Das Boot
An STS report by Scott Gerhardt

Saturday morning - Clefairy Doll and I get to the Queen Mary early to get registered.  We wait in line for a bit before getting up to the desk and get registered.  Immediately we can see that WotC is understaffed and grossly ill equipped to handle this event, but no matter.  After going through some weird maze that has us going up and down 2 flights of stairs we finally get registered.  I go to get my t-shirt, and they are all out of XL.  Bummer!  That happened to me at the qualifier too. 

From here we decide to go hit Arby's and get some food in our stomachs.  Mine was a bit queasy thus far, but I forced down a couple roast beef sandwiches anyway.  We drove back and then waited in a room with absolutely no breathing room because they crammed us all on the second deck.  I just got away from that and waiting until they let us all go down - I was already in the tournament and no point to getting stampeded.  So I sit down and play some kid with Charmander and Pikachu for a fun, a friendly warm-up game. 

Finally they let us down, and then post pairings.   Before I go on to tell you what happened, allow me to divulge my deck contents.

2 Hitmonchan
2 Electabuzz
2 Promo Mewtwo
2 Ditto
1 Promo Eevee

4 Professor Oak
3 Bill
4 Computer Search
4 Item Finder
1 Lass
3 Scoop Up
1 Energy Retrieval
4 PlusPower
4 Energy Removal
3 Gust of Wind
4 Rocket Sneak Attack
1 Nightly Garbage Run

4 Rainbow Energy
3 Double Colorless Energy
3 Electric Energy
3 Fighting Energy
2 Psychic Energy

In my opinion, this is the best deck for the STS environment.  It is loaded with search to get what you need immediately, and it just attacks an opponent relentlessly from turn 1.  Every Pokemon is ultra-offensive and wastes very little time in putting your opponent's back to the wall.  Having such a wide variety of choice allowed me to utilize the Potpourri principles of optimizing the weakness/resistance match-ups which still beating on my opponent at a very rapid rate.  If I had this to do over again, I would certainly still play this deck.  Every card had it's purpose and it works like a charm.  You just can not be afraid of the deck at all.

On to the matches.  (Due to Wizards utilizing their "no electronic devices" rule, they took my micro cassette recorder that I always use notes.  So, I have no names as to whom I played.  My apologies to whom I played!  Blame WOTC for that one.)

Round 1 I played against a Gengar deck.  He never got anything going on me as my Hitmonchans blasted the Lickitungs and the Eevee held off Gastly and company until Promo Mewtwo could show up and start blasting Pokemon.  I had to take all 6 prizes, but did so in time limit.
Record 1-0    Points: 3

Round 2 I played against a Jigglypuff deck with Dragonair.  Seeing little resistance to my Hitmonchan, I bring it up early and start wailing away at Pokemon.  I KO a Jigglypuff and a Dragonair before Scyther shows up.  I use Ditto to KO one, and hurt another one before he gets him.  I promote buzz, punch for 40, and end that threat.  Hitmonchan ends the threat as once again I take all 6 prizes in time limit.
Record 2-0    Points: 6

Side Note: 

After round 2 … I hunt down Spike the Deck Mechanic to see how he did.  They did not let him play!  Something about the Fire Marshall.  Well, this is a hotel, there are other places to put people.  If they had wanted to, they would have found a way to accommodate everyone.  If you are one of the people that was told you could not play, I feel extremely sorry for you.  That really sucks!

Back to the matches!

Round 3 I play against a Fire/Fight deck in the feature match area.  We play a Ditto vs Hitmonchan dance for a long time, jabbing as I can.  Magmar never really show for him as he tries to do it all with Chan and Jigglypuff.  My chans show up to pop the balloons.  From there is the slow process of me getting Supered and then rebuilding.  Eventually he gets a Magmar, but I flip through smokescreen and poison it with Ditto - that keeps it benches for the rest of the game.  With time running real short, I run get my 5th prize.  After drawing my last card, my opponent tells me to hurry and not to stall to win.  Do I have a surprise for him...Lass.  I shoulda Findered for a Gust which would have been prize number 6, but I was not thinking very clearly due to time.  Time is called, and I win on prizes.
Record 3-0    Points: 8

Round 4 I play against a Sponge deck.  I have about nothing to comment on this match.  I saw like *zero* search and sat back and watched some early prizes go away.  My deck crapped out on me.  I take him to time limit, but he gets me on prizes. 
Record 3-1    Points: 8

Round 5 I don't know what his deck was.  I open with Eevee vs Scyther.  I search out a few times, get another basic, and triple PlusPower up the Eevee.  I strip his hand down with RSA.  He has nothing.  He draws nothing, and turn 2 I bite for the win.  Style-points win - Eevee kills a Scyther.  Turns out there has been an error on his match - he was supposed to be 11 points prior to the match, not 8.  The match still stood, though, and they fixed it next round.
Record 4-1    Points: 11

Round 6 I remember little about.   I know it was a long, pushing time limit game.  We went back and forth for a little while until I was able to deplete his resources and bring up a Mewtwo.  Then the gust-kills started.  With time running low, he lasses to prevent decking.  I am literally drawing a card, putting it straight in my hand, and saying, "Psyburn, go".  I draw 5 prizes before he does deck within like 15 seconds of time.
Record 5-1    Points: 14

Side Note:

I had to go to the restroom real bad, so a friend says they will watch my deck while I go.  When I come back, it turns out that a WOTC judge has taken the liberty of thumbing through my deck and finding all my foreign cards.  He wants me to produce English equivalents.  My opponent never asked for it, but the judge felt he should bring it upon himself to do this.  I had left my binder in the room this morning, just forgetting about it.  So, the Wotc judge was ready to assess a game loss penalty.  A GAME LOSS?  Mind you, a guy playing with an illegal 61 card deck was only given a game loss, and this was only because it was after the match.  They put having a foreign Comp Search, Item Finder, Lass, Scoop Up, and Electabuzz on the same level with an illegal sized deck.  Anyway, I appeal the CRAP out of it.  First of all, the judge had no right to touch my deck.  As a tournament judge, he can ask to see my deck, but he did not.  He took it upon himself to look through it behind my back.  Luckily, there was something of a voice of reason (Thank you Mr. Elliott) that reduced the penalty to a single prize loss at the start of the next match.  But let's have a look at the DCI rule on this.  Cut and paste from the floor rules.  I will make in red the words that are significant:

202. Authorized Cards--Use of Non-English Cards

All Pokémon cards released by Wizards of the Coast, Inc. are legal for tournament play.

Non-English cards may be used in players' decks only if the same cards are available in an English version produced by Wizards of the Coast.

Players choosing to use non-English Pokémon cards must do the following if the cards could be interpreted as marked (see Universal Tournament Rules, section 44):

  • Place opaque-backed card sleeves on all cards in the deck; and
  • Have an English version of the card available outside the deck for the opponent or judge to see.

Example: Players using Japanese versions of cards in their decks must place opaque-backed sleeves on all cards in their decks, and they must have English versions of the cards available to show the judge or their opponents.

The ruling was incorrect, but, as any judge will tell you, a judge is the god of their tournament.  They made a ruling, and now I have to stick by it.

End Rant

Round 7 I have to play Chad Mills.  He is the Pojo judge Jediman, and a tremendously good player from Arizona.  Now, Wotc judges makes ANOTHER ruling against me, stating that Chad now gets to DRAW the prize.  We all know that prize penalties assessed at the beginning of games are to not be drawn.  But I play on.  I mulligan, he goes first, wrecks my hand, and I can't recover.  I make it close, and it might have been better if he does not get the prize card.  Nothing against Chad - his Wiggly deck performed well.
Record: 5-2    Points: 14

Round 8 I'm still mad, but take out on my opponent.  I get 3 KOs in the first 3 turns: 1st turn buzz, 2nd turn Puff, 3rd turn Puff, all with Chan.  I RSAed him to death, but he Top decks Oak.  I'm in trouble due to heavy search turns 1 and 2, but am able to avoid decking.  After prizes getting squared at 1 to 1, I use a Ditto to put to sleep Wiggly.  He does not recover and decks.
Record: 6-2    Points: 17

I finish 14th place.  Not bad in my opinion, but I think I had a good shot at Top 8. 

Anyway, as the finals go on, I find out that one of the players (remaining nameless) altered his deck sometime between the swiss and top 8 to add Lasses.  Why?  Because WotC did not do deck listings at a "Premiere" event.  I feel this has hurt the credibility of Pokemon as a competitive game.

Overall, I think WotC learned a lot from this experience and I hope they correct some of their errors for the East Coast STS.

Thanks to everyone for reading my report!!!