03/01/2016 by Rahul Reddy
Hey everybody my name is Rahul Reddy and before I begin my article, I'd like to talk about myself a little bit so you can get to know me. I've been playing the card game competitively for about five years now and this is my second full season of competition. I've Top Cut multiple states, regional and nationals but my results in the past year have been lack luster. This season has been going a lot better for me and I'm currently sitting at 282 Championship Points right around the corner of my first worlds invite if I can secure it. Now that you guys know a little more about me let's jump into my Virginia Regionals experience and tournament report.
Being a player whose roots began in Virginia I always try to make it a point to attend Virginia Regionals every year and about two months ago my dad called me to let me know about a flash sale on Southwest, so me and the Team Prison boys all booked our tickets and got ready to go play in Virginia.
Bees VA Regionals
- 4x Combee
- 4x Vespiquen
- 4x Flareon
- 2x Eevee
- 2x Eevee
- 4x Unown
- 4x Shaymin EX
- 1x Audino
- 1x Jolteon
- 1x Mr. Mime
- 1x Wobbuffet
- 1x Jirachi
- 4x Professor Juniper
- 1x Computer Search
- 1x AZ
- 1x N
- 1x Blacksmith
- 1x Hex Maniac
- 4x Battle Compressor
- 4x VS Seeker
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 1x Silver Bangle
- 1x Parallel City
- 1x Lysandre
- 3x Fire Energy
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
Alright let me take this opportunity to explain some of the choices that I made in my deck as opposed to other Vespiquen lists that were seen that weekend and in St Louis.
I chose to split the Eevee line that I played because I knew that a handful of players were playing some sort of an Eels variant and Magnezone-EX was pretty scary to deal with, the same applies to Kyogre-EX in Blastoise. I was also scared of Bat damage getting easy snipes on 50 HP targets as opposed to slightly tougher knockouts on the 60 HP target.
I'll be completely honest when I say I forgot this card existed and could be played in this deck, I've just become so accustomed to Shaymin-EX that I didn't want it anymore in a sense. If I had it over the fourth Shaymin-EX it probably would've made some difference because the fourth Shaymin-EX honestly didn't do much all day.
The Audino is for any stage in the game vs any deck that utilizes Hypnotoxic Laser so that I can usually get that one more KO with my attacker before I lose them.
I feared Archeops as a card, but not enough to the point that I would dedicate two spots to this card because opening it in a build that runs four Shaymin-EX is really, really detrimental. The one copy lets me set up for a big turn under Archeops lock or buys me a turn against a deck like Eels or Blastoise.
1 Mr. Mime
Coming into this Regionals I had the assumption that people would be playing Archiestoise with Kyogre-EX and that was a scary thought to me, LandyBats also terrified me so I decided to tech the Mr. Mime to prevent all this bench damage that might lose me the game. In a lesser sense it also helps vs Darkrai-EX but in that matchup it probably won't be in my deck that long.
1 Computer Search
A lot of players preferred the Life Dew over the Computer Search and I did too up until five minutes before the event when I realized that I wanted to have as consistent a list as possible going into a tournament where I would play potentially 40+ games.
I didn't play any Float Stone because during my games with this deck I didn't know exactly where I would put the Float Stone and have it stick. The AZ would get me out of sticky situations where I would get Laser-locked under Toad and win me crucial games throughout the day, so I felt like it was a worthwhile cut.
1 Hex Maniac
Mainly for Archeops but a late game Hex Maniac versus a Bats based deck is really crucial to surviving the turn or keeping that one crucial attacker alive. It's also really strong for the early game once I set up with Shaymin-EX and then have the option to shut my opponent out of his.
1 Parallel City
This card is really strong in this deck not only because you can be reckless with your Pokémon-EX fully knowing that you'll bounce them off your bench to prevent the-EX knockouts during the later stages of the game. It also makes Toad really weak until they manage to bounce your stadium. It also deals with Articuno to some extent in the Archiestoise matchup.
Now for the tournament report and a little bit from each of my rounds, it's adventure time.
Round 1 vs Jake Sonnenfeld (Seismitoad/Giratina)
Right off the bat I hit a matchup that might not be the most favorable one in the world and it being round 1 and all I was nervous and super jittery. I always get super nervous during the early rounds because they set the pace for how the rest of the day is going to go. In Game 1 he was unable to get a single Giratina-EX out onto his field and I just killed a couple of Seismitoad and I think a Hoopa-EX for a quick Game 1.Game 2he went first and seemingly had a dead turn so I did my whole turn of setting up with two Shaymin-EXs and managed to get a Parallel City down as well to bounce my Shaymin. I decided to Hex at the end of my turn rather that Juniper because I had a Double Colorless in my hand after the energy attachment and during my opponents turn he mistakenly ultra balled for a Shaymin to draw for more cards and I stopped him before the situation got out of hand. He clearly was shaken up by this play and I was able to run away with this game after that point. (1-0)
Round 2 vs Ahmed Ali (Yveltal-EX/Assault Vest)
Going into this matchup I felt really confident in my Yveltal-EX matchup and in Game 1 my deck performed perfectly and I swiftly took out Ahmed. During the course of Game 1 I didn't see the Assault Vests so when they hit the field Game 2I was very surprised. During Game 2I managed to start a poor hand and had to draw-pass for a few turns, by the time I hit a supporter and managed to get rolling my opponent had already taken three prizes. I managed to get down to 1 prize card but his board was just too developed to where I couldn't stop him from taking that last prize card. During Game three we both had pretty even starts and at one point during the game he goes all in with a Darkrai and an Assault Vest. I believe he had like a Shaymin and Keldeo on the bench other than it and my board was like three Eevee and 1 Combee. I had already looked at my hand and seen that I had the pieces for the knockout with an Ultra Ball for Flareon and a Silver Bangle in my hand. I use my Ultra Ball and to my dismay all of my Flareon were not found in the deck. I take a second and even third look through my deck in the hopes that I'm just mistaken but it was a cruel trick that fate had played on me. I realized that I was basically out of attackers at this point and proceeded to concede the game. Overall they were some good games and barring the unfortunate luck in the last game I really enjoyed the series. (1-1)
This was probably the best possible time for lunch break to take place, because I was still pretty shaken up about prizing all my Flareon the previous round. I went out to 7/11 with Ryan Sabelhaus, Jimmy McClure, Mark Samuelson and Nelson Chua and it was a super long lunch break but it was a relaxing one for sure. Food options near the venue were really limited so it was nice having a 7/11 that close by for some of their delicious hot dogs. After our bellies were full and we were all refreshed we headed back for round 3.
Round 3 vs Glen Sullivan (Seismitoad/Crobat)
This on paper was a very favorable matchup for me and I was pretty happy that I got it this round. Game 1 went just as I would have wanted it and I managed to KO a Toad on my second turn and the game swung in my favor from that point out. During Game 2I had a couple of unfortunate laser flips go against me and that led to me losing the game on a coin flip. Game three went very similar to game 1 where I was able to set up normally and prevented him from really doing much with his Toad as I ran through his field with my Vespiquen. (2-1)
Round 4 vs Michael Pramawat (Seismitoad/Crobat)
Pram and I have a long history playing against each other throughout my many years playing the game and historically he comes out on top, but I was hoping to change things with this series. During Game 1 Pram was unable to get anything really set up and I took a super quick game. I was feeling really confident in this series similar to the last one except for one key detail, Pram played three Silent Lab in his deck, and my draw engine revolves around 4 Shaymin-EX and 4 Unown. During Game 2he got down a turn 1 Silent Lab and I wasn't able to do much quickly conceding a couple of turns down the road. Game three was a super weird game where both of us were drawing mediocre and the situation held as such, Pram couldn't find a way to get his Shaymin-EX out of the active spot and I was unable to find a draw supporter so I was using Intelligence Gathering every turn in a desperate attempt to do so. The match came down to a point where we both got what we needed except I was still missing a draw supporter, he was fortunate enough to put me to sleep with a laser and I was unable to just wake up and kill his Seismitoad. The game came down to that flip effectively because in the end I lost by a singular prize. (2-2)
We both got deck checked at this point and I'm not gonna lie I felt like my tournament run was drawing to an end, but I knew that Pram and Ahmed would keep winning and if there was ever so small of a chance that I could make it through this grueling day I would be proud of myself later for it. Before the match I assumed Pram played like 1-2 Lab but afterwards when he told me three I pretty much was like yeah that really throws a wrench into my deck's plans.
Round 5 vs Catherine Peters (Yveltal/Archeops)
This matchup should be really bad for my deck because of Archeops but I had enough techs in my deck that I felt like this matchup still wasn't too bad. Game 1 went really smoothly for me because Cat prized her Archeops and couldn't get it out and I took a convincing game 1. The second game was a little tougher because she managed to get out an Archeops on her first turn and I was left to find a solution in a turn. I had my Hex Maniac prized so I set up for a huge Wobb turn that resulted in my setting up 4 attackers which I felt was enough to seal out the game and it did just that. (3-2)
Round 6 vs Jacob Tollyver (Mega Manectric/Garbodor)
This matchup is extremely favorable and I felt that barring any dead hands I should be able to take this series. Game 1 my deck performed just as the deck should and I was able to take a quick game because I got my parallel city down onto the field before he got his. The second game I opened Shaymin and on his first turn he sets up a big play where he assault vested his Manectric and evolved to the Mega and got a parallel down limiting my damage so I had to expend an unfortunate amount of resources to deal with it leaving me one attacker short of closing out the game and I lost that one. Game three I was able to just set up my whole field to deal with any of his attackers and nothing really posed a threat to me on his field, including anything with assault vest on his bench. (4-2)
Round 7 vs Nolan Freda (Mega Manectric/Garbodor)
Again this was a favorable matchup on paper but an opening turn Wobb could prove troublesome. Game 1 the Wobb was my undoing as he opened it and I didn't have anything I could do to deal with it losing quickly. Games two and three went similarly as I completely set up and was swinging for over 200 damage on my second turn and I was able to seal out those games quickly and convincingly. (5-2)
Round 8 vs Fred Hoban (Vespiquen/Flareon)
Normally I felt good about the mirror match because of my parallel city but I had cut the life dew in the morning making this matchup abysmal if he played a dew of his own. He did just that, paired with two hands in both games 1 and two that didn't allow me to really do anything and him hitting his Life Dew early both games I was left at a disadvantage in the prize trade. He never recklessly benched a Pokémon-EX making it hard for me to come back into this game and with my deck failing itself I lost the series in a pretty decisive manner. (5-3)
This is the point where my nerves were getting the better of me and I knew that if I won the last round I would have a shot at bubbling into the second day. I was hearing mixed things from people about how many 18 pointers would make it in but I felt like I had a strong shot as all three of my losses had secured their position into Day 2.
Round 9 vs Chris Fulop (Yveltal/Raichu)
Going up against Chris I was up paired into him and felt that the tie would benefit neither so I told him at the beginning of the game that if we went to a tie and he was playing at a reasonable pace of play I would concede the match to him so he could make Day 2. Both our decks once they get going don't need more than a minute a turn so the games were actually pretty quick. Game 1 I got set up and Chris had to bench an-EX while I bounced mine with Parallel city giving me the game. The second game went far better in his favor with me being forced to bench a Shaymin-EX and not having the resources to get it off my field before he killed it. The third game we both had an ideal set up on our boards but Chris didn't see an energy card until after his third or fourth Juniper. He went into the deck for an Ultra Ball search after his close to last Juniper and showed me that 8 of his like 12 card deck was energy cards and due to Chris not getting the cards he needed to stay in the game I was able to run away with that Game 3. (6-3)
At this point I don't know if I'll make it and I'm beyond nervous. The Team Prison guys went to the roster first before I even had a chance to see it but no one told me, I went up with nothing but fear in my heart and when I saw that I had snuck in at 29th Seed I was overjoyed. I was giddy with excitement because I felt confident going into the second day and I looked over to Michael Canaves and said "If I win my first round tomorrow I'll be making Top 8, if I don't I will not be."
Round 10 vs Nolan Freda (MegaManectric/Garbador)
So I go into my first game of Day two facing a familiar foe, Nolan whom I played during Swiss of Day 1. I knew all the tricks in his deck and being fully prepared for what to expect I was able to take a quick series 2-0 in my favor with nothing big happening out of the ordinary. I made a huge misplay where I could've killed the Manectric on his bench with a Lysandre but tried to kill the active Mega digging through my deck for more resources and that almost cost me the game. (7-3)
Round 11 vs Kevin Baxter (Vespiquen/Flareon/Gallade)
Kevin is always known for his creativity and crazy decks and when I saw that he was playing Vespiquen I didn't expect anything out of the ordinary. Game 1 when he got the turn 1 Gallade I kind of sat there with a look of awe on my face. Game 1 came down to a crucial turn where I needed to use Blacksmith and return a KO so that I could set up for a Lysandre kill the following turn for game but after a quick search through my deck I found that Blacksmith was prized so I conceded the game. The second game I went for the cheeky turn 1 Hex play hoping it would trip up Kevin a bit, it didn't. He dumped his entire hand on the first turn, played down his Tropical Beach and set up for 7. The game spiraled out of control from there and I got dominated. (7-4) Losing that series didn't actually feel too bad because after learning what tech cards Kevin played for the mirror match it felt like a near impossible matchup from the beginning.
Round 12 vs Phil Norman (Landorus/Bats)
This round I was down paired to a super nice Pokédad by the name of Phil. Phil was planning on leaving to go to his son's soccer game after this round anyway but we played the game out because we were there to play Pokémon and that is exactly what we did. We had quite the enjoyable series with a contested game 1 that I managed to secure in the end but during Game 2Phil didn't really draw into anything and I was able to take a quick 2-0. It was a pleasure meeting you sir and I hope to see you around! (8-4)
Round 13 vs Grant Manley (Pika EX/Raikou/Eels)
This matchup isn't the worst one for me but not the best one at the same time. The first game was a super close game where I managed to chain Hex maniacs for the last two turns of the game sealing it up. The second game was also a close game where I managed to barely lose because I missed the N to make sure that Grant didn't have a follow up attacker to end the game. The third game was probably the closest game of the entire tournament where I put myself in a position to win the game in two turns with a VS Seeker for Lysandre in hand. Grant Lysandre’d my own Shaymin to try and stall me for a turn which I responded with an AZ to pick up my Shaymin. I at that point had 1 VS seeker left and about an 8 card deck. Grant took about 4 minutes in making the decision between using Hex maniac and N and Grant ultimately chose to use the N. He asked did I make a misplay and I responded that he did because my deck at that point consisted of two unplayable cards, three Shaymin, two Ultra Balls and a VS seeker. I drew into any combination of cards during my turn to use Shaymin to draw out my deck get the last VS seeker and win the game. (9-4)
Round 14 vs Frank Diaz (Yveltal)
This series was pretty straight forward because I knew Frank didn't play Archeops or Assault Vests. The first game I was able to overload my board with energy and continuously stream attackers that Frank couldn't handle and he conceded early into the game. The second game I gave Frank my Wobb to deal with while I set up holding the AZ in my hand to pick it up once there was significant damage on it. Frank went for the play where he grabbed Toad Muscle band and a laser putting my Wobb to sleep and 80 damage meaning it dies going back into his turn. I simply AZ’d the Wobb up and took the KO with my Quen ready to go on the bench. From that point onwards I was in the driver's seat and I continuously chained AZ's to make sure that laser didn't inhibit me in any way and I had all of my energies every turn so the game ended pretty quickly. (10-4)
At this point I was ecstatic because I hadn't done this well at a big tournament since the days of Best of 1 Swiss rounds, when I was more used to performing at the highest level consistently. Regionals are a real struggle and really do exhaust the player more than you can imagine. Going into Top 8 I that I ended up on the bracket with the most unfavorable matchups for me especially starting off my bout with a familiar face, Michael Pramawat.
Top 8 vs Michael Pramawat (Seismitoad/Bats)
I wish I could say that I took down Pram and kept my Cinderella story alive, but that's not the case. Game 1 I drew a Supporterless hand and lost really quickly. The second game I opened with a Juniper but had three Vespiquen and two Flareon in my opening hand. I couldn't really discard that hand and hope to win the game so I tried to stall and I pretty much lost two turns later. Sometimes your deck just bricks out on you and you lose. (10-5)
Overall I had a good time and felt like had I not drawn such abysmal hands I would've stood a decent chance at winning my Top 8 match if not the whole tournament. I want to thank everyone who cheered me on the whole weekend and made this a fun weekend for me. Thank you to everyone who took the time to read this article and I hope everyone had an amazing Pokémon Day on the 27th! Go out celebrate 20 years of Pokémon and if you're playing in a Regionals good luck and have fun!
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