Preperations After I had won the Manitowoc City Championships in Wisconsin, I decided that I would take a break from any serious practicing and playtesting. I had loads of work that I needed to get done, as always, so I figured that I wouldn't worry about the State Championships for another month and a half to make sure that I didn't over exert myself and wear myself out of Pokemon. Oh no, that would be terrible! Two weeks before the State Championships, I started to think of which type of deck I wanted to play. I was already pretty sure that I wanted to use a deck similar to the one I used in the City Championships, Spoony B.A.R.D.! (Blaziken/Ampharos/Rayquaza ex/Delcatty), but I wanted to make room for the new Blaziken ex card that was released in EX: Team Aqua vs. Team Magma. I had been doing a lot of reading on the PokéGym Forums and trying to figure out what decks were 'in' and what decks were 'out'. Blaziken ex seemed to be pretty dominant, which was both good and bad for me - it was good, because I was obviously playing a powerful deck; it was bad because I was playing an overused card, and an unoriginal deck. My response to this? I've been playing Blaziken since November of 2003, and that was in Unlimited, so I'm just playing what I'm familiar and comfortable with. Is there a problem with that? Yes? Fine, then how about you completely dismantle whatever deck your currently playing, and play another one that is underused and no one else is really playing. Sound good now? Didn't think so. My mom, Camille, and my brother, Dustin, were both going to play Gardevoir/ex decks at the State Championships. They were great to practice against, and I recall only losing about 3 or 4 times in the whole time that I was experimenting with the altered Spoony B.A.R.D. deck that I was playing. My local hobby store, Tomorrow is Yesterday, also started to run Modified tournaments instead of Unlimited tournaments, so I had a chance to practice there as well, and fortunately I was able to playtest my deck against a few Blaziken varients as well, including a nearly mirror of my deck, except using Team Aqua's Manectrics instead. Speaking of my deck, I should probably list that now before you read on too much farther. The Deck Spoonier B.A.R.D. by Marriland POKEMON: 25 4 Torchic (DR) 1 Combusken (DR) 3 Blaziken (RS) 2 Blaziken ex 2 Mareep (DR) 1 Flaaffy (AQ) 2 Ampharos (EXP) 2 Skitty (Double-edge) 2 Delcatty (RS) 4 Dunsparce (SS) 2 Rayquaza ex TRAINERS: 19 4 TV Reporter 4 Rare Candy 4 Oracle 3 Professor Oak's Research 2 Warp Point 1 Town Volunteers 1 Copycat ENERGY: 16 12 Fire Energy 4 Lightning Energy The strategy of the deck is to try and get the following cards in play: Blaziken, Ampharos, Delcatty, Rayquaza ex, Blaziken (or ex). The last Pokemon is usually a Dunsparce, although if you don't have Dunsparce out, then get out a third Blaziken, or your first Blaziken ex. At first, you'll want to focus on getting out a Delcatty as soon as possible, and trying to keep at least 1 Energy card in your hand just in case you need to Energy Draw. As you're doing this, fill your Bench with the Pokemon listed above, and stall with Dunsparce until you get everything set up. Then, depending on how you set up, use either Rayquaza ex or Blaziken ex to tear through your opponent's Pokemon. Every turn, you'll want to use Blaziken's Firestarter to attach discarded Fire Energy to your Pokemon, then use Ampharos' Energy Connect to move it to your Active Pokemon. Rayquaza ex and Blaziken ex both require you to discard Energy in order to deal damage (well, except for Blaziken's Blaze Kick), so with Blaziken and Ampharos on your Bench, you can return that discarded Energy and keep a constant stream of attacking going. Just be very careful not to send out Rayquaza ex too soon! Unless you can tell your opponent doesn't really have any other lines of defenses that can OHKO [One-hit Knock Out] Rayquaza ex, you'll usually want to leave it on your Bench to intimidate your opponent. Once they send out their heavy hitter, send out Rayquaza ex, and knock some sense into them. And avoid setting down Rayquaza ex if you think your opponent might be playing Blaziken ex, or if you think your opponent has Pokemon Reversal + Crystal Shard in their hand, otherwise it will meet a most certain demise. The Trainer mix, although not that many, is important for speed and drawing cards. The Delcatty + Oracle combo is an absolute must, and TV Reporter is an outstanding card drawing card in the deck! Professor Oak's research is also good in the beginning in case you need to shuffle your hand around in hopes of getting something better, or even late game if you're getting close to decking yourself and already used your Town Volunteers. Warp Point is there in case they play Shedinja, Muk ex, Wobbuffet; it's there to mess with your opponent, and possibly put them in an ultimatum between which of their Pokemon lives. Often helpful in mirror matches. The lone Copycat is also there just in case, and it's great if you're playing against a similar deck, or a perpetual Energy deck (either Swampert/Suicune, Swampert/TA's Walrein, or Magneton/Delcatty), but it's situational, so I just have one because it's a nice touch. (And it's foil $_$!) 16 Energy seems far too low, especially for this deck, but it can usually work out pretty good. 4 Lightning is just enough, and I never have a hard time getting it out and on Rayquaza ex. It also gives just enough room for you to even use a Lightning Strike with Ampharos if you have to. I know that some Rayquaza ex decks run Multi Energy, but it just doesn't do it for me, and only works when you don't have a Lightning Energy already attached to it. My deck also has an astounding 49 foil cards in it! The only things in the deck that aren't foil are: 4 TV Reporters, 2 Rare Candies, 2 Oracles, 2 Professor Oak's Research, and the Town Volunteers. BAH-LINGGG!! $_$!! The State Championships After the long car ride up to Manitowoc, WI, we finally arrived. In fact, we arrived at exactly the same time as my friends who were coming up to participate, Nicolas P. and Nathan S. Nicolas was the only 10 and under player amongst us, so between the five of us (Dustin, Camille, Nicolas, Nathan, and I), we had a good shot in all three divisions. We also got there very early... 9:30 x.X Fortunately, arriving as early as we did was to our advantage, because I had to fix up both Nicolas' and Nathan's decks before they could enter. I tweaked them to the best I could, and it looked like they both would stand a decent chance in their matches. Nicolas was playing a Wailord ex deck, and Nathan was playing a Blaziken/Arcanine deck. Alright, before we knew it, the first round was about to begin...! - Round 1 - Spoonier B.A.R.D. vs Sneasel/Slowking/Murkrow Okay, no, not really... First round I had my assigned bye, so I didn't have to play anyone. Record: 1-0-0 : 3 pts - Round 2 - Spoonier B.A.R.D. vs Magneton/Delcatty/Rayquaza ex/Blaziken/ex I started out with a really bad draw on this one. I had such a hard time getting anything out, and I had to whittle away at his Pokemon while he started setting up his Magneton. I eventually made a comeback against him, got out my Blaziken ex, and started tearing apart his bench. I had to choose between KOing the Active Rayquaza ex or KOing the benched Combusken though. I had a Rayquaza ex on my Bench, and he had only 2 prizes left, so I didn't want to chance him getting out a Blaziken ex and KOing Rayquaza ex for the game. That would stink majorly, so I Volcanic Ashed it and fortunately he didn't even get out a Lightning Energy to attack with Dragon Burst. Record: 2-0-0 : 6 pts - Round 3 - Spoonier B.A.R.D. vs Swampert/ex/Delcatty/Suicune ex This was the best game I've ever had in Modified! It was SO down to the wire! We kept going at it prize for prize. I knocked out his Suicune ex at first, but he quickly reclaimed the prize lead by knocking out the Rayquaza ex with a Crystal Sharded Swampert. I eventually had to use Ampharos' Lightning Strike to Knock Out the Swampert, but then he pulled in a Swampert ex and knocked out my Ampharos! Fortunately for me, two of his Mudkips were in his prizes, which slowed his deck down a bit. It was an extremely close game in the end. We each had one Prize left. He had a Swampert ex active, I had a Blaziken ex active (with only 2 Energy on it). He used Crushing Wave to damage my Benched Dunsparce, leaving it with 10 HP left. It was my turn, and I had to win on this turn, or else, so I used a Warp Point to switch my Blaziken ex out for my Benched Blaziken with 2 Fire Energy on it, he switched for a Swampert, then I used Firestarter on Blaziken ex, attached an Energy to it, retreated Blaziken for Blaziken ex, then Volcanic Ashed his Delcatty for the game. Record: 3-0-0 : 9 pts I found out that I just played against TheDeuce from the PokéGym Forums, and I thought that was awesome because he was one of the people that I was looking forward to meeting because I've seen him around on the PokéGym, and I like to be able to meet people in person! - Round 4 - Spoonier B.A.R.D. vs Magneton/Ditto/Mewtwo ex/(something else which I forgot) This game was much more of a breeze than I might've thought it would be. I had a great start, and his start was also fairly good as well. I had this uncanny feeling that after he knocked out one of my Pokemon he was going to use a Crystal Shard and Knock Out my Rayquaza ex. So, I decided I wasn't going to take that, so I sent out a Torchic instead, and forced him to send out who he was going to Crystal Shard me with to knock out the Torchic, so then I sent out Rayquaza ex and knocked that thing out. He eventually did pull of the Crystal Shard (I think), but it was too late by then because I had Blaziken ex tearing up his Bench, incuding taking out a Mewtwo ex. Record: 4-0-0 : 12 pts - Round 5 - Spoonier B.A.R.D. vs Beedrill/Eeveelution Ugh, I didn't really want to play against Dwight H... Not that I thought he could beat me, but because I knew that he plays slow and that he always has all of these rulings things. And he's rather arrogant, no offense. And of course, I was very right. I had a beautiful start, and got Blaziken ex out extremely fast. I started knocking things out, but he eventually knocked out Blaziken ex, but I countered that effectively enough. After I took out his Espeon, he only a Weedle and a Kakuna if I'm not mistaken, and it was over from there. Record: 5-0-0 : 15 pts And yes, he called on several rulings which I knew were all false, I had to remind him twice that he had already played a Supporter, and he had to read my Blaziken, Delcatty, and Torchic as if he hadn't seen them before. He also started yelling at me saying that I used Volcanic Ash when I used Blaze Kick, and that was absolutely the only attack I could've used at the point anyway because I only had two Energy on him and Blaze Kick was enough to knock out his Kakuna anyway, so it didn't really matter. And you're supposed to discard a card in your hand immediately after using TV Reporter, not do something then do something else, then discard a card. =/ - Round 6 - Spoonier B.A.R.D. vs Blaziken ex/TM's Claydol/Delcatty Whoa, this match was sure exciting! We were both undefeated, and this match would determine a lot... Of course, then again, both of us were the only two people who remained undefeated, and we were in different age groups! Derrick was 14 (it was his birthday too!), and I am 16, so we just decided to... intentionally draw! I mean, why not? Both of us would get top seed in our eliminations, so there was no point in even playing except for the fun of it, so we just drew. There was a bit of a discrepancy though, because after we turned in our draw, the Judge said that all matches had to be played out, and that no means could be used to determine the outcome of a match other than playing it. Of course, he said that it wasn't a big deal or anything, and I find out that it does actually say that both players may agree to an intentional draw at any point in a match in the Pokemon OP Floor Rules. That was the only ruling that wasn't right the whole day, and it still passed, so it wasn't any big deal. Record: 5-0-1 : 16 pts Also, come to find out that Derrick is HypnosProjectHQ on the PokéGym, so I ended up meeting both of the people I wanted to meet today! Yay! We hung out for awhile afterward, since neither of us really had anything better to do. Glad to have had a chance to meet him! Well, I made it to Top 8 Elimination, and I must say that I was pretty excited. I took 1st in the Swiss rounds, so I obviously got the 1st seed of the Elimination rounds. The Elimination rounds were best 2 of 3, so I had still quite a few games ahead of me. - Quarterfinals - Spoonier B.A.R.D. vs Gardevoir/ex Match 1 I had a pretty nice draw against him, and I ended up dominating him pretty badly. I can't really remember too much of this match, only that I won it, and that he was playing Gardevoir. Match: 1-0 Match 2 Oh, this was just the opposite. I had an absolutely terrible setup, and I couldn't draw an Energy if my life depended on it, which it pretty much did. I got totally wasted, and ended up having to fling Dunsparce at him in a futile attempt to draw something that could save the day. Unfortunately, that attempt was in vain. Match: 1-1 Match 3 This was probably the worst game I've ever had in Modified. Period. I started with Torchic. He started with two Wobbuffets. He went first, attached an Energy, and passed. I drew, used TV Reporter, drew no Basics, so I attached and passed. He attached another Energy to his Wobbuffet, and passed. I again drew no basics, so I used my second TV Reporter and... drew no Basics! !! I attach and use Firebreathing for the heck of it, then pass. He actually only had a Boost Energy in his hand, so he used Bill's Maintenance in hopes of drawing an Energy... and... He did "Flip Over, good game." Match: 1-2 The power of Chansey wasn't with me in that one... I was destined to lose, as history was destined to repeat itself. I mean, I went undefeated in the WCSTS2001, until the last round, which I drew so we would both get in. I took 1st in the Swiss, and then when I got to the Elimination... I take 5th :/ Oh well, it was still fun, and it was much more exciting than the City Championship, in which still to this date I can't believe how incredibly lucky I got! I had some good matches, and met some fun people, and it was all good! I was hurried out of the event after I lost because my dad was getting impatient and wanted to go home, even though Nicolas was fighting for first place in the 10 and under elimination rounds. *sigh* I found out that Nicolas ended up taking 2nd, and went home with 18 packs. Way to go, Nicolas! <h4>Props and Slops[/b][/size] Props: - My Parent's Basement for running this awesome event! - Team Marriland! - Jim H. (the Judge) for trading me 30 of his Chanseys for the Chansey collection, including one he bought on eBay especially for me You are seriously the best Judge ever!!! - Derrick (HypnosProjectHQ) - happy birthday! - Will (TheDeuce) for giving me one of the best games I've had in a very long time! I wanted to play you in the Finals! - Nicolas for doing such an awesome job in 10 and under. - Nathan for being there, and for being a part of Team Marriland. - Team Marriland!! - Myself for buying a Blaziken ex for $10 ^_^ (they go for $20 on eBay) - Nintendo for providing AWESOME VIP prizes! - The kid who traded me two Chanseys for a TA's Sharpedo (rare) - My great lord Chansey, and the Chansey Collection! - My website, http://pokemon.marriland.com, because it's awesome, and because I like to advertise - The PokéGym for being a good place for me to lurk and check out decks and stuff - For getting some decent things in my 4 packs. No ex's, but some decent things. - Team Marriland!!! - You, if you donate some Chanseys to the 'higher cause' (contact me to find out how!) Slops: - Dwight for being a bit of an *ahem*. - My dad for making us leave early - To my last game in the Quarterfinals... > - To sloppy people who write lots of slops because they're sloppy. Pictures Assorted The State Championships VIP Package, yo! Trophies! (darn flash) Trophies part 2! (even worse flash) This table has my name on it (literally) (don't mess with Phanpy) Me helping Nathan and Nicolas with their decks Pizza Party! Pizza Party part 2! Just doing some trading (that's my Aqua/Magma set)... We are the champions! Matches Round Two Round Three Round Four Round Five Quarterfinals VIP Package Uber Cool Legendary Binder (front) Uber Cool Legendary Binder (side) Uber Cool Legendary Binder (back) Nifty Armaldo Mini-Binder (front; flash killed it) Nifty Armaldo Mini-Binder (back) Awesome Groudon Deck Box (angled) Awesome Groudon Deck Box (opening; nifty, eh?) Uber Cool Legendary Deck Box (front) Uber Cool Legendary Deck Box (angled; flash killed it, yet again) Uber Cool Legendary Deck Box (opening) PHANPY! (front; flash strikes again...) PHANPY! (angled; flash... again...) Bayleef and Phanpy (flash... .) Groudon Zipper Pull (works great with an Ultra-Pro!) And the bag it all came in! Unclickable pictures coming soon!