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Pokemon Tournament Reports
By Joseph “Otaku” Lee
Autumn Battle Road, Mayhem Collectibles, Ames, IA
Sunday, September 30th 2007
Attendance: Approx. 40
I was hoping to judge at one or both of the Iowan Battle Roads for fall, but I couldn’t even make the first one that was on the 29th. I have long been a Liability player, and all the deck ideas I had been having lately all focused on older cards that had rotated out. I hadn’t had anything concrete hit me for several months, and the attempts to “force” it kept resulting in decks that were missing something (usually, the ability to win). This was a problem as it looked like I’d have to borrow my “still new” friend’s Blaziken/Infernape/Delcatty deck which I helped him build… I had already borrowed it and finally the night before the first Battle Roads I decided on Feraligatr from Mysterious Treasures backed up by… well, that kept changing throughout the whole night. I attended the League session held on September 28th just to get the materials I needed to build. I chose this Feraligatr because I had wanted to use it but couldn’t get enough of them to run when my friend pulled his second and was willing to loan me his two to add to my lone copy. I kept changing my mind on what to back it up with, but the morning of the Manchester Battle Road tournament, I decided to stay home and perfect the idea I’d settled on: Delcatty from EX Promise Keepers, Magneton from EX Promise Keepers, and Feraligatr. The idea was so obvious I knew that I wouldn’t be the first to run it. In fact, it was another CotD reviewer’s comments that kept me from dropping the Magneton from the combo as I had planned.
A combination of actual planning and “it’s all I had” led to the build you see below:
The name is actually what I am proudest of, and I didn’t even think of it until a few days after the tournament. Normally, I abhor when a deck is named just using the names of the Pokémon, but this time I went with it because I am a huge Transformers fan and the name sounds vaguely Cybertronian due to the “tron” at the end. The “Behold” is just added in to parody a quote from the 1986 animated Transformers movie.
The Pokémon content was largely determined by me wishing to have at least 10 Basic Pokémon but finding nothing quite good enough in my cards to run alongside the core combo. I didn’t want to risk being stuck with “dead weight” filling one of my Bench slots: ever since Scramble Energy debuted, it is a very real risk that the opponent will ignore your “opener”. For those new to the game, this is because if one KO’s it then I likely bring up a ready-to-rumble Feraligatr with all its Energy needs provided via Scramble Energy, and their attacker is going to be my first victim. Instead, if they make me expend a resource to Bench my opener and attack first, they can use a Scramble Energy to fuel attacks and/or get the first shot at my big attacker (Feraligatr). So I ran a full four Totodile even though it was only in the deck to Evolve into Croconaw and then Feraligatr. I still ran three Croconaw, even though I also included two Rare Candy in the deck, because I wanted to use Croconaw’s Evolutionary Vitality Poké-Power. When it Evolves, you get to look at the top five cards of your deck and add all Energy there to your hand. This of course is quite nice when you consider Feraligatr is the main attacker: constantly redraw and throw back Energy to use Cyclone for OHKOs. Magneton helps you avoid drying out (since each Energy Draw would give you one less Energy to play around with). It also serves as a decent back up attacker.
The Trainers, and yes I am including Supporters and Stadiums in there, are also an interesting mix of what I had and what I needed. Most should be self explanatory, but the two choices people question the most are why are Scott and Speed Stadium in the deck? Scott may slow me down initially (in that I give up a draw or search Supporter usage for it), but having the exact Supporter I at least think I need for a turn or two is great, and I usually take a Speed Stadium with it as well. I want to thin those non-Energy cards out of the deck because once I am down to just Energy in my deck, it becomes a KOing machine. Speed Stadium was truly serendipitous: I just felt I needed a Stadium since I only have one Windstorm, but several times it was a life saver (or at least loss delayer). I was a bit lucky with it: I probably averaged one draw a turn, where as my opponents didn’t usually even score the “expected” draw of a little over one every other turn. Aside from helping me set up, though, it avoided some “hiccups” I would have had without it. That is, when I had to use up all Energy from hand and couldn’t get any from the deck or the discard by other means (often a Cessation Crystal) I could try and draw some or all of what I needed via Speed Stadium. As few players risked using more than one Cessation Crystal at once, at least once I used Windstorm on their one Cessation Crystal in play and also nailed my own Speed Stadium I’d just scored cards off of.
The Energy cards are mostly Basic, as that is all Magneton can affect. Two Double Rainbow Energy allow for occasional bursts of speed and one Scramble Energy is a staple if at least most of your attackers can use it. I included a few Lightning Energy after my test match showed I couldn’t rely on Double Rainbow Energy to power Magneton. Given that Magneton can fetch said Energy from the discard, I just needed to add in a few, and Delcatty meant they were rarely deadweight.
Round 1 vs. Jay (Empoleon/Dodrio)
What a way to start: Jay is the top local player, and has qualified for Worlds the last three seasons. The game goes back and fourth, but I have to be honest: much of it was luck. You see, I could actually get something from Speed Stadium, and when it mattered. He usually didn’t get anything out of it, and when he did it wasn’t usually important. He kept using Cessation Crystal against me, but was in a bit of a bind: his deck was built so that it hoped to use Dodrio from Mysterious Treasures to take out Bench-sitters like my Delcatty and Magneton. However, he couldn’t risk it, since it was possible (and many turns it actually was) true that I had enough Energy to then OHKO it: he never had a big enough Prize lead to risk it. Instead, he kept trying to nail me with Empoleon and was doing a fair job since Cessation Crystal meant I had to trade blows with him. We were in a bit of a stalemate, and in the end I won due to flipping seven heads in a row on Speed Stadium. I only had four cards left in my deck, and one I needed was at the bottom, so I only needed four. That gave me the Energy for the KO and the win. Note that while I call it a stalemate, it was clear he was coming closer and closer to a victory: basically he’d use Cessation Crystal to gain control, I’d eventually KO that Pokémon and even things up, but then he’d get another Empoleon with a Cessation Crystal attached and I’d be in trouble again.
Round 2 vs. Emmanuel (Kingdra ex δ/Rayquaza ex δ/Vaporeon*)
I started with a lone Magnemite. He started with Rayquaza ex δ. I ended up with no draw or search cards, save a lone Speed Stadium which I didn’t get anything out of. I had Energy. I had a few Evolutions, but there wasn’t anything I could do as he powered up and KO’d me by his third turn.
Round 3 vs. Darren S. (Empoleon/Skarmory ex)
Simply put, I choked. I always make some random blunder or another. Not something minor, like using a card to soon, but something phenomenally stupid. One time, it was miscounting the Energy I needed to attack. That was a few years ago. This time… I blew the math calculating how much HP I’d have left. I didn’t play another Basic, I instead focused on Evolving and he did something moderately rare, I am told: he just powered up his Active Skarmory ex and KO’d my Croconaw. At least this time it wasn’t horrid luck: I had options but made the wrong call.
Round 4 vs. Felicia (Empoleon/Floatzel)
Felicia is another local player, and unfortunately for her she couldn’t get her deck set up while I did. Six painful KO’s later I won. There wasn’t much she could do in the situation: Cessation Crystal is in high demand so I don’t know how many she had in her deck (none showed up).
Round 5 vs. Craig (Empoleon/????)
This round was a blur: I mostly remember Mr. Hammer being annoyed that his son’s age group wasn’t going to do a top cut and that it really made the long drive not worth it. Most of our attendance is in the 15+ group with a 10- being second and 11-14 pretty barren, so it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise. To be fair, he might have been mad because his son’s age group should have had a cut to Top 2, except the last one or two in that age division were very tardy and just missed first round. I wasn’t quite sure which of the lower age groups his son was in (I have such a hard time matching parents and kids), but since I only know one standout younger player who is definitely not his son and the turnouts we normally get, I think he might have been expecting too much anyway of his son and the tournament.
I was just a bit disappointed in how I did, but not by too much: 3-2 is pretty normal for me with the occasional 4-1 (or proportional result). I think I’d like to add a Chingling or two and see if that works at helping me set up, as well as changing one normal Delcatty to a Delcatty ex for a little extra muscle. Note that I’d be cutting a Delcatty and Skitty for the Chingling. I might cut a Lighting Energy or two to add another Windstorm or two, but for the most part I was satisfied with the rest. I don’t think I’ll use the newer Magnemite from Diamond & Pearl, since Fire Weakness isn’t much better than Fighting and Lightning Weakness is quite common in the area, at least for now: in match against Felicia I started out attacking quite well with Magnemite. I strongly encourage players to try this deck, as it is well worth playing (adjust to your own tastes) and you should know how to beat it if you aren’t going to run it.
The tournament was eventually won in the 15+ age group by Emmanuel, who won the Manchester Battle Road as well. I don’t know the exact order of second through third place, but the decks that went there were Nidoqueen/Swampert ex, Lucario/Rampardos, and Nidoqueen/Dusknoir. The Nidoqueen were both currently Modified legal versions for both decks.
I’d like to thank our TO Shayne for running the tournament well as usual, and to Mayhem Collectibles, who has been a great friend to Pokémon players, helping to keep the game alive through the bad times both by sponsoring League and hosting most tournaments it is allowed to.
Questions, comments, or concerns can be addressed to me via my g-mail account: firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Ames Battle Roads” in the subject line or I’ll probably just delete it without reading, and obvious don’t spam me or send me viruses, inappropriate material, etc. Also, I don’t check that account very often, so realize it may be some time before I respond.
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