09/12/2018 by Chris Fulop
Hello again everyone!
We are a few weeks into the 2018-2019 season, and the Standard format is starting to become somewhat defined. I am sure we will get an even clearer picture of what the top decks look like after Philly Regionals. ( I know, I know, it isn't technically held in Philly proper, but I am certainly referring to it as such like most people are. ) I will be playing in this event. I'm not even "hopefully" playing in it. I've already paid for the trip and registered! I'm hoping to gather up at least a few points, and even more ambitiously, I'd love to snap my 0/8 streak on win-and-ins at Regional or larger tournaments I am currently plagued by. ( I'm going to try to spin this as a positive, because I've uh, managed to position myself to have that many win-and-ins, I guess? )
Anyways, I've told everyone I will be playing again this season full time, and have been grinding out League Challenges and League Cups here in the Cleveland, Ohio area. I'm sitting at 95/??? Championship Points already, which I am moderately proud of. My goal for each quarter is to break 100 points from Challenges/Cups, so while I'm not quite there yet, I've got a pair of finishes for each event and the pressure to at least place is off. I'm going to do a very brief run down of the tournaments I've played in thus far.
League Challenge #1
League Challenge #2
This was also a nearby Challenge. I played an updated version of Ultra Necrozma Malamar (FLI; 51) . I ended up 4-1, due to a round 4 dead draw against a friend's Buzzwole deck. I managed to buy a bunch of turns by sticking Diancie Prism Star (FLI; 74) active with a Guzma ( he had no Switch and had a full bench and could not Wonder Tag ) and actually wound up giving myself a position of strength going into the last few turns, but he hit the combination of cards necessary to win at the end. I ended up taking 3rd place after winning round 5.
League Challenge #3
This was at Ground Zero Comics. I'm using Ultra Necrozma Malamar (FLI; 51) again, and this event goes very poorly for me. I lose round 2, and round 4. Round 4 was particularly interesting as I played my friend Carl who was using Zoroark Banette, and the game came down to him N'ing me and using a pair of Rainbow Energy to copy my Dawn Wings Necrozma's GX attack. I whiffed the game winning Guzma ( or means to grab a Tapu Lele ) off of the N and he had the game the following turn.
League Challenge #4
This Challenge was held at Full Grip games, where I have been playing every Wednesday evening as they hold 5 dollar buy-in tournaments weekly. Players such as Andrew Mahone, Frank Percic, Will Mantho and others show up frequently, so it is actually a fairly competitive field for basically no stakes. I've played in 5 of the events, going undefeated in 3 of them, 4-1 in one, and 3-2 in the other. I've played Ultra Necrozma Malamar (FLI; 51) in all five of the events.
Luckily for me, one of the undefeated runs was their League Challenge. I started 4-0, and got paired down against a 3-1 as I was the only undefeated player. We were in an interesting position where there were only two other tables of 3-1 players, meaning if me and Zach ( My friend I got paired against ) IDed, I'd be a lock for first and he would be a lock for 4th place assuming neither of the other tables drew as well. I was pretty certain even with a loss I would end up in 1st as the only player to start 4-0, but I was clearly happier to lock it up with the draw. ( Zach was also on Ultra Necrozma Malamar (FLI; 51) )
This 1st place finished upgraded my 3rd place 10 point finish from before.
I'll admit it was nice to get Challenges out of the way. I hate traveling to events which such minimal stakes, both in terms of CP as well as traditional prize support. I was excited for League Cups to start up.
League Cup #1, Sandusky, Ohio
We had somewhere in the mid-40s for attendance for this event, meaning we had 6 rounds, while being a couple of players shy of actually getting kicker points for the top 16. Quite a few players showed up for this event, including the trio of Michael Pramawat, Azul Garcia Griego, and Aaron Tarbell. Other strong players included Caleb Gedemer, Frank Percic, Ryne Morgan and Will Mantho. I'm certain I'm forgetting a few others too, but needless to say it was not going to be an easy day.
I started 2-0, beating a Malamar (FLI; 51) mirror match despite going 2nd, and beating Ryne's Silvally Lycanroc deck before losing a really frustrating game against Rayquaza Vikavolt ( a matchup I view as quite favorable ) because I legitimately never see an Ultra Necrozma at any point in the game despite having a really strong game overall, and just lose a game I was probably 95%+ likely to win.
I joke about the wheels coming off after that kind of loss, and that is what happened as I start Marshadow against Caleb Gedemer's Zoroark Garbodor deck, and have to use an Ultra Ball to get Tapu Lele to Wonder Tag. That is a really bad place to start in this matchup, which is the scariest Zoroark matchup. I felt like I played this game really poorly, managing my item count very badly. I was pretty unlikely to win regardless due to my start, but I certainly did myself no favors. I realized I was just not that good at playing against Garbodor in general, and made sure to log more games against it after the event to work on that.
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