Second Best or First Loser? Gyarados vs. Luxray

by Ed ~ December 7th, 2010.

Austino's GyaradosThis past Saturday (12-04-10), I went up to The Source to play in their city championships. 25 masters showed up, giving us 5 rounds of Swiss with a cut to top 4. I brought Gyarados with me, but I left my sick daughter, Ava, at home. Hopefully she can join me this weekend.

Fire ArceusRound 1) Justin K. with Lefeon/Flareon/Arceus
I don’t know why, but I’ve played Justin in just about every tourney we’ve both participated in. Heck, I even got matched against him at regionals. Well, at least he’s used to playing against me. He started with a fire Arceus on his bench. I think I Regimoved it active, and he ended up belting it. I used the 2X water weakness to my advantage and went up 2-0 in prizes. After that, he couldn’t recover.

Machamp PrimeRound 2) Emmanuel D. with Machamp SF/Prime and Kingdra Prime
I’ve played against this deck before. You might think it’s heavily weighted in my favor, but it’s not that bad for him. What is bad is prizing like all his primes and 2 Bebe’s. I am pretty sure he used Seeker to use Azelf’s Time Walk 3 times. In theory, he should be able to set up Machamp Prime and Kingdra Prime to get OHKOs on Gyarados (which is impressive, because Gyarados is resistant). In practice, it didn’t work out for him. He was on the ropes the entire game. I think this was his only loss in Swiss.

Round 3) Conner M. with LuxChomp
Depending on how you look at it, Conner either came very close to being lucky or got very unlucky. I knew I was in trouble when I started lone Karp. He sees that and agonizes over his placement of active/bench. Jon Nichols next to me, tries to give away that my active is donkable, but I try to play it off. Please don’t do that, Jon. We flip, and I “win” the flip. I figure that really sucks. The only playable card I have in hand is Warp Energy. I draw… SABLEYE! I bench it, Warp Karp, and Impersonate. It’s almost like the deck is supposed to work. I get going, and Conner is struggling just a bit. The main sealing point for me was when conner went for the Promocroak Revenge Poison but didn’t take resistance into account. Poison actually did Gyarados in (thanks to another Flash Bite), but not before Gyarados KO’d Promocroak. Plus, Gyarados just came right back out. I don’t remember seeing a Lucario GL on Conner’s side, and I was pretty much able to run through guys, except for a few turns when he brought up my Regice. Unfortunately for Conner, he was unable to really snipe around it, and I think I finally SSU’d it and resumed the beatdowns.
Junk Arm - TR
Ditto - LARound 4) Michael Slutsky with teched Gyarados
Michael ran through me. I don’t recall much from this matchup. He used Ditto fairly effectively. I had a chance to KO a belted Gyarados late in the game, but I would have had to deck myself to do it. The match went down to 30+3, but that was mostly due to the time I spent thinking of how I could possibly get myself out of the bad situation.

Honchkrow SV-029Round 5) Jon Nichols with Chenlock
I don’t know what happened to Jon. I think he missed too many energy drops. I do know that he really slowed me down. After my first Impersonate/Collector, he impersonated Judge. That didn’t hurt too bad. After my second, he got double heads on Cyrus’s Initiative. After my third, he AGAIN got double heads on Initiative. After that, he got pretty much nothing. I tried to keep my bench full, because he was powering up a Honchkrow SV. It finally came out to Riot for a KO on my Gyarados. Gyarados came right back for a revenge KO, and that was pretty much game.

I made the top-4 cut, so they checked my deck. Luckily, I did not put 3 Karp / 4 Gyarados on my decklist, and my deck passed. Unfortunately, they hate my sleeves that fall apart too easily. I swapped in some 12-year-old (or something like that from my days of M:TG) sleeves, which hold up 100000X better than any Pokemon promo sleeves. Then, we were on.

Phanpy HS-077Top 4) Michael Slutsky again with teched Gyarados
Now, some people, like myself, don’t tech out the deck too much. I only ran a 1-1 Dialga G LvX in case of Trainer Lock (or maybe Mew Prime), and I never once used it. There are definitely slots open in Gyarados for teching against certain matchups. Michael chooses to run 1-1 Luxray GL LvX, a Ditto, 1-1 Donphan Prime, and maybe more. To support the Donphan, I assume he runs 1 Fighting Energy and a Cyrus’s Conspiracy. In theory, the Cyrus can also help him against Gengar Prime, because he can Impersonate Cyrus and get Collector in hand (keeping his Karp safe from the Lost Zone). In practice, I think all of this tech just hurt him in this matchup. Sure, the ditto tech helped against me in our first matchup, but the problem with tech is that they can hurt consistency. Michael had a tough time setting Gyarados up this time, and I got rolling right away. The tide really swung my way at one critical point. He had a belted Gyarados active. I calculated, and I could almost KO it, but it didn’t quite work. The previous turn, Michael had played a Seeker and put a Warp Energy on a benched Azelf (IIRC). I figured that meant he was somewhat unlikely to have both Seeker and Warp Energy available next turn, but it was a gamble. I loaded Gyarados up with a bunch of damage (like maybe 30 from KO), and it was Michael’s turn. He played Seeker to get the Warp Energy back, and then played it on Gyarados to save him from a 2-prize KO next turn. I played out my hand getting Gyarados 10 from KO, and then I drew (maybe with Volkner). I hit SSU, got heads, scooped Crobat, and took 2 prizes for KOing his benched Gyarados. If that wasn’t enough, I also Tail Revenged for another KO. 3 Prizes in one turn ought to sway things in my favor. He came back with a Ditto, but I just RegiMoved it for another KO. I think that was the end.

Top 2) Andy Wieman with LuxChomp
Many think this matchup is in the LuxChomp player’s favor due to Gyarados’s weakness. In reality, I don’t think it’s that bad for me. If he gets a weakness KO on me, that means he probably had Luxray (maybe X), an EGain, and 1 or 2 energy. On top of that, if he used Trash Bolt, he discarded an energy to attack. Gyarados has a good chance of returning the KO, and then the LuxChomp loses all that stuff he built up just for the KO. The real problem in this matchup is that I’ve played Andy a lot lately in testing. He knows how to play me, and he knows what my deck has. He started the game by Power Spraying my first 3 attempts to RegiMove. Normally, this wouldn’t be a huge problem for me, because I could either Junk Arm or Volkner the Karp. Well, this wouldn’t fly due to my less-than-perfect draw. I did have the Junk Arm, but I couldn’t play it, because I didn’t have any trainers to play first. I started the game with 2 Pokemon Rescue, and they just clogged my hand. After Impersonating Collector, my hand had 2 Karp, and (paired with the Junk Arm and Rescues) I couldn’t Volkner. Lucario GL RR-008I did get a Gyarados out, because Andy didn’t want to KO my benched Karp. He finally KO’d my Sableye which allowed me to Rescue it and Junk Arm 2 Karp (getting Rescue back). This got me rolling a bit, and I was finally able to draw some cards. The problem was that I had 0 energy and no SSU. Sableye was stuck active while a (mostly) powered up Gyarados sat on the bench. Against LuxChomp, this is not ideal, as they can just snipe my bench. I did finally get things turned around, and I started KOing Andy’s stuff. Unfortunatly, I think he was up like 3 prizes already. I had a good run, but he finally dropped Lucario and Trash Bolted (with the basic Lux, I think) my Gyarados for the win. Like I said, normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but when he takes his last prize, it’s hard to return the KO.

So, I had an overall positive experience. My first loss to Michael was frustrating, because I couldn’t really do much. My loss to Andy was similar. I don’t feel like either loss was due to me or my deck, but it was more the opponent’s doing. Michael got the right techs against me, and Andy was able to keep me locked with Power Spray long enough to make it count.

So, yeah, I was the first loser. I felt good about it, though. I got my 10 packs, I had fun, and I won some good matches. Andy was my only unavenged loss, since Michael (whom I beat in top cuts) was my only other loss. I can’t really complain, except that last time I played Gyarados against Andy in the finals (or even just the final match of Swiss), the outcome was much the same.

I’ve been bugging Andy to post his account of the weekend, which ought to be more interesting than mine. I mean, obviously he won this tourney. Stay tuned to hear his account of whoopin’ up on me and find out how he did the following day (in which I was unable to play).

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