03/11/2016 by Jose Marrero
Table of contents
Hello 60cards readers, it's finally good to be back from Winter Regionals and writing again. These past three Regionals were crazy and tons of talent were present at each. I was fortunate enough to go to all three weekends because I wanted to try and get my invite to Worlds as soon as possible as it's always nice to have it before Nationals. Which is why this next article will be about my three Regionals runs and how I placed as well as showcase what decks I ultimately decided on. Week one of Winter Regionals was held in Virginia where it was very cold as expected. I ended up flying to Virginia with my buddies Mike Canaves, Franco Puertas, and Rahul Reddy where we eventually all stayed together. We knew it was going to be really cold so I brought an extra jacket just in case and boy did I make the right call because me living in Florida most of my life meant I was not ready for what was about to occur. I've only seen snow once in my life and I believe that was in Virginia a couple years back for Regionals, but this time it snowed a lot more which was actually quite nice to see aside from freezing to death.
Week two of Winter Regionals was held in Illinois which I again thought it would be cold only to find out it wasn't once I got there. The weather was actually quite pleasant much like Florida's. I again flew with the same people as before except Rahul was replaced with Luis Zambrana. Week 3 of Winter Regionals was held in my home state of Florida so it was nice saving money on a plane ticket for once. Winter Regionals was a blast and I can't wait to see everyone again next year. It's always nice seeing friends you don't normally get to see often. It was especially good to see some of my old friends such as Kyle and Kurt Rosales as well as Christopher Miller. It's always a blast hanging with those guys because they just make your day with laughs and just overall fun. Now a few spoilers for those without a Pro Membership. I went 6-2-1 at all three Regionals Day one then making Day 2 at Virginia and Florida and missing Illinois due to there being 500 Masters so the majority of people with 19 points missed while about 5 made it to Day two. That was definitely one of the toughest Regionals to date because it was the biggest one yet. Florida was also tough because of how unpredictable it was due to the new set, BREAKpoint being legal for play, however I think most people were able to pin point the meta and play a decent enough deck to get them a good placement. After Florida Regionals I was finally able to snag my invite to Worlds so if you are reading this I hope to see you come Worlds.
With that said let's go over the list I decided to run for Virginia Regionals for Week one.
Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX VA and IL
- 3x Seismitoad EX
- 2x Giratina EX
- 2x Shaymin EX
- 1x Jirachi EX
- 1x Hoopa EX
- 1x Keldeo EX
- 1x Latios EX
- 4x Professor Juniper
- 2x N
- 2x Lysandre
- 1x Hex Maniac
- 1x Team Flare Grunt
- 1x Xerosic
- 1x AZ
- 1x Ghetsis
- 4x VS Seeker
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 4x Super Scoop Up
- 4x Crushing Hammer
- 4x Hypnotoxic Laser
- 2x Virbank City Gym
- 2x Muscle Band
- 2x Float Stone
- 1x Enhanced Hammer
- 1x Rock Guard
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
- 4x Double Dragon Energy
I've been testing and playing Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX for quite some time now so I knew the ins and outs of the deck. For Week one of Winter Regionals I decided on Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX because I felt very comfortable playing it given the fact that I knew Sableye/Garbodor and Jirachi would be present. Those didn't stop me from playing the Frogs and the Dragons. You will see I actually ended up tieing against the Sableye/Garbodor deck I faced in Round five against my buddy Mike Canaves who went on to finish in the Top 16. I also had an answer for Jirachi as you can see above, Rock Guard. I knew Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX had good matchups and I was somewhat comfortable playing against everything. The combination of Hypnotoxic Laser, Virbank City Gym, and Quaking Punch was still too powerful in my eyes. Then with Giratina-EX added into the mix it gave the deck even more options and outs against the more tough matchups so it was easy for me to play the deck going into week one.
For week two I again just ended up playing the same 60 as week one because why not? The deck performed a lot better than I anticipated. Going into week two I kinda felt that the meta would stay somewhat the same just with a lot more Yveltal-EX and Vespiquen given the fact that they took first and second place which I was fine with. However, for Florida I was testing Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX with BREAKpoint cards and I just didn't like the Yveltal-EX matchup as much as before so instead I dropped Giratina-EX and added in the Bat lines and some other changes which I knew could help win the Yveltal-EX matchup easier because I knew the biggest deck to beat for Florida was Yveltal-EX by a long shot. Seismitoad-EX/Crobat is what I ran for Florida Regionals. I knew Seismitoad-EX/Crobat also had a better matchup against Sableye DEX decks which was another reason I decided on playing it over the Giratina-EX variant.
The Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX list above has been changed a number of times to fit my liking and after testing and playing in smaller events as well as some PTCGO games. Going into Virginia Regionals I wanted to make the deck more consistent. To do that I ended dropping the two Head Ringers that I ran before. They were just a liability at times especially against Vespiquen/Flareon and Sableye/Garbodor. On that note, I decided to add a second N and one Enhanced Hammer. I much rather open with N and Enhanced Hammer than the Head Ringers to be honest. Sure the Head Ringers are very good against the mirror match and other big EXs, however I already had cards to deal with those such as, Team Flare Grunt, Xerosic, and Rock Guard. I also wanted a way to try and get Latios-EX in the active spot for easier donks. The answer to that was obviously AZ which I dropped the second Team Flare Grunt for which I had in the list before Virginia. All my last minute changes turned out to help tremendously especially the second N. Changing Computer Search for Rock Guard was a difficult call, however in the end it was the correct call. Rock Guard against Yveltal-EX and other Seismitoad-EX decks were so clutch and the times where Jirachi isn't an issue anymore. In one of my rounds someone did actually Jirachi into my Rock Guard which put me down to one prize left which I then took my final prize on the same turn.
Going into week two which was held in Illinois this time I knew I would just go with the same 60 because I took 9th the week before so I knew the deck was good enough to place well again so no reason to post the same list twice. However, this Regionals had a staggering 500 Masters. Which meant a lot of 19's would miss the cut as I did myself. Going into week three of Winter Regionals I was glad for it to be in Florida because the event was less than 30 minutes from me. Florida Regionals along with Oregon were the first two Regionals to have the new set, BREAKpoint legal for play. Which meant most people had to go in blindly into the meta and hope that their testing was up to par. I had been testing the night before the event with Christian Velazquez against his Yveltal-EX deck versus my updated Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX deck and the games just kept going back and forth which I kind of did not like. So after some thinking I just said to myself "wouldn't Seismitoad-EX/Crobat just be an overall better deck choice going into a blind meta like Florida?" The list down below is what I ultimately ended up going with along with two Florida friends, Santiago Rodriguez (who also made day two at 6-2-1) and Andrew Metziere (who unfortunately didn't do so well).
- 3x Seismitoad EX
- 2x Shaymin EX
- 1x Jirachi EX
- 1x Mewtwo EX
- 1x Dedenne
- 4x Zubat
- 3x Golbat
- 2x Crobat
- 4x Professor Juniper
- 2x N
- 2x Lysandre
- 1x Colress
- 1x AZ
- 1x Team Flare Grunt
- 1x Xerosic
- 1x Ghetsis
- 1x Skyla
- 3x VS Seeker
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 4x Puzzle of Time
- 4x Hypnotoxic Laser
- 4x Super Scoop Up
- 2x Fighting Fury Belt
- 1x Scoop Up Cyclone
- 2x Silent Lab
- 1x Virbank City Gym
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
Brad Curcio actually sent me a Seismitoad-EX/Crobat list the night before so I took that and changed the list to my personal liking. The changes from the original list were:
-1 Super Scoop Up
-1 Hypnotoxic Laser
-1 Silent Lab
+3 Water Energy
+1 Virbank City Gym
You can see I made a few big changes namely dropping all the Basic Energy and just going with Double Colorless even though I ran Mewtwo-EX and Dedenne. I knew Primal Groudon-EX decks would see play so adding both Mewtwo-EX and Dedenne can help in that matchup. I also knew Yveltal-EX was THE DECK to beat going into week three of Winter Regionals. Which again Mewtwo-EX and Dedenne help in that matchup as well. One of the main reasons on why I was comfortable with just running only four Double Colorless Energy was because of Puzzle of Time. I knew I just had to play somewhat safer with my Energy drops. I know attaching a Double Colorless to Dedenne is not ideal, however the times I used Dedenne were well worth the Double Colorless Energy to attack with it. Adding in the fourth Super Scoop Up and Hypnotoxic Laser was such a good call on my end because I just knew they would make the Yveltal-EX matchup so much more comfortable knowing I maxed those out. Also adding in the second Silent Lab was more clutch than I thought. I knew Silent Lab was great against Yveltal-EX decks even though your risking doing less damage because of Virbank City Gym, however most times than not I preferred the Silent Lab and at times I would pray I find them fast.
Against Yveltal-EX, Silent Lab just shuts off a lot of the deck namely Keldeo-EX which is huge if you keep them asleep and to shut off Darkrai-EX's Dark Cloak ability forcing them to burn Energy to retreat. Silent Lab is also very clutch against the BREAKpoint Yveltal to shut off its ability Fright Night. Running multiple Silent Lab also helped me 2-0 a Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX deck which I was surprised I was able to achieve. One other card that was very clutch was Skyla. It was nice being able to search out a second Puzzle of Time when you already have one in hand or basically any Item I wanted or needed at the time. One neat trick you can do to get the most out of Puzzle of Time is for example let's say one Puzzle of Time was discarded early on leaving you with three in the deck. The next time you find two of them and this is assuming you don't need two cards from your discard pile right away. You then grab the first Puzzle of Time that was discarded or used early and any other card that's needed at the time and when you find the fourth Puzzle of Time you can get back two more cards. Doing this insures that your getting at least three cards instead of two out of your Puzzle of Times. Sure you can get four if you use two at a time but remember this scenario is if one Puzzle of time had to be used or discarded early on as I said before. Just something to keep in mind because I know some people may forget you can do this and it's especially nice if you’re running Skyla to be able to find the last Puzzle of Time easier as I mentioned already.
Round 1 - Taylor Ponds - Landorus-EX/Crobat: WLW (1-0-0)
Game one when my opponent opened Hawlucha I immediately knew it was Landorus-EX/Crobat and put a big smile on my face knowing I get an easy matchup round one. Game one basically went how you would expect with me taking full control of the game with Crushing Hammer flips as well as Super Scoop Ups. My opponent for some reason kept going aggro Landorus-EX which my Seismitoad-EX just ate up. Game two, however went quite differently because at one point in the game I'm attacking with a Giratina-EX just to take faster KO's and deny Special Energy and Stadiums but little did I know my opponent ran Scramble Switch which he used to power up a Landorus-EX to one hit KO my Giratina-EX and from there it was downhill for me. I almost came back but he eventually Hawlucha swarmed me and I just couldn't heal enough. I knew game one and two took a while so in game three I sped up my pace of play because I did not want to tie against a good matchup round one. Game 3 my opponent just dead drew and Seismitoad-EX took full control of the game and I won in a couple turns.
Round 2 - William Post - Landorus-EX/Crobat: WW (2-0-0)
Awesome! I get another great matchup back to back. These games were much better than in my round one because both games my opponent literally had nothing from the start. A quick Quaking Punch both games resulted in two quick wins. Not much my opponent could do under all the Item-lock pressure.
Round 3 - Michael Natto - Raikou/Pikachu-EX/Eels: WW (3-0-0)
Going into this round I wasn't sure on how this matchup was going to play out because I've never faced this type of Eels deck against Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX. However, both games were better than expected because I was able to hit crucial Crushing Hammer Flips as well as Xerosic off my opponent's Float Stoned Keldeo-EX at a very, very crucial time that could have other wised one hit KO’d me with Pikachu-EX. My opponent didn't play any Rough Seas so all my damage was able to stick. He instead played Sky Fields. My opponent not playing any Rough Seas was quite huge in this matchup because he can potentially just tank with a Raikou. At one point in game two my opponent used Pikachu-EX's first attack, Iron Tail and flipped six straight heads to one hit KO my Giratina-EX. I did still have the revenge KO the following turn due to having Rock Guard on Giratina-EX. Still it was impressive to see that many head flips in one sitting. I was able to best my opponent 2-0 mainly due to no Rough Seas as I mentioned and me flipping pretty well on Super Scoop Ups.
Round 4 - Nolan Freda - M Manectric-EX/Garbodor: WW (4-0-0)
Oh man this series was actually funny. My opponent literally was locked both games with a Giratina-EX attacking while no Tool was on his Trubbish both games. Because he was unable to get through Giratina-EX's ability it meant he was either forced to power up a non-Mega Manectric-EX or Lysandre around the Giratina-EX. My opponent did not run Hex Maniac so it was even more difficult for him to get through my Giratina-EX. Once I found Rock Guard the game was too easy at that point because he literally would just pass allowing me to plow through his field with a single Giratina-EX. If he ever attached an Energy to a Manectric-EX I would then just Crushing Hammer off the Energy. In both games they went exactly the same with him not being able to find a Tool for Trubbish before the lock. It's nice knowing if I go with either Seismitoad-EX or Giratina-EX that he still can't use Tools. So I was able to take two very convincing games.
Round 5 - Michael Canaves - Sableye DEX/Garbodor: WLT (4-0-1)
This round I’m up against a Florida friend who I flew to the event with, Mike Canaves piloting his trusty Sableye/Garbodor. I knew going into this match that I have to get extremely lucky with finding my Energy fast enough before he is able to VS Seeker Team Flare Grunt or Xerosic back. I also had to hope he didn't find those supporters too fast. Game one Mike opens with a lone Bunnelby so I immediately start going for the turn one donk with Latios-EX. I play a bunch of cards and I eventually am able to hit Latios-EX and Muscle Band for the game. Game 2, however is quite different but still very close because I kept going aggro Latios-EX and using my Double Dragon Energy to their fullest extent. I was taking KO after KO and I eventually was down to one prize game two. I knew I had used up all my Hypnotoxic Lasers and Muscle Bands so I knew I couldn't one hit KO anything anymore. Unfortunately I ended up decking out and so we move onto game three where time eventually gets called and we end in a tie with me having about four or five cards left in deck because I didn't try to stall for the tie. Still I managed to survive the Sableye/Garbodor matchup.
Round 6 - Dalen Dockery - Yveltal-EX/Archeops/Gallade: LL (4-1-1)
Finally I hit my first Yveltal-EX matchup of the day and it's against Dalen who's been doing pretty well this season so I knew it was going to be a tough one. Game one Dalen and I are going back and forth with attacks and I'm trying to power up a Giratina-EX. At one point of game one I N Dalen down to four cards and on his turn he is able to Lysandre and one hit KO my benched Giratina-EX under Item-lock. I was shocked and from there I just couldn't do enough damage with the onslaught of Evil Balls coming my way. Game two is pretty much the same with Dalen having the Lysandre once again to one hit KO my benched Giratina-EX before it could do its duty. I was told Dalen just runs too hot and yeah he did for sure. Still we had some good games even though I was bested 2-0 in the series. I could tell Dalen knew how to play the matchup because he really didn't make any mistakes. I believe Dalen eventually ended in Top 16 if I remember correctly which is outstanding in a 300 man field.
Round 7 - Lenni Pesock -Yveltal-EX: LL (4-2-1)
After getting 2-0ed the previous round I was honestly worried to face up yet again another Yveltal-EX deck. These games basically went the same with my opponent running like a God and running through me with multiple Yveltal-EX powered up. My flips were mediocre but I just couldn't do enough damage to keep up with my opponent two shotting me. Both games Lenni was able to best me as I am trying to stay in the game, but I just couldn't seem to slow him down. He was able to find his Keldeo-EX turn one so that limited my Hypnotoxic Lasers. I wished I ran a Silent Lab so I could stop the Rush Ins and free retreats with Darkrai-EX. Nevertheless Lenni played very well and deserved that win. I believe Lenni made Day two as well as Dalen so my losses weren't in vain.
Round 8 - Andrew Boechler - Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX: WW (5-2-1)
After starting 4-0-1 then losing two in a row I knew I had to win my last two rounds to make Day two. This round I'm up against the Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX mirror which I was fine with because I've yet to lose to the mirror in a tournament. My opponent decides to play first and opens with Seismitoad-EX to my own. He then attaches a Double Dragon Energy to his benched Giratina-EX and instead of Ning away two of his Energy he decides to Professor Juniper them away which shocked me. So I take my first turn of the game and immediately Crushing Hammer off his benched Energy and just like that my opponent is down three Energy in the mirror match. I capitalize my turn with a turn one Quaking Punch and from there my opponent slowly tried to power up his Giratina-EX thinking that's the way to go in the mirror when it's not. I just keep Hammering and Xerosic’ing away until I eventually just drained him of Energy so he scooped. You would think he would learn from game one but nope. My opponent tried the same strategy trying to power up Giratina-EX again. At one point he is able to finally attack me with Giratina-EX but I just Enhanced Hammered off one Energy and Team Flare Grunted the other and again I eventually drained him of Energy and I take two very convincing games.
Round 9 - Chris Demko - Yveltal-EX: WW (6-2-1)
Going into the last round of Day one I knew I had to win this game to make Day two. I'm up against another Yveltal-EX deck. This makes the third one for Day one. I was actually very worried because I already got 4-0-ed by Yveltal-EX decks already so I thought my run was over. Game one my opponent opens pretty well and starts to Ultra Ball thinking he's grabbing a Keldeo-EX but he doesn't and still fills his bench up so I'm just thinking that he may have just prized it. Game one I get some crucial Sleep flips off and am able to take control of the game with a single Seismitoad-EX. Mid way into game one my opponent finally benches the Keldeo-EX and I immediately think to myself "Okay my opponent definitely misplayed not benching the Keldeo-EX earlier and I knew for a fact it wasn't off his prizes because at the end of the game my opponent knew he should have grabbed it. Because of this I am able to take a convincing game one. Game two pretty much goes the same except my opponent does bench Keldeo-EX early on but this time my opponent doesn't really have much going while under Item-lock. I eventually bench him as he just only has a baby Yveltal and like two other Pokémon including Keldeo-EX. I was able to KO the Keldeo-EX pretty early on allowing my Hypnotoxic Lasers to be more deadly and so I take the series 2-0 and then wait for standings to go up and I see I'm 14th seed going into Day two.
Round 10 - Anthony Desiata - Yveltal-EX/Archeops/Gallade: WW (7-2-1)
Moving onto Day two I immediately am faced up against another Yveltal-EX deck making it my fourth one for the tournament. After 2-0ing the last one I was hoping to do the same again. Game one I believe I go first with a turn one Ghetsis and I am able to slow down my opponent for the next couple of turns. He eventually top decks out of it and we are going back and forth with big plays. A couple clutch Crushing Hammer and Super Scoop Up flips later and I'm now in the winning side of the game. I was able to KO Keldeo-EX at some point and from there I took game one. Game two, however is a little better for my opponent. Although at one point a clutch N forces my opponent to pass thus giving me the lead one again and full control of the game with Quaking Punches. I take the series 2-0 and I'm feeling good that I bested yet another Yveltal-EX deck. I'm glad I made up for my other two losses to Yveltal-EX with a 4-0 of my own against them.
Round 11 - Brandon Salazar - Seismitoad-EX/Manectric-EX/Crobat: WW (8-2-1)
This round I'm up against my buddy Brandon Salazar known for his US Nationals win in 2014. He's playing Seismitoad-EX/Manectric-EX/Crobat which I was fine with. Game one I play first and turn one Ghetsis Brandon only to see two VS Seeker and two Bats in his hand with a Manectric-EX start and benched Zubat. So I power up a Giratina-EX ready for the turn two havoc. Brandon draws and just Overruns me and from there I take a quick game one with a quick Giratina-EX attacking. Game two, however is a lot better for Brandon because he actually was able to get attackers going. Except I'm still on the winning side because I was able to find my Rock Guard before his allowing his Seismitoad-EX to be KO’d before mine. Eventually I start draining Brandon's Energy and start to attack with Giratina-EX blocking his Energy drops but then he starts to Xerosic my Energy off so I immediately went back to Quaking Punching until it was Giratina-EX's time to shine again which there was when he took the last two prizes on a benched hurt Seismitoad-EX. I take both games pretty convincingly to be honest.
Round 12 - Azul Griego - Raikou/Eels: LL (8-3-1)
Going into this round I felt somewhat confident because I had 2-0ed the deck Day one, however this was not the case again because Azul's version was different than the one I beat Day one. Azul ran four Rough Seas which were the bane of my existence. Game one Azul is able to get a huge Raikou powered up to the point where he was one hit KO’ing anything. So he takes a convincing game one. Game two I try to stay in the game and with a quick Item-lock which is doing work until Azul catches me in the triple Raikou lock with Rough Seas on field. He is able to basically deny all my damage from Seismitoad-EX and eventually get me close to decking out. I'm down to one prize game two and I have the cards to win but my last turn of the game I have to hit two out of three Crushing Hammer heads to win the game and basically force a game three and a tie. I unfortunately flip only one of three heads and deck out trying to win the game. Had I not done the play that turn I would have lost anyway. Basically Azul had two Energy on his active Raikou meaning a Muscle Banded Giratina-EX would be 20 shy of the KO so I had to wait till I was able to drain all his Energy on a single turn. I knew I had Muscle Band left in the deck and another Crushing Hammer. I just need two of the three heads to be able to one hit KO the Raikou with Giratina-EX, but it just didn't go my way and so Azul bested me 2-0.
Round 13 - Jimmy O’Brien - Vespiquen/Flareon: WLW (9-3-1)
This round I'm up against one of the best if not the best Vespiquen player, Jimmy O’Brien. Game one, Jimmy and I are going back and forth but I'm Lysandre’ing back-to-back Eevee because I know to win this matchup is to deny Flareon's from coming out and being able to Blacksmith one shot Giratina-EX. My plan is going pretty well until Jimmy is able to get two Flareon out at once and just when I thought I was done for I N Jimmy to two and pray he doesn't have the cards to win the game as I have game the following turn on his Shaymin-EX for my last two prizes. Jimmy draws and doesn't have the win yet with Blacksmith and is forced to Professor Sycamore as I Lysandre up Shaymin-EX and KO it with Giratina-EX for my last two prizes. What a crazy good game one. Game two, however is very different because Jimmy explodes on me and gets not one not two but three Flareon's going early on and Jimmy just takes me to the Thunder Realm as we set up for game three. Before game three starts Jimmy jokingly says "This is where Latios-EX will come in handy" as he opens with lone Exeggcute. I get Latios-EX going with my active having a Float Stone. I can win two ways. One with Latios-EX or the second with Virbank City Gym and Hypnotoxic Laser. Funny enough I actually opened with Virbank City Gym so I had both options ready. So I use Hoopa-EX to search out Latios-EX and Shaymin-EX and my first draw was the Double Dragon Energy as I show it to Jimmy and take game three and the series. It sucks winning like that but that's why I put Latios-EX in the deck for.
Round 14 - Bryan Aing - Archie's Blastoise: WLT (9-3-2)
Okay now I'm sitting at 28 match points and I know I have to win and I'm into Top 8, however my opponent was at 29 match points meaning he just needed to ID or force a tie to make it in. I was somewhat confident in the matchup depending on who plays first and of course my opponent plays first and I'm just thinking "well here comes a turn-one Archie's". But to my surprise my opponent actually missed it giving me the momentum to try and take the game with a turn one Quaking Punch. But I myself whiff the Double Colorless Energy I need for the turn one lock after drawing a big portion of my deck. Because of this now my opponent gets a second try at getting Blastoise out and no surprise my opponent does in fact get the turn two Blastoise going. As I'm contemplating on scooping I realize my opponent had to bench Exeggcute to get Blastoise out and I also notice that there's only one Keldeo-EX on field meaning my Hypnotoxic Lasers can be crucial. On top of all this I'm counting my opponent's Energy and between his discard and field I count a total of seven or eight which meant if I can KO this Keldeo-EX quick I should be able to drain him out of Energy so I play on. Eventually it goes as planned and I deck my opponent out because he was unable to get his Energy back. Game two, however my opponent gets a turn one Blastoise out and knowing this I should have just scooped almost immediately because he had multiple Keldeo-EX out and barely any Energy in the discard.
I decide to play it out and yeah... I get wrecked and we move onto game three and I know time is ticking so I start playing faster. I get a turn one Ghetsis going and drained my opponent's hand leaving him with three Keldeo-EX (Yes he opened all three Keldeo-EX) and a single Energy. He draws for his turn and is forced to pass as I get the turn two Quaking Punch off and I'm trying to play as fast as possible barely doing anything but Quaking Punch but because he had three Keldeo-EX meant he was able to Rush In and out and drain the clock some more. Because of this I eventually KO one of the Keldeo-EX's and the other two are about two shots away from being KO’d as time is called and I know we are forced to tie. Top 8 was right in my hands. I was literally in an unlosable position but my opponent played well and didn't try to stall the time. He just did what he had to do and luckily for him he opened with three Keldeo-EX. If he opened with two I would have definitely been able to take all my prizes faster. So you can see I ended with 29 match points and 9th seed. So close to making top 8 that I could smell it during my game three match.
Collinsville, Illinois (St. Louis area)
Sorry I forgot most of everyone's names I just forgot to write them down. You can see I didn't make day 2 with a record of 6-2-1 so not really much to talk about anyway. I did however, go from 1-2-0 to 6-2-1 which was challenging and I'm proud I was able to bounce back even though I missed up going into the last round and ID’ing instead of playing it out for the guaranteed Day two if I won of course.
Round 1 - Speed M Rayquaza-EX: LL (0-1-0)
This series was atrocious for me because I just couldn't find Energy. Game one a quick M Rayquaza-EX makes quick work of me as I just can't stop it as my opponent kept having Hex Maniac when he needed it. Game two is much closer to the point where I have two options. The first is to Xerosic off his active Double Colorless but I was afraid of a double Mega Turbo if I went that route or two just go for the KO on the active M Rayquaza-EX to seal the game. So I went for option B which I just needed to hit either a Muscle Band or Hypnotoxic Laser to finish off the M Rayquaza-EX with Giratina-EX. Surprisingly I whiff both of them off my Professor Juniper and now I'm staring down a M Rayquaza-EX I can't go. I also didn't draw any Hammers to slow it down. At this point I have to pray my opponent doesn't have either a Lysandre to KO a benched EX for his last two prizes or just a Hex Maniac to KO my active Giratina-EX. I forced to attack as my opponent reveals a VS Seeker to Hex Maniac and take a close game two. I couldn't believe I whiffed the KO on the M Rayquaza-EX let alone anything playable to survive until next turn so I get bested 2-0 against a matchup that should be favorable for Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX.
Round 2 - Tyrantrum-EX/Giratina-EX/Bronzong: WW (1-1-0)
This round was interesting because I've played this matchup before. You just have to drain all four of their Double Dragon Energy. So I play first and attach to my benched Giratina-EX only to have it Lysandre’d up and hit with Jirachi to discard my Energy. Right away I'm thinking "Okay you want to play like that I see". So I Crushing Hammer off Jirachi's Energy and start powering up Giratina-EX once again and for some odd reason my opponent decided to keep the Jirachi active and attack into my active Pokémon with no Energy on it. I take advantage of his misplay not retreating the Jirachi and KO it with Giratina-EX and from there I take full control of the game. Game two I start with a quick Quaking Punch as my opponent has nothing and is forced to pass until he top decks a Professor Juniper to keep him in the game. He is unable to find Jirachi still and in forced to attach to Tyrantrum-EX but I just keep Hammering off its Energy not allowing it to KO anything. I also at one point Lysandre up a Bronzong to stall for a few turns until I am able to power up a Giratina-EX. Once Giratina-EX was powered up I start attacking with it while at the same time having Rock Guard on it forcing my opponent to suicide his Jirachi. At this point I'm at one prize and so I Lysandre and KO a benched Bronzor and take two convincing games.
Round 3 - Connor Finton - Vespiquen/Flareon: LL (1-2-0)
I knew going into this round I was facing against Vespiquen/Flareon but I knew it was being piloted by a Connor who is a solid player. Last time we played was at Georgia City Championships where I was able to best him with my Yveltal-EX/Zoroark/Gallade deck versus his Night March. This time it's a lot different. Game one Connor is able to take control of the game even when I'm attacking with Giratina-EX and because he had multiple Flareon out meant I couldn't stop one of them from being Blacksmithed onto and one hit KO’ing my Giratina-EX. Once this happens the games basically over. That's how this matchup goes. If you can't stop Flareon from coming out or KO them all before the Giratina-EX lock then I'm afraid all hope is lost. This is what happened both games. Connor played smart and knew the matchup as did I but there's only so much a Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX can do while staring down a swarm of Flareon.
Round 4 - Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX: WW (2-2-0)
This round I'm up against the mirror match which I've said before I've yet to lose to. My opponent played two Team Flare Grunt and a Xerosic which I only played one Team Flare Grunt so I was somewhat worried. However, my opponent didn't really have much the times where he discarded my Energy. I was still the one attacking every time. Because of this I took game one with ease because I broke his lock early on which meant I was able to swarm Items such as, Hypnotoxic Laser and Super Scoop Up as well as Tools. Game two goes the same way only this time he's trying to power up a Giratina-EX which I was fine with because as long as I keep Quaking Punching I know I have this game in the bag. Eventually I was able to drain his Energy and leave him with one or two Double Dragon Energy so he scooped.
Round 5 - Yveltal-EX: WW (3-2-0)
These games were vague as I don't really remember them other than besting it 2-0. If we played and you’re reading this feel free to refresh my memory.
Round 6 -Yveltal-EX: WW (4-2-0)
Again I just can't remember for the life of me on these games. Again if you’re reading this and we played feel free to refresh my memory. Having to memory 37 games takes a toll on one.
Round 7 - Seismitoad-EX/Garbodor: WW (5-2-0)
Okay a match I do remember because game one I play first and my opponent opens with lone Trubbish and you know what that means. Latios-EX time! I start searching out Latios-EX and because Trubbish has 70 HP meant that I needed a Virbank City Gym plus Hypnotoxic Laser or Muscle Band and Hypnotoxic Laser. I start digging and digging and eventually stumble upon the turn one donk and take game one. Game two my opponent plays first and attaches a Double Colorless Energy to his active Seismitoad-EX as I'm staring at my one of Enhanced Hammer in hand. From there it was downhill for my opponent because I also get the turn one Quaking Punch and have Team Flare Grunt ready for his second Double Colorless Energy the following turn. My opponent follows it up with a Team Flare Grunt of his own but I have another Double Colorless Energy in hand and we just start Quaking Punching each other until his gets KO’d first. I manage to find my Xerosic and discard yet another Double Colorless and at this point my opponent is struggling to find his last and can't find it. From there I just steamroll the game and take the series 2-0.
Round 8 - Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX: LWW (6-2-0)
Another mirror match! Game one my opponent plays first and explodes with a turn one Keldeo-EX with Float Stone as well as two benched Seismitoad-EX's and a Giratina-EX and multiple Muscle Bands. Basically everything you want turn one for a Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX deck. I take my turn and of course I whiff a turn one attack and get steamrolled from there because he had Muscle Bands on his Seismitoad-EX's as all mine didn't have any. Game two, however I explode turn one and it's the opposite as game one except my opponent is struggling this time. I take a quick game two. Game three is close but I know at one point in the game I break the Item-lock and make a huge comeback which ultimately let me drain my opponent out of Double Colorless and is forced to try and get a Giratina-EX going but I wouldn't let him with the combination of Hammers and Xerosic so I make a comeback after losing the first game.
Round 9 - Ryan Sabelhaus - Seismitoad-EX/Crobat: ID (6-2-1)
Because there was 500 masters it meant that a lot people with 19 match points would bubble. However, Ryan convinced me that if everyone plays out there round instead of ID’ing it meant we had a better chance to make it in and we both didn't want to knock each other out of Day two. So we decided to ID even though I was confident in the Seismitoad-EX/Crobat matchup. We look at the standings and we screwed up big time because I was 42nd seed and Ryan was 43rd seed. We should have definitely played it out, but instead we both missed Day two. It was my own fault though I should have just went with my gut because I figured we wouldn't make the cut and also I started 1-2-0 so I definitely should have played it out.
Kissimmee, Florida (BREAKpoint Legal)
Round 1 - David Burnett - Ninetales/Amoonguss: WW (1-0-0)
Going into this match I didn't know what to expect other than the fact that I knew Ninetales is weak to water so my Seismitoad-EX's can one hit KO them. Game one my opponent opens with Vulpix and plays first to my active Seismitoad-EX. He benches a Foongus and another Vulpix and passes the turn. I get the turn one Quaking Punch and I start taking KO after KO. Every time he Confused my active I would Super Scoop it up and not risk the flip unless I had to which there was two turns where I did flip tails back to back but still I was able to take a convincing game one. Game two went the same way. I ran four Super Scoop Ups, Scoop Up Cyclone, AZ and Puzzle of Times so I had ways to recover status effects for days which made the matchup easier for me. Because of this I take a comfortable 2-0 victory over David.
Round 2 - Carson Goins - M Manectric-EX/Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX: LL (1-1-0)
Now I'm up against a matchup I did not want to face. Before the event I actually debated on added a Victini-EX and a Victory Piece in just for the Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX matchup but I was talked out of it. This is when I was hating myself for not going with my gut. I tried my best in this matchup with clutch Silent Lab plus Hypnotoxic Laser flips and while there were times where my opponent flipped tails once he woke up I would just get bodied anyway so there wasn't much I could do in the matchup especially once a Genesect-EX started attacking and one hit KOing everything. Both games went the same way. I did take a couple prizes by going aggro Mewtwo-EX but eventually the swarm of M Manectric-EX's and Genesect-EX's were too much to handle.
Round 3 - Francisco Vargas - Mewtwo-EX/Crobat: WW (2-1-0)
This round was actually really easy for me because my opponent's main attacker was Mewtwo-EX so we just took it back to the 2012 meta and X Balled each other back and forth. Both games were similar with me taking the first Mewtwo-EX knockout with my own then locking the others with Hypnotoxic Laser and Quaking Punch followed by my own Bat drops. I took both games very convincingly because Puzzle of Time is too good in a deck like Seismitoad-EX/Crobat.
Round 4 - Michael Canaves - Primal Groudon-EX/Wobbuffet: WW (3-1-0)
Now I'm up against Mike once again only this time he's not playing Sableye/Garbodor he's playing Primal Groudon-EX with four Wobbuffet and four Tropical Beach as well as the promo Regirock that has the same Trait as Primal Groudon-EX. I knew going into this matchup I had to use my Bats and focus down on his Primal Groudon-EX's then eventually have either Mewtwo-EX or Dedenne finish them off which is what I did but at the same time make sure I keep Quaking Punching him. Mike struggles early on in game one as he is draw passing and I'm just wailing away at his Wobbuffet's. His first Primal Groudon-EX was taken down by Mewtwo-EX, however Mike starts to make a comeback with a second Primal Groudon-EX, but benches one too many Wobbuffet allowing me to drag it up and eventually deck Mike out and steal game one. Game two was a little different only this time Dedenne KO’d a Primal Groudon-EX. Between Bat damage and Item-lock it was too much for Mike to handle and I take two convincing games.
Round 5 - Alejandro Luna - Trevenant XY/Accelgor: LL (3-2-0)
After already having a loss so early on this deck was the last deck I wanted to face up against aside from Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX. I knew Alejandro was a solid player so I didn't expect him to misplay or not know how to play the matchup versus Seismitoad-EX/Crobat. Both games went as expect with me getting steamrolled and Alejandro never missing a beat except a couple times where Alejandro is forced to Yawn my Seismitoad-EX hoping to break the lock and both times I flipped tails on Sleep checks. I was so annoyed by it to be honest. Another instance I Lysandre up Alejandro's Jirachi-EX and lock it active only for him to literally top deck AZ to pick it up. I know he top decked it because he told me and I was like "Really???” So that's basically how my games against Alejandro went. It's the first time I've played against him. Even though I got smashed I was glad to have finally played Alejandro because he seemed like chill dude.
Round 6 - Justin Bentley - Yveltal-EX: WW (4-2-0)
I haven't hit a single Yveltal-EX matchup all tournament yet and one of the reasons I played Seismitoad-EX/Crobat was because of Yveltal-EX as I said before. These games went as I expected with me healing with Super Scoop Up and manipulating my damage with Bats and making quick work of my opponent with the help of Silent Labs. Adding in the second Silent Lab was so worth it and I'm glad I opted to play two over the two Virbank City Gyms. Being able to Puzzle of Time any two cards is really strong in any Seismitoad-EX which were clutch every time. Glad I was able to best my opponent 2-0 because if not then I don't know why I played the deck.
Round 7 - Tre Shreve - Yveltal-EX: WW (5-2-0)
Again another Yveltal-EX matchup which I wanted again. Finally I'm starting to hit all of them and I'm actually glad it's in the later rounds. These games basically go the same as the last round with me flipping well on Crushing Hammers and Super Scoop Ups. I also think I Puzzle of Timed back Scoop Up Cyclone multiple times which you already know is godlike. A very convincing 2-0 again for me and I know one more win and an ID put's me into Day two.
Round 8 - Franco Puertas - Yveltal-EX/Archeops/Gallade: ID (5-2-1)
Another Yveltal-EX deck for the third straight round in a row except it was against my good friend Franco Puertas. We didn't want to knock each other out of Day two so we both agreed to ID even though I was confident in the matchup as you can see in my previous two rounds. Still I wouldn't want to take him out of Day two so we let the final round decide our fates. Unfortunately for Franco he had to face Mike Canaves in the win and in and was bested.
Round 9 - Dakota Gillanders - Yveltal-EX/Archeops/Gallade: LWW (6-2-1)
Really? Another Yveltal-EX deck! At this point I know the Pokégods want me in Day two for giving me four straight Yveltal matchups. Dakota and I's game was actually the closest out of all the other Yveltal's because game one Dakota actually managed to get a turn one Archeops shutting off all my Bats. Still I was able to keep Quaking Punching and healing as much as possible but eventually I ran dry of resources and Dakota finally finished me off. Limiting me damage output hurts a lot especially when it's in the form or Bats. Game two, however I believe I get a big turn one Ghetsis off and force Dakota to draw pass for a few turns. I manage to keep the lead going with Bat drops and start putting more and more pressure with Dedenne and Mewtwo-EX and eventually take game two. In game three we both know we have to play fast because if we tie neither of us will make Day 2 so we agree on whoever had more prizes after time is called and after the three turns gets the win and I was fortunate enough to be able to lead on prizes on turn three of the game when I hit a Golbat off my Professor Juniper to KO a benched Jirachi-EX. Also at one point in game three I Puzzle of Timed back two Super Scoop Ups which if I hit double heads then I basically deny Dakota from being up on prizes which I do indeed flip double heads. Dakota was a pretty chill dude and I'm glad our games went down to the wire.
Round 10 - Russell LaParre - Speed Darkrai-EX BRP/Yveltal-EX: L (6-3-1)
Going into this round I knew exactly what Russell was playing and I figured it would be like any other Yveltal-EX like deck. However, my game one was not so good. All I had was Ghetsis for my first three or so turns. Russell is able to take the lead but I eventually start making a comeback of my own and start hitting some crucial Crushing Hammer and Super Scoop Up flips. I also managed to Silent Lab and Hypnotoxic Laser and put him to sleep at one point where he flipped tails giving me a chance to comeback for sure. Lategame comes around in game one and I have game next turn with an active Mewtwo-EX with two Double Colorless Energy and a Fighting Fury Belt so I'm thinking there's no way Russell can one shot my Mewtwo-EX especially knowing that both his Yveltal-EX were KO’d. This is where I was wrong. Russell already had four Dark Energy on the field. So he proceeds to bench a Darkrai-EX from BREAKpoint and I figured there's no way that's going to one shot my Mewtwo-EX.
I knew Russell only had two Dark Patch left so he is able to find both of them and then attach for his turn putting his Energy count now at seven. He also Fighting Fury Belts the Darkrai-EX but still that's only doing a total of 170 damage and he only had about four or five cards left in deck. He uses a Trainer's Mail and finds himself a Tool Scrapper "Yes I said Tool Scrapper!" He uses it and gets rid of my Fighting Fury Belt and I know the games over as he one shots my Mewtwo-EX and takes a very close game one after my draw pass for the first three turns. Game one took so long that game two ended on time with both of us having six prizes still. I'm pretty sure I had game two in the bag because I didn't dead draw. Also game one I prized Dedenne which was still in my last two prizes forcing me to go aggro Mewtwo-EX instead. Either way, Russell and I had one very good game that honestly was stream worthy.
Round 11 - Long Bui - Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX/Max Elixir: WW (7-3-1)
After losing round one and finding out I'm up against a veteran Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX player such as Long Bui I figured my Day two run was over. The last time Long and I played was during 2014 World's where he bested me 2-0. Funny enough he was actually playing Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX except I was running Garchomp/Landorus-EX. However, somehow I managed to pull it out 2-0 over long. Game one I decide to go aggro Mewtwo-EX because it can do big chunks of damage so I just kept powering up Mewtwo-EX. With the help of Bat drops I was able to Lysandre and one shot back to back Genesect-EX's that were Emerald Slashed onto and I take a surprising but convincing game one. Game two I believe I remember Lysandre stalling up Long's Hoopa-EX for a few turns to try and burn some of his Energy while under Item-lock. Eventually I KO’d Hoopa-EX with Quaking Punches alone. Long did finally get a Genesect-EX attacking, however I found a Silent Lab and Hypnotoxic Laser to put it asleep and fortunately for me Long flipped tails on his sleep check and from there I manage to steal game two since Long was running dry on Energy at that point while under Item-lock. I was shocked to have bested Long 2-0 this time around but I'll take what I can get at this point.
Round 12 - Travis Nunlist - Trevenant BREAK/Wobbuffet: LL (7-4-1)
Another not so good matchup for Seismitoad-EX/Crobat because Trevenant's Item-lock is somewhat stronger against Seismitoad-EX's because Trevenant can do more damage while under Item-lock. Game one goes as expected with Travis finding a quick Trevenant and eventually finding the BREAK to slow my damage output tremendously. Not being able to use half my deck was troublesome. Travis won game one with ease. So in game two I tried a different approach and decided to try the Shaymin-EX loop. Travis noticed what I was doing right away and said that he prized both his N's so I figured we were going to game three. However, Travis benches a Mewtwo-EX and attaches an Energy to it and at this point I really don't have a choice but to just keep Shaymin-EX looping which I did but on Travis's following turn he AZ’d up his active Trevenant and attached a second Energy to Mewtwo-EX and Psydrived my poor Shaymin-EX for game since he benched me and all. Mewtwo-EX is the perfect answer to stopping the Shaymin-EX loop. However, in Standard Mewtwo-EX is no more. At least the X Ball Mewtwo-EX which is the relevant one anyway.
Round 13 - Rudy Paras - Yveltal-EX/Archeops/Gallade: WW (8-4-1)
Rudy was playing the exact list Brad Curcio ran so I kinda knew most of the deck in a sense. Game one Rudy and I are battling it out. Rudy decides to go aggro BREAKpoint Yveltal and I answer back with Silent Lab to shut off its ability because it can three shot a Seismitoad-EX and this way it's now four shotting giving me an extra turn to find Super Scoop Up. I remember putting a Fighting Fury Belt onto my benched Shaymin-EX just so it survives one more hit from Yveltal BRP. The following turn I Scoop it up and Rudy knew that was a big turn. I flipped pretty well game one and it came down to the wire but eventually I was able to somehow deck Rudy out because he kept digging through his deck for Energy while under the Item-lock. Game two was actually quite the same. Some well-timed flips and some clutch Puzzle of Time grabs and I am able to best Rudy 2-0.
Round 14 - Ahmed Ali - Speed Darkrai-EX BRP/Yveltal-EX: WLL (8-5-1)
This match was to determine who would make Top 16. Before the match Ahmed and I agreed on whoever is up on prizes after time and three turns would take the match. Game one is really, really close but I was able to take it due to some very clutch flips. Game two Ahmed just runs through me with a huge Darkrai-EX BRP steamrolling my field. In game three we knew time was getting close so we start playing faster. Time eventually gets called on my turn which was unfortunate but still I had a chance to be up on prizes. I was turn two and Ahmed was already up a prize so I knew I had to take two prizes this turn or else Ahmed takes the game. My active Seismitoad-EX had about 180 damage on it from a previous attack.
It also had a Fighting Fury Belt which is how it survived. I needed to be able to heal off my Seismitoad-EX while at the same time find a Crobat to snipe a benched Darkrai-EX that had 150 damage on it already while still keeping the Item-lock so Ahmed can't Lysandre next turn. In my hand I have a Super Scoop Up and a Colress for nine. I used the Super Scoop Up to pray to heal the Seismitoad-EX but I flip tails but I know I still have a chance because I had about a 15 or 20 card deck left and I knew I had a Crobat left and two Puzzle of Time. However, I have to hit all three off my Colress for nine to basically deny Ahmed a prize next turn since he was turn three and recover my Seismitoad-EX as I said. I use my Colress and...I draw complete trash. I didn't hit any of the cards I needed and so as we agreed I gave Ahmed the match. Karma does come around after all. It's the first time I faced Ahmed and I was glad to have finally met him and happy for his top 16 finish.
That will conclude this article. I hope you were able to learn something from my reports or at least enjoyed reading them. At the moment I'm sitting at exactly 300 Championship points, but I'll still be chasing the Day 2 invite as well as a higher placing for National's stipends. So I'll be going to all four State Championship weekends as well as Georgia Regionals in May. I'm not sure if I'll be doing any other Spring Regionals aside from Georgia but I guess that all depends where I'm sitting at Championship wise. I'll be testing for States in the coming weeks and I'll also have another article coming out in about a week or so talking about States decks. Also will have another article at the end of the month but unsure on the topic yet. I'm sure I'll come up with something worth reading.
With that said, if you have any questions then please feel free to leave me a comment down below or message me on Facebook and I'll be sure to get to them as soon as possible. As usual, if you enjoyed reading this article, then please consider giving it a thumbs up. If you want to see a specific type of article or topic next time, then don't hesitate to give me ideas down below and I'll consider them. Or if you have any other deck ideas and want to see an analysis on it then by all means post it and I'll take a look. As always, keep an eye out for more articles to come. Until next time!
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