Last week we had our first battle roads in Vancouver and I went a terrible 2-3 with my ZPST. For whatever reason, the deck (which set up T1 or T2 90% of the time during testing) decided that it only wanted T3 and T4 set ups, which ended with me racking up a wonderful losing streak against two Reshiphlosion decks to start the day. To make the matter worse, a Kingdra/Yanmega (no Magnezone) deck, which was an autowin for me, took first place.
Deciding that the deck had failed me for the last time, I rebuilt my fragile Gothitelle deck. I was planning to run it during the next local BR in October, but then Christian mentioned that there was going to be a couple of BR events in Washington this weekend, just three hours south. Since Christian was already planning to make the trip, my wife Jasmine and I decided to tag along for the fun.
We left the house at 6am in the morning to make the trip and arrived at Tukwila with plenty of time. We ate a quick breakfast at Jollibee's, which I was familiar with from a business trip to the Philippines last winter, and bumped into a local family of Pokemon players: Joey and his father Jonathan. Joey was a top ranked Canadian player as a Junior and still did consistently well as a Senior, having earned an invite to Worlds last season and having won BR in Vancouver last week. His father Jonathan was more of a casual player, but he's no slouch, having won at least one BR and top cutted in other premier tournaments.
Terry, a Washington PTO that I met at World's last season, made an appearance as well and remembered us after a short conversation. The participant cap was a hard 50, but we were early enough to check in without worries. There was an optional deck check at the initial registration that I participated in, though not without some hesitation. The Washington organizers were pretty quick and the tournament got underway with little delay.
Round 1 vs. Ross.dec
I instantly recognized the player that I was sitting across, as he had played a warm up game against Christian and was wearing a fake mustache. I remember that he was playing a Mew/Cincinno at the time, which was pretty much an autoloss for me. Mew/Jumpluff I can handle with some bench manipulation, but Mew/Cincinno I could not. Oh well, I thought, my only goal here is to do better than I did last week. If I lose, I'll probably have plenty of chances to squeeze out three wins in this six round tournament.
We turn over our starting Pokemon and I was instantly confused as I saw a Phanphy and a benched Oddish. The Oddish made sense in a Mew/Cinncinno but the Phanphy did not. It wasn't until my opponent dropped a SEL from his hand that I realize that he wasn't playing his warm up deck, but was instead playing Ross's epic rogue, the deck that took second place at World's last season.
Suddenly, the match which I thought was an autoloss turned into a near autowin as my Gothitelle ran on the same engine but had the advantage of trainers as well as high damage output. We both avoided taking prizes to prevent the other from activating their Twins chain, but I got my lock up first with Gothitelle in the active spot. My opponent didn't seem to know how Tropical Beach worked and did not use it to draw even when he passed his turn without attacking. Unable to use Rare Candy, I simply Catcher'd any Gloom's or Reuniclus that I saw and hit for weakness to KO them. I damage swapped to KO my babies on the bench to prevent my opponent from using Twins or Black Belt, but SEL's ability to burn my active Pokemon made me worry. With his Donphan fully charged, there was a 25% chance that I would fail both outgoing and incoming burn flips and lose my active Gothitelle pumped with energies.
I had a Seeker and a Collector in my hand to open a bench spot for a Shaymin. However, I accidentally Seeker'd first and realized that I couldn't Collector for the Shaymin in the same turn. I failed the outgoing burn flip and cringed as the Gothitelle absorbed the 90 from Heavy Impact. I practically closed my eyes as I flipped for the incoming burn and breathed out in relief when I flipped heads. Safe! I Shaymin'd the Psychics over to my bench Gothitelle and retreated to attack without special conditions to worry about. After two shotting the Donphan, there was nothing that my opponent could do and I took my first victory of the day.
Afterwards, my opponent noted that he should have used Twins to grab the extra Rainbow instead of another Twins so that he could snipe my Reuniclus. It was not a move that I had considered but it was a relatively small affair for me to set up a second Reuniclus with the hand that I had at the time, so I shrugged it off as a moot point.
Round 2 vs. Mewbox w/ Crobat, Yanmega, Vileplume, and Hypno
Long matches seems to be the theme for Gothitelle, but this game was especially brutal. I hit an early drought of Twins and Energies and it took a bit longer than what I'd like to set up. My opponent was ahead by 2 or 3 prizes by the time I was ready to dish out pain. Drowzee's ability to drag out something from my bench was a bit annoying, but I got my DCE's out for fast retreat and took out Hypnos before it could stall me even more. Mew and Vileplume proved to be of little threat as my opponent had no bench space to safely set up his Vileplume and no time to See Off anything with Mew. Instead, I had to deal with Crobat's Severe Poison while making sure to spread damage on my bench so that Yanmega was unable to snipe anything valuable.
I forgot to check the time of start for the game and, with me being two prizes down, I knew that I had to play fast. Unfortunately, this led to an epic misplay as I retreated for my Zekrom and announced outrage before I Damage Swapped enough Damage to it for the KO. I asked the judge if I could take it back, but it was my opponent's choice and he obviously wouldn't let me do something that big. I facepalm'd a little a sucked it up.
Time was called on my opponent's turn, which meant that I needed to take a prize on both of my turns to force the game into sudden death. Looking at the board, I had all my KOs lined up with Gothitelle and Zekrom both being able to KO anything. I benched a second Zekrom to and Damage Swapped so that he had nothing to snipe and took the first prize. My opponent then pulled another brilliant move that I didn't see coming. He counted the DCEs in my discard and dropped a Drowzee to drag out my Reuniclus. I had no Shaymin and no other way to retreat my stranded Pokemon and was unable to take the vital second prize, so I scooped. Though the unnecessary loss was disheartening, at least I could learn from this mistake now instead of later!
Round 3 vs. Yanmegazone w/ Kingdra
Final round before lunch break! No food or drinks were allowed at the venue, so we were given around an hour to enjoy a meal half way through the day. I was suddenly sitting at the last table and I wasn't really happy about it. Oh well, suck it up soldier!
My opponent turned over Magnemite to my lone Gothita and I was a bit worried as Magnezone could easily OHKO Gothitelle. To make matters worse, he had the first turn advantage, which meant I had even less time to kill the magnetic devil before he could drop three energies.
I communicated for a Pichu and used Twins on my second turn after he KO'd my active Gothita. When I used Playground, I had another worry, I only had one Gothita left in the deck! One was KO'd and the other was prized. If he had a Catcher in hand, I was screwed. Luckily, he didn't and I Twin chained on my third turn for both Gothitelle and Reuniclus. I catchered his Horsea up and put my Gothitelle active so that he wouldn't be able to switch for Magnemite nor Rare Candy. From here I controlled the match and used all my resources to grab every Magnemite that I could find and knock it out before it became a threat. After I took out his last chance of success, my opponent scooped.