“Get Your Head in the Game!” Benefits of Being in the Right Mindset and Proper Preparation

Hello PokeBeach readers! I hope you’re having an excellent break so far. Christmas time is certainly a time of year I cherish as it allows me to step back from the grind of school and relax a little with friends and family. I don’t have the chance to see my family as often as I’d like, but the holidays give me the excuse (and the time) I need to be away from college. This year, I am proud to say I’ve completed my Christmas shopping early, garnering some unique presents for my family and saving me the stress of running around last minute, while simultaneously giving me the time I need to focus on attending a few more City Championships!

A major positive during the holidays is the amount of tournaments during this time. In years prior, I enjoyed heading to Canada for their Toronto Marathon. Since they weren’t having a marathon this year, I had to find some other tournaments to attend. I am so thankful that there were two tournaments within two hours of me over the weekend. I was able to attend both City Championships that weekend, located in Windsor and Tecumseh. In Windsor I was even able to take home a first place finish! In this article, I’d like to go over that tournament and talk about the bizarre and brilliant deck Andrew Mahone showcased in his last article. His recent creation is a true powerhouse in our metagame and the tournament in Windsor is a great example of the deck’s abilities.

I don’t want to spend the entirety of this article discussing my tournament finishes, however. Instead, I wanted to bring you a unique article that gives you a look into how I prepare for Pokemon tournaments as well as musical auditions. As you may know, I’m currently studying to become a professional bassoonist. I’ve briefly discussed this aspect of my life in other articles, but I’d like to devote this article to showing just how much these two seemingly unrelated subjects overlap. I’ll discuss how things I’ve learned from Pokemon apply to preparing for musical auditions and vice versa. Not only will this article give you a look into a relatively unknown profession, but it will also give you some of my best advice on taking your game up a level. Whether you’re a beginning trainer or an advanced master, this article has something for you. Let’s go!

Windsor City Championship Recap

Windsor was one of the most fun City tournaments I’ve ever played. It helps that I easily ran through the competition! I played Andrew Mahone’s Lucario-EX / Hammers list with my own addition of a Startling Megaphone to give myself a better matchup against the up-and-coming Entei decks. I know that many of you are excited to hear about this rogue Fighting deck that has been performing extremely well this last few weeks. If you’d like to see how it works, head on over to Andrew’s article for a complete list and breakdown of the deck!

Many of my friends who drove with me to Canada played Yveltal-EX / Zoroark / Gallade and I was tempted to play that, but, after a little more urging by Andrew, I decided to go with Lucario / Hammers. Though I had tested the deck before the tournament, I was worried about its Entei matchup as I didn’t have any time to test that. I knew many Canadian players would play the intriguing new deck, so I decided the minutes before registration ended to include a Startling Megaphone in my list.

Thankfully, the tournament was only five rounds. I was so happy to have a slight reprieve from the six round Cities that have become the standard in Michigan.

Round one I played against a Pokemom who admitted she was just here to have fun. That didn’t stop me from playing my best against her. We got set up and started playing and I quickly figured out that she was playing a Tyrantrum-EX deck when she flipped over a Bronzor and Tyrantrum-EX. All of a sudden, a judge comes over and asks me to hand in my deck. I was shocked and embarrassed as I thought I might be getting a severe punishment for a deck list error. Turns out the issue was that I forgot to take out a card in my written list to accommodate my last minute inclusion of Startling Megaphone. The judges gave me a warning and allowed my opponent to take a free Prize. Fortunately, that would be the only Prize she took as I soundly beat her with my army of Hawlucha. 1-0.

In the second round, I played Chris Vernier who was playing the dreaded Entei deck. As I remember, I was able to go first and get a Red Card with my Korrina to drop him to four cards in his hand. He dead draws from there and I go on to roll him easily with a fully charged Lucario-EX. 2-0.

My next matchup was against Yveltal-EX / Gallade. I unfortunately don’t remember much about this game except for the fact that I won. 3-0.

I was happy that at 3-0 I could intentionally draw my way into cut with a 3-0-2 record. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned as I find out I got down-paired to a 2-1. The Canadian I played was very nice (shocker!) and actually worked at the card store that was hosting the tournament. He played M Mewtwo-EX Y. The game started off pretty slow for both of us, but I was able to Red Card him into an unplayable hand. He manages to eventually draw out of it with a Professor Sycamore, but he has to discard a ton of resources in the process including a Mewtwo Spirit Link, a Mega Mewtwo, and a Mega Turbo. By that point it was too late as I was already smacking his Pokemon for repeated high damage with Lucario and Hawlucha.

So, now I’m 4-0 and guaranteed a place in cut. I sit down across from my opponent and he asks if I want to ID. I know he’s playing Manectric-EX / Crobat which is an amazing matchup for Lucario / Hammers. Normally, I’d intentionally draw in this situation to save me the trouble of playing it out, but I know it’s a fantastic matchup and I also want to avoid a matchup against M Rayquaza-EX in cut. I know that the Mega Rayquaza player will end up 3-0-2 as he had just finished ID’ing with his opponent, so I figure that I’ll take my chances and play it out. If I ID with my opponent, that will put me at 4-0-1 and leave three 3-0-2s. That meant that, instead of facing Rayquaza in the finals, I would play it in the Top 4 match. I decide not to take that chance and I play it out.

I start decently enough with a Lucario. I load Energy onto it and get a Red Card. I Knock Out a couple of Zubat while he tries to stall, then I Lysandre his Manectric-EX and put him in a difficult position. With my Lucario-EX fully charged, there’s nothing that he can do to slow me down. I take the game easily and he doesn’t take a Prize. 5-0.

With such a dominant run in Swiss, I was expecting much of the same in cut. My first opponent in cut was one of the friends I drove to Canada with, Dmitri. He was playing Yveltal / Gallade and I knew that, while the matchup was favorable for me, I couldn’t go on autopilot. In this matchup, I tried to build up a Lucario to take down his Yveltal while simultaneously saving my Crushing Hammers for any time an Energy found its way to an Yveltal-EX. This strategy worked out extremely well in the first game and I’m able to win convincingly with the help of Super Scoop Up. In game two, I play it down to having win in hand. I know that next turn I can play my one Shaymin-EX to draw one of two Strong Energy in my deck which will allow me to OHKO his Active Pokemon to take my last Prize. However, I didn’t see the possibility for Dmitri to play a Hex Maniac so I held onto my Shaymin-EX instead of playing it and immediately drawing into the necessary cards to win on the following turn. Dmitri plays the clutchest Hex Maniac ever and locks me from the win. He then takes his last Prize on the next turn. Unfortunately, game three wasn’t nearly as close as Dmitri drew horribly dead. I seal the series and move onto Top 4.

In Top 4 I played against a difficult opponent whom I’ve played a couple of times before. He was also playing Yveltal / Gallade. In game one, I was able to continue my strategy from Top 8 of keeping Energy off of his Yveltal-EX while 2HKO’ing his Yveltal with Lucario-EX. Megaphone comes in handy as I am able to prevent him from getting a Float Stone to stick on his Zoroark, thus making the attackers in his deck less mobile. I take game one easily and he doesn’t draw the best in game two. Onto the finals!

In the final round, I played Zac Parmetier who was piloting the Mega Rayquaza-EX deck I desperately tried to avoid in cut. I made sure to conserve my resources in my games against Zac, even going so far as to avoid playing Professor Sycamore if it meant discarding a Super Scoop Up. I had no idea if he played a Megaphone or a Xerosic to discard my Focus Sashes and I spent a good deal of the first game being wary about that. My general strategy of hammering all his Energy away worked very well in both games. He had some tough breaks where he was only able to play Shaymin-EX for two or three which hindered what could have been an explosive setup. In game two, he’s forced to Sky Return multiple times with his Shaymin to try to draw into a Supporter to keep attackers going. In the end, Focus Sash, Hammers, and Super Scoop Ups proved to be too much to handle and I won the series 2-0.

And with that, I had won the tournament! With an 11-1 total record, I was stoked to take the same list to the tournament the next day in Tecumseh, Michigan. Boy, what a turnaround. I don’t even want to give you a rundown of the matches individually because they were so heartbreaking, but I ended up dropping at 2-3 with two losses to Mega Rayquaza-EX decks that specifically teched Xerosic to have a chance against Lucario / Hammers, as well as a loss to Houndoom-EX mill which is arguably unbeatable. It is pretty amazing how one can go from the highest highs to the lowest lows!

Now we come to the portion of the article I’m most excited to share with you guys. Mindset and preparation are topics I haven’t seen many people discuss when thinking about ways to improve. But now, I plan to show you just how important these things are. The best players know how to apply these to their game and it gives them a significant advantage. You don’t want to miss out on this information to put yourself ahead of other players! Also, comparing Pokemon and music — two of my life’s passions — sounds like a dream come true for any article I could possibly write. So what are we waiting for? Time to dive right in!

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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