Report of Infamy: How I Tied Repeatedly With Speed Lugia
What I’m writing today is my Wisconsin Regional Championship Report. The tournament featured over 190 Masters Division players, which made for a tournament that just cut to a Top 8 with no prior cut to a Top 32, making it a hyper competitive tournament.
For the tournament, I kind of changed my ideology on deck choice. I wanted something that would give me determinate results for my matches so I wouldn’t be screwed over by ties in matches I could easily have won. With that in mind I chose Speed Lugia EX, a deck that can end a game within the first three turns of the game. That’s the type of speed I was looking for!
I should say before hand that I went into the tournament with the mentality that I would just let my ties stand. After reading a lot of the Pokegym thread on the topic, it became clear to me making concession agreements really hurts the integrity of the tournament. So while it would have been in my best interest to come to concession agreements with my opponents, I just let the ties stand for the day.
Here is the list that I used in the tournament:
Pokemon – 9
3 Lugia EX
Trainers – 39
4 Professor Juniper
3 Random Receiver
3 Team Plasma Ball
3 Muscle Band
Energy – 12
I don’t think this list needs too much explaining as it is very straight forward, with a heavy emphasis at getting Lugia EX powered up as quick as possible.
I decided to play only 1 Thundurus EX, as the strategy of the deck was to just take 2 or 3 knockouts with Lugia EX to end the game. I figured out in testing if I had to use 2 Thundurus EX in a game, I was most likely going to lose.
Snorlax PLS was my non-EX as choice. I decided for Snorlax because of its Block Ability. It could allow me to lock an EX into the active spot, and then manually charge my second Lugia EX, and then just Plasma Gale for game. Teampact is also a very strong attack when it gets powered up. My outlook on Safeguard is that I would use Pokemon Catcher to get around it, as well as Escape Rope, since I really just wanted two EX KO’s for the win anyhow.
I know a lot of players go for Shauna over N in this deck, but I believe heavy N is the superior play for the deck. The first reason, is N gives you maximum draw early game which is important for getting Lugia EX powered up as fast as possible. As you take your prizes in groups of 3 usually, you aren’t really hurt as much from N as other decks, and with so much Item draw, you should usually be able to draw out of it.
The other reason I decided to play N, is because the format is so fast right now. Even with this deck being quick, it’s not too uncommon to fall behind against something like Yveltal EX/Darkrai EX, so N gave you an alternate win strategy of let them get a prize lead, then N them to a low hand and then take two knockouts with Lugia EX.
The one last note is on Tool Scrapper. I know a lot of players who would skip out on the card in this type of deck, but I think you win Garbodor with it and lose it without it. With Garbodor something you can expect to play 2 or so rounds, it’s too good not to play. I’d hate not to play such a simple card and sacrifice a very winnable matchup otherwise. This contrasts to something like Emboar, which will probably lose to Garbodor regardless of Tool Scrapper, making cutting it from the deck a much more logical choice.
Round 1 – Palkia EX/Safeguard/Snorlax PLS
This isn’t the matchup I wanted to see to start the day, as it provided a solid counter to my deck with so many Safeguard Pokemon, really forcing me to hit my Catcher heads to do anything against the deck. Ideally I would be able to go after his Deoxys EX, which only have 170 HP to take my prizes. Snorlax using Block is a factor to prevent their Safeguard from retreating, but he played a healthy Switch and Escape Rope count and was able to play around this quite well.
In Game 1, I have a quick Lugia EX powered up while he has to Colress for 4 on turn one, and goes a few turns without a Supporter. I knockout his Snorlax for my first two prizes of the game. He sends up Sigilyph, and after I failed a Pokemon Catcher, I just retreat to Thundurus EX and begin powering up Lugia EX again as well as a Snorlax to give me multiple options in the game.
Unfortunately, he got the Red Signal on my Snorlax along with a Colress Machine to power up his Deoxys EX to Helix Force for the knockout. I take three prizes with Lugia EX on the Deoxys EX to go down to one prize. He plays down a second Safeguard Pokemon, and with only Escape Rope left in my deck (I had to discard 2 Pokemon Catcher on turn one), I have no way of winning. I play a few more turns out to make him think I play the 4th Pokemon Catcher before scooping.
In Game 2, I open no Supporter. I sacrifice my Thundurus EX and my Snorlax. Before Snorlax goes down, it is able to buy me some turns in the game thanks to Block. I finally get Lugia EX powered up, play down 4 Deoxys EX, and hit back to back heads on Pokemon Catcher on consecutive turns to make a thrilling come back with knockouts on consecutive turns on EX’s for six prizes.
In Game 3, I never see a Supporter or draw Item, and just get steamrolled as a result.
Round 2 – Yveltal EX/Darkrai EX/Dusknoir BCR
This is a bit of a scary matchup, as Dusknoir can prevent you from going to whatever you’re setting up once they get damage on the field, giving them a lot of flexibility. I was banking on the Dusknoir line making the deck less consistent, which could give me an edge since I’m playing such an aggressive deck.
Neither of these games ended up being very close. My opponent stumbled on getting setup in both of those games.
In Game 1, my opponent went sometime without drawing a Supporter. I had to play N at some point to get another Energy, but I had too much of an advantage at that point for my opponent to do anything.
In Game 2, I started with a turn 1 Helix Force knockout on his Duskull. Then I got 4 Deoxys EX down, and took back to back KO’s with Lugia EX on his Darkrai EX.
Round 3 – Gourgeist XY/Gardevoir NXD/Sigilyph DRX/Mewtwo EX/Chandelure EX
This was a very interesting deck to play against, and was a really developed concept for Gourgeist. The way the deck works, is that Gardevoir makes all Psychic Energy count as two, making most of the attackers, but most importantly Gourgeist be able to get powered up for its second attack in one turn. From there, they just play a Hypnotoxic Laser, and they can take a OHKO with Gourgeist.
In Game 1, my opponent plays down a lone Sigilyph. I didn’t really know what was going on when I saw Psychic Energy, and thought I might be playing against a Quad Sigilyph deck. He never really drew into anything so it was a fairly easy win.
In Game 2, he got setup blazingly fast, and just took Spirit Scream KO’s from turn 2 on in the game. I tried to get around that with Snorlax, but he had the Escape Rope for the win, for another easy win.
Game 3 was much more close, and I just barely got the win on the last turn of time. This matchup isn’t too interesting in the details, as it’s largely just a bunch of OHKO exchanges. What tilted this last game in my favor was hitting a Pokemon Catcher on his last Gourgeist when he was walling with Sigilyph. If I didn’t hit that Catcher heads, I would have most likely won the game.
One thing that helped in this matchup was that Gourgeist puts itself down to 10 HP after using Spirit Scream, so whenever he took a KO, I was able to respond the next turn with a Raiden Knuckle KO, which helped a bunch not needing to rely on having another Lugia EX powered up immediately.
Round 4 – Yveltal EX/Darkrai EX
This series was pretty interesting in the way that it turned out. This matchup isn’t too interesting, in that you just try to take 2 KO’s with Lugia EX’s on Yveltal EX’s if you can, and sometimes you have to go for the Raiden Knuckle KO in the intermediary. Thundurus EX can take a knockout on Yveltal EX with Muscle Band and 4 Deoxys EX in play, so you have to be very aware of what you’re using your bench space on.
Game 1 was a series of exchanges. I went first with Lugia EX for three prizes, then he knocked that out. Then I got a knockout with Thundurus EX to go down to one prize. He is able to respond with a KO on Thundurus EX the next turn, and I just can’t get the last Lugia EX powered up to win after getting N’d. It’s amazing how easily it is for a Yveltal EX to knockout a Thundurus EX with one Energy with Evil Ball.
Game 2 was super interesting. I prized really poorly, and was unable to ever get anything setup to attack. Thundurus EX was prized as well as most of my Plasma Energy, so I was screwed. But I came to the conclusion my opponent didn’t play Switch or Escape Rope, and it looked like most of his Dark Energy was accounted for on his field, so I went with the only play I could, which was to put Snorlax Active and go for a Catcher on his Darkrai EX with one Energy. Turns out I was right, and he didn’t have the Dark Energy or Energy Switch left to knockout my opponent, and ended up decking him out for a win in a game I had no business of winning.
Time was getting close to being called, but I was able to win Game 3 just by taking KO’s with Lugia EX on turns 2 and 3 to pull off the come from behind victory in the match.
Round 5 – Darkrai EX/Yveltal EX
The first game was super close, and just played out like most games against the deck do. I took a knockout on a Sableye for two prizes with Lugia EX, before that got knocked out. I responded to his Yveltal EX with a knockout with Thundurus EX, before ending the game with another Lugia EX.
I was close to winning the series in Game 2. I had a Lugia EX almost ready to attack, just needed the Colress Machine to give me the win. I play a Professor Juniper, hit the Colress Machine, but draw my last Plasma Energy on the seventh card of the draw. Super frustrating. After that, Lugia EX is just an attachment away from being ready to attack before it gets hit with the double Enhanced Hammer. I am without Thundurus EX and don’t have enough Energy in my deck to attack with Lugia EX again, so I’m forced to go for another Block stall. His last Hypnotoxic Laser isn’t prized, so he’s able to poison KO my Snorlax to eliminate that strategy.
Time ends up getting called fairly early in Game 3.
Round 6 – Yveltal EX/Darkrai EX/Garbodor DRX
I’d like to say this matchup played out much differently than the other ones, but Garbodor doesn’t add too much to the matchup with Tool Scrapper in the deck. If I knockout two EX’s on turns when I use Tool Scrapper to prevent Garbotoxin, than the strategy just plays out as normal.
The series was a close one, with him taking a close game 1, and me taking a close game 2. There wasn’t time to progress in Game 3, so that ended in a tie. I had a theoretical chance to win it thanks to Lugia EX being able to end a game by turn 3, but I think I whiffed a Catcher flip to seal my fate in the matchup.
Round 7 – Landorus EX/Mewtwo EX/Raichu XY/Garbodor DRX
I really hate playing against Landorus EX/Garbodor DRX with anything Plasma that isn’t also playing Kyurem. It’s never as bad of a matchup as I make it out to be, but it can be difficult to win.
In Game 1, I don’t have much of anything going, and am just getting wrecked. I realize I’ll never be able to get a Lugia EX powered up, and have Snorlax on my bench, and decide to N him and then attach a Double Colorless and Colress Machine to Snorlax, putting all my eggs in one basket. The next turn, I attach another Double Colorless and knockout his Landorus EX. He whiffs the Double Colorless to respond with an X-Ball KO, and I hit a Catcher heads the next turn to knockout that Mewtwo EX. Another Catcher heads the next turn, and I’m able to take the game with my miracle Snorlax.
Game 2, progresses the same way as Game 1, just this time no Snorlax, and I get steamrolled, not even taking a prize.
In Game 3, I get a turn one Lugia EX powered up, and start attacking with it turn 1. I start powering up Snorlax as backup, as it proved so useful in Game 1. Between Lugia EX and Snorlax, and some Catcher heads on a Raichu, I am able to take Game 3 before time is called for the win.
Round 8 – Yveltal EX/Darkrai EX/Bouffalant DRX
This one progressed as similarly to the other ones as possible. Bouffalant was a nice mix for him, as he was able to take knockouts on my Thundurus EX with Gold Breaker a Muscle Band and a Hypnotoxic Laser.
He takes a close game 1, and I end up winning a close game 2. I think going first really helped either player in this matchup.
Game 3 is fairly close, but he gets an advantage, but as a result of him outspeeding me, I am able to N him, and most of his Energy is stacked on one Yveltal EX. I promote Snorlax and Catcher up a Darkrai EX and Block it. From there, my goal is to hit a Pokemon Catcher on his big Yveltal EX and pair it with N, and just use the one Lugia EX to win myself the game.
One the first turn of attempting this strategy, I hit double tails on Pokemon Catcher, and just retreat back to Snorlax. I then attach another Double Colorless Energy, try it again with Dowsing Machine, flip tails again, and just have to stay with Snorlax and Block my way into the tie.
So Many Ties….
Now, I think a large part of my large number of ties can be attributed to poor matchups throughout the day. Every round I played some type of counter to my deck, whether it be Garbodor, Safeguard, Enhanced Hammer, or Raichu. All of these served to slow the game down and turn it into a more complex game then if I had played against decks like Blastoise, Emboar, Virizion/Genesect, or Plasma.
I think I would have done much better with my matchups playing a standard Yeti list or TDK again.
I don’t think Lugia EX was necessarily a poor choice for the tournament, a couple of them made it into the Top 8 I believe. The issue I had was I just happened to be the one to play against poor matchups all day, while the others got to play against multiple Blastoise for example. There isn’t really anything you can do what matchups TOM pairs you into sometimes.
Snorlax was my MVP throughout the day. I really liked it, and Block gave the deck a second level of strategical complexity. While it helped me turn around games and make them into wins, it also further slowed down matchups to force ties. If I forwent Snorlax, my deck would have been more make the main strategy work and burn out, so in this case, where the alternative is burning out and losing, being able to add something to the deck to swing poor mathcups from Losses to Ties is better than just losing.
I think Snorlax is really strong, and I think more Yveltal decks should play something like Switch to counteract this.
So that’s my tournament report with Speed Lugia EX. All of the ties were disappointing, but I think that was just largely attributed to the matchups I saw for the day.
In the end, I finisehd 39th out of 190+ players, which isn’t a bad finish at all, but I would have liked to do better.
One note for this event was the excellent prize put on by Top Cut Comics. They gave vouchers to their store for the top half of the tournament. This really worked, because their onsite vendor site had all of the cards players could want and they didn’t jack up prices on the cards for the event. I know I was able to get some cards I needed for decks as a result!