Hey there, Cut or Tap Readers! Daniel Altavilla here, fresh out of Wisconsin Regionals. I was able to take another 4th place finish after my similar finish in Virginia, with another Dark variant. I guess we’ll never have a Dark deck sitting outside of the top tier! I really had a blast with every part of this Madison trip and though I didn’t have to go to the Regional, I’m very happy I went. I’d like to report my day to share my findings with this deck, as throughout the tournament I learned more about it than I thought I could have.
The idea behind the Foxy Drampa deck (Zoroark BREAK/Drampa GX) came from Matt Townsend, who piloted it to a 5-1-3 finish in Seattle. Due to some poor time management and some other factors on his end he received the three ties, but he told me if he had played faster and better that he would easily have skated into Day 2. After hearing that, I had to try the deck out. After testing it at locals and smashing all the Garb, I was convinced the deck at the very least did what it was set out to do – beat Garb. Serendipitously, it so happens that Zoroark BREAK is a busted card in this format filled with heavy-hitting GX attacks and Choice Band. Team Magma’s Secret Base was a giant inclusion for the deck and probably the biggest reason that the deck is able to work the way it does.
The interesting thing about Foxy Drampa is that you can always be sure to pressure your opponent in some way, whether it be through punishing them for overbenching or just dropping down a Drampa with an energy, or even something as small as spreading with Tapu Koko. This sort of thing is usually only present in Toolbox decks, such as Fairybox or Plasma Toolbox, so it’s interesting seeing a deck devoted to only a couple different Pokemon have so many options. This can probably be easily attributed to Zoroark BREAK’s Foul Play attack, giving it the option to KO your opponents in weird ways. I think I Foul Played over five different attacks throughout the tournament, so a lot of the time your deck is just every other deck too!
Now that I’ve bantered about the deck a bit, let’s jump into exactly how Madison went down:
It was a 20-hour drive there, and a 3-hour drive to Orlando before that. After my friend Ray (who exclusively plays M Rayquaza-EX decks) picked me up and brought me back to Orlando, I crashed on his couch for a bit and then we got ready to go to locals. At locals, I was going to play the same 60 I would in Madison, in order to test out the consistency of the deck. The only difference was that I had a Hoopa STS in place of Tapu Koko promo due to it not being tournament legal until the next day. This actually caused me some confusion, as Hoopa won me a game versus Garbodor where I kept a Choice Banded Tauros GX active and sniped my opponent’s bench six times to win a game. I realized eventually that had I not dead drawn, I wouldn’t have been in that situation anyways, so I stuck with Koko. We split Top 8 because we all had to go back home and take showers, so I took my $25.00 store credit and we headed home.
Back home, I was able to get one game in against Lurantis-GX Vileplume where I won due to Zoroark BREAK. This game made it apparent to me that Zoroark BREAK is way bigger in some matchups than I give it credit for. It also showed me why I shouldn’t ever drop Teammates: You need it to help get your BREAKs out! The game was very important in helping me make the final decision for Madison.
20 hours later and we were at the hotel. I was set on Zoroark, so we all ran to the hot tub to get some R&R before the big day. I ended up jumping into the shallow end of the pool and fracturing a bone in my ankle, which is why I was in a wheelchair for all of the tournament. I played some quick games against Ray (piloted by Ray), got some ice for my ankle, and passed out.
On the morning of the tourney, I asked Brad Curcio for his Volcanion list. I told my friends that if he sent me the list in time, I would play it for the Regional. He ended up not getting back to me until after Round 1, but I was 1-0 so I didn’t mind. I was helped out by the judges and my friends with getting around in my wheelchair and I was given a table all the way at the bottom tables to sit at all day. After a crazy introduction ceremony complete with Jimmy Ballard’s tears of joy and Ash and Brock telling us where to find the $5 cheese fries, it was time for Round 1.
Round 1 versus Metagross GX/Solgaleo GX (WLW) 1-0
This series was horrible as far as my draws went. My opponent played plenty of Unown and some Mallow and always hit it, so he was always getting out his Solgaleo. I can copy Solgaleo with Foul Play so I was still able to draw prizes, but I couldn’t keep up attackers very well to draw six prizes. I ended up taking the series anyways, but it was close and I’m pretty sure I won on Turn 3 of time. Who’d have thought this round was foreshadowing for how my tournament run would end?
Round 2 versus Ryan Sabelhaus/Volcanion EX (WW) 2-0
You can watch this series on the official Madison stream, but just know that I didn’t have the Oricorio play in mind all game – it fell into my lap after I realized he had 6 Pokemon in discard. Besides that, Ryan dead drew, but that Game 2 is a good example of how the matchup should play out on Zoroark’s side – you give them a couple hits with Tapu Koko and then clean them up with Zoroark. I just got in a few extra hits due to Ryan’s dead-draws.
Round 3 versus Umbreon GX/Drampa GX/Wobbuffet – (WLW) 3-0
This round was kinda silly. He dead-drew in Game 1, I dead-drew in Game 2, and only Game 3 was a real game. Basically, this matchup is kinda free. I just copy Shadow Bullet and take an extra prize for the 2-shot war we have. Also, copying Dark Call for one energy is busted. I always have a Drampa set up on the bench just in case, too. Solid matchup for sure.
Round 4 versus Gyarados – (WLW) 4-0
Gyarados was actually pretty tough because in Game 2 I prized the Tapu Koko. The matchup could be easier if they ever filled up their bench, but because of the Koko threat he only benched one or two Karp at a time. With three Pokemon on bench, you only hit for 100, so even with their 20 damage it’s hard to get OHKOs. I actually had to use Zoroark BREAK to Foul Play Remoraids attack once, Foul Play Thrash twice, and I even used the bad Oricorio attack to take a prize on Magikarp. In Game 3 I was able to Koko his Magikarps for a KO on the active and a KO on the bench, guaranteeing he would never get the Gyarados attack off for the rest of the game. Pretty sure he scooped this one quickly.