Hello Some1spc readers! This is Israel back at it again with another article. I know it’s been a long while since I posted my last article but happy to write again and share some thought for the next set. In this article, I will discuss my month break, my Nationals run, and some theory updated lists for the new set to test for the Anaheim open and Worlds
The Month Break
In my last article, I mentioned that I was going to take a break after Seattle and I knew that if I was going to make top 16 then I had to perform well here to make it where Nationals could keep me in the Day 2 race. So, I practiced for multiple weeks with Water Box and felt confident that this was the deck that was going to lead me to my 6th win. I get there Friday and tested a little bit with Russell, sleeved up the deck, and prepared myself for the long day.
R1 Volcanion WW
R2 Xerneas/Dragonite WW
R3 Vespiquen (Finalist) WLW
R4 Alolan Ninetales LWL
R5 DecidueyePlume LL
R6 WaterBox Mirror LWW
R7 DrampaGarb LWT
R8 DecidueyePlume WW
R9 Lurantis/Golisopod WW (Don’t know how)
I finished the first day 6-2-1, going through 4 grass decks to get me to day 2. Looking at the standings I saw that only 8 decks, including myself, were not Garb decks. Luckily, I practiced a lot against this deck before Seattle and played it in Round 7, which gave me a better idea on how to approach it.
R10 Tauros Garb WW
R11 Espeon Garb LWW
R12 Espeon Garb LWW
R13 Drampa Garb ID
R14 Vesiquen (finalist) ID
T8 DrampaGarb (Eventual Winner) LWL
My Cinderella run ended in top 8 against Sam Chen. It was close series and I learned a lot from that series on my mistakes and what to change if I was going to take this deck to Nationals.
My Month Break
So, I got back from Seattle with another close finish and was now on the month break. The purpose of this month break is to get away from the grind and traveling in order to relax. For those of you who are thinking about going full competitive for next season and traveling everywhere, let me tell you that it was 100 percent worth it. You get to experience different parts of the country along with different countries and see different kinds of things depending on what you seek in a trip. I do not regret one second of this season, even if I don’t get top 16. However, the downside is that it does become stressful and the game itself becomes like a job. Even though I enjoyed all the traveling, the game itself becomes a pattern and it’s not as fun, and it even becomes annoying when you’re not winning. Also, it’s expensive and it slows down quite a lot if you hit any slump. For next year, I will only go for my invite and nothing more, I want to slow down on the full competitive year, just for one season. So, during this break, I pretty much worked and attended a festival in Las Vegas called Electric Daisy Carnival. It’s a 3-day Musical festival that had a bunch of DJs and groups that perform all night. If you like EDM then I definitely recommend you attend at least once and enjoy the good vibes and music. After I got back from Vegas, I started to get these shocks in the back of my neck for no apparent reason and it was going on for hours. So, I went to my primary doctor to see what’s going on and he was unsure of the diagnosis. He told me to wait one more day to see if I get any soreness and to get x-rays in my head to see it’s not a mental illness or anything. So, I couldn’t work and possibly couldn’t go to Nationals if it’s serious. Luckily, I got a severe soreness in the back of my neck the following day and called my primary doctor and said to head over right away and turns out it was a physical injury and it shouldn’t be serious. I couldn’t work the rest of the week, but I was able to travel and compete. So, I started testing some ideas after the clear and decided that Water Box is probably my best choice due to how comfortable I am and how well I can pilot the deck. So, the journey is set and now that I have the deck and a ride to get there, let’s go to Nationals.
North American Nationals
I did the math and I would have to at least make it to day 2 of Nationals to secure my top 16 spot for North American Rankings and a Day1 Bye at Worlds. How far, I have no clue, but I know that to make top 16 I need to make it at least top 32 or better. So, I took my weekend that I couldn’t work very seriously with testing and felt confident in my choice the day I was going to leave. That Tuesday night, I got picked up by my group and we started our annual road trip to Nationals. In this road trip, we didn’t have anything crazy on the way there as we usually do in the past years, but we did have our battery died in New Mexico, which ended up being only a 2-hour detour, for a total of 30 hrs. We finally get to Indianapolis at 3 in the afternoon and met up with everyone. When we got there, Chris Trabuco and I walked to get registered as well as get the stuff that they gave and unfortunately I lost my promo Double Colorless Energy in the first 3 minutes because I dropped it and a kid picked it up and didn’t realize it was mine. I didn’t really care about that, and we walked back to the hotel and started to test and meet up with others. Unfortunately, as the day progressed, the worse my migraine was developing. Around 9 o’clock we got back to the hotel and I just passed out with the worst pain. So, I didn’t get to go test at all for the rest of the night, and I still woke up at 7 in the morning with the same pain. It was miserable pain and it stayed until just before the first round. All I know was that it’s all or nothing for this day and regardless how well I do, I was going to keep my head up and prepare for the big tournament in August.
Round 1 vs Turbo Dark
I started off the day with a great start and I knew if I could draw this well, I could make it. Game 1 my opponent starts with double Darkrai, he Max Elixir’d and got two energies, played Hex Maniac, then passed. I played Pokémon Fan Club to set up a board, followed by a Collect. He drew passed and Lapras just caused absolutely havoc, causing my opponent to scoop. Game 2 wasn’t much different, Lapras was too aggressive for his board state and conceded the match.
Round 2 vs Lycanroc/Zoroark/Tapu Lele
I was facing against Ahmed and we were asked to go on stream before we even set up. Before I continue this round, I must state a fun fact, on the official Pokémon stream I am 0-4-2 and on the backup stream I am 1-0-1. I was a little discouraged, but I knew that I was confident for the day and maybe today would be my first win on the official stream. Game 1 I go off with an explosive start and get multiple energies in the early turns, while my opponent was setting up a board but couldn’t find an energy. He N’s me to 3 and while he was drawing his six cards, he looks at his hand and just grabs all the cards and conceded the game. Game 2 was also looking strong for me even with a slow start, but the power of Lycanroc was picking off my weak support Pokémon. It came down to a scenario where if he doesn’t pick off my Manaphy on his next turn, I will win. With the one card hand he had, he draws for turn, plays Sycamore, got an energy and Lycanroc to take his last two prizes. Game 3 I get an explosive start, then I started to hit awkward hands that I couldn’t use because of no water energy in the discard, coupled with missing 3 Max Elixir in this game. I took the early prizes against him and just one Lycanroc proceeded to take 6 prizes away from me. Of course, this is my luck in the mainstream. I knew that losing early is always a bad thing for me.
Round 3 vs Espeon/Garb/Passimian
I was little upset about my last round since I felt like I could have won that series and felt I threw away the game, but I couldn’t let it bug me. So, I sat down and the guy was from South Carolina, seems like a nice guy and we were talking about Bob Jones University since my dad went there. Game 1 started immediately rough, in my opening hand I had only item cards with Oranguru start. He went first and evolved Eevee with energy evolution and used Bridgette to get 3 Trubbish down. So, I draw and hit a Sycamore. Unfortunately, I HAD to use Ultra ball for Tapu Lele and N, because I didn’t want to lose 2 Max Elixir and 2 Aqua Patch. From the N I got a similar hand and eventually I burned enough items where I lost the game. Game 2 I got a friendlier start and have Lapras active. It went perfect for me and kept the amount of items low in my discard and was still taking knockouts. Game 3 well…. same thing as game one, but I started with Articuno and 5 energies and a Professor Kukui. The first 4-5 turns I was literally running for dear life until I hit a supporter. Eventually I did and it became a game. I knew time was close and I knew I was not going to win since I basically ran out of energy and decided to Lysandre his Garbotoxin Garbodor that had an attached choice band and just passed. My opponent looked at his hand for a bit and N his hand away. So again, I just drew and passed. He top decks his final Field Blower and got his garb out of active and just proceeded to take his final 3 prizes.
Round 4 vs Drampa/Zoroark
I played against a PokeDad and we had a nice conversation about the website and why we were lacking in articles. Eventually we got everything straightened out and played our game. Game 1 we both got a decent start and made fair exchanges in prizes. There was a point where he was missing one of the pieces and decided to scoop the game. Game 2 I opened with Articuno and had probably the worse hand I ever seen, it was extremely unplayable and I knew that this game is going to end in two turns if he doesn’t N. He attaches a dark energy to his active Drampa, plays Team Magma Base, and N. I showed him my hand (for some reason I do out of habit to make a joke) and got myself probably THE best hand I ever seen. I got water energies, Ultra Ball, Oranguru, and Sycamore. Then played out my hand, got an Elixir from Oranguru, followed by my Sycamore which hit energy, Choice Band, and Energy Switch to one shot his Drampa. From there it was all but over and he just conceded the match to me.
Round 5 vs Espeon/Garb/Drampa
I played a girl from Argentina and she was extremely friendly. I can tell she had a little bit of a hard time talking in English and usually what I do when I play against someone from Latin America is I ask if they are more comfortable talking in English or Spanish, because I understood Spanish. She preferred Spanish and we continued talking before the round starts. Game 1 started out as a close game, until she just attacked my Glaceon with Psybeam and I return KO’d the damaged Espeon with my Lapras, accompanied by a Hex Maniac. She proceeds to Ultra Ball and grab Tapu Lele and grabs Sycamore, but before she played it down I look at my discard to see if I have Lysandre to get another KO until I noticed the Hex Maniac. I stopped her before she did anything else and reminded her about the Hex. So, we had to call a judge and luckily nothing crazy happened, but I got a warning and she had to give me a prize for the error. So, we played out a turn or two more and she just scooped. Game 2 I honestly can’t remember details about this one, but I remember it came down to her no card hand and she had to topdeck a Lysandre to win and if not, I win…. So she tops decked the Lysandre of course and won the game. Game 3 was back and forth and we both knew time was very close. She N’s me to 2 and kills a Lapras luckily, I had Oranguru and drew two options. One, I can N and kill her active and hope she doesn’t draw energy, or I can Lysandre her Drampa and Ice Beam GX it and then proceed to kill it. It was risky either way, but I took the chance to Lysandre the Drampa. She knew that play was coming and played her own Lysandre on my Oranguru, as well as getting Garbotoxin online. Unfortunately for her I had Olympia in my hand and proceeded to win the series.
Round 6 vs Volcanion
This series is not much to discuss, he was an extremely nice kid and was a good sport about it. Just for highlights Articuno took 6 prizes by itself Game 1 and Game 2, 2 Lapras took 6 prizes in just 3 turns. He whiffed a lot and even then, it was not pretty.
Round 7 vs Alolan Ninetails
So, before this round I knew I was extremely close to making it and if I keep hitting these kinds of matchups I will make it. So, I played against Isaiah Rufus, a player that I played against last year with his Greninja deck. We had a horrible series the last time we played, he dead drew games 1 and 3 and destroyed me Game 2. So, I was kind of hoping the same thing will happen. He opens Vulpix and I was like please don’t be Metagross or Decidueye. He Ultra Ball’d away a water energy so I knew it was Alolan Ninetales. We had very good exchanges and I thought I was going to take a huge lead with an Ice Beam on a Ninetales, but he Ultra Balls for a Tapu Lele and grabs Pokémon Center Lady. That def swung the game state into his favor, but luckily I got the KO right after. We were even on prizes with both of us having 3. He took the next KO and I N him to 1 card. With my 3 card hand I got Ultra Ball and use it to search my deck. In this search, I looked to see if I have one more Energy and Lysandre and if so I win. I looked and had no more Energy and scooped. Game 2 I was falling all over the place and it looked like a quick sweep until late game I hit him with an N to either 2 or 1, coupled with Ice beam GX. I knew that if he has a way out of the paralysis, I lose, but if he doesn’t then it’s all in with Articuno hoping I hit 2 heads to take my last 3 prizes. He had 2 Octillery on his board and started to burn his hand down multiple times, but kept missing it and finally passed. So, I top decked a VS Seeker and played Kukui, which hit a Choice Band. So, all I needed was one heads to win the game and I got it on my second flip. Game 3, well, game 3 is where it went downhill. I literally dead drew and didn’t hit anything I needed to keep the game relevant. He proceeded to take his 6 prizes with no struggle and just like that I was knocked out of the tournament.
Round 8 vs Espeon/Garb/Drampa
So, I knew I was in trouble and that I need to at least get some points on the board, but the way the players from 12-16th was going I knew I was out. So, I played against another play from Argentina and he was extremely nice and hilarious dude. Game 1 he didn’t draw anything but was having fun with the bad game and I took 5 prizes before he got a supporter to make it a game. Game 2 he got some quick KOs from my slow start and eventually I just lose due to the number of items in my discard. Game 3 was hands down the most stressful game I played all day. The only part that is worth mentioning was when we were the 3-3 prize mark. The game slowed completely down and we were literally switching to different attackers, I only had Glaceon and Articuno on board with energy with a damaged Lapras. Now that I think about it, I don’t remember anything besides the 4 turns of me using Chilling Sigh with Articuno to set up a 3-prize play. He killed my Lapras with Espeon and I killed his Espeon with Glaceon. So, he was low on cards, but had no more Lysandre to kill my Glaceon, which he eventually realizes and just scoops the series. There was more to it than that, but I’m running blank besides the part I mentioned.
Round 9 vs Bulu Volt
It was time for the last round and I wanted to finish strong, so I played against one of the people from Dead Draw Gaming and he was extremely nice and asked do I even want to play it out, or just take a draw. I had nothing to lose, so I decided to play it out since were already here. Bad mistake on my part, because on game 1 he opened a Grubbin and then he dropped a Tapu Bulu. I knew it was over, but was still willing to play it out. The series didn’t go well and me drawing into horrendous hands didn’t help.
So, another Nationals added to the list of horribleness and now added another year of me not making to day 2 of a National (4th straight). I didn’t get too bitter because I knew that relying on Nationals was going to be hard, but I know that I must practice a lot if I want to make it through Day 1 of Worlds.
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