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Zack_of_Steel

Zack's Pokemon TCG Exploits

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Been a long time coming, but I finally made Day 2 at a Pokemon TCG regional. The deck I played was Jirachi/Zapdos/Buzzwole, which, for the most part, was extremely consistent.

60/647 made the cut with 19 match points in 9 rounds (+3/W, +1/T).

I finished Day 1 52/60, but of the 60 only 15 had more match points. A ton of us ID'd (intentional draw) into Day 2.

Day 2 didn't lead me to top 8--my resistance and Day 1 record required that I go 5-0 in Day 2 to make it. I went 3-2 with some fortunate and unfortunate luck alike.

I hit a rogue deck that was an auto-loss (nearly brought it to a tie, but needed one more turn--ties were losses for me, though). Other loss was the mirror and I dead drew 2/3 games and stomped him the real game we played.

Ended up with a 9-4-1 record (28 match points) and 26th/634. Making top 32 netted me $250 and a booster box (36 packs ~$100 retail).

I know I could have done better in a few situations, but I never thought I would make it to top 32 on my first trip to Day 2. Seems crazy, but very validating. I know I can play with the best and have a winning record in Day 2 against top competition. If I had netted one more win, I'd have made $500. I have room to grow.

Since I work nights and weekends it's impossible to chase a World's invite, but this tournament showed me that with some persistent testing I can play with the best. Hopefully I can convert that into some top 8 appearances in the future.

20190407_141950.jpg

 

R1 Malamar/Koko Spread LL 0-1-0
R2 Retaliate Umbreon/Weavile WW 1-1-0
R3 Zap/Roc LWW 2-1-0
R4 Lightning Box WW? 3-1-0
R5 Celesaur WW 4-1-0
R6 Zapdos/Beasts/Rainbow LL 4-2-0
R7 Zap/Roc WW 5-2-0
R8 Lightning Box WW 6-2-0
R9 ID 6-2-1

R10 Zoro/Roc/Weavile WW 7-2-1
R11 Beast Box LL 7-3-1
R12 Zap/Roc LWL 7-4-1
R13 Zap/Roc LWW 8-4-1
R14 Blacephalon WLW 9-4-1 <--- $250 Money match

*I may have gotten some of the W/L's incorrect, but I think I got most of them right

Edited by Zack_of_Steel

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congrats on your card game success dude. Even posting a winning record is hard in those kinds of tournies, so bravo.

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12 hours ago, RazorStar said:

congrats on your card game success dude. Even posting a winning record is hard in those kinds of tournies, so bravo.

Definitely, especially the past two years as the game has exploded in popularity. Regionals used to be ~250 people, now they average ~600+. Of my group of five dudes I am one of two that has made Day 2 now, and the other guy did it back when tournaments were much smaller. Most of our trips see one or two of us last to Round 6-8 before losing our shot while the rest are done by Round 4. Luck plays a lot into that between matchups (both deck and player) and random shitty luck, no matter how consistent your deck is built. This was one of the few events that I didn't hit a handful of pro players during Day 1 Swiss. In STL 2 years ago I played 4 NA top 16 players in 6 rounds, this tournament I only faced one top player in Day 1.

Next goal is to make top 8 ($750, 3 boxes), but top 16 would be nice also ($500, 2 boxes).

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So cool. I hope you get there — to the success and placements you want. Super cool to see people setting out to do something and seeing this steady progress and upwards mobility. Keep us updated for sure!

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On 4/9/2019 at 8:40 AM, DalaiLama4Ever said:

So cool. I hope you get there — to the success and placements you want. Super cool to see people setting out to do something and seeing this steady progress and upwards mobility. Keep us updated for sure!

Thanks,  I will. Sadly, though, it's much more likely I don't Day 2 for a while. New set comes out in May less than month before my next regional in Madison, WI on the 31st. So I'll have to grind out a ton of testing in a few weeks and hope to anticipate the meta correctly. First tournaments of a new set always seem to be dominated by the pro players, the ones "in the know" that predict what the meta will be and what deck to counter it.

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Welp, this weekend is Madison. It'll be a 9 hour drive. Going to play a deck only a few cards off of the list I played in Denver. Unless the meta shifts to shit on Zapdos for some reason, I think my deck is in good position once again.

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fuck em up bro!

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Madison 2019

MLDfCpI.png

I played a list very similar to the Jirachi/Zapdos/Buzzwole list I played to my first Day 2 and T32 @26th in Denver. Since Denver the meta has been shaken up a bit with the release of the new Charizard & Reshiram Tag Team and a bunch of cards to support Fire archetypes. I felt that I had a decent matchup against Charizard, so I stuck with the deck, updated to being 1 card off of Phinnegan Lynch's revision for the new format. I chose to play Judge over 3rd Cynthia as I felt hand disruption against Charizard was crucial at a lot of points and I liked it against a lot of the meta as well. He also said he felt he needed the 3rd Cynthia for the Zard matchup, so maybe that was my problem drawing poorly against them so many times. Judge did a lot for me throughout the tournament, so I'll have to test ahead of NAIC to see where I feel I can take the list and if it's worth playing over Charizard.

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Day 1 - Best of 3, 50 Minutes, 9 Swiss Rounds

 

R1 Blissey (Same 60 as 37th place list)
W - Went 1st, Marshadowed and set up Buzz w/Beast Energy. He missed some attacks and I throttled him.
W - Had prize advantage and was heading for game. Killed his Victini when both stretchers were used and had Koko GX in hand for last 2 prizes if he flipped 1 tails.

On paper, this was an atrocious matchup. I was helped out a lot by having 2 Buzzwoles and a Beast Energy that I was able to find early game 1.

1-0-0

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R2 Zoroark/Persian/Dewgong/Slowking (Emre Erel)

Emre fucking Erel. I played this guy when I was doing well in the early rounds of my first regional back in 2016. He was a supreme douche and rushed me the entire time. I whiffed energy hardcore and lost when I shouldn't have and he was a snotty prick about it.

I get paired against him R2 and immediately taste blood in my mouth. I wanna fistfuck this piece of shit. We sit down and I see he's playing Zoroark/Persian, what I consider to be extremely favorable because of my 2 count of Buzzwole and my fighting energy focus over the more popular rainbow energy/Beasts version.

He opens a nutty hand, literally only thing that could have made it better was using Lillie for 8 cards instead of 7. He's feeling confident, but I set up my Buzzwoles and go to town. I outplayed him heavily and then game 2 he did not have access to his Muk, which counters my Jirachis, so I steamrolled him even harder. Afterward he was pissy and whining that "every loss is like losing my World's Invite" and kind of trying to say he deserved the win over me because I can't chase my invite considering I work weekends. Oh, and this was his last year of being able to chase his invite. Such sweet tears. This win was one of my most satisfying wins ever. Eat shit, Emre.

W - He opened Ditto/Grimer/Lillie 7. I left Muk alone and Buzzwole'd the hell out of him
W - He prized Muk and I just stayed ahead all game

2-0-0

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R3 Malamar Spread
W - Longass, grindy game 1. He was 4 counters off swap for win. We both missed multiple attacks.
T - I was ahead game 2 but single prize matchups take so long to complete that we ended in time.

3-0-0

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R4 Nag/Quag (On stream vs. Some1sPC's Frank Percic)

So in R1 the Pokemon photographer came over and took some pictures of me playing and I got super irrationally jittery. Afterward I told my group that I was terrified to think how I would feel playing on stream. Then at 3-0 I'm playing a high profile player and article writer and they put me on the stage. My opponent and our table judge both reassured me, but holy fucking shit, I felt like I was dying for much of the series until I got locked in a bit toward the very end.

So here's the link if you wanna see me play at all. I'm on stream from 3:33:34-4:34:29.


W - Ahead from the start, but it was a long game. He wasn't able to find the Buzzmosa play to take 4 of 6 prizes at once.
L - Was ahead all game. Had game in hand but he was able to Buzzmosa GX for 4 for the win and I couldn't find Koko GX and Guzma both.
T - Got half way finished. He might have made it to Buzz again, but I had a decent board and ahead 2-3 prizes (I didn't play out T3 of time).

Admittedly I was super jittery and nervous. Kept dropping my cards and getting ahead of myself. Wasted a Guzma turn 1 because I tunnel visioned and forgot about Artucuno's ability even though I had played it before. A tie is like a loss in that you can only afford 2 losses and 1 tie in order to make Day 2. Sucked to take the tie and I definitely could have played faster. I just kinda ate shit under the pressure of the camera. Experience for next time.

Game 2's ending was a huge deal because everyone got to see me get blown the fuck up by a special attack that requires 8 energy and makes you take 4 of your 6 prizes at once. He took a double knockout his Mew, putting him at 4 prizes, then next turn pulled off the attack because I was not able to kill his benched Quagsire to stop him from moving the energy on his board. Felt like being the butt of a bad joke.

3-0-1

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R5 Turbo Zard (Opponent ended up making Day 2)
L - Dead drew and missed 3 or 4 of my first attacks
L - Dead drew again... Took maybe 3 KOs entire series

This was supposed to be a favored matchup for me considering this version of Charizard has Jirachis for me to pick off instead of being forced to take on a stream of Volcanions. I drew like gargled baby vomit and was finished rather quickly.

3-1-1

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R6 Honchkrow

This was a weird deck to play against because it was full of new cards that were not considered part of the "meta," so I had not tested against them. His Honchkrow GX was weak to Lightning and swung for 2-shot damage, so I felt confident if I set up my Tapu Koko GX I could roll him. Unfortunately, in G1 I kept whiffing the combo by 1 card and drew poorly. G2 I hit the nut and had everything to do it T1 (hard to do), but of course the crucial piece to the combo was one of my 6 face-down prize cards that I could only possibly grab by taking knockouts. So I was completely fucked. Luck was not with me for this part of the day.


L - 1 card off of Koko gx like 3 turns. I did not draw/wish out of my own judge after his t1 steven's
L - I opened all the pieces to Koko T1 and ultraballed 2 lightning and my Koko prism was prized. So missing those energies ended up losing that game.

3-2-1

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R7 Turbo Pikarom
L - Opened a dead hand with Buzzwole active. Had to bench 2nd Buzzwole to avoid getting benched out. He had enough for Tapu Thunder GX on board T1 and I missed Sledgehammer and Koko GX when it mattered.
W - Much easier game. Was able to Koko GX T2 for 3 prizes and won from there.
W - (opp scoop in time) I prized Koko GX and he prized an E-Switch that would have won us both the game but we ended in a tie. Opponent Cody England scooped since he said I would have won 9/10 times and he wasn't making worlds either. Super kind gesture. If he had been chasing his invite I'd have scooped to him, so maybe a little karma came back my way.

4-2-1

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R8 Baby Blacephalon (Draydon Davis, 4th place @Dallas)
W - NUTTY opening hand. I started with 3 e power and Kukui and was able to sit on the hand and stream KOs all game. We each got to 1 prize and I was able to Koko GX for game.
W - He Weldered and attached and played a heat factory and passed. I dug a ton and recovered from a Zapdos start to find Koko GX Donk. Felt bad.

This was one of the best players I played during the weekend. It was a pretty even matchup that I considered slightly favored if I didn't whiff before he did. Neither of us ever did, but I took the first KO. The 2nd game he opened a very poor start and could not put out a 2nd Pokemon. This opened me up to blitz through my deck and try to take a turn 1 KO and win the game. I managed to do it barely and moved myself into a win-and-in position for Day 2.

----------

R9 Blastoise (Baby and GX)
W - Waited until T2 to Judge. Judged him out of Double Blastoise/double Rare Candy and stayed ahead
T - G1 and 2 were long. I think I had the game but we didn't finish and I took the series.

This was a player that was also from Nebraska, whom I had not met. He was on the verge of making his first Day 2 with a rogue deck that was well positioned for Day 2 considering it was mostly Charizard. Sucked to take him down,  but I had sealed enough match points for a shot at some money on Day 2.

6-2-1 61/66  into Day 2.

----------

Day 2 - 5 Rounds of Swiss, then cut to Top 8

Entering Day 2 I knew that I needed 3 wins minimum to be in the money at Top 32. 4 wins would put me in T16 and I needed to win out for a shot at Top 8 due to poor resistance (opponent win %). Found out later the dude that scooped to me in Round 7 also scooped his last 2 rounds instead of dropping and it hurt me a little there.


R10 Turbo Zard
L - Couldn't find pieces at right times. Missed attacks. He had board flooded and I couldn't Koko GX or Sledgehammer. Never in it.
L - Very rough start again. Down to 1 turn and he got me.

6-3-1

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R11 Turbo Zard
W - Long game 1, we both missed attacks. Both down to 1 prize and I got it.
T - I was ahead and I think I had it but we ended in time.

7-3-1

----------

R12 Green's Zard (Zakary Krekeler, 21st ranked player NA)
W - He opened a Charizard and a 1 attach Welder. I Judged him and Swung for 170 T1. After that I stayed ahead.
W - He opened 3 Pokegear and didn't get energy for multiple turns. Had to bench Snorlax to avoid being benched by a double mew KO. He forced me to take 2 Tag Team KOs and I found the Sledge/Guzma for Lax and then Koko GX'd for game.

This win felt good because I played perfectly and I 2-0'd a top player. He did have some unfortunate draws, but he was in both games despite it and played perfectly as far as I could see. At 2-1 on the day I was in position for T16 or 32.

8-3-1

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R12 Turbo Zard w/Miltank 2 Marshadow 2 Lele
L - Longass game 1. I was ahead by 4 prizes, down to 1 with game in hand. He used 2nd Marshadow. I then sat at 1 prize for 4 turns because I needed a stretcher for a Zapdos. I had 2 stretchers, 12-16 card deck and used Jirachi 13 times in 3 turns and did not see a stetcher to take my last prize.
L - I got benched on T2. Opening hand gave me the finger. 2 Rescue Stretcher 2 Guzma 2 Rope...All the exact shit I needed G1.

This was my most soul-crushing defeat I've ever experienced. I need @RazorStar in here to fix me up with the odds of what happened...Game 1 was long and we both had clunky spots where we whiffed attacking for turn. I was super far ahead and had the game all wrapped up...and then it all fell apart over the course of 3 turns.

I had 16 cards in deck on the first turn and down to 12 cards on the final turn. 2 of those cards were my outs to getting a Zapdos out of my discard so I could make my final attack for the win. I had multiple Jirachi on board that can each let me look at the top 5 cards of my deck, choose 1 "trainer card" (which is what the Rescue Stretcher is) there and put it into your hand, then shuffle your deck. So over the course of the 3 turns I used Jirachi 13 times and did not see either of the two cards I needed and lost in the most disgusting way possible.

Game 2 he beat me in 2 turns and my opening hand literally had every copy of the cards I needed to find at the end of the previous game. It was like a cosmic joke. My run to T16 had ended and with it the $500 and 72 pack payout. I needed to win my final round to make T32 for $250 and 36 packs. This was the same situation I found myself in in Denver. A ~$350 money match.

8-4-1

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R13 Turbo Pikarom

I was elated! This was my most favored matchup, the exact one I hoped to see. First game turned out almost exactly like the previous round, however. I had the game well in hand and it just all fell apart when I whiffed the pieces I needed for multiple turns. The 2nd game I had an opening to win in the first 2 turns and I dug through a ton of my deck searching for my outs and could not get them. Deck just fell off the rails completely.


L - First game went much like the Zard in R12. Was ahead all game and at the end when I should have had the win I just kept whiffing until he crawled back and won.
L - He opened Pikarom energy pass. I started Koko GX, but was able to hit for 120 with buzz. Then he slaps down Thunder Mountain and just rolls through me because I couldn't find the Viridian for 2 turns ( was going to Swing Around for game).

8-5-1 48th place / 585

+50 CP / 550 toward Worlds invite

(Worlds is unattainable for me unless I win a ton of points at regionals, which this year I did not. City-level tournaments are where a majority of players make their points and they are always held on weekends, so I am unable to travel around to them. I think after Madison I only have around 160/550 Championship Points.)

----------

Overall I had a blast in Madison and I feel pretty fuckin' good about Day-2-ing two Regionals in a row. I am 1 of 4 Nebraskans to Day 2 this season and 1 of 2 to do it twice. I beat some great players and lost mostly to rotten fucking luck, but such is the nature of a card game. Moving forward I know I need to work on my speed. I think my pace of play is fine and legal, but I trend toward playing grindy single-prize attacker decks that take a long time to win, so I need to begin trying to blitz and increase my odds of getting through 3 games. This would make the dead draws hurt less, as on average my deck is very consistent.

In 3 weeks I will be heading to the North American International Championship to end the season in Columbus, OH. This will be the largest tournament of the season by far, I think last year was close to 1500 players. This tournament pays out to T64 and all of the prizes are doubled. I will be thinking of nothing but the $10,000 grand prize for the next 3 weeks.

 

tl;dr - I made Day 2 again for the 2nd time. This time my deck shit on me at the end and I fell out of the money at 48th place. If you wanna see me play on stream check this link out from 3:33:34 - 4:34:29

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/432979470?t=03h33m34s

 

Edited by Zack_of_Steel
Fixing video?
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I understood some of these words.

TGP now has another famous person out in the world now, so that's cool.

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Yeah, I tried keeping it somewhat accessible while also doubling as a writeup competitive players would understand. The WLT parts were my notes during the tournament and I added the commentary.

I dunno how famous I am yet, but I'm finally making a bit of a name for myself. It really just came down to making time to practice. I have a long way to go, but I'm already well ahead of much of the circuit and people in the Midwest.

Being on stream was pretty weird, but I've definitely proven to myself that I can contend with the best and making some real cash could be in order for next season.

Thanks for reading!

Edited by Zack_of_Steel

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So you had 12.5% chance to hit the card you needed (2/16) and 13 tries at it. And those odds got better each turn... that is some remarkably shitty luck. Since you shuffle after each time, it's a random seed each time so the odds would be (2/16), (2/15), (2/14), (2/13) and (2/12) depending on the cards in deck each time you used Jirachi. At worst your odds were 1 - (1/8)^13 which is... 99.999999999818101059645414352417% so I have to ask who exactly did you fuck to get such bad luck?

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Maybe it's the fact that people have scooped to me to give me wins and the universe is balancing it out.

Or it's what I said in discord:

shit like this makes me wonder about god

I mean, for that to happen and then literally my opening hand the next game has both of them in it and the other 4 switch cards I needed one of to win the game.

(But I was sitting on that card the entire time)

Someone somewhere was having a bit of fun with the situation

 

But holy shit, man. Even if I misremembered the counts and the odds were a little better than that...What in the actual fuck? It was surreal sitting there and every turn being sure that I would finally hit it on one of them and just whiffing repeatedly.

Edited by Zack_of_Steel

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1st turn I was at 16 in deck after draw. 2nd of 4 jirachi turns I cynthiad (shuffle in hand, draw 6) to 20 cards in deck, 6 in hand and then nest balled for 4th jirachi and brought me down to 19 in deck. So 3rd turn I was down to 18 on draw, 3 jirachis (1 died)-> 15 cards. Draw for last turn 14, 3 jirachis-> last is with 12 in deck, becomes 11. Yeah, I remembered the exact numbers.

Bad grammar cuz I dictated it and then edited it quick.

 

@RazorStar

Edited by Zack_of_Steel

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I don't know how much worse you want to make your odds, you were already about 100 times more likely to win the lottery than miss that often.

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Zack this is really cool, man. I play a bit of Magic and some TESL, never touched Pokemon, so I don't know like 3/4 of those words. But still, very cool.

If you need any further help getting over nervousness being on stream, I would suggest you stream something and host it yourself. Kinda takes the edge off, I streamed League for years, made me kinda immune to being streamed later on.

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Yeah, I play MTG, and I can't imagine playing under that much stress haha

Really cool though. Glad you got to exact revenge on that dickhead in the second round. Look forward to seeing how you fare next go-round. 

Do you tend to change decks/theme often between tournies?

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