My face became flushed and the frustration built up in me. It happens every time at that same moment. That moment where you know for certain that you are going to lose and get knocked out of the tournament.
It’s the moment I hate most about tournaments. The moment that makes me hate to practice; to think practice is useless. The moment that makes me want to quit Pokémon. But it’s also the most important moment for every competitive player.
You can’t let that moment beat you. Every single person who has ever played Pokémon will get knocked out of a tournament more often than they win one. Jason Klaczynski has won Worlds three times. How does he do it?
Jason has been knocked out in many tournaments, but what makes him the greatest of all time is hard work and consistency. In preparation of every tournament cycle and every tournament, Jason plays hours and hours of Pokémon. He tries hundreds of different variants of decks, many different styles of decks, and many different tech cards. Playing tons and tons of games is important in maximizing your chance at victory. You can’t control the game, but you can make the most of the cards you’re dealt.
This has been the hardest lesson for me to swallow since I started playing in 2010. I’ve learned so many tips, general deck construction guidelines, and countless in-game strategies, but this is the most important one. This is what makes you a superstar in this game.
I had to keep this in mind after my second loss in the KO, statistically eliminating me from title contention. I know I’m going to have to keep this in mind all season, and if there is one thing I want you to learn from this report, it’s that. Let’s get to the actual report.
In the couple weeks leading up to the KO after Worlds, I was heavily testing Darkrai Garbodor variants, as well as Plasma variants. Other archetypes were not as successful as these two, and Plasma was a personal favorite of mine. However in the couple days leading up to the tournament, my Darkrai deck was winning many games. And the Ace Spec I was testing with was Scoop Up Cyclone. Before that I was using Life Dew, but since my deck was focused more on Darkrai and a low Sableye count, I felt that Life Dew was slightly underwhelming. Without Keldeo in my deck, Scoop-Up Cyclone is a Switch, a Max Potion, and a board controller. Let’s take a look at the list I used for the event:
|Pokémon (10)||Trainers (39)||Energy (11)|
|4 Darkrai EX||4 Professor Juniper||11 Darkness Energy|
|2 Trubbish||4 N|
|2 Garbodor||2 Skyla|
|1 Sableye||2 Colress|
|1 Absol||4 Hypnotoxic Laser|
|4 Dark Patch|
|4 Pokémon Catcher|
|3 Ultra Ball|
|3 Float Stone|
|2 Virbank City Gym|
|2 Dark Claw|
|2 Enhanced Hammer|
|1 Scoop Up Cyclone|
Overall, before the event I was very satisfied with this list. I felt comfortable with this deck because of the 75 minute, best-of-three Swiss rounds. In tournaments in the upcoming season, I don’t feel 50 minutes is enough time for possibly three games of Pokémon with this deck.
Round 1 I played vs. Carlos Pero and his Mewtwo, Deoxys, Plasma Badge deck. I personally think this a favorable matchup for me, but things didn’t quite go the way I intended. Game 1 I missed on energy the first few turns of the game and wasn’t able to energy accelerate or attack early. Enhanced Hammer was also a non-factor when I eventually managed to draw one.
Game 2 went even worse, as the only Supporter I started with was Colress. I didn’t have any benched Pokémon, and after Carlos’s first turn he only had one. He put on pressure quickly, and in order to stay alive I had to Colress for just one two turns in a row. The second Colress didn’t work and I lost in round one.
Round 2 I played against Lugia/Cofagrigus/Deoxys. On paper, if I can get out Garbodor quickly enough, it is obviously extremely effective against this deck. However both games I was unable to do so and quickly came under attack by a powerful Lugia EX. N was my friend both games, as KOing the active Lugia and playing an N (putting my opponent at 3 cards) was my ticket to victory both games.
After lunch break, I knew I needed to not lose another game in order to have a chance at Top 8.
Round 3 I played against Blastoise/Keldeo/Black Kyurem. Now this might seem like a very favorable matchup with Garbodor in my deck, but to my dismay my opponent played 2 Tool Scrapper, as well as Dowsing Machine. With three sources to discard any Tools attached to my Garbodor, that puts me in quite the tough position.
After three long, tough games, I certainly thought I had game three on lockdown. There was a Scrapper in his discard as well as his Dowsing Machine. The problem was I didn’t know about the second Tool Scrapper yet. Game 1 he only played one, and game 2 he didn’t play either of them down, despite using Skyla in a great opportunity to get one. The shock and frustration came quickly. Extremely disappointed in losing my second match, I reminded myself of what I talked about earlier. It’s tough to accept at the time, but it drives me to practice more and more each day.
I continued my tournament with the hopes of a Top 16 finish, but I eventually lost again and finished at 4-3. While an unconventional Ace Spec to use, Scoop Up Cyclone proved useful on so many occasions. There were also spots where Computer Search would have been very useful, but ultimately I have no regrets.
As the tournament season continues, the thing I need to focus on is maximizing my opportunity. Surely I will make mistakes this season, but as long as I learn from them and continue to maximize my opportunity, the sky’s the limit. The tournament season isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon that you can’t give up on.
Until next time,
Questions? Ask me on Twitter @TopCutBen!