Experts' corner

Mark Dizon

Level One - Preparing for your first Regionals

With Roanoke Regionals approaching, Mark goes over what you need to bring and prepare for when attending your first regionals.

11/22/2018 by Mark Dizon

Hey 60 Card Readers,


We are going straight from the sunny streets of Sao Paolo, Brazil to the cold mountain land of Roanoke, Virginia. With the next standard event not till February 22nd in St Louis, the Regionals in Roanoke will be format setting for the next quarter of League Cups. While Zoroark was clearly the big winner this weekend taking up thirty-one of the sixty-four slots of day two, we saw that lost thunder brought about many new archetypes. Granbull, Blacephalon, Lost March and New Rayquaza should all be played this weekend, albeit some will be mainstream meta decks and some will be rogue decks heading into the event. Roanoke has always been a center for innovation when it comes to decks, from Wobuffett/Jolteon to the Baby Buzzwole Debut at last years expanded regionals, you will need to be prepared to play against decks that you are not ready for. I am always excited to see what comes out of this event because of the amount innovation and tech that comes from playing in the middle of America bringing players from everywhere. Last year, we saw the return of Trevenant at this tournament which took three of the top eight spots.  While many of us are heading to what is probably our umpteenth regional, there are many that will be heading to their first regional. Pokémon is constantly growing as in evidence in the larger events that are growing. Today we are going to go over some of the more important things for new players when it comes to the event. I always practice the three P’s when I head to regionals and I will go over those with you today.



Playtesting – Be Prepared
One thing for a lot of new players entering their first regionals is just understanding the scope of the event you are going to. Regionals are a different breed of Pokémon Tournaments. The stakes are truly higher and you should know about the rules and Policies that the game has. I would always take the time to read the rules and possible penalties before going to your first regionals. You can find that information here . It is already hard to win games of Pokémon normally, you do not want to be giving your opponent free wins because of things that you do not know about. You also want to make sure your opponent is not trying to cheat you by telling you things that are not correct.

Playtesting before the event is really important. You want to know what your cards do. For example, while playtesting for this event with some friends, I noticed that my testing partner was not discarding fire energies from his Nagandel in the Blacephalon deck. I asked him to read the card and he then realized he had been doing it wrong the whole time. Imagine if he had gone to regionals without knowing this information, he would have been miserable. I know a lot of you are saying, c’mon Mark this is all simple stuff, but I want you to know this could happen to anyone. There are a lot of new cards that have just been released. For all you new players out there, even you seasoned vets, Take this piece of advice. READ EVERY CARD YOU DO NOT KNOW. This is extremely important. You need to know what your opponent’s cards do during a match to know how to play around them or through them. The issue is we think we know everything and that’s when we start making mistakes. Do you know what the text is on Thunder Mountain other than it is a stadium card? What If you try to field blower? Can you field blower? Read the card is the simplest answer to not get caught off-guard when new cards are released.

You want to test your deck against the better decks in the format. If you have read the metagaming articles I have released in the past, you will understand that players will go with one of four decks on average, what they perceive is the best deck, the deck they know the best, or a powerful deck that can win games if it sets up correctly and ignores what its opponent is doing or a counter to the best deck. For this tournament you can, for example, see the list as follows: Don’t Quote me on this because metas evolve quickly but here is how it could pan out.

Best Deck: Zoroark Variant
Deck I know the Best: Granbull
High Roller Deck: Blacephalon
Meta Counter: Buzzwole Ninetales

In your playtesting, I would be running your deck through these gauntlets and understand your decks game plan in all these matchups. Knowing what board states you are attempting to create to beat those decks or what you have to do quickly to not be overwhelmed by a deck. You again, do not want to get caught off-guard at your first regionals by decks that will be played heavily. In your playtesting, you should also learn how to play at a reasonable pace, by this I mean a pace that you will not misplay and have time to make your correct decisions. You will get rushed at events, and you will get slow-played. You need to understand when you should call a judge, and why you should not be playing at a pace that could cause you to be called for slow play. You do not want to rush and play bad, but you do not want to play slow and earn draws. Know what pace is and if you are an experienced player, help your new friends know how to play at that reasonable pace.


Make sure you work on your mechanics. I know this is not talked enough about so I want to touch on this. You want to make sure that you have a way to signify that you have traded or smoothed over or instructed. From using Pokémon coins, or the TC Evolution Ability used markers or how I tilt my Pokémon that have used my abilities this is extremely important so you are not accused of cheating if something were to happen. This will also help you keep track of what you have left to do in your turn. Make sure that you announce when you are using an ability or playing a supporter. It is better to be more vocal than not. You want to make sure your opponent can keep up with you on your turns. If you are using abilities such as instruct or trade or even when you are using a supporter that draws, I would always draw the cards one by one so that you lower your chances of accidentally drawing an extra card. Double Prize Penalties suck and you do not want to make it any easier for your opponent to win games. If you do make an error, do the right thing and call a judge on yourself, this is important to maintain your honesty when playing the game. All players make mistakes, with everything happening in the Pokémon community when it concerns cheating, we need to make sure we are transparent and do not try to hide mistakes that we make. It will be okay.


Packing – Accommodations-Travel

I know one part I love about going to regionals is seeing all my friends and traveling to new places. From Columbus, Ohio to Charlotte, North Carolina I have seen so many places I would have never seen without playing Pokémon. Also a be-prepared section here, these things are all important to making your first regionals a good experience.

Make sure you pack enough clothes for your trip and for the weather. You need to be comfortable for the event and presentable. We have a stigma in our regular culture that these tournaments are filled with sweaty, smelly people in a packed room and we all know that is not the truth. Hygiene, however, is extremely important, not just for yourself but for the people around you. If you are heading to an event for three days, I would pack five outfits. One for each day, one to sleep in, and one that is an emergency pair of clothes. In cold place with possible snow, I would definitely pack extra socks because it sucks to have wet feet and wet feet lead to smelly feet. You want to pack clothes you will feel comfortable playing in. Whether it is skinny jeans and a rock t-shirt, or shorts and a t-shirt or a hoodie and sweatpants. Playing Pokémon for long periods of the day can be uncomfortable so you want to make sure it something you can wear for long periods of time. I definitely think the best thing is to try to shower the night before as you might not have time in the morning as you usually have to be at the event very early.

I generally like to stay at Airbnb’s instead of hotels for the event. I like the privacy of what renting a full house allows you for your group of friends and how you have a full kitchen to test. The plus side of most hotels is they are very close to the venue and you can usually walk to the event area compared to having to drive to the event from most Airbnb locations. I like Airbnb’s over hotels because it allows me to see how the locals live in the area and I have only had positive experiences from the platform. When it comes to the journey part, make sure you have enough snacks and hydration for the ride. Neck pillows are also highly recommended. Sometimes you can be in a car for upwards of twelve hours. Make sure you are taking the time to stop to rest and walk your legs to get the circulation is flowing. Be sure to try new foods in different areas. Whether it is the north market in Columbus or the Nashville strip, try to enjoy some other aspects involving your travels with Pokémon. If I don’t make day two, I really want to find a place to go or an experience to have that you can only have in the area you are visiting.

Process - Regionals Day
The day of the regional itself is a grueling process. It is usually a long day and some organizers have found a better formula than others. If you went to Charlotte Regionals last year you know exactly what I mean. The tournament day one itself ended at midnight and quite a few players were not able to handle the fatigue of playing a sixteen hour day. First and foremost, make sure you complete your decklist the night before or submit it online. This will speed up your check-in process. Pack your bag the night before and make sure your deck is in there and that you have your play mat and everything else you need to play such as dice and damage counters. Make sure you do not have any extra cards in your deck box as that can lead to a game loss. I always try to travel light to the event day itself and only bring my one deck box. I don’t try to bring any cards to trade as I want the day to be focused on playing. I bring some snacks and water as well. Convention food is expensive five dollars for a hotdog and often time three dollars for some water. I try to bring multiple water bottles to make sure I can stay hydrated throughout the day.

One of the things I would suggest is to not forget earphones. I like to listen to music in between rounds to help myself stay level. Usually, after a win or a loss, it allows me the time to gather my thoughts and focus on the next round. Take it one round at a time and try to have fun. I know a lot of the times we are playing the game for the result of what can happen if we do well, but sometimes it just better to focus on the reason why we started playing the game in the first place which is to have fun. Even if you aren’t doing the best, I would suggest playing all your rounds, it is a learning experience and you came to play Pokémon. After your first regional you will be ready and excited to play your next one. I know I am always looking forward to my next event.

Well, there you guys have it for this article. If you are in Roanoke come say Hi! I would love to meet you and hear your feedback. I’m kind of sad that this is our only standard regional for this format but I am very excited to play in it. The new archetypes have refreshed the dull standard we just came from and almost any deck has the chance to take down the whole event. I wonder how the Meta will evolve and what cards will stand out. Will Zoroark take down the event again? Will Buzzwole rise to take down Zoroark? Or will a rogue deck like Granbull be crowned the champion in Virginia?

See you next week,


[+0] okko


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