What I (re)learned at Battle Roads – Okemos, MI

by Cheffords ~ May 30th, 2010.

Hey everyone, Cheffords here with a few hard learned lessons from my first Battle Roads this spring.

First off let me say that I had an abysmal day, only getting 1 win out of 5 matches! It is because of this poor showing that I decided to write this article, because you have to look for the silver lining no matter what. So, even if you have a losing day, you can reflect on what you’ve learned and apply that to your next outing.

Here’s a quick rundown of my matches.

R1 vs. Flygon X, Entai/Raikou Legend, Manectric, Spiritomb, Claydol
My Dunsparce is prized; I failed to target Flygon which got 3 energy to KO mime; the Legend got multiple KO’s, twice

R2 vs. CurseGar
My Shuppet is prized; I failed to target Gengar which got 3 energy to KO mime; the second Gengar leveled up with e-belt making it nearly impossible to KO

R3 – Giratina X, Mewtwo X
I couldn’t one-shot the basic Mewtwo which leveled up on the next turn; I wasted Crobat Gs on Giratina; was left with Mewtwo X

R4 – Dialga/Luxray/Garchomp SP
Azelph open for the donk

R5 – CurseGar
Started with Unown R and a hand full of trainers; got pitch darked for 6 turns straight until they evolved into Gengar for the win

I had some tough match ups under normal circumstances but my bad planning and poor playing made it that much worse. Here are some of the lessons I am taking away from this tournament and applying them to the next.

Lesson 1: don’t fix what isn’t broke.

After my successful day at Regionals, I started to think about how to tweak my deck to make it better against the 1 deck that I consistently lose to – LuxChomp. Well here’s the problem, I made changes specifically to counter LuxChomp, I even play tested those changes against LuxChomp, over and over, so much so that I forgot to play against other meta game decks. This caused me to lose sight of the fact that my deck was already working well for a huge majority of the competition out there. In the end, my fixes were detrimental to how my deck performed at Battle Roads where I faced only 1 LuxChomp.

Lesson 2: identify the main threat as fast as possible.

In 3 of my 5 games, I failed to see the real threat across the table from me until it was too late. This is partially because I was playing on auto-pilot (which is never good), and partially because I wasn’t looking at the big picture. I knew that the Legend could one-shot my entire crew if it got the chance (all but 3 of my pokemon have powers and 80 or less HP), but instead of going after it, I went for the easy knock outs on lesser threats. The same thing happened versus CurseGar. I knew from previous experience that Gengar is my target even if it is a multiple hit knock out. But instead I went for the easy kills only to get over-powered late game. Finally, when I was unable to one-shot the Mewtwo before it got leveled up, I realized I had used up most, if not all of Crobat G’s on other pokemon. Because I wasn’t looking at the big picture I played right into my opponent’s plan – clear his field except Mewtwo X and he wins.

Lesson 3: stay flexible.

After lesson 2 sinks in, you’ll want to remember lesson 3, remain flexible with your tactics and strategy. As I explained earlier, in many of my games, I stuck to the primary tactic on my deck by going after the easy knock outs. Now, if my head was in the game, I wouldn’t have been so rigid in my playing and I would have realized that putting damage on Flygon, the Legend, and Gengar was the correct play. Instead, I stuck “to the plan” getting a few easy knock outs, but ultimately losing the game.

Lesson 4: look for the big picture.

Taking off your own blinders can be a challenge, but you have to remember that every new match brings the opportunity to face something you haven’t seen before. So going into a game with open eyes and an open mind is best. As I mentioned before, I was actually helping out the player who had Mewtwo X in play by clearing out all of the other pokemon on his field. Once he was left with only Mewtwo X, I was done. I played right into this by not looking at the big picture and not seeing this tactic as a threat to me.

Lesson 5: remember to have fun and to learn something.

Even if you have a losing day like I did, there is always something to learn from the experience. It can be tough to see the fun in losing, but for me it is fun to see friends again and talk about the game with folks and see the younger players learning.

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