Hello Dead Draw Gaming fans! I am excited to share with you today my most recent tournament experience, that being a Regional Championship in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I will be letting you know how I prepared in the weeks prior to the event and portraying my matches as they went. I hope you enjoy!
Going towards this Regionals I knew I wanted to play the deck I felt had the most upside, as well as the best matchups. I originally started testing Xerneas, or Rainbow Road, per suggestion of Ryan Grant during the ride home from the last Regional. The deck was a little too inconsistent for my liking at the time, or so I thought. I dabbled with nearly every deck, even coming back to my original favorite deck of the season in the Standard format, M Mewtwo-EX (64).
Not a single deck seemed to work well for me, even the ever-so-consistent Yveltal/Garbodor deck that was all the rage in the hype process for this event. I began to settle on M Gardevoir-EX (79), but quickly changed my mind once again after falling out of favor with the way the deck tends to draw quite a bit (inconsistently).
Finally, in the final week before the tournament, with the news that Rainbow Road had won a Regional in Europe, I decided that I would have to force myself to play the deck, whether I liked it or not. It clearly had the largest upside factor, and I felt it gave me the best chance to do well. Seeing positive results overseas just reinforced that sentiment for me.
The next hurdle was deciding which version of the deck I wanted to play. I had started testing a Basic-oriented version of the deck (without Galvantula) as opposed to the Galvantula list. Early on it seemed promising with some consistency add-ons in place of the spider, but as I tested more the idea seemed to slip through my fingers and I scrapped it.
The Galvantula list was what I would finally settle on, and in retrospect, boy was that ever a great decision. Now that I had my deck in hand, I was ready to fight my way through a huge tournament! Now let me take you there.
Round One versus Garbodor/Shaymin-EX/Yveltal/Yveltal-EX
My nerves were there, sitting down to play some Pokemon after not playing a tournament for nearly a month (a long time for me), but also were my Max Elixirs. I opened well, hitting a Max Elixir on a Benched Xerneas all the while opening with one in the Active spot, the Active pink reindeer got a Fairy from hand, as well.
This game was a back and forth once we started trading Prizes, and Stadiums. It came down to an awkward situation where I had an incredibly small field composed of Galvantula, Genesect-EX, Xerneas, and a Xerneas BREAK in the Active spot. The BREAK had two Fairy Energy on it from an Exp. Share, but a way to address my opponent’s Active Yveltal-EX, I had to Retreat to the Bench. I simply attached another Energy and Retreated to the Genesect-EX (which had a Float Stone attached). My plan was to wait it out until I drew a Lysandre and Double Colorless to knock out one of my opponent’s Shaymin-EXs on the Bench for my last two Prizes.
On the opponent’s turn, he used Lysandre to bring up the BREAK once more (using his last VS Seeker) and I was stuck once again. I had to attach a Double Colorless and Retreat to the Bench again. Now I knew I was safe from knockout with the Genesect in the Active again. I used a Professor Sycamore and hoped to draw the winning hand. I did, but it was sent away with an N. Off the N I received a VS Seeker and a Double Colorless, the winning cards, which was incredibly lucky, but gave me the win.
Our second game was much more of a landslide, as I never missed a beat and simply knocked out every threat he set up. I could play my own Parallel City early to stop him from ever getting the chance to limit my Bench and that was that.
Round Two versus Garbodor/Hoopa/Hoopa-EX/M Mewtwo-EX (64)/Shaymin-EX
This game was super ugly. I opened with a completely dead hand with a Xerneas Active. I simply drew and passed for what I think was around five turns straight. My opponent had a slower start too, but got a M Mewtwo-EX going and just rolled tide on my fragile board state.
The complete opposite happened for this game and I got the concession after four turns. My opponent never set anything up and I knocked out both of his Pokemon in play.
This was an extremely bizarre game. I opened relatively weak since I Prized my Volcanion-EX for the second time in this series. This meant I would have to repeatedly Sky Return my Shaymin-EXs to set up Rainbow Force knockouts on opposing M Mewtwo-EXs.
Eventually, when my board was looking very weak, I realized I still had a way to win. A turn earlier I had played an N and left my opponent with a weaker hand. I had four Prizes left to three. I used Lysandre to send up his Hoopa-EX and started using Galvantula’s Double Thread to two Benched Megas. When he found a way to switch out, each had 120 and 150 damage on them.
My opponent sent up the one with 120 and took a knockout on my spider. My response was with a Xerneas that only could do 90 damage but that was just enough. When my opponent took that knockout then I was down to just a Genesect-EX, Hoopa-EX, and a Shaymin-EX. I just used Sky Return into the Genesect-EX, putting the defending Mewtwo at 180 overall. My opponent had a large hand and I assumed the worst. The used a Mega Turbo and attached a Double Colorless and announced Psychic Infinity rather hurriedly. It did 190, before Resistance. He thought it was a knockout, but I reminded him and took my last two Prizes with another Sky Return. This was an unreal game.
Round Three versus Bisharp/Galvantula/Mew/Shaymin-EX/Volcanion-EX/Xerneas
My opponent had a terribly slow start and I capitalized on it. I noticed he included Bisharp and no Pokemon-EXs, other than Shaymin-EX. I figured he would tend to be less consistent than I was, so that I would have the advantage, unless Bisharp got involved.
He had another horrific start, but I did not want to play my N that I had and instead opted to just keep attaching Fairy Energy to various Xerneas on my Bench to prepare myself for the trade to come. He ended up getting the best of me by setting up the Bisharp and playing a Parallel City that I could never bounce with a Sky Field. I still was not aware of the full contents of his deck list, but I had reason to believe he did not even include a single Sky Field themselves.
Make it or break it time. I had another rough start for myself, with him playing a Parallel City early and me never finding another gym to bounce it. It was rough going and he took care of my slow start by powering up tons and tons of Pokemon on the Bench. I knew this game was completely unwinnable, but luckily, time was called at the perfect moment, and he had no way to take three Prizes after missing a Lysandre for a two Prize knockout. Whew.
Round Four versus Garbodor/M Altaria/Shaymin-EX/Xerneas/Xerneas-EX
Lunch time went by fast and I was stuck with a whacky deck a friend of mine had gotten rolled by earlier with his Yveltal/Garbodor deck. I was determined to win to avenge him, but my hand was about to do me no justice. I attached a Fairy Energy to my Active Xerneas and played an N, drawing three Double Colorless and had little to no clue what to do. He had a rocking good start and took a knockout on that Xerneas with the Energy, and things were looking super bleak.
I played a Professor Sycamore after attaching a Double to a Benched Xerneas and promoting my Genesect-EX with a Float Stone. My plan was to hopefully sweep with the same attacker, but that seemed somewhat unlikely with my limited Double Colorless Energy supply.
After taking a one hit knockout on his Active M Altaria-EX with that last Xerneas bearing the Double, Mister Altaria had no response and I swept the rest of his field by using Lysandre on whatever he attached Energy to for the turn.
I hoped this game would go better, and it did. I had an insane turn one, getting Joltik into play to Evolve to Galvantula later and going nuts with Hoopa-EX. He was unable to counter my Stadium and had to end his turn with a Mega Evolution on an Altaria-EX. I had the lucky Lysandre and took that threat for a walk with a knockout from Xerneas. After that, once again, I just pulled up his attackers before he could use them and swept this one easily.
Round Five versus Hoopa-EX/Shaymin-EX/Volcanion/Volcanion-EX
On the ups, I was faced with a Volcanion deck. I had for some reason spaced on testing this matchup very much, but quickly learned that missing Max Elixirs is brutal in this matchup. I quickly ran out of steam without an attacker, and had to Retreat around my board, hoping he would miss a knockout while I had time to attach Energy. This did not happen and I conceded quickly.
When I saw my dead hand, I knew this was over. There is not much to say about this one, I just got smoked.
Round Six versus Garbodor/Hoopa-EX/M Mewtwo-EX (64)/Shaymin-EX
It was time to basically win out, but I felt good about my chances. This was yet another silly game where my opponent had absolutely nothing and I set up a nice Bench and swept his field before he could do a thing.
Another flip-flop spin back to where I dead drew this time. I conceded within a few minutes to save time.
Must-wins are so insane. I had a crazy start with my own Parallel City, Joltik and Hoopa-EX and lastly a Max Elixir on a Xerneas. That combination almost always results in a quick victory. With the tools to ward off any M Mewtwo-EX threat, I simply took one-hit knockouts each turn to take all six Prizes.
Round Seven versus Beedrill-EX/Greninja BREAK/Jirachi
I had tested this match during the week in preparation, and it was even, depending on if Frogadiers get Prized and things like that. My start was great, with Joltik and double Xerneas, both getting Energy from attachment and Max Elixir, respectively. The Greninja BREAK player’s turn was lackluster, though, ending with a Bubble heads to my dismay. His second turn was even worse: he used Water Duplicates for two Frogadier.
Now that he was playing with less than four Greninja, I was confident I could win. I navigated through Bursting Balloons and managed to stop him from getting more than one Greninja BREAK out at a time. I only needed three Xerneas to do the trick.
These three took all six Prizes in a very shaky game from my opponent.
His first turn was very confusing to me, he used an Ultra Ball, Discarding a Frogadier. I would have simply held onto it and Evolved the next turn. However, that was not the case and he got two Froakie down, but flipped Tails on Bubble this time. My turn was fantastic once more, in similar fashion, but I did not get a knockout on the first turn.
When his Water Duplicates yielded a single Frogadier, my eyes nearly popped out of my head. This game was already close to a wrap and I took knockouts each turn following.
We ended on a sour note with my opponent’s field consisting of just a Jirachi and a Beedrill-EX on the Bench. I had an Olympia and a Double Colorless Energy to Retreat the Genesect-EX I had the Active spot and a Xerneas on the Bench with three Fairy Energy attached. My opponent thought time had been called and scooped up his cards (it had not, the announcer made a mistake, it was for a different division). Regardless, I had game either way on the following turn with only one Prize left.
Round Eight versus Carbink BREAK/Shaymin-EX/Zygarde/Zygarde-EX
With a win, I would be feeling great about my chances at making Day Two. I opened well and my opponent did not. He drew dead for much of the game, but managed to power up a Zygarde-EX with a Fighting Fury Belt. I was unable to knock it out in one hit initially, so I had two find another way to take my last two Prizes. I was run out of Xerneas with Energy, so I would be starting over from nothing to make things even worse. I gradually found a Fairy Energy, and with my opponent unable to Lysandre my Xerneas, I had a while to make sure I had the perfect hand. I ended up getting super lucky off an N, drawing a Shaymin-EX, and finding a VS Seeker (for Lysandre) and a Double Colorless to steal the game.
My opponent’s smart inclusion of three Parallel City nipped me hard. I was not expecting the third, and I had no way of recovering from a huge Bench drop with both of my Super Rod done for.
I opened with the nuts again and my opponent had nothing. I was blazing this game along, trying to finish quickly because time was of the essence. Unfortunately, to my dismay, my opponent got the baby Zygarde down with Rumble and used a Lysandre on my Volcanion-EX. With one Prize left, and no way out of the Active (my Olympia was my last Prize) I had to sign “tied” on the match slip.
Round Nine versus Garbodor/Glaceon-EX/Regice/Shaymin-EX
My opening hand was useless, but I knew how great of a matchup this was for me. He barely did any damage and the only thing of note are Energy denial cards. I drew, passed, and did the same for many more turns in a row. Eventually, I got some things going, and had the necessary Energy flow to last multiple turns in a row. Two Xerneas got me all the knockouts I needed for a quick and painless win.
This time I drew dead again, but I lost many, many Energy in the process. I had to burn a ton of resources and played it out to think more about how heavily favored in this matchup I was with a decent hand (I had tons of time).
Now things went right, thankfully. I played first and got the Energy attachment I needed and started attacking on my second turn. My opponent had a weaker opening and tried using Lysandre to stall me out a little bit, but I always had Olympia or Float Stone and won this game in a matter of ten or so minutes.
Round Ten versus Beedrill-EX/Hoopa-EX/Jirachi/Jolteon-EX/Magearna-EX/Mew-EX/Regice/Shaymin-EX/Vileplume
When my opponent flipped over a Jolteon-EX going first, I assumed it was a Vileplume deck, and I was right. He got the turn one Vileplume and the Rainbow Energy attachment he needed on the Jolteon. I looked at my hand a few times and there was nothing I could do except Lysandre the Vileplume. My opponent did not have a way to Retreat, so I bought some much needed time to get a better hand. I finally drew a Xerneas finally and Benched it and attached to it. My opponent had an out to Retreat the ‘plume and used Lysandre on the Xerneas.
I cannot put this match to justice, but I continually passed and passed. Finally, I had a Xerneas with the necessary Energy to attack and I used a Lysandre to send up my opponent’s Vileplume. I had a Double Colorless Energy in hand to Retreat the Flygon, so I sent up Xerneas and took the knockout (I had Genesect-EX and Volcanion-EX on the Bench too, by now). Now I had a sick opening to Ultra Ball on my following turn for the Xerneas BREAK and pull the comeback.
That is exactly what I did. With three Prizes left, my opponent had used Ninja Boy to turn his other Jolteon into a Magearna-EX and knocked out my Xerneas BREAK. I had a Galvantula on the Bench, so I sent it up and played an N, putting my opponent at one card. ‘gearna was only doing 60 after it had attacked, not even counting Galvantula’s Resistance, and I was able to Double Thread on a Manaphy-EX and an Oddish. He had no response and I somehow pulled a shocker of a win.
This one was more of a landslide, because he was unable to set up Vileplume and I easily dodged his attackers, especially Jolteon-EX, with the Xerneas BREAK. Jirachi played a bit of trickery, but it was nothing my deck could not overcome.
Round Eleven versus Entei/Hoopa-EX/Shaymin-EX/Volcanion/Volcanion-EX
Ah, the dreaded Volcanion matchup. I was expecting to lose, maybe I should have been more confident, but regardless, this game did not go to plan. I never got to use the Exp. Share and I missed nearly all of my Max Elixirs. I ran out of attackers and lost the Prize trade.
Now I hit some Max Elixirs and could hold steady with what he threw at me. I made good use of the Exp. Share too, which was fantastic. I eventually out traded him by removing all applicable threats and he conceded.
I felt like I would have to get lucky this game to win, and that I did. My opponent struggled to get things going and I could Lysandre Volcanion-EXs that were in the process of getting powered up before he attacked for knockouts. I ended up being ahead of Prizes and my opponent missed an N and I had a Lysandre in hand with a Double Colorless Energy to attack to my last Xerneas to knock out any Pokemon-EX I wanted on his Bench for the last two Prizes.
Round Twelve versus Garbodor/Jirachi/Jolteon-EX/Lugia-EX/Pidgeot-EX/Shaymin-EX
Time to play the deck that was getting a lot of attention from the community. My opening hand was dead so I kept passing until I drew an N. My opponent had been very content with using Jolteon-EX’s Flash Ray and with my N, I could explode. I drew the Hoopa-EX and filled my Bench, finally getting the Xerneas BREAK and taking a knockout on the Jolteon-EX.
On my opponent’s next turn, he got the Parallel City and decimated my entire Bench. I was unable to recover fully and struggled to knockout my opponent’s Lugia-EX in the Active spot. After it was gone, I was left with a Galvantula as my only possible attacker. I got another Joltik down and moved to take a knockout on a Shaymin-EX for my last two Prizes. To my dismay, my opponent dropped two Max Potions on both Shaymins. Now I still had an opportunity, even though my Galvan’s would not be able to take it home, I would have to charge another Xerneas up and take a knockout that way.
I used Double Thread again and this time the damage was healed with a Pokemon Center Lady and a Max Potion. I conceded.
Being very confident this was a good matchup, I opened this game on the rough side of things. My opponent knocked out Joltiks with a Lugia-EX in back to back turns with help from Lysandre. He seemed to not have a great hand, and when I finally exploded with Hoopa-EX, the conceded a turn later.
I felt like this game was going to be close because of time so I aimed to play extremely fast. My opponent had an awful start again and I could address any incoming threats immediately. At one point, he seemed to be confident in a win by attacking with Jolteon-EX, only until I found my Xerneas BREAK and rolled tide. From there, it was just a matter of time since he was stalling with Jirachi’s Stardust and Lysandre on big-Retreat Pokemon-EX. I won after finding a way to Retreat my Genesect-EX.
Round Thirteen versus Intentional Draw
I took what was thought at the time to be a calculated risk (assuming I could potentially miss Top Eight on Resistance) by taking a tie.
R14 versus Intentional Draw
I did the math, and there was only one negative scenario that involved one 31 match point player to miss the cut. I was confident in my Resistance and did not believe that would be me, so I drew again and crossed my fingers.
Top Eight versus Entei/Hoopa-EX/Shaymin-EX/Volcanion/Volcanion-EX
Making it in as the fifth seed, I was excited to be playing a matchup, and player, that I had beaten earlier in the day during Swiss rounds. This game was on the stream that was set up, too, so it would be a fun one.
I opened with a crazy turn one, going first. I powered a Xerneas up from scratch, found a Float Stone to Retreat my Active Xerneas and found an Exp. Share for my third Xerneas in play on the Bench. I took a massive knockout on a Volcanion-EX.
My opponent drew, played an N, and conceded.
I opened super poorly and had just a Xerneas BREAK and a Genesect-EX on the Bench at one point. When the Xerneas BREAK was knocked out, I just scooped, knowing there was no way back into it.
I opened hot again, but drew into a lull of no Supporter and lost my steam right there. It was looking favorable for my opponent when the stream team came over and told us to stop play. The judging staff was alerted and they checked it out. My opponent apparently drew six cards instead of five off an N and many things had been done after that. This considered, the judges ruled that it was a multi-Prize penalty (three in this case) since it was reversible, but many, many things had to be done to fix it. I had three Prizes left, so I was declared the winner.
Top Four versus Garbodor/Shaymin-EX/Yveltal/Yveltal-EX
My Top Eight match was a crummy way to win, but I hoped to redeem myself in this one. I opened Volcanion-EX against my opponent’s Yveltal with Fright Night and my heart dropped. It would assuredly be awhile before I drew my Olympia or a Lysandre, so things were not looking good. My opponent started dedicating Energy to Yveltal-EXs, as opposed to the regular Yveltal, and I liked that decision. While it does have obvious utility, the Fright Night Yveltal is not a strong attacker against Rainbow Road.
A Parallel City was played against me early on and that combined with my awful start, I never recovered. The game was worth playing out until I realized that my deck just simply did not want to show me a Sky Field.
After many missed opportunities, it was not worth playing anymore.
My start was extremely shaky again, as I could not find a Sky Field once more. I struggled to get anything going and had to use Sky Return to generate offense numerous times. In combination with the 30 damage from Sky Return, I was able to take two Prizes with Xerneas’ Rainbow Force.
I determined after that first knockout that my best way to win would be to utilize both of my Galvantula’s and hope to hit my Parallel City of a Professor Sycamore. I missed it. The hope was that I could point the Bench reduction towards myself, forcing my opponent to be stuck with both of his Shaymin EXs for the rest of the game and I would take my last four Prizes that way. It would have worked, too, but alas, I whiffed. After this game was such a grind of flimsy ways to win since the cards I wanted would never come to me. I used another Rainbow Force to set up a Galvantula knockout at one point and finally, I had a win condition with a Xerneas knockout on an Yveltal-EX on my opponent’s Bench. The first hurdle I avoided: my opponent used Yveltal with Fright Night to put my Volcanion-EX up to 120 damage, so I had to Retreat my Galvantula that was attacking for the Volcanion and use Olympia (burning a VS Seeker) to avoid the knockout.
I was then going to set up the knockout on an Yveltal-EX with Double Thread and then finish it with a Xerneas. I had the Double Colorless in hand and four Prizes left with one VS Seeker in the Prizes. I had hit an Yveltal-EX earlier for 190 and used the spider to claim that Prize and set up the next knockout. I drew the VS Seeker off the Prizes. My opponent proceeded to play his third N with four VS Seekers in the Discard and I drew dead off it and shook hands. My run was finished.
4th Place Overall out of 635 Masters Division Players; 10-2-4
The Deck List
Pokemon -- 15
Trainers -- 33
Energy -- 12
1 Flygon-EX PR XY61
2 Joltik STS 41
2 Super Rod
4 Ultra Ball
4 Professor Sycamore
1 Parallel City
1 Exp. Share
8 Fairy Energy
Overall, the tournament was run well and I had a great time. I could not be more confident in my deck choice and did all I could to make a run at the title. Thanks for reading everyone, take care!