Southampton League Cup

Southampton League Cup

The venue for the League Cup was our local League’s Nerd World- Southampton’s only independent nerd store and first time running a Cup last Saturday, the 10th Feb. As usual, Ace Trainer Sarah did much better than me too!

There were 23 masters and 7 Juniors/Seniors too. Quite a few locals, some from Team PoTown and a couple of outsiders who had travelled quite far.

Buzzwole-GX
We Love You Superfly!

For my 3nd League Cup I was still running Buzzwole/Lycanroc (aka ‘Superfly’) with lessons learned from Reading – this time  the deck was more streamlined and included a one of Zygarde-EX to help against any Mew/Mewtwo/Mew-EX counter-tech’s that seemed highly popular. (You can grab a text file of the decklist here)

I brought Buzzwole because I didn’t have practice with anything else. Ace Trainer Sarah was also running the deck (I was using her list) since we both practice together and the only difference was that she had a Lillie and I had a Zygarde-EX – to counter against any sort of Mew/Mewtwo tech that crucified me at Reading.

Overall the list was similar to Reading except streamlined to be slightly more consistent version with less, crazy techs. The exception being Zygarde because I used to run a Zygarde/Lucario list before rotation and it so was a comfortable inclusion. The deck rotation with really aggressive very similarly played anyway so that’s what brought.

As before with very little Psychic in the format and quite a bit of Zoroark (who’s weak to Fighting) it is a good deck to run. Aggressive and relatively simple to handle. Having been violently ill most of this past week I didn’t get any testing done aside from a half-dozen games online (which went well) and I was almost considering not going to the event since I haven’t been sleeping well as a result of illness. However, in the end I decided to stick with it and I’m glad I did go – read on to find out why!

League Cup – Swiss Rounds

Round 1 – Volcanion (Jacob)

So we kicked off the first Southampton Pokémon League Cup on time. We got going and I was on T13 against a guy from Cardiff. Adjacent to me on T14 was Sarah against his friend who I’d seen at Reading – they travel quite a bit and were clearly competent players.

Game 1 – My opponent was playing Volcanion with no Kiawe. I got rapidly set up and took four prizes, then he caught up by a bit but then I hit into my Guzmas and managed to finished him off.

I used the usual sort of approach like pulling in targets with Lycanroc to get the KOs. The Max Elixir and Multi-Switch spicy tech is good for breaking up expectations in the tempo too.- Win

Game 2 – I managed to win the second game with time to spare which was good considering that the rounds were 45 minute best of 3 –Win

Round 2 – Zoroark/Lycanrock/Tech (Tyler)zoroark gx

This round was against Tyler who is a local, but new to our league. I haven’t played him before so was unaware of what he was running or quite how good he was until we started playing. Turns out he’s very good!

Game 1 – A Benchbarrier Mr Mime was among the first things found by Brigette but there was no Mewtwo – it was stuck in prizes! (And it turned out to be the last prize too!) Aside from the minor annoyance of Juggle Boy, the game went relatively smoothly and I was able to build on 4 early prizes to power up a buzzwole for a final KO – Win

Game 2 -Somehow, again, the Mewtwo was prized and wasn’t drawn during the game and it went similar to the first one. I was able to do my usual technique of rushing ahead but thankfully my deck is now consistent enough that I can then recover to claim the last prizes. – Win

Round 3 – VikaBulu (Craig)tapu bulu

Craig is another local who is quite good competitively. I have beaten him in a Volcanion Mirror to win a Challenge and similarly have been beaten by him in a Nightmarch Mirror for him to win! So I wasn’t going to be complacent in this League Cup!

Game 1 – I opened with an N to disrupt his hand while chipping away at a Bulu. Despite his attempts to set up I Leled for another N to keep the disruption going and was even able to take a cheeky KO on a benched Grubbin with Jet Punch. Having been beaten soundly by Bulu at Reading, and having studied and played it extensively I knew that the trick is to prevent their setup at any cost. By the time a Vikavolt was online I was just able to Rogue-GX the Bulu for game – Win

Game 2 – We had plenty of time left for game 2 and it started quite similarly although this time Craig had a curse of the dreaded ‘bulu-hands’. I’m not even use he got a Vikavolt online although he managed to attack with one which had gotten 3 manual energy attachments! His spicy baby Mew tech couldn’t really work without the energy from Vikavolt and his Tapu Koko was weak to Buzzwole meaning that I secured game 2, thanks in large part to his terrible luck – Win

During lunch, prior to Round 4 I had been approached by a random player (also on 3 wins, but as it turns out I wasn’t paired against him) who asked for an ID if we were to play and to be honest I would rather have played to ensure that there was no way someone could get 4 wins and out-score me. Although it would still mean Top 8 I guess. Either way my actual Round 4 opponent needed a win to Top 8 and I was keen to play so we cracked on!

Round 4 – Sylveon/Gardevoir (Tony)

This opponent was from Po Town, although I only vaguely recognised him but the day was getting on. He seemed nice and informed me that I had the favourable match up which I must admit I was skeptical of since I know how brutal Garde can be!

Game 1 – I unapologetically went for the Remoraids and made fish fingers out of them. I know that Garde needs to draw cards to get the energy and by sabotaging this early I would be able to win a war of attrition. Being able to hit the bench allowed me to soften up any Ralts/Kirlias before they evolved into Gardevoirs putting them in a OHKO range. He also had a spicy Mewtwo tech but it was prized in this game.- Win

Game 2 – Similar to the first although although much closer. He managed to get a couple of Gardes up and running, Mewtwo came out but Gallade was prized which didn’t help him and quite like the first and again I hunted the draw support. Although it got recycled his tempo was disrupted by my playing of N and my deck was just more consistently able to keep dishing out damage. When I got Lycanrock-GX online he played a clever Parallel City targeting himself to shrink his bench putting me out of OHKO range with Rogue-GX!  There was a point where he went Sycamore fishing for a DCE but with 2 in the discard and 1 on the field it didn’t happen. I N-ed away his DCE during time so avoided the OHKO on my Buzzwole – Win

The deck was regular Gardie and with no crazy techs so it was a case of just punch the little guys and keep knocking things out.

Of note was also the pair on table 1 beside us who IDed and one sat there literally studying my deck as I played it. It seemed a little gamey but on the other hand I was glad that I was considered a substantial threat!

Round 5 – ID

I don’t even know what my opponent was playing but we Intentionally Drew meaning that we each got a point, got into top 8 and more importantly got a 45 minute break. It was nice to get a break, taking paracetamol for a headache and get some food  to keep my sugar level sustained for the Top 8. Getting to use the loo was good too!

Swiss result: 4-0-1 (13) = #1 seed! I was quite happy with that result and to achieve my goal of making the Top 8 cut. Interestingly, my first 2 opponents also made top 8 as did Sarah (seed #7)

League Cup – Single Elimination

So I’d managed to make the Top 8 and hadn’t lost a round during the Swiss either 🙂

#1 – Buzzwole/Lycanroc (Me) vs #8 – Volcanion
#2 – Gardevoir vs #7 – Buzzwole/Lycanroc (Sarah)
#3 – Vika Bulu vs #6 – Vika Bulu
#4 – Gardevoir/Zoroark vs #5 – Zoroark/Lycanroc (Tyler)

Overall there was a good standard of skilled players present as well as a few ‘known names’ from around. (Although the biggest were probably abroad in Austraila!) Three locals making Top 8 was also pretty good showing that we didn’t get stomped.

The second games against my first two opponents were more difficult – they clearly learned more about my than I had learned about them and it was tougher although I guess I was confident since I’d already beaten them before.

Top 8  – Volcanion (again!)

Game 1/2 -I was paired against Volcanion again and hit no max elixirs and started to brick loosing game 1 relatively quickly. In game 2 I stupidly put down a Remoraid and meant to play a Rockfuff (to Lycanroc next turn) but my finger was off it (apparently that’s a thing, like in chess) However I drew into an Octillery which gave me the recover power I needed. Karma’s a bitch! -Loss/Win

Game 3 went to time and we couldn’t finish so with 1 win each, we went to Sudden Death. I had to take a 2 hit KO and take a risk – he needed 3 steam ups on his baby Volcanion and used Sycamore, only hitting 2. He possibly could have powered up a Volcanion-EX but I think he missed that option thankfully. It was the biggest gamble of the day but my only option to win so I had to take it.  Sudden Death is a bit scary as it can be highly luck dependant, however I felt that my hyper-aggressive deck had the edge here.

Top 4 – Zoroark/Lycanroc/Tech (again!!)Mewtwo Generations

Game 1 – This time Tyler had a mewtwo and it was one of the first pieces fetched by Brigette. It made my life difficult hitting for 120-ish damage while only yielding 1 prize for me. The problem was compounded by it being recycled with a Super Rod, however I managed to make the deck work consistently and take knockouts on his 1-of Buzzwole-GX and Lycanroc-GX. Certainly a lot tougher than the first time around! – Win

Game 2 -Again Mewtwo was back with a vengeance! We went to time with my Regirock just having being pulled out via Guzma. But with 1 prize to take, 11 cards in my deck -which I knew contained the 2 each of the Float Stone and Choice Band I needed to win – I evolved Lycanroc to pull in a Zoroark, Ultra-Balled for a Remoraid to get my deck down to 10 cards and then used Prof. Sycamore. Even my luck isn’t that bad so when I’m drawing 7/10 and only need a pair of cards I managed to retreat the Regirock and hit for weakness with a Choice Band on Lycanroc for game. A lot closer than the first set of games! – Win

This also meant I was onto the final!

Top 2 – 59 Card Mirror – Sarah

Buzzwole-GX

We sort of had a suspicion we’d have to face each other at some point in the day, but I don’t think either of us imagined it would be in the final playoff of the League Cup.

Beforehand we agreed to split the prizes (booster box + ETB = 22 boosters each, she got dice & I got sleeves) so would be playing for the 50CP, Playmat and the Glory! I did have a suspicion that Sarah’s deck tweak would prove superior in the mirror  and I know she’s practiced a lot more than me!

Since I was facing a friend at this point we didn’t really matter what happened – one of us would win and the other would still get 40CP and we were both really happy with hitting Top 8, let alone the final! Me especially since my abysmal Reading performances and I know Sarah was gutted to miss her ‘win & in’ last time.

So as mentioned Sarah and I had 59 card identical decks except my Zygarde-EX instead of her Lillie.

Game 1 – I started with Zygarde  and Sarah managed a turn 1 Lillie. I did play Brooklet Hill to increase the Zygarde damage and KO a Remoraid but it also helps my opponent prevent me donking them. However that extra Lilly consistency and my inability to find a single Guzma meant that Sarah took game 1.- Loss!

Game 2 – I started a lot better and Sarah’s deck basically bricked, I didn’t have a swimming start but managed to recover and get so far ahead that she scooped to get the full time in game 3 (none of us wanted sudden death!)- Win!

Game 3 – This game was obviously quite intense (in a good way) and my tempo was a bit behind my opponents.  The crux came when there was a point where I could have possibly used Rogue-GX for a KO but I didn’t because I would have been beaten next turn. So I focused on staying alive and used Guzma to buy time, but Sarah already had a counter-Guzma in hand as well as a back up attacker anyway. So with that she took the final KO and became the Southampton Cup Champion. I thus emerged 2nd with 40CP!

I am also thrilled to have been the top seed with 13 points and no losses. By contrast our Champion had 2 early draws and no losses which got her 7th seed.

I came away with 22 UPR boosters and the ETB sleeves which was good since I haven’t opened much UPR (7 packs from pre-release). Overall it was a tough day, a bit stressful at times and quite long – my timing/pace of play was good (lots of people’s games went to time, but most of mine didn’t).
I’m not half as disappointed at not winning (I hesitate to call winning all but one match loosing!) as I should probably be, but it’s easy to be happy at 2nd place when you know that it is a friend and extremely strong player who beat you. I knew that she’d play tested a lot more than I had and knew the deck a lot better than me so am really happy for my friend. Additionally I’d also been quite ill the preceding week and consequently had little opportunity for playtesting so was a bit surprised to do as well as I had done!

Organisationjudge

I’m sorry to say that could have been better. At times it was hard to hear the TO especially when things like Time was called. In addition the Seniors/Juniors were on the higher tables which were seated for adults, pushing adults down to the smaller chaired and more cramped tables.

In game 2 the constant warbling of 2 kids who kept interrupting my game and the games behind them caused me to call a judge to get them to shut up. I get that focus for kids is difficult, but don’t interrupt other peoples games because that’s just rude. In game 4 a local just walked in (which is fine) but again I’m in a game I don’t want people hovering near me when I’m trying to concentrate.

Lack of Match slips caused numerous re-pairs (3 or 4) and the reason given was that the shop didn’t want to waste paper which I think is a pretty pathetic excuse. I wouldn’t mind but I actually offered to bring a printer along or print blank match slips for the event before hand (since I already do the table numbers) so there was literally no excuse. Planning didn’t happen =(

I managed to convince the TO to print out the pairings so that he wouldn’t have to attempt to call out the pairings and have a load of people unsure as to where they needed to be. Printing them out and sticking them up proved to be the correct approach.

I’m biased towards the assistant judge since she’s my beloved but her judge calls on the day were correct, and despite subsequent discussion, still proved to be correct. She however has been put off from judging due to the event and the subsequent reactions of the TO. Her only mistake was mishearing a result which forced a repair and she was annoyed about it (and is now getting a hearing test as a result!). But if there were match slips it wouldn’t have been an issue in the first place. I don’t think it’s fair to force your assistant judges into positions where mistakes like this can happen when there are systems in place to prevent mistakes from happening. To further go and undermine them by then double checking everything they’ve already done, (while the TO has made 2 mis-pairs themselves) is means that there won’t be a second judge for the next League Cup. Additionally doing 9 hours of judging at a League Cup and giving up your Saturday to receive: a foil counter catcher.. doesn’t seem right.

The judge calls made on the day were accurate although the TO almost caused a double game loss by misinforming a Senior who was in time. The Senior asked if he could win the game since they were in time and was down a game and was told that he couldn’t and was about to scoop!! I took a risk to intervene and explain that if he won then they’d have won 1 each so the round would have been a draw.

23 masters and 7 kids meant that people had Byes, and with only 3 rounds for kids it meant that 3 of them only got 2 rounds. I would have ensured that there were even numbers (say 22/8) to allow for better pairing and more rounds.

Prizing was a bit odd, while I’m not complaining to have gotten the better end of the deal in some respects I think that they are heavily balanced towards 1st and 2nd place. I would rather spread out the boosters a bit more since the CP are the goal and ensure that everyone who made Top 8 got  at least something. With 7 Junior/Seniors 6 of them got prizes which again was odd.

However that all being said, this was the first League Cup and I hope that by cataloging these failings and addressing them at the next planning meeting that we can move forward and that the next one will be a lot better and more smoothly run. I hope that anyone who has opinions or feedback gives it as it’s very difficult to get the TO to change his mind about anything.

SLG & CRI GX Pokémon Review

GX Pokémon Review

Following on from my previous post about viable EX & GX Pokémon in the game, I’ve gotten around to reviewing the GX Pokémon in Shining Legends (SLG) and Crimson Invasion (CRI).

It’s no secret that GX Pokémon have shaken up the game – almost every serious deck features some kind of GX (in addition to Tapu Lele-GX). Even if  only as a one-of tech or just for a GX attack. So let’s review those GX Pokémon from the latest 2 sets to have entered the metagame.

Shining Legends 

This ‘bonus’ set sees 4 different GX Pokémon over several prints including the elusive ‘Tube Mewtwo’ Secret Rare – Possibly the most beautiful card in my collection.

 

Entei-GX EnteiGX – Probably the least viable GX from SLG, Entei pales in comparison to other popular fire Pokémon such as Turtonator-GX or Ho-Oh-GX. That being said while everyone is focused on the amount of support Metal is getting from Ultra Prism, few have noticed that fire is getting a fair bit of support too with buffs to conditions from Infernape and Salazzle. However until such a time as fire rises to combat the oncoming metal onslaught, Entei remains the least useful of the SLG GXs.

MewtwoGXMewtwo-GX– I’ve faced off against this in an energy acceleration deck and, although the attack is similar to Gardevoir-GX, it only counts your energy and is on a 190HP platform. With no innate ability to accelerate energy, a lacklustre second attack and a mediocre GX attack means that Mewtwo-GX plays second fiddle to the old Scatter Shot (BKT 62).

That all being said, with the SLG Mew, some Max Elixirs and the right combination of support, this GX could make some impression. Although I just don’t think it is strong enough in the current metagame to warranty all of the hassle that would be needed to run it effectively.

RaichuGX

Raichu-GX – Similar to Mewtwo-GX above, I have faced this in a Standard energy acceleration deck seeking to exploit the Powerful Spark attack. It is similar to Delphox’s Psystorm (FCO 13) whereby more energy across all your Pokémon means more damage. A respectable 210HP and low retreat make this not a bad Pokémon per se but the lack of general Lightning-type support is what holds it back at the moment. Watch out for the Lycanroc and Buzzwole weakness but also the Metal resistance – especially when facing off against Registeel.

ZoroarkGXZoroark-GX – Aside from Tapu Lele-GX this card is probably the best card in the format right now. Reasonable 210HP, Psychic resistance, and an extremely efficient attack makes this a good Pokémon, even taking the typical Fighting type weakness into account.  What makes it a great card however, is its Trade ability – you can discard a card to draw two new ones. This has meant that since it’s release Zoroark-GX has seen play in the winning London 2017 regionals as well as San Jose 2017’s Expanded tournament with all 4 of the top decks running it – 3 of them Night March. Although the cost of the card is quite high, it is thankfully available as a full art promo in a special collection box that comes with 5 Shining Legends boosters. The sheer utility of the card means that it is probably one of the best value boxed sets at the moment.

Crimson Invasion

The October 2017 set saw 4 ‘regular’ Pokémon GX as well as all of the Ultra Beasts printed as special kinds of Pokémon GX.

 

GyradosGXGaraydos-GX -Another fan favourite, sporting 240HP despite being only a stage 1 to start with and keeping hope alive with a quite disruptive GX attack that discards an Energy from each of your opponents Pokémon – for only [W]!

However  high retreat costs and arguably over-costed attacks mean that so far this monster hasn’t really managed to define any decks to date.

 

 

Alolan Golem GXAlolan Golem-GX -Another bulky GX with similarities to Gyarados-GX, high retreat and attack costs, plus a generalised lack of Lightning support again means that no decks featuring this Electric rock have really been seen doing well.

The most interesting feature is the GX attack at 100 damage for [L][L][C][C] but also prevents your opponents playing any cards next turn. In the right kind of deck – perhaps in the future with Lightning support – there might be some hope but until then it’s one for the folder only.

AlolanExeguttorGXAlolan Exeggutor-GX – A new fan favourite, mostly due to sheer derpyness, Alolan Exeggutor is a Dragon type that only requires grass energy (Most Dragon types require 2 different kinds of energy, or indeed Double Dragon Energy)

20 damage per energy, even one that can choose a target isn’t exactly the best, not is 120+confusion for 4 energy. Low hitpoints and a weakness to the prevalent fairy relegates this into meme deck territory.

SilvallyGXSilvally-GX -The star of the set! The designated Beast Killer accelerates energy while providing free retreat for any basic Pokémon you might have. It also has the ability to change it’s type based on various ‘memory’ tools. So far we have Fighting and Psychic with Electric and Fire arriving in Ultra Prism.

At present it seems that the most difficult part of running Silvally is finding the Type:Null that it evolves from! Thankfully there is now a Silvally-GX box which includes both and some boosters for a reasonable price, which eliminates the issue!

In terms of performance, a deck combining this Pokémon with Steel managed to place highly at London 2017 Regionals as a dedicated ‘anti-meta’ deck. By having a solution to every expected Pokémon type it was able to forge ahead becoming the #2 seed after day 1. However regardless of type, Silvally is weak to fighting and only has 210HP so is relatively fragile in a meta with Lycanroc-GX, Buzzwole-GX and (ironically) Silvally-GX with Fighting Memory.

Ultra Beasts

All Ultra Beasts are Basic Pokémon-GX. However to distinguish them from regular Pokémon-GX their ‘GX’ is highlighted in red (see right). Additionally they also all have the ‘Ultra Beast’ label below their HP which allows for future interactions and support. Ultra Prism features a ‘Beast Ball’ which allows you to retrieve an Ultra Beast from your Prize cards. I would have preferred a search effect (perhaps similar to an Ultra Ball but discarding only 1 card?) but this is what we’ve got.

KKartanaGXartana-GX – Although this comes with a built in Enhanced Hammer effect, its low HP and Fire weakness can make it a 2 prize liability. Thankfully its attack allows it to shuffle back into your deck enabling you to re-use the Slice Off ability.

It’s Blade GX attack simply lets you take a prize which if your opponent is making you play for 7 Prizes could just swing the game right at the end for only [M].

BuzzwoleGXBuzzwole-GX -Possibly the most used of all the Ultra Beasts at the moment, Buzzwole fits in decks as support for Fighting types with Jet Punch hitting the active and a benched Pokémon for 30 damage.

Decent 190 HP for a basic are only let down by a weakness to Psychic types, however  Trashalanche decks are waning in popularity so it may not be a massive liability.

 

NihilegoGXNihilego-GX -Not seeing a lot of play for its attacks which at [P][P][P] are on the prohibitive side, however the Empty Light ability can leave both active Pokémon Poisoned & Confused which synergises well with Chaos Tower.

180HP is solid for a support type Pokémon and the only real drawback is the retreat cost. It certainly is a support Pokémon and needs a deck building around it to get the best of its abilities and attacks.

GuzzlordGXGuzzlord-GX -Much hyped when the card was spoilered mainly due to the massive energy costs for its attacks as well as the high bulk of 210HP on a basic. However even with Eat Sloppily you need to be careful because of the high energy investment required.

Jokes about ‘4 Guzzlord & 56 Energy’ have been bandied around, however even the almost guaranteed 180 damage after an Eat Sloppily isn’t necessarily enough to defeat a more well rounded and balanced deck that has access to Guzma or other field control effects.

Guzzlord is certainly an interesting card, and a fun one at that, however outside of a dedicated deck the costs are prohibitive and even when facilitated the card itself is inflexible, 180 for 5 energy is simply too high of a cost.

These next 3 Ultra Beasts are available only in Special Collection boxes, however we do expect them as Secret Rares / Full Arts in the Ultra Prism set in a manner similar to how Tapu Bulu-GX and Tapu Koko-GX were available first as Box promos and then as Full Art rares.

PPheromosa GXheremosa-GX – Although the attacks are efficiently costed they still have relatively low damage ceilings meaning that this Ultra Beast is outclassed by other Pokémon in the Grass type such as Golisopod-GX.

The weakness to Fire can hurt especially with the relatively low 170HP making this Pokémon more suitable for late game revenge killing via Beauty GX which is essentially the inverse of Salazzle-GX. This attack deals 50 damage per prize card your opponent has taken. Meaning that for only [G][G] you could potentially deal end up dealing 250 damage!

Xurkitree GXXurkitree-GX – The magic christmas tree Pokémon! I quite like it’s design and wish that I could find more use for them. The two main selling points are the Flashing Head ability which walls anything that has special energy attached – and with 7 out of the top 8 London 2017 decks running special energy it’s a good ability. Rumbling wires is poorly costed at [L][L][C], even [L][C][C] would have made it just slightly more playable – 100 damage and discarding a card makes it more useful in a Stall or Mill style deck.

The Lightning GX attack also ties into this theme by allowing you to put a card from your opponent’s hand into their prizes. As with Raichu-GX, the lack of explicit Lightning support prevents it from being a top choice but I remain hopeful that future support will see more Xurkitree love!

Celesteela GXCelesteela-GX – The secret star of the show! I know I harp on about London 2017 Regionals but it was a high tier tournament with lots of interesting deck concepts. No more so than the #2 seed Silvally/Metal ‘Anti-Meta’ deck. In addition many other decks teched in Celesteela-GX to counter the high volume of Gardevoir-GX decks.

With [M]+DCE+Choice Band/another attachment Celesteela-GX can take out a Gardevoir-GX. Additionally the Blaster-GX attack lets you forecast your prizes in addition to dealing a fair amount of damage. The bulky 200HP coupled with an atypical Weakness to Lightning makes this Pokémon a solid play. When combined with Silvally-GX the high retreat cost isn’t an issue and the [F] resistance helps against the odd Lycanroc-GX or Buzzwole-GX you might run unto.

While I love the zaniness of Xurkitree and it’s supported strategy, my favourite of these new sets has certainly been Celesteela-GX. With the dearth of Metal support coming in Ultra Prism it’s a safe card to pick up and know that you’ll get a lot of use from.

 

Crimson Invasion Pre-release & Judging

Crimson Invasion Pre-release

Our local Pokémon League held its first official Pre-release for Crimson Invasion on Saturday (21/10/17) at our local geeky home of Nerdworld.

This post is going to give an overview of interesting cards, ones to watch for in future, a piece on my first time judging and the event itself. Finally I’ll sum up on the my feelings about the state of our community. (Rant warning!)

If you are unfamiliar with Pre-Releases: each player gets 4 boosters, access to whatever basic energy they need and a sealed selection of basic trainers and core evolution lines. There’s also a random set promo included which can be used. (Raichu, Salazzle (psychic type) and & Registeel for Crimson Invasion) Each player needs to create a 40 card deck and rounds are best of 1, 20 mins with 4 prizes. It is intended to be a casual, fun event.

Interesting Cards

Guzzlord-GX – a fair amount of hype around this although no-one actually pulled it until after the event. The theory being that 39 energy + a guzzlord means that you’re KO-ing almost everything except Garyados-GX by turn 3 at the latest. It is vulnerable to Gastrodon and Buzzwole-GX though!

Buzzwole-GX – a little bit of hype, but not as much as Guzzlord-GX. For 1 Fighting energy you’re hitting 30+30 on the bench which is great value for energy. A modest retreat cost of 2 in fighting is nice as is the bulky 190HP for a basic.

Interesting to note about the Ultra Beast-GXs in general is that they have weakness whereas the Tapu-GXs do not. Additionally all of the Ultra Beasts have a unique ‘Ultra Beasts’ label under their HP which might mean future cards will interact with them. I’m thinking something like a Beast Ball to search them out or a future Silvally-GX with an ability that works against Ultra Beasts.

Cards To Look Out For In Future

Assuming that GX remains a thing, Olivia is going to replace Brigette in standard once she rotates (in about a year!)

Milotics bounce ability is a bit like a budget Sylveons Plea-GX ability and might find space in some spread decks and, although it doesn’t effect the active, might be a weird niche tech in some decks.

JudgingJudge

The Judging itself seemed to go fine. Rules interactions were mostly limited to Miltank and Gengar (they are simultaneous!) and consistency was maintained. A couple of clarifications about burning, confusion attack declaration and a wrong way around paralysis were my height. Someone forgot prizes and got (another) heavy handed warning which seemed excessive for a casual level 0 event.

I was excited for the event although I wasn’t the organiser and so felt a bit undermined when I called for round starts and then the TO quietly did too. after me. Basically I can project, the TO can’t and despite trying to help on several occasions I don’t know if it is appreciated.

For the next event I’m sticking to playing and (consequently?) I am told that I probably won’t be required at future events.

Summary

This has ended up being a mini rant about our existing community but it seemed encapsulated in the day.

The day itself went great for the players/trainers which is what you want when helping to run an event. However I was more or less told that I wasn’t running it, just judging, which is understandable despite the effort time and organisation put into it. Despite numerous olive branches being extended to other staff I didn’t feel that any were received or acted upon which is unfortunate.

Consequently I want to see how events without external support pan out, the November GvC has external judges and organisers so will hopefully go smoothly. (I might flip out if table numbers are in biro again). Unfortunately I’m not in a position health wise at the moment to be able to run an alternative, competitive league night regularly which is a little frustrating.

Additionally, at the moment our competitive playerbase doesn’t bother to show up to regular Saturday league except for tournaments and we are going to lose them. Accordingly the existing community is quite small, mostly uncompetitive and largely unorganised. I think that when you have to travel an hour to the next city over through Friday rush hour traffic to get a decent standard of games in, something is a bit wrong.

As it stands, people do frequent our neighbouring Pokémon league in lieu of their local because it’s more organised, with a higher calibre of player. Our local league has not made any steps to supporting more competitive players or nurturing their growth which begs the question of why bother?

Don’t get me wrong I like casual days, just not every time. I can bring my Tier 1 deck and smash people, not learn anything or play my derptastic Sligoo deck and at least have an enjoyable game. But we don’t have the option of competitive practice outside of big events.

A final point of contention was trading. When asking for a trade and being interrupted several times stating that they wanted to trade it off of the person – but not actually having anything that the trader wants- is rude and annoying. You can’t call ‘dibs’ on other peoples cards if you have nothing to trade. I wouldn’t mind but the same person harvested several choice cards from the tins of freebies that I provided. A bit of self awareness might have not gone awry. Only that we were having a fun day and I was being professional, I *might* have snapped.

*breathes out*