Playing with fire at the Michigan State championship, 2011

by Cheffords ~ March 17th, 2011.

Following the fun I had playing a rogue SP based deck at Cities this Fall, I decided to try something similar for States. This time my deck is based around the synergy between Blaziken FB Lv.X and Blaziken PL. My Cities deck had a 1 – 1 tech line of Blaziken FB and I found it was very powerful and could get KOs when you need them. I decided to use Blaze as the basis of my deck. A full deck writeup is forthcoming so I won’t go into the details here. This article is primarily to report my day and the games that I played.

This year the event is in Lansing and we have a good turn out; 74 players in the Masters age division. This means 7 rounds in swiss with a top-cut of 16. I’m at the venue just before registration opens and find a Jimmy Johns nearby and buy my lunch. I’ve learned from experience to be prepared for long rounds and no breaks, so having food on-hand makes that one less thing to worry about. This year my buddy ‘Pinch’ decided to play and we meet up in line to register, do a quick deck check and sit down to a warm up game.

All my PokeFriends are rolling in; Pikkdogs, Evan, Collan, Cody, Ryan and the rest of Team Warp Point, Ryan, Ryan, Joel, Hunter and some folks that I always talk to but don’t know on a first name basis. It’s great to see everyone and to see the anticipation of good tournament on their faces.

The judges call the room to attention, lay out the rules and all of the announcements then give us the go ahead for round 1; the day is underway!

Round 1: versus CJ with LostGar

This starts out with me thinking I have the opening donk because I have Ambipom G active and a DCE in-hand and CJ only shows me an Oddish. Within a split-second I went from elation at the thought of the T1 win to despair with the realization that I was facing my least favorite match-up; trainer lock! CJ is smart and attaches energy before passing, there goes the donk. CJ survives my first turn and the game goes his way from then on out. He gets a Spiritomb active on T2 and a Vileplume on the bench on T3. He begins attacking with Gengar Prime on T4 and immediately sends my Uxie X and Blaziken X to the Lost Zone. I’m sitting on a hand chock full of trainers, and continue to draw more. Somehow my supporters are not showing up and the ones that do don’t really help me at all. I get a Smeargle with Unown Q attached and am able use Portrait several times. I see he is holding a Lost World and I know for sure I am done for. I do my best to keep Pokemon out of my hand and he switches to Cursed Drop. We are tied on prizes with 5 left each when he gets my sixth Pokemon into the LZ, I know I can’t do anything to win so I scoop.                           Blaziken FB

Record: 0 – 1

Round 2: versus Lauren with LuxChomp

I’ve seen Lauren this season at other tournaments but never played against her. I have no idea what she is playing until she turns over a Dialga G. This conjures bad memories from last year’s Nationals event where I was essentially Deafened to death. Fortunately for me I’m running Dialga’s weakness and can easily take it out. It wasn’t until her second turn that I see the Garchomp and Luxray and know that Dialga is just a tech. LuxChomp is a tough match-up for any deck and it is no different for me. I know I have to play smart and get KOs fast. Lauren takes the first prize off a Dragon Rush, but I am able to dig out my Ambipom G and get the revenge KO. She gets 2 by using Luxray before I am able to send it to the discard pile too. Somehow she is not able to recover from either of those KOs and is left with not very much. I go ahead by 1 prize on turn 2 of the ‘plus 3’ after time is called. Despite thinking it through for several minutes, she is unable to return the favor and scoops.

It isn’t until much later that I realize that Lauren didn’t play a single Power Spray and this probably made the difference in this game.

Record: 1 – 1

Round 3: versus Justin with Porygon-Z (Togekiss & Electrode Prime techs)

Justin is a bit young, I think this is his first year in the Masters division. We both draw mulligans and reveal our hands. I see a Porygon2 and panic a little because I can’t think of what the current Porygon-Z can do. This is the beautiful thing about playing a rogue or even off-meta deck, you get some power just by the surprise factor. Unfortunately for Justin, even the surprise factor doesn’t help him much as he proceeds to draw 2 more mulligans before finally getting a basic Pokemon.

At this point I have taken a total of 10 cards and am reeling in disbelief at my starting Pokemon: Unown Q! Now, I think I have mentioned my distaste of this card in previous articles because of how it is a game loser when you start with it. In fact, I had heard about at least 5 games so far in this tournament that started with Unown Q.

Justin turns over a Porygon, slaps a DCE on it and announces his attack. The smile on his face makes me think that he just won. As it turns out it only does 10 damage: whew, dodged a bullet there! I am able to get a Blaziken PL out with a DCE on it on my first turn. He flips heads for the burn and survives into the next turn. He top-decks a Bebe’s and goes for a Porygon2 (not sure why he didn’t get another basic, an Uxie, or something else). He evolves to clear the burn and attacks. I draw and KO his Porygon2, game over.

Record: 2 – 1

Round 4: versus Michael with Machamp (Mesprit tech)

I go first and he turns over 2 Machops. I have a Call Energy in-hand and put 2 more Pokemon on my bench and hope for the best. I expect him to get the Machamp out to steam roll me for the game but miraculously it doesn’t happen. I know I need to get the stage 2 Blaze in order to thwart Machamp’s plan and that is what I do. In fact I get both Blaze FB Lv.X and Blaze PL out and get 2 quick KOs on the Machops. Michael switches tactics and drops Mesprit 3 turns in a row, and Azelf get’s him a Machamp Prime and he starts swinging big. He KOs my Blaze Lv.X. I am able to get Infernape 4 leveled-up and use Intimidating Roar after he breaks the power lock. This really helps me to get some easy KOs on his low HP benched Pokemon.

We exchange prizes and time is called. At the end of the final turn we both have 1 prize left so we go into sudden death. He has Machamp Prime active who has 30 damage on it, and I decide that the only way to win this game is to exploit the weakness and I send up Uxie. I start my turn and evaluate my hand. I see a DCE but nothing to get Uxie’s Lv.X out of my deck. I look again at my hand and spot a VS Seeker; a quick rifle through my discard spots a Bebe’s Search and I know my play. I take a deep breath and play it out very deliberately as to not make a dumb mistake and lose the game. I play the VS Seeker to get the Bebe’s Search which I play to get the Uxie Lv.X which I use to level up my active Uxie. I attach the DCE, take a second and do the math (60 x 2 + 30 = 150) and then I announce my attack and shake hands with Michael! This was a great game and even though Micheal had a tough start with his deck I still had to play very smart to get the win. This victory alone makes the entire day worth it for me.

Record: 3 – 1

Round 5: versus Collan with LuxChomp

Collan is a member of Team Warp Point and a buddy of mine. We have faced each other several times in the last year-and-a-half and he always seems to beat me. He is a good player and a good guy.

We both get off to a slow start, on my side I am tense about power spray since I know Collan runs 4 of them. On his side, he isn’t setting up like you would expect a honed LuxChomp to do. I play it safe and make sure I have multiple powers ready to fire off before I try to setup, this sets me back about 3 turns. During which time, Collan is blatantly bluffing that he has a spray in hand and is dieing to use it. I didn’t know he was bluffing until after the game when we talked about the match up. In the end, he gets the final turn after time runs out and is able to go up by 1 prize. It was a close game and I am happy to have been so close in the end.

Record: 3 – 2

Round 6: versus Chris with Scizor Prime

Chris is a member of Team Warp Point also and while we were waiting for the pairing he and I were chatting about our day so far and how his deck was weak to mine and how we hoped we didn’t pair up. Then they posted the pairings and I apologized to Chris. The apology didn’t help reduce the sting much because our game was pretty one-sided.

Chris starts with a Lucario C active and a Scyther on the bench. He attaches energy to the Scyther and passes. I do some stuff, get somewhat setup and use Smeargle’s Portrait. Chris has a Seeker, so I use it to pick up an Uxie, he has to pick up his Scyther. This happens 2 more turns which really impedes his setup and then I KO both his Pokemon for the game.

Record: 4 – 2

Round 7: versus Nick with VileGar

We start and Nick flips over an Oddish and I want to scream. Trainer lock is my least favorite match up and my deck does poorly against it. He survives turn 1 and gets a Spiritomb and Gloom on turn 2 and Vileplume and Gengar on turn 3. I am able to get a couple of early prizes because of a quick Blaziken Lv.X and Blaziken PL. Nick levels up Gengar and levels down my Blaziken, I don’t see the Lv.X again for the rest of the game. I find myself resorting to moving his energy around with Ambipom which somehow buys my a few turns with Gengar being unable to attack. I get the KO on Gengar with Uxie’s psychic restore which avoids the fainting spell flip. I have 90 damage on Vileplume and am trying to get it with my Infernape’s split bomb attack when time is called. We end up in suden death both having taken 3 prizes. I am 30 damage away from a KO on Vileplume and Nick is 10 damage away on my Bronzong G. I assume he is out of energy because after I moved it all off of his Gengar he passes the next turn. I get the split bomb off so I am 10 damage away from winning when he top-decks a psychic energy and takes his prize.

Even though I lose again versus a trainer locking Gengar deck, I feel that I played well and did better than I should have this game. I learn later that Nick makes it to top-cut and I finish 25th.

Record: 4 – 3

So, in the end I walk away with a winning record, a decent ranking (25th out of 74) and I had a heck of a lot of fun playing my deck that no one else was playing.

Category: State Championships | Tags: , , ,