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William Hung on Pokemon
CA State Championship Report
March 11, 2006

CA State Championship Report by William Hung
March 11, 2006
Atrium Hotel
Irvine, CA
90+ players in age 15+ (my age group), 160+ players overall

Hello again y’all. This is a very, very long report, so I’ll break it down into several sections.

I) Preparation
Whatever deck I was thinking about playing for CA States, I playtested it against a “gauntlet” of decks, and figure out if it can handle the heat. I’ll go ahead and reveal what the “gauntlet” of decks I’ve tested against:
*Lugia ex/Blastoise ex/Steelix ex
*Rock Lock
*Gengar
*Nidoqueen
*Espeon ex/Medicham ex
*Ludicolo/Magcargo

I didn’t test against decks such as Dark Dragonite/Dark Electrode, or Metagross d/Dragonite d, not necessarily because they’re inferior decks, but because I figure that if I can’t beat the top contenders, I’m wasting my time playing with my deck at CA States. Nevertheless, with such a diverse metagame, I need to come up with a deck that can handle most of the decks above, if not all of them. Also, I’ve added Dustox ex to the “gauntlet”, because even if it’s not tier 1, I know I have to face it, so I need to be prepared.

II) Deck and Card Selection
I’ve thought about Lugia ex/Blastoise ex/Steelix ex, Espeon ex/Medicham ex. But when I got to CA States, I knew both of these decks are going to be heading into trouble, against Salamence d/Metagross d and Nidoqueen, respectively. I like Rock Lock, but I know Espeon ex/Medicham ex and Nidoqueen will be a major factor, so I decided to go for the deck that finished 2nd at Worlds ’05, and tweaked it to the current metagame and card choices:

Dark Tyranitar/Electrode ex, aka POW Block
Pokemon (23):
3x Larvitar d
2x Dark Pupitar
3x Dark Tyranitar (Spinning Tail)
2x Voltorb (Legend Maker)
2x Electrode ex
2x Pidgey
1x Pidgeotto
2x Pidgeot (Fire Red/Leaf Green – Quick Search)
1x Slugma (Deoxys – Collect)
1x Magcargo (Deoxys – Smooth Over)
3x Jirachi (Deoxys – Wishing Star)
1x Jirachi (Hidden Legends – Make a Wish)

Trainers (23):
3x Rocket’s Admin
4x Celio’s Network
4x Rare Candy
1x Steven’s Advice
2x Holon Transceiver
2x Holon Mentor

1x Holon Scientist
3x POW! Hand Extension
2x Protective Orb
1x Ancient Technical Machine: [Rock]

Energies (14):
4x Darkness
4x Heal
4x Scramble
2x Rainbow



These are the main ingredients to the deck. I don’t always use Extra Energy Bomb (aka Blow Up), but usually against other strong decks, I will need to. I need to discard enough Energies with the use of Holon Mentor/Holon Scientist, so I can “Blow Up” and put the Scramble, Dark, etc. and get One-Hit KO on opponent’s precious main attackers. Once I can do that, I can use POW! Hand Extension and Rocket’s Admin to keep the game under my control.

The Jirachi from EX:Deoxys is very standard nowadays, because many decks can use the “Holon” trainer engine to set-up their Pokemon army, and thus Jirachi from EX: Deoxys can give them a bigger advantage in the long run, such as fetching Rare Candy or Stadiums. However, Jirachi HL is a great addition to my POW Block deck, because my deck can easily afford discarding Energies, in fact my deck loves it. So, for instance, if I go 2nd, I can start with Jirachi Wishing Star, play Holon Mentor to get Pokemon out, like Larvitar d, Pidgey, and Jirachi HL. Then attach an Energy to Jirachi HL. 2nd turn, attach the Heal to Jirachi DX, and you’ll be setting up very fast.



These are the trainers that make the decks “current”, and not outdated or obsolete. However, I must say these trainers are not right for every deck. In order to use these trainers effectively, your deck must be able to afford to discard. Thus, a deck such as Nidoqueen should not use these, because discarding just about anything is too costly.



These are the two key trainers in the deck, Rocket’s Admin and POW! Hand Extension. Although the other trainers are just as important for setting up your Pokemon army and fill your hand with options, how you play these will make the difference between winning and losing. I can’t tell you exactly when to use one of these – it really depends on what “threats” I have to face, current in-game situations, so it takes a lot of practice and experience.

The other cards should be straightforward, but the single ATM: [Rock] is also a very important card to win close games. Since this deck almost have to use Extra Energy Bomb against most competitive decks, it is imperative not only to be able to take control of the game with the 1st fully charged Dark Tyranitar, it is often the 2nd Dark Tyranitar with Scramble Energy that can finish the job with a combination of Grind and Spinning Tail. So don’t waste it – use it to win the game.

III) Actual Report
I just want to note that I will be as accurate as I can with the details, but I may not be perfect – because I don’t have perfect memory.

The tournament supposed to start at 10am, but with over 160+ players, and computer problems, it didn’t start until past 12:30pm, and Lunch Break beforehand (around 11:45am).

Since the games are 30 minutes long (not that long, IMO), I wore a watch to keep track of the game progress.

Round 1: vs. Dan B. (Dunsparce LM, Octillery DS, Ariados UF)
This is a warm-up match for me. However, I learned the hard way at Irvine City Championships against him to never underestimate any opponent, and to respect EVERY opponent I play against. I established by Pokemon army quickly with Holon Mentor and starting with Jirachi DX (Wishing Star) helps a lot. I also decided to go straight for Jirachi HL (Make a Wish), so I can set up even faster. However, I got overanxious, and make a big mistake by evolving Electrode ex too early. I was very fortunate to get away with it, by flipping HEADS against Ariados’s Spider Trap. He also used Cursed Stone and Spider Trap Pidgeot. Eventually, I took control of the game with Electrode ex’s Energy Bomb to load up on my Dark Tyranitar, and constantly use POW! Hand Extension and Heal Energy to seal the deal.

Win 1-0 3pts.

Round 2: vs. Paul (Mew ex/Meganium ex/Steelix ex/Latios*)
This is the deck that won Nevada State Championships last Saturday. But I am not afraid of the deck – I know I just have to go out there and execute my game plan. As I expected, he got to set up fully with Pidgeot and Jirachi DX, but he didn’t want to invest time to build a Steelix ex (or Onix could be in prizes). That gave me time to get out the Electrode ex, Extra Energy Bomb, POW! Hand Extension, and Rocket’s Admin combination. I chose to POW! Hand Extension on Pidgeot and KO that in this game, because he has no Onix on the Bench. I made it such that he has to beat 2 Dark Tyranitars with his 2 Meganium ex. Since he only has one Meganium ex fully powered up, my Rocket’s Admin should put me in great position to win the game. We traded KOs with my Dark Tyranitar vs. his fully powered Meganium ex, but Power Tree still kept him in the game. However, he is ahead in prizes, by a 2-3 count, so when he decided to charge up his Latios* on his Bench, I took advantage of both Scramble and POW! Hand Extension to One-Hit KO. Time was called on Paul’s turn, but unless he can somehow pulled out a miracle with to One-Hit KO one of my Pokemon, I will be able to KO his Active Jirachi DX with Grind and win the game. He couldn’t so I won, and I took a deep breath.

Win 2-0 6pts.

Round 3: vs. Jose (Gengar/Mr. Mime ex)
He started with Mr. Mime ex Even, but I had a god hand, went first, and got out a 1st turn Dark Tyranitar with Dark Energy. The game didn’t last long, because he couldn’t get anything going, and his Gastly went down soon after.

Win 3-0 9pts.

Although I’m happy to sit at 3-0, I expect my Resistance to be horrible (if I play against these lower caliber of decks), so I better keep winning and hope for the best. After some observations, I found that Rock Lock, Salamence d/Metagross d, and Nidoqueen are doing extremely well.

Round 4: vs. Ryan (Dustox ex/Kingdra)
I wasn’t surprised – and I’m quite prepared. I’ll get set up with my army of Pokemon and take care of business. My plan was to use Electrode ex’s Extra Energy Bomb to fall behind in prizes, use Jirachi DX’s Wishing Star to both set up and sacrifice as another prize/wall. That allows me to fall behind in prizes to activate Scramble Energies, and hopefully One-Hit KO on his Dustox ex. However, Cursed Stone was a game breaking card, because I didn’t run any Stadiums. So my Jirachi DX got KO’d, and my Magcargo and Pidgeot are getting worn down in a hurry. It got to a close game, to a point where I was nervous, and I wasn’t sure if I made the right play.

The game was tied at 2-2 prize count. I had Dark Tyranitar with 2 Darkness Energies, Magcargo, and Pidgeot in play. He had a 6 card hand, my Magcargo and Pidgeot has 60 damage. My plan was to Quick Search for Rocket’s Admin, play it to mess up his hand, and use Magcargo to Smooth Over for a Scramble Energy. My game plan was to have my Magcargo KO’d with Cursed Stone at the end of my opponent’s turn, falling behind by one prize, and use the Scramble to One-Hit KO his Dustox ex for the game. However, his Dustox ex has 40 damage, his Bench had a bunch of damaged Pokemon as well. (I remember 40 on Horsea, 40 on Cascoon, etc.) So I wasn’t sure what I should have Quick Search for – I still have an ATM: [Rock] in my deck, but there is no way I can win the game outright with it yet. So I did exactly that, attacked with my Dark Tyranitar’s Grind for 50 and passed. But out of the 2 cards that he drew from my Rocket’s Admin, and another evolution card from topdeck, he pulled a Prof. Oak’s Research. Then, he pulled a Pokemon Reversals and got HEADS! He KO’d my Pidgeot, and my Magcargo would be KO’d in between turns, so I lost. AHHH!

Lost 3-1 9pts.

I thought initially I’ve made a bad play, however, looking back at it, I probably didn’t. It’s just my luck.

Round 5: vs. Joseph (Dark Tyranitar/Dark Dragonite/Dark Electrode)
He got a great start with a Turn 1 Spinning Tail Tyranitar. I did get to start with Jirachi DX’s Wishing Star and went first, but that’s still not good for me. I thought I let the last game in Round 4 bothered me, as I didn’t make great in-game decisions. I was playing scared of his Spinning Tail on Turn 3, and didn’t take initiative with my Jirachi HL and laying down my Voltorb LM. I wasn’t taking advantage of my Pidgeot and Protective Orb against his Dark Dragonite. I was too reliant on the Dark Tyranitar/Electrode ex combination, and I wasn’t adapting and adjusting to the current in-game situation. I was also too passive with my Dark Tyranitar with Spinning Tail and attacked a turn too late. In short, I was playing not to lose, and I did.

I almost came back at the end of the game, but time was called and I couldn’t pull it off with my Spinning Tail Dark Tyranitar. However, after washing my face and clear thought, I played terrible and deserved that loss.

Lost 3-2 9pts.

I know, I know, it’s like why am I sharing this with you folks out there. Well, I believe that besides to remind ourselves that we’re very “human”, I also believe it’s important to take necessary time to make every in-game decision the best one possible. I also don’t want to blame it on bad luck, because that’s simply not productive and it’s not going to help me to become a better player.

Anyway, I still have a shot. I found out that it’ll be top 32, single game, single elimination (yeah, it was getting late, already 7:30pm), and Round 6 will be the last round for 15+. After I did the math, I know that if I win the last round and finish 4-2, I will make top 32, so it’s time to put everything behind me, and play at my best again.

Round 6: vs. Ivan (Dark Dragonite/Dark Electrode/Rocket’s Sneasel ex)
This is a tough matchup. He didn’t get set up as fast as I thought, but still putting a lot of pressure on me with Rocket’s Sneasel ex Drag Off. But once he got Plusle DX, he decided to go set up with Plusle DX with Call for Family. I already came up with a game plan – I need to focus on Rocket’s Sneasel ex, use Protective Orb on Pidgeot to gain an advantage against his Dark Dragonite. I didn’t really use Pidgeot vs. his Dark Dragonite in this game, mainly because he puts his 2 of his precious Dark Energies on Rocket’s Sneasel ex. I decided to POW! Hand Extension on it, with my army of Pokemon fully set up, and use Dark Tyranitar’s Bite Off attack to One-Hit KO. I’m behind in prizes, 2-6 I believe, so Scramble works perfectly. I used a 2nd POW! Hand Extension to One-Hit KO his 2nd Rocket’s Sneasel ex as well, as he was charging it up. His Dark Electrode did eventually worn down my Dark Tyranitar and KO’d it. But I also worn down his Dark Dragonite and Dark Electrode enough, and a single ATM: [Rock] finished off the game.

Win 4-2 12pts.

Actually, there wasn’t much time left, so I was fortunate to pull off the victory in time. I knew top 32 and beyond will get even more difficult, and since it’s best 1 out of 1, I need to put it all on the line. So here we go:

Top 32: vs. Alex W. (Medicham ex/Espeon ex)
Game plan is simple – don’t let him snipe off my Voltorb, so I can use Extra Energy Bomb to load up my Dark Tyranitar, use Protective Orb on Dark Tyranitar to negate its Weakness to Fighting, and focus on One-Hit KO on his Medicham ex. His game plan was wonderful as well. He was totally focusing on my Dark Tyranitar line (Dark Pupitar), and it was another close game. Even though I fell behind in prizes (as expected), I was able to One-Hit KO two Medicham ex, using POW! Hand Extension to take care of his second one. I also decided to establish Pidgeot mid-game, because that would allow me to get enough cards I need to seal the deal, such as Scramble and Rocket’s Admin, and another POW! Hand Extension. I decided to focus on Umbreon ex for my last two prizes, because 1) he has a Holon’s Electrode attached that is vulnerable to POW! Hand Extension, and 2) I have no ex-Pokemon in play, so he must KO one of my Pokemon, thus allowing me to fall behind in prize count 1-2, and I can use POW! Hand Extension and Scramble. So I utilize my Pidgeot, POW! Hand Extension away his Holon’s Electrode to his Meditite on his Bench, and Clutch away for the win.

Win 5-2

Top 16: vs. Paul (different Paul – Golem LM/Jolteon ex)
My game plan was to use Protective Orb, fully set up my army of Pokemon, and to be patient to fall behind in prizes and have a nice amount of Scramble’s in my discard pile or charged up on my Dark Tyranitar, so I can One-Hit KO his Golem LM, and not give him a chance to snipe off my Pidgeot or Magcargo. Anyway, this was a blowout in my favor, because he simply couldn’t draw into any Energies. Thus, I was going straight into charging up my Dark Tyranitar, and I didn’t play any Rocket’s Admin or use Extra Energy Bomb, and try to keep my hand small. Sorry Paul.
Win 6-2

Top 8: vs. Martin Moreno (Salamence d/Metagross DX/Pidgeot)
Wow, again I got an easy win at the expense of my opponent’s bad luck. He has both of his Pidgeots prized. I played accordingly, so I wasn’t going to use Extra Energy Bomb unless he somehow comes back to make it a tough game, and went straight for my Dark Tyranitar, Pidgeot, and Magcargo to keep the game moving. I also kept charging up my 2nd Dark Tyranitar, because I know he will be able to KO my first one, and he did exactly that. The 30 minutes went by fast, and I was way ahead in prizes.

Win 7-2

Top 4: vs. Jamie Guerrero (Rock Lock)
He got really lucky against me at Worlds 2005 at top 32 against my Turn 2 Sharpedo ex deck, but I need to stay objective and calm. I got a decent start by going 2nd with my Larvitar and Darkness Energy, as I had like 3 Celio’s Network in my hand. I decided to Celio’s on turn 1 for a Jirachi DX (Wishing Star), just to be on the safe side. He Steven’s Advice for 2, and didn’t get additional Basics. I almost got a cheap win against him, but I wasn’t able to topdeck a Rainbow Energy. (!) I played Celio’s for Dark Pupitar, but Explosive Evolution went Tails. He knew he would lose if he couldn’t get a Basic Pokemon, so he Steven’s Advice for 2 again, and guess what? He drew into 2 Jirachi DX! Oh my god! So he retreated his Mareep, and I know the game is turning his way. Nevertheless, I went straight for my Spinning Tail Dark Tyranitar to put pressure my opponent, and lay down another 1 of my Jirachi DX. I believe that was the misplay I made. Anyway, he got set up pretty soon after that, because he got HEADS on his Dark Pupitar as Active Pokemon. (!) He puts out the Sand Damage Dark Tyranitar, got out Pidgeot, and my chances went from slim to none.

Lost 8-2

You actually play a 3rd place match to determine 3rd at State Championships, so I’ll be playing for 3rd place…

3rd Place Match: vs. Lik L. (Ludicolo/Magcargo)
I never let him get started until it was too late. I play 2 Rocket’s Admin early, while I set up my Spinning Tail Dark Tyranitar and my army of Pokemon. I wasn’t going to use Extra Energy Bomb at all, because even though I didn’t know what was in his prizes, I knew he was struggling big time to get set up. Eventually he took a prize by KO on my Jirachi HL (Make a Wish), and I took advantage of that with Scramble energy and Dark Tyranitar’s Spinning Tail. He made a mistake where he forgot to use Ludicolo’s Happy Dance before he attacked with his Vulpix. That was huge! I wasn’t going to let him take it back – there’s too much at stake. So his Ludicolo with Happy Dance has 20 damage and 2 Water Energy. I simply played POW! Hand Extension, charge up a Dark Energy (total of 5 energy – Dark, Heal, Scramble, behind in prizes), and KO’d with Bite Off. The game went downhill for him from that point on, with me simply focusing on Spinning Tail everything he has left.

Win 9-2

I’m not being a meanie for not letting him change his play. It’s a competitive game. I know my opponents are not going to let me take things back – period. So, you have to think before you act.

Overall, I was happy with my performance. I did give up an unnecessary prize against Rock Lock in the semi-finals, and didn’t play my best in Round 5, but I thought I executed my game plan, and certainly was adapting and adjusting to in-game situations from top 32 and forward.

So thanks for reading my deck report.

Props:
+ Ross (Pidgeotto Trainer) and Articjedi144 for helping me tweaking my initial deck, and offering their insights/strategies on using it. You guys may remember Ross was the runner-up at Worlds ’05. So many thanks to them!

+ My friends Sam and Josh for having a good 1st premiere tournament experience. I helped them tweak their decks a bit, and they at least had a shot at making top 32.

+ Various players across US for helpful suggestions and comments on metagame, deck strategies, etc. You guys rock – I am learning how to become a great player.

Slops:
- Started so late, and ended so late, almost midnight! I understand the computer issues and the very large attendance, but still tiring.

That’s all folks. I don’t think I can make Regionals, so I’ll have to look ahead into Holon Phantom Prerelease, and Gym Challenges.

Again, please send any suggestions or comments to wilhung53@aim.com .

Take care,
William Hung
 



 


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