Experts' corner

Kenny Wisdom

Adventures in AZ

Kenny Wisdom walks you through his adventure at Arizona Regionals!

10/13/2015 by Kenny Wisdom

Hey, guys, Kenny Wisdom here! Today we're going to take a little bit of time to talk about how I did at Arizona Regionals. I don't want to go through the report round by round, as I find that sort of thing boring and useless. However, I will make brief notes of how much matches went, and overall will spend a lot of time explaining my deck choice so that you can be informed for upcoming Week 3 Regional Championships in your area. If you feel that there is anything I've missed or if you would like to ask any questions, feel free to post your concerns in the comments and I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

Arriving in AZ

I came to Arizona knowing that I would want to play Blastoise. In my mind, it's the most powerful deck, it's the deck that I know the best, and I know that it has good matchups versus the field. I figured there would be a lot of Yveltal, but I don't hate that matchup as much as most people seem to, and I figured that overall, Blastoise would give me the best chances of a good performance at the tournament.

Had I had some more time to think about decks or to observe the metagame, I believe I still would've gone with Blastoise. Although the tournament didn't go as well as I had hoped, I still believe that my choice was correct, and had a few things gone differently, the tournament could've had a very different ending for me.

After talking a lot with Sorina Radu, Paul Johnston, and Jacob Van Wagner, here is the list I ultimately settled on...

Although there isn't a whole lot that can be messed with/changed in Blastoise, this list is quite a bit different from the conventional lists, such as the one that Jacob used to win Worlds. Allow me to go through some of the key differences, and talk about how I felt about them in the end, as well as what I would do differently next time...

2 Articuno: I ended up playing two Articuno because I felt that they were the best combination of good versus Night March, Vespiquen, the mirror, as well as just being randomly good in other match ups. I could've played a Wailord-EX in this spot, as Jacob did at Worlds, but I felt it was unnecessary, and that Articuno would overall help me in more games.

1 Kyogre-EX: Kyogre was in the list because of my fear of Vespiquen and Night March. After cutting the Wailord, I was afraid that Articunos wouldn't be enough if any of them were Prized, if my flips were unlucky, or if my opponent got a good enough start. Overall, three techs versus those two decks may have been overkill, though I'm not totally sure what I would change if I were to do it all over again.

1 Mewtwo-EX: For a while, I debated between cutting the Mewtwo entirely, or putting in a second. Cutting it entirely would be saying that I didn't believe there would be very much mirror, whereas having two would be the exact opposite, and would only be in the deck if I was expecting a lot of mirror. Overall, I ended up at one because I wanted to be prepared versus the mirror while not making my deck too much worse for it.

Acro Bike versus Unown: Although I wasn't made aware of the possibility of Unown replacing the Acro Bikes before the tournament, I absolutely 100% believe that it is the right choice. Not only does Unown give you more starters, thereby lessening the chance of starting with one of your important cards, but unlike Acro Bike, it also allows you to have either one or zero cards in hand. One problem with Acro Bike is that you can hit a card that you can't discard with Archie's. Unown solves this problem by drawing you a card when you need it, or being able to be played directly onto the Bench when you don't. Unown is genius, huge shoutouts to Jonathan Paranada and the rest of Team X-Files for coming up with such an innovative tech.

1 Rough Seas: I debated for a long time between one Rough Seas, two Rough Seas, or one Rough Seas and two Sky Field. In the end, I went with just one Rough Seas because I didn't expect a lot of Seismitoad-based decks, and therefore didn't expect to engage in a lot of Stadium wars. If your local meta is any different, definitely try and fit two Stadiums, as they can be absolutely clutch in the right situation.

Everything else in the list isn't really cuttable or changable, IMO. You can't disrupt too much of the core of the deck, and you only have so many tech slots. I believe that, going forward, most Archie's Blastoise lists will look pretty much exactly like this, with a few changes in flex spots for metagame considerations.

The Rounds

Here is a quick rundown of how my rounds went. As I said, I don't think that old-school tournament reports are necessarily the most efficient or effective way of displaying information. However, I know that there are some people who do find this sort of round-by-round analysis valuable, so I'm hoping I can meet the best of both worlds here.

Round 1: Marty Adams with Landorus/Lucario/Gengar

My opponent this round told me that this was his first tournament, and seemed a bit nervous. His deck seemed fine, but was maybe lacking consistency in Supporters, as he played a lot of copies of Korrina and Professor Birch, and throughout both of our games, never really seemed to get anything set up.

WW (1-0)

Round 2: Israel Sosa with Yveltal-EX

Not only is Israel one of the best players in the world, but I knew that Yveltal was one of my tougher matchups. I had no idea how bad it would be until he played a turn-one Ghetsis, completely stripping my hand (I had the combo, for what it's worth) and proceeding to run over me for the rest of the game.

In game two, I made a huge mistake in overextending resources to try and KO an Yveltal, when instead I should've sat on those resources and taken Prizes normally. Although Israel was in the driver's seat for most of the game, I believe this mistake is what ultimately cost me the game and possibly the match.

LL  (1-1)

Round 3: Allejandro Torres with Excadrill

This was an interesting and unique deck, but unfortnately was a little too slow to keep up with the raw power that is Blastoise. My opponent was commonly a few turns late in taking Prizes, and I was able to dicate the pace of the match in my favor.

WW (2-1)

Round 4: Jose Ramirez with Team Magma's Camerupt

Much like my Round 3 opponent, Jose was unfortunately never able to get much in the way of a setup. All of his Pokémon being Water-Weak certainly didn't help either.

WW (3-1)

Round 5: Taylor Stanhonkpa with Bronzong/Aegislash/Raichu

During the few opening turns of this game, I thought my opponent was playing Metal Rayquaza-EX, which is a pretty poor match-up for the Blastoise deck. As the turns went on, I realized he was playing Bronzong/Aegislash with a thick line of Raichu and no Dialga-EX or Mega Rayquaza in sight. This was great for me, as Aegislash isn't at its best versus a deck with no Special Energy, and Raichu wasn't a huge problem either.

WW (4-1)

Round 6: Kevin Vo with Darkrai-EX/Yveltal-EX

Unfortunately, these games weren't very interesting as I missed the turn-one Blastoise both games, and his Seismitoad-EX was enough to completely lock me out of the game.

LL (4-2)

Round 7: Jeremiah Williams with Blastoise

My first mirror match of the day! I ended up getting destroyed game one, but came back to win game two via an Articuno KOing a Jirachi-EX for my remaining three Prizes. During game three, we went to time and ultimately ended up unintentionally drawing the match. After starting out 4-1, this is definitely not where I had hoped to be...

LWT (4-2-1)

Round 8: Chris Abernathy with Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX

Chris is a good friend of mine and an overall awesome dude. We've played one other time in the our careers, where I beat him in a very close match at Nationals 2012. He also lent me cards for this event, which was awesome of him. After losing game one, I was able to pick up wins in games two and three, and keep the dream of Day 2 alive.

LWW (5-2-1)

Round 9: Richard Torres with Giratina-EX/Lugia-EX/Leafeon

After losing game one via getting completely destroyed by Leafeon, I was able to win a long and drawn out game two. During the early stages of game three, we had a tough situation as time was called. A tie would eliminate us both Day 2, and so I decided to concede to Richard to ensure that one of us would have a chance of winning the tournament.

Although I have been criticized for this decision, I 100% believe that it was the correct thing to do and would do it again in a heartbeat. There is never any point in eliminating both players from a tournament if you don't have to.

LWT (5-2-2)


Obviously I wish the tournament had gone better, and I wish that I was the one receiving the concesson in the final round. However, things happened as they did and I can't go back now. Here are a few quick lessons that I learned from this tournament...

1.  I was definitely more rusty than I thought. Despite playing hundreds of games, I realized that I had not diversified my matchups enough, and that testing only with myself and a few trusted teammates did not give me the experience versus the number of decks as I would've liked. I should've arranged testing between certain archetypes and discussed plays more, rather than just jamming a bunch of games and hoping it was enough.

2.  Metagame diversity is huge right now. Very few people at the tournament thought Blastoise was a viable deck. There were a whole lot of Yveltal-EX decks, which aren't as prevelant here (or at least, weren't). There was way less Night March than expected. Vespiquen was almost nonexistent. There was very little Seismitoad. All of these are things that I predicted incorrectly going into the tournament. In the future I need to spend some time focusing on the local area when making deck and tech considerations.

3.  Nine rounds over fourteen hours is grueling. Despite packing plenty of food and drinking water regularly, I was very tired during the last few rounds of the event. I can't imagine how I would've felt had I been forced to return for a second day of competition. If you're competing in one of these two-day Regionals and you think there will be delays/the rounds will otherwise go long, definitely bring plenty of snacks and get plenty of rest the night before!


Thanks for reading, and see you next week!



Editor's note: Kenny Wisdom will be one of the official commentators at the Fort Wayne Regional Championship this weekend.  You can check out the streaming schedule here.  Congratulations to him!

[+10] okko


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