Top 8 NC States Report (Masters with Gyarados) Round 1 - vs. Joel (?) with Feraligatr/Magnezone I really like the ability Gyarados has to take autolosses (like Magnezone) and turn them into really good games. I get a quick start on my opponent, who opens with two AR Spiritomb (yeahh...). He gets a Feraligatr and Croconaw in play but struggles to get a Magnezone up. I put an Expert Belt on my Gyarados to deal with certain things, then use Super Scoop Up to remove the Belt by the time Magnezone hits the field. His Judges never hurt me, though they still help him get multiple Magnezones in play. By this time I'm feeling the heat, so I decide to use Pokemon Reversal to get some easy KO's on low-HP Pokemon since I can't take out a Magnezone in one shot. Unfortunately, I flip tails 4 times in a row on these. Time's called right when I'm getting ready to roll for another Reversal I brought back with Junk Arm. I roll a much needed heads! This guarantees the game for me, since I can knock out a benched Feraligatr with like 8 energy stuffed on it, my opponent will have to use up his remaining 2 energy in play (after attaching) to knock out my Gyarados, then I'll be able to take the last prize in sudden death. Just then, the judge points at my die and says that it's illegal. Naturally, my heart sank, for I knew what would happen when I rolled again. I did so and rolled a tails for the loss. 0-1 Round 2 - vs. Colton with DialgaChomp I donk him turn 1 going second. I actually had a great start with the exception of a Regice start. He started with an Unown Q, however. I played a Collector for 2 Crobat G's and an Uxie. Flash Bite, Flash Bite, Super Scoop Up tails, Super Scoop Up tails, drop Uxie, play PokeTurn for the win. 1-1 Round 3 - vs. Tom Wise with Machamp/secret I start with an Azelf and bench a Magikarp. Tom, going second, uses a Rare Candy to evolve to Machamp, plays a fighting, and plays 2 Uxie in search of the Seeker. He whiffs, so I get a Gyarados up and start taking prizes. I keep his hand small by using Mesprit's Psychic Bind, and he eventually runs out of steam. I think I might have landed some heads on coin flips this time - amazing! 2-1 Round 6 - vs. ? with Tyranitar I don't remember a lot of this game, though it ended pretty quickly. I think my opponent only got one Tyranitar Prime in play. I win this one pretty easy. 3-1 Round 5 - vs. Patrick C. with DialgaChomp Patrick told me later that he opened with 2 Power Spray in hand and drew another from his prizes. This would explain why my first 3 Uxie drops failed. I hit a wall midgame because of this, but make a steady comeback once that's over. I had difficulty running into my 3 remaining Broken Time-Space, so at one point I would have KO'd his Dialga X and instead looked pretty dumb and said "pass" (haha). I whiffed on all my Pokemon Reversals, and then time was called when I was in a pretty bad spot. I tried my best to put 5 damage counters on a benched Dialga X while KO'ing the defending Pokemon (I had to take 2 prizes that turn or I would lose). I managed to put 3 damage counters on the Dialga while Patrick was on the edge of his seat. Then I told him good game and passed. In all fairness, Patrick played very well (especially given the short amount of time he's been playing). Stay competitive buddy! 3-2 Round 6 - vs. John D. with Sablelock (Blaze FB and Garchomp C) John played this game as well as he could, but I was able to set up pretty fast. He played a Judge midgame that gave me 2 PokeDrawer+... yeah, that's pretty much all I need to say. Good game John! 4-2 Round 7 - vs. William with Uxie Donk William went first, so I avoided the donk and threw down an entire bench. After he went through his entire deck on the second turn and took 2 prizes, I used Mesprit's Psychic Bind for 3 turns, then he conceded. 5-2 ... I make top cut! ______________________________________________ Top 16 - vs. Nick Goble with Machamp Game 1 - I go second and donk his Unown Q (lame). Game 2 - Nick played his heart out on this one, taking all but 2 prizes (extremely difficult to do in this matchup). He was able to set up a Machamp turn 1 and took two prizes using Take Out before I could get a Gyarados up. Once I did, he was able to knock it out with Machamp Prime at one point. I sacrificed another Pokemon while getting Gyarados back in play. Once I did I hit the Prime, then he hit for 110 using an Expert Belt. He had placed an Unown Q on the bench and left it there the turn before, so I used Crobat G's to KO it while knocking out the Machamp Prime for my remaining 3 prizes. Great game Nick, and great job at getting into the top cut! Top 8 - vs. TJ with LostGar/Vileplume Game 1 - This is a tough match for me, and my start isn't looking so hot. I remember bringing up a Magikarp to use its first attack for cards (yeah, it was that bad). The trainer lock hurt me too much this game. I managed to get a lot done, and had I pulled a Seeker at some point it might have been close. When TJ won, I had put 90 damage on a benched SF Gengar and 120 damage on the Gengar Prime. Oh yeah, TJ sent a Magikarp to my Lost Zone at some point with Hurl Into Darkness, basically sealing the loss for me. Game 2 - I had a more promising start this time with Smeargle as my active. Unfortunately, TJ had two useless supporters in his hand (Twins, Palmer's), so I pass. He topdecks the Pokemon Collector, which was pretty annoying, haha. His start was slow, but he has me trainer locked, so I don't move any faster than he does. At one point I would have been able to play a Regice and discard two 'Karps, but my bench had only one spot open and Regice was prized. As a result, my 90 damage attacks become 30 instead. I should have been more aware of my prizes, but I was focused on just getting set up, so again, it all came down to trainer lock. No matter the case, TJ played these games perfectly. Where a slightly less-skilled player might have made some game-changing mistakes, TJ seemed to have total control over the outcome. Great games man!