Hello readers! I am Darin O’Meara and welcome to yet another article! Today I will be sharing with you tournament reports from my past couple of bigger tournaments, as well as a look back on the recently completed Collinsville Regionals in the Expanded Format.
ARG Circuit Series
I showed up to the ARG Circuit Series in Medina the weekend before Collinsville with one goal in mind: don’t flop like last time and earn an invite to the ARG Invitational. Most of my friends had planned on going after earning their invites from ARG States, and I didn’t want to be left out. I came to the event with something new, an Yveltal/Garb list that I planned on playing for the event. However, after surveying the field, I wussed out and once again whipped out my Vespiquen deck for the tournament. I noticed a rather large showing of Yveltal/Garb and new Sun and Moon stuff at the event, so I decided to cut the Zoroark line and include a Zebstrika line just for this tournament. Here’s the list –
|Pokemon – 27||Trainers – 29||Energy – 4|
|4x Combee AOR 9||4x Professor Sycamore||4x Double Colorless Energy|
|4x Vespiquen AOR 10||2x N|
|2x Blitzle BKP 48||2x Lysandre|
|2x Zebstrika BKP 49||1x Teammates|
|2x Eevee AOR 63|
|1x Flareon AOR 13||4x Ultra Ball|
|1x Vaporeon AOR 22||4x VS Seeker|
|3x Shaymin-EX ROS 77||4x Acro Bike|
|4x Unown AOR 30||2x Revitalizer|
|3x Klefki STS 80||2x Special Charge|
|1x Tauros-GX SM 100||2x Float Stone|
|2x Forest of Giant Plants|
*note: Unless you KNOW there is a lot of Yveltal/Garb at your event, I would highly suggest Zoroark over Zebstrika.
I ended up going 5-2 on the day, earning Top 16 and my Invitational invite. Here’s how my matches went –
Round 1 – vs. Turbo Dark?? (L)
My memory is fuzzy on this one, but I’m pretty sure it was Turbo Dark and I know I lost, so there’s that.
Round 2 – Decidueye/Attackers
Having Zebstrika was helpful here as it dissuaded him from using Lugia. He managed to get 2-3 Decidueye out, but I got a Flareon down that was able to survive for an extended period of time, making it difficult for him to keep his attackers alive. The game came within two prizes, but I was able to lock it up.
Round 3- Turbo Dark (L)
This game made me really mad. After being forced to discard 3 Vespiquen by turn 3 to keep up, the game came down to one prize. I N’ed him to one and began using Horn Attack with Tauros-GX as he was my last attacker. All I needed was to find my VS Seeker that was in the last six cards of my deck for me to Lysandre up a damaged Darkrai-EX and win. After two turns, he retreated his active Darkrai-EX to avoid a KO. After four, with his next Darkrai-EX 60 away from a KO, he top decked Olympia to move it to safety. After my fifth whiff on my VS Seeker out of what was a six card deck, he top decks Sycamore, to which he draws his one copy of Enhanced Hammer out of a 30 card deck to knock off my last DCE and make me lose. The odds of this situation happening were so incredibly low that I was insanely ticked off afterwards.
Round 4- Mega Mewtwo/Garb
I once again draw an opening hand of three Vespiquen and no draw but Sycamore. After draw-passing for a while to try and get another draw method, he takes a KO on a Combee. I finally Sycamore since I had really no other choice. The game comes down to the wire and ends with me being forced to Lysandre up a Mewtwo-EX with no energy and continually Horn Attack to eventually KO it in three turns after he can’t find the DCE to retreat after a one-card N. I squeak out a win, but I’m not happy with the way the deck is running.
Round 5 – Don’t remember anything to be honest, all I remember is that I won.
Round 6 – Solgaleo/Lurantis
This game spooked me a bit, as I was facing a friend in JW Kriewall. As we set up, he asked if I played Marowak (Andrew Mahone had it in his Vespiquen list for the tournament), which I replied I didn’t. This made me realize he included Giratina-EX in his list, which was 99% impossible to deal with if he can get an attack off with it with a Solgaleo-GX on the field. I manage to get a Tauros-GX out to deal with Giratina-EX, and he can’t KO it with Solgaleo-GX, so he instead moves Giratina-EX away and uses Flower Supply with Lurantis-GX. I had Horn Attacked Giratina-EX the previous turn, and the 40 from Flower Supply gave me just enough damage on Tauros-GX to OHKO Giratina-EX with a Lysandre Mad Bull GX play. By the time he used Super Rod to shuffle his Giratina-EX back out, I already established a Flareon, and was able to take the last KOs before he could get it swinging. Spooky, but I take the W.
So now I’m in a win-and-get-an-invite situation, since all 5-2’s were going to get Invitational invites as part of the Top 16. I figure out that about 75% of my potential opponents were decks I had fairly good matchups against, so I came in confident. However, variance wasn’t on my side.
Round 7 – PlumeBox
I sit down and my opponent gets an Oddish going first. Great, of all decks I face PlumeBox. She whiffs Turn 1 and Turn 2 Plume, and I capitalize. In the two turns of items I got, I got out a couple Vespiquen and a Tauros-GX with a Float Stone. I take a Lysandre KO on a Mew-EX with Vespiquen, and then a Mad Bull-GX KO on a Glaceon-EX that used Crystal Ray on Tauros-GX. She then Lysandre’d up a Shaymin-EX, hit it once, then passed with it active until there was something she could do. Knowing she had no way of N’ing me out of my one Lysandre for game (both of her Ns were discarded), I drew-passed with her until she either KO’d my Shaymin-EX or I drew the DCE to retreat into Tauros-GX and use my last Lysandre for game. She eventually KO’d the Shaymin-EX, so I brought up Tauros-GX and Lysandre’d a benched Shaymin-EX for a Rage KO.
Having a Tauros-GX with a Float Stone down meant that no matter if she attacked with Jolteon-EX or Glaceon-EX, I could still deal damage, take KOs and rotate between the two at will.
I was a bit frustrated post-tournament since I included Zebstrika specifically for this tournament and ran into none of the Yveltal decks there. But hey, 5-2 was enough to get my ARG invite.
Me and two of my friends all finished 5-2, and we figured out that two 5-2’s would make it to Top 8. I wasn’t very confident since I started 1-2 and my resistance was not good because of it, but I was hopeful. Me and my two 5-2 friends didn’t make Top eight, but I stuck around for my friend Alex in Top 8 (he made it to Top 4 before losing to Andrew Mahone). Congrats to Alex on making Top 4 and congrats to Andrew on winning the event!
In the week leading to Regionals, I had no clue what to play. I had written about the four I considered, and I was torn between them. On Thursday, the night before we left, I finally decided on Raikou/Eels, and was delighted to find a couple of my friends, Justin and Andrew, decided the same.
Our carpool got to our hotel happy and laughing, seemingly full of energy since we were talking and having fun the full 8-hour car ride. The other car was… a bit dreary. That didn’t stop us from playing some games though.
The next day I made some last minute decisions on my list and used this final list after input from Andrew and Justin and from watching their test games the night prior (Justin and I got into a pretty heated debate about the deck on the car ride). Here’s my list –
|Pokemon – 15||Trainers – 35||Energy – 10|
|4x Raikou BKT 55||4x Professor Sycamore||8x Lightning Energy|
|4x Tynamo NVI 38||2x N||2x Double Colorless Energy|
|4x Eelektrik NVI 40||1x Lysandre|
|1x Mewtwo-EX LTR 54||1x Hex Maniac|
|1x Gallade BKT 84||1x Karen|
|1x Shaymin-EX ROS 77||1x Colress|
|1x Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick|
|4x VS Seeker|
|4x Ultra Ball|
|3x Battle Compressor|
|3x Fighting Fury Belt|
|2x Float Stone|
|1x Level Ball|
|1x Super Rod|
|1x Computer Search|
|3x Rough Seas|
I ended up finishing 3-3-1 drop – far from the record I was hoping for. Here’s my matchups –
Round 1 – Donphan (LL)
Wow, variance hates me. Of all people to get paired with I get paired with Donphan round one. I of course get rolled, taking a single prize all series. I stood no chance at all and am not happy with my bad luck.
Round 2 – Yveltal/Maxie’s (WLW)
I easily take game one as he is unable to get out an Archeops, but game two he Ghetsis’s away my whole hand, putting me in top deck mode. Game three went pretty similar to game one.
Round 3 – Mega Scizor/Bronzong (WW)
Not only does Raikou have Metal resistance, but it also doesn’t rely on special energy, making Mega Scizor’s disruption useless. By taking 40 less damage every hit, I take an easy W.
Round 4 – Trevenant BREAK/Espeon-GX (LWT)
The first game entails heavy dead draw for me. Even after whiffing the first turn Trevenant, I draw pass. This makes it nearly impossible for me to win, which is where I made my mistake. I should’ve scooped this game way sooner. Game two I get everything I need to and am able to take out Trevenants left and right, with a Mewtwo-EX ready to take out an opposing Espeon-GX. This game isn’t too hard. Game three I start similar to game one. He whiffs turn one Trevenant, I draw, use a couple cards, but pass with not much to do. I top deck out of it however, and manage to take out a Trevenant and an Espeon-GX when time is called. Had I had more time this game would’ve definitely gone to me, but my stubbornness in game one cost me a W.
Round 5 – Turbo Dark (LL)
Game one I start off hot. I take KOs on Darkrai-EX and Shaymin-EX, leaving me at two prizes with no Gallade on the field. He N’s me down to two, and I draw pass until I lose. Game two I am unable to get Gallade out, and he rolls me. Now I’m out of Day 2 contention.
Round 6 – Lapras-GX WaterBox (LWW)
This game was against my friend Joey Nawal running a deck I knew was rough for me. Not only could he use Rough Seas to heal his already huge Lapras-GX, but he could OHKO Raikou with the use of Megaphone and Professor Kukui. Game one goes as expected, as I stood little chance. Game two proved otherwise, as three Max Elixirs didn’t go his way, allowing me to KO a Lapras-GX, then a Shaymin-EX and Manaphy-EX to close it out after a late game N. Knowing we were close to time, we made a prize agreement, since a tie would put both of us out of Top 64 contention. I let him KO my first Raikou so I could bring up another and Lysandre Manaphy-EX, putting me one prize ahead going into his turn – turn 3 of time. He needs to hit a Megaphone in order to close it out, as otherwise he cannot OHKO Raikou and I would be ahead in prizes. After a Sycamore and a Trainers’ Mail, he doesn’t find it, so I take the game.
Round 7 – Lurantis-GX/Eeveelutions (LL)
I should’ve taken this handily, but I dead draw game one, giving me little chance. Game two I get off to a hot start and am taking out Lurantis-GX and others left and right. However, he Lysandre stalls an Eelektrik, and my last Float Stone is prized. Cutting AZ came back to bite me, and I scooped before I could deck out.
I drop at 3-3-1. Once I hit a losing streak I start playing really lazy and hardly think about what I’m doing, so might as well stop. I simply go to the corner to hang out with some friends and play some Old Format decks. A few of my friends were on hot streaks, namely Alex with Turbo Dark (of course) at 5-2, Frank with Yveltal/Maxie’s at 5-2, and Andrew at 6-1 piloting a very different Raikou/Eels list. Unfortunately, Alex lost that round but finished 6-3, and Frank lost his win-and-in to go 6-3, and both missed Top 64 as only 6-2-1’s and up were included in a clean cut. Andrew went into Top 32 at 8-1, but unfortunately missed Top 8 and Top 16.
We went back to our hotel in St. Louis and had a lot of fun hanging out with friends and just having a good time. It was by far one of my best Regionals experiences, as until this year I never could say that I had a defined group that I could have a good time with after events.
Looking back I definitely would not have played Raikou/Eels, and would’ve picked something I’m more comfortable with. I should’ve played Night March and disregarded the previous week’s LC result as a fluke due to the odd meta it had. I’m comfortable with Night March and I know how to play it inside and out. It did fairly well at St. Louis, taking two Day 2 slots and one Top 4 slot, meaning it obviously wasn’t a BAD play.
What we learned from Collinsville
Overall, we learned that the Expanded format is incredibly difficult to predict. The amount of decks that topped was extremely high, with no one deck taking over four slots in day two. Here’s a table of all the decks in Top 32 ordered by placements –
|Mega Gardevoir STS||4|
As you can see, 19 different decks made Day 2, with several new faces. New decks like Lurantis/Vileplume joined older archetypes like Yveltal/Maxie’s giving an increased variety in the decks in Day 2. Top 8 was even more diverse, featuring eight different decks and some new archetypes –
1. Alex Wilson – M Rayquaza
2. John Kettler – Decidueye-GX/Vileplume
3. Rahul Reddy – Volcanion
4. John Sienkiewicz – Night March
5. Anthony Nimmons – Accelgor/Wobbuffet
6. Alex Schemanske – Seismitoad-EX/Decidueye-GX/Wobbuffet
7. Ross Cawthon – Lurantis-GX/Vileplume
8. Israel Sosa – Yveltal-EX/Maxie’s
In the end, it was Alex Wilson who took the tournament by storm, going undefeated in Day One and winning in the end with an archetype that was essentially counted out. Mega Rayquaza was a strong play since the use of Parallel City in expanded is not nearly as high as standard, while the deck can continually keep up the pressure on anything not involving item lock, while being ale to take out Turn 1 item lock if it can win the coin flip..
Runner up John Kettler took his success in standard with Decidueye/Vileplume and translated it into Expanded. The deck was different than most of the other Vileplume decks in the tournament, but it had several merits over them. Decidueye/Vileplume can stall with an opposing Pokemon in the active and still do damage, making it frustrating. In addition, item lock is extremely strong in expanded, so the Vileplume itself shut down many opponents for Kettler. Kettler probably would’ve won the tournament had it not been for the infamous triple-prized Rowlet game.
Rahul Reddy piloted a Volcanion deck, translating the deck from Standard to Expanded. In Expanded, the deck gained Superior Energy Retrieval and Blacksmith, making it a force to be reckoned with. He took advantage of the Lurantis/Vileplume hype to dispose of those types of decks easily, but ultimately lost to Mega Rayquaza, a matchup that can’t really be remedied.
John Sienkiewicz piloted Night March, a deck that always needs to be looked out for. Sienkiewicz opted to include a Tauros-GX in his list to improve the item lock matchups, as they normally can’t OHKO it, allowing Tauros-GX to hit for massive damage. Tauros-GX gives Night March a whole new fire, as it now has answers to a lot of the decks that gave it so much trouble in the past. He fell to Decidueye-GX Vileplume, as expected, since even with Tauros-GX that matchup is near impossible due to Decidueye-GX’s high HP and Vileplume’s item lock.
Anthony Nimmons piloted Accelgor/Wobbuffet, a deck one of my friends played for the tournament. The deck is strong if the math works out correctly, as the lock can seemingly go on forever if you can manipulate the damage output so your opponent’s active is KO’d going into the Accelgor player’s turn. The reduced use of Keldeo-EX made the deck even stronger, and gave Nimmons a Top 8 finish.
Alex Schemanske used the hyped Seismitoad/Decidueye deck to get himself a top 8 finish. Seismitoad-EX’s item lock combined with Decidueye-GX’s damage through Feather ?Arrow allowed Seismitoad-EX to have a whole new increased damage output. It also gave the deck versatility, as it could hit with Decidueye-GX whenever needed, and could also use Hollow Hunt GX to regain much needed resources.
Ross Cawthon piloted Lurantis/Vileplume to his Top 8 finish. Before the start of the tournament, I had tons of people coming up to our group asking for BCR Oddish and Gloom along with Pal Pad for use in this deck, so it had a decent bit of hype going in. Lurantis/Vilplume combined energy acceleration and item lock perfectly, as the deck seemingly never ran out of steam. It could constantly take KOs and even heal itself, and could use Chloroscythe GX to knock out most Pokemon in the game in one hit when needed. The deck was incredibly strong and could defeat most decks in the game, but came across Kettler’s Decidueye/Vileplume, and Lurantis-GX cannot 2-hit KO Decidueye-GX without Chloroscythe GX, making it rough for him and ending his run.
Israel Sosa played Yveltal/Maxie’s, proving the deck is still one of the top in Expanded. The deck is incredibly established, taking the most CP of any deck in Expanded so far. With all the new decks coming into the light, this may not last, but it was enough to make it to Top 8 in the tournament before falling to Rahul’s Volcanion deck.
We learned that Expanded is the birthplace of innovation, as several new decks sprout up almost every regionals. Who would’ve expected Aerodactyl/Talonflame after all? We also learned that it’s essentially play item lock or play around it. A lot of the top decks used item locks or had its ways around it. Also, expanded is a really annoying format. The prevalence of things like Ghetsis, Hypnotoxic Laser, and the immense amount of lock make it not fun to play at times, but hey, that’s Pokemon for ya.
Thanks for reading, and I’m sorry this article is so brief. After Regionals I’ve been focusing on tennis; tryouts are this week and I’m trying to lock up the 2nd singles spot. Look out for Saturday’s article!