Irritating the Competition – 12th Place World Championship Report
To anyone who knows me, it should be no surprise that I played Vespiquen/Vileplume for the World Championship. It has done me well most of the season (at least when Jolteon EX wasn’t in my list), and it didn’t fail me this time either.
For anyone who doesn’t know me, this is actually my first highly competitive season, so I’m not terribly offended if you don’t- in the past I’ve played a few events here and there, but never earned any Championship Points until this season. Prior to this season, I had always went to Illinois States and Wisconsin Regionals, occasionally judging when the opportunity presented itself, but I didn’t go too far besides that for any events. As a result, I didn’t have booming success; success in Pokemon currently is a combination of traveling, skill, luck, and practice. Additionally, the line between understanding the basics of the game, and taking it to the next level and understanding complex interactions in cards both you and your opponent play is also a pretty big differential between playing the game and being good at the game.
I guess you could say the beginning of my success started in the 2014-2015 season in a sense, as I was able to participate in the Professor Cup at US Nationals – earning myself 6th place and a sweet Professor bag in the process. That was also the beginning of my affinity with Battle Compressor engines, as I played Night March for the Professor Cup. Following Nationals and Worlds 2015, I went into the new 2015-2016 season with my take on the Worlds winning Blastoise list, essentially playing the first half of the season with it to get my first 200 Championship Points from City Championships and League Challenges, and playing the second half of the season with Vespiquen/Vileplume, almost exclusively. There was that one time I played Sableye/Garbodor in a Speed Dark dominated field… but I try not to remember that when I can help it. It’s been a crazy, wonderful season from both a competitive and community aspect.
Anyways, back to the present. In the latter half of the season, any time I bring up Vespiquen/Vileplume in any sort of group who knows what it is, I never get a positive response about it. While Night March may have been the deck with the biggest target on its back, Vespiquen/Vileplume was very likely the deck with the biggest stigma attached to it. Even at the movie theater Sunday after Worlds, I got a look of disgust from the employee at the front desk when I mentioned I played the deck over the weekend. He assumed I would have played Night March, go figure.
I played all the way through days 1 and 2, taking a couple losses here and there, but ultimately ending up at 12th place at the tournament’s conclusion. Here’s how my tournament went:
Round 1: Diego Gatica (Chile) with Waterbox
Game 1 – We flip, and Diego starts off. He flips a Manaphy EX, and I flip a Combee. Upon seeing the Combee he voices a bit of concern, knowing he has an uphill battle ahead of him. He has a slightly lackluster turn, getting some board setup, but not near as much as he would like. I proceed to get the lock and start hitting him hard, initially starting by hitting an Aurorus EX he put up to wall, and continuing by exchanging a bit while he sets up his Glaceon EX on the bench. By the time he has it up, I’m up a few prizes, and can afford to use Bunnelby’s Rototiller to get Lysandre back to take the game.
Game 2 – I believe this was actually a game 2 where he went straight for Glaceon and I couldn’t do anything about it, but don’t exactly remember if this was the case. From what I can recall, he got Glaceon EX early and I didn’t have a good response. I wish I could remember more about this game, it’s the only one I don’t remember well.
Game 3 – This game goes very similarly to the first, except he gets a good enough start here that I actually opt to forego Vileplume and just take quick knockouts. Seeing that he doesn’t play many non-EX Pokemon such as Articuno or Regice, and Glaceon EX is his only counter makes it easy for me to pull ahead quick and take the series on prizes.
Fun fact: From here, Diego proceeded to win 6 rounds in a row and make day 2 before I would even play my final round. While resistance doesn’t matter for day 1, it’s still quite an impressive feat, and I’m glad his day didn’t spiral from here.
Round 2: Tobias Thesing (Denmark) with Bronzong
Game 1 – After Tobias wins the flip and starts by flipping Genesect EX, I know what it’s like to be on the other side of an awful matchup. He plays out his turn, getting a few Bronzor in play, but almost avoiding showing an Aegislash EX at all. It almost seemed like he didn’t play Aegislash EX for a bit… Until when I was 3 prizes into the game, he plays Hex Maniac to Ultra Ball for an Aegislash, benches it, and then knocks out my active Toxicroak EX. Benching it while Hex Maniac was in effect is a very risky play, and one that doesn’t pan out for him. I immediately Lysandre the Aegislash EX and KO it with my Vespiquen, taking advantage of Tobias’ Hex Maniac myself. He makes it trickier by using Ninja Boy to swap one of his Pokemon with his second Aegislash EX but from here I had the momentum to simply get Lysandre back with Bunnelby and use it for my last prize. He almost seemed to have been holding off the Aegislash to try and surprise me, but waited until far too late in the game to do it. I actually saw a Cobalion STS hit his field before any Aegislash EX.
Game 2 – Knowing he played two Aegislash EX this game, and assuming I wouldn’t get quite so lucky with Hex being in play at crucial times, I go for a more conservative play. I go slightly less into the deck to get setup, while conserving both Bunnelbys and Lysandre to be able to take the mill approach this game. He digs as expected to try and get both Aegislash out during lock, but prematurely benches both of them. With this, I have my opening. I played the game of “Lysandre the Pokemon lacking energy”, while putting Lysandre back in the deck and using Burrow at my leisure. Between his nearly consecutive Professor Sycamore to dig further to get setup, and my Lysandre’s, he runs out of energy and ran out of energies to stay in the game before decking out.
From here it’s only looking up, or so I thought. I overcame what I thought was my autoloss, only to find my true autoloss next round.
Round 3: Sam Hough (US) with Vileplume Box
This was definitely the craziest deck I saw all week, and I’m glad that Sam made it to top 4 with it…more on that later though. During this game I only saw Glaceon EX, Magearna EX, Jolteon EX, Aegislash EX, and Vileplume, but I was later told there was also an Yveltal EX. Trevenant EX wasn’t added until day 2.
Game 1 – He starts Magearna EX and an Oddish and I’m immediately confused. Soon into the game I find out he’s playing Aegislash EX, Glaceon EX, and multiple Ninja Boy and know I’ve all but lost. Magearna EX and a Rainbow Energy on Aegislash means not even Toxicroak EX can get through it, and I have literally zero way of dealing with it. Bunnelby to mill him out is unsuccessful, as he ran enough energy that he always had it within reach and could knock out the bunny before I milled too much.
Game 2 – Was remarkably similar to game 1, and I simply played it out to see what information I could gather on the deck. I liked the concept, and it couldn’t hurt to learn what I could. It also didn’t hurt that Sam was a pleasant opponent as well.
Generally I don’t take losses terribly well and they absolutely kill my momentum, but I knew there was nothing I could do in that matchup that I didn’t try, and just kept on to the next round.
Round 4: Main Ahmed (Canada) with Trevenant
I couldn’t stop hitting theoretically bad matchups. Everyone tells me that Trevenant is an awful matchup for VV, but my previous few rounds of hitting it haven’t taught me that yet. The percent chance of Trevenant missing the turn 1 going first is much higher than VV’s probability of missing, and that’s usually what wins me in the game. That is in addition to Trevenant’s struggle to regain momentum once anything that can take quick knockouts takes the lead in the game.
Game 1 – He goes first, but fails to get a super solid board state. He misses the turn 1 Wally and has little follow up, which gives me a turn to quickly setup and start taking knockouts faster than he can recover.
Game 2 – This goes much differently, as he gets the turn 1 Wally and a decent followup right from the start, and takes the game easily.
Game 3 – Game 3 goes to me once again, as I have a turn of items and run him out of the game with fast Bee Revenge’s to knockout anything before it becomes relevant.
Round 5: Joe Sanchez (US) with Trevenant
Game 1 – I go first, which means I have a full turn to setup before getting locked out. This game goes to me, as he never has a chance to get anything lasting on his field. I take the first couple turns to continue building momentum to knockout a BREAK further into the game, but he doesn’t have anything going while I do so.
Game 2 – He goes first, and it’s a reverse of the previous game. He takes it quickly by getting the turn 1 Trevenant and locking me out of anything.
Game 3 – I go first and hit the turn 1 Vileplume, once again winning and taking the series.
In this case this round could have gone very differently if I didn’t go first, as Joe’s list seemed to hit the turn 1 much more commonly than Main’s list. Usually in a Vileplume vs Trevenant game, or any Item Lock vs Item Lock, the game is decided by the opening flip more often than not.
Every one of these matches gives me the feeling I’m past the bad matchups now, and every next matchup proves me wrong.
Round 6: Fred X. Hoban (US) with Vespiquen/Vileplume
This is the only true VV mirror I hit all week, as all the other Vileplume I hit were different variants. I heard rumors that Fred was simply playing his Nationals list, and during play I didn’t get any impressions to the contrary. However, I did see Float Stones from him every game that he went first.
Game 1 – Fred wins the flip, and I know I’m in for trouble. He attempts to set up, misses Vileplume, but gets a solid board state apart from the lack of Vileplume. From here I’m not able to capitalize on the lack of Vileplume near as much as I need to, and we take a turn or two to both set up more. Fred starts with the lead, and ends with it, able to take all his prizes before I can.
Game 2 – I get to go first this time around, get Vileplume, and Fred scoops. On to game 3 to decide it.
Game 3 – Fred actually gets setup, and gets a Vileplume on the field, but there’s no energy in sight. My opening hand is a Combee start, an Unown on bench, and a Sycamore to get 3 Pokemon in discard. My Sycamore lands me my last three Unown, which is utterly absurd. I surprise Fred with the first attack, a Bee Revenge for 70 damage turn 1. From here he cycles scapegoats to take 70 damage until he gets the energy, and we start prize exchanging adequately. Eventually he puts enough pressure on me where I need to Sycamore to get a Vespiquen out of a ~20 card deck, with 3 Vespiquen left, but I miss it. The Sycamore whiffs the 8th and 9th cards, which were both Vespiquens, and Fred takes the lead and wins the game from here.
The pressure is on, and I have 2 more rounds left, both of which I have to win to make day 2. I once again just take the loss here without overthinking it, as the mirror, or variants of it, are the worst matchups I could hit.
Round 7: Carlos Machado (Mexico) with Greninja/Talonflame
Greninja is a fantastic matchup for Vileplume, as all you have to do is get the lock and you cut them off from 2/3rd of their strategy. Playing so few Pokemon, with only items to search for them, and being unable to take knockouts on Vespiquen without Band makes this very heavily in Vespiquen’s favor.
Game 1 – Carlos wins the flip and starts off with a mulligan, and I know I’ve finally hit the matchups that I was expecting a bit more. He reveals a Talonflame and an otherwise dead hand containing little more but Dive Balls and Water Energy, and opts to mulligan it away. Talonflame MAY be chosen as a starter, but as long as you don’t have an actual Basic Pokemon in the hand with it, the hand can be optionally mulliganned away until you get a desirable starting hand. He chooses to do this 12 times until he starts a good hand full of items and supporters, and I take my 12 mulligans. He of course, immediately plays out all his search cards and promptly N’s my 15 card hand away (I snagged a few Combee and Unown out of mulligans to bench), and then passes it over to me. Unfortunately without Jirachi, Carlos struggles to keep up and quickly runs out of options as I’m taking a minimum of 2 prizes per his one. This game ends when he misses the 6th or 7th Bubble heads in a row, and I stay unparalyzed and knockout his last Pokemon.
Game 2 – This actually doesn’t go quite like the other. He only mulligans 3 times, as he hits a dead hand with a Froakie and Talonflame in it. He gets a little set up, misses the N, and passes it over to me. I get a full setup, with 2 Vespiquen and Vileplume. He manages to stay in the game for about 4 turns before having to once again resort to using Bubble. I’m not concerned as I know Froakie is his last Pokemon, discounting the now unplayable Talonflame still in deck, and once he flips tails or I hit my remaining AZ, the game is over. He flips tails after the 7th or 8th Bubble, and Bee Revenge takes the game.
I feel bad, as this was the first time I’ve directly knocked someone out of Day 1, but I resign myself to the fact that it was necessary for me to continue on, and prepare for the next game.
Round 8: Julien Dalle (France) with M Sceptile
M Sceptile EX, as is nearly any Mega matchup, is a fantastic matchup if you play it correctly. I actually prefer this matchup to WaterBox, as M Sceptile has no reliable way of utilizing Aegislash EX or Glaceon EX. Simply foregoing Vileplume and discarding everything unnecessary for attacking at maximum power, while maintaining the 2 Revitalizer and 1 Special Charge I played is the key to winning this match cleanly.
Game 1 – Despite my previous advice, I didn’t take that route game 1. I go first, and Julien started lone Sceptile EX, so I thought I could lock him out going into his turn and simply win the following turn. Little did I know, Julien played absolutely zero Shaymin EX, had very few items, and relied on a very robust Supporter engine consisting of Sycamore, N, Steven, Xerosic, Pokemon Center Lady, Lysandre, Fisherman, and potentially a few more I missed. I achieved the lock, but was only hitting 160, which isn’t enough to kill the basic, let alone the mega. From here, Julien uses his supporters to shut down any attempt of me OHKO’ing him, retreating his M Sceptile EXs and healing them, and eventually stranding my Vileplume active with a Xerosic/Lysandre combo that cost me the game. Lesson relearned here.
Game 2 – Game 2 I start off and dismiss any thought of Vileplume hitting the field. I start an Oddish however, so I have to work with what I have. I discard every other Plume piece, going straight for a couple Vespiquen lines using Shaymins and discarding everything else I can. We trade a bit to start off, but I get the quick lead once I’m able to knockout his Mega Pokemon on turn 3 and the tide rolls in my favor from there.
Game 3 – I know we have little time left, and I’m hoping this game doesn’t take too long, as a tie kills both of us at this point. Julien starts with a Sceptile EX, Ultra Balls for another Sceptile EX, and passes. It seems as I’ve gotten my wish. I burn through my deck to KO the active Sceptile EX, turn it back over to him, and I believe he hits an Agility or two successfully, but the game is over immediately once he hits tails.
Day 1 was now over with Day 2 now to come.
Records to move on from Day 1 to Day 2 were determined entirely on match points. Once a player hit 18 match points, their Day 1 was done and they had their spot in Day 2. While it took me all 8 rounds of Day 1 to make it, my previous round opponents Fred, Sam, and Diego all made Day 2 by round 7 and never had to play a round 8. Unfortunately all of my other opponents were short a few points and didn’t have the option to continue on.
Day 1 was finally over! All day I had heard horror stories of my friends running into terrible matchups, luck, or otherwise unfortunate circumstances. One even took a round 1 loss because his flight got him there after registration was over, and had to take a loss in order to play at all. It was daunting being one of the few in my circle to move on, but I couldn’t let it get to me, as I had another whole day ahead of me.
With Day 1 behind me completely, with none of the records moving on and resistance not mattering a bit, I thought through all of my options to play Day 2. Day 2 is considered an entirely different tournament for all intents and purposes, and I could switch it up however I wanted. I had the cards to build pretty much anything except for Trevenant, so my options were quite open. After a bit of scouting and finding that most players would be playing WaterBox, Night March, or Greninja for Day 2, I saw absolutely no reason to switch decks, or even switch up my list. In previous tournaments I had tried experimenting with fitting in Basic Energy and Jolteon EX, which provided a few interesting options, but overall it hurt the consistency more than it added to the deck to even consider including them. With my trusty Toxicroak EX, Revitalizers, and Special Charge as my only ‘techs’, I rewrote my exact day 1 list in preparation for day 2.
Waiting in anticipation for pairings after finally getting past the overly abrasive hotel staff, I load pairings only to find I’ve been paired against what I considered an absolutely unwinnable matchup from Day 1.
Round 1: Sam Hough (US) with Vileplume Box
Anticipating he was playing the same deck, I was by no means looking forward to this game. As it turns out, I believe he only swapped a Water Energy for a Trevenant EX between day 1 and 2, so my fears were correct. It was apparently a good choice for him as well, as he ended up going 5-0-2 in the end to make top 8 (and later top 4) with it.
Game 1 – I believe I won the flip, for all that was worth. I go straight for the lock with Vileplume and Bunnelby, intending to try and mill enough resources to take the game eventually. I soon find that Lysandre is prized, so the second he gets enough energy on the active Aegislash to kill my bunnies, this game is done and I deck out.
Game 2 – I go first, get the lock again, and find he doesn’t get Magearna EX out quickly to my surprise. I know I can at least begin to get an edge in this game if I can get my Toxicroak EX out, but alas, it’s prized instead of Lysandre this time around. Lysandre stays in deck longer than desired, and he goes the straight forward approach and knocks all of my options out.
To be honest, if I was going to play Sam at any point in the day, I’m glad I got it out of the way immediately. Starting off with a loss round 1 isn’t the worst thing, as Brandon Salazar found out at 2014 Nationals, when Damien Hardy took round 1 off him- only for Brandon to go undefeated from there and win the whole thing.
Round 2: Takushi Yashima (Japan) with M Sceptile
If I learned anything day 1, it was to not test the boundaries of M Sceptile. In this case, Takushi played a techy version with Fates Mew and Seismitoad EX, which made for a slightly more interesting match.
Game 1 – I go first, quickly realize it’s M Sceptile, and forego Vileplume altogether. He gets a decent board, with Mew and Seismitoad EX on the bench, and starts to Agility me successfully. As he got the first attack, I now have to wait until I can hit a Lysandre or he flips tails on Agility to return a relevant attack. I take the Agilities as a chance to get my Shaymin EX’s off the field, and Sky Return them to make the 20 damage completely irrelevant and get them back to hand, as I suspect he can’t hit higher than the 100 of M Sceptile’s Jagged Saber. Eventually he misses heads, and I start quickly knocking things out to take a large lead. He never actually utilized Mew or Toad, but if he timed their use right, I could have been in a rough spot. Using either Agility with Mew or Quaking Punch with Mew would have disrupted me while offsetting the prize trade, which I assume was the intention of their play.
Game 2 – He goes first, so I get the first attack. He actually Forests the active Sceptile EX into the Mega to pass turn with a secondary Sceptile EX on the bench, thinking this new punching bag would buy him some time. Unfortunately for him, it doesn’t, as I hit 220 turn 1 and KO it immediately with a Vespiquen. The turn immediately following him hitting tails on Agility (2-3 turns later) was the turn he lost the game.
This was the kind of matchup I needed to get back in the swing of things, and take my mind off running into Sam twice in two days.
Round 3: Jonas Xavier (Indonesia) with Night March
Night March is theoretically one of your better matchups, but practically just one of the sackier matchups. Special Charge in both decks make this matchup go on longer if you hold your own for when they Hex, and add a new dynamic to an otherwise stale matchup.
Game 1 – Jonas wins the flip, but doesn’t capitalize on the turn of items as he would like. He gets very little in way of setup, and once I start the prize exchange, it ends with me winning on prizes while he struggles to attack.
Game 2 – Game 2 is much better for Jonas, as he gets the setup he needs to stay in the game and more, and is able to prize exchange much better than I am this time around. Jonas maintains supporters and attackers well and takes this one.
Game 3 – I go first, get the perfect setup (2 Vespiquen, Float Stone on Vileplume, 2 Shaymin EX and an open bench spot), and pass. He is forced to use his lone Mew to Encounter for a Shaymin EX, hoping I don’t have an out to energy. Unfortunately for him, my hand at the end of turn 1 was Double Colorless, Sycamore, and Lysandre. The game and round are over.
Night March is something lock decks always wish to hit, but then realize through a combination of luck and the skill of a competent player can play through the lock and still win. After this round, I was just hoping to play Greninja or more M Sceptile, as I knew both were prevalent enough still.
Round 4: Eric Gansman (US) with Night March
Yet another name I recognized, and yet another archetype I recognized. Eric had done extremely well in the Spring Regional series to secure his invite, playing a combination of Trevenant and Vespiquen/Flareon in Expanded to top finishes. I figured as Trevenant suited him well once, he might play it again. I won the flip and quickly found I was wrong.
Game 1 – I win flip, go first, and get the mostly ideal setup of Vileplume and multiple Vespiquen ready to go. Eric attempts to get some sort of setup going, but can’t keep up with my board. I win an only slightly one-sided game on prizes quite a bit into the game.
Game 2 – Eric goes first, gets the best Night March start I’ve ever seen, effectively using 3 Shaymin and most of his item based engine to get fully setup and start a Hex Maniac chain from turn 1. He continues this chain for 3 turns, exactly how he should, and makes me use both Revitalizers in my hand to keep something on board to avoid being benched. By the time the Hex chain is over, he’s 4 prizes ahead, and the game is basically over. I deliberately deck myself as he takes his last prize.
Game 3 – Much like my game 3 with Jonas, I lock out Eric with Vileplume and he has to use Shaymin’s Set Up for 1-2 cards to try and grasp at straws. The straws he grasped weren’t quite right, and he gets benched by turn 3.
Eric played this matchup exactly right, and if he had a turn of items either game that I went first I would have almost certainly lost this series. Night March is an overpowering force in this format even still (potentially especially still due to Special Charge), and it should never be underestimated.
Round 5: Park Se Jun (Korea) with Zygarde EX/Lucario EX/4 AZ/Vileplume
STREAM MATCH: @3:51:00 (Thanks to Colin Peterik, for breaking down stream times)
This was literally my worst match all day, and with my luck it was streamed. Vileplume matchups are even more of a coin flip than Trevenant vs Vileplume, as you tend to get Vileplume even more consistently than Trevenant hits an active Trevenant. As AJ Schumacher finishes explaining stream rules, we begin.
Game 1 – Se Jun wins the flip, and gets the turn 1 Vileplume immediately. My hand is literally all items- 3 Ultra Ball, an Acro Bike, a Trainers’ Mail, and maybe a now unplayable Forest as well. I play out the few turns to my demise to see if I can find out anything unique about his deck, but he doesn’t have to reveal much to bench me this game.
Game 2 – I go first, but it’s not in the cards this time around. I start an Oddish into a hand consisting of a Lysandre, Battle Compressor, Shaymin EX, Bunnelby and Double Colorless and play out the hand into 2 Vespiquen, Battle Compressor, AZ, Unown and Gloom. I play out as much as I can, which isn’t too much, and end the turn with a dead hand. Once I pass it over to Se Jun, he evolves into Vileplume with no Float Stone, and I think I have a window finally. On my turn, I Lysandre Vileplume, and pass with nothing else useable. He immediately AZ’s up the Vileplume, lays it back down, and lays me out.
As I realize my run to top 8 is now over, I can hear the commentators talking about how they’re going to switch the stream over to something to fill the presumably 35-40 minutes gap, as they had the pleasure of streaming a Vileplume mirror that ended predictably quick. While I am out of top 8, by no means will that stop me from trying to win out from here. Luckily, following this match, I caught a wild Omanyte in Pokemon GO, and then immediately hatched one as well, which served as a perfect distraction from the results of this streamed match.
Round 6: Nicklas Danielsen (Denmark) with Yanmega STS/Vespiquen
Yanmega/Vespiquen is an archetype I had heard very little about, but is easy to predict the strategy for. You aim to use Forest of Giant Plants to get your attackers out as fast as possible, initially using Yanmega to get decent damage on the board for no energy (Not no damage, thanks though Pokemon.com) and then use Vespiquen to capitalize on knocked out Pokemon lines, and Revitalizer to cycle things back as needed. Fortunately, like every other deck in format, it uses items to sustain this strategy.
Game 1 – Nicklas wins the flip, and mulligans, and when I see Forest and 2 Vespiquen, I’m under the impression I’m playing against the mirror and have basically already lost. These fears quickly go away when he slaps down a Yanma during his turn, puts a Burst Balloon on active, and passes turn over to me. I’m fortunate enough to get both a decent setup, get a Vileplume, and use a Lysandre to get the Balloon’ed Pokemon off active and start the prize exchange while not taking damage. This later came in very handy, as his Vespiquens weren’t doing enough damage to take knockouts, and his Yanmegas would never take OHKO’s without the BREAK, which he never seemed to find at the right time. I cycled through multiple Vespiquen while taking prizes, eventually simply out trading all of his attacks and winning game 1.
Game 2 – Game 2 was the quickest game I played all day. As Nicklas drew his hand and started, I could see the pain in his face as he looked down a terrible hand and a difficult decision. His decision was whether or not to simply pass with a lone Yanma start and nothing else, or to Forest into Yanmega and pass with nothing else. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t really matter, except for that after he played Forest to evolve, I could easily discard the available Forests I had for Ultra Ball fodder and draw more off Set Up. Speeding through the deck as Vespiquen/Vileplume does best. I hit the magic 110 and donk his Yanmega for game and series.
Things are looking up, and there’s only one round to go. I ask my friends if it’s even worth considering an ID for the last round to secure top 32, and Jay Young steps in and tells me just to win it and not worry about it.
Round 7: Charles Barton (United Kingdom) with M Manectric EX Toolbox
M Manectric is probably the trickiest of the mega decks, but still certainly winnable with the same strategy as usual – forego Vileplume, dodge any non-EX techs, and target the EXs and Megas. Much like M Sceptile, M Manectric has it’s own version of energy acceleration, which can make things tricky but still quite winnable.
Game 1 – The only odd thing I noticed during this game is that there always seems to be a judge or two behind him intently watching the game, but I shrug it off and continue on as normal. I take the M Sceptile strategy as detailed from before – I don’t quite hit enough damage yet though, so I leave the Unown on my bench for backup and pass my turn. He starts to setup his board with Hoopa, multiple Manectric EX, and an Articuno. Charles gets a Mega on the board a couple turns later, and knocks out the active, starting his energy acceleration from the discard. From here we go back and forth until I’m down to 2-3 prizes after taking down an Articuno that he sacrificed while setting up and a M Manectric, he’s still around 5 after knocking out a Vespiquen with M Manectric, and I’m very vulnerable to N as my Unowns are now gone. He plays down Parallel City to limit my damage and his bench options, and I quickly realize I have to sack something additional to OHKO him, as my last Forest is prized. I end up sacking a Bunnelby and Combee while combatting his continuous Ns, and eventually get the last few pieces I need to take down the game. From this game, I realize he plays 3 N, which is probably the best way to stay in the game once Vespiquen starts early game pressure.
Game 2 – He goes first, attaches to his active Manectric EX, and passes. At this point we talk about what might happen as far as 12 vs 15 match points go, as neither of us actually know for sure. I proceed my turn, dig through the deck to ditch as many Pokemon as reasonably possible and eventually come down to being forced into an AZ for a Shaymin EX to go deeper in order to get the knockout. I get the Double Colorless and another Shaymin EX off this, attach the energy to Vespiquen, set up for another 2 to hit the Battle Compressor I needed to OHKO Manectric EX and end the game.
The run is finally over! Despite doing so well, it was such a relief knowing I was done playing. Playing consecutive, high level events is extremely exhausting and requires an incredible amount of endurance and dedication. Those that earned Day 2 invites during the season definitely had a slight edge over those that had to play Day 1, as they had a chance to be well rested and ready for the day 2 come.
Following this round, I figure out that I 100% made top 32, and more than likely made top 16. Seeing my previous opponents Sam tie into top 8 and Eric win his last round definitely helped, as resistance mattered in day 2.
The final results were posted, and I got 12th! For just starting out actually aiming for an invite this season, never having earned any Championship Points in any prior season, I couldn’t be any happier.
Vespiquen Vileplume turned into my pet deck following its creation by Andrew Wamboldt the night before the Romeoville City Championship during the Chicago City Championship Marathon, despite my initial uncertainness of its strength. I adapted it throughout the season, adding in Revitalizer and Toxicroak EX for State Championships, and then adding in a second Bunnelby and Special Charge following Fred Hoban’s fantastic Nats run and the release of Steam Siege respectively. So without further ado, here is the list I played for both day 1 and day 2 of Worlds:
Pokemon – 28
4 Combee AOR
Trainers – 28
3 Professor Sycamore
4 Ultra Ball
Energy – 4
4 Double Colorless
My aim was for the deck to be as consistent as physically possible while still having options to combat megas without using Vileplume. I hit this result with very minimal tweaking of my States list, and was very happy with it throughout the whole two day event. While I would have loved to fit a second Lysandre in, there isn’t a spot that could be altered to allow for it without changing the overall dynamic of the deck.
The Final Day
Not playing in Finals, I had all day to do whatever I wanted. I took the opportunity to see a bunch of friends I didn’t have a chance to hang out with yet, and went out to check out Golden Gate Bridge with Owen Robinson, of Youtube fame. I couldn’t neglect having fun in a new city, despite how much time I had to dedicate to the main event. While I heard several horror stories about the city and homeless people, I never had any such negative encounters the whole week I was there- sticking to the piers has more perks than avoiding hills and getting tons of Magikarp, I guess.
Thanks to everyone who helped me get to this point, and all the new people I met as well! The Pokemon community is pretty fantastic, and I never feel at a loss for friends.
See you all next season!