2012 Nationals – Day 1

The Fincastle Gym team arrived Thursday afternoon just in time for the afternoon registration.  Despite the huge crowd, we were in and out in about 20 minutes.  We returned Friday morning for the players meeting and the opening round, all of which went very smoothly (much more than the fiasco that opened last year’s tournament…. over 90 “no-shows” who only registered to get the free t-shirt).  Pokemon fixed that issue this year by required the small number of play points (10) that could be picked up through league participation or a tournament or two.  They also handed out t-shirts to players at the end of the last round today, so you had to play all day to get the shirt.  Here are this year’s numbers.

The total number of players registered this year is 1520+ (there were a few last-minute entries, but they never announced the final number).  At the time of the players meeting, there were 1005 Masters competitors, 324 Seniors and 190 Juniors.  For Masters, this meant 2 flights of players (roughly 500 in each) that would all play 9 rounds over 2 days with a top cut of 64 in each flight to be played on Sunday.  That’s a lot of games!  Seniors will play 9 rounds as well (5 on Friday, 4 on Saturday…same as the Masters) and top cut to 64.  Juniors will play 8 rounds (4 each day) with a top cut of 32.  This update is coming at the end of Friday’s games, so here’s a brief update of how the Gym did.

Since Gym Leader Logan is “carrying the flag”, so to speak, for the Gym, we’ll start with him.  Logan first 2 rounds were easy.  He cashed in on the byes he earned at Regionals, taking the automatic 1st & 2nd round wins while everyone else fought in out.  The advantage of doing so is that the “bye” wins at this event (unlike local events like Battle Roads) count as a win over the highest possible “opponent” when it comes around to tie-breakers.  Simply put, it will give him the advantage over anyone else with the same record at the end of the tournament.  The disadvantage is that everyone else is a little more into a groove of playing their deck that he is when he joins in the 3rd round.  That showed a little, as Logan dropped his 3rd round game rather quickly, never really setting up anything.  However, in round 4, Logan found his groove and cruised to an easy win over a tough Raikou EX/Eels deck.  Logan closed the day with a 3-1 record, in a great position entering Saturday’s rounds.  He will have to buckle down and play hard, as the games will only get harder from here on, but for now he is definitely in the driver’s seat.

Sister Georgia did not have the luxury of hanging out for the first 2 rounds, she had to get straight into the mix.  Georgia lost Round 1, as her opponent wrecked her set-up with a 1st turn Mewtwo EX accompanied by “Catcher”, “Junk Arm”, “Catcher”, etc….  However, she recovered and dominated a very tricky Cobalion/Scizor/Klingklang deck for the win.  Round 3 turned in a tight match against Zek-Eels that got away as she missed on 3 consecutive “Dual Balls” and could not keep up in the prize exchange.  Georgia followed the loss with a Round 4 win, so she finished the day at 2-2.  Georgia is still very much in the hunt for top cut but she will have to have a very strong performance on Saturday to make it.

Speaking of needing a strong performance on Saturday, Gym Leader Joel will definitely need one to slip into the top 64.  The Gym Leader opened against a Vileplume deck (not good).  Despite the trainer lock, Joel stayed ahead in prizes and was poised to take the lead for good…. until his opponent Ryan B played a Black Belt (…really?).  The Pokemon that the Gym Leader was sweeping with was knocked out by surprise, turning the tide in the game and ending in a loss for Joel (2 prizes left).  Wow.  Joel swept game 2 quickly, only losing 1 prize along the way.  Round 3 again game down to 1 card, as his opponent (Thomas) hit a heads on a “Super Scoop Up” a saved an EX from a knock-out that would have been very  costly.  The game went to extra turns where the Gym Leader evened the game.  Thomas only had to get a knock-out in sudden death, which he did to take the game.  Following the loss, Joel faced a Darkrai EX deck in Round 4, which he quickly dismantled for another win.  All the players with 2-2 records (including Gym Leader Joel) entering Round 5 knew how key the last game of the day would be in setting up Saturday.  A 3-2 record puts you in a good position to make a run at top cut, while a 2-3 record puts you in a must-win situation all day Saturday.  Joel went first (with 3 Junk Arms in hand) and used “Portrait”, hoping to catch a shuffle Supporter from his opponent only to find a “Juniper”…. forcing the discard of all of them…. ouch!  His opponent seemed to declare victory on the spot and jumped out to an early 3 prize lead.   Joel battled back, unable to use any discarded resources and simply out-played him as they went into turns and then to sudden death.  An “N” left Joel with 1 card entering sudden death.  He needed to draw the last “Catcher” in the deck (7 cards left) to take the game.  His top draw was a “Dual Ball” and a “Portrait” yielded nothing from his opponent’s hand.  His opponent (can’t remember the name) caught a Smeargle and took the last prize.  The amazing game left Joel sitting at 2-3.  All he can do is play out tomorrow and see what happens.

Gym Leader Marthe ran herself ragged during the rounds as a runner for the Masters flight.  She ran a side event and then entered the Professor Cup.  She “rounded” out the day with a 2-2 record and will return Saturday evening to finish the tournament.  I don’t have any of those details at the moment, we will follow-up on her tournament tomorrow.  That’s all we’ve got for now.  Check back again and see what happens on Saturday!

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