The Search for a Shorter Title: GBL Open Ultra Day 2

Technically today was a success in that I gained ELO – up from 2193 to 2205. Such a small gain tells its own story. Let’s start with my first set where I ran the same squad as yesterday.

Note: I won’t list every battle, instead only focusing on those that proved interesting.

I went 1-4 in my first set which dropped be down to 2148. Some of these losses were bad matchups and one definitely was an overtap loss. The worst, however, was one where I did not burn a shield. I lost to Articuno lead with Swampert and Registeel in the back. On pure matchups I should have had a fair shot at a win. Not knowing my move counts against Articuno cost me as I let a Hurricane hit my Typhlosion and that was the deal breaker. If I had that health I likely would have been able to close it out but instead I ended up in the hole to start the day.

Given the last three sets I had with the Typhlosion team (1-4, 3-2, 1-4) I was already feeling as if the meta at my current ELO was hostile to my squad. I figured that an Incinerate fast move on Typhlosion would help some but I am not a fan of such slow animations on my lead. Instead I looked at the common leads I had faced over those sets and saw a decent number of Steel types and a lot of Obstagoon. A quick trip to PVPoke gave me the lead I needed: Escavalier (Counter – Drill Run/Megahorn). Escavalier is a ‘Mon I’ve used before and felt comfortable putting them in the front. I saw that my same Lapras (Ice Shard – Surf/Ice Beam) would be a solid cover. But that left me with the need for a safe swap. I knew I wanted something that could help against Machamp and Giratina – two opponents I had seen often – without being a dog to Steel types.

I settled on Flygon (Dragon Tail – Earth Power/Dragon Claw). Flygon may not have been the best choice but I have been interested in trying them out since the Dragon Tail rework and I figured that if it didn’t work I had this blog to keep me honest about that.

In my next 4 sets I went 3-2 every time for a total record of 12-8, and I definitely left two wins on the table. Here are some of my more interesting battles:

  • Clefable – Lapras – Registeel (Loss): This was in my first set with the team and going into the endgame I knew I wanted to bring in a full health Flygon to go against Registeel. But for some reason when my switch timer came up I went for Escavalier, which was low on health, and ended up losing the match.
  • Shadow Snorlax – Sirfetch’d – Abomasnow (Win): I thought I was toast. The match came down to Lapras against Abomasnow when I had one shield left. I had to shield an Energy Ball and I was sure my opponent was going to build up to a second Energy Ball and end my day. Instead they threw a Weather Ball and ditched, allowing me to farm down their Sirfetch’d to build up to an Ice Beam and snatch victory.
  • Machamp – Venusaur – Giratina (Win): I was down to a low health Escavalier and an unseen Lapras and figured that I was going to get farmed down by Machamp. Instead I blind swapped into Lapras and they did the same into Giratina. That gave me an opening to farm their dragon down and go on to win.
  • Gardevoir – Scizor – Empoleon (Win): My last battle of the day, I was able to win because my opponent got greedy. They over charged Empoleon in farming down my Flygon and I brought in a full health Lapras. They kept farming down, throwing one Drill Peck. I kept chugging along, building up to Surf when they swapped into Scizor. Scizor was at a pretty low HP count and I was able to farm it down enough, soaking Night Slashes, to the point where they brought in Empoleon again I could connect with one Surf for the win.

I am very likely to run this team back tomorrow. While I’m not seeing nearly as many Obstagoon leads (only two in the four sets), I saw enough Fairy and Steel types that Escavalier makes sense in the front.

Published by Alex Ullman

Alex Ullman has been playing Magic since 1994 (he thinks). Since 2005, he's spent most of his time playing and exploring Pauper. One of his proudest accomplishments was being on the winnings side of the 2009 Community Cup. He makes his home in Brooklyn, New York, where he was born and raised.

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