Hey there, Cut or Tap readers! I’m back with another article, this time one a bit more abstract. I feel like reflecting on this past weekend of the World Championships, to let you all in on exactly what I feel went wrong for me and how I plan on improving this in the future. The Pokemon Trading Card Game is one filled with much more than simply skill, luck, deck composition, and matchups. This game has plenty of factors in it such as mental state during the morning of and the night before, as well as other little things that can all really add up over time to become the reason for a loss. Yeah, they can really seem like trashy excuses, but this stuff is real! Did you get enough sleep the night before? Did you just get into a fight with your sibling? Is anything bogging down your mind? Pokemon is a game involving human error and emotion, and we can’t play in a state devoid of all emotion. Even if we are being rushed over by adrenaline, we are being affected in some way that can alter our quality of play.
This article, while not about the science behind everything I just claimed, is meant to give an in-depth look at one of these many factors and how we can improve upon it for the future. This simpler factor is the merit of sticking with the play you know. This means not hoping that your friend will give you “the play” beforehand. It also means that you are ready with a deck you are comfortable in for each tournament, and whether you switch or not, you can at least have some confidence. This is one thing I need to work on, and as shown by players like long-time Darkness player Israel Sosa, confidence in an archetype can be an incredible thing.
To keep myself completely accountable, I’ll say right now that while the meta supports a specific archetype, I will stick with it tourney to tourney. While reading your local meta is a different story, it’s still important to not take local meta intricacies and bring them into a bigger picture. Chances are, your local meta is underwhelming. It is a bunch of random decks with no real balance based on X beating Y beating Z, it is mostly players who are not fully competitive just playing with whatever they have. Regionals, on the other hand, is completely defined. Will you face five Yveltal/Maxie locally even if it is the biggest deck at Regionals? Probably not, because not everyone has access to these cards, or they simply want to have fun with a deck they like. For example, I built the Entei deck after its success at the Georgia Marathon during City Championships 2015. This deck was countered by only 2 players at the tournament, because they expected a ton of Entei. What they received was only me playing Entei, and the meta being plenty different than expected. This is the difference for local tournaments, and why playing something you are comfortable with is such a huge deal.
Kevin Kobayashi, a South Florida player, won a City Championship and got three 2nd-places all with different Seismitoad-EX/Crobat lists. Why? Because it was what he knew, and he took it far. Cut or Tap’s own Phinnegan Lynch built Toad Bats as well, and gave a list to Kian Amini who won a Regionals with it, and then to Conner Pedersen who ended up getting 2nd for Seniors at Worlds with another list. If that doesn’t say something about sticking to your guns, I’m not sure how else to persuade you!