League Challenge Tournament Report
On Saturday 2nd December I attended our local Pokémon League Challenge held at Nerdworld, Southampton. The last time I played expanded I ran Volcanion/Turtonator and it went quite well.
This time I was equipped with a Night March list that won at San Jose the previous weekend. I choose it since I was used to playing it before I switched to volcanion, but now with Zoroark-GX it seemed unbeatable!
The field seemed relatively diverse with some casual decks as well as a pair of Lycanroc/Zoroark, another Nightmarch (2 Marshadow, Computer Search) , a couple of Solgaleo/Metagross and
There were 4 Rounds of Swiss, best of one, and I’ll try to give blow by blow coverage of each:
The first round to the League Challenge started promptly and I was facing off against Ryan who is relatively new to Pokémon but not to TCGs in general. As the game progressed it emerged that he was playing Solgaleo-GX and Metagross-GX with Shaymin-EX and Magerna-EX as support. Not exactly meta, but no cake-walk either.
I had a start with only 1 basic (Joltik) and a bad hand, so in the back of my mind I was worried that my deck might brick and I’d get donked. With a best of 1 there would be no recovery. However the sheer draw power of Night March from 3 Shaymin-EX meant that I managed to set up.
Ryan played well and was able to take out a couple of my attackers. I was worried about the sheer volume of Hitpoints that his Stage 2 Pokémon had and worried that I’d need to 2 Hit KO (2HKO). A sneaky Kartana also Sliced Off one of my Double Colourless Energys. Thankfully I was able to use Lysandre and Guzma to pick on his Shaymins, Metangs and finally the Kartana to secure the win.
In round 2 I shimmied up to the adjacent table to face Rachel who is a regular at our league. She was running a Psychic based Lunala-GX deck for this League Challenge.
Rachel started with a Cosmog and another on the bench and was about to bench a Tapu-Lele but I pointed out that the Wonder Tag wouldn’t work unless it was played from her hand, so she held it back to try and get a supporter. Unfortunately her only Brigette was prized so she didn’t manage to get set up as rapidly as she might otherwise have. That said throughout the game Rachel made good use of my Dimension Valley to get more draw support out of the little Cosmogs without the need for energy attachments.
I was able to set up rapidly and proceeded to one-hit KO her un-evolved Cosmogs. I did feel bad at one point for top-decking an N which got rid of a Rare Candy that she had used Skyla to find. I proceeded to KO Pokémon only taking a bit of damage from a Stuffle and losing one nightmarcher to a Tapu-Lele’s Energy Drive which was KO-ed in return to secure a win.
Game 3 was against one of our stronger local players. Liton was running Lycanroc-GX with Zoroark-GX and the Stand In Zoroark too. I knew this game would be tough as the Zoroarks’ Trade ability provide excellent draw support and Lycanroc has type advantage over Zoroark. This combined with the Bloodthirsty Eyes ability makes it a fearsome thing to face off against.
Liton won the dice flip/roll and chose to go first which was fine by me as I was hoping to take a Turn 1 KO if possible. He started with a Buzzwole-GX and I started with a Joltik but soon benched a Pumpkaboo who has type advantage against the Buzzwole. I took a risk to play my DCE onto the Pumkaboo and then tried to get a find my Float Stone in order to take the KO on the Buzzwole due to weakness.
However despite how far I fished into my deck I couldn’t find my floatstone, nor get the Night March count up to enough to allow the Joltik to take out the Buzzwole in one hit. I eventually took it down in 2 hits but that was basically the deciding factor in the game right there. After getting a search off, I realised that my Marshadow and Float Stone were both in prizes which made it difficult.
The match came down to a Bloodthirsty Eyes pulling in some of my weaker components (Shaymin-EX) and Litons’ Zoroark trying to take the knock out. Enhanced Hammers also made my life generally difficult. However despite almost running my deck dry and then drawing until there were only 2 cards left I couldn’t pull ahead and only had one prize left by the time Liton took the victory.
I found that my very last prize was the Float Stone that I needed so there was literally no chance of seeing it in game. This is where the best of 1 format really gutted me. If I didn’t take the risk to fish for the turn 1 KO with Pumpkaboo I would have been that 1 turn ahead on tempo and would have won- just. If I’d had found the float stone I could have 1 hit KOed and been 2 turns ahead. However thems the breaks and while the 30 minute best of 1 format is fast, I much prefer best of 3.
The final round was against Andrew, another of our regulars to the Pokémon League. Running a bespoke Lurantis-GX and Golisopod list that was keenly off meta. Unfortunately for Andrew he didn’t manage to get a Lurantis-GX out in time and my bigger numbers meant that I could take OHKO on his Golisopods – even with their Armor ability.
By consistently applying the pressure and exploiting the massive draw power in the deck I was able to eventually KO all of his Pokémon for a win before he could get established.
League Challenge Summary
The result was that I came 4th due to resistance – having faced some relatively ‘soft’ opponents meant that my resistance was quite low – 50%. I really needed to win game 3 and due to Swiss system’s random nature it meant that without a perfect record I had no chance of winning or coming in the top 3. I really would have preferred another round or even just best of 3 which would mean less fluctuation due to sucky prizes or whatever!
The best of 1 meant that some of the 1-counts came up short due to prizing and in game 3 that really hurt. Had I know that it was best of 1 I would have made some different tweaks to the list before hand to improve consistency like I did for the GvC tournament.
I was thankful not to face a single Trevenant since it can really shut down Nightmarch and stop it from getting off the ground. With all of the Zoroarks around though it is a bad play so that checking makes my life easier.
This was a relatively well run event with approx 17 players (14 masters) and the winners got a Ho-Oh-GX tin each with 4 boosters for 2nd and 2 for 3rd place. I got a 4th place Regigigas promo to live in my folder. (See right, English not Japanese!)
Overall I was happy with my performance but was disappointed in the resistance tie breakers. (3 others were 3-1-0) so another round would have been good since you cannot affect how good or bad your opponents perform. Additionally the best of 1 format really hurt me in game 3. None of my games went to time so I think that by adding 20 minutes and having a best of 3 the tournament might give the feeling of a better outcome.
That of course is not to say that the winner, Craig, didn’t deserve it! He too was playing Night March but with 2 Marshadow-GX and a Computer Search. I know he had tough games. Additionally fellow #TeamOddish member Ace Trainer Sarah had 4 tough games so deservedly came 3rd due to resistance.
Overall I had a relatively easy ride in 3 out 4 of my games since none of those opponents were playing tough decks, but it felt like I lost the only game that mattered and mostly due to poor prizing which didn’t help!
Our next event is a Pre-Release (hoping to help Judge) and an Expanded League Challenge in January, before a Standard Format League Cup in Feb for which I think the next block (Ultra Prism) might just be legal.
Since I’m still at max non-cup CP for this quarter I can afford to bring a less serious deck and might try and reform my little Sableye troll/mill deck.