Running Secrets Of Shirakawa Castle – DM Thoughts

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish running the Secrets of Shirakawa Castle module this week, but instead I hope to have the second part of the review up next week. If you haven’t read the first part, the link to it is here.

This post isn’t a review, instead, it’s just a collection of quick thoughts on running the Secrets of Shirakawa Castle module before. The primary difference between this and review is that I view these more as areas where I screwed up running the module, and where doing things differently would have been more fun for the players. As such, this post is mostly intended for game masters intending to run the module. So without reading the actual module, this article may not be very useful for you.

The module itself can be bought here, on the DM’s guild.


1. Don’t be afraid to use Sei as part of the investigation.
-I’m always afraid of having NPC’s do too much in games. Its something I need to work on. With that said, the way I ran things, it was almost like he wasn’t there. If I were to do this again, I would try to make him a more active part of the game, especially if I was to run the module as few players as I did. Sei and their lore is a fairly key component to the module, and by downplaying them too much, I think I made things a lot more complex then they needed to be.


2. Actively monitor party resources.
Again, more on me then the module. I wasn’t paying a huge amount of attention to how much HP/Spells/etc my players had. The module isn’t a met grinder, but it is punishing, and with exhaustion and other mechanics in play, it can become very easy to accidentally overestimate how much more the party can take without a short rest.


3. Let the players know that they have options to really explore the castle.
This is honestly my biggest regret. I’m pretty sure it’s how I ran the module, but when collecting feedback at the end, many of my players said they felt railroaded. Here’s the thing: Secrets is very, very open ended. Every room in the castle has a description and something to find in it. There are servants to talk to, a bathhouse to visit, and a small garden and pond. Each of these also has clues and information about the cause of the Yokai infestation. Players really can just wander and explore. If I was to run the module again, I think I would do a short tour of the castle, then have the NPC’s tell the players they can inspect wherever they want, and leave them.

These were my big three take aways. I expect to finish running the module next weekend, and after that I’ll post my final review of it. Hopefully these notes help anyone who ends up deciding to send folks on an adventure of their own!

Immortal Redneck – Finally Finished – Video Games!

So, I finally finished Immortal Redneck, by Crema. If the name sounds familar, it might be because they’re the folks that made Temtem. And raised a bunch of money on Kickstarter. But Immortal Redneck is their first game, and frankly, I’ve had way more fun with it.

I’ll talk later about Temtem, but for now, lets just talk about Immortal Redneck. If I had to describe it sufficiently, it’s a rogue like version of Doom, with an Egyptian theme. The game itself is fairly straightforward. You pick a starting character ALA Binding of Issac. This character determines your starting weapons, special activated ability, and usually has at least one more passive gimmick. Then you go into a pyramid, fight your way through to the stairs, go up the next level where enemies get harder until you die or get to the top. On the way to the top there are two bosses. If you get all the way to the top, or if you die, you restart, and can spend money you’ve collected on your way up to increase your hp/def/attack/unlock characters. It’s a pretty standard rogue like structure.

Here’s the thing though. If the reason you start playing Immortal Redneck is because “Oh hey, roguelike” I don’t think you’ll actually have a very good time. Most well regarded rogue-likes have an aspect of “learning” to them, and that isn’t really present in this. You don’t really construct a build. The only thing you can change about your set up as you proceed up the pyramid is your weapon load out, if you find something interesting to replace it with. The only real power-ups, “scrolls” can be good or bad, and you don’t know what they are until you pick them up.

I like Immortal Redneck overall though, because its fun. While it doesn’t follow the standard rogue like gameplay, most of the guns are a joy to play with, and just fun to shoot things with. While it does lean a bit heavily into references to pop culture with some of them, (looking at you little cricket and woolololo staff) most of them are just very satisfying to use.

In addition, the voice acting is pretty good. The only real voice lines are from the titular Immortal Redneck, but I found myself actually rather enjoying how he’s described. Making your character likable in a shooter like this seems difficult when all you can have them really do is spout one liners, but these make the redneck out as surprisingly likable.

I enjoyed Immortal Redneck, and if you like shooters I’d say give it a shot. But if you’re looking into it for the roguelike elements, it may not be your cup of tea.

Glory to Rome

Let’s talk about a great game you can’t buy unless you want to sell your kidneys.

As we enter another week of quarantine, I’ve spent a lot of time playing games with people over the internet. This week, it was Glory to Rome in tabletop simulator, a board game with a really weird ass history. While I could spend time writing about that, I’d just be retreading ground already covered by Cyrus Farivar, in his article on arstechnica. So yeah, if you want to see how a Kickstarter can go horrifically wrong, and why being in a relationship with your only translator for your production line might be a bad idea, go read his stuff instead. It’s fascinating.

(Side Note: I find the failure of Glory to Rome especially interesting as the only components for the game are paper and cards. It’s all cards! No complex inserts, no expensive plastic models, nothing. Where’s the Jason Schier of the board game industry? There’s probably a fascinating and horrifying story about global supply chains in this thing.)

So instead, lets actually talk about Glory to Rome. I had a lot of fun with it. I was playing with three other friends, one of whom had played before. I also got crushed, coming in last place. Generally speaking, I get pretty salty when I lose games, and while there was some of that, I mostly want to play it again.

Probably the thing I find the most impressive about Glory to Rome is the same thing I sorta mocked it for up above: the only component is cards. The cards are your resources. The cards are your buildings. The cards are your victory points, your actions, and clients. The game manages to pack a stupid amount of functionality into each card WITHOUT making them illegible or hard to read. (Unless you’re playing on tabletop simulator with blurry scans. In which case, yeah, they can be a bit hard to read.) But the fact of the matter is, the game feels like it does a lot with very little.

The second thing about Glory to Rome that I find interesting, and would be helpful if I played it again, is how fast the game is. Most building games I’ve played tend to sorta drag out near the end, getting to the point where you’re playing kingmaker, or where you’ve lost, but the game keeps going. Glory to Rome ends with a bang. Of the four people in our game, I would say the two highest scoring players earned most of their points in the last two to three rounds of play, in one person’s case, scoring around 20+ points in one turn. (My end game score was 12 total. 3rd place was 13.) There’s an explosive energy to it by the end.

I honestly don’t really have any nitpicks with the game, and honestly, if I could, I’d go out and buy a copy. But you can’t, and no one can. At the time of writing, Ebay shows maybe two copies of the first edition, clocking in at about $130, and a single copy of the “Black Box Edition” at $425 (To be fair, that’s including the $50 shipping. To be unfair, that’s probably more then it would cost you to go and get an entire copy of the game professionally printed.) The next several results are all for games that describe themselves as “Glory to Rome-like”.

If you want to play it though, there is still a way to do it. First, you’d need Tabletop Simulator installed, and then, theoretically, you would need to go and find a mod version of the game in the workshop. You know. Theoretically. And playing this way would still cost about $20 per person, since you’d all have to buy a copy of tabletop simulator.

But it would still be cheaper then buying the actual game.

RPG Module Review: The Great Egg Scramble

Module NameThe Great Egg Scramble

AuthorsDylan Teal

System/Character Level – DND 5E/4 Level 5’s (I ran it with two level 7’s though)

Price – Pay what you want, $2 suggested. ( I had 2$ worth of fun running it, so I bought it afterward.)

I was going to write this post later, and play Minecraft instead, but because I was talked into playing modded Minecraft, my instance is still launching. Seriously, why does this require apparently recompiling my entire game each time I want to launch a mod pack? It’s insane.

So, DND Module Review time! Today I’m gonna talk about a fairly fun adventure I ran last week for two the folks in one of my DND groups, when one person was just dead sick, and one couldn’t make it.

Woo! So, where to start. I actually had a lot of fun running this, and I think folks had fun playing it. It’s a fairly straightforward adventure, with a few encounters, and some custom enemies. It has maps, which is, as always, appreciated. They’re not super beautiful by any means, but they are functional, and the fact that they’re actually included means it won’t be too hard to remake them in whatever software you prefer if you decide they aren’t up to your standards.

While overall I like the module, there were a few places that it did feel a bit weaker/less fleshed out. The first place is the Spring Festival itself. Despite it being a semi-large part of the story, there isn’t much detail in what is actually being sold, whose present, other little bits of flavor. The closest we get is a brief description in the intro, and a few lines about how the party can find most mundane goods they might want, but no magic items, and how they won’t be able to find a horse/cart. And that’s more or less the whole thing.

Second place is the second NPC the players encounter, Lupin. While Lupin is fairly central to the module in terms of driving it forward, the module mostly only contains info about what Lupin knows, and what might happen if the players are able to persuade him to talk. For the Townsmaster Lepus however, we get a full set of information, info about his personality, and also a few other little things that help roleplaying him. I personally would have liked to see Lupin get the same treatment, especially since he’s arguably the main roleplaying set piece of the adventure. (The bandits end up threatening you/fighting you, Townsmaster Lepus is generally pretty helpful. Lupin is really the only one where players really can either sway him to their side, or totally fail to do so. )

Outside of these two places however, I generally felt I had enough to work with in terms of tone and flavor for the adventure.

Here’s what I would do differently if I ran the module again:

  1. Flesh out the festival in advance. Create one or two stalls to visit, selling knick knacks and trinkets. At the same time, make it very clear that the NPC’s in town won’t be willing to part with their carts. (My players got hung up looking for a cart in town when a better way is to try to make a deal with Lupin.)
  2. Decide on Lupin’s personality beforehand, and force the players to lead the negotiations. In my game, I sorta decided that Lupin was a bit pissy with the bandits, and had him take the lead in negotiating with the players. I think for more experienced players, having to really talk him into a deal would be more fun, and reinforce his grumpy sort of personality.

Afterthought:

One small part of the module I’m not thrilled about is the killer rabbit at the end. I think this part fits in best if you run the adventure as a one-shot, and want to just kill some of the party members at the end as a joke. Otherwise, it’s not fantastic, because the party will have done about 4 four encounters by this point. (The Bandits, The Dire Hares, The Return Journey, and the Bad Egg.) Throwing the rabbit at them WILL kill someone especially because the rabbit’s decapitation means that any player it brings down to zero hit points gets their head popped off like a marshmallow.

Until the next time I think of something worth posting, cya, and stay safe folks.

Updated: 4/25/2020 – This article linked to the wrong module/author on the DMG. We confused it with the similarly named module, “The Great Egg Hunt.” The module that was played/reviewed/purchased was in fact, The Great Egg Scramble. The article has been updated to reflect this information.

The Tides Have It

I’ve decided to try to see if I can keep this blog updated twice weekly. Woo. That seems like it will be kinda tough, so I’m just gonna quickly talk about a few things about Animal Crossing New Horizons that have been bothering me. These are more or less extremely small nitpicks, and I’d suspect that overall, they’re not really worth thinking about for more then a few minutes, but they’re still interesting to me, so yeah, whatever.

Nitpick #1

You can release fish into areas of water that they didn’t come from.

Okay, so in terms of “Annoyed Complaints” I’d file this one up with there with “Zootopia is unrealistic because animals can’t talk” in terms of how much it actually matters, but the reason this bother me is really straight forward. The game doesn’t let us just kill fish by tossing them onto land to die, or whatnot, we can only release them with the implication that well, they’ll live. Despite this though, nothing stops you from chucking a sea horse into a lake pond, or a trout straight into the ocean. I’m not a fish person, it might even be that those kinds of fish can survive in those areas, but I feel like they prob wouldn’t do so hot. I dunno, really it just bothers me because the game on one hand says “No, you can’t just murder these animals” but on the other hand is like “Yeah, sure, cram that Sea Bass in that tiny lake pond. It’ll be fine!”

Nitpick #2

Going out and chopping down everything on a random mystery island isn’t just possible, the games mechanics almost encourage it.

I find this one “funnier” in the sense that I’m almost never bothered by content in video games.

There’s a subsection of the population that seems to think that Video Games are the Devil, but it seems like people thought the same thing about Rock and Roll, Dungeons and Dragons, reading Catcher In The Rye. I’m more of the opinion that “Shitty people are shitty people” and that if “The Youth” are being corrupted, its more likely that they went looking for it.

Point is, in terms of “Oh dear, the moral panic” I’m almost never bothered by content in games. Murder a dozen people? Sure! Blow up a boat? Why not. Kill your Minecraft villagers over and over again until you get one with the right recipes? Those books won’t make themselves.

The point is, simulated violence almost never bothers me, as does war, blood/gore/etc. It’s very easy to tell that it’s not “real”. However, the idea of just going to random part of a forest/island or something and just clear cutting it cause “Fuck it, it ain’t my home” actually does sorta rub me the wrong way. I feel like I was raised to have a certain respect for nature even digitally, at least as long as said nature isn’t trying to actively murder me. (That’s a different situation, more about Don’t Starve later this week maybe?)

There was an interesting post a while back on Penny Arcade that I can’t find at the moment, but more or less boiled down to the following:

  1. “It’s very hard to see people in games as real people, because eventually you’ll reach a point where they behave weirdly, or bug out, or start saying the same voice line or whatever.”
  2. But the corollary is “It’s a lot easier to make us care about dogs/cats/animals, because it’s not hard to make something that really feels like a dog.” If it wags its tail, run around, barks at stuff, you’ve pretty much nailed it. It’s way easier to make a digital dog that feels “real” then a digital person.
  3. As far as I can tell, this is how I feel about forests and wild places in Animal Crossing. They aren’t real forests, but they are real in the sense of the game, and to the characters of the game. So yeah, clear cutting a pristine bit of nature so I can have an extra axe or two feels bad.

Afterthought:

After thinking about most of this, I realized that it’s more then possible in AC to harvest wood and such without actually cutting down an entire Forest, but I still thought it was fairly interesting that I was more bothered by a game saying “You can cut down all the trees” and the message that it sends to our children. So yeah, time to get children back to playing Call of Duty, Animal Crossing teaches lessons that are far too dangerous about deforestation. Speaking of which, more about Don’t Starve later this week, a game with a VERY different game play loop, but some of the same occurrences.

Sento – Ultimate Arcade Fighter

Holy shit, I want to own this game.

There are a lot of games at a PAX, and honestly, many of them do not click for me. There are things that can be fun when played with other people, but might not transfer to a single player experience, and there are things that just don’t grab me.

I personally don’t really like writing about things that very much, because making things is hard, and going “Hey, you know that thing you poured a decent portion of the finite time, the only truly real and limited thing that is yours on this planet, into? I think it’s trash.” has the all the tact and moral generosity of stomping on a puppy. Most people I know who make things have started by making a lot of very bad things, and then moved on to making better things. I know that for the things I currently make, many of them are either garbage, or “Shows promise, needs improvement” stage of creation.

So yeah, unless you directly ask me for feedback on whether I think something is good or not, anything I say will be more in the “I like it/I don’t like” sphere.

I don’t have to do anything of that shit with Senko fighter, because I mostly just want to play more of it.

Senko is a puzzle matching, fighter game. It’s a board game, which is also kinda weird, and honestly, you could make it into a video game, but I’m not sure if it would actually improve it. Pulling rows of marbles of the board, and dropping them back in to the randomizer is deeply satisfying. (Someone told me “Oh, like Potion Explosion?” but I’ve never played it, so I have no idea if that’s accurate.)

I think the big thing for me though, is that Senko really gets at the heart of what fighting games feel like if you’re good at them. Each turn, you’re making several decisions, all in one simple action. Do I want to attack, or build up for another turn? Am I going to try to trigger my characters feature, or set stuff up? Am I trying to go for a knockout, or just chip you down? Do I need to try to block something big you can set up next turn, and if so, can I even do it?

And the way you decide all of these things is simple, reach down a pull out a bunch of marbles, then do your attack. Different marbles correspond to different attacks, with combos at 1, 3, and 4 chains. There are three colors of marble, and each size chain is a specific attack, except your health is also tied to these marbles to an extent, and if one of your three bars gets knocked down, you can’t use those color marbles, locking out an entire set of attacks, EXCEPT now you can use those marbles you can’t use as part of an even bigger chain of other colors, so now, even though you’re “weaker” it just got much easier to pull off some of those bigger attacks, which is one of the coolest catch up mechanics I’ve ever seen.

I’m sure that as it gets more coverage in the coming months, and Kickstarter launches and whatnot, we’ll get more articles and stuff about it, but I’ll just finish by saying the following:

One thing I feel a lot in video games, but almost never do in board games, is the sense of having MY guy. In Smash Bros, it’s Ike or Ganondorf. In Pokken, it’s Chandalure, and in Pokemon in general, it’s Kyogre, my fat happy blue murder whale. But board games very rarely give me that feeling, even with things like Scythe, and it’s fairly distinct pieces and characters.

The DJ in Sento Fighter already feels like she’s MY dude, nailing the asymmetric options without watering them down so much they become more then just a random starting objective or something. And when this game comes out, I’m looking forward to playing it with friends, and dropping sick, sweet beats, directly onto their exposed, fragile cranium.

Here’s the link to their depressingly empty page, but at least you can sign up for their newsletter about when the Kickstarter is coming. And you should, if you like GOOD THINGS.

PAX 3: The Third Part

That’s right, it’s time for Part Three, the part where I talk about everything I didn’t already review. It’s time for more

VIDYA GAMES

MAGIC: LEGENDS

Another one I got in line for because they were giving out a free pin, except they didn’t actually end up giving it out. Pretty bummed about that, gonna try to get it at another PAX I suppose.

With that said, actual gameplay was pretty decent. I wouldn’t consider myself a huge ARPG person, but Path of Exile is my second most played game, and I’ve played a decent amount of D3 on switch.

Overall, it seemed pretty fun. I’m not sure I would play for the story, as it was pretty “eh” or get into end game, but I can see it being something fun to pick up and play with friends. The whole Magic: The Gathering theme thing is reflected in the fact that you have a deck and your abilities are constantly switching. In theory, this sounds cool, in practice, I more or less just spammed whatever was off cooldown.

But like, show floor demo. You can find more about it here.

DRAGON FANG: Drahn’s Mystery Dungeon

For me, when I think the mystery dungeon games, I mostly think of the Pokemon ones. I know there are some others, but I really loved the first few of the Pokemon ones, and so every time I see a mystery dungeon game, I really want it to be good.

I’m gonna just get this out of the way. I don’t think Dragon Fang is very good. It has a very nice art style and whatnot, but unfortunately, it’s also a port of a Japanese mobile game. So yeah, while the actual game play could be good, and there are some neat ideas, it’s mostly just a very watered down dungeon crawler, where most of the enemies get more interesting powers then you do. Additionally, a lot of the good monsters are locked behind Gacha.

So yeah, skip this one, but if you really want to try it, it’s free on Steam here.

AREA MAN LIVES

Didn’t play this one, did check it out, but it was a neat VR title. it seemed weird enough for me to mention it. I’ll be honest, I’d really like to play it when it comes out.

Find out more about it here.

KEMONO HEROS

This was at the NIS booth, and since theey made Disgea 4, which has been my go to game on the switch the last few months since I got it around Christmas.

Not too much I have to say on it, it seems cute, just didn’t also seem like it did anything fascinatingly new for me to spend more then a few minutes playing it, and then mention it. Find out more about it here.

One more PAX post to go, mostly just about Sento Fighter, and how I don’t own it yet, and why can’t I buy it yet. Until then, see you next time.

PAX EAST – Part 2

Okay, let’s talk about some more stuff to cover. That’s right, it’s time for more

VIDYA GAMES

RELIC HUNTERS LEGEND

This is a sequel to Relic Hunters Zero, a free game that according to steam, I played for about 2 hours. I’m gonna be honest, I don’t remember it at all. I played a bit of the new one, and it was… fine. However, at a PAX, fine doesn’t keep my attention, and so I wandered on. Here’s a link if you’re curious though. If a cartoonish Destiny/Diablo mashup sounds like your sort of thing, you might enjoy it.

MAQUETTE

Maquette is published by Annapurna Interactive, the people who also published What Remains of Edith Finch. I’m gonna be honest here, I got in the Maquette line because they were giving out a free pin.

Clearly the moral of this story is that I do way too much book judging by covers, because Maquette was one of my top three games at the show. It’s a really cool puzzler where you move objects around to solve puzzles, except that your central point of interaction is a small model of the much larger world outside you, and you can move things in the small world, or the big world, to make them exist in the other.

There also seems to be as story about a relationship falling apart that’s also told in the game, and I’m gonna be honest, it felt a bit too real for me, but that’s a story for another day.

Just go play Maquette. If you looked at it and thought “Oh, someone made another artsy walking simulator” you’re dead wrong. There’s a really cool game here, with some big ideas, and I’m honestly really excited to see more of it.

You can learn more about it here, on it’s Steam Page.

RISING HELL

I was gonna write a bit about this, but it looks like it has a demo on steam? And the demo comes out in like two days? So yeah, I’m just gonna wait two days, play the demo for probs longer then 15 minutes I played it at the show, then write about it. That just seems like a better policy.

WUNDERLING

I have been trying to figure out what to say about Wunderling for a while, and have been failing, so I’m just gonna type things and post them. Wunderling is small and cute, and as a result, I want it to succeed. Wunderling’s primary game play mechanic is simply that you can’t actually control your character, you can only control your jump. And while that seems really simple, there were some moments in the demo that were really clever, and made me want to see what the rest of the game could include. For example, one of the secondary mechanics is that if you don’t pick up a collectible every now and then, you die. In the opening levels, this was really simple, but one area had a hidden chest that required you to skip collecting some of these earlier, so you could grab the chest later, and if you picked them all up, you would actually starve to death.

I dunno, I just want to see it work.

That’s all for now I think. This took longer to write then I was expecting, but I think I’ll be able to wrap the rest of this up in part 3, and finish giving my thoughts on the stuff I saw at PAX East.

MISBITS – Early Access

I got a free key for Misbits at PAX this year, and honestly, I’m not sure if the game is very good. At the time of writing this, I’ve played about 38 minutes. Before I publish this, I’ll try to play another 20 or so minutes so I can say I played it for at least an hour, but I really doubt the next 20 minutes are gonna change my opinion, because I’m simply not having fun at the moment with it.

I first went over to Misbits because it looked neat. It has a sorta nice toy box aesthetic, which makes sense given the game is based around the idea that you’re a toy head, and that the biggest game play element is that you can go around jumping onto different bodies, with different special attacks. You also have health on your bodies, so if you get hurt, you can jump to a different one. I think I’ve seen about 5 different bodies so far, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more.

So why am I not having fun? Well, simply put, everything feels really floaty and it feels really hard to actually connect with hits or attacks. It doesn’t help that everything is either a melee attack or a thrown weapon, the only ranged weapons I’ve seen are turrets. Also, it can be surprisingly difficult to figure out what to pay attention to. New bodies are constantly dropping down from the sky, as are items. Enemy players are marked sometimes with a sorta line, but it can still be hard to quickly and easily spot them.

There are two big features that are supposed to be added later to the game, a workshop for building your own levels and sharing them, and the creation tools for said levels. Right now they’re not just present.

For the moment, I wouldn’t recommend it.

You can find the Misbits website here, and you can find the game on steam.

MIT League Challenge 3/7/20

So, whenever I have good and bad news. I usually ask for the bad news first. So I’m gonna start with that.

I did not do well at the League Challenge. In fact, I came in second to last.

However, there is some good news to this, and it is as follows.

Yeah, I somehow managed to come in 4th. As you might have guessed, this would have been more impressive if it hadn’t been 5 people competing.

So what happened, and what went wrong? That’s what I’ll be covering in the rest of this writeup.

DECKLIST

Pokemon – 20
4 Jirachi TEU 99
3 Mewtwo & Mew-GX UNM 71
3 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
1 Charizard-GX HIF 9
1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX UNB 20
1 Magcargo-GX LOT 44
1 Latios-GX UNM 78
1 Naganadel-GX FLI 56
1 Naganadel-GX UNM 160
1 Solgaleo-GX PR-SM 104
1 Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX CEC 165
1 Victini V SSH 25
1 Blacephalon CEC 104
Trainer – 28
4 Welder UNB 189
1 Professor’s Research SSH 178
4 Quick Ball SSH 179
4 Cherish Ball UNM 191
4 Switch SSH 183
2 Great Catcher CEC 192
2 Reset Stamp UNM 206
2 Escape Board UPR 122
2 Stealthy Hood UNB 186
3 Giant Hearth UNM 197
Energy – 12
8 Fire Energy 2
2 Psychic Energy 5
2 Weakness Guard Energy UNM 213

If this list looks familar, that might be because it’s an exact copy of Nico Alabas’s ( @LimitlessNico ) list from the Melbourne International a few weeks back. You can see more of the standings, and decks used here.

GAME 1 – LOSS TO PIKAROM
Game 1 was against a an electric deck, that appeared to be a variant of Pikarom using the Morpeko V and Morpeko V MAX. However, instead of using the V Max’s attack, it primarily used memory energy with it to allow it to blast with Electro Wheel, and then retreat and swap in a Lillies Pokedoll. Overall, I wasn’t able to hit hard enough, and simply got beaten down and outplayed.

GAME 2 – WIN VS PIKAROM

Game 2 was a win, but was a much closer match up. Despite playing vs Pikarom, I was able to hold on, and after two of my Dedennes got sniped, my opponent misplayed, and tried to use Tapu Koko’s V’s Thunderous Bolt twice in a row. Unfortunately, that’s not how that attack works. The game went to time, and with both of us having two prizes left, he retreated his Tapu Koko V on turn two, meaning I needed to either knock out both of his basics in play, or the Koko on the bench. I was just barely able to get the 200 damage from Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff GX with Puffy Smashers GX, and take the game on turn 3 of time.

GAME 3 – LOSS TO MILL

Game 3 was against mill, and was one of roughest openings I’ve ever had piloting the deck. My opening hand had no draw, and my starting Pokemon was Dedenne GX. Despite this, of the match-ups, this felt like the most winnable one. However, I utterly botched first. Of my three answers to a mill deck, my Blacephalon got milled turn one. Then, I rather foolish put both my Nagandel GX, and my Magcargo GX into the discard at the same time. From then on, I just got locked out and milled down with Pal Pad, Lt. Surge, and Bellelba & Brycen-Man.

For me, this game felt the worst because it was a match-up I could have won if I had played differently.

SO WHAT WENT WRONG?

Of the three games, I feel like I definitely should have been able to win at least 2 of them. However, in game 3, I critically failed to understand how the control combo worked, and made what I’d consider to be several major misplays. They were as follows

  1. Knocking out his pokemon, allowing him to use Lt. Surge
  2. Discarding both my Magcargo GX and Nagandel GX at the same time, allowing him to remove them with Girafarig.

I think that if I had gone for one at a time at a maximum, I would have possibly been able to reset the prize card status, or go for a mill win with Magcargo GX mill 5. But I let my win conditions get removed, while helping him set up his prizes.

For game 1, I think I would have won if I had teched slightly differently. One of the biggest issues I had piloting the deck overall was having a very hard time grabbing psychic energy when I needed it. The deck only runs two, and venom shock is a really good tool for dealing with benched mons, and stuff like Morpeko. If I was to run the list again, I might try adding a Viridian Forest.

I want to stress I don’t think this would generally improve the deck for a larger event. It did, after all, win an international. However, I think that the deck most likely shines against ADP and Zacian V decks. At a smaller event, however, a Viridian Forest would help the toolbox nature of the deck set up a bit faster.

Finally, I also mispredicted the sorts of decks I expected to see. I was expecting to see a lot more goons, and maybe a few weird grass decks. But there wasn’t actually a single one.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading, and hopefully I can report better progress next time.