Hey Dead Draw Gaming readers, Caleb Gedemer back again today for you all. The last time I wrote, the new set, Evolutions, was the topic of discussion. Today I have something different.
I recently participated at the Regional Championships in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and today you will get to see how my rounds went and how I did!
Immediately following Arizona Regionals, I had pretty much concluded that I would not be playing Greninja BREAK again at Philly. Why? Well, with ‘ninja looking like it would be the most played deck, I simply did not want to play lots of mirror matches where the first few turns decide the game and tech cards like Hex Maniac and Pokemon Ranger matter very much.
In the process of testing I stumbled upon Primal Groudon-EX again after playing it a little last season. I had simply made the deck so I could play some other choices against it and I just happened to personally play Groudon against a friend. In the games, I remembered how much I liked the deck and we began to brainstorm how it fared against the rest of the format.
Testing got more vigorous as the event approached and we switched many a few cards in and out of the deck. We found that the deck had virtually all positive matchups except for some slight disparity against Greninja BREAK and Trevenant BREAK. With the addition of a second Hex Maniac, both matchups looked better and better as time progressed.
We originally messed with only two regular Groudon-EX, but found that it was much better to have a third, so that Prizing one would not create a difficult winning situation. Additionally, on the topic of regular Groudons, we found that the Dark Explorers Groudon-EX was more than likely unnecessary, given the mirror match more not being a popular one and for the fact that in the mirror, the "Tromp" attack to spread damage and break Focus Sashes can simply be offset with use of Pokemon Center Lady or Super Potion. Even more so, Hard Charm can completely render it useless as well. I have not even mentioned Mr. Mime’s Bench protecting Ability yet, either.
Overall, after plenty of games, I was confident and ready for any matchup. I knew that I played the deck well and was ready for some long days of Pokemon.
The Deck List
Pokemon -- 11
Trainers -- 40
Energy -- 9
3 Groudon-EX PRC 85
2 Primal Groudon-EX PRC 86
1 Regirock PR XY49
1 Mr. Mime PLF 47
4 Wobbuffet GEN RC11
1 Computer Search
1 Enhanced Hammer
1 Escape Rope
1 Mega Turbo
1 Professor’s Letter
4 Puzzle of Time
1 Robo Substitute
1 Super Potion
1 Ultra Ball
4 VS Seeker
2 Hex Maniac
1 Pokemon Center Lady
3 Professor Sycamore
4 Tropical Beach
1 Float Stone
1 Focus Sash
1 Hard Charm
4 Strong Energy
5 Fighting Energy
On the fifth of November, this Regional Championship was held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The day before, my travel group and I were slated to stay at a hotel on the outskirts of New Jersey, but since the hotel was booked in my eighteen-year-old name, we were unable to check in. I tried to contact the hotel booking agency, but their servers were down for the remainder of the day. After driving nearly eighteen hours straight, we decided to just nab a different hotel and call it a wrap.
This was a little stressful, but at least I had peace of mind with my extreme confidence in my deck choice and how to play it.
The morning on the day of sped past, and even with the tournament delays, I was ready. I was stoked on my Mr. Mime/Primal Groudon-EX/Regirock/Wobbuffet deck and ready to play some Expanded format games.
Round One versus Greninja BREAK/Talonflame
To start my day, I opened with Wobbuffet, got Groudon-EX and used Tropical Beach on my first turn. While finding Energy, cards came a little slower than usual, but I eventually got some Strong Energy down. Since I Prized my second Primal, I did not go for it. He used Lysandre for my Groudon-EX before I could play the Primal that I did have, so I had to take some time to heal it back to full health with Pokemon Center Lady and Super Potion. I had to use one Puzzle of Time early so that was an acute letdown. This game came down to my one Primal Groudon. I healed and played Hex Maniac twice, but then I was forced into a new hand with N. After N, I missed an out to Hex Maniac, and without it, lost from a double Giant Water Shuriken followed by Moonlight Slash.
I started Wobb with Groudon and used Beach for multiple turns while setting up two Groudons this time. He again used Lysandre and I spread my Energy on both. One had four Strong Energy. I put my Float on the first one so that I could Retreat and stall if needed. The second one had the Hard Charm for late game. I opened with the Float one and used Hex for the first time. I continued the lock for a few more turns and got to two Prizes. They played N and the four Strong Groudon had 200 on it. The Hard Charm one had 120 on it. I played N for two and needed double Puzzle to get Super Potion to keep going. Without having Hex Maniac, of course, I was forced to just Retreat, Discarding all my Energy. I drew Wobbuffet, so I moved into that. I only had a Puzzle in hand and just had to pass. They two-hit me with their attacks and I drew a VS. I could at best heal sixty and force them to have two Water Energy to win, which was highly likely. Instead, I just played N. He drew a Water after I took my knockout with the four Strong Primal. He had the Energy to take the knockout and I lost, unfortunately.
0-2 Loss; 0-1-0
Round Two versus Greninja BREAK/Talonflame
Here I opened with a mediocre hand and had to start with Mr. Mime. Opening with Mime means that Greninja decks will always have a place to Lysandre to activate Ability usage once more, as opposed to being locked down with Wobbuffet. I managed to get a Groudon down with Wobb shortly afterwards. I started to build two Groudons. Eventually, it came time to strike and I had the appropriate hand to do so. I lead with my Primal Groudon-EX that had four Strong Energy on it, this Groudon took me down to two Prizes. Here, my opponent had a chance to use Talonflame for two cards of their choice. I was out of Hex Maniac outs now and my Primal had 200 damage on it. With the option to Retreat my Active Primal Groudon-EX to the Bench, I chose not to, to prevent one possibility for a loss. My Mr. Mime was looking more and more like a liability, but it depended on if my opponent played Lysandre. The BREAK could have sniped the Primal on the Bench for game and then I would still lose after a Moonlight Slash knockout on the Mr. Mime. After I took my knockout and crossed my fingers, my opponent played their Lysandre and won the game with a Giant Water Shuriken knockout for two Prizes followed by the Moonlight Slash for a knockout and the game on the Mr. Mime.
This one started off a bit better but came down to a Wobb that kept getting pulled up by Lysandre. I was forced to use my Olympia more because my Switch and fourth Puzzle were Prized. The two of those ended up being my last two Prizes. Prizing those two cards hurt and that, coupled with the fact that some bad Ns nipped me, I got blanked in another set against Greninja BREAK.
0-2 Loss; 0-2-0
Round Three versus Glaceon-EX/Manectric/Pikachu Libre/Seaking/Shaymin-EX/Suicune
My opponent this round was using a very uncompetitive deck. He was a newer player.
He scored two Prizes over the course of two games.
2-0 Win; 1-2-0
Round Four versus Garchomp/Talonflame
Opened well against their Talonflame start and thought the matchup through in my head. It seemed alright. The pressure of 'chomp would be slightly nerve wracking, but the fact that I could take one hit knockouts versus their two-hit ones meant that I would likely come out on top. I checked my deck and went out to set up two Primals. One Groudon was brought up by Lysandre early, but I Retreated it with Float Stone and eventually healed it to full health with the help of Olympia, Pokemon Center Lady and Super Potion. Eventually, I started to attack and even though they played Bursting Balloon, I took swift knockouts and cleared their board of attackers. Garchomp is not a very consistent attacker, as opposed to Greninja variants.
Now I could completely tell this is a good matchup. They trade very poorly and if I get the first attack, and I likely will, they will take two Garchomps for each Primal Groudon. This means I will take knockouts on all four Garchomps before they can get in a winnable situation. Provided ideal situations for both players, I will come out on top every time. Anyways, this game was quite like the first, but my opponent had a much slower start. I was more aggressive after realizing this, knowing that if I knocked out their attackers quickly they would have no chance at a comeback. I got a Primal going and their board consisted of only a single Garchomp, a Gabite, and a Talonflame. Now this Gabite had a Strong Energy and nothing more on it, so I used two Puzzles of Time to take an Enhanced Hammer from the Discard and take off that lone Strong. I then took my first knockout on the 'chomp and my opponent decided to call it quits right there. They acknowledged they had no way to win and conceded.
2-0 Win; 2-2-0
Round Five versus Archeops/Darkrai-EX/Gallade/Jirachi-EX/Keldeo-EX/Shaymin-EX/Yveltal/Yveltal-EX
This game started out rough from the beginning. I had a hard time finding my Mr. Mime to prevent Bench damage to my Pokemon-EX and my opponent made matters even worse by starting with the Yveltal that has Fright Night as an Ability. Anyways, I eventually got a Primal Groudon-EX out, but had to burn precious resources to heal the damaged Groudon to full health so that I could make this a competitive game. We went back and forth, and by this, I mean trading in the form of their snipe damage for my Energy removal with Xerosic and Enhanced Hammer. I locked them out of all but one Double Colorless Energy in their deck and we were beginning to get extremely low on cards. I identified that I would deck them out and wanted to put all my effort into that. They were forced to N to prevent drawing all their cards and losing, so I hoped my N to three would be decent. Oh, boy, it was not. I got a Computer Search and two VS Seekers and my draw for the turn being a Tropical Beach. I was forced into Discarding the two VS Seekers to get a way to move my Primal Groudon-EX out of the Active spot without Retreating and that was the nail in the coffin. I would have otherwise used that Primal to take the final knockout I needed to strip their last Energy and then continually move around using Olympia and such, but instead, I was the one drawing my last card and ruining an excruciatingly long game one.
Well, I could simply not see us finishing this game, let alone the series. I decided to try my best to fight for a tie and nab some points for going 6-2-1, hopefully. This game was much more dominant for me, as I got rid of every one of my opponent’s Double Colorless Energy in the first few turns. They were overly aggressive and that did not work out for them at all. Mr. Mime stuck for the most part this game, and when my opponent was down to just using Yveltal-EX with Darkness Energy on it, I took the opportunity to start taking Prizes. I drew my last two on the third turn of time and got the tie on the match slip.
1-1 Tie; 2-2-1
Round Six versus Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX/Glaceon-EX/Jolteon-EX/Mewtwo-EX/Regirock/Shaymin-EX/Vileplume/Yveltal-EX
The anticipation of making the second day was gone by now, but I still had something to play with and I surely wanted to redeem myself. My opponent had a great start by getting a colored Energy (Prism or Rainbow Energy) on an attacker. Vileplume followed on their second turn of play. However, I found a Wobbuffet and Retreated the Mr. Mime that I had started with to get Wobb into the Active spot. Here, I could play all the Item cards I wanted. Eventually, after using Tropical Beach frequently, I got my Lysandre and pulled up my opponent’s Vileplume. After passing a few turns, they scooped. In doing this, I realized that with their deck, since in the Expanded format it contains Darkrai-EX with Dark Cloak, the AZ count is significantly dropped. It becomes easy to trap a Vileplume Active with Wobbuffet. I also realized that Xerosic and Enhanced Hammer usage is amazing.
I had a dead hand and my opponent used a Ninja Boy on their Active Yveltal-EX to change it into Mewtwo-EX to knock out my Wobbuffet after a single turn.
This time, my opponent declined to get 'plume out. This is likely because of the Wobbuffet trap in the first game. This may have been a nice preventative measure, but the simple fact of the matter is that it still allows me to play Item cards and Xerosic along with the Enhanced Hammer can have a field day. I simply got one Groudon out and went to town.
2-1 Win; 3-2-1
Round Seven versus Archeops/Jirachi-EX/Keldeo-EX/Reshiram/Volcanion/Volcanion-EX
I opened awfully this game; the worst start of my tournament. I had a Mr. Mime and a Robo Substitute at the end of my first turn and simply passed. On my following turn, I drew a Tropical Beach and played a few cards out of hand to get things rolling along. Unfortunately, my number of cards to draw was still low and the bad beats continued. Eventually, I found some Wobbuffets and found more stalling friends to wait for a Groudon-EX. When a ‘don finally came, I wasted no time in overpowering it and had lots of Pokemon to keep feeding my opponent until my time came to attack. This game was so lopsided at this point for my opponent that I would literally need to take six Prizes against a mainly non-EX deck. I knew I would have to stream Hex Maniac repeatedly to do this, and I did just that. With four Strong Energy on my Primal, it was easy to continually take Prizes, all the while locking down the Ability of Steam Up. This prevented extra damage and allowed me to abuse Super Potion to continually heal my Pokemon. I came back in an extremely close game for the win.
Another game, another slow start. This game was extremely reminiscent of the first, but my opponent played faster, trying to avoid a tie. Unfortunately for them, this matchup is as bad as it seems and even with slow starting difficulties, I made a sick comeback with healing just enough damage and using a Lysandre on a Volcanion-EX for a knockout to stop my opponent from using Steam Up in the final turns.
2-0 Win; 4-2-1
Round 8 versus Darkrai-EX/Jolteon-EX/Mewtwo-EX/Regice/Shaymin-EX/Vileplume/Yveltal-EX
It was starting to look like I had a chance at the Top Sixty-Four. He started with Jolteon-EX and used a Ninja Boy into Yveltal-EX. He seemed unaware of how to approach the matchup. I built a Regirock with two Strong to knockout any Regice threats and used Primal Groudon-EX for everything else. By taking knockouts on Pokemon with such valuable Energy costs, the combination of that with Xerosic and Enhanced Hammer proved to be too much once again for the ‘plume toolbox deck and I came out on top.
This game was much closer because my opponent went for two Regice right away. I had attached a Strong Energy to my Groudon-EX instead of Regirock to begin, since I had not searched my deck yet and noticed that two Strongs were Prized. I was going to be forced to flip heads with Regirock’s Stone Edge if I ever decided to use it against a Regice for a knockout. Both Xerosic and Enhanced Hammer were wonderful once again and this time I utilized bringing up Vileplume again and to find time to build attackers and disrupt my opponent. I hit a clutch Stone Edge heads to essentially put the game away and my opponent conceded after a couple turns.
2-0 Win; 5-2-1
Round Nine versus Exeggcute/Hoopa-EX/M Gardevoir-EX/Shaymin-EX
My opponent and I sat down and he started off by having multiple mulligans in a row and because of that, I was then able to get a Wobbuffet into the Active position with the extra cards I got to draw. My opponent played one turn and then on my second turn they conceded; conceded the match, that is. Kind of odd but they said that Primal Groudon was an auto-loss for their deck. I did have a great start, so I could see where they were coming from. At the end of a long day, I cannot necessarily blame them.
1-0 Win; 6-2-1
50th Place Overall out of 649 Masters Division Players; 6-2-1
Quick Expanded Thoughts Moving Forward
With Trevenant BREAK placing in the finals of another Expanded Regional Championship, I must say that Trev will more than likely be the deck to beat going forward. The addition of Rescue Scarf in the winning build makes tons of sense and may even provide a way to compete with the occasional overpowering pressure of other decks.
The degenerate nature of the winning list’s Crushing and Enhanced Hammer cards, along with Team Flare Grunt and Xerosic, mean that many decks will be turned obsolete with fickle Energy costs and low Energy counts to begin with.
As far as other decks go, Darkness decks are obviously going to gain lots of traction too, and should continue their ongoing tenure in the Expanded format. Evolutions brings a few things to the table, but that is for another day. Check out Trevenant BREAK in Expanded!
Philadelphia Regional Championship Winning Deck List
Pokemon -- 15
Trainers -- 37
Energy -- 8
2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77
2 Jirachi-EX PLB 60
4 Phantump BKP 64
4 Trevenant XY 55
3 Trevenant BREAK BKP 66
1 Computer Search
4 Crushing Hammer
1 Enhanced Hammer
2 Level Ball
4 Red Card
1 Super Rod
4 Ultra Ball
4 VS Seeker
4 Professor Sycamore
1 Team Flare Grunt
3 Dimension Valley
1 Silent Lab
2 Rescue Scarf
8 Psychic Energy
Philly as an event and trip was a bit subpar. If I were to do it over again, I would have tried to fly instead. I am, however, still confident in my deck choice and glad I played it. The Greninja BREAK matchup was what ended up doing me in, and I believed it to be an even matchup that came down to late game Ns and things of that sort, and I still am steadfast in that conclusion.
I am not excited one bit about Trevenant BREAK breaking through once again, I do not like that deck and the way it plays. Hopefully Darkness decks can surge even more in popularity and tone down some of the tree hype that is sure to follow.
Thanks for tuning in today everyone, I hope you enjoyed this piece. Good luck!