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Caleb Gedemer

"Froggie Redemption" — Expanded Greninja Thriving in the Desert

Join Caleb Gedemer and his nearly ten thousands words on Greninja BREAK and what comes next in the Expanded format with the release of Karen. Check it out!

17. 10. 2016 by Caleb Gedemer


Hey readers! Greninja BREAK just won the first Regional Championship of the 2016-2017 Pokemon Trading Card Game season and I am ecstatic to share my own Top Eight experience playing the same deck with you all.

The Tournament

So going into this tournament, I planned on playing one of the Expanded format classics: Darkness. I was getting a bit turned off by the deck, however. Many top players were cited to be playing heavier Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick lines as well as Enhanced Hammers. With these mirror matches becoming heavily dependant on the use of Yveltal from BREAKthrough and its powerful Pitch-Black Spear attack against Pokemon-EX, the fact that that very baby Yveltal abuses Double Colorless Energy creates some awkward situations. To counteract this, I considered using a Special Charge and upping my own Yveltal count to make use of my “extra” Energy count.

I knew that some of my Wisconsinite friends were using Greninja BREAK, even still, in Expanded. I was not thoroughly convinced to play it again, mainly due to my abysmal showing with the deck at last year’s World Championship, but another side of me wanted to give it another try with the hopes for a shot at redemption.

When I got into the registration check-in line, I noticed my group of pals and we talked about our decks and such. I quickly and impulsively, took back all of my testing from the week and switched to a deck I had not played in months; Greninja BREAK. Cody Walinski was kind enough to provide me with the fine-tuned list and just like that, I was blindly playing a deck that was thought to be obsolete in the Expanded format.

I am proud to say that I can usually think up how to play decks on the spot and make assumptions on how matchups play out and all that good stuff. Obviously the basics of the deck are to hopefully open with Talonflame and then from there set up tons of ‘ninjas and wreak havoc with Water Shuriken Abilities.

I was also confident because I knew that the list I was using had been through rigorous testing from some players whom I consider amongst the best in the game. Knowing all of this, I went into the first round with an odd aura of confidence, even with limited experience.

Round 1 versus Eelektrik/Keldeo-EX/Magnezone-EX/Raikou/Shaymin-EX

Game One

One of my main “problems” at Worlds this past summer, was the troubling fact that I was run out of Pokemon, resulting in a loss, multiple games. I would simply have my last critter knocked out and sign the slip with a bit of disgust. I was kind of nervous and unsure what to expect; all I knew is I did not want anything like the aforementioned effect to happen ever again.

Needless to say, that did not happen this game. I opened with Talonflame and went right to work. My opening hand contained a Computer Search and two VS Seekers, so I went right for a Battle Compressor to Discard both a Ghetsis and a Professor Sycamore, ( this in hope that my opponent’s hand would be decimated and I would not want to shuffle it away with an N, the other optional Supporter card) as well as a Talonflame. After using Ghetsis, I was shown a hand of all Energy and various, useless, Pokemon. There was one Item, a Trainers’ Mail, but not anymore! I was very excited to have ample time to set up and get my frog friends cracking.

My opponent had opened with a Raikou and was essentially forced to manually attach Lightning Energy to power it up. I got the turn two Water Duplicates off and found all three remaining Frogadiers. Greninjas flocked to the field the next turn and this game was in the bag. Weirdly, my opponent did not know when to call it quits and dragged this game on for far too long. Giant Water Shuriken is such a force to be reckoned with and Raikous stood no chance, especially when Eelektrik was made obsolete for multiple reasons. My opponent realized they could not Bench Tynamos since uses of Greninja Abilities made quick work of them.

Game Two

This game temporarily brought back some of my fear of playing Greninja BREAK in tournaments. I had a very lackluster start, with Froakie and was slowly, but surely, mowed down by a heavily loaded Raikou and nothing more. I prized two Frogadier as well and really had no firepower of my own as a result.

Game Three

Make it or break it, I have a good sense of time and it felt like it was running out. I started beautifully again with another ‘flame and got things going. Dupes went off turn two as desired and the Greninjas flocked soon after. My opponent was basically forced not to Bench Tynamos because they were easier Giant Water Shuriken targets for knockouts, sitting ducks, really. This once again meant my opponent was required to just hand attach Lightning Energy and hope for the best.

Raikou after Raikou fell with the combination of Giant Water Shuriken, Moonlight Slash for 80, Bursting Balloon and sometimes even a regular Water Shuriken.

I ended up claiming the win just as time was called, getting off with a sigh of relief. Since I had not tested this deck at all, let alone in the Expanded format, it was very nice to figure out which matchups were positive and Eelektrik decks seemed to definitely fit the bill on that list.

2-1; 1-0-0

Round 2 versus Exeggcute/Ho-Oh-EX/Hoopa-EX/Jirachi-EX/Jolteon-EX/Keldeo-EX/Shaymin-EX/Xerneas/Yveltal

Game 1

I was glad to get my first win, even thought it was a little nerve-wracking with the time situation. I once again had no clue what I was up against and when my opponent flipped an Yveltal with Pitch-Black Spear, I figured it was an Yveltal deck with Archeops and Gallade. I was confident with my packed lineup of Hex Maniac, Wally and Evosoda in defense to the lockdown of Evolutions.

I ended up very wrong with my original assessment when I saw Battle Compressor for Ho-Oh-EX and Energy. I was very anxious to see how this matchup would play out and I assumed it would be on the negative side of things. I was able to get a turn two Water Duplicates off again, yielding a field of four Frogadier and the Talonflame that I started with. I got the Greninja with Water Shuriken and two Moonlight Slash ‘ninjas into play on the third turn. My opponent’s field was reflective of a hot start, with two Xerneas near attacking range as well as a slew of colorful Pokemon. Only problem, they had not yet found a Float Stone or Double Colorless Energy to relieve themselves of the Yveltal they had stuck in the Active spot.

Once this matchup starts going and it did when they used Rush In and Retreated, Xerneas started taking knockouts with ease. The first of these was right into a Bursting Balloon and since my opponent neglected to attach a Fighting Fury Belt, this made perfect addition with a Giant Water Shuriken that I threw down the following turn for a knockout. Basically, this matchup boils down to an array of Giant Water Shurikens and Bursting Balloons. Shadow Stitching is extremely good to lock down Rebirth, as well. From here, the game quickly progressed into a one sided match where I just needed a couple more turns to take some Pokemon-EX knockouts and it would all be over. Pretty comfortable win that did take up a good chunk of time, so a game three would likely not be in the works.

Game 2

Feeling pretty confident now, I wanted to drag this one out and hopefully get a simple win. However, when I Prized a single Frogadier and my lone Splash Energy, this become a lot harder. Having the luck to open Talonflame once again was an added bonus, though. I still managed to get the Greninjas I could out on the second turn. Along with a regular Water Shuriken, Shadow Stitching and a Bursting Balloon were enough to get the lock for a win early on.

This game managed to be close after I was left with a single Greninja BREAK and nothing else but a Froakie on the Bench. This BREAK did not even happen to have Shadow Stitching. My opponent simply needed an Energy to take the knockout and they would win. Time had been called to make matters worse.

I played an N and just used Mist Slash, setting up a knockout on a Keldeo-EX the following turn with a Giant Water Shuriken. My opponent played a Colress and to my surprise did not get the necessary components for the win. I won of turn two of time.

2-0; 2-0-0

Round 3 versus Donphan/Hawlucha/Jolteon/Wobbuffet

Game 1

Wait… Donphan? I was nearly as shocked as you must be right now as a reader. My opponent and I both mulliganed to begin the game. Upon seeing my Water type shenanigans and a piece of my Greninja BREAK line, my opponent said aloud “Congrats on the win!” I was a little skeptical at first, but this proved to be a very good indicator at how good this was of a matchup.

I opened with Talonflame and for my opponent, a Wobbuffet. Wobb was annoying in the sense that I could not just come out of the gates swinging and just decimate my opponent’s field of Donphans.

Once the Wobbuffet and its Bide Barricade Ability were gone from field, the combination of Giant Water Shuriken, Water Shuriken and Bursting Balloon were able to just trounce the opponent's side of the board. Donphan is completely outmatched against Greninja BREAK in every way and Rough Seas healing off the pittance they do in damage just makes matters even worse.

Game 2

Not too much else to say about this one.

Wreak did pose a minor threat this game since I did not start with Talonflame and the pressure of that attack was able to nearly dismantle my flimsy position on the board.

My opponent was able to claim four Prizes in total, but that was as far as they got.

2-0; 3-0-0

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