Vengeance is Sweet – Indiana Regionals Report

Coming into the season, I wasn’t quite sure how much I wanted to invest into traveling and playing. Between the 500 Championship Point requirement and the new tournament structure, my enthusiasm for playing this season was waning. Overall, my competitive drive isn’t quite there anymore. As a result, I’ve put most of my effort into covering the game through videos, streaming, etc. But after our decision not to stream from sanctioned events this season, I figured it would be worth it to give this season a shot and see what happened.

After the Klaczynski Open, the odds-on favorite for Regionals appeared to be Darkrai/Garbodor. So, I started looking for ways to deal with it and still have game against the other popular decks. One of the first decks that got brought to my attention was a Victini EX/Terrakion EX/Drifblim/Garbodor deck that Joe Baka came up with. Without a doubt, it smashed any Darkrai variant with a string of monstrous Fighting Pokémon. Unfortunately, Blastoise was an impossible matchup to win because everyone started to play two Tool Scrapper to counter Garbodor. Plus, a lot of Plasma decks were starting to run lots of Basic Energy, making the Drifblim strategy flimsy as well. As cool as the deck was, I had to put it on the shelf. (Of course, it would go on to have major success at two Regionals. Oops.)

The front runner for Regionals.

The front runner for Regionals.

Once Regionals began, all sorts of crazy results were coming in. Straight Darkrai was dominating instead of the Garbodor version, Landorus/Mewtwo decks resurfaced, and Virizion-based decks started making a big impact. Amid it all, Blastoise and Plasma were still as powerful as ever. Now the metagame was blown completely wide open, making it even more difficult for me to choose a deck for this tournament. Heading into the weekend, I had four decks ready to go – Plasma, Darkrai/Garbodor, Blastoise, and Flareon. I had no idea which one I would use.

A few weeks ago the Flareon deck really started to grow on me. Even though I mainly considered it a fun deck, I had an incredibly good record with it both online and in real testing. For whatever reason, it found a way to win scrappy games, and it confused many opponents along the way. So, I got online and started buying the cards for the deck that I didn’t own yet. After some searching, I decided to bite the bullet and make my big purchase. I was missing about 15 cards from the deck, which ended up totaling… a massive $8 (including shipping). Believe me, it left a huge hole in my wallet, but that’s the heavy cost of competitive Pokémon sometimes.

Could I really play this?

Could I really play this?

Fast forward to the Friday before Regionals. Even though I invested so much into these cards, I wasn’t convinced that I should use the deck. Could I really see myself winning with this monstrosity? No, not really. But did I have any better options? Darkrai/Garbodor seemed too slow for 50 minute matches, and it became much weaker with the rising number of Tool Scrapper in every deck. Blastoise was strong, but the deck hardly ever functions properly for me. Plus, it’s kind of an auto pilot deck that doesn’t require too much maneuvering. If I’m going to play a deck for a potential 14 rounds, I need to be able to have some fun making decisions along the way. Well, that narrows things down to two decks – Flareon and Plasma.

At first I really disliked Plasma because it was countered so heavily by just about every deck. Enhanced Hammer, Drifblim, and Silver Mirror were everywhere! However, Chris Fulop brought up the idea of cutting all the Prism and Blend Energy from the deck in favor of all Basic Energy. If you do that, the “counter” decks don’t really have any power over you anymore. Both Drifblim and Enhanced Hammer rely on your Special Energy, and you can neutralize that by getting rid of those from your deck completely. Sure, you still play Plasma Energy, but that’s required for your Energy acceleration. As long as your colored Energy stay in play, you’re okay. By making this shift, matchups against Virizion/Genesect/Drifblim and Darkrai became a lot better, which was really appealing to me.

Still unable to make a decision, I decided to go to sleep at around 3 AM and choose my deck in the morning. When I got up, I realized that I really had no idea. The only thing that I could do at this point was flip a coin to decide my fate. If anything, it would be a cool story, right? If I flipped Tails, I would be using this deck.

Pokémon – 9 Trainers – 38 Energy – 13
3 Kyurem 4 Professor Juniper 5 Water Energy
3 Deoxys EX 4 N 4 Plasma Energy
2 Thundurus EX 3 Skyla 2 Lightning Energy
1 Mr. Mime 2 Colress 2 Psychic Energy
1 Bicycle
1 Dowsing Machine
3 Pokémon Catcher
3 Hypnotoxic Laser
3 Switch
3 Colress Machine
2 Silver Bangle
2 Energy Search
2 Team Plasma Ball
1 Ultra Ball
1 Float Stone
1 Virbank City Gym
1 Tool Scrapper
1 Energy Retrieval

Most of my losses with Plasma came when I simply missed an Energy attachment, so I dedicated 19 spots to Energy cards (and Items to find them). If I could use my attacks quickly and consistently, Plasma felt like it could win most of the time. I wanted to play Mr. Mime in no matter what deck I used, so that was an inclusion as well. Even though it skimps on attackers, the list functioned fairly well. Normally if you lose three Kyurem in a game, you’re losing anyway, so the Pokémon counts were fine with me. Hypnotoxic Laser and Silver Bangle allow you to put on lots of pressure quickly, which is what this kind of a list needs.

As fate would have it, though, I did not flip Tails. On the contrary, my coin came up Charmander; that meant Fire was my choice for this weekend. Clearly I was meant to use Flareon for this event. (If I’m going to be honest, it’s what I really wanted to play anyway.) Strangely enough, it was the deck I had put the most time and effort into, too. Why, you ask? First of all, it’s just a fun deck to use. With all of the options and wacky attackers, it’s genuinely entertaining to play. Furthermore, it’s a difficult deck to build; it took a lot of trial and error to get the list right.

Admittedly I used Dylan Bryan’s list from Worlds as a starting point, but I really wasn’t satisfied with his version. In particular, the deck benefited a lot from the release of Silver Bangle, so that had to be added in. On top of that, the metagame changed quite a bit from Worlds, meaning a lot of the ideas had to be updated. So I got to work! I tried out tons of different combinations of cards, and all of them had their own advantages. Eventually I decided that Flareon, Leafeon, Drifblim, and Terrakion were the focus of the deck. Then Mr. Mime was a no-brainer. But that left me to figure out what else to put in. Here were the cards I was choosing from.

Audino: Busybody works extremely well with Vengeance, getting an extra Pokémon into the discard pile at will. But how often do your attackers actually take damage instead of being knocked out in one hit? Dylan Bryan ran four of these, but it’s not so useful anymore!

Garbodor: At first glance, Garbodor made a lot of sense. The deck doesn’t rely on Abilities too much, and shutting off Blastoise is huge. But Tool Scrapper is in everything, and my line had to be really small, making Garbotoxin even less effective.

Zoroark: I got the idea for this from Jimmy Ballard’s “World War Z” deck. A lot of the games, it felt like I was just missing one last attacker, specifically against Blastoise. With Foul Play, I can put a lot of pressure on attackers like Darkrai EX and Black Kyurem EX. Very solid card.

Accelgor: If I’m running Double Colorless and looking for another attacker, why not Accelgor? Deck and Cover can give me a turn of Paralysis against all sorts of decks, and one turn can decide the game. Plus, it can OHKO Keldeo EX with a Silver Bangle.

Golurk: Iron Fist of Justice combined with a Silver Bangle can take care of a Mewtwo EX or Deoxys EX with ease. The nifty part is that it has a big 130 HP and isn’t weak to Psychic. However, I do have Plasma Pokémon, so there’s a chance I won’t be able to attack sometimes.

Hippowdon: Darkrai can be a tough matchup, and Hippowdon is a solid answer to that. With Silver Bangle, the 130 HP hippo can run through Darkrai with ease. However, its reliance on DCE makes it vulnerable to Enhanced Hammer.

Scizor: Steel Slash makes Scizor immune to any Pokémon-EX attacks, making it particularly good against Blastoise. If they want to KO it, it will take a Hydro Pump with 6 Energy. Then, Leafeon can clean up easily with an Energy Crush. Otherwise, this isn’t very useful.

Landorus EX: Big Basic Pokémon that can do damage quickly. Unfortunately, the popularity of Mr. Mime makes this guy a lot worse. Great for potential Sudden Death matches, though!

Kyurem (BW44): Landorus EX is going to be a big problem for me. With a Silver Bangle, I can hit for 100 base damage! Then Landorus has no real way of responding to it besides playing a Catcher to get around it. Also it’s another Basic with high HP that I’d like to start with.

Kyurem EX (PLB): Same concept, but this does more damage with more HP. On the flipside, it doesn’t get to use Silver Bangle, and it gives up two prizes.

Vaporeon (DEX): With a Silver Bangle, Muddy Water does a mighty 100 damage to Landorus EX and 20 to a Benched Pokémon. If I had Water Energy, I’d use the one with Gold Breaker, but I play all Fighting.

Ditto: With all of the different attackers in my deck, a Ditto can Transform into whatever I need at the right time. I can catch an opponent off guard and potentially steal a game. Imagine being able to Transform into a Terrakion to Retaliate a Darkrai out of nowhere!

Electrode: If I’m going to run tons of Pokémon to fuel Vengeance, maybe running one that can help me draw more cards isn’t a bad idea. Unlike Musharna’s heavy three Retreat Cost, Electrode has to pay only one to retreat.

Basically anything that can attack with Fighting Energy or Colorless Energy was a consideration for me. Unfortunately, I somehow overlooked Kecleon, which would have been a great counter to all of the Mewtwo EX that was regaining popularity. With a Silver Bangle, Kecleon can use Immitack to copy X-Ball to OHKO any Mewtwo that has an Energy on it already. If it has three Energy, then I just need a DCE! Then I probably would have added a Darkness Energy on the off chance I could use it to copy Sableye’s Junk Hunt. Oh well! Live and learn.

Eventually I ended up with the following list.

It hardly fits into one picture.

It hardly fits into one picture.

Pokémon – 23 Trainers – 28 Energy – 9
4 Eevee 4 Professor Juniper 5 Fighting Energy
3 Flareon 4 N 4 Double Colorless Energy
2 Leafeon 2 Colress
3 Drifloon 2 Random Receiver
2 Drifblim (PLB) 2 Tropical Beach
1 Drifblim (DRX) 1 Computer Search
1 Zorua 4 Ultra Ball
1 Zoroark 2 Pokémon Catcher
2 Terrakion 2 Float Stone
1 Landorus EX 2 Silver Bangle
1 Kyurem 1 Switch
1 Mr. Mime 1 Enhanced Hammer
1 Audino 1 Super Rod

If you want to see my explanations for all of the cards I chose, check out the video I made below:

From a tournament standpoint, I had no real expectations. Even though I used the deck a lot, I had no experience with it in a tournament setting, and I wasn’t sure how the 50 minute rounds would affect me. One of the biggest drawbacks of Flareon is that it really can’t win a quick game unless a fluke situation happens. If I was going to win a series, I needed to win 2-0. With all of the low HP Basics in my deck, I could lose easily on the first turn, meaning it probably wasn’t the best choice for the current tournament structure. Still, I was ready to have fun. Hopefully my Charmander coin didn’t lead me astray.

Looking around, we had about 350 Masters in the field, meaning we would play 14 Swiss rounds. Personally I was ecstatic at the news. At the previous Regionals this season, they didn’t get the chance to play extra rounds, meaning there was a ton of emphasis on every single round. A player went 6-1-1 and missed Top 8 at one of them! On the other hand, I hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before, and it was bound to be a long day. Anyway, let’s jump into the rounds!

Round 1 – Virizion/Mewtwo (Mike O’Donnell)

Mewtwo

Even though Mike and I have known each other for a long time, this was the first time we had an opportunity to play. Both of us were eager to get the tournament rolling, but neither of us were happy to play against a familiar face in the opening round.

Game 1: When he mulliganed and showed me a bunch of Grass Energy, I was pretty happy. While Virizion-based decks are far from auto wins, they are favorable matchups. Basically my plan against this deck is to find a way to KO the first Mewtwo EX (Terrakion, Leafeon, etc.), use Flareon to take down a Virizion EX, and then use Shadow Steal with Drifblim once two DCE hit the discard pile.

Opening with Kyurem, I knew I was safe from a T1 loss, so I was happy. Early on he burned a lot of Catchers to KO Eevees so he wouldn’t have to enrage the Kyurem and fuel Outrage. Eventually he ran out, and my bench was safe. Derail Drifblim came in with a Silver Bangle to OHKO the first Mewtwo, and Flareon cleaned up a Virizion. From there, it was just a matter of time until the next Mewtwo fell.

Game 2: Once again, I opened up with Kyurem against his Bouffalant. The game played much similarly to the first game, but I was starting to run out of gas in the middle of the game. Thankfully I drew a Juniper finally and got enough resources to keep up with the prize trade. Since he had seven Energy in play, I was able to OHKO a Mewtwo with a Leafeon + Silver Bangle, which was huge. Once I got enough Pokémon in the discard pile along with two DCE in his, it was impossible for him to prevent me from getting the last big KOs with either Flareon or Drifblim. A big Hypnotoxic Laser flip could have turned the tide of the game, but I woke up, sealing my position. I was scared that I was going to lose the game and end up with a tie, but I managed to win.

1-0-0 (3 points)

Round 2 – Virizion/Mewtwo (Matt Tracy)

I’ve seen Matt before, but this is the first time we’ve played to my knowledge. Once again, I saw a bunch of Grass Energy in a mulligan, so I was pretty happy with my pairing.

Game 1: Honestly I played against so many Virizion decks that the games are starting to mesh together in my mind. My opponent got off to a pretty quick start against me with an Emerald Slash + Laser/Virbank on my Terrakion. Then a Vengeance from Flareon with a Silver Bangle took down the Virizion, and a Mewtwo responded to that. After a few turns, I took down the Mewtwo with a combination of attackers, and there were enough Pokémon in the discard for Flareon to clean up for the last KO.

Game 2: Even though all of the games were close, I felt in control for most of the time. Between Drifblim and Flareon, eventually I’m going to get some big OHKOs on Mewtwo or Virizion, and the prize exchange will swing in my favor. Terrakion and Leafeon do enough small damage along the way to add up for another KO. A Catcher at the end seals the game for me, and I move on with another sound victory.

2-0-0 (6 points)

Round 3 – Virizion/Genesect/Drifblim (Brock Partch)

11-genesect-ex

I believe Brock was a new player, but he was a pretty friendly guy who seemed to know what he was doing. Yet again, I got matched up with a Virizion deck, which was good news for me.

Game 1: Since my opponent is running Drifblim, I assume Enhanced Hammer goes along with it. As such, I do my best not to attach my DCE until I need to attack with it. Just about everything in his deck is weak to Fire, so all I need only 7 Pokémon in the discard pile for Vengeance to OHKO all of his EX attackers (8 for Drifblim). It’s only a matter of time before I can build an army of Flareon, and his poor Grass Pokémon get knocked down one by one.

Game 2: The second game was much of the same. As long as I draw decently, this is a very good matchup for me. Unlike the Mewtwo version, Genesect doesn’t have anything that can withstand Vengeance in the middle of the game. Once again, I play carefully with my DCE, meaning Drifblim never comes into play. An inevitable board of Flareons are lined up yet again for a convincing win.

3-0-0 (9 points)

Three rounds, three Virizion decks. At this point, I was feeling great about my deck choice and my odds to win. Still, it’s a long two days of Pokémon before I accomplish anything! Then I see my next opponent, and I’m not so happy anymore.

Round 4 – Landorus/Mewtwo/Garbodor (Colin Moll)

Colin and I have known each other for about 10 years now, and he’s been one of the most consistent players in the US for a long time. As fate would have it, he’s playing my worst matchup by far. I’m eager to see if my Kyurem tech will actually do anything, but I’m pretty convinced that it’s unfavorable for me.

Game 1: Right away I go for Kyurem to respond to Landorus, and Colin asks, “Is that even legal?” Unfortunately, I’m unable to find a Silver Bangle, so I’m hitting for a paltry 40 instead of the 100 I’d like to be doing. Since I run Fighting Energy, I can use Zoroark to copy Land’s Judgment for 150, which turns into 180 for a Silver Bangle. But Colin targets down the Zorua right away, and that option is out the window. Next I try to get a Drifblim going, and another Catcher stops that right in its tracks. Pretty much everything I’m trying to do is being neutralized.

SilverBangleThumbnailSomehow the game stays close, and Colin attempts to spread big damage on my field with Landorus EX’s Hammerhead. But then a Silver Bangle on Leafeon caught him off guard, scoring a big KO on a Landorus. All of a sudden I came roaring back, getting a Catcher on a weakened Mewtwo EX for another two prizes. Now I just had to take down one more EX to take the game, but Colin had one prize left by now. Apparently I barely had enough resources to close the game out, though. With my second Catcher and second Silver Bangle, I brought out another Mewtwo and sealed the game with a big Vengeance for 170. Definitely didn’t expect to win this one! Now I was feeling much better about the matchup.

Game 2: Since the first game took a good chunk of time, I was hoping that this one wouldn’t finish. If it did, there’s no way I can win a third game in time, and I’m looking at a tie at best. Looking at my opening hand, I can choose to start with either Mr. Mime or Eevee. If I start with Eevee, a Hammerhead takes it down. If I go with the Mime, an X-Ball makes short work of it. Since X-Ball requires a DCE, I opt for the Mr. Mime start. As Colin flips over a Trubbish, I’m feeling good about my decision.

Well, then a Float Stone, Mewtwo EX, and DCE hit the board for a T1 X-Ball KO. All I can do is promote Eevee, but I don’t draw a second Basic. Out of desperation, I Enhanced Hammer to discard his DCE, and I drop down a Tropical Beach to fill my hand up. He draws and flips over a Float Stone, which allows him to retreat to Landorus EX and Hammerhead to take a quick win. Shucks.

Game 3: At least I could play for a tie in this game. While my hand wasn’t too stellar, I had some resources to work with… Until an N, that is. All of a sudden I had complete junk in my hand, and I couldn’t even do anything to buy time. Colin was taking KOs every turn, and I couldn’t stop him. What seemed like a tie at worst now turned into my first loss of the day, and I sat there wondering how three games completed in 50 minutes, especially after that long first one. Time was called right as he used Land’s Judgment to take the last KO.

3-1-0 (9 points)

Round 5 – Blastoise/Suicune/Black Kyurem (Jeremy Bandy)

I had never met my opponent before, but apparently he follows me on Twitter! Neither of us knew what kind of absolutely bizarre series we were about to play.

BlackKyuremEXThumbnailGame 1: When he flipped over a Black Kyurem EX, I was pretty relieved. Even though Blastoise is a close matchup, it’s the one that I’ve tested the most, so I knew how to approach it. Right away I went for a Zorua, threatening a Foul Play for a KO on the following turn. I exploded on the first turn with a bunch of Basics and a Tropical Beach to boot. My opponent, on the other hand, only mustered a Colress for three and a Tropical Beach. Now I had a rare opportunity. I could T2 someone with this slow deck! I used my Computer Search to grab a DCE, only needing to draw Ultra Ball or Zoroark off my Juniper. Here we go…

Whiff. I was pretty bummed knowing I missed out on the opportunity to get a cheap win, but I used Tropical Beach again. Somehow my opponent still didn’t get a second Basic, though, and had to pass for a second time! I got the Zoroark into play and used Foul Play to copy Black Ballista for 200.

Game 2: Based on the first game, I figured that this was a standard Blastoise deck… Boy was I wrong. Even though I had a solid start, it came to a halt when my opponent played down a Silver Mirror on his Squirtle. Who plays that?! Most decks that play Silver Mirror can be handled by my other attackers, so I don’t bother playing Tool Scrapper. But a Blastoise with a Mirror? Uh oh. Flareon and Leafeon can’t touch that. What ensued was the most ridiculous six turns of Pokémon I’ve ever played. Squirtle used Water Splash over and over, and I drew no useful cards. I lost a Flareon to a Squirtle.

My opponent really wasn’t drawing anything either, but he kept throwing weird techs at me. A Double Colorless Energy allowed him to use Slash with Black Kyurem EX, and a Hypnotoxic Laser totally caught me off guard! I kept pushing up Pokémon as sacrifices, hoping to draw a Supporter or Tropical Beach eventually. I managed to get an Enhanced Hammer for the DCE and a Shadow Steal Drifblim, dealing 50 damage. Flareon cleaned it up with Vengeance at some point, but now I had a Suicune and a Mewtwo EX to deal with as well. I was sitting at four prizes to my opponent’s one.

My only chance was to power up the Derail Drifblim and slowly pick away. After taking down a Suicune, I decided to Catcher the Mewtwo and N my opponent down to 1. Thanks to Silver Bangle, I hit it for 200, going down to one prize. A second Suicune came out, taking a hit as I was unable to draw my last Catcher. Scoop Up Cyclone bought my opponent another turn, and then he topdecked a Juniper! All it took was a Rare Candy, Blastoise, and two more Water Energy for a Hydro Pump KO. Fortunately he whiffed, and I played another N to put him back down to 1 card. Slowly but surely, Drifblim got the last KO once and for all. What in the world just happened? This was like a PTCGO game…

4-1-0 (12 points)

Round 6 – Darkrai (Kyle Madison)

Darkrai EX

Before the game, Kyle said thanks for the work we do at The Top Cut, but he didn’t want to draw more attention to me since we’re both just here to compete. I appreciated the sentiment. Straight Darkrai is a really strange matchup that comes down to whether or not Terrakion can play a role in the matchup. A lot of it really depends on the quality of the opponent. Mr. Mime is extremely important, too.

Game 1: After the first turn, my opponent had the dreaded two Energy in play along with a Junk Hunt for a Dark Patch. I responded with a Terrakion and a Fighting Energy on the bench, which forces him to slow down unless he has a Catcher. My plan against Darkrai is to use Terrakion to slow things down, Leafeon for a cheap attacker, and then Flareon to clean up. Unfortunately, Terrakion didn’t slow anything down. Every turn he had a Catcher, Dark Claw, Hypnotoxic Laser, and Virbank City Gym to wipe the Terrakion off my board in one hit. Even after countering the Virbank with a Beach, he did it a second time to my other Terrakion! After a Super Rod put in a third Terrakion, he managed to OHKO my third Terrakion, and I just couldn’t keep up.

Game 2: Once again, my opponent got off to a quick start. But this time around, I was able to slow things down just enough to put myself in a good position. Once again, I opened up with Leafeon, and he never allowed me to use Terrakion to Retaliate. Leafeon’s Energy Crush started to do tons of damage with each new Darkrai that got powered up, and there was damage all over the place. But I was running out of resources, and I had to find a way to take all of my prizes. One Darkrai fell to Leafeon, and then another got smashed by a huge Vengeance + Silver Bangle for 180. Next turn I had the win in hand as long as he didn’t have an Enhanced Hammer to discard my last DCE.

Well, that’s exactly what happened. Now I had only one Energy left in my entire deck, and the only Pokémon with an Energy on it was a Terrakion with 110 damage. Basically my opponent was free to Junk Hunt the rest of the game because I couldn’t commit that Energy to the Terrakion. If I did, I would just get KOd and lose. Then I realized that a benched Darkrai already had 140 damage on it from a previous Energy Crush, and I took my opening to win. Using my last Catcher and a Switch, I put the Fighting on Terrakion to Retaliate the Darkrai for 60 and win. I used every last resource to squeak that game out!

Game 3: Both of us realized that the game wasn’t going to finish, but we played it out anyway. I got an early KO on a Keldeo EX with Leafeon + Silver Bangle, but it was futile. Time got called early on, and that meant a tie for both of us.

4-1-1 (13 points)

Round 7 – Darkrai (Blake Pennington)

Blake was a friendly guy who drove all the way from Alabama to be here; that’s about 10 hours! Apparently this was the closest Regional to him somehow. Like me, he was exhausted by this point in the night.

Game 1: Like my previous round, my opponent got off to a super fast start with two Energy in play on the first turn along with a Junk Hunt for Dark Patch. I attempted to stop the T2 Night Spear with a Catcher + N, but it didn’t matter. To my surprise, he ended up with a Keldeo EX to Rush In, Dark Patch, and then a Dowsing Machine for the Dark Patch for a quick Night Spear on my Landorus EX. I couldn’t get a Terrakion down, so I had to follow up the Landorus with a Leafeon. Poison damage finished off my Leafeon next turn, meaning Retaliate did 60 instead of 180, and nothing was going right. Blake went to discard his Darkrai when I attacked with Terrakion, but I stopped him and reminded him that I don’t get the bonus damage. From there, he was able to hit a Dark Claw and Hypnotoxic Laser to KO the Terrakion, and it was all downhill. When I saw that I couldn’t win, I conceded and moved onto the next game.

LeafeonThumbnailGame 2: Yet again, my opponent got off to a fast start. The difference in this game is that I was able to score some huge OHKOs on Darkrai at crucial times. I think he forgot about Leafeon because he put 10 Energy in play, allowing me to do 200 damage with Energy Crush! Then he had to KO it with a Dark Claw, meaning Terrakion could Retaliate for 180. After some Catchers and Enhanced Hammers to buy time, eventually I was able to charge up for a Land Crush on the final Darkrai to win.

Game 3: After two fairly lengthy games, both of us knew this one was ending in a tie. Sure enough, time was called early on, and I get my second tie in a row.

4-1-2 (14 points)

Even though I had lost just one round, I was in a bad position in terms of standings. Only Top 32 advanced to the second day, and the initial prediction was that 19 points was the cutoff. At any rate, I couldn’t lose another game, and I probably couldn’t tie. The pressure was on!

Round 8 – Suicune/Terrakion/Drifblim (Clark Smith)

89-silver-mirror

Clark’s brother Casey won Wisconsin Regionals last year, and both of them are pretty underrated players in the Chicago area. A few seasons ago Clark beat me at a Battle Road, so I was interested to see how this would play out. Once I found out what deck he was running, I knew I’d have to play intelligently to win.

Game 1: Right off the bat I see a Suicune, and I go right for Leafeon. In a stroke of luck, I’m able to score a KO on it before he can find his first of four Silver Mirrors. Now I know exactly what I’m up against, and I know I have to slow down to have a shot. How did I run into two of the only decks in the field running Silver Mirror? Oh well. On top of that, he ran Enhanced Hammer and Drifblim, so I had to be cautious with my DCE as well.

Strangely enough, Kyurem was a star in this game. After hitting a Suicune for 20 damage with Outrage, my opponent’s only choice is to hit it for 70 with Aurora Beam. Then, Outrage does 90 damage, getting an easy KO! Either it’s going to take down one or two attackers, or Kyurem is going to buy me enough time to power up Terrakion, Drifblim, or another non-Plasma attacker. The game is pretty boring and drawn out, but I manage to grind him down until he just can’t do enough damage to win. A Sableye at the end scares me, but a Land Crush from Terrakion closes it out.

Game 2: Seeing the Kyurem in my opening hand, I knew things would be okay. In this game, Clark took a more aggressive approach with Terrakion, but it doesn’t trade favorably with Kyurem either. After an Outrage for 20, there’s nothing Terrakion can do because of the way the math works. Basically it’s doomed to get KOd by Outrage. Knowing that I don’t really have to win the game (just not lose), I sit back with Terrakion and Drifblim for a while. He’s forced to attack into me, which means I overpower him at some point. Time gets called while he has three prizes left, and he actually decked out anyway. Good games!

5-1-2 (17 points)

One more round. Win and I’m in!

Round 9 – Victini/Terrakion/Drifblim (Chris Calvert)

I don’t think Chris and I had met before, but he was wearing a Hovercats shirt, so I figured he was in good company. When I found out what he was playing, I was pretty happy. Victini EX gets taken out by Flareon easily, and Terrakion EX is weak to Leafeon. Drifblim won’t do anything as long as I play carefully with my DCE.

Game 1: No matter what he does, his EX attackers can’t deal with my non-EX ones. After a Turbo Energize from Victini EX, a Leafeon with Silver Bangle can KO Terrakion EX with ease. Even better, he put five Energy in play for me to do 200 straight away. Even Kyurem and Terrakion are tough for his deck to deal with. After an Energy Crush and a Vengeance to KO a Victini EX, this game was over pretty quickly.

Game 2: Different game, same story. Leafeon handles Terrakion EX, and Flareon cleans up the rest. Terrakion comes in for a KO, and even Kyurem joins the fun. Sorry, Chris. Bad matchup!

6-1-2 (20 points)

By now it’s around midnight, and everybody is exhausted. Players who made the second day have to be back at… 8 AM, seriously? Looks like we aren’t getting any sleep. Here were the standings after the first day.

FWT8

Looks like I was in good shape for the second day, where we’d have to play five more rounds. After a long day of about 14 hours of Pokémon, everyone was ready to get back to the hotel and sleep. But I was also extremely hungry, so we stopped for Wendy’s first. Finally I got to bed around 2 AM. Pokémon tournaments are absolutely draining!

The next morning, I woke up around 6:30 AM, got ready, and had to hurry the other guys in my room out of the door so I could be at my table at 8. Sorry, Adam and Abe. I’m sure you both wanted to sleep, but I was the one driving, and we had to check out of the hotel that day. I looked at my pairing for day two, and I wasn’t too happy to see who my opponent was.

Round 9 – Landorus/Mewtwo/Garbodor (Colin Moll)

Landorus EX

Again? Wasn’t once enough? Of all the people in the room, Colin was the last one I wanted to face. I’m pretty sure nobody else was using this deck, and I’d have at least a 50/50 shot against everyone else. I actually went up to the judging staff to make sure we could play the same person twice, and they said yes. Oh well.

Game 1: During my first match with Colin, I figured out that he didn’t play Enhanced Hammer, so I knew I could drop down DCE freely on anything. Right off the bat I got a Kyurem with a Silver Bangle, and I was hitting Landorus EX for 100. Unfortunately, my lack of sleep caused me to make a few errors in this game. After a quick Hammerhead put 30 on my Eevee, I went to Ultra Ball for a Leafeon to prevent the KO on it. For some reason I didn’t think to go for Mr. Mime, which also would have prevented the KO. I probably assumed Garbodor was coming, but he didn’t even have a Trubbish out yet. This allowed him to get an extra 30 damage on a Terrakion, making for a much easier X-Ball KO. Still, the game was neck and neck with us trading blows.

Near the end, I had a decision to make. I had to play a Juniper to get an Energy to attack, but I also had an Eevee in my hand. If I put down the Eevee, Colin could take a cheap prize with a Catcher. After looking at his discard pile, I saw three used already, so I figured he wouldn’t have one in his small hand. I knew that I’d need to Vengeance for my last KO eventually, so I put down the Eevee. Unfortunately, this gave him a turn to take a prize when he wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. Much to my dismay, he did have the fourth Catcher, and I gave up a prize that I shouldn’t have. Then a Scoop Up Cyclone pretty much sealed my fate, and I lost the game by a turn. Maybe I could have won if I didn’t bench that Eevee on that turn.

Game 2: In this game I got off to a slightly more aggressive start, and I took down a Landorus EX pretty quickly with Terrakion. Unfortunately, more time must have passed in the first game than I thought, because time got called pretty early on in this game. With four prizes left, I had to go for a Hail Mary play to try to get two EX KOs in two turns. After using a Super Rod to shuffle in my Shadow Steal Drifblim, I used an Enhanced Hammer to discard a DCE on a benched Mewtwo. Then I had to Colress for seven cards, hoping to hit both a Catcher and the Drifblim. Surprisingly I drew both! I brought out the Mewtwo and used Shadow Steal for 200. Just one more KO to win!

Unfortunately, that happened to be my last Catcher. Colin simply promoted Garbodor, played an N, and passed. If he had attacked with Landorus EX, I had an outside chance of getting enough Pokémon in the discard pile to use Vengeance for 180, but he made the smart move of forcing me to have the Catcher. Time runs out, and I lose. Good games, Colin! Very well played.

6-2-2 (20 points)

Round 10 – Darkrai (Scott Lawler)

If you want to watch this match, it was streamed by On the Bubble. You can find it here around the 9:30 mark: http://www.twitch.tv/otbcentral/b/474015738

I had never played against Scott before, but he won a City Championship that we covered last year. I knew he was playing Darkrai, which I wasn’t confident against. So far I had managed to tie against it twice, but it didn’t feel like a great matchup. He was a little frustrated going into the match because he had just lost to Ross on time, so maybe he wouldn’t be thinking clearly.

Game 1: I opened up with Zorua against a Darkrai this game. Scott plays a Laser, Juniper, attaches to Darkrai, and passes for the turn. Not seeing many options to work with, I play an N and hope to get a Terrakion down early with a Fighting. Unfortunately, all I can get is a DCE. I debate not playing it because Enhanced Hammer hurts a lot, but there’s a chance he might not have one (or even play them). For the first time ever, I go for a Paralyzing Gaze with Zorua, and I hit Heads! All he can do is attach and pass, so this is looking good for me.

TerrakionThumbnailAfter a Juniper, I’m able to get out Zoroark with a Silver Bangle, bench a Terrakion with a Fighting, and use Foul Play to copy Night Spear for 120. Now he’s pretty much stuck. If he takes the KO on Zoroark, I can Retaliate in response. If he tries to Catcher the Terrakion, he only has 60 HP left, so I can still Retaliate for the KO. So, he decides to KO the Zoroark, and I get a quick Retaliate KO. After an N, all he has left in play is a Mr. Mime, and he has to pass. All I need is an Energy off my Juniper to Land Crush. I draw my seven cards, and…

Retaliate for 30. From there, the game goes on, but I’m pretty far ahead. Eventually I’m able to KO a Keldeo EX with Leafeon’s Energy Crush, and I get a fully powered Terrakion to Land Crush a Darkrai for the game.

Game 2: This time I lead off with Kyurem, and Scott gets two Energy in play on the first turn. By some stroke of luck, though, he misses a T2 Night Spear even after putting a Float Stone onto a Keldeo. Now I’m able to get another Energy onto a Terrakion and threaten a Land Crush. At this point, I also assumed my opponent didn’t play any Enhanced Hammer since I didn’t see any in the first game, so I was free to play DCE whenever I wanted. Much to my surprise, he took a Night Spear KO on my Kyurem that had 40 damage from Poison, meaning I was able to Retaliate. I had a decision on whether to N or not before taking the KO. Something felt fishy because nobody knowingly attacks into a Retaliate, but he also didn’t play a Supporter. So, I held onto my N and just took the KO.

Turns out my suspicion was correct! Immediately my opponent slammed down THREE Dark Patch, instantly powering up a Darkrai and responding to my Terrakion with a Night Spear KO. Whoops, should have played the N. To make matters worse, Mr. Mime was prized, so Night Spear was ravaging my bench. My only response was to follow up with a Leafeon + Silver Bangle to Energy Crush for 110, and then another Leafeon on the next turn finished it off for another 80. Now I was sitting at two prizes to Scott’s three, feeling pretty good about my position. Because of his explosive turn earlier, he already had all four Dark Patch in the discard, and no Darkrai was in sight.

After he put a second Energy onto a different Sableye, I knew the game was locked up. If he powered up a Darkrai, he would have five Energy in play, and I could Catcher his Keldeo to KO with Leafeon. If he took out the Leafeon, I would simply Retaliate with Terrakion. If he decided to try to wear me down with Junk Hunt, I had enough Pokémon in the discard to Vengeance for the game. Intelligently Scott decided to go for the Junk Hunt strategy, but I gathered all of my resources after a few turns of Tropical Beach to allow for a Float Stone, Silver Bangle, and Catcher to get a Vengeance for 190 to finish him.

7-2-2 (23 points)

Round 11 – Virizion/Mewtwo (JW Kriewall)

I had never met JW, but I saw the name before. He was a pretty friendly guy, and it was good to meet him.

AudinoThumbnailGame 1: With two Basics in my hand, I decided to put my trusty Audino in the Active spot with an Eevee on the bench. As long as I don’t lose on the first turn, I feel like my deck is pretty strong. JW flips over a Bouffalant, and we get started. Right away I assume he’s using some sort of Virizion deck, and I was correct as he attached a Grass and passed. Looking at my hand, I really didn’t have many options. So, I did the only reasonable thing a guy can do… Attach DCE to Audino and #HipBump for 10 (-20 for Bouffer). My opponent attaches a DCE and goes for the Gold Breaker, but ends up Tails! Again my turn is pretty pedestrian, attaching an Energy to an Eevee and using #HipBump for another 10 damage. This time he goes for a Catcher on the Eevee, but he still has to flip for the attack. Tails again! Audino saves the day. After a third attack, JW decides that he’s had enough of these shenanigans, retreats to a Mewtwo, and uses X-Ball for the KO. I’m proud of you, Audino.

Anyway, it was pretty apparent that my opponent was doing his best not to bench Virizion EX at any point because of how easily Flareon can KO it. As such, he was attempting to go with manual attachments on Bouffalant and Mewtwo EX. A quick Leafeon responded to Mewtwo with a nice 80 damage, and I had a Terrakion waiting in the wings to Retaliate for the final 90 if he wanted to take the KO. Bouffalant is probably the least threatening attacker in the format for my deck since it really only does 60 damage, and Terrakion deals with it extremely well. Eventually the Mewtwo goes down, and a second DCE hits the discard, meaning Drifblim can come in to Shadow Steal any Mewtwo for 200 for the rest of the game. On top of that, an army of Flareon was building, and there were plenty of Pokémon in the discard to fuel Vengeance.

It became pretty apparent that I was going to win the game, and I found it strange that my opponent kept playing the game out. Of course, I was happy to have the game take as long as possible because I was going to win it. With three prizes to my one, he finally made a move to Scramble Switch his Bouffalant into a Mewtwo and get a KO on my Flareon. After double checking his discard pile, I sent out Drifblim to Shadow Steal for 200 and win the first game with ease.

Game 2: The first game must have taken at least 30 minutes, so I figured this one wouldn’t even finish. Right away a Mewtwo with a DCE was hitting me hard with X-Ball, and I had no Supporters. All I could do was promote Pokémon to sacrifice and hope to draw a Supporter. After about five turns of getting wrecked, I realized I had no choice but to concede and try to win a third game. I couldn’t prevent him from winning this game, so I’d rather try to play for a win than a tie.

Game 3: Hands down this had to be one of the most frustrating games of my life. I had absolutely nothing to work with. But neither did my opponent! All he could do was manually attach to a Genesect EX. The only thing I had access to was Zoroark, which actually would have worked fine if I could have drawn an Energy to copy Megalo Cannon. I kept drawing Pokémon and Ultra Balls, and Megalo Cannon was mowing down my Pokémon left and right. I had to Ultra Ball for a Landorus EX just to find something that could take a hit. Laser + Virbank could OHKO a Kyurem, so Landorus was my safest bet to buy time. Down four prizes, I needed to topdeck something immediately. Here we go…

Juniper! So you’re saying there’s a chance! I managed to get a few Eevee in play this turn along with a Mr. Mime to prevent a double KO from Megalo Cannon. Leaving my Zoroark with 80 damage Active, I passed the turn with an N in hand. By now my opponent had powered up a Virizion EX, and he intelligently retreated to it and got the KO with Emerald Slash. Even if I could score a KO on the Virizion, Genesect would come out and Megalo Cannon for the game since he was at one prize. Here was the big turn. I had a DCE in hand, but I’d need to draw a Flareon and a Catcher off my N to 6. If I did, the game easily could swing into my favor because the only two Pokémon he had in play were Virizion and Genesect. N would put him at one card, and I could just take down both Fire weak Pokémon-EX in back-to-back turns. So this is it! I draw my hand, and…

I get an Ultra Ball on the first card. All I need now is the Catcher! I draw my other five cards, but Catcher is nowhere to be found. Bummer. Now I have to find a way to survive the turn so I can Catcher that Genesect on the next turn. I Ultra Ball for Kyurem since it has 130 HP, retreat to it, and Tropical Beach for a fresh hand of 7 cards. I’m sitting on another N, Float Stone to retreat, and the Catcher to KO Genesect. As long as he doesn’t draw a Catcher off the N to 1, the comeback is still in reach. My opponent draws his card, plays a Skyla, and grabs a Catcher for the win. Boo.

7-3-2 (23 points)

From here, I knew I had to win out to make Top 8. Two rounds left! Just need to win these, and I’m in. The field actually looked pretty favorable for me, too. Let’s do this!

Round 12 – Virizion/Mewtwo (Austin Hinkle)

I didn’t know who Austin was before the event, but he seemed like a really cool guy. If I remember correctly, he’s kind of a newer player, but he certainly understood how to play.

Game 1: Virizion EX gets a few easy KOs on my Eevee and Terrakion thanks to Hypnotoxic Laser + Virbank City Gym, and I’m on the back foot to start. Since he has so much Energy on the board, I decide that I’ll probably need to be aggressive to win this one, so I charge ahead with Flareon to KO the Virizion. Mewtwo responds with an easy X-Ball, and then I get a response with a Leafeon for 80. After switching out to a new Mewtwo, he hits me for 60. I’m able to follow up with Derail Drifblim + Silver Bangle to hit for 200, and I’m down to two prizes.

DrifblimThumbnailNow the game gets a little weird. I get hit with an N down to 2, and my opponent has three prizes left. He takes the KO on my Drifblim with a fresh Mewtwo, and all I have in play is a Shadow Steal Drifblim along with a damaged Leafeon. If I can draw a Catcher and an Energy, I can Shadow Steal the heavily damaged Mewtwo for the game. But if I don’t, I’m in a pretty bad spot! In a massive stroke of luck, I look at my two cards to find a Pokémon Catcher and an Energy. As lame as this pun is, I steal the game by picking off his benched Mewtwo with Shadow Steal.

Game 2: For as close as that game was, it was weird how one-sided this one turned out to be. For the first six turns of the game, I didn’t play a single Supporter. My opponent was drawing well and doing just about everything he could ask for, playing a bunch of Hypnotoxic Lasers in the early going. Heck, he even used a Kecleon to copy my Leafeon’s Energy Crush! But somehow I was able to keep up with the minimal resources in my hand. Terrakion and Leafeon combined to do solid amounts of damage for minimal Energy. Then a timely Enhanced Hammer + Shadow Steal also got a KO for one Energy. Finally I hit a Supporter off my prizes, and my opponent played an N to put me at three cards before I could use one! What a jerk. 😛

Fortunately I got a big Colress off of my three cards, and a Flareon was on the horizon. My opponent had managed to take only three prizes during my Supporter drought, and by this time I had plenty of firepower to close things out. I take down another EX, putting me at one prize. Unable to KO my attacker, my opponent is forced to Catcher out my Kyurem and N me to 1. At this point, I figured the game was over since I’d be able to attack for the game at some point. I draw an N and play it for a new card, which ends up being a Juniper. Next turn I draw a second Juniper (I did have all four left), get a Float Stone, and retreat to attack for the game. What a strange game. I have no idea what made the first game so close while this one wasn’t! At any rate, good games, Austin. You played well.

8-3-2 (26 points)

One game to go. I just have to win, and I’ll have a good shot at making the Top 8. Who’s my opponent?

Round 14 – Blastoise (Ross Cawthon)

Blastoise

If you want to watch this match play out, the video can be found here:

Oh, great. Of all the people in the room I could have faced to decide my fate, I would have preferred if it wasn’t a two-time Worlds finalist. I knew I had a solid matchup, though. Ever since Ross moved to the Chicago area, we’ve played a few more times, so we’re starting to get used to this.

Game 1: I get to go first, which is a huge advantage in this matchup. As long as I can get a few Energy in play before attackers come at me, I can weather the Deluge (sorry, bad pun) with non-EX attackers pretty easily. I open up with Eevee against Black Kyurem EX, attach a Fighting, and play an N. Off my six cards I get a Terrakion, bench it with a Float Stone, and use Tropical Beach to fill up my hand. Ross responds with a Lightning, Keldeo, and two Squirtle, and then he plays a Tool Scrapper to discard my Float Stone before using Tropical Beach. Now I have a decision to make.

On one hand, I can Ultra Ball for a Zorua, attach DCE to it, and N. As long as my opponent doesn’t get Rare Candy, Blastoise, two Energy, and a Catcher, I’ll be able to get the first two prizes with a quick Foul Play onto Black Kyurem EX to copy Black Ballista for 200. Otherwise, I would attach to Terrakion to prepare for a Retaliate. Since a scenario where I lose Zorua seems pretty unlikely, I just attach the DCE and play the N. Then my heart sinks as I see exactly what I described: Rare Candy, Blastoise, Catcher, and two Energy for a Slash on Zorua. Oh boy. In the process, Ross does play his hand down to zero cards, so I’m at least content knowing he’s in topdeck mode.

I respond with a Leafeon, Silver Bangle, and Catcher on the Keldeo, and I’m able to get a Fighting on my Terrakion as well. Energy Crush does 180 to the Keldeo, and he responds with an Energy to Black Ballista. Then I get off a Retaliate for 90, setting up for a Vengeance KO on the following turn if I happen to lose the Terrakion. Once again, Ross plays his hand down to 0 cards after a Skyla for a Superior Energy Retrieval takes out the Terrakion. All I need is a DCE off a Juniper, and I’ll be able to take complete control of the game with a Vengeance KO.

But I miss, and I’m forced to drop down a new Terrakion with a Fighting and Beach. Now this gives Ross a chance to use Beach for himself, filling his hand back up. I know we’re going to be in a slugfest from here on out. Unfortunately both of my Float Stone and the Switch hit my discard early on, so I have to be extremely careful not to run out of Energy. Instead of playing Juniper freely to fuel Vengeance, I have to hold onto my free retreating Drifblim since I had to put down two Drifloon for a Colress. Terrakion has a monstrous four retreat cost as well, so one incorrectly placed Energy can mean a loss for me. I end up hitting a Blastoise for 110 with Vengeance, and Ross responds with a Hydro Pump for 200 to my poor Flareon. All I can do is Retaliate for the KO, and I’m fortunate to get my other DCE off of my prize.

NThumbnailAll he has left is a Squirtle, but that can easily turn into a Rare Candy, Blastoise, and Keldeo with four Energy. Because of my Energy situation, I realize that this game most likely will come down to whether or not I draw out of an N to one, and Ross hasn’t played a single N yet. After going down to one card, he has to Tropical Beach, and I follow suit. Then a second Blastoise comes out, but I’m fortunate that it isn’t followed by a Superior + N. Instead, Ross just has to use N again and Beach, and I do the same once again. I’m just hoping that he won’t be able to nail me with a crippling N the turn he decides to attack.

Luck appears to be on my side this time around. Ross plays only three N in his deck, and the last one is prized. If my hand is unaffected, I have the game sealed. If he decides to play passively and try to deck me out, I have two DCE remaining to be able to Land Crush and still attack with something else. If he attacks into me, I have a Catcher, Silver Bangle, and whatever else I’d need to take my last prize. After a Juniper, he slams down a Superior Energy Retrieval and a Catcher for my Leafeon. I’m holding onto the DCE and Catcher, and I simply bring out Blastoise for a 150 damage Vengeance.

Game 2: The first game took about 35 minutes, and I figured there was no way that a second game was finishing. With this win, I’d be likely to make Top 8, which I certainly didn’t expect with this wacky Flareon deck. Realizing that time is low, Ross plays extremely quickly this game and gets a Squirtle out along with a Keldeo EX. After a Tropical Beach, I Ultra Ball to get an Eevee in play and N him from seven cards to six. As long as he doesn’t get a Rare Candy, Blastoise, two Energy, and a Catcher, I’ll be able to respond to just about anything he can throw at me. It can’t happen two games in a row, right?

KeldeoThumbnailWrong. Here we go again! Ross plays down a Rare Candy, Blastoise, three Energy, and a Catcher on my Eevee! Uh oh. Now I have to scramble to get another Eevee into play, which I’m able to do after an N. Unfortunately, he gets a second Catcher to take down this Eevee, and my hand is looking terrible. All I can do is attach to Terrakion, promote an Audino, and Tropical Beach yet again. Now it’s three prizes to my six, and I’m staring down a fully loaded Keldeo with a Blastoise in play. I put down my third Eevee and Retaliate for 120 with a Silver Bangle. As long as he doesn’t get his third Catcher, I still have a decent shot to win.

Then a Skyla immediately comes out for the third Catcher, and another Eevee goes down. I have one last shot on an N to find an Eevee. I’ll be able to KO the first Keldeo with Retaliate and then respond with a Leafeon to Energy Crush for the KO. Then I just have to find a way to take one last KO, which is feasible considering the amount of Pokémon in my discard pile. At the very least, maybe I can buy enough turns for time to run out, and I’ll win the match. Sadly, there’s no Eevee in sight, and I concede right away knowing I can’t stop two Secret Sword KOs.

Game 3: I know this game probably won’t finish, but maybe I’ll get lucky with a T2 win. Zoroark can KO a Black Kyurem EX, and Flareon could take down a Squirtle. Then Ross put down two Pokémon at the start, and I knew this wouldn’t finish. Sure enough, time gets called early on, and we just shake hands knowing neither of us can take six prizes. A tie ends the game and my tournament.

8-3-3 (27 points)

Lots of people have asked why one of us didn’t just concede to allow someone to make the Top 8. If this were the only tournament of the season, maybe that would be a good option. The reality of the situation is that Top 16 gets a decent number of Championship Points, and we didn’t know what amount of points was guaranteed to make the cut. With so much uncertainty and prizes on the line, the best course of action is just for us to accept the tie. It’s a really lame way to end the tournament, but that’s just the way it is. Here were the final standings after the Swiss rounds.

FortWayneT8

So I ended up at 14th place at my first tournament of the year. Overall, I wasn’t too disappointed with the finish, but I couldn’t help feeling that I missed a huge opportunity. Most of the decks that made Top 8 were favorable matchups for me, and 75 minutes gives me a good chance to play the games out. But at the end of the day, I had lots of fun with an off the wall deck, and I don’t really regret my decision at all. I came away with 45 Championship Points and a booster box, which eased the pain a little. Congrats to JW for winning and to everyone else who did well!

Here’s what I took away from the event.

I played against no Plasma decks. Seriously, what’s up with that? I thought this was supposed to be popular! Only one managed to make the Top 8 (two if you count a certain disqualified player). I was very comfortable playing against this deck, and I didn’t get a chance to face it. Hardly any Blastoise showed up either.

Darkrai and Virizion were everywhere. I understand why Darkrai was so popular, but where in the world did all of these Virizion decks come from? I’m glad I used Flareon on the day everyone else decided to use Virizion, but what a crazy metagame shift. I just wish I had thought about that Kecleon tech before the tournament so Mewtwo would have been easier to deal with.

50 minutes for best-of-three is extremely stressful. In most cases, you have to 2-0 your opponent in order to get a win. Why is that a reasonable expectation? If I’m facing a good opponent, I would expect most of my matches to go to a third game. Under this system, a tie is almost as bad as a loss, so you get majorly punished for facing good players. I came in dreading the tournament structure, and I’m not feeling any better about it now. I tied 3/14 rounds, which comes out to 21% of my matches; that’s way, way too high.

I’ll be glad when Catcher changes to a flip. Say what you want about it, but I’m ready to say goodbye to this nonsense. In fact, I’ll start the chant now.

Regionals are exhausting. We had a lot of delays that held the tournament up a lot, but the first day didn’t end until midnight. Then we came back at 8 AM only to play until late in the evening again. 14 50 minute rounds was a ton of Pokémon, but I am glad we had the extra games.

I had a lot of fun just focusing on playing. For the past two years, I ran around like crazy trying to stream and play at the same time. It was nice to just play again and not have to worry about anything. I do miss commentating, though.

Well, that wraps up this monstrous tournament report. I hope you guys enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the season plays out. Thanks for reading! Take care.

6 responses to “Vengeance is Sweet – Indiana Regionals Report”

  1. Blake Pennington

    Thanks for the kind words. I think you could have laid down a random energy and said it means you win the game and I wouldn’t have noticed. That was a long, stressful (but still fun) event.

    The funny thing about the Leafeon KO was that I was aware of how it would play out with Retaliate, I just forgot that quickly. Exhausting for my first experience bigger than Battle Roads.

    1. Kyle Sucevich

      Words can’t describe how long the event felt. Everyone who survived should have received a medal.

      1. Ian Asplund

        Ain’t that the truth. And we didn’t even play Top 8!

  2. C-Dub

    Awesome report. You always write them out so well and detailed like they should be. Pokemon needs to adjust their structure from the data they have so far. Ties are not a good thing when there are this many. If they’re okay with 75 top cut rounds, then why not tack on another 10 minutes to the regular rounds to bring it to an even 60? It seems so easy to do that. Maybe that would mean that they would have to shave off 1-2 total rounds in the tournaments to have 12 instead of 14 for example, but its quality over quantity in the matches right? Less ties and more games played out is better.

    You said you played against no plasma decks. I think they are on the decline and will continue to drop in play when XY sets hit the scene. Yeah, the tins are out and they’re an easy and somewhat cheap deck to assemble, but I think people are concluding that there are too many effective counters that are widely played now (driblim).

    I enjoyed watching your matches using Flareon. That deck is crazy in terms of how games play out with it. It reminds me of your Ho-oh deck you played before. You would have so many awkward hands and somehow find a way to be successful with unique combinations. Theres so many ways to play it too. Like I said in your deck video, i’ll be anxious to see what you change here in a week or so when rules change and new pokemon are out.

  3. Jeremy Bandy

    Thanks for featuring our match-up in your article! It was lots of fun :)

  4. JW Kriewall

    Congratulations on your impressive tournament run! Nice report as well. I can shed some light on our match from my perspective. Going into the round, I was really thinking the best case scenario I could do against a Flareon deck with Virizion Mewtwo was a tie. I just didn’t see myself winning 2 out of 3 against that deck. I figured that one of the games would be pretty drawn out and that hopefully in one of the games I could get a donk and if I could force a game 3, anything could happen.

    Game 1, I was trying to see what counts you played, most specifically how many Shadow Steal Drifblim. When I saw you bench a Zorua and discard a Kyurem, I knew there had to be some tricks up your sleeve so I figured I’d play it out. In reality, I should’ve scooped about 15 minutes in when I hadn’t even taken a prize and you were almost fully set up, but learning when to scoop in this format is a skill I haven’t quite gotten the hang of. In game 3, my opening hand was 4 energy and 2 N, so I couldn’t N you first turn when you passed! You need some amount of luck to do well at any tournament; sorry it had to come at your expense. Again, great job!