Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

Collinsville Champion Report

Check out my FREE winning report from Collinsville!

03/05/2019 by Zach Lesage

I apologize about the delay on this article, my life has been so hectic since my win that I haven’t had a moment to sit down and relax. I will have a few articles this week to make it up for you and I hope you love them. I have been trying my best. Lots of love.

Mind Blown!

What up 60 Cards readers? It’s me, your homie Zach Lesage, and I’m back with my Collinsville Champion tournament report. Oh, it’s FREE btw, free for everyone to read! I know that tournament reports might not be the most interesting to read, but let me try and keep this juicy! I apologize in advance if I forgot any important details - it was a long weekend filled with 18 rounds of play! Anyways, let’s look at my list and jump into the tournament report! And away we go...

My Winning List

I want to point out that this is relatively the same list that I played in São Paulo, Roanoke, México City, and Melbourne. You can look at that fact a few ways, but I like to think that it hasn’t changed much because the deck has been strong since November. Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  / Naganadel (LT; 108) has been my pet deck since November, I have earned almost 1000 CP with the deck, and I think it can always jump back into the metagame. Jump back? Well, let me explain. About a week ago, I released a video on the DDG YouTube Channel (which you can view here) and I guess I was wrong.After the results of the OIC in Melbourne, Australia I was upset that I went 1-3-1 Day 2 and that the metagame was toxic towards my deck. At the time, I truly thought the deck was dead and I would like to make it clear that I didn’t intend on playing it for Collinsville. That being said, the metagame shifted drastically the week in between and that allowed the deck to fall back into the metagame. I’ll talk about those factors in a bit, but let’s check out this list first.

If you have read any of my previous articles, you would completely understand that Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  / Naganadel (LT; 108) is a speedy deck. For those parents or newer players reading this article, the deck has a lower skill cap than most which means it generally has a higher chance to do well. Don’t take offence if you choose to play this deck, I did too with great success, I’m just saying it doesn’t take much skill to Marshadow (SLG; 45)  your opponent into nothing while you draw three Beast Ring (FLI; 102) . The general strategy of this deck consists of attacking with Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  to take down bigger threats while you acquire Energy with Naganadel (LT; 108) and Beast Ring (FLI; 102) . Burst GX is a spicy attack that can grab an Energy in a pinch, but do be careful of getting a leg up on your opponent; when you are ahead on Prize Cards they can use Counter Catcher (CIN; 91) , Counter Gain (LT; 170) , and Counter Energy (CIN; 100) . The general game plan is to use Burst GX on your first turn, follow it up with a Mind Blown, and finish off the game with Mind Blown. You can always use Naganadel (LT; 108)  when you have three Prize Cards remaining, but don’t necessarily count on that being a huge strategy because cards like Guzma (BUS; 115)  do exist. If you find yourself running behind, you can always leave the game to Special Conditions by using Bursting Burn.

The addition of the Alolan Muk (SUM; 58) , Alolan Grimer (SUM; 57) , and Ditto Prism Star (LT; 154)  in the deck are really meant to counter Jirachi (TM; 99) . Jirachi (TM; 99)  went from being a strong card to one of the most played cards in Australia to one of the most countered cards in the game. Alolan Muk (SUM; 58)  was a huge crutch to my success in Collinsville and I highly recommend that you try this card out for yourself. I wasn’t a believer, but I certainly am now!

Before the Event

After enduring a lengthy 12 hour drive with some of my other Canadian friends, we found ourselves at the venue. All week long I decided that I would be playing Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74)  / Lucario GX (BW; 100) , a list that took a lot of inspiration from Stephane Ivanoff’s second place OIC run, and I decided to acquire the missing cards from vendors. After getting all of the cards missing for my deck, I started to test with my group of friends and my Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74)  / Lucario GX (BW; 100)  started to fail me. FAIL ME HARD?!?!?! After playing a handful of games that would make the most confident player crawl into a ball, I decided that I knew how to play Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  / Naganadel (LT; 108)  the best. THE DECK IS DEAD THOUGH... Yeah, yeah, I get it. My video on YouTube had me saying the deck was dead, that I wouldn’t play it again, that it would only be strong for T128/T256 CP. All of that is true, but I was also only looking for minor chip points at this point in the season anyways. Going into the event, I only needed about 200 CP throughout the rest of the season to guarantee myself a Day 2 invite for Worlds. I guess you can look at my goal heading into the event as pathetic, but I was also sick the entire week after Australia, jet lagged from all of the travel, and kinda exhausted from Pokémon in general. I went around to the vendors, asked them what was selling, they all said Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  sold the most, and I submitted my deck online for the event. Insert me sleeping, that’s all I did when I got back to the hotel, it was uhhhh, sleep-tastic!

Day One of Swiss

I woke up early, took a shower, grabbed a coffee, and got myself to the venue early. Looking at all of the players in a room gives me energy and I was ready to jump in to another major event! Let’s get it.

Round 1 against Lucas Sokolik with Zapdos (TM; 40)  / Jirachi (TM; 99) / Buzzwole (FLI; 77)  WW 1W-0L-0T

After my opponent flipped over a Jirachi (TM; 99) / Zapdos (TM; 40) , I knew that I would have to put my Alolan Muk (SUM; 58)  to the test. I was able to use both Ditto Prism Star (LT; 154)  and Alolan Grimer (SUM; 57)  to stop my opponent from using Guzma (BUS; 115)  to Knock Out my outs to an Alolan Muk (SUM; 58) . All of this provided too much to handle for my opponent and I eventually won the game.

Round 2 against Enrique Avila with Zapdos (TM; 40)  / Jirachi (TM; 99)  / Jolteon-GX WLT 1W-0L-1T

Similar to my first round, I was able to utilize Alolan Muk (SUM; 58)  to stop Avila’s Jirachi (TM; 99) . This strategy worked well throughout the entire tournament and I don’t see how it will change going forward in our Standard format. You see, it kinda works like this. Z Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74)  will scare away the Jirachi (TM; 99) / Zapdos (TM; 40) , Mienfoo (ND; 67)  / Naganadel (LT; 108)  will scare away the Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74) , and the metagame continues to circle around. The only thing that is truly stopping Zapdos (TM; 40)  from becoming the best deck in format is the presence of a heavy Alolan Muk (SUM; 58)  line in decks.

Anyways, I win game one with my Alolan Muk (SUM; 58)  strategy, and I lost game two by missing a single energy attachment with two cards left in my deck. There were only a few minutes to start game three and we decided to ID. There wasn’t enough time for us to complete the game and we both were worried about the speediness of both of our decks. It was super saddening to lose game two due to some variance, but I guess that’s all part of the game. I am pretty sure I could have won game two if I was able to sequence my cards better, but I miscounted my Fire Energy (TM; null)  count when I was seeing what was prized at the start of game two. Sometimes it takes me a few rounds to ‘wake up’ so I decided that I would focus heading into round three.

Round 3 against Colin Yarbrough with Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33)  WLW 2W-0L-1T

This was a matchup that I was terrified about heading into the tournament because it usually means that I need to hit two Beast Ring (FLI; 102)  when I am on my Beast Ring (FLI; 102)  turn or I need my opponent to have poor draws to win. The series was a back and forth battle of hot draws, dead draws, and my opponent missing an Energy Switch (CLS; 129)  game three to allow me to win. I have always thought that the best way to win a tournament is to hit a bit of luck so I guess we take those!

Round 4 against Zander Bennett with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74)  WLT 2W-0L-2T

It was great to sit across from a friend and solid opponent - especially when you know that you have a strong matchup against their deck. I won a convincing game one, he used the new Lycanroc GX (TM; 82)  to keep me out of reach during game two, and we ended up with a tie game three. You might be wondering how I tied one of my best matchups and my only answer is that I don’t think 50 minutes best of three is a great format. Look at my deck, I am playing a deck that goes Burst GX, Mind Blown, Turning Point, Mind Blown, and Mind Blown each game. I don’t have much of a thought process and I don’t play slow at all. My opponent, who was also not playing slow, was forced into using Pokemon Communication (TM; 152) , Trade, and other shuffle draw Supporters to setup his board. Pokemon Communication (TM; 152)  takes so long to complete and with cards like Mallow (GRI; 127)  thrown in the mix, no wonder why games turn into ties. Game three I had a poor setups, but I was able to take the tie after playing through the additional three turns.

Round 5 against Fraser Cuviello with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74)  / Alolan Ninetales-GX WW 3W-0L-2T

This series was bad for my opponent because I was able to get a steady setup and he made a few mistakes along the way. The biggest example was him sending up a Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) , using Trade, playing a Mallow (GRI; 127) , and then using a Rescue Stretcher (GRI; 130)  to shuffle Pokémon back into his deck. Sometimes a day can get long for any player and you need to be able to keep your energy level high after the halfway point. Similar to other games, I gladly took the luck being in my side this game.

Round 6 against Pearce Blend with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74)  WW 4W-0L-2T

Another Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  deck and another strong matchup. During the series I was able to get three Beast Ring (FLI; 102)  off on my opponent both games and there isn’t any looking back at that point. I apologized to my opponent for running hot, but he was cool with it. The undefeated streak continues...

Round 7 against Alec Geissler with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74)  WLT 4W-0L-3T

This game played out almost exactly the same way as my series against Zander Bennett a few rounds ago. I play out a convincing game one of my Burst GX, Mind Blown, Mind Blown, and Mind Blown strategy, game two was brought to a loss because of the new Lycanroc GX (TM; 82) , and game three was a poor setup from me.

Had my opponent scooped game one sooner, he likely would have won game three, but I was super close to win game two which meant that I was all or nothing. At this point I realized that I only needed to win a single game and ID to make Day 2. It isn’t really exciting to make Day 2 with 19 Match Points, but it certainly is better than sitting on the sidelines. I guess we take those.

Round 8 against Tristen Pence with Regigigas (CIN; 84)  / Hoopa (SLG; 55)  / Unown (LT; 91)  WW 5W-0L-3T

This game was a flash. My opponent shut off his own Buff Padding (TM; 136)  with Mount Lanakila (BUS; 118)  on a Regigigas (CIN; 84)  and I was able to use Poipole (FLI; 55)  to Poison it. After Evolving into a Naganadel (LT; 108) , I attacked it twice and won. Game two I setup a few Poipole (FLI; 55)  on my Bench and used Burst GX against his Regigigas (CIN; 84) . He used Steven’s Resolve. I proceeded to use Mind Blown to Bench him out. It was a weird win-and-in situation, but the matchup is favourable overall. Let’s hope my next round opponent will ID with me so I can make Day 2

Round 9 against Sean Adam with Passimian (SUM; 73)  / Tapu Koko (BW; 31)  ID 5W-0L-4T

My opponent offered me an ID and I gladly accepted. I had a few friends tel me to play out the matchup, but I was more happy to make Day 2 as a guarantee. To be fair, those same friends dropped from the event, I got eery vibes that I would hit a bad matchup, and told myself I would ID. Out of curiosity alone, I asked my opponent what they were playing, and they said they were playing some sort of Shrine of Punishment (CLS; 143)  deck. With the knowledge that those games are usually close / unfavourable, I am glad I decided to take the ID.

And like that I moved onto Day 2 with an undefeated 5-0-4 record. I may or may not have tested myself out to a steak dinner for having a solid February and it may or may not have been delicious. Anyways, I got back to my hotel room, Michele passed out, and I hung out with my friends. We stayed up super late, I know a bad idea, but I was just happy to make Day 2 overall.

Day Two of Swiss

I woke up early, made myself a coffee because I couldn’t find a Starbucks, and got to the venue early. I am always paranoid that I will sleep through a portion of the early rounds so I force myself to get there early to avoid that situation.

Round 10 against Alex Krekeler with Ultra Necrozma GX (FLI; 95)  / Malamar (FLI; 51)  LWW 6W-0L-4T

Game one I dead drew hard and I didn’t really have too much I could do differently. I learned a lot about his deck, learned that he played Gengar & Mimikyu GX (TM; 53) , and I was getting myself amped up for game two. Game two was a super similar game, but I was able to eventually use Marshadow (SLG; 45)  to get myself a better hand. Unfortunate for Alex, he got a poor hand and I was able to jump back into the game. Game three was a back and forth battle of awkward draws, but Alex missed a Knock Out with Poltergeist that set him back three Prize Cards. I honestly didn’t see myself pulling this game out, but we got there.

Round 11 against Paul Liu with Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33)  WW 7W-0L-4T

This game was a quick one. I don’t entirely remember what happened game one, but I think my opponent missed the Knock Out with Full Blitz so he decided to go for a turn two Tag Bolt GX. This shut him off from sniping my Bench and it activated all of my Beast Ring (FLI; 102) . I was quite fortunate to drop three Beast Ring (FLI; 102)  on him in a turn and Marshadow (SLG; 45)  his hand away.

Game two was really quick because I randomly decided that Alolan Muk (SUM; 58)  was a clutch call on my second turn of the game. He zeroed out his hand with Ultra Ball, searched for a Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60) , and he played it down. Before he could search out a Supporter, I told him that Basic Pokémon were not able to use Abilities during the game. He then tried to Retreat with Zeraora GX (LT; 201) , was forced to pay his Retreat Cost, and he tried to use Jirachi (TM; 99)  during the same turn. It seemed like he got lost in the moment, struggled to stay afloat, and started making gameplay actions. I was able to capitalize on his mistakes and promptly won the series a few turns later.

Round 12 against Cody Walinksi with Zapdos (TM; 40)  / Jirachi (TM; 99)  / Jolteon-GX WW 8W-0L-4T

Cody was playing the exact same list as Enrique from Day One so I knew that he played Jolteon-GX. Game one was an example of me setting up Alolan Grimer (SUM; 57) , Ditto Prism Star (LT; 154) , and getting an Alolan Muk (SUM; 58)  out on the second turn. With his lack of access to Jirachi (TM; 99) , he struggled to utilize Zapdos (TM; 40)  as well as the deck normally does. Game two I used Marshadow (SLG; 45)  to send his hand away into his deck and he drew passed until I won. I don’t know what it is about my Marshadow (SLG; 45)  destroying any good hand, but it does. It even destroys my hand sometimes. Oh well, I will take the luck on my side for this one.

Round 13 against Pablo Meza with Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33)  / Zapdos (TM; 40)  / Jirachi (TM; 99)  WW 9W-0L-4T

Pablo started this game as if he was playing Zapdos (TM; 40)  / Jirachi (TM; 99)  and I didn’t even know about his inclusion of Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33)  until he decided to try and set it up. He was going to win game one until he couldn’t find a way to search out his Tapu Koko GX (GRI; 147)  and I dropped a Marshadow (SLG; 45)  on his large hand. He struggled to find answers for the rest of the game and I used Guzma (BUS; 115)  to Knock Out one of his remaining attackers. Game two he started with an Absol (TM; 88) , passed for the first five or six turns, and tried to setup a Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) . He was able to get a Knock Out somewhere, but I was able to drop two Beast Ring (FLI; 102)  and win the series. He got super unlucky, but I can’t do much to change my opponent’s luck. Pablo was able to bounce back and make Top 4 after losing to me so I am sure he wasn’t too disappointed.

Round 14 against Rahul Reddy with Zapdos (TM; 40)  / Jirachi (TM; 99) / Jolteon-GX WLW 10W-0L-4T

I didn’t really know what deck Rahul was playing, but as soon as I found out about it being a Zapdos (TM; 40)  / Jirachi (TM; 99)  deck, I bolted for my Alolan Muk (SUM; 58)  strategy. I won a convincing game one, I lost footing during game two, and he had some poor draws game three. With this being a win and in match, I did everything that I could to draw quick Prize Cards during the third game to make sure that time wouldn’t be an issue, but I won with plenty of time to spare. Phew! At this point I was super relieved and ecstatic that I would be advancing into the Top Eight. Let’s get it.

Round 15 against Daniel Altavilla with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74)  / Lucario GX (BW; 100)  ID 10W-0L-5T

Danny and I simply IDed and sent off our decks to the deck check judges. I passed my deck check and was told I was going on stream for the first time this weekend.

Top 8 against Peter Kica with Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57)  / Lucario GX (BW; 100)  WW 11W-0L-5T

You can watch the game right here because it was streamed and recorded. For a short recap on the game, Peter had poor draws both games, flipped a bunch of tails on Bursting Burn, and I was able to clean the series up really quickly.

Top 4 against Riley Hulbert with Vileplume (BUS; 6)  / Hoopa (SLG; 55)  / Regigigas (CIN; 84)  / Unown (LT; 91)  LWW 12W-0L-5T

Going into this game, I was super confused because I didn’t truly understand the dynamics of his Vileplume (BUS; 6)  deck. As soon as I realized that it was a base of Regigigas (CIN; 84)  / Unown (LT; 91) , I was feeling much more confident. Game one was an awkward back and forth of me having poor draws and he kept on using Team Skull Grunt (SUM; 133)  to discard my Fire Energy (TM; null) . After losing all of my Energy and being three cards away from decking out, I decided that I was going to scoop to head into game two. During game two, I was able to use Poipole (FLI; 55)  to Spit Poison his Regigigas (CIN; 84) , Evolve it into a Naganadel (LT; 108) , and two shot it to draw a Prize Card. Between using Burst GX, Mind Blown, and Turning Point on my three Prize Card turn I was able to gain a strong lead.

He was eventually forced into benching a Magikarp & Wailord GX (BW; 166)  in which I Knocked it Out with a Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  with an Energy Switch (CLS; 129) . With there being limited time during the third game, my goal was to not lose. Since his deck is not able to draw any Prize Cards, I only needed to draw a single Prize Card before time was called. That being said, I held onto both of my Marshadow (SLG; 45)  in case his hand would be able to declare himself victorious because of Unown (LT; 91) . I also made sure that I had the option to use Alolan Muk (SUM; 58)  to shut off his Unown (LT; 91)  if necessary, but it never came to that. Beyond my originally strategy of just staying alive with the limited time left in the match, I played the game out with my normal Poipole (FLI; 55)  Spit Poison strategy and he ended up having some poor draws. I took advantage of this and was able to win the game before time was called. I used Alolan Muk (SUM; 58)  to shut off his Hoopa (SLG; 55)  to Knock it Out with Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  for my last Prize Card. Time to play against my fellow Dead Draw Gaming teammate Daniel Altavilla.

Finals against Daniel Altavilla with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74)  / Lucario GX (BW; 100)  WW 13W-0L-5T

You can watch the game right here because it was streamed and recorded. For those who are looking for a brief recap of this game, Danny was forced i to taking a quick Knock Out with Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74)  on my Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) . That is basically the only One Hit Knock Out he can take on a Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  during the game. I used Beast Ring (FLI; 102)  to power myself up and responded with another Knock Out. A few turns later and we were moving onto the second game. Danny had some poor draws off my Marshadow (SLG; 45)  and even attacked with a Zorua (SLG; 52)  during the game. It wasn’t going his way and I won game two very quickly. Let’s get it.

And just like that I was crowned the 2019 Collinsville Champion!

Next Stop: Toronto

Well, I hope this tournament report has allowed you to look deeper into a full 18 rounds at a Regional Championships. I am absolutely ecstatic with my win, it has been a lifelong dream, and I feel so accomplished right now. I know a lot of my friends have been asking me about what I am doing with my 5000$ that I have won. Well, I am taking my wonderful girlfriend, Michele, with me to Berlin for the European International Championships. Beyond that, I will invest the rest of it into my various business ventures to see continued success in 2019. I appreciate all of the support of my friends, family, and everyone who reads my articles. Up next on my list of worldly destinations is Toronto, my home city. It is nice to have a major event in my backyard for once and I will be testing Expanded as much as possible until then. I didn’t really think I was going to fight for stipends this quarter, but the extra 200 CP really makes me want to push for it. I will have a few articles detailing the Expanded format up on the site next week so look out for those. Oh, and while you are at it, follow me on Twitter @ zlesage_pokemon.


[+25] okko


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