You read it right, for once I didn’t just go to one pre-release, not my usual two events too, not even three events, but four pre-release events! Ok I was suckered into joining one earlier than planned but luckily that worked out, that was the best one in terms of pulls. But even with 4 events, this was the first set where I didn’t pull the pre-release promo I wanted, the Lucario promo. I did get it from a trade with someone at the last event but it sucks that I never did pull it myself.
I still had fun in all four of my events, and I managed to make different decks everytime even thought for the first three I got the Magnezone and Heatrans in either my evolution packs or my kit packs. Also I managed to spread out my dates where I’d visit 3 shops for the 4 dates, two of which were firsts for me when it comes to pre-releases. The first two ones were at Qisahn, the third one at Project ext and the last at Bricks Play (just 3 minutes away from my place), all nearby me. Yup, chose my spots according to those closest to me, why the heck not.
So the first deck idea was to use Heatran as the attacker and Magnezone as the supplier. Shaymin was there to set things up and because I pulled a Looker, Looker Whistle and Oranguru, I had to try to recycling tactic and it worked only a few times. Dialga’s GX, as amazing as it is, wasn’t that helpful all that much in all honesty. I’d say this was easily the worst of the 4 decks I built.
Pre-Release SM5 Event 1 @ Qisahn:
Round 1: vs Empoleon/Garchomp LOSE
Was depending on my Dialga so much in this match I forgot GXes still gave up two prizes so I was caught out by the Garchomp/Cynthia combo from my friend.
Round 2: vs Magnezone/SolgaleoPrismStar LOSE
I dead-drew the whole time, just couldn’t get anything going. Didn’t realise Solgaleo Prism Star’s first move allowed you to attach your energy however you liked, that’s a really good attack.
Round 3: vs Magnezone/Heatran WIN
Hey look a mirror match! I almost lost this game too but luckily Dialga saved me. The combo of Oranguru/Looker helped out big time here.
Round 4: vs Garchomp/Gumshoos WIN
The combo of Oranguru (again) and my Magnezone actually helped me to the win here, opponent couldn’t get out of confusion.
2 wins and 2 loses in the first event, not like me to do this badly in a pre-release. 12th out of 16th, not usual for me in a pre-release setting. But the pulls from my prize packs sure made up for the bad results! 2-2 for me.
The second deck was similiar to the first, Heatran with Magnezone but this time with the Garchomp line to give me a second strong attacker. The Cynthia-Garchomp combo is amazing, I will try to build that deck for real. Magnezone once again helped me out alot in my matches.
Pre-Release SM5 Event 2 @ Qisahn:
Round 1: vs Garchomp/Gumshoos WIN
Heatran donked my opponent in Turn 2. Got the Kukui out and knocked out Gible.
Round 2: vs Garchomp/Lucario LOSE
Very tough match, my opponent got the Lucario up in Turn 2 and then Garchomp in Turn 3 and that was it for me really. The combo was working so well even for a pre-release.
Round 3: vs Garchomp/Gumshoos WIN
Luckily for me I got my Garchomp set up first to knock out her Garchomp and she had no-one else set-up to counter my team.
Round 4: vs Garchomp/Empoleon WIN
My opponent dead drew so I took advantage of it, Heatran once again with the early pressure for the win.
The combo of Garchomp and Heatran worked nicely for me. As long as I had Magnezone up, everything would be fine. And both could get quick KOs with how their attacks are. And yes I really did play against four Garchomp decks that deck. 9th out of 27th, that’s a bit better but still not up there. 3-1 for me.
The third deck was….yup you guessed it, Heatran with Magnezone yet again but this time I got the Gumshoos promo and I knew how good it was against me so I had to try it out. Also gave the Electirive line a try knowing there’ll be lots of Metals but I never did make use of them.
Pre-Release SM5 Event 3 @ Project EXT:
Round 1: vs Garchomp/Gumshoos/Dialga WIN
Gumshoos on fire here. Takes out two Gibles and then Dialga for a rather quick win, even though I picked up all four prizes.
Round 2: vs Electirive/Heatran LOSE
I had no set-up for this one, just waiting on my Electirive to show up but it never did so my opponent killed me off.
Round 3: vs Garchomp/Gumshoos WIN
Once again I’m paried up with my friend Shan. We tend to always play against one another in pre-releases or even the usual weekly leagues. I knew she had a Magmar in her deck so I tried not to use Heatran. Gumshoos once again gave me the easy win, she couldn’t set up.
Round 4: vs Garchomp/Empoleon WIN
This time it was Heatran who was wrecking house for me, picking up the early KOs for the win.
This deck actually worked really nicely. Both Gumshoos and Heatran could easily take early KOs with their two energy attacks and that’s even before Magenzone shows up. The guy I lost too, we played some friendly games and yup I beat him so my deck was alright for today. Didn’t see where I finished but I believe it was 8th of around 26 to 30 players. 3-1 for me, again.
The fouth deck was different to the rest, no Magnezone or Heatran for once! It was a straight Gumshoos-Garchomp deck with a secret Magmar tech to counter the Metal types. Never really did use it because I faced two Empoleon decks haha. But that deck did run very smoothly, and for once I pulled a lot of trainers so I had to trim those down.
Pre-Release SM5 Event 4 @ Brick’s Play:
Round 1: vs Electirive/Gumshoos WIN
Got my Garchomp out quickly and my opponent couldn’t handle it, quick win.
Round 2: vs Empoleon/Magnezone LOSE
Now here’s the story. Before the tourney started, I tested with my friend Rauf just to see how our decks would work and I managed to beat him. So I thought this would go my way. It didn’t. His Empoleon killed me and not because of the first attack, I knew about it so I purposely didn’t bench more pokemon but the second attack wrecked me because of the discarding of energy cards. Of course we played a few more friendly games and I won all of them. Can’t win when I needed too huh?
Round 3: vs Gumshoos/Magnezone/Electirive WIN
Garchomp once again the MVP in this match, got it out in Turn 2 and a well timed Cynthia won me the game.
That new Garchomp is nasty good, confirms my hopes that it will be good and I do hope to make it work in my tourneys. Unfortunately the prof showed up and changed our schedule to a 3-round event which sucked because it’s a pre-release, we should play at least 4 games, as was advertised.
His reasons was for the lack of packs which I didn’t see was a big issue anywhere else. I ended up 6th out of 18 players, my highest placing of the four events but no unbeaten run for me this time. 2-1 for me. So out of the four events I went to, I played in 15 matches, won 10 of them and lost the other 5. Not bad I’d say.
As for the pulls, I thought I used up my luck in my first pre-release, I ended up getting 4 GXes, one full art trainer and a prism star card. I couldn’t ask for more. So the next one I only did get one GX, but it was Leafon so I’m cool with that. The third one was the first time in any pre-release that I didn’t pull one ultra rare card.
I thought it was going to be the same for the fourth one until my last pack, I got the full art Cynthia that everyone wants. Hehe whoops. Also during that pre-release in Brick’s Play, two guys pulled the Gold Solgaleo GX and Lunala GX seconds off each other!
Those are the two rarest in the set yet they were both pulled in the same event! What are the odds? Here’s what I pulled from the four events.
Ultra Prism will be an amazing set, I’m sure of it. Lots of good cards coming out of it, and the actual set will be out in a few hours time! Time to get cracking into the new packs. Here’s all the pre-release promos I pulled from the six sets I’ve been too. Yup, the first one I didn’t get the promo I wanted. It was bound to happen but kinda weird it happened in the one I went to the most.
I’ve always said pre-release is my favourite event for Pokemon TCG. Not just about the pulls but for the fun of playing decks you normally won’t play, testing your deck building skills and of course, make new friends, see your mates and have a good time overall. Why else would I go to FOUR pre-releases when some guys wpuld tell me it’s a waste of time going to more than one. It’s clearly not. 🙂
I’m just going to say it right now, the 2018 Royal Rumble PPV might be one of the better PPVs WWE have done in a long while. Everyting was done almost perfectly, albeit with a few dodgy timing and the ending which didn’t really fancy me at all.
I had feared one of the Royal Rumble matches (yes there’s two now, a males and females one) might open the show so I can’t say I’m not disappointed that the WWE title match opened it. The finish with Styles pinning the wrong guy should continue on with Owens/Zayn issue with the authority so I’m not upset by that.
The Usos winning 2-0 was a bit of a surprise to me, that usually never happens in a 2 out of 3 falls match. Up to the first fall, the match was amazing but then it finished rather quickly. I wasn’t up for the RAW tag title match, too tired after the first Rumble but not surprised that The Bar won. Jason Jordan will turn heel eventually. Usually I’m not a fan of Lesnar matches but the triple threat was not bad at all.
And now time for the 2017 Royal Rumble match! The gents one first.
#1 Rusev – RUSEV DAY! RUSEV DAY! RUSEV DAY. If this doesn’t prove he’s not over, I don’t know what else the poor guy can do. He’s now got the fans on his side. He did alright in this one too even if he didn’t eliminate one guy.
#2 Finn Balor – The ironman of this Rumble. He was in there for 57 minutes, not bad for his first Rumble. And Finn got the most eliminations of anyone with 4, three of which were big ones.
#3 Rhyno – Let’s be honest, he’s just there for the ECW fans in Philly.
#4 Baron Corbin – HAHA! He got eliminated in one minute! Never been a fan of his anyway.
#5 Heath Slater – Poor Heath got hit by entrants 6 to 11 while they were making their way into the ring. Sure did give us some funny moments and eliminated Sheamus in 2 seconds.
#6 Elias – GO ELIAS! He did get a pop when the guitar sounded, I’ve been a fan of the guy since his NXT days and I’m happy to know that the fans are starting to see the greatness in him that I’ve known in a long while. Plus did I mentioned he plays the guitar? Him entering when no-one was up made sense so he could give us a song.
#7 Andrade Cien Almas – As putting on what could be the best match of the year the day before, the NXT Champion Almas makes a surprise entrance in the Rumble. Almost 30 minutes in there, good showing for him. Outsmarted New Day when eliminating Kofi so that gave me a good laugh.
#8 Bray Wyatt – Didn’t really do much in this Rumble, was just there to continue his story with Woken Matt Hardy so it does confuses me why their entries weren’t near each other.
#9 Big E – Surprised he was the first New Day member out. Gave Heath some pancakes and helped Kofi got back into the ring.
#10 Sami Zayn – Well actually it was supposed to be Tye Dillinger but he got beat up by Owens and Zayn. Zayn got thrown out by Nakamura so look for a story there.
#11 Sheamus – HAHA. He got eliminated by Heath Slater in 2 seconds. TWO FREAKING SECONDS!
#12 Xavier Woods – Once again just there to help out Kofi Kingston. The first spot of saving Kofi was quite clever on his part.
#13 Apollo Crews – Did nothing in this match. This spot could have been given to an NXT guy or a surprise entrant like a returning face.
#14 Shinsuke Nakamura – My pick to win the whole thing and he did win the Royal Rumble! The first guy to win from entries 8-18 in a 30 man Rumble match. Threw out Cena and Reigns for the win, need I say more?
#15 Cesaro – Threw out Crews and then eliminated by Rollins in 5 minutes. Then again he had a match later on.
#16 Kofi Kingston – Yup he saved himself again. Finally someone hopped on one foot outside the ring, I’ve always wondered if anyone would be smart enough to do that and someone finally did. The spot where he got a cheerleader style jump from his New Days brothers was pretty cool.
#17 Jinder Mahal – The former WWE Champion only lasted 3 minutes but he did throw out 2 guys so even if WWE try to make him look bad, he still did alright.
#18 Seth Rollins – A little surprised he showed up during the jobber spots of the teens spot but then again he also had a match later on. Got thrown out by his own Shield brother Roman Reigns.
#19 Woken Matt Hardy – Came in to DELETE Bray Wyatt’s chance of making it to Wrestlemania. Him working with Bray for a bit was DELIGHTFUL. But then it was OVAH.
#20 John Cena – Big match John came, threw 3 guys and got eliminated by the eventual winner. Not much to say. Came in a bit earlier than I expected.
#21 The Hurricane – Hey an actual surprise entrant! Too bad he got eliminated by Cena in 20 seconds. WASSAUPWITHDAT?
#22 Aiden English – Didn’t really do much, but I guess because he’s Rusev’s partner, they might as well throw him in. And yes there were Rusev Day chants.
#23 Adam Cole – Another NXT entrant, it’s Adam Cole BAYBAY! Would have been nice if he got an elimination for his effort.
#24 Randy Orton – For a guy who’s won the Rumble two times, he really didn’t do much in this one. Came in, did a cool RKO on Almas before eliminating him and lasted up till the final 6 for the Old School vs New School face off. Got thrown out by Reigns, roll reversal of last year.
#25 Titus O’Neil – Did nothing at all, that spot could have been given to another surprise entrant.
#26 The Miz – Go Miz! But sadly he didn’t last long, Reigns got him and threw him out after 5 minutes.
#27 Rey Mysterio – Holy shit it’s Rey! Another surprise entrant and this one got me good, I didn’t think I’d see Rey in a WWE ring. He looked in fantastic shape too. Hope he’s back for another run. Lasted up to the final 6.
#28 Roman Reigns – Well at least he wasn’t #30 this time. Came in and threw out some guys. Was the final guy to get eliminated. So pretty much a typical Reigns performance in a Rumble, it’s getting boring.
#29 Goldust – A nice surprise, I wasn’t expecting to see him in it! His entry did make some history, he’s now joint 2nd with Shawn Michaels and Big Show for Royal Rumble apperances. I’m expecting him to be in the 2019 Rumble then. Kane still leads that bit.
#30 Dolph Ziggler – Why him? Of all the people they could have gotten for the 30th spot, they had to get the uninteresting copycat loser Ziggler? I mean they could have put the US Champion Bobby Roode, or a returning Bobby Lashley or Kevin Owens, or a Rumble veteran like Shelton Benjamin. Heck, I would have preferred Jason Jordan over Ziggler. Literally anyone but him. I don’t care about him, don’t care that he’s back. glad he got eliminated very quickly.
So Shinsuke Nakamura wins the men’s Royal Rumble, as I predicted at the end of last year in the hopes that it would set up the dream match of him and AJ Styles. And guess what, IT’S ACTUALLY HAPPENING!!! For once I’m really looking forward to Wrestlemania.
Now for the first ever women’s Royal Rumble
#1 Sasha Banks – Not a fan of hers but she was the ironwomen in this one. Did show a side of her heel persona so maybe that’s coming soon. Her eliminating Bayley surely proves that point.
#2 Becky Lynch – Big fan but why she gotta be out so early? Was hoping she’d come out later. Lasted 30 minutes, still a good showing for the lass-kicker.
#3 Sarah Logan – That headbutt spot with Sasha Banks looked awesome. Lasted longer than I thought she would, good on her! Impressed me in this match.
#4 Mandy Rose – Made history, she was the first women eliminated in the women’s Royal Rumble.
#5 Lita – She’s back! The first of many returning faces but one of the best ever. That Moonsault looked nasty though. Got a couple of eliminations. Nice tribute on her arms for all the women who couldn’t make it.
#6 Kairi Sane – Yay Kairi! Big fan of hers. The winner of the first Mae Young classic, got in her amazing elbow drop twice but sadly got eliminated quickly. Should have been in the match longer.
#7 Tamina – Didn’t really do much, would have prefered another NXT girl to take her spot.
#8 Dana Brooke – Also didn’t do much (other than eliminating Kairi but I want to forget that), would have prefered an NXT girl in now that Brooke isn’t working in a wrestling role.
#9 Torrie Wilson – Another return! Wasn’t expecting her to come back.
#10 Sonya Deville – The badass from Absoultion, should have given her some more eliminations in the match. Been impressed with her lately. I will say Paige’s theme kinda suits her.
#11 Liv Morgan – Wasn’t as impressive as her Riott Squad member Logan
#12 Molly Holly – Yay Molly is back! Still looks as good in the ring as she ever did, very appropriate surprise entrant for the first women’s Royal Rumble.
#13 Lana – Well it’s Mrs Rusev so more Rusev Day chants. Can’t say much to be fair.
#14 Michelle McCool – Another appropriate return and the most impressive of those whoe returned. Got the most eliminations of anyone in this match with 5 eliminations. Mrs Undertaker sure still has it.
#15 Ruby Riott – Eliminated Becky so expected to see a new rivalry there. Did alright in this match but I would have put her in a later entry.
#16 Vickie Guerrero – EXCUSE ME! Good to see her back, did the comedy elimination for the match, can’t say much.
#17 Carmella – Not one elimination but lasted 17 minutes. Her screams when almost getting eliminated sure was funny.
#18 Natalya – Way earlier than I thought she should have showed up. Did throw out her best friend Beth and Michelle so two big eliminations there.
#19 Kelly Kelly – Well she still looks good! Good to see her again.
#20 Naomi – Another one who I thought came in earlier than I expected. She did the Kofi Kingston save spot by walking the guardrail and using a chair to save herself. Nice one!
#21 Jacqueline – Another surprise entrant. Seems to me whoever was at Raw was pretty much included in this match.
#22 Nia Jax – Wrecked house the moment she showed up, not surprised it took 6 girls to get her out but she sure was one of the stars in that match.
#23 Ember Moon – The second NXT entrant in the match, and it’s the NXT Women’s champion. Got a cool spot in with her old rival Asuka.
#24 Beth Phoenix – The only person to be in the male’s and female’s royal rumble now. Only got to show a bit of her strength against Nia before being backstabbed by her friend Natalya. Should have been in longer.
#25 Asuka – The unbeaten one. Perhaps the most dangerous superstar in WWE today, male or female. All three of her eliminations were huge. Glad they went with her to win the first ever women’s Royal Rumble, no-one looked to be in her league the whole time.
#26 Mickie James – Woohoo go Mickie! Like Beth, they didn’t let her do much which is sad. But she did get a cool staredown with old rival Trish that got a reaction from the crowd.
#27 Nikki Bella – Oh god she’s back. Not a fan of hers. Overrated. Mrs John Cena so do I need to say more? I mean she was the last one eliminated. Really, of all the girls, her? Also, her elimination of her sister is one of the stupidest thing I’ve seen, you’ve got an advantage over Asuka and not use it? Dummy.
#28 Brie Bella – Actually surprised to see Brie back. Too bad her sister was a dummy.
#29 Bayley – I’ll be honest, I’d rather see her early on in the match.
#30 Trish Stratus – How appropriate that the last entrant is perhaps the biggest femal superstar in WWE history. Thank god for Trish, at least it’s not Ronda Rousey. Trish still looks good in the ring!
Glad to see Asuka win the first ever women’s Royal Rumble but yeah still bitter than Ronda Rousey stole her spotlight after the match. No need for that. Asuka would beat Ronda easily in a match anyway. So yeah, the two winners of the Rumble were two Japanese, how about that? Things sure are changing in WWE and for the better.
Monday Night RAW is about to celebrate it’s 25th anniversary and it’s still my favourite show on TV, it was when I first watched it as a 5 year old kid and it still is as a 28 year old dude. There’s nothing quite like it, it’s sports and entertainment all in one, soap opera, drama, fights and comedy skits all rolled into one amazing show. I’ve got to watch a lot the top RAW moments since it was on air and since we’re celebrating it’s 25th anniversary today, I thought I’d share my favourite moments of WWE’s flagship show.
#10 – Shawn Michaels vs John Cena
I’ll start with perhaps the greatest match on RAW. It was a 50+ minute match in London between one of my all time favourites, Shawn Michaels against John Cena, someone I’m not that fond of but these two made one hell of a show during their match. It shows how good Cena really is and how amazing HBK had always been in the ring.
#9 – D-X mocks The Nation
Well Degeneration-X sure made me laugh during their run in WWE and I didn’t know which one to pick. The original duo of Shawn Michaels and Hunter Hearst Hemsley had a lot of funny moments (most of which involving Sgt Slaughter) and also the second version of the group invading WCW but them mocking the Nation of Domination has to be my favourite. It was just too damn funny.
#8 – Bret Hart vs Steve Austin in a Street Fight
I’m a huge Bret Hart fan and while he was awesome as the hero, I was also a huge fan of him during his heel run. He somehow managed to make the American crowd look like the bad guys and I kinda agreed with the things Bret was saying about America, most of which were true even in today’s time. It was pure gold. Steve Austin was the perfect anti-hero and he did grow on me because of his fueds with Hart and Michaels but this bit was brilliantly done.
#7 – The Rock meets The Hurricane
I can bet you this wouldn’t be in anyone’s top 10 but it sure is in my list. The 3 promos and the match these guys had were just too good, it made me a fan of the Rock who I wasn’t that fond of at first. And I always liked the Hurricane who could do the comedic bits but also put in some good matches. Their promos are easily one of my all time favourite things I’ve seen on RAW, one of the best comedic bits in my view.
#6 – The Festival of Friendship
I would love to put this entry on this list (no pun intended) as Chris Jericho’s entire run from middle of 2016 to April of 2017. For a while there was nothing good on RAW until Chris Jericho showed up again and he had possibly the best run of his career. Not only was he still good in the ring but he was easily the best guy on the microphone. Every night was a highlight from Jericho and everything he did was pure gold. “The Gift of Jericho, DRINK IT IN MAAAANNNN“! “You’re gonna get….IT“. “Stupid idiots“. “The List of Jericho“. “You just made the List!”
Chris Jericho is easily one of my all time favourite wrestlers and the fact that he’s still going today makes me happy. He just keeps getting better and better. But this promo for the Festival of Friendship was pure gold too, the moment Jericho lifts up the new list just as he asked Kevin Owens, “why is my name on this?”, that is one of the best dramatic moments you’ll ever see in any TV show.
#5 – Undertaker vs Jeff Hardy in a Ladder Match for the WWE Championship
Although I did say Michaels vs Cena was the best match I’ve seen on RAW, this ladder match between the Undertaker and Jeff Hardy may be my favourite I’ve seen on RAW. It was the age old story of David vs Goliath, the biggest dog versus the ultimate underdog. The whole match was amazing, seeing Jeff trying to find a way to beat the evil Deadman Inc. who kept trying to shut him down. Also, this version of Biker Undertaker was my favourite.
#4 – CM Punk’s Pipebomb
So let me get this straight, I was already a CM Punk guy before this promo happened. I jumped on the bandwagon during his amazing yet underappreciated run with the Straightedge Society. Finally there was something who I could look up to because he believed in the same things I did, live our lives the right way with no alcohol, no drugs and no smoking. Since then I was a fan of his.
And then he did this. He spoke from the heart of about many things, from his run to being snubbed for part timers and guys who were not getting their dues. He was speaking out for us real fans about the things that were hurting WWE. It was one of those moments where I really did think….did he go off-script here? One of the best promos you’ll ever see in WWE.
#3 – Chris Jericho’s Debut
So during this time in 1999, I wasn’t that interested in WWF. Bret Hart was gone and Shawn Michaels had retired so I didn’t really have anyone to cheer on for. I did watch WCW too during that time, and I had become a fan of this Canadian fella called Chris Jericho. Suddenly he wasn’t on TV too. So imagine my surprise when he finally showed up on WWF. Finally I had someone to cheer on for in WWF again. One of the best debuts in all of WWE.
#2 – Bret Hart shoves Vince McMahon
People had always wondered when did the Attitude Era really start and for me it’s quite obvious, at this very moment. All of a sudden a good guy in Bret Hart starts swearing like crazy and pushing THE authority guy in Vince McMahon. I had never seen anything like that before and it shocked me. This was the start of Bret’s great heel run and he sure was speaking the truth of what was going on. This was brilliantly done.
#1 – Shawn Michaels owns Montreal
How can not put this as #1? I’m a Bret Hart guy and I was also a Shawn Michaels guy but this was just absolutely fantastic. The best promo work I’ve ever seen by anyone in any wrestling company. It does help that it was done by Shawn Michaels in a rare heel run and RAW being in Montreal, the place of the controversial Survivor Series match. But the way HBK played the crowd from singing their anthem, making fun of them, teasing a Bret Hart return, and then teasing a Hulk Hogan run-in and refuse to leave when the fans wanted him to go. You’ll never hear anyone get booed out of the building like this. Even the Bret Hart pop was one of the loudest I ever heard. The was easily the best thing I’ve seen on RAW. Well played Shawn Michaels. And that’s why they call him the Heartbreak Kid. The Showstopper. The Icon.
Here’s to RAW for 25 great years and more to come. I hope I’m still watching RAW when it comes to it’s 50th anniversary. There’s a good chance I will.
Yup just got back (Actually a week ago) from a 2 week trip over to Tokyo, Japan and yup it was another fun one, since I got to hang out with my brother which is always fun! It was my first time spending the New Years/My Birthday in another country so that bit was cool. But also it was my first time at a big wrestling event which was the number 1 thing I was looking forward to the most during that trip.
Of course I had to go to the Pokemon Center on my 2nd day there, which is what I usually do anytime I visit Japan. Now that I am playing Pokemon TCG for real, I had more stuff to get there and the first few things I got there was mainly for my TCG stuff. Got to see a few stores in Akihabara that had Pokemon TCG stuff and singles too but for whatever reason, I didn’t get one from these stores. I even saw one store selling English cards but of course it had to be the rubbish Crimson Invasion set. Not for me.
We probably spent most of our time walking around Akihabara since that is my brother’s favourite part, be it for his Gundam models or other models or video games, the new and even the classic ones. I was so tempted to get the Switch since it was half the price of what Singapore has it for but I’ll wait for the Pokemon game to be announced.
Spending New Year’s eve and New Years in Japan was a first for me, I could feel the difference between spending it there and back home in Singapore. While people are out partying and make noises and causing a fuss when the clock strikes 12am, the people here spend their time making their way to the shrine to pray and say thanks for the last year and the year ahead, yup I prefer that way better than what we usually have. I’m more into peace and quiet than noises. But just before 2017 ended, it actually snowed for a bit! Finally I got to see snow for the first time since 2005 back in Vancouver.
My birthday was a fun one. Of course I went to Pokemon Center again but I didn’t realise they had a birthday service if it you showed them it was your birthday. First you’d get a crown which I obviously didn’t take, then you’d get a birthday card which was really nice! And finally you’d get an event pokemon of either Eevee and Pikachu, I chose Eevee. You’d also get a 5% discount coupon, sadly I only spent a total of $50, what a waste haha. We then went to Shinjuku and then Shibuya, where we got cake and then Taco Bell (woohoo), and visited Tower Records to get my two favourite records of 2017, As You Were by Liam Gallagher and Who Built the Moon? by Noel Gallagher, I have to support my Oasis dudes.
Then it was Wrestle Kingdom time. For the next 3 days all of our time was spent either watching the New Japan streams for the press conferences, the New Year Dash show, visiting a number of wrestling stores and of course, attending Wrestle Kingdom 12 at the Tokyo Dome! One of the shops we went to, War Machine ended up visiting the store at the same time so that was cool to see them. But my favourite has to be Haoming, that store was pretty cool.
Wrestle Kingdom 12 was amazing. The atmosphere there was electric, which is not what people might think of a Japanese wrestling show. Of course the main reason why I was there was to watch my favourite wrestler Chris Jericho make his return to New Japan and have his first match outside a WWE ring in 19 years! The fatal-4-way junior heavyweight match was amazing as was Cody vs Ibushi and Okada vs Naito but Chris Jericho vs Kenny Omega easily stole the show.
It’s the best match I’ve ever seen live and one of the better matches I’ve seen as a wrestling fan. If you’ve not seen it, you have to watch it!
I mean the show was just 2 days after my birthday but you could say i got the birthday Gift of Jericho. DRINK IT IN MAAAAAANNNNNNNNNN!!!!! And he replied to one of my tweets on my birthday, that made my day! 😁
We were a bit late to get tickets for New Year’s Dash but that didn’t stop us from going to the signing event and luckily for us Marty Scurll was one of them! He was really cool to us. After the show we thought of getting dinner at TGIF and we noticed a lot of fans hanging around so we did the same too. We got to meet Rocky Romero, Tama Tonga, Leo Tonga, Michael Elgin, Marty Scurll (again), Yujiro Takahashi, Jado, Gedo, Trent Berreta, Will Ospreay. Almost all of them were cool to us. I was just happy I got to meet Tama, he’s one of my favourite guys in New Japan.
The only new place I really visited was Harajuku, and it looked really cool, wished I had more time to check it out. Meji Shrine was awesome to check out. Also got to visit a wrestling store called Piledriver, owned by Minoru Suzuki. Yes, the same guy who is the leader of Suzuki-gun. And he just happened to be in his store so we got to meet him too. Really nice guy but I still felt intimidated by him because I knew the badass he was in ring.
I had fun in my 2 weeks there, even though I was shivering most of the time because of the cold weather, I like it way better than the hot weather we have at home. I’m a cold weather guy. I won’t miss the earthquakes though, experienced two of them, the second one really spooked me. But I do miss everything else there, the weather, the people, the places and of course my brother! I brought a laptop along just in case I was bored and had nothing to do, and well I rarely used it. It was that fun. Until next time! Funnily enough it won’t be my last trip for this half of the year, I’ll be off to Melbourne for a few days in March. If you know me, you’ll know what it’s for. Can’t wait for my next trip to Tokyo though!
We just had another League Cup over the weekend and this was my 2nd one I’ve entered, but unlike the first one, I wasn’t all that prepared for this one. I mean I did just come back from a 2-week break in Japan (yes I bought some Japanese cards too). Before I flew off, I had just started testing out Vikavolt-Tapu Bulu deck.
I’ve seen my friend do so well with it for a long time and I had the cards for it, so I thought I might as well give it a try. Especially since Golisopod, Zoroark and especially Buzzwole can be one-hit KOed by Tapu Bulu. I thought it was a good choice for the current format. I had a warm-up run for the deck in my weekly tournament and I finished 3rd so I felt good about my chances.
The first game ended really quickly, I had all the pieces for a one-hit KO by Turn 2 and my opponent drew nothing. My second match was rubbish, I dead drew this time. The third match was much better but Buzzwole being a bitch, took out my support in the bench so I had no answer the moment a second one was ready.
Round 2: vs Zoroark/Lycanroc LWL – 0 points
Really tough match against the guy who ended up finish 2nd in the tournament. I couldn’t set up my Vikavolt in the first game. The second match I got it up within turn 2 and Bulu wrecked house. Once again the third game was evenly matched but then Lycanrocs showed up and ruined my game.
Yup I was the lucky one to get the free win after 2 losses. Not the way I wanted to get my win since my aim was to get at least one win after the really lousy first League Cup I had.
Round 4: vs Zoroark/Golisopod WLW – 6 points
Oh crap I’m playing a world’s player again so I was a bit nervous the whole time during that match. I was too slow in the second match but the first and third went the way I wanted it to go, Vikavolt up in turn 2 and Bulu knocking out the competition. A combination of Energy Recycler, two Vikavolts charging up Bulu and a Skyla for Choice Band for the win in the first game. An Instruct draw to get that Choice Band I was looking for was enough to get my that win in the 3rd game, both time knocking out Zoroark. So now I’m 2-0 in my two matches against a guy who finished 14th in the World’s championship last year.
I was feeling good going into this match because I was playing my good friend and before I flew off, I was testing this deck against the same deck he was using as he was in this LC. And I won all four of my matches. Only difference was I was using Octillery and not Oranguru as my draw support during those matches. The first match went as I hoped. The second I didn’t get what I needed. The third was brutal. My Grubbins and Vikavolts were targeted the whole time. I was just one Grass Energy away from winning but it never came.
Round 6: vs Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu LWL – 6 points
After all these matches, I finally get a mirror match while I was my opponent’s 3rd mirror match. In the first two matches it was a matter of who got the first knockout that ended up getting the win, winning in the prize exchange. The third match was brutal, my Grubbins were targeted right off the bat and all 3 of them were KOed back to back to back. I had no chance in that one.
So I ended up with 2 wins which is a good improvement for me but also 4 losses is worse than the last one. 6 points, the same points as the first League Cup. Even though I finished 33rd, I felt I did worse than I really should have. All 5 of my matches were equally matched so I was happy about that. I thought I could have won 4 of those match-up so there was some potential for improvement. Start from the bottom and slowly work my way up yeah? Hopefully it won’t be long before I can see my name on the first page, or the top 16, or top 8.
The time has come, my first real test as a Pokemon TCG player, a League Cup. Yes ok I have been to our local league challenges before with rubbish deck but this would be my first as a proper player and also my first actual League Cup with championship points up for grabs. Not that I’m in it for that since I’m not aiming for Worlds for the next 2 years.
Before the weekend, I had been testing out 2 different decks, Golisopod/Zoroark and Gardevoir/Zoroark. I knew whichever deck it was, I wanted to make use of the new Zoroark GX because it’s too good but on which deck. My choice was made even harder when another Golisopod/Zoroark deck won the London Internationals (completely different apporach to mine) which meant everyone will try to counter it. Not good news for me.
I had planned to play the Golisopod version on Saturday for the League Challenge and Gardevoir on Sunday for League Cup. On Friday night I changed my mind many times, first going with Gardevoir before switching back to Golisopod. Now thinking back, I probably should have gone with Gardevoir for Saturday after all.
League Cup didn’t go really well for me. My Golisopod/Zoroark deck was way different to the one Tord Reklev had (which means everyone else too since a lot of people here just like to copy whoever is doing well and not coming up with their own ideas). For mine, Golisopod-GX was the main attacker with Zoroark-GX as the back-up and I even added Necrozma-GX as a secret sweeper.
First match my opponent had me good. His 3 Guzmas were used to good effect. Second match it was equally matched, I used Ninja Boy on my Tapu Lele which had 3 energies on it to get Necrozma-GX out and hit Black Ray GX to pick up 4 prizes in one shot. We had no time to finish game 3 which was also equally matched. Probably my best game of the whole tourney, everything went downhill from here.
R2 vs Decidueye-GX/Zoroark-GX – LL (0/1/1) – 1 point
Both games I started with Tapu Lele so my set-up was compromised and I never recovered from it. I got too nervous and misplayed a lot. My opponent was too quick in both games to set-up his Decidueyes. He would end up finishing 1st out of 67 masters, can’t say I’m surprised with how smoothly his deck worked.
R3 vs Gardevoir-GX/Max Potion – LL (0/2/1) – 1 point
Yup the so called broken Gardevoir deck showed up here too. Again I got nervous and misplayed both games. First one I took out the wrong target. Second one I took a Zorua and not a Wimpod out during my Brigette move when I had two Golisopod-GXes in my hand.
R4 vs Drampa-GX/Garbodor – LWT (0/2/2) – 2 points
So by this point with no wins out of 3 points, I was just staying on to gain the experience of playing against guys who were serious players, some of them coming from Malaysia or Indonesia to win points here while some of my friends left. Yes Garb is still a thing apparently. I made the mistake in not realising it was Drampa when I did flying flip. Played it safe in Game 2 by just attacking Drampa the whole time. Not enough time to finish game 3, my stall tactic of switching my pokemon around saved me from another loss.
R5 vs Darkrai-EX/Darkrai-GX – LWT (0/2/3) – 3 points
Let’s just say I was surprised to see Darkrai. The first match I made the mistake of trying to attack with Necrozma and pick up 6 prizes in one shot, didn’t work. Didn’t notice my opponent was set-up very quickly and took easy KOs. I won game 2 on the last turn after time was called with Crossing Cut gx. I will say my opponent was playing unnecessarily slow which really irked me.
R6 vs Gardevoir/Sylveon – LL (0/3/3) – 3 points
The deck I’ve been testing against the most for the last 2 weeks so I knew what I could do against it. But of course both my games went horribly. And I had just beaten this same opponent the day before with the same deck! Game 1 my opponent was quicker to set-up. Game 2 was horrible. ALL 3 of my Golisopods were prized so I could only rely on my Necrozma and Zoroark BREAK. Both were knocked out with little effort so I scooped that round.
R7 vs Gardevoir/Sylveon – WW (1/3/3) – 6 points
Finally a win! This time I got lucky. My opponent couldn’t set-up in the first game. In the second one I was quicker to set-up and beat him to the punch in the prize race.
Even though I only finished with 1 win out of 7 matches, I did learn a lot from all of my matches, stuff I wouldn’t notice if I were to play in my local friendly weekly tournaments as I was playing against some of the best players in South East Asia. 44th out of 67 masters is nothing to brag about but I suppose it’s a start.
- Game 1 – Keep track of what resources my opponents have used
- Game 2 – Don’t get flusterd by a bad start. Keep calm, work around it
- Game 3 – Aim for the right target, keep track of what I have in my hand
- Game 4 – Play around my opponent’s strategy
- Game 5 – Don’t act smart and try a risky play. Don’t give opponent easy prizes
- Game 6 – Find more ways/add more cards to have outs from a bad start. Check to see what is prized.
With all that, I decided to give the League Cup a try with a completely new version of my Gardevoir deck, and hopefully play a better game than I did the day before. I had originally paired it with Slyveon and Octillery but I liked the idea of using Zoroark better so I gave that a try. I stayed up till 2 to build the deck from scratch. I was toying around the idea of including Puzzle of Time but at the last minute I switched it out for Evosoda and a few additional cards to make my deck more consistent. Unlike the previous day where I didn’t really know all of my opponents, this time I knew all 5 of my opponents. And 5 different decks too unlike the day prior.
Yes I’m already doing better in my first match than I did after 4 rounds yesterday. I knew about my friend’s Raichu deck as I was helping him out filling out his deck. Gallade was the MVP in the match because of Raichu’s weakness to it. The second game his field was set-up quickly and I only had one Gardevoir out, it wasn’t enough. Next game I had two of them ready and they cleaned house. I quickly realized in this match how powerful the combo of Premonition & Trade abilities of Gallade and Zoroark-GX can really be.
R2 vs Greninja – LL (1/1/0) – 3 points
Yup it’s the dang Ninja. I’ve played my opponent many times before, our match last month decided who would make top cut in a mini win-a-box tourney and in that one I messed up my trade ability and cost myself a win and 3rd place. This one, I couldn’t do much. My friend got his Greninja’s break set-up really quick in both games. I tried to knock out his Staryu both times but it came back both times haha. I tried my best to drain him out with my 2 Max Potions but it wasn’t enough. I would say it’s my best match against a Greninja deck, I’d easily lose to it most of the time.
R3 vs Weavile/Zoroark-GX – LWW (2/1/0) – 6 points
Fun fact, I was toying around the idea of playing a Weavile/Golisopod deck for this tourney but I went against it. So of course I ended up playing a Weavile deck. I fell for it’s trap in the first game so I played a slow and safe game in the next two games and it worked nicely. Gallade again was the saviour and even Zoroark helped me get some big KOs. The match was actually going to be a tie but my friend decided to give me the win since he already has gotten his points from the day before. Thanks boss!
R4 vs Volcanion-EX – ID (2/1/1) – 7 points
So me and my friend didn’t play this match out because we both realised with a draw, one of us had a very real possibility of finish 3rd or even 2nd if results went our way in Round 4. I was alright with the intentional draw, I’ve never beaten his Volcanion deck even with Gardevoir.
R5 vs Gardevoir-GX/Zoroark-GX – WLW (3/1/1) – 10 points
I was abit nervous of who my opponent could be, I had worked out that it may have been one of two guys, both really good. It wasn’t either one of them, it was someone I was not even expecting to play against because there’s just no way it should happen. It was Metagame’s owner Joey who I’d usually see from time to time at his store and get my stuff from him. Yes, the same Joey who finished 14th at Worlds this year. Holy crap I’m playing against not just one of the best players in Singapore but in the whole world too! Worlds top 16 player vs…well little old me!
Yup the final match of the weekend, after many tiring hours, was to be in a proper mirror match. The exact same attackers with similar strategies. Gardevoir and Zoroark vs Gardevoir and Zoroark. I’ve already seen how good he’s done with this deck before and I will admit my choice of Zoroark with Gardevoir was somewhat inspired by him with a few additions of my own. First match was equally matched and I just beat him in the prize race. I stopped his Zoroark with Gallade which turned the tide my way. Second match again was equally matched but he got the better of me. He had two Gardevoirs set-up against my single Gardevoir. Check-mate, he got me there.
I was really nervous about the third game, so much so my cards fell from my hands just from shuffling it haha! Third game was just as equally matched as the other two, Gallade helped me again. My Zoroark was killed off my his Gallade, which got my Gardevoir to kill it off, which got his Gardevoir to kill mine off. He played Sycamore in the hopes to get the 2nd one ready and lucky for me he never drew into it.
I used Premonition in the hopes of finding one Fairy Energy and DCE for the win and luckly for me the DCE for the 5th card, I put them up as the first two, used trade, put it on Gardevoir with a choice bad for the win. Oh man I just beat a Worlds top 16 player. Easily my best match in Pokemon TCG so far.
That win put me 6th out of 21 players. Not as many as the other time but hey that’s still pretty good for a newbie like me in a competitive environment. Really enjoyed the 2 days of playing, learned a lot from all these guys and hopefully it’s the start of something good. 12 games and I ended up with 4 wins, 4 losses and 4 draws. Very consistent eh haha! And hey, whenever it’s about Pokemon, TCG or the video game, it’ll always be fun. 🙂
So for those wondering who did well for the League Cup, these were the top 8 decks:
- Gardevoir-GX/Max Potion
- Decidueye-GX/Zoroark-GX/Alolan Ninetales-GX
And for the League Challenge thesse were the top 8 decks:
Well we just had our pre-release event for the new Crimson Invasion set and wow what a day it was. That was the most fun I’ve had in a pre-release of the six I’ve been to so far. We were the first in Singapore to open Crimson Invasion packs and the first to have the pre-release. We might have even been the first in the world to host a pre-release event for Crimson Invasion. And it it was a big one too, 44 of us! Easily the biggest pre-release event I’ve been to.
So far my luck have been rather good in pre-releases. In the four previous ones, I had the promo card I wanted to get (Charizard for Evolutions, Oranguru for Sm1, Sandslash for Sm2 and Seviper for Sm3).
For this set I was hoping to get the Registeel promo card because it looked amazing and it’s a strong one too, sure helps my steel type Metagross deck. As it happened, I did pick the right box as it was the one with Registeel so the streak lives, now 5 in 5 pre-release events I’ve got the promo I wanted.
It was a good day so far as I got to play test a bit with my friends before the event, trying out my fun Gengar deck and while I lost to Volcanion, I managed to beat a Raichu-GX deck. The power of the Creep Show is still strong. There were a lot of top players looking at our games so it felt good when they saw my addition of Latios in the deck and thought it was an interesting but very good choice. Latios did get my two prizes early on with knockouts on Pikachu and Vulpix.
Now back to the pre-release and from what I saw from my evolution pack, I kinda knew I might have to build a Fighting & Steel type deck. Thankfully the cards I got from my 4 booster packs helped. I managed to pull another Regirock and Registeel. But the best one was easily the Buzzwole-GX hyper rare pull! Yes, for the second pre-release event in a row, I’ve pulled a hyper rare! And a good one at it too. I brought along my Gengar plushie as a good luck charm in the hopes of pulling the holo Gengar and even though I didn’t get that, I still got some good cards so thank you lucky charm.
So I decided to build my 40 card deck around the two Regis, Registeel and Regirock with Buzzwole-GX as the suprise attacker and Gastrodon, Mawile and Escavalier as back-up. The only trainer card I pulled was two Gladion but that ended up helping me in two of my matches so I’m really liking it so far.
The idea of the deck was to hopefully start with Registeel and get some quick knockouts or start with Regirock, do some damage first and when it gets knocked out, get Reigsteel to power up another Regirock or Buzzwole. The fact that Regirock adds 10 more damage to Registeel’s move sure helped.
The way our pre-release works was that we’d play 3 rounds, each a best of 1 match instead of the usual 3. Each decks were 40 cars instead of 60 and playing with 4 prizes instead of the usual 6. After the game, everyone gets 2 packs plus the amount of wins they got from the event, so the max was 5 packs. So it was possible to open 9 new packs in one day. Now to the matches.
Round 1: vs Gengar/Registeel – W (1/0/0)
Two turns later and this match was done. Yup it ended pretty quickly. My opponent started with just one Gastly and I started with Registeel. I had the one Steel energy and used the first move for 30 damage. My opponent didn’t do anything for his next turn so then came the easy knockout for the first prize and the game win. The match was over in about a minute. We did play another match and it lasted longer, his Nihilego did give me some issues but luckily Regirock came to the rescue there. There was a point where my opponent kept hitting me for 30 damage on my Shellos and I would recover those 30 the next turn an we’d repeat that for a few turns.
Round 2: vs Gengar/Mawile – W (2/0/0)
This was the toughest match I had of the three matches. I didn’t get to start with either Regis so I had to settle for Shellos. Gengar showed up not long and it’s ability was that if anyone attached an energy from their hand to their pokemon, it takes 20 damage counter. It knocked out Regirock so I had to get Registeel up and set-up Buzzwole. It worked nicely as I missed the confusion damage and even managed to knock Gengar out before I was ready with Buzzwole which helped me get that last prize. Close match but I managed to get it in the end. I was really liking the combo of Registeel and Regirock, they were working perfectly together during my matches.
Round 3: vs Guzzlord/Registeel – W (3/0/0)
And now for the match I was a bit worried about. My friends and I had been joking about us hoping to pull that Guzzlord because of how good it was for a pre-release event. Easy choice to use it and 39 dark energy right? Should have been but some didn’t see it. There were 3 other guys with Guzzlord and all three were different. The one who did go with the ideal plan of 1 Guzzlord and 39 dark energy did end up winning all 3 matches and finished 1st in the event.
My opponent included Registeel in his deck which I wasn’t sure why he did but I saw the idea behind it. I put a Karrablast at the start just so it can take the hit while I powered up Regirock. Since Guzzlord did have a fighting-type weakness, I was waiting for the right time to use Regirock and when my Karrablast did get knocked out, Regirock was ready to go. I managed to get a straight knockout on Guzzlord and the rest was easy for me, thanks to Regirock. My opponent had no answer for Regirock so that was win #3 for me. Yup, for the first time in a pre-release event I was unbeaten with a 3-0 record and I finished 2nd out of 44 players. Not bad at all. Just one spot away from seeing my name at #1 for the first time ever. I’ll get there one day, be it a pre-release or the usual standard format.
So it was a fun event with the biggest crowd I’ve seen for any event at Qisahn. More progress being made. Turns out that, other than the usual Guzzlords, the Regirock/Registeel combo was actually quite good and helps you beat that Guzzlord match. With my 3 wins it meant I was getting 5 packs. I was already happy with the fact that I had some good pulls from my kit. And it got better from my prizes. I ended up getting 3 white codes from it, two of them were GXes. I was a full art, the other was a rainbow rare.
Yup I couldn’t believe myself on what I was getting. Two rainbow rares in one event, what are the odds of that happening? Must have been my lucky day. 2nd place out of 44 people is something new for someone like me. Just one more spot to go. Or maybe it was the work of my mini-Gengar plushie. Oh well, it was easily the most fun pre-release I’ve been to and there’s still one more to come next week. Here’s to more pre-releases to come in the future!
So for a noob like myself in the art of Pokemon Trading Card Game, I actually managed to finish 3rd and 4th in a field of 21 and 23 players within the space of 5 days! Yes, me doing so well at a PTCG tourney? My luck must be turning around.
So the first one was my usual Friday tourney, and it was the biggest tournout yet at my usual spot in Qisahn. 21 players! Usually I’d see 8-12 players but now more is coming so that’s always good news, nice to see the community growing. With fire types owning at other places, I stopped using my Metagross-GX deck and started playing the Gardevoir-GX deck. Yes, the same one that won worlds this year. Why? Not because I follow the trend but I got that GX the most of any in SM3 so why not?
And it’s a deck about numbers, you’re always calculating your potential damage (kinda reminds me of my old Yveltal-EX deck). And I am a numbers guys so I had to try it. I’d been trying a few different variations out but it seems to me the Sylveon version is much better so I’ve stuck to that for a few weeks. Plea GX can help you beat your one un-winnable match in Metagross/Solgaelo matches.
R1 vs Volcanion/Turtonator WL – 0/0/1
This was a tough one. I misplayed a lot in he first match and my opponent still scooped the match because he realized he was out of options. Second match was worse, I couldn’t set up my team properly and his Volcanions wrecked me. The third match was going alright for me but time was called.
Usually I’d do a gentlemen’s agreement with my opponent to flip a coin to decide who wins since no-one will get an extra pack for drawing. My opponent didn’t want it so we took a draw. My first draw ever at a Qisahn event. Not cool. All my friends were surprised about it because our prizes are based on wins not points so there’s no point taking a draw but some people don’t see the point of it I suppose. Turns out he drew his next match too so maybe he was just there to ruin our games. Not cool.
R2 vs Gardevoir/Sylveon WLW – 1/0/1
Yup a mirror match. So this matches took a lot of thinking on both our parts. It was very even in all three matches but luckily I scraped through on the match that mattered most, the final one. He was about to knock my Sylveon out but Acerola came to the rescue and Gardevoir took it’s mirror out. That got me the advantage and the win.
R3 vs Tapu Bulu/Vikavolt WW – 2/0/1
This match wasn’t really fair. Both times my opponent failed to set up his team and a Vikabulu deck needs to set-up to do well. The first match he never got a Grubbin out so easy win for me. The second match he did get them out but I took two of them out thanks to Guzma.
3rd place finish out of 21 players, my best finish in a tournament of that size. Not bad at all. 2 wins and one draw gave me 7 points and also the only other person to go undefeated along with the two guys who won all 3 matches. We had some interesting decks that day, finally got to see Raichu in action but it didn’t do so well. Gardevoir and Ho-Oh decks were the most common ones with 4 a piece yet the outright winner was a Metagross deck, and the only one there too haha! Didn’t pull anything good in my 2 prize packs, oh what a bummer.
The next one was a Diwali special tournament and since it was a public holiday a lot more guys showed up. 23 players! And I knew 6 others who couldn’t make it so it could have been even more. Progress being made here at the store, that’s nice to see. I stuck with Gardevoir but tried a different list this time, similar to Pablo Meza’s list in which he won the Vancouver regionals (I think) the past weekend. Out when the Mallows and Rescue Stretchers and in came the Float Stones and a few more cards to add to the consistency of the deck. And I can say the deck felt that bit better after the changes but still needs some changes. That’s the best part about this game, even if you have a great list, you still want to make some changes. All part of the fun of this game.
R1 vs Volcanion/Turtonator WW 1/0/0
Yup, starting off with another Volcanion/Turtonator match up again. I had played this guy before and he beat me so I wasn’t feeling too good about this match. Turns out everything went my way. Everytime he tried to set someone up, I had a counter for it. And in one of the matches, I had 3 Gardevoirs set-up in turn 4. Never had a set-up as good as that before. So that was good really good wins for me. Pretty stoked about that.
R2 vs Ninetales/Zoroark WW 2/0/0
So my opponent is someone I know quite well, he’s one of the regulars in our place so I knew what his deck was about, now with the added bonus of Zoroark-GX to help set up Ninetales-GX quicker. First match I had to take some risks in knocking out some prize attackers and it helped. Managed to get a one-hit KO on a Ninetales for the win. Second match wasn’t going my way until Gallade showed up and knocked out his Zoroark. The end of the match was tense. Either I had get a super draw to one-hit his 210HP Ninetales or I get knocked out. And with Octillery’s Abyssal Hand ability, I could draw cards until I had 5 in my hand. I needed to draw 3. Perfect secernario would be a Fairy Energy, a Double Colorless Energy and a Choice Band to knock Ninetales out. And that’s what I got from my draw! Luck of the draw I suppose. That was another really good match.
R3 vs Decidueye/Espeon LL 2/1/0
And now for the bragging right of who would probably win the whole thing (we thought). I was up against my friend in the final and I tend to playtest with him and a few others in Orchard every other week so I knew what his deck’s plan was. Spred the damage with Decidueye and kill everyone off with Espeon. So I wasn’t too dissapointed to start with Tapu Lele for once! My plan was to make sure he couldn’t snipe anyone but he saw it coming and started attacking my Lele so I fell for his trap and set my team up..for disaster.
Second match was just me throwing the result away in turn 2. When I went to do my Brigette start, I had planned to take a Ralts, Remomraid and an Eevee. For whatever reason I took a second Ralts and I only realised my mistake once I had played them. I could have asked my opponent for a re-do but since we’re in a tournament setting, I didn’t dare ask. And I had a Guzma in hand to help my Sylveon start off. So I never got going in that second match.
2 wins and 1 loss and I still ended up 4th, best results of those with 2 wins. This time around Ninetales was the most popular deck followed by Gardevoir. But I was the only Gardevoir player in the top 9. The rest? Three Vikabulus (and all three of them in the top 9, two with 3 wins), two Ninetales, a Metagross, a Volcanion and a Decidueye. So I am starting to get better at this game, maybe it’s time I should challenge myself and try the next tournament at Metagame where all the best players in Singapore usually play. I’ve not been there in a while because I never felt comfortable playing against those guys. I should change that soon. Didn’t pull anything good in my 2 prize packs again, oh what a bummer.
Still it was a fun week of playing Pokemon TCG, 4 wins out of 6 matches is quite unheard for me since I still don’t feel I’m that good at the game yet but progress is being made. A 3rd and a 4th placing, not too bad at all. Still need to make that climb up to get 2nd and eventually 1st someday soon. Slowly but surely. And tomorrow, it’s my favourite event for Pokemon, the pre-release! Yes, Crimson Invasion pre-release is tomorrow at Qisahn which means we’ll be the first in Singapore to get to play the new SM4 cards. That’s pretty cool. Time for a break in the serious stuff and two weeks of fun battles to come. And also a battle against my sickness too. Why do I always fall sick during holidays?
Oh and I won a Litten plushie in one of the lucky draw prizes!
Yes the race was two weeks ago but I’ve been so busy that I’ve completely forgotten to post this up until now.
When I heard this year’s F1 Malaysia Grand Prix would be the last one at Sepang, I knew I had to make the trip up north one last time. My feelings aside about the country, Sepang is one of the better circuits I’ve been to, it’s got so many good spots around the circuit and you get to see the cars a lot longer than what you normally would like for those street circuits in Singapore and Melbourne.
So two weeks after the Singapore Grand Prix, and the first wet night race for F1 too, I was off to Malaysia and like always, took the early morning flight on the Friday itself. I got to Kuala Lumpur with plenty of time to just stroll to the bus that takes us to the circuit. And of course the driver lost his way trying to get to the circuit so we reached there while it was drizzling. Thanks man.
For FP1 I found a neat spot right in front of the Haas pit garage with a good view of the Renault, Toro Rosso and McLaren garages too. But that was all I got to see for a bit as the rain got heavier and that delayed FP1 by 30 minutes. Still, it’s not always you get to see the driver walking around their pit garages and talking to their guys up close, or in my case, with the aid of my camera.
It was pretty cool to see the drivers just before they got into the cars and getting out of pit-lane and even seeing a few pit-stops practices. That’s one of the best bits about the Sepang race weekend, it’s free seating anywhere on Friday, including the main grandstand. So of course I took the chance to walk around a bit. Not so much for FP1 due to the rain though.
For FP2 I did walk around. Instead of seeing the pit-lane opposite me, I was seeing Turns 9 and 10 and the backstraight. After the first few minutes I went over to the tower to get the best views of the car and then came the bad news. Seems like I wasn’t the only one with that idea as the whole top deck of the tower was packed with people. I had a hard time just trying to get a picture of any of the cars around the sea of people. I did get some good shots after all. And once again it was a shortened session due to the Grosjean crash.
I got to Sepang a little later than usual on Saturday and I realised it was a mistake. I had completely forgotten that Sepang did do those F1 forums witht he drivers so I missed that one. I will say that Liberty Media have done a great job making the fan experience even better off track, there were a lot of activities you could do in the F1 fan village, from the gaming zone to the pit-stop challenge to even a trampoline bit while waving the flag!
I got the same tickets as I did last time I was in Sepang at the K1 Grandstand but this time it was free seating, no seat numbers allocation, nothing! And when I got to the grandstand, the first 6 blocks were full! Not ideal at all. But since it was FP3, I went all the way to the end of the grandstand to see the view from in front of Turn 3 and some bits of 1, 2, 4 and 5. The middle bit is still much better.
So that’s where I was for qualifying and also because the superscreen was there so we could at least follow what was happening on track. Turned out to be a good spot for taking some pictures too actually. Anytime a Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull drivers came out, they had the loudest cheers. So imagine the reaction from the fans when Vettel never came back out for Q1. I had a good laugh, more bad luck for Ferrari. I’m all for that.
Not much else happened in Q2 and Q3, Lewis Hamilton took pole ahead of Kimi Raikkonen with both Red Bulls on row 2. The travel back was a nightmare though, we were stuck in traffic for what feels like forever. You’d think that it wouldn’t take long to get from Sepang to KLIA, since they’re just opposite one another, yet it took us almost an hour to get there. Not much else I need to say here.
Raceday Sunday and guess what, I got there just as the driver’s parade ended. Yup, that damn traffic again. And once again the first few blocks were full so I ended up sitting almost the same area as the day before but this time in the 2nd row because I realised I could get a clear view of the cars for my pics even from there so why not get closer? And no-one will block me right? Not quite.
The race was pretty good from my point of view. Kimi Raikkonen never started the race so even more bad luck for Ferrari so more joy for me. The race start was clean, Hamilton lead and Bottas almost got 2nd but Verstappen held on. Then on Lap 4, in came the move from Max Verstappen to take the lead from Hamilton and the fans went nuts (as did I)! That was good stuff. A few laps later, Ricciardo had another great overtaking move to get 3rd from Bottas. Good day for Red Bull!
I got to see a lot of close racing from my area since turn 1 was the hardest braking point on the circuit. And yes I did see a few incidents and spins that happened right in front of me. The Sainz-Ocon incident and Palmer-Magnussen incident happened at Turn 1. It’s not everyday you see two racing cars spinning around in front of you. I also saw the Alonso-Magnussen shuffle happening, that was a close one.
Verstappen ended up winning the race, only his 2nd win in F1 and a day after his 20th birthday too. Hamilton finished 2nd and Ricciardo just held off Vettel at the end to make it two Red Bull cars on the podium, that’s a good day in my view. And then Vettel had just three wheels, he collided with Stroll after the race! Haha! Vandoorne had his best race with 7th so another good day for McLaren so more good news for me. Not a bad last race for F1 in Sepang, I will miss watching racing there. The three times I’ve been there, it was always good. We need more circuits like these in F1 and less street circuits with restricted views.
So last weekend was a historic race huh? For the first time in the long Formula One history, we had a wet race at night! So that was a pretty cool experience to be in the first one ever. Oh and the Ferraris before retiring on Lap 1 for the first time ever too which really made my weekend haha.
So after my bad experience of sitting in a grandstand in Singapore 2 years ago and saying I probably won’t ever get another grandstand sit here again….yup I bought one. I couldn’t help it and I just had to give it a try so this time I went for the Esplanade Bayfront grandstand, I thought it might be a good spot to check out. Turned out to be a really good spot so I’m glad I did get seats there.
For once, I didn’t really do much in the lead up to the racing weekend. It didn’t help not hearing about any driver’s public events or appearances anywhere! They must have been all private events this year so that really sucked. You want to bring the sport closer to the fans but you keep blocking them off with little events and the only way to go to their autograph session is by winning tickets for it. Not cool. They really need to look at the way Australia does it.
I was really looking forward to watching the cars in action this year. Unlike some others, I actually do like how the cars look this year. And there were some good looking cars this year. Toro Rosso, Force India, McLaren, Sauber and Renault all have great liveries on their cars for the 2017 season. Quite rare to have that many good ones on the same grid.
So for Friday I started the day out at Turns 11/12. Since I was stuck in zone 4 for this year, that was the first place I had in mind to check out. After all, there aren’t many good spots in zone 4 so I might as well spend most of my time at the better spots. At any point you could be seeing the cars from the side view, the back view or the front view around that Turns 11-12 area. Good spot for taking pictures of the cars too. So much so I spent the entire FP1 at the Turns 10-12 area.
If you’re ever at the Singapore Grand Prix and all you’ve got is a zone 4 ticket, the really good spots are at Turn 8, 11/12 and 14. I even tried to see the action at the turn 13 hairpin but you had to stand on a railing just to see the cars. The bit before Turn 14 is also another good spot, that’s the place where you’ll hear the cars at their “loudest” and also the easiest place to see sparks flying off these cars which is always a nice visual. Too bad I can never get a good picture for it. It’s usually the one spot where I’ll be taking videos instead of pictures. You can actually hear the differences from each power units in action.
There is an interesting spot on top of the Esplande building overlooking Turn 15, you can see the cars from the view of the 4th floor and since the building is inside the circuit, anyone with a ticket can watch it from there. It’s also one of the few spots around the track where you can get a picture of these cars without those catch fences being in the way but only for one specific spot. I liked it so much I almost spent all of FP3 at that spot. I probably should have as I didn’t get one good picture of the cars from Turn 15 when I decided to switch with 20 minutes to go.
The atmosphere was amazing with fans from everywhere coming down to Singapore. There were people from Netherlands (lots of Dutch fans here), Denmark, Mexico, Canada and even good ol’ USA but the main ones are the Brits and the Aussies. I ended up sitting around some of them during the race and of course they had a friendly banter with one another with Hamilton and Ricciardo fighting for the win.
There’s no clear cut favourites on who the fans all support so it’s nice to see all different supporters, as it tends to be the case around here. You’ll always hear a cheer for either the Ferrari guys, Mercedes guys, Red Bull guys or the McLaren guys (McLaren fan here). Oh if you were wondering, there was a loud cheer when the two Ferraris crashed into each other during the race. Guess my area was the anti-Ferrari zone.
The same can be said during qualifying. I went back to Turn 11 because there was a super screen there and I wanted to see what times everyone was doing. The crowd around me for qualifying were pro-Verstappen. I was a bit surprised to see a lot of Dutch fans here in Singapore, they really do travel around to support their guys. Good on them. I was sure a Red Bull car would be on pole position with how quick they were in all three practice session but of course Sebastian Vettel had to ruin that and take pole away. Laugh it up Ferrari fans, guess who got the last laugh?
For once I didn’t really bother with the music concerts. I mean look who was there. One Republic? Don’t know them. Chainsmokers? Never heard of them. Calvin Harris? Who the heck is he? I honestly have not heard of him until the friday of the racing weekend. Turns out his is dance music. Really, you’re going to have that shit at an F1 circuit? Where’s our rock & roll music? I mean think about it, F1 is an adrenaline pumping sport, rock and roll gives you that adrenaline rush too! I mean it’s perfect for an F1 race and it’s my kind of music. So until we get someone good, I won’t bother with these concerts. Then again, I’m here at an F1 circuit for the racing itself. I guess you can see why the Australian Grand Prix is still my favourite race to visit, it’s all racing there.
So Sunday was fun in some ways. Looking up in the sky, I knew this could be the day we actually do get hit by the rain during the racing weekend. For some weird reason, the only time it has rained was two Fridays and it was well before any of the F1 practice sessions started. The weather really didn’t help that day. It was raining, then it stopped, then it rained again, then it stopped again, it went on and on. Especially around 10 minutes before the race started, the rain came down again. It wasn’t fun hiding under the grandstand to avoid the rain and still get hit by it! Oh and a piece of advice here, always bring a poncho! I forgot to bring mine and I had to buy one (just for $2) because they didn’t allow umbrellas to be used in the grandstands. I should have known better from my experiences in Suzuka and Melbourne.
So the rain actually rejuvenated the fans around my area, we were all psyched and ready to see the start of the race. We all kinda knew we were about to witness history, the first ever wet race at night in F1. And these guys have never raced around the track in the wet session too so it was a step into the unknown for everyone involved.
And then the start happened. So if you didn’t see, how did you not? Vettel started on pole, Verstappen 2nd and Raikkonen 3rd. Kimi gets a better start then the front two, Seb gets a slower start, tries to cut off Max and this caused Kimi to hit Max and then his own team-mate! The Ferrari guys took each other out! HAHAHAHAHAHA! I’ve never had a good laught at a race like that. People who know me knows how much I hate Ferrari so this felt like my birthday, the greatest gift of them all seeing those two cars out in the first lap!
It was weird seeing the cars race while shivering in my poncho. This was actually my first wet race! I’ve seen wet practice or qualifying sessions in Melbourne, Suzuka and Sepang but never the race itself. Of course I had a tall bloke sitting in front of me in a grandstand as per usual but this time he didn’t really block my view that much when trying to take a picture of the F1 cars in actions.
In the end it was Lewis Hamilton picking up an unlikely win in Singapore. I wasn’t expecting to see a Mercedes car on the podium this weekend since Singapore is their weakest track so to see both of them on the podium was something else. Good ol’ Daniel Ricciardo was on the podium for the fourth year in a row but still not the win. One day Dan will get it and I hope I’ll be near the podium to see it happen. Special shout out to Carlos Sainz, Jolyon Palmer and Stoffel Vandoorne, all 3 of them got their best career finishes in that race with 4th, 6th and 7th respectively.
So it was another good weekend at the Marina Bay street circuit. I already know which tickets I’m aiming to get for next year’s race. Yes, there will be a next year after the news broke that Singapore has re-signed the race for another 4 more years among all the other breaking news to come out last weekend (McLaren switching to Renault power, Toro Rosso switching to Honda power and Carlos Sainz moving to Renault as part of the whole deal). Always good to have my fix of racing in for the year and hey, it won’t be the last, I’ll be at Sepang for the final Malaysian Grand Prix. I hope it doesn’t rain there too.