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William Hung's Underground Card Laboratory
Mesa, Arizona - Gym Challenge Report
June 15, 2006

Mesa Gym Challenge
Holiday Inn in Mesa
Mesa, AZ
June 3, 2006
44 in age 15+
Hello trainers,
I will share my 2nd gym challenge experience with you all, this time a full-detailed report.  Sorry I took so long to post, because of my busy schedule.
I needed a deck that can handle a huge variety of decks this time around.  I expected anything and everything.  Since Flariados have very few bad matchups, if any, I decided to make some adjustments from the version I used at Coral Springs, FL and hope for the best.
Pokemon (21)
4x Eevee (DS - Call for Family)
3x Flareon ex (DS)
1x Espeon ex (UF)
4x Spinarak (UF - Stun Poison)
4x Ariados (UF)
2x Holon's Magneton
1x Lapras (LM)
1x Corphish (DX - Exoskeleton)
1x Crawdaunt ex (HP)
Trainers (29):
4x Mary's Request
3x Rocket's Admin
3x Steven's Advice
3x Dual Ball
3x Prof. Elm's Training Method
4x Battle Frontier
1x Full Flame
4x Super Scoop Up
4x Energy Removal 2
Energies (10):
7x Grass
3x Multi
There are certainly variations to Flareon ex/Ariados.  However, the basic framework is the same - you play 4-4 Ariados from Unseen Forces, and 4-3-1 Eevee, Flareon ex, Espeon ex.  Some says Umbreon ex is a possibility, but I think based on the diverse metagame, Battle Frontier is needed, and Espeon ex can really hurt decks that rely on Rare Candies, namely LBS (Lugia ex, Blastoise ex, Steelix ex).
It is important to know the matchups, and what Pokemon is helpful, and what is not.  For instance, against decks such as Mew ex/Jynx/Wobbuffet, laying down a Corphish and Crawdaunt ex is terrible, so is laying down a Lapras.  You don't want to give your opponent easy targets for their POW! Hand Extension.
I don't think I have the best deck out of all the players, but I do believe that if I play my cards right, I got a good shot at winning it all.
Round 1: vs. Poliwrath/Jumpluff/Fossils
This wasn't a matchup I like - I thought I would be in serious trouble if he ran straight Poli-Stall.  However, with Jumpluff available as targets for Spider Trap, I try to keep the game close.  I proceed to win at the end when prizes are tied up when I Spider Trap his Fighting Poliwrath, and he couldn't wake up.  I breathed a sigh of relief - because he got some HEADS on Buffer with his 2 Jumpluff.
Win 1-0 3pts.
Round 2: vs. Justin - Metagross/Manectric ex/Scizor ex/Jirachi DX
I was focusing on mostly his ex Pokemon, because I just want to take 6 prizes and the game.  It wasn't exactly a cakewalk, but I kept his Manectric ex Asleep once, I KO'd one of his Scizor ex with my Flareon ex, despite his Steel Wing, because I hit one of my Energy Removal 2's on his only Metal Energy on his Scizor ex.  All in all, it was a convincing victory, when time called I was leading in prize count 1-3, in my favor.
Win 2-0 6pts.
Round 3: vs. Shelden - Medicham ex/Dustox ex
I started with a lone Lapras.  (sighs)  I fought hard, had a couple of chances to turn the game around if my opponent flip TAILS on those occasions, but he flip HEADS.  Life isn't ideal after all, right?  I had no shot - lost by 4 prizes.
Loss 2-1 6pts.
Round 4: vs. Typhlosion ex/Magcargo
We both struggled with the beginning of the game.  I started with a Lone Spinarak, and he started with a lone Cyndaquil.  I almost lost the game, but I hit 2 HEADS on Dual Ball, and we played a real game.  He managed to get a swarm of Typhlosion ex out, and even with my Larpas LM and Crawdaunt ex, I should have lost it.  I got 2 lucky breaks - one I hit my Super Scoop Up on Crawdaunt ex after it took 80 damage, and two, he forgot to use Typhlosion ex once, after he retreats to his Plusle, and it was way too late.  Tough break - but he still made me sweat.  He manage to get out one of his last Rare Candy and charge it up.  But I gladly use my refreshed Crawdaunt ex to trade KOs, and use my Ariados to Spider Trap Magcargo to finish the job.
Win 3-1 9pts.
Round 5: vs. Flygon d/Magcargo/Holon Ruins
He had a nice deck concept.  He tries to set up fast and overwhelm me, but I kept his opposition in check, by focusing KO on his Magcargo.  He burned 2 Switch to escape Spider Trap, but I timed my Espeon ex Devo Flash perfectly, because he had 2 damage counters from 2 previous Poison conditions, and I Snap Tailed the Slugma underneath for KO.  Everything went downhill, as he struggled to find draw cards to stay alive.
Win 4-1 12pts.
I know I have my worst matchup in round 6 against a deck named Mynx.  I have a very strong tiebreaker, just in case I lose in round 6 and finish 4-2 to make top 8, but I decided to play out round 6 anyway.
Round 6: vs. Chung - Mynx (Mew ex/Wobbuffet/Jynx/other Pokemon)
This is a deck made up of many utility Pokemon, Trainer recursion, and some key Pokemon trainers.  I am not going to give away his deck.  I almost got a cheap win off him in the early going, but once he settled into his board position and set up his army, I had no chance.
Loss 4-2 12pts.
I made it to top 8, as the #7 seed, as expected.  I will be facing LBS, one of the matchups I playtested again and again, and I hope the playtesting will pay off...Best 2 out of 3 game matches, 1 hour limit.
Top 8: vs. Bin - LBS
Game #1: I started with a lone Lapras, and I had to gamble in many instances.  I laid down an early Full Flame, because I know he was struggling with Energies and stuff.  I was too, but I believe that if he didn't counter my Full Flame, I could be up 2 prizes early with a KO on his Lugia ex.  I lost the stadium war, as he played his 5th stadium Giant Stump late in the game.  This was the difference.  Nevertheless, I think I should aim my Spider Trap at Pidgeot whenever I can't counter his stadiums to prevent an easy Quick Search for Switch cards or Island Cave.
Loss 4-3
Game #2: I got a better start than game #1, with Energies and everything, while he couldn't get much going.  Nothing too memorable.
Win 5-3
Game #3: I believe there was about 10-15 minutes left for game #3.  (Most likely 15 mins, according to what I remember)  I was indeed so short on draw power that I had no choice but to use Larpas LM to grab a Rocket's Admin.  However, I believe my mistake was I held on to my Flareon ex too long.  In fact, I didn't even play my Flareon ex (the only card left in my hand) before I played Rocket's Admin.  I thought I could use my Flareon ex's Poke-Power on a better spot.  However, I didn't take into account the time remaining, and it was certainly less than 10 minutes at that point.  I shouldn't let him set up so easily with his Jirachi DX.  I did not realize this until much later after the game, where I re-examined all the details.  But anyway, once he got set up, my only reasonable play is to stall by Spider Trapping his Pidgeot, as he countered my 2 Battle Frontier early, and I have no answer to his Power Tree.  Once he got 1 Heads, I knew I had literally no shot at winning this game.  Falling behind in prizes with like only 5 minutes left in the final and decisive game is a disaster.
Loss 5-4
It was a heartbreaking loss, but I am certain that had I not made that misplay in game 3, who knows what would have happened.  I have to take this loss as yet another learning experience, and hopefully I can make better in-game decisions under tremendous pressure.
I think while Flariados doesn't have a lot of bad matchups, it doesn't have a lot of great matchups either.  I have to work really hard and catch some breaks just to make top cuts.  I think the concept of the deck is great, but execution is difficult, if not impossible, at a consistent basis.  It takes only one key game where your opponent hits a streak of HEADS on his FLIPS to beat you and send you to the "rail".  So I don't recommend this deck, if you are shooting for a trip to Worlds '06.
As usual, thanks for reading my reports/articles.  See you guys at Nationals.
Best Wishes,
William Hung

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