Bexhill League Cup – 8th April 2018

Bexhill League Cup

So after doing a little well at Eastbourne League Cup yesterday we were bitten by the bug. We were given a recommendation that another League Cup was on the next day at Bexhill – and that it was near Eastbourne (so I’m told – I have the geographical awareness of a Wobuffet) With the addition of Ya Boy Tony we set out for Bexhill like the mad fools that we are!

So Famous Collectables is eclectic in the best possible way. Literally packed to the rafters with everything TCG related (boosters, boxes, sleeves of every type) to collectables (e.g. Star Trek merc, Dr Who, Digimon, Plushies, a *bit* of Pokémon!!) If you’re ever in the area do check them out – the store is a community hub and is a welcoming place. Although Friday & Saturday were well run by great clubs, these weren’t in stores and this atmosphere was certainly different, but in a great way, and a nice environment (if a little cosy!) for a League Cup.

The judging staff were on point – friendly and approachable, time was open (tablets on a shelf which is low cost and a great idea), and the staff were particularly welcoming. I was particularly impressed at how the store owner/organiser came and said hello to anyone who wasn’t local before the tournament. It’s just those little things that make you feel welcome and part of a community and everyone was great! So if you’re reading guys thank you very much. I’m looking forward to the next time I can get to your events.

This is also part of the Three Cups in Three Days series where we hit 3 different League Cups over consecutive Friday, Saturday & Sunday in April like the mad fools that we are!

Round 1 – Zoro/Roc (Nitish – again!)

ZoroarkGXMy opponent from yesterdays final! I won’t lie I was nervous. Thankfully I didn’t brick my Oricorio (or rather the Brooklet Hills!) and was able to pull ahead, largely thanks to typing advantage. However I did manage to win 2 straight games, which was nice as it proved to myself that it wasn’t just a fluke or anything. As I mentioned before Nitish is highly communicative and I enjoy playing against him, I expected him (correctly!) to do well, but I think he got knocked out in Top Cut.

1-0-0 (3)

 

Round 2 – Zoro/Roc (Sam)

I’d seen Sam at a few events around Portsmouth and recognised him. He was playing Zoroark/Lycanrock which on paper is a good match up but doesn’t mean that it’s by any means easy. My opponent is a skilled player and I had to us all of my Guzmas, Max Elixir + Multi-Switch and Bloodthirsty Eyes shenanigans to get the wins. I think game 2 went to time but I was up one game and ahead on prizing so I managed to win another round and was 2 for 2.

2-0-0 (6)

Round 3 – Zoro/Weavile

Weavile Evil AdmonFor some reason (tough competition?, odd match ups?) not many others had gone 2-0-0. Zoroark I can deal with but the Weavile shenanigans was a bit of an unknown quantity. Made worse was the arrival of Mew-EX early on, copying Evil Admonition and the deck was running regular Zoroark BREAK for it’s 1 Dark Foul Play attack.

However, type advantage really helped in this game since everything except the Mew and any Leles were weak to my Lycanrocs and Buzzwoles. Of course my spicy Oricorio tech came in (and I hate to use this word) ‘Clutch’ and OHKO the Mew which is always a nice surprise to be able to spring out on an unsuspecting victim. Of course it crumbles to anything vaguely dark looking but did it’s job.

The second game was both easier and harder. My opponent knew my deck, but I knew (roughly) my opponents deck. I targeted the Sneasels early with Jet Punch so that Mew-Ex wouldn’t have anything to copy and avoided playing uncessessary cards with abilities to keep the Evil Admonition at a minimum. It only needed 3 or 4 abilities – say a Lele, Regirock, Lycanroc and Octillery on bench (not an unreasonable mid game state) to be hit for 200 with literally one energy. That isn’t something you can permit if it can be avoided, so while I like Rogue-GX it didn’t make an appearance this game. Thankfully the meta-call of Fighting was good and paid dividends here.

3-0-0 (9)

Round 4 – Greninja (Charlie)

Shadow StitchingBeing the only person on 3-0-0 at the time I was in a position to ID to top cut but none of my opponents were so we girded ourselves for a game of frogs. An issue with playing against frogs is that it can just shut down your deck and slowly slowly kill you while you are left dead-drawing. That’s it’s usual plan anyway.

Game 1 started well for me but I made the mistake of not knowing that I was against frogs due to an Espeon-EX start on my opponent’s side. Although I accelerated quickly and ran ahead to 2 prizes (story of my life!) he got the frogs setup and once my main Buzzwole went down it was a case of polishing me off with Water Shurikens and a well placed Moonlight Slash.  So we shuffled up for game 2.

Greninja games take some amount of time and results in a lot of drawn matches so my opponent was playing really really fast. However I feel that it’s important to consider your moves carefully, especially when a misplay can cost you a game but we got underway on game 2.

Early 130 damage on a Lele became relevant in the last turn of play as again I accelerated while this time the frogs were a tiny bit slower off the mark. Another annoyance about frogs is their ability to recycle the whole set of Greninja (Froakie, Frogadier, Greninja & BREAK) via Splash Energy. If something has Splash Energy and is KOed it goes back to its owners’ hand although the splash energy is lost. This allows the frog player to keep cycling through frogs. Combine that with a zero retreat cost and high bulk (130+ HP) on Greninja and you have a surprisingly robust deck.

OricorioAgain out game came down to the wire and I could see that my opponent was getting frustrated- he needed a ‘win an in’ so this match was important. All through the game he had been making sure not to discard too many Pokémon, partially due to splash energy. Things didn’t work out however as he may have forgotten or just misplayed by discarding an excess Greninja for 2 energy to Water Shuriken with Starmies ‘Space Beacon‘ ability. Although I was 1 turn away from defeat I ended up using my Oricorio to put four damage counters onto the early-game damaged Lele for victory. We started round 3 in final time (0+3 turns).

Round 3 consisted of mostly of draw-pass and since there was no way to donk or claim multiple prizes I just focused on not being donked myself. So we ended in a tie. This meant that depending on my opponent I might this time be able to ID into top cut (and take a break!)

3-0-1 (10)

Round 5 – ??? (Jake)

Jake had won his previous ‘win & in’ so was happy to ID. We embraced after such a tough game and had a break. He seemed nice so was hoping to see him in the final.  Meanwhile I previous opponent was Frogginating VoluntaryReboot =(

3-0-1 (11)

I took a break and hit the lower end of the tables to chill out and get away from the intensity. The atmosphere was great but I needed some quieter space to check blood sugars, take insulin and get some food! (I have  T1 Diabetes, I don’t just shoot up for the funzies!)

At the end of round 5 Sarah had unfortunately lost to Frogs for a Win & In (although if they IDed they might have gotten in) and Tony had also managed to get into top cut with Lucario/Zoroark which was great.

Overall positioning: 1st/2nd seed- Top Cut!

Top 8

So this was the 2nd time in as many days that I’d hit top cut. Mercifully frogs were paired against each other which meant at least one would be out.

I ended up matched with Jason playing Gardevoir with potions (aka Brokenvoir) It’s a deck I’ve played and I know not to underestimate by any stretch despite it’s fall from favour. Jason was a bit nervous so I was happy to just give him time so that he didn’t misplay or anything. I’d rather play my opponents best game than win because they made an unwilling mistake due to external pressures – actual misplays are fair game of course!

I was able to knobble his bench thanks to Jet Punch, Strong Energy and Dwayne the ‘Regirock’ Johnson combo. He did get a Garde online but only after having to ditch a couple of potions. That extra 10 HP on Buzzwole also means that 6 energy isn’t enough – and I’m only providing one of that so when the Gardevoir does go down, it takes half of the decks energy with it. Game 1 I managed to get ahead by targeting the softer elements as much as I could and then GXing for KO when a Gardevoir finally came up. The resources required to setup a Gardevoir are massive compared to getting a Rogue GX (4 cards, 1 evolution step) or even a Buzzwole GX (also 4 cards) – Gardevoir is also 4 cards to setup (Ralts-Stage1-Garde+Energy) but 2 evolution steps -unless you rare candy but that makes the odds more complex. By focusing down on early disruption I pulled ahead.

In game 2 my opponents deck did the Gardevoir thing and bricked. It bricked HARD. From playing this with all of the various moving parts inside Gardevoir not getting that out can leave you floundering with a big hand and very little to show for it. I was able to pull out the win before it recovered to get to top 4! At this point I was happy but really tired. Still Top 4 was a good achievement so far!

Top 4

Remoraid Ion Pool CupThis time I was against Jake who I’d IDed with in round 5. He seemed lovely and was playing the mirror. He played smarter and better than I and was running Mew-EX instead of Oricorio. My Elixirs decided it was home time and my Oricorio kept getting shunted to the bench to die to the follow through from Jet Punch (no resistance on the bench!) Most of my games involved trying to dodge his OHKO Mew-EX

At one point I was getting a bit hypoglycemic and cracked out the Oreos. So now Oricoreo is a thing. Sorry people! All of these factors contributed to me getting properly smashed and loosing 2 games. However throughout the games we were having such fun. My opponent at one point played promoted Remoriad to use Ion Pool to discard it preventing me from using Oricorios attack. It was a brilliant, and hilarious move in a great series of games.

I know he went on to scoop in the final to his opponent for the mat as he wasn’t after the Stuttgart invite/bye which is fair enough.

Conclusion

So I made top cut again and came 3rd overall which isn’t a bad set of results. After the weekend I’m sitting on just over 150CP which is much more than my target of 100CP! Looking at my win/loss ratio on Pokemon.com I’m about 25th in the country which is pretty cool too although I’m sure that will change after Expanded Regionals in Germany next weekend.

It seems that it took Friday to get back in the swing of things, I did great on Saturday and not at all badly on Sunday.

Next week there’s a League Cup in Bournemouth held by my ‘local’ Gaming Store ‘Bag of Holding‘ – if you’re into board games or wargames (or TCGs obviously!) and are nearby do check them out. I will write up that and I know that before I go I will consider taking a different deck. Stay tuned to find out what I brought and how I did!

As quick aside : BoH are also planning to run some VCG in the near future too if that’s more your thing.  The team there are brilliant and I’ve been going there a while so it will be nice to see them, some familiar faces and some new faces next week!

Thanks to Nitish for alerting us to the cup, and of course the Judges Kasha, Grant & Chris as well as James from Famous Collectables for a well organised, welcoming and fun environment. They were all amazing.

Finally thanks to Voluntary Reboot, the crazy Pokémaniac that she is, whose’ dedication to the game is inspiring and encouraging, who’s only getting better and is hungry for those CPs!

Pokémon League – Bag of Holding, Bournemouth

On Sunday 26th November I attended Bag of Holdings‘ first League Challenge in Bournemouth. I am familiar with Bag of Holding as it’s where I usually wargame and have been to other related events.

I was armed with Christopher Schemanske‘s Max Potion ‘Brokenvoir’ list that did really well in London. I choose it since it was the deck I was most comfortable playing. In a couple of games the Max Potion really made the difference since it reset the damage clock and meant that a 2 hit KO now became a 3 hit KO and I could pull ahead in the prize trade.

There were 4 Rounds of Swiss in the League Challenge and I’ll try to give a run through of each:

Round 1 – Ash – Silvally-GX/Mewtwo-GX

Guzma-GalladeThe first game got off to a good start and I was facing an interesting Silvally/Mewtwo deck with some Zoroark-GXs for draw support via the Trade ability. Thankfully Mewtwo’s heavy reliance on energy meant that I could easily knock it out with my Gardevoirs. I did loose a Gardevoir in one game to Mewtwos’ GX attack with a Choice Band. The Silvallys and Zoroarks were also weak to Gallade  who also synergises brilliantly with Guzma which got me the knockouts. Octillery wasn’t prized in any games which helped a lot too and so I won the first round of the Challenge.

Result 2-0 Win

Round 2 -Sarah – Zoroark/Golisopod

Golisopod GXIn round 2 of the League Challenge I faced fellow Sotonian Sarah who was running Zoroark/Golisopod. In testing she had beaten me solid with it because I wasn’t running Max Potions – however this time I was packing a full compliment of Potions.

Game 1 went well with Gallade getting the opportunity to knock out some Zoroarks and the deck ran smoothly in the first game like in the previous round, with the Max Potions helping to ensure I didn’t lose too many Pokémon.

In game 2 my Octillery line was prized and Sarah quickly took out my Kirlias as I was searching for up Gallade. I just couldn’t catch up in time and she took game 2.

Game 3 went smoothly again and I was able to trade 1 prize (Gallade) for 2 prizes (Zoroark) at least once. Sarah shifted her focus to Golisopod which was more of a problem but I was able to use Max Potions to ensure that I was able to survive the next hit and then take the KO for game 3. A tough but friendly game! Result 2-1 Win

Round 3 – Charlie -Golisopod/Zoroark

Game 3 was against another Golisopod-Zoroark Deck. Oddly he didn’t run Tapu Lele but was otherwise running a similar list to Sarah. I figured if I could beat her (she’s a great player) I could manage this. True enough I was able to take out the Zoroarks with Gallade and use Max Potions when necessary.

The games were challenging but nothing particularly unexpected occured and I was able to take both games before time which gave me time to run to the shop and get some precious, delicious caffeine! Result 2-0 Win

At this point there was only 1 other player with a 3-0-0 record but we didn’t get drawn together. (The mysteries of the TOM software are beyond my ken!) So I had to win the next round and hope that his opponent could hold him off long enough!

Round 4 – ??? – Gardevoir

This round was possibly my most apprehensive since I recognised the player as the one who beat me in the GvC  draft and to make matters worse he was playing Gardevoir. So (correctly) I expected tough competition.

Game 1 – Went smoothly with me getting Brigette and Octillery online as well as KOing my Opponents Remoraid. By the time my opponent could get Gardevoirs established I was too far ahead, plus I had potions.

Game 2 – Went terribly with octillery and leles all prized so I was fighting an uphill battle all game. I did manage to get down to 2 prizes but by the time I’d recovered my opponent was too well established. I probably should have scooped to save time and try for the win on game 3. I didn’t and he took game 2. The round was almost a draw but since we were on top table we started game 3.

Game 3 – Could have gone to a donk against me as we started in final time. I Sycamored an otherwise good hand away to fish for an Ultra Ball to get a second Ralts out and on the bench to make sure that it couldn’t happen – sure enough my opponent managed to Rare Candy into a Gardevoir-GX and KO my lone Ralts so I had made the right call and we drew 1-1.

Summary:

In some ways I felt that I should have won game 2 in the final round, it was more down to my deck bricking out rather than any massive tactical decisions by my opponent. He seemed surprised, although I know he is a good player and was able to capitalise. Then again my deck choice is what I have to stand by. Perhaps I should have scooped and started game 3 with more time rather than prolong my only Gardevoir with Max Potions but I didn’t and thankfully it didn’t cost me the tournament.

Result 1-1 Draw

However my rival who also had a 3-0-0 managed to lose his round meaning that I with 3-0-1 I had managed to win my 3rd Challenge in a Row and get max Championship Points for this quarter – barring any League Cups I might be fortunate enough to win.

Conclusions:

This was a well run event with approx 14 players (12 masters) and Bag of Holding gave generous prize support for their first ever League event. I managed to pull 2 foil Magikarp (yay!) and a Full Art Alolan Exeggutor from my boosters as well as getting some snazzy 1st Place Regigigas promos. 🙂

I was overall happy with my performance but I noticed that I made mistakes in Round 4, game 2 such as forgetting to use Premonition off of Gallade which might have meant I could turn it around earlier (or might have prolonged the inevitable?) Being intimately familiar with BoH from wargaming meant that the smack talk from some other, more vocal participants, didn’t phase me and there wasn’t any metal counter-fairy decks to speak of.

The next event is a local League Challenge in the Expanded format. We’re getting a couple of external players who will be bringing their A-game. I was torn between bringing a jokey/meme deck but I guess if there’s prizes and I’m paying to enter I should probably bring my A-game too. Last time this was Volcanion/Turtonator but this time I’m not sure.

Gaming Vs Cancer – Standard League Challenge

Gardevoir-GX

So on 11th November I went with Gardevoir-GX for League Challenge which was being held in aid of Gaming Vs Cancer.

My Decklist was fairly typical for Gardevoir-GX although I’d made a couple of tweaks. I had forgone Max Potions as I’d rather just retreat and would need to reattach energy anyway. I opted to drop float stones as well to include a 4th Sycamore and 4th Guzma instead to add consistency. I figured that  since it was best of 3 games per rounds they would show up that bit more. Indeed topdeckinga Sycamore helped on a couple of occasions. Finally 2 Parallel City were there to help keep my opponents boxed in and to help against any Metagross matchups (which I managed to avoid).

Round 1 – Bye (1-0-0)

Our TO/Head Judge & Assistant Judge pair were late having gotten a bus in literally the opposite direction. So our 9:30am registration was for naught although we got kicked off by 10:30 – except that my first round was a bye since we had an odd number of players! My precious Gardevoir-GX would have to wait! I remained sane by helping out and supervising the Junior/Senior table as things got settled down.

Round 2 – Mirror! (2-0-0)

If my flourescent pink sleeves didn’t give my deck away my opponent soon realised that we were both playing Gardevoir-GX. My 2-2 line of Sylveon-GX really helped as did the extra Guzmas. I managed to pull in the Remoraids with Guzma to stop my opponent from getting Octillery(s) online which I knew would make the deck stall out. Additionally by getting down a Parallel City I managed to lock down my opponents side of the table. Sylveon-GX did most of the heavy hitting to get my prizes. I ended up going 2-0 to win my first round of the day.

Round 3 – Noivern-GX/Zoroark-GX (3-0-0)

Noivern GXMy 2nd game in round 3 was against an off-meta Noivern/Zoroark deck. Item lock and Zoroarks ‘Trade‘ ability proved difficult to enable me to get established since I had poor starts in both rounds. However being resilient to Dark and with Noivern being weak to Fairy, I was able to OHKO the Noivern a couple of times. My opponent ran a Weakness Policy too, which was relevant in the 2nd game particularly.

Additionally a Garbotoxin Garbodor managed to slow me down, but also shut down the Trade ability. Consequently I decided against Field Blower-ing it since it was helping me and I was able to pull ahead by hitting for weakness with Gallade. Hitting Zoroark for weakness was game winning on one occasion – the Guzma being used to serve it up also amplifying Gallade’s attack. I don’t think I actually attacked with Gardevoir-GX at all this round.

zoroark gx

This was probably my toughest match up of the day as there were a couple of occasions where I could have bricked out but the extra Sycamore enabled me to get out of it on one instance, Octillery on another. Being able to hit back for weakness really helped too. The item lock from Noivern was at times difficult and a bother but not impossible to play around. Usually my items are to get me out of a bad spot, but being only hit for 50 damage wasn’t actually too detrimental since I could usually hit back for more.

Round 4 – Raichu-GX/Zoroark-GX (4-0-0)

raichu gx

Disclaimer: my opponent had slightly terrible luck.  We’d played before at Reading League Cup and he really is a lovely opponent.

He was running a Raichu-GX deck with Magnezone and Zoroark. I had a poor start and it took me a couple of turns to get established. Despite my over-energised Gardevoir-GX being GX-ed by an incoming Tapu Koko-GX I managed to hit back with my Gallade for weakness against his Zoroark for the game. The Guzma trick working wonders again!

Game 2 saw me start with a Lele and we ended up N-ing each other a LOT! Despite this I managed to pull ahead with Sylveon-GX and ended up having to Plea-GX to find my last DCE.  Twice – because of N, but eventually it stuck and I Guzma-ed in a Zoroark-GX and OHKOed it with Gallade.

**Result: 4-0-0 for 1st Place!**

I was quite chuffed with the win and really glad that the Bye didn’t come back to bite me in the bum at the end. With other players going 3-0-1 again I knew that I had to win all 3 of my games to have a perfect score. I also didn’t concede any losses with the deck whatsoever which was nice considering how I’d been struggling with it online.

Closing Thoughts

Gallade definitely helps, I’m quite sure the Max Potions are not needed, nor Acerolla – the main strength is to be more consistent (we love you Tord) and therefore get established much more quickly than your opponent. In this regard Octillery is extremely useful – but in the mid/late game – so it’s not hugely required to get him out straight away. I found that getting a Sylveon out to either Magical Ribbon or even just attack for with Fairy Wind 110 was a much more resilient strategy in the early turns.

I avoided any of the 2 (possibly 3?) Metagross decks but I did pack 2 Parallel cities ready to bounce up any Metagrosses with Plea-GX. I also didn’t face Golisopod which was probably my least favourable matchup since they dedicate so much of the deck to controlling the game to hit with First Impressions. From what I could tell there were no fire decks of any sort nor any Greninja.

The cohort from the Isle of Wight were really lovely and had quite a diverse array of decks and playstyles.

galladeTo finish; my MVP for the day was Gallade. He synergized perfectly with Guzma to counter Zoroark-GX on several occasions and won me games as a result. Being a 1 prize attacker he was slightly more expendable and of course the Premonition ability also just helped to round things out. Certainly worth the inclusion.

The only bittersweet part is that now with Crimson Invasion rotating into standard I’m wondering how much of the deck will change (if at all)?  I think that I would like to find room for a Gladeon and Lusamine – perhaps instead of the extra Guzma and Sycamore – since both add consistency in different ways and so will be definite includes in my future deck testing.

But we’ll see – for now bed time!