Expanded League Challenge – Southampton

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:

Round 1 -Ryan- Solgaleo/Metagross

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.

Result: Win

Round 2 -Rachel- Lunala-GX

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.

Result: Win

Round 3 -Liton- Lycanroc/Zoroark/Buzzwole

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.

Result: Loss

Round 4 – Andrew- Lurantis/Golisopod

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

Result: 3-1-0

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.

Conclusions:

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.

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!

 

 

 

League Challenge – 1st Place!

On Saturday 7th October Cat & I went to our first league challenge. We’d previously been to a League Cup in nearby Portsmouth. Although I placed mid-ranking (3/2/0) with Metagross-GX it wasn’t a strong showing. However I learned a lot from that in terms of how tournaments actually run in terms of timing and organisation. The 2 main things lessons learned from this were;

#1 – Make sure your opponent is aware that they have hit time and are on turn 0/3 – because if only you know then it’s not time (apparently). I couldn’t read my opponents mind to know that they didn’t know, so you have to verbally confirm basically.

#2 – Even if it hits time, don’t rush because it isn’t over. In the same game we missed resistance from my Metagross-GX on damage from Necrozma-GX so it should have survived and the game be a tie. Although it should have been over a turn earlier and thus a loss and thus a matchup to Volcanion and thus a 2nd loss… and so on and so forth!

Secret Lesson #3 – Don’t ruminate. Yeah I screwed up badly in terms of missing the resistance, (so did my opponent) but the key is to remember it, learn it and move on rather than letting it fester.

Thankfully these lessons were implemented in the slightly smaller (16 adults, 2 kids) local League Challenge. I had been playtesting Night Marshadow with success except via Trevenant. Online anything with Karen proved difficult too. Although if they hadn’t those cards it was an almost guaranteed win, if they did have them and played sensibly that went down to maybe a 20% win rate. With both Karen and Oricorio (sensu) being popular and literally only needing to be a 1-of in a deck I reconsidered and went for ‘Toto & The Blacksmiths’. It sounds like a bad band from the 70s but is basically Volcanion/Turtonator. (Turtonator-GX being the eponymous ‘Toto’)

League Challenge DeckLeague Challenge Toto List

Round 1 – Andrew – GolisopodGX+Lurantis

Unfortunately Andrew had prized 2/3 DCE and was universally weak to me. I accelerated rapidly with Kiawe and began to power through his grass Pokémon until he ran out after I had taken 3 prizes. He did try to put my main Pokémon to sleep to buy some time but I woke up and burned through to round 2

Round 2  – Litten – GolisopodGX+Garbodor

My opponent was convinced that I was running Night March so when I flipped over a Volcanion-EX it was a surprise. There was a little horse trading and we came quite close on prizes. I had a stuck Volcanion-EX who was unable to attack next turn but by Lysandre-ing my Shaymin-EX for 2 easy prizes it meant I could promote my powered up Turtonator-GX and Bright Flare to victory.

Round  3 – Cat – Trevenant (Forest’s Curse)

Not being fans of IDing we proceeded with the game despite playing each other a lot! (You can read about Cat’s deck in this article) Cat started strong and proceeded to evolve to Trevenant to item lock me and overall had a strong start. We had a couple of turns where I could only Shell Trap and accumulate useless items in my hand! However I managed to pull back before Necromza-GX hit the field with a Prof. Sycamore discarding an 8 card hand of mostly useless items. Turtonator-GX managed to Bright Flare away one Trevenant BREAK after another until I had won. Unfortunately for Cat her hand stalled out and my  deck managed to pull out ahead once I hit the draw supporter.

Special mention must be made to Rob who loaned us a Trevenant on the day. We only had 3, my attempts to procure one resulted in ‘Trumbork‘ (a German language Trevenant) which we were told (incorrectly) was not valid for play so Cat was looking at a sub-optimal deck for the day. This was made extra frustrating once we found out that any EU language cards (French, Spanish, German etc) were to be allowed!

Round 4 – Craig- Volcanion-EX/Turtonator-GX/Tauros-GX

My opponent won the flip and we knew that we had 90% similar decks (I had 2 Shaymin-EX and Acerolla, he had 1 Shaymin-EX, 1 Tauros-GX and no Acerolla)

He opted to go first and setup with Kiawe for 4 energy onto a Volcanion-EX. I managed to Ultra Ball dropping 2 energy and then using Blacksmith to attach them onto my Volcanion-EX for the knockout. There was a bit of horse trading and I had injured his Tapu Lele-GX for 100 damage with baby Volcanion. At one point my hand of Blacksmith and energy was N-ed away but each exchange was carefully measured. There was a benched Tauros-GX waiting to sweep in late game so I had to be careful and soon we were down to 2 prizes each.

I was trying not to give my hand away by pokerfacing until my opponent had taken his turn as once again sitting on Blacksmith and energy meant that I was in a strong position to pull ahead. It felt as though there were many parts to a puzzle and I had sufficient resources to solve it once I had figured it out. Of course I knew my opponent was thinking the same thing!

However I managed to VS Seeker to retrieve Guzma to pull in the Tapu Lele-GX and swap my Volcanion-EX who had attacked in the previous turn (meaning he couldn’t attack again this turn) for my Shaymin-EX who rapidly retreated to reset the Volcanic Heat on Volcanion-EX to hit again for weakness and KO. I also had a Ho-Oh-GX who I was thinking about using to snipe away at his injured Lele but as it was 110/170 I would have had to have attacked twice which probably would have been a turn too late. Thankfully getting the VS Seeker enabled me to close the game for a 4-0-0 victory!

Wrapping Up the League Challenge

Less fortunate were the pulls from the Tsareena-GX box that I won! Do’h! Still I got delicious delicious victory points* and some semi-useful stuff including a Raichu-BREAK and a Heavy Ball. More importantly were the trades and

Not bad for my 2nd ever Pokémon event!

Just for full disclosure I have played other CCGs including Magic: the Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh but never at a serious level. I have played some MTG pre-release and FNM style events but again never did very well because I tended to use decks I wanted rather than good meta calls.

Similarly having an amazingly supportive partner (and worthy opponent!) also helps. Finally being part of a community where people support and are for each other is amazing. Case in point; Rob had played me once before (he was the fire player that stomped my Metagross-GX at the last Po Town Cup event!) and happily offered to loan us the Trevenant for the duration which made Cat’s day a lot better! I find that I have made more friends from Pokémon than other CCGs which seemed more combative by comparison – but that’s a rant for another day!

*deliciousness may vary on your tastes

Lessons Learned

Consistency is key! There was a point in game 2 where my 2nd Shaymin-EX was prized and it was what I was Ultra Ball-ing for. Similarly in game 3 I needed a Tapu Lele-GX to get Blacksmith and I almost didn’t find the ‘Lele  (it was on top of my deck!) Ideally I’d have a 2nd Tapu Lele-GX if I had the space but fortunately it wasn’t prized in a single game. Thankfully only in 2 games was one of my Shaymin-EX prized but I drew them early on and so it wasn’t a massive issue in the grand scheme of things.

Patience – Pokémon is odd in that it expects you to do things almost continuously. I prefer to take an extra 30 seconds or a minute to think about everything I’m going to do and then do it all at once. I find it frustrating in the online version when the timer ticks down despite me having lots of time in my timer! It expects you to do things one after the other quite rapidly.

If someone starts pressuring me then I loose my train of thought, have to tell them that they’ve interrupted me and that I just need a minute to think. Most people are OK as long as you don’t exploit it to stall the clock. In real life Pokémon you can take a little bit more time than online to plan out your moves and consider the options and then do things quickly.

Online is often slower since there’s clicking and animations and stuff, although it’s quicker for things like shuffling and damage calculations. So some and some!

Sportsmanship – all of my opponents were brilliant and friendly. The last game, while tense (purely in terms of the thinking!) at times, was also marked by periods of calm too. We gave each other the time and space to think so that we played our best game possible which was simply brilliant.

The spectators were interesting too as some were about to clearly discuss tactics or strategies which of course isn’t allowed within proximity to the game. Maybe I’m paranoid, but if being watched from behind I tend to play with my hand of cards almost horizontally so that no-one can see my cards and accidently (or otherwise) give away what I have or am about to do. I’m sure it didn’t matter but it made me feel better!

I know often that spectators comments are motivated by the desire to help but unfortunately it disrupts the game and is against the rules. That being said I know that our judge was vigilant about ensuring there was no coaching! (Not that any of my opponents needed help, they were formidable by themselves!)

Closing Thoughts

Next Friday (13th Oct) sees another League Challenge in the Standard format in Portsmouth (aka Po Town). I am unsure weather to go strong or bring a more ‘rogue deck’ for the experience. At the moment I’m thinking that if I’m going to go the effort of getting a lift from a friend to get there I should probably bring my A-game and so may try and take a Standard variant of this deck. Watch this space!