12/19/2010: Tom Bean, TXâ€‹
(From the list referenced in Part III, Section 1…)
-1 VS Seeker
+1 Call Energy
â€‹+1 Premier Ballâ€‹
3 Garchomp C
1 Garchomp C LV.X
2 Luxray GL
1 Luxray GL LV.X
3 Uxie LA
1 Uxie LV.X
1 Crobat G
1 Ambipom G
1 Bronzong G
1 Lucario GL
1 Toxicroak G Promo
1 Unown Q
1 Azelf LA
4 Cyrus's Conspiracy
4 Pokemon Collector
3 Energy Gain
3 Power Sprayâ€‹
2 SP Radar
2 Bebe's Search
2 Junk Arm
2 Premier Ball
1 VS Seeker
1 Looker's Investigation
1 Luxury Ball
1 Aaron's Collection
What worked: for starters, the consistency. I had finally gotten around to making space for the 4th Call, as well as the third Uxie – two steps in the right direction which I had been meaning to take, but chose not to due to miscellaneous reasons. However, as you can tell from the past three entries, the deck didn’t change too radically, since it really was just a three card switch.
All in all, I’d say that this is the strongest list I used all City Championship season: while I didn’t feel as powerful versus mirror as I would have liked to, I felt like the deck was very well-rounded.
This would be the last time for me to use Luxchomp, as I would switch to Dialgachomp for the last two.
What didn't: Mewtwo LV.X vulnerability is bad, but I made a metagame call that I wouldn’t have to deal with it at this tournament. I turned out to be right on the money, but if Mewtwo is everywhere, then you can’t quite as easily get by without a Dialga G LV.X or something thereabouts.
The debate between running a single Luxury Ball versus a single Pokemon Communication still rages. In the occasional hand where you have no other Pokemon, Luxury Ball is clearly the better choice, and since I’m paranoid about making bad hands playable, I deemed Luxury Ball to be the better choice. Ultimately, the higher your Pokemon count, the more justifiable Pokemon Communication over Luxury Ball is, and for today, it was less justifiable than either of my past events.
Round 1: VS Dale L. (Blaziken FB/Luxray GL/Garchomp C)
Despite all of the added consistency bells and whistles, I would proceed to mulligan once, followed by a lone Garchomp C start going first. All I could do was attach a Lightning Energy, pass, and then watch him proceed to first turn me with two Flash Bites and a Claw Swipe of his own.
Round 2: VS Martin M. (Luxchomp)
In stark contrast to the last game, I would open with a very nice Luxray start, which – when combined with Call and Uxie’s Set Up) – gave me what could be the perfect opportunity to double Power Spray him. This is just what happens, and so he is forced to Mimic into a new hand. Since my first turn deck search revealed to me that my Garchomp C LV.X was prized, I knew that I had to use Azelf’s Time Walk Poke-Power to locate it, and then rearrange appropriately so I could get into it by my first prize. Perhaps a bit too overeager to get it out, I accidentally “Bite” for 50 damage instead of 60 (Chatot Majestic Dawn’s Weakness is +20 – not x2). This ended up playing to my favor later on, as it led to a bench spot being clogged on his part.
I would redeem the misplay with a Crobat G Flash Bite KO, which helped edge me back into board control with the Garchomp. Since our lists were virtually identical, the exchange would remain very typical of the match. He pushed for a comeback when I was stuck without a KO response, but then I came right back when his own responses were dry. Our match went to time, and I drew my last prize in the “+3 turns” phase.
While he didn’t have too much trouble hitting Double Colorless Energy, I don’t think he saw Power Spray during our game, which made my last string of moves a bit fortunate.
Round 3: VS Kevin S. (Vespiquen/Shaymin/Sunflora/Cherrim)
I was stuck with no supporters or draw for the first three turns of the game, being forced to pathetically Tail Code energy off of a 30 HP Combee just so I wouldn’t get steamrolled. However, by the fourth turn, I hit a Pokemon Collector, and the matchup turned around to what both Kevin and myself believed it to be: a Luxchomp blowout. The Vespiquen’s Poke-body allowed for one easy KO on me, but it didn’t last long, as I was able to instantly respond back to it.
Round 4: VS (Charizard/Ninetales/Typhlosion)â€‹
I very quickly dismantled this deck, scoring six prized from the first turn-onward, and having the Spray whenever I needed it. This was, yet again, another one of those stupid games where SP steamrolls a deck because it can’t set up.
Round 5: VS Dana L. (Garchomp C/Honchkrow SV)
With the inclusion of Honchkrow SV, but without the inclusion of Sableye or Cyrus’s Initiative, Dana is allowed to play his SP game as regularly as possible, yet still have some slick options in the mirror. Bar the lack of Dragonite and Power Sprays, and I thik he’d be set in every possible way.
We were looking to have a very competitive game given our starts: I had Called on the first turn, but with no Power Spray in my hand, which amounted to a solid setup on his part. However, for some reason, his Portraiting my Cyrus caused a brain fart that led to him not playing his Supporter for the turn, so he passed with just two Pokemon in play. This turned everything around, and allowed me to turn a contentious mirror match into a blowout.
He naturally felt bad about it, and I felt bad for him, since lord knows I’ve had at least a couple games like that. Still, he had a chance to redeem himself, since… Our top four cut would consist of the following:
1st Seed Dana L. (Garchomp C/Honchkrow SV) VS 4th Seed John K. (Luxchomp)
2nd Seed Dale L. (BLG) VS 3rd Seed Cameron H. (Luxchomp/ERL)
Top Four: VS Dana L. (Garchomp C/Honchkrow SV)
Game one – I don't setup too poorly, but he did get the early edge against me in our garchomp mirror despite running a 2-2. Whiffing on DCEs hurt me pretty badly, and gave him the punch. T
Granted, several things kept me in the game, such as my Power Sprays, but after it became hopeless, I decided to scoop, knowing full well that every second would count. Dragonite FB or even a 4th Energy Gain would’ve been very nice…
Game two – Ambipom G vs Ambipom G. I hit him for a first turn 60 after a Set Up. Luckily for me, his hand was trash, so with a combo of benching Crobat G for “Flash Bite,” Poketurn, two Junk Arms, and Uxie LV.X's Zen Blade, I was able to KO both pokemon by the second turn for a double donk.
Game three – I go first, set up a bit, and pass. To thin his hand for Uxie, he makes a huge gamble by dropping an Expert Belt on his active Promocroak, as he failed the Leap Away, and whiffed on PokeTurns, so was forced to keep it stuck active. The next turn, after a stream of plays, I was able to respond to the Promocroak with a near-immediate Zen Blade, granting me the early edge From here, we kept making little prize exchanges, but the edge this gave me in resources and prizes guaranteed the game. Due to Azelf and Crobat G being prized, my hands were largely tied in terms of options, but the 3-1 Garchomp helped me persevere.
Game one – What a miserable game: I didn’t get a single supporter until the very last turn, yet even then I was able to draw two prizes throughout. He had made a huge gamble early on, Expert Belting his Luxray GL LV.X to run through my guys – something that was continually frustrating, since I was sitting on a Toxicroak G Promo and an Energy Gain for five-six turns in a row, just waiting to top deck anything.
Some games are just not meant to be, and SP, for all its merits, has some horrid hands like this. Variance dictates that you’re simply just supposed to have the occasional game where you go fifteen turns with no supporter. This was one such game.
Game two – This game was looking much the same way as game one, but fortunately, I had many nice playing options, and was able to put up some very quick aggression: once again, I had no supporters for the first eight turns of the game, but I conveniently had everything that I needed to allow for proper prize exchanges, attacking, and so forth. Eventually, I would finally draw into a Collector, and from there, the game was mine to lose. He played this out until the bitter end, perhaps hoping to score an Entei/Raikou sudden death on me, but it just didn’t happen.
Game three – It seems as if the two horrid hands from the last two games were balanced out by how insanely good the one in this third game was, giving me the option of the first turn Power Spray, several great attackers, and the overall edge. It got to the point where he was starved of any Colorless attackers, and so my Garchomp C LV.X was allowed to go unchecked. Time was eventually called when I was up two prizes, but since I felt vulnerable to a potential Entei/Raikou Thunder Fall, I decided to use Lock Up to keep his Smeargle stuck in the active position on the “+3” turns, thus assuring the timed win.
Metagame considerations: our 20-person field was smaller than expected, but it's fortunately simple enough to give us a nearly-perfect accurate understanding of what the metagame consisted of. Below are all of the decks represented at the event…
Unaccounted for x2â€‹
"Dark" rogue deck
Weavile disruption hand thing (could be the same deck as the Houndoom build listed above)
Yes…A tournament I got nearly every deck from!
As expected, SP was far and away the favorite to win this event. With at least 40% of all competitors using some form of it, the odds were so tilted in its favor to sweep it was disgusting. This was indeed represented in the cut, which was – surprise, surprise – all SP. Furthermore, it helped that several players with proven track records were using it: of the eight, four who used it had top cut the previous day's Cities (Watauga and McKinney, held roughly an hour and fifteen minutes away from each other).
In hindsight, I actually felt like this twenty person metagame was stronger than either of the previous two, revealing that bigger events are not always harder. Almost every deck was either a proven archetype, or a well-built rogue with a clearly-focused build (other than the 30 HP Combee, I actually thought the Vespiquen was very well-built for what it was).
So another tournament…And another win. However, this would be my last event with Luxchomp, as I decided I needed to work with Dialga for a while. How did I fare with that deck relative to Luxchomp? Well, read Part 5 to find out!