Hello everyone! It’s Travis again with another article. Today I’m going over two Regionals that I’ve recently attended and then do my absolute best to prepare you for the upcoming Dallas Regionals. The tournaments I recently attended were Fort Wayne Regionals where our own Jimmy Pendarvis and Andrew Mahone managed to square off in the finals and San Jose Regionals. I had two very different experiences at these tournaments and I hope you will be able to learn as much from them as I did.
A Tale of Two Regionals
It was the best of deck choices, it was the age of tech cards, it was the age of consistency. My first report will be on Fort Wayne Regionals where I managed to miss Top 8 but still come in 12th place with M Scizor-EX / Raticate. The deck was a brew crafted by Eric Gansman and myself, and he went over the deck in great detail here so I’ll refrain from discussing the deck itself in too much detail.
Fort Wayne Regionals
- Round 1: M Scizor-EX / Golbat WW 1-0
- Round 2: Volcanion LL 1-1
- Round 3: M Gardevoir-EX WW 2-1
- Round 4: Lugia-EX / Magearna-EX / Hammers WW 3-1
- Round 5: Greninja LL 3-2
- Round 6: Giratina-EX / Hammers WW 4-2
- Round 7: Darkrai-EX / Giratina-EX WW 5-2
- Round 8: Rainbow Road WLW 6-2
- Round 9: Yveltal / Garbodor WLW 7-2
- Round 10: Greninja WLL 7-3
- Round 11: Vileplume WLL 7-4
- Round 12: Yveltal / Bisharp WW 8-4
- Round 13: M Gardevoir-EX WW 9-4
- Round 14: M Rayquaza-EX WW 10-4
The tournament didn’t go perfectly for me, but I was very happy with the performance considering the relatively risky deck choice. The only issue I had was round 11 against Vileplume which is normally a very easy matchup.
Game one against Vileplume went according to plan, but game two my opponent made an incredibly risky play that ended up working out for him that I wanted to discuss. Knowing that between Raticate and the Magearna Promo I could handle Regice pretty easily my opponent decided to do what he could to limit my options. After getting the turn one Item-lock going first he followed it up with either a turn two or three (I don’t recall which) Lysandre on my Benched Magearna and used Regice’s first attack to try and Paralyze my Magearna, which he flipped heads on, and allowed him to kill it with Resistance Blizzard the following turn. This may not seem like a stellar play at first because if he flips tails I basically win immediately, however, if he does nothing to try and deal with the Magearna before it becomes Active then once it starts swinging he will almost certainly lose anyway. During this game once the Magearna was Knocked Out I simply drew poorly under Item-lock and was never able to set up Raticate. Game three resulted in me being able to get out two Rattata turn one but then never being able to find Raticate, Magearna, or a Supporter. I think this is a great example of someone playing to their outs. As a card game player sometimes luck is just not on your side whether it be the pairings or the draws, but you still have to retain focus and make any and all plays you can to try and maximize your chances of winning regardless of how bad the odds seem.
A similar lesson can be applied to my round 13 Mega Gardevoir opponent who had zero desire to even play our series out. Upon learning that we had been paired my opponent told me he did not want to play at all and had our match slip turned in before the round even started. I think this is an incredibly poor decision, especially at such a high level of play. I could simply draw sub-optimally for two games in the series and my opponent could steal a win, but without even giving it a chance he conceded the round. I played out every single one of my three rounds versus Greninja and Volcanion despite being very aware of how comically atrocious these matchups are because I always like to play to my outs to win no matter how small they are.
San Jose Regionals
For San Jose Regionals I chose to play Greninja BREAK because I still believed it to was one of the best decks in Expanded without any horrible matchups. I thought that Greninja and Trevenant BREAK would be the most popular decks at the event so as long as I could cater my list to beat both of those then I should have a pretty good day. Here is the list I played.
In hindsight I would have cut the Pokémon Ranger for a Delinquent and the Battle Compressor for a Startling Megaphone or second Muscle Band. The first change was one I made the morning of the event where I was talked into swapping them because of how big Greninja was perceived to be. The second change is purely out of a desire to have a second way to modify damage whether it be from doing more or having the ability to remove Fighting Fury Belt when needed. My rounds went like this.
- Round 1: Mega Mewtwo / Zoroark WL 0-0-1
- Round 2: Darkrai-EX / Giratina-EX LL 0-1-1
- Round 3: Rainbow Road WW 1-1-1
- Round 4: Yveltal / Maxie’s WW 2-1-1
- Round 5: Trevenant BREAK LWL 2-2-1
- Round 6: Raikou / Eels WW 3-2-1
- Round 7: Yveltal / Maxie’s LL 3-3-1
This tournament was just not mine to do well in. I was pretty uncomfortable with my Greninja list as I could not find a way to fit everything I wanted into it and definitely regretted some card choices throughout the day. It also felt like every chance there was for something to go wrong, something did. Luck was just not on my side during this event and is the first Regional I’ve missed cut at in over a year. I also predicted the meta incredibly poorly as there was very little Trevenant BREAK and Greninja BREAK and I never suspected a deck like Carbink BREAK would succeed in the meta. Negative experiences like this are incredibly valuable in their own right as they allow you to evolve as a player provided you can maintain focus and objectivity throughout your reasons for underperforming rather than finding excuses. My plan is to gather everything I learned from San Jose and use it to help focus my attention on future events.
Looking Forward to Dallas Regionals
There is one deck right now that is currently the focal point of Standard: Yveltal / Garbodor. I believe that Dallas Regionals will finally be the tournament where everyone will realize that if they want to have any shot at winning a Standard event they have to either beat Yveltal / Garbodor or be Yveltal / Garbodor. The all Yveltal / Garbodor Top 4 of London Internationals has finally proven that yes, the deck really is just that good. The next two biggest and best decks in Standard are clearly Greninja and Volcanion, and I believe Jimmy Pendarvis is correct to include Vespiquen to round out his big four in his most recent article. The following decks are all very reasonably capable of going favorable versus Yveltal / Garbodor, but the issue with Yveltal / Garbodor “counter” decks has always been that they still have to deal with the rest of the format. Finding the balance between defeating Yveltal and also being fine versus the rest of the format has been especially tricky, and is a huge reason why the deck has continued to find as much success as it has.
M Gardevoir-EX / Xerneas
This is a deck that has recently found some low-key success and been able to fly somewhat under the radar, but it is absolutely a deck I believe has potential. This deck has a ton of options and can adjust its game plan depending on the matchup. Generally, you will want to lead with the Xerneas and begin using its Geomancy attack to quickly flood your board with Energy. The more time you have to load up with Energy the better as both Xerneas BREAK and M Gardevoir-EX from Primal Clash function very well with lots of Energy in play.
M Gardevoir-EX from Steam Siege is there as an efficient hitter that provides excellent typing, a quick two Energy attack, and the unique ability of being able to control your Bench by removing anything your opponent may want to Lysandre.
A combination of Exp. Share and Mega Turbo will help to keep your Energy in play after an attacker has been Knocked Out, and Fairy Garden helps to ensure seamless transitions between your attackers when needed. Not having to rely on Abilities for any important aspect of this deck is a huge plus, and is not a trait that many decks in Standard currently posses.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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