Experts' corner

Ondrej Skubal

Doll Stall - Past, Present,Future From LAIC to Bochum

Ondrej Skubal might just be one of the top players you have never heard of. With four international day2's finishing with a top 32, a top 16, and two top 8 finishes. Ondrej talks about his preparation, thought process, the original Doll Stall list, the improvements made by DDG, and a newer streamline list for Bochum in January.

12/29/2019 by Ondrej Skubal

Editors Note : Ondrej Skubal, might just be the best player you haven't heard from. I have attached Limitless results for him here. As always thanks Limitless for having this up. Ondrej has not only been extremely consistent on making it to day 2, he is also studying in medical school. At 60cards we love showcasing new talent from all over the Pokemon World. so we are excited to introduce Ondrej to many more players. 



My name is Ondřej Škubal and first I'd like to introduce myself. I started playing PTCG during HS: Triumphant and decided to start actively traveling in the 2015/16 season. I've reached European Masters top 22 three times so far and concerning my biggest accomplishments in this game I've made several Regionals’ top cuts as well as top 4 at the Berlin EUIC 2019. 

My favorite decks during the 8 or so years I've been in the game were Night March, most Yveltal - EX variants and Zapdos. You could say about me that I'm mostly a 1-prize attacker player. 

The beginning of this season was kind of rough for me as I was one of those who fell for the trap of thinking that Abilityzard was clear BDIF only to realize a few weeks later that the deck is a complete roulette. 

In the last quarter of the previous season I finished 6th, barely missing top 4 stipends for this season’s first International Championships in Brazil, so I decided to go as the expenses for the tournament was almost 0. Approximately 19 days before the tournament I still had no idea what to play to the point that I didn't even want to go. Well, some things happened and I managed to make another Internationals top 8 and my way to achieve this is what I'd like to touch on in my first 60cards article. 

Thinking that ADP was the deck to beat, the first deck I started testing was, once again, Abilityzard. It felt like Welder decks could have a great time against the new dragon star. I had a list with Ditto prism, Zebstrika, and a few Turtonator as well as a couple of N’s resolve to theoretically make you hit mostly Fires from it in the late game after using Victini’s Infinity. 

In testing, Abilityzard kept betraying me again and again though, so I just threw it away. 

Speaking of Welder decks, I didn't want to play Mew3 as it simply is not a deck for me, due to the fact that it runs mostly GX attackers, as well as it is a Welder based deck. Both formats of this season it has felt like there is another deck I could choose instead of Mew3. 

Lastly, I was too afraid to even consider Baby Blacephalon, cause I got the impression that Brazilians might play a lot of Malamar. Plus I thought the Mew3 match up was really bad as well. 

So I searched through the Internet and the PTCGO ladder for ideas. I didn't want to play ADP itself either. It was a new deck and there was no staring point established list that I could build on, plus the Welder match ups… So no ADP for me. 

Benjamin Pham gave me an interesting Greenzard list with Omastar line, which I tested for a while but didn't really like the ADP match up. 

And then I found the Florges/Dolls deck. First I thought it was a joke as it didn't beat Victini prism and it didn't beat Cryogonal. The Victini issue was easily solvable with Wobuffet but I didn't see how to beat Cryogonal. I knew there was an attacker in the format that discarded the opponent’s Pokémon and I already committed to 1 Latios GX and 1 Psychic energy, so I could just play Rainbow and another attacker. Then I realized that Pokémon was Garchomp Giratina Tag Team and the attack cost 3 energy. 

When I finally came to the conclusion that I don't need to discard the Cryogonal, I just need to knock it out, I felt really stupid. The obvious choices to knock out both Cryogonal and Victini were Buzzwole and Xurkitree. Xurkitree had the advantage that you had 1 more turn to set it up. Buzzwole had the advantage that you could knock out opposing Oranguru with your own Beast Energy. But the exact turn limitation was really bad. 

So I asked Benji Pham again what Pokémon attacks for 1 and does 90. And that's how Spiritomb came to life. 

From there on I tried to tech against each and every match up, I stuck with 4 Stealthy Hoods to beat Ninetales, 2 Sky Pillar to beat Malamar, Latios GX to help against Espedeo in general, Spiritomb to beat both Victini and Cryogonal/Girafarig and that's about it. I decided to run 1 Faba to try to stall out Pidgey control in Swiss (by discarding their recycles and hoping they prizes some Water). The matchup was bad nevertheless, I took it as the real auto loss as accepting control as an auto loss is usually fine, cause the majority of players tend not to play Control decks. The Faba was clutch in the mirror as well as I didn't expect players running the Rainbow energy or Faba in their builds, so I could just Faba Sky Pillar and then spread with Mew. 

The deck seemed almost perfect for the tournament. It had something like a 50/50 matchup against Mew3, perhaps a little bit worse.

It was losing to pidgey control. It had a hard time against Omastar, when played correctly. 

The solution to Omastar seems to be either Mimikyu GX or Celebi. I didn't think of these cards going into LAIC but now I get the impression that those don't help anyway. You can't bench it. And if they just save their 3 Reset Stamps for the turns after they put down Omastar, it feels like you can't win. But maybe I'm just terribly wrong here. 

Anyway, I just couldn't believe that I didn't hear many players talking about the deck and I had no idea where I made a mistake. I told myself, that I'm either going to drop day 1 or win the whole event. So I sleeved the 60 cards actually in the Czech Republic, played some solitaire games at several airports, played 1 game against Manuel Jorach in our hotel room and submitted my list on rk9labs. 

The list:

The tournament started, R1 I faced some local player with Reshirom so everything started just fine. 

Right after that, I was brutally put on 1-1 by Connor Finton with his ADP list that played both Cryogonal and Giraffe and I just wasn't able to find a way to beat it. When I'm 1-1 at bigger events I never really feel too good. 

Fortunately I was able to finish the day with an 8-1 record, beating decks like Gardeon, Quagnag, Mew3, ABZ and the DDG Guzznag deck. 

With this record and other 3 players with 8-1 being 2 ABZ and 1 Guzznag, it looked like from this point it was my Swiss to lose. People were saying that 31 match points were enough for the bubble, so I just won the next two rounds against ABZ and Guzznag and decided to ID very confident I would make it into the top cut in all possible scenarios that could have happened. Eventually I was just able to ID twice. 

Now I'd like to point out something about IDs. When you are guaranteed to make the top cut at an event even before the last round, you have 3 options. You can win, lose or ID. Trying to win last round is fine when you have a high chance of hitting a good match up as the 1st seeded player. Losing is good if you think you could beat eg. the 2nd or 3rd seeded players. And IDing put you somewhere around 2nd, 3rd or 4th seed. Or that's at least what I was thinking heading into R14. I decided just to ID, cause I was risking playing against Pidgeotto in top 8 had I tried to win the last round. I couldn't concede either, cause there was a chance I could be playing Gustavo Wada with his strange Tinachomp/Omastar build. So I took the 1 match point to put me on 3rd place and let some random 31 match points deck play me. I believe I decided correctly, but this decision ended my tournament. 

When I heard I was playing against a local Blacephalon GX player I asked myself: hmm how can I lose this. My answer was I can't unless I fail to set up my board properly. I knew he played the new spreading Blacephalon, but that alone was no problem for my 2 copies of Sky Pillar. 

So we started playing, my opponent went first, everything went optimally for me, T1 Elm, T2 Steven and T3 my opponent puts down Naganadel GX with the Stinger GX attack and I realise I just kicked myself from the tournament. I could have just gone for Latios GX and the Rainbow energy, provided it was not prized, don't know to be honest, and prevent opponent’s GX attack from ever happening. Instead I went for setting up the board state. 

I obviously lost this game. The baby Blacephalon is weak to Spiritomb, but it doesn't matter, because when they use it, they're already taking 2 prizes on Munchlax and Mew. 

Game 2 I started Steven so I went for the Latios combo and my opponent just passed with lone Poipole in the active, so I just went for Spiritomb instead and knocked it out. 

Game 3 my opponent went t1 Welder onto Poipole, t2 Stinger GX for the win and I just sat there thinking how could I have been so stupid not the realise Stinger might be in Blacephalon decks. My opponent even wished me good luck at next events which is great to tell your opponent when you kick him out of a tournament, by the way. 

Honestly, I thought the deck would be only a one tournament option, because there were relatively easy ways for decks like ADP or Green’s decks to tech against it. I was proven wrong when 2 weeks after the DDG boys took the deck to the Daytona beach Regionals for some very good finishes. 

Their list:

I feel kind of ashamed after seeing their decklist as there are some superior choices that I should have seen going into LAIC. They found a way to put in the deck 6 basic Pokémon searching supporters - 4 Oak and 2 Elm. I ran just 4 Elm. This was a mistake as there are numerous occasions where Oak is simply better. 

Example of that can be playing T1 Steven's against Mew3. In this match up I would often go T1 Steven's for Elm and Pokémon Communication. Oak makes it so that you save one spot for something else using this Steven's. I definitely should have played at least 1 Oak in Sao Paulo. 

I wouldn't play 6 in the combination of Oak and Elm, I still believe 4 is enough. I don't think I would commit to playing 4 Oak and 0 Elm either. Of course, getting 1 extra Jirachi on bench is often better than 2 Flabebe, there are some situations where you just prefer Elm, for example against ABZ, you can't often bench your Munchlax and Flabebe without Stealthy hoods. 

The Daytona beach list ran only 2 Pokémon Communication. I really like this and this is the other thing I should have done in Sao Paulo. You never really need 3. It's only good for high rolling some Early Florges or Latios and thinking like that is usually not very good. 

The last ‘mistake’ I made creating my LAIC list was running the wrong Flabebe. The new one is better. Either way I'd keep 1 or 2 of the FLI one, cause it can revive your Mew, Munchlax, Latios or Spiritomb. 

Spiritomb, Girafarig, Wobbuffet, Channeler - this is a combination of important cards to beat certain match ups.

I don't like the Wobbuffet inclusion here. It seems to me that Spiritomb already provides all the answers that Wobbuffet does. 

Channeler is a weird card. It should, in theory, win you the ADP match up, if they run 2 Cryogonal, by using Lusamine for Channeler again and again. The strategy here is that you just put 2 dolls in the Channeler turn. There are some issues with this though. ADP player can even just Stamp you after you Lusamine for the Channeler and the odds of you drawing the Channeler back don't seem very high. The other issue is that I don't think Channeler beats the combination of Cryogonal + Girafarig. If they just use Cryogonal first, you then have to kill it and then they just beat you with Girafarig.

I have to say that I don't understand why they ran their own Girafarig. I had it in my original Sao Paulo Dolls draft but then didn't really find an excuse to run it. You run Rainbow Energy, so it doesn't help against Pidgey control, because of their Faba. It doesn't help against Mew3, because they can just bench the Espedeo. The only instance I can see it helping is in mirror, if they don't run Faba. 

3 Florges - this is interesting. Running 3 is fine against non-Custom Catchers match ups. But if you happen to run into one and prize 1 of the 3 Florges, you might have a hard time stabilizing the board state.

0 Tate & Liza - I loved this card in the deck as I was somehow able to top deck it twice against Gardy day 1 after their GX. The main use for the card is, obviously, not decking out first, but the card might be viewed as sort of last resort and a win more. Maybe the card isn't needed when you play your matches crystal clear.

The last interesting cut in their list was Sky Pillar, as DDG only ran 1. I think this stadium is way too important not to play 2.

Going forward I don't see any bright future for the deck. It gained some bad match ups now with ADP playing Custom Catchers, Cryogonal and Girafarig, Gardeon playing Omastar, Mismagius decks running baby Blacephalon, Malamar running Faba etc. Certainly, there are your own techs you can prepare for these techs, but mostly I don't think they work. 

This is the early draft of the list I might consider for Bochum Regionals in January.:

If we accept ADP for an autoloss, I think we can cut the Spiritomb. Wobbuffet just seems better in that case as it helps against Ditto prism as well. Ditto prism might then evolve into things like Luxio or Weezing which can very easily be dealt with Spiritomb, but the Wobbuffet way is just easier. 

I'll be definitely trying Celebi in the deck as well as certain combinations of Oak and Elm. 

2 Rainbow Energy feels much safer. Prizing one piece of your attacker isn't too good.

This will be it for today. I hope you enjoyed my very first article in English as well as some of my thought process going into LAIC. I'll see you with another article before the Bochum Regionals, very soon. 

Ondra Škubal 



[+29] okko


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