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Daniel Altavilla

Dabrai: Personal Triumphs and ECC Successes

Daniel recaps his 2 Regionals finishes and the ECC results.

02/26/2016 by Daniel Altavilla

 Introduction

Hello, 60Cards readers! I last left you off with some abstract insight on the game and some of my City Championships finishes. I explained what I expected to be good for Regionals, but it seems that Regionals took an unexpected turn. Regardless, I was actually able to pull off a 1st and a Top 8 with a deck I worked on with two very strong minds in this game, Brandon Smiley and Jimmy McClure.

Firstly, I'll go into the conception of our Yveltal/Archeops list that had such a widespread success. It pretty much started out with Brandon messaging me on Facebook asking if I was going to Virginia. I told him I was, and he proceeded to tell me about how he thought Yveltal/Archeops could easily be the play. He showed me his list, and it not only ran Yveltal-EX and the Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick engine, but it also had a Hoopa-EX and two Shaymin-EX. The Hoopa-EX intrigued me enough to switch my deck completely to this list, and I started testing it with my friends. Fast forward to Friday night before Virginia, and I'm freaking out because I can't seem to hit turn one Maxie enough to beat my own Vespiquen list in testing. This led to me building an Yveltal-EX list with two Assault Vest in it and more supporters rather than the Maxie engine. The idea was to keep it very consistent and able to defeat Vespiquen at the same time. This was most likely not going to be achieved with the Vests alone, but I was still confident in the list.

Virginia Regionals

The morning of Virginia Regionals, I found Jimmy McClure among the crowd and I asked him how he felt about my list. I told him it had to be the play, hands down. He agreed, and we sat down and tried to work out any and all kinks. But then something funny happened and we pretty much looked over to the other side of the table and saw 2-3 M Manectric-EX decks next to us. Followed by that horrid sight, we were told by a couple of friends that M Manectric-EX was going to have a very large showing and it seemed that everybody was using the card. In a panic, Jimmy and I switched up our lists to the one Smiley had sent me (and him), and then we tried to make it more consistent. As I was pushing out test hands to see if we could hit a lot of Maxie's, Jimmy was writing out his list, considering we were scrambling to get this done with only fifteen minutes before the Player Meeting. 

We agreed on almost each change, except one where we had an open slot and nothing to fill it. I thought it might be best to just run a Colress in the slot, because it's such a good card in Expanded, but Jimmy mentioned that a second Maxie's would help us hit it turn one even more often. I went for it because at this point I needed to settle for something and finish writing my list out. I still had to resleeve too! So we were able to just barely make it in time to turn in our lists, with maybe three minutes to spare, and we were about to see exactly how consistent the deck truly was.

This is the list we chose.

Day 1

Round 1 - ???: Seismitoad-EX/Crobat

This round was pretty straightforward. My opponent (if you're reading this, sorry for forgetting your name!) was drawing fairly poorly, and I hit a turn-one Gallade. I won the game pretty quickly because I set up a large Yveltal-EX with a Gallade behind it ready to either two-shot a Seismitoad or to OHKO a Mewtwo-EX. Pretty sure he dead drew Game 2 and I quickly won. 

Round 2 - Aaron Tarbell: Seismitoad-EX/Landorus-EX/Crobat

Aaron is a pal of mine and we were definitely not stoked to be facing each other so early. During Game 1, I accidentally put my hand on top of my deck after a Sycamore, so we had to work that out. The series ended up with me getting Ghetsis'd either Game 1 or Game 2 and then coming back to win Game 3 when he whiffed game off of an N to 2. It was a pretty close series all around and I was really not looking forward to seeing Toad/Bats in such abundance at the tournament. 

Round 3 - ???: Vespiquen

This round was pretty tough. I got Archeops out in Game 2 and ended up pulling out the win in a long-ish game. Game 1 I believe I drew dead until I lost, and then Game 3 he went first, had a quick turn, and I hit the turn-one Archeops AND Quaking Punch combo to completely knock him out of the game. (Sorry again for forgetting your name and any names I'll forget under this one)

Round 4 - ???: M Sceptile-EX/Ariados

This was actually a very scary matchup. I wasn't sure how to handle it, but I went with the turn-one Archeops and then I tried to just OHKO his Sceptile-EX. He couldn't use Ariados and didn't play Laser, so it was pretty easy to prevent OHKOs. Game 2 was a bit different, where I had to allow him a couple M Sceptile-EX. I managed to just two-shot them and use Hex Maniac on him to avoid getting hit by a regular Sceptile-EX, and he flipped tails on 3/4 Super Scoop Up. I barely pulled out the win, but we managed to get there. 

Round 5 - ??????

I can literally not remember who I played in Round 5 (or was it Round 4, and Sceptile was Round 5?) I had a very long day and this is what I get for taking so long to report this tournament!

Round 6 - Frank Diaz: Straight Yveltal

This was almost a dream come true. I had a quick conversation with Frank about some matchups for Yveltal and he really helped me figure out the Vespiquen matchup, and obviously his incredible Regionals run was not to be ignored either. It was just so funny being at table one with him after hyping up his list in all of my articles and all that. He ran probably his same list from Fort Wayne minus a third N and plus a Tool Scrapper. But regardless of how good his list was, no Yveltal-EX deck is safe from the mirror match (which is arguably one of the worst in Expanded right now). This round ended in five turns as I got a turn-one 180 on his Yveltal-EX, a turn-two 180 on his Seismitoad-EX, and a turn-three return KO on his Yveltal-EX. There was literally nothing Frank could do about it because that's just how the Yveltal mirror is - if a huge Yveltal can survive for multiple turns, that player will most likely win that game. 

Game 2 came down to Frank having no Basics and me KO'ing his Yveltal-EX in two turns. It was lame that he couldn't do anything in either game, and it was really crazy how hot I ran, but a win was a win and that put me at 6-0, meaning I was almost 100% guaranteed to make Day 2, as the cutoff was 6-2-1. 

Round 7 - Eric Rodriguez Eelektrik/Raikou

This was my first ever time facing the Eels deck. I offered the ID to guarantee Day 2, but he insisted on playing it out because I guess he expected it to be an easy matchup. I ended up taking the first game against him with an Archeops because he had no response, and I realized then that Eels is actually a FAVORABLE matchup for my deck. What made it so favorable was how linear my strategy was. It was literally as simple as hitting turn-one Archeops and then charging up a five-or-six-Energy Yveltal-EX within the next two turns. If I could do both of these things and Lysandre up the Raikou with all the Energy attached to it, I win the game. Sadly, I didn't realize this until AFTER the round, where Eric was able to force a tie after losing Game 1. 

Round 8 - Michael Canaves: Sableye/Garbodor/Darkrai-EX

Mike is a Florida pal so it was pretty nice having him up at the top tables with me. There were plenty of Floridians sitting pretty at the top tables, so it wasn't very surprising eventually facing one of them. Mike apparently drew HORRIBLY against me, and I hit a turn one Archeops against him and kept using N to force his VS Seeker back in his deck after each Junk Hunt. I made it impossible for him to hit the Garbodor/Hex Maniac at the same time, and there was nothing he could do because he just couldn't draw into both cards. 

Game 2, I'm pretty sure he started Shaymin-EX and I got a turn-one OHKO on it, and then proceeded to just KO two more Pokémon-EX fairly quick and take the game without too much worry. Mike's list was very good and had he drawn ANYTHING he most likely would've taken the game against me, but somehow I managed to pull it out.

Round 9 - Michael Pramawat: Seismitoad-EX/Crobat

This was a very difficult round. Pram and I both played our butts off to take a game each, and I had to work extra hard to pull out a win because he ran three Silent Lab so I had to deal with sleep flips and all that. But luckily for me, going into Game 3 he started lone Zubat, drew, and passed.

It was nuts being able to take the last game of the day and finish off 8-0-1 and 1st seed. I'd never been first seed at a Regionals up to that point. I didn't expect to get too far in Day 2 because I presumed all of the bad matchups for my deck would be compressed into Day 2 and make it very tough for me to hit Top 8, and I was pretty much right considering my first round I had to face Ryan Sabelhaus who was playing Raichu/Crobat. My friend Hunter who I rode up to VA with gave me a ride back to our hotel, and he surprised me with the best buffalo chicken pizza ever. I was extremely hungry, and usually during tournaments it's tough for me to eat because of my nerves, so Hunter hooked me up big time. The rest of the night we just chilled and I mentally prepped for the rough day ahead of me.

Day 2

I woke up and starting getting ready while both of my friends were still passed out. Keep in mind that I wasn't driving, so I had to rely on either Hunter or Greg to get me to the tournament. When I finished getting ready, I hadn't been looking at the clock, and it was like 7:50. I had to be to the venue by 8:00 AM and I was freaking out because I took so long. Another scary factor was that we had 0 experience with snow and extremely cold weather so we couldn't defog the windshield. We literally stuck our heads out of the window just to drive down the street because we couldn't see in front of us.
 
So I got to the venue right on time, and I mentally prepared myself to deal with the horrid matchup I had to face. I shuffled Ryan's deck and ended up breaking one of his sleeves and we spent a good five minutes trying to find another pink Dragon Shield to replace it. He mentioned it was the first time anyone had shuffled his deck at the tournament, and at this moment I went on a literal tear, breaking one sleeve on pretty much each of my opponent's decks each round after.

Round 10 - Ryan Sabelhaus: Raichu/Bats

This round didn't end up being as bad as I thought. Raichu/Bats is just a less consistent version of Vespiquen, and if you Hex Maniac and attack with Darkrai-EX in the same turn they can't even do anything. Game 1 I just played it as if it were Vespiquen and I ended up pulling out the win because I N'd Ryan into a Colress and a useless card when we had twelve Pokémon Benched and he had ten cards left in deck. Game 2 he drew really badly and I ended up donking a Zubat. I go into further detail on Raichu/Bats and it's inconsistencies in my previous article, so you should check it out for a bit of my two cents on the deck. 

Round 11 - Steven Varesko: Eelektrik/Raikou

Steven is a really cool guy. We played League of Legends with a bunch of other Pokémon guys a week or two before the tourney, so we had fun with our game instead of being too serious. Game 1, I got turn-one Archeops and killed a couple Tynamo and a Raikou so he scooped. Game 2, I got turn-one Archeops with Quaking Punch and he still managed to beat me somehow. Game 3, I turned it up with a turn-two Archeops and a six-Energy Yveltal-EX OHKO'ing his Keldeo-EX and then his Raikou. This was when I truly 100% realized that the matchup is as simple as a turn-one Maxie's and a turn two big Yveltal-EX with a Lysandre.

After this win, I was at 10-0-1, guaranteed Top 8 with 31 match points. It was definitely crazy getting that high so quickly, and I'd never been in a position that dominant before at a Regional.

Round 12 - Pram Toad/Bats

Pram and I were paired up yet again, and he was aiming for the win to guarantee Top 8. Being the first one in, I made it my mission to set up Top 8 for myself the best I could. I wanted to either beat or tie with Pram so he could take out some of the poor matchups sitting next to us. (Note: Try not to "set up" Top 8. The most you can do is try and beat a poor matchup after you're guaranteed in to try and knock them out so you don't have to see them in Top 8. Nothing else really matters until the final round.) Luckily, Pram 2-0’d me and sealed his Top 8. In hindsight, it was a good thing that he did, because it set me up perfectly for second seed.

Round 13 - Azul Griego: Eelektrik/Raikou

For the third time I faced another Eels deck. The same 60 as the last two, so I knew I could beat it. Azul and I intentionally drew, but we played a fun game and I trashed him. At this point, I really didn't care about how my games went anyways, because I just wanted to start Top 8 already!

Round 14 - Kevin Baxter: Vespiquen

Kevin was hoping we could ID so he could go pick his friends up from the store, but I was trying to do some math in my head before we ID'd so I decided to play the set out. I won 2-0 but then chose to concede in hopes to not face a Rayquaza-EX deck until Finals because it was my worst matchup and I wanted to get as far through Top 8 as possible.

It turns out I had set up the Top 8 perfectly thanks to help from Kevin, as I was facing Eels in Top 8, the winner between Vespiquen and Pram in Top 4, and then Rayquaza, Stoise, Vespiquen, or another Eels in the Finals. I really lucked out!

Top 8

Top 8 - Eric Rodriguez: Eels/Raikou

For the fourth time in two days I had to face an Eels deck! This was a very lucky round for me, as Game 1 my opponent had a horrible hand and I quickly won even without Archeops. Game 2 was a real game, but I had whiffed the Archeops and eventually ran out of resources and lost. I tried to Lysandre his Keldeo-EX and Quaking Punch it in hopes he'd keep using rough Seas to heal it, meaning I'd never KO it out of the active position, and that he wouldn't draw into the two or three Basic Energy left in his deck under Item lock. He had both Energy in hand sadly, so I couldn't get much off of this Strategy. It was mostly to burn time and try and go to Sudden Death anyways. Game 3 I got turn-one Archeops and a HUGE Yveltal-EX and used the linear strategy I thought up to take the game quickly. Eric was a great sport the two sets we played and I'm happy he got so far in the tournament.

Top 4 – Pram: Toad/Bats

Pram and I just couldn't avoid each other this tournament! We played for the third time, and at this point I was aware of how horrid my matchup was. I'm pretty sure I also whiffed turn-one Maxie against him every game, but if not then I opted to dig for a giant Yveltal-EX and a Keldeo-EX with a Float Stone rather than the Archeops. Game 1, I ended up winning a very close one, where I had my Virbanks to replace his Silent Labs when I needed to, and I had a large enough Yveltal to OHKO a Seismitoad at one point, so he couldn't really come at me with anything. Game 2, he whiffed Quaking Punch for so many turns that he decided to just scoop after I had a big enough lead. Pram and I had some pretty close and incredible sets in those two days and I'm glad if I got to face anyone three times in one tournament it was an opponent that truly pushed me to my limit.

Top 2 - Kevin Baxter: Vespiquen

Kbax and I met in the finals as we expected to, and we were ready for a pretty close matchup. In the first game we played, Kevin discarded two Combee and two Flareon with Battle Compressor, and had one Vespiquen and two Flareon for the entire game. This meant if he whiffed even one KO on an EX, I would be able to KO his three attackers before he could draw six Prizes. Both of his Lysandre were Prized too, so it was impossible for him to win this one. Game 2, he started Shaymin-EX and Jirachi-EX and whiffed Double Colorless on his second turn, so I got 5 Prizes in the first three turns and I was too far ahead at this point for him to contest it. All in all, the set was pretty luck-based, but I used my knowledge of the Vespiquen matchup to make the right decisions against it and pull out an otherwise very unfavorable matchup.

Only expecting a Day 2 out of my deck, I was overjoyed to have won my second Regionals. This meant 150 more CP and a huge leap towards my Day 2 Worlds' invite, and it also meant I was able to carry Florida through the tournament and give another big win to my state.

I went back to my hotel and celebrated with Hunter and Greg, and we made plans to check out the forest behind the hotel the next morning. Never seeing snow in my life, it was wild to be able to see frozen creeks and the snow falling off of branches. There were even deer tracks in the snow next to the hotel, which really gave me chills. A deer covered in snow would have been a beautiful sight.

Props:
- Working with Smiley and McClure on a deck
- Turn one attacks with Yveltal-EX
- Papacelli's Pizza
- Kevin Baxter's Top 8 math skills
- Melee in between rounds Day 2
- Long talks with Kevin Kobayashi in between rounds
- Vape toast
- Vape Pizza
- Yveltal
- The judges and staff in Virginia
- Pokémon Love Letter

Slops:
- Breaking a sleeve off of each one of my opponent's decks on Day 2 except for Kbax and Azul
- Disgusting concession stand pizza
- Almost falling into one of the frozen creeks
- Fogged-up windows
- Freaking out after scooping to Kevin Baxter because I thought I messed up my math and would face Rayquaza in Top 8
- An almost-candid picture of me being turned into a Facebook meme
- Car rides

 St. Louis Regionals

I spent all week working on Eels because I thought it would be the best play for this tournament. I ended up testing a couple different decks including Seismitoad-EX/Landorus-EX/Crobat and even a weird Sableye list, but in the end I decided to stick with the same exact list as Virginia. I messed up by not testing it at all, but I think it was okay because I didn't see too many issues with the list in Virginia.

Friday night I spent a little time with the dudes in Quaking X Punch and with the bad guys, and afterwards I tested a bit with my friend Daniel Shiekh. He smashed my ToadBats list enough with Vespiquen to make me decide 100% on running the same list as Virginia, so props to him!

 Day 1

This was going to be a hectic day. Having won the Regionals the week before, I expected to be streamed in the first couple of rounds if I kept winning, so I was trying to work out the nerves I had for that. I didn't expect too much to come out of St. Louis, as it was such a huge tournament with so much diversity in decks that there is absolutely no guarantee what you will play or if you will beat it. I took each game as they came, one at a time, and I tried to just play the deck I knew and was most comfortable with.

Round 1 - Diane Schemanske: Archie's Blastoise

Diane is the fiercest Pokémom I know. She seems like a nice lady outside of games, but when you're in the hot seat she becomes as fierce a competitor as her kids. Luckily for me, her first draw was horrible. She had a Regice and an Exeggcute with nothing else in hand, and I made short work of game 1. I was able to get a Quaking Punch against her as she whiffed turn one Archie's in game 2, so I had no trouble winning that game because when she charged a Keldeo up and I broke the lock KO'ing it, I had a Hex Maniac and her hand was so clumped with items that she couldn't even hit the Archie without sacrificing her three remaining Superior Energy Retrievals. We definitely broke the ice for the rounds ahead, and I was glad to have sealed up the most nervous round with a WW.

Round 2 - Nick Francis: Yveltal/Maxie's

This round, as I thought, was streamed. Sadly, Pokémon didn't archive Day 1, so I can't link this round out. It was an incredibly close set where we were going back-and-forth with Yveltal-EX KOs and kept getting down to 1-2 Prizes a piece before one of us was able to take the game. The set came down to Game 3, two Prizes apiece, and I went for a risky N to two to try and prevent Nick from getting a Supporter to OHKO me with Gallade. It worked out, and I took the game by the skin of my teeth.

Round 3 - Spencer Trippi: Eelektrik/Raikou/Pikachu-EX

This round was pretty easy. Spencer wasn't playing an Archeops counter to my knowledge, so I got one out and took Game 1 without too much trouble. Game 2 he drew very poorly, I KO'd his Tynamo and he had his last two Prized, so I just took the game with ease from there. Bad beats for Spencer, but I was glad to make it through another Eels deck.

Round 4 - Caleb Gedemer: Vespiquen

Caleb and I had some pretty close games. He won the coin flip and he ran Ghetsis, so I was pretty much going to just lose these games. He won Game 1 and started slow rolling me Game 2, and that pretty much condemned him because I won Game 2 and we had no time to finish Game 3 as I drew out of a turn-one Ghetsis and he couldn't take enough KOs to seal the deal. Forcing a tie in a match I was going to lose was a pretty great feeling.

Round 5 - Alex Fields: Straight Yveltal-EX

Alex had an Yveltal deck that wasn't afraid of the mirror. I ended up winning Game 1 I think, lost game 2, and Game 3 he forced a tie when I was a turn or two away from winning. These were some pretty intense games, and congrats to Alex for getting I believe Top 16 in this gigantic tourney!

Round 6 - Austin Bentheimer Vespiquen

Austin and Caleb played the exact same 60, so I knew I would be in some trouble if Austin won the flip, which he did. This set was almost identical to my set with Caleb, except I was able to pull out a win against Austin. (We had a funny moment in our Game 1 where I had a lone Shaymin-EX active with no Benched Pokémon. Austin had a Flareon active with a fire and a Double Colorless attached, with a silver bangle on it. He whiffed the six Pokémon in discard to OHKO my Shaymin and he counted up prepared to Vengeance for 90 damage until he realized Flareon had a second attack.)

Round 7 - Dalen Dockery: Vespiquen

I could not play against anything except Vespiquen, it seemed. Dalen played two Wobbuffet, two Float Stone, and a Hex Maniac, so I had a ton of trouble with his deck. I clinched Game 1 with an Archeops and Quaking Punch out of nowhere, and then Game 3 I believe came down to the last couple of Prizes with me being able to win the Prize trade. Either that, or Dalen drew dead hands.

Round 8 - James Curtis III: Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX

This round I was at 5-0-2 and I needed to win either of my last two games to make Day 2. I was nervous and almost freaking out, and it wasn't much better when I found out I had to face Toad/Tina, arguably one of the worst matchups for my deck. I took Game 1 as James had absolutely nothing set up, and Game 2 he won when I drew a poor hand and couldn't do a thing to combat his Quaking Punches. Game 3 came down to the wire, but I got some lucky flips and a large Yveltal-EX and I couldn't lose once he attacked with Giratina-EX for a turn. I ended the game with a Darkness Blade/Hypnotoxic Laser play against a Shaymin-EX, and I was overjoyed to make it into Day 2, which was my goal.

Round 9 - Connor Lavelle: M Manectric-EX/Mewtwo

Connor was playing Manectric with Mewtwo, and Assault Vest, so I had a linear strategy. KO his Manectric with Gallade and then go aggro Darkrai-EX/Yveltal XY on his Mewtwo to get through Vest. I took two games against him fairly quickly and I was sitting at 23 match points going into Day 2. This meant I needed to win only three out of five games on Day 2 to make Top 8, so I was determined.

Being second seed going into Day 2 after being first seed the weekend prior was an incredible feeling. I've had a great Regionals run in the past, but this one was very tough to pull off and doing it made me feel unstoppable during Day 2.

Day 2

After Day 1, I went out to get some White Castle with the bad guys and QxP. We had a sick time after such a stressful day, and it was a nice break from Pokémon for a bit. I rushed into my hotel room because it was right across the street from White Castle and I went to bed ready for an incredible day of the Pokémon TCG coming up.

Day 2 started off with me waking up to a text from Chris Hoag that said: "Dude you left your bag in Amanda's car". I immediately started freaking out and scrambled around trying to rationalize how to go about this situation. I decided on driving over to their hotel and just banging on the door until somebody woke up. (Sorry guys!) Chris eventually woke up and told me to wait outside for a couple minutes as he got ready. I thought this meant, "Give me a couple seconds and then we'll go outside and get your bag." But what it really meant was "Give me a couple minutes and then I'll let you know that Amanda isn't even in the hotel room." I was already going crazy, so we looked for Amanda in the parking lot of the Super 8 and she was nowhere to be found. 

Chris, Tyler Lersch and I all called and texted Amanda until she replied, and I was able to get my bag in time. I was pretty shaken up after everything though, because I made a mistake that could've cost me from playing through the rest of the tournament.  I had some breakfast and ran over to the convention center where I found I was going to face none other than Brandon Smiley round 10 on stream. For some reason, the stream they have archived starts on Round 11, so you can't watch this one either.

Round 10 - Brandon Smiley: Vespiquen

Round 10 was awesome. Brandon and I had never faced each other before and it was sick finally playing him as 1st and second seed with the deck WE created. Game 1 I believe I ended up winning with a quick Archeops, Game 2 I lost pretty easily even though I think I set up two Yveltal XY with three Energy each, and Game 3 was easily one of the best games I've ever played. I drew dead and on the turn when Smiley was about to win, I top decked an Ultra Ball to put myself back in the game. Off of this Ultra Ball I believe I was able to hit a KO on his active Flareon and an Archeops, so I milked it for all it was worth. I was able to pull the win out with a Quaking Punch because due to my poor draws Smiley pitched his Wobb early and he used all 4 VS Seekers and both Lysandre. Winning versus a deck like Vespiquen after such a trash start was something incredible, and I'm glad to have been able to experience a game like that with Brandon.

Round 11 - Joe Baka: Sableye/Garbodor

This round was impossible for me to win. My hands were too bad for me to get a decent setup against Joe without having to Bench a bunch of Pokémon, and I ended up losing for that reason. Joe jokingly asked me when the last time I ever lost a match was, and it was honestly pretty funny because I hadn't actually lost in a good 15 tournament matches. It was a fun game with Joe, but losing to a lock deck like Sableye really knocked me off of my momentum and I felt sort of sluggish in my games for the rest of the day.

Round 12 - Kyle Warden: Yveltal/Maxie's

Kyle and I played once before at Day 2 in Florida Regionals, so facing him at this tournament was pretty cool. He's a great friend and it's always nice being at the top tables with a friend. Sadly though, I had to leave friend mode and enter Yveltal ditto mode, as I took a couple games on him. Kyle made a huge misplay at one point in Game 2 or three that cost him the set. I feel that his deck could have easily beaten me though, had he played it more conservatively instead of rushing big Yveltal-EXs. (Fun fact: I probably used Hex Maniac versus Kyle three turns in a row while he was under Quaking Punch lock.)

Round 13 - Connor Lavelle: M Manectric-EX/Mewtwo-EX

Connor and I did the math to set up his Top 8 and he was hungry and wanted some time to get lunch, so he decided to concede the round to me. This gave me a guaranteed Top 8 for the second weekend in a row with the exact same list! It was incredible having such a hot streak.

Round 14 - Carington Huffman: Sableye/Garb/Red Card

Carington and I sat there for a good 10 minutes setting up our Top 8s. I did the math perfectly and set it up so that we both wouldn't have to see each other or our bad matchups until finals assuming we could get past our so-so matchups in Top 8. I conceded to Carington to achieve this goal. Honestly though, I doubt I had the matchup knowledge to pull the win out against him. I'm not Brad Curcio!

Top 8 was set up and I was ready to face Vespiquen, then the winner of either Vespiquen and M Manectric, and then either the Yveltal/Maxie's mirror or Sableye/Garb which is almost an autowin in Top 8. I was so ready for the repeat Regionals win, and I was stoking myself up mentally to burn through Top 8 and Top 4. I didn't realize that Dalen Dockery's deck was such a bad matchup for me, though, and I was quickly brought down to size.

 Top 8

Top 8 was going to be very difficult. This tournament was not an easy one to make tops in, and nobody was going down easily if they made it that far. These 8 players ran hotter than hot, and they were ready to take down the largest regionals ever.

Top 8 - Dalen Dockery: Vespiquen

Dalen is a really tough opponent. He's had a crazy Regionals run, making Day 2 in all three that he's entered and making Top 8 in two of those. Dalen was my Brock Lesnar that day, and ran hotter than the sun to knock me out of Top 8. Game 1 I could've Quaking Punched him out of the game, but my Seismitoad-EX was Prized. Game 2 I drew so poorly that I had no chance of even combatting his consistency. Congrats to Dalen on his second place and for really smashing me in our games.

All in all, I had an incredible weekend again. I got to meet some of the best people on the planet, I played the closest games of Pokémon I've ever played, and I really gained more experience as a player and was able to showcase my own experience and insight through the stream. Hopefully the other 499 competitors in St Louis feel the same.

Props:
- White Castle
- Same 60 cards giving me yet another crazy run
- Hoopa Play! Pokémon sleeves
- Vince Krekeler
- My dad for going on the trip with me and driving us from Chicago to Collinsville
- Culver's cheese curds
- Andrew Ramey
- Streaming with Smiley
- Talking to Jason K about his old decks

Slops:
- Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX
- Ghetsis
- Florida shorts and flip flops in 30 degree weather
- Batman Love Letter
- Ghetsis
- Expensive concession food
- Steak n Shake being packed
- "Suh, dude"
- Ghetsis

With my Regionals run finished, I'll go over the ECC and some of the incredible lists these Europeans worked hard on to make top cuts with.

ECC Results

The ECC seemed to be a great tournament with some incredible skill being shown off. Many 60Cards writers made it into Day 2 as well! (Also, shoutout to Sydney Morisoli for her 1st place win! Very exciting seeing the US go over to Europe and take the W.) I don't know too much about the general amount of decks played, but thanks to my friend and fellow 60C writer Denise, I was able to know that Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX and Night March were two of the biggest decks there. I won't be going over either of those decks for that reason, so I'll talk about two of the decks I found very interesting - Manectric-EX/Crobat and Straight Seismitoad-EX. There are two lists I'd like to share. The meta in Europe was very anti Toad, so the lists are very well thought out and interesting.

Our first list was made and piloted by our very own Marc Lutz, and it's extremely interesting. I'll go ahead and post the list and I'll discuss the counts that I like and why I like them below.

 

Here's the list I personally like the most. Marc can potentially attack with four different Jirachi XY67s a game, and there's even a metal Energy to threaten Jirachi's second attack. That can win you a game alone, honestly. If you can't stardust a Toad or Tina because they didn't attach an Energy, you can still put them to sleep and hope they flip tails and miss an attack. These Jirachi make it so Marc has an almost autowin vs Toad/Tina, Night March, and any other deck that relies solely on special Energy. He also takes a very different approach with his Supporters, using three Birch and two Judge and one Sycamore. This is clearly because he'd rather not discard his bat line as he felt it's necessary to use that extra damage as much as possible. I love the thought put into this list. It's meant to be good specifically against the ECC's meta, and I doubt it'd have a place in Standard otherwise. It also seems weak against Entei. Congrats to Marc and I hope you can get that Day 2 invite!

Finally, we have the runner-up's deck, Seismitoad-EX/Shaymin-EX.

 

This deck is very similar to Jason Klaczynski's Spring Regionals-winning list. It's the kind of list you'd expect to go deep in such a long tournament - a consistent one. Energy accel isn't very big in Standard right now, so any deck that can remove Energy while item locking your opponent is going to be strong. Peter sacrificed any chances of beating Vespiquen for consistency in lock, and it clearly worked out, as Vespiquen saw little to no play and this deck was able to destroy the heavy amounts of Toad/Tina and Night March. 

I really like the Rough Seas in here. They cancel out Bat damage completely and they make it difficult for other Toads to ever kill you. Another card I didn't get at first was the Absol. I know why Jason used it, but he had Hypnotoxic Laser and Dragalge as well. This version is purely attack based, so its purpose is most likely to drop it down, move three to the Jirachi they just Stardusted you with, and then either Scoop Up or AZ it to put another three on the Jirachi and KO it. 

You can tell how much thought this player put into the meta. You just run Manectric out of Energy without ever dying, and you beat everything else in a similar way. Your strategy is linear - discard Energy and then Grenade Hammer away. It's pretty strong now that I think about it!

The ECC was a great showcase of some of the most high quality thinking and play. If there was a stream, you would definitely gain some insight from it, so try and check for one. Also, keep in mind the thought that went into these decks. There are so many ways to approach your meta and sometimes it takes some thinking outside of the box to get there.

 Conclusion

That's what I have for you pertaining to the ECC and my Regionals run. I think I grew as a player over these last couple of weekends, and I hope you all can take this information and use it to grow as players as well. As always, check out the Tuff Puff, where we talk about decks even deeper in depth and we even play some games and open boxes.

If you liked the article, give it a [+1] and share it with your friends! Good luck to everyone in the final weekend of Regionals, and please keep coming to me with questions on decks and all of that good stuff! Until next time,

- Daniel Altavilla

 

[+6] okko


 

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