Experts' corner

user
Chris Fulop

The Adventures of Bronzor and Bronzong

An in depth review of the Metal archetype, focusing on the changes to the deck as I play through a series of City Championships and improve the deck.

01/16/2015 by Chris Fulop

Hello everyone! As this is my first time writing for 60Cards, I want to take a moment to introduce myself. I have been playing the Pokemon Trading Card Game since its release in the United States at the end of 1998. I played competitively through the Wizards of the Coast era of 1998-2003, and continued to play from 2004 until 2011 when I retired to focus my attention on other things. I played in the occasional tournament during what wound up being a hiatus opposed to retirement, but only have taken up playing full time again this year. I'll include a brief list of my accomplishments out here.

Wizards of the Coast Era

2nd @ East Coast Super Trainer Showdown 2001, Day 1
7th @ East Coast Super Trainer Showdown 2001, Day 2
2nd @ Central Stadium Challenge 2002
1st @ Professor Championships 2002
3rd @ Team Multiplayer Championships 2003

Current Era

2nd @ Worlds 2004
1st @ US Nationals 2007
Qualified for Worlds 2004-2011
T8 US Nationals 2006
1st @ Missippi Valley Regionals 2005
1st @ Missippi Valley Regionals 2006
2nd @ Great Lakes Regionals 2007
2nd @ 5 State Championships ( I always choke )
Multiple Battle Road and City Championship wins

Due to the structure of the Rating invite system in place from 2009-2011, I wound up sitting out States, Regionals and Nationals those years in order to protect my Worlds' invite, which explains a general lack of finishes during those years despite my dedication to the game.

Outside of tournament performances, I've also been writing about this game on various websites for the past 5 years, and am thrilled to get a chance to be able to provide content for this site exclusively now. One of the reasons I quit the game in the first place was that I had gotten very burnt out by the constant grind of playing the game for over 12 years at that point. I had stopped enjoying it, and wound up viewing it more as a responsibility and expectation than as a fun hobby. I had gotten to the point where I expected a certain level of performance out of myself, and this brought with it a bit of a problem. I was beating myself up over poor performances, and when I did well, I barely felt any sense of accomplishment. I was growing numb to the fun side of competition, and getting overwhelmed by the downsides. I had actually put up with that for almost two years before I finally came to terms with the fact I needed to walk away for my own sake.

Now, having taken a few years off from the tournament grind, I can happily say that the fire has been reignited within myself. I've found myself looking forward to playing in tournaments again. One of the other factors contributing to me leaving the game was that I was not a fan of the direction the game was taking with its cards and thus the formats we had to play in. The format for Nationals and Worlds 2011 was one of the worst I have ever played, and 2012 didn't offer up much to make me feel differently. This format, on the other hand, has been extremely enjoyable for me. I feel as if Phantom Forces has done so much for the game. It offered so many playable cards, and has opened up a lot of options in terms of deck design. I've always been a deck builder at heart, so that sense of flexibility breaths a lot of new life into the game for me.

I was only able to attend one Regional Championships this fall, and it wound up being the worst tournament performance I have ever had. I finished 4-5 with Seismitoad Yveltal Garbodor. The list was poor for the metagame that showed up in Indiana that weekend. On one hand, it was an extremely disheartening performance, but it also motivated me even more to make a strong push going into Cities.

Going into Cities, I set a goal for myself. I wanted to earn 150 Championship Points. Assuming I could do that, earning 50 more off of League Challenges seemed easy. Lastly, if I couldn't earn the final 100 points from States, Regionals and Nationals, I don't see how I could even make a case for deserving an invite in the first place. With 150 being the goal, I also set myself a floor for my accomplishments. I felt like I NEEDED to earn at least 100 Championship Points throughout Cities. If I hit that without making 150, I would at least be satisfied. Earning less than that would put me in a pretty bad spot for the grind, forcing me to have to spike a few very high end performances at States and Regionals which are always very difficult in this area with very high attendance.

When I saw the cards available in Phantom Forces, I was immediately drawn to the Metal cards. Bronzong was obviously extremely powerful, and clearly designed to be an engine to an archetype. Alongside this we were handed a few good partners for the bell in Dialga EX, Aegislash EX, and Heatran. The initial lists I through together were very focused on Aegislash EX, and I quickly found out that the card was really polarizing. In some matchups, it was more or less unbeatable. In others, it was pretty abyssmal. It turned out you really didn't need many copies to beat the matchups it was good in either.

I spent the week leading up to my first Cities testing the deck and fixing its inherent issues with Seismitoad Garbodor, and came up with the following list for the tournament.

Both myself and my friend Carl used this list. ( Ok, he ran 2 Dialga EX and 2 Aegislash. The original split was 2-2 as he ran, but we could only cobble together 3 Aegislash between us. ) Of the 38 Masters, we wound up meeting in the finals, where I conceded to him. ( He loaned me all of the cards in the deck, so I felt that was fair. ) We were both very happy with how the deck had performed for us. I've already written up a tournament report for this particular event, and I'm not going to be including it here again. I'll focus instead on the four other tournaments I've attended since then.

Dublin City Championships

I drove down to this event with my friends Julie and David. Dublin is a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, and that meant we had roughly a two and a half hour drive down to the tournament site. Now, as I insinuated in the blurb above, I don't own any cards currently. Carl and David have been extremely generous and loaned me the cards for this deck to hold onto for Cities. Unfortunately, I'm still missing a few of them, and am stuck making sure to arrive early to events in order to borrow them off of people. I'm lucky enough to know enough players to be able to reliably do this, but it is still a big pain.

I had not done a ton of testing during the week between these two tournaments, but I had noticed a few things leaving week 1 that were obvious. Mewtwo EX was extremely underwhelming. Neither myself nor Carl found ourselves using it all tournament. Battle Compressor was a card that wound up being really intriguing too. The first copy was generally great to draw, and almost always gutted your deck of 2 Metal and the 2nd Compressor. ( Unless you needed to grab a Supporter to use VS Seeker on. ) It was also difficult to really grade how impactful it was. That first copy was always solid, but it is hard to grasp opportunity cost with cards like that. You always get a slightly favorable impact whenever you draw it, thus making it always look good. On the other hand, it could be a card which has a stronger impact in it's place. It is the type of card that almost always winds up getting trimmed out of the deck list as you have to adapt an archetype to be able to beat cards that people include to beat your archetype. I wasn't sure how people would adjust to this decks presence in our metagame. The prior weekend 3 of the top 4 decks were metal, so I had to assume people would react. Instead of any sweeping changes, I just made a few tweaks that I felt would improve the deck's consistancy.

I cut the 2nd Battle Compressor for an 8th Metal Energy. ( My initial logic of going down to 7 Metal in the list was that Compressor could offset it by putting them into the discard for me. ) I was missing energy drops with the deck, and felt like 8 was just a bit safer than 7. I also cut the Mewtwo EX for a 4th VS Seeker. I found myself always counting VS Seekers in my games. You'd think that with 3 and a Dowsing Machine that the deck would be fine. The deck plays a slow and grindy game, and you want to use multiple AZ and Lysandre, and it stresses your VS Seeker count. You do end up relying on them as midgame draw Supporters as well.

I want to take a second to address how much I love this engine.

4 Prof. Sycamore
4 N
1 Colress
4 VS Seeker
1 Jirachi EX
4 Ultra Ball

The engine looks a bit flimsy with an anemic 9 Supporter cards, but VS Seeker does so much work for you once you see the first Supporter. There are really only 4 good universal draw Supporters in the format at the moment. ( I say universal to exclude a card such as Korrina which is fantastic in a fighting deck and obviously trash elsewhere. ) Juniper/Sycamore and N are more or less automatic 4 of inclusions in every deck. Colress is great in most decks, but only in the mid and late game. As a result, most decks do not want too many copies of them. Skyla is the 4th "good" Supporter, but it actually is only particularly effective in select decks. I see players using Shauna, and cringe.

VS Seeker gives you 4 wildcard "good" mid and late game Supporters, under the condition that you need to have seen a first Supporter for them to function. Previously, deck design required a player to make sure they had enough good early game Supporters ( in other words, you can't count Colress ) and also enough late game Supporters ( N doesn't count as reliable draw when you have 1-2 prizes left. ) VS Seeker takes card of the end game problem. Unfortunately, we still only have 8 good early game Supporters. You can try and jam in subpar Supporters to try and fix the problem, but honestly, Jirachi EX is just a simpler solution. Jirachi was always good as a safety net, but with VS Seeker it now lets us get away with not having to play a glut of unnecessary Supporters just to have a reliable engine. With Ultra Ball, you have 5 effective copies. ( Assuming you don't prize the poor thing. ) This gives you 13 good opening Supporters, a number I am more than content with. ( In this deck, with a Battle Compressor, you also get those odd spots where you have VS Seeker plus Compressor, so that ups your odds a bit further as well. )

Anyone who has read any of my writing before, or discussed decks with me before knows I firmly believe the risk behind benching a Jirachi EX is exaggerated. It is still a risk, but the upside is more than worth it. I'll be honest: You end up using Jirachi in a lot of your games. I've yet to lose a game as a result of having to do so in any of my Cities' rounds. ( I did lose a game to opening with it, though. ) Once you accept that crutching on Jirachi is viable, you can wind up with a thinner and more streamlined draw engine. I've been so impressed by how well this ends up playing that I can't imagine any other direction.

We wound up with a pretty stacked tournament with a lot of great players from all over Ohio making the trip. In addition to this, a lot of players from Michigan drove down as well. I do not remember the actual number of Masters we had, but I know we had enough for a top 8 and 6 rounds of swiss.

Round 1 vs Donphan

My opponent opens with Litleo and I feel a little bit sick to my stomach. There really isn't a way to build the Metal deck that lets you beat Pyroar, so it is just better to not even try. You can maybe steal a game by killing Litleo early with Seismitoad, and you can swing two Bronzongs into one, but those are really unlikely win conditions. Luckily, I found out quickly that my opponent was actually playing a Donphan deck, which used Pyroar as a wall to hide behind. This is a great example of a game where I was glad to have an extra VS Seeker, because I would need to use every Lysandre I could get my hands on to be able to get around Intimidating Mane. Luckily, this deck is extremely well equipped to deal with Donphan as an archetype. My opponent's start was not very good, and I wound up as the aggressor. He did not run even a single Fire Energy to attack with his Pyroar, so I was able to use Heatran and Aegislash to take care of his Donphans. I had planned to just kill Pyroar with bells, but he kept benching things to try and win and was able to just bring up 6 prizes worth of non-Pyroar Pokemon. This win also let me sheepishly brag to my friends " Guys! I beat Pyroar!" before having to explain he didn't, in fact, run any Fire energy.

1-0

Round 2 vs Mega Manectric Seismitoad

Well, I had heard of players using Manectric EX, but prior to this there hadn't been much traction on the card. ( Since this will be published almost a month after this tournament, I know how silly that sounds! ) I knew the metal resistance would end up being a huge pain, but I figured I would take a bit of a learn as I go approach this round! My opponent's start was fairly weak. He had Supporters and energy, but wasn't able to really make things click. I got a pretty good lead, but lost a lot of ground to a Max Potion purging a lot of damage off a Mega Manectric. I was unsure of how many Max Potions he ran ( I found out after the answer was 1 ) but I was paranoid of additional copies. He had a hand of 4 cards and the way his turn played out previously suggested his hand was fairly mediocre. I had a spot where I could Lysandre up a naked Manectric and be in really good shape if he could not Mega Evolve it. I was unsure how many Mega Manectric he played ( I assumed 2-3, he had already evolved one which I had KOed ) and with Quaking Punch I could cut off Ultra Ball as an option. I make the line, which boiled down to me almost assuredly winning if he does not have the Mega Manectric, and leaving us with a fairly even game state of he does. He has the Mega Manectric, and the game progresses into a really grindy state of affairs. I was at 1 Prize, but couldn't score one shots, and I get hit with some pretty rough Ns. Time gets called, with me at 1 prize to his 3, and I have a very thin shot at scoring a win off of N'ing myself exactly into Escape Rope, which I missed, and the game ends up a draw. I'm not entirely sure who wins this game untimed. I know I was playing the game incorrectly due to paranoia over Max Potions after the first one blew me out. I kept trying to pull off Quaking Punch into Full Metal Impact plays which were only optimal under the context of him having Max Potions available.

1-0-1

Round 3 vs Donphan

Donphan games almost always play out the same way, and they all blur together due to that. You restrict their line of play with Aegislash, and then counter their attempts to deal with Aegislash with your Heatrans. If they do end up dealing with the Aegislash at some point, you've wound up so far ahead that you just clean up the remaining prizes with Lysandres. They aren't aggressive enough to throw you so far off balance for this not to play out. I don't believe anything super exciting happened this game that stood out from the norm.

2-0-1

Round 4 vs Manectric Seismitoad

Well, I get to have a second shot at being able to beat Manectric. This time, I was paired against a build not running the Mega form of the lightning type. As a result, his build is a bit more aggressive, so I spend the first few turns of the game on the back found stabilizing. My opponent was also extremely slow. After the first ten minutes or so, we hit a point where I felt like I couldn't realistically lose the game. I likely should have spoken up, asking my opponent to play a bit faster. He was a nice guy, and I saw no sign of his pace being at all malicious, so I didn't really say anything. I wound up prizing my last VS Seeker as my last prize, and was out of Lysandre for the end of the game. I got him to the point where he was stuck in limbo retreating between EX Pokemon I couldn't one shot. ( He had 4 Prizes left to my 1 at the end ) and I was 2 turns shy of being able to force him to promote something I could finish off. As a result, I'm stuck with my 2nd draw of the tournament. I'm generally a very fast player, so this was frustrating. I had played in two Regionals under the 50 minutes "best of three" format and failed to obtain even a single unintentional draw in the 23 rounds I had played, so racking up a pair of them in 4 rounds here was tilting.

2-0-2

Round 5 vs Pyroar

I got paired up against a 3-1 opponent...who happened to be on a dedicated Pyroar deck. This game played out about as you would expect. I mentioned previously that there are game states where I can come out of the gates oddly aggressive and leave them on the back foot and maybe steal a win. That is not at all what happened. Instead, he had a fantastic start and mine was slow and clunky, and he took all 6 prizes in short order in under 10 minutes, knocking me out of top 8 contention.

2-1-2

Round 6 vs Metal

I get paired up against a 3-2 opponent, using a Metal deck as well. My friend who loaned me the Dowsing Machine stopped by to ask me if I was playing ( He knew I was eliminated ) as he and his car were looking to leave since they all had dropped by now. I intially had planned to play it out, but I wasn't really too invested in it. So I end up conceding to my opponent before we even set up. He was thrilled to make top 16, so that almost made it worth it alone. ( He was a newer player to tournaments. ) My friend was thrilled to be leaving the venue early with his Dowsing Machine back as well.

2-2-2

I was pretty disheartened by my performance, but I feel like my record was not very indicative of how the deck played for me. Pyroar was an obvious auto loss. I feel like I was very well positioned to win the Metal mirror had I played. One of my draws was going to certainly be a win, and my other was a toss up that I felt I could have won if I knew his list better.

I did draw a few conclusions from the event. First, I wasn't going to be concerned with Pyroar. I expected a possible spike in it's numbers due to how well Metal had done locally. ( One thing I find hilarious about discussing Pokemon with my friends around the country/world is that it seems as if every metagame looks WILDLY different. One player will explain how they can't take a loss to Deck X, where in other areas that deck just sees almost no play. I actually view that as a good sign that we have a pretty healthy format. ) There was a little bit of Pyroar at the event, but more importantly, a ton of bad Metal decks. The deck is actually really difficult to play ( I know I've made plenty of mistakes in how to approach game states and archetypes ) and really difficult to build as a result. Every matchup plays out uniquely, and you have to make sure you have the right allocation of tools for each of them in a list. For many archetypes, if you have the core cards available, you can generally get close to an optimal performance out of a suboptimal build. With this deck, it is far less forgiving and I saw tons of players punished by this. I was hoping this poor performance would help keep a target off the deck's back in upcoming tournaments.

Second, I wanted to try and figure out a way to be able to beat the mirror match. Going into the season I had no desire to tweak for it, since I felt no one would run it. It was not popular on PTCGO, and players generally were not hyping it. As a result, I felt confident that I would be one of the few using a good list for it. Now, the "cat was out of the bag" locally, and I needed to take it into account. No one else had good mirror trumps either, but I wanted to "solve" the match before anyone else found one. I felt the 4th VS Seeker was a step in the right direction, at least. Neither player can OHKO a Dialga EX, so Lysandre and AZ attrition wars seemed super likely.

Finally, despite reasonable performances against Manectric EX, I was a bit unnerved due to being poorly prepared for it. Not being able to score a OHKO on it while they could heal offered a pretty big problem. They were a bit limited in how well they could KO me too, but it felt like a matchup I wanted to include some tools for. The annoying part is how I pretty much had to approach two totally different styles of decks. On one hand, you have decks using Manectric EX as a supporting attacker alongside other obnoxious basics, such as in Toad decks. In this matchup, you wind up 20 shy of getting KOs. Against Mega Manectric builds, you are pretty far outside of one hit range. As a result, both seemed to demand different answers.

The conclusion I came to was to run Hypnotoxic Laser. This solves, or at least attempts to solve, most of your problems. In the metal mirror match, it acts as a plus power, which allows you to reach 180 damage to OHKO a Dialga EX. If one player is able to do this while the other is not, the matchup is almost 90-10. Even a single Laser is so impactful towards skewing that matchup. A single Laser alongside Dowsing Machine would net you two OHKOs on Dialga and almost a guaranteed win. The matchup is so slow and grindy that you have a predictable low variance path for the game to take, making a tech like that extremely effective.

Against Toad Manectric, they are running Lasers and Virbanks. With a Virbank, Laser lets you OHKO Manectric with Dialga assuming you have Muscle Band. You can either piggyback off of their own Virbanks, or run your own copy. The matchup goes long and again, is grindy, so you have time to get these pieces together.

Laser also gives you some pretty effective tools to beat Pyroar! A Bronzong with a Muscle Band OHKOs a Pyroar alongside a Virbank'd Laser. Laser under Quaking Punch also is pretty good at just killing Pyroars anyways. It may not make you favored in the matchup, but it gives you a very realistic chance of being able to pull off upsets.

Finally, against Mega Manectric decks, it has a few uses. First off, it lets you score OHKOs on the non-Mega Form Manectric EX the same way it does in the prior example. Beyond this, part of the problem I had been having with forcing two hit KOs in the matchup past healing stemmed from the fact that if I was to use Quaking Punch for 50, I was only doing 150 damage with Full Metal Impact even with a Band on the Dialga. A Laser not only lets me pull off over 200 damage in that scenario, but if I have a Virbank in play, it means I don't need a Muscle Band on both of them. In general, these Mega Manectric decks do not run any stadium cards, so running just a lone copy of Virbank makes sure it sticks.

Willoughby City Championships

For this tournament, I met up with Julie at Recess Games in North Olmsted at their Pokemon League so we could carpool. At league, we ran into my friend Mike, who we recruited to join us. I'm terrible at preparing for tournaments. I'm always sitting at a table until the last minute, frantically making adjustments to my deck list as I wait until the very last minute to get in line for registration. I almost always know what archetype I will be playing, but the last 3-4 spots in the list are almost always last minute decisions. This time, I figued I would give my Hypnotoxic Laser plan a go and see how it ends up treating me. We end up with 31 masters, good for 5 rounds of swiss and a top 8 cut. Unfortunately, there are not enough players for kicker points so to get anything I'd need to make top 4.

Here is the list I wound up playing for the event.

I wanted to try to fit a 3-1 Laser/Virbank line into the deck. That meant I needed to trim 4 cards from the deck.

No one in this area plays Virizion Genesect, so I finally stopped being stubborn and cut the Spiritomb from the deck. Spiritomb pretty much shored up that matchup by cutting off G-Booster and leaving them unable to deal with my Dialga EXes nuking themw ith one shots. I felt like VG would be a popular deck as one of the most hyped archetype coming into Cities was the high disruption Quad Seismitoad deck. VG was the deck's worst matchup by far. I gave the deck two weeks to show up, and it didn't, so Spiritomb got the ax. The matchup isn't even that bad without it. One space down. I made the concession to revert back to 3 VS Seeker, since it had played well enough for the first week. I felt like 4 was optimal, but 3 was good enough that if I needed room it would suffice. The riskier decision was also going down to 1 AZ. I would need to be very aware that I could not play as good of healing game as usual due to effectively stripping away 2 copies of AZ with those two changes. The final trim was to go back down to 7 metal energy. Riskier, but still well in range of what I consider to be an acceptable amount of energy for the deck.I also trimmed the Bronzong line to 4-3 to fit a Skyla as an additional means to search up the Virbank City Gym.

With the cut to AZ, I also made one more change to the Pokemon. I cut Aegislash. I felt like I was able to beat Donphan well enough without it. The matchup is so lopsided that I could take out a key weapon against it and still be left with a favorable win rate. No one was using Plasma, which was the other matchup where I really wanted the card. It was mediocre everywhere else. I slid the spot over to a 3rd Heatran for a few reasons. On one hand, it would put a few percentage points back in against Donphan. Additionally, if I'm running less healing, I want to have less reliance on EX attackers since they aren't as easy to loop. As a result, I could see a lot of game states where I'd want to use 3 non EX attackers in a game and force them to take a bunch of difficult KOs on Heatrans. One of Aegislashes other strengths was against Night March, and thats another matchup where I wanted the ability to trade with non-EXes. Finally, I felt like Heatran would end up being a very strong threat because it can now score OHKOs on even 180 HP EXes with a Laser, Virbank, and Band. The inclusion of the Laser package brought up the overall value of the card.

I had actually considered running a full 4 Heatran, and a 4th Muscle Band to try and really force that game plan as a focus of what the deck was trying to do. Heatran is also good against both brands of Manectric. The Mega Form caps at 110 damage. Well, that isn't true, but in most cases it is. They almost always use Spirit Link to evolve, and that locks them off of Muscle Band. Without Band, they have to use Tool Retriever to be able to free up the Tool spot for a Band. This means they are stuck two hitting a Heatran, and Heatran two hits Mega Manectric back. This is clearly a favorable exchange. Normal Manectric can't OHKO Heatran at all either. Assuming I do not tool up Heatran, they cap at 80 damage with a band, and 110 with their own Laser. Unlike my EX threats, they can't toss a Head Ringer onto Heatran. Heatran winds up being a pretty big weapon in those matchups, so a third copy seemed great.

One additional note regarding the Laser package. One of the closer matchups for the deck would be an aggressive Yvelta list. I don't think the matchup is bad for metal! I think it is either 50-50, or slightly favorable for Bronzong and Friends. That said, being able to piggyback off of their Virbanks with your Lasers is really helpful! Especially alongside Seismitoad. Everyone knows how good Laser is with Toad, and this deck has enough Toad presence where the Lasers pair well there too. I was pretty happy to be adding cards which padded my odds against a fairly close matchup too.

Round 1 vs Gengar Trevenant

I look at my opening hand, and stare down my good friend the Heatran. Alongside him, was his good friend the second Heatran. So I open with Heatran. My opponent starts with Gengar EX, which is reassuring for me because every deck I've seen featuring the card has been a very favorable matchup. That is sure a good thing, as my hand was pretty poor. I end up going 2nd, and N'ing myself to 6, and end up not seeing another Pokemon or an energy drop. Gengar gets powered up, and he gets out Trevenant to hit and run behind. I manage to make an energy drop, and get a pair of Bronzor on the bench off of another N. My opponent makes a mistake, Lysandre'ing up a Bronzor and sniping my bench. This gives me a turn unlocked from Trevenant. I Juniper, and hit a Switch, DCE, and a Bronzong. I end up Lysandre'ing Gengar for the KO a turn later, and suddenly I went from being hopelessly behind to having a pair of Bronzongs and the ability to power up a number of attackers. Had this put me in a "narrowly behind" position I would have been very optimistic because of how the matchup favors me, but I somehow found myself narrowly ahead. I had a few good draws from there, and the game wound up lopsidedly in my favor somehow. Admittedly, I needed a really strong Juniper to get back into the game, and my opponent had to let me out of Item lock for no real reason. The Juniper was strong enough that I felt I would be in for a very close game even if he did play his Gengar properly, but I would have certainly had my work cut out for me.

1-0

Round 2 vs Seismitoad Garbodor Manectric

I got paired against my friend's Seismitoad Manectric Garbodor deck, and get a pretty sketchy hand. She had a pretty aggressive start, but was playing pretty slowly. I learned from the prior weekend that these matchups go really long. I felt like I was extremely unlikely to win against her vastly superior start due to how close the matchup sees as well. I play a very defensive game, letting her take her slow paced, long turns as I figured letting her eat up a lot of time would only benefit me as it increased the odds that we would hit a draw. Normally when I play, I rush in order to NOT accidently draw, so instead of rushing I played at a more relaxed pace this game. Before anyone says anything, there is a big difference between "stalling" and "not playing at the extremely rushed pace a time limit encourages a player to play at". A good player can play at 100% performance in an untimed scenario. They can perform at 95% performance in what would be considered an appropriate pace of play for a timed game. Unfortunately, in many cases ( more so in match play than single game swiss ) players are forced to play much faster than they should have to, and left at a spot where they are playing closer to 90% of their ability. I'll use an example. Have you ever seen a player play at normal pace for game 1 and game 2 of match play, only for them to suddenly lose game 2 with what both players know is very little time left for game 3? That player will generally be playing substantially faster due to the new confines placed on him by the time limit. The way the time limit works now, especially if you are playing a slower deck ( like metal ) is that you are forced to START playing at that rushed pace. Obviously not to the extreme you ae when facing that third game, but the underlying conditions are fairly paralleled.

I actually end up stabilizing the game pretty well, and my opponent makes a few questionable plays towards the end of the game. This lets me flip the game around, putting myself in control. Unfortunately, I'm unable to score one hit kills, and I'm still at 4 prizes to her 3. She is almost purged of all of her resources and can't really position herself to make any major plays. The game ends in a draw, as hoped intially, even though I would have won an untimed game. The game was actually no where close to ending when turns finished. Even if she had been playing quicker and I was still rushing, it would have been unlikely that the additional 2-3 turns we'd have seen would have resulted in a finished game. ( For anyone curious, when I am addressing pace of play, neither players turns were unreasonably long. Hers were well within what is considered a reasonable length, and mine were much shorter than hers. My round 4 opponent in Dublin played substantially slower than her. )

Interestingly, despite the draw "backfiring", I felt like it was still the absolute correct game plan to take. There is no way to know she would mishandle the late game, and I had to have a series of favorable draws to stabilize at all. I took lines which would increase the difficulty of her winning, opposed to lines which increased the odds I'd win in the long run. I played extremely defensively, focused more on denying prizes being taken than giving myself a real chance to take all 6 prizes. When you have a deck with a lot of healing and sturdy attackers, it becomes a realistic game plan. You can pretty reliably force a draw against Manectric decks assuming you don't get overrun early, which is actually a nice safety net to have against "bad matchups". Back in 2010-2011, the time limit made Luxchomp a favorite against Gengar Vileplume, even though that matchup was generally quite bad in an untimed game. In swiss, it was easy for the Luxchomp player to be ahead on prizes when time ended ( there were no draws then. ) and in match play, you'd lose a 35-40 minute game 1, reliably win game 2 on prizes in 20ish minutes, and then win the sudden death. You took a matchup that was almost 25-75 in their favor, and inverted that due to the time limit. There is your fun history lesson for the day guys.

1-0-1

Round 3 vs Yveltal Darkrai

I got paired against my friend Sam who I've known since 2002. It is crazy to see how friendships work in this game! She is playing a very aggressive Yveltal Darkrai deck, which I figured would be a fun test for the deck. Carl had beaten her in the top 4 of the first week of Cities with this deck, but it had gone to the full 3 games. She has a pretty good start, and mine is equally strong. Neither start being our best, but both ones we'd be happy with. I sacrifice a Heatran early, before getting the Dialga KO on Yveltal EX. I'm pretty fortunate with my draws, and always hit the key Lysandres and Switches needed to stay exactly one step ahead of her plays, and win a game which looked really lopsided but was actually much closer. If I stumbled a bit on any of my turns, the game slips back into a pretty dead even heat. My favorite moment of the game was when I got a KO due to a Laser off her Virbank. I was wondering how people would react to that inclusion, and she seemed pretty startled by it.

2-0-1

Round 4 vs Turbo Lugia

I got paired against a girl I hadn't seen at tournaments before, and I lose the opening flip. I had heard from people she was on Plasma though, and suddenly I wish I had Aegislash back! I had played against Plasma 3 games in the first week of Cities, and struggled to even see the Aegislash, and the matchup wasn't too bad without it, but I definitely did not feel too comfortable as I hadn't tested against the deck without the crutch in it. I was taken back when she decides she wants to play second. Well, it worked out for her. She had opened Lugia, and I put a DCE on my benched Dialga EX. I had Heatran active. I got two Bronzors on my bench, and had a pretty decent start. Well, until she gets a turn one Lugia with a pair of Deoxys, alongside a Genesect. She also plays an Enhanced Hammer on my DCE. Well then. ( I find out afterwards she ran one Hammer. ) I end up sacrificing a Heatran EX to let her go to 2 prizes, before Escape Roping the Lugia to the bench and Ning her to 2. I power up Dialga EX, and Lysandre the Lugia and play a Laser, OHKOing it after she had failed to do much off my N. She never recovers from the N, and I sweep two Deoxys for the come back win after having mentally written the game off as a surefire loss. Usually I never manage to stick an N like that, so it was nice to have one of those work out favorable for me for once.

3-0-1

Round 5 vs ????

 

I have no idea what deck my opponent was on. I THINK it may have been Manectric Yveltal, but I'm not sure, as we never play, and just Intentially Draw to secure a spot in top 8 as 11 points was a lock.

3-0-2

Standings go up, and I'm in 2nd place in the standings. The girl with Plasma I played round 4 ( She was 3-0 at the time ) won her final round to be the lone 4-1 player. A few interesting things about this top 8! All of my opponents besides my first round opponent made top 8. On top of that, half of the competitors were girls. I don't mean that in any sort of "oh man, girls are worse at cards!" malicious manner, I just think its great to see the game opening up.

Anyways, I get paired against David who took 7th seed, which is brutal because he had the only matchup I did not want to play against, as he was using Mega Manectric alongside assorted Kyurems to help combat Donphan. I'll see if I can reconstruct what the top 8 looked like.

1: Plasma
2: Metal
3: Donphan
4: Yveltal Manectric
5: Seismitoad Manectric
6: Virizion Genesect
7: Manectric Kyurem
8: Yveltal Darkrai

I'm not sure confident of that, so take it for what it is.

Top 8 vs David w Mega Manectric Kyurem

Game 1

Game one ends up taking about 35 minutes to complete, and I'm able to use a Laser to get a KO on a Mega Manectric. He stumbles a bit, and the game kind of snowballs in my favor. I put enough pressure down to eventually collect all of my prizes off of Lysandres. There just weren't any other major critical turns this game, at least as far as I remember. I had the better start and managed to get the crucial few opening kills. The matchup kind of requires that I'm able to at least get some traction before he gets fully set up. If he is in control with multiple Manectrics and I have 6 prizes, its going to be super difficult for me to collect them all. He runs Pokemon center Lady and a Max Potion. The Lady with VS Seekers makes it really rough to get kills in particular. I still don't like how the match looks for me, because he gets to be on the play, and it is fairly likely he'll win the second game. Going first is HUGE in this matchup.

1-0

Game 2

Well, I really didn't like how the match looked, as I mulligan once, and then open Jirachi EX. I knew the game was out of reach really early on, and resigned to my fate. I knew what my game plan was though. I wanted to leave as little time available as possible for a game 3. On the play, I felt like I could likely take the first prize. If he opened one of his Kyurems, that was an easy prize for me to win an effective "sudden death" on. I had to try and eat up as much time as possible so that I put us in a near sudden death scenario for game 3, but AFTER we set up so I can choose to be on the play opposed to having to flip for it if he wins game 2 on the 4 prizes taken clause. I more or less sit there and try not to die as he bludgeons my Pokemon mercilessly as I'm super far behind all game. I didn't take a single prize, and I scoop with him at 2 prizes to make sure I have time to set up game 3.

1-1

Game 3

Well, my start is pretty poor, and he opens Manectric. I'm not able to get Bronzongs out, or a fast Seismitoad for Quaking Punch, so I'm just stuck getting beat on a bit. The problem here is that the sudden death scenario put me in a pretty big bind. I wasn't THAT far behind in openings. The problem being, while in a normal game I could give up ground in prizes to let myself stabilize, I couldn't do that here in sudden death conditions. I knew time would be called shortly, so I had to make really weird lines to not give up kills. I end up taking 2 prizes to his 3 when turns finish, but the game state was very lopsided in his favor at that point. A few things could be taken away from this game. First, I wasn't super far off on my assessment of how much time was left, but I needed to eat 5-7 more minutes off the clock in game 2 before scooping if I could have. My internal clock is certainly very rusty and something I need to work on, even if I don't think it would have mattered. Secondly, the game looked like a bloodbath to anyone who saw the end game state, but the game changed drastically due to me being forced to make extremely defensive plays. This let things snowball out of control as I gave up more and more ground just to protect prize parity.

1-2

Well, I didn't get any points at this CC, but I felt pretty happy with the deck again! The Lasers played well, but I still felt pretty uncomfortable with my Mega Manectric matchup. By the end of the day, I felt like I was favored against normal Manectric EX decks though. The metagame was pretty wide open too, if the top 8 was any indication. Sam's Yveltal deck beat the first seed Plasma deck, David beat me, Donphan beat VG, and Yveltal Manectric beat Seismitoad Manectric. David went on to narrowly beat Donphan while the Yveltal deck managed to overcome a bad matchup against Yveltal Manectric. David then 2-0ed Sam in the finals to secure the City Championship!

My initial plan was to attend the Findlay City Championships that Sunday, but I was really tired and would have had to drive with just myself and David. It was a solid 2 hours away, and apparently the event was going to be huge with a ton of the good players in the area going. Like good proper cowards, me and David decided to skip it. There is less and less incentive to attend a CC the larger it gets. Even if I felt I was the best player in the room, your odds still drop way off. I set an alarm in the morning just in case I woke up with a changed mind, but based on the fact the event wound up with 60 Masters, I don't really feel too bad about not having made it.

The following weekend, I was set to attend a pair of Cities, but wound up contracting a terrible stomach flu at like 4 am Saturday morning, which kept me bedridden the whole weekend. ( I used my pathetic state to watch the entire first two seasons of Arrow. I still don't even know if I liked it. )

Sandusky City Championships

David and Carl decided they would make the trip out to West Virginia for Cities opposed to going to the closer Sandusky event, hoping to catch easier competition. WV was a good 3 hour drive for me, opposed to 50 minutes to Sandusky, so I just wound up driving up there on my own. I've gone to this same store probably 15 times in my life, and I STILL always get lost. I don't think I'll ever get it down.

Anyways, the turnout for this event wound up being extremely small, at just 17 Masters. Almost all of the good players who had considered attending the event opted not to. Many went to West Virginia instead, and others opted to drive north to the CC in Michigan instead. As a result of surveying the field, I just wanted to go with a really streamlined and consistent build for the deck, banking on my ability to beat most of the players assuming my deck didn't end up beating itself.

We went back up to the 4-4 Bronzong line. I liked the 3 Heatran, but wanted Aegislash back. I had no idea what decks to expect, but if I could get free wins off of it's inclusion, I felt like it was worth it. I cut the 3rd Dialga for it. I kept a pair of Lasers as Plus Powers to hit 180 HP KOs, and to piggyback off Virbanks. I heard a lot of people asking around to borrow them, so I assumed there would be decks I could capitalize on. I went back up to 8 energy, again embracing the idea I didn't want to beat myself by missing energy drops. I went back to 4 VS Seeker as I switched to Computer Search over Dowsing Machine for extra consistency.

We wound up with 5 rounds and a top 4 cut off. Top 16 would get prizes, which wound up being top 17 because the PTO didn't want to exclude exactly one player.

Round 1 vs Virizion Genesect

I lost the flip, which is really annoying as its crucial in this matchup. Luckily, my opponent opts not to attach a Plasma from hand to his Virizion before Ning me, and misses his energy drop! On the OTHER HAND, he took my hand with an Ultra Ball, Sycamore and Computer Search and replaced it with a garbage hand with no Supporter. Still, I stole tempo, and attach a Metal to a Dialga EX which is my active. If I can get off a Chrono-wind on Virizion before it Emerald Slashes, the matchup gets much, much easier. He attaches a grass, and fills his bench, before passing. I draw a Colress, and have a big enough bench that I get to Colress with 8, needing to hit one of my 4 DCE or my Comp Search. Instead, I miss any energy drops at all, and still only have 1 Bronzor. He Emerald Slashes, and I Colress for 8 again, still not seeing a DCE, or a 2nd Bronzor or Ultra Ball. I'm able to get a little bit of energy in play, but its rough. I end up getting a KO on Virizion, but he had put 70 on it with a Banded Slash, leaving Dialga dead to Megalo-Cannon augmented by Deoxys EX. I'm in a spot where if I Colress for 9 and hit a DCE, I can KO Genesect, leaving me in a great position still, and miss AGAIN. I end up giving myself a spot where an N could possibly make him miss a turn or two and let me win still, but that gambit doesn't pay off at all.

This was a very frustrating loss. My opponent played well, and had a good list, but I kept missing on so many reasonable draws. I've never seen so many ineffective "draw 8" Supporters before. I was on mild tilt here, but I felt like I liked my odds to be able to win out and make cut.

0-1


Round 2 vs Magmortar Electivire

Mild tilt transitioned smoothly into wild tilt when my opponent accidently flashed me a fire energy out of his deck while shuffling, considering the only fire deck in the format was Pyroar. Well, besides his Magmortar Electivire deck of course. I open with Seismitoad EX, and get the turn one Quaking Punch. He fails to get an Electivire out early, and Seismitoad does a whole ton of work stopping him from developing. Seismitoad alone gets me up 3 prizes, and from there its a technicality as Heatrans sweep up the rest of the way.

1-1

Round 3 vs Donphan

Did I mention that Donphan was a really good matchup? Well, it is even easier when my opponent gets a slow start. He can't get ahold of Phanpy, and by the time he does, I've got Aegislash in "can OHKO a Donphan" range, and have a pair of Bronzong and a Heatran up. I'm just rushing at this point because I feel like the only problem I could run into is getting into a spot where I get an accidental draw due to Robots stalling me out. I always try and play really fast vs Donphan due to that threat, and focus on just not burning away VS Seekers and Lysandres. I value that and playing fast over well, playing correctly? I could play very sloppy and still be very good in this matchup.

2-1

Round 4 vs Donphan

Well, this is a treat. I'll be honest, all of the Donphan games kind of blur together, and this isn't different. I know he ran into a problem where he also didn't get a very good start against me, but my draw was pretty good. I know this one finished pretty quickly as Aegislash went tusk hunting pretty early on.

3-1

Round 5 vs Yveltal Manectric

I get paired against Justin who is 4-0 and a lock for top 4. I was curious as to whether he would scoop me into cut or not. I think the smart play, on his end, is to play it out, and depending on how he feels about the matchup at the end of the game consider scooping. At 4-0, you have a huge advantage in a top 4 scenario where you have some control over whether you want your round 5 matchup in cut. If I was in his shoes, and I felt I beat metal, I would certainly scoop me in. If I wasn't sure, I'd play it out, evaluate the matchup, and possibly scoop if I felt favored. We end up playing, and I have no idea what his intentions were as he definite discussed scooping. I get a pretty nice start, and his is playable but on the weaker end. He has to Jirachi EX for a Supporter, which seals the game as its a free two prizes at the end for me. I kill an EX attacker, two baby Yveltal, and the Jirachi to secure my spot in top 4.

4-1

Top 4 wound up being

1: Yveltal Manectric
2: Yveltal ( I think with Manectric )
3: Seismitoad Manectric
4: Metal

Top 4 vs Yveltal Manectric

Game 1

I get a really weak start and he leads with Manectric and starts putting on pressure. I miss an energy drop at a point, and hit a no Supporter drought, and this one ends up in a snowballed mess very, very quickly. I didn't scoop so I could try and see a few more cards from his list since I valued information more than time for additional games.

0-1

I manage to draw equally bad, and get crushed again. Both of our games finished a decent amount before the other top 4 game finished their first game.

0-1

Well, with my top 4 exit, I'm up to 70 CP, which is a decent enough start with 5 more events to go for me. I feel like the Yveltal Manectric matchup is very similar to the normal Yveltal matchups, oddly. I have to have a decent start to keep up, or else I'll get overrun. With a normal start I feel like its pretty close to even. The matchup is worse than pure Yveltal, but still strikes me as close to 50-50. An interesting new trend coming from the week and a half I missed of Cities is the emergence of decks embracing Hard Charm as a means to avoid being one hit. Beyond this, the card also really hinders Donphan decks when paired alongside fighting Resistance. I'm not entirely sure how I even feel about the card, but it is a pain against the Dialga EX OHKO plan. It puts Yveltal EX out of range. One of the problems I do see with the card is that as it gains popularity, it may push players into running Startling Megaphone. If that trend happens, then the card loses a lot of value. I feel like I'd only want to be on the Hard Charm plan while its an unknown factor. Another interesting trend that was popping up was Shadow Circle in Yveltal decks. The Mega Manectric decks generally don't run counter stadiums, so it is pretty cute there. Most of the other Manectric decks do though, so I'm unsure how much I like the plan. This plan also seems like it may have a limited shelf life, as even 1 throw in counter stadium in a Mega Manectric deck is likely to be impactful enough to really break a game open if it lets you nuke an Yveltal EX in one shot.

I was actually fairly disheartened by this tournament as a whole. I felt like I was the best player in a small room, and that this was my tournament to win. I hate looking at a t4 performace as a failure, but I really wanted to go deeper in this tournament. It just made me hungrier for the tournament on Sunday in Strongsville.

Strongsville City Championships

Carl had lost in top 8 of West Virginia's Cities ( I do not remember the name of the city!) and David had done poorly, but both had used Mega Manectric Yveltal EX. I made a few changes from the list I used Saturday as we got exactly 32 players, and some pretty stiff competition. I wanted to give myself some more weapons against Yveltal and Manectric, and accepted the fact that as they also incorporated Hard Charms into the lists that I wasn't going to be able to really bank on one shotting them.

Aegislash had earned his keep, and was going to stay in over the 3rd Dialga EX. Dialga was performing worse and worse. It isn't close to band, but it was being less and less of a focus for the deck. That was a swap I was pretty content with from the day before. I also really, really liked Computer Search over Dowsing Machine. The more I think about it, the less justification I can make for having Dowsing Machine as my Ace Spec. It is an additional Switching effect and Muscle Band ( both cards I want a 4th copy of ) but Computer Search is an extra piece of
consistency and also gets me Double Colorless Energy. I'm also keeping it at an 8-4 energy line. I'm tired of missing energy drops.

I cut the 2nd Hypnotoxic Laser to fit in a Magnetic Storm. This lets me OHKO a Manectric EX. Also, I wanted to run a stadium card to enable the extra damage off of Heatran's first attack, as I'm really trying to embrace them as a primary attacker. I'm still looking at trying out a 4th copy. With only 1 Laser, I like Magnetic Storm over the Virbank. Battle Compressor finally got the cut too. I mentioned before that cards like it end up falling victim to the need to shore up bad matchups, and that is kind of what happened here. Space got too tight, and it's marginal utility was no longer earning it's keep. I replaced it with a Skyla. Skyla just really does a lot with Jirachi and Computer Search. The addition of Skyla effectively adds 6 additional copies of DCE to the deck. ( Skyla, Jirachi EX, 4 Ultra Ball ) So many games are decided by NEEDING to get a timely DCE. Also, I find myself having to Juniper or Colress towards a Switch a lot of times. This addition fixes that as well. Skyla ( and the Computer Search ) make the 1 Laser and 1 Magnetic Storm split a bit more stomachable, making them more accessible.

The final addition to the deck is Mewtwo EX. I mentioned how he was pretty bad the first week of the tournament, but things have changed within the metagame to the point where he seemed appealing again. Mewtwo is an extremely low maintenance attacker who gives you a cheap attacker to combat Yveltal and even a Manectric. It can really mess up a loaded Yveltal, and is a much better lead in attacker into a Manectric than anything else in the deck at the moment. As I come to terms with the fact that I'm stuck playing a more fair game in terms of grindier KOs, Mewtwo's stock rises.

The latest card on the chopping block this week was Xerosic. I still like this card, but NO ONE plays Garbodor. I hadn't seen any of it at any of the Cities. It was such a scary threat at the start of Cities due to Quad Toad, but the Toad decks have generally embraced secondary attackers instead. Beyond that, there are just not that many Toad decks being played at the moment. I was hesitant to cut it because it has some strength against Hard Charm, but I didn't think that I could find myself using a Supporter to discard them very often in those matchups. I think it is just safer to take two hit KOs as the approach. If Garbodor is a presence, I'd certainly run the Xerosic because it does a lot of work in that matchup, but unless it actually shows up, the card seems particularly subpar. I've discussed with people running Megaphone, but I feel like I prefer the utility in Xerosic ( the discarding an energy prevents it from being dead in so many matchups ) and also love its interaction with VS Seeker. I think it would be a hard sell to get me to run the Megaphone over Xerosic.

Round 1 vs Donphan

I get a great start, and he makes a mistake by putting a Strong Energy onto his Phanpy over a Fighting which gets discarded. Obviously that is usually correct, but he has to try to play around Aegislash. I start to power Aegislash, and take a KO. I realize really quickly that he has no idea what Aegislash does. This is confirmed when he Computer Searches for a DCE, and tried to Wreck it for no damage. I KO it, and just Lysandre all of his future Phanpy for a pretty easy win.

1-0

Round 2 vs Mega Manectric Yveltal

Yay, out of 15 other winners, I get paired against Carl. Well, the game starts to look bleak, as he gets a pretty good start and gets Mega Manectric EX up and attacking. Well, luckily for me, my Laser puts Manectric to sleep, and I Quaking Punch it...and it stays asleep. I get a Band on my Dialga EX and Full Metal Impact it for the KO. His hand is really bad too, and I get down to 1 Prize...and then get N'd. He has literally nothing going on in play and 5 prizes left, and I'm stuck for like 7 turns under a brutal drought off the N, with 4 Sycamore, 1 Lysandre, 2 VS Seeker, 2 Ultra Ball, and a Jirachi EX left in a roughly 25 card deck. ( A Lysandre wins me the game ) He gets a 4 prize turn off Darkrai EX, giving me a one turn window to draw a VS Seeker or Switch. He had 4 energy on Darkrai ( I believe he Mega Manectric'd to it, and wanted the option to Energy Switch off of it ) and I had a Mewtwo EX in hand. He had 80 damage on Darkrai. I had two Bronzong in play. If I drew VS Seeker ( for AZ ) I could promote Mewtwo and get the KO. I draw...VS SEEKER for game. This was one of the dumbest games. I had to get lucky to KO the Mega Manectric in the first place, and then had to get extremely unlucky to almost lose before having to get extremely lucky on the last turn to win. ( I think I had 2 outs in like 19 cards at that point. )

2-0

Round 3 vs Seismitoad Pyroar

Well, the reward for my luck was...a pairing against one of the few Pyroar players in the room! Woo! I was behind him during registration and saw his deck list, so my heart sunk when I saw the pairings. Before the game starts, the PTO runs a prize raffle, and my opponent wins two of the prizes. I joke how his luck ran out and I'll find a way to steal this game. ( He knew what I was on. ) Well, he opened Seismitoad, going 1st, and attaches an energy and passes. I had opened Mewtwo, and Jirachi for Computer Search for DCE, hitting him for 60. He Lysandre's Jirachi and plays Virbank and Laser. I have a Switch, and my own Laser, and he draws and has to pass dying to poison! Well, I've mentioned before there are a series of lines which let me beat Pyroar? My opponent never seeing a Litleo is certainly one of them. I couldn't believe I actually snuck past that game, and at 3-0, it lets me double draw to secure a top 8 berth and at least 20 more Championship Points.

3-0

Round 4 vs Donphan

I get paired against a guy I know is on Donphan, which is pretty much an autowin, so I COULD have played for the win here. Even if I managed to lose, I'm still in position to draw in the final round and be a near lock for top 8 ( at worst, one 3-1-1 misses cut, and at a 3-0 start, it wouldn't be me. ) I definitely draw, both because I wanted the free time, and because I wanted to put Donphans into top 8.

3-0-1

Round 5 vs Pyroar Seismitoad

I get paired against my friend using Pyroar, who is 3-1. He wants to draw ( one 3-1-1 misses ) which I am thankful for. He has a very, very small chance of winding up in 9th, and facing an auto win. I would not have been surprised if he had wanted to play against me to get the 4-1 lock. I actually think I made a mistake in agreeing to draw as well. I don't think it was actually possible for me to miss at 3-1-1 on breakers, and I could have a super small chance to knock a Pyroar deck out of top 8.

3-0-2

I make it into top 8 at 3rd seed. Here we go again, with me trying to remember the top 8 standings.

1: Donphan
2: Seismitoad Garbodor Yveltal
3: Metal
4: Donphan
5: Fighting Drifblim
6: Donphan
7: Pyroar Seismitoad
8: Donphan

Ok, I know 2,3,6 and 7 are correct as it was my side of the bracket. I know the other top 8 matchups had a Donphan mirror match, and a Fighting Drifblim deck vs another Donphan player. Going into top 8, the PTO says we are ahead of schedule for the tournament and asks if we'd prefer 75 minute top cut rounds. We all agree. I'm paired against my round 1 opponent, who now knows what Aegislash does.

Top 8 vs Donphan

Game 1

My opponent opens Kyurem, and has no Supporter. I bench him in a couple of turns as he dead drew.

1-0

Game 2

My opponent opens Sigilyph, I believe. Well, the long story short is again he just completely draws dead, and I win in a few turns, finishing the match in under 10 minutes total for both games.

2-0

Well, the bad news is two fold. One, Pyroar won it's match and I'd be facing it in top 4. Oops. The other band news? The Donphan mirror was going to take forever, and we had a 75 minute time limit now after my ten minute match. Luckily, we are allowed to start our game on a separate timer so we don't have to wait so long.

Top 4 vs Pyroar Seismitoad

Game 1

My opponent opens Terrakion ( He ran 1 as a solution to Mega Manectric which is really hard for him ) and this lets me lead with a very disruptive Seismitoad EX. He was running a list with 4 Seismitoad, a Kyurem, a Terrakion, and a 4-2/2 Pyroar list with a split on Pyroars. I felt I could kill one with Bronzongs, and maybe Poison the other with my Laser. I end up killing a Toad for 2 prizes, and kill off 2 Litleo with Lysandre, and kill his PHF Pyroar with a Lysandre to protect my bench. I'm at 1 prize and he has Terrakion sitting on his bench, and he has 4 prizes left. I get N'd into junk, and spend a bunch of turns searching for a Lysandre or draw Supporter. I whiff, and have to hope he doesn't have a Lysandre as I could buy turns hiding behind Mewtwo/Toad and even sacrificing a Heatran. He had used 2 VS Seeker and 2 Lysandre, and was at 2 prizes. ( I had Jirachi EX benched ) With him running 2 gusting Pyroar, I felt 2 VS Seeker and 2 Lysandre was a very realistic count and he could have been out. Sadly, the prize he took the previous turn was the VS Seeker for Lysandre to win a game I thought I was actually going to win. I needed some help with him opening Terrakion while I had a fast start. Sadly, I feel I also needed him to play a little sloppy with what he benched as a result of underestimating what this deck could do to maybe steal a win. I didn't like my odds in successive games.

0-1

My start is a good deal worse, and he starts to get set up before I make any headway. I make a really dumb mistake, miscalculating some basic damage as I'm trying to think about what would have to happen to be able to position myself to maybe stand a chance. Long story short, I do exactly 120 damage to Outrage Kyurem, and promptly concede to go get food :D

0-2

There really isn't too much I can do about the Pyroar problem. It is a loss I've accepted taking. I actually feel like I should have won that first game, but even then, I likely still lose the match. I don't think I could win 2/3 like that, especially since he likely would be able to play around some of my attempted tricks after the first game.

I was really happy with how the deck played for me at this event. I loved the Skyla. Mewtwo was impressive! I'm not sure what changes I would make to the deck yet though. At the end of the day, there are two "flex spots" more or less, in the Magnetic Storm and the Hypnotoxic Laser. I want to see what 2 cards give me the best chance against Manectric decks. I want to test more against Yveltal Manectric as well.

Hopefully, this gives a bit of insight into the progression of this deck. I feel as if Metal is an underplayed archetype in most areas. I also feel like it is a great play if your player base isn't prepared for it. I would be sure to log a lot of games with the deck before picking it up for a tournament. The deck has vastly differing game plans in ever matchup. As a result, playing 5-10 games with it isn't going to prepare you for every matchup. You need to play a few games against all of the archetypes to learn the ins and outs of how they play out. You can skew the list to beat most decks. I know how I want to build it for my personal metagame, but it can be adjusted easily enough.

If anyone wants to discuss the deck, on any facet, I'm always interested in conversing about it! Just hit me up. I'm almost certain to play this deck all the way through Cities. I hit my benchmark of 100 CP, and have 4 more events to attend. If I can win one, that'll put me at my 150 I was aiming for. I'd love to be able to make it Boston for Worlds for the first time in 4 years. I just need to work on this whole "getting past top 4" thing! Anyways, thanks for reading, and I look forward to writing more in the near future!

Chris 

[+1] okko


 

Thank you for your time. Please leave us your feedback to help us to improve the articles for you! 

 

 
 

 

_________________________________________________________________

Make sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to see the latest stories. 

 

Pokémon and its trademarks are ©1995-2018 Nintendo, Creatures, and GAMEFREAK. English card images appearing on this website are the property of The Pokémon Company International, Inc. 60cards is a fan site. Our goal is to promote the Pokemon TCG and help it grow. We are not official in any shape or form, nor affiliated, sponsored, or otherwise endorsed by Nintendo, Creatures, GAMEFREAK, or TPCi.

 

 


user
Gabe Shumway

Can a New Dog Beat Old Tricks?

05/15/2020 by Gabe Shumway // Everything you need to know about PikaRom / Boltund-V Toolbox in the UPR-RCL format. (+30)

user
Zach Lesage

The Good Puppers - Boltund V

05/14/2020 by Zach Lesage // Zach showcases his Boltund V list, one of his top picks for Limitless Q3, behind the paywall. (+19)

user
Mark Dizon

Level One - Breaking Down a Misplay

05/12/2020 by Mark Dizon // How to reflect on a misplay that ruins your tournament and use it to prepare you for the next one. (+18)

Other articles

A New Take On Ultra Necrozma

by  Chris Fulop
more

Lost Thunder Set Analysis

by  Chris Fulop
more

Walking In Memphis

by  Chris Fulop
more

Philadelphia Fallout

by  Chris Fulop
more

Welcome to our Pokemon Community Portal. Have a look around and enjoy your stay!

up