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Justin Kulas

Georgia State Championships: Spinning My Way to Victory With Safeguard and a Fortune Cookie

Hi my name is Justin Kulas, I am in Senior division from Florida. Some of my accomplishments include winning five City Championships this year, Top Eight Texas Regionals, Top 16 Florida Regionals, and winning the Georgia State Championships on March 28, 2015.

04/09/2015 by Justin Kulas

For two weeks before the tournament, I wasn’t sure what to play, so I was testing Landorus/Bats thinking maybe that was the play. As States went on, I saw an increase in Seismitoad variants which made me believe that maybe it wasn’t the best idea to play that. A few days before the tournament, my dad told me I should try Donphan because it doesn’t really lose to anything. I was testing it without Primal Groudon but with Sigilyph instead, because I thought it was going to be a better choice in Seniors to stand strong against all of the Seismitoad and Yveltal decks. In my testing, I was losing only about one out of five games which was great, so I decided to play Donphan for States. The only decks I was worried about were Gardevoir and Kyogre, but there ended up being no Kyogre.


Round 1 vs Leonard with Nightmarch/Flareon

Round 1, Game 1

I started with a fair hand. I had one Phanpy on the bench and a Hawlucha active and my opponent started with a Joltik and a Mr. Mime. On my first turn I played Korrina to get a Phanpy and Robo Substitute, plus I also got to find out I had three Donphans prized which was not the least bit exciting. I retreated Hawlucha into Robo Substitute and passed. On my opponent’s turn I think he played three battle compressors turn one and knocked out my Robo Substitute. During the rest of the game, I played Lysandre's Trump Card three or four times and my opponent recovered from it every time. My opponent Leonard also had two Lysandres prized, which gave me the win.

Round 1, Game 2

I was having a terrible game 2 with two Phanpys and two Donphans prized, but after my opponent took his first prize card, time was called and I won the round due to winning game 1.


Round 2 vs Tyler with Nightmarch

Round 2, Game 1

During my first game I had 2 Donphans prized again, which was frustrating, but it didn't matter because I quickly knocked out everything he had out due to a bad game on his end.

Round 2, Game 2

In this game, we both had good games and he quickly took three prize cards against me because I couldn’t get a Donphan out until my third turn, which was scary. But after I got some Donphans out, I just kept feeding him Robo Substitutes. Then really late in the game, I played Lysandre’s Trump Card, which made it so he couldn’t even knock out my Sigilyph because he had no supporter in his hand. This led me to the victory of that game.


Round 3 vs Noah with Seismitoad/Garbodor

We were the only two with a 2-0 record out of 18 total players (there were some players with 1-0-1 and 0-0-2 records, but we were the only two with two wins), so we decided to intentionally draw.


Round 4 vs Fate with Groudon/Victini

Round 4, Game 1

I started with Sigilyph active and Phanpy on the bench. A few turns into the game, I realized that he couldn’t knock out Sigilyph, because his only non-EX attacker was Hawlucha. I knocked out all of his Pokemon and he couldn’t do anything.

Round 4, Game 2

He started perfectly with Victini EX and a Victory Piece and Groudon EX on the bench. I got lucky enough to start with Sigilyph again. During this game, my opponent used two Lysandres to knock out two of my three Donphans that I had set up. Then I just swept from there with Donphan, Sigilyph and Hawlucha to win the round.


Round 5 vs Jonah with Yveltal

We tied, guaranteeing us both a place in Top Cut.


Standings Before Top Cut



Top 4 vs Fate with Groudon/Victini

Top 4, Game 1

I started really well with Sigilyph again, and he just stalled with Item Lock Trevenant, which I didn’t see earlier in the day when I played him. The game was really long because I had Sigilyph stuck active with no Float Stone and his Trevenant was also stuck as his active because he had two Switches prized. I ended up decking him out that game for the win.

Top 4, Game 2

My opponent started with no supporter and I knocked out a Groudon EX by playing Lysandre for it on turn three. Then he scooped because he wasn’t going to be able to do anything that game, so I won in Top 4 to proceed to the Finals.

Top 2 vs Angel with Gardevoir/Fairies

This was by far the scariest three games I have played in a long time. I started all right with two Phanpys, a Hawlucha and I benched two Robo Substitutes. My opponent didn’t start with Xerneas with Geomancy, but with Gardevoir EX instead. I can’t remember a lot from this game except that I used Lysandre four or five times. I also remember that my opponent only took three prizes.

Top 2, Game 2

I had a really great game but he started with an amazingly strong start with Geomancy two turns in a row. He then used Lysandre to knock out two Donphans, then I had nothing and scooped the game.

Top 2, Game 3

This game I had was extremely crazy and I took four fast prizes in two turns using Donphan’s Wreck, then getting knocked out. Then he benched a Jirachi EX when I needed two prizes. I had a Donphan with a Strong Energy and a Muscle Band on bench, and I had in my hand a Strong Energy and a Lysandre. He played Sycamore and I knew I had game. He passed without attacking. I used Lysandre for Jirachi EX and attached Strong Energy onto my Donphan for the game.

I owed all my luck to the fortune cookie I had gotten the night before. It said “You may lose the small ones but win the big ones.” (I had lost a three-person League Challenge a week earlier.)

All day, I had some great matches and I think I chose the right deck for the day. This win put me at 495/250 cp.

Thanks to all of my friends who helped me practice and test decks for the tournament:

Brandon Salazar

Charlie Kerr

Gavin Grohowski

Jose Marrero

Tanner Hurley

Grant Manley

Michael Russo

Adrian Braga

Lex D’Andrea

And thanks to my dad, John Kulas, for recommending the deck that I used to win (and for driving me to Georgia so I could compete).

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