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Professor’s Corner – Cities Report: Birmingham, AL – 12/9/12 12/14/2012

Posted by raznprince in Uncategorized.
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The following report conatins detailed information of the tournament I have participated. Please allow about 15-20 minutes of your time to fully read through this post and understand some of the play-by-plays as they happened. Enjoy! ~Professor Raz

This Cities report is from the tournament in Birmingham, AL held on December 9, 2012. I entered the tournament with Darkrai-Hydreigon as my deck of choice. I have previously had some success running this deck during the 2012 Autumn Battle Roads in GA, and had the chance to perfect my craft with it with some of the cards released in the Boundaries Crossed set.

I haven’t had much success in Cities seasons past as I have either judged some of them or I played in an area that is a prime “marathon” location against really tough, traveling players, although my best ever result going into this tournament was a 4-3 stint in 2011 at Newnan, GA, running Cake (Cobalion- Kyurem-Electrode).

Round 1 v.s. Patrick C. (Darkrai-Hydreigon)
I found it pretty odd that TOM (the tournament software) decided to pair me first round against the PTO’s younger brother (despite all pairings are randomized by the computer), although he does appear to have some spunk to his game. He started lone Shaymin EX while I started Darkrai EX active with Deino (DRX 94). Coin flip favored me the first turn. The Shaymin start proved to be his undoing since I managed to Turn 2 Hydreigon and quickly set up while he went on to struggle to set up all game. When I eventually KO’ed two of his Deino to prevent his Hydreigon setup, he scooped the game when I went up 4-0 in Prizes. The PTO later jokingly asked “Why you gotta beat my brother?” Me: “You do what you gotta do to win!”
1-0

Round 2 v.s. Geo F. (Darkrai-Hydreigon)
Geo’s a local and one of the League Leaders of the League at this venue. I started Deino active with Sableye benched, and he started with Deino (DRX 93) and one benched I don’t recall. Coin flip favored me first turn. I managed to get to my Hydreigon before he did and set up decently, but when he set up his Hydreigon, he Catchers up mine and attacks for the KO. For the rest of the game, I would struggle to set up another Hydreigon only to see that effort squashed by the time that time was called, so I scooped on Turn 3 of Plus 3 knowing I couldn’t set up in time as he was already ahead in Prizes. Surprisingly, my opponent have bottom-decked all his Max Potion until his most recent prize he drew by which time, he already had the game…it could have just ended about a few turns ago had he been able to play them.
1-1

Round 3 v.s. Nathaniel M. (FluffyChomp)
Nathaniel is another local player. Despite my 4-0 tournament record against FluffyChomp and its small variants, I still have an irrational fear of losing my Hydreigon too early to establish my setup. I started with Sableye active with Virizion on Bench, while he started with Swablu active and a Gible on Bench. Coin flip favored my opponent first turn. He plays Level Ball to grab and bench his Gible and attaches energy to it. On my first turn, I dropped Tropical Beach then Juniper, and drew into a Sableye and a Darkrai EX to bench. I attach Blend GRPD to Deino for the free retreat, played some cards to where I discarded a Darkness Energy to use Dark Patch to put the energy on Darkrai EX and used the Stadium to end the turn. He proceeded to set up towards Garchomp, then I attached another Blend GRPD, then played a Skyla to grab Rare Candy to evolve the Deino into Hydreigon I pulled from the Stadium draw. By that time I couldn’t get any more Darkness Energy for the next several turns, so I was relegated to attaching all of my Blend GRPDs just to keep attacking and KO’ing my opponent’s other Pokémon for quick prize grabs and to prevent damage stack via Altarias or setup of another Garchomp. Eventually, his Garchomp scrapped all of my Blend GRPDs attacking my Darkrai EX w/Eviolite attached while I kept using Hydreigon’s Dark Trance ability to move energy from Darkrai to use Max Potion before resuming my attack as I was able to draw into Darkness Energies just in time to keep up the attack. Eventually I closed out the win with a 2-Pokemon KO. Since he didn’t run Catcher (or at least that I recall seeing), My Hydreigons had a big reprieve from potentially early KO’s. Suffice it to say, even now going 5-0 v.s. Fluffychomp, that was one of the most awkward wins I’ve ever pulled off against this deck.
2-1

Lunch Break-Having already eaten about a couple hours ago, I decided to stick around and grab a few snacks.

Round 4 v.s. Michael V. (Quad Rayquaza EX)
Mike’s a GA in-state rival and a fellow Professor. We both Mulligan our first hands, then he mulligans his second hand. I started Sableye active with Deino on Bench, while he started lone Rayquaza EX. Coin flip favored me first turn. I started off with a brain fart because after attaching Blend GRPD to Sableye, I attacked with Confuse Ray and forget to flip for confusion for a few seconds because I kept thinking it caused automatic confusion. My opponent sits there and eventually says “are you going to finish your attack?” After laughing to myself, I flipped heads for confusion. On his first turn he played Ultra Ball and ditched two energy to grab a second Rayquaza EX and attaches energy to it then passes. On my next turn, I played Ultra Ball and discarded a Darkness Energy and an item card to grab Hydreigon so I can use Rare Candy, then played Juniper and drew into Darkrai EX and Sigilyph to bench. I played Dark Patch to put Darkness Energy on Darkrai, then attached Darkness to it for the turn, free-retreated my Sableye for Darkrai, transferred Sableye’s energy to Darkrai and attacked the confused and benched Rayquazas. On his next turn he attaches an energy to his active Rayquza to retreat for the other, then attacks with Celestial Roar and attaches three energy to it from the attack. On my next turn, I attach a Darkness Energy to Hydreigon, retreat Darkrai, then transferred all available energy to Hydreigon and attacked with Dragonblast for the 2-Prize KO. He sends up active his other Rayquaza, attaches energy, then attacks with Celestial Roar to attach two energy from the attack. By the time I was ready to start my turn, my opponent decided to scoop because he anticipated what was going to happen next. I showed him a Darkness energy on my hand to confirm his guess that I will attach it to Hydreigon and attack for the win. The game lasted less than 5 minutes. In hindsight, my Sigilyph alone could have defeated his deck, and I’m very sure he knew that, but he probably never imagined that I would go aggressive with Hydreigon. Assuming he stayed in the game knowing this info, I would have assumed he had to Catcher KO my other Pokémon to get around it to win.
3-1

Round 5 v.s. Craig A. (Darkrai-Dusknoir)
Craig’s a very formidable in-state rival and a fellow Professor. Although he holds a 1-0 advantage against me in ranked matches (first meeting at 2012 Spring Battle Roads in Macon, GA in Top 4), we have played on several other occasions such as Pre-Releases or other practice games. We hardly say much words when we battle as we both know what we are trying to communicate to each other. I started Sigilyph active with Darkrai EX on Bench, and he started lone Darkrai EX. Coin flip favored me first turn. I played Ultra Ball and discarded two Darkness Energy and grabbed and benched a Deino. I did other things I don’t recall, although it may have involved playing Dark Patch to put a Darkness Energy on Darkrai, but I did end up attacking with junk Hunt by the time my turn ended. Craig benched a Duskull so that I can fully realize what I’m up against, then played N, which caused me to shuffle my Turn 2 Hydreigon plan back into my deck. Then he attached a Darkness energy to his Darkrai and retreated it to bring up Duskull, Benches 2 more Duskull and plays a Dark Patch to put energy onto his Darkrai then passes. Surprisingly, the new hand I received as a result of my opponent’s N (and his own shuffle of my deck) still contained the Rare Candy and Hydreigon needed to pull it off Turn 2! When that was done, I played my N, attached a Darkness energy to Darkrai, retreated Sableye for Darkrai, transferred energy to it, Catchered up his Darkrai, then attacked it for 90 damage and one of his Duskull for 30 damage. At that point, he proceeded to scoop the game and explained to me that he N’ed me into the win as my subsequent N did away his hand into a new one with no energy or alternative draw power. The game lasted about the same as last round.
4-1

Swiss Standings for Top Cut:
1 – Zach H. (5-0)
2 – Drew C. (4-1)
3 – Geo F.
4 – Derek O.
5 – Me
6 – Jon O.
7 – Jackson H. (3-2)
8 – Craig A.

Top Cut as the #5 seed…I’m not surprised by that as my resistance took a small hit due to Patrick dropping. This was the very first time I have ever made Top Cut in a Cities tournament, so I was excited either way.

Top 8 v.s. #4 Derek O. (Blastoise-Keldeo)
Derek’s a local and is also a long-time Yu-Gi-Oh! player. I’m actually surprised by his level of game knowledge with Pokémon compared to the other YGO players I know, and I’m just as amazed that for having only played this game for a few months, he’s reached his first Top Cut in a Pokémon tournament, much less at the Cities level.

Game 1-I started with Sableye active and Deino and Darkrai EX on bench, and he started Squirtle active with another Squirtle on Bench. Coin flip favored me first turn. The game was mostly a battle for setup until eventually I initiated the first significant damage sequence. My opponent eventually scooped after realizing how far ahead I got in Prizes. He managed to KO my Sableye with his Blastoise for a Prize that game before I turned around for the revenge KO via my Hydreigon on my next turn.
1-0 Game Score

Game 2-I started with Sigilyph active and Deino on Bench, and he started with Keldeo EX with Squirtle on Bench. He made the choice to go first. He immediately searched for and benched a Kyurem (NVI) and proceeded to power it up and leave his Keldeo active.  Turn 2 Hydreigons continue to find favor with me and this game was no different. I managed to get to and power up a Darkrai and immediately went on the offensive. Despite getting a Glaciate attack off from his Kyurem it wasn’t enough to stop me from going after his Keldeos, so he scooped knowing he lost his best chance to turn the game around.
2-0 Game Score

Top 4 v.s. #1 Zach H. (Mewtwo, Sigilyph, Sableye, Meloetta)
Zach is a GA player whom I’ve previously played in a Fall Battle Roads this year and barely beaten. This challenge against him literally made me pull out all the stops to get the win on him. His deck seemed to be a huge puzzle to all the other players, which explained his perfect Swiss record and his win over Craig in their Top 8 match.

Game 1-I started with lone Deino, and he started with a Sigilyph active and a Mewtwo EX on bench. Coin flip favored me first turn. I played Tropical Beach, and attached a Blend GRPD and used the Stadium to end the turn. On his first turn, he donked me by playing Computer Search and discarded two cards for a Switch to play, promoted Mewtwo, attached a DCE, and attacked my Deino with X-Ball for the win.
0-1 Game Score

Game 2-Similar start, except I had lone Deino active, and he started with lone Mewtwo active. I made the choice to go first. I drew into and immediately benched my Sigilyph and passed since I had no energy in hand and no Supporters either. This tactic was to guarantee that I won’t get donked two games in a row despite the lucky topdeck into the Sigilyph. From there, it became a long, drawn-out chess match which involved careful moves to preserve my setup and slowly chipping away the Prize lead my opponent established early on. The endgame proved to be tight as I was on the cusp of winning a turn or two ago, but misplayed because I declared an attack without the correct energy attached. I ended up winning because while I was down to my last Blend GRPD attached, my opponent had no way to scrap the energy that would have made it possible for me to close out the game, and plus he was on the verge of decking himself 2-3 turns later, so he decided to scoop.
1-1 Game Score

Game 3-I was somewhat concerned with the time remaining in the round since we took a decent chunk of time in the previous game and I was afraid to go into a Sudden Death situation against my opponent and his deck. Turns out we had little time. I had a lone Sigilyph start, and he started a Mewtwo active with a benched Sigilyph. He made the choice to go first. He attached a Psychic Energy to his Sigilyph then passed his turn. Here, I made it a priority to KO his Mewtwo to try and get ahead in Prizes early on while keeping my Sigilyph in play a long as possible. On my first turn, I managed to bench two Deino and Darkrai and attached a Darkness Energy to Sigilyph, and passed. I was careful not to attach energy to Deino as it could be Catchered up and X-Ball-ed for the KO, and that attaching a Blend GRPD early could draw the attention of my opponent’s Crushing Hammer or Enhanced Hammer. The chess match continued for a couple turns until time was called on his turn. As Turn 0, he attached a DCE to Mewtwo, played Energy Switch to move his Sigilyph’s Psychic Energy to it, then Catchered up one of my Deino and attacked with X-Ball for the KO. On Turn 1, I used Rare Candy for Hydreigon on my remaining Deino, played Ultra Ball to discard a Darkness Energy and an item card to grab and bench a Darkrai. I attach a Blend GRPD to Sigilyph, played Dark Patch to attach Darkness Energy to Darkrai, transferred it to Sigilyph, and attacked Mewtwo for 160 damage. On Turn 2, he played Skyarrow Bridge, retreated his Mewtwo for Sigilyph, then passes. On Turn 3, I Catchered his Mewtwo back up and attacked for the 2-Prize KO, and subsequently the win on Prize count. This was indeed a very tight match!
2-1 Game Score

Top 2 v.s. #2 Drew C. (Ho-Oh EX, Mewtwo EX, Tornadus EX, Bouffalant)
Drew is a TN player near the Nashville area. By this time, it was getting pretty late but there was still a good crowd to watch this match. Since it was just me and my opponent, I didn’t really care too much that everyone watched since it’s obviously not like there will be any more rounds or people to play, and plus I was already happy enough to have made it this far for my very first Cities Top Cut outing. Like Zach, his deck was also a big puzzle that other players couldn’t really solve all tournament long, which was evident in his Swiss record despite his loss to Zach in the final Swiss round.  He came off his Top 4 match with a win over Jon O.’s Darkrai-Landorus deck.

Game 1-I started with a lone Deino, and he started with a lone Mewtwo EX. Coin flip favored me first turn. “This looks familiar…” I thought, so I immediately played Tropical Beach, played Juniper to discard two Catcher and two Max Potion for a new hand, and benched another Deino and a Sigilyph, attached a Darkness Energy to Sigilyph, then used the Stadium to end the turn. On his first turn, he immediately discarded my Stadium in favor of his Skyarrow Bridge, benched two Tornadus EX, attached a DCE to one of them, played Super Scoop Up and succeeded in returning Mewtwo to his hand to promote the energized Tornadus, played Juniper to discard a Ho-Oh EX and a few Basic Energy, and attacked with Blow Through to KO my Deino. I had no call to panic as his setup involved nothing but EX Pokémon and I have a Sigilyph in play. Through a series of fortunate plays, I was able to pull off another Turn 2 Hydreigon and bench a Darkrai to set up and strike. I was a little annoyed that he was pulling off 3 successful Super Scoop Up effects of the 4 he ran in his deck as I am slowly putting damage on his heavy hitters, but he was also Catchering out, and KO’ing my weaker Pokémon and slowly getting further ahead in Prizes and setting up his Ho-Ohs via their Rebirth abilities. Eventually, it got to the point, where he burned off all his necessary resources to where I was comfortable to go in and KO two of his EX to tie the game at 4-4 in Prizes. He benched a Bouffalant in an attempt to KO one of my Darkrai, which would fail prematurely because I managed to promote Hydreigon and transfer enough energy to attack with Dragonblast for the KO. He scooped knowing that he had nothing but EXs left that cannot touch the Sigilyph I still had in play and no more Catchers left to play.
1-0 Game Score

Game 2-Again, concerned with time due to the length played in Game 1, I figured that win or lose this game, I’ll just go for broke now that I have the first game under my belt although I would like to avoid a possible Sudden Death in Game 3 should we get there. This game proved to be a little tighter down the stretch. I started lone Sigilyph, and he started lone Tornadus EX. He made the choice to go first. I actually kept a Deino in my hand just to see how he’d react, and sure enough when he immediately slapped down Skyarrow Bridge and benched a Bouffalant, free-retreated his Tornadus and attached a DCE to end his turn, I got exactly what I wanted in order to plan how to put this game away. I attached a Blend GRPD and an Eviolite to my Sigilyph after calculating that it would take three turns to KO Sigilyph since his deck did not contain any Tool Scrapper. I struggled to grab a Darkrai to bench on the next couple of turns that his Bouffalant had already put 80 damage on Sigilyph. As soon as I could get two Deino in my hand, I benched them both, played N to finally draw into a Darkrai and a Sableye to bench, attached a Darkness Energy to Sableye, free-retreated Sigilyph and played a Max Potion to keep it in play despite discarding the Blend GRPD. I attacked with Junk Hunt and grabbed the Max Potion. Next, he would go on to Catcher up a Deino to KO and get the early lead. I was somehow able to keep up the chess match until time was called in which my opponent was Turn 0. Before then, I inadvertently put my 120-damaged, benched Darkrai at risk of a KO by forgetting to play Skyla for a Max Potion. Fortunately, my opponent was unable to Catcher it up for the KO, and I was able to correct my mistake the very next turn. By Turn 0, my opponent realized he had to have grabbed 4 Prizes by the end of Turn 3. On his turn 0, he KO’ed one of my Sableye to get to 3 Prizes. On Turn 1, I made sure to clean up damage on any of my Pokémon at risk of a KO and succeeded in making it impossible for that to happen on my opponent’s next turn. On Turn 2, he essentially scooped the game by passing his turn, while I decided to take my Turn 3 to draw and pass for the match.
1-0 Game Score based on time

It was a surreal feeling to have clinched my first City Championship, and in a fashion that really made me showcase the best gamesmanship my deck had to offer against the top two players in the tournament. A great job to Chris C. and his Judge Caleb H. for running a great event!

Props:
-Turn 2 Hydreigon
-Sigilyph
-Winning almost all first-turn coin-flips

Slops:
-Potentially costly misplay
-Sableye’s Confuse Ray attack
-Tournament ended late

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