Gym Leader Logan Narrowly Misses Top Cut and Prizes at Worlds.

The Gym Leaders have finally returned home and while not exactly sure what time (or day) it is yet, the exhausting travel was worth the trip.  The 2011 World Championships were truly amazing.  The event was a real roller coaster ride for Logan, who was competing at this level for the first time.  Logan has proven his skills at the national level and what he delivered this weekend was the best performance of his life.

Before detailing his journey, here are a few quick facts for the event.  There were 88 players competing in the Junior Division with entries from the following countries:  Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan,

World Champion Trophies and Victory Cards

Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, S. Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the U.S..  Japanese players received no automatic qualifications because the tsunami disasters cancelled all events in japan.  All Japanese players in the field battled through the Friday “grinders” to gain entry, which made the Japanese contingent very strong for Saturday’s main event.

World Championship Victory Medal Cards

The main event on Saturday consisted of 7 rounds of swiss.  The top 16 would advance to Sunday’s elimination rounds and finals.  17th through 32nd place at the end of Saturday’s rounds would each take home 2 booster boxes of Emerging Powers and a brand new Nintendo 3DS.  Onto the rounds……

Round 1 (0-0) vs Andreas Schloffer from Austria:

Andreas played Yanmega/Magnezone/Kindra, a master level deck which he played like a true master.  While setting up, he “judged” Logan’s hand away each turn and followed with several “Pokemon Reversals” in a row to take an early lead and prevent Logan from ever really setting up.  Logan took 2 prizes, but it was too little, too late.  Round 1 to Andreas, Logan opened the event 0-1.  While handing Logan an early loss, Andreas would also play a huge factor in determining Logan’s fate later in the tournament.

Round 2 (0-1) vs Haru Nishikawa from Japan:

While Gym Leader Joel was immediately nervous upon seeing a 2nd round match with one of the Japanese qualifiers, Logan was not.  His quiet determination was obvious as he awaited his pairing to be posted and went directly to his table without a word.  Haru mirrored Logan’s Reshiram/Emboar deck to an extent, but Logan’s build was definitely the stronger of the 2.  Logan took 4 prizes to Haru’s 1 with his swarm of Reshiram.  As planned, Logan took the last 2 in one shot with his Rayquaza/Deoxys Legend (RDL).  Round 2 to Logan, now 1-1.

Round 3 (1-1) vs Aino Kettunen from Finland:

Aino played a version of the predominant deck at Worlds in all age groups, Reshiram/Typhlosion.  She took the first prize card from Logan and the two engaged in a slugfest, alternating knockouts each turn for several turns in a row.  However, as Logan correctly calculated in the weeks leading up to the tournament, his build would be able to out-hit the Reshiram/Typhlosion build.  Logan sent up RDL and ended round 3, taking his 6 prizes to her 4.  Round 3 to Logan, now 2-1.

Round 4 (2-1) vs Kohei Takenaka from Japan:

One of the main things Gym Leader Joel noticed over the opening rounds (and the ones to follow) was how quickly Kohei was up from his table, walking victoriously back to his family.  This was a key match in Logan’s day.  Kohei played Reshiram/Typhlosion and his build was amazing.  Not the time to start with a lone pokemon….. which Logan did (at least it was Reshiram), with no cards to seek out basics in his hand.  Kohei set up a turn 2 “Blue Flare” with a “Plus Power”, round 4 to Kohei, Logan now 2-2.  Kohei would run through the field, losing eventually in Sunday’s final match and taking 2nd place overall.  A truly amazing player.

Round 5 (2-2) vs John Staunton from the United States:

John, Logan’s only U.S. opponent for the event, played the “Stage 1’s” deck (Donphan, Yanmega, Zoroark, w/Reshiram).  Logan dubbed this match the most fun game of the event for him.  Logan jumped out to a large early lead, taking 3 prizes before John was able to do much at all.  However, John climbed back into the game with several “reversals” and well-timed uses of Zoroark.  Logan was too far ahead and they traded prizes for the rest of the game as Logan took round 5, now 3-2.

This is where the pressure really built for the 2-loss players (30 players at 3-2 after Round 5).  A win in the next round and a 4-2 record would guarantee a top 32 finish and set those players up in Round 7 for a “win and you’re in” game to gain entry into Sunday’s finals.  Logan’s match was nothing short of what you would expect at this stage… very tightly contested.

Round 6 (3-2) vs Ronald Mog from Singapore:

Ronald played, of course, Reshiram/Typhlosion, and much like Kohei’s deck in Round 4, it set up fast.  Logan set up as well and the battle began.  Ronald took the first 2 prize cards, then the counter-attacking ensued.  They traded prizes turn by turn, but Ronald had already taken 5 to Logan’s 2.  Logan countered w/RDL, taking 2 prize cards and drawing the match close at 2 prizes to 1.  Ronald damaged Logan’s RDL for 70 and discarded its lightning energy w/his Typhlosion.  Logan switched the RDL back and sent his 150hp Emboar active.  This defensive move was one that Logan hoped would buy him a turn and absorb a hit if needed.  Logan’s deck was dwindling to a single digit card count at this point, but he also sat exactly where he wanted to be, as another RDL attack would end the game.    Logan did not have the energy to attack, but knew somewhere between his 2 prize cards and the 3 cards left in his deck were 2 “Fisherman”.  He drew for turn and got an energy card.  Logan passed.  Ronald, who continually recycled his “reversals” with “Junk Arm”, did so again and flipped his coin (“heads” and Ronald wins, “tails” and the game is Logan’s).  It landed on “heads” and he pulled up the damaged RDL and knocked it out to end the game.  Logan looked at the next card he would draw…… it was the “Fisherman” he needed a turn earlier.  What a heart-breaker.  Round 6 to Ronald, Logan now 3-3 (but not out of it by any means).

Round 7 (3-3) vs David McNamee from Canada:

Out of the running for top 16, Logan still had a strong shot at top 32.  He would need this win and for the players that defeated him to finish strongly.  David played Reshiram/Emboar.  Logan jumped out early taking 3 straight prizes.  David “Reversaled” a RDL and took 2 prizes with the knockout.  Logan countered with another RDL and ended the game with him.  Round 7, like all of Logan’s wins, played out exactly as he wanted.  He controlled the game from start to finish.  Round 7 to Logan, now 4-3 on the day.

After Round 6, Logan’s “Opponents’ Win %”, the first tie-breaker in tournament software, stood at 52.50 %, a very strong number that would only increase if those whom he lost to finished well.  Kohei, as already stated, dominated Saturday, finishing 6-1 and 3rd place overall after 7 rounds.  If Andreas (from RD 1) and Ronald (from RD 6) both won their last game or either player won along with a win from Aino (from RD 3), Logan would land somewhere between 24th and 32nd, in the prizes.  We scanned the field and saw both Andreas and Ronald still in battles.  So we sat and watched and hoped.  First to return to the sidelines was Ronald.  He shook his head to his family, indicating a loss (4-3).  Time was called and Andreas went into extra turns in his match.  Their match went on another 15 minutes, but alas we saw Andreas hang his head and exit in tears (4-3).  A brief walk found Aino describing her loss (2-5) to her parents.

24 players ended with 4-3 records, from 22nd place back to 45th.  The last round collapse by those above dropped Logan’s percentage 47.62%, placing him in 41st place.  A score higher than 52.55% would been necessary to send Logan home with the coveted prizes.

2011 Champs and Finalists

It was obvious that Logan’s sights were set higher than just making the top 32.  As we watched the closing ceremony and the top 2 in each age group raise their scholarship checks above their heads, Logan repeated several times how badly he wants to be there next year.  Sounds good to us.

What a great tournament by Logan and an amazing 2010-2011 season for him as well.  Thanks to all those who sent good luck emails and wishes to Logan.  Marthe compiled all of the emails for Logan which he kept in an envelope.  That envelope was at the table with Logan during each match he played at Worlds.  He knows that lots of folks were watching and hoped to bring the title home.  Logan will be back at it this September and will start his journey again with the hopes of getting another shot in the 2012 World Championships.

Check back soon for lots of photos of the event.  See you soon.

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