Challenge: Road Trip & Surprise

by Ed ~ January 4th, 2012.

Rapid City Road Trip

I have a bit of catching up to do here. I was out of town (and fairly busy) between Christmas and New Years. I’m back now, so I should update you on the happenings since the last installment.

We were in Rapid City, SD for vacation, because we have family there. We go there almost every year for Christmas. This time, there were 2 league times that occurred during our stay. I penciled in both, but I didn’t know if we’d have other family stuff going on.

If you have been reading here for quite a while, you may recall from my Alakazam/Chancey Report that Rapid City has some interesting formats that they attempt. The Pokemon scene there is quite different from other places I’ve played. It pretty much exists in its own little bubble. Adam, the league leader and one other guy named Ben seem to be the ones that really drive the scene.

Now, from what I’ve seen/heard, most leagues allow an unlimited card pool, but even then, most players play modified-legal cards. Yeah, if you want to play old cards, people won’t mind, but most will prefer to play against tourney decks. In Rapid City, it seems that they don’t care much about the modified format. Yeah, people like new cards, but they don’t want to dump their old stuff. Case in point, this time, there was a guy who’s “want” list contained a bunch of SP trainers. I had no problem trading them away, because I had no use for ’em.

Around here, things are very tourney-driven, but there, they only get 1 BR per year (I think). It’s no wonder that people aren’t concerned about making modified-legal decks. It makes for an interesting format, because, on top of this, people don’t have the desire (and probably desire to spend cash) to obtain the current top-tier cards. They make neat decks using all kinds of recent to near-recent stuff.

Along with all of this, Adam, the league leader, seems to have a stong desire to build interesting decks, so he comes up with challenges for the league players. This holiday season, his challenge had several twists and went something like this:

  • 4-deck (2 Vs 2) Format
  • 3-players (2 challengers each running a deck Vs Adam running 2 decks)
  • Each Deck Runs 2 Active Pokemon (Bench Limit of 4)
  • A “team” beating Adam receives a box of packs to split
  • Unlimited Card Pool

I heard this before I drove out there, so I sketched up a deck. I think this is very close to what I ran, but it might not be exact.

13 Pokemon 34 Trainers 10 Supporters/Stadiums 3 Energy
4 Magikarp SF-65 3 Professor Oak 4 Pokemon Collector 3 Warp Energy
3 Gyarados SF-19 4 Item Finder 2 Celio’s Network
2 Expert Belt 1 Wally’s Training
1 Crobat G PL-47 3 Pokemon Rescue
2 Luxury Ball
1 Azelf LA-19
1 Spiritomb AR 4 Computer Search
1 Uxie LA 2 Scoop Up
1 Regice LA 2 Super Scoop Up
1 Unown Q 2 Pokemon Center
2 Dual Ball
4 Gust of Wind
4 Energy Removal 3 Broken Time-Space

The idea here is to completely abuse the awesome base-set discard cards (Computer Search, Prof Oak, and Item Finder) to dump Karp while setting up Gyarados with either Wally or BTS.  If everything goes well, Spiritomb would also come active (alongside Gyarados), and you’d be hitting for 90-110 for free and trainer locking on turn 1.

This deck should work well in a 2-vs-2 dual-active battle no matter what teammate decided to join me in the challenge.  I didn’t know what to expect from Adam, and I figured there was always a chance that my partner would have anywhere from a theme deck to a well-tuned unlimited deck (but more likely on the recent card side of things).

When I built it, I didn’t think my daughter, Ava age 8, would join me in attending league, but I later found out that she would.  I took her Donphan deck, removed Crushing Hammer and Lost Remover and added in Energy Removal and Super Energy Removal.  I also tossed in some stuff like Luxury Ball for consistency.  The idea was that my deck would be fairly overpowering, and hers would pick up the defense side of things if necessary.

Their league runs from 10AM to 3PM, so there’s a sizable window.  We stroll in a bit late, and a team is already playing against Adam.  I figure that Ava and I are next, so we just mess around a bit and wait.  I play the Challenge (Raichu/Eelektrik) deck a bit, but we’ll get to that later.

Just before Adam wins, a girl (maybe 11 years old?) and her mom show up.  This girl is pretty vocal, and she’s obviously pumped up to play Adam.  She’s pretty (over)confident, and is expecting to win some cards.  Adam wins his challenge match, and Ava and I get up to play him.  The girl doesn’t seem to notice that there’s people waiting, and is so focused on her chance to win big that she thinks she’s next.  All she needs is a teammate, and it’s a done deal (in her mind).

Well, I decide that I can wait, so I tell her that Ava and her can team up.  I figure it’ll be fairly quick, and then Ava and I can challenge Adam.  It’s a kids’ game, anyway.  Let the kids play.  The two young girls are over-matched, but they’re oblivious to such things.

I don’t recall what Pokemon he had, but it was something that, when an energy was placed on it, he could flip a coin.  When he flipped heads, I think it did like 20 damage to everything.  He had paired that with Emboar to play a ton of energy in one turn and Chandelure to add more damage counters.  Mid-game, Adam (maybe becuase he’s playing 2 little girls) makes a risky play that nets him a bunch of prizes, but also gives the girls several prizes while KOing some of Adam’s Pokemon.

I think he’s banking on his recovery being quicker than theirs, but it goes poorly from him afterward.  The girls work their way back into the game while Adam draws garbage (as far as I can tell).  It takes a while, but the girls eventually get set up and start KOing his stuff, and he can’t recover.  Amazingly, they win and split a booster box or Majestic Dawn or some such.  The other girl gets so revved up about the cards Ava pulls and ends up trading almost all the commons/uncommons she got for like 5 of Ava’s rares.  It was all kinda crazy.

The challenge win, though, makes it so Ava can’t re-challenge, so now that it’s my turn, I don’t have a partner.  There’s 2 kids that aren’t playing, so I ask which wants to team up with me.  I get my teammate, set up, and end up going first.  On turn 1, I think I set up Gyarados doing 90 with maybe Regice also active and get a KO.  Adam has horrible draws on BOTH decks and can’t get hardly any basics on the field.  On my 2nd turn, I think I played an Expert Belt and promoted Spiritomb for good measure.  I KO’d his 2nd-to-last Pokemon, and on my teammates turn, he KO’d Adam’s last Pokemon.  We win.

I opted to not take my half-box of cards.  Even though the cards were older (and cheaper), Adam still spent his own money to put up the prizes.  I just wanted to play in the interesting format.  I didn’t need the cards, but my teammate still deserved his half.

So, that’s really it for the interesting part of the Rapid City story.  I did go back the next Saturday, but I didn’t play Adam’s challenge again, and I didn’t stay as long.  I did play the Raichu/Eelektrik Challenge deck out there.  Over the 2 league days, I played about 5 or 6 games against other league attendees, and I went undefeated.  It really is a good deck if the opponent doesn’t play Catcher and most of their attackers have 120HP or less!

Surprise Waiting Upon Return

We got back into town late on Monday night.  Since we had the mail stopped, I didn’t see anything until Tue evening.  When I got home, there were 2 envelopes waiting for me.  From the return addresses, I knew that they were both from CoolestMan22, because he had sent cards for the Challenge Card Pool before.  It seems that he had gotten in the Christmas spirit and decided to send a little something to make my Pokemon season brighter.

Check out the list of cards he sent.

1 Pokemon Circulator
1 Junk Arm
1 Professor Juniper
1 Zekrom BW 47
1 Thundurus EPO 35
1 Tynamo NVI 39
1 Great Ball
2 Pokemon Communication
4 Plus Power
2 Xtransceiver
2 Judge
1 Cryogonal NVI 32
1 Bouffalant BW 91
1 Stunfisk NVI 68
1 Emolga NVI 37
1 Raichu HS 10
1 Pikachu UD 61
1 Burned Tower
1 Good Rod
1 Switch
1 Prof Elm’s Training Method
1 Pokemon Reversal
1 Cheerleader’s Cheer
1 Bianca
1 Emcee’s Chatter

I really think that they can take my deck to the next level.  I have yet to rebuild the decklist based on these new additions, but here are some initial thoughts.

A second Thundurus is really helpful.  If I can start with him active, it can thin the deck, open up a turn 2 80 damage, get energy in the discard, act as a wall, etc.  It helps a lot.  Late game, he can be an instant 80-damage hitter in the right situation.

A single Zekrom is also quite helpful.  With 130 HP, he can be a good wall.  He’s also got the potential to do 120 on turn 2 or after.  It gives me one more attacker that can do 120, and this one isn’t an evolution.  He can drop from my hand, and with 2 (or 3) Dynamotors, be hitting for 120 in the same turn.

A 4th Tynamo is also quite nice.  I’m not 100% sure if it will make my final build (for Sunday), but it’s a definite possibility (I’m leaning toward yes at the moment).  It just adds a bit of consistency and another free retreater.

Pokemon Circulator is something I could have really used in 1 specific match last tourney.  Again, I don’t know if it makes the final list, but it’s something that could come in very handy.  A 3rd Junk Arm is probably making the cut (to dump early energy), as are the additional Pokemon Communication.  With those (and probably a Great Ball), I should be able to reduce the flippiness of the deck by dumping the PokeBalls that were donated on game-day last tourney.

Plus Power is another card that may make the cut.  Right now, I’m liking the Rocky Helmet, but at least 1 Plus Power (with 3 Junk Arms around) could make a difference in some matchups.  Obviously the other cards warrant consideration, too, but these are the ones that pop out first.

This article is already much longer than I expected, so I’m calling it quits for now.  Hopefully I’ll get another out before Sunday’s tourney, but I’ll be sure to get a report out afterward.

Thanks Coolestman22!!!

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