06/01/2018 by Zach Lesage
Zach: Hey 60 Cards readers, I am back with a new type of article and I hope you enjoy the benefits of it. In this article, I am hosting a Junior Divison player, Aidan Ulian, to walk him throguh his first experience as a contributor. I recently did a road trip with Aidan to the Roanoke, Virginia Regional Championships, and he wanted to give some other aspiring Juniors the opportunity to read his thoughts. Throughout this article, I will write some bolded notes to add in my two cents when needed or to clarify some thoughts as an experienced article writer. I hope that looking at the game through the mind of a Junior will provide a refreshing take on the meta game and inspire many of the younger players who read this. Enjoy!
Table of contents
What's up, 60 Cards readers? My Name is Aidan Ulian, and I am an eleven year old Junior division player. I’ve been playing Pokémon competitively for almost three seasons now. From day one, I have felt that the online community does not cater enough to the Junior division meta game and I have wanted to write an article for some time, so here it is: my first article! My challenge to all the Juniors reading this article: find a way to write an article. I was able to, so you can too! If you haven't heard about me, check out my Pokémon journey below:
My Pokémon journey started in 2015, when I picked up casual play at a local comic book shop. There weren't many tournaments in my area, so my first couple attempts to play the game at all, were actually at Canadian Provincials, Toronto Regionals, and Canadian Nationals that year. I put the game away for almost a year after that, and rejoined the circuit just before Toronto Regionals 2016. This was my first Regional Top 8, which unfortunately didn’t go very well for me. I played against one of the best Juniors at the time, Derrick X. and his Primal Groudon-EX deck, losing by a single prize card in game 3! I ended up JUST missing my World Championships invite that year, and promised myself that I would never miss an invite again!
Zach: It can always be tough to miss your World Championship invite; just stay on the grind and you will get there! As a professional player, I have at times lost my way on my Pokémon adventure, but I always find a way to get back on track.
In 2017, my first full season, I clinched my invite to Worlds by getting Top 8 at Madison Regionals with Drampa-GX / Garbodor, eventually losing to William W. My luck continued two weeks later, when I finished 2nd at Origins Game Fair Special Event in Columbus, Ohio. Pushing towards Top 16 in my region, I fell short with an unimpressive showing at NAIC to finish last year. At Worlds 2017, I swept through Day 1 with a 3-0 record, only to absolutely bomb day 2. So, my new promise to myself, was to make sure I was Top 16 in my region, going into Worlds 2018! Im happy to say that I am currently on pace to achieve that goal.
Zach: As you can see, Aidan followed through with his goals despite his early hardships in the game. While every player may not have the opportunity to be one of the Top 16 best players in thir nation, they should aspire to become the best they can!
I kicked off the 2017/2018 Season with a Top 8 at Fort Wayne, losing to quite possibly the very best Junior in the game, Benny B. in a Turbo Dark mirror match. I placed 2nd in Memphis losing a tough matchup to Daniel R. in the finals. Next up was my proudest moment, my very first regional win in Collinsville, beating my good friend and local rival, Peter B. in the finals. Finally, just this last weekend, I finished Top 8 in Roanoke, which you can read about later in this article.
I’m very happy to announce that my hard work has lead me to a team sponsorship with Carta Magica. We are just getting off the ground, but we are confident that we will quickly become one of the best teams ever! A big shout out to my current teammates: Zach Lesage, Igor Costa, Jimmy Pendarvis, Azul Garcia Griego, and Bodhi Robinson. Stay tuned for updates!
Zach: Our team should be formally announced shortly. Stay tuned for potential opportunities to help out. We have big goals and we are determined to go far!
OK, enough about me, and back to the important stuff!
First off, I just want to say that Roanoke was a very well run, and fun event! Thank you to the Organizers, for all their hard work. I will be making sure to be at Roanoke Regionals next year!
Zach: From a Masters perspective, Roanoke was an extremely well-run event. Hopefully this continues into the next 2018-2019 season for ALL of the Regionals!
Here is how I did:
Round 1 - WW (1-0-0)
Seismitoad-EX / Garbodor
This is a very favourable matchup. The first game was an auto win, due to my opponent showing up late. Oof! Game 2 I applied pressure with Drampa GX’s Righteous Edge, and finished the game with Berserk. Poison was a nuisance, but by playing aggressively, I was able to limit poison’s impact on the game.
Round 2 - WLW (2-0-0)
Yveltal-EX / Seismitoad-EX / Darkrai-EX
This was another favourable matchup. Game 1, early Guzmas were key to getting out of poison. I threatened with Trashalance set-up early, used Righteous Edge continually, and then finessed a quick finish with Berserk. Game 2 he quickly donked me with Hypnotoxic Laser / Virbank City / Quaking Punch. This made me slightly nervous for Game 3. However, my opponent was unable to find any Bench Pokemon, and I quickly Knocked Out his active with Berserk... Phew.
Round 3 - L (2-1-0)
Game 1 I prized my Garbage Collection Trubbish and wasn't able to find it (It was my last prize card remaining). I was too aggressive with my Double Colorless Energy early in the game. Game 2 was really close, but time ran out, resulting in a tie, but he won game 1, pushing him to win. If I played more conservatively in Game 1 I could have been at least forced a tie, and maybe even pulled out a win, if I played faster. I regret not using Tool Drop Trubbish enough in this match up. I focused too much on Drampa-GX. Misplay...
Round 4 - WW (3-1-0)
Raichu-GX / Zoroark-GX
This was one of those games where my deck ran way too hot for my opponent to handle. Game 1 I set-up way too fast for him, and he was forced to play loads of items to keep up... in both games. Game 2 he couldn’t get out any basic energy for almost the whole game, so I ran him out of Double Colorless Energy. Then I swept his board with Berserk. This was a very favourable match-up for Drampa-GX / Garbodor.
Round 5 - WW (4-1-0)
Shout out to Theo P. for playing two clean matches! Unfortunately, this was my win and in, and we had to put our friendship aside to progress in the tournament. In this match, Garbotoxin / N is really bad for Trevenant, and I pulled it out both games. Who needs a Giratina promo? Without the threat of Item lock, I was able to use tool drop to its maximum efficiency, and threaten Trashalanche all game. After the first Silent Fear came down, Berserk was Knocking Out Tapu Lele-GX for game. In all honesty, I was very, very lucky both games, Theo had back-to-back Tapu Lele-GX starts, allowing me to get tools in play before item lock could be established.
Round 6 - ID (4-1-1)
Seismitoad-EX / Seviper
I swiftly ID’d into a clean cut.
Round 7 - Top 8 LL (4-2-1) ELIMINATED
The end of my run was strikingly apparent when I started with only a Tapu Lele-GX. I got completely slapped Game 1 because I just couldn’t draw anything. I managed to attack once with energy drive, only because of Dimension Valley. At this point, I thought to myself, at least there is no way Game 2 could go any worse than this!
Surprise: it did! I draw my 7 cards to begin Game 2, and a frown goes over my face. Drampa-GX, Dimension Valley, Dimension Valley, and four VS seekers. What are the odds? I quickly remind myself to shuffle better in the future.
Much to my surprise, in Game 2, I actually managed to get out some attackers. First, he knocked out a Drampa-GX, and then my Tapu Lele-GX. Next, my opponent forgot to take a prize card off a Tool Drop Trubbish Knock Out, making it look like he had two Prize Cards remaining, when he actually should have only had one. So, I sent up another Trubbish to take a quick Buzzwole-GX Knock Out, thinking that I can sacrifice the Trubbish, and I went down to two Prize Cards remaining. Going back into his turn, my opponent and I realized that he had forgotten to take a Prize Card, and quickly got a Judge to rectify the situation. My heart sunk, as he finds the Strong Energy he needs to knock out my Trubbish with Buzzwole’s Sledgehammer, after factoring in the benched Diancie Prism Star.
I did all I could, but Parker played very well, and my deck just decided it had done it’s magic tricks for the day. Parker played really well around what should have been a bad matchup for him. He really earned that win!
This is the list that I piloted with my fellow teammates Zach Lesage and Bodhi Robinson.
Zach: While we didn't play the exact same list, we did end up around 57 / 60 cards total. This was due to minor differences between the Juniors and Masters meta game. Both Aidan and Bodhi made Top 8 in the Juniors Division! Unfortunately, I took an early four Ties that kept me from making any points -- bummer!
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