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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Ness's Nest
with Jason Klaczynski
August 22, 2008

2008 Worlds Report

I've played Gardevoir/Gallade since States this year, eventually changing the Furret to Claydol, which I found to be only slightly better. Throughout the season, my friend Alex Brosseau & I began to test GG against Empoleon/Omastar and found it to be a close match. Eventually, Empoleon/Omastar would become Empoleon/Bronzong, a deck we noticed to be extremely strong that beat Gardevoir/Gallade. Stuck between these two decks, I had to make a decision.

On one hand, we have Gardevoir/Gallade...
1) It's the deck I've played with all season. There's
nothing more uncomfortable in the Pokemon TCG than entering the biggest tournament of the year with a deck you're inexperienced with.

2) Gardevoir/Gallade has no BAD matches. Sure, Empoleon/Bronzong has an edge on it, but by how much?

3) Many of the players who play Empoleon/Bronzong were mediocre skill level. The top players seemed to prefer Gardevoir/Gallade.

4) Empoleon may be countered by Dugtrio.

In favor of Empoleon/Bronzong...

1) It is beating the by far, most popular deck in this format: Gardevoir/Gallade. Can you really win Worlds without having an edge on the most popular deck?

2) Worlds time limit was extended to 40 minutes. Empoleon occasionally has trouble winning in 30  minutes.

In the end, I stick with my gut. I play Gardevoir/Gallade, and I play a list that I can say looking back, was absolutely perfect, given the tournament. My deck was built around two ideas:
1) Be consistent.
2) To have an edge in the mirror.

Pokemon (21)
4x Ralts (SW)

2x Kirlia (SW)

3x Gardevoir (SW)
1x Garevoir LV. X (SW)
2x Gallade (SW)
2x Baltoy (GE)
2x Claydol (GE)
1x Duskull (DP)
1x Dusknoir (DP)
1x Chatot (MD)
1x Jirachi ex (CG)
1x Jolteon* (PK)

The Gardevoir line is pretty standard. I've seen 3 Gallade, but given it's declining power as prizes become flipped, two is the perfect number. I don't like to play less than 3 Gardevoir because getting it out early helps the rest of the deck set up, and it's your primary attacker in the mirror. 2/2 Claydol is perfect for consistency, although 1/2 works given how many cards search out Baltoy. I ran 2/2 to avoid prized Baltoy problems. Dusknoir's power and attack are both absolutely amazing. Although almost every Worlds qualified player plays around Dusknoir, keeping the threat of it there is important. I worried that if I didn't run it, it'd eventually be discovered by the top cut, and decks like Empoleon or Eevee variants could comfortably fill their bench against me, giving them an edge. Not only that, but Hard Feelings is such a sick attack at the end of the game, and it's damage isn't even reduced by Double Rainbow Energy. Jirachi ex is absolutely game-breaking in the mirror because it allows you to maintain consistent turns of disabling their powers. The mirror match is based entirely around Psychic Lock and Shield Beam. Whoever breaks from this string of attacks is generally at a disadvantage, but without Jirachi, it is difficult to power up enough Gardevoirs back to back. Jirachi's ability to Shield Beam for one energy allows you to easily play Roseanne's Research and Shield Beam a Gardevoir, threatening a KO, and it also allows you to fall behind temporarily to allow you to use Scramble Energy. Because you have been turning off your opponent's powers every turn, it is easy for you to regain the lead.

I avoid running the Absol ex because
1) It's a bad opener.
2) It becomes a two prize liability against Empoleon, Magmortar, and even the mirror sometimes.
3) It cannot create a OHKO when there is no damage in play. (Whereas Jolteon* can.)
4) You have so few turns to be able to use Powers in t
he mirror match.

Energy (15)
4x Call Energy
3x Psychic Energy

1x Cyclone Energy
4x Double Rainbow Energy
3x Scramble Energy

I had begun running a fighting energy, but I decided a third psychic was too important. Running out of psychic can take away your Jirachi option, which can lose you the mirror. 1 Cyclone proved very useful, especially lategame. 4 Call is a must to ensure an early Claydol.

Supporters (14)
4x Roseanne's Research
4x Celio's Network
2x Bebe's Search
2x Team Galactic's Wager
2x Steven's Advice

Notice the heavy Celio/Bebe's count totaling at six. For the same reason we run 4 Call, we run 6 supporters that can search out Claydol. A turn two Claydol vs. a turn three Claydol can easily be the difference between a win and a loss.

Wager has great synergy with Gardevoir's Psychic Lock, eventually putting your opponent in a spot where they are unable to respond to a Psychic Lock knockout. Steven's Advice provides a tremendous edge in the mirror, because through your exchange of Psychic Lock and Shield Beam, both you and your opponent will struggle to set up, and hand sizes will become low. Steven's simply allows you a bigger hand, and therefore more ability to build another Gardevoir.

Trainers (8)
4x Rare Candy
2x Windstorm
2x Warp Point

Early Gardevoir and Gallade are so powerful that 4 Rare Candy is a no-brainer. Unlike many players who ran only 2-3 counters to Crystal Beach, I chose to run 4 (2 Lake Boundary are in the list as well.) Although Crystal Beach and Cessation Crystal are not that popular, you have to understand that almost any deck will gain an edge on you if you cannot counter them repeatedly.

Stadium (2)
2x Lake Boundary

Here's the report. Forgive the briefness of it or any details I mixed up - these details become hazy, especially when all you become worried about is your next match.

Round 1: Bronzong/Eeveelutions (France)
My round one opponent is from France. My opponent eventually uses a Bronzong+Scramble for a Coating KO on a Gallade, but is nailed with a Jolteon* + Lake Boundary Psychic Lock KO with a Gardevoir. From that point on, he desperately attacks with a Glaceon trying to flip heads to buy time. Eventually, he flips tails and the game is over.


Round 2: Gallade/Furret/Pidgeot d/Muk (AJ Schumacher, United States)
I've played against a Furret/Empoleon/Pidgeot d as Nationals and I know how tough it can bee if they get enough Keen Eye attacks off. My opponent opens Sentret and I'm slow to start with a Baltoy. I see a Pidgey from a Roseanne and I already know what he's playing. After he Keen Eyes, my best option is to attack with Claydol. Not only does it 2 hit KO Furret, even with the DRE I was forced to play, but Claydol will be useless when he evolves into Pidgeot d and attaches a Holon Energy. The game is close, but my opponent manages to set up too well without any powers, and although I eventually rip a Steven's, I lose a game-breaking Wager, am unable to play around his Muk's Poke-Body (which results in my Gardevoir being one hit KO'd by another Gardevoir) and lose a very close game.


Round 3: Gardevoir/Gallade/Claydol (Mexico)
My third round opponent opens with a Pachirisu and begins
setting up. My slow is pretty start but I manage to draw a Steven's Advice and get a Jirachi attacking, eventually resulting in an advantage created by the fact that I simply have more cards in my hand to work with. He ends up attacking with Gallade instead of Psychic Locking one turn, and that allows me a turn of Cosmic Power & Telepass to create an unbeatable set up.


Round 4: Gardevoir/Gallade/Claydol (UK)
My fourth round opponent pulls off an early Keen Eye, and my set up is pretty mediocre as I struggle to draw what I need with Claydol. I worry that he will continually use Keen Eye to build a huge advantage, but he immediately retreats and KOs my Chatot, allowing me to Scramble my Gallade and KO his Gallade. He ends up using Keen Eye again, I attach a Double Rainbow to Gallade, Wager, then KO his Furret, and eventually begin Psychic Locking to solidify my win.


Round 5: Blissey/Crystal Beach/Cessation Crystal (NO)
7 rounds later, I will be battling the same opponent in the finals. My opponent opens with Chansey, and I've played this match 100 times and am very comfortable with it. I nail him with an early Wager, putting him at 3, and his first Blissey is KO'd, leaving him with almost nothing. Gallade has no problem going through everything.


Round 6: Leafeon/Magmortar/Cessation Crystal (DE)
This game went downhill fast. A slow start was nailed by a Cessation Crystal that stuck as I struggled using Chatot's Mimic for 4 to set up. After Wagering him to 3, he drew Magmortar LV. X & an energy to be able to Flame Buster KO my Kirlia+Scramble Energy I had struggled to build. ER2's seal my fate.


Round 7: Empoleon/Bronzong/Claydol (NL)
I was so thrilled after this match because I don't know how I won it. I've tested this match so much and if I'm sure of anything it's that you can't beat a Dual Splash. I open with a Baltoy, and her Piplup uses Call Energy for a total bench of Baltoy, Bronzor, Chatot.I bench a Ralts & Chatot. I attach an energy to the Ralts & pass. I end up with a Claydol against an Empoleon which is destroying my bench. I get tricky and avoid benching anything, forcing her to Dual Splash something for a KO. She ends up Dual Splashing 2 Pokemon for a KO, and a DRE on Claydol allows for 30 damage to her Empoleon, a perfect increment to allow for a 2 hit KO with a DRE'd Psychic Lock. Her two prizes backfire as she is unable to Scramble Coating after I Wager her. Eventually, she manually builds a Bronzong, and I manually build a Gardevoir. Her Coating is countered by a Jolteon* + Lake Boundary Psychic Lock KO & I take the game. Sometimes weird situations arise in Pokemon where there is a tricky way to play around your opponent's cards. This was one of those games.


I make Top 32 as seed #19. To Sunday...

Top 32: Gardevoir/Gallade/Claydol (Drew Holton, 2nd U.S. Nationals)

Drew is a good player with a lot of experience in the Gardevoir/Gallade mirror. The first match is close, with him catching me off guard with paper in a big wager, but Steven's Advice gives me the winning edge. Game 2 I pass with nothing for the first few turns and take a very quick loss to Psychic Lock. Game 3 is very similar to Game 1, with my quick Claydol allowing me a fast Psychic Lock which he couldn't recover.


Top 16: Empoleon/Bronzong/Cessation Crystal (John Silvestro, U.S.)

John's been beating up GG decks all day without Claydol, and my first game I'm in trouble. I have trouble setting up, and too many Dual Splashes are too difficult for me to recover from. Game 2 I am stuck with an atrocious hand and am forced to Celio for a Chatot as he repeatedly uses Castaway, resulting in a Turn 2 Empoleon+Cessation. His hand becomes big, and I Mimic for 10, hoping he doesn't draw into a Roseanne's or basic. He draws a Castaway. He'll obviously take a Roseanne to avoid being benched out, but I have one turn until he can Roseanne, and can bench him out. Unfortunately, he Warp Points, and I am forced to promote Jirachi ex with 0 energy, taking away my option to free retreat Chatot for Ralts if I am lucky enough to draw Rare Candy + Gallade + Scramble. Turns out I did draw those 3 cards - except with my 2nd Warp Point as well, giving me the win. Game 3 the weakness of his deck (no Claydol) begins to show, and he struggles to find Scrambles. Without being able to respond with Scrambles to Gallade KO's, I eventually am able to grab 6 prizes.


Top 8: Gardevoir/Gallade/Claydol (Yacine Sekkoum, 2nd U.K. Nationals)

This match was decided by epic Wagers. We both exchange early Psychic Locks, but I get the first one off and appear to have an edge. However, he is drawing unusually well for being Psychic Locked, and wins the first two Wagers. I end up prizing two Gardevoirs and am forced to stop Psychic Locking, giving him a turn of Cosmic Power & Telepass to set up. Eventually, I Mimic for 4, and draw a Gardevoir+DRE for a game-winning Bring Down. Game 2 is similar, and close, but time is called with about 3 prizes left each and me with a small edge.

(My friend Matt recorded one of the big Wagers from our second game. Apparently everyone got a kick out of it.)


Top 4: Gardevoir/Gallade/Claydol/Muk (Gino Lumbardi, 1st U.S. Nationals)
Everything that could go wrong this game did. I had a chance for a quick Psychic Lock if I could draw a Rare Candy, but a Cosmic Power & Stevens missed, allowing him the first Psychic Lock and I could not recover. Game 2 we both open Jirachi, but neither have a turn 1 Psychic. We both use Call Energy, and play Psychic Energy the 2nd turn, Shield Beaming. I use Shield Beam almost every turn as he struggles to draw cards and take Game 2.

Game 3 will go down as the most exciting game of Pokemon I've ever played in my life. Just like Game 1, I have a chance for an early Psychic Lock. I Rare Candy into a Gardevoir turn2, and I need a Double Rainbow to Psychic Lock KO a Ralts. I use Cosmic Power for about 5, Stevens 3-4 more, and come up short. He ends up responding with Psychic Lock and I cannot draw anything. He repeatedly uses Telepass and Cosmic Power to set up 3 fully built Gardevoirs to my one. He also gets a Muk out. I fall behind one prize, and opt to give up a Jirachi ex KO when I can retreat a Psychic Lock his Gardevoir for a faster KO. The thought process was to play around Muk by going up a prize, then falling back down 1 (allowing me to Scramble KO with my own Gardevoir), immediately disabling the Scramble so the Gardevoir wouldn't become poisoned by Muk. Without being poisoned, this Gardevoir could not be OHKO'd back, and it ends up getting close. Unfortunately, in the end, I'm still having trouble setting up, and the judges begin applying pressure for us to play faster. Eventually, they tell us after a warning that the next punishment for slow play is a prize penalty, and considering Gino has one prize left, it means I lose. We both begin playing a little faster and make some misplays. I'll forget to Dark Palm and am forced to take a Psychic Lock KO that loses if he has one of his 3 remaining DRE's. His hand is about 8 and his deck down to only 20, so I expect to lose. Gino attempts to play his hand down to be able to Steven's, but is one card away. The last card he attaches is an energy that does not allow an attack, and he Steven's (he tells me later he draws the DRE on his first card). I end up Warp Pointing, he promotes a Cresselia LV. X, and I use Dusknoir's Hard Feelings for a OHKO on it. We're at 1-1 now and he sends up a fresh Gallade, Sonic Blading. I have a turn of powers now, and a chance to win. I Cosmic Power, and draw a Roseanne. Roseanne can grab an energy to allow my 2 energy Gardevoir to Psychic Lock for 90. It can also grab a Jolteon* to make it 100. I'm a Lake Boundary away from winning. I Steven's, and draw Lake Boundary on the last card. I check my discard to make sure I have a psychic left. I do, and I roseanne for Jolteon*, a psychic energy, retreat a Kirlia for free because of his Phoebe's Stadium, play the Lake Boundary, drop the Jolteon*, use Yellow Ray, and Psychic Lock. He asks me what Jolteon* does and the judge verifies a OHKO. Everyone goes nuts and I can hear my friends screaming. I high-five all of my friends. Unbelievable.

Finals: Blissey/Crystal Beach/Cessation Crystal (NO)

Khahn sits down with me and the first thing he does is
sigh and tells me "I'm scared of you." I laugh and shake his hand, and we begin play. I have a Call Energy which allows for a Baltoy, and most importantly, a Chatot. Chatot allows me to avoid being stuck in a tough spot if he gets a fast Cessation Crystal & Beach on me. I end up using Mimic and Cosmic Power and hold Lake Boundary and Windstorm only to the most critical of turns. Gallade goes through his stuff.

Game 2 is similar, only that I opt to retreat and sacrifice a Jirachi ex for 2 huge turns. These 2 prizes eventually become irrelevant because all I'll have is about 4 legitimate attackers to give up against Blissey (2 Gallade, 1 Dusknoir and perhaps a Gardevoir LV. X). He ends up missing some irrelevant ER2's, and I time my 2 Lake Boundary well. I win two big Wagers, and after the second, he hopelessly plays an ER2, flips tails, and concedes.

I stood up and heard my friends cheer for me. I've become the first two-time World Champion.

Props to all the organizers of the event, all the good sportsmanship, great friends, Alex Brosseau for going undefeated in swiss, the broadcasted finals match, and the amazing setup of the tournament room.

Slops to friends who backstab you & still can't beat you.

Jason Klaczynski


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