Event Date: 01/08/2011
Location: Dallas, TXâ€‹
Given how much luck it took to win the Plano tournament, and given how unhappy I was with the list, I knew that it was time to mix things up a bit. While the end product had many issues of its own to contend with, it was arguably more playable in several ways.
While conversing with Chad H. (“Scizor”), he introduced to me a very unusual list for Dialgachomp, featuring five stadiums, no Call Energy, and only eight draw/search Supporter cards. I don’t know how seriously he and Worlds runner-up Mike Pram (“SHPanda) were taking this list due to its appalling prima facie – “at first glance” – consistency, but I decided to incorporate some of the more interesting elements into my own build.
2 Dialga G
1 Dialga G LV.X
2 Uxie LA
1 Uxie LV.X
3 Garchomp C
1 Garchomp C LV.X
1 Toxicroak G Promo
1 Dragonite FB
1 Ambipom G
1 Unown Q
1 Crobat G
1 Bronzong G
1 Azelf LA
1 Skuntank G
1 Lucario GL
4 Cyrus’s Conspiracy
4 Pokemon Collector
4 Poke Turn
3 Energy Gain
2 SP Radar
2 Bebe’s Search
2 Snowpoint Temple
1 Miasma Valley
1 Premier Ball
1 Pokemon Communication
1 Energy exchanger
1 Junk arm
1 Expert Belt
4 Double Colorless
3 Metal (special)
2 Metal (basic)
What Worked – Stadiums and Skuntank worked, that’s what! Having stadiums most certainly helped, but the question is…Which Stadium is the best? While I can’t answer that definitively, I’ll list off the reasons why I used the ones that I did, and some of the advantages to other Stadiums…
*Snowpoint Temple: since a major focus of the Dialgachomp deck is to “tank” Dialga G LV.X, giving it an extra 20 HP is extremely helpful. It also gives you the option to play the SP mirror entirely differently, giving Dragonite FB a new lease on life with proper timing (no Earthquake-responses are nice). I ran two because I figured that tanking Dialga would be my biggest asset on the day, so an extra 20 HP buffer seemed extremely useful.
*Miasma Valley: one of the more unusual options of Pram’s/Chad’s, this card functions as a way to spread counters in appropriate matchups. Nice to get out-of-range attackers such as Machamp and Gyarados prematurely within-range during the mid game! I decided to run one of these to round out my stadiums for this reason, but also because I knew I’d be needing to bump Snowpoint in case it stopped being useful.
As for the Stadium I didn’t play…
*Pokemon Contest Hall: the quintessential Stadium for SP, this card is a way to boost consistency and activate Skuntank, but also a mean by which to get out all of your major attackers with their tools. A lucky heads on Contest Hall is also useful because it’s an easy way to get Expert Belt on your dialga, as well as a way to get Energy Gain attackers in play through Vileplume trainer lock (assuming you can’t access your Dialga G LV.X Time Crystal for some reason).
In hindsight, I should have just bit the bullet and ran three of these, as is done in the typical build. While Snowpoint and Miasma have their uses, I’m beginning to consider the value of Contest Hall as the ultimate selling point for a list not flexible enough to include Call Energy.
Since my Pokemon felt just high enough to justify it even past bad hands, I decided to make the switch from Luxury Ball to Pokemon Communication. This worked wonders, and I feel content running it in any SP build with 19 or more Pokes.
Last of all, I fit in Lucario GL! While Machamp didn’t factor in at all during the day, this thing definitely would’ve tilted it for me on top of everything else. Plus, it stood to be a gross attacker in my Tyranitar Prime matchup in case my Dialga G and Toxicroak G both broke down.
What Didn’t – while it’s definitely not hard to play around, I’ve become addicted to running Call Energy in any list that it makes sense in. Since my build ran zero Power Spray, though, I felt less of a need to force them in. Although Yuta Komatsuda could win one of the toughest World Championships ever undefeated with a no Call Energy list, shaky starts just don’t vibe well!
Oh yeah, zero Power Spray was beyond lame in the mirror, as not having a say to what your opponent does with his or her Set Ups, Galactic Switches, and Bright Looks will most certainly put a nail in your coffin against a well-oiled build. Also, the exclusion of Staraptor FB LV.X was a pity, as it’s a truly amazing card in Stadium-Dialgachomp lists.
With that all in mind, let’s see how it faired on the day…
[Note: due to this post being fairly late, I’ll be brief – and therefore fairly anticlimactic – about the matches. Some dogs needed me to play with them, and for dogs, I gladly sacrifice my hopes and dreams for /blog. ]
Round 1: BYE
Thirty seven masters, and I get the bye? I never thought I’d say this, but as a player caught in the rat race of ratings and rankings, I was actually disappointed that I got a freebie. Call me an arrogant kung-fu guy or whatever, but if a free win is causing “anyone” to feel anything less than ecstatic, then you know something is wrong with your (Play! Pokemon’s) system.
Round 2: VS Tyler (Tyranitar Prime/tech Houndoom)
Cool tech…Apparently he runs a 1-1/1 Houndoom/Prime line to do the following: against SP’s Toxicroak G Promos and Lucario GLs, use the regular Houndoom from Undaunted to score some amazing surprise-KOs; and for every other matchup, make knock-outs more accessible with the occasional lucky string of flips on burn. While I can’t say I’m a big fan of the latter, I very much like the idea of using the normal Houndoom, since SP is bound to use those cards against you.
Fortunately, I had heard about this tech the week before, and so I was able to adjust accordingly; that is, I held off on benching Lucario GL or Toxicroak G Promo prematurely, and just settled for tearing his setup apart with Dialga G and Skuntank G’s Poison Structure. I fortunately never had to whip out either of my fighting attackers, but they were there just in case…
Round 3: VS Michael (Tyranitar Prime/tech Honchkrow SV)
Wow…So at Plano, I got two Yanmega in a row, and in Dallas, I got two Tyranitar in a row? I can just imagine Robin saying, in as campy a voice as possible:
“Holy matchups, Batman – you’re one lucky SoB!”
Yes I am, Robin. Yes I am…
Admittedly, Tyler from the previously round had a somewhat sub-par start; however, with his ample supply of draw, Michael never really missed a beat with his Tyranitars, while I had to play some serious catch-up. But, by the glory of Toxicroak G Promo and Lucario, this was made into a fairly decisive win for me. As expected, his Honchkrow SV never once factored into the game, and even when he tried to start attacking with it, I was quick to Garchomp C LV.X snipe it.
Round 4: VS Ron (Vilegar)
Much like my sixth round game against Amalio the weekend before, I started absolutely horrid against Ron: 4 basics and no Supporters. Fortunately for me, though, he didn’t have a Spiritomb Arceus start, and so my setup wasn’t impeded too horribly. I was forced to aggressively Time Crystal a bit earlier than I would’ve liked, but it was all for the best.
The details are fuzzy, but long story short, I ended up securing a very safe timed win by replacing my Snowpoint Temple with Miasma Valley at the right time. Also, he ran a very interesting set of techs: 1 Froslass GL, which is very useful at disrupting the opponent while he/she is under Trainer lock; and 2-1 Mewtwo LV.X, which tends to be the ultimate “screw you, buddy!” to decks featuring SP without a counter.
Round 5: VS Cameron H. (Luxchomp/ERL)
More or less, he had the edge on me in our exchange the whole game due to some energy whiffs, as well as too many powers (read: all) being allowed to break through. This naturally gave him a decisive edge, and for the decisions I made in today’s list, it was well due for me to suffer. One thing that gave me some notable trouble, though, was that – despite some very thorough shuffling – I somehow began this game with two of my three Stadium cards. While Stadiums can do nice things to tilt matches when you need them to, when you’re in desperate need of a Set Up, they’re actually beyond horrid to have…Ugh.
After I fell behind enough, he saw the opportunity to Thunder Fall in the late game, and seized the win.
Today was his day to shine against me though, especially since I had beaten Cameron out of the finals the past two weekends. I felt like many tweaks to his build (Twins/Dragonite FB) were smart plays that were well ahead of the national metagame, with the Twins having particularly nice synergy in orchestrating a game-winning Thunder Fall. However, his list made one very suspect move: three (3) Poke Turn instead of four (4), on account of the logic that it’s not needed. While this may sound very absurd to you guys, in the Junk Arm era, I find it totally acceptable for players to do this: you’re practically getting the use of four (or more) Turns a game, and so can therefore justify cutting one if it means more space. However, the issue about his list with me was that he ran zero Junk Arm, therefore nullifying that argument. Without Junk Arm, I ultimately felt like the decision was unjustified.
So if anyone tries this move, be sure to play Junk Arm in your list. I’ve found direct play-testing success with it, and Nats winner Chris F., who’s extensively tested it himself, thinks such a move is “fine” as long as it’s tempered by the Junk Arms.
Round 6: VS Chris (Blazechomp)
…And speaking of people named Chris, here’s another one. Long story short, I surprised the heck out of him by turning a useless Skuntank G start into an immediate edge-out in the mirror by the second turn, took firm control of it until he played a Looker’s, gave up some momentum, and then finally regained it in time for the last three turns on the clock. It was 2-4 by then, and I felt confident in my ability to take the last two, so it seemed pretty decisive. Thanks 3-1 Garchomp/Draggy/Ambipom!
Oh yeah…and I started with two stadiums. Again. My, what skilled cutters this state has, hah.
Despite all of these games seeming like they went par for the course, the fact of the matter is that I was seeing my Dialga crashing and burning. And badly…Like, “worse than the Hindenburg”-badly. So what’s a guy to do?
He drops from the tournament. That’s what.
And on that note…I’ll leave today’s lengthy entry on a bit of a cliff-hanger. Tomorrow (technically today), I’ll discuss all of the following topics to close out my City Championship report series/arc:
*An examination of all of the reasons why I dropped from this event. When I do drop, I usually have many good reasons for doing so, seeing as how I’ve only dropped from three tournaments since I started playing competitively back in 2003.
*A detailed examination of this event’s metagame, which I was able to gather absurdly-accurate information on (34/37 of the decks are 100% verified and confirmed).
*An incisive, honest discussion of why I think I did so well during the 2010-2011 City Championship season, and what I could have done to turn 31-4 into 38-0.
*Some nice, cliché closing line that’ll make you cry out of sheer happiness.
Within the next few days, I also plan on writing a couple “gaiden” (Google it) reports on events that I didn’t attend.