Local League Life

Local League & Life

So real life has been quite busy lately and after the 3-tournament bender I’ve not really been at my local league for a few weeks- although that changed last Saturday. Although the day was glorious, it was nice and air conditioned in Nerd World and I hadn’t played cards in a little while so I was itching!

Helping The Next Generation

Golisopod GXI ended up helping one of the seniors with his deck construction for the League Cup next week (I can’t attend due to Birthday reasons). The conversation sort of came down to ‘Don’t play Zoropod/Goligarb if you have 1 Lele and 1 Brigette – play a deck that requires 1 Lele – like Buzzwole!’

In this instance, the limiting factor for him is access to specific cards – namely Tapu Lele-GX & more than 1 Brigette. However this same person has a SR Lele and Ultra Ball – and isn’t a serious or organised collector. In my mind it would be better to trade your £50-70 SR Lele for 2 playable regular ones because you’ll get more mileage out of them. Obviously his choices are his own, and I’ve not been 14 for a long time so I forget the logic. I did explain this to him, and he might take it on board, although I guess if you’re reading this you too know the curse of ‘shiny cardboard syndrome’!

I ain’t no cheap ass!

Anyway, he was invested in Goli/Garb but without the fundamental components. I see this a lot at our local league – someone will spend £50 on say 3 Gardevoir-GX but not on a Lele (or 2) because their deck is ‘A Gardevoir Deck’ and not ‘A Lele Deck’. The same people overlook the vital components- playsets of staples such as Ultra Ball, N, Cynthia, Guzma, Sycamore, 2-3 of  Brigette, Skyla  and Acerola, but have awesome Pokémon.

Awesome Pokémon – in decks that fail to work because they haven’t seen the need to invest in staples that can be used in literally *every* deck that they could build. I just don’t get it. I have explained it at length to kids and several adults at league and they still don’t get it. It could be the sunken cost fallacy – they’ve bought their playset of Buzzwole but don’t want to spend more to make it work ‘because it’s crap’ (but then buy 3-4 Zoroarks to shift to that deck). I’m not a social scientist so human behaviour baffles my mind!

Then there’s the financing issue which I get being an unemployed hobo myself (turns out teaching and panic attacks aren’t a good mix!) but there’s a thing called trading. I’m not sure that its emphasised enough (it *is* in the title of the game!!)  -suffice to say if you open packs eventually you pull something that someone else wants. Although what seems to happen is that the ‘Gollum tendencies’ come out and we get attached to the full art or secret rare or whatever – even though we literally have no use for it. Again this is fine, people have free will to attach whatever values to whatever pieces of cardboard with pictures of cartoon animals that they want. We all do it. But don’t do it and complain that you can’t ‘afford’ Leles when you buy an ETB or 10 packs a week because that’s just dumb.

Anyway, this senior, his local league competition is stiff, and two in particular don’t have the same limitations in terms of access to cards (or $!) that he does. The real world strikes again.  His rivals can build most meta-relevant decks, and relish in crafting their decks to beat this guy since his skill level is probably on a par with them, it’s just that his deck isn’t. So they tend to choose decks based on what he’s playing to the point that at league when he asked for some advice about a deck he’d been brewing they literally come over to have a nose (or a scout?). They see his Golisopod-GX, and then say ‘Lol Ho-Oh Kiawe next week’ to try and rattle him. They know he can’t respond with ‘Lol Greninja to you, now bugger off!’ because he doesn’t have Greninja, and if he did they could just bring Bulu anyway. They have Rock Paper and Scissors, he only has Rocks. At the end of the day they’re kids being kids it happens, but when someone doesn’t want to share a decklist they need to respect that boundary. They didn’t and that slightly ticks me off.

Buzzwole-GX

So we’re practicing and I explain why the deck needs 4 Ultra Ball (yes Heavy ball gets some bits but….!), 2-3 Lele and 2 Brigettes to be able to set up and get out of sticky situations via Ultra Ball – Lele – Sycamore (or whatever). We swapped over and he seemed to have a good handle on running Buzzwole. So long sotry short he’s running my fully loaded Buzzwole deck. I don’t like people being obnoxious or unsportsmanlike and felt this guy needed a chance so this time I hope Superfly catches them by surprise and puts another notch in the trophy belt.

Forbidden Light Playtesting

I then managed to squeeze in some games against VoluntaryReboot with her neo-BuzzRoc against Malamar/Ultra Necrozma/Dusk-Wings (neo-Eels?). It was good fun and I can see why Psychic is going to be a thing, but also how Buzzwole has gotten even better – despite not actually managing to get a Beast Ring to work in our 3 games.

While Forbidden Light isn’t legal until after the next event, it’s still nice to get playtesting early and give ideas a solid test.

This will probably be the last entry for another little while as the next two weekends are busy – but I’m not gone anywhere, blog posts will return!

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*