Warning, this is going to be long! I organized 2 prereleases the week before Nationals, and for fun got all the cards to complete my Empoleon/Omastar deck, because I wanted to play something original at Nationals and I was SICK of playing GG or Magmortar. I'd been testing more than I've ever tested, and Empoleon was about 50/50 against GG, so I decided to risk it. The Wednesday before Nats I suddenly got the idea to play a 1/1 Bronzong tech because it would really help the GG matchup. All the games I lost against GG were because they Psychic Locked all game long, and I just couldn't get enough damage on their Gardevoir army and their Claydols. So I tested with Bronzong, and it was amazing, suddenly my GG matchup was 70-30 I think. So I decided to go with Empoleon, I was pretty confident of my list, because it was really consistent. Last year, I overteched my Flygon deck, which cost me a few games. So to cut to the chase, I playtested all Friday afternoon with Mees (GG) and Minde (Skittles) and we made a few last minute changes to their decks. I go home and to bed early, and wake up at 5 AM :/ I can't go back to sleep, so I eat breakfast and leave for Mees and Minde at 7.30. We leave way too early, and get to the venue at 9.30 Olaf and David arrive, with our other team members and we hang out a bit. play some football before deckchecks and wait a LOT. There are about 60 Masters, so we play 6 rounds + top 16 cut. Juniors have 49 players (more than DOUBLE from last year's 24!) and Seniors 40, which is 6 rounds for them as well, and a top 16 for Juniors and top 8 for Seniors. Here's the list I played: Here's the list I played: 4 Piplup 3 Prinplup 4 Empoleon MD 1 Omanyte 2 Omastar 2 Phione 2 Baltoy 2 Claydol 1 Bronzor 1 Bronzong --- 22 Pokemon 2 Helix Fossil 4 Celio's Network 3 Steven's Advice 3 Roseanne's Research 3 Team Galactic's Wager 3 Warp Point 1 Bebe's Search 4 Rare Candy 1 Night Maintenance --- 24 Trainers 7 Water Energy 4 Call Energy 3 Scramble Energy --- 14 Energies Finally, at 11.45 the pairings are put up, so I go upstairs, only to have everyone tell me I'm playing Arco first round. Joy Round 1 - Arco (Empoleon/Omastar/Aerodactyl) I was soo nervous to start out against Arco, but we've been about 50/50 this season, so it can go either way. He mulligans once, so I see he plays Aerodactyl and know what to expect. Now I wish I'd built 2 Empoleon decks so I could've tested the mirror :/ I start with 2 Piplup, but no energies. I go first, draw, pass. He starts with a Helix Fossil and a Call Energy and Wagers. Not too good for me, cos I had Roseanne + Claydol. He wins the Wager and uses Call Energy. I had to Roseanne for a Phione to set up because I had to other Supporters and I wanted a Claydol. He gets a T3 Empoleon and a T3 Aerodactyl, and I only get an Empoleon like T4 or something. I KO my own Claydol so I can use my Scramble Energy to start attacking as well, but he'd already Dual Splashed twice, so I was fighting an uphill battle. We both take a few prizes. When he has one prize left, I have three, but all he has is an Omastar, an Aerodactyl, and a Prinplup MD with 2 energies. I know I need to get rid of the Prinplup because if I don't, he can KO my Phione with 30 damage next turn. So I Omastar + Wager and KO the Empoleon lv X that's active. He wins the wager and gets Pokedex for Celio and Celio for Prinplup, so I lose. GG! 0-1 Round 2 - Kersti (Butterfree/Magmortar) I lost to her Venusaur deck at a CC back in January because she flipped heads with her attack all the time, removing all the damage I did with Blissey So now's time for revenge. She starts with a Pachirisu, 2 Caterpie and 1 Magmar. She uses CFF. I don't remember what I start with, but I know I get a pretty good setup, while she is playing the whole game with only 1 or 2 cards in her hand although she gets a T3 Magmortar lv X. She drops a Dawn Stadium and KO's my Piplup. I send up Empoleon and Dual Splash the Caterpies. Next turn she evolves them both and does 90 damage with Magmortar lv X and burns me. I flip tails, but next turn attach an energy and remove the burn because of her Dawn Stadium. I KO the Magmortar, which leaves her with 2 Kakuna. They eventually become Butterfrees, but by then I'm set up. I forgot the Butterfree can also heal the bench, that was slightly annoying. But I just go aggro Empoleon, and 2HKO both Butterfrees for the win. 1-1 Round 3 - Ivo (Gardevoir/Gallade/Stantler/Claydol) He mulligans once, so I know I'm playing a GG deck. Finally! He starts with 2 Ralts, while I get the best start all tournament. T2 Claydol + T2 Empoleon, all the cards I need, etc. He candies his Ralts to Gardevoir and Gallade T2 and retreats for a Stantler. While he sets up with Stantler I just Dual Splash his bench. When everything has enough damage I play an Omastar, taking like 4 prizes at once. He's left with 1 Gallade with 2 energies when I have 1 prize left. He puts a Stantler on his bench and uses Sonic Blade. I play Warp Point to KO Stantler for the last prize. 2-1 Round 4 - Djowie (Fossil deck?) I only saw an Old Amber. I start with Piplup and Call Energy, and get setup. I have T2 Empoleon with 2 energies, but I decide to use the Call Energy again, because if he has no basics next turn I'll win anyway. He uses an Oak's Research but gets no basics. I have the water energy and use Surf Together FTW. Bad luck 3-1 Round 5 - Linda (Empoleon DP/Octillery) She's been playing this deck all year, so I know exactly what to expect. I get a good start, and go for setup first. She does 70 damage twice with Octillery because I have a Call Energy attached, and because I wasn't paying attention But it doesn't matter, I KO 2 Piplups T3 or something, and it's downhill for her from here. The game takes maybe 10 minutes in total. 4-1 Round 6 - Marcel (Kabutops/Aerodactyl/Omastar) Yeah, joy. I go into this game thinking I should be able to pull this off. I know he plays both DRE and Crystal Beach, but that's about it. I get a crap hand like whoa, 2 Piplup, 2 Warp Point, 1 Empoleon, 1 Celio, 1 Helix Fossil. I go first, pass. He goes Dome Fossil, Rare Candy, Kabutops, Energy. I draw an energy, and attach to my benched Piplup, fearing for the T2 KO. He does indeed have the DRE and KO's my Piplup. I can't do anything because I can't play my Warp Point or Candy. To top matters off, I have 2 Piplup prized, and I can't get my Piplups in the discard back cos I can't play Night Maintenance. I get some stuff going, a Claydol and an Empoleon eventually, but by then he's taken like 4 prizes, so it's pretty much over. 4-2 I know my Opp % is good enough to make the T16, but I know the 2 losses are going to hurt my Ranking a lot, especially because the 4 games I did win were against low-ranked players. I'm just really annoyed with the matchups I had, because I only played against 2 'good' players and the only good game I actually played was the first round against Arco. So I make the T16 in 11th place and play 7th place Arjen. I'm really happy with this. He goes to my league, and I know his deck, although I have no idea how he went 5-1 with it, but ah well. Olaf went 6-0 in Juniors, and the top 3 in the Juniors is all from my team, which is pretty cool David is 6-0 in Seniors, and 5 out of 8 players in the Seniors top 8 are from my Leagues! That makes me proud =D So onto the tops: Top 16 - Arjen (Gardevoir/Gallade/Alakazam/Claydol) Game 1 - He starts with an Abra, I start with Phione, I think. I go first and get a T1 Claydol with Phione. He goes, and plays Roseanne for a Baltoy and a Psychic Energy. Attach to Abra. I look away for a second to the game next to us, and when I look back he says "I'm playing a Wager" and shuffles his hand in his deck. He'd already played a Roseanne, so obviously he can't play the Wager. I call a judge who asks him if he knows the cards he had in his hand. I protest, saying there's no way they can let him take a few cards from the deck that were supposedly in his hand. So they call the HJ, and HaPe rightly decides on the Game Loss. I don't wanna win like this, but there really was no other option. Game 2 - I have no idea what we start with, he probably starts with Abra again. He gets a fast Alakazam and user Power Block for practically all my powers. That suits me fine, because if he wants to discard all his cards, fine by me. I get a really good setup and start Dual Splashing everything. This is the first game my Bronzong actually comes in handy, and I take like 4 prizes with it. He takes aaaages playing his turns, but I don't complain because it's only in my advantage, really. He's got an Alakazam with 80 damage which I KO with Bronzong and he starts arguing that it had 70 damage :/ Eventually we conclude it needed to have 80 because I only did even damage to it. Like 4 turns later I play an Omastar to get his candied Ralts evo's to his hands, and he wants to Power Block it. Of course, the Alakazam was KO'ed ages before, but yeah I have the upperhand all game, but it still takes me like 30 mins to beat him because of his slow play. I get some dinner and hang out with David for a bit who beat Mees in the T8, so he's now 7-0. He has to play Jasper in the T4 so we discuss the Empoleon-GG matchup for a bit. Finally they're ready for T8. Top 8 - Maurice (Gardevoir/Gallade/Claydol/Dusknoir/Pachirisu) I am fairly confident going into this game. I need to get to the T4 for my Worlds invite, and I tested the GG matchup a million times. Little did I know how this would go :/ Game 1 - I start alright, he starts with Pachirisu and gets a super start. To make things better, I have 2 Piplups prized AGAIN. He plays 100% on the Gallade, which sucks for me, because I only tested against players who went for the Psychic Lock, which is normally the play. But with 2 Piplups prized I can't get a second Empoleon in time, so I have to concede. Game 2 - I get the best start ever, and this is how my deck is supposed to work against GG. He starts with Pachirisu again, but not much else. I KO 2 Ralts T3, and then just Dual Splash everything else. The game still takes about 20 mins though, and we only have 10 minutes left for the third game, and that's when I know I'm in trouble. Game 3 - I get an alright start, but so does he with 2 fast Gallade. I know I need to take prizes fast because I don't wanna lose when time is called on his turn. So I need to KO his Pachirisu with 40 damage because there really is no other choice. He has the Scramble and KO's my Empoleon. Time is called. Whichever way I calculate things, I always am 10 damage short to KO anything from him. I have to put up my Omastar because it's the only thing that can survive a Gallade with a DRE. I wager, in case he has a Warp Point or Cyclone energy. But he wins the Wager and gets a Moonlight Stadium to retreat his active Dusknoir and an energy to KO my Omastar with his second Gallade which already had 2 energies and he wins on time. So maybe I shouldn't have KO'ed the Pachirisu, and just hoped time was called on my turn, that would've had a 50% chance of working since we took equal turns. Also, maybe if I'd conceded the first game earlier, I would've had a better chance. But it doesn't matter now, he won, so congrats to him =) I'm just really upset that I lost on time, because my deck isn't made for speed, it's made for spreading and then taking prizes late game. So now I have a 5-3 record, and will probably lose ranking points as well. Ah well. So I get my prizes, and learn that David lost the T4 against Jasper. Minde and Olaf are still playing the Junior top 4 (by this time it's like 9.30 PM, props to those kids for still playing great at a time they're ususally in bed!) So Olaf and Minde both win, and are playing the final against each other. I'm already really proud of them, and one of them will be going to Worlds too! =D So the judge tells them that time starts now, and I press my stopwatch so I can keep track of time as well. Olaf wins game 1 in 25 minutes, and asks the judge how much time there's left. Judge says 35 minutes, so that's exactly right with my stopwatch. Minde gets an awesome start to game 2 and takes like 3 prizes in 5 minutes with Togekiss. Olaf asks again, how much time left. Judge says, 25 minutes, which was correct. So now fast forward to 50 mins into the final. Minde has 1 prize left, and Olaf has 4. Olaf is left with 1 Pachirisu and 2 Claydol, both of which Minde can KO with his Ho-Oh. Olaf is about to give up to go to the third game when the HJ walks in and calls time! I protest, saying it's only been 50 minutes, and they haven't had a 10 minute warning either. I discuss it with the HJ, showing him my watch and promising him I started the time when the judge said so. I want Minde to win as much as Olaf, I just want a fair, proper game. It turns out they have no stopwatch or TOM clock (seriously, this is the Nationals final!) and they were going by the clocks in the room alone, and the clocks were all different. I argue whyever would I start my stopwatch 10 minutes in the game, and luckily the HJ sees I'm probably right, and he allows 5 extra minutes. This is all Minde needs, because he wins the next turn. They play a sudden death game which Olaf wins on a T2 Gardevoir against Minde's Togepi, so Olaf is the undefeated Nats winner! By this time it's 11 PM, so we get the prizes, and start our 2-hour drive home in the pouring rain. I'm disappointed with my tournament, but amazingly proud of the kids I played and tested with who did really really well.! PROPS: * All my opponents * Everyone playing MD decks, especially all the top ranked players taking a risk! * Olaf for winning Juniors 10-0 * Minde for getting 2nd at his fourth tournament ever! * David for getting 3rd and the trophy * All my teammates for the countless of test games * So many players from my leagues doing really well. * Arco and Jasper for winning Masters and Seniors * The HJ for a lot of good calls and seeing his mistake in the time for the finals * All the judges with good calls SLOPS: * Judges being intimidating to Juniors, saying stuff like "If you don't sign the matchslip now I'll give you a warning" or "I'll give you a warning if you don't pull up your chair" :/ * My pairings * Getting home at 1 AM EDIT: If you guys wanna see the final results and picture, go to : http://www.pokemon-organizedplay.nl/ and click on the button "Ned. Kampioenschap" in the menu on the left.