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: