Top 8 Birmingham Report

Hello everyone, this is Nico and for my first article for this site I decided to do a report on my recent Top 8 finish at the Regional Championship in Birmingham.

When I started to prepare for Birmingham I had a few decks in mind that I was going to test and see which one I think would be best for this tournament. After having a history of playing Greninja, which as most people probably know is pretty inconsistent, I decided to pick a deck that’s consistent and has decent matchups all around. The decks I tested were Darkrai/Dragonair, Drampa/Garbodor and Drampa/Lycanroc. I dropped Drampa/Garbodor pretty quickly because I felt like I didn’t want to play the most expected deck. Darkrai/Dragonair was a little bit too inconsistent for my taste because it was very dependent on getting the turn 2 or turn 3 Dragon’s Wish which I didn’t really like.

During testing however I started thinking about straight Darkrai again, especially after Robin made Top 4 at the SPE in Vienna with it. So I ended up testing Darkrai and Drampa/Lycanroc in the last few days before Birmingham and was almost convinced to play Drampa/Lycanroc, especially because Philip was hyping it a lot. We decided to not play it for the League Cup on Friday so I ended up taking my other choice which was Darkrai. I got 2nd at the League Cup and after talking to my teammates I ended up dropping Drampa/Lycanroc and convinced Robin as well to stick with Darkrai.

Round 1 vs. No Show [Unknown]

I guess that’s one way to start a tournament.


Round 2 vs. Jessica Brennan [UK] (Lurantis/Vileplume)

G1: I’m able to apply a lot of early pressure using Yveltal with Choice Band while continuously bringing energies onto my board, so that by the time she got out her Vileplume I was already able to knock her Lurantis out in one hit, thanks to a bunch of Oblivion Wings and Max Elixirs.

G2: She gets a very fast Vileplume and since my hand was pretty much unplayable under itemlock I decided to scoop the game.

G3: This game went a lot like game 1 with the difference that she didn’t get her Vileplume out until I was already down to one prize card after knocking out one Fomantis, a Lurantis and a Shaymin EX which put her in an unwinnable position.


Round 3 vs. Joshua Davies [UK] (Espeon/Garbodor)

G1: I’m able to apply a lot of early pressure on his Espeon GX by using Oblivion Wing with an attached Choice Band, while slowly setting up my Darkrais on my bench without using too many items, so that after I knocked out his second Espeon GX with Dark Pulse, he wasn’t able to do anything aside from trying to confuse my Darkrai, which I was able to prevent by retreating into a different one, using Altar of the Moone.

G2: This game was pretty close because I had to use a lot of items in the early game to get into the game, but after a lategame N to 1 he wasn’t able to come back, which lead to me winning the series 2-0.


Round 4 Alex Dao [UK] (Gyarados)

This was the first of my matches during that weekend that got streamed, so if you want to watch the whole match, it should still be up on the Pokemon channel.

G1: I knew that if I would let him do his stuff, I wasn’t going to win the game so I tried to first get rid of his Octillery. This prevents him from drawing out of my Ns, if he’s able to just play down his

entire hand and Abyssal Hand to refill, the deck is too much to handle. The plan worked pretty well and I quickly realized that he was burning through his recovery options for Magikarps pretty quickly. Eventually I was able to get him out of Rescue Stretchers and Puzzle of Time, to take the game.

G2: Unlike G1, this game went exactly like I expected this matchup to be. He got out his Gyarados consistently to knockout everything he wanted to.

G3: G3 was surprisingly close and I don’t think that Alex expected it to be this way either. But in the end Gyarados was once again able to take down a good matchup.

Even though I lost the match I had a really good time on stream since Alex and I were joking around with the table judge and I think the three of us enjoyed the match a lot.


Round 5: Kelan Wattling [UK] (Espeon/Garbodor)

G1: This game went pretty much exactly like the first one in round 3 where I applied a lot of early pressure with Yveltal and finished off the game with Darkrai EX.

G2: Once again I had to use a lot of items after a really bad starting hand that already forced me to discard two items with Ultra Ball and attaching two Tools he was able to discard with Field Blower right away. This time I wasn’t as lucky as in Round 3 which lead to me losing the second game.

G3: This game was very close because he was able to take out two of my Darkrais with one GX attack of Espeon, also taking away four Darkness Energies with them. Luckily I only played four items in the first few turn which made the game a lot more winnable for me after taking out his Espeon GX. In the end his Garbodors were way to weak to keep up and I managed to win the game.


Round 6: Matthias Luppa [DE] (Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu)

The entire series was very boring because I wasn’t able to do anything in either game since he managed to always get out his Tapu Bulu GX on turn 2 by using Vikavolts ability which lead to me losing the series 0-2.


Being 4-2-0 after six rounds was a pretty tough spot to be in because I knew I would have to win the next two rounds and ID or win the last one to make Day 2, since I didn’t expect to tie Round 7 or 8 because I’m quite a fast player and rarely tie regular games.

Round 7: Nathan Crossley [UK] (Sylveon)

G1: After he used his Energy Evolution ability on his first turn to get out a Sylveon I was pretty confident that I would win the series unless I lose one game due to him donking me or something similar. I just used Oblivion Wing as long as possible before retreating into Darkrai with enough energies on board to knock out his Sylveons in one hit.

G2: This game went a lot like the first one and I was even able to finish the game before time was called.


Round 8: Jack Gregory-Campbell [UK] (M Rayquaza)

I was pretty confident with the matchup since I had Sudowoodo and it can get really tough for M Ray to deal with it.

G1: I was able to get Sudowoodo early with an active Yveltal that was able to apply a lot of early pressure thanks to Choice Band. I was eventually able to get Darkrai to enough damage to deal with M Rayquaza EX and I took the game pretty quickly.

G2: My start wasn’t too good but Sudowoodo + N are still super good against M Ray to get back into the game after some slower turns. Sadly Sudowoodo was prized when I checked for it and I also wasn’t able to get it from my first four prizes.


G3: My start was looking pretty decent and I expected the game to go like G1. But apparently Sudowoodo had other plans since he was once again sitting in my last two prizes which meant I would need to get pretty lucky with lategame Ns and safe my Altars to get rid of his Skyfields.
I managed to do all of that pretty nicely throughout the game and after an N to two he fortunately wasn’t able to get the cards he would

need for the win.


Round 9: Karl Blake [UK]



Knowing I had enough points to make day 2 I, alongside all the other guys, waited for the standing to be posted, to check who made day 2. I was able to get in at 25th place which meant I would get to play another set of five swiss rounds on the next day.

Round 10: Heddi Brahmi [FR] (Lurantis)

Unfortunatly I had to play a friend of mine in the first round of day 2 but when the field gets down to only 32 players it’s not to unlikely to meet familiar faces.

G1: I used Yveltal with Choice Band to apply a lot of early pressure onto him, while getting my Darkrai ready to hit for some big numbers, pretty much like I did in round 2 against Lurantis/Vileplume, with the major difference that Heddi didn’t have Vileplume in his list to stop me from getting set up.
After a few turns I was ready to knock his Lurantis out in one hit and take the game.

G2: This game went pretty much the same way, with the difference that he had absolutely nothing in the first turns which obviously made it a lot easier for me to take the game.


Round 11: Roman Carriere [FR] (Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu)

After my swiss round on day 1 against Matthias, I knew that this matchup was going to be really tough, and unless I would get some early Grubbin or Charjabug knockouts, or he just didn’t get anything at all, I would probably lose.

G1: This game went pretty much as I expected, he got out Vikavolt on turn 2 to take out my first Darkrai before I even got a decent amount of energies into play.

G2: After playing three games against the deck, I was finally able to witness it bricking like a stage 2 deck should from time to time, so I was able to take this game.

G3: When I saw my starting hand I knew I would finally be able to get an early knockout on a Grubbin to potentially snowball from there, but my deck had other plans. My starting hand was Elixir, Altar of the Moone, Darkness Energy, Sycamore and some less useful cards, alongside an active Yveltal and benched Darkrai, so if I would get a Max Elixir and hit both of them, I would be able to take an early prize. When he used Sycamore I knew I would get to keep my hand so it all was depending on whether or not I get the Elixirs. I attached the energy active, placed down the Altar and went for the first Elixir, which hit. I used Sycamore and actually managed to get another Elixir, without drawing any energies, which mant that there should still be plenty in deck, considering the list runs 15 and I only had two in play and probably 2-3 prized at most, still leaving at least 10 Energies in about 40 cards. Sadly I didn’t hit the Elixir so I once again wasn’t able to get the early Grubbin knockout. From there on the game went like almost every other one, with him getting T2 Vikavolt and sweeping from there.


Round 12: Jack Old [UK] (Decidueye/Ninetales)

Knowing that his deck only uses GX as attackers, Yveltal was once again the first thing I thought about when going into this game.

G1: I got my early Yveltal and he didn’t have too much going for him which made it possible for me to take a rather quick game 1.

G2: I had absolutely nothing.

G3: We finally both got a decent set up to play a complete game. I once again used Yveltal with Choice Band to set up my Darkrais to be able to take out his Ninetales GX in one hit which worked pretty well. We both went down to two prizes and I was able to hit everything in the last turn (Two Elixir hits, energy from hand) to deal with one of his Decidueye GX in one hit.


Round 13: Goncalo Ferreira [PT] (Zoroark/Umbreon/Decidueye)

This match was also streamed on the Pokemon channel.

G1: This game was over very quickly because he didn’t get any other Pokemon than his Dartrix and a Zorua.

G2: After knowing that it wouldn’t really be possible for me to keep up with his Zoroarks after I had to bench some Pokémon to get set up, I decided to take the risk of knocking out his Tapu Lele and hoping that I wouldn’t get Nd, or draw Lysandre and energy after an N. Thankfully he didn’t N me so I was able to Lysandre up his Shaymin for the game.


Round 14: Manuel Jorach [DE] (Darkrai/Dragonair)

After losing the second round of Day 2 and moving into Day 2 with a record of 6-2-1 and didn’t even think I would get to the point where I would play a win and in for top 8, and pretty much settled with Top 16 after seeing which matchup I was going to face. It was also pretty obvious to me that my opponent was mad about him getting downpaired, because otherwise he could’ve potentially ID’d to be in Top 8.

G1: He had a very good start in this game, but I was able to get a lot of energies into play early. I decided to put an Exp. Share onto Tapu Lele GX because I felt like it could come in pretty handy to power up a Tapu Lele to potentially take out something that he would attach a lot of energies to. Obviously I didn’t attach the amount of energies that would make it possible for him to take the knockout with his own Tapu Lele, but I guess he thought I would misplay that part as you will see soon. Yveltal was once again one of the MVPs in this game and we got to a point where he had one prize left to my two. Over the past 3 turns he attached energies to his Tapu Lele while mine had five attached to itself, making it an overall of eight energies (160 damage). He counted the energies for pretty much 2 minutes in total and decided to use Lysandre onto my Tapu Lele. He attacked and was about to take his prized when I pointed out that he was 10 damage short. So all I had to do now was to attach an energy to win the game, which I had in hand.

G2: This game went exactly like I though the matchup would go, he just got a lot of energies into play and swept through.

G3: This game was actually streamed and a lot of stuff happened throughout this game. I think the stuff that went down was way too exciting to just write about it, so I suggest you to take a look at the VOD on the Pokemon channel and enjoy the experience.


Top 8: Philipp Emmerich [DE] (Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu)

I pretty much knew that this was where my tournament was going to end unless he bricks in two out of the three games, but sadly he only bricked game 2 which meant that I was out of the tournament, still being super satisfied with my finish.


Darkrai decklist

Pokémon - 10Trainer - 35Energy - 15
4 Darkrai EX4 Prof. Sycamore15 Darkness Energy
3 Yveltal4 N
2 Tapu Lele GX4 Lysandre
1 Sudowoodo1 Pokémon Fan Club
2 VS Seeker
4 Ultra Ball
4 Max Elixir
4 Choice Band
4 Exp Share
4 Altar of the Moone

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