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).

Category: City Championships | Tags: , ,
  • Anonymous

    Great account! Sorry I couldn’t be there to see it live. (Sadly, when my son loses Pokemon privileges for the weekend, so do I.) Sounds like you saw many more different kinds of opponent decks than I would have expected, and no VileGar….

    Also sorry that Ava couldn’t come. How many Juniors were there?

    • Ed

      Yeah, I thought I might see you, but I guess that’s how parenting goes. I actually thought that I wouldn’t even be able to play the whole time on Sat, but it worked out.

      I think there was maybe 1 VileGar on Sat, and maybe 1-2 on Sunday. I think Radu played it on Sun, but he’s banned from The Source. It really is a field of LuxChomp and Gyarados. Maybe it’s like 40/40/20 Lux/Gyar/Other. Other stuff I saw was Machamp, Mew Prime, DialgaChomp, Steelix, Sablelock/Chenlock, etc. Most of those were 1-ofs, though.

      Top4 Day1 was LuxChomp, Gyarados, Machamp, Gyarados
      Top4 Day2 was LuxChomp, Machamp, LuxChomp, LuxChomp

      So, expect to play against LuxChomp and Gyarados.

      I think there were 6 juniors on Sat. I don’t know about Sun, but it was probably similar.

  • Papa_Mash

    GJ and good read. Is it the norm not to play best-of-3 in TC up there? I am in Houston and I guess I took it for granted that best-of-3 was used in TC. Another difference, until there is an official ruling, we are using a Junk Arm rule where, if there is no trainer in the discard pile, you can use Junk Arm as long as one of your discards is a trainer that is not Junk Arm. So if you would have played at a CCs down here these past couple of weeks, if you chose to, you could have discarded a Magikarp and one of your Pokemon Rescues and retrieved the Pokemon Rescue.

    • Ed

      Best of Three
      Yeah, I think it’s supposed to be best-of-3. I’ve just been talking about this with another MN player via email. I believe we may be the only ones that are getting best-of-1 top cuts. It’s said to be due to time constraints imposed by the venue, but there is never a big push to get started on time. Truthfully, I think it just comes down to the TO and judges not wanting to stick around so long. At some level, I can understand that, but I think it’s supposed to be best-of-3 across the map.

      Junk Arm Ruling
      Going in, I was under thinking that it would be ruled the way you stated. I also believed that there was no official ruling handed down, which meant that it would be at the discretion of the head judge that day. It was announced before play began how they would rule it, so I knew what to expect in my final match. The real shame here is that PP (the entity formerly known as POP) has not seen fit to give us anything official. Until they do that, it will be up to each head judge to impose whatever rule they see fit.

      I wish I could have discarded a Karp+Rescue, but in reality it probably wouldn’t have mattered. It would have emptied my hand a bit, so I could have Impersonated Volkner or some such. That may have helped a little. Also, as I write this, it occurs to me that I may have been able to Impersonate Cynthia’s Feelings on one of those turns. I’m not 100% sure, and it definitely would have been a risky play as I already had Karps in hand. I did end up playing Cynthia from my hand a few turns later.

  • Anonymous

    Great Job! Glad to see you doing well with G’dos, man!

    • Ed

      You can’t expect me to take you seriously if you don’t run seeker in your Gyarados.

  • Anonymous

    good job Ed

    In the last matchup against andy. You said you couldn’t use Junk Arm if you hadn’t already used a trainer. Is that a rule? or is it just a practical rule of yours?

  • Papa_Mash

    As of this morning that ruling on Junk Arm is still “pending”.

    • Ed

      Does anyone else find it annoying that they can’t hand down an official ruling for a card that’s been out since base set?

    • Ed

      It looks like there is now “official” word.
      Junk Arm can not be played if there are no trainers in the discard.

      • Anonymous

        Well, I guess consolation is that the ruling went the way it was applied on Saturday.

        Now if only PUI Rules Team would only weigh in on best-of-3…

        • Ed

          The way they ruled is not really a problem. The lack of official ruling was annoying, though.

          As far as I know, the best-of-3 business is not open for interpretation. I think it’s just corners being cut at our events lately. I think it’s something that they did to save some time, and then it was just easier to keep doing it.

          Are you going to make it to Misty tomorrow?

          • Anonymous

            Not sure. It’s the farthest one for us, and Paul (my 7-year-old) has a Salvation Army bell ringing stint for Cub Scouts back up here at 2:00. I think Juniors would be done in time for us to make it back, but I wouldn’t be able to stay in Masters past round 4 or so. I wouldn’t mind that (I’ll be 0-4 at that point anyway), so maybe. It’ll probably depend on what the wife says tonight.

            And that’s about as wishy-washy as I could be on that, sorry. But I do hope to come!

          • Ed

            Heh Heh. Well, Ava and I plan to be there. I don’t know if that’s incentive to come or to stay away. :)

            I’m guessing that you’re right about Juniors. It would probably be done, and you could get back by 2, but who really knows? Dropping isn’t a bad thing. I’ve done it plenty.

            If you want to chat about your deck anytime, send me an email. Maybe I can help you get to 1-3 before you drop. :P

      • Papa_Mash

        Out of town on business and just catching up. Hmmm….but can pick up a discarded trainer. Thanks Ed.

        • Ed

          From what I understand, you can pick up a discarded trainer. You discard, THEN you check to see what trainer is available to pick up.

  • Anonymous

    i got 3rd with gdos at cities and then ran into terrible luck the next, the first the entire top 4 ran gdos and the top 2 had the upper hand (stupid luxray tech)

    • Anonymous

      i also believe austino’s gyarados has too many zeroes in its level

      • Ed

        You can only go by whatever the scouter says.

        • Anonymous

          what is that supposed to mean?