Hey all. I'm fairly new here. I started playing Pokemon back in 1999. Long time, right? Sure, but just as Neo 4 came out, I stopped playing. About 5 months ago Jimmy Ballard got me back into playing. He gave me a lot of advice and was basically a mentor to me. So I figured I'd give City Championships a shot. I played in Niles (where I placed 7th in Masters) the day before (1/5) and then in Chicago, where I reside, and where I played the Championships I'm typing this report on (1/6). I'd rather do the report on Chicago since it was more eventful. Although I had been considering many decks to play, including Honchcrow Hand Disruption and Magmortar/Typhlosion, I chickened out and went with a version of Gallade/Gardy. It was my first big event back in the game and I wanted to make sure I could do good here until I gained back all my old knowledge and instincts I gained back before I stopped playing. My decklist is actually a bit interesting and made me a little bigger of an underdog than I already was since I was missing a few things (which I attained after the event), and you'll see what those things are: 4-3-3-2-1 Ralts/Kirlia/Gallade/Gardy/Gardy LV. X 4 Absol 4 Celio's Network 3 TV Reporter 3 Team Galactic's Mars 1 Castaway 2 Roseanne's Research 1 Professor Oak's Visit 3 Rare Candy 2 Time-Space Distortion 4 Pluspower 2 Strength Charm 2 Warp Point 7 Psychic Energy 4 Fighting Energy 3 Double Rainbow Energy 1 Scramble Energy 1 Multi Energy Don't need to say much as far as strategy goes, although I did want to make sure of two things. The first was that I had a little more than usual hand disruption, so I made sure I had 3 Mars. The second was that I had a little extra draw power because as good as I found the deck, I was missing a few things and I needed better draws. Round 1: Me vs. Adam W. I knew who he was and I knew what I was in for. It was Gallade vs. Bannette. It started good for him and in all honesty it was over before it started. I had little to do but concede this one. 0-1 Round 2: Bye. Yep, I got a bye. Gave me a win, but after taking a loss round 1 this wasn't good. I was pretty much dismissed as doomed after this, and boy did I not know what was about to happen to me. 1-1 Round 3 - Me vs. ? Wasn't sure her name, but she was an older lady sporting a deck I recognized from the day before in Niles only with a twist. It was a Magmortar/Weavile build. This game turned out to be the strangest game of my career. My opening hand made me absolutely sure that I was done. My second City Championship was going to be a total flop. I started with LV X and an Absol with no energies in my hand followed by 5 useless trainers. To make things worse, my opponent oped up with 3 Absols. I almost wanted to just scoop, but I saw no other Pokemon so I had no idea what I was playing against. Turn 1 I drew Ralts so I benched him. For countless turns she bailfuled me, and I was robbed of a hand before I knew it. luckily, she never drew any other good cards (pokemon or trainers) for those turns, so I stayed in it. Eventually I drew energies and loaded up my Ralts and then drew a Kirlia, so I evolved. Next turn, I drew Gallade and evolved. Now I just needed to bench my Absol. This is where it got funny. Next turn I draw TVR. I get 2 Celios and a Kirlia. ***. Next turn, draw a Scramble. I LOL. Can't attach that.That same turn, my opponent gets a Weavile and Magmar and attaches a fire to Magmar. Next turn, I draw a DRE. LOL! Can't attach that. Finally I draw an energy and retreat to bring out Gallade and get rid of Absol. Next turn, my opponent evolves Magmar into Magmortar and uses Weavile to load him up with... Dark energies? Hmm. I knock out Weavile, and I get lucky by realizing something huge: my opponent is new to the game. She automatically brings out the Magmortar and attatches one fire energy and hits me for 40. I count my blessings at this point. She didn't even knew what Gallade did. I waste Magmortar and it's easy from there. After the game I even help her out and discuss a little strategy with her. What I thought was destined to be a terrible loss turned into a perfect 0-6 prize game for me. 2-1 Round 4: Me vs. ? I forget his name. My memory sucks, lol. Anyways, it was a mirror match, which made me groan. It ended up being one of the most epic games I'd ever played. We both started strong and set up quickly, firing punches back and forth. Eventually it came down to time being called, with me having 2 prizes and my opponent having 3. Both of us had a Gallade on bench and Gardy LV. X active. he sat and thought hard for literally 10 minutes before he scooped when I had thought I lost but then realized I had the advantage. His Gallade had 40 damage and his Gardy X had 50. Mine had the same. But he had played a Ralts the turn earlier and it screwed him up. But either way I would have still won, with a Warp Point in my hand and enough to finish off his Gallade AND Lv. X. I breathed a sigh of relief on this one, and my close friend Jeremy slapped my hand with intensity. I was back in this thing. 3-1 Round 5: Me vs. Jeremy H. What a twist of fate. I ended up getting paired against my close friend I just mentioned. We'd known each other 10+ years and yet never met in a tournament before. And since I had not tested my deck against him and he (jokingly) always trash talked me and compared us, I wanted some payback. He was playing Magmortar/Ampharos, a deck he'd whipped me with many times before, but all close games. I drew decent, but not great. Same for him. Eventually I drew a godly draw with TVR: Gallade, DRE, Rare Candy. I set off and knocked out his setup, which was Stantler. He got out a Magmortar but with little energies it stood no chance. All he had left was a few Mareep. I won the match fairly easily. 4-1 Round 6: Me vs. Dave. Pretty friendly guy with a good tournament reputation. It was another mirror match. I'd faced him the day before in Niles and he whipped me. I went first and had an Absol and benched Ralts to his Ralts. My first move decided the whole mood of the game. I used Baleful Wind and knocked out a Steven's Advice and a Warp Point. His reaction showed that he gave up all hope. he had one DRE and a Candy as well as a Gallade, all of which he played, but that left him nothing but a couple of benched Ralts soon enough. A turn later, it was another godly TVR with DRE and Gallade. I evolved. He topped a Wager and had something to smile about. I won the Wager, and the smiling stopped quickly. I used Bailful and a Mars to eliminate what he had. Next turn he drew another Wager. I won again and emptied his hand once again. At this point I brought in Gallade and it was easy from there. A memorable match. 5-1 So after losing and taking a buy, I made a huge comeback and got myself into the top 4. I had been sitting at 5th place before the previous match, and that match bumped me up to 3rd. Top 4, Match 1: Me vs. Clinton C. Another personal friend of mine that was a frequent tournament player at the card shop (where this event was being held) as I was. it was another mirror match. Now, my last name happens to be Ragan, and the judge, along with Jimmy Ballard who was co-judging the event and match, proceeded to joke about this being the battle of the Presidents. Wow, this made my day. Round 1: We both started with Absol and little else, it was a Bailful battle until someone drew something. That someone was Clinton. He set up fast, and I never did. Lopsided win for him. 0-1 Round 2: I opened with a perfect hand. Clinton did not. It was my T2 Gallade vs. about 3 Ralts and it was over before it started. A lopsided victory for me. 1-1 Round 3: This was just tragic. I opened decently, but Clinton had everything set up. I went through most of the game salvaging what I had and trying to load up a single Gardevoir. He did whatever he could to ensure I didn't take a single prize, and for most of the game I didn't. I knew I was going to lose but I still had a chance all the way down to the last turn where I used TSD to try and get back my Gallade (my only hope of winning) and got 3 tails. Yay. I did manage to get Gardy Lv X out and knock out ONE guy. Other than that, it was over. It was a fairly miserable match. But being the good friends we were and seeing as how excited and proud I was just to make it to top 4, we made the match fun and full of laughs. 1-2 So I ended up getting 4th. Funny. I lost, and so did Chuck (yes, that Chuck. He won Cities at Niles the day before, too). Clinton went on to finals and got second. It was strange. But I was proud to have gotten what I had gotten. My first Cities EVER at Niles the previous day, I got 7th, although I could have done better. I lost my third game after going 2-0 simply for forgetting my prizes, and it sucks because the game was looking completely lopsided in my favor (we even played it out for fun, it was no contest). And I got 4th in my hometown, ina top 4 bracket that included Chuck and another guy who's name I can't remember who is very good, who ended up winning the whole thing. I'm pretty happy with that. Props: Jimmy Ballard for being such a good friend and mentor to me for so many years. God's sense of humor for making me so happy to top even after getting zilch in the packs I won Slops: A few mistakes I made, although none cost me a game. Bannette. God, that thing made me look pathetic. Thanks all!