07/22/2017 by Aaron Tarbell
Ending a Season with Decidueye-GX
Hey everyone! I bring you today a long and tumultuous tale of my love affair with Decidueye-GX, highlighting the ups and downs of its tournament results over the last few months. In this article, I share more of my thought process around choosing and playing decks, reveal what my in-game thoughts and plans are, and teach you how to review your performances post-tournament so that even your losses can help you become a better player.
Chapter 1: Decidueye: A Success Story (Regionals)
T4 Utah Regionals
- 4x Rowlet
- 4x Dartrix
- 4x Decidueye GX
- 2x Oddish
- 2x Gloom
- 2x Vileplume
- 2x Lugia EX
- 2x Shaymin EX
- 1x Shaymin EX
- 1x Mewtwo
- 3x Level Ball
- 3x Trainer's Mail
- 4x N-supporter
- 4x Professor Sycamore
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 4x Forest of Giant Plants
- 2x Lysandre
- 2x Revitalizer
- 2x Float Stone
- 4x Grass Energy
- 2x Double Colorless Energy
- 2x Double Colorless Energy
Whenever there is a story of regret or disappointment, there has to be a backstory that creates expectations of positive outcomes. In this story, the precedent for a hopeful nationals run with Decidueye Vileplume came in three back to back strong finishes at Regional level tournaments. These finishes included a Top 4 at Salt Lake City Regionals, a Top 4 Roanoke Regionals, and a Top 8 at Madison Regionals. In this story, the first two solid finishes should have acted as non-significant outliers that should not have factored into the decision making of what anyone should have played at the North American Intercontinental Tournament due to the format having been significantly different. However, this format laid the basis for the undisputable confidence I had in Decidueye/Vileplume going into the next format. The deck, at the time, was insane; almost no deck bolstered a solid Decidueye/Vileplume matchup (excluding a fake deck entitled Quad Wobb and an averagely popular deck, M Mewtwo/Garbodor). Out of the two, only the fake deck was an unwinnable matchup. Given that Decidueye/Vileplume ruled the format, enough so that at times I was able to play cards I considered bad and almost unusable, the deck had sparked a hope in many players. Others then succeeded with it going into the following format, where cards that would be detrimental to its strategy would be released including Trashalanche Garbodor, Drampa-GX, and Psychic Oricorio.
After missing Canada Regionals, an Expanded tournmanet where I had faith in Decidueye/Vileplume, I brought the deck into the new format with a new tool. This new version of Decidueye/Vileplume had been revealed in a free portion of Andrew Mahone’s Pokebeach article moments before I left on my endeavor to Madison, Wisconsin. In this version, Vulpix and Ninetails-GX would provide both solid attackers and consistency for the new format. After going through a few happy adjustments to the list, the deck performed amazingly at its first showing with me in the new format. The only losses through the entire tournament came from Daniel Altavilla’s spooky Zorark/Drampa deck and two Garbodor decks, one with Espeon-GX and one with Drampa-GX. The deck seemed to hold ground against everything else to come out of the new set, including Tapu Bulu-GX with Vikavolt and Ninetails-GX with Tapu Koko Promo; and it did well against decks that were starting to see play again, such as Vespiquen/Zoroark and Greninja. With these accomplishments that bridged formats all happening so close together, and the CP that I had gained now giving me a solid basis to breach the Top 16 of North America, my hopes in the deck allowing me to secure a day two Worlds invite prior to the tournament were born.
Chapter 2: An Owl Dethroned (Origins and Mexico Tournament Report)
With breaching the Top 16 of North American Pokemon player no longer being a pipe dream, I had decided to skedaddle on down to Mexco City Regionals for another chance to pilot my favorite deck in a tournament where I could earn serious points. For this, I had been playing around with a build that included a Tapu Koko Promo, two Field Blower, and a fourth Grass Energy. This build was designed to fix the Garbodor matchup, while kind of addressing the not-phenomenal Zoroark matchup that I was still not comfortable with at the time. The idea was to use both Lysandre and Field Blower in the same turn to trap the Garbotoxin Garbodor in the active and eventually have the Tapu Koko Promo deal enough damage to the rest of the field while Decidueye-GX’s Feather Arrows were able to close out the game. The strategy tended to be successful if the opponents rushed (Garbotoxin like every opponent I had played against in Madison had done), but it lost consistency with the ability to use Beacon now gone. The Zoroark matchup was also slightly better since Ninetails-GX typically was a liability in it -- Zoroark BREAK could use Blizzard Edge to deal upwards of 210 damage with a Choice Band and Professor Kukui, which happened way more often than it probably should have in testing.
The night before the tournament, my feet had gotten a little nippy, and two Vulipx and two Ninetails-GX had found their way back into the deck instead of my precious Garbodor counters. Day one went pretty well. It started out poorly, me taking a loss round one against a Tapu Bulu-GX Vikavolt deck, but after playing against a few Greninja, a Gyradoes, and a Metagross-GX deck coupled with a few more even matchups, I was able to secure a day two placement with a 6-2-1 record. This record would probably had been too low for larger tournaments given that I had lost round one and ended up with lower resistance as a result, but with thoughts of grandeur and sick incentives almost in my grasp, I carried on. Day two began fine, with my first round opponent opting to accept my invitation to an intentional draw (he was playing Espeon/Garbodor), but then the streak was ready to collapse. The next round, I played against a Tapu Bulu-GX with Vikavolt for the third time in the tournament (I had only beat one so far), but my luck had run short. I struggled to establish board state two turns in a row, and after losing the second game, I had a record of 6-3-2 in the tournament. I then took losses to John Kettler playing a similar list to me (with Mallow instead of Trainers’ Mail) and two Garbodor variants to finish out the day with a 0-4-1 record coming in 32nd of 32 in day two.
Even if clouds had come to try to disrupt my sunny day, my faith in my Strigiformes and Flora would not have it. I had adapted little to the fact that I had lost my last four games in tournament to four relatively common decks, and I decided to bring Decidueye/Vileplume to my next chance at breaching Top 16, the Origins Pokemon Special Event Tournament in Ohio. Albeit little, I did change it up: I opted to cut the Ninetails-GX line for a Field Blower, Tapu Koko, fourth Grass Energy, and a Drampa-GX going into the event since I felt my day two would have gone better in Mexico if I had been playing a list similar to Azul’s Mexico Top 8 list. In this best-of-one tournament I played against two Garbodor decks in the first two rounds. Round one, I played against Drampa/Garbodor, and even though he went first, if my first turn would have been a little better, I would have been able to Righteous Edge his Double Colorless Energy off of his active Drampa-GX, and this would have probably been enough to win the game. After missing it, the game became struggle; he was able to hit Double Colorless Energy the next two turns after each of my Righteous Edges, and by the time I was able to deal with his Drampa, his Garbodors were doing too much damage to keep up with.
Round 2, I went up against Caleb Gedemer playing Espeon Garbodor. This game went pretty well, with me being able to hit a Field Blower and Lysandre in order to stick his Garbotoxin Garbodor active, and he even missed energy for 8+ turns following, but I was not able to set up Decidueye-GX until he had almost drawn everything he needed to get out of it, and I only got off two or three Feather Arrows and no attacks after each of us had drawn almost our entire decks. After he was able to get his Garbodor out of the active position, I could not keep up without Feather Arrow, and I lost to go 0-2 drop at Origins. My faith in the deck had finally began to wain after losing six rounds in a row in major events with a deck I had previously thought to have been near flawless.
Chapter 3: The Desperate Phoenix (Prep for Nats)
In the two weeks between Origins and the North American Intercontinental Tournament, I had prepared with a dozen other players. I had given decks from Zoroark to Espeon/Garbodor to Metagross and Tapu Bulu the old college try against the decks we had predicted to be popular at the event. Out of all the decks, I had the greatest desire to play Greninja, Decidueye, and Zoroark in the upcoming tournament. Greninja, I felt, had the best matchups against the more dominant decks in the field such as Zoroark and Garbodor, but I had promised myself that I would never try to play the deck again in a major tournament after it had cost me finishes at both Worlds 2016 and London Intercontinals. Zoroark netted a strong Garbodor matchup, had a skill-intensive mirror, and was doing very well against most of the other decks during testing. Decidueye had a hard time with Garbodor and a pleasant 50/50 matchup with Zoroark, but it also had strong matchups against everything else, so it would be a solid play to make a deep run if it was able to avoid the two most popular decks in the format.
After one week, I was sold on playing Zoroark for the tournament. I had fun playing the deck, and I thought it had enough of a skill-intensive mirror to give me an edge on players picking it up for the first time at the tournament. In order to get a solid test in, I brought the deck to a League Cup the weekend before the big tournament. At the league cup, I was able to pull off wins against Rayquaza, Turbo Dark, Volcanion, and Espeon/Garb in order to win the tournament, only dropping games to Volcanion and Espeon/Garb in cut. Most games I was able to start with three Zorua, and I was just opening the hottest hands with the deck which made me even more determined to play it at the NAIC. During the rest of the week, most of the testing seemed to go in Zoroark’s favor with just enough games going in Decidueye/Vileplume’s favor to keep it on my mind. That week, I had heard of strong lists that were cutting Vileplume for more tech attackers and consistency cards, but I was not super fond of giving up item lock in a large tournament where many games can be won from cheesing people with turn one item lock. With hindsight being 20/20, I wish I had invested more time into building and playing lists without Vileplume.
Even the day before the event, I was playing games with people at the Embassy, gung ho to play Zoroark. Unfortunately, Clinton Kirkwood, devil’s advocate himself, spoke to me about his spicy Espeon-EX tech that he had in Decidueye/Vileplume with Ninetails-GX. This card had the intention of fixing all the deck's problems. Vikavolt were now easy targets, Zorarks could effectively have only 60 HP, Trubbish that were hit early could be devolved to be knocked out, Metagross could be prevented from ever getting pass Metang, and rogue evolution decks were now easier than ever. Just prior to this insight, on my way to the bathroom, I had a friend stop me and tell me how his Decidueye/Vileplume list with Espeon EX was 65-35 against Garbodor! What?! I was in shock. The only thing keeping me from playing my favorite deck was a single bad matchup that my dear friends had solved? What a lucky day. I was back on my high owl. The deck could beat anything. I started by telling Clinton that Ninetails and Espeon-EX were too many basics with Vileplume in the deck. He quickly ignored me, and my other friend, Jeffrey Surran from the Super Rod Cast, was there to back me up with his list. He was also playing Espeon-Ex in his verson of Decidueye/Vileplume, but rather than Ninetails, he was playing four Grass Energy, Tapu Koko, and a Field Blower.
I had felt that I had struck gold, and then my friend Austin Lane was happy enough to play against me with Espeon/Garbodor so I could test it out. We played until I had won a game, and four games later, I was back to being sad about my deck choice. Espeon-EX was obviously not a good attacker against Garbodor, and all of the percentages everyone was throwing around were obviously skewed in some way, but I had been convinced to play what I liked, and at the time, I thought that might be enough. After some scattered obsessing over my deck choice, I fell asleep that night knowing I would wake up to play Jeffery Surran’s Decidueye/Vileplume list rather than my own Zoroark or Decidueye lists.
Chapter 4: A Dashed Hope (Nats)
Jeffery Surran's Decidueye Vileplume
- 4x Rowlet
- 4x Dartrix
- 4x Decidueye GX
- 2x Oddish
- 2x Gloom
- 2x Vileplume
- 2x Tapu Lele GX
- 2x Shaymin EX
- 1x Tapu Koko
- 1x Espeon EX
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 3x Level Ball
- 2x Revitalizer
- 2x Float Stone
- 1x Field Blower
- 4x Professor Sycamore
- 3x N-supporter
- 2x Lysandre
- 4x Forest of Giant Plants
- 3x Trainer's Mail
- 1x Grass Energy
- 3x Grass Energy
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
Round 1: WLT
After arriving at the venue and suffering through someone generously throwing the sandwich I was enjoying onto the ground, so that way I might know true despair, round one pairings went up. I saw that I was paired against Daniel Altavilla round one and got ready for what would probably be a 50-50 matchup, though the Espeon-EX gave me hope that the matchup might have gotten a little better with the new Decidueye/Vileplume list. Thankfully, because the two of us were known players, we were able to be streamed round one so I can provide an in-depth analyses of the game for my lovely readers, and if you would prefer to just watch it, a link is provided below. This discussion will also work as a way to demonstrate some key actions that go into playing this deck to help less experienced players in the future at tournaments such as Worlds or expanded Regionals.
Game 1: Before the game started there was an interaction that Daniel and I had, where I asked him not to lift part of my deck towards him when he cut, to prevent him from seeing the bottom card of the deck. Though he was not cheating or had any intention of doing so, it is better not to be shy about not giving an opponent any advantages later in matches. Starting Espeon-EX was not a choice given my opening hand, since having it early provides little advantage against Zoroark (the Zoroark can deal significant damage), so my plan was basically to let it be knocked out early to get it off of the field and clear up bench space for the Decidueye-GX needed to keep up with Zoroark’s and Drampa-GX’s damage output. The Level Ball early was to find a Rowlet before even searching my entire deck, since multiple Decidueye-GX need to be set up as early as possible to get cheap knockouts on Zorua before they evolve or place enough damage on Drampa-GX to make them not a threat any more. The Ultra Ball discarded both Dartrix and Decidueye-GX to turn on Revitalizers. I grabbed a second Rowlet with Level Ball since benching Shaymin early against Zoroark can give them easy prizes and up their damage output, and the Set Up would have only provided access to two more random cards, while choosing the Rowlet provided a card that was necessary for advancing board state to the point it needed to be for me to win.
I made the decision to play the N over Sycamore due to only playing three N in my deck at the time. If my list had been similar to my old lists with 4 N, I would have been much more likely to play Professor Sycamore just to hit more cards that turn. Grabbing the N with the Trainers’ mail and discarding it with the Ultra Ball allowed me to keep each of three cards that would directly advance board state (Rowlet, Oddish, and Forest of Giant Plants) while discarding a card that was unplayable that turn making it more likely to draw into Decidueye pieces. Having the Decidueye-GX in my hand and no Vileplume made the choice of grabbing Dartrix much easier since I would be able to get off a Feather Arrow instead of doing no damage on my first turn, but even if there was a Vileplume, my board state was not strong enough for that matchup to immediately item lock the two of us.
Turn two, the draw was a Gloom, which went down immediately since it got the Gloom out of the Deck and made Vileplume easier to evolve into whenever it was desired. Drawing into a Revitalizer and a Dartrix made it easier to choose to lay down Vileplume without the Float stone, because even if it was forced active with a Lysandre, the two Decidueye-GX were able to keep up with Oricorio’s damage output by themselves. The Feather Arrows to the active allowed me the option to take a knockout on the Oricorio whenever I needed. If Danny managed to evolve into a Zoroark the next turn, I would be able to respond with a Feather Arrow and a Razor Leaf to knock it out, and an early Hollow hunt allowed me to conserve energy and grab a supporter for the next turn.
Using the N on the following turn was an attempt to dig for the third Decicueye-GX and energy to attack with. I did not actually know that the Double Colorless Energy were prized at this point, but missing the energy prevented me from taking the knockout on the active Zoroark. I then retreated the Decidueye-GX out to the Vileplume to attempt to get a little more worth out of the damaged Decidueye-GX by being able to use more Feather Arrows in future turns, and if the Vileplume was knocked out I would be able to have access to items to find the Third Decidueye-GX and begin to run away with the game even if he had access to items. The hope was also to be able to knock out the active Zoroark by getting some worth out of Espeon-EX.
Drawing the third Decidueye-GX allowed me to knockout the Zoroark before attacking/attaching. This allowed me to not have to waste an attachment to Espeon EX to pick up a knock out at the end of my turn, and the Double Colorless Energy I was able to get off of my prizes from the Feather Arrows allowed me to Sky Return. This further my board position by lessening Zoroarks damage output while preventing the now active Drampa-GX from Removing the Double Colorless Energy, so I was able to plan ahead to the next turn and knock out the Oricorio with a Sky Return on the following turn and limit Altavilla’s damage output as well. Setting up the Vileplume again that turn allowed me to limit Daniel’s options to access his N and other Helpful supporters such as Hex Maniac. Unfortunately He had the Lysandre and Double Colorless Energy necessary to knock out the third damaged Decidueye-GX before I was able to just run away with the game, but I was able to take a knockout on the Oricorio on the following turn and damage his Drampa-GX further to get it to 70 damage.
After he attacked with a Zoroark on his next turn, I was forced into a position where I was going to have to Razor Leaf to take prizes. I placed one Feather Arrow onto the Zoroark to allow it to be Razor Leaf’d for knock out later on and another Feather Arrow onto Drampa EX, also setting it up to be Razor Leafed in case Daniel was able to use a Hex Maniac in the following turns. With just one Feather Arrow on the Zoroark and two Decidueye-GX set up, even if Daniel would have been able to evolve into a Zroark Break, two Feather Arrows and a Razor Leaf would have been enough to knock it out. I had to attach the Double Colorless Energy to a Decidueye-GX at this point to set up a Razor Leaf for the following turn, and I held the N in my hand, hoping Daniel would take a knock out on the active Espeon EX to go down to one prize, so I would have card advantage in the last turns. If Daniel could have found an N to make me miss the energy or had a Lysandre to remove the Double Colorless Energy on the following turn, I would have had a much harder time closing out the game, but since he was forced to use Professor Sycamore, the end game played out pretty ideally.
At this point in the Game, after I N’d Daniel to one, I had no Double Colorless Energy in my discard due to my awkward start. I opted to Feather Arrow the Tapu Lele-GX since the extra damage on Drampa-GX would not have been enough to feasibly take a knock out on it without using Razor Leaf, and the extra damage on Drampa-GX would have effectively been wasted Feather Arrows. At this point I was worried about Daniel hitting for 150 with Berserk and finishing with an Energy Drive, but since Daniel missed the Double Colorless Energy and opted to big wheel, I was able to attach a Double Colorless Energy to Vileplume to prevent it from getting stuck active. At this point, as long as I manage to keep the Lysandre in my hand from Daniel being unable to N, I was guaranteed the win by putting two more Feather Arrows on the Tapu Lele-GX to put it 90 damage away from being knocked out.
Game 2: The start of this game is pretty strong for me. Zoroark prizing two Drampa-GX typically means Decidueye Vileplume has a free pass to run away with the game since the Zoroark loses the threat that keeps the Feather Arrows from being positioned exactly where they want to go out of respect for Berserk, and Zoroark is then unable to have its strong energy removal options early game from being unable to use Righteous Edge. Danny’s star is pretty strong otherwise, but nothing that Decidueye cannot typically handle. Turn one I had no idea that his Drampa-GX were prized and I was a bit quick in evolving the active immediately into Dartrix. I did not want the active to be knocked out by a Zoroark and I did not want a Righteous edge to easily remove the Double Colorless from the active. I ended up using an Ultra Ball to find a Rowlet for my bench to attach one of the Double Colorless to. The two cards I discarded were a Double Colorless and an Espeon EX. I did not fell Espeon EX was that stron in the matchup after the first game, and the second Double Colorless was discarded since I had another to attatch for turn, and discarding it would allow me to Set Up for a full six with the Shaymin EX in hand. Off of the Set Up, I hit a Decidueye-GX I am able to play down onto the active to prevent the Dartrix from being knocked out if I was able to draw more Rowlet or Shaymin EX to play down off the N. Off the N I was able to hit the field blower to discard Float Stones so Danny would have a harder time hitting a Lysandre, Drampa-GX, and Energy and get the Drampa-GX into the active position, but it also just got the card out of my deck, so I would be more likely to draw Decidueye-GX pieces if Danny played an N on his following turn. I opt to not play the Shaymin to just set up for two so I could limit Zoroark’s Damage output to 100 or less with a choice band which stops the active Decidueye-GX from being two shot. I then used a Feather Arrow on the Zorua with a Choice Band to be able to knock it out with a Razor Leaf even if it evolved into a Zoroark and Daniel managed to find a Hex Maniac. The Lysandre on the Rowlet coupled with the double Zoroark and Double Colorless Energy off of the N were pretty solid draws. The knockout on my Rowlet then meant I was two Double Colorless down like in game one, but rather than being prized for later, I would have to target them for Hollow hunt later in the game.
The next turn, I promote the Shaymin because if I leave my bench low, I can effectively waste Danny’s damage output on the next turn unless he uses the Lysandre on my Decidueye-GX. I played the grass onto Decidueye-GX since a Sky Return with two grass is rarely worth the two manual energy attachments necessary to do so, and it allowed me to threaten a Razor Leaf on the following turn. I opted to play the Sycamore to refresh my hand rather than bench Tapu Lele-GX, so I have some bench space and can keep Shaymin from being knocked out with the inevitable Mind Jack the next turn. Off of the Professor Sycamore, I hit a Revitalizer and Dartrix to put another Decidueye-GX into play and remove Pokemon from my discard to limit Oricorio’s damage output. I then opt to place four more damage counters on the Zoroark on the bench to put it in range of feather arrows to knock it out on the following turn if Danny cannot evolve into Zoroark Break.
Turn three, I get whapped for 100 with the choice banded Zoroark onto a Decidueye-GX, and I figure Danny probably does not have a good draw supporter to play on his following turn. This led to the line of thought that if I had managed to get another Decidueye-GX into play, I could knock out both Zoroarks this turn and then just deal with the Tapu Lele-GX somehow later in the game. I decided to Level Ball for the Rowlet to be able to play the Dartrix and Decidueye-GX if I am able to draw them off of the inevitable Professor Sycamore, and then a proceed to use Professor Sycamore to gain the most card advantage possible by discarding cards I did not want to draw and draw more than I would have off of N. I managed to hit the third Decidueye-GX and with that I was able to accomplish my goal of knocking out both Zoroark, and at this point, I think im in a commanding position to win the game. Daniel is able to return the knockout with the Lele on the bench, and I lose my option of using Razor Leaf on the next turn, and Daniel gains access to Drampa-GX.
Without Zorua in play, there is little threat in filling up my bench. Since I had the Float Stone in my hand which would prevent Vileplume from getting stuck, and the item lock was intended to hinder Danny as I get to choose any two cards to put into my hand with the Double Colorless Energy. Looking back on this, I should have chosen a second Double Colorless over the Lysadre. The next turn, I’m put into a position where I only have two Double Colorless Energy left in deck and Danny had managed to find his Drampa-GX. With his low hand size, I opted to Lysandre the Drampa rather than deal with his only active threat – Tapu Lele-GX. If I had grabbed the second Double Colorless Energy, I would have been able to safely attack into the Tapu Lele-GX and deal with the impending Righteous Edge from Drampa-GX. Unfortunately, the poorly performed Hollow Hunt left me in a position where the only way I was going to be able to deal with the Drampa was by using Razor Leaf twice onto it before Danny could hit an energy. After the Lysandre, Danny managed to hit the energy, and even though I deal with the Drampa-GX, my damage output was not enough to knock out the Tapu Lele-GX with energy after that point.
Game three: There was obviously little time going into game three, so in the game I opted to rush for Decidueye-GX lines in order to hopefully take a quick win, and Danny was able to have a relatively strong board state to prevent me from winning in the amount of time we had left. The end where he flashed the Lysandre to take another knock out on a Decidueye-GX probably would not have happened that way if there was more time since I could have used N that turn but opted not to since there was no point in wasting our time when neither of us could win.
Round 2: Zoroark WW
Now that there are no more videos to deeply analyze the play by play, I will get into the other matchups I faced and a general description of how they went. Round two I played against another Zoroark deck, but this time, I ran a little smoother and was able to manage my Double Colorless Energies a little better. Though he had access to his Drampa-GX from turn one on both games, I was able to out damage him by getting three Deicueye-GX into play for multiple turns against him to get a quick 2-0 victory.
Round 3: Zoroark LL
I played against another Zoroark, this time piloted by The Nick Robinson. Even though I went first both games and got a turn one Vileplume game one, he managed to draw better than I under item lock in both games. I never saw a Decidueye-GX in game one and he was able to Oricorio all of my benched Pokemon rather than knock out the active Vileplume with a Float Stone I was basically begging him to knock out. In game two, I again got an early Vileplume with just one Decidueye-GX in play and I end up bricking again as he draws what he needs to deal with the lone Decidueye-GX.
Round 4: Espeon Garbodor LWT
This round I got to sit down right next to my buddy Azul, and we mourned over our records together to have a little bonding experience that was just lovely. As I did that, my opponent flipped over his mulligan and I saw that I would play against my worst matchup; then the flame of hope inside me died a bit. Game 1 goes pretty poorly, as expected. He flipped over an Eevee, and even though I got out a Decidueye-GX and an attachment down, he confused it, and put down three Trubbish. He then managed to get a turn-two Garbotoxin to basically seal the game, as I was never able to deal with that Garbodor. Game two, I was able to stick the Garbotoxin Garbodor active pretty early with a cheesy Field Blower and Lysandre play after he had wasted his Float Stones by attaching them to multiple Trubbish early game. By the time he was able to find his last Float Stone, the Feather Arrows had done enough work that a few Razor Leaf were able to seal the game even with his two Espeon-EX getting OHKO’s with Flareon in play. Going into game three, he riffled his deck once and presented it to me. I requested for him to shuffle more, he told me that I could do it myself, I asked if he’s trying to tie because I would accept, and he accepted a tie.
Round 5: Zoroark WW
This round I played against yet another Zoroark. I wasn't not very comfortable with the matchup at this point given my record against it for the day, and I was slightly tilted for how well Nick was able to draw under item lock. For this reason, I played both games without attempting to set up Vileplume and it went pretty well. By solely focusing on setting up Decidueye-GX, it was much harder for him to get late game turns where he could come back with Oricorio, and the extra Feather Arrow Damage did wonders at preventing Zoroarks from staying around many turns. This, coupled with the fact my opponent drew dead twice and I ran hotter than the sun, landed me with a 2-1-2 record going into round 6.
Round 6: Metagross WW
I finally got to play against a very solid matchup in the form of Metagross. In this game, I ran about as hot as the sun with two Decidueye-GX and a Vileplume set up on turn one in game one and an Espeon EX in the active. I was also able to attack with the Espeon EX for the first time all tournament by making a Metang devolve into a Beldum which was fun, but after he attached an energy to a Tapu Lele-GX I had to use real attacks instead, but both games went very smoothly.
Round 7: Greninja WW
Again I hit another good matchup in a row! I had been waiting for a Greninja all tournament, and I was ready to make the climb all the way up to 6-1-2. For this match, I drew pretty decent but not overly well. Even with mediocre draws, Dartrix being able to OHKO Greninja makes the matchup pretty solid and the closest thing to an autowin.
Round 8: Umbreon/Koko LL
This round I hit a fake deck that I watched the round before. The deck overall is pretty straight-forward. It used Umbreon for its Night Spear-esque attack and Koko to get additional spread along with Choice Band to overpower decks sometimes. I have had some overly extensive testing against Umbreon decks in the past, so I went into the mach up knowing that it can be pretty challenging to knockout multiple Umbreon-GX in a game, so it was prime time to bust out the worst cards in my deck -- Tapu Koko Promo and Espeon-EX! I was going to spread some damage, stack damage on Umbreon-GX until they all at 60 and BOOM! Devolve, take a bunch of prizes, and deal with just Tapu Lele-GX. Unfortunately, game one, I draw nothing and lose without ever getting a Decidueye-GX in play. Game two, I pulled it off! I have 60 damage on all of his Umbreon-GX, even after prizing three Decidueye-GX to start the game off, and all I need to do is the one colorless energy attack of that beautiful cat thing to win. I have a Shaymin in a hand of three and have six cards in deck. All I have to do is hit either the Ultra Ball or Espeon-EX and one of the four energy still in deck. I Set Up for four energy, N myself to two to miss again, and accept that I will not make day 2 of the event, a 1000 dollars for being one of the best, and a Day 2 Worlds Invite. Espeon sucks. The Owl had fallen.
Round 9: Espeon/Garbodor WW
I decide to play out my last round in spite of having lost all hope for a grand finish at the event. To my dismay I notice that I am playing against Espeon Garbodor again. Fortunately though, this time I start with literally everything. Both games I start a Tapu Koko Promo, get multiple Flips off, and get three/four Decidueye-GX set up, and my opponent was not able to keep up.
From this tale of Friendship, Love, Hardship, Success, and Disappointment, I would like to highlight a few key learning experiences.
~The in-depth analyses included for round one can act as a solid basis for newer players to see where their mindset has to be to have success in the game. Though the analysis is very long, most of the higher-level competitors have these thought processes down to the instinctual level to allow for quick and timely play against most matchups in a format.
~Having success with a deck early in a format does not guarantee that there will be success with the deck later in the format. Though, there is a chance that someone can have success throughout an entire format with a deck such as in both Daniel Altavilla’s and John Kettler’s cases.
~Even if someone has a list that they claim is more tested than your own, their list is not always necessarily better. Espeon-EX is a bad card even if it is the best card in the deck.
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