Challenge: Grand Finale

by Ed ~ January 14th, 2012.

Special Delivery

Early this week, TAndrewT contacted me and asked me for my address. He had a package to send me. Well, things didn’t go well for TAndrewT and the postal service, and we thought that the package might not arrive before this week’s finaly City Championship tournament. Instead of sending the cards to me via snail mail (does anyone use that term, anymore?), TAndrewT sent me a list of cards on Friday. He swore that he’d hand-deliver them to me the next day, and since he was judging, I figured I could bank on him being there.

Click on the pic to the left if you want to see what he donated. I think he really wanted to see how the deck and I would do if things were taken to the next level. For the final Cities here, I think he wanted the challenge deck to be a real contender. Thanks to you donators, here’s the list I was able to run today.

16 Pokemon 15 Trainers 12 Supporters/Stadiums 17 Energy
3 Tynamo NVI 39 4 Dual Ball 4 Prof Oak New Theory 17 Lightning
3 Eelektrik NVI 40 3 Great Ball 4 Professor Juniper
2 Pikachu HS 78 3 Junk Arm 4 Engineer’s Adjustments
1 Pikachu HSP 3 1 Super Rod
3 Raichu Prime 3 Pokemon Catcher
2 Thundurus 1 Pokemon Communication
1 Zekrom
1 Cleffa

The Challenge goal was to end better than 50% win/loss ratio for any one of the City Championships.  I was unable to make the first of four.  In the second, I felt like I hit some unlucky breaks and ended 2-3.  In the third, I retooled the deck thanks to some major donations, and went 2-2.  That really bothered me, because I had to drop before the final round, and I think there’s a fair chance I could have ended up 3-2.  On the final day of Cities, I had no other obligations, so I wouldn’t drop.  I had just received some new cards that I think were very necessary for the deck to be in real contention.  What would the day bring?

I had talked to 2 guys that I work with about this tournament.  One has 2 boys that are getting into Pokemon.  The other has 2 brothers that are getting into Pokemon.  As it turns out, both showed up today.

Ben’s sons both played, while Ben and his wife watched the festivities.  Steven and his brothers all played (for part of the tourney).  I had told Steven that if he wanted, I’d give him a deck to play.  I gave him a Emboar/Reshiram deck just before the tourney, and I don’t think he played it at all before things got underway.

Round 1:   vs. Steven C with Emboar/Reshiram

Things do get underway, and I find myself facing my own deck.  It’s not a great deck, but it’s not bad.  Steven is an inexperienced player, but he knows what he’s doing.  In theory, this should be a good match for me, but both Emboar and Reshiram are hard for me to deal with.  I have to 2-shot both of them, and there aren’t much for easy KO’s in the deck.

Since I know the deck, I know that I need to Catcher any Pigs/Boars and keep the off the table.  To do this, I run through lots of resources, and the game gets drawn out when Steven starts Eeeeking and staying asleep.  If Steven hits heads on the sleep, I probably get my prizes.  However, here’s how it ends up.

I attack for a KO.  Time is announced.  Steven hasn’t drawn for his turn yet, so it’s ruled that he is Turn ONE (of the +3).  On my turn (turn TWO), I draw my last card.  I figured I had lost, but there’s some doubt, so I let it play out.  On Steven’s turn (turn THREE), he can’t take 2 prizes.  Steven’s turn ends, and he loses on prizes.  Had time been called like 15 seconds later (after he had drawn for the turn), then I would have had to play out another turn, and I would have lost due to deckout.

It was a hard fought win, even though I think the board showed me in control most of the game. Check out the rare picture of me (since I’m usually behind the camera) with my Ash Ketchum hat.


Round 2: vs. Ed A (card selling/trading Ed) with DonChamp

I win the flip, and we turn over our basics.  He shows Machop.  That is definitely bad.  I have 1 Pokemon that’s not x2 weak to fighting, and it’s a 30HP Cleffa.

If I had gone second, there’s a fair chance that I would have had my Tynamo donked.  Maybe that would have been better than playing out this inevitable bloodbath.

Ed A. has a great metagame deck.  With so much Lightning Pokemon around, I’ve thought that DonChamp could be a contender.

I gave Ed a bit of a run, because he was having trouble getting his evolutions.  Check the pic.  You can see he’s not setting up well.  However, he only needs 1 energy to OHKO almost everyone on my field.  I need to 2-shot his guys.  I battle uphill before finally getting run over.

That’s pretty bad luck getting matched against all-fighting.  Ed ends up making top cut, so I can’t feel too bad losing to him.


Round 3: vs. Kyle with MagneBoar (EmZone)

I get a pretty good start and am able to Catcher KO an early Magnezone.  That puts Kyle on the ropes, and I later find out that he prized some ‘Zone, and that’s why he couldn’t recover from the setback.  I catcher up Emboar and 2-shot it.  When things seem in hand for me, Kyle gets another Emboar set up.  However, we’re tied at 2-2 on prizes, and I’m ready to KO anything he has.

I take my second to last prize, and Kyle promotes a Cleffa.  He then proceeds to topdeck the one Lightning energy he needs, Fishermans (IIRC) the fire energy he needs, drops both halves of RDL, and that’s game.

This was a very hard-fought battle for me.  I thought I had it won, and he pulls this off.  There wasn’t anything I could have done differently, but it’s still a tough loss.  I worked hard for this one, and he just comes back and takes 2 prizes in one shot.  Ick!  :)


I know that I’m not doing real well in the > 50% challenge.  With 6 rounds, I now have to win 3 in a row to finish with a winning record.

Round 4: vs. Ariel L. with Durant

This is heartbreaking.  I’m 1-2, and, when we flip our basics, my spirts just sink.  DURANT!  I already almost lost to deckout in round 1, and that’s against a deck that didn’t mill at all.  How am I going to win this?  My deck relies on draw supporters.  I run 12 of them plus Cleffa!

I agonize over my first turn a lot.  If I recall correctly, I actually opt for a Juniper to try setting up better.  Ariel has a less-than-stellar first turn, and mills for ONE.  I finally take a prize, and I think that puts him in the Twins zone.  He gets 4 Durant set up shortly after that, but I’m able to stall a bit with Catcher on Timburr (as seen in the pic on the right).

Stalling his mill gives me time to set up Raichu and get some energy built up on the bench.  After that, I can KO a Durant each turn, and Ariel can’t seem to Revive them at the same pace.

Click the pic on the left if you want to see the action late in the game.  Somehow, I amazingly win against Durant, and I’m not back to even.


Round 5: vs Mike Lesky with EelZone

Mike has like 30 Championship Points already.  He’s playing a LOT of tourneys, and he’s topping many of them.  How am I getting paired against him in when I need to win out?  I’m already 2-2.  What’s Mike doing across the table from me?  Why do the Pokegods want me to fail at this challenge?

I go first, and I feel like I have a shot to win.  Based on Mike’s field of a single Magnemite and his body language (that seems to be saying “Oh #@!$#@, am I really going to lose to this donated deck?”), I feel like I might be able to donk.  I make a play based on this to set up my Thundurus for a turn2 80 damage.

Mike goes, plays a Sage’s Training, and is able to drop a Zekrom.  There goes my shot.  I then have to backtrack into a Cleffa setup strategy (which I’m sure Mike is fine with) and Catcher up Zek for additional breathing room.  You can see that in the pic to the right.

Well, the game ends up being a good one, but Mike is pretty much in control for the duration.  I feel like I gave him a run, but it was probably just a warmup for him.


Mike also ended up making it to top cut, so I played 2 of the top 8 contenders today.  Where are my easy matchups?  In the previous two tourneys, I had at least one match each day that went my way fairly easily.  Today, even when I get matched up against a first-timer (see Steven from round 1), it’s my own deck, and I only win by the skin of my teeth.

Well, now I’ve blown it.  I accepted TAndrewT’s generous donation thinking that I was sure to sail over 50% with it.  Based on the previous 2 tourneys (where I almost went over 50% anyway), this shouldn’t be so hard, right?  Well, let’s play it out.

Round 6: vs Steven with CaKE (or CoKE) and Vileplume

I’m curious, so I ask Steven what his record is before we start playing.  It’s 3-2.  Man, what’s up?  Now I get paired up?  Usually that’s a good thing, but I just want a win at this point.  Nothing is going to come easily, is it?

Steven starts with an active Oddish.  He quickly retreats it and evolves to Gloom.  I catcher it up to I take an early prize.  This allows him to start the Twins engine.  He also ends up using Electrode’s Energymite, which gives me another prize and barely helps Steven.

Almost all of his Pokemon are in the 2-hit-KO range for my deck.  I have to worry about Kyurem’s Outrage, though.  I can’t afford to do 120 to it and then have him get an easy return KO.  I have to do stuff like attack with Pikachu or Zekrom’s Outrage and then go for 120 the next turn.  The game goes on like this for some time.

At one point, he had a benched Oddish, but I hadn’t seen him play barely any trainers.  The previous Oddish evolved to Gloom, so instead of Catchering the Oddish, I went for a safer play (opting to hold the Catcher for 1 more turn).  Well, next turn he Rary Candied his way into Vileplume and we played sans trainers for the rest of the game.

Luckily for me, I got all 3 Eelektrik set up this game, so I had plenty of options.  Click on the little pic to the left to see how things looked late in the game.  With 3 Eel, I was able to retreat for whomever I needed for each situation.  I could afford to Outrage and follow it with Raichu or whatever.

Oddly, this was probably my easiest match of the day.  Steven just never got set up properly, and with 3 Eel, I was really firing on all cylinders in this game.


So, I didn’t meet the goal of going over 50% in a tourney with the Challenge deck.  My finishes of 2-3, 2-2, and 3-3 added up to 7-8 which is pretty good under the circumstances.  I’m happy with how things worked out, but I can’t help feeling that things were a bit of a failure in many ways.  I’ll probably have a short wrap-up article later in the week.  I’ll leave you with some more shots from of the tourney.  Click on ’em to see larger versions.

Oh, and by the way, my daughter, Ava, made top-2. She said that she should have won the third game, but she attached her energy to the wrong Pokemon. When she asked if she could take it back, she wasn’t allowed. That’s how it goes, but I’m happy she pulled second AND realized her mistake. She’s still got some years ahead of her in Juniors, so it’s good to see her progressing like this.

Thanks to the staff (Coleen, Andy, Mark, and Emma) for running the tourney. Special thanks to everyone that donated to the Challenge card pool. You know who you are!

Category: Challenge | Tags: , , ,