Hello everyone, my name is Ian Asplund and I made it to Top 8 today (well, I guess yesterday technically, it's 12:30 here ) w/ Gyarados and had a great time. I had initially not planned on going to States, but when it turned out I could ultimately go, I at first thought about playing Vilegar. However, after Idaho states, my friend Tyler told me I should go back to playing Gyarados, which I played for most of Cities, since it looked like a really good choice given the meta. So, I went out on a limb and played Gyarados. I actually went and totally rebuilt my deck from what it looked like at Citites, focusing largely on being more consistent. Since I plan on not ever playing Gyarados again, I may as well post the list: Pokemon: 3x Gyarados SF 4x Magikarp SF 3x Sableye SF 1x Smeargle UD 1x Regice LA 1x Combee SF 2x Uxie LA 1x Azelf LA 1x Mesprit LA 2x Crobat G PL 1x Unown Q MD Trainers/Supporters/Stadiums: 4x Pokemon Collector 3x Bebe's Search 1x Twins 1x Looker's Investigation 2x Seeker 1x VS Seeker 4x Junk Arm 3x Super Scoop Up 2x Pokemon Communication 2x PokeTurn 3x Pokemon Rescue 2x Expert Belt 1x Luxury Ball 4x Broken Time Space Energy: 2x Cyclone Energy 2x Warp Energy 3x Rescue Energy So there you have it. It worked out quite well, if I do say so myself. I felt pretty good with the list. I arrived at the U of U at exactly 9:00, with my entourage of young family and league members. I had to quickly scramble to get the rest of the cards I needed, but due to some very generous people (thank Giovanni!) I was able to finish my deck. Eventually, after a bit of waiting/announcements/ect, pairings go up. We ended up with over 70 Masters and a Top 16 (woohoo!) , and overall the tournament was the biggest States Utah has every had! So I go look at the pairing, sit down and introduce myself to my opponent, and the day begins! Round 1 vs Shaun with Shuppet/Bannett? Shaun was a nice guy, but obviously fairly new to the game. He was playing some kind of Shuppet/Bannett deck. I went first, and to be careful I put 3 Pokemon on my field, just in case he was playing Shuppet donk. Turned out he wasn't. I does a few things on his turn, puts my active Pokemon to sleep with Shuppet (I think?), and ends his turn. I roll a heads to wake up, and end up getting all 3 Karps in my discard with some fun Junk Arms and Regi-Move hax0rz, and a Gyarados out and belted, and I sweep from there. GG. Record after Round 1: 1-0 Round 2 vs ??? with Tangrowth CoL This was a pretty interesting round. He was playing a deck based around Tangrowth from CoL. The idea was to load up Tangrowth with tons of energy (using things like Celebi Prime and such) and Grind for a lot of damage. It was also interesting in that he had resistance to me, which made the OHKOs a little tougher. I end up setting up pretty well, and with some creative Flash Bites I end up knocking out a fully loaded Tangrowth early. He did a lot to try to stop me from getting the OHKOs, but I end up using Cyclone to get around high HP Pokemon when I needed to. WE end up going to time, and I'm 3 prizes ahead on his final turn (Turn 2), and he scooped. Record after Round 2: 2-0 Round 3 vs ??? with Absol G/Drapion Lv. X This game was horrible for the both of us. We both had unplayable hands, horrible Pokemon on the field, and we couldn't draw into anything useful for like 5 turns. Ultimately I top deck something useful before she does (maybe a Collector?), and I just go crazy and set up a Gyarados, and pretty much sweep from there. Record after Round 3: 3-0 Round 4 vs Andrew with Gliscor Lv. X/Gengar Prime This was a very interesting match that was fairly difficult to wrap my head around. He ends up Lost Zoning a Magikarp very early, as I stupidly used Impersonate to try to get out of a bad hand. As such, my damage is capped at 80 for the whole game. Still, I put up a good fight. It got pretty scary when he paralyzed/poisoned/burned my active GDos with a Belt, but a timely head on Super Scoop Up saved the day. He did that again later, but that time Warp energy saved me. I ultimately win this match in a fairly close game (I think? Man, the details are so blurry!) Record after Round 4: 4-0 Round 5 vs Brian Vogt with Scizor Prime This game was horrible for me. He started out by Psychic binding me for 1 or 2 turns right at the start so I couldn't do much, and then right when he can't do that anymore, and Looker's away my amazing hand and I get a terrible one. He pretty much locks me from there; he kept Mesprit dropping at the right times, and ultimately, in 4 turns, got 4 Special Metal out on his Scizor. Not only that, but I had a terrible hand, and a Magikarp and an Azelf were prized. I end up getting one prize right at the end (and it was. . . my Magikarp!) but I ultimately get destroyed. Brian went on to go 7-0 though, so good job Brian! Record after Round 5: 4-1 At this point I'm a tiny bit nervous. I was amazed the day had gone so well, but that loss sort of brought me back to reality. Still, if I can at least win on more round I should be ok for top cut, so I just kept going. Round 6 vs ??? with Machamp As soon as I saw the Machop I got really excited, as I have an AMAZING matchup against Machamp. I have never, in all my time playing Gyarados, lost to a Machamp. Sadly, I get off to a VERY slow start, but my opponent's isn't too much better. He also seemed a little inexperienced, and his deck was odd (I only saw 1 SF Machamp, and two non-Prime Triumphant ones). Eventually I top deck a Collector, set up quickly, and sweep him. Record after Round 6: 5-1 Awesome, I'm pretty certain I'll get into the Top 16 cut at this point, but I figure let's try to win the next one anyway and really seal the deal. Round 7 vs Dillen (maybe Dallan? Dallen? Something like that, I'm not so sure, I'm terrible at names. . . ) with straight SF Machamp And another Machamp! Awesome, I knew I was in good shape here. I believe I had a little bit of a rough start here, and he takes 2 (maybe even 3) early prizes. Once I set up though, I really rip through his lines using Flash Bites to turn 2HKOs to OHKOs. It comes down to where I have 1 prize left, and he has 2. He levels up his active Machamp and does enough damage to finally KO my Gyarados. He told me he sadly didn't have and EBelt (it was prized) to avoid the revenge KO, so I just brought up Gyarados and Tail Revenged to take the game. Great game, I actually was a little nervous there at the end! That's probably the closest match I've had again a Machamp, and it was a lot of fun. Final Record at the end of Swiss: 6-1 HOLY. CRAP. I wanted to do really well at States, but I wasn't certain how it'd go. Gyarados was a VERY risky play, but man did it ever pay off. Here I was, at my second States ever (my first was a year ago when my brother and I showed up with Theme Decks 2 weeks after starting to play), and I was 6-1. I was happy, but nervous about Top Cuts, especially because I knew I had some bad matchups that had also top cut, such as Luxchomp, and a Raichu Prime deck (or 2, maybe? I can't remember.) Standing are eventually posted, and I'm 4th seed! Brian Vogt was 1st seed, being the only undefeated, and my friends Tyler (Vilegar) and Taylor (Raichu) were 2nd and 3rd seeds, which was great to see. After we get deck checks done, we start the Top Cut! Top Cut: Top 16 vs Bridger (I think?) with Gengar/Magnezone Bridger's deck was very interesting. He used a slow Spirtomb engine to set up, and used a combination of Gengars (I was AR and SF) as main attackers, plus Magnezone Prime along with methods of discarding to be able to draw lots with Magnezone. He also ran Rainbow energy so he could attack with Magnezone if he had to. Now, onto Game 1. Game 1: This game went badly for me. I set up quickly, but filled my bench too much, and so while I had a fully powered Gyarados on the bench, he was stuck there due to my horrible Combee start. I end up never really getting to retreat Combee. Eventually I get Gyarados out, but it gets one shot by Magnezone. I get it back, but it gets one shot again. Ultimately I scoop this game. Game 2: This game went a lot better for me. I set up well, and played my Crobat Gs very carefully to do just the right amount of damage to Magnezone Prime that, after he one-shotted my Gyarados without a belt, I got him back, belted him, and KOd the Magnezone. From there on I had control of the game. He scared me with a Gengar SF and Shadow Room, but using Cyclone Energies carefully, I ultimately win this game. Game 3: I look at my watch and can tell that while we are setting up time will probably be called. Sure enough, it is, so we set up for a Sudden Death game with 1 prize. I have a HUGE advantage here, and my opponent seemed very worried about it. Turns out he had good reason to be. I went first with a Sableye start, and use Collector for some stuff (not sure what specifically, but I'd say some Magikarps were probably there ). He started with just an active Magnemite and a benched Unown Q. He doesn't top deck anything good, so he just Quicks to Magnemite (to avoid a Flash Bite KO on Unown Q, although I don't think I could have done it), and attacks for 10 to Sableye. On my turn I get a Gyarados out, somehow (I don't remember how) get a Trainer in the dicard, Junk Arm 2 Magikarps into the discard, retreated Sableye, and it was over. Hooray! I won in Top 16. We were supposed to have a dinner break here, but I didn't have time to go get food since our games went so long. Eventually we are seated back down with our Top 8 opponents. I'm playing Igor, one of the best players in the State. I knew he was playing Palkia G/Lucario CoL, and I was pretty scared of the deck, and with good reason. Top Cut: Top 8 vs Igor with Palkia G/Lucario CoL Game 1: This game starts slow. He has a bit of trouble setting up, but keeps me under Power Lock with Mesprit, so I don't set up much better. Eventually I get a fully powered Gyarados swinging, but he immediately bring up Honchkrow and put a Magikarp on the bench, then retreats. I take another prize with Gyarados, and then he brings up Honchkrow AGAIN and puts another Magikarp on the bench. Eventually all 3 Karps are benched, and I just can't draw into any ways to get them back in the discard, due to a stupid move on my part of Lost Zoning my Regice early when he used Palkia's power. I eventually scoop after he gets a Lucario out. Game 2: This game is even worse. I choose to let him go first, as I have a Collector in hand and an active Smeargle. Sadly, be drops a Mesprit and power locks me. I use my collector, but can't do a lot so I pass. For the next, I'd say, at least 8 turns he keeps me under power lock. I simply can't function at all without powers, and I just can't top deck anything good. I eventually get 1 turn of powers, but it doesn't help much, and he just keeps power locking me more after that. There was nothing I could do; he just destroyed me with Lucario while I couldn't set up. So I lose. And so my States journey ended with a very unique, and admittedly sort of frustrating, game. The deck Igor was playing was very good and was fascinating to see at work. It was great to see something so rogue doing so well. I end up getting my 4 packs, and pull a Lost World and a reverse Lighting Energy, so I can't complain about that. Overall, it was a really fun day, and I had a great run. I'd never done so well at a major event, and it was great to be at the top tables throughout the day. Hopefully I'll keep playing this well in the future. Here I come, Regionals!