Thursday, 27 February 2014

Attending VGC Nats?

Hi guys.

If you're planning on attending the VGC Nats on the 15th June, why not follow the link and let your presence be made known! Nugget Bridge SA Nats 

If you ever want to do some testing with myself or Stephen before the event, let us know, we'll be glad to help.

-Gavin

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

SA's Nationals dates

HEY GUYS

Great news: the dates for Nationals have been confirmed. On the 15th June, SA will have its first ever VGC NATIONAL EVENT (way too many letters in capitals there, but anyways). The event will be hosted in Brightwater Commons, and there are 2 unpaid trips to Worlds up for grabs. OMGOSH. Make sure to participate, dearly beloveds.

In less exciting news, the TCG event will be hosted on the day before, the 14th, at the exact same location.

Hope to see you all there! (Hopefully I won't have exams then).

-Gavin

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Nardus's Durban Cities Report

Coastal Adventures with Pokémon!

As promised, here is my highly anticipated report on the Durban city TCG championships.
5 Players from the Pretoria league took the trip down to Durban for this event, and we got a whole lot more than what we bargained for….

After a day spent indulging in the delights of Durban’s golden beachfront, its sights, sounds, famed Ushaka marine world as well as its many culinary treats – it was time to get down to business….. Cities at the unseen shoppe.

The shoppe has to be one of Durban’s best kept secrets. A haven for TCG / board game enthusiasts neatly tucked away in a leafy part of Westville. It is well stocked with all the merch you might need, and tables are perma set-up for anyone who wants to play their favourite game at any given time.
Zahir and all the other Durban players made us feel right at home, they are such an amazing league!

Right, down to the tournament itself:
The tourney consisted of a masters-only field of 17 players with the exception of a singular senior competitor – Matthew, the auto DBN city champion in his division!
We played 5 rounds of Swiss with a top cut of 4 players.

I ended up using the following DarkGarb list:






This is how it all went down for me:

Game 1 – Marc w Rayboar/catcher shenanigans
Going into this game I felt fairly good about my chances. I only got my Garbodor up fairly late though, allowing Marc a turn to Inferno Fandango some fire energy to his multiple Rayquaza’s. Still feeling good about my chances, I proceeded to troll with sableye, recycling items and powering up my Darkrais.

Marc played an unexpectedly big line of catchers though, and after catchering out my Garbodor for the second time, managed to knock it out. My second trubbish was prized, and it took me at least four or five subsequent turns to Rod out the knocked trubbish and get it back onto the bench. By then it was too late. Marc had unrestricted access to inferno fandango, powering up his dragon army and with some superior energy retrieval shenanigans managed to win the game.

 

0-1, and my prospects looked bleak to put it mildly.

Game 2 – Matthew w mew/meloetta/other stuff
Being paired against the only senior in the field, I knew that this would hurt my resistance and make my chances of making top cut that much smaller. I was not about to give up though, and battled through for the win.
Matthew had chances to do some significant damage to my dark Pokémon with his fighting meloetta, but to his dismay he proceeded to draw zero energy for three to four turns (out of 18 energy cards in his list)
Matthew would certainly give the seniors of Gauteng a run for their money though, he is one to look out for in the future.
1-1, a slight glimmer of hope prevails

Game 3 – Kaamraan w ROUND

I don’t think I’ve ever had such a fun game in my life, lol. This guy has such a relaxed table presence, and he’s problably the most polite Pokémon player in the world! Every turn he would say “thank you so much” / something similarly polite for every move made. I imagine this is how Pokémon would have been played in 18th century English high society, lol.

 

Anyway, we had a blast the whole game through. After a slow start he somehow managed to keep his full complement of 5 ROUND Pokémon on the bench almost every turn. He managed to knock out two of my darkrais and a sableye, and needed just one prize to win the game.

 

I managed to keep up in the prize exchange though, and in the end my enhanced hammers turned out to be the game winner, starving him of energy for his toads towards the end.

 

It was incredibly close, as all Kaamraan needed was his last remaining DCE on his final turn to win the game. It was not to be though, and I proceeded to knock out one of his toads to take my 6th and final prize.

 

2-1, still in with a chance



Game 4 – Gareth w Crobat
This was an almost autowin matchup for me, due to the fact that Garbodor shuts down Night sight, and virtually all of my Pokémon resist psychic attacks.
To top that off, I was off to a brilliantly fast start, my deck was really steamrolling and I was getting perfect hands every turn. Gareth also told me that he has only been able to beat a darkrai deck once in his life, so he wasn’t exactly confident. Comfortable win.
3-1, almost in top cut!

Game 5 - Faffa w Yeti
Going into this match, both faffa and I pretty much knew that only one of us was going to make top cut. I was in 4th position, while the unbeaten faffa was slightly lower due to two drawn games he had to suffer through. A draw in this game would most likely see us both missing top cut, and neither of us wanted that.
We made a pact amongst ourselves to not let this game go to a draw, and that one of us would concede if the game came to that. We both played as fast as we could under the circumstances.
My strategy was to keep trolling with sableye, poisoning his thundurus and keeping energy away from his lugia/snorlax with my enhanced hammers. I managed to get some enhanced hammers in the discard pile early game, and we were pretty much stuck in a never-ending cycle of me discarding his special energy every turn, and him putting them back again with Raiden knuckle. All while he was slowly knocking out sableyes with the 30 damage attack, and I was slowly wearing out his thundurus’s with the poison.
The turning point came when I got my silver mirror setup on a sableye, and faffa had already used all of his tool scrappers. Low on resources himself, he effectively had no way left to damage that sableye.
My deck was running low on cards, and in a last ditch effort, faffa brought up my trubbish and put his snorlax in front to try and make me deck out.
At this point, the draw was looming, meaning one of us would have to concede to avoid both of us missing cut.
I had the garbodor and float stone in hand to avoid the snorlax lock, with a super rod a mere Skyla away. This effectively means that I wasn’t going to deck out anytime soon, as I could just keep recycling the super rod as needed and acknowledging that I would probably have won the game if it continued on without any time constraints, Faffa conceded to give me the win.
This while being ahead on prizes….. I have never seen a nobler act in all of my time spent playing Pokémon. I had made top cut thanks to Faffa’s completely selfless gesture, he really is a true champion!
4-1, made top cut!






Top 4 – Craig w TDK
So, here we are at the business side of things. Best of three top cut matchups. Here we go….
I pretty much persisted with the same strategy I used against Faffa, to excellent effect. Craig used a fairly stock standard TDK deck, with a surprisingly heavy line of frozen city… he played at least three!
I think there was a sigilyph on his bench at some point, but he never really got to use it to great effect.
In the end my silver mirror and enhanced hammer combo’s turned out to be the match winners yet again! Close games both of them, but I managed to clinch the match 2-0 by carefully discarding his energy, defending with silver mirror and taking KO’s with darkrai / absol when I had the chance.
We were able to finish within the 60min limit and with no time called shenanigans.
I made the final!

FINAL – Michael w DarkGarb mirror
This turned out to be the most thrillingly intense match of my life! The fact that it was a cities final just added even more to that.
We pretty much matched each other blow-for-blow all the way through, with just a few tiny moments of brilliance clinching the games either side.
The first game went down to the wire, with both of us sitting on a single prize card left. He had a slightly damaged darkrai in front, with a damaged absol and a sableye benched. I escape roped his sableye for the night spear win to take the first game.
In game two, Michael had a brilliant fast start, and I was always struggling to match him in the prize race. Time was called with him being ahead 4 prizes to three, could you believe it?
If I had just managed to take one more prize before time, I would have auto won cities by virtue of winning the first game. Under the new rules, Michael auto won game 2 though, and we proceeded to a thrilling sudden death “one prize-card” game three.

I had the advantage of choosing to go first in round three, since Michael won round 2. He opened up with a lone absol, I opened up with a lone sableye.

I proceeded to laser his absol turn one, bench a darkrai, and I was weary not to bench any more pokemon due to his absol then being able to take the prize with a laser.  He colressed for four and got a darkrai out as well.
I was too scared to do anything with my sableye in fear of it getting knocked easily by his absol, so when I got my second darkrai, I proceeded to just defend with one darkrai in front, while trying to power up my benched darkrai to take the prize.
He N’ed us to one card each twice, after which I top decked what turned out to be a cities winning juniper.
At this point, he also had his darkrai in front to defend against the easy prize, but it was accumulating some damage due to the lasers my juniper brought me.
Every Pokémon he had was within a night spear of being KO’d and there was nothing he could do about it. He retreated to his sableye, junk hunted and hoped for the best.
I needed an energy for the win, and my second juniper brought me the Skyla that made it possible.
I skyla’d for a computer search, and computer searched for an energy to put on my benched darkrai and knocked out his sableye.
It was all over, I won Durban cities!


This was probably my last time playing DarkGarb at a major tourney, and as such I am glad my love affair with it ended on a high….. BRING ON XY!

In the end, Durban as a whole was a richly rewarding experience and I want to thank everyone who made the tournament and every experience I had there possible. Yes Sheldon, you too  ; )

Zahir and the guys have a truly unique laid-back setup there, which I am so envious of!
I will be back, sooner rather than later   : D


Durban truly is South Africa’s playground.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Twitch Plays Pokémon

If you didn't know, well now you do. Participate in the social study of the century on TwitchPlaysPokemon

All your fond memories of Pokémon Red will be enhanced by 100%. Guaranteed.















-Gavin

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Update

Hey guys, sorry for being so quiet lately. Uni is cray, 3rd accounting is no small task. I hope to get an article about Prankster up in the next fortnight. Expect it next Monday by the earliest.

In other news, congrats to Nardus who won the Durban TCG City Champs, you jammy tart! I've asked him for an write up about his experience. We'll hopefully have it this week.

In unrelated news, I've been testing Rocky Helmet. VS Kangaskhan it can be pretty lolzy.

Look after yourselves, and as always keep it real, gangsters.
-Gavin

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Time to Bubble and Make it Double!

As promised, here is my much anticipated tournament report of the last weekend's Johannesburg City Championships. We had 26 Masters and only 4 rounds of Swiss with a top cut of 8. I'm not sure what numbers we have to hit for this, but I much rather prefer 5 rounds because of the increase in game time.

The list I ended up using was:

Pokemon:
2x Landorus EX
2x Lugia EX
3x Deoxys EX
3x Thundurus EX
1x Genesect EX
1x Absol

Supporters:
4x N
4x Professor Juniper
3x Colress
2x Skyla
1x Shadow Triad

Items:
3x Ultra Ball
1x Team Plasma Ball
3x Colress Machine
3x Switch
1x Scramble Switch (ACE-SPEC)
1x Float Stone
1x Escape Rope
1x Max Potion
2x Tool Scrapper
1x Bicycle
2x Frozen City

Energy:
4x Prism
4x Plasma
3x Double Colourless (I always rock that HGSS swag)
3x Lightning
1x Fighting

(I may be off a card or two off but that's pretty much it)
I used a similar list at Pretoria's City Champs a few weeks back where I just missed cut by finishing 9th with a 2-2 record. I made alterations to the deck by taking out a Landorus, bumping up the energy and supporter count as well as removing Catchers in favour of Genesect EX and Red Signal. Originally I planned on using a single Town Map because I liked being able to choose my prizes, especially after a Plasma Gale, but nobody had one on the day so I threw in an Escape Rope.

The deck played out very similarly to a TDK or Yeti list, except I felt that Landorus allowed me to put on a lot of pressure in both the Darkrai and Yeti matchups due to hitting Darkrai, Thundurus and Snorlax for weakness. I actually ended up not facing a single (proper) Plasma or Darkrai deck anyway though! Ugh.


Here's a recap of how my day went:



Game 1 - Miguel w/ Lugia/Deoxys/Articuno/Mewtwo/stuff

I was able to get an early KO with my Lugia, but I was somewhere forced to have to hit his Articuno for 150 with my Deoxys. He then revenge KO'd my Deoxys with his own Deoxys. I was getting ready to take my last prizes with Lugia, but Miguel hit heads on a Catcher and took away that option. I was then forced to Raiden Knuckle and/or Hammerhead a bit for a turn or two to get some stuff going. The problem was I discarded my Max Potion early on and my Thunderous had 130/150 damage on it. I was eventually able to win on my next turn, but another Catcher heads brought my damaged Thundy up and sealed the game.
0-1


Frost Prison can be rather annoying.

Game 2 - Paul w/ Speedquaza

I didn't know who my opponent was and when I saw the baby Rayquaza I immediately expected RayBoar, so I benched stuff and got ready for the worst. My opponent just kept using Dragon Pulse and played nothing and I was able to KO his baby Ray t2/t3. When I realized what a bad deck it was I almost knew my tournament run was over because my resistance would be so bad.
1-1


Game 3 - Nicholas w/ Empoleon/Terrakion/Keldeo

I played Nic a couple times before so I had an idea of what he had in his deck such as his Ace-Spec choice (Rock guard, wut?) and so on. I started Lugia and Deoxys with a hand full of energy. I played Juniper hoping to get a Thundurus, but hit nothing. My next turn I Junipered even more energy away, but still no Thundurus. I did Plasma Gale a Piplup into oblivion for two prizes though. When I eventually did get a Thundurus into play I was also able to play an Ultra Ball and go through my deck. At that moment I saw I had no Prism or Lightning energies left in my deck! I knew had to rely on some crazy shenanigans to be able to pull this off!

 I had to sacrifice a Deoxys to buy a turn or two to get my things in order. I was then able to Scramble Switch a  Prism from my damaged Lugia onto my Thundurus and (raiden) knuckle down some energy onto my other Lugia. I KO'd his Keldo with Plasma Gale and took three Prizes with one being my last Plasma energy, so I knew I had the game. Nic sent out his Terrakion and used Retaliate thinking it would KO my Lugia due to normal's weakness to fightning. I told him he was unfortunately wrong (Lugia is a flying type, obvs) and had Lugia take my last Prize. Plasma Gale is so OP.

2-1


"My cup overflows."

Game 4 - Jan-Hendrik w/ Virizion/Genesect/Deoxys

I am officially declaring Jan-Hendrik as my Cities nemesis, because I played against him last year and twice again this year. I decided to go first to get as much energy out as possible which worked fine, but I didn't get the damage out to capitalize. Obviously he got the Red Signal and G-Booster combo to blow my Lugia away and take two prizes on his third turn I believe. I knew I just had to ride out the storm because after enough G-Boosters the deck would run out of energy. I also decided not to Tool Scrapper the G-Booster off, because the Genesect that had it also had no energy and loads of damage on it. This would then force him to have to Scrapper it off himself and use Shadow Triad to get it out again. The turning point game when I was able to Scramble Switch into a clean Thundurus with 2 Prism and a DCE on it to KO his active Genesect. I was behind 4 prizes to 1, but I had gotten the energy off his board.

I will be extremely honest here but at this point it seemed that my opponent started playing extremely slow, almost to the point of stalling. I just sat and watched as he looked at his hand, looked at his discard, looked at his hand, played a supporter, looked at his hand and discard again, looked at my discard and then eventually did something. 


Derp, derp.


At this point he sent out a Genesect with a Plasma and Grass attached and passed. I was stuck in a situation where I had my last Plasma in my hand. I had to choose to attach to Thundurus to be able to discard his grass energy or to save it for Genesect and drag up something for a KO. Perhaps I should have checked all my options again, but I went with the Thunderous Noise route and discarded a grass energy so that he couldn't G-Booster for the game. He then had a Genesect with 130 damage on it, another with 120, a Virizion with 30 and then a clean Deoxys EX and Virizion. It was then that time was called with my opponent being turn 0. He left his Genesect active and attached to his benched Virizion. I switched to Landorus and used Hammerhead to bring his Genesect to 150 and 160 damage and planned to take my last 4 prizes in one go. The problem was that I had no way of bringing anything active because my Shadow Triad and all my Plasma Energy was in the discard. Too late I realized he could simply retreat his Genesect and mess up my 4 prize sweep, which is what he did. I no options, but to Hammerhead and put 30 on the Virizion and KO one Genesect go to two prize to his one.


 I was extremely bummed to have to settle with a tie after mounting such a comeback and I really could have won the game with another turn of play. Perhaps I could have played a bit faster earlier on to combat my opponent's bouts of extremely slow play, but according  the old rules I would have lost on prizes and the new rules at least I had the draw. I thought both of us would miss cut, but it turned out that instead Jan-Hendrik would actually just squeak in at 8th.

"What about yours truly," you ask? I missed cut and bubbled at 9th. Again. (-_-)

2-1-1

The top 8 consisted of : 1 Virizion/Genesect, 3 Darkrai/Garbodor, 1 Yeti, 1 Thundurus/Deoxys/Kyurem, 1 Genesect/Keldeo/Victini/stuff and Brian Murdoch with his crazy Ninjask shenanigans! Brian made use of Latias EX and Genesect EX to give the deck a few more attacking options, but the combination of Ninjask and Shedinja was able to take out a strew of meta decks on it's way to the top 4. Ninjask/Latias/Genesect ended 4th, Darkrai/Garbodor 3rd and 2nd while Virizion/Genesect came out on top. Congrats to everyone on their various performances!

VirGen is blasting away the competition.


I do want to thank and congratulate the Judging staff and everybody that helped, because they made the best of the tournament area we were given and recovered well after they had problems with the TOM system just after registration. They had quite a bit going against them in terms of organising, TOM, prize support and so forth, but in the end it turned out okay. (Being abandoned is never easy to deal with.)

I could say a bit more, but I feel that's enough for now. I do want to comment on deck building, card choices, meta gaming and preparing for tournaments, but I shall include that in another article! I'm rather bogged down with university stuff right now, so I'll see when I have time to write something good and proper. Remember to care and share Pure Fool's Gold with all your friends as well!


- Stephen