|Worlds and LCQ will be the |
last stand of Vileplume
First of all, I've gotten a ton of questions how my name is pronounced. It's a short name, but it's very challenging to pronounce if you aren't Finnish. I have heard so many variations of my name that I didn't even know that my could be pronounced in that many ways! Anyways, if you click this link: Esa and press the speaker button, it will pronounce the name as close as the real pronounciation as possible with Google translate.
Also, my laptop just broke down, so I this entry was delayed a bit. This also means that I have to take my gf’s IPad with me to Hawaii to be able to update my Facebook and Twitter. I hate typing with touch screen, but I do what I got to do since I’ll try to update FB and Twitter between every round, so anyone not going to Worlds can follow my tournament run in real-time.
Just a week ago, I was pretty sure that this entry would be about Garchomp/Altaria. However, the more I thought about it, the more absurd the idea grew. I’ve only played a handful of games with the deck and don’t really have any too in-depth thoughts about it. I want to offer the best for you, so I’ll start analyzing BW-on when I myself am testing it.
This leads me to the main topic of this entry – the last hurray of the HGSS-on format- the 2012 World Championships. I’ve already made a mass entry about World Championships for the UG, so in this entry I’ll concentrate on things that I didn’t concentrate so much on in the UG article. It’s good to brainstorm once in a while, so this entry will probably be my most “bloggish” entry so far with just everything that pops up into my head while writing.
Let’s get going.
In my opinion Accelgor is one of the most interesting decks at the moment. The reason why it’s interesting is because it’s a small mystery for many players. It did very well in the U.S. National and still the “official” list is a complete mystery. However, this isn’t a new phenomenon. In 2006 RaiEggs won the U.S. Nationals in a dominating manner and there was no real lists of RaiEggs revealed before Worlds. In the end, RaiEggs failed completely in the Worlds (mainly due a very different metagame) and almost no one played it in the Worlds.
With Accelgor it’s different. RaiEggs was a complete metagame counter whereas Accelgor would be good in kind of metagame. It’s a complete lockdown deck. The only things that can stand on the way of Accelgor in the Worlds are the other secret decks, which could have random cards that counter Accelgor. Also, the top32 combined with 60 minutes+3 turns will be very tough for Accelgor.
I think Accelgor is a very bold choice for an important tournament like Worlds, but both – Harrison Leven and John Kettler proved in the U.S. Nationals that you can go very far with it. I doubt that Accelgor can take it all since in a big tournament the game tempo naturally slows down for each player. This will give huge trouble for players playing Accelgor if they aren’t able to win the first game in the best-of-three matches.
I’ve been testing Accelgor quite a bit and I love to play with the deck. In fact, I like to play with it so much that at one point I even considered as one of my options for Worlds. However, I know that I haven’t played with the deck nearly enough to keep the game tempo up in the top cut games and that’s why I decided not-to-play it.
Klinklang’s victory in the U.S. Nationals really disrupted my mental balance. It was really unexpected. And after I started testing more with a complete replica of John Roberts II’s list, I was surprised how strong the deck really was. The biggest problem I noticed with Klinklang was against the fastest decks of the format that could hit for high damage as well. Any deck able to get rid of Klings in the early game will win against Klinklang if they’re able to OHKO the one Klinklang that they’re able to set-up. For example Mewtwo EX requires 8 energy to OHKO Klinklang so even though it’s difficult, it’s not a mission impossible.
Klinklang, just like any other not-so-played deck, does the best against players not knowing what you should do against them. If Klinklang was as known as it is now, I’m sure that many players wouldn’t have lost to it. The biggest mistake you can do against Klinklang is to hope they will eventually run out of Max Potions. They won’t. Your deck should be able to outspeed or OHKO Klinklangs. Otherwise you’ll be fully relying on them not drawing into Max Potions (which – as previously mentioned – won’t happen).
I think that the history will once again repeat itself and Klinklang won’t win Worlds since it won the U.S. Nationals. The metagame will be too random for a deck like Klinklang, which is at its best against the metagame decks and the worst against random decks.
Darkrai EX decks
The results from the U.S. Nationals were pretty interesting since only one Darkrai – a Darkrai/Mewtwo piloted by Jay Hornung – made to the top4. At first it seemed that Darkrai decks did badly, but when we look at the top8 of the U.S. Nationals, we’ll notice something curious.
1st – John Roberts II (Klinklang/EXs)
2nd – Kevin Nance (Zekrom/Eelektrik/Mewtwo EX)
3rd – Jay Hornung (Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX)
4th – Chris Murray (Celebi/Mewtwo EX/Tornadus/Terrakion)
5th – Ashon Haswell (Zekrom/Eelektrik/Mewtwo EX)
6th – Tom Dolezal (Speed Darkrai EX)
7th – Breton Brander (Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX)
8th – Carl Scheu (Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX/Tornadus EX)
So, in the end, 50% of the top8 decks involved Darkrai as the main attacker even though only 25% of the top4 involved Darkrai. The thing that differs the Zekrom, CMT and Klinklang in the top4 from the top8 finishing Darkrai EX decks, is that they had something special in them. Klinklang had Kyogre EX and was unknown for many players. CMT ran only 4 supporters and the Zekrom ran 3 Max Potions. It was these little tweaks that helped the decks to do so well.
It’s good to remember that the top8 could’ve gone the other way around as well since the match-ups are very close. Any player from the places 5th-8th could’ve finished to the top4. That’s why it’s much more important to understand the metagame is very well balanced at the moment. It’s almost too balanced. Games can be decided by the opening flip since the match-ups are SO close. It would be an interesting statistic to see how big percentage of players going first would win their matches. Someone should do that kind of research next season.
My favorite Darkrai EX deck of the moment is Mewtwo EX/Darkrai EX, because it has all the answers. It’s fast, consistent, very good in Mewtwo EX wars and doesn’t have any autolosses. I’ve also heard that Japanese players favor this deck. I’m not surprised.
Darkrai EX will be in the top4 of Worlds in every single age group and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a Darkrai EX deck to win every single age division. Of course, Darkrai EX might not be the main attacker of these winning decks, but a supporter Pokémon. Just like in Klinklang. At the moment it seems that my Worlds deck won’t be running Darkrai, but things change quickly!
International Players and their effect on the Worlds metagame
This is not the U.S. Nationals and no predictions about the metagame can be done only by looking at the results of the U.S. Nationals. The international players all around the World will shake the metagame like an earthquake and I’m sure we’ll see a lot of unexpected decks and most of all – unexpected techs. That’s why a metagame deck counter is always a very risky choice for Worlds if the card pool is as large as at the moment. In the 7 rounds of Swiss you might face 7 different decks! You really can’t build a counter deck that has positive match-ups against all these 7 decks. Facing 7 different decks wasn’t possible for example last year, because there were only like 3-4 truly competitive decks.
There will be probably more forgotten old metagame decks as well. Hammertime could make a strong showing in the Worlds (or at least I hope so, haha). Also, decks like CMT and Dakrai/Terrakion could make strong showing in the Worlds as they did a strong showing in the European Nationals. There will be tens of players from the Europe on each age group, so you should not forget these players when predicting the metagame.
I’ve also been playing around with the idea of David Cohen (last year’s World Champion) coming to the tournament with revised Magneboar. It’s forgotten and undertested against, but in theory it has great match-ups against all the ex-heavy metagame decks that are popular in the current format. Jeremy Maron did the unexpected in the Worlds 2006 and went with the same deck as he won Worlds with in 2005 with small changes. Result? He finished 3rd in the 2006 Worlds! Even though Jeremy don’t play anymore, I hold this achievement of his very high since he finished to top4 of Worlds two years in a row – something no other player has ever been able to achieve in Pokémon TCG yet. It would be cool to see David trying to do the same with the very same deck as he won Worlds with.
Japanese Players and the Last Chance Qualifier
Japanese players will have surprises in their sleeves this year once again – I promise that. The LCQ will be crowded with Japanese players since Hawaii is very close to Japan and is a perfect place for Japanese players to come to try their luck in the Grinder. I’m sure that a lot of people will be interested in what Japanese players are playing and they also are very interested in what Tsuguyoshi Yamato is playing in the Grinder (I’m pretty sure he’s Grinding and doesn’t have a invite, correct me if I’m wrong). I – myself – am very interested in what any of Yoneda’s are playing. They always have such innovative decks for Worlds and are - in my opinion - the most underrated Japanese players from the western perspective.
The Japanese LCQ players’ decks will affect my deck choice. I’m certain about it. That’s why I’ll be probably following the Grinder from the very beginning to the very end even if there will be no Finnish players in the last rounds of LCQ. LCQ’s metagame is always very close to the Worlds metagame and for example last year; you could predict the Worlds metagame completely by looking at the decks played in the LCQ.
Techs from the U.S. Nationals
There are so many new techs that rose to the wide knowledge of players from the U.S. Nationals. Max potion in Eelektrik decks. Scizor Prime and Shaymin EX in Vileplume decks. Even the “bad” Terrakion made a proper showing in the U.S. Nats. Not to forget about the scary Kyogre EX tech in Klinklang, which completely destroyed all the Vileplume decks that weren’t fast enough in set-upping the Vileplume.
These techs and many more techs will be played in the U.S. Nationals. You can’t know what techs your opponent is playing, but you can try predicting what they are playing. Always prepare for the worst and if the worst doesn’t happen, at least it’s a happy surprise. On the other hand, if you aren’t always prepared for the worst, you’ll be surprised and it may cost you the game.
I hope I can catch some interesting techs from the Grinder and maybe apply them to my Worlds deck. The only year, when I did something surprising in the Worlds, it took me far in the tournament. I guess surprise is my personal receipt in the Worlds since I’m more of a deck builder than a player.
To conclude, this will be the last entry before I depart to Hawaii (The flight leaves this Saturday morning Finnish time). However, I’ll try to make an entry from Hawaii as well to get everyone to Worlds-mode with me!
If you’re coming to Worlds and spot me there, feel free to come to say hi to me! I’m not as fluent in speaking English as I’m with writing, but I’ll do my best, haha. If you’re not going to Worlds, be sure to follow me on Twitter or Facebook since I’ll try to update them regularly between every Worlds round, so you can follow my tournament in real time!
Thanks for following my blog the past season and let’s make the next season even better!