Ellis’ Canberra City Championships 2015 Tournament Report
Have you ever seen the movie ‘How to lose a guy in ten days’? No? Don’t worry; it’s not very good. It was made back in 2003- years before the lead, Matthew McConaughey, was recognised for any serious, noteworthy acting.
Similarly, no one seemed to care about my playing career until recently, when Jake Cruwys selected me as his fifth pick in the Ace Trainer 2014/2015 player draft and Marcus Raj questioned it. Well my only question is, why wasn’t I first pick? Surely my single ever top cut (Top 8 at Sydney City Championships 4 years ago) would have put me in pole position.
Coincidentally, after the reduction to a 200 championship point worlds qualification requirement I decided that this year would be the year I took tournaments seriously, so preparations for my first city championships of 2015 (Canberra) included asking Shane Quinn for a deck and then lots of indoor rock climbing.
Fast forward through a couple of weeks of calloused climber’s fingers and Latissimus Dorsi development, it was the night before the tournament. Myself, Shane and all our friends (and Paul) made up the Sydney contingent of nine driving down to Canberra. We met up halfway between my home and MYass (see: McDonalds Yass Sign) at Goulburns Maccas – our rendezvous hotspot (highlights include the Big Merino and a side road to the abattoir).
We then continued on to our accommodation – a 10 person lodge located close to the Exhibition Park in Canberra (where the tournament would be held). It was here, at approximately 11pm, that I finally saw the deck that I would play. Some deck testing (but not by me – I sleeved half the deck then couldn’t be bothered…) and discussion about the expected meta occurred, but after all that, everyone decided that they would play whatever they wanted because YOLO (see: Ten dollars a pop). We finally retired at 1am, and got 3 hours sleep, waking at 6.30am for the tournament (yes, that’s how math works).
About the Tournament:
The Tournament: 29 Masters, 5 rounds of Swiss, Top 8 with Top 4 points
My deck: Yveltal/ Mega Manectric
Other decks: This was an incredibly diverse field. I saw night march, Flareon, Fairies (many variants), Metal, Pyroar, VirGen, Fighting, Donphan, Seismitoad/ Slurpuff, Yveltal, Shiftry- the list goes on! In a field of only 29 masters, this meant that you weren’t likely to face the same deck twice. It kept the tournament very interesting- and a little scary for some who were worried about facing a specific deck!
Round 1 Vs. Paul Coletta (Night March)
What a match! It was a contender for play of the day on Channel 10 but unfortunately something about tennis… something.
Game 1 took 40 minutes to complete. It was an epic prize trade that came down to Paul with 1 prize to take and myself with 2. He was very efficient with his deck thinning, and I managed to KO active pokemon and bench sitters using Darkrai EX to keep the prize trade even.
I had also, through the course of the game, placed 60 damage on a Leafeon through two oblivion wings, had a Darkrai EX active with enough energy to use Dark Spear, Lysandre in hand and a bench target with less than 90 HP. It was at this point that I realised my error earlier in the game. I had placed a muscle band on the Darkrai EX instead of the baby Yveltal, meaning I was now 10 damage short of a double KO and the win. If I attacked with Darkrai, I would fall to a waiting Flareon, and lose the game by 1 prize.
So I promoted Mega Manectric EX (which had enough health to survive Flareon’s vengeance) to KO leafeon, and played N to drop Paul’s hand to 2. This was in an effort to prevent a Lysandre. Of course, he drew a hand that included Jirachi EX, and he had a Lysandre left in deck.
Game 2 went to time and neither player drew all prizes.
Round 2 Vs. Derrick Yap (Fighting/ Manectric)
Mr. Yap. We meet again. I saw his name next to mine on the pairings, and headed over to see my charming (and I’ve now decided, Canberra arch-nemesis) looking dapper in a blue flannel shirt. He even gave me some head ringers to put on my Pokémon throughout the game! What a gentleman.
Anyway, game 1 started with Derrick showing a lone Terrakion (Retaliate) and a very poor hand. I started with Yveltal EX with a dark energy and I had a Colress and N in hand. I chose to play neither of them, noting that my opponent had done barely anything on his turn, and a colress for 1 was ridiculous.
Derrick dropped 2 special fighting energy on to his terrakion and hit me with retaliate- still without any benched pokemon. My turn came, and I realised I was in a potentially winning position. I dropped the DCE on the Yveltal and did some quick math, noting that I only needed a muscle band (of which there were three in deck) to win that turn. In my greed, I played an N.
I missed the muscle band, hit for 120, and brought my opponent back in to the game. I had just needed to wait a turn, not played N, and kept Evil Ball/ Y-cycloning and I would have had that game. As it turned out, the rest of that game was a blur of headringers and me being punched in the face for weakness because both shadow circles were prized and the only pokemon I kept drawing in to was Manectric EX.
During game two, I drew absolutely no supporters, and was KO’d very quickly.
I think I’ve played Derrick Yap at every Canberra city championships I have ever been to. And I’ve never won against him. So, come Canberra regionals, Mr. Yap, I’m throwing down the gauntlet.
Round 3 Vs. Andrew Tilly (Shiftry rush)
Andrew Tilly is a friend of mine from Sydney, and we both knew we had no chance of making cut, so the game was enjoyable and quite relaxed.
In game 1, my opponent started with a Jirachi EX and myself with a Seismitoad EX and there were a few turns in which neither of us were really doing anything in terms of attacking or retreating. Eventually, one of my Yveltal EX was OHKO’d by a Deranged Dance from my opponent’s Shiftry after he used Milotic’s nifty ability to load enough energy on to the field. It is an excellent way to keep the momentum going in the Shiftry deck. Ultimately, I used a Lysandre to bring a Jirachi EX active and using Night Spear to knock it out along with a benched Feebas, taking three prizes to finish game 1.
Game 2 was a typical Yveltal EX Evil Balling for massive damage (140 KO for 3 energy on a Shiftry that is set up) affair and my opponent couldn’t generate any momentum. This was largely because I had learnt to use Night Spear to KO benched Feebas on the drop while placing 110 on an active Shiftry – all the while limiting my own bench.
My opponent made a valiant comeback using a Mewtwo EX to threaten the KO on many of my damaged EXs but Yveltal (baby) provided the “set-up” damage required for a harder hitting EX to come in and finish the Mewtwo, while only being a one prize attacker.
Round 4 vs Keegan Burt (Defensive Yveltal aka Yveltal/ Hard Charm)
Keegan is a Canberra native whom I met for the first time. This was an incredibly tight round, with both players taking time to do the math on each play and weighing up all possible options.
Game 1 was a series of tactful Oblivion Wings and Y-cyclones with the occasional Evil Ball. My opponent dropped the Shadow Circle early, and with my lack of counter stadium, this was potentially crippling. He didn’t seem to drop many energy throughout the game, instead deciding to switch the energy he had in play to different pokemon. This was a clever move as it meant he was able to place damage with Y-Cyclone and simultaneously reduce the number of energy attached to his active Yveltal EX thus preventing the revenge KO. We traded prizes quite evenly until it was 2-2 left. Baby Yveltals caused problems for both players as neither of us wanted to waste an attack damaging a one prize attacker.
Ultimately it would be my Mega Manectric EX lurking on the bench that would exploit his minimalist energy strategy, and VS Seeker/ Lysandre to OHKO an Yveltal EX on the bench which only had a DCE attached, for the game.
Game 2 was a strikingly different game. My opponent wasn’t able to drop the shadow circle until very late in the game, meaning I was able to take 3 prizes early with a Manectric EX. However, I stuttered when two jamming nets (neither of which I had seen in the first game) were placed on my Manectric EX and Yveltal EX, and Hard Charms were thrown down on each of his Yveltal EX. This made it very difficult for me to achieve the OHKOs that were needed to keep the prize trade even.
We went to time with 2 prizes left each. My opponent had one benched Yveltal (baby) with 100 damage on it and one with 120 damage on it. He also had a Darkrai EX on the bench, and an Yveltal EX with enough energy to knock out my active Manectric EX (which already had 30 damage on it and 1 dark energy), or my benched Yveltal EX (with no damage, but a DCE and Jamming net attached).
On my turn (turn 1), I ran through all possible options available and unavailable to me. I had a max potion, a Mega Manectric, a Lysandre and a Professor Juniper in hand.
1. With a Muscle band in hand, or on my benched Manectric EX, I could have brought up the 100 damage Yveltal (baby) and taken the double KO using overrun.
2. I could Lysandre the Darkrai EX (which had no energy), and play the max potion on the Yveltal EX (removing the DCE), then retreat to the same Yveltal EX and mega evolve the damanged Manectric EX to end the turn. My opponent would have needed to play the energy on the Darkrai EX to retreat it, thereby not being able to attach energy to the Yveltal EX to achieve the OHKO on the Yveltal EX or Mega Manectric. Unfortunately, as I suspected, the judge confirmed that you cannot Max Potion a Pokémon with no damage on it, even if you can still discard the energy.
3. Option 3 was to max potion the Manectric EX, lysandre the Darkrai EX and Mega Evolve the Manectric EX. This would force my opponent to have the dark energy and Lysandre for game. Seeing no other viable alternative, this is the option I went with. My opponent had the dark energy and Lysandre in hand. Game over.
I played the Professor Juniper after the game was over, just to see what I would have drawn as my next seven cards. There was nothing that would have saved me in the afore mentioned situation.
Naturally, the next card was the muscle band that I had needed simultaneously with the Lysandre to win the game (option 1). Essentially, I lost that game to a jamming net.
Round 5 vs Shane McAlpine (Yveltal/ Manectric)
The mirror match. Sort of.
We played what seemed like the longest first game in the history of Pokémon. It was a typical Yveltal/Manectric even prize trade, with Shadow Circle in play the whole time. It came down to 2 prizes left each- it was my turn so I happened to take the last two prizes. Nothing too spectacular to report.
Game 2 was a bit of a blur but came down to my opponent with 1 prize left, and myself with 2 when time was called. I knew that I wasn’t able to take the knockout this turn, so it was a case of preventing my opponent from taking the knockout. I had a heavily damaged Yveltal EX on the bench and a hand of Professor Juniper and stacks of other cards except N. I could tell from his face and body language that he had the win in hand. At the time, I assumed this was the Lysandre. This was my mistake.
I desperately thought of ways to prevent a KO and ultimately concluded that I needed to hit my one copy of max potion off a deck of approximately 24 cards, to force the tie and thus the win from the round. I played Professor Juniper and drew seven. I fanned them out and saw a couple of supporters, two energy switch and no max potion. But there was a Computer Search. Thank god. I played Computer Search and searched my entire deck. Then searched again. Then again. The max potion was prized. I attacked with something then it was my opponent’s turn.
He drew a card then dropped the VS seeker for the Lysandre to KO the benched Yveltal EX.
Almost immediately after the match, Scott Howard (a player from Newcastle- thanks for the ride back to Sydney!), pointed out that I had used Professor Juniper to throw away a Seismitoad EX and then drawn in to two energy switch which meant I could have used Quaking Punch to prevent the VS seeker and consequently his Lysandre win. Well observed! Ultimately, I should have looked though my opponent’s discard pile and realised he had used both his Lysandre so would have needed to rely on VS seeker to win.
Final Standing: 21st place
Analysis of the deck:
What did I learn about this deck?
The Mega Manectric line was clunky.
Without a counter stadium for the mirror to be able to exploit weakness, and given the fact that I faced a couple of decks that exploited the number of energy on the field eg Leafeon and Yveltal (meaning the forced 2 x attachment from turbo bolt was actually a hindrance sometimes) and faced no Pyroar, Mega Manectric was great only as a high HP wall.
Spiritomb was useless.
I did not face a single Genesect/Virizion deck (which I’m sure was most of the reason that Spiritomb was included in this list). Furthermore, the baby Yveltal created a 7 prize game for the opponent but playing Spiritomb would bring it back to a 6 prize game as it is an 80 HP one-prize liability on the bench in a format where VS Seeker/ Lysandre is a staple in almost every deck.
Keldeo EX needed to rush off.
I faced a grand total of zero people playing Hypnotoxic Laser, and always had Darkrai EX in play.
Flare tools are an issue.
The Yveltal mirror is a math war meaning that Jamming net and an opposing Yveltal EX with a hard charm is a combination that really messes with your damage output and ability to OHKO pokemon when you need to. Flare tools also prevent the Manectric EX/ Spirit Link combination on a number of occasions throughout this tournament, which was really rough and pretty much put Manectric EX out of the game.
Darkrai EX was my MVP.
The ability to reatreat for free. The ability to set up a 2HKO and simulatenously knock out a 30 HP pokemon on the bench (especially since night march is big) or set up a bench knock out later on. The 180HP. Darkrai EX was my MVP.
I hope that my bottom tables kin can also learn from or at least empathise with my experience at the 2015 Canberra City Championship. I had a great time meeting new people, and seeing my friends do well and make it to the top 8, top 4 and top 2! I’ve found that reflecting on each game and identifying misplays has been a worthwhile activity and will hopefully help me to develop into a better player – I would encourage everyone to do the same thing!
If you’re ever at a tournament, come and say hi! You can find me way at the back of the venue at table number 28, next to the old apple cores and Chinese newspapers. And salt. Lots of salt. Screw Flanders.
~ Ellis Longhurst