TEAM SKYNITE Battle Diaries: San Diego Regionals
By Elijah Douresseau
The Pokémon Regionals took place at the San Diego Convention Center between January 6th and 8th. As the very first regional event of 2023, and the last to occur before Crown Zenith releases, the timing of the weekend could not have been more interesting. Versions of Lugia VSTAR and Lost Box were suspected to be the most visible in SD, with Mew and baby Regis bringing up the rear. And to no one’s surprise, this was the meta for the weekend and the decks to beat to make it to day two and beyond.
The SKYNITE Pokémon TCG Team showed up with a diverse deck list arsenal. I played my trusty Rapid box deck. I felt the most comfortable piloting the deck in a variety of situations. And I had the most hours logged with the list, even after integrating meta tweaks. The Junior in our squad played the tier-one Lugia list. And another player brought Eternatus VMAX, which actually had a fairly sizable presence beyond what I guessed beforehand.
My Rapid box and Eternatus finished around the middle of the pack for the weekend. So neither of us made day two. You need 19 points to qualify for Sunday. A win gives you 3, a tie, 1, and a loss, 0 points. So if you did not know this already, fight for those ties. They do make a difference at the end of the nine rounds for Masters.
Our Junior rocked her matches. After six rounds (a 50-something player turnout for her division), she did not qualify for day two, but she was one match away from getting there. So being in the semi-winner circle, she got some good Championship Points and was awarded two Silver Tempest booster boxes for her efforts. The ten-year-old was ecstatic.
My matches by round are below. At least the ones I played:
R1 – Lugia: I felt good about my Lugia and Mew matchups for the event. My guess was these decks were going to be a large part of the player turnout and they were what I set my deck up to be able to trade blows with the most. My Zeraora has weakness on Lugia and I had a Wild Style Drapion and Blaziken for Mew and Genesect respectively. Though these matchups were never going to be easy. I just worked to develop the win conditions against these decks the most. My opponent misplayed his Radiant Charizard with my Path to the Peak in play, during the third game, and I was ultimately able to capitalize on the faux pas to emerge victorious. 1-0
R2 – Rayquaza Lost Box: A heck of a deck. The Amazing Rare Rayquaza packs a staggering punch, able to get rid of most V Pokémon with little difficulty. My Rapid box was no exception. We had a close first game, but he ultimately was able to get another Rayquaza in play for the last turn and accelerate the energy ammunition with a double Mirage Gate play. Game 2 was a lot less thrilling for my deck and my dead drawing resulted in a quick loss. 1-1
R3 – Regieleki/Vikavolt V: This was probably the match of the day that was the biggest should-have-won. My opponent’s Vikavolts did their job. They locked me up. Game 1 was slow for both of us, but Volt’s Paralyzing Bolt ensured I could not recover with the various items I drew to begin to climb out of my hole of misfortune. I was able to effectively play around Paralyzing Bolt for the second game. But I could not turn off Regieleki’s Transistor ability enough, and the damage buffs got the best of my Pokémon. 1-2
R4 – Lugia: This match occurred after the lunch break and I was feeling reenergized to play out the rest of my rounds after getting some proper food in my system. The first game was mostly even, but the quad Powerful energy on my opponent’s second Lugia proved to be too much for my setup speed. The second match ended up being more uneven and he was able to take the second match in short time. 1-3
R5 – Mew: My opponent had quite the blinged-out Mew deck. Everything was either a secret rare or an alternate full art. But it did not help him set up as effectively as a Mew deck could. I got Path out early and was able to set up quickly with my opponent’s Fusion Strike System blockage. I also was able to get Drapion out early, efficiently squashing any attempt at trying to recover the match. A scoop led to game 2, which ended up being more of the same. Though my opponent was able to get a Mew VMAX out and swinging before I took it down and started attacking his bench with my Zeraora V. The match took longer than the first, a good game, but I took it. 2-3
R6 – Duraludon/Arceus: I knew this deck would be sneaking around the Regionals floor some, and felt mostly okay about my answers to stopping Duraludon’s Skyscraper ability from being the ultimate nemesis to my Rapid Strike list that it was. I could not have asked for a better game 1. I was able to hit his lone Duraludon V for weakness, with Path also in play, and made quick work of a stifled Arceus VSTAR with my Urshifu VMAX. Then the stalemate came. Eventually, there was just one Duraludon in play. He bumped my first Path with a Crystal Cave. I was able to soften the dragon with a Canceling Cologne but it was not enough. Then I bumped the Cave with a Tower of Waters, which he bumped with a Pumpkaboo. I went digging for my second Path and could not find it. The card was definitely in the deck, but I could not draw into it in time. G-Max Pulverization hits hard and hits consistently, and I eventually was sending my one-prizers to slaughter every turn before I was out of draw options and subs for my weakened Blaziken VMAX and Urshifu VMAX. Frustratingly, my opponent took game 1. Game 2 was less exciting and I mostly bricked it. 2-4
R7 – No show: I did drop after round 7. It was clear I was not advancing to day 2 by round 5, but I did want to try to maximize whatever CP I could get if I was not advancing. Though this turned into a bit of a marathon in and of itself since there were numerous player withdrawals after round 4. After a long day, I did not want to wait for the next round to not play anyone if my opponent dropped. So I finished at 538, out of 900-ish players. I had fun. Probably should have played with three Path to the Peak and one Tower of Waters, but as the sole move I would have done differently if I got to do it all over again, I’m not mad at it. This was my first Regional in like, 17 years, so it was good to get this kind of high-level exposure again in the present age. 3-4
The grind continues. I’m looking forward to eventually selecting and developing a list for Portland Regionals in May. My Rapid box did good. I practiced the way I should have and approached the game and my list with a critical eye for bettering how and what I played with, spice and all.
The year is young. Get out there and hustle! May the shenanigans be ever in your favor.