A few of you guys might remember that I used to do big reports all the time. But after a while I stopped because, well, I got a little tired of doing them. However, it's 3:43 PM on a Saturday afternoon and I have nothing going on right now, so here you go: **These won't be one of my typical "So I got up, brushed my teeth, and this, this, this and that happened on the drive down, and I ate such-and-such for lunch" reports, for those of you about to click out of this thread. ;p** Sunday, November 25 Lusby, MD Aardvarks Videos, Games and Comics There were just about 20 people in Masters. I had to help my Senior division bud Ryan get his Gatr deck in order, and we didn't get there right on time, so I really had to scramble to put together my Lucario/Blissey list. I was doing it from memory, so I made a few key errors, and it was the wrong deck choice for the day anyway. Lucario was dead as soon as DP3 came out - the fact that I hadn't played between my successful Battle Road streak and the 25th really showed in this tournament. Round 1 vs New player Before the match we joke around a little bit, so the game was very friendly. I'm not sure that he took a single prize, because I got off a quick Stance and went to town on his basics and small Stage 1s. He was a very courteous opponent, though, so this was a nice way to start off the day. 1-0 Round 2 vs Mike Mattingly Mike was running Flygon/Lucario, with the new Vibrava that puts a pebble on everybody for a fighting energy. Blissey's fighting weakness had me a little on edge, but he had an awful, awful start. The only reason he stayed in the game was his clever use of Warp Points and my small energy drought. I eventually take this one. He's understandably upset, but a good sport about it nonetheless. 2-0 Round 3 vs Gallade/Gardevoir guy So he gets a pretty legit set versus my average one. I'm worried that he's just going to overpower me, but honestly this one came down to player skill. He took way too long setting up when he should have pressed me, and eventually I Copycatted for huge and got everything I needed to come out on top. He was a cool guy, though. 3-0 Round 4 vs Mike Pramawat Mike's really the only player (besides my Round 5 opponent) there that posed a big threat to me in Swiss. I teched a Crystal Shard for his Honchkrows but that didn't matter, as my hand was depleted within the first three or four turns. I topdeck a Copycat for six or seven at one point, but by that time he was up pretty big on prizes. I scoop halfway through because it's obvious that I'm done. 3-1 Round 5 vs Luke Reed Luke's packing Begfriend.dec (that's Banette/Blissey, please don't lock my report =/), so he's got the edge, but my start is great and his leaves a lot to be desired. I could have clinched the game had my Lucario Lv. X not been prized, but Luke plays well and manages to come back and beat me on time. 3-2 I end up 5th, but the T4 was a perfect cut of all 4-1s, so no grapes here. Ryan made T4 but lost in the first round to the eventual winner. The environment at Aardvarks was very friendly as usual. I resolve to playtest after my poor performance and my practice pays off the following week: Saturday, December 1 Woodbridge, VA Game Parlor There were 18 guys in Masters, which gave us enough for five rounds, thankfully. I hang out with all the familiar faces before the tournament starts - I have a lot of free time because I knew my list beforehand and Ryan was sick so he couldn't come, which meant no scrambling to assemble a passable Feraligatr list. I decided to run 4-4 Blissey with millions of trainers and energies, which had tested really well against stuff that wasn't Gallade, in my experience. Thankfully, nobody played Gallade, so I went undefeated on the day: Round 1 vs Mark Mark was running Infernape, but I think he only got one Infernape on the table before I ran over it with a huge Blissey and then just killed basics for the win. We played a fun match afterwards and my start was decent, but his was burning hot and he had Windstorms for my Cessation Crystals at every turn. Mark would go on to make the Top 4, only to lose to Luke Reed. 1-0 Round 2 vs Poke Dad I got paired down this round, so I was doing the whole self-pity thing for a bit, but this guy was a little green so I had to help him out at points, which was enjoyable because he had a great attitude despite me taking six prizes about eight turns into the game. 2-0 Round 3 vs Johnny Rabus Johnny was playing an Absol/Rhyperior "just cause as much havoc as you can" deck. He has me really worried at first, with a crazy Absol start, but I manage to kill it on Turn 3. He has to kill my Blissey with Rhyperior's attack, which hurts him because of the restriction on the attack. This allows me to Boost for 70 and puts me in a position to kill it next turn and swing things in my favor. He misses a key SSU flip and I gain a lead in this rocky, back-and-forth match. I win in the end when his draw engine peters out. 3-0 Round 4 vs Mike Pramawat Pram plays Begfriend.dec (again, that's Banette/Blissey), but his start is lame and his ER2 flips are lamer. His resistance does nothing against my Holon FFs and I beat him pretty soundly. 4-0 Round 5 vs Luke Reed Luke's playing what Mike's playing, and his flips are similarly bad (in fact Luke goes the distance with 0/4 flips - if he had hit 2/4 he probably would have had this one). It was closer than my game with Mike, but I pull it out despite his mean Warp tricks. 5-0 Top 4: 1 Me Blissey 2 Mark Infernape 3 Luke Begfriend.dec 4 Tanner Lucario/Blissey Quarters vs Tanner In Game 1 he starts Riolu and flips tails, which lets me get set up and stay in it due to Holon FF. Cessation Crystal stopping Lucario Lv. X's Stance sealed it. Game 2 was a lot closer despite the fact that he started Chansey; I didn't draw into Holon FF until ridiculously late in the game. I pulled it out, though, and not on time, either. 6-0 Finals vs Luke Games 1 and 2 aren't worth talking about, because they were both early bench-outs, first on his part and then on mine. Game 3 we get down to business, and his flips are much better, but I have a Holon FF on hand whenever a Banette comes up thanks to a string of good TVRs. He has to rely on Scrunch flips to stay in it, and he gets three or four in a row, but I whittle him down. 7-0 So I win, get my picture taken, destroy Mr. Tuskey's camera in the process, go home and open my packs and get garbage. There's a tournament tomorrow in Maryland, and I'm feeling good about Blissey after today's win, so I stick with it. Sunday, December 2 Rockville, MD Dream Wizards So I get there really early and hang out for a while with Mike, who's also there when the store opens. Eventually David shows up, making his triumphant return from the dead, and brings Melody along with him (who gets 3rd and misses T2 in Seniors on opponent's opponent's win percentage, ugh). Luke shows up and lends Begfriend to both of them with some of my cards in the blank spots. I'm going with Blissey again, let's get this one rolling. Round 1 vs Jason Jason's playing Gallade/Gardevoir with Stantler over Furret. The strategy works and he gets a fantastic set while I'm stuck in a jam. In all honesty my setup was pretty good - I got Holon FF and Boost and everything - but I can't get a bench, and eventually he just killed my active Blissey to win it in about five minutes. What a drag. 0-1 Round 2 vs New guy He was playing an Electivire deck despite the errata on SW Vire just weeks previously to the tournament. There wasn't a lot of common ground between the evolution lines in his deck; he played Furret, Whiscash and Electrode in addition to the Vire. I struggle to set up so I'm worried for a bit, but eventually I find a couple Blisseys and take stuff out left and right to win it rather handily. 1-1 Round 3 vs Question mark I'm sure my opponent was a perfectly genial, friendly person, because I would certainly remember them if they weren't. In any case, I won this one big (at least, I think I did?). 2-1 Round 4 vs Mike Pramawat Mike's playing Magmortar today because David's got Begfriend (he makes the top cut with it at 3-1, I think, but loses to my Round 1 opponent in the quarters). Mike's got everything he needs except energy, so he goes for a Copycat and whiffs again. Meanwhile I'm setting up alright. I Boost the Corsola T3 in hopes of wrapping it up quickly and killing his lone Cyndaquil, but he Celios for Typhlosion, Candies, and Scrambles. Luckily, Blissey has the magical 130 HP so I 3HKO him and he 3HKOs me. The difference here is that I've got a bench, so I take it after the predictable back-and-forth. Afterwards Mike was pretty ticked off, but in my defense, he did make the decision to Celio for Typhlosion instead of another basic. We get to talking and he puts it behind him, so it ends up alright. 3-1 So there's a 4-0 and 4 3-1s (there were only 13 people in Masters "=/"), but I scrape in at fourth seed, because Angelina (the last 3-1) had two swiss opponents who dropped, including Luke. I feel bad about it for a couple minutes, but eventually I get into the frame of mind I'm gonna need for my next match... Top 4 1 Tanner Lucario/Blissey 2/3 Jason Gallade 2/3 David Begfriend.dec 4 Me Blissey Quarters vs Tanner Tanner gets another shot at me after yesterday's T4 match slipped through his fingers. I'm a bit hazier on these games than the last ones, so bear with me here. Game 1 he gets a mediocre set and mine is down-to-the-last-card-perfect, so I rip through him. I don't remember if he scoops or if I just bench him, because we move quickly quickly to Game 2. My setup is pretty bad and his is nice, but I hang on, just one prize behind the whole game. I get some nasty good rips on Quick Ball to find Chanseys and keep him from benching me out. Eventually he takes all six prizes and we move to Game 3. I take the first prize and he makes a terrible decision by playing it safe and putting up Sableye to stall my Blissey instead of gambling on Lucario. Eventually I find Holon WP and Holon FF and stack them both on a Blissey so it will be able to one-shot the Sableye, which he doesn't retreat for reasons I can't fathom. Anyway, I eventually take another prize and put it out of reach, and time's called with me in the lead. 4-1 Finals vs Jason Well, I have to hand it to Jason for metagaming quite well on the day. Besides the one Banette/Blissey in the field, all his matchups were rock solid, and our games weren't much more satisfying than my swiss match with him. Game 1 he thrashes me in a matter of minutes. Game 2 he gets next to nothing and I pick off a Ralts and a Stantler to somehow come away with a win in this lopsided matchup. In the third game he gets a decent set which, with Gardevoir's Telepass, becomes a great one. I get one Holon FF early and then they decide to hide from me, so this isn't much of a game (honestly it wouldn't have mattered, he outplayed me that day by virtue of his deck choice). 4-2 With the knowledge that Gallade is out of the bag for all the players in my area, I expect a lot of imitators next week. I decide to abandon straight Blissey, but due to my love affair with the card I figured I might be able to bum Begfriend.dec off Mike and Luke next Saturday like David did today. The Psychic-type Banette would, I thought, give me an advantage in the matchup. Was I right? Well, um, sort of. ;/ Saturday, December 8 Fairfax, VA Hobby Works First things first, the venue was amazing, and attendance in the Juniors division was off-the-wall nuts. We had 28 of the littluns running around and bumping into objects both animate and inanimate (no apologies, of course... oww, I think I might still have a bruise on my shin) and generally being loud, but it was great because they were all there to play some Pokemon. So I scout around and everybody is playing Gallade, but Mike and Luke are there so I play it cool and ask if I can borrow some Banettes, and they give them to me because I'm such a cool guy. I end up ripping their list with just one drop, actually, being I'm a fiendish netdecker! =O 18 kids in Masters, I think? Whatever. Round 1 vs Guy whose second tournament it was that day So he opens with mini-Garchomp and the new bird thing that has the annoying screechy noise as its call on the DS game. I used to know the names of all the Pokemon, but now I have to look them up sometimes. I swear, 493 is a stupidly high number. Gimme Crystal version and I'd be alright. Anyway, I start Shuppet and Ascension, then Ghost Head, and then he forgets about colorless resistance so I TVR discarding a Banette and get a free kill with my damaged opener. Eventually he gets out a Garchomp or something but that's weak to Blissey so I two-shot it without even having to Boost. So yeah, I won this one. 1-0 Round 2 vs Kevin Wong Kevin's the judge at the Rockville tournaments, and since he judged the match between Jason and I last week, I imagined that he had a pretty good idea of how to replicate the list. Well, I get no basics and he kills me with Gallade around the third time. Luke points out to me later than I could have Warp Pointed to delay his attack one more turn, so this loss might be entirely on me, but regardless, I felt pretty low after this one. 1-1 Round 3 vs Angelina Wong (Kevin's sister) Angelina was out for blood since I kicked her out of the T4 last week at Rockville (actually, she probably didn't remember me, but I've got some artistic license here, right?). She gets a decent set, but I had 2xPP Banette-in-the-discard replies whenever she Galladed a Blissey of mine. She made a couple energy attachments and supporters that I let her take back, but eventually I decided to play the rules lawyer because she was just dragging it out. She laughed about it, though, so I assume I didn't come off as offensive. GG. 2-1 Round 4 vs Pablo Pablo was playing a Blissey/Venomoth deck. Let me tell you, Venomoth was a pain in my backside throughout the course of this match, because I'm bad at confusion flips and I had to keep playing my Warp Points before I was ready (you gotta love hoarding the Warp Points for the endgame). Our sets were about equal, but my deck came out on top. He seemed pretty nervous throughout the course of the match, but he was a courteous opponent nevertheless. 3-1 Round 5 vs Poke Dad from Woodbridge He was running the same wacky deck as back then, but it appeared to me that he had beefed up the Gallade line. Perhaps it was due to that fact that he had found success with it, as he was 3-1 and in contention for the T4. Fast forward to the end - I forgot completely about Dusknoir's power and he was able to shuffle in a Banette with two energies on it that I was going to use to seal the game. So I freak out about a lack of energy for a while as he kills a couple of my guys with a beefy Dusknoir (whose attack rocks out loud in the late game), but eventually I find Warp Point and use Banette's Ghost Head for nothing to kill the little basic he put up. A surprisingly fun game versus a great opponent. 4-1 Top 4 1 Kevin F Gallade/Furret 2/3 Luke Begfriend 2/3 Me Begfriend 4 Kevin W Gallade/Stantler So Banette/Bliss mirror and Gallade mirror in T4. And what's crazy is that Luke and I are playing the same list minus one card. We sit down and he explains to me why the deck was named Begfriend (which was hilarious but could be construed as offensive, so it's "for me to know and you to find out," I guess), and we laugh about how I'm gonna win because Luke can't flip heads against me. Well, I ended up winning, but it wasn't the flips that did him in... Quarters vs Luke Game 1 he starts Shuppet and Roseannes, grabbing two energy and neglecting to grab a basic. I bench him a couple turns later. OOPS. Game 2 I get garbage and he TRUKrolls me (hopefully you hated me for typing that, because you really really should). Game 3 was kinda sorta even. We both started Chansey, so this was a battle of attrition. He flipped 2/4 but didn't have the ER2s when he wanted him, I don't think, and I flipped 2/3 and set him back a turn as a result. That might have been the difference, but this one was pretty close, so maybe he slipped up somewhere along the line, I dunno. GGs. 5-1 Finals vs Kevin F (1st seed in swiss, who happens to be a Poke Dad!) So I came into this one pretty confident. I was banking on Begfriend having the edge over Gallade, and in hindsight I think it was a good bet, and still is. However, in Game 1, I was stranded without energy for a couple turns and he gets Furret out there really quickly. I'm able to make a game of it, but he pulls off some tricks with Gardevoir Lv. X by killing Shuppets on my bench, which messed me up since I didn't have any way to get them back. I scoop a little too late, which ends up being my downfall, because Game 2 went to time and despite the fact that I was crushing him (I had just one prize left to go), the clock ran out on me when I was one Pluspower short of getting that last prize in before the clock. The dream is dead! 5-2 Kevin was a great guy, and especially patient, because his daughters kept coming over to our table and asking when they would get to leave, and never once did he raise his voice at them (I probably would have had they been my kids, but I'm just a hothead like that). I was a little miffed that his speed of play dropped a wee bit in the second game, but I could have avoided that problem by scooping more quickly in the first, and it's not like the difference was blatantly huge. In any case, he completely earned the win, going 7-0 on the day for his first tournament win ever. Congrats! =) So I went 19-6 over the course of four City Championships (and didn't get any Lv Xs in any of my packs). I was a little let down that I didn't perform as well as I did during Battle Roads, but that's really nobody's fault but mine in the end. All I can do is prepare for States and trust in my ability to keep improving. Props: Team X-Files (The Truth IS Out There.) Tara, Matt, Mr. T, Mrs. T, Laurel, Kevin, and all the venue staff for putting up with us. Mike, for finally getting a CC win after quite a few bad breaks. Luke, because if I put Mike in here and not Luke that would just be mean. Johnny, because Rhyperior is cooler than Rhydon (but not as cool as Blissey or Wooper). Jason and Kevin, for winning their respective events. Mom, for driving and packing me lunch (without her I'd starve and couldn't play Pokemon). Winning the DP4 deck box door prize at Fairfax, which I promptly traded for Pokemon cards. ;x 28 Juniors at Fairfax! Aerosmith. Why? Because they're awesome. Everything else not on the slops list. Slops: Ryan coming to just one of the four Cities. Dan quitting and then deciding after Cities that he suddenly wants to get back into it. =p 60 minutes for 2/3 matches. If you're not gonna give us 90, can we at least have 75? Bad ER2 flips on my opponents' parts. Everything else not on the props list (paradox GO!). Thanks for reading.