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Johnny Blaze

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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Blaze's Banter
2009 Pokemon National Championships
St. Louis, MO June 27th, 2009

So we arrive in St. Louis on Thursday and already my big red duffle bag with wheels is damaged from the flight resulting in only one of the wheels working. So between my son Nick and I, we take turns half dragging/ half rolling the duffle to the Tram. While on the Tram we meet up with Jayson and his son from Maryland and we talk and become friends and hang for some part of the weekend. Also we meet up with a Pokemon Video Game champion and his mother on the tram. We get off 1 stop too early to the Holiday Inn Select and drag my duffle resulting in the lower corner of the bag shredding up. We finally settle in to the hotel and hit the pool to cool off from the walk in the oppressive heat of St. Louis. All weekend long it was hot and humid ranging from the 90’s to 100’s. Unfortunately the pool itself was in the 80’s and so it was not very refreshing. After going back up to the room to change we meet up with some local folks from the New England area Hannan + Aylam, Thomas A, Arianne + Jordan and the Blaze family. We head to the Archway via the Tram again and then to the downtown area for some dinner.

Friday we do a bunch of playtesting and I enter the Professor Cup where I go an even 4-4 and lose to the eventual Professor Cup champion. The Professor Cup deck sleeves that Nintendo gave out were really cool and I sleeve me new deck using those.

Saturday is Nationals and I am in the White Flight which by rumor happens to be the flight with the hardest and highest ranked players in it. There will be a total of 8 rounds of Swiss then Top Cut to 64. I decide to run my Electivire/Manectric tech deck, since I will most likely be running this at Worlds I will not post my list until after Worlds so here goes my matchups and reports:

Round 1 vs Jim T.

Jim T is from Ohio and we reminisce of the days of Pokemon NATS being held at Origins. We both agr ee that the St. Louis Convention Center is severely lacking in the food and drink area. I win the coin toss and go 1st. I start with a lone Chansey to his Machop. I think great Machamp donk deck is going to get me on his next turn. Luckily I top deck a Baltoy and play it to my bench. I attach to Chansey and pass. He whiffs on the T1 Machamp and does damage to my Chansey. I am able to top deck into Roseannes and get an Uxie and Unown g. He takes the 1st 2 prizes with Machamp while I build up my Uxie swarms with Unown G’s to overwhelm his Machamp. Once I ko his Machamp it is all downhill from there and I take the remainder of my prizes.
W: 1-0

Round 2 vs Ethan D.
This is Ethan’s 1st year in the Masters division. He is from Utah and he is playing the insanely fast deck which is called Speedrill. He gets a pretty fast setup and I am able to spread damage with Manectric, stall with Mr. Mime until I set up an Ampharos and Dusknoir. Once his Powers are shut off and his bench is reset to 3 Pokemon there is little he can do. I take my remaining prizes with Electivire and win the Game.
W: 2-0

Round 3 vs Jeff M.

Jeff was wearing a Team Luigi T-shirt and is from Michigan. Jeff was playing Blastcatty and I have a near auto win against this deck. My Manectric stops his bench damage while it spread damage for my Amphy to shut off his powers. He plays an early Dawn’s Stadium and my Vire X takes it out with Pulse Barrier. My Vire X took the 1st 2 Prizes before it was knocked out then Manectric took the remaining 4 prizes.
W: 3-0

Round 4 vs Kyle
Kyle hails from Indiana and is playing quite an original deck using Porygon Z. I totally forget that his TM’s are not tools and I play Vire X judiciously from my hand to Pulse Barrier his tools only to realize they are TM’s. No worries though as he has a Stadium in play so I nuke it which makes Vire X invincible next turn. Between my Vire X and Manectric spreading damage I take all 6 prizes. Nice deck Kyle!
W: 4-0

Round 5 vs Jay H.
I’ve known Jay for quite some time now from various events and he has Top 4 NATS before and is currently the #2 player in MA in North America. Jay has also qualified for numerous Worlds, so obviously Jay is a great player. Jay is playing LuxApe deck which seems pretty popular right now. It is my 1st match against SP which I have a fairly decent matchup as my Vire X keeps their Energy Gains and Stadiums at bay. I do take the 1st prize with Vire X but then my deck losses steam once Jay ko’s the Vire X. Jay then takes his next 5 prizes and is only 1 prize card away from Victory. That’s when the ‘biggest comeback’ in Pokemon history takes place. Jay has an active Infernape X and plays Roseanne’s to find out he has no energy left in his deck. With all his Powers shut down after a Manectric spread and Ampharos is in play, there is little that Jay can do to search for a Nite Maintenance. My active Manectric then proceeds to take my last 5 Prizes. Jay took the loss in stride and he is a stand up player. So right now I am at 5-0, my best record to date at Nationals.
W: 5-0

Round 6 vs Colin Moll
Another player I have known for years and Colin is from the home state of Missouri. Colin is also undefeated at this point with his Dusknoir/Queen deck. Colin plays the Spirit Pulse Body and Im not sure about Dark Palm Dusknoir so I keep my bench at 3 just in case. Colin has a very slow start and I am 10 damage off of ko’ing his Nidoran before he Rare Candies into Nidoqueen. I do take the 1st prize by successfully discharging 3 out of 4 heads on Electivire’s attack. He has a built Dusknoir with a Psychic and Upper Energy on and plays 2 Poke-Blower to drag out my Claydol and ko’s it. This cripples my setup and I cant draw into anything. Colin then proceeds to take his remaining prizes to win.
L: 5-1

Round 7 vs. Karl K
Karl is currently the #14 ranked player in North America. Karl hails from Utah and is playing Legos. I have a pretty much auto-win in this match if I can manage to setup and get Manectrics out to spread. Karl maintains an active lock with Dialga20G Deafen and also Mespirit. At 1 point I can win if I can get an Electivire since I am holding Vire X and have an active Electabuzz, since he has an Energy Gain in play. Sadly this does not happen and with his Crobats and Poke-Turns he ko’s the active Buzz. I had pretty crappy hands and top decks from there and Karl hits the Mespirits/Power Sprays at the right time whenever I get a chance to use Uxie to set up. Karl wins and I find out that my prizes consist of 2 Electrikes + 1 Manectrics so I had little chance of getting the spread out that game.
L: 5-2

Round 8 vs. Jason
Jason is from Oklahoma and is another Poke-Dad that is playing with his son. This is our final round and whoever wins this last round will definitely be in at a 6-2 record. Jason is playing Speedrill and again I have a pretty good matchup against this deck. We both get really slow starts. So slow that I tell Jason that this match is definitely going to time. He doesn’t understand but I get my Mr. Mime tech out and then he understands. Unfortunately my other tech Duskull is prized so there goes limiting his bench which I really need against Speedrill. He eventually gets 4 Beedrills out and is 1 hitting my Pokes. I take a couple of prizes off Discharge but sadly none are the Duskull that I am looking for. I can only stall with Mime for so long and Jason wins on prizes as time is called.
L: 5-3

So sadly after starting off 5-0 I lose my last 3 matches. My son and all my friends say that because my opponents win % are so high that I should make the Top 64 cut. After all is said and done I look at the Top Cut standings and I am in at #58. Remember there are 2 flights that have T64 so it is decided that 2 rounds will be played tonite. They give us an 1hr dinner break and return. Tonite since time is pending on the Convention Center they lower the time limit to 45 minute best 2 out of 3 rounds.

Top 64 vs Kevin W.
Kevin is from Memphis and this is also his 1st year in the Masters division. He did exceptionally well in Seniors last year and I know him because he had battled my son last year in Sr’s. Kevin is another high ranked player in Masters ranked #6 in North America. I give him a lot of props for that20as it is his 1st year in MA. Kevin is playing Machamp which I have a decent matchup as long as I can get my Uxies and Unown G’s out. We flip over and both start with Uxies. We go back and forth with doing 40 to each other with the Psychic Restore attack and bringing up someone from the bench to avoid Uxies being ko’d. Kevin’s big surprise tech for his Machamp is the Bubble Coat Tool, which prevents Machamp from being weak to Uxie, then once Machamp is attacked the Bubble Coat gets discarded. So it’s a tool and my Vire X should be able to take it out right? Guess what? My Vire X is prized. So since Kevin has taken some prizes with Machamp and my Uxies are useless with Bubble Coat I quickly scoop Game 1 to try and win or take 4 prizes in Game 2 before the 45 minutes are up. So Game 2 I get a much better start and have the Vire X out. Vire X has taken 2 prizes and gets ko’d and my Manectric begins to spread and his Azelf and Claydol are 1 Power Wave away from me taking my next 2 prizes. Unfortunately on Kevin’s turn time is called and Game 2 is called an incomplete Game so Kevin wins.
So all in all I am pleased with this year’s result. There is nothing you can do when your opponent plays something that totally cripples part of your strategy like playing Bubble Coat. My son Nick went 5- 3 in Sr’s and maintained his invite to play in Worlds. He is currently ranked #10 in North America and I am very proud of him. The rest of the Blaze crew will be playing in the Last Chance Qualifier in San Diego so hopefully see you all there.


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