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Tag Team Pokemon TCG Podcast
Tag Team Pokemon TCG Podcast

Season 4, Episode 43 · 1 month ago

4-43. I See NA

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The boys are back and so excited for the 2022 North American International Championships in Columbus Ohio!! Come check out the report for the Milwaukee regional championship, where both Riley and JW thrived, and a look ahead to NAIC.

Tag Team is sponsored by Manscaped! Use code TAGTEAM at checkout for 20% off and free shipping.

Yo, what is up? Guys? Welcome back to tag team, the POKEMON trading card games from your podcasting Doo. My name is Riley Horbrook, joint as always, by my good, good friend Mr JW Curry Wall, JW. How's it going today? Pretty good, Riley. Last week was a blast. It was, man. You want to expand on why that one? Somebody got their world's invite. That's right, Mr Jew Currey Wall is now invi invited. I almost I got his invitation and mix that up all together. Invited to the POKEMON World Championships in London this August. How does it feel? Feels great, competitor. Yeah, it feels really great. I just booked my flight as well. I got a pretty good deal out of New York City. So going to be going over there and competing and winning, of course. Of course. Yeah. How many worlds they do see have? Well, this will be my first one. Yeah, yeah, I mean the the actual tournament has been the best, but I'm just excited to compete once again and it feels like it's been that just that cap off to really, when I look back at it, a pretty successful season. Like I got points. Oh yeah, I believe at every regional that I went to I got points. I can't and maybe there was one that I didn't, but I can't think of a regional. I went to. I think three this year, three or four that I didn't get points at. So that's cool and just to cap it off without even having to worry about a finish at naice is just just fine with me. This week has been low stress, which has been good because there's just so many things to do. We had an event to plan tonight and and I are going out for our anniversary dinner tomorrow. Is, you know, obviously having a baby throws a bunch of, you know, complications into the mix. So I'm just really excited that I didn't have the stress this week about testing and what deck I'm going to play. And I mean there's still some of that, certainly, but it could have been way worse, sure, for sure. And Yeah, I wish I knew what that felt like. Well, I was going to say you're very close as well to your invite. Yeah, so I ended up just thirty points short after Milwaukee from my world's invite. One more win would have gotten me thirty more points to get a world's invite, but things have one more coin flip would have gotten you a world's invite. Well, who knows, I mean maybe maybe there is a stadium inhand before the CRAMA. Adding mm, you never know, you I don't technically know. I'm just making the very fair assumption that that's the case. Yeah, so, for those that don't know what we're talking about, Riley did achieve a top eight finish at the Milwaukee Regional Championships. Were very proud of him and we're really disappointed. I mean I was, you know, I thought we had the best deck in the room, and we'll go over why in just a second, but I was just just pointed for you because, you know, I thought that the run shouldn't have stopped and top eight. I was hoping that you wouldn't get another regional win. So that you know, I myself can be the only one in the group with a with a regional win and are to regional wins, I should say, and you know I can. I can kind of keep that as as my my chip over the rest of the group. You know, just sure how to keep that ego in large as much as possible. But all that to say, I thought that you know, you played fantastically, had a really nice run and I wish you'd gone just a little bit farther. Well, me too, but I think you know at the end of the day you can't complain about a top eight regional championship, at least too much. You can plain a little bit, but not too much. So you got a hundred points for towards your world's invite and then you you're only thirty points short. So...

...sadly, if you had just won your top eight matchup, you would have also gotten the invite in Milwaukee. But he now you'll need a top to fifty six at the NA I see this week in Columbus. Yeah, it's funny too, because like as soon as I made day too, I was guaranteed to only need a top to fifty six at any I see, unless I got top for or better, and the fact that I was so close to get picked up for better really like stung, you know. Yeah, because it's like you know you're going in and if you had just told yourself before the tournament, okay, yeah, you're going to get, you know, a day to finish, you're going to get top sixty four, you would have been like, Oh, nice, okay, I don't really need that much at you know in Columbus to get my invite and you would have been totally cool with it. But the fact that it went so far and to come up just short, just like is so painful. So so we played Paul Kia in tellyon and we played I mean it was a standard list, but there were some things that were a little bit unique about the list. I would say one of the most unique things was that we played three stadiums instead of the kind of standardized to most players are playing one path of the peak, one temple of Sino, and we opted to go for one path of the peak to temple of Sino. Raley, can you kind of walk through why we opted to do that in our pollculist? Yeah, and I would say that's not the only thing that's necessarily unique about the list, especially as we've teen palky evolved, but certainly the three stadiums is non standard. The primary reason that we opted for three is we really wanted to be able to consistently be able to bump and opponent's path to the peak, to be able to star portal. We just thought the star portal ability was such huge value and to be able to use it early made such a big difference over the flow of your games that it was worthwhile to consider it. Adding another stadium. Temple of Sino was just a solid choice for that slot. You know, it disrupted the Reggie's, gave you two temples for these Reggie matchup, which is very good. It disrupts mew, forces them to burn stadiums and the early games. That way, when you trying to use path in the late game, that is more likely to stick. Overall, just like a really solid choice for that last slot. I really enjoyed having the too temple of Cino. I not only got a lot of value out of just the temple effect itself, but I did use it quite often to bump path of the peak so I could use my ability more reliably. So I was really happy with that choice for that last card. Yeah, absolutely. Another thing that I think was a little bit more interesting about our list was that we opted not to play any ARITA. Yeah, instead choosing to play to Melanie, to professor's research and a Marni as our primary sources of draw along, of course, with the Intelli on engine to just fetch out anything that we needed from the deck. So I felt like a lot of players are playing their arita and at the end of the day, we tested it, really didn't like how slow Arita was, especially in that early game when you're trying to get your basics out. Of course you can always Arita for battle VIP pass, but that's not really an option if you happen to go first and then the battle VIP pass if you're playing you know, especially more than one, it's just going to clog the deck towards the end of the game. So it just didn't feel like the move for our pokey list to go with the Arita instead just acting like we did with the Whim Scott Deck for Indianapolis, just going in with more research and being able to dig through the deck to find the pieces that we needed. Yeah, it's funny that you bring up the womscot decks. It's totally the same logic and I never really even thought of it necessarily that way. But yeah, having that like consistent, powerful draw engine makes a big difference over the course of a tournament and something I really personally enjoyed. You saw most people at this point have now opted for a heavy arita engine. Talking three to four Arita in many...

...of the PALKYA decks. But there were two main testing groups that kind of dissented away from that mentality. There was US and there is Isaiah Bradner, Rhol ready and all of them who played also a you know, more draw support or heavy Palkeya list with Zero Rita. Their lists obviously significant departure from ours in terms of its overall structure, but clearly there are multiple people who reach that same conclusion of you know, Rita doesn't really do anything, and my personal experience was that being able to have that explosive draw power made a big difference in the success of my games. I had a lot of like really crazy turn two's that I would not have been able to reach if I didn't have research as a as an option, especially like a higher account where I'm starting it in my hands more often. So I really like that I could go from like one pokemon on the bench to a full bench in swinging for a knockout all the time. I've especially, but we also include the Crow Bat that we threw into the deck. You know, you can draw so many cards into turn and s area just does not give you that sort of explosive power. Right exactly. I completely echo when you say that the research was just the best draw supported to have in the in the deck, right, because you're going to get your energy back with the Palkia. So you don't even need to hit your melody on the first turn. You don't really need to hit your capacience bucket on that first turn. You have a couple of turns to get that energy in the discard pile because you can just shove it right back into play with the Pulkey of you star power. So it felt so good anytime I just raw opened a research. Obviously you can get a soble out and then go for a dras Isle and get the research that way, but just any time I was going second had research in my hand, it just felt so strong because I would often draw a sobbler two, a level ball or two, maybe a quick ball and just be able to fill my bench up really without, you know, needing to play that Rita and kind of just feeling like my hand was stuck at point. So it just felt so, so good to play the research and I would really recommend, if you are listening to this cast and you still have time, to test with your Palkya deck to try to play it that way. Yeah, totally agree it. The power level felt insane with the Palkio deck. It definitely felt like the best deck that I have played at a tournament this season. I don't know if you feel quite the same, jw, but especially in like the post covid season, the Palkey that far and away I felt like the strongest deck. Yeah, so I think what would be important for listeners to hear is why we actually decided on the Palkya deck and what were some of the other things that we were thinking about heading into Milwaukee, because obviously we're only a week away right. It's only a week's difference between Milwaukee and Ana, I see. So I think a lot of that same logic, for the most part, still applies. Obviously we have a little bit more of a defined metagame. We know a little bit more that. Okay, yeah, people should take miltank seriously. Okay, yeah, people should take their lad on seriously, but for the most part, you know, we came to this conclusion on the Palkya deck and I would say largely it did, you know, very well amongst the group. I mean we had some some duds here and there, but amongst the group did relatively well. So what? What? Why did we choose Paalkia and what were some of the other things that we were thinking about heading into Milwaukee? Why don't you walk us through that? Yeah, when I think of Palkia it's a classic, you know, just play the best debt type scenario, and this happens all the time at tournaments. Is Sometimes the best option is just playing the top dog and beating everything else down with it, either because the counters aren't good enough, they're not played enough, or just the power level that deck is so overwhelming that it doesn't really matter, and Palkia is definitely kind of in that ladder bucket where it can kind of just run its way through a lot of decks, even the ones that are designed to beat it,...

...particularly because the lightning pokemon are not very strong. We had tried a bunch of other things heading into Milwaukee. You know, a lot of you testing had gone down, in particular from at least yourself and me in the group, and that was okay. It was a solid backup choice. We tested a lot of Reggie and that deck was appealing on some days and horrible on others. So that vibe was really, really not there and we ended up not going with Reggie any other more. We just talked about it. It just made sense to just play Palkya. The lightning pokemon were not good enough. Palkio could just tear through them. Palkia was consistently beating you and beating all these other counter decks that we had tried and testing. So at that point, why not just roll up with the best deck? Yeah, absolutely, and we knew we would face a number of mirror matches. Riley, how many POLKYA DEX did you face over the course of the tournament, because my number is actually incredible. I actually only played one other Palkia based deck and it was not a Palkia Unteley on deck. So one I played in fourteen rounds, including our ID, I played seven Paul Ki has. It's not crazy. That is a pretty craziest. So crazy not as crazy as me playing seven dark archis in day one. Find of you, I see that's pretty wild. Yeah, for sure, but needless to say, other people were certainly hip to Palka. I did find through the course of the day that a lot of people either didn't have the text for the mirror match or just didn't quite know how to play the mirror match, and that was a big thing for me. Winning is my matches against Park. I ended up going, I think, undefeated against Paukya in the in day one and then I've had some pretty awkward game threes and day two against toured and against Fabian Pool. So you know I mean great players, obviously, and you know played the matchup very well. And so I would say one of the things for the mirror, the Paulk and mirror that I used pretty much every set, like probably the most impactful card. We talked a lot about Rocksan and how good Paul Kia is using rocks and but I would say this card was actually more impactful than rocks and, like, to be honest, I won more of my games with Leon than I did with rocks and I played Leon like, I think, literally every set, not every game, of course, but but every set there was one pivotal turn where I was like, okay, if I can fill my bench, if I can get my Leon, if I can get my choice belt, I can take this knockout and swing the match. And that happened very consistently a specially in the polka matchup. So I see these Poka decks that aren't playing Leon, and maybe that's just because, okay, they have to devote more resources to this arita engine. But Leon Far and away felt like the Best Tech Card in my list and I needed it for mirrors. I needed it for the mew matchup, I needed it against Darkis. I mean, there really wasn't a time over the course of the day that I was unhappy to see the Leon in my hand. Yeah, lean is crazy good. I totally agree. I always enjoyed using it. I used it and to defeat all sorts of pokemon that you know they're expecting to take a hit for a turn and you just whip out that extra thirty damage. Just so hard to even play around it at that point, especially if you also have a quick shooting and play you just did rip the damage numbers ramp up so fast and it really overwhelms your opponent. I also to that, and not everybody has been playing quick shooting, and that's also been a card that I really enjoyed over the course of...

...the days. Didn't use it every single game, but the games I used it it was super important to my success, absolutely so so one other thing that I want to bring up about this, about your run and in particular, is you said that you played a lightning deck or a lightning bas deck or a deck that had a lightning attacker every other round just about in Milwaukee Yea. Seemed like a lot of people were a not only prepared to play Paulkia but to counter Pulkia. You had a very favorable record against those decks, I think, not dropping any games, if I'm remembering correctly, which is really incredible. You'd come back to the table and talk to me about the matchups and I was just kind of blown away by Oh yeah, and I smoked this Arkias Pikachu to Oh and it just seemed like effortless, you know, and and it was really, really impressive. I would have loved to see these matches and see the how they played out, and I was like picking your brain a lot, unlike, okay, how do I play against the Pikachu matchup? So walk us through a little bit about why you felt the lightning counters really don't counter Pulkia all that well and just give us your experience playing against any lightning based decks with the Pulkia deck yeah, I would say there's three main pokemon that people are including in their decks to try and counter Palkia. Certainly there may be others, but the ones that I was seeing around Milwaukee was Zera Arora, the the basic one, the RAI Ku v and the flying Pikachu v Max, and those are really the three Pokemon I think of, that people are trying to swap into their decks. Zero Ra, honestly, is not very good. You know, we played the tool jammer and that is really shuts down the area or is only way to take and one shot. And at that point, you know, why is it even in the deck type situation, in additional back and us to be ry Han to I was going to say that's kind of the biggest thing, right, you're trying to go for this one shot, but you need like a four piece Combo, right. You need the the Ryhan with the basic and play with the choice belt with another energy attached, like it's a lot and, like you said, it can all just be shut down by the tool jammer. Yeah, and tool jammers was an amazing card as well over the course of the tournament. So not really worried about the zero or at all personally, if you have the tool jammer, the Raiku is obviously threatening. It can take those one shots very easily. The problem with the Raiku and the Pikachu, fundamentally as the same problem, is that Palkia will return knock out that Raiku on that turn. Actually, how you will pretty much always knock out the right to Raiku on the turn that it attacked the Palkia, which means that now you've just traded to for to. Basically you've ry Hond for a twofour two, which is like not really worth it unless it's the very end of the game. But the problem is a lot of these decks that are relying on Raiku, they're not just they're not able to trade with Palkio through the rest of the game. So it's not like they're keeping up, you know. So, especially if you get ahead, you're staying ahead if they're relying on Ryku to trade and if you for some reason are falling behind, they might not have repeated Raiku answers. Is it was my experience. So, you know, I was just tearing through those Raiku's like it was nobody's business. So then the most you know, the final probably most dangerous of the counters is the flying pikachew flying peach show obviously is a lot of HP, which makes it less susceptible to being immediately knocked out. Find Pause you. My opinion, has two main problems. The first is that it's often paired with archaeus and you know has that kind of especially the archisp barrel decks, have both a little bit clunkier of a setup and they hit like a key number of Enge pokemon pretty much every game. What I mean by that is if you're going first, especially versus an Archaeus deck,...

...but even if you go a second, they'll often have to have two pokemon and play on the bench, and that gets you to two hundred base damage on the Palcky of the one hundred and sixty plus the forty. So that means with the choice belt, you're able to knock out an archaeus. I did this all the time going first versus archaeus decks, which I didn't go first very often this tournament, but whenever I did I would just tear through those archiuses like it was nobody's business. You know, I would star Portal, I would put that path of the peek down and just boss archias bars, Archias Bross archaeas, and they couldn't even do anything at that point. You know, they're just and they came and set up without the Archeius, like not just fundamentally with Trinity Nova, but that's the starbirth. They're not setting up their board in a way where it needs to be. So that's one flaw of the flying pikachew. The other flaw, of course, I guess maybe there's three flaws. The other flaws that it evolves from a pretty mediocre basic Um. The only thing very, very weak V. I mean a hundred ninety health on that flying Pikachu. V can knock it out with the old bunch pokemon exactly. So it's a prime target. And just again it's kind of like the Ryku right where if you can just get ahead and keep bossing the Pikachu that they're trying to set up or, you know, in this case, like the Archeius as well, like you're going to be on a trajectory. Yeah, and honestly, like now's talking about, there's probably four problems. The so the so the first is that it's has to be kind of paired with Archeis to set up the second is that the V, the basic V, is very weak and it will be knocked out very easily. The third is that it evolves in the first place, so it has that extraternal vul nobility, and the fourth is that it gives up three prizes after it evolves. So what I did all the time versus these flying pikachew archius decks is I would knock out the archis pretty much right away. I could do that going first with a boss or I could do it going second with like Leon plays, and then I'm in a struation where I'm ahead the flying pikach. You will come up and it might not even come up and take a knock out if I knocked out their Archaius, but if I in the event that it does, it'll come up and take the knockout on my paco. Very unlikely that I hit the numbers to one shot at that turn. Certainly it's within the realm of possibility, depending on the setup, but you need their help. But yeah, they kind of like they kind of have to overbench and I still would probably need to Leon and potentially quick shooting to get are so more than likely I just like hit the Pikachu for substantial amount of damage, they take another knockout. They going down to two rises left. At that point I can almost always clean up the Pikachu. You know, it's impossible to avoid as who shot you know. So now. So either one of two things happens. If I'm confident they can't power up in another Pikachu next turn, I just Ko with Palkia and then I have game like pretty much guaranteed. If I think for some reason they can, you can swing with an intellion or a Granninja and either set up another Pikachu on the bench or you can just knock it out and like put a little damage on another Pikachu. Or, you know what. Happy with intellion and then some crazy games. You can also, with a combination of quick shooting and stuff, because it gives up that three prizes, you can like boss the B barrel and knock it out with in telly on and like snipe the Pikachu. I did that in Multiple Games where I just doubt one extra prize at the Pikachu gave up was super relevant to me being able to win in a much more streamlined fashion. Yeah, I mean, of course, you know, hitting two hundred and ninety if they have a full bench. If you have a full bench, plus the choice belt does leave you open to just pinging that last twenty damage with an Intelli on play. So it seems very smart. I again would have loved to see you streamed against that matchup so I could go back and review the od because the way that...

...you talk about these matchups, I'm like, Oh, you know it. It certainly seems like Arcis peak at Schu, of all the lightning counters, feels the hardest to overcome. I did play a lightning based archias deck. It had Ryeku in it, but my games went kind of how you described, where I got up early and then at the point at which Ryku could have made a difference, it just it didn't write because I was already ahead, I already had the response to it and I was able to, you know, overcome that pressure, if you could really even call it that, from the Rye cous. So I totally get that peek at you just seems scary. Yeah, it's usually you can just set up the math to get there. You have to be like creative sometimes about how you do it, but usually with a combination of Granninja and quick shootings and Leon's and choice belts and, you know, bosses. You can find a way to ultimately get there. Those matchups very cool. So yeah, lightning pokemon just not very good. That's kind of the moral story. One matchup that we found was pretty close to even in our testing and I would say also played off fairly evenly in the tournament, was the mew matchup. I managed to beat a couple Muse in day one of the tournaments. I there was one opponent that I know just you know, I knew from the start when he was disc carding, you know, when he was discarding choice belts and he was discarding his damage modifiers, the power tablets, like from turn one. I was like, Oh yeah, this is so free, because if they can't knock out consistently you're, you know, certainly your first Paulky of you star, then they really have no shot. But the I played against another mew in day two that played it really well, played catcher and was able to, in both of their wins, gust up a Pulkia v those on the bench that was preparing to attack with and knock it out, and that just set me behind just enough that I couldn't make the comeback and you know, I would get down to like one prize with they would just have just enough to take the win. I would say that it's a pretty fifty match up. But you also played against them, you in your top eight match. Just walk us through that. I think you know the listeners would like to know kind of how top eight went and what the result was. Obviously you didn't win, but just kind of give it to us the playby flay and some of the big turns there. Yeah, ultimately the top eight match didn't pan out. I did go to hundred and one in series versus mew over the course of the tournament. That one loss, obviously being in top eight, but I do think the matchup is incredibly close, even despite like potentially favorable records in the tournament. So in top eight a lot of it came down to my opening this weren't as explosive as I would have liked and my opponent was able to conserve their modifiers very effectively. They never really had to awkwardly discard them or anything like that, which let them like really get through those Palkias without having to think about it too much. So game one. I remember checking my prize in game one. That was really devastated because path and Rocksan and tool jammer were all prized, which are all like really important resources that are basically there for the new matchup. So that was like a really heartbreaking prize check and I was able to move it more or less keep pace, but at the end of that game I just wasn't able to, you know, lock them down with the rocks and path. I ended up going for some like very aggressive bosses to try and take some prizes with the hopes of getting the rocks and out of the prizes ended up being like my second to last prize card, so I just wasn't going to see it by the...

...time I needed it. Very rarely do you go down to exactly one price card versus Meo. Usually you're like doing one, then then three, more than the last two. So that just didn't didn't wasn't in the cards for me to play rocks and that game and my opponent was able to streamline their knockouts very effectively. Game Two was pretty close, but I got a very solid rocks and path off and it was able just to get that extra attack to clean the game up and game three. I had a very bad start. I went second and was only able to get one POKEMON, one PALKIA, down on turn one, which got swiftly knocked out. Turn to I was able to research and get to Palkias into play and I did that and one of them got knocked out, of course. So the following turn my opponent set to prizes left. I rocks and and I Grninja to set up both the MOUV maxes in play for a knockout and I get path of the peak and play pretty much everything you want. I'm ready to start swinging for my last two knockouts. My opponent Krammatics away. There a battle VIP pass, flips and flips and flips. Feels like an eternity at lands on right on the for you know, the it's it's like just sticking up off the play math, but I like, that's obviously a for like a that's not a reroll situation, but I wish it was. You know, it's so he starts for his deck, grabs his rose tower, pops off, knocks out my active Grnninja and then just bosses for game. And it was just like it was kind of a heartbreaker. I wish that there was more that I could have done there. You know, I just I was off to such a slow start that I was just going to be inherently a leg down the rest of the game. And you know, it felt like if I had my rocksand and in one or if the rocks hands stock in game three, that I would have won. But that's kind of how the mean matchup goes. Is just like it. Sometimes they just blow you out, sometimes you blow them out and then the rest of the games come down to do they draw off rocks, and it's, at least in my experience, Sali's. Yeah, absolutely, I completely agree there. We had, you know, my matchups were just really tough with the gus, you know, and and it was like, okay, if they flip heads on the the pop pokemon Catcher, then I just lose here, or if they flipped tails, then I just win because they're knocking out of sobble or the knocking out of raiding and Grenincia, neither of which is particularly impactful in that matchup. I had to play my paths down early as well in a lot of my losses. To me, any game that I lost with you. It was like I was researching and I had to play the path or like choose to discard it because I needed to use my star portal that turn. So that was also kind of one way that you would lose the matchup is if you, yeah, get rid of the path too early, because again, that path rocks and is not only a way to kind of close out the game if you're ahead, but it's also like you're only comeback mechanic, because if they can get up by two, three prizes, it can just really get out of control. So you need a way to kind of keep pace there. I don't know that it's necessarily worth it to play multiple path like we talked about earlier in the cast. Just having the counter stadium, you really don't want to get path to yourself in most cases. So the one path is fine. You just need to manage those resources really well, and my losses against me you I just wasn't able to keep the path around long enough. Yeah, I mean it's just a super close matchup. Is it can really go either way, especially like depending on the lists. You know, obviously props to my opponent, Chris. He he managed his resources exceptionally well. He was able to keep his power tablets for the swing turns when he needed them, and ultimately he got the wind, and he deserved it because he was able to not only like navigate the match up fairly well, but he...

...was able to keep me from establishing the boor state that I needed to. Yeah, so definitely congrats to to Chris. Congrats as well to Braden and connor for their win and second place finish. We will be talking a little bit more about the decks from top eight in the second half of the cast. Yeah, so why don't we take a quick intermission for card of the day? Now, let's do it. I'm excited. All right, JW so, for the car of the day today, I do have a deck's entry for you. Are you ready? Yes, I believe I am, Excelle I am. Yeah, I'm just pulling it up, man. Sorry, okay, sorry, I'm you know, used to like the instant at it. We're living in days of instantaneous gratification and these zoomers. All right, it gushes fire and poisonous gases from its nostrils. It's Dung is an explosive substance. It can be put to various uses. Gushes. Yeah, if he gushould Preston Bro okay, I thought we were a family friend. What are you talking it's okay to gush something. Can I get like two guesses? Sure, okay. My first guess would be heat train. No, I don't desease you, and have nostrils. That's a really good question. In my brain. He Tran has nostrils. HMM. I say my guess my brain here and has a whole human nose. My second guess would be heat more. It's not even more either, but that he was a better guest than here. And I think the POKEMON is actually tertenator. Really, that the don wait, the Dune done what? It's explosive, that it that it actutry is kind of crazy to me. It just referencing the dogs straight up, you know, is it? That's got to be like the only pokemon card to talk about POKEMON's excreetment. I don't know if it ever made it onto a card I pulled. I was looking through all of its decks entries and that was like the only one that didn't referenced explosive shells. Like the explosive shells like a little too obvious, and I guess everything about heretics, but including it's done. I don't open and I messed up anyway. So or sorry, Turtinador turn. So turtinador and it doct tornay does have a gigantic nostril. So yeah, that was maybe your hit. So turtinator. The reason I chose Turtinator and the card that I chose is Turtinador GX, which I decide to go with this card because the North American International Championships are coming up at JW shaking our head, and our good friend Andrew Mahone, when he's top eighted the first ever North American International Championship. He did it with the Tzar Ark Dampa deck and as a fun inclusion, a Nice Little Tech in his arc drampa deck he had a copy of Turtinador gx. So turtain ener gx is from the Guardians Rising expansion, I believe, and it is relatively medioker. It does pretty good damage as a fire attacker. One hundred and sixty and you just card two fires from it. But that is completely unusable in the context of the ZARK DRAMPA deck. Played zero fire energy and only one rainbow. So you really weren't going to be able to use that TURTINADOR's attack. Instead, you went for the shell trap attack. So for two colorless energy you do twenty damage and during your opponent's next turn, if this pokemon was damaged by your opponent's attack, you put eight damage counters on the opponent's active pokemon. What you only use this for...

...is you put a choice band on the Turtinator gx to swing into metagross and they would then have to take that kind of recoil damage when you hit you. Certainly there's other uses for it as well, but that was the primary one. Is just also kind of annoying to have to deal with the shell trap in the first place. Certainly so fun inclusion. Andrew will defend it till the day he dies. I don't know. I will die on the hill that. Yes, I agree that there needs to be kind of a basic that can apply some pressure, but I will die on the hill that Toros gx is better than Turtinator Gx, and I was I would probably also think that Taurus is better because you like instantly one shot, like the Roletts and yeah, you know the Beldoms and all that kind of because you're playing the the double colorless. So you attach it, you do sixty damage, which with its first attack and then it's gx attack actually has. It has the one shot potential that the deck lacks. Right. So Zor ARC is only going to hit for an amount of damage based on what your opponent has. has kind of a copy attack on the break that copies an attack that your opponent has. But there's no real way to one shot any of your opponent's pokemon unless they swing into your Toros and then you can use its gx attack to do, I believe, thirty times the amount of damage counters on it. So you know, if they attack into you for, you know, any amount of damage over, I don't know, say sixty damage or so, then you're one shotting almost anything in play. So that to me felt like a much better card. And I played the Turtinator in the deck and it was only until after that I realized, oh my gosh, Toros would have just been way better here in like ninety percent of my matchup. Certainly the fire weakness is good. Certainly you know that kind of recoiled damage is more like consistently, quote unquote, bigger. But then they have the option to you know, not attack you. Sure. Yeah, I was that of part of your testing circle at the time. So I would have never included Turt Dator Jix my deck in that moment and I'd really were argue about a buy God era. But TURT dator made his debut in the top a of the North American International Championship. So super, super cool, and it's just a it is fun, fun, Little Guy. It's fun. POKEMON. Yeah, absolutely got explosive turrets. Yeah, speaking of explosive turrets, Hey, let's let's talk about our sponsor, manscaped. I feel like I feel like that's almost has to be like our preach of contract or something to associate them with explore. Let's let's start it again, speaking of cool, fun stuff. Yeah, very cool things. Let's talk about our sponsor and presenter of the TAG team Pokemon podcast, man scaped. Manscaped is the pre mirror grooming, men's grooming kind of company for all of your down their needs. Riley loves the underwear. We actually just got shipped a package. What was it? Last week I wore the manscaped boxers, the new ones, the manscape boxers too. Oh, at the Milwaukee Regional Championships and Ida Tu. So you know, take that for what it's correlations there. We always kind of make these jokes about wearing the boxers and doing well, but it just continues to hold true. So I think after a certain point we can confidently say they are giving us the boost that we need. Absolutely JW. Manscape products are seriously awesome. Whether you're going with their broad up with their boxers products, I'm really I want to day, whether you go with their boxers or any of their grooming products, they really got you covered there. A lot more for no is absolutely amazing. Three point and it's great for all your down their hairs and making you feel nice and fresh. You don't want to go to these pokemon turns, especially the North American international championship,...

...feeling anything less than your best, and the best way to feel your best is by taking care of yourself. which manscapes got you covered for. And the cool thing is us over at tag team are working with Manscape to make sure that you can get some awesome deals. So if any of this has sounded appealing, be at the boxers to point o or the lawn mower or the weed whack or any of their other awesome tools. Make sure to head on over to Manscapecom, that's m an scapeedcom, and use code tag team Tagtam for not only twenty percent off, but also free shipping. This is the deal of a lifetime. You're so make sure. I'll maybe not like that, but it's the deal that we provide. Is Part of Manscape and you're gonna love using their products. I'm for I'm for real on that. Well, I you know, to be to be as candid as possible, I really love the packaging that the stuff comes in. It does feel sleek, it feels modern and, yeah, it's just nice. It's like when I get the stuff in the mail from them, I'm like, Oh yeah, I don't regret getting the product. They're like, I don't regret this. Watch it like it's just such a good quality material and I think you know I like it. You like it. I think you will as well. They're at home, so go to manscapecom. Code Tag team twenty percent off plus free shipping. That's TAG team manscapecom. Twenty percent off plus free shipping. Thank you so much to manscaped for sponsoring the cast and thank you to you all for checking them out. All right. Let's talk then about the North American International Championship. We talked a lot about how Kya over the course of the day. I don't think we need to necessarily run the details too much home and really, at this point, if you're listening, you should use this for more of like a probably a wide sweeping analysis of the Meta as opposed to really digging deep into the details. You know, if you're if you're listening to this on Thursday when it premiers and your knee and you need those intimate details, I'm sorry to tell you that it's made too late to fine tune those. But we did want to talk about some of the key decks heading into the metagame and what you can expect at the North American International Championship. So slowly, why don't we just start from the top of the Milwaukee Regional Championship with the two finalists decks. We had Arkis de Reldon and Blissy as the two finalists. JW. What are your thoughts on these two decks? Well, I was really happy to see blissy among the top two, just because I was saying it on the cast. I was like, you know, blissy kind of feels like a good deck. I was testing it a little bit heading into the tournament. Every time I played it it just felt very strong and there were some things that connor did to actually make the deck better than the list that I was piloting, but I was very confident that blissy was like a really solid choice. I was telling people I was testing blissy as how people I was considering Blissy, I said on the cast here, and I'm just happy that blissy did end up making it to that final table because it's a cool deck. Honestly, it's one of the more fun decks to play in this format. Though I will say because it did so well, it's going to lose a lot of that shock factor and a lot of that kind of you know, unprepared fact through right as soon as mill tank becomes a card that people have to be worried about, a lot of people will tech for it and there will be a lot of people that will overtech for mill tank, you know, playing multiple canceling Cologne or just, you know doing things that they otherwise wouldn't do just to make sure they don't auto lose to a single mill tank. So blissy, very cool deck, loses that surprise factor and I think that's going to keep it from doing well again at the North American International Championships. I mean, obviously will probably see a handful in the day to but in terms of...

...do I think blissy can win, I really don't think so, because I think a lot of people will be accommodating for the mill tank. Yeah, I'm inclined to agree. For the most part, I do think the blissy deck is pretty good on its own two feet, even without relying on mill tank. Sure, but I do think that some of its matchups it really appreciates having the pressure that MIL tank puts in the opponents to kind of burn through the resources more than anything to deal with the mill tank. So if people are playing more convenient answers like the canceling Cologne or playing decks that just can handle the mill tank inherently better than that obviously hurts blissy, less so because they're getting the auto win with the wall, but more so because they're not forcing the opponent into awkward situations, which is what blissy ultimately is trying to do. And the wedding deck piled by breeding elfort the archias dlodon not really a deck that either of US saw winning. I figured that it might be one of the more popular archius variants and it turned out that it was having a number of solid placements over the weekend. But to win the tournament was not something that I really pictured the archist Ludon deck doing, just because it really hasn't been on our radar, like personally in our testing group for a long time. Ever since really you one with it, we've kind of dropped the deck as being a viable option and it's you know, it just feels like one of those very average decks doesn't really do anything amazing, but you just got big boys and they be swinging and sometimes when those boys be swinging, good things are going to happen. So Braden was able to take that to a first place finish and just get over the Sea of Pulkia. One thing that I did say on the cast last week was that the Duralidon does have a good matchup into Pulkia, which really shouldn't be overlooked. Again, I played against seven Paulkia over the course of my tournament run and I'm sure that Braden also played against a number of Polkia and found a very favorable positions in those matchups. So that's kind of the saving grace, I think, for the archies Ralidon. I don't necessarily think that it's like a fantastic play for this upcoming tournament, but I would have said it wouldn't have been a fantastic play for Milwaukee and look what it did. Yeah, I honestly I think our he's throughout I probably is a similar level of play that it is that it was for Milwaukee in any I see, because I don't think people are really going to change the way they're building their decks at all to deal with archis rout on. It feels like one of those decks that people just don't really respect or care about when they're considering their own deck choices, in my opinion. You know, certainly we didn't really respect archius rout on with our PAL keelist, and you will. I would say that, I think, because the archies rout on generally, from my perspective, has a very poor meu matchup if they play the echoing horn. Yeah, what we saw was that a lot of lists from Milwaukee and in the tournament's leading up to Milwaukee, we're cutting the echoing horn because, again, the rout on wasn't a factor in any of the online turners for the most part, and so the mew players are like, well, let's cut that card for a matchup that we rarely see to play another consistency card like a treking shoes or Rodom phone or something like that. So we certainly saw that kind of shift away from the mew decks, from playing that echoing horn to be able to have a pretty easy, simple counter to archiest rout on. Now will that be the trend heading the ANA I see? I mean I don't have a crystal ball, but I would suspect that there will be an uptick to some degree in the amount of echoing horn that we see played from mw DEX. Will it be significant? That's kind of impossible to judge. I wouldn't say that it would be, you know, the standard anymore, but I would...

...guess maybe about half of them me players you could expect to see an echoing horn now in their decks again. Yeah, that's fair and I do think the mew matchup is certainly a notable one. Also, like other archias decks, if they swing first, can get overwhelming relatively quickly. But you have really solid matchups against the Palkias and some of the rogue decks out there that really rely on special energy, certainly so Arki's drout on them. Blissy, both okay decks heading into any I see. I don't think there are ones that are really on the top of our radars to play. So let's talk about kind of some of the next decks down. We wor down a bunch of decks heading into this session. So, J W all kind of leave it up to you as far as how you want to go for the next one that we talked about specifically. But we have Arkis and Talian Palkiamu Archius, be barrel variance, particularly Pikachu and Reggie Giggis is some other decks to watch out for heading into any I see. Jw Wish if those sticks out to you. Well, I was thinking immediately after Milwaukee about playing mew and thinking that okay, it has a fifty into pulk and maybe I could play even more damage modifiers to make them Paulka match up just a little bit better so I can swing through their Palkis and be able to trade a little bit more evenly with those decks. I was thinking about playing like a Leon or maybe even two in my mew deck just again reach those higher numbers to try to get through the polky has. That I would be sure to see at any I see that didn't get too far. I didn't really consider mew because I think that there's, you know, all there's path and and rocks and in the in the polka decks, that's always going to be tough to face. There's a lot of these archis decks playing heavy path. That's going to be really rough to face. And then they're a Lud on is. You know, of course you can put an echoing horn there, but not a matchup that you necessarily like love playing against. Right. They certainly can keep their keep the pokemon out of the discard pile or get a quicker set up and kind of overwhelm me from there. So that was, you know, my thought heading back from Milwaukee. I was like, Oh, maybe, maybe mew would be a good play, and certainly it's not a bad play, but I'm I'm not considering me at this point for the tournaments. Yeah, I I think I would consider me personally for slightly different reasons. I think mew is a really good deck and probably still is a pretty solid spot in the metagame. My problem with mew, and this kind of happened at you, I see, is it felt like my wins I had a lot of agency over how the Games went, and in my losses they felt completely out of my control because it always came down to like just path or some awkward like I just had a clogged hand of six cars, I couldn't play and nothing happened after that. And I just prefer the way some of these other decks in the format feel, even if they're not draw on as many cards as me, they have just engines that are built a little more reliably than you. Not that you doesn't draw carts reliably. I don't know exactly had a phrase what I'm saying, but mew feels a lot about the order that your cards are drawn determines your entire game, and other decks you kind of like decide what cards you draw. You know, sure, sure, absolutely. I mean yeah, you, you kind of hit on it a little bit earlier where in the poki matchups, you know, if you're drawing those power tablets early and you got to discarded with grammatic or quick ball or ultra ball or something like that. That's just that's just a loss pretty much, because you're not gonna be able to get through those Poko. You're going to have just such a rough time. So, yeah, completely agree. It's it doesn't feel like you have a ton of agency, especially against These v Stars, where you need to conserve those power tablets, you need to conserve your damage modifiers to make sure that you can get those numbers because they're, frankly, a little bit awkward for them. You deck to hit. You know, mew, I think in in the conception was, you know, maybe geared a little bit more towards Hitting v Max has, obviously when...

...we had ursh food and as more of a metagame presence like that seems to be a very natural back and forth. They're into V stars, trying to go through three of those boys with two hundred and eighty health like you just don't have the damage modifiers to go through three fully like your there's going to be a turn unless you get all four your fusion strike, energy and play, but there's going to be a turn where you're going to have the two hit Ko, and that's just the opening that a lot of these be star decks need, particularly Polka need to try to mount to come back. Yeah, absolutely. So. Let's take a look then, some of the Other v Star related decks. In archaeus, we have two main archis variants that people are playing any more straightforward archaeus and Italian, and the archaeus be barrel type of decks, primarily those feature Pikulchu these days. So Ark is Italian really hasn't changed over the course of the last format. Justin koloss played a very similar list to his prior top eight list, to a top for finish. Actually he got top for us both times. Even so, top for Milwaukee and at Secaucus with very similar ARCIS and tellion list. You know, I think archeus has just proven itself to just be a really reliable card. You know, if you can't Kao it in one shot then it's really going to abuse the abuse your deck for the rest of the game. So even like the Palkia decks can struggle to one shot and Archius, especially with a big charm, and if they're able to heal, and they're going to heal more than Palkio can, because Palkia really doesn't heal outside of maybe a Cheryl, the archisacs are going to be a good, good position at that point. Yeah, it's amazing how much the archeus deck, especially like the arcius Italian decks, can limit their bench to just the one archaius in the active and then one sobble until the turn that they need to get the other archias out. Then you know, obviously they can have like a three three person or Pokemon, you know, field of play. So it really was us in those archies matchups. I was amazed actually at how well the DEX function with just one sobble on the bench is kind of their entire draw. It was very scary as a poll key player and I think as people play these archais decks, I don't see them having like a horrible matchup into Paul key. You just got to know how to Finagle it. Yeah, absolutely. So the people who have been playing a lot of archias will likely be rewarded for continuing to stick with the deck and and playing it reliably. especially I think those straightforward variants are just the way to do it because when you try and to tech for these certain matchups, the MEU text and the palkeet texts are just so fundamentally different and how they work. I and honestly, those texts are detrimental in the opposite matchup, you know, like the Hoopah and the multras and all that is, especially the Multra's vas like useless versus Palkia and on the flip side, like the flying Pikachu in the Raiku is horrible versus mew. So you know, you're kind of in a catch twenty two where you're better off just kind of playing a more streamline archis version. Yeah, completely agree. Let's talk a little bit about Reggie's Riley. Yeah, yeah, we's brushed over Archie speak of Sho but personally I wouldn't play it. So yeah, so not even not even worth it. Yeah, so Reggie's is kind of our big single prize deck heading in this format. was actually incredibly popular in Milwaukee, which surprised me. It was like the third most popular deck by raw numbers. Now, some decks, I think we're split out by variance, so maybe a little bit skewed there, but I was impressed by how many people showed up. It didn't seem like they had a great conversion rate though. In today two and even into like the higher echelons of day to Nick Mof it was I believe, the highest placing Reggie at ten place or so. So Reggie of course, has that one prize x factor going for it where it can trade incredibly favorably in the matchups that's looking for. I think the big fatal flaw of Reggie is it's consistency first...

...and foremost, and also there are some matchups where Reggie just goes down horrendous. You know, the archeus Italian matchup is not very good. You know they can get that done spars down and get that manifee down and you're really compromised from there. The PALKIA matchup can get sketchy if they set up too quickly and you can't deal with it. The archiest rout on matchup gets very sketchy. The blissy matchup can even get awkward if they, you know, manage their bench well and have a done spars and play at the right times. It just I think it's a really good deck. I think it's the best single price deck in the format right now and as an excellent mew matchup, which is probably the best thing it has going for it. But it's a deck that I probably wouldn't play for similar reasons that I've always avoided playing one prize decks and that's just that's not super reliable. Yeah, you're going to be at the whim of whether or not you can draw into the specific, specific energy that you want in that specific turn. Be at the double, be at the twin, be it the Aurora, be at the speed lining. I mean they're just all these different energies that you're trying to manage and if you're not able to find those and power up the attacker that you want to attack with that turn, that's going to be tough. So we did see nick get a top sixteen finish with Reggie. Think he was again the highest placing Reggie deck. But is it a deck that I'm considering for an a? See? No, largely because the kind of just feels like MEO to be honest, where your draws really just, you know, you have no agency over your game. Like it's pretty straightforward deck to pilot and if you're not getting the energy, the specific energy that you need in hand at the specific time, then you're you know, you're playing just a horrendous deck. So there's really just no agency. I can't like see myself making weird comeback plays. For the most part. It's a deck that's that's really matchup dependent and really kind of luck based, and that's that's tough. I'm inclined to agree. So taking a step back then, we've looked at these top decks, what is your number one choice heading into the North American International Championship as of recording this on Wednesday? Well, I don't know if this is Hubris from my tournament run in Mal Awkey, but I would feel very confident playing Paul Kia into the field. I have no pressure. So, you know, I could play pretty much anything into this field and you know, if I lose early, like, I'm chilling because I actually have family in town this weekend, but you always have family and town. Actually, that's so true. That's so true. But yeah, I mean Paulkia is the deck that I feel like I can make the most cool plays with, it's the deck that can abuse Roxan the best and it's a deck that I have a lot of in game playtime with. So I feel very comfortable on a lot of different fronts. Now, will I be playing straight Paulkia? Will I be playing Paul Kia with some kind of twist or some kind of spin. You know that I haven't quite decided yet. I mean there is obviously like ice rider that you can play it with something like what Frank Persey brought to Milwaukee. There is some argument to be made for Arita or at least like cross switchers, like we saw from Isaiah Bradner's list and the players that played that archetype. So I think there's still a little bit more experimentation that I can do with Paulkia. Will I have the time to do it? That is the biggest question, and so at this point I think I'm I'm pretty locked into something Paul Kia related. Yeah, I honestly feel very similarly. I would not feel bad even just running the same sixty or like...

...same fifty nine again. Yeah, it was. It was good, man. I mean I really don't want to say like, you know, Oh, I had the perfect list, but I am always looking for the perfect list and I think you know you are as well. But I do feel like we hit on some kind of core, I don't know, just court corps idea core build with that polky a deck that I would say that, you know, running the same sixty, like, I would not be embarrassed if I had to do that, or I would not be feeling like I was putting myself in a compromising position or that I didn't, you know, test enough like it felt good for that event and I'm sure that it'll feel good again for Columbus. Yeah, so Palkia is kind of the number one thing on tag teams radar heading into the North American International Championship. Obviously it's going to be shared sentiment by many people heading into this tournament. So make sure you come prepared and if you see us at the North American International Championship, be sure to come say hello. We had a great time at Milwaukee meeting so many of you. It was awesome to get to say hello or sign cards or take pictures. You know, we're really open to talking to fans of the cast, so be sure to say hi. Will be happy to meet you. Yeah, absolutely, I mean that was really fun in Milwaukee to just meet some of the fans and no, I'm sure there will be more at an a see with about double as many people coming into town. So good luck to everybody that's preparing and yeah, we can't wait too. Can't wait to meet you guys for some of the socials. If you want to get more plugged into the podcast, you can find the tag team Pokemon podcast twitter at tag team pokemon. You can also find myself at Real John Walter on twitter, and Riley at smiles with riles. We also record the podcast every single Wednesday, so if you want to catch it live at thirty pm eastern time, you can head on over to twitch DOT TV mounter. I myself, JW I run a twitter my own twitch dot tvlas Flex Daddy Righteous, and you can get plugged in by following me over there as well. We thank you so much for listening to this cast and wish you the best of luck at the North American International Championship, unless you're playing one of us. Sorry, that's how it goes, and we will catch you on the next episode base see it.

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