LCQ Survival Guide

Who doesn’t want to play in Worlds? Everyone wants a shot at becoming World Champion! But for some of us with not-so-stellar seasons, including myself, that chance only comes with outlasting the competition in the Last Chance Qualifier the day before Worlds. Thankfully, I’ve made it through the “grinder” once before in 2010, so I’m here to help you have the best chance of getting in.

Ben with the other 2010 LCQ qualifiers!

The LCQ is a timed single elimination tournament, with approximately only the top 8 competitors earning an invite into Worlds. Each match is a best of 3, the same as the top cut of any event. Masters division players must have 10 Play! Points to enter into the LCQ.

There are three things you MUST consider if you’re going to want to earn a spot at the World Championships:

1. Deck Choice
2. Matchups
3. Practice

Your deck choice is a monumental decision to have to make. Eels? Darkrai? Klinklang? You have to pick something that has the possibility to win against the top tier decks. If your deck loses to Eel variants due to Weakness, you’re probably going to have to change things up a bit to allow you to deal with this very popular deck, or possibly switch decks altogether.

One thing to keep in mind is the best 2/3 timed format. Losing Game 1 or 2 with a slow set-up deck such as Vanilluxe can be devastating toward your chances. A lot of times, Game 3 doesn’t finish and the aggressive deck will win on time because they’ve take a prize or two.

Slower decks may have a tough time in the LCQ.

I would also stay away from the Klinklang deck. I know, I know, it won US Nationals, but the deck has a very strong weakness to Lost Remover or Enhanced Hammer, especially if they are using Sableye to get it back. Because it won Nationals, there will be an increase in the use of Hammer and Remover, making the deck very dangerous to play.

Your deck needs to have a fighting chance versus these decks:

1. Eels
2. Darkrai Variants
3. Decks with Mewtwos
4. Vileplume Paralysis decks
5. Klinklang

If you find yourself losing to one of these decks in practice over and over, you need to make an adjustment. Some adjustments will be simple with play style or a tech of one card, and others will be more extensive with many card changes to your deck. An easy solution would be to play one Lost Remover for Klinklang and Junk Arm for it to stop their attacks. Another is to play an Unown (Cure) to get an extra attack in versus Accelgor. A more complex change would be teching multiple Terrakions into your Eels list as well as Fighting Energies to deal with Darkrai. You need to find a nice medium for beating all of these decks without sacrificing too much consistency.

An important thing to note is the strength of Mewtwo EX. Maybe we all forgot how good it is, but playing 3 Mewtwo is still a good idea. A great example of a Mewtwo war not being dead is the Top 4 match between Kevin Nance and Jay Hornung at US Nationals this year, which you can watch here:

Both of these players made it very far into the tournament thanks to the use of Mewtwo EX. He’s still a very strong attacker and, since they played 3, they would always win the Mewtwo war when it began.

The number one most important thing you can do to win more games, is to play more games, more specifically against those five deck types mentioned above. The more you practice each matchup, the more games you are going to win against those deck types. When you’re in the tournament, each game will feel much easier than if you hadn’t practiced much.

Unfortunately, the single most important thing for making it through the LCQ isn’t something I can teach you. It’s luck. Grinding in is difficult and you need to have some things go your way in order to get in. In 2010 when I made it in, I knew some things went my way that day and felt blessed to be able to get in. Hopefully I’ve helped to give you a better chance at making it through this year and competing in the World Championships.

Feel free to ask me anything on Twitter @xGWH and I will get back to you.

Good Luck!

9 responses to “LCQ Survival Guide”

  1. tylertyphlosion

    BP OP.

  2. coolestman22

    The most important thing in LCQ is to have a consistent deck with good matchups against Darkrai and Zekeels, and a chance against everything else.

    Quad Terrakion.

    60 minutes isn’t enough for Vileplume, so it will all lose in the first few rounds.

    1. Edmund_Nelson

      how do you plan to beat anything real? or any good players playing darkai competently? Say you go second and your darkrai oppnent gets a T2 night spear. One to your active w/energy and one to your pokemon with EXP share. Then they use pokemon catcher (they sculpted their play based around this card) and one shot both of your terrakions. From here your terrakions start falling left and right because you can’t maintain energy on the field. losing you the game.

      1. Micah Tate

        You’d need 1 pluspower each turn or dark claw. I agree with your point though. Hammertime also drastically hurts quad terrakion, and that deck still sees significant play.

      2. coolestman22

        Yes, if you go second and your opponent gets a T2 Darjrai, which doesn’t happen in the majority of games assuming your opponent or you isn’t using a stacked die, and your opponent gets a PlusPower and Catcher, then you use Hammers and Potions to counter this strategy.

        See, Terrakion has this thing called a “thin skeleton”, meaning you have about 15 extra deck spaces so you can play these cards that other decks can’t, which can improve matchups and consistency. Meaning that that 100 damage Darkrai did will be reduced to 70, making that play illegitimate.

        A smart player might not even DROP the second Terrakion until T3, which also screws over the Darkrai player. Sure, there is a theoretical possibility that the Darkrai player will hit a Dark Claw and 2 PlusPower, but most lists don’t even play Dark Claw anymore. You would be more likely to win if you didn’t drop the second Terrakion.

        You could also argue about the Special Darks, but those fall victim to Lost Remover, you know, the card Quad Terrakion plays 3-4 of.

        Then, you drop the second Terrakion and attach an Exp. Share to it, attach a Fighting Energy to the active Terrakion and hit for 40 (assuming Eviolite) or attach to the benched Terrakion. If they decide not to Night Spear you use Switch after you power up enough Terrakions. If you have the skill, you have the advantage.

        1. Micah Tate

          T2 Darkrai is extremely consistent. The only Darkrai deck that might struggle with T2 Darkrai is Hammertime. Potions are really good Darkrai spread counters but hammers? Not sure if that’s going to do anything.

          Not drop a 2nd terrakion by T3? If the Darkrai player runs even one Mewtwo, you lose at the drop of a Shaymin unless you’ve flipped some amazing hammer heads.

          Not even quad terrakion or durant run 3-4 lost remover =0 At least I think. Are you already talking BW-on or something?

          Terrakion is still a good deck, but I’m not sure it’s the play for the Grinder considering the increase in Mewtwo EX and speed in the format.

          1. coolestman22

            I think you misunderstood the majority of my post.

            You will go first in 50% of games, and a T2 Darkrai will not happen 100% of the time. Therefore, the odds that you get a T2 Darkrai and go first are less than 50%.

            You would need 7 energy between the Terrakion and Mewtwo for that to work, not to mention that niether the Mewtwo or Shaymin can be prized and you have to get both, and the Shaymin you have to get at a specific point. That means the Mewtwo would need 5 energy on T3 also, which isn’t too likely to happen. You would be more likely to win not dropping the Terrakion.

            Hammers are good against Darkrai because Dark Patch only works to the bench, meaning you either have to pull a Switch and Dark Patch or a basic dark out of your hat. Meaning you need to burn resources, and since you’ve discarded a few Darks for Dark Patch for later you will be less likely to get the dark.

            I said you would run Lost Remover. Read the fine print.

          2. Micah Tate

            I did misinterpret that, thanks for clearing that up. I would like to point out though that turn one Darkrai is also fairly prevalent, so this may change the odds as well.

            I simply do not see how not benching a 2nd Terrakion is the “smart” play when these game-ending situations are plausible.
            Five energy by turn three? So all I need is one dark patch and one DC, or two dark patches, and a manually attached energy per turn? Sounds like a fairly easy game. Darkrai/Mewtwo, speed Darkrai, and Darkrai/Mewtwo/Terrakion play approximately two shaymin, so prizes will not affect the game the majority of the time.

            SSU, switch (as you mentioned) and Shaymin say no thank you to your hammers. I can see hammers possibly slowing down Darkrai one turn if you hit 1 or 2 heads early but that is a lot to ask from your first 2 turns. Hammers are great and were definitely the play for Terrakion when CMT was prominent, but now they just don’t seem to be a good play against the meta.

            I didn’t miss any fine print; I am saying running four Lost Remover is an absolutely ludicrous idea.

  3. Brian

    I believe Zekrom/Terrikon is the best play. Fast, consistent(with energy search), tech, you have options that the LCQ demands.