05/08/2019 by Mark Dizon
Five One, Elation, Elevation, Excitement.
How I looked at the Start of Round 7 at 5-1
This is what I was feeling as we were heading into round seven of Denver Regionals. At 399, I would guarantee myself at least 40 CP and be in such a good spot heading back to finish q3 cups and the last quarter
I just needed to win one of three rounds to get points heading into the next night and possible my third day two of the year. I had my trusty Zoroark-GX and my trusty Lycanroc-GX and our new friend for the tournament Lucario - GX. I had just come off a day 2 at Collinsville with Zoroark Lycanroc and had recently won a cup with Zoroark Lycanroc and Weavile. The past day I had been testing Pikarom non-stop as it was probably a good choice for the tournament, However, I just could not the trigger on it. I had to play what I knew and now what was possibly one of the best decks in the field. The arrival of Zapdos packing fighting decks frightened me to no avail and I was ready to try to dodge them. I expected that players would play Pikarom because I had been thinking of it. While talking to fellow 60cards player Jose Marrero, I asked him if Pikarom and Zoroark were his top two choices, he said yes but also possible Rayquaza. I thought he was crazy.
We started the article with Five One, Elation, Elevation, Excitement. We actually ended up at Five Four. Defeat, Despair, Dejected. I had lost all three rounds in a row. When I conceded due to the gentlemen's agreement with my opponent in round nine, I really didn't know how to feel. Part of me couldn't believe it, part of me was upset, part of me didn't know how to think. I just knew the whole situation sucked. How could I not even take down one of three rounds? How did I misplay? How did I get unlucky? I broke it down simply into the following three rounds.
Round 7 - Versus Danny Prather on Zapdos Ultra Beast
Game 1 - He takes an early lead, however, I am able to turn the tide with Zoroark plus Alolan Muk. I get to take multiple prizes with Zoroark and devoured field and he doesn't get to use the ultra beasts to take profitable prize trades.
Game 2 - I dead draw and start with him knocking out both my Ditto and Alolan Grimer. I have two Zoruas on the field and I play a timer ball that hits double heads. I concede as I do not have a supporter for the turn. Looking back at the situation, I might have scooped to early. In my head I was scooping for time, however, the difference between giving myself one more turn most likely would have not made such a huge difference. I might have been able to draw a draw supporter the next turn or to be able to have a way to try to get back into the game.
Game 3 - I am going first and I start with Zorua. He starts with Baby Buzzwole and he takes a quick knockout on my Zorua with it on turn two. At this point, I felt pretty defeated as I had been such in a good position so I was ready to move on from this and get to the next round. 5-2 isn’t a bad record, I was still in contention for points and I could win out to make day 2.
Round 8 - Verus Andrew Krekler on Beast Box
Let me just tell you, I got slaughtered in this matchup. I wasn’t ready for it. There is no easy way to gain in the prize trade here or find ways to take profitable knockouts. Nagandel One shots Lucario GX, Buzzwole One Shots Zoroark GX and Lycanroc will find it hard to take knockouts due to Stattaka GX. I spent the whole match trying to maneuver ways around the game plan and maybe could have tried to use Rockruff corner to try to draw out one game. The amount of Acerola and Max Potions involved with the deck allow to clean up the damage so that Zoroark can never take a knockout and if you do, you allow them to have a huge beast ring turn that surely prevents you from getting back in the game. This deck was a huge meta call.
In hindsight, I probably could have tried to find a way to try to get lucky and hope that Andrew Bricked. The deck based on the supporters it played could be inconsistent and he had multiple turns where he had to Cynthia pass. Trying to use this to take a turning point in the matchup might have worked. In all essence, the goal would be to take a knockout on a Poipole and then follow-up with a knockout on a two prizer following up with a judge to only give them one turn of Beast ring. I should have not just accepted the auto loss and tried to power my way through it.
How I Felt Going into Round 9
Round 9 – Versus Christopher Watkins – Zapdos Fighting Stuff
This round was a crazy one. Christopher was able to take Game one with a Lycanroc taking his last two prizes. In Game two I had the worst start with double Riolu but was somehow able to take the game off Chris having to use a dangerous rogue that did not have the full damage for the knockout. Game 3 was a slugfest as well and there was a gentleman’s agreement and with Chris being ahead on board, I ended up conceding to him.
It sucks because I would have been able to get points with a draw here. However, it wasn’t guaranteed and we had to play. I know some people might have reneged on the gentleman’s agreement but that’s just not me as a person. One of my biggest misplays when looking back in game three was that I chose to Cynthia 3 cards back into my deck that I didn’t want when a Lillie would have been able to give me the same odds had I changed around what I was doing.
How I Felt after Round 9
I think one of the hardest things about playing Pokemon is just understanding how much variance is involved in tournament play let alone the game itself. My peers told me that one of my biggest misplays was conceding my first round. Round One I was super sleepy, I let my opponent do some takesies backsies and it ended up causing a tie, where I could have 2-0ed them. A prominent Pokemon pro beside me saw me let my opponent take it back and said you are too nice. I think this surely influenced my opponent winning game one and not allowing me enough time to win game 3. Starting off with a draw I was so afraid to play against a stall deck or Vileplume that instead of being stuck in the draw bracket I conceded to my opponent. I thought I was being smart but in hindsight, I should have just taken the one match point. My round 1 opponent ended up dropping in round 4 with a record of 1-2-1 and 4 match points. I ended up playing an unfavorable matchup the next round against Blacephalon who I was able to beat. Surprisingly enough my round 2 opponent finished in top 128 points.
The biggest lesson here, You have to look at tournaments as One Round at a time. If you don't you are susceptible to losing the end goal which is to play the best Pokemon you can. I really wanted to get points because that is the goal when it comes to getting to worlds. We need to take the time to refocus before every round. Could I have salvaged some points? Yes. Did I get unlucky? Yes. Did I give it 80-100% every time I played, probably not? That's how we can always improve. Even when you are at 5 wins, you need to make sure you focus on the tournament. Nothing is granted, and nothing comes easy. Unless you are Wesley Tam. Wesley got a round one bye in Hartford and proceeded to play versus Pikarom 6 rounds in a row with Hitmonchan haha.
The SUM-TEU standard format is over and with rotation announced we are looking ahead to what can come for Worlds. Taking time to reflect after every tournament allows us to prepare for the next tournament. I'll have a post discussing how things went at Hartford, and then how to prepare for the upcoming Madison and NAIC events. The Pokemon Season's end is fast approaching and I am so excited to see how the meta will change.
Until Next Time,
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