A Newcomer’s National Experience

You grew up watching the show every day after school and on Saturday mornings. You stood in line at a place like GameStop to pick up your pre-ordered copy of the latest game. You’ve seen every official movie out there. And now, you’re into the card game, trying to prove that you are, in fact, the very best!

Hello, guys and dolls of PokeBeach! I’m ProZlockie, writing my first article on this glorious site! Today I’d like to talk about the experience I had at this year’s U.S. Nationals.

When I first heard that there was even such an event, I was already 19 years old, which was but a short 2 years ago! In fact, the only reason I heard about it was due to the fact that I was in Indianapolis, IN for a small vacation, and just so happened to stop in a card shop and be asked, “Are you guys playing in the tournament next weekend?” I had no idea what the person was talking about, so I did some research. Turns out, I was there the weekend before the 2014 Pokemon U.S. National Championships! Unfortunately, I didn’t even get to watch it because I was working all weekend, but I didn’t make the same mistake twice. The following year, I watched the entire stream with one of my good friends. I told him afterwards, “I’ll be there next year, guaranteed.” He kind of laughed at it, so did I, since I had only been playing for a little over a year at that point. Once the game picked up more in my area, I talked to a few people about going. Then the announcement came that it was moving to Columbus, OH. Immediately my friends and I booked a hotel room, committing to the trip about two months in advance, maybe even longer than that.

Being A University Of Michigan Fan In The Heart Of Ohio State Territory Was Fun.
Being a University of Michigan fan in the heart of Ohio State territory was fun.

I hope you enjoy this article, and the select memes I put in it!

The Process of Getting There

Once four friends and myself committed to the trip, I started to immediately work on decks that I would want to take. I would sit in my room for hours researching deck lists, watching videos so I would understand how certain decks function, building, and testing against other decks I had sitting around. As we got closer and closer to the event, the big question was in my mind more: WHAT DECK DO I RUN?

I had quite a few in mind, and I tested them all intensively (after taking care of my studies, obviously). They were, as far as I remember:

Unfortunately, I was unable to test heavily against a person who wasn’t me because I was too busy helping my friends play test against the big decks in the game (which I was 100% with, as it helped me make my decision). Due to me being very strict with my money, so I could have for the trip, I was also unable to drive to the larger community that was just an hour away in Pittsburgh.

The Decision

After months of testing, deck editing, and discussing with others, I eventually came to a conclusion on Monday, June 27 about what deck I would run:


Pokemon (16)

4x Joltik (PHF #26)4x Pumpkaboo (PHF #44)4x Lampent (PHF #42)3x Shaymin-EX (RSK #106)1x Gallade (BKT #84)

Trainers (40)

3x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)2x Lysandre (FLF #104)2x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)1x Teammates (PRC #160)1x Xerosic (PHF #119)1x Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick (PRC #158)1x N (NVI #101)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Ultra Ball (FLF #99)4x Puzzle of Time (BKP #109)4x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)4x Battle Compressor (PHF #92)2x Fighting Fury Belt (BKP #99)1x Escape Rope (PRC #127)1x Float Stone (PLF #99)1x Startling Megaphone (FLF #97)1x Town Map (BCR #136)3x Dimension Valley (PHF #93)

Energy (4)

4x Double Colorless Energy (XY #130)

The Ins and Outs

Here I will explain my decision making process over some (Klef)key cards.

Professor Sycamore vs N

I opted to go with three Professor Sycamore and only one N as my draw Supporters. I decided that between Shaymin-EX and VS Seeker that I would have enough draw support. Also taking out the fourth copy of Professor Sycamore allowed me to add in the Enhanced Hammer tech, which was useful in a fair bit of my matchups.

Maxie and Gallade

About two or three weeks before the event happened, one of my friends (and test partners) decided to run a M Mewtwo-EX / Jolteon-EX  deck against me during our league. This threw me for a loop, because until then, the only Jolteon-EX player had been myself, and I hadn’t used it in a month, or even tested against a Jolteon-EX deck for that matter.  For that and the M Manectric-EX matchup, I decided that Gallade from BREAKthourgh and Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick to help out. The deck already runs the Battle Compressor engine, and assuming you aren’t under a first turn item lock, it isn’t that hard to get out a Gallade on your first turn when you need it. The only down side was that I ran a 1-1 line, so occasionally one of the cards would be in my Prize Cards.

Hex Maniac

Hex Maniac is a great card for this deck. It gets you out of item lock for a turn from something like Vileplume or Trevenant and heavily disrupts Greninja BREAK Ability. Not to mention it shuts off Set Up from Shaymin-EX and Stand In by Zoroark from BREAKthrough. This card can really swing the game back into your favor.

Honorable Mentions

These are the cards that just missed making the deck, and if I could have a side-board, these would be in it.

I would’ve liked to have the Target Whistle / Pokemon Catcher combo, as I used it before and it was effective, but there just wasn’t room anymore due to wanting to run things like two Hex Maniac.

Enhanced Hammer and Jirachi was for the mirror match and cards like Giratina-EX or Seismitoad-EX, but I opted for Startling Megaphone over both.

I really wish I could’ve found space for one more draw Supporter, sometimes I really needed one.

Mew and Energy were a thought, as Mew offered free Retreat and another Pokemon that could use Night March, but I was to afraid of Hex Maniac and couldn’t find room for four or five cards.

The Beast Itself (The Tournament)

Like I said earlier, I had only been to one bigger tournament before. So this was virtually all new to me, which I was okay with.  Besides my friends who traveled with me, I did know some of the other players from Pittsburgh who were there. However, I didn’t encounter any of the Pittsburgh people. In between rounds, the first member done would send a text saying where we would meet up and talk and whatnot. This was nice, as it allowed us to see (and discuss) what kind of competition made an appearance. Now, enough of this. On to the results!

Round 1: M Manectric-EX / Raikou

This was not a match-up that I was really expecting, especially since it did not run Jolteon-EX at all! I didn’t test against this deck because the last time I saw it played was a couple of months ago, although that doesn’t mean I didn’t expect it to show up with the above mentioned Jolteon-EX. Even then, I was not too worried about this match-up due to my Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick and Gallade techs.

Game One

The first thing I was worried about was the coin flip, which I ended up winning! Obiously, I elected to go first incase he was running a lock deck. I drew my opening hand, set down my single Pumpkaboo for the start, and place my Prize Cards. My opponent mulligans once, then sets up his side of the field. I take my mulligan, and we flip our cards over, which he starts with a Manectric-EX and another on his Bench. I draw an Ultra Ball to start, a card I desperately needed from the start. I play it and search for another Pumpkaboo, in fear that he might be running the deck with Bats in it. After that, I then see what else I can do. Realizing I had a Battle Compressor in hand, I play it. Looking through my deck, I initially don’t see my Gallade but after a second check, I find it. I discarded it, Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick, and Lampent to start. I then play a Town Map and Dimension Valley to get my hand to just VS Seeker to get my Gallade out on turn one. Off of the five card draw, I hit another Battle Compressor and ditch the other three Lampent from my deck. The only time I ended up using Night March in this game was with a Pumpkaboo to hit for Weakness on a Hoopa-EX he has sent up. The rest were Knock Outs with Gallade.

Game Two  

He elected to go first this time, starting with three Manectric-EX this time, while I still only had a Pumpkaboo. After setting down Rough Seas and a couple of Manectric Spirit Link he passed. On my turn, I went for the Gallade again, having all the means to do it in hand except for Maxie and Gallade. I drop two Battle Compressor to find that Gallade is sitting in my Prize cards. :( I was not happy, as I knew that I needed him. So I sent Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick, three Lampent, and two Joltik to my Discard. Afterwards I played my first Shaymin-EX onto my Bench and passed. He then plays M Manectric-EX down, attaches a second Energy, uses Battle Compressor to send three more to his discard, plays Raikou, uses Lysandre on my Shaymin-EX and KOs it. After seeing him attaching two Lightning Energy to his Raikou, I took my turn. Drawing an Ultra Ball I ditched my last Lampent and a Professor Sycamore to get another Shaymin-EX, after getting my hand to three cards after playing some items (no, I can’t remember which) playing it to draw a couple of cards. I got a Double Colorless Energy, Joltik, and Escape Rope off of it. I set down Joltik, attached the Energy, and used Escape Rope. He sent up a Manectric while I sent out my Joltik and attacked for not a KO. He responded by using another Lysandre on Shaymin-EX, attaching a Manectric Spirit Link to his active and playing the Mega down, retreated, and attacked for KO. I then scooped to go to Game Three.

Game Three

I again elected to go first. Once we were all set up, I looked at my hand and drew to start. After starting with two Pumpkaboo, I was able to get a turn one Gallade after playing a combination of Battle Compressor, Ultra Ball, Town Map, and VS Seeker! After my five card draw, I played another Ultra Ball to discard two Lampent and search my Shaymin-EX out. Playing it to draw three more, I got Dimension ValleyDouble Colorless Energy, and another Battle Compressor, which I used to discard my last Lampent, a Lysandre, and a Joltik. I already had another VS Seeker in hand to take out his benched Manectric-EX instead of his Raikou in the Active spot. After playing a couple of Manectric Spirit Link and attaching an energy, he passed. I drew my third Ultra Ball to get another Shaymin-EX, which gave me Startling Megaphone , Float Stone , another DCE, and something I don’t remember. I think used VS Seeker for Lysandre, retreated Pumpkaboo for Gallade, and took a KO. Afterwards, he benched another Manectric and didn’t do anything else. Off of my Prizes I got a Puzzle of Time and I top-decked another one, allowing me to get VS Seeker and Lysandre back into my hand. I used said Lysandre to get another KO with Gallade and going up on Prize cards taken 4-0. He drew, then conceded because he did not draw a search card, stall card, or Pokemon.

Result (Record): WLW (1-0-0)

Round 2: M Rayquaza-EX / Jolteon-EX

Game One

My opponent won the coin toss and elected to go first. He started with a Jolteon-EX in Active and a Rayquaza-EX on bench, while I had two Joltik on my side. After using Ultra Ball for Shaymin-EX he passed, not even attaching an Energy. I draw, play a Battle Compressor to put Lampent, Gallade, and Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick into the discard. I then set a Dimension Valley and pass. We did a draw-pass dance for at least a turn or two. During this time I only drew a Town Map to play, and he got a Sky Field. The dance ended when I drew into an Ultra Ball to grab Shaymin-EX, which got me another Ultra Ball, and from there I got another Shaymin-EX. At this point I realized I had a guaranteed Maxie for the Gallade, as I had a Shaymin-EX, two Puzzle of Time , and a Dimention Valley in hand. Stupidly, I played Shaymin-EX and drew three cards instead of not taking any (I was telling myself not to draw, but I did anyway). I ended up getting three Supporters and couldn’t do anything. I then passed. He went off, getting Hoopa-EX to fill his side with another Jolteon-EX, Rayquaza-EX, and putting a Shayming-EX in hand to use its Ability. He got out a M Rayquaza-EX with a Double Colorless Energy on it, playing Shaymin-EX to get a Battle Compressor to get right of Basic Energy, and using  Mega Turbo to put onto the M Rayquaza-EX. He then retreated, used Lysandre and KO’d one of my Shaymin-EX. I drew and passed, wiffing on everything I needed. He then played VS Seeker for Lysandre on the other Shaymin-EX, which led me to scoop and go to game two.

Game Two

This was easily my worst game of the whole event. I started with a lone Shaymin-EX against two Jolteon-EX for him. Going first, I drew nothing useful and had a terrible opening hand. I passed, he drew setting down Sky Field and a Rayquaza-EX and passed. I top decked a Professor Sycamore and used it, only to get another terrible hand with the only useful card being Dimension Valley. I passed, he attached a Lightning Energy to his active Jolteon-EX and passed again. We then hit a draw-pass thing for about four turns, both getting useless cards. He then got the Double Colorless Energy and attached it for game.

Result (Record): LL (1-1-0)

How I Felt Spamming Hex Maniac For Days Against Greninja Decks.
How I felt spamming Hex Maniac for days against Greninja decks.

Round 3: Greninja BREAK

Game One

I lost the coin flip and had to go second, which I was okay with once I saw what the match-up was. My opponent had gotten out a turn one Frogadier and a Remoraid on her bench and passed. I drew and played two Battle Compressor, getting rid of the usual Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick, Gallade, Lampent, as well as two more lamps and a Hex Maniac. She was really not pleased to see that. I then dropped Dimension Valley and a Fighting Fury Belt as well as a Double Colorless Energy onto my Active Pumpkaboo to get the quick KO on her active frog. She then set down a Froakie, used Wally again to evolve, attached a Float Stone on Remoraid, and was able to attack and get out the other two Frogadier from her deck. My next turn, I was able to get out Gallade. After taking another KO, she retaliated with a KO on my poor Pumpkaboo. I then sent out Gallade, and between it and my good friends Hex Maniac and VS Seeker, proceded to take an easy Game One.

Game Two

This was the total opposite of the first game. I never saw Hex Maniac or Gallade the whole time, but it didn’t matter becasue she didn’t get anything but Froakie out on the first turn. She kept saying it would be over soon because I would donk it, but I missed the Energy. That was bad news for me. However, the one good thing after that was it took her able 4 turns to get anything going. Meanwhile, I was taking long turns, trying to do as much as possible and getting a couple of knock outs in the process. Once she go set up, she took a two prizes between Giant Water Shuriken and attacking. During my next turn, I realized that a we were pretty close to time, so I tried to keep this game going as long as possible. I would do some stuff and pass. She then got rid of my tools and took three Prize cards in one turn! I scooped to go to game three.

Game Three

I went second again, this time starting with a Joltik in Active just in case I could get a first turn win. Turns out she didn’t get anything useful and passed. He was my chance to take the round. I missed the one turn kill, missing the Energy again! :( However, I was get up with two Pumpkaboo on the bench and a Dimension Valleyin play. My opponent got of Water Duplicates, and got two of the last three Frogadier onto the bench. During my next turn, time was called, meaning I need to take two prizes to have a chance. I drew an Ultra Ball which got my Shaymin-EX for a three draw of VS Seeker, Double Colorless Energy, and another Ultra Ball, that got me another Shaymin-EX. The second one got me three more cards: Battle Compressor, and another Dimension Valley and DCE. I used the Battle Compressor to put two Lampent and Hex Maniac into my discard, used VS Seeker to play Hex Maniac, attached a DCE to my Joltik and got a Prize. one her turn, she evolved into Greninja and took a Prize. I then grew into Trainers' Mail which got me another VS Seeker that I again used to play Hex Maniac. After playing down Dimension Valley to replace the Rough Seas she set last turn, I attached my DCE to the Active Pumpkaboo and took my prize. She then extended her hand for a tie, and i accepted it, knowing it was.

Result (Record): WLT (1-1-1)

Round 4: Garchomp

Note: I wasn’t expecting anyone to try and run this at Nationals, and needless to say, this round went well for me

Game One

He won the coin flip and went first, which I was fine with. He started with two Gible, (and I with Joltik) attaching Focus Sash to the active an passed. I then sent three Lampent to the discard pile with Battle Compressor since Gallade and Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick were both prized. I then played an Ultra Ball to get Shaymin-EX and drew into Pumpkaboo, Joltik, and N. I had a Double Colorless Energy in hand and attacked, but did not KO due to the Focus Sash. He then used Rare Candy on his active to get Garchomp out and attacked for knock out. I sent up Pumpkaboo and drew into nothing good. I then decided to play N and ended up getting some good stuff, mainly DCE and another Battle Compressor. I managed to KO the Garchomp for a Prize card. He set down a Hawlucha and got out Garchomp, but passed because no energy. I KO’d it on my next turn, and he scooped the following because he drew dead.

Needless to say, this game wasn’t competitive from his side at all.

Game Two

This game was even less competitive from him.

I went first and managed to deny him prizes thanks to getting out Gallade and using Pumpkaboo with Fighting Fury Belt  attaching. On his first turn, he attached all of his Focus Sash which went away once I played Startling Megaphone on my second turn. I also took a KO and got another Double Colorless Energy off of my Prize card. He of a Garchomp onto his bench but it was too late, I was too set up and took the rest of my prizes in my next five turns. I felt bad that his deck failed him, but I also blame him for putting all of his Focus Sash down on one turn.

Result (Record): WW (2-1-1)  

Round 5: M Rayquaza-EX / Zoroark

Game One

This was a match up that I thought would be favorable, even though my opponent was playing with Zoroark in his deck. I (again) lost the coin flip and got stuck with second, which once I saw what I was facing, I was kind of okay with it, kind of. He managed to go off, hitting a Hoopa-EX and multiple Shaymin-EX, and ending with placing down Zorua and M Rayquaza-EX. He had seven things on his Bench when I played Dimension Valley and managed to go off with two Battle Compressor, an Ultra Ball into Shaymin-EX, and a Lysandre to KO his M Rayquaza-EX with my active Joltik, I also had a Pumpkaboo with Fighting Fury Belt on my Bench. However, I was unable to take the KO because I missed Double Colorless Energy in every way possible. I didn’t draw it or get the two Puzzle of Time and Battle Compressor combo needed. This game went by rather quickly, with me only taking two Prize cards after knocking out his Hoopa-EX with Pumpkaboo (that was the sole DCE I saw during both games this round). It also didn’t help that he had a Seismitoad-EX beating on me.

Game Two

This game went very similarly to game one, except I went first and ended with a Hex Maniac so he couldn’t go off as bad. Oh, and I didn’t see draw/search support until it was way too late. I couldn’t even rely on a Lysandre stall tactic, as he got Zoroark with a Float Stone out and I didn’t hit my Startling Megaphone. After about 7 turns of not being able to do anything at all, and him taking five Prize cards, I conceded the round.

Result (Record): LL (2-2-1)

NOTE: After this round, I accepted that I would not make Day Two for the main event, but that does not mean I didn’t still try. Also, I was getting pretty tired after a rough night of sleep, so some of my details are a little fuzzy.

Round 6: Zygarde-EX / Regirock-EX / Lucario-EX

This was probably the opponent whom I had the most fun talking with during/between matches. I loved to make N puns, which get bothersome, but I love puns, especially Ncredibly lame ones. Get it? Get it? No? Okay, I’m sorry.

Game One

This round went a little weirder than I expected, as I did bother testing against Fighting in any way, shape, or form. I believe I won this coin toss (not too sure, I only ended up with 3/9 or something like that). Either way, I went first, I know that. I started off with two Pumpkaboo, then Battle Compressor for what I liked to get: Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick, Gallade, and a Lampent. After playing down Dimension Valley, I did manage to get the Gallade out on my first turn thanks to Shaymin-EX, which helped me control my draws (and added some needed bulk to hopefully survive an attack). I did nothing after the Maxie except for use Gallade’s Premonition. He had started out with a Zygarde-EX on his Bench and Hawlucha in the Active slot. Attaching a Strong Energy to Zygarde-EX as well as Fighting Fury Belt to it, he then used N and set down two Regirock-EX before retreating and attacking for 60 after Resistance. After the N, I managed to get my own Fighting Fury Belt onto my active Pumpkaboo and set down Double Colorless Energy so I could attack at the end of my turn. I ended up using another Battle Compressor to discard my remaining three Lampent. I used Ultra Ball to discard two Joltik from my hand to search out another Shaymin-EX and play it for a fresh six cards. I drew into another Battle Compressor, which sent my last two Joltik and a Pumpkaboo away, bring my Night March count up to nine. I also got another DCE, Dimension Valley, and Fighting Fury Belt (which I quickly attached to my benched Pumpkaboo). I knew I was not going to get the KO, and I couldn’t Lysandre anything up, so I attacked and passed. He did end knocking me out after playing down a Lucario-EX onto his Bench and attaching another Strong Energy onto it. I sent up the other Pumpkaboo. On my turn, I top-decked an Ultra Ball, which led me to get Shaymin-EX. That Shaymin-EX ended up winning me the game, as it gave me both Startling Megaphone and Lysandre. The Startling Megaphone got rid of the Fighting Fury Belt on his Zygarde-EX, knocking it out since it had 190 damage on it. He then sent up Hawlucha, which didn’t stay there for long as I used Lysandre on his Lucario-EX, also knocking it out and taking four prizes in one turn (one of them being VS Seeker). He sent up Hawlucha, drew, set down another Zygarde-EX and attached a Focus Sash to it as well as an Energy, then attacked for only 20 after Resistance. At this point, I noticed he was missing Supporter and VS Seeker plays. I drew, used VS Seeker for Lysandre on one of his benched Regirock-EX, and attacked for game.

Game Two

This match took a long time, going all the way to time, and was somewhat similar to the last game. Except we both didn’t hit Energy for about 3 or 4 turns. He ended up getting some easy Prize cards off the couple of Joltik that he hit for Weakness. (NOTE: I must say, he was the happiest person I saw the whole day after scoring those knock outs. He told me all he wanted to do was hit something for Weakness after claiming his Prize cards, because he had been having a rough day.) After those few attacks though, I really went off. On my next turn, I ended with nine Night March Pokemon in my discard pile. At this point, he had two Zygarde-EX (one Active), two Regirock-EX, a Hawlucha, and a Lucario-EX out on the field. The benched Zygarde-EX had an Energy and Fighting Fury Belt on it, while the active was loaded with Energy. I had three Pumpkaboo, a Shaymin-EX, and Gallade on my side. My active Pumpkaboo had a Fighting Fury Belt and Double Colorless Energy attached to it, meaning I only needed to find my Dimension Valley to replace his Fighting Stadium. I used a Trainers' Mail and in fact found the Stadium, which allowed me to attack for the KO, my prizes were a single Puzzle of Time and another DCE. On the following turn, he used Xerosic to get rid of my Fighting Fury Belt, and KO’d my beloved Pumpkaboo, taking his third Prize card. At this point, I knew we were running close to time, so I tried to speed things up because I knew I needed a round win to have any last hope at Day Two. I sent up another Pumpkaboo and attached a DCE to it, I then used Lysandre to pull up Lucario-EX and take the knock out on it, getting me down to a more manageable four Prizes remaining. He then attached another Strong Energy to his Zygarde-EX and was able to knock out my Pumpkaboo. This is where things got weird and confused me momentarily. I did not get a DCE on my following turn and knew I was going to lose, and time was called. He played Escape Rope to get his Zygarde-EX back to his Bench and brought up Hawlucha, while I sent up Gallade (who had a Float Stone on it). Once that happened, he dropped three Max Elixir and hit two Energy to attach to his Zygarde-EX, as well as attaching a third (and his last) Strong Energy to it. He then retreated into it and played Lysandre for my benched Shaymin-EX, did the math, and stated that the damage was more than enough for the KO. I double checked and agreed. He then put out his hand and as we were shaking for what I thought was the round tie, he said, “Congradulations, you win!” Being very confused, I asked him to explain, he told me that he was going to drop from the tournament so he wanted me to have the round win, just in case. He filled out the match slip and signed it, then I took it up to where it needed to me

Result (Record): WW? (3-2-1)

A Win Is A Win, Right?
A win is a win, right? (Referring to Round 6.)

Round 7: Night March (Joltik / Pumpkaboo / Lampent)

I was actually excited to play the mirror match, and once I knew it was, I expressed said excitement openly.

Game One

Losing the flip, I went second. Drawing my opening hand, I got stuck with the Shaymin-EX start. Great! Not really. My opponent started with a lone Joltik but ended his turn with five Pokemon with Night March in the discard pile, and two Pumpkaboo, a Mew, and a Shaymin-EX on his bench. The Mew and two Pumpkaboo all had Fighting Fury Belt attached to them. Oh, and he played Dimension Valley. On my turn, I got pretty set up, getting off a Startling Megaphone, attaching a Double Colorless Energy to my Shaymin-EX, and finding another Shaymin-EX from Ultra Ball, I got a Pumpkaboo and two Battle Compressor and sent Gallade, Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick, two Lampent, and two Joltik to my Discard pile. That also brought my Night March count up to six as I discarded two more Lampent off of the Ultra Ball I had played. I then used Sky Return to both claim a Prize card and deny my opponent from taking an easy two prizes, and also putting up Pumpkaboo. On his turn, he missed an energy attachment after dropping another Shaymin-EX and passed. I took full advantage of this, as I drew into Lysandre to drag up one of the Shaymin-EX and attached the DCE for the knock out! (At this point, I was feeling really good about the match up, then things turn a drastic turn for the worst.) On his following turn, he used N, and off if it, I got a Dimension Valley, a single Puzzle of Time, and Xerosic. Not the worst hand, but there are better. He then proceeded to Escape Rope me into my benched Shaymin-EX, and played another one from his hand. Then proceeded to destroy mine with a Joltik. All of a sudden, he was only down one. I drew and found Professor Sycamore. I was so happy to find this guy, I played him and drew 7. There, I found a Joltik and another Pumpkaboo as well as my own Escape Rope, an Energy, VS Seeker, Battle Compressor, and a couple other things that I didn’t care so much for. I used Battle Compressor to put the evil-boss-man Lysandre in the discard, then used VS Seeker for him. I managed to only get one Prize this turn, but was still sitting pretty. Until Shaymin-EX was sent up and he used his own Lysandre to pull up a Joltik for the KO. I again, manage to take a knock out, but realized I only had one Energy left in deck, and i was losing the one on field. Good thing I had my two Puzzle of Time in my hand, right? Oh no! He played N! I got sent to one card. I kept saying that it was going to be a Professor Sycamore, the DCE, or VS Seeker. Nope, Dimension Valley. :'( After hitting a Pokémon Catcher, he drug up one of my two Shaymin-EX and was suddenly only down one Prize card. I knew if I hit the DCE, I win the match. I draw. Only to see I hit another Dimension Valley. I pass, he shows Lysandre and I concede game one.

Game Two

This game wasn’t even close to competitive from me at all. I started with Shaymin-EX and he stayed there for seven turns before being knocked out for game. I had a VS Seeker in hand, but saw no Battle Compressor, Ultra Ball, draw Supporter, or other Pokemon other than three Lampent. At this point I knew that I was not making Day Two, but toughed it out and played the rest of the tournament.

Result (Record): LL (3-3-1)   What If

Round 8: Vespiquen / Yveltal / Zebstrika

Not gonna lie, I had no idea what this deck was. it was weird because we both wanted second, and whoever go it won that game.

Game One

My opponent won the coin toss and elected to go second, just in case I was using a lock deck. I ended up not being able to use a Shaymin-EX on my opening turn because he played down a Hex Maniac to end his. Good thing I didn’t need it, as I had two Joltik and a Pumpkaboo to start off, as well as a Double Colorless Energy and two Fighting Fury Belt. I used a couple of Battle Compressor to get my discard up to six Night March Pokemon (four Lampent and two Joltik), which meant I was was getting a KO on his whole deck. I took a quick knock out, which he then responded with Battle Compressor and DCE to score one of his own. It was back and forth for turns, each ending with a KO. That was, until he missed an Energy (I think he missed one, I know he didn’t attack). Thanks to that, I was able to open up a lead and finish things off two turns later.

Game Two

This game took a while, maybe until about five minutes to time. Neither of us were hitting the cards we needed, forcing us both to us Professor Sycamore and N (multiple times). Once he got rolling though, he wasn’t going to be stopped. I did manage to get a Gallade out at this point, and it stalled for a turn before being KO’d. He also took out two Shaymin-EX and a Joltik for a quick win. This led us to game three.

Game Three

As I stated above, this game started with about five minutes left to go until we had to go to turns. I went second, starting with a Pumpkaboo in Active and a Joltik on Bench. He had managed to get two Vespiquen out thanks to Forest of Giant Plants, as well as an Yveltal. I missed the knock out due to not having the Stadium, so I didn’t attach an Energy, knowing I would loss it. However, even though I didn’t attack, I still had 2 VS Seeker in my hand and some non-draw Supporters in my Discard pile. I passed and time was called on his turn. I knew I had to go for the tie, unless he missed the knock out, too. Which he didn’t. It was then just three turns of knock outs, meaning we had both taken two and declared the round draw.

Result (Record): WLT (3-3-2)

Round 9: Greninja BREAK

At this point, I was exhausted and wanted food (like everyone there). I was also not pleased with this match up.

Game One

My opponent won the coin flip and went first. That was okay because I knew he would be getting out all the Frogadier on his first turn, although he did Wally into one on his turn, as well as dropping Jirachi and Remoraid On my turn, I used Battle Compressor twice to ditch four Lampent, Gallade, and Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick. I didn’t manage to get the Gallade out turn one, however. Since I had started with a Joltik with a Pumpkaboo on the bench, I was able to Lysandre and KO the Jirachi because it was scurry! After that, he used Water Duplicates to bring out two of his other frog friends, he stated his last one was prized. On the following turn, I wanted to search for Hex Maniac, using the Ultra Ball I top decked, I searched out a Shaymin-EX and saw I had no Hex Maniac in my deck, they were both prized! I played shaymin for three cards, got Pumpkaboo, Joltik, and Battle Compressor. I used the Battle Compressor to ditch another Joltik, attached a Double Colorless Energy, and attacked. On his following turn, he then evolved all of his Frogadier and used Wally to get out Greninja BREAK on the active. He then sniped my Joltik and KO’d my active Pumpkaboo. My next top deck was a Professor Sycamore, which did not get my the DCE I needed, and only attached a Fighting Fury Belt to my Pumpkaboo. He then proceeded to  knock out my remaining Pokemon on his next turn after getting out another Greninja BREAK.

Game Two

I elected to go second, with hopes of him missing stuff. He started with a lone Froakie to my two Joltik. All he did was use Wally and pass. I drew, thinking in the back of my mind, “Geez, I can get the donk this game!” I had a Fighting Fury Belt and Double Colorless Energy in hand, which I attached to my Active, then used Professor Sycamore. My opponent told me that as long as I showed him the Battle Compressor, that we could proceed to Game Three. I did that and on we went.

Game Three

Here it was, my last match of the night. I could not blow this, I really wanted to end with the best record that I could. My opponent again elected to go first, and the same thing as Game Two happened. Lone Froakie and a Wally into Frogadier, then a pass. He stated he had no draw Supporter or search card, and asked if I had the means for another donk. I told him all I needed some cards and I could miss it, as I started with two Pumpkaboo this time and needed Dimension Valley. Thankfully, I had two Trainers' Mail in hand, and only of them led to Dimension Valley while the other gave me a Professor Sycamore I set down the Stadium and threw on a Double Colorless Energy. Then used the Professor Sycamore, sending away two Lampent. I then hit the Battle Compressor, showed him, and he conceded the round.

NOTE: I felt really bad that his deck flopped like that in two straight games, and told him that’s why I didn’t use it in the tournament.

Result (Record): LWW (4-3-2)

Day Two and Three Shenanigans

No, I didn’t end up making it past Day One, put I still showed up for side events on Days Two and Three. I won’t go into details on those, but I entered one four-round swiss Standard tournament and five eight man “pods.” I dropped after going 1-1-0 in the Standard tournament, only because all of my friends said they dropped and didn’t say why. I honestly thought they were going back to the hotel and I didn’t want to be by myself so that’s why I dropped. I also ended up winning one of the pods, and coming in second in two others! Yes, I was very proud of myself since I wasn’t happy with myself after Day 1.

NOTE: I didn’t play Night March at all for side events. I used Yveltal-EX for Expanded stuff and M Rayquaza-EX / Jolteon-EX for Standard.

On Day Three, I sold some of my cards in order to buy a Darkrai-EX (yes, the full art) and a Tropical Beach (got it for a steal, still expensive though). And managed to find the missing pieces to my Vespiquen / Flareon deck. I also did two of my eight man pods on this day, and managed to finish up with just enough time to watch the finals for the Masters TCG. (Congratulations to the winner!)

Tournament Conclusion

So, 4-3-2, not the record I was expecting or hoping for. I was honestly aiming for a 5-2-2 record, which I believe would’ve put me closer to Day Two standing. Overall, I think I got 360/1105 for my placing. I’m actually pretty proud of myself for that, since this was my first Nationals and second larger tournament overall that I’ve ever been to. That being said, I’ve already started to turn my sights towards next season. I will mention that my friends doubted me what I said that after rotation, Standard would be Primal Clash-on. One thought that Phantom Forces would stay, and another thought they would rotate out Roaring Skies. That being said, I’m excited for next season, ever though the deck that I started with what getting into the competitive scene (and the deck this article is about) will be leaving us. Maybe I’ll bust it out for some Expanded play, who knows.

The experience also helped me out as a person. I don’t really like to talk to people for various reasons that I won’t get into, but the people I met and played not only in the main event, but also in side events were incredibly nice and got me to talk to them. This was a great experience for me to get, as I plan to make an attempt for Worlds next year. That is, assuming I don’t get overwhelmed by school!

I won’t reveal my friend’s records, but we all did well!

Some last minute notes:

Peace Out, Everyone!
Peace out, everyone!
  • Find a good group of people who you can test with and go to for advice.
  • Test against as much stuff as you can, especially bad match ups and the mirror.
  • Make sure you get plenty of rest (I didn’t on the night before Day One.)
  • Make sure to eat and keep yourself hydrated
  • Enjoy yourself. If you know you’re not doing well, just try to have fun with the rest of the games. I did this and ended up winning some!

I’d also like to thank the following people for being there for this experience:

  • Zac Fischer – Main deck edit consultant, test partner, listened to me complain, and overall a superb friend.
  • Jason Baumler – Test partner, lended me a Shaymin-EX for the tournament, helping with my “Linving Dex” project, being there for support, and just being a fantasic friend.
  • Nick Kloszewski – Listening to me complain and talk about everything, even though he doesn’t really know what I’m talking about, being there for support, and being an amazing friend.
  • Liz Rodgers – Main person I would complain to about stuff, helped me make minor choices even though she literally had no idea what I was talking about, and always being around for support and being a great friend.
  • Megan Lydic, Michael Labutka, James Issac, and David Pomeroy – For being my main testing partners, going with me on the trip/playing in the tournament, and being awesome friends!
  • My Parents – For letting me use one of their cars for the trip and not telling me I need to grow up and stop playing.
  • My Sister – For supporting me fully and talking about something that she has no idea about.
  • Everyone else at my local card shop for being super supportive and lending cards if needed!

I hope you enjoyed this article about my personal experience! And if you went to Nationals, I hope you did better than me!

Until next time!