I was relieved to find myself qualified for the World Championships after the shocking news that was Pokemon changing the Championship Point payouts over the course of the season, and I was even more at peace after doing fairly well at Virginia Regionals. I had been playing to trek out to the Canadian province of Ontario, too, and test my skill in the Expanded format for the fifth time this season. In each of the events up to that point, I had used a different deck, all with varying levels of success.
To varying extents, going into every Expanded format tournament this season, I’ve tested around with Flareon and Vespiquen. I do remember, even, writing about it all the way back in late September, early October for this wonderful Dead Draw Gaming site in preparation for Arizona. I’ve never had the guts to pull the trigger on the deck so far this year, and with a newfound invite, I figured it was time to go for it.
I tested the deck quite a bit in the weeks prior to the tournament, building up the usual confidence I have with it, and just like always, I became very nervous to play it just days before. However, this time around I made my friends promise to force me to play the deck, and I stuck with it, just barely. In my testing historically, Pokemon Ranger has been an absolutely awful card in the deck, and I ended up taking it out for a Hex Maniac the night before Toronto. Let’s just say this really hurt me overall, but having Hex won me multiple games, so I have no clue what I’d cut for a Ranger in my list. No matter, though, here’s my list, and right after, you’ll get to see how my games went. I hope you enjoy!
05/13/2017 | Toronto, Ontario | Expanded Format | Exeggcute/Flareon/JirachiEX/Jolteon/Shaymin-EX/Unown/Vespiquen/Wobbuffet
Pokemon -- 28
Trainers -- 28
Energy -- 4
4 Eevee PLF 90
4 Flareon PLF 12
1 Jolteon AOR 26
3 Shaymin-EX 77
4 Combee AOR 9
4 Vespiquen AOR 10
1 Exeggcute PLF 4
1 Jirachi-EX PLB 60
4 Unown AOR 30
2 Wobbuffet GEN RC11
4 Battle Compressor
1 Dowsing Machine
2 Special Charge
1 Startling Megaphone
4 Ultra Ball
4 VS Seeker
2 Tropical Beach
1 Hex Maniac 1 Lysandre
3 Professor Sycamore
4 Double Colorless Energy
1 Float Stone
1 Silver Bangle
Round 1 versus Andrew Sicard with Decidueye-GX/Lugia-EX/Shaymin-EX/Vileplume
Andrew dropped a Decidueye-GX somewhere in shuffling, and I instantly assumed I was playing against a deck with that, and Vileplume. While I had tested my deck against most things for this event, ‘eye with ‘plume was not one of them. I just assumed it would be a ridiculously good matchup using the combination of Wobbuffet to set up, and then Flareon to take down every Pokemon in my path. I opened with a lone Combee, and since my opponent was going first, I feared he would gun down the poor baby bee with two Decidueye-GX Feather Arrows, and take the quick win. However, nothing of the sort happened, and he even missed the turn one Vileplume to go along with that.
I used my Ultra Ball that I had to get down a Wobbuffet right away, and I payed Combee’s Retreat with a Double Colorless Energy to get Wobb in my Active spot. From here, I just discarded Pokemon at will, and on turns when I chose to attack, I made sure I was taking two Prizes, either with a Lysandre, or just against the opponent’s Active. This way, I don’t waste time flitting around with non-EX/GX Pokemon, and ensure that Feather Arrow damage doesn’t overwhelm me before I have the chance to take all my Prizes.
Whenever I had a bad hand, I would just Retreat my Active attacker back to Wobbuffet, and wait to draw some resources, and use a Special Charge to get my Energy back. This game was a relative breeze with my opponent’s rough start, and the fact that Flareon can knock out Decidueye-GXs in one Vengeance attack.
This time around, my opponent did get the turn one Vileplume, as well as a single DecidueyeGX. I was thinking I would be in for a bad time, since I didn’t start Wobbuffet. My opening hand had a Supporter, a Professor Sycamore, and I dumped off a lot of Item cards, and some Pokemon, to open the game. From that draw, I didn’t get the Wobbuffet I was looking for, but I found another Sycamore, and some more Basics to prevent me from running out of Pokemon.
At this point, I was thinking this game might not even finish, but after my opponent had another modest turn with little damage output and no Prizes taken, I used my Sycamore and got a Wobbuffet, and a Double to Retreat to it. I won’t bore you again with the flashy details, but I used many Battle Compressors, and drew extra cards with Tropical Beach to end my turn until I had a field with multiple Flareon.
Flareon rolls tide against any Grass deck, and this game was no different once I started attacking with Vengeance. The best part, though, was that I was under little to no stress at all this game, since I was starting to feel extremely good about my deck choice.
Funny story, before this round, the player sitting on my left sent a text message to a group chat, or so I thought. I wasn’t intending to creep on his phone, but when I swore I saw my last name, I was intrigued. The message was something like “Caleb Gedemer is playing Flareon / Vespiquen”, and one reply was “I’m glad we added the Enhanced Hammer”. I knew this player was playing Primal Groudon-EX, and I slightly snickered since I was playing a Dowsing Machine and two Special Charge. That makes the Groudon matchup a near auto win, since I’ll never run out of Energy. I just need to keep my damage high enough to two shot a Primal, and ensure that I don’t run out of attackers. Anyways, that was a nice confidence boost, since I felt I had a leg up in another matchup that I figured to be a popular one to face.
Round 2 versus Sam Johnston with Accelgor/Mew-EX/Musharna/Shaymin-EX/Tauros-GX/Wobbuffet
Sam went first, in what was becoming a trend, and I knew right away he was playing Accelgor with Wobbuffet. I was decently confident in this matchup, since I did choose to include an AZ. I knew that it would be tricky to win, even still, since running out of Energy can be a problem, and late game Ns from my opponent would be devastating, since I more than likely wouldn’t be able to use Shaymin-EX to draw more cards and get going again. I aimed to try and take as many Prizes as possible before the lock hit, and just hope to win in the Prize race. I took a turn two knock out on a Wobbuffet, and immediately got hit with the Paralysis lock.
Fortunately, though, I had a newly drawn Battle Compressor from an N, as well as a VS Seeker. With these two cards, I was able to pull my AZ out of my deck, and snatch it with the VS. I had a follow up Double Colorless Energy to attach to the new Vespiquen I put into my Active spot, and with that, I took another knockout on a Wobb. At this point, things were going smoothly. I did, however, fear N becoming a big problem. Whenever a Pokemon of mine would get knocked out, I would promote something that would not be taken down by Poison going into my opponent’s turn, but rather something that would be knocked out immediately like Combee, or Eevee. This would allow me to get another attack in, and at this point, every time I attacked, I was taking at least one Prize card.
The turning point in this game that got me ahead on Prizes was when Sam Benched a Mew-EX, but was unable to find a Float Stone to Retreat his Active Wobbuffet. In doing this, I not only used Lysandre to knock out the Mew, but I also got a Double Colorless in his discard with the knockout, which is crucial in stopping the onslaught of Deck and Cover attacks. I had one Prize left, and my opponent was able to take his final Prizes, if I passed my turn into a knockout again. Luckily, I had the VS Seeker for AZ, and another Double to collect my last Prize in a very thoughtful game.
Going into this one, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to approach it. I could either try to drag the game out and not let it finish, or I could try to attack like last game and just win via Prizes. I figured I would go with the flow, and see how my setup compared to the previous game, and make an executive decision after the first couple turns. That decision came quickly and I just didn’t think I had the tools to pull off a win. This said, I used my AZ over and over, alongside the occasional attack, and made my opponent attack as many times as he possibly could. This ate a lot of time, and in a very ironic way, my opponent did have what would have been the game-winning attack on turn three of time, but Poison didn’t take effect since the game was over, and therefore, he lost the match, since I won the first one. He later realized that he would have won by copying Vengeance with his Mew-EX, but just spaced, and didn’t notice.
That was a super narrow escape against a deck that I wasn’t really expecting, and I was very grateful to get the win. That deck is very challenging to beat with my deck, and I was very proud of myself for taking the win. Things were looking great!
Round 3 versus Daniel Altavilla with Gallade/Joltik/Lampent/Mew/Pumpkaboo/Shaymin-EX
Daniel was just coming off a Top Four finish in Virginia in the previous week, so I knew this would be a tough game. When he flipped over a Pumpkaboo, I knew I was probably in trouble. I got to play first, and started with a Wobbuffet, which was really cool! I went through my normal motions, and left the Wobb Active, along with some Combees, and Eevees on my Bench. He looked to be shut down by the Wobbuffet, all until he dropped an Escape Rope. He took the first Prize, and I knew this would be a race to the finish with Prizes. On his first turn, he burned two Puzzle of Time to get going, and I knew that would be big towards the end of the game. There was a point that I thought he’d leave a Shaymin-EX that he played on the Bench, but luckily for him, he nabbed an AZ to pluck it back up to his hand.
Things were looking in his favor, until a slight hiccup on one of the last turns. He played a Trainers’ Mail before an Ultra Ball, and didn’t find anything. This forced him to discard his second to last Double Colorless Energy, and as long as I could take a knockout on his attacker, I would win the game.
I did get that knockout, and even if he did have the last Double, I could have overextended to try and hit a Lysandre for a knockout on a Shaymin-EX that he did have the misfortune of playing in the later stages of the game. This was really close, and down to the wire. Sometimes you just need to be patient and see how things work out before giving up hope.
Daniel went first again, and his starting Professor Sycamore discard was disgusting. He threw away his Dowsing Machine, and three VS Seeker. This alone made me think I was going to get the win for this round, but when he also started with Tauros-GX, and nothing else on his Bench, that was another indicator. He still couldn’t get the ‘ros out of his Active by his second turn, and now it was my turn to play the big attacking game. He did take a knockout with Horn Attack, and did have 30 damage on him from a Sky Return I used the previous turn. I used a Teammates and got the perfect combination for a Vengeance knockout of 150 damage. I snowballed away with the win from here, just staying ahead in the Prize trade, and ensuring that I didn’t play any Pokemon-EX/GX liabilities of my own. I never skipped a beat attacking, and just stayed ahead for the win.
Two impressive wins in a row, in my opinion, and with that, I was feeling mighty confident.
Round 4 versus Igor Costa with Giratina-EX/Hoopa-EX/Jirachi-EX/Salamence-EX/SeismitoadEX/Shaymin-EX
Two weeks in a row, now, I had played Igor in the third and fourth rounds of a Regionals, and I thought he was going to get the best of me again. I had heard rumors of his deck, and even something about him playing Karen… In the past, this deck was a great matchup for Flareon and Vespiquen, but since I wasn’t playing Blacksmith, or Pokemon Ranger, I knew I was in for a beatdown. Basically, the only way I can manage to win a game against this deck is if my opponent doesn’t get to attack with Giratina, or use Karen effectively. This game, I lost a different way, from the Ghetsis to an unplayable hand, and then Quaking Punch lock variety.
I had a very nice turn, getting enough Pokemon in my discard pile to Bee Revenge for a one-hit knockout on a Seismitoad-EX, and on Igor’s first turn, he didn’t do anything really, besides Quaking Punch for thirty. I took my Knockout, and quickly cleared his board of attackers before he could really do anything.
After I took down my first Seismitoad-EX, I figured I would lose when he sent up a Giratina-EX with a Double Dragon Energy on it. Coincidentally, though, Igor didn’t find another Energy on his turn, and left the ‘tina Active with just a Fighting Fury Belt on it. I had an explosive turn, which included finding my Startling Megaphone, and I took the fearsome dragon down in one attack. I knew the game was over, so long as I didn’t lose to a bad N. From Igor’s N, I drew a Double Colorless, slapped it down, and took my last two Prizes on a Seismitoad-EX.
That game was super nerve-wracking, and I never really expected to win, but luck happens sometimes, and I’m glad I got it at the right time. My streak was getting red hot, and things were looking fabulous.
Round 5 versus Jerry Xue with Jirachi-EX/Shaymin-EX/Trevenant BREAK
In this game, Jerry went first, got a Wally, and completely rolled me. There’s not much you can do against Trevenant decks when they get the turn one, and this game was no different. I tried to salvage a win with a Shaymin-EX Sky Return loop, but that didn’t work too well, and I lost pitifully.
This time, Jerry drew dead, and I won in a couple turns. Nothing else to say, really.
Again, a Trev came down on the first turn, and just like that, my chances of winning were pretty much sapped. I tried the Sky Return loop again, but missed the Double Colorless on the last turn of the game to ensure victory for Jerry.
That loss was disheartening, but there were lots of great matchups all around me, so I felt extremely confident in my odds of getting back on the winning path. I also figured I couldn't have to face another Trevenant deck for the remainder of the event, so that was good news, too.
Round 6 versus Joe Ferrari with Exeggcute/Ho-Oh-EX/Hoopa-EX/Jirachi-EX/JolteonEX/Keldeo-EX/Shaymin-EX/Xerneas/Yveltal-EX
Joe got off to a great start, flipping a heads with Ho-Oh-EX’s Rebirth, and even getting a Xerneas down with a Fairy Energy, also. I’d never tested this matchup before, so I figured I should just put a Wobbuffet Active and buy some time. That’s what I did, and I got many attackers down. I loved playing against decks that used Sky Field, since you can fill your own Bench, and then drop Tropical Beach and discard the excess Pokemon, which are usually Shaymin-EX, which is amazing.
Before long, I was taking one-hit Knockouts on all of Joe’s Pokemon, and it was just a matter of time before I won. I got ahead in the Prize trade, since the majority of the Pokemon he kept on his Bench were Pokemon-EX/GX, and they made for easy Lysandre Knockout targets.
Joe decided to concede, after a little while longer, since he didn’t have a way to disrupt my hand with an N, and no way to take down my Active attacker with an Energy. This said, I would have just won the following turn with another attack.
I started Wobbuffet this game, and took off with a four Prize lead to begin the game. It wasn’t until after this that I saw a Karen, and was pretty shocked after not seeing it in the first game. Anyways, Wobb stops Ho-Oh from using Rebirth, and really stops the entire Xerneas deck from working right. It bought me a lot of time, and when the time was right, I started taking Knockouts. I got up four Prizes to none before long, when the Karen hit. It was just as this happened that we realized that Joe had taken two Prizes on accident for knocking out one of my Flareons a turn before. Just after we called a judge, time was called. After much unnecessary deliberation, the judge assessed that there would be a Prize penalty. Afterwards, we were informed that there would be no time extension, a decision I agree with, and Joe just scooped up his cards, since he couldn’t take six Prizes in the three turns of time.
Joe was a very nice fellow to play, and I enjoyed our games. I was a little nervous about if I would have won the second game, and I’m glad I ended up walking away from that matchup unscathed. I knew from here I’d just need two more wins to secure a day two spot.
Round 7 versus Kenny Britton with Aegislash-EX/Decidueye-GX/Jolteon-EX/ShayminEX/Vileplume
Yes, another Decidueye-GX matchup. I knew exactly what Kenny was playing ever since the first round, since my friend Alex Bunker had the misfortune of facing him with his Yveltal deck. In my first round, I, too faced a Decidueye-GX deck with Vileplume, and I was very confident in my chances of winning. To start off, Kenny had a very nice turn with Battle Compressor and Revitalizer to secure a Vileplume. The only problem, though, was that he couldn’t get an ‘eye down. This bought me a lot of time to find a Wobbuffet, and from there, just like in the first round, I smoked him with Flareon’s Vengeance.
This time I started with Wobbuffet outright, and Kenny’s start was abysmal. He did have a Lysandre to pull up an Unown from my Bench, but after he didn’t get the Vileplume out, I went about my business, and finished my turn with the Wobb in my Active again. In both of these games, I was aware that Kenny was playing an Aegislash-EX, and I was very wary of if my Hex Maniac was in the deck at all times. Aegi never actually played a role in anything, so I was relieved there. This game, like the first, was pretty much a blowout, and whenever I drew into a dud hand, I would just Retreat my Active attacker back into Wobbuffet and buy time. My play was very sound, and I won very nicely.
One more win needed to make it in, and I was feeling very strongly about my chances.
Round 8 versus Joey Smith with Greninja BREAK/Talonflame
Joey opened with Talonflame, and I started with Eevee. Eevee was my preferred starter in this matchup since I wanted to save my Vespiquens for when he started attacking with Greninjas. Flareon can be taken down in one hit, whereas Vespiquen cannot, which makes Vespi far more optimal. I tried to get as many Combees down as possible on my first turn, and I also aimed to take a turn two Knockout on the Talonflame.
Joey didn’t do much on his first turn except for use a Hex Maniac, and then Aero Blitz. I went through the motions, and did get exactly enough Pokemon in my discard pile to knock out the ‘flame. I got a little nervous when Joey used Water Duplicates for three Frogadiers and dropped a Bursting Balloon on the Active one, but luckily, I had a Lysandre to take a Frog that wouldn’t bop me for 60 damage in retaliation.
After that Knockout, my opponent started to attack with Greninjas, and I went in with Vespiquen. I was digging for my Hex Maniac so I could stop Giant Water Shurikens and prevent my opponent from getting ahead on Prizes. I eventually got it, and won the trade, and the game.
Again, I started with Eevee, and Joey opened with Talonflame. Almost the same things happened in this one, but instead of having Lysandre when I needed to avoid Bursting Balloons, once I had my Startling Megaphone, which was almost better. Joey was never able to use multiple Giant Water Shurikens to get ahead, and with that, I took the second game as well.
Now with seven wins, I was feeling amazing, and knew that I should play out the last round, too, to try and get some extra match points for the next day.
Round 9 versus Andrew Kennett with Entei/Exeggcute/Hoopa-EX/Keldeo-EX/ShayminEX/Volcanion/Volcanion-EX
Andrew has been on a tear this season, and I was excited to see if I could take him down. I got to go first, and Volcanion is a matchup I’ve tested extensively, so I did what I usually do: promote Wobbuffet at some point in my first turn. Wobb is an incredible card against Volcanion starting off, since in Expanded, most players opt not to play Max Elixirs, and that said, Volcanion will only be doing around 30 damage with Power Heater, and your opponent will have to four-hit Knockout on the Wobb.
His start was very limited, and if I remember correctly, I don’t believe he even played a Supporter card on his turn. That’s how the first couple turns went for Andrew, and in the meantime, I built up a huge stack of Pokemon in my discard pile. When he finally found his Hoopa-EX, he recklessly Benched a bunch of Pokemon-EX, and I started using Lysandre to pull them up, and get super far ahead in the Prize race.
To be honest, this game wasn’t much of a Prize race at all, but just a beatdown from my nonEX/GX deck on Andrew’s more Pokemon-EX-oriented build. Once I got going, there was no coming back for him, and I thinned my deck out to the point where his N drops wouldn’t even matter as far as my odds of drawing game-winning outs went.
This game was a little closer? Andrew went first, of course, and I didn’t start with Wobbuffet. This meant he was able to use some Shaymin-EXs to further set up, but for me, I was happy he did that, since it gave me even easier Prizes to take. Like the last game, he threw down a ton of Pokemon-EX, and I just Retreated my Eevee to my Wobbuffet, started using Tropical Beach, and setting up. When the time came, I just pulled a Lysandre out every turn and ran away with another quick victory.
Round 10 versus Alex Schemanske with Mr. Mime/Primal Groudon-EX/Regirock/Wobbuffet
I had been excited to play this matchup ever since I sat directly next to Alex in the first round of swiss the day before. I knew that if I didn’t screw up badly, I would have an easy win, since I played two Special Charge, and a Dowsing Machine. The only balance I needed to find was getting enough attackers down in the game to last the entire course. This game, though, Alex started with a lone Mr. Mime, and I went first. I did the usual things, and passed with an Eevee in my Active spot. He simply played an Energy on the Mime, and used a Puzzle of Time, followed by a pass. I used a Compressor or two, got Flareon out, and with a Double Colorless, I took the win in just two turns.
This game I tried a strategy I had been thinking about: a Sky Return loop with Shaymin-EX against opposing Wobbuffet. While this isn’t awful, a Groudon player can actually survive long enough with Focus Sash, Max Potion, and Scramble Switch, such that he or she can take all the Prizes needed to win, and the Shaymin Knockout make that happen. I should have just gotten six attackers out, in any combination, and made sure I was swinging for two-hit Knockouts, instead of wasting time with Shaymin. Anyways, let’s just say I ran out of attacking options, and lost on Prizes. The turning point in the game was when Alex pulled off the Scramble Switch Max Potion combo onto a Regirock. I knew when that happened the game was over, since he’d more than likely be able to draw into a pair of Puzzle of Time to seal up the game by doing it again. Anyways, this game was a reality check, and I knew I’d have to play a lot better in the deciding third game.
Alex had a slow start again, and if my Lysandre wasn’t Prized, I’d have been able to take out a Groudon-EX much earlier than I would have anticipated. He started with Groudon-EX this game, the one with a Weakness to Grass, and on my second turn I took a Bee Revenge Knockout. Now to Retreat to the Vespiquen, I had to Evolve my Active Eevee into Jolteon, which would be a big deal later on…
I started taking some Knockouts on Wobbuffets, and Alex started powering up the Groudon-EX from Dark Explorers on his Bench. Now this Groudon has a Weakness to Lightning, something I was unaware of at the time. He suddenly brought it up to attack, something I thought was a mistake at the time. I soon realized after using my attack for 160 damage, after Resistance, since my Stage 1s were made Lightning type as well, that I was in big trouble. From there, he used a Scramble Switch to move his Energy onto his Benched Regirock, and my heart dropped. At this point, I had one Prize left. I attacked into the Regirock, which had a Focus Sash. The Sash saved the ‘rock from a Knockout.
Now, Alex used a Scramble Switch to his newly healed Primal Groudon-EX, and took another Knockout. Now my back was against the wall, as I only had one Vespiquen left to attack with. I also didn’t have any way to N, since all my VS Seekers, and even my Dowsing Machine had been used. I just declared Bee Revenge, and another Focus Sash saved another Pokemon from a Knockout. Now, I figured, I would just lose if Alex had a Pokemon Center Lady or Super Potion to heal some damage from his Active and avoid a Shaymin-EX Knockout. He attached his Energy for the turn to his Benched Regirock, which was the first indicator that he didn’t have an out. He played a Professor Sycamore down, and didn’t get anything to avoid the Sky Return Knockout, so I revealed it, and took my first win of the day.
I was flying! I just needed one more win to lock down my third Top Eight placing of the season, and I was ecstatic about that. If only I knew how hard it would be for me to get my third win in the field I was playing in…
Round 11 versus Ryan Sabelhaus with Exeggcute/Hoopa-EX/Jirachi-EX/Keldeo-EX/ShayminEX/Starmie/Volcanion/Volcanion-EX
This was my first round on the stream of the tournament, and I was excited to show off my deck in what would hopefully be a win. After playing Andrew’s Volcanion deck the day prior, I figured this would be a swell matchup, as well. In this deck, I got to get my Wobbuffet up early again, and Ryan played down a Sky Field, which I don’t think he should have, to allow me to fill my Bench, use Shaymin-EXs, and then discard it back down to five Pokemon by playing my own Tropical Beach.
Before long, I had ample Pokemon to take Pokemon-EX Knockouts, and I used a Lysandre to take the lead in the game. From there, I took another two Prizes the next turn, and finally, on his last turn of the game, Ryan played a Karen. I was a little surprised, since he hadn’t played it yet, so I assumed it had been Prized.
Anyways, I had the game winner in hand, and just in case, I had used my Exeggcute’s Propagation the turn prior to get it out of my discard in preparation of Karen. I had a Vespiquen ready to attack, as well as a Battle Compressor, and an Ultra Ball. Since Ryan took a Knockout the turn before, I rallied a total of exactly seven Pokemon in my discard, and used a VS Seeker for a Lysandre on his Keldeo-EX for the last two Prizes of the game.
The next two games are a little hazy, but I drew sub-optimally, for sure. Karen screwed me over once and for all at some point, but I played this game out in hopes for a tie in game three. Seeing the Karen made me conclude this was a negative matchup, ever so slightly, and that was enough for me to play for the tie.
As I just mentioned, I just worked for a tie in this game, putting a Wobbuffet up as always to make things harder for Ryan to do. Time was called, and I would have been in a losing position otherwise.
I was happy with the single match point from this game, and knew that I could either tie two more games, or just win on outright to lock up the Top Eight. Things were looking great.
Round 12 versus Igor Costa with Giratina-EX/Hoopa-EX/Jirachi-EX/Salamence-EX/SeismitoadEX/Shaymin-EX
Igor knew I wasn’t playing Pokemon Ranger at this point, so he went right for the turn two Chaos Wheel. He got it, and my back was up against the wall already. My only potential out was to Lysandre his Shaymin-EX on the Bench, and see if that would buy me a few turns. It did and I got three Energy into play. I was able to take four Knockouts in total, but the game decider was when Igor flipped a Crushing Hammer heads to remove an Energy I had on a Benched Flareon from play. Had this not happened, I would have been able to take his Giratina-EX down in one hit, even though it had a Fighting Fury Belt, and Igor had used a Karen a turn before. Either way, on paper this game was “close”, but in reality, it was a true blowout.
This game was disgusting, and I drew poorly on top of the already bad matchup to make things worse. I had no way around Chaos Wheel once it hit, other than putting a Wobbuffet into my active spot, and then using a Lysandre for Igor’s ‘toad. The ‘toad already had a Double Colorless on it, so if he had another one, a Float Stone, or even a Lysandre (he had a KeldeoEX in play with a Float Stone), I would just lose. He had the Lysandre, and the Double, but no matter, the game was over. I got absolutely rolled.
After this game, I looked around and figured I was either going to be playing Azul with LurantisGX / Vileplume, an extremely favorable matchup, or I would be the victim of a down pair. Also, if I faced Azul I could just take a tie, and then tie in the final round for the Top Eight berth, as well. Either of these scenarios would be fine by me, so I just crossed my fingers to avoid the down pair.
Round 13 versus Noel Totomoch with Crobat/Jirachi-EX/Lugia-EX/Seismitoad-EX/Shaymin-EX
Jeez, I got the worst possible outcome. I was playing against a Seismitoad-EX deck again, something I would have never thought imaginable, and hoped to be on the better side of the coin in what is a fifty-fifty matchup. Noel went first, played a Ghetsis, stripped my hand of usefulness, and then played a Silent Lab down to finish the deal. My Shaymin-EX could no longer draw me cards, and after the first Quaking Punch a turn later, I was reduced to drawing and passing for multiple turns in a row until I lost.
This game went much better, and Noel actually didn’t use Quaking Punch once. He started with Lugia-EX, and started taking some Knockouts with that, as well as ‘bat damage. I eventually took down the Lugia, and the rest was a breeze. He was very unfortunate to have some terrible draws this game, which ultimately did him in.
I still oddly felt confident about this game, and after Noel had another bad start, I was feeling amazing. He didn’t Quaking Punch again in this game, but on my first turn I had to Professor Sycamore away two Special Charge, which mattered a ton. Noel found ways to remain competitive, just with Crobat and Golbat damage drops, but I started using Hex Maniac to stop that, and kept taking Knockouts every turn. Next, Noel used Team Flare Grunt and Xerosic to remove some of my Energy, and that’s when I realized I probably was going to lose. I actually didn’t have enough cards in my deck to win, since I would deck out, unless Noel played an N. He didn’t, and either way, my fourth Double Colorless Energy would have been my last Prize, in the order that I take them. So, I would have lost regardless of the win condition for my opponent.
This game was a real letdown, and I figured I would have it in me to take down my last opponent, provided I didn’t hit the Darkrai-EX / Giratina-EX deck that was floating around…
Round 14 versus Zachary Taylor with Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX/Hoopa-EX/Shaymin-EX
Would you look at that? I got the bad matchup I was hoping not to face. It turned out, though, that Zachary was the only opponent with the same match points as me, so we were bound to play each other. This game was very close, and I took four Prizes, including a sick Lysandre Knockout on a Giratina-EX on my opponent’s Bench that was ready to attack. He actually set up another ‘tina, and with that, he locked me out of the game. I got hit with an N the turn prior, and I didn’t draw a Special Charge, which would lead me to get a Double Colorless Energy back into my deck. My last two Prizes were Double Colorless Energy, so I was really out of luck. Even if I had gotten another attachment on a Benched attacker, though, Zachary had his last VS Seeker to pull a Xerosic out and discard it, and then Chaos Wheel.
I invested most of my resources into using a Hex Maniac on my first turn, in hopes to slow my opponent, but it was no use. I ended up not finding another Supporter, and I was completely locked out of the game shortly after by another Chaos Wheel. Zachary smartly didn’t Bench any Lysandre targets, either, so this game was a wrap. After a few turns of attacking, he won the game without me taking a single Prize.
Not being able to find the last win for a Top Eight finish really stung, but I was still happy, and proud, of what I was able to do with a super under-the-radar deck in a big field. I never could have expected the resurgence of Giratina-EX decks, and I am fine with my decision to cut the Pokemon Ranger from my list. Without the Hex Maniac, I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I did, so I’m content with that decision. I still did very well, so there is plenty to be appreciative of.
11th Place | 9/4/1
Conclusion I came so close to another Top Eight, and I’m very disappointed about whiffing on it. However, there was just about nothing I could have done to avoid it, since it came down to bad matchups, and bad tournament luck, if you will (getting down paired, etcetera). I had a ton of fun playing my favorite deck in the Expanded format, and I’m very glad I finally pulled the trigger on it.
My only regret is not being able to play sixty-one cards, because the Pokemon Ranger I took out of my deck the night before is, and always will be the sixty-first card in the deck. I am so confident in every other card, and I used literally everything over the course of the weekend. I couldn’t bear to take anything out, because everything had its own unique place in the list. As far as the rest of the season goes, I think I’m still in a decent position to make the Top Sixteen in North America for Worlds, it’ll just take some hard work and traveling. I should be going to two more Regionals this year, Madison, and Seattle. Hopefully things go well and I can lock my spot up!
Be sure to check out Dead Draw Gaming’s wide selection for some amazing prices on merchandise, and singles. They even have great numbers on new Guardians Rising cards, and I know each and every one of you are going to need many of the new cards for upcoming events. What are you waiting for? Check them out! See y’all next time, and thanks for stopping by and reading.