I just got back from the World Championships, which was held in Anaheim, California. For me, it was a long-awaited weekend full of adventure, fun, and unfortunately, some major disappointment. I did find redemption in an unexpected way, so it wasn’t all for naught. Since I was unable to finish within the Top Sixteen of the Canadian and United States leaderboards, I was forced to play with around 200 other plays on the first day, vying for a spot in the second day, where a champion would eventually be crowned.
I began testing for Worlds immediately after the North American International Championship, and made some major headway in the early weeks. I originally wasn’t too thrilled about the new archetype from Burning Shadows, Gardevoir-GX, and instead, focused much of my early testing on Golispod-GX varients. I grew tired of those, as well, and then shifted to grinding games with a deck I knew very well, Espeon-GX / Garbodor. While the deck was still very solid, I felt the release of Guzma hurt the deck in ways I did not enjoy, and I wasn’t a big fan of its Gardevoir-GX matchup, either, so I ultimately decided against investing further time into the deck.
With the weekend of Worlds approaching faster and faster, I shifted gears to Decidueye-GX decks, but after hundreds of games, I again decided against the concept as well. About two weeks out from the big day, I began to settle with Gardevoir-GX. I had an awesome deck list that had counters to some decks I expected, as well as a very consistent skeleton build to boot. I was locked in with the deck, until two nights before. I played a variety of matches with Espeon-GX / Garbodor, and was finding it very easy to defeat Gardevoir-GX, which contradicted much of my earlier findings. This said, I was very conflicted at the last second, which was stressful.
Ultimately, I decided to go with the deck I had tested the most, Gardevoir-GX, and opted to remove the techs I had been playing, Giratina and Sudowoodo, in favor of a second Fairy Garden and fourth Rare Candy, to up consistency against harder matchups like that of Espeon-GX / Garbodor.
I was very confident in my chances to win just four games to advance to the second day of play, and went to bed early after a relaxing day to feel refreshed for the games to follow on Friday…
Defeat | The World Championship Flop
08/18/2017 | Alolan Vulpix / Diancie / Gallade / Gardevoir-GX / Octillery / Oranguru / Tapu Lele-GX | Standard Format | 2/2/2
Round 1 versus Espeon-GX / Garbodor / Tapu Lele-GX 1/1; 0/0/1
Round 2 versus Drampa-GX / Garbodor / Shaymin-EX / Sudowoodo / Tapu Lele-GX 0/2; 0/1/1
Round 3 versus Darkrai-GX / Dragonite-EX / Hoopa-EX / M Rayquaza-EX / Magearna-EX / Oranguru / Shaymin-EX / Tapu Lele-GX 0/2; 0/2/1
Round 4 versus Decidueye-GX / Espeon-EX / Golisopod-GX / Tapu Koko / Tapu Lele-GX 2/0; 1/2/1
Round 5 versus No Show 2/2/1
Round 6 versus Espeon-GX / Garbodor / Tapu Lele-GX / Vaporeon 1/1; 2/2/2
As you can see, the event wasn’t pretty for me. I started off with a lowly tie, and from there, was unable to win a game in three matches. After my round three loss, I was eliminated from the second day contention, but I decided to keep playing because after you work so hard for something in the regular season, it is very defeatist to just drop and move on from something so meaningful.
My friends Cody Walinski and Ryan Grant both played the same list as I, and we all were unable to move onto the second day. Ryan had the deepest run, making some crucial mistakes that cost him in the third game of his win-and-in match on the stream against Israel Sosa.
I’m not sure what’s to blame overall, although some of it was definitely from poor draws. I felt our list was close to perfect, as I logged hundreds of games with it and made sure every card in the deck was thoroughly justified. While this format isn’t extremely important anymore, as the Standard format rotation will be hitting soon, here is the list we all used:
Pokemon -- 20
Trainers -- 28
Energy -- 12
1 Alolan Vulpix GRI 21
1 Diancie BUS 94
1 Gallade BKT 84
3 Gardevoir-GX BUS 93
3 Kirlia AOR 53
4 Ralts BUS 91
1 Octillery BKT 33
1 Remoraid BKT 32
1 Oranguru SUM 113
2 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60
2 Fairy Garden
1 Hex Maniac
3 Professor Sycamore
2 Choice Band
2 Field Blower
2 Max Potion
4 Rare Candy
1 Rescue Stretcher
4 Ultra Ball
3 VS Seeker
7 Fairy Energy
4 Double Colorless Energy
1 Wonder Energy
Victory | The Anaheim Open Revival
08/19/2017 | Drampa-GX / Garbodor / Tapu Fini-GX / Tapu Lele-GX | Standard Format | 6/1/2
Round 1 versus Greninja BREAK / Starmie 2/1; 1/0/0
Round 2 versus Drampa-GX / Garbodor / Tapu Fini-GX / Tapu Lele-GX 2/1; 2/0/0
Round 3 versus Decidueye-GX / Espeon-EX / Shaymin-EX / Tapu Lele-GX / Vileplume 2/0; 3/0/0
Round 4 versus Drampa-GX / Garbodor / Tapu Lele-GX 1/1; 3/0/1
Round 5 versus Alolan Ninetales-GX / Decidueye-GX / Espeon-EX / Shaymin-EX / Tapu Koko / Tapu Lele-GX 2/0; 4/0/1
Round 6 versus Gallade / Gardevoir-GX / Sylveon-GX / Tapu Lele-GX 1/1; 4/0/2
Round 7 versus Garbodor / Espeon-EX/Necrozma-GX / Tapu Koko / Tapu Lele-GX 2/1; 5/0/2
Round 8 versus Alolan Vulpix / Greninja BREAK / Starmie 2/0; 6/0/2
Top 12 versus Diancie / Gallade / Gardevoir-GX / Octillery / Tapu Lele-GX 0/2; 6/1/2
This tournament went much better for me. Ryan Grant showed me Daniel Altavilla’s Drampa-GX / Garbodor list that he used to advance to the second day at Worlds, and trusting it, I decided to play it. I’ve never really played many games with Drampa-GX / Garbodor before, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from the deck. My first three rounds were pretty simple, except for the second one, where out of a huge field of players, I faced none other than Ryan Grant with the same sixty cards. I beat him in game three on the third turn of time, which was quite satisfying.
My next few rounds were much closer, and I had to really grind for the win in most of them. The most challenging was definitely round six, where I faced an uphill battle against a Gardevoir-GX deck. Game one I was thoroughly crushed, but the second game was much closer. Towards the end of the game I realized I was basically out of meaningful attackers, so I started using Tapu Fini-GX’s Aqua Ring attack with a Choice Band, for 50 damage. This set up a Hydro Shot Knockout (woah, it has a second attack?!) after a couple uses, and that’s exactly what I used to win the game.
From there, I cruised into the Top Twelve cut (the tournament was ran with the “Top Eight Plus” format). I was paired against another Gardevoir-GX deck, though, and I was never able to put up much of a fight. I had to use my GX attack on Big Wheel GX in one of the games, preventing me from using Tapu Storm GX, which is your counter to a big Gardevoir-GX. I didn’t get the right cards when I needed them, and both games were blowouts. Here is the list I used, with credit going to Daniel Altavilla:
Pokemon -- 14
Trainers -- 34
Energy -- 12
2 Drampa-GX GRI 115
1 Garbodor BKP 57
3 Garbodor GRI 51
4 Trubbish BKP 56
1 Tapu Fini-GX BUS 39
3 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60
3 Po Town
1 Professor Kukui
4 Professor Sycamore
1 Team Flare Grunt
4 Choice Band
2 Field Blower
3 Float Stone
2 Rescue Stretcher
4 Ultra Ball
3 VS Seeker
4 Psychic Energy
4 Double Colorless Energy
4 Rainbow Energy
Worlds itself was very disappointing for me, but I still managed to have as much fun as possible. The Anaheim Open was a nice boost at the end of a lackluster first day, something that definitely lifted my spirits. A 80 Championship Point leg up on the season is amazing, and hopefully that can be pivotal for me in the hunt for greater things.
I’d like to comment on the tournament structure of the Anaheim Open now, however. I was not a fan of the system at all. Taking away one round from the event, and then simply adding what is essentially another round to the top cut doesn’t make much sense at all. In a Regional Championship-escue event where there are more than 600 people, there needs to at least be a Top Thirty-Two cut after the first day of play. I do understand how there was a time crunch to complete the event, with contractual obligations on the convention center rental, which is more understandable. Going forward though, I would not enjoy seeing this tournament format at other events. It was a real grind to have a virtually spotless record after eight rounds, which is an impossibility for many players. I had to finish 6/0/2 to take a spot in the Top Twelve, and a very respectable finish of 6/1/1 wasn’t even good enough for the same result, which is bogus.
Overall, I am very excited for the new season to get into full swing. I’m hoping to chase for the Top Sixteen leaderboard again this season, so I’ll have to get after it. I love the constant grind of tournaments, so my approach to this season will be no different than last: play as much as possible. Before you head out, be sure to browse over Dead Draw Gaming’s storefront, they’ve got fantastic prices on all of their cards, so keep them in mind; you’ll be buying from the very best! Catch y’all later, thanks for stopping by and reading, and good luck this season if you plan on chasing an invitation to the World Championships.