Andrew Tan – Guest Writer’s 2014 World Championship report!
ANDREW TAN-WORLD’S REPORT: INTRODUCTION.
As most of you are aware the Pokemon World championship 2014 has just passed and I would like to take this opportunity to talk about my 2014 Worlds experience. Before I start let me introduce myself – my name is Andrew Tan and I live in Perth Western Australia. I have been playing Pokemon TCG for 10 years now and only started to become competitive this year. Coming in to Australia nationals I came 3rd with Plasma Aromatisse a deck that I have been playing much all season and landed me on a CP of roughly around 400 points which allowed me to qualify for Worlds.
The deck that I decided to play for Worlds is similar to what I played for Nationals. The reason for choosing this deck is mainly because that it had a strong matchup across the board with Flygon/Empoleon/Darkgarb/TDK/Pyroar being the deck I would expect to see at Worlds this year. My deck however struggles with rain dance decks such as Blastoise and Rayboar ,Pyroar that teched Druddigon and Virgen. The beauty of this deck is that you can tech in Pokemon that can swing the matchup to your favour due to the help of both prisms and rainbow energy.
Blastoise and Virgen were not decks that I expect to see with people being uncertain with Pyroar after its success at USA Nats and Blastoise’s poor matchup with darkgarb . After countless practice I was able to finalize my list for worlds. For those unfamiliar with the stradegy of this deck – the main aim of the deck is to tank damage and using fairy transfer to move all the energy away to utilize max potion without discarding all the energy on that Pokemon that you have just max pot. The energy can then be moved back after max potion. I strongly encourage you to try out this deck if given the chance as it is one of the most fun deck to play in the format. Without further a due this was the list I ran for Worlds.
1 Coballion ex
1 Landorus ex
2 Thundurus ex
2 Genesect ex
1 Virizion ex
1 Keldeo ex
1 Giratina ex
1 Deoxys ex
1 Jirachi ex
1 Darkrai ex
4 Professor Sycamore
1 Level ball
4 Ultra ball
1 Team plasma ball
4 Muscle band
3 Max potion
1 Scoop up cyclone
2 Fairy garden
3 Startling megaphone
A few things that may perhaps be unique is perhaps Scoop up cyclone – my choice of ace spec as opposed to the conventional G-booster or Computer search. Scoop up cyclone is amazing in this deck as it provides different functions depending on the situation.
1. I can move all the energy away and scoop up thus providing my 4th max potion.
2. If Garbodor’s garbotoxin is up and my virizion ex can’t be used and I am asleep I can scoop up to retreat.
3. Scoop up a Pokemon that has plasma energy and reuse it on Genesect ex to red signal.
4. Drop Jirachi ex and scooping it up to reuse stellar guidance or even scoop up a Pokemon that may not be desirable for certain matchups but had to drop it since you started with it. This is important as bench space is extremely delicate in this deck and it is important to know what to put out and what to discard.
Thanks to Soren Lau – winner of 2014 Denmark Nats who also ran Plasmatisse for the deck’s skeleton and choice of ace spec.
Cobalion ex is mainly for the TDK matchup, doing 100 with a muscle banded righteous edge was huge as it can be easily sniped later with landorus ex if the opportunity arises.
Keldeo ex was mainly for the big basic garb matchup. During my testing I find the matchup challenging and the only Pokemon that can really swing that matchup to my favor was Keldeo ex which OHKOs landorus ex. Unfortunately not many players played this deck at worldsdue to the popularity of TDK.
Deoxys ex is mainly there for the Yveltal matchup. As I often attack with Thundurus ex – a one energy attacker that hits for 120 with Deoxys ex the opponent’s yveltal needs to charge up a lot of energy to have a chance to OHKO my Thundurus ex. This is where deoxys ex shine.
Mainly for free retreat but another important purpose is for the darkgarb matchup to counter their virbank city gym which they often need to do big knockouts.
During my testing I found that anything less than 2 startling was not enough to break garbotoxin lock. Like all decks that rely heavily on abilities to function 3 was great.
The first day we arrived at Washington DC after a total of 30 hours of flight from Perth. I decided to sleep early to catch up on sleep.
The second day we decided to check the Marriot hotel where most of the Worlds competitor would be staying. We were introduced to the Worlds training room which was located at the bottom floors of the Marriot. The room was where most of the Worlds competitors would do their testing and selling – from deck boxes, singles, plushies, Japanese sleeves it had everything. The room was bustling with competitors, sellers, collectors and traders from all over the world- the atmosphere was amazing and not to mention 24 hours!! During our time at Washington we spent most of our time here and even stayed till 5 am with a few cheeky drinks with the Adelaide boys.
World was in 2 days and all I could remember was play testing non-stop in the player’s meeting room. Big thanks to James Goreing, Billy Coles, Matty Masefield, Daniel Collins, Jake Cruwys and Jordan Palmer for helping me out.
Today was a big day for those who were planning to grind through the grinder and that included Matty, Billy and Steve. This was also the first day that we managed to get to see the place where Worlds 2014 would be held. The first impression of the place was nothing short of spectacular. The mood lights were amazing, the upbeat music roaring in the background and not to mention the hundreds and hundreds of top best international players from all over the world gathering over a hobby that we all share and love.
Almost 500 players grinded with single elimination and a top 4. The top 4 who won grinders were then qualified for Worlds. One can imagine the level of difficulty and the stakes to even get into the top 4 of grinders. Matty Billy and Steve were unfortunately not able to make it. Sorry guys!
The big day is finally here – 250 best players from all over the world with 9 rounds of best of three to make cut. Here is a summary of the matchup. I will try my best to remember the details of each matchup- apologies for any inaccuracies!
ROUND BY ROUND!
Round1: Frank Diaz (us)- Flygon/Dusknoir/Milktank/Mewtwo 1/0/0
Frank is a renowned player and played a deck that I was familiar with but with a twist- Milktank being the attacker as opposed to Accelgor. The deck utilizes both Flygon and Milktank to do damage and Dusknoir to move all the damage on field for knock outs. The deck was quite challenging to deal with as the amount of damage on the field needs to be constantly calculated as Flygon sad slammer ability does damage in between turns. The first round Landorus ex was able to deal with Milktank, Giratina ex was able to deal with an active Flygon hitting it for 180 weakness and Genesect ex to red signal out Dusknoir for the kill. Max potion was extremely important in this matchup as it helps prevent too much damage being stacked on board. Round 1 was in my hands. Round 2 went to time and Frank was 20 damage short in taking all his 6 prizes for the win.
Round 2: Tord Reklev ( Norway) Darkgarb 1/1/0
Being able to get a win round 1 is always a good thing as it builds your confidence. Tord is a Norweigan player and soon realized that he was the national champion for Norway 2014. Tord was playing dark garb matchup which I am quite familar with.
Thundurus ex and Landorus ex were the two Pokemons you need to deal with Yveltal ex and Darkrai ex respectively. Tord’s deck however ran hot and he was able to get a clean win from me and there was nothing I could respond a heavily loaded Yveltal ex with Deoxys ex prized both games.
Round 3 Enzo Castorina (Italy) Pyroar/Accelgor/Trevenant 2/1/0
I was extremely nervous at this point as I can now only afford to tie if I ever want to make cut. Enzo played a deck that I was familiar with but with pyroar. Giratina ex’s shred to deal with pyroar, virizion ex to counter accelgor and genesect to red signal and break away from the item lock were keys in this matchup and I was able to seal the matchup in my favor once all 3 pokemons were up.
Round 4 Fabio de Danielli lona ( Brazil) Darkrai Garbodor 3/1/0
Fabio played Darkgarb. Game 1 he was not able to get garbotoxin lock up and when it is up it is often scrappered away. Game 2 we both drew quite dead but with Thundurus and Landorus providing early pressure it was too much for him to make a comeback late in the game.
Round 5: Benjamin Potter (US) Virgen w/ Roserade 3/1/1
I could not believe virgen was being played. I came into the tournament under the assumption that I will see very little or close to no virgen. I took out most of my virgen counter including Spiritomb and Entei ex which I initially ran at Nats. I knew that this matchup would give me trouble without those 2. Landorus ex was key in this matchup along with small energy attackers such as Thundurus ex. The main goal is to not let the opponent G booster getting rid of all your energies in one swoop. A total of 60 snipe to the opponent’s Genesect ex was sufficient to finish it off with either a Darkrai ex or Genesect ex. Our game went to game 3 and I had the upper hand with not a single powered up Genesect ex on Benjamin’s field, however time was called and we ended up tieing.
Round 6: Calvin Nordberg (US) TDK 3/1/2
At this point I needed 3 consecutive wins to even have a chance to make top cut. I was paired with Calvin and I am proud to say this was not just any ordinary game. This was a game where I was able to build friendship with Calvin. For those who don’t know Calvin came 4th in the US Nats with TDK and I respect him as a player. Our game was extremely entertaining and casual. His TDK was strong and consistent and ran frozen city and laser at the same time. This matchup really depends on how fast his TDK can setup and whether I can stall with a muscle banded cobalion ex while I setup big attackers.
We tied in the end but with how the game was going I believe Calvin had the upper hand when time was called. After our match ended we shook hands and wished each other good luck for our next match. I look forward to seeing you again next year if I qualify again Calvin!
Round 7: Christopher Nguyen 4/1/2 (US) Straight Darkrai
This matchup is extremely favorable for me as I am able to fairy transfer and max potion at ease. He however plays a heavy hammer build which really slows me down. Christopher however flipped quite a few tails on catchers and crushing hammers. Sorry Christopher!
Round 8: Daniel Altavilla 4/2/2 (US) Blastoise
The moment he flipped his card to reveal a Squirtle my heart skipped a beat. This is probably my worst matchup and I did not come prepared for this matchup at all. Game 1 I was able to target the Squirtles with the combination of Virizion ex and red signal Genesect. I managed to knock out a combination of 4 Squirtles and Blastoises leaving me with 2 prizes left. A suprise Giratina ex shred for 180 to his Black Kyurem ex sealed the game. Game 2 I scooped in 5 mins-2 fully charged Black Kyurem ex ready to black ballista back to back I didn’t stand a chance. Game 3 was close but again a strong setup from Daniel and getting an early Blastoise sealed the game.
Round 9 simon narode 4/3/2 (US) Plasmatisse
I had no chance of getting into cut now and decided to make this matchup as enjoyable as I can. Simon Narode was 2013 second place Worlds player and plays a similar deck to mine. The only difference with his deck is that he ran tropical beach for his stadium and runs 2 Darkrai ex for retreating. He also ran frozen wing Kyurem ex and 2 enhanced hammer which really hurts my matchup. Game 1 he scooped in 5 min with an active Giratina ex that was stuck active and drawing dead. Game 2 he knocked out all my Aromatisse with aggressive red signals. Game 3 was quite funny because he red signaled my aromatisse and I also red signaled his aromatisse back. We both couldn’t knock out each other’s aromatisse and as a result they were both stuck active with no way to retreat. No color energy was on board due to the fact that I have been using coballion ex to discard his special and he has been using his enhanced hammers.
This was 2/3 into the game and we both had no way of retreating our now active aromatisse because both his Darkrai ex were prized and I couldn’t draw into my fairy garden. Our aromatisse was stuck active for at least 2 turns and Simon just shouted in disbelief ” OH MY GOD where is your fairy garden?!” I burst out laughing as how ridiculous our field looks – 2 fat fairies not being able to retreat.
That was a summary of my world’s run. Overall it had been a fun experience not to mention the prestigious world merchandise which looks fantastic. I have been extremely blessed to even have the opportunity to be at Worlds this year. I came 74th with 4/3/2 and coming 3rd amongst the masters that came from Australia (better luck next time James – meanwhile here have some salt). Big thanks to the people at West Coast Pokemon league (WCPL) our local Pokemon TCG community for constantly supporting me throughout the journey and making it worthwhile and fun. I would never have been able to achieve this far without the help of my friends.
For those who are reading this I strongly encourage you to reach for the stars and go to worlds once if given the chance as the experience will be unforgettable. As always, the Pokémon World Championships remind us what Pokémon is truly about and what makes it so great. It’s not just a fun game of strategy, but a community based on friendship that spans the entire globe. Till next time!