Hey readers, I am currently in a Starbucks in Canada, reflecting on my 5-3-1 finish. The event was painful for several reasons, but I learned a lot about the format for Standard right now, and I wanted to share this info with you all. In this piece, I am going to talk about:
- How to navigate time in the Best-of-3 format for Regionals.
- How to properly metagame for Regionals in Standard
- My post-Vancouver Regionals Gardevoir list
- Updated Greninja list, and why it was the best play for Vancouver in Masters
The first thing I realized with Vancouver Regionals was that the speed at which you should play is very different. Some people were saying it was best to simply play fast every round and try to play out three games, while others argued it should be a long Game 1 followed by a Game 2 that did not finish. My conclusion was sort of a mix, leaning toward playing more slowly. While in Expanded you need to play out three games no matter what deck you are piloting (with a few exceptions), in Standard you need to observe how quickly your opponent is playing and adapt.
I was trying to play quickly from Rounds 2 through 4, and I found that it did not help me much at all. At the end of those four rounds, my record was 1-2-1. In other words, playing quickly was not working. For the next four rounds, I played at a place that was on the slower side, and I won all four rounds. I talked to Sam Chen about an hour ago and he told me something similar. That he would win the first game, and frequently would not finish the second game. This worked well for me as I played Gardevoir. Sam played Garbodor, which is a similarly slow deck.
In this format, it seems every deck is slow. We do not have the speed that is present in Expanded, and therefore need a lot more time to finish games out. This also gives us the opportunity to check prizes and make sure each and every play is correct. Personally, this time format works well for me because I know how to take advantage of the extra time. For players who like to play faster, they will most likely end up tying frequently unless they play very fast. If you can make up for your opponent taking a while, then playing faster can work. But you are also going to need to be very comfortable with asking your opponents to speed up.
I do not see this as a very effective way to manage time because most players do not speed up much even when you ask them to. I see it as much more effective to adapt to their speed and play at a similar pace. With that being said, some other players will be faster, and you can match that speed to do well too. This is why I decided to go back to playing quickly in my ninth round. My opponent was clearly a speedy player, so I decided it would be a good idea to go for three completed games. Even though I did not win that round, I still think I went about time the correct way.
Another helpful aspect of playing quickly is that your opponent cannot give you a hard time for playing too fast or too slow because you are matching their speed. However, this is easier said than done. You may have a hard time keeping the same pace as them if you are not used to time management, and your opponent is playing quickly. Playing slowly is very easy to mimic because you can always slow your play down by doing things like checking prize cards, making sure each play is correct, and other activities like seeing what you or your opponent have discarded.
When to stop mimicking your opponent’s speed