Archive | October 2017

PTCG Crimson Invasion Pre-Release #1: Best one yet!

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.

20171020_214136.jpgSo 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!

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PTCG: Two best finishes in tourneys in a week

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! 

2017 Formula One Malaysia Grand Prix – The Final One for Sepang

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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!

 

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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.

 

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