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Ryan Sabelhaus

"Marching Straight Through Athens" - A Georgia Regionals 9th Place Tournament Report

Ryan goes through his tournament report for Georgia Regionals, which he ended with a 9th place finish using Night March.

05/27/2016 by Ryan Sabelhaus

Introduction

Hello 60cards readers! Spring Regionals have been going on for the past couple of weekends with some very interesting results to show. From the Regional Championship that I attended in Georgia, there was a dominant showing from Trevenant players, with the championship inevitably going to Christian Ortiz. Trevenant was not only the winner of the tournament, but also took up 5 spots in the top 32 and finished 1st and 3rd seed after the first day of competition. This seemed to be the headline that followed this semi-large Regionals of 256 total masters.

At the other Regional Championship this past weekend in Wisconsin, there was a much more dominant showing from the Vespiquen/Flareon decks that found their way into the top 32 of competition. With day 1 finishes of 3rd seed and 5th seed (both finishing with 7-1-1 records), two Vespiquen/Flareon players were able to maneuver through the competition with ease and the deck took up almost half of the final top 8! Although Vespiquen/Flareon had a much greater showing than there was in GA, Treynor Wolfe was able to finish the tournament with the championship from the help of his Yveltal-EX/Maxie’s deck. It only makes sense that the deck shutting down evolutions from playing Archeops was able to win the tournament that had 5/8 players using evolution-based decks in top cut.

While attending the Regional Championship in Georgia, I was able to make the top 32 after the first day of competition and came in as the 26th seed with a record of 5-1-3. During the second day, I actually performed very well and pushed my way up the standings to finish 3-1-1 on the day, which unfortunately ended my tournament run with a 9th place finish. It’s never fun to be the “bubble boy” of the tournament that just misses out on making top cut, but I felt like I did the best that I could with the matchups that I had to face. Trainer-lock seems to be my worst enemy in large-scale tournaments, which didn’t change for this Regional Championship as well.

For this event, I decided to play a fairly simple Night March deck that had good matchups across the board, aside from any opponent’s that were using trainer-locking decks. I felt extremely confident against any Yveltal-EX based deck, the Night March mirror, and against Mega Rayquaza-EX, which were the decks that I expected to see the most. Overall, I vastly underestimated the amount of Trevenant and Seismitoad-EX decks in the tournament, which led to some terrible matchups. My thought process was that both of these matchups wouldn’t be around from fear of facing any Yveltal-EX/Archeops, which apparently didn’t scare them as much as I thought it would. Throughout this article, we’ll go over the Night March deck that I used, we’ll look at the matchups I faced each round, and end the article with the Yveltal-EX/Archeops deck that I almost ended up using for this tournament. Let’s get into the article!

Night March

This deck was the final list that I used for Georgia Regionals, which worked very well and was able to beat almost every deck that wasn’t item-lock. With such good matchups across the board and a quick pace of gameplay, I felt that it gave me the best shot of making the top 8. Overall, the best cards in the deck would have to be the Puzzle of Times, Life Dew, and Teammates. Through getting to use the Life Dew multiple times, along with retrieving Double Colorless energies, the Puzzle of Times just allowed this deck to survive for much longer than it should have. Let’s get into the matchups that I faced!

Round 1: Ninetales/Amoonguss (WW)

So I immediately see some kind of fire-type evolution Pokemon while my opponent is shuffling and get worried as I have no clue what it could be. It wasn’t a Pokemon-EX and could literally be just about anything from the small glimpse that I saw, even a Pyroar (which would have been extremely annoying against Night March). As we flip over our starting Pokemon, I see that it’s just a Vulpix with a Foongus to join along. The game plan for this matchup is just like many other matchups with Night March, set up quickly and take fast prizes until my opponent can’t keep up on the prize exchange.

During the first game, I get a fast start and take a knockout on every turn of the game. The Hypnotoxic Laser’s helped to stall by putting me to sleep, but an Escape Rope solved that problem with ease. Game one ended pretty quickly for this lopsided matchup. The second game was almost identical, with a fast setup and quick prizes being taken. My opponent’s deck just required evolving to get off their attacks, while Night March just attacks with basic Pokemon, which made these games go by relatively quick in my favor.

(1-0-0) 3 points

Round 2: Jolteon-EX/Vileplume/Archeops (WLT)

As soon as we flip over the starters for this matchup, I know that I am in trouble. My opponent is playing a deck that revolves around Jolteon-EX, which is a huge problem for Night March. Not only is that attacker capable of literally just ending the game, but an additional Vileplume line on the field prevents me from even playing an Escape Rope to get around this problem. I immediately realize that if my opponent is able to setup, I should just scoop the game and save myself the time of prolonging a loss. The game plan for this matchup is to get off as many trainer cards as possible before a Vileplume can get setup, while also making sure to save the copy of Lysandre and Hex Maniac for later in the game. Those two supporter cards are crucial for trying to break the item-locking ability of Vileplume and giving me a slim shot at staying in the game. Another important key to victory for this matchup is also making sure to use VS Seekers immediately and get back copies of those two supporter cards, since the item-lock can occur at any time.

The first game starts with my opponent going first and playing a very large amount of cards. He is going through his deck very quickly and I’m slowly beginning to lose faith in getting a win. At the end of his first turn after playing three Shaymin-EX and drawing a huge amount of cards, my opponent actually misses the first turn item-lock and allows me a turn of trainers. I explode through my deck with multiple Trainers’ Mail, Battle Compressor, and Shaymin-EX to thin out all of the useless item cards that won’t be played for the rest of the game. During this turn, I was able to get enough Night March Pokemon in the discard pile to effectively carry me through the game and my opponent conceded after the second knockout in a row.

The second game goes terribly for me. My opponent misses the turn one trainer lock AGAIN, but I drew into a completely dead hand without even one playable card. After a couple of dead draws that don’t help me thin my deck, along with a Vileplume coming down, I eventually get benched and lose.

The third game is starting up and there isn’t that much time left, which probably means the game will end in a tie (which I’m extremely ok with against this deck). I get to go first and explode through my deck again, allowing me to discard enough Night March Pokemon to threaten a knockout on every turn. My opponent gets the turn one item-lock and attaches an energy to his Jolteon-EX on the bench. On my second turn, I Lysandre out the Vileplume and knock it out which breaks the lock. My opponent then just attaches a DCE and starts attacking. Since I can play trainer cards, I start to play around the Jolteon-EX and just take prizes quickly to try and steal this third game. Time inevitably gets called during a turn where I use a Lysandre to knockout a benched Shaymin-EX, bringing me to one prize card. Since my opponent only had around 5-6 cards left in deck, I wasn’t really expecting much and forgot to use my VS Seeker to retrieve the Lysandre. My opponent actually had a 1-1-1 Vileplume line remaining in his deck, along with the Forest of Giant Plants, and a Maintenance to allow him to not deck out. I only have one shot to win without Lysandre, which is to draw my Escape Rope in my 5 card deck (to use with the Hex Maniac in hand). I end up missing the Escape Rope and have to settle with a tie.

(1-0-1) 4 points

Round 3: Connor Finton w/ Mega Rayquaza-EX (WW)

After some computer errors that gave out wrong pairings, I finally end up getting paired against a good friend named Connor Finton. He is known for playing Mega Rayquaza-EX lately, which is the deck that he used to win two State Championships this year. Connor doesn’t seem very happy to be playing against me, as we both know that I have a huge advantage from his main attacker being weak to electric Pokemon. The game plan for this matchup is very simple, to get out as many Joltik as possible and always respond with a huge knockout on his M Rayquaza-EX’s. The only real danger that can come from this matchup would be if I were to draw very poorly, if my opponent was able to get a big first turn and play Hex Maniac when all I have in hand is a Shaymin-EX, or if my opponent was able to hit a big first turn Ghetsis and kill my opening hand.

During the first game, Connor and I are just going through the motion of deck-searching and getting setup in our opening turns. We are both very relaxed and aren’t really concentrating too hard, as this matchup seems to play itself out in most cases. Connor plays a Ghetsis on the first turn to hit two trainers, while I still have a Professor Sycamore in hand. He then goes to play a Trainers’ Mail, but accidentally shuffles his hand back into his deck (instead of the three cards he didn’t choose with the item). We both get a good laugh at that play for a couple of minutes, along with most of the tables around us. Connor almost immediately just scoops up his cards to move on to the second game.

Game two ended up being relatively close, but the weakness to lightning type Pokemon on M Rayquaza-EX was just too much. Connor tries to Ghetsis again and leaves me with a Shaymin-EX to fill up my now depleted hand. Eventually, he takes a knockout and allows me to continuously play Teammates on every turn and respond with an attacking Joltik. The prize exchange inevitably just flipped to my advantage and ended the game quickly.

(2-0-1) 7 points

Round 4: Trevenant (LWT)

As we’re shuffling our decks, I see that my opponent is playing a Trevenant deck. This is definitely one of my worst matchups, which I wasn’t too happy to see. The game plan for this matchup is just about the same as every other trainer-locking deck, to explode on the first turn and discard as many cards as possible, while also making sure to save the Lysandre and Hex Maniac for later in the game. It is also crucial to play VS Seekers immediately after playing these supporter cards to assure that they can be used again. Once both of those supporter cards hit the discard pile, there is no way to get around the item-locking Trevenant that will be in the active position.

The first game goes just as expected. My opponent gets out a quick turn one Trevenant and just slowly grinds me down with spreading damage. I attempt to get around this through bouncing Shaymin-EX’s into my hand and picking up the damage, which helps me realize that my opponent has prized his Mewtwo-EX and has no way around this. After 5 consecutive turns of playing an N on my hand, I finally miss drawing back into Shaymin-EX and DCE, which lets my opponent just knockout my only Pokemon left.

The second game starts and I am able to go through most of my deck, while also grabbing the Lysandre and Hex Maniac in my hand. After a relatively slow game that involved me using Lysandre to get around the item-lock, I am able to draw all of my prize cards to force a third game. Time is called while we are just getting ready to start the final game, which means that we tied. Another game against item-locking decks, another miraculous tie that I’m perfectly alright with.

(2-0-2) 8 points

Round 5: Seismitoad-EX/Crobat (WLW)

This round starts and I’m complaining to my friends sitting around me that all I’m playing against is item-lock. My opponent flips over a Seismitoad-EX and a Zubat, which was NOT what I wanted to see. This is another relatively bad matchup, but can actually be winnable from the inconsistency that comes with Seismitoad-EX/Crobat decks. The game plan for this matchup is to only attack with Pumpkaboo’s, while trying to go through as much of my deck as possible on the first turn of the game. Saving the copy of Lysandre and Hex Maniac isn’t as important as the other item-locking decks, since Seismitoad-EX locks items through his attack. I just have to hope that my opponent doesn’t draw very well and I can capitalize on his slow starts.

During the first game, my opponent is going first and plays down a Silent Lab, which he then follows up with a Judge. Well, this is bad. I now only have 4 cards in hand and can’t use Shaymin-EX to refuel my hand size. I need to discard as much of my deck as possible before his Seismitoad-EX can attack or I’m sure to lose the game. I draw my 4 cards and they are: Shaymin-EX, Dimension Valley, Professor Sycamore, Battle Compressor. These literally would have been the exact cards I would choose to draw if given specific choices. I get setup very quickly and discard a good amount of cards from my deck, while the Judge actually ends up hurting my opponents start. The game goes by with my attackers taking prize cards on every attack, which ends with my opponent not drawing a Double Colorless energy on one of his turns.

We go to draw our opening hands for the second game, to which my opponent plays another first-turn Silent Lab and Judge! Once again, I now have 4 cards and can’t use abilities. During this game, I don’t draw as well off of the Judge and lose after a couple of drawn-out turns from my opponent digging for pieces of the Crobat line.
The final game is about to start and I finally get to go first. I draw well and go through most of my deck on the first turn, which is finished off with a Hex Maniac to slow down my opponent. He starts to get setup, but only gets one Zubat to spread extra damage for later. After some prize exchanges through attacking, it gets down to me with two prize cards and my opponent having three. He takes a knockout with a clean Seismitoad-EX, which allows me to Professor Sycamore away the last of my Night March Pokemon to draw the final prize cards. Somehow managed to get through another trainer lock without losing.

(3-0-2) 11 points

Round 6: Jimmy McClure w/ Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX (LL)

I go to check the pairings and find that I’m paired against one my best buds, Jimmy McClure. I know exactly what he’s playing and realize that I’m in for an even worse matchup than any of the previous. Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX is the actual worst matchup that Night March can face. With 220 HP attackers that can lock trainers, shut down the only energies in my deck, and easily be picked up through playing a Super Scoop Up, there is almost nothing that can be done. The game plan for this matchup is simple, just hope that my opponent can’t find the table number of the match and I would be declared the winner. Alright, maybe that’s not the actual strategy. The real plan involves capitalizing on some terrible opening hands by my opponent and trying to end the game as quickly as possible. Just remember, if Giratina-EX gets off just one attack during the game, it is over.

Game one goes by extremely fast with a first turn Ghetsis to slow me down. I try my best to discard trainers and Night March Pokemon and do a decent amount of damage to his active Seismitoad-EX. McClure just plays a Super Scoop Up and item-locks me until a Giratina-EX is ready to attack and finish the game. The second game goes by just as quickly with the same predicament. I try my best to finish the game quickly, but he is able to item-lock until a Giratina-EX is ready. Can’t take any prize cards without being able to attach my DCE’s.

(3-1-2) 11 points

Round 7: Caleb Howard w/ Night March (LWW)

I don’t think that this matchup really needs much of a discussion, as it was the fastest match I’ve ever played in my tournament life. The initial game plan for this matchup involves not playing down Shaymin-EX unless absolutely necessary, while making sure to try and attack with Pumpkaboo. Also make sure to capitalize on my copy of Target Whistle to try and take multiple knockouts on my opponent’s Shaymin-EX’s and draw prizes faster. The real match went nothing like this

We draw our opening hands with my opponent choosing to go second. I draw into a hand with just a Joltik and nothing else playable. I draw for the turn… and pass. My opponent blows up my Joltik. We shuffle after that 12-second first game and I let my opponent go first on this one. He starts with a Shaymin-EX, draws a card, and passes the turn. I blow up his Shaymin-EX with my Joltik. It has now been two minutes, and we are on the third game of the series. I get to go first on this one and start with a Shaymin-EX to my opponent’s double Joltik. I draw a card and can’t play anything besides a singular Puzzle of Time. I see my next card is now a Professor Sycamore and just need to somehow survive. My opponent draws a card… and passes the turn without doing anything AGAIN. I’m able to draw into a DCE after the Professor Sycamore and finish the game with two Sky Return attacks.

(4-1-2) 14 points

Round 8: Yveltal-EX (WW)

This is the matchup that I had tested the most before going into this tournament, so I felt very prepared to play against my opponent. I know that I have to win at least one of my next two games in order to have a shot at making day 2. The game plan for this matchup is to never leave a plain Joltik on the bench to get knocked out through Night Spear, always try and keep up on the prize exchange, and steal the game during the final turns through using Target Whistle and Lysandre on a Shaymin-EX. Most of the matchup actually comes from board position and resources that are left for my opponent, but these tips are what I try to follow throughout the games.

The first game is extremely close and eventually ends with playing two Puzzle of Time’s to retrieve a Double Colorless Energy and Lysandre for the last prize cards of the game. There was a big turn during this game that involved my opponent attaching a basic darkness energy to his Yveltal BRT on the bench, which was followed by drawing into two Dark Patch’s after an N. If he had known that he would draw both of those cards, he probably would have won the game through a big return knockout on my Pumpkaboo, but there was no way of him knowing.

The second game unfortunately ends quickly through my opponent missing a first turn Gallade from Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick, which led to an extremely dead hand. After a couple of attacks from my Night March Pokemon, the game is over.

(5-1-2) 17 points

Round 9: Samuel Liggett w/ Night March/Mew-EX/Robo Substitute (LWT)

This is the last round of the opening day and I know that a win would be great here. I see the standings and find myself playing against Samuel Liggett, who is a fantastic player that only comes to play in big tournaments. I’ve played Sam before and love getting to battle him in this game of wits, especially for this Night March mirror. The game plan for this matchup is the same as any Night March mirror, except I don’t need to heavily rely on using Target Whistle since a big portion of his attackers are Mew-EX’s.

Game one involves me starting with a Shaymin-EX, which already puts me at a huge disadvantage. Now I don’t get to take the first prize cards, along with losing two prize cards on his first attack. I immediately realize that I have to capitalize on playing N, which should hopefully allow Sam to miss an energy card on following turns and force him to play a Shaymin-EX. This plan works relatively well and allows me to catch up on prize cards. The game eventually ends when Sam N’s me to two cards and uses Sky Return into his Robo Substitute. I can’t find a way around the tricky robot and allow Sam to pick up my shot at drawing my last two prize cards. He eventually just attacks two more times to finish the game.

I realize that there isn’t much time left in the second game, so I must play extremely fast and find a way to win. I take knockout after knockout, while Sam tries to N me and slow me down. It doesn’t work and I eventually just start to bench Shaymin-EX’s to cycle through the useless trainers left in my deck. Time gets called and I draw my last two prize cards on the first turn of time to tie up the series. After this match, I’m feeling pretty confident that I will make the second day of competition.

(5-1-3) 18 points

We check the standings and I found out that I made the second day at the 26th seed. I’m feeling great and am a little surprised to still be playing after facing four item-locking decks on the first day. Time for the last five rounds!

Round 10: Grafton Roll w/ Vespiquen/Flareon (WW)

I check the pairings and am very sad to see one of my best buds as my opponent. The matchup is pretty good in my favor, but can honestly go either way depending on any big Ghetsis turns from Grafton. The game plan for this matchup is to try and not bench any Shaymin-EX’s, while just taking prize cards on every turn and using trainer cards to weaken his Ghetsis. If the opportunity arises to steal the game with a Target Whistle and Lysandre combo, then I’ll gladly finish the game a few turns early.

The first game involves normal setups with me digging to try and find a Dimension Valley. On the second turn of the game, I actually dig until I have just 8 cards left in the deck, and still end up missing the stadium card. This allows Grafton to come back into the game from me missing an attack, which leads to a game-winning opportunity for him in the following turns. Grafton goes to find a last Flareon to seal the game away by knocking out my only attacker, but realizes that he accidentally didn’t shuffle back in a Flareon with his Super Rod two turns ago. Without an attacker to finish off my Pumpkaboo, I steal the first game.

The second game has a crazy start, with Grafton using a Ghetsis to throw away the majority of my hand. All he left me with was just a Shaymin-EX, which was a good feeling for me since I knew that he didn’t play Silent Lab. Grafton then plays an Ultra Ball to grab a Wobbuffet and retreats to it. I’m feeling terrible with no way of drawing cards, which ends immediately after top-decking a Professor Sycamore. After that unbelievably lucky top-deck, I start to swing off big attacks and finish the game.

(6-1-3) 21 points

Round 11: Justin Devletian w/ Trevenant (WLT)

I just sat next to my opponent on the previous round and knew that he was playing Trevenant. The game plan for this matchup is the same as the previous Trevenant that I played, except that this opponent used Ghetsis which I should try to play around.

The opening game involves me getting an explosive start and hitting for big damage on every turn. My opponent is able to slowly setup, but can’t stop the huge attacks that are taking out his Trevenant. I make sure to effectively use each Lysandre and Hex Maniac when I have a VS Seeker in hand, which assures that they aren’t discarded with no way of returning. The game ends through a Lysandre on his Shaymin-EX for the last two prize cards.

The second game is the exact opposite, as my opponent is able to get off a first turn Trevenant to shut me down. I top-deck a Hex Maniac to get off some trainer cards, but they just aren’t enough and inevitably ends with me losing. The second game was relatively long, along with the first, so there wasn’t much time for the final game. After a couple of turns in, time gets called with no way for either of us to draw all of our prize cards.

(6-1-4) 22 points

Round 12: Carter Musgrove w/ Mega Rayquaza-EX (WW)

I’ve played against my opponent in previous tournaments and we’re very friendly towards each other, which definitely helps to make for some fun series. The matchup wasn’t very good for my opponent, which revolves around the lightning weakness of M Rayquaza-EX. The game plan for this matchup is the exact same as the previous M Rayquaza-EX deck, which involves using Joltik to attack.

The first game of this series ends relatively quick from my opponent drawing poorly and missing the first turn M Rayquaza-EX. After using a Tool Scrapper on his Rayquaza Spirit Link, I take a knockout on his Virizion-EX. He digs to find a return knockout, which is just met with a Joltik attacking. The game ends a few turns after that in my favor.
The second game goes just about the same as the first, with each knockout from my opponent being followed by a Teammates for resources and a Joltik. After both of his Rayquaza-EX are knocked out, the game ends. This is definitely one of the best matchups for this deck.

(7-1-4) 25 points

Round 13: William Herrmann w/ Trevenant (LWL)

At this point in the tournament, all I need to do is win one more match and I can then ID into the top 8. I check the pairings and see that I’m faced against another friend that is using Trevenant. Since I couldn’t beat either of the last two Trevenant that I faced, I’m not feeling very confident. The game plan for this matchup is similar to the previous Trevenant decks, except that I also had hold my Double Colorless energies to play around his multiple Enhanced Hammers.

The first game is a blowout, with Will getting off a first turn Trevenant to shut down my trainers. He makes an uncomfortable face in the initial search, which I later find out is the other three Trevenant being prized. For this first game, all he needed was that one Trevenant to take me out since I couldn’t get any Night March Pokemon into the discard pile.

The second game involves Will getting a much slower start and myself exploding out of the gates with huge amounts of trainer cards. I begin to take knockouts on each turn and finish the game off after a drawn-out six prize cards. Without that much time for the third game, I’m feeling confident that a tie will happen again. Will starts the game off with a first-turn item-lock, while I draw into a pretty bad hand. Will ends up playing an N, which gives me six trainer cards. My next two draws are both Dimension Valleys, ending the game after I must pass for three straight turns.

(7-2-4) 25 points

Round 14: Kyle Warden w/ Night March/Archeops (WW)

At this point, I’m a little sad from feeling like I’ve probably missed the top 8. I know that there is a slim shot at making top cut, though, since top players are choosing not to ID and are playing out their games. I find out that I’m playing against another friend from Georgia, that I know is playing Night March with Archeops. Since my version of Night March doesn’t have the Archeops line to slow me down, I should have the advantage. The game plan for this matchup is the same as the previous Night March mirrors, which involves not benching Shaymin-EX’s unless necessary and stealing the game through a Target Whistle and Lysandre combo.

The first game goes exactly as expected, with my deck capitalizing on playing more resources and also using Life Dew. Eventually the prize exchange swings in my favor and I can end the game with a Lysandre on a Shaymin-EX. The second game ends extremely fast, with Kyle drawing into a really bad hand of three Puzzle of Times and nothing else to use. I’m able to end the game after a couple of turns in which he doesn’t get off any attacks.

(8-2-4) 28 points

So in the end, I find myself at 28 points and barely miss cut in 9th place. The feeling is saddening at first, but allows me to hang out with friends for the remainder of my time in GA. I don’t feel like I would have won anyways, since there were multiple Trevenant decks in the top 8 that would have been able to beat me. Overall, the tournament was pretty fun and was a good change-of-pace from the standard format that has been annoying everyone. Let’s take a look at the other deck that I was considering for this Regional Championship.

Yveltal-EX/Archeops

During the night before the tournament, I decided against playing this deck and went with the Night March list. I felt like this deck had a much better matchup against Primal Groudon-EX than Night March did, but inevitably changed my mind after learning that Mega Rayquaza-EX was going to be played by many people. I wanted to feel confident in my matchup against M Rayquaza-EX and Night March, while also giving myself a much better shot at finishing all three games and not tying. I would certainly suggest either of these decks for any people that are going to play in Expanded tournaments in the near future.

Conclusion

Thank you to any of the readers that enjoyed my article and hopefully you enjoyed the change-of-pace in my writing style. With so much content about decks to play, I figured that a good old-fashioned tournament report of a relatively good placing at Regionals would be welcomed! I’ll be sure to focus my next article more on possible decks to play in the new format, along with some insight about top plays for Nationals. The big dance is only weeks away for players in each and every country!

Hopefully everyone is wrapping up their World Championship invites or already have their tickets booked for August. I can’t wait to see everybody at U.S. Nationals and at the World Championships that are coming up. Thanks again to everyone for reading this article and feel free to message me with any questions or comments that you may have!

-Ryan Sabelhaus <3

[+4] okko


 

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