"Danmark Man Dark"- How I Won a League Challenge in Denmark

Google Translate really clears up what the lyrics mean.

Danmark Man Dark

Vores buschauffør ka' godt køre bus
Der' rigtig mange der' rigtig tilfreds
Med hans niveau imellem bremse og gas
Jo, han kan godt styre bussen
Men ved han egentligt hvem der sidder i den?
Og hvor de egentligt gerne vil køres hen?
Hvad ved han helt præcist om kvinder og mænd?

I just had the most amazing afternoon. This League Challenge has been one of my most enjoyable Pokemon experiences ever!

Side Note: Aron wanted this post to be called "First Step Into a New World". So consider that an alternate title!

I had the idea of going to a tournament in Europe when I first heard that I would be going on vacation there with my family, and this became especially important to me when I realized that our vacation would conflict with Regionals. Nothing looked like it would be conveniently close to any of the places we planned to visit, but the events in Denmark appeared to be posted only a week in advance. So as our departure date got closer, I kept checking for tournaments using the Event Locator, and finally one popped up! It was scheduled for 5 PM in Copenhagen, and our plane would be arriving at Copenhagen airport that same afternoon.

The text in the tournament details read "Roaring Skies er tilladt." Google Translate helpfully explained to me that this meant that Roaring Skies was legal for this tournament. I didn't have any Roaring Skies cards, but I thought that maybe I could borrow some of the cheaper Trainers from my friends if needed. I brought 120 cards with me to Europe, and here are sixty of them:

Pokemon: 16

2 Mew EX
1 Jirachi EX
1 Empoleon
4 Lampent
4 Pumpkaboo
4 Joltik

Trainers: 37

1 Float Stone
1 Hard Charm
2 Muscle Band
4 Battle Compressor
1 Computer Search
4 Ultra Ball
4 VS Seeker
4 Acro Bike
4 Trainers' Mail
4 Professor Sycamore
1 Archie's Ace In The Hole
2 Lysandre
1 Lysandre's Trump Card
4 Dimension Valley

Energy: 7

4 Double Colorless Energy
3 Water Energy

You guys have all seen Night March lists and analyses before, so I won't bore you too much besides mentioning a few things:

I miss you second Jirachi...
1 Empoleon, 1 Archie's Ace In The Whole, 1 Jirachi EX

My list managed to get off the turn one Archie's a lot, more than any list I've played before. I can most definitely attribute that to Trainers' Mail. Trainers' Mail was an amazing card when digging for Battle Compressors and Supporters, but it was also a card that I could fail if I needed to trim my hand size down. I had the turn one Archie's in two games and the turn two Archie's in another game. I also had it in my first round before I had my hand refreshed by N.
Running one of each of the necessary cards means that I run the risk of having pieces prized, but the extra space in the deck added consistency and luckily I never had anything prized. It is a little scary though when you see that you have the cards to get out Empoleon on turn one but it will only work if three pieces aren't prized.

2 Mew EX

In past versions of the deck, I ran three copies of Mew, and I was tempted at times to bump that number up to four because I wanted to start with it more often. When I originally built this new, updated version, I had no Mew at first! I had to add a couple in, but attacking with it is only necessary against EX-based decks where you need to hit 180 more consistently. It has niche uses outside of that, like copying Attack Command if your opponent played Trump Card, etc.

1 Float Stone, 1 Hard Charm, 2 Muscle Band

The Float Stone is my one Switch card. This means that we don't really have a good way to remove Special Conditions. The advantage of Float Stone is that it lets you have someone that can retreat for free when you have a Pokemon knocked out, and I liked to attach Float Stone to Jirachi or Empoleon. Muscle Band lets you hit magic numbers while needing one less Night Marcher in the Discard Pile. I kept Hard Charm in the deck because it helps in the Seismitoad matchup and the Donphan matchup. You might take it out for a Muscle Band or an Escape Rope, depending on how much Head Ringer is in your area.

4 Acro Bike, 4 Trainers' Mail, 0 Bicycle, 0 Roller Skates

You have mail, here are all four of your Dimension Valley!
I really like Item-based draw. Acro Bike serves three purposes: It draws you cards, it thins your deck, and it lets you discard Night Marchers. Trainers' Mail lets you dig for more cards without a discarding drawback, and it is possible to fail it. Bicycle would draw us lots of cards, especially in a deck that runs four Ultra Ball, and Roller Skates would net us more cards as well, but unfortunately neither card allows you to lower your hand size to play Archie's. This means that the 4/4/0/0 Item line is perfect for Night March. If there was no Archie's in the deck and I had unlimited space, I would make these counts 4/4/4/4, but there really isn't enough space for something like that, and that would greatly decrease the odds of getting Empoleon out.

0 Shaymin

You might ask, Charles Randall, why aren't there any Shaymin in your deck? And to that I would answer, I don't own any Shaymin! In fact, I don't even own any Trainers' Mail, but I have wonderful friends who came through for me when I needed to borrow some in a pinch. On TCGOne, where I have access to every card, I don't play any Shaymin either. The deck already has the potential to draw through itself so much that I feel obligated to play Trump Card to stop myself from decking out. Also, I am really enjoying the deck's current ability to use Archie's, and Shaymin is like Bicycle in that it really isn't conducive to achieving a turn one Empoleon. Before I added Shaymin I would first add a second Jirachi for consistency and making getting the Archie's off a little easier. However, Shaymin definitely works in the deck. The fact that I don't have any doesn't really motivate me to find a list that works though. Shaymin is also not a great starter, and if I added Shaymin or a second Jirachi, I would have to raise the Switch card count higher than one.

How do you beat Seismitoad, Charles Randall? Aren't you terrified of the deathly combination of Quaking Punch and Lysandre's Trump Card?

That was a very insightful question, and yes, I am quaking in my boots. Every time I play Night March, I seem to have a lot of trouble with this sort of lock. Andrew Wamboldt and I both played Night March for St. Louis Regionals this year. Andrew went 2-0-1 against Toad according to this article, and I went 0-3 against it. It really baffles me on how he manages to have a positive Toad matchup and I would love some insight on how to make a Night March deck both beat Seismitoad and also draw through itself consistently. His STL list played two N and two Shauna, and I hate N in Night March. It is most always outclassed by Sycamore when you aren't being Quaking Punched.

Tournament Report:

After the plane landed in Copenhagen and we got the keys to our rental car for the next two weeks, my parents used a map to find the library where the tournament was located. It took more time than Google Maps originally expected because of some wrong turns, but I arrived at the correct location just before registration started at five. I approached a group of people sitting at a table and asked if anyone wanted to play a game, and Aron wanted to! The three people at the table had taken a twenty minute train ride over from Sweden, but Aron had an Australian accent. I had my Donphan deck along with me, so I played a fun game against his Doublade deck, which I won (his first three attacking flips were tails!). I registered and then pairings were posted! 

Round One vs. Thomas Andersen with Yveltal/Toad

I started Mew EX, and he went first. I had the cards in hand for an Archie's on my first turn, but he played Laser and used N and sent that beautiful hand away in exchange for a worse one. Don't get me wrong, I still had a Supporter, but I was only able to get three Night Marchers in the discard pile. I went ahead and copied his Quaking Punch from the Seismitoad that he had active. Even though he whiffed Muscle Band, the fact that Mew was poisoned gave me a lot of trouble. Once that Mew EX went down, I had nothing else. Due to the nature of the deck, my hand was literally made up of nine or ten Items by the time he took his sixth prize and I had drawn and passed multiple times. My opponent however, was a pleasure to play against. He was a local Pokedad, whose son was gunning for a Top 22 spot in Europe. I played a fun game against him with my Donphan deck, although I was getting absolutely destroyed when pairings for the next round were announced.


Round Two vs. Aron Wright with Doublade

I got to play against the Australian/Swedish guy! My opponent had won the previous round but scooped as his opponent was aiming for a World's Invite and he wasn't. Doublade is a force to be reckoned with! Unfortunately for Aron, I got a Turn One Archie's and took a prize per turn. My deck really worked here, and it was nice to play the Battle Compressor and Computer Search and not have Archie's be prized. I misplayed on my penultimate turn, when I Lysandre'd and killed a benched Doublade to take my second-to-last prize, when I could have Lysandre'd his Mew for the win/ But I managed to win the following turn, and bring my record back to 1-1.


Round Three vs. Henning Gong with Gardevoir/Florges

My opponent was the reigning Swedish National Champion (if this is not true then Aron lied to me). He and Aron had traveled here to help their friend get points for his invite, so Henning lent the friend his Computer Search and at least one Ultra Ball. As a result, Life Dew was the Ace Spec and he ran Repeat Ball! I got out an Archie's on my second turn, and I knocked out a baby Xerneas and a Slurpuff while he set up a Mega Gardevoir with a Life Dew attached. I used Lysandre on Florges to go down to two prizes, and he continued to attack me with Gardevoir. My fourth VS Seeker was prized, and all of my Lysandres and my Trump Card were in the discard pile, so I had to keep attacking the active. I discarded Pumpkaboo as the tenth Night Marcher with Driving Draw, leaving one card left in my deck. Then I attacked with a Muscle Banded Joltik, to knock out the Mega Gardevoir to go down to one prize. His Jirachi was prized, so he couldn't Lysandre up the Empoleon to stall and make me deck out, so I managed to eek out a win with no cards remaining in my deck.


Round Four vs. Niels Pedersen with Virizion/Genesect

I was 2-1 and Niels was 3-0, so I was up-paired. I went first and got the Turn One Archie's, and he whiffed the Energy on his first turn. By my second turn, I had nine Night Marchers in the discard pile. I knocked out his active Virizion. He attached an energy to another one on his bench, and I used Lysandre to bring it up and go down to two prizes. He sent up Tropius and used N to get the Lysandre out of my hand, which held me off for another turn. I knocked out Tropius, he used N, and he drew Munna. He flipped heads on Long-Distance Hypnosis, but I flipped a heads of my own to wake up going back into my turn, letting me take my last prize!


Does that text seem familiar to you?
I was going to get second place to the winner of a 2-1 vs 2-1 match, but their game went to time so they tied. I won! Unfortunately, there were no prizes, only points, but I really can't complain since I paid the equivalent of 75 U.S. cents to enter the tournament. I had a blast meeting new people and getting more points (110 to go!) towards Worlds. I managed to succeed even without paying for Shaymins, while dodging the Toad/Shaymin deck that was at the top tables. I had a great experience because I love making new friends and I love winning tournaments, so it was a win-win situation for me. Europe is lovely and the Pokemon community appears to be just as friendly and healthy as it is in the U.S.

I would like to thank Damien, Brandon, and Robert for lending me Trainers' Mail the night before I left for Europe on such short notice, that was awesome. You guys are the reason I can get by even though I don't have Roaring Skies cards yet. Also, all the people I met at the tournament, Aron, Gavin, Henning, Niels, Thomas, Thomas' son, and Simon were all awesome and friendly. This is the first point in the season where I have seriously considered going to Worlds even if I don't earn an invite just to see these people again. If I have the opportunity to play in more international tournaments, I will definitely do so. Between Canada and Denmark, I have really enjoyed playing in tournaments outside of the U.S., and I kind of wish I had explored this sooner.

Feel free to leave comments if you have any questions, and thanks for reading!


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