Let me first preface this article by saying that I am by no means an expert in the Pokemon TCG field. I would be better defined as a novice with years of knowledge. I started out with this game when it first came out and joined many other youngsters at recess battling it out with our Base, Jungle, and Fossil sets. As I continued to age, my friends left Pokemon to find other interests, leaving me to be more of a casual player and collector. After discovering some local players, I started to pick the game back up only about a year ago. To this date, I have only played in three competitive tournaments (WI States in 2015 and Madison Regionals in 2015 and 2016). My lack of competitive play has stemmed mostly from life getting in the way and other commitments which are far more important to me than Being the Very Best.
With all that being said, I am still extremely passionate about this game and how to improve myself enough that I can make a splash at upcoming events. Over the course of this article, I want to touch base on the deck I chose to run at Madison Regionals this past weekend, what matchups I faced, and what changes I would make to my list if I were running it again this weekend.
Starting with the basics, here is my list:
2x Groudon EX
1x Mr Mime
3x Tropical Beach
1x Silent Lab
1x Ace Trainer
1x Pokemon Center Lady
4x VS Seeker
4x Puzzle of Time
2x Mega Turbo
1x Escape Rope
1x Float Stone
2x Focus Sash
1x Professor Letter
2x Robo Substitute
1x Ultra Ball
1x Computer Search
Overall, the list itself was fairly strong had I faced the competition I was anticipating. I was hoping that I would run into several trees, darkness, and night march floating around. While Groudon is extremely slow, it combats these decks well. The idea was to simply sit behind Wobb and Robo Subs while building up a couple of Groudons enough that they would be able to easily OHKO. I wasn’t overly worried about item lock because this deck featured enough draw support that I could simply attach energy and pass. However, I could tell after Round 1 that my forecast of how the day would run was sadly inaccurate.
Round 1 (WW) – Mega Sceptile – I was very concerned when my opponent and I both flipped over our starters for this match up. Obviously Groudon is weak to grass, so I feared this matchup would not be ideal. However, it ended up being much easier than anticipated. My opponent struggled with his draw support and was unable to utilize Shaymin or Jirachi with my Wobb active. Multiple times, he became flustered with Primal Groudon’s Barrier Trait and both games ended quickly after a 3-4 turn Groudon set up.
Round 2 (WLW) – Toad/Tina – Game 1 went pretty quick. I started Wobb and was able to lock down draw support. Knowing Focus Sash wouldn’t be necessary in this match up, I Korrina’d early for Battle Compressor to put some Supporters in my discard and was able to use Xerosic early enough in the game to be effective. Game 2 was much more difficult, as I started DEX Groudon (water weak) and was unable to draw anything. Being under item lock turn 2 really hurt my chances of getting out any Robo Subs, causing my defeat. Game 3 was much closer to Game 1 and ended right before time was called. I was able to set up Primal Groudon quickly and steamrolled through his EXs.
Round 3 (WLL) – Vespiquen/Vileplume – Going against a strong opponent, I lucked out in Game 1. My opponent was solely going for bees and ignored Vileplume completely (which makes perfect sense against Groudon). I was able to Xerosic a DCE early on in the game, and my opponent struggled drawing the cards he needed to knock out anything. Game 2 was much longer and made me feel I might actually be able to win/draw this match. My opponent set up much quicker and no matter how long I sat behind Wobb and Robo Subs, ultimately, I was just no match for the bees. Game 3 started and ended right before time was called. I went first, started Groudon (DEX) and had absolutely nothing in my hand. 2 Mega Turbos, 2 VS Seeker, 1 Ace Trainer, 1 Fighting Energy and a Puzzle of Time stared back at me. I passed turn 1, and my opponent was able to get FOGP, DCE, and 16 Pokemon in the discard pile to donk my deck, dropping me to 2-1 overall.
Round 4 (WW) – Sylveon EX – Sylveon seemed like an extremely fun deck to play and had some interesting techs in it. My opponent was super nice and clearly extremely knowledgeable. However, his deck was simply no match for Primal Groudon. He was only able to hit for 100 max each turn and by the time he could almost knock out my Primal Groudon, it was too late and the game was over.
Round 5 (WW) – Night March – Finally, a match up I had been waiting for. Again, my opponent was super friendly and fun to play against. However, she was unable to get much set up with Wobb active. She was drawing poorly as well and after hitting 2 Mega Turbos turn 3, I was set up to take out anything that was thrown at me. Game 2 was a little closer as she was able to knock out 1 of my Primals, but wasn’t able to do anything with DEX Groudon’s Tromp, which knocked out an active and benched Joltik to end the match bringing me to 4-1 overall.
Round 6 (WL DRAW) – Yoshi’s Zoroark/Ninetales Deck – Having never played against Yoshi before, I knew I had my work cut out simply based on reputation. I had glanced at his deck somewhat on stream after my round 1 match and knew it would be a little difficult of a match up for me. Game 1 ended up lasting what felt like forever. We both prize traded until I had 1 prize left to take and he had 2. However, we ended up pretty much draw/passing the last 15 turns or so because we had each exhausted our resources. I ended up winning on a deck out. Game 2 was equally as long, but Yoshi got the better of me in this one. With Zoroark being weak to fighting, I ended up focusing more on attaching Strong Energies to Groudon and hitting with their first attacks. I benched very little being worried about Zoroark’s Mind Jack attack, but Yoshi simply switched strategies to powering up his Foul Play Zoroarks instead. I ended up losing with 2 prizes left to take. Game 3 started with time being called. With no way of either of us winning, Yoshi and I simply shook hands and understood the inevitable draw dropping me to 4-1-1.
Round 7 (L ) – Raikou Eels - Round 7 ended up being my downfall of the tournament. At 4-1-1, I was in excellent shape to make Day 2 and was paired against a deck that should have been somewhat simple for me to beat. My opponent ended up playing an awesome match, and I have to give him credit. Game 1 and 2 took incredibly long and while I had game 2 won, I wasn’t able to finish it in time. My main mistake in game 1 was wasting time powering up Primal Groudon when it was unnecessary. I should have been Lysandreing out his Eeels and hitting them with Groudon for the KO.
Round 8 (LL) - ToadBats – Round 8 brought me to my lowest point. I had lost focus, misplayed like crazy, and couldn’t do anything right. My opponent was constantly scooping up Crobats and putting relentless damage on my Groudons while punching and locking out my items. I ended up scooping Game 1 realizing there was nothing I could do, as I was unable to get out any items. Game 2 was barely any better and resulted in me scooping the match.
Overall, I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed in my performance. I knew going into the tournament that I wasn’t a well-known name and that expectations shouldn’t be high. Many players of my experience would be happy to still be in the hunt heading into the late rounds. However, after a 4-1 start, I felt I had positioned myself extremely well. I didn’t do a ton of testing with the deck, which I do regret. I actually finalized my list the day prior to the tournament. Looking back, there are not too many things I would change. Originally, Mr. Mime was in the deck because of the fear of Darkrai and the possible Landy/Bats deck. Needless to say, Mime was never benched and often found his way into my discard pile. The Psychic Energy was involved in case a mirror match popped up. This was also unnecessary. I would most likely remove those 2 cards and replace them with 1 Fighting Fury Belt and 1 Ghetsis. Ghetsis could have come up big in several of the matches I played and would have seriously slowed down some of the more unfavorable match ups. Fighting Fury Belt would have been a nice tech simply because I only really needed Primal Groudon in half of my match ups. It seems like a good chunk of the current Meta involves low HP Pokemon, which were easily defeated with my Groudon.