This weekend saw me attending my 1st Pokemon TCG event in over a year, and my 2nd Pokemon TCG event ever. Going into it, I really had no idea what to expect, as you can tell, I don't have a lot of experience with "competitive Pokemon" though I do have over 230 games of the TCG under my belt, and countless more in the online version. Once settling on a deck, (Vileplume/Vespiquen) I begin playing, testing, and prepping like crazy, both with physical cards and online as well. Here's the deck I ended up bringing to Regionals:
The overall goal is turn 1 lock down anyone playing items with Vileplume, and attacking with Vespiqueen's Bee Revenge. I'm running Toxicroak EX in the deck simply incase I run into someone playing Aegislash EX, which the deck would auto-lose to without. I've added in an extra AZ, as I never want my Vileplume stuck in the active without a stone, as I cannot afford to manually retreat at all. I've also thrown in Misty's Determination, as when the deck gets low enough, she acts as a poor man's computer search. I've also used a Judge, because a 1st turn lock, plus a turn 1 judge, can really make things difficult for the opponent.
One of the things I like about the deck is its level of complexity, and high risk/high reward play style. Again, the ideal set up is locking down items with a set up Vespiquen turn 1, and if I can't do so by T1/T2, then I've probably lost! I did 10 test games where I'd play out 2 turns to see how consistent the deck performed, and here's what I found after 10 games:
Turn 1 Item lock - 60% of games
Lock by Turn 2 - 90% of games
Vespiquen set T1 - 40% of games
Vespiquen set by T2 - 70% of games
Float Stone on Vileplume T1/T2 - 50%
Average Vespiquen damage T1/T2 - 90
I'm not sure if these overall stats are good/bad, but they are what they are. It's pretty consistent with locking early on, but there was 1 game where I didn't get it. Likewise, I was able to get Vespiquen set up early on, but not as often. I do feel that the damage output is a bit low, given the number of 170+ hp EX's floating around, and Vespiquen's low 90 hp. I can get OHKOed, while I'm forced to 2-hit in return, of which I can at max do 4 times if all the cards align correctly.
On Saturday, heading into Regionals, and given my lack of experience, I was honestly hoping I'd still be able to win 1 match! There were 177 players registered for the Masters division...
|1/4 of the Crowd/Event Space|
Game 1: Loss vs Glaceon
I should have won this one, and I'm not just saying that, but I made a few too many misplays that cost me. (I'm chalking this loss up to nerves, for sure) My opponent scooped round 1, and ended up winning round 2. Round 3, I should have been able to donk his Shaymin ex, but I filled up my bench prior to drawing an unown, and bee revenged,leaving him just 10 hp. Had I not dropped the extra combee, that Unown would have won me the match, instead I decked myself out when the game went to time...
Game 2: Win vs Malamar/Yveltal
I quickly won the first match. 2nd match, I had a rough start, with all my Shaymins getting prized. I tried to hold out, and was in a decent spot until I lost the lock, and my opponent used a VS seeker to Xerosic and get rid of my deck's final DCE. I scooped that game. Went first in round 3, got the Vileplume and Vespiquen set, and he ended up scooping just prior to time being called. The win was given to me, but hey, I'll take it...
Game 3: Loss vs Mantectric
I flat out last this one. Partly due to poor draws both games, but also just because I couldn't OHKO his Manectrics and Mega Manectric, while he could easily 1-shot my Vespiquens. I ended up scooping both games after it became clear I couldn't win either one either through losing all my attackers and/DCE's...
Game 4: Loss vs Darkrai
I started off well, snagging an easy first round win. I ended up with a terrible hand in round 2, that after 2 or 3 turns, I just scooped so I could choose to go first in round 3. Round 3 was a good match. I got the lock off, and a Vespiquen, that was hitting for 130. The only downside was that I could not build a 2nd Vespiquen, as I pitched 1 combee early on to fix my poor hand, and the other two were prized. As I didn't have a backup Vespiquen, I ended up playing a bit reserved, I really couldn't leave her exposed in the active. Sadly, despite having several opposing EX's that had a lot of damage built up, I was not able to pull them up for the KO, and my opponent stalled it out long enough for me to deck myself.
After that, I ended up dropping with a 1-3 record.
|Lunch was good...|
... And there you have it, that was my 1st Regionals experience! I came in with a goal to at least win 1 match, which I did... Sort of. I'd have to say, barring the two noob mistakes that cost me the game, I really think my 1st match was my best. The deck ran exactly as it was supposed to, but I personally dropped the ball on that one. I hate to make excuses, but it felt like all the other matches after that first were real struggles, with the wrong things getting prized, and lots of bad hands that were a struggle to fix. The deck can be good, but it really didn't seem to shut down anyone as completely as it did in the test games I played. Guess that goes to show you, you never know what you'll end up facing for sure until you get there!
I will say this, obviously, Dark Types with Darkrai and Yveltal were EVERYWHERE! I also expected to see Night March, but outside 1 or 2 decks, I really didn't see or hear of them. Jolteon EX made some appearances from what I noticed. EDIT: After following up with a fellow player, it turns out there were more Night Match decks than I thought, his friend faced Night March every single match! (Why couldn't I had gotten so lucky?!?!)
In regards to my deck, personally, I never used the Bunnelby. I tended to pitch him for an ultra ball, or from a compressor. Often times I lacked the bench space or the DCE to run him. The Toxicroak was in there just for the Aegislash match up, which I do know that someone brought, but he may not have honestly been enough, not without Verbank City Gym in the deck. I made room in my deck for an extra AZ, which I did find really useful almost every game. An extra Lysander or maybe some VS Seekers would have been nice, because being able to pull up a weakened EX could have saved me, especially in the last match. (Though the item lock could have made VS Seekers hard to use). Another option would have been some puzzle of times to pull something useful back in, like DCEs or some Vespiquens. The issue is, how to fit all this useful stuff in without ruining the deck's consistency. One of the other things I noticed is that I'd have a good 1st round, and typically a bad hand/prizes in the 2nd, with the 3rd being the deciding match, and all but 1 match went to round 3. Really, I think if I get a poor start in round 2, I should just scoop, take the loss, and restart rather than eat up too much time fighting an up hill battle.
Again, I had a lot of fun, and met a lot of cool people from allover the US. Really, I just wanted to see what events like these were like. Honestly, at the moment, all I want to do is play more Pokemon! I would like to be able to attend these types of events more often. I'd love to do something like attend States, Nationals, etc, but I really need more experience in competitive Pokemon. I think I'll continue to play in the local league, compete in league challenges, and larger events when I can. Maybe one day, I'll have enough experience, and luck, to win one of these larger scale events. All that said, I'm not a big fan of the expanded format as whole, and I wish there were more standard events out there. I still look forward to seeing a lot of the old cards rotating out one day, but that is a story for another time...
Until next time,
- WuhSawBe -