After a solid first day at Indiana City Championships for our group, we got to the hotel in Vincennes, Indiana around 10 p.m., and worked on getting together our decks for the next day and did some play testing until around 1 A.M.
I ended up putting together a Zekrom/Eelektrik deck that seemed like it would be very strong against the meta game. The three attackers I chose to play in the deck were Tornadus EX, Mewtwo EX, and Zekrom BLW, all of which made for a very strong Eelektrik build.
During breakfast the next day, I was thinking about how well my deck would do against the meta game, and thought that I could play something with a bit stronger matchups against the expected meta game. The day before, Ho-Oh EX and Landorus EX big basic decks had dominated the tournament, so I felt that Sigilyph DRX would be very strong against that meta game, so I threw together a Quad Sigilyph deck, and here is what I came up with:
Pokemon – 6
4 Sigilyph DRX
Trainers – 41
3 Professor Juniper
2 Skyarrow Bridge
Energy – 13
9 Psychic Energy
The basic idea behind the deck is that players have become too reliant on EX Pokemon in their decks, and are not playing enough counters to properly deal with a Sigilyph swarm. The two most popular non-EX Pokemon seeing play are Terrakion NVI and Bouffalant DRX, and neither of these deal well with Sigilyph. With an Eviolite attached, Sigilyph is only 2hko’d by Terrakion and 3hko’d by Bouffalant, while getting the 2hko on them in return (thanks to PlusPower for almost always guaranteeing it). After the non-EX threats are dealt with, Sigilyph is left there to knock out all of your opponent’s EX Pokemon while taking no damage in return.
Of course you cannot just play only Sigilyph, as then your deck would just die to any deck that can boost out a couple of non-EX attackers, so you also play your own Pokemon EX to keep their non-EX Pokemon in check. I originally had two Mewtwo EX in as my backup attackers, but John Roberts made a strong case for including Cresselia EX in the deck, and his reasoning made sense to me, so I put it in. Cresselia EX is amazing, especially when you can power it up in one turn, and with Eviolite, it is quite the tank, so it usually can deal well with non-EX Pokemon quite well, and combined with Gold Potion, it can live for a very long time. Additionally, I can play Cresselia EX onto my bench and have no Energy on it to bait out a Mewtwo EX with 4-5 Energy, setting it up to be knocked out by one of my Sigilyph. Cresselia EX only has one retreat cost, so you can free retreat it to your bench to give it time to heal off before it goes back into battle.
Cutting the second Mewtwo EX was both a blessing and a curse. Cresselia EX definitely helped me quite a bit, but I think I would be in a stronger position to win more games, especially the Blastoise matchup, if I had two Mewtwo EX at my disposal. I think 4 Sigilyph, 2 Mewtwo EX, and 1 Cresselia EX would have been the proper way to play the deck.
I decided to play Hugh in the deck as well, as I expected to mulligan a lot because of my low basic count, and then I could mill some cards out of my opponent’s opening hand to start the game if I had Hugh in hand. I never really got to do this, as I only mulliganed once the entire tournament, but in theory it could have been beneficial. I did get some disruption out of Hugh, forcing my opponents to discard resources, and Hugh was also a major threat late in the game. This deck turns a lot of matchups into a war of attrition, so after your opponent is exhausted of resources trying to deal with Sigilyph, you can play Hugh to deck out your opponent.
Unfortunately, this deck wasn’t as great of a meta game counter as I had hoped. This tournament was about half the size of the tournament the day before, and the players that didn’t show up were the Big Basic and Ho-Oh EX players. Still, I charged forward fighting the good fight with Sigilyph!
Round 1 – Garchomp/Altaria
This player had went undefeated the day before with a Garchomp/Altaria deck with Landorus EX, so I suspected he probably was playing the same deck today. Oh boy, playing an EX counter deck, and my first round is against an opponent playing no EX’s, as it looked like he had cut Landorus EX out from his deck from the day before.
In the early game, I wall off and sacrifice Sigilyph, and just work on manually charging a Cresselia EX with Psychic Energy, as I can’t really afford to do it with my Double Colorless, as he can remove that with Mach Cut. I get Cresselia EX powered up and catcher up an Altaria, and knock it out with Psychic Protection. Knocking out the Altaria would be key in this matchup, as I can really limit my opponent’s damage output when they aren’t present in the game. My opponent attacks me with Garchomp for a ton of damage thanks to his Altaria, but I quickly play my Gold Potion to heal off the damage, and knock out two more Altaria on my next two turns. From there, I am in a really good spot in the game, as I can remove his Blend Energy with Enhanced Hammer to prevent Dragon Blade attacks, and with no Altaria on the field, he can only hit Cresselia EX for 40 damage because of Eviolite, and then 20 of that damage would be healed with Sparkling Particles.
I retreat to Sigilyph, and attack his Garchomp with that to give Cresselia some time to heal up, and start loading Psychic Energy on it, with plans to Energy Switch it to Mewtwo EX a little later. I get my Mewtwo EX, and Energy Switch two Psychic Energy to it. My opponent has three prizes left, and my only two Pokemon on the field are Mewtwo EX and Cresselia EX with almost no damage, so I go in and X-ball with Mewtwo EX until I walk away with the victory.
Round 2 – Rayquaza/Eelektrik
My opponent mulligans once, and then I win the coin flip, starting a lone Sigilyph to her lone Tynamo. I draw Mewtwo EX for my turn, play it onto my bench, attach a Double Colorless Energy, use Skyla for Skyarrow Bridge, retreat to Mewtwo EX and X-Ball for the win. This is just another example of how Skyla is a game winning card. I also had a Professor Juniper in hand, but it is iffy as to whether I would have drawn the game winning Skyarrow Bridge off of the Professor Juniper. Skyla airmailed me the Skyarrow Bridge to give me the win. Anyone who doesn’t think Skyla is a great card is a scrub.
Round 3 – Blastoise/Keldeo
I am playing against my friend Jared this round, who drove up with us for the tournaments. To start the game, he draws nothing but Basic Pokemon in his opening hand, and plays them all down. My only Supporter to start the game is Hugh, and I have to play it, giving him a fresh five cards, which would actually help me as the game went on.
This game just turns into a war of attrition, with him powering up Blastoise and Keldeo BCR 47, and me attempting to respond to them with Sigilyph, Cresselia EX, and Mewtwo EX. To keep getting Energy on the field, he has to keep using draw supporters to get the Energy to knock out my Sigilyph or alternate attackers.
At some point in the game, he replaced my Skyarrow Bridge with Tropical Beach to get setup, which forced him to discard two Energy to retreat into a non-Keldeo EX attacker in order to deal with Sigilyph. This allowed me to catcher up some of his Pokemon, and force him to discard Energy in order to retreat into a non-EX attacker. Eventually I was able to run him out of the Energy needed to both attack and retreat, and forced him to deck out.
Round 4 – Excadrill/Terrakion NVI/Mewtwo EX/Bouffalant DRX
In this round, I was paired against Zach Zamora, another player from the St. Louis area. At this point in the tournament, the St. Louis players were dominating the tournament, with myself, Zach, and John being the only undefeated players left in the tournament. For the most part, this is a non-EX deck, but it’s not as bad of a matchup as something like Garchomp/Altaria, just because the damage output from his Poekmon against my Pokemon isn’t all that great. His main attacker is Excadrill, which can only hit for a maximum of 30 damage against an Eviolited Pokemon. An Eviolited Cresselia EX, for example, would almost completely negate the damage from Excadrill.
I don’t quite remember how the game as a whole played out, but I know I did most of my attacking with Sigilyph DRX and Cresselia EX, and he used the whole range of attackers against me.
The game went to time, and we were both at one prize heading into time, with no really good way for either of us to knock out the other person’s Pokemon, and it became for me at least, a game of walling off his attacks until I could get my own attack together. The game went very deep into time, with lots of turns after time was called. I worked on powering up a Mewtwo EX through manual attachment, as all of my Energy Switch were in the discard as this point. Eventually, I get the third Psychic Energy that I need and Psydrive his Excadrill for my final prize.
Round 5 – Klinklang
I got a turn 2 Sigilyph powered up, and just kept hitting John’s Pokemon for 50-60 damage with Sigilyph over and over. He started Kyogre EX, which is probably his worst opener against Quad Sigilyph, as it Dual Splash doesn’t do much against either Sigilyph or an Eviolited Cresselia EX. Throughout the game, I just peck away at his field with a bunch of different Sigilyph, and absorb Gear Grind hits, in which he hit one of two heads for most of the game. Through the combination of Sigilyph, Mewtwo EX, and Cresselia EX I am able to knock out two of his EX Pokemon.
The game ends up hitting time, with each of us at two prizes remaining. John has just a couple cards left in his deck, so there is a good chance he will deck out. If I can get Cresselia EX out to wall with, I probably win the game. Additionally, drawing a Hugh would also win me the game, as I could force John to draw the rest of his cards in his deck and deck him out. Unfortunately, he hits double heads on Gear Grind to knockout a Sigilyph to go ahead one prize, and I lose because the game went to time. If the game was allowed to properly finish, it really could have gone either way and would have come down to Gear Grind flips.
We all go to a Chinese restauraunt for lunch, and it’s a pretty good performance. Three of the four master’s in our car made it into the Top 4, and Chad was a win away from getting into the top cut as well. I entered top cut as the No. 2 seed, and would be playing Jared and his Blastoise/Keldeo deck in Top 4.
Top 4 – Blastoise/Keldeo
I think heading into top cut, after having played each other in Swiss, we both realized just how bad of a matchup this was for me. Jared had plenty of non-EX attacking options with both Blastoise and Keldeo, and then Keldeo EX hit hard enough to deal with Cresselia EX, and Jared had his own Mewtwo EX to deal with mine.
In game 1, he gets a Blastoise and Keldeo powered up, exchanges well with my own Mewtwo EX, and is in a generally dominant board position. I scoop after whiffing a low probability hand of Super Rod, Ultra Ball, and Double Colorless Energy. I figured if I were to beat this deck, it would be a long, drawn out game like our Swiss game, in which I probably decked him. Then maybe I could win the game by Psydriving a Squirtle in a sudden death Game 3 to win.
In game 2, I of course go first. I Ultra Ball for my Mewtwo EX, but it’s prized, so I opt for Cresselia EX instead. I get it powered up by turn 3, and whiff the Pokemon Catcher to try to prevent him from ever getting out a Blastoise. I think I knock out a Squirtle and a Keldeo EX in this game, but don’t draw Mewtwo off any of these three prize cards. He then knocks out Cresselia with a Keldeo EX, and from there runs through my Sigilyph with Keldeo and Blastoise. I check my prizes, and Mewtwo EX would have been the last prize I drew.
I think in order to have a good chance at winning this matchup, I would have needed the second Mewtwo EX in my deck. One isn’t enough to deal with a Blastoies deck with so many non-EX attacking options.
It should also be mentioned that during our top cut match, a spectator picked up Jared’s discard pile and started looking through it, which was a combination of hilarious and awkward.
There is absolutely no reason that a deck like this should be having much success at all in competitive play. Most players just haven’t been playing proper
non-EX Pokemon, allowing Sigilyph the opportunity to be a much stronger meta game counter than it should be.
With that said, I had a lot of fun playing the deck and navigating a lot of difficult matchups for the deck with good success. I wish I could have won this one, but Blastoise was just too difficult of a matchup, and there was also a Hammertime deck in top cut, which would have been difficult to beat. Jared ended up going on to win the tournament, which was awesome to see.
I finished in fourth place at this event, and added 30 championship points to my total, putting me at 100 points for the season, 1/4th of the way there!