This tournament report is a little different from others because I focus primarily on educating the reader with my experience from the event, leaving out details or information that are less relevant to learning from my successes and failures. I focus a lot on the specific cards that I teched in my list and how they actually were used, the specific misplays I made, and specifically what made it possible for me to have a 10-4-1 record piloting a deck that everybody was countering. At the end of this piece, I have an updated Night March list with the changes I made to the deck after the event.
I have a horrible habit of misplaying in my first round from not fulling being awake, or tournament anxiety, or not enough food, or a combination of all three. I made a misplay right from the start by not playing the correct T1 supporter. My opponent was playing Golisopod Zoroark and I opted to play Ghetsis instead of Hex. This is entirely incorrect because you want to go for Hex on Turn 1 against any Zoroark variant if you are fortunate enough to play first. I was happy to have made this mistake early on in the event because I did not forget my mistake for the next 14 rounds and went for Turn-1 Hex whenever possible afterward.
Night March is easy to play too slowly, and I ended up taking far too long to lose my first game. After about 32 minutes had gone by I realized I had no time to spare. This time I went first and did use Turn-1 Hex. Luckily my opponent had nothing as a result of that play, and I was able to Hex again on my second turn and take a KO. Again, my opponent was stuck with a dead hand and their last Pokemon in play, so I simply took my second knock out to win a 2-minute Game 2. Won Game 3 by going super aggressive and taking advantage of my opponent’s somewhat slow start.
This time I played a mirror, a matchup I was happy to see. I used Ghetsis very frequently, maybe four times throughout the two games. He was playing the Maxie version of Night March, which I now think is unfavored against the regular version. Repeated Ghetsis use was strong because it would disrupt Premonition, preventing him from using Maxie more than once and getting what he needed set up. I don’t remember much of Game 1, but I remember in Game 2 he put down a Zoroark GX while I had 4 prizes left (he had both zoroark and Maxie in the deck) and it gave me the opportunity to Guzma for two consecutive turns to KO Shaymin and Zoroark. The lesson to learn here is that if it looks like your opponent can win by using two Guzmas, you shouldn’t play more GX’s or EX’s down unless you have to. Of course, if you already have two GX’s or EX’s in play, this wouldn’t matter.
I ended up facing three different Fighting decks during Day 1, and this was my first. I played aggressively throughout, both in terms of play speed and the strategy I took. I knew that if I did enough to set up my board and discard pile quickly, that he would not be able to take six prizes before me. So I went for multiple Shaymin T1 and took a knock out on my first turn going second. This is the way to go against Fighting decks because if you give them time to hit the Focus Sashes they need, and set up Octillery and get Oricorio, you will lose. The important thing is to get Buzzwole knockouts with Pumpkaboo (Buzzwole is weak to psychic), knock out Lele (7 Night Marchers discarded and a Choice band), and if they play Shaymin at any point it makes things a lot easier. Just go for easy prizes however possible in this way. I ended up playing Teammates or a heavy draw Supporter on turns where I need to hit the Blower (to get rid of Sash), and on turns when I can KO something on the bench, obviously I go for Guzma or Counter Catcher. The matchup is not hard as long as you can play a bunch of cards quickly and go very aggressive. I won the third game on my last turn of time. You have to play Night March very quickly and know when to scoop, otherwise you will tie matches you should have won.
This time I was faced up against Ahmed; one of my teammates on PPG. He was playing Gardevoir which I was actually quite afraid of because I had lost to it a lot in when coaching other people using Gardevoir, and I was pretty convinced the matchup is relatively 50/50. What ended up making a difference for me was the fact that I could Counter Catcher in Game 3 in order to knock out a 2-prize Pokemon and play a draw Supporter in the same turn. This is sort of the same idea as for why people played Red Card in Zoroark decks; it’s a sort of pseudo-method of playing two Supporters in one turn.
I played Game 1 incorrectly because I was thinking Ahmed played Seismitoad and Karen initially. I was wrong: he played Oricorio, so benching my Tauros ended up being a mistake. It did prevent me from taking the extra damage from Oricorio, but in the end, it was not worth it. I lost Game 1 mostly because I could not draw a DCE at all on my first and second turns, but I won the next two games.
For Game 2, I went first and played Hex (Hex is more optimal than Ghetsis in this matchup), which ended up stopping him from playing T1 Brigette. He was only able to get one Ralts down and I took a T2 KO on a Tapu Lele. The aggression was too much for him to deal with and I believe I won the game in four, maybe five turns.
Game 3 was a bit of a blur for me, as I was playing very quickly in order to finish out the series. I believe this was another scenario where I won on my last turn of time, so as I said, you have to play Night March very quickly to play out three games in 50 minutes.
By this time I was tired of having no use for Tauros but finally ended up using it, because I faced my first Seismitoad deck. Game 1 was over quickly because my opponent T1 Ghetsis’d me into an awful hand that let me lose the game in about four turns.
In Game 2, I take little time to find my Tauros and get it out as soon as I see an Ultra Ball. Tauros is incredible against Seismitoad because you force them to either allow you to one-shot them with Mad Bull, or they can stop using Quaking Punch. If they do stop Punching, you’re in a great place because obviously, you have access to items once again. My opponent opted to keep Punching, which by the way was the right choice on his part, so I went for the obvious play and one-shot hit toad. The fortunate part for me was that I had Ghetsis at a great time (luckily he did not play VS Seeker, not expecting me to play Ghetsis) and I left him with a totally dead hand. Being able to take a one-shot and leave him with a dead hand pretty much won me that game.
Game three again is vague, I don’t actually remember how I won, other than the fact that I used pretty much everything other than a Night Marcher to attack. Zoroark GX, Lele GX, and Tauros GX are all very strong against Toad. So, although Night March has a tough Toad matchup without techs, all of the new cards that Night March has added over the last three to six months allowed me to beat Toad with decent consistency. I have said a couple times that I didn’t use Ranger at all throughout the tournament, but I actually may have used it once in Game 3. Like I said, the memory is vague and I think it’s possible that I did use Ranger once.
I’m feeling great at this point, but now I’m up against Jay Lesage with Whales. In my testing, this deck was pretty easy to beat, but I knew Jay was a much better play than who I had played against in testing (no offense to anybody I tested with; Jay’s just really really good at Pokemon). This ended up being my only loss on Day 1, for two reasons. Primarily it was because I prized two Night Marchers in both games. Prizing more than one Night Marcher means you’re in a lot of trouble because you no longer have the capability to one-shot Wailord. I dealt with this in an incorrect way, where I pushed hard for early aggression on my first turn but slowed down after realizing my deck was going to get small very quickly had I continued pushing. There was certainly some poor luck here because I couldn’t draw DCE, but at the same time, I should have continued to push on further on my second turn and so on.
The misplay I made was playing Ghetsis in a hand where I had a Puzzle and an extra DCE. My thinking was that I could prevent Jay from having Max Potion, while hopefully drawing into another Puzzle. This was a bad idea because I was then stuck with a hand with more resources that I didn’t want to discard and therefore could not Juniper away. Instead I should have played Juniper, acknowledging that there were many resources discarded. It was a hairy situation either way, but I could have taken a better route.
I was too committed to Game 1 and ended up not scooping at a time when I probably should have. Jay was playing very slowly, checking my discard and his card piles every turn. This is nothing against him; that’s the way to properly play Whales when you know you’re going to win. I probably should have scooped up the game about five minutes earlier than I did. Game 2 did not end because I had eaten up too much time through Game 1, and I ended up losing the set 1-0.
This time I’m against a Zoroark Magnezone deck, which really caught me off guard. I had to find a game plan right off the bat because I had not played the deck before now, meaning I really did not know what the deck’s counts were, what Night March counters they played, or really anything else about the deck. Luckily for me, I was able to win Game 1 almost exclusively because my opponent was drawing poorly. I took three or four prizes just by using Horn Attack with Tauros, which by the way was the only other time I attacked with Tauros other than when I faced Seismitoad (I also used it once in Day 2, but it was a mistake to do so).
Going into Game 2, I had a little bit more of a clear idea for how my opponent’s deck functioned. I realized the way he was going to beat me was by playing two Supporters in one turn through Dual Brains. It occurred to me that he could play Karen and Hex in the same turn once he was set up. I tried to prevent this from happening by playing Hex frequently and overpowering him with aggression. It did not work out for me this time and he was able to set up, despite my efforts. In fact I actually got all the way down to a single prize, while he still had five left. This actually worked in his favor because he had a turn where he N’d me to 1 and then used Hex. I did not have an out, and he followed up by playing Karen and then Hex again! I could do nothing at this point and I scooped.
We did not have much time for Game 3. My opponent played pretty slowly throughout the whole match and although I played quickly, we hardly got through any of it. This actually may have been a good thing for me, because I concluded that his deck actually just beats Night March once it sets up, and that if we actually played out a fair third game, I probably would have lost.
This was when I played against my second Fighting deck. This time my opponent did play Sashes, which presented more of a problem but still not too much of an issue. Having already played against Buzzwole Lycanroc earlier in the day, I had a pretty clear idea of what to do. I won Game 1 by taking easy prizes on Lele, Shaymin, and Buzzwole. In Game 2, I could not draw DCE quickly enough and my opponent got set up pretty well; I lost that one pretty quickly. Game 3 ran pretty similar to Game 1, except for the fact that he ended up with a very poor hand off one of the N’s he played. He missed energy attachments as a result and the beats he missed allowed me to take a commanding lead until I won.
Finally I played against the deck that Andrew Mahone used to get 9th. It was not Mahone, but someone I assume he was friends with. The deck plays Carbink Break, which does almost nothing against Night March. My opponent told me right from the start that this was a terrible matchup for him. Part of me thought he was trying to pull a fast one on me and there was an Oricorio in there. He did not, and I won the matchup 2-0 with ease. The details of this match are pretty unimportant; the only thing you need to know about the match is that Fighting Carbink takes a hard loss to Night March.
The biggest aspect that I think lead to my success during Day 1 was saying very positive and optimistic through the entire day, no matter if I won or lost or tied. The biggest reason I struggle at events is because I get tilted or otherwise become anxious, so avoiding this problem made a huge difference. I went to bed early and got a solid eight hours.