Kash Stats: My Singapore SPE Top 8 Story

Written by Kashvinder Singh

Guest writer at Team Rainbow Wing Kashvinder Singh managed to secure his first Top 8 placing in a major competition, at the recent Singapore SPE 2019. An all-round nice guy and good friend to many players in the local community, we couldn’t be more proud for him. Here’s his thoughts going into the tournament under the Sun and Moon – Unbroken Bonds format and the list he used to make it to Top 8.

So last weekend’s Singapore Special Event was something else eh? It was probably the only regional-level event I would enter for this season so I had little to no expectation going into it, especially since I was right in the middle of my exams period, with a paper still to come four days after the SPE. Turned out to be perhaps my best day as a Pokémon TCG player ever.

Going into the weekend, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to play. I didn’t play much psychically due to exams so all my testing had been done online with PTCGO and usually mostly in the morning (8am) playing against American players on Fight Club, a testing grounds group made by Rukan Shao for players to have a place to test against others either on PTCGO or Webcam. I was testing things like Reshiram & Charizard-GX, Malamar with Necrozma-GX and Dewgong, Vikavolt, Charizard TEU, Zapdos with Jolteon-GX and also the Ultra Beast variant and finally Hitmonlee/Hitmonchan/Hitmontop with Weezing, which I used in the League Challenge to a 2/3/0 score.

How Reshiram & Charizard-GX came about

My previous Reshiram & Charizard-GX, ReshiZard list (big thanks to my friends Jesse Parker and Carl Barone for helping me out with the first few lists) had done alright but I was still unsure if I wanted to give it another run after the failure that was the Spring Season Singapore Pro Circuit tournament. In that tournament, I started the day with two byes (for being Top 8 in the season standings) and then went on to lose the next three matches, which meant in the nine games I played, I had only won two games, and it was the last two against my friend Shaun Chia. I was completely lost, angry and devastated, I just didn’t understand how it went so wrong. It felt like my play tests were for nothing. And then I got this message:

“Sometimes things just don’t fall our way, but building a good relationship with adversity is key to making big comebacks. It seems like you have a great attitude about it. Just try to take a lesson from your recent setbacks. Next time will be better.”

That was from Carl after hearing about my horrible day at the Spring Season tournament. That lifted my spirits right away. He was one of the few that always had good things to say whenever I was feeling down, even for things not relating to Pokémon. I took that to heart with the Singapore SPE in mind the following week.

After trying out a few more different ideas (4 Jirachi in one, then 2 Dedenne-GX in another, then the Green’s variant, and also a weird Salazzle version), I got a new list from Rukan Shao that had 3 Dedenne-GX! He had shared it with the PokeStats crew and I was hooked onto it after trying 3 games with it. Then and there I decided on ReshiZard for the SPE, I felt the most comfortable with it and that was the deck I had been testing with the most ever since it was revealed, I had made it my mission to do well with it since it was a Charizard card after all (big Charizard fan here if you have not noticed) and I did not want the Pro Circuit failure to be the reason why I would stop trying this deck out. I knew I could make it work, it just didn’t happen the first time.

Singapore SPE 2019

The start of the Singapore SPE went brilliantly because the judge lost my deck list! I had to re-write the whole thing when I had planned to play test with a few friends at first. The venue was an odd place, it was in an outdoor setting in the scorching heat underneath a canopy. The weather did not help, I had to get three bottles of water just to get me through my games, and I was feeling exhausted by the third round already. They fixed that with fans later on thankfully.

Round 1 vs Keith Ting (Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX/Water) WW
I was up against a friend of mine in the first round. We joked around waiting for the round to start but I could see he was getting a bit agitated but the crowd and the noise so I tried to calm him down. I tend to lose in the first round of any big event but I won for once. Eevee & Snorlax-GX was easily my MVP in this match, he had a hard time dealing with it in both games.

Round 2 vs Wong Wei Kit (Zapdos/Ultra Beast) LWT (L)
Up against another friend who was looking to get points so I told him he can have the win if he we somehow tied. I wasn’t expecting much against a Zapdos deck, that was the one I wanted to avoid along with Stall decks. My own mistake of not using Guzma on a Jirachi cost me the win in the first game. We had no time for game 2 and both were tired and I gave him the win so we could get our drinks right away.

Round 3 vs Gordon Koh (Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX/Water) LL
Once again meeting another friend. I knew he was going after his Worlds invite too and was looking for points but I wasn’t going down without putting up a good fight this time. I did not do that sadly. Awkward starts killed my hopes there. I was also getting annoyed at the loud noises from the other games going on at the same time in our area which made it difficult for me to concentrate on the game, which wasn’t already hard enough having to play in the scorching heat.

By this point I was a bit annoyed at myself, sitting at a score of 1/2/0 when it could have been at least 2/0/1. But I kept reminding myself, when was the last time I can say I could have won my first three games in a big tournament like this, that has never happened. The deck was doing what it needed, I just was not doing my part correctly so far in those first few games. Forget about the misplays, move on to the next matches, take it one game at a time. My friends were trying to keep my spirits up as well. I was still hopeful even if there was little to no chance of making top cut but I wanted to give it my best shot at the very least.

Round 4 vs Elkanah Chan (Gengar & Mimikyu-GX/Omastar) WW
I was actually happy to see a Gengar & Mimikyu-GX, I knew I could win this matchup even with all the Red Card/Surprise Box shenanigans. Having 3 Dedenne-GX came in clutch in this match-up, anytime I had one too many Trainer cards in my hand, I could easily Dede-change it and leave my opponent with nothing for Gengar & Mimikyu’s Poltergeist. 

Round 5 vs Eric Si (Gardevoir-GX/Alolan Ninetales-GX) WW
I was a bit worried that Gardevoir-GX would feast on my Energy-heavy attackers but that never happened. My opponent (special shout out to Eric, he hasn’t played in a while so it was nice to see him again) whiffed his Energy cards and ReshiZard was the MVP in this round. Both attacks were crucial in knocking out Gardevoir (230 HP) and Alolan Ninetales (200 HP).

Round 6 vs Kenny Lim (Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel) WLW

This was the toughest matchup by far. My game plan was simple, build up the first Tag Team attacker and then build up a ReshiZard immediately after to return the KO against an incoming Blacephalon-GX with it’s Beast Ring turn. It worked in two games and in the last, my opponent whiffed a Guzma kill on my benched Dedenne-GX so I got a bit lucky on that one.

I felt good after that match, I had forgotten about fighting for a top 16 finish at this point, I just wanted to win my matches, take it one game at a time. This is the point where Shaun told me we might still have a shot at making top cut. Regardless, I wanted to end the last round the best way possible.

Round 7 vs Daniel Justin (Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt) WW
I was not sure how to feel when I saw Grubbin, I had not tested much against Rayquaza-GX but I knew I had to KO his Grubbins and Let Loose him at the right time. Thankfully, the Grubbin was all I really saw in both games. My opponent bricked in both games, never got his set-up going. My Let Loose saved me in both games.

Harsh way to end a possible win and in match but I was so delighted that I got the win, and that’s when I realized that I might just make top cut if other results went my way. Excitement turned into fear, watching everyone else still battling it out and seeing more guys hand in their result slip, not knowing if I had a chance or not. I was still holding on to that hope of making it and even if I did miss out, at least I knew I gave it my best shot. After all, I had no expectations going into this event so just to have a small chance was already good enough for me.

Day 1 Results

So I ended Saturday on 5/2/0. Missing top cut would have sucked after the comeback I had just gone through to go from 1-2 all the way to 5-2, but I was just happy with my effort after the third round. I had some luck going my way too, from opponents whiffing a few things and simply avoiding the Zapdos and Stall decks.

I was more nervous for my friend Shaun while waiting for the results, he had done so well with the Zoroark & Greninja-GX deck, it would have been a shame for him to miss out. Amazingly enough, the results did go our way, Dendy lost, Kaiwen and Rinesh tied and both of us won our possible “win and in matches”. And then he came running at me, “WE BOTH MADE IT!”

I was a bit stunned, surprised and a little emotional, I will admit. Most of all delighted, all that hard work working on that deck, trying to improve my game, understanding the deck and it’s matchups as best as I could with the limited amount of time I had, and just trying to keep the faith up, it all finally paid off in the biggest tournament for me yet (maybe the only big tournament I get to go to this season as well).

It felt great knowing the time spent didn’t go to waste for once, it got me my first Day 2 and my first top cut at any big event. Yes I still have not made Top 8 at a League Cup too so I might have jumped the gun on my checklist there.

The biggest irony of all of this was the fact that I gave up a win to help my friend get their points for Worlds but in the end I was the one who ended up getting the points and making it to top cut. Karma has a funny way of working sometimes.

Singapore SPE Top Cut

I could not sleep that night. Yes I was nervous about my first top cut, but more nervous knowing I would have to play against a well-known Worlds player in Jit Min. Add to that fact that he was playing a rogue deck in Nidoqueen/Meganium/Swampert, a deck I was actually very familiar with having played against it many times against my friend Edward.

I spent the whole time trying to figure out what could possibly happen in that match, knowing he had two answers for my ReshiZard. I wanted to take it one step at a time, not think about other possible matches, just needed to get through the first one. No point thinking about the big prize if you can’t win the first battle.

Top 8 vs Lim Jit Min (Nidoqueen/Meganium/Swampert) LWL
We’re on stream! It’s a good thing you can’t see me that well on it, I was shaking so bad during the first game, nerves were at an all time high. In the first game I prized my Eevee & Snorlax-GX so that was game over pretty much. Second game I started with said Eeveelax and a Kiawe right off. A let loose later and my opponent struggled to set-up while I started building up my next attacker and he scooped after I hit the GX move.

I made the silly mistake of benching a Miltank when I didn’t need to in Game 3 and that was my downfall. It got dragged out after a Let Loose and was stuck in the active while Jit Min built up his board. All I could do was watch and hope I top decked a Guzma or Switch but it came too late for me. I still tried my best and it came down to the wire but he got it in the end. I was a bit devastated after that match but I think I finally proved to myself that I can match up against these top guys. He had nice things to say about my plays after our game so that did lift my spirits up.

Final thoughts on the Singapore SPE

8th place at the Singapore SPE with 100cp to my name (now at 108cp but who’s counting, I’m on Army duty during Worlds weekend anyway). The comeback was real, I just didn’t want to give up even after a 1/2/0 score. If you keep on fighting, it might just work in your favour as it did for me. I never really expected a big result like this, I would have been happy with just a Top 16 result to be honest. Many thanks to my friends who helped test with me and always believed in me and the busted PokeStats team for helping me out, I’ve learnt so much just listening to those guys.

Special shoutout to my friends Jesse Parker and Carl Barone for helping me out with my first few ReshiZard lists, and of course Rukan Shao for his GasZard list, it worked so well for me. He was nice enough to let me use it after hearing about my own struggles with my ReshiZard lists. And also to everyone who had nice things to say and for the well wishes after I made top cut, thank you! I really appreciate it. Maybe I can do well in Pokémon TCG after all. Can’t wait to give it my best shot again in the next big tournament, whenever that may be. The highs and the lows I went through that Saturday and Sunday was well worth it, a great learning experience.

And also a big shoutout to my friend Shaun Chia who got a Top 4 finish with Zoroark & Greninja-GX, a deck that hadn’t seen any good finishes in any big tournaments before this. Now he’ll forever be known as the guy who made this deck idea work. Happy for my friend to get his big moment, he deserves all the attention he’ll get.

The Reshiram & Charizard-GX List

I really enjoyed playing the list. Having the 3 Dedenne-GX gave me options to find what I needed way quicker than relying on Jirachi, especially for the first turn Kiawe. The lone Eeveelax was perfect, that one card changed many matches for me (especially against Zoroark-GX) and gave me some hope in an un-winnable match in Top 8. Two ReshiZard is just fine, never felt the need for more. Two Volcanions was more than enough for Zapdos. Shining Lugia was meant to deal with the likes of Hoopa (Shining Legends) and Buzzwole (Forbidden Light), of which I saw none.

The reason for not playing Heat Factory was that you’d have to dig out for those Fire Energy cards, which can be a pain most of the time so I didn’t feel the need for it. I took out Stealthy Hood for Shrine of Punishment to help out with the mirror matches but it only really did help against the Gengar & Mimkyu-GX match. For those who might give this list a try, I hope you have fun with it. I know I did.

If you keep on trying, good things will come your way, never lose faith. I hope this journey I had from that weekend will be of some help to anyone who may still be doubting themselves. Have faith in your own abilities to excel, be it Pokémon TCG or whatever you may do. I don’t know how long I’ve been trying to have one good result from any big event, League Cups and SPE, but it finally happened after many attempts. And that’s coming from a guy who had always doubted himself. All I needed was someone to set me straight and this was the result.

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