After last week’s unpredictable result from the Northern California Regionals, everyone was interested to see how it would affect this week’s metagame. What would change? Would we see more of Darkrai after Israel Sosa’s big win, or would we see more people attempt to counter it? Would Landorus/Mewtwo/Garbodor actually stay around, or was it a one time return? Let’s take a look at what won in British Columbia and Arizona!
With 117 players in Masters, Vancouver, BC’s Regional Championship would have seven rounds and a Top 8. Since it isn’t combined with a VGC event, it would be a one-day event. Like last week’s event, there were not enough players to justify extra Swiss rounds. So, compared to last year’s system (which would have called for seven rounds and a Top 16), this year’s system provided one fewer round (seven rounds, Top 8). Losses (and ties) become especially painful with such a low number of rounds. After the Swiss rounds, here were the standings from the event.
Tyler Ninomura (6-0-1) stunned the competition with his Stunfisk/Leafeon/Drifblim deck, entering the Top 8 as the first seed. Recently the deck has been gaining more popularity, but it was seen as nothing more as a niche rogue deck that only worked in the right metagame. Apparently Tyler made the right call! Other notable names in the Top 8 were Amelia Bottemiller (5-0-2), who qualified through the LCQ in Vancouver last season, still playing her straight Darkrai deck. In addition, 2011 World Champion David Cohen (5-1-1) was using a Plasma deck with a heavy focus on Lugia EX.
But the real stars of the day were Grant McClellan (5-1-1) playing Big Basics/Garbodor and Joey Gaffney (6-1-0) playing Blastoise. These two duked it out in the Finals, and Grant came out on top in two quick games! With the release of Plasma Freeze, the Landorus/Mewtwo/Garbodor deck almost died out completely. However, in these past two weeks, we saw a huge resurgence with the Big Basics deck. Most people did not have this deck on their radar heading into Regionals, but now it’s a real contender. For the second week in a row, Blastoise ended up with a second place finish. Here were the final standings.
1. Grant McClellan (Landorus/Mewtwo/Garbodor)
2. Joey Gaffney (Blastoise)
3. Ethan Batson (Plasma)
4. Sebastian Teh (Virizion/Genesect)
5. Tyler Ninomura (Stunfisk/Leafeon/Drifblim)
6. Amelia Bottemiller (Darkrai)
7. Trevore Read (Blastoise)
8. David Cohen (Plasma/Lugia)
Once again, we saw a healthy mix of decks in the Top 8, and just about every top archetype was represented. However, it is interesting to note that Darkrai/Garbodor, what some pegged to be the best deck in the format, was absent here. Maybe the 50 minute time limits aren’t very kind to the deck, or maybe players have started to play more Tool Scrapper. Either way, the deck has lost a lot of steam recently.
Over in Phoenix, the first ever Regional Championship in Arizona was held this weekend. 183 Masters made the trek to the desert, meaning there would be eight rounds and a Top 8. Again, this is fewer rounds than what last year’s system would have given us (eight rounds and a Top 32). Also, this is even lower attendance than last weekend’s Regional Championship. In general, attendance seems to be down at these events so far. Here are the standings after the Swiss rounds.
First of all, let’s have a moment of silence for Stefan Tabaco, who missed the cut with a 6-1-1 record. Ouch. Can’t even imagine what that must feel like.
During the Swiss rounds, we saw all sorts of crazy results. Karl Kitchin (6-0-2) and Brandon Jones (6-1-1) ended the first day on top with a unique Virizion EX/Mewtwo EX deck. We saw this deck pop up last week in California, and the Utah players brought it over to Arizona with some great results. Who said Mewtwo is dead? Again, we saw Big Basics/Garbodor having some success, with Joe Sanchez (6-1-1) making it in at Top 8. (Stefan also reached a 6-1-1 record with the deck.) For those who say Blastoise needs Tropical Beach, Anthony Wilson (6-1-1) would beg to differ. Instead of running the expensive Stadium card, he ran a line of Electrode instead! Maybe he’s onto something.
Once again, the weekend belonged to Israel Sosa (6-1-1). After his win in California, Israel came back with his Darkrai deck to win for the second week in a row! Just two weeks into the season, he’s sitting at 300 Championship Points. What an incredible year he’s having so far. Finishing in second place was Jacob Stoyakovich (6-1-1) with Plasma. Traditionally Plasma has struggled to beat Darkrai decks that have Enhanced Hammer, and the trend continued this week. Congratulations to both players on great finishes! Here are the final standings for this event.
1. Israel Sosa (Darkrai)
2. Jacob Stoyakovich (Plasma)
3. Joe Sanchez (Landorus/Mewtwo/Garbodor)
4. Matt Brooks (Blastoise)
5. Karl Kitchin (Virizion/Mewtwo)
6. Brandon Jones (Virizion/Mewtwo)
7. Anthony Wilson (Blastoise/Keldeo/Electrode)
8. Andrew Zavala (Virizion/Genesect)
Right now the metagame seems pretty diverse, but can anyone stop Israel Sosa this season? After two years of dominance, you would think that people figured out how to beat Darkrai by now! Guess not. Then again, maybe it’s just Israel doing all the work. Whatever the case, Darkrai is, yet again, the deck to beat at the moment. More decks with Virizion EX keep finding success here and there, but they haven’t gotten a big win yet. Perhaps next week will change that.
What will we see next week? Houston, Philadelphia, and Fort Wayne will close out the Autumn Regionals for the 2013-14 season. Will any of these actually reach high enough attendance to get extra Swiss rounds on the second day? Will ties continue to be a huge factor? We’ll answer those questions next week!