Logan’s Worlds Day 1 Deck – Darkrai/Garbodor

flash6The 2016 World Championships presented several “firsts” for the Fincastle Pokemon Gym.  It was the 1st time that we’ve had a trainer qualify for the VG Championship, as Gym Leader Georgia had a strong VG season to go with her TCG season where she amassed 600 Championship Points.  Unfortunately, Georgia was unable to participate in both events, as they took place simultaneously.  Had she automatically made Day 2 of the TCG event (as her 600 points were only good enough for 24th in North America), she could have played Day 1 of the VG event and then decided what to do on Day 2 if she made it through Day 1 of the VG competition.  This was Georgia’s 2nd time qualifying for the TCG Worlds, as she also made the DC event in 2014.  Joining her was our league veteran, Gym Leader Logan, earning his 3rd World Championship invite.  Logan previously qualified as a Junior for the 2011 and 2012 Championships, when the Pokemon TCG was an entirely different animal.  Despite all of their successes, the 2016 Worlds was the 1st time that both siblings qualified in the same year.

flashPreparation for the Championship has become a fairly comfortable routine for Logan.  Our play area becomes littered with scraps of paper, as we proxy versions of every popular competitive deck that we do not already have built.  We look at the results of Nationals, as does everyone else, but we also look back over the rest of the season at City, State and Regional Championships, looking for those decks that may seemed like “flashes” in the proverbial pan.  Two of those notable “flashes” were Mienshao and Entei.  Gym Leader Joel had a nasty Mienshao/Wobbuffet BREAK/Marowak list worked up, but Logan had zero interest in it, as he hated playing against Mienshao earlier in the season.  The Wobbuffet/Marowak portion of the list allowed you to shut off Vileplume’s item lock (w/Wobbuffet) or the Toad/Giratina lock off with Marowak.  We did not test this list much, but assumed that it would struggle against Trevenant, as its ability to snipe Mienfoo and Mienshao’s Psychic-type weakness were 2 big strikes against the deck.  The other flash from earlier in the year was Entei, a deck that both Georgia and Logan used to pick up Championship Points along the way.  This was the deck that Logan wanted to make work for Worlds.

One big problem, however, was Entei’s weakness to Water-typesIn the same manner that Juniors seemed to love Darkrai/Giratina, so does the Senior Division have an affinity for “Waterbox” (Seismitoad/Manaphy/Articuno/etc). flash1 We messed around with Entei, finding that it was easy to “tech” the deck to beat “Waterbox” with cards like Marowak and “Weakness Policy”.  However, making room for such cards killed the speed and consistency that let it smoke most other decks.  We fought the good fight, testing Entei until the last few weeks prior to the event, but reluctantly benched the deck.

Our other main deck that we rode all the way to the end of our testing period was Mega Latios EX/Clawitzer.  We knew that with almost every list in the field relying on at least 2 Shaymin EX, that simply targeting those Shaymin 3 times could prove to be a slick rogue strategy that could sneak its way through the field.  We started testing this deck a little late in the process and Logan did not like where it stood as Worlds drew close.  Perhaps a little more time with this deck might have led Logan to play it.  Logan knew that he had to deal with Trevenant, Greninja, Vespiquen, “Night March” and “Waterbox”.  He had spent a good bit of time testing Darkrai/Giratina, both trying it out for himself and helping Georgia learn to defeat it (or crush its face in w/her Manectric/Xerneas deck).  Logan liked the mechanics of Darkrai/Giratina, but still seemed to be searching for something different.  As the Gym’s Darkness-type leader, Logan naturally started drifting towards the deck that we probably should have been testing from the start.  Here is the list that he played.

 

Darkrai/Garbodor:

  • 3 – Yveltal (XY 78)
  • 1 – Yveltal (BKT 94)
  • 2 – Darkrai EX (BKP 118)
  • 1 – Yveltal EX (XY 144)
  • 2 – Trubbish (BKP 56)
  • 2 – Garbodor (BKP 57)
  • 2 – Shaymin EX (ROS 77)

 

  • 2 – N
  • 4 – Professor Sycamore
  • 2 – Lysandre
  • 1 – AZ
  • 1 – Xerosic
  • 4 – Ultra Ball
  • 1 – Battle Compressor
  • 4 – VS Seeker
  • 4 – Trainers’ Mail
  • 3 – Max Elixir
  • 2 – Fighting Fury Belt
  • 3 – Float Stone
  • 1 – Super Rod
  • 2 – Silent Lab
  • 1 – Reverse Valley

 

  • 2 – Double Colorless Energy
  • 10 – Darkness Energy

 

We felt that with the strong mix of attacking options available in this list, the addition of ability lock would definitely give it the advantage over major players at Worlds.  The Greninja match up was almost laughable in our testing.  Hitting flash2Trevenant for weakness alone seemed to sway that match up in Logan’s favor.  If he was able to get a tool on Garbodor, then that match also became a walk in the park.  It seemed to play out as about a 50/50 match up against Vespiquen/Vileplume, another pairing that would swing drastically in his favor if he could activate “Garbotoxin”.  Like seemingly every other deck in existence, Logan’s list held about a 50/50 chance against “Night March”.  We felt that the ability lock and the presence of Yveltal EX would swing the “Waterbox” match his way as well, which proved to be our worst miscalculation.

The biggest debate that we had in placing the final pieces of this deck was deciding on the stadiums of choice and their count.  “Reverse Valley” was often crucial in testing to get that last 10 damage necessary for a variety of 1-hit KO’s.  However, despite the strength of Garbodor’s ability lock, we often found that it entered the game too late to make a significant difference.  We added a copy of “Silent Lab”, quickly discovering that in games against fast decks like “Night March”, that the “Lab” was very important.  As we progressed, a 2nd “Lab” made its way in and after seeing how the games went in San Francisco, it should have been a 3 count.

labLogan definitely set the Gym record for judge interaction at Day 1.  He continually caught players off guard with the “Silent Lab” stadium, as we know that at least 5 times throughout the day, opponents benched Shaymin EX and attempted to use “Set Up”.  We think that each opponent received a 1-prize-card penalty, as they benched Shaymin and began drawing cards before Logan could stop them.  Joel could not keep up with all of these details as he tried to monitor both Logan’s and Georgia’s games.  The problem with Seniors (and players from all divisions at times) is that they don’t communicate what they are doing very well (like announcing the ability “Set Up” before drawing cards).  The burden of keeping track of the game state lies equally on both players, but it becomes difficult for a player to stop their opponent in situations like this when they play quickly and don’t communicate their actions.  We know Logan received a few “warnings” for not stopping an opponent in time and a prize penalty in one game, but none of these occurrences seemed to swing the outcome of any games against him.  “Silent Lab” definitely added a level of chaos to several of his matches that we are not accustomed to seeing.  As he drew close to that coveted 4th win, we could’ve used a little more chaos on his side.

Logan drew 2 Greninja decks on Day 1 and despite being piloted by obviously talented players, those games went as predicted. Greninja flat-out croaks (pun intended) against Garbodor.  Logan defeated one “Night March” deck with relative ease and then in the game that ultimately decided his day, lost in 3rd game of his Round 2 match against “Night March” by decking out, a curious flash3situation that we think was reached by having to dig for energy too much early on.  Despite the odd situation, Logan had the win set up, as he used “Lysandre” to pull up a Shaymin EX and then hit both that one and a benched Shaymin with “Pitch Black Spear”, putting him in the position to take 4 prize cards and the win on his last turn before decking out.  That opponent (Ryan Antonucci) used all of his resources to dig out a “Float Stone” and retreat the Shaymin and then pass.  Logan had no access to “Lysandre” or “VS Seeker”, so he was unable to close that game out.

We never got a good sense as to why Logan’s deck seemed to fall down against “Waterbox”.  While his Round 1 opponent (Austin Saby) finished Day 1 at 4-1-1 (then only picked up 1 win on Day 2), his Round 5 opponent did not make Day 2 (both playing flash5Waterbox).  Both players seemed to have picture perfect matches against Logan.  Having not played the deck, we don’t know if the deck’s consistency sways back and forth that much or if that had more to do with the players piloting them.  To hear Logan’s description of these matches, its sounds like both players should have made the Top 8.  As Gym Leader Joel was unable to view these matches, turn by turn, he still does not see where these 2 rounds turned so badly against Logan.  Sadly for Logan, he never drew a match up with Trevenant, which we know proved to be a strong deck ever the weekend, but we feel that was another deck that he would’ve defeated handily.

Logan had a few options for Day 2 if he could’ve dug out that needed 4th win.  He had both Mega Manectric/Xerneas and his Mega Manectric/Zebstrika deck that brought him so much success during the season.  We had Entei/Volcanion flash4EX available, which despite its match-up problems, Logan may have played anyway, because you never know how things will shake out.  I mean, who would have thought entering that weekend that a Mega Audino EX deck would have walked away with the Masters title?  Logan may have just stuck it out with this deck.  Day 2 was thick with Greninja and Trevenant decks, 2 match-ups that Darkrai/Garbodor had a huge upper hand in.  Like Georgia, Logan was left with only “what-if’s” regarding Day 2, not the outcome that either player wanted or was capable of.

We hope you enjoyed these looks at our Worlds lists.  We wanted to share not just the cards that went into the decks, but the thought processes that we used and the reasons we chose what we chose.  When building a deck for Worlds, we feel that every card is important and has to have a reason to be there.  The skill level and the intensity of these matches is so high that one card can truly sway the outcome of any game or match.  Check back soon for info on upcoming events at the Gym and an exciting announcement that Gym Leader Joel is hammering out the final details on.  We’ve missed everyone at our league and look forward to seeing everyone this Sunday.  See you at the Gym!

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