The Sydney Double (Part 2): Burwood by Ellis
Day 2 of the Sydney Double may as well have been called Day-Z because anyone who observed me (and I’m sure there were others the same way) walking down the main street of Burwood would have been reminded of a scene from the Walking Dead (sans groans — because ain’t nobody got energy for that).
I’d burnt some environmentally friendly midnight oil thinking about amendments to make to the M-Class Blimp deck to improve the VirGen and Fairies match-ups (of which there are a couple that would help, like thinking of a better deck name) but ultimately decided that it was foolish to attend an event playing an untested list (See! I did learn something from the Canberra trip!) and just hoped that people would steer away from playing VirGen in anticipation of counter decks popping up as a consequence of Syahmi’s success the previous day.
Burwood (aka the ancestral home of the Pokemon TCG in Sydney) City Championship (08/02/15)
49 masters players, 6 Rounds, Top 8 cut, Top 8 points
My deck: Manectric EX/ Seismitoad EX/ Drifbilm
Note: There was a special edition pre-tournament speech made by the store owner — edited to accommodate our Queensland players and their Saturday shenanigans
Round 1 vs Ross Hamilton (TDK)
TDK! I hadn’t seen this deck in a while! I also didn’t see my Xerosic or enhanced hammers all game, which may have meant a detour to struggle street but fortunately Ross was forced to discard numerous special energy when he played Professor Juniper and this allowed Drifblim to OHKO numerous EXs for the win. An early head ringer on a Thunderus was also a significant factor in this game.
I play 10 basics in this deck- so how is it that I so often seem to start with a lone Jirachi EX? Well, it happened again. To make matters worse, Ross was able to conserve his special energy and only dump one or two in the discard pile over the course of the game. Drifblim is not my only attacker, however, so the game was not a lost cause. In fact, a clutch Seismitoad EX quaking punch when we were 2-2 on prizes prevented Ross from playing a muscle band or a Plasma Ball for a Deoxys and left him 10 damage short of an EX KO for the win, and allowed me to Lysandre a benched Deoxys EX to take my final two prizes
Ross is a NSW player whom I had not met before this tournament. As our games progressed it was hard not to like Ross, as he seemed like a genuinely nice guy and was a pleasure to play against. He finished the day with a very respectable record- congratulations
Round 2 vs Derrick Yap (Fighting.deck
Yes, you read correctly. Derrick Yap. Let’s get to it
Game 1 (there was only 1 real game):
A 45 minute full-on battle with head ringers and jamming nets, enhanced hammers, careful retreating and tactful benching. I think Mr. Yap was a little perturbed by my use of team flare tools, having only been the giver rather than receiver of such gifts in the past.
Ultimately I was 2-1 up on prizes, and both our decks were dwindling (less than 7 cards left each). Mr. Yap was digging for a Lysandre and I was digging for an energy and a Lysandre.
My predicament was pretty dire. I had discarded a Drifblim early due to necessity and was down to two energy left in deck, with no switching cards. I had a heavily damaged drifloon active and a Drifblim on the bench with no energy attached to either of them. If I was able to get the Drifblim active and with an energy, the game would be over as I could KO any of his EXs with shadow steal. The issue was that I could not afford to attach an energy and then wait the next turn to retreat and bring forward Drifblim for the KO because Mr. Yap had a team flare grunt in hand (which he had used VS seeker to bring back) and both energy were crucial for me. As such, I had to retreat the Drifloon and send up my energy-less Drifblim to the active spot. I had perviously used VS seeker/ Xerosic/ Lysandre to stall until Drifblim was ready so many of his EXs lacked any energy to retreat and a Lucario EX was stuck active with no energy- waiting to be KO’d by my Drifblim the next turn. Unfortunately, Mr. Yap drew the one energy he needed to KO the Drifblim.
At this point, there was nothing I could do, so the game was over and so were my hopes of going X-0
I’d just like to mention that my last prize was JIRACHI EX. What a nightmare that card is.
Round 3 vs Daniel Collins (TDK)
We played two very quick games. Daniel ran a TDK- Lugia variant and he soon realised the match up was not in his favour. Manectric EX was hitting for weakness on Lugia, and Drifblim with enhanced hammers and Xerosic was extremely difficult to deal with. He scooped game 1 after i had taken 4 prizes. Game 2 was a similar story.
I’m sure the Lord of Whales will take his revenge in Brisbane.
Round 4 vs Aaron Matthews (Pyroad/ Seismitoad EX)
If there was one deck that I did not want to face, this was definitely it. My only answer to Pyroar was Drifblim (and that was only if the opponent dropped the DCEs) or laser bank and Seismitoad EX.
This was a typical Pyroar (intimidating mane) block. I tried hypnotic lasers and virbank to pile on some damage but a clutch training centre threw out the math and even though 2 of his intimidating mane Pyroar were prized, he only needed one of them and a benched flare command pyroar in order to completely dominate me.
I couldn’t see any way to come back from what had happened last game- and assumed I had lost this round. The only answer was to start very strong with Seismitoad EX and KO some Litleos early if possible, crossing my fingers for one or two of them to be prized. I started Seismitoad EX with an energy and passed the turn.
My opponent started lone Litelo then played Skyla for a Fiery Torch, played the Fiery Torch… and passed. I dropped another energy and the muscle band, and used Quaking Punch for the OHKO on his lone Litleo.
Ok, so now we would most likely draw the round. Surely we were close to having time called.
I tried the same tactic as last time and, starting second, I led with a Quaking Punch (sans muscle band) on a Litleo and threw down a head ringer on his benched Seismitoad EX. It turns out my opponent’s hand was a couple of energy, and all items including Computer Search. Sensing that I may be able to take the win here (if my opponent continued drawing dead off the top decks) I played very quickly and simply used Quaking Punch every turn, finishing with an assault Laser to KO a Seismitoad EX.
Time was called just after I took the final two prizes
I don’t know how that happened. Such luck.
Round 5 vs Matt Bridges (FairyBox)
Once again, I was to face Matt Bridges in a critical match. The winner would make the top cut — pending an ID in the final round
Game 1 (once again, there was only one game- it was 50 minutes long and went to +3 turns):
This was a long, long game. What stood out? Matt played Lysandre’s Trump Card twice to keep special energy out of his discard pile and keep my Drifblim at bay. At one point during the game, Matt pondered (out loud) whether he should play aggressively or try to stall (legally). He decided to play defensively behind his Suicune and SIgilyph. As I found it difficult to KO his safeguard pokemon, and Matt found it difficult to attack due to my plethora of energy-denying trainers and supporters, the game was at a bit of a stalemate. I was ultimately down 3 prizes to 2 when time was called, and this soon became 2 prizes to 1. On my final turn (turn 2), I had the choice between playing an N and a Professor Juniper. Seeing no viable way to achieve an EX knockout on my turn, I opted to play the N, hoping to deny my opponent the Lysandre for game. Fortunately, Matt did not draw the Lysandre. I found out later, that he did have the Lysandre in hand before I played the N. Phew
The defining moment of this game was when Matt decided to take the defensive as opposed to offensive option. If he had chosen to play aggressively, I believe one of us would have won the match and secured a place in top cut- whether that would have been me or him, I cannot say.
In any case, both of us were still able to make cut, provided we won in the final round.
We were both sharks again.
Round 6 vs Shane Quinn (FairyBox)
Oh good, another Fairies deck. Oh good, Shane Quinn. This happens surprisingly frequently. I am on the cusp of making top cut, and then I drew Shane in the final round. I don’t believe I’ve ever won a game against Shane, let alone a round.
Game 1 (we only really completed one game- though a second one saw us at 3 prizes each, it was not able to be finished in time):
I decided to try to take an early KO on his Xerneas and drop head ringers on his Manectric EX so as to prevent any energy acceleration but in hindsight (and Shanesight), should have taken the KO on the EXs I had already placed damage on. I don’t feel like I was every really ahead in this game.
I ended up placing 11th, which was fairly good considering my results at previous tournaments. It turns out that even if I had tied in the final round, I would have placed 9th due to resistance — just missing out on making top cut. Matt ended up missing top cut as he was beaten by Shanan Kan (who ended up placing in the top 8) in the final round.
What did I learn?
New card sleeves are glorious.
Getting a good amount of sleep between tournaments is essential if you don’t want to feel like the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz (if I only had a brain?)
This deck doesn’t do very well against FairyBox.
It would have been a better outcome if Matt and I had tied- if one of us had scooped to the other, it would have guaranteed cut for them.
I was disappointed not to make cut but also chuffed to have placed highly on both days of the Sydney Double. I have a lot of respect for the players who cut on day 2, let alone both days— a double city championship or double regional championship consecutive top cut requires a considerable amount of mental stamina and those players should be very proud of themselves.
Finally, thank you so much to Joel Soh who judged both events and to the respective good games stores for hosting the events.