Photo Credit: Alex Wright Media
Well, grab your starter Pokémon and buckle up, because Team Raptor's escapades at the Pokémon Oceania Regional Championship in Melbourne were more thrilling than a Rapidash race at full speed!
With over 1000 competitors battling across TCG, Video Game, and Pokémon GO, it was an event so massive even Snorlax would've woken up for it. Team Raptor, consisting of Gus, Harry, Elliott, KJ, Josie, Carmela, Daal, Ida, and the legendary Coach Edin, stepped into the arena across Juniors, Seniors, and Masters Divisions.
Day 1 was like facing a relentless horde of wild Pokémon – six rounds of best of 3 for Juniors and Seniors, and a whopping nine rounds for the seasoned Masters, with no breaks! It's like Pokémon trainers on an espresso drip, folks.
First up, the Juniors division showcased Gus and Harry, wielding Charizard Ex decks like they were the legendary blades of Arceus. Both competitors had a hard time against Charizard and Giratina, this was to be expected unfortunately with both decks being top tier.
Harry claimed 16th place, only 1 win away from potentially making top 8, disappointed but ecstatic about those sweet 80 Championship Points towards his Worlds invite. Gus, on the other hand, finished day 1 in 2nd place, securing his day 2 spot, he was ready to eat like Ash and sleep like a Komala under Coach Edin's orders.
Gus won his Top 8 and Top 4 matches in a heartbeat, then it was onto the final round. The semi-final clash between Gus and the formidable Drake felt like a showdown straight out of a Pokémon episode. With both players down to their final prize card, the tension was thicker than a Muk's sludge.
The whole crowd leaned in as Drake's Giratina locked horns with Gus's Radiant Charizard, with both players passing turns like seasoned Mime Jr. impersonators. In a twist of fate, Drake found the one energy he needed, and the crowd erupted in cheers, applauding the skill displayed by both trainers.
Gus graciously accepted his Silver Finalist medal, leaving us all confident he will maintain his Top 4 position in Australia!
The Seniors meta seemed slightly different with both players not really seeing any Charizard, but having trouble against the Gardy and Giratina players. While Gardy is older than Charizard it is still one of the top decks in the format.
Elliott's Charizard soared to 11th place, unfortunately the Seniors just missed the top 16 kicker by a mere 5 players, resulting in only top 8 players receiving Championship Points. But fear not, as Elliott conquered the League Challenge with a 1st place finish, proving he's more formidable than a Gyarados in a splash battle.
KJ, wielding the power of Giratina, faced challenges against the ageless Gardevoir. Despite finishing 19th, KJ's determination to conquer Gardy shows that he's ready to evolve into a well-rounded Pokémon TCG master. Keep an eye out for him at the upcoming Perth Regionals in April – he might just unleash some post-rotation surprises!
*Abra made Daal and Ida disappear prior to record taking
Now, onto the Masters – the titans of the Pokémon TCG realm. Coach Edin and company faced a mix of Charizard, Gardy, Giratina, and Roaring Moon decks. Also proving to be the harder match ups for the team either resulting in Draws or Losses.
Josie, armed with her Gholdengo deck, had a rough start, tasting the flames of defeat against a Charizard. However, like a true Pokémon Master, she rallied in the last three rounds, securing consecutive wins against Roaring Moon. It's safe to say she's become a seasoned expert in putting those celestial bodies back in their place.
Now, let's talk about Ida—our interstellar traveller wielding the Roaring Moon deck. Placed at 155th, she soared into the top 256 with a celestial celebration that might've included a moonwalk or two. Ida's performance was out of this world, leaving opponents orbiting her strategic brilliance. Josie and Ida walked away with a well-deserved 30 Championship Points each, proving that lunar dominance is no small feat.
Carmela and Daal, donning their fresh Charizard decks, attempted to set the place ablaze. However they hadn’t earnt their badges, Charizard was in a rebellious mood, refusing to obey commands and chose this tournament to be particularly stubborn, leading to some fiery battles, albeit not always in their favour.
The tale of Coach Edin, the loud talking protagonist of Team Raptor. Day 1 brought about an unfortunate incident in the fourth round where, in a tragic twist, Coach Edin accidentally flicked a card during a turn. The judge, like a strict Pokémon Professor, slapped a two-card prize penalty, turning a potential draw into a heart breaking loss. But hold your tears, for Coach Edin emerged from this trial with sheer determination, blazing through the next five rounds with five consecutive wins. What a feat! The man powered through the adversity like a Machamp flexing its biceps, finishing day 1 in 17th place, securing a spot in day 2.
Day 2, however, was like facing a legendary Pokémon. The competition was fierce, a great learning experience for Coach Edin, who finished 40th among 513 other players. Not too shabby for a first regional outing! Coach Edin met some amazing, fun people, proving that the Pokémon TCG community is as vibrant as a Vileplume in full bloom.
Hats off and a massive round of applause to our incredible local Brisbane Pokémon players who embarked on the epic journey to Melbourne! Some of us triumphed over that one elusive matchup we've been training for tirelessly, while others valiantly battled through 6-9 rounds, and a select few even made it to the coveted Day 2 – talk about a legendary achievement!
However, let's not forget those who faced the struggles of not setting up, encountering a prized win condition, or simply enduring an unfortunate streak – it happens to the best of us, and frankly, it stinks. Despite the highs and lows, we were all out there on the battlefield, giving it our all, supporting one another, and showcasing the true essence of the Pokémon spirit.
The camaraderie, the sportsmanship, the positive role-modeling for the younger Trainers, the sheer joy of having a blast – that's what it's all about! At the end of the day, no matter the outcome, we were united in our love for Pokémon and the shared experience of battling it out in the arena.
Congratulations to each and every one of you for embodying the true spirit of Pokémon. Here's to more adventures, more battles, and more laughter in the Pokémon world! Keep shining bright, Brisbane players!