue, when we got to our destination, there were lots of people already there, a few waiting for me to deliver cards to them . . . but there was still plenty of time, the venue was set up well, there was even a colouring desk which was awesome and all the staff were very helpful and friendly.
Time for the Tournament to start!
Round 1 vs Uthmaan Emandien (Rayquaza/Shaymin/Altaria/Ninetails) WW
We sat down shook hands and set up, Finally it was announced to start, he flips over Rayquaza (I think in my mind I saw myself with the biggest smile ever!) I thought it was going to be an easy win but I was wrong, when he played the Winona for the Swablu and Altaria that smile went away and it was time to get serious, I ended up overpowering him with bat damage and a constant flow of Raichu's to take both games.
So that was a good start and I was 1-0-0 not a bad way to start the day.
Round 2 vs Letano Windell (Yveltal/Toad/Darkrai/Mewtwo) WW
I sat down next to an old friend for Round 2, we set up and had a really awesome 2 games with Kecleon doing some serious damage against his Mewtwo, while we were playing and talking we figured out everything in his deck was weak to something in my deck besides the Darkrai but it was too late by the time he had figured it out, tho we had a really fun match and I think we both walked away smiling
Now I was 2-0-0 and I found out most of the landbatz players I knew had already dropped a game as I predicted, I was ready for the next game
Round 3 vs Gershwin Scheepers (Rayquaza/Shaymin/Altaria/Raichu) WLW
Round 3 I got paired against another Rayquaza player and this time it was the winner of the first ever Nationals in South Africa back in 2012 (it was unsanctioned tho) He has top cut every Nationals since then as well including this one. This was some really close games, one thing I realised since this tournament is I hate Altaria! I had some bad starts, with game 1 and game 2 I started with Exeggcute, game 3 was really close in the end where he needed to hit a grass energy to win and if he didn't I would win, he didn't end up hitting it and I ended up taking a really close set there!
Break Time and I was 3-0! What a great feeling, we went to McDonalds and since I can't really stomach much in the middle of a tournament I just got a large chips and Coke with the idea being I would get something after the event (Biggest mistake ever!) I didn't realise what time the tournament would end so late. We finished eating and headed back to the Venue.
Round 4 pairings were put up but then I noticed something strange that there were no standings put up (I thought maybe something went wrong and didn't pay too much attention to it, later on I was told it was intentional to deter ID's while I am neither For or against ID's I think standing should be put up as it is still a part of the tournament) but anyway here we go
Round 4 vs Curtis Fourie (Trevenant/Shaymin + DCE!) LWL
I sat down next to a good friend Curtis for this round, we both knew what each other were playing and we both admitted that we didn't test against each other and wanted to see how the match up was, Game 1 went quicker than 5 min and he took a quick win, game 2 was the same except I took a quick win, we both started laughing before game 3 started, finally we had a decent game on our hands trading blows for 1 prize at a time, until time was called, I couldn't believe how long our game 3 took it was my turn when time was called so he was Turn 1, in my next turn I N'd him to 1 while he had an active Trevenant with a psychic energy attached he needed a double colorless energy, this was it I thought it was going to be a draw, it was his turn he draws and I see a smile on his face, he hit the DCE! I was so shocked and he ended up taking the game, was one of the most intense games I had of the day but I had fun!
So I was 3-1-0 and was still pretty happy going into the next round with that record there wasn't much time and the next rounds pairings were put up.
Round 5 vs Jonah Alter (Yveltal/Seismitoad/Garb) WW
I sat down next to a familiar face from another province and we started the match, game 1 went pretty smooth and I took an easy win, game 2 i started with a terrible hand and played down Zubat active with no bench he started and proceeded to Virbank + Laser (with a heads flip) combo me but then he N'd me I was so happy in my mind and drew my 6 and then I saw 2 Leafeon, 1 grass, 1 double colorless, a muscle band and a skylfied, I thought I was going to lose at the end of my turn, he ended and my zubat woke up when I flipped heads, I drew a juniper! Yes I was saved! from there I ended up setting up and took a much closer second game.
My record was now 4-1-0 and with just 1 round remaining I worked out I was already in Top Cut (from the pairings sheet) so I was pretty happy.
Round 6 vs Mikyle Raju (Yveltal/Toad/Garb) ID
Game 6 I got paired against a close friend Mikyle Raju, he was on 11 points, I already knew 12 will make cut and he was playing a good match up for me so ID'd with him and we were both in cut.
Standings went up and I was Second seed with 13 points I didn't think I would go in at Second seed, I was really confused but then I looked at my Resistance compared to 3rd and 4th since they were on 13 points as well and it was 75% wow! I worked it out that I vs'd only people in the top 9 standings the whole day, I was pretty impressed with myself for that (Humble Brag).
After a short break it was time for Top Cut, here is a picture of the awesome people who managed to make top cut.
Top 8 Vs Shakeel Sayed (Toad/Aromatisse/Stuff) WW
Again I got to sit down against another very good player and friend, unfortunately Raichu was a little to fast against this deck and his list didn't include an Aegislash EX or Landorus EX, so I ended up taking an easy 2 wins and managed to get a break before top 4.
Finally I was here again after scrubbing out at Natz 2014 I was finally in the same situation as I was 2 years ago Top 4 of Natz and I could see the 1st Place trophy calling out to me!
Top 4 Vs Gershwin Scheepers (Rayquaza/Shaymin/Altaria/Raichu) WLW
Not Altaria again! Such a drag! We sat down and got ready for our top 4 match and we both knew either of us could take it, though I felt as I had the advantage, I remember taking the first game pretty convincingly and him taking the second the same, the pressure was on for the third, I thought to myself this was it and I figured we had about 15-20 minutes for this final game which should be enough since both our decks are pretty good, but we ended up going to time after trading knockouts the whole game I was Turn 0 again, it finally came down to this but I couldn't do much and ended up just setting up what I could passing, with him being on 2 prizes and myself being on 2 prizes as well I had an Exeggcute active with an energy attached to retreat the next turn if I needed while he had a Pikachu active as well with 1 energy it was his turn next needed a Raichu to take the prize lead but he ended up missing it and having to quick attack with Pikachu and getting tails to miss the KO on Exeggcute, it was my final turn, I retreated the Exeggcute and took the KO on Pikachu to put me ahead on prizes, next was his turn and he couldn't do anything to come back and I ended up managing to take the win! A side not was this was the first and last game that I used Wally and even though he helped a bit in this match he was pretty much a dead card for the rest of the tournament, I would have been much better off playing Teammates I think.
Finally I'm in the Finals of Nationals and I was going to vs a Yveltal deck I was excited and after a 5 minute break we got too it! It was time for the Finals! My big chance and heres how it went down.
Finals vs Letano Letano Windell (Yveltal/Toad/Darkrai/Mewtwo) WLW
We sat down for the game of the day and little did I know it was going to be so close, Game 1 I took pretty easily overpowering him with Leafeon and Raichu. Game 2 I had sort of an awkward start but I always felt like I had a decent chance of taking it so I played it out instead of scooping, round 3 we were short on time and even though I had a good start he played well and made it a close game that went to time, I was winning 3 - 5 on the prize trade when time was called in his turn, he didn't manage to take any KO in his turn and then in my turn I realised if I just take the knockout I would be winning 2-5 on the prize trade and there would be no way for him to come back and take 3 prizes or more in his final turn so the next turn he did manage to take 2 but it wasn't enough and in my turn I just ended for the win, a pretty anti-climatic finish but I was finally the National Champion and after some pretty close and fun games in a gruelling 16 hour day I was extremely happy with my performance and walked away with a prize and experience that I will never forgot!
Me pictured on Right with one of our Distributors on the Stefan Roets on the Left
So here I am now after my most successful season so far on 975CP rated Number 1 in South Africa for 2015 and extremely amazing season with some shoutouts to The Whole of The Durban Pokemon League, My travelling buddies you know who you are, Blowfish, Friends and Pokemon players from all over South Africa including but not limited too Sheldon, Mikyle and the EL crew, Shakeel, Curtis, Riaan and the PE crew, Jonah, Letano, Matthew, Pranesh, Moeen and Aaqil, also a big thanks to all the To's, Judges and Hobby Stores in South Africa which help this game to run and grow!
If you would like to view the finals it is available on
Thanks for reading my article, I hope you enjoyed it, please don't forget to +1 it if you did and would like a worlds report which is similar and hopefully another First Place as well!
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