08/30/2015 by Chris Fulop
Hello there, everyone! After finally catching up on some sleep after this long Worlds weekend, it is time for my post-Worlds article! As I generally do after a major tournament, I am going to write a tournament report and go over my advetures for the weekend. The format itself is now more or less officially a lame duck format, so to really go in depth over what decks did best at the event really isn't too insightful. (I also was unable to really follow along too much with the event because I wound up judging the Boston Open on Saturday.)
Anyways, the plan was for myself, Dan Polo, Kyle Pattyson, James Richards, and Rob Simkins to leave at 6:00 and drive straight out to Boston while listening to Dropkick Murphys and thinking that makes us clever. I set my alarm for 5:00 and text Dan, whose car we were taking, that I was awake and getting ready. This is when he politely tells me that we are leaving at 6:00 PM, not 6:00 AM, which I had assumed. Awkward. (I got some degree of validation when, upon looking back, he had not specified which 6:00!) On one hand, this meant I could just go back to sleep, because I was still pretty tired and had obviously planned nothing for the day. On the other hand, this was unfortunate because I was hoping to get in on Thursday night to spend time with my friends.
I end up dropped off at Dan's at 7:00, as we all decide to leave a little bit later. Surprisingly, we head out pretty much right on time after that point. Everyone is wide awake, and we keep ourselves pretty easily entertained. The drive actually is going pretty smoothly, until around 4:00 AM. First off, this is the point where everyone is starting to get tired. Well, I'm actually pretty wide awake as I just slept most of the day after my initial mishap regarding departure time. For about a half hour, off in the distance we see brief bursts of lightning. It seemed otherwise beautiful out. We had actually written it off as heat lightning. (Spoiler: We were so wrong.) The worst weather issues we had was Pennsylvania being stupidly foggy. I actually really, really hate driving through Pennsylvania. The original directions had us cutting north through PA into New York as our quickest route, but we wound up taking a more southern route taking us through New York and Connecticut to avoid like thirty dollars in tolls at the expense of maybe thirty minutes of additional travel time.
Anyways, this "heat lightning" brought with it some really brutal storms. The rain hits pretty heavy, and quickly becomes an intense downpour. Dan pushes onward for about a half hour through it, with the hope that it breaks. When it doesn't, we finally agree we need to pull off to the side because we were having really bad problems with visibility. We wait at a hotel for about twenty minutes and the rain lets up a little bit. We're all hungry, so we decide to go to a Denny's ten miles out to kill more time and let the rain pass. Well, the storm picks up again right as we get back on the road. In order to get into the Denny's when we do arrive there, we have to rush through a near monsoon, only to find that there is what can best be described as a...waterfall, at the door to the Denny's. The roof was pouring down a steady stream of water over the doorway, and the only clear way in was to dart far to the left or right of this waterfall. We all kind of broke into a run at different times to make it to the door, and one by one, we ran up, realized there was a waterfall, awkwardly paused, getting more wet, and then panicked to get around it. I was the first one in, and I won't deny that watching everyone meet the same fate I did was very entertaining.
As anyone who has ever been to a Denny's would assume, the service was comically slow, and it took us like fifteen minutes to have our orders taken, and another half hour to get our food at all. Now, I was feeling very fat at the time, and ordered chicken quesadillas and all-you-can-eat pancakes. Now, at this service rate, the pancakes were a terrible play. They bring out three to start, and then consecutive plates are two 'cakes at a time. I was so frustrated by the time we got our food I just asked our waitress to bring out four more pancakes to save time. I had no intentions of waiting and making everyone else sit for another hour while I got my additional pancake waves. (I'm pretty sure they are instructed to make the pancakes take extra time to reduce how many people eat, so I wasn't about to let that happen.)
By the time the food is all but consumed, we have one remaining pancake. I forget who brings it up, but someone challenges Kyle to leave the restaurant wearing the Pancake as a hat. (1. We are all big dumb children. 2. We were all beyond giddy by this point. 3. Pancakes make good hats.) Actually, no, I do remember: I had asked him how much money it would take to get him to do so. He said he'd do it for free. And he did. So we head out of there, and get back on the road, complete with new hat.
Of course, we're all idiots, and we realize very quickly that we had merely just caught up to the storm. So instead of letting it pass, we just let it saunter on ahead of us, still forcing us to drive right on through it. And the storm, by the way, was another four or five hours of rain. Now, there were varying levels of intensity, but it was pretty much just constant rain. As we get closer to Boston, we get an alert that there is an accident on the highway that will delay us about forty-five minutes, so we end up rerouting off the highway to make better time. This is where we encounter Angry Kobashi. We stop at a gas station to use the restrooms and get something to drink and Angry Kobashi, an older foreign man, is rambling about hating American culture. I'm pretty sure he may have a point. Kobashi was pretty rad, and a great start to our Friday!
We make it downtown finally, and traffic is pretty nightmarish. On top of this, there is no parking. Every lot is full. We eventually find a spot under some Christian Science Academy (I'm sure I got the actual name wrong) and the rates are unbelievable. It was like thirty dollars for three hours. The original plan was to park briefly, check out the store, and drive back to the hotel we had offsite, which we couldn't check into until 3:00 PM. I had playmats to carry for Martin and a package to drop off with my friend as well. So, I'm lugging these two boxes with me through Boston, in some wild humidity, finding out very quickly we didn't park particularly close to the Convention Center.
When we do manage to get there, we find ourselves met with a bag search and a dog as security. For those who have been living under a rock the past week or so, there was a threat of domestic terrorism leveled at the Pokemon World Championships, and while the two responsible for the threat had been banned and eventually arrested, security for the weekend remained extremely high. Since I had heard about this whole incident prior to arriving on site, I wasn't surprised by any of this. I'm not going to go into whether this was an overreaction or to what degree I think those responsible for this are guilty or not, but I do want to thank those responsible for everything they did to keep the event safe. I won't pretend it wasn't an inconvenience all weekend, but I'd rather be safe than sorry here.
I get inside and we debate getting in line for the store. I decide to pass, as I don't want to spend much money this weekend and I doubt they had anything for sale I'd want to buy. (I don't usually care about the types of things they sell.) I get Martin his playmats and drop off my package and that is when I see it: the giant plush Mega Rayquaza. I ask the guy where he got it, and he said it was in the store. CHANGE OF PLANS! GOING TO THE STORE. I run into Matt Dunford, who I force to wait in line with me. I finally get into the store, where I end up rummaging through the giant bin full of Mega Rayquaza trying to find one as close to mint as possible. (The material used for its mandibles and...fins? wings? was easily damaged, and almost all of the Rays had something wrong with them.) I was torn between getting the normal Rayquaza or the Shiny one, and I go with the Shiny after wayyy too long of a debate. I also see this snazzy black t-shirt with a green etched Mega Rayquaza on it for twenty-five dollars, and I immediately shift over more of my food money towards unnecessary Rayquaza merch.
From here, I run around trying to find friends, before finding out that the rest of my crew was looking to head back to the hotel. They wanted to swing by the adjacent tattoo convention being held, and while I actually wanted to go there, I was more interested in getting food. Dunford wanted to go to Bukowski's, a nearby bar recommended by Chris Bianchi, so I told them I'd grab food with Dunford and for them to meet us there after they check out the con. I end up ordering this delicious "California Burger" with avacao and bacon (California = Avacado) and some sort of raspberry beer which was super sour and really delicious. (I actually hate beer, usually. Dunford offers some sick peer pressure though.)
We end up back at the hotel around 5:00 PM, and we are all discussing what decks we wanted to use for the Boston Open. I'm looking at using Justin Sanchez's Seismitoad/Crobat/Ninetales deck or defaulting to an adjusted Metal Ray. Dan ends up driving off to grab alcohol from a nearby gas station while we all shower and get cleaned up because the car ride over plus walking around in all the Boston humidity was just brutal to us. I end up barely awake, and close to passing out when I get a message on Facebook by AJ Schumacher asking me if I wanted to help judge the Boston Open. I really wanted to play in it, but I was unsure what to use, and I was extremely tight on money so the judge support would be a nice addition. Dan got the same message, and we decided to agree to judge it. I pass out around 7:00, as we set our alarm for 7:30.
I wake up around 3:00 and go to grab a drink of water and check my phone...and notice AJ told us to be on site at 7:25. So I wake up Dan and let him know so we can change our alarm for 6:00 AM instead. We end up all rushing to get cleaned up and rush over to the nearby Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast, as the hotel breakfast wasn't until 7:00. We catch an Uber downtown for like twenty dollars since parking was so expensive, and this time security is a huge detriment as we don't have Staff badges yet. By the time the process is over, it's taken nearly an hour to actually get let into the venue to get our badges.
I end up assigned to judge Masters and Dan gets sent to Juniors. I was excited to get to work with Eskil Vestre, a player who I'd spoken with plenty over the years but hadn't really spent any time with in person. For Masters, we were expecting 500 or so players, split it into four Flights. Eskil allocated a "Flight Lead" to each Flight to act as effective head judge and picked me to be one of the four. I opted to decline the role for a couple of reasons.
First, while I am an effective judge, I do not think I was one of the four most qualified on our staff. I also was a bit intimidated by the fact we would have to be dealing with many players who did not speak English. We didn't have translators on hand as they were all working the World Championships. I'm also not the type of assertive, "authority" figure that I think makes for an effective head judge. I feel like I understand my strengths and weaknesses as a judge and while I feel I offer quite a lot to a staff, I don't feel I am the best choice for a flight lead for this tournament. Finally, I also know my aspirations are to be a full-time player, part-time judge. There are plenty of people there who have strong aspirations for judging, and I'd rather they get the opportunity to advance their experience over me.
When we get there, we're told that it was going to be thirty-minute, best-of-one matches. This quickly gets changed and we wind up at seven rounds of best-of-three. I get pulled aside for doing the deck checks, which takes a full round, meaning I didn't get back to the floor until the start of Round 2. The turnover for each round was extremely slow, but we were really understaffed and the event was huge. I know some players were quite aggrivated by it, and I know as a member of the staff, I was not okay with it either. That said, I don't want to throw anyone under the bus because everyone I saw was really busting their ass to make the event as smooth as possible.
I end up clocking out at 8:00, with one more round to go, because I had previously made plans. Around 10:00, after taking care of a few things, myself, Dunford, Chris Silver, and Eskil decide to go get food. (We originally were supposed to be joined by a Chris Bianchi, but that fell through.) We grab food at Uno's Pizza, a place I hadn't eaten at in ages. We had one at the mall by my house, but it closed when I was in middle school, so its probably been at least fifteen years. I order a deluxe pizza and a few margaritas. The pizza was absolutely delicious, but pretty small for twelve dollars, and I didn't actually have time to take a lunch break earlier in the day. All I had eaten was the Dunkin' Donuts and a PowerBar (Thanks, Ben Richlin!) so this pizza needed to be a whole lot bigger for my appetite at the time.
We go back to the Sheraton where everyone was hanging out and playing at for a bit, before calling for an Uber to take us back to the hotel. This time, the ride cost us an outrageous fifty-five dollars. (The hotel was not that far away.) We decided we would absolutely not be taking an Uber into town again on Sunday, we'd just find a better parking spot.
Dan decides to staff again on Sunday, whereas I decide I want an actual full day to spend with my friends and actually get to play some Pokémon. Since Dan was staffing, it forced the whole of us to be up at seven again. I very much considered sleeping in and just catching an Uber downtown instead, but caved in and just woke up after only four hours or sleep. (I love being poor.)
My first order of business was to try and get ahold of cards for my deck for the 60cards Invitational, and I want to thank Matt Alvis, Ben Sauk, and John Silvestro for getting me the cards I needed to flesh out my deck. I took my deck (which I'll go over here in a moment!) and got some games in against anyone who would play against me. The deck was playing pretty well, even though I was having a bit of bad luck occasionally.
I got to watch the conclusion of Worlds, watching Jacob Van Wagner's Blastoise deck crush Mees Brenninkmeijer's Seismitoad/Crobat deck in the Finals. From there, I finally bit the bullet and wandered over the the long line to go play Pokkén Tournament, the new Pokémon fighting game, which was announced to be released next year on the Wii U. Against what I feel is appropriate, I did not play as Blaziken, and instead selected Machamp...and got utterly smashed 2-0 by someone using Lucario because I am absolutely atrocious at video games. It was a lot of fun, though, and I can't wait to actually play it more when it comes out.
Anyways, now that I covered most of what I did for the weekend, lets get into the deck I wound up sleeving up for the 60cards Invitational.
- 1x Rayquaza EX
- 3x Rayquaza EX
- 3x M Rayquaza EX
- 4x Shaymin EX
- 2x Exeggcute
- 1x Virizion EX
- 2x Swabu
- 1x Altaria
- 3x Rayquaza Spirit Link
- 2x Colress
- 1x N-supporter
- 4x VS Seeker
- 2x Battle Compressor
- 4x Trainer's Mail
- 2x Acro Bike
- 4x Sky Field
- 1x Silent Lab
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 2x Switch
- 3x Mega Turbo
- 1x Sacred Ash
- 1x Xerosic
- 1x Lysandre
- 1x Computer Search
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
- 3x Grass Energy
I had narrowed down my choices for this event to, realistically, "three". I put that in quotes because I lumped both Turbo Rayquaza and Metal Rayquaza into the category of "Mega Rayquaza". The card has been one of my favorites in the format since its release, so I don't think anyone would be surprised that I considered it for this event.
The first of my other two choices was Mega Manectric/Genesect, a deck I was discussing with Daniel Altavilla over Facebook on Friday morning while he was panicking about what to use. (Congratulations on your great finish, by the way! In my mind I'm going to claim the few fixes I offered...a second Battle Compressor and trimming away an unnecessary third Plasma Energy, made some sort of massive difference. I doubt it, though.) Ask anyone who spoke to me about the format, and they'll tell you I didn't like Mega Manectric. I still really do not. I feel like it is pretty consistant and stable, which is appealing, but I just feel it isn't that proactively powerful. By adding Genesect-EX and G Booster over a card like Garbodor, the deck becomes far more appealing to me. Genesect helped give the deck OHKO potential, while also shoring up its Fighting Weakness. Genesect also helped beat the mirror match, Groudon, and Blastoise. Genesect offered nice coverage against the archetypes which Manectric on its own struggled with, while also just filling in fundamental holes which Manectric wanted.
The third choice to me was Seismitoad/Crobat/Ninetales, a deck piloted in Worlds by Justin Sanchez. The Ninetales line was thin at 2-2, but I love what it offered to the deck. I felt like Seismitoad/Crobat was already a great deck choice—and it proved to be by putting two players into the Top 4 at Worlds—but it had a few issues. Ninetales gave the deck some additional burst damage, which was actually quite high due to not just Laser but also Bat Abilities. It also gave you a Fire-type attacker, which dealt with Metal-type Pokémon (including Aegislash-EX and Cobalion-EX!) as well as Grass-type Pokemon. There was some hype behind Genesect, either in a more traditional VG build, or paired with Manectric as addressed above. Having some protection there helped.
"But wait! You can't give Grass Pokémon Special Conditions due to Virizion-EX!" The deck Justin showed me ran two Silent Lab to turn off Verdant Wind for the turns you want to score your KOs. (I was actually on the side of getting him to either trim the Silent Lab to one copy or as low as zero copies, since I wasn't sold on the amount of Virizion I'd expect.) Ninetales also gave you its Bright Look, which is nice to have pretty much universally, but it also let you get access to a Primal Groudon on the Bench. Now, admittedly, I'm not sure how much it actually helps you beat that matchup, but it does help. This is exactly the type of deck I like for an event like this: an established tier-one archetype with a slight twist to give it an edge against the type of decks which beat it.
Anyways, since I had been asked to judge the Boston Open on Friday night, my initial plan of testing based around the results of Worlds was pretty hindered as I was busy all Saturday long. This pretty much ruled out Manectric/Genesect immediately, as I wanted to test it against a pretty wide array of decks. I had very little experience with that deck and wouldn't want to go in cold with it. Seismitoad/Crobat is a deck I felt much more comfortable with, and I've played around with Ninetales a lot since its release. I felt pretty confident picking it up and playing it if need be, even though I acknowledged that I would likely be an underdog in Toad mirror compared to the top-tier players I would be competing against in the Invitational. I'd feel great against most players in Toad mirror, but any of these players who opted for Toad for the Invitational likely had a slight edge on me.
The results of Worlds really pushed me away from wanting to use Seismitoad/Crobat though. Blastoise seemed like a pretty rough matchup (I don't know how you are supposed to win if they actually get the turn-one Archie off) and it only won Worlds. I expected Blastoise be a pretty popular choice. Keep in mind, I was trying to metagame against only seven players. I had to try and assume what types of decks were likely to be viewed as a "good call" by these players. Igor Costa was using Seismitoad/Crobat in the main event, so I could, with reasonable confidence, put him on the deck. The challenge here was acknowledging that the other players all knew that we knew what deck they used in the main event, so they could use that to their advantage if they mixed things up. I actually love the intangibles brought on by such a small, defined tournament. Now, to bring this back to why I didn't want to use Seismitoad/Crobat: not only did the deck which won the event do well against it, but the deck also did great itself. As a result, I had to assume that the other seven players in the event also had put a target on its head if they were not playing it themselves.
In closing, I felt like I would be a slight underdog in the mirror match of a deck which could definitely see play in the event. I felt like decks which would beat it naturally would be popular. Finally, it was the deck would be gunned for. I felt like it would be a risky choice, even if the deck itself was very powerful.
This left me with wanting to play a Rayquaza deck. I quickly identified the Turbo Rayquaza version as the better choice, and here is why.
- Turbo Rayquaza should beat Blastoise pretty consistently. The decks are similar in speed, only Rayquaza can chew through multiple Keldeo-EX pretty easily and Keldeo is going to really be stretched to OHKO a Mega Rayquaza, particularly a second time. I just needed to make sure to include some answer for Suicune, as I didn't want to lose a match just because I had no means to get around Safeguard. Metal Rayquaza is worse in this matchup I feel, since it's a turn slower at when it usually gets a Rayquaza attacking.
- Night March is a deck I really did not expect any of these players to run. The deck did well enough for itself in the main event, but I don't think it was the best deck by a long shot. The two big momentum-gainers from Worlds, Blastoise and Seismitoad/Crobat, also do very well against it. (Blastoise ran Wailord-EX, whose 250 HP made it extremely difficult for Night March to KO while being able to chew through their Pokemon.) Night March definitely beats Turbo Rayquaza, even with Altaria, now that Trump Card is gone.
- Raichu made little splash at Worlds. I actually don't even feel like Raichu is that difficult a card to beat due to Altaria, but it is nice that I could assume it would be unlikely to see play.
- Seismitoad/Crobat is favorable for the deck. Seismitoad decks typically beat Turbo Rayquaza due to their Energy removal. I'm not saying this is anything close to an autowin...it isn't. Yet the matchup is in Rayquaza's favor, especially any game where Rayquaza gets out on the first turn. They have some disruption, but it is really difficult for them to reliably stop you once you are set up. These builds all seemed to rely on Xerosic or perhaps a Flare Grunt to be able to provide Energy disruption. Without Item-based Energy removal, it is very feasible for Rayquaza to just power past it. This is actually one of the reasons I wound up running a Virizion-EX in my list.
I had previously argued Virizion-EX did nothing, because the reason you lost to Toad decks was due to Energy removal, which would strip you of your Grass Energy anyways, rendering Virizion useless. If the Bat versions of the deck, by far the most likely variant to show up, were extremely light on Energy removal, Virizion gains a lot of value. If they only have Xerosic, they can't discard the Grass at all, and suddenly their clock on taking down a Rayquaza is very slow. This also dictated my split on basic Rayquaza-EX, as doing 60 for C became a lot more viable when I expected the Toad decks to not be able to get rid of the Grass Energy used to make this attack. Unfortunately, with Bats, their damage output is decent enough without Lasers, and the Super Scoop Ups made a "grindy" approach to the matchup pretty disheartening. None the less, it still comes up, and is worth trying depending on the game state.
- Groudon was pretty popular at Worlds, and I really like my matchup against it with Rayquaza. Even with Hard Charm or Focus Sash, the speed gap between these decks is just too much. The matchup is loseable, but I'd gladly play the matchup every round if given the chance. I've found the Wobbuffets to be fairly ineffective, even if they do occasionally really stifle a set up. (Sometimes quite literally! Har Har?)
- Turbo Rayquaza, with Altaria, was favorable against Mega Manectric if they do not run Garbodor. Even the Garbodor build is beatable depending on starts. (I feel favored on the play versus Garbodor builds.) This is quite opposite of the Metal version, which is, in general, quite bad against Mega Manectric. Manectric was really popular at Worlds, and I felt it could see play in this tournament.
- Metal decks did poorly at Worlds. Not only is this a bit of a sign that maybe Metal Rayquaza would be a sketchy choice for me, but it also removed a "bad matchup" from Turbo Rayquaza. Kecleon is a nightmare for this deck out of any of the Metal variants, and not having to play against that was reassuring. Klinklang is also a disaster for the deck, and it made no impact at the event. (I'll own up to being off on that prediction in previous articles.)
- No one would have Turbo Rayquaza on their radar of decks to prepare for. Well, that depends: I would not be surprised if other players were putting me on some sort of Rayquaza deck for the event, since I didn't really hide how biased towards it I am. Still, I would assume people would put me first on the Metal version. I also assume people would acknowledge I am flexible enough to audible off of the deck if the metagame seemed hostile to it.
- I like the deck. It may be my favorite deck in years, and if I was really unsure of what to play, I'd prefer to play the deck I like. If I was going to lose, I'd rather lose using a deck I enjoy playing and put a ton of time and effort into over the months. (I'd also prefer to win with it, of course!)
Anyways, to break the list down some, lets go over some of the numbers.
3/1 Rayquaza-EX: I expected less non-Manectric lightning decks, and I expected low Energy-removal Toad decks to be a presence. This made the Colorless Rayquaza-EX seem more appealing. Maybe a 2/2 split is safer since I can't see needing to use three of the Colorless Rayquaza in any given game and they are not too hard to get access to.
3 M Rayquaza-EX: I've been between three and four of this card for a while now without Trump Card. I hate having to discard them, and having a copy Prized can be dangerous too. There is a general trend that, sans Trump Card, I want to push a lot of the "three-ofs" up to four to be safe, but you simply do not have the space to do that and have to make concessions. Since I added a Sacred Ash to the deck, it made the decision to keep this count at three pretty easy.
2-1 Altaria: I wanted to be able to beat Manectric-EX with this deck. A 2-2 line certainly does that. Unfortunately, I needed to add cards to try and shore up other matchups, and some of the space had to come here. I originally had cut this down to a 1/1 line, adding the Sacred Ash and freeing up a space. I came back to adding the second Swablu because I wanted to up the Basic count for making sure I could reliably hit for 240 damage with Emerald Break. I was going to either add the second Swablu back in or run a Jirachi-EX as my thirteenth Basic Pokemon.
4 Shaymin-EX: This is the easiest count in the deck. You'd run as many as you legally could. Alright, that is an exaggeration, but you get the point.
1 Virizion-EX: Virizion is an extra Basic Pokémon, and a card I suspected would be useful against Toad decks. I was a bit unsure how useful it would be, but even as a complete blank, it filled my bench, and had a sturdy HP count.
2 Exeggcute: This card is the glue which holds the deck together. Being able to Battle Compressor for them is huge towards filling your Bench early. They let you spam Ultra Balls and Computer Search while letting you control your hand size effectively. They let you refill your Bench after Sky Field gets countered. That is actually a big issue for the Metal build, as rebuilding is extremely difficult late into the game. Finally, they let Crobat decks take free Prizes. Okay, well, not everything Exeggcute does is favorable.
4 DCE/3 Grass: Seven is the near-perfect Energy count for the deck, with four Basic Energy being the most I'd ever consider playing. The type of Basic Energy is pretty irrelevent usually, except I opted to try out Virizion-EX for this event. Otherwise, I'd choose between Metal Energy, Fire Energy, or Fighting Energy. The latter two are to piggyback off of Scorched Earth, which is unlikely to happen but technically does happen. The former is to try and confuse an opponent into thinking you are running the Metal Rayquaza build. This is extremely unlikely to happen as well, but there are hands you could mulligan away with a Metal in them which could look like a Metal Ray build. Both of these applications are extremely fringe, but do suggest those types are "better" than the other types.
2 Colress/1 N: You only want three or four actual draw Supporters in this deck to keep them from cluttering too much. Colress is the best one, by far, and N is necessary as disruption and is a safe turn-one play to Battle Compressor for if Benches are small. I'd normally have a Sycamore, Winona, or third Colress in this slot, but I wound up adding Xerosic to the deck and this pushed me towards only running three draw Supporters.
4 VS Seeker: This is self explanatory
1 Computer Search: Same.
1 Lysandre: I'd like to have two copies of this card, especially due to the lack of Trump Card, but space dictates otherwise. VS Seeker gets strained some with fewer draw Supporters so you have fewer free copies to use on Lysandre. Donphan was moderately successful at Worlds, and you really do want six potential Lysandre for that matchup. In general, Lysandre isn't too intricate to this deck's gameplan compared to most decks. I usually want to be attacking their Active if I can since I want to pressure their Energy in play. Usually, if they are building up on the Bench and not attacking the Active, I'm pulling farther and farther ahead in Prizes, and I'm okay with that. Two is likely ideal, but one is sufficient.
1 Xerosic: Xerosic is a pretty versatile card, but the main reasons to run it are to stop Garbodor and more importantly, deal with Focus Sash. Focus Sash is a huge pain for this deck, and I just wanted to have an answer to it as decks running multiple copies are near impossibe for the deck to beat. Garbodor just really stifles the deck's draw midgame at times, and turning it off to "go off" is pretty lucrative. This was the last card I added, and I'm unsure if it is even worth it or not.
4 Sky Field: This is a mandatory number for this deck. You want one in play at all times.
1 Silent Lab: This is to deal with Safeguard effects, namely Suicune and the unlikely-to-be-played Aegislash-EX. I was torn between this and trying Empoleon/Archie. (I would cut Virizion-EX and Silent Lab for Archie and Empoleon while shifting the energy to Water.) Empoleon would be nice too as it offers another attacker, which helps with only having three Mega Rayquaza if I wanted to shift the Sacred Ash spot elsewhere.
4 Ultra Ball: NEXT
3 Mega Turbo/3 Rayquaza Spirit Link: Both of these would love to be four-ofs, but simply had to be held down because of space constraints. The right number is somewhere in between three and four, as both are going to be functional. I'm not sure if either of these cards are so vital that I need to just bite the bullet and shift them up a number or not.
2 Switch: This is the standard count. I was considering 1 Escape Rope/1 Switch since I was on one Lysandre and would have liked an additional out against an early-game Wobbuffet, but I didn't expect Groudon and felt like Rope could backfire too often so I stayed with the pair of Switch. I had originally tried to build this deck with one Switch and four Super Scoop Up over Acro Bikes and the Xerosic, but the Super Scoop Ups just played miserably for me and kept flipping tails. I hate Acro Bike, but couldn't bring myself to run the Scoops after how poorly they treated me in testing.
4 Trainers' Mail/2 Acro Bike/2 Battle Compressor: Four Trainers' Mail is mandatory. I actually really wanted a third Battle Compressor, but had to make the cut for a Silent Lab. You really only want one Battle Compressor a game, but you really want it early. Two is fine, but three really felt perfect in earlier testing. Acro Bike is so bad without Trump Card, but the Scoop Ups were just not cutting it. You need additional Item draw, and while Acro Bike is very dangerous and fairly low-impact on consistency, it's a necessary evil. I capped it at two, and I would absolutely go with the third Battle Compressor before I'd run the third Acro Bike.
1 Sacred Ash: This was an insurance policy for my Rayquaza and Altaria lines. I don't like it, and it is pretty clunky for sure, but I couldn't bring both counts high enough to get away without this. Also, at thirteen Basic Pokémon, I do like being able to restock for Emerald Break if I Prize any Exeggcute.
Worth noting, if you wanted a strictly streamlined version, trim the Silent Lab, Xerosic, Virizion-EX, and Sacred Ash, replacing them with a third Battle Compressor, third Exeggcute, an Altaria/Mega Rayquaza, and a fourth Supporter.
I joked about how Computer Search is an easy inclusion to the deck, but I really considered a Dowsing Machine over it because I had so many Trainers I wanted to have an extra copy of. This deck wants consistancy more than any other deck, but you can produce consistancy with other cards. While I tried to "cheat" deck space out of Sacred Ash, Dowsing Machine just does a much better job of it. I didn't want to make that jump without more time to test it, unfortunately.
Anyways, the tournament was set to start after the Closing Ceremonies, which was speculated to be around 6:30. As a result, all competitors were told to be ready around 6:00. Of course, the Closing Ceremonies wound up finishing around 3:30. (Side note: I am so thrilled they announced next year's World Championships would be held in San Francisco! San Fran and New Orleans are on the top of the list of cities I'd really love to visit, so to have Worlds held there is such great news for me!) As a result, I end up going to grab some dinner at this burger bar with Dan, where I end up caving in and buying two burgers and this delicious apple pie à la Mode milkshake. Somehow, I was left able to walk of my own power on my way back to the Convention Center despite an onsetting food coma.
Unfortunately, the Convention Center was closed, as they had kicked everyone out. We wound up wandering back to the Sheraton, where everyone was gathering. Martin confirmed for me that the event would be held at 6:30 on the 5th floor in the second room of the new "Open Gaming" area. (The Convention Center was not very welcoming to players for Worlds and they closed up pretty quickly each day. This was actually really inconvenient for a lot of people.) Our group picked out a table to sit down at, and we opened the pair of boxes that Dan had received for staffing for the weekend. He was a stronger man that I: After Saturday's trial, I felt like the last thing I'd ever want to do was volunteer again on Sunday. This is simply because running the Boston Open was so exhausting...it ran really long and we were understaffed for the whole event. Everyone did their best to make it run smoothly, but I don't think I'm insulting anyone when I say that it did not run smoothly. It was such a massive event with so much else going on around it that it was a nightmare to staff. I needed the day off Sunday, especially since we only got four hours of sleep.
Anyways, Dan opens some nice boxes, and I trade him for the gold Mega Rayquaza he opened because, well...its cool and I wanted one. We joke around a bit before I head upstairs around 6:00 to find the "Open Gaming Area" comically packed, to the point where it takes me forever to be able to actually fight my way to the back of the second room to meet up with everyone associated with the Invitational.
Due to technical issues, we were unable to stream the event, although Squeaky did record matches which should be going online soon. (Perhaps they already have by the time this is published.) The event ends up starting closer to 7:00 than 6:30, and we are stuck waiting on Yamato to show up, as no one was able to get in touch with him. Eventually, we're able to get started.
The final roster for the tournament wound up as:
Anyway, onto my report!
Round 1 versus Andrew Estrada with Seismitoad/Crobat
I had spoken with Andrew at...States, I believe, so I was excited to actually get a chance to play against him. Of these players, the only one I had ever been paired against in a tournament was actually Yamato, who I beat in the fourth round Feature Match of Worlds 2009. (I may have had to play against him at some other point too...) I rarely traveled to tournaments on the east coast where Ryan and Dylan played.
I lose the coin flip, and see my opening hand:
Rayquaza Spirit Link
Well, I can't realistically ask for much better a hand than this. This is exactly the kind of hand that should be able to roll through a Seismitoad/Crobat deck like the one Andrew opted to play...well, except for the fact that his first-turn Supporter is a backbreaking GHETSIS, shuffling all three of my Trainers back into my deck. I do manage to catch a break as he Computer Searches, only to look disgruntled, before grabbing something and getting a pretty ideal turn-one setup going. (I find out after the match that he had Prized the Silent Lab he intended to grab, which would have been crippling against my hand which now was two Shaymin-EX and an Exeggcute.)
Anyways, I bench Exeggcute and get on with my turn, hoping that my Set Up(s) are able to let me go off and get something going. Unfortunately, I Set Up into another Shaymin, a bunch of unplayable cards, and an N. I could get my hand down to 4 cards and use a second Set Up, but instead opt to just N the Shaymin back into the deck, hoping my new hand offers me somewhere else to go with things. I could easily pull off a pretty impressive chain from six random cards...unfortunately, I draw a hand of unplayable cards and no Energy, and am forced to pass. He establishes Quaking Punch, and I draw, and play a Colress for seven, drawing...seven Items. I end up draw-passing from there, without attacking the whole game.
I was really hoping to put up a slightly better showing than that, and I kept glancing over to Kyle Sabelhaus sitting next to me as these events were unraveling and laughing. The Ghetsis was really brutal, and I have to assume he only runs the one copy of it. There isn't a whole ton you can do about games like this, but it is still disappointing.
The matches were thirty-minute best-of-one games, with three rounds of "Swiss" where all players with a record of 2-1 or better advance to a single-elimination Top 4. As a result, I needed to win out from here.
Round 2 versus Gabriel Semedo with Mega Manectric/Tool Drop/Garbodor
WELL, I saw what he was playing, and knew this was going to be a pretty rough matchup. I mentioned before that I felt good against Manectric decks that do not run Garbodor, but he was not only running Garbodor, but he was running a hybrid Tool Drop package in the deck. This made things really awkward, because my means of beating Manectric stem from being able to KO three Pokémon-EX with the exchange edge either by being a turn quicker or because Altaria turns one of their KOs into a two-hit. Trubbish being able to OHKO a Shaymin-EX off my Bench while being a non-EX really throws a wrench into that gameplan. Gabriel was running the only deck in the event which I was afraid of playing against. (Igor wound up playing Blastoise. Ryan was on Flareon. Yamato was on a Toad variant, I believe. I didn't get to see what Chase or Dylan were on...I actually think I did, but I was pretty exhausted by this point, and they escape my mind. I do remember not being particularly bothered by any of the decks though.)
Gabriel goes first, and I end up opening Swablu before using an Acro Bike and a Trainers' Mail to draw into a completely dead hand. (Fun Fact: the deck hits a turn-one Mega Rayquaza roughly 80% of the time, and I get back-to-back dead-end draws instead.) I'm forced to draw-pass for a few turns before giving up once it hits the point of no return. (Second Fun Fact: I did not manage so much as one attack over the span of both rounds.)
There wasn't much I could do in either of those games and I still liked my deck choice for the event. All eight players are fantastic, and two of them had to start off 0-2. I don't really even mind being one of them, but I do wish I could have at least drawn well enough to put in some competitive games. I was going to rush out of there after the second round because we had a 10+ hour drive ahead of us going home and none of us had slept over four hours the previous night, but Martin had asked me to stay for the third round. I agreed until Igor, the other 0-2, had confirmed he had no intention of playing an irrelevant third round either. I got the cosplay Pikachu deck box and some cute Pikachu tail sleeves for the butchering I just experienced, and rushed downstairs to tell my friends we could head out. I want to give them all a huge shout out for complying with all of this. Most of them worked Monday, and prior to my invitation to this event, they planned to leave midday Sunday to get home for work. They all called off so I could stay and play the event, instead agreeing to drive back overnight. I can't stress enough how much I appreciate that.
The drive back was not nearly as bad as the drive out. Well, okay, it was pretty bad, but for different reasons. Every last one of us was dead tired, barely able to stay awake, and still crammed five deep into a car that really only fits four people. I was actually able to pass out off and on in the car, which is a testament to how tired I was. I normally cannot, under any circumstance, fall asleep at all while driving. Due to this off-and-on sleep, and an energy drink, I did manage to catch a bit of a second wind around 3:30 AM, which lasts me until I finally wind up at home around 8:00 AM, where I pass out. (Third Fun Fact: I slept eight hours on Monday before having to wake up...I slept fourteen hours on Tuesday, as everything finally caught up to me. I'm still tired.)
Overall, this Worlds was a lot of fun, although less fun than most of the ones I have been to. This was primarily my own doing, as I just put myself in positions where I was dead tired the whole weekend. I enjoyed helping staff on Saturday, but as a result, it pretty much cut out the only day I had where I could have been awake to hang out with everyone. I just felt like I wound up really restricted in what I was able to do and that is my fault, not the fault of the event or venue or anyone else. I'll have to plan better for next year! This isn't to say it wasn't fun: it absolutely was. It just didn't quite hit the mark set so high by all of the previous years. I am still thrilled to have met so many new people this week, although I wish I could have spent more time with them! Next year, I hope to be playing in at least Day 1 of Worlds instead of watching and rooting for my friends. I'll close this by giving a huge shout out to both Jacob Van Wagner and Mees Brenninkmeijer (I absolutely had to look up how to spell his last name on Facebook. Sorry Mees!) for making the finals of the largest Worlds ever! Great job.
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