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Burning up the competition with Flareon: My Top 16 Worlds Report

Dylan Bryan brings you a unique Pokémon Trading Card Game World Championship report with his Flareon deck.

09/10/2014 by 60Cards



Hey, for those of you that only know me as the guy who top 16’d with Flareon, my name is Dylan Bryan. I’m a sophomore in Engineering and started playing Pokémon when I was around 6 years old. I played from base set until Gym Heroes. I started playing again and this is the start of my 7th year of playing Pokémon competitively since I got back into it. Having qualified for and played in Worlds for the past 6 years, some people have started to recognize me for my consistent finishes and odd deck choices. My recent accomplishments at larger events are:

7-2 drop Nationals 2011, for rating (Donphan/Yanmega/Magnezone)
Top 16 Worlds 2011 (Donphan/Yanmega/Zoroark)
2nd Spring Regionals 2012 (Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus)
Top 16 Nationals 2012 (Vileplume/Mismagius)
Top 16 Worlds 2012 (Terrakion/Mewtwo/Espeon)
2nd Winter Regionals 2013 (Darkrai/Garbodor)
Top 8 Nationals 2013(Klinklang)
Top 16 Worlds 2013 (Flareon)
While I’m not trying to brag with these credentials, I feel like a writer needs to have consistent success in a tournament setting to be taken seriously. I’m still looking for that big finish at Nationals or Worlds with a little bit of luck and good matchups, but I feel like I have a good grasp on every format and perform consistently as a result.

The most recent accomplishment that has everyone intrigued is my top 16 with Flareon. Many people dismissed this deck as a fun deck for PTCGO with a bad matchup to Plasma along with a rough Blastoise matchup, but I enjoyed playing the deck and felt like the deck had potential if the Plasma matchup could be fixed. I’ll break down my list and explain my card choices in detail, but first I want to explain my thought process behind creating the deck and why I decided to play it for Worlds.

Table of Contents
My Thoughts Going into Worlds
The List
The Strategy
Worlds Report
Concluding Thoughts

My Thoughts Going into Worlds

The most common questions I get leading up to Worlds are in regards to my deck choice. The process every player uses is different so I can only explain my own. Personally, I never know what I’m going to play until the night before or even the morning of the main event! It seems crazy because it probably is. However, I do eliminate some deck choices in my mind. I look for a deck that I feel is underrated and good against the metagame, a top tier deck that is consistent if I feel I can gain an advantage in the mirror match, or a new deck with decent matchups against the metagame and a surprise factor. After looking at the nationals results, I was able to narrow my deck choices down somewhat with these criteria alone.

Blastoise was a deck that led people to regional wins, but never let me win a Battle Roads. The mirror match was very luck based and the deck seemed very hit or miss. It seemed like a decent metagame call, but what happened during the game was often out of both players’ control and dependent on how the deck performed, so I could never picture myself playing the deck.

Ray/Eels is another one of those decks that never worked well for me. It had a luck-based mirror matchup, and I wasn’t confident in my Plasma matchup. I felt like this deck had potential with the right list and some luck but the games felt out of my control, much like Blastoise, so it was off the list.

I then looked at Darkrai and liked it because it was consistent. However, outside of teching Mr. Mime, there is no way to gain an advantage in the mirror matchup, and if everyone plays Mr. Mime I would be on an even playing field. The Blastoise and Klinklang matchups were both very difficult to win, especially in a best 2 out of 3. The only matchups I felt confident in were against Plasma and Darkrai/Garbodor, the latter which I didn’t expect to be very popular. It was a consistent deck that ultimately won Worlds with a good player, the right matchups, and a little bit of luck, but I didn’t think it was the right metagame call for me.

After that I considered Lugia/Plasma. It had the tools to deal with Gothitelle/Accelgor half the time, could beat Darkrai half the time with a couple of max potions, could deal with Blastoise half the time, and could maybe gain a slight edge in mirror with an Enhanced Hammer. However, it had trouble with some of the fringe decks like Klinklang, Ray/Eels with Raikou EX, and Darkrai/Garbodor. It seemed like a good play against the main decks, but I only felt like I was at a slight advantage and largely unprepared against a lot of the less popular decks. This was the reason I ultimately decided not to play it

Gothitelle/Accelgor was in a strange place in the format. Going into Worlds I wasn’t sure if this deck would be heavily played or heavily teched against. A Turn 2 Gothitelle going first was very strong even if your opponent had a counter such as multiple Keldeo EX. I was considering playing this until I got to Worlds and saw how paranoid everyone was and how the majority of the field was teched to beat it. This was confirmed when no Gothitelle/Accelgor made it through the Last Chance Qualifier.

Next I decided to look at Klinklang. I admit I have a soft spot for this deck for some reason, but I feel it has some merit after my top 8 at Nationals with this deck. The biggest problem with this deck was Gothitelle/Accelgor. Klinklang could tech for this matchup with 3 Keldeo EX, 2 Darkrai EX, and 4 Prism Energy, but I wasn’t comfortable with my list after teching all these cards for only one matchup. However, I felt that Klinklang was extremely strong against Blastoise, Darkrai, Luiga/Plasma, Ray/Eels without Victini, and positive against Plasma with a heavy Kyurem/Absol focus. Post-Nationals, the metagame had certainly shifted away from decks with a bad Gothitelle/Accelgor matchup. This led to Ray/Eels cutting Victini for space, less people playing Darkrai/Garbodor, and Lugia/Plasma becoming the dominant Plasma variant. So what did this mean for Klinklang? If you avoided the Gothitelle/Accelgor players in Swiss and Darkrai/Garbodor in Top Cut, you could go very far. I felt like the deck would be very strong if I made it to Top Cut, but it might be risky to get through Swiss. If I was going to play a deck with a bad Gothitelle/Accelgor matchup, it was going to be Klinklang. This led to me dismissing Darkrai/Garbodor and Plasma variants without Lugia.

The last deck I was considering was Flareon. Flareon/Cofagrigus was a fun deck to play that was originally created as a Gothitelle/Accelgor counter, 

but its bad matchups kept it from being competitive. Cofagrigus seemed like a fundamentally bad card to me because it made you give up a prize for only 30 damage. However, without sacrificing Cofagrigus with its Six Feet Under ability and giving up prizes, your opponent could knock out four Flareons and you would run out of attackers and essentially lose the game. My idea was to replace Cofagrigus with Pokémon that were a threat in various matchups in order to force my opponent to draw 6 prizes without targeting my poor Eevees and Flareon with Pokémon Catcher. Instead of sacrificing Cofagrigus for 30 damage and sending two Pokémon to the discard pile to fuel Flareon’s Vengeance, I would force them to knock out something else threatening and do more than 30 damage by attacking them that Turn. This way I would not run out of attackers because my opponent is knocking out Pokémon other than Eevee and Flareon. I would rely on my opponent knocking out my threatening Pokémon instead of knocking myself out with Cofagrigus to fill up my discard pile, and if my opponent doesn’t knock out my Pokémon they can never draw six prize cards. In addition, I would also have another Turn to discard Pokémon with a combination of Professor Juniper, Ultra Ball, and Computer Search. All these factors were important in maximizing the damage Flareon could do with Vengeance.

I had this built before Nationals with Garbodor, Landorus EX, Cobalion EX, Ditto, and Audinos. However, the Plasma matchup was difficult and led me to dismiss the idea. Cobalion EX simply wasn’t a strong enough counter to Plasma. However, some friends had introduced me to the idea of playing Enhanced Hammer with Drifblim from Dragons Exalted, which did 50 damage for each Special Energy in your opponents discard pile. This was the hard counter to Plasma that Flareon needed, but it was difficult to fit in the Enhanced Hammers without taking out consistency cards. This ended up being the deck I was considering last minute until 2 AM alongside Klinklang:

The Strategy

I feel some decks have a strategy that is relatively the same no matter what deck you play against because you only have so many options. Flareon is one of those decks with lots of different options depending on what is sitting across from you. I feel like the best way to understand the deck in depth is to break down the list card-by-card and show how they are applicable to each matchup.

4 Eevee (PF 90)

I run 4 Eevee because its evolutions play a role in every matchup. I chose the Eevee with Signs of Evolution because if I have to attack Turn 1 it is the best option out of all the Eevees. This is because it allows me to search for Pokémon to evolve Eevee next Turn or to discard. Discarding Pokémon is important because we play…

4 Flareon (PF 12)

Flareon is the heart and soul of the deck. The reason why this deck plays a high count of Pokémon is to take advantage of Flareon’s Vengeance attack. There is no better feeling than getting 16 Pokémon in your discard pile and hitting for 180 damage late game. 180 is currently the magic number to knock out opposing EX Pokémon. Flareon does all this for just one Double Colorless Energy, and is not an EX Pokémon. This allows for some crazy comebacks when you are able to take two prizes in one Turn, while only giving up 1 prize in return and potentially taking multiple Energy off your opponent’s board. This ability, combined with N, which is used to cripple your opponent after they take a prize lead against your low HP Pokémon, is often enough to swing games in your favor. I choose to play 4 because if you only play 3 and prize a Flareon or have to discard one it can be difficult to win. You don’t want to lose because you ran out of your main attacker!

1 Leafeon (PF 11)

A lot of people think this is simply a tech for Blastoise. While it is true that Leafeon is very strong against Keldeo EX due to its ability to knock out a Keldeo EX for only one Energy if your opponent plays down to many Energy cards it is also a strong attacker early game against a Plasma deck when you don’t have enough Pokémon to hit hard with Flareon and haven’t discarded enough Special Energy to hit hard with Drifblim. Leafeon’s Energy Crush can help set up an opposing Pokémon for a knock out for one Energy. Plus, it’s a Stage 1, so it sends two Pokémon to the discard pile when knocked out.

1 Espeon (DE 48)

This is mainly a tech for Gothitelle/Accelgor. Its ability Solar Revelation prevents your attacker from being paralyzed. Although it is easy for the Gothitelle player to simply play Pokémon Catcher and knock out Espeon, it keeps Flareon attacking for another Turn without wasting a precious Audino. I decided that if I wasn’t going to play Klinklang I wanted to ensure I could beat Gothitelle/Accelgor. As a bonus, it gave me a 3rdPokémon to search for with Eevee’s Signs of Evolution attack so I could discard another Pokémon early game in other matchups.

4 Audino (BC 126)

Audino is mainly used for its ability, Busybody, in order to remove a special condition. This is useful whenGothitelle/Accelgor attempts to lock a Pokémon with Deck and Cover in addition to healing status conditions inflicted by Hypnotoxic Laser. Since my list doesn’t play any copies of Switch, Busybody can save you from missing a Turn because you stayed asleep. If you start with Audino, Hip Bump can also be used to potentially slow your opponent down a Turn or set up a knock out for Flareon.

3 Drifloon (DR 50) and 2 Drifblim (DR 51)

These cards are mainly for the Plasma matchup. I choose to play three of the basic because Drifloon is often the target of Pokémon Catcher and two of the Stage 1 due to space constraints. Only having two Drifloon would mean getting out only one Drifblim if your opponent manages to knock a Drifloon out. It also helps you draw into multiple Drifloon easier, which is very important since Plasma can apply lots of early pressure. The Drifloon with Beat is surprisingly useful at setting Gothitelle up for knockouts, and Drifblim can come into play if your opponent was forced to play Professor Juniper and discard a Double Colorless Energy.

Drifblim is used for its Shadow Steal attack, which does 50 damage for each Special Energy in your opponent’s discard pile. This is useful against a Plasma deck since they often play all Special Energy! However, your opponent will not willingly discard Special Energy and can even retrieve them with Thundurus EX. The best way to discard your opponent’s Energy is to knock out a Pokémon, such as Kyurem, with two or three Energy cards attached. By doing this in combination with Enhanced Hammer, you have the ability to do 200 or more damage to your opponent’s attacker with Drifblim and take all their Energy off the board. This, combined with N, can allow you to make a huge comeback. Even if they eliminate Drifblim from play, Flareon can finish up the game.

2 Trubbish (DR 53) and 1 Garbodor (PF 119)

I know this part of the deck confused some people. To start, I ran the 70 HP Trubbish. This is because although Garbage Collection is occasionally useful on the 60 HP Trubbish, the extra 10 HP often makes the difference between surviving and giving up a prize card. This is especially true when both Kyurem and Darkrai EX do 30 damage to the bench. 10 extra HP means that Trubbish can take an additional Frost Spear or Night Spear and that can make all the difference.

I would have liked to play more Trubbish, Garbodor, and Float Stones, but I simply didn’t have the space. However, against ability based decks, Trubbish forces your opponent to attack something other than Flareon. If they don’t play a Pokémon Catcher, you will evolve into a Garbodor eventually and completely shut off their deck. Most games the Garbodor doesn’t stay out the entire time, but it forces your opponent to attack something other than Flareon, slowing them down long enough to build up 16 Pokémon in your discard pile for Vengeance. This allows Flareon to take 2 prizes and only give up 1 in return in order to come back into the game. Playing two Trubbish allows you to draw into at least one of them or into an Ultra Ball Turn 1 most of the time against ability-based decks. The one Garbodor is risky because it will be prized roughly ten percent of the time, but the deck plays enough search cards where you can usually find it in time if your opponent ignores your Trubbishes. It may also seem counterintuitive to some people to run Garbodor since you shut off some of your own abilities. The simple answer is to only use it in certain matchups and not to drop it too early against a Plasma deck that plays Hypnotoxic Laser, since Audino is your only guaranteed way to stay awake.

1 Mr. Mime (PF 47)

Mr. Mime has a very simple ability that shines against cards that damage the bench. Preventing 30 damage from Darkrai’s Night Spear and Kyurem’s Frost Spear may not seem like a lot, but preventing your opponent from knocking out your active Pokémon and a benched Pokémon on the same Turn can give you an extra Turn to win the game. All that damage Mr. Mime prevents adds up quickly: if Darkrai uses Night Spear six times, Mr. Mime will prevent 180 damage!

1 Terrakion (NV 99)

Terrakion is a card a lot of people don’t seem to fully understand. It is not as powerful as it once was before Darkrai had access to Hypnotoxic Laser, but I still believe it has a place in the format. I never even used Retaliate, but I would not have made Top Cut without Terrakion. I found that having a Terrakion with a Fighting Energy on the bench forces your opponent to play around it. While this is not that hard for a good player to do with Hypnotoxic Laser and Pokémon Catcher, it often takes your opponent an extra Turn to deal with Terrakion instead of mindlessly taking prizes with Night Spear every Turn. This is an extra Turn to discard Pokémon, search for basics, and get Energy into play. It is also another threat that keeps the focus off of Flareon. If they ignore Terrakion, then Retaliate is very strong against Darkrai EX. Terrakion is also a strong option early game against a Plasma deck to help keep the pressure off of Eevee and Drifloon and potentially help two-shot a Kyurem.

1 Landorus EX (BC 89)

A lot of players may question the use of an EX Pokémon in Flareon. However, Landorus EX is the best option to help Flareon two-shot a Darkrai EX mid-game because it is a basic that only needs one Energy. A Turn 1 Hammerhead is uncommon but a potentially dangerous start for a Darkrai EX player to be facing. Landorus EX can take two attacks and gives up two prizes against a Darkrai EX, where a non-EX will generally take one attack and give up one prize card. This means that Landorus EX uses less resources to do the same thing as two non-EXs. It also means that you have an extra Turn to attach an Energy to a benched Pokémon. This is a luxury Flareon doesn’t always have when your active Pokémon with Energy is constantly knocked out with one attack.

Landorus EX is also necessary against Gothitelle/Accelgor. Hammerhead is another way to apply early pressure to the deck besides a Turn 2 Flareon. Without Landorus EX, if your opponent never discards a Double Colorless Energy, they can simply knock out four Eevees and essentially win the game because you ran out of useful attackers. Terrakion is too risky to bench because it does not have an attack for one Energy and can become stranded if your opponent has a Gothitelle active and a Pokémon Catcher. Landorus EX ensures that you don’t run out of attackers in this matchup.

4 Professor Juniper (PF 116)

This is an easy inclusion as Flareon benefits from discarding Pokémon and Professor Juniper is one of the strongest draw cards available.

4 N (NV 101)

Another easy inclusion as it is the best shuffle and draw supporter early game and allows for comebacks late game.

2 Colress (PS 135)

Colress is another strong draw supporter, but it is very weak early game. In addition, Flareon’s bench tends to shrink during the late game so Colress is only average late game. However, a mid-game Colress into a huge Professor Juniper with lots of Pokémon can win you the game in the long run. I debated dropping a Colress for an extra Random Receiver for a better early game, but I ultimately wanted the extra supporter against Gothitelle, wanted the chance for a big Colress mid-game, and didn’t want an unexpected Ghetsis to take my Random Receiver and leave me with a dead hand.

2 Random Receiver (PS 138)

I decided to play Random Receiver because I needed more consistency cards and supporters like Bianca and Skyla were not strong enough draw supporters. Flareon needs a lot of cards to function correctly and needs to draw through most of the deck to discard 16 Pokémon. Random Receiver helps to hit strong draw supporters throughout the game.

1 Computer Search (BC 137)

Computer Search is my clear choice of Ace Spec in this deck. Occasionally I could have won with an extra Pokémon Catcher if I had been playing Dowsing Machine, but Computer Search is stronger early game and can search for Pokémon and energies. Missing too many cards can lose you the game with Flareon and Computer Search can get you the piece you are missing to pull off a big Turn. Dowsing Machine is too conservative for a deck that needs to draw and discard aggressively.

2 Tropical Beach (BWP 28)

Tropical Beach is definitely a questionable choice in this deck, especially without Skyla. The alternative would be more Random Receivers. However, Tropical Beach allows for more explosive openings in the early Turns since you can’t do much more than Signs of Evolution and the occasional Hammerhead Turn 1. It also prevents the deck from drawing dead off of an N or Professor Juniper early game. Lastly, being a counter to Virbank City Gym puts less pressure on drawing Audinos early game to counter Virbank City Gym and Hypnotoxic Laser. The only downside is getting N’d to a Tropical Beach when you need a Professor Juniper that Turn to win, but I felt the benefits outweighed that possibility

4 Ultra Ball (PF 122)

This card is essential for Flareon to function. I searches out Pokémon to promote consistency as well as discards Pokémon to fuel Flareon’s Vengeance.

2 Pokémon Catcher (DE 111)

Only playing two copies of one of the most impactful cards in the format seems strange. However, the Pokémon you want to knock out is often the one attacking you, since Flareon plays the board rather than racing for prizes. Occasionally, you will need to bring up the Pokémon with Energy or a Pokémon EX to win late game with two prizes left, but two Pokémon Catcher is enough if you don’t have unfortunate discards with Professor Juniper early game.

2 Float Stone (PF 99)

Two Float Stone also seems like a low amount in a deck that plays Garbodor, a low Energy count, and multiple Pokémon with high retreat costs. There just simply isn’t room for a 3rd Float Stone and playing two copies with Computer Search is enough to threaten a Garbodor and get something out of the active position. With careful benching and placement of your precious Float Stones, it’s possible to get by with just two.

3 Enhanced Hammer (DE 94)

Playing all these Enhanced Hammers might seem like overkill for one matchup when I’m only playing two copies of cards like Pokémon Catcher. However, the Plasma matchup is very difficult without Drifblim and Enhanced Hammers. While it is not necessary to play the 3rd Enhanced Hammer to beat Plasma, I predicted Plasma would be the most played deck and it improves the matchup significantly.

1 Super Rod (NV 95)

This card seems counterintuitive because you are shuffling Pokémon into your deck after you worked so hard to discard them. However, sometimes an unfortunate Professor Juniper Turn 1 can cause you to discard two Flareons or you could prize an Eevee. Super Rod gives you an out to these situations. It also allows you to discard Fighting Energies slightly more liberally and eliminates the problem of running out of Energy due to bad discards, bad prizes, or an opposing Enhanced Hammer.

4 Double Colorless Energy (ND 92)

This card lets Flareon attack for one Energy card. Without it, Flareon would not be able to keep up with the faster decks in the format. Playing four copies is a must.

4 Fighting Energy (BW 110)

I play Basic Energy because they can be retrieved with Super Rod and they are not vulnerable to Enhanced Hammer. It would be nice to have one or two more Energy, but space is always an issue.

Worlds Report

After testing the deck, Darkrai/Absol and ability-based decks with Tool Scrapper were the only matchups I struggled with, but both matchups were playable. I decided Klinklang had so many bad matchups in Swiss that I would have to win every good matchup and mirror matchup that I play against, which is a lot of pressure! I didn’t think Tool Scrapper would be very common and I hoped that in Top Cut the Darkrai decks would play against Blastoise or Klinklang before they played against me so I could make a deep run with good matchups.

Round 1: Henry Prior (US) with Gothitelle/Accelgor

As soon as he flipped over Gothitas and Shelmets I was reassured with my deck choice, which always feels good. I go first and surprise him when I flip over Drifloon. I get a strong Turn 1 by benching a couple Eevees, discarding a couple of Pokémon, and getting a Tropical Beach. The only downside is two Audino are prized, but I should be alright. He Junipers an Accelgor and Double Colorless Energy Turn 1, gets more basics, attaches a Double Colorless Energy, and uses Tropical Beach. I get an Enhanced Hammer for the Double Colorless Energy, a Turn 2 Flareon, and continue to discard Pokémon. Drifblim now has the option to hit for 100 and on Turn 3 I get Espeon out as well. He manages to use Pokémon Catcher and Deck and Cover with Mew EX to knock out Espeon, but I still had multiple Audinos to use the Busybody ability. The matchup played itself out after my strong start and I was happy with my deck choice.


Round 2: Wo Pan W (HK) with Plasma

This round, I go 2nd with no supporters and start with Terrakion to his Kyurem. Luckily I get N’d, but he also gets a Turn 1 Frost Spear, with the help of Colress Machine, in addition to Hypnotoxic Laser, Virbank City Gym, and a Deoxys EX. Luckily I started with Terrakion since most of my Pokémon can’t survive 70 damage on the first Turn! I have another hand without a supporter, but I do have a Mr. Mime, a Trubbish, and a Tropical Beach. I use Tropical Beach and get no supporters again. The next couple of Turns I just end up using Tropical Beach and sacrifice Terrakion and Trubbish while getting out Eevees and Drifloons. He discarded a Plasma Energy before he saw a Drifloon and I was only able to discard a couple of Pokémon besides the Pokémon he knocked out. He has a Kyurem active with 3 Energy and a Kyurem on the bench with 3 Energy. I am able to play a supporter and draw two Enhanced Hammer, which allows me to take two Energy off the benched Kyurem, putting three Special Energy in my opponent’s discard pile, and hit the active Kyurem for 150 with Shadow Steal. This allows me to start Turning the game around, but he is able to draw relatively well off my N’s and is able to keep the game close. I still need to discard enough Pokémon to hit hard with Flareon late game for my last one or two prizes. There is one Turn where I could have used Busybody to put an extra Pokémon in my discard pile, but it was my last Audino and I was afraid I would lose by staying asleep from a Hypnotoxic Laser and getting knocked out going back to my opponent’s Turn. This would lose me the game as my opponent had two prizes left. Instead I got N’d to one or two cards and my opponent drew a prism Energy to knock out my active off his two cards. Now I needed to discard a Pokémon or draw a Pokémon Catcher and I was fortunate enough to draw Audino to do enough damage with Flareon’s Vengeance. I had only played 2 N, 1 Colress, and 1 Professor Juniper the entire game and my deck was thin (around 20 cards). I thought my odds of him having an N and me drawing what I needed were better than him having one or two Hypnotoxic Lasers to cause me to lose on a coin flip. I managed to recover from my slow start in a super close game that came down to N.


Round 3: Collin Moll (US) with Klinklang

I had read Collin’s blog and was happy to finally meet him! Unfortunately for him, the matchup was very one sided because his entire deck was weak to Flareon and there was not really anything he could do about a deck that was virtually an auto-loss for him. There was an interesting situation when he played Pokémon Catcher on a Flareon and played N when I only had one Double Colorless Energy left in my deck and three Flareons in play. He used Durant’s Pull Out to keep getting back the N so I never got to use my cards from Tropical Beach. It was an interesting loop but there was not much he could do to avoid me eventually drawing my last Energy.


Round 4: James Good (US) with Blastoise

He seems surprised by my Eevees so I’m guessing he hasn’t heard about my deck yet. Flareon is strong against Blastoise with the help of Leafeon and Garbodor so I’m hoping I can keep up my winning streak. Unfortunately I go 2nd and have to stare down a Turn 2 Blastoise, a Keldeo EX with three Water Energy, and a Pokémon Catcher on my Trubbish. I have trouble discarding Pokémon and my next Trubbish is targeted by Pokémon Catcher as well the following Turn. Luckily, I am able to Super Rod the two Trubbish back in and get one back into play. My opponent puts at least five Energy in play, which opens the door for a huge Energy Crush from Leafeon to knock out a Keldeo EX. However, it’s prized! That’s the risk of playing only one copy of a card. I began to chip away at a Keldeo EX with Flareon and my opponent draws his 3rd consecutive Pokémon Catcher on my Trubbish. I get another Trubbish into play and attack Keldeo EX again. I have to three-shot Keldeo EX because I drew all my N’s early game, rather than Professor Juniper to discard Pokémon. My opponent has no more Pokémon Catcher and knocks out Flareon, going down to two prizes. I manage to finally knock out a Keldeo EX with Flareon and take two prizes. He has three Water Energy attached to Blastoise and three Water Energy attached to a new Keldeo EX. He knocks out Flareon to go down to one prize. Lucky for me, I drew Leafeon out of my prizes! I am able to evolve to Garbodor, draw a Float Stone with Professor Juniper, and knock out his Keldeo EX to go down to two prizes. He promotes Squirtle and uses Tropical Beach. I have no N’s remaining so I take the prize on Squirtle to put us both at one prize card. Then my opponent plays Superior Energy Retrieval and Skylas for Tool Scrapper! He is able to knock out my Leafeon and win a close game. I didn’t expect him to play Tool Scrapper, but even if I did there was nothing I could have done differently that game. I’m glad to see my opponent went on to perform well the rest of the event!


Round 5: David Sturm (DE) with Klinklang/Prisms

I was fortunate enough to play against another Klinklang deck! He attempted to use Keldeo EX, an attacker not weak to Flareon, and Pokémon Catcher to eliminate my Trubbishes from play. However, Enhanced Hammer allowed me to prevent Keldeo EX from doing more than 70 damage with Secret Sword. This, combined with Leafeon’s Resistance and additional healing from Busybody, allowed Leafeon to put lots of damage on my opponent’s board. Late game Flareon and Drifblim did too much damage for my opponent to handle with a Klinklang deck.


Round 6: Xavier Chua (SG) with Plasma Lugia/Terrakion

My opponent was playing a Plasma deck with a unique list. It was nice to meet Xavier after hearing good things about him from Singapore. I start first with Mr. Mime and Colress as my only supporter. I simply bench Trubbish and pass. My opponent unfortunately has three Professor Juniper and Scramble Switch that he is forced to discard Turn 1. However, he does put on a lot of early pressure with a Turn 1 Raiden Knuckle, a Lugia EX with a Double Colorless Energy, and a Plasma Energy on the bench. My opponent only benched one Pokémon so this game could be over quickly, but I luckily top deck an N. I play an Ultra Ball and then N to start getting Drifloons and Eevees on board. My opponent gets a Turn 2 Plasma Gale and a Pokémon Catcher on Trubbish. I believe I get an Enhanced Hammer and I am able to use Shadow Steal for 100 on Lugia EX. I have to work on getting my 2nd Trubbish into play to avoid getting swept by Lugia EX. My opponent is able to use Raiden Knuckle to get back the Energy I discarded to continue applying pressure. He powers up a Kyurem in order to force me to draw 7 prize cards since I will have to knock out the Kyurem in addition to three EX Pokémon to win the game. I am able to draw an Enhanced Hammer and a Pokémon Catcher to take another Energy out of play and knock out the Lugia EX with 100 damage and an Energy. Now my opponent has four Special Energy in the discard and decides to use Kyurem and Lugia EX to knock out my Drifblims. I get out a Garbodor so Lugia EX can only take one prize card. In the end we trade prize cards and my opponent has a Lugia EX active and one prize card left. I have one prize left, but all my Drifblims and Enhanced hammers are gone and I only have 12 Pokémon in my discard. However, my hand contains three Ultra Balls and a Professor Juniper. This allows be to draw the rest of my deck and discard five or six additional Pokémon to do 190 or 200 damage, knocking out the Lugia EX to win. It was a very close and enjoyable game!


Round 7: Simon Narode (US) with Plasma Lugia

It looks like I’m in for another close game against a Plasma deck. I manage to set up Leafeon, Flareons, and Drifblims. He applies early pressure with Thundurus EX and Kyurem to take a three prize lead and is able to use Pokémon Catcher to target down my Trubbish. Mr. Mime prevents him from drawing two prizes in one Turn and I am able to two-shot Kyurem to take my first prize as well as play Enhanced Hammer on one of his benched Pokémon. This allows me to start knocking out Pokémon with Drifblim for one Energy and to keep all of my opponent’s Energy out of play, with the help of Enhanced Hammer and Pokémon Catcher. By knocking out a Pokémon with multiple Energy attached and discarding Special Energy on my opponent’s benched Pokémon, I can easily come back and win a close game with the help of N. However, the last three or four Turns I am only able to draw Pokémon, Energy, and Ultra Balls. We trade prizes and my opponent passes with a Kyurem active and a Lugia EX on the bench with a Double Colorless Energy and a Plasma Energy. We both have two prizes and I was unable to get out Garbodor. Without Supporters I can’t draw my last Enhanced Hammer or Pokémon Catcher in my thin deck to win the game so I come up a Turn short from making a comeback. It was another close and enjoyable game!


Round 8: Takeshi Tosa (JP) with Darkrai/Absol

It is possible he was playing Darkrai/Garbodor because I saw Float Stones, but I never saw Garbodor or Trubbish. I am now in a situation where I need to win to guarantee Top Cut. However, I am forced to go 2nd with an Audino start. My opponent Turns over his Japanese Full Art Darkrai and I know it is going to be a rough game! He gets two Energy in play with the help of Dark Patch and passes. My opponent will likely get a Turn 2 Night Spear and I have an Ultra Ball, a Fighting Energy, and an N. I decide to search for Terrakion to prevent my opponent from drawing a prize Turn 2 and putting on too much pressure. This is because if he uses Night Spear on my poor Audino, I can simply Retaliate the following Turn. My opponent gets a total of five Energy in play Turn 2! However, he just decides to use Hypnotoxic Laser and Mind Jack for 40 with a fully powered Darkrai EX waiting on the bench in order to avoid Terrakion’s Retaliate. I begin getting more basics and some damage on the board with Hip Bump. I make sure to get out Mr. Mime to prevent bench damage. My opponent has a unique list with Exp Share and Tropical Beach in addition to Virbank City Gym and Hypnotoxic Lasers, but it doesn’t impact the game too much. He is able to use Pokémon Catcher twice and eliminate the Terrakion. After that he knocks out my Audino. I then decide to use Landorus EX and Hammerhead. He Night Spears the Landorus EX. I then free retreat with Float Stone, play Pokémon Catcher on the damaged Darkrai EX that he retreated, and get two prizes with a Flareon. He plays a Pokémon Catcher and knocks out Landorus EX to go down to two prizes. I am able to discard a few more Pokémon and can knock out a Darkrai EX with Flareon to go down to two prizes as well. I have two Flareon, each with a Double Colorless Energy, along with a Mr. Mime. My opponent has not played any Enhanced Hammer yet and only has Absol powered up. I am out of Pokémon Catcher and Audinos. My opponent is able to use Sableye and Hypnotoxic Lasers to put me to sleep. His plan is to have Flareon knocked out by poison going back to his Turn so he can draw a prize card, force me to promote my last Flareon, and then draw his last prize card on Flareon by powering up Darkrai EX. I flip four or five straight tails to wake up in between Turns. I decide to Play Professor Juniper to draw the rest of my deck and Super Rod three Audinos back in. I have 19 Pokémon in my discard pile after the Professor Juniper so even if I shuffle three back in I can still do 180 damage with Vengeance. This guarantees me the win the next Turn and I manage to win a very close game!


Top 32: David Sturm (DE) with Klinklang/Prisms

I was very happy to make Top 32 with Flareon and have my best matchup! These games were very one sided because of the matchup and there isn’t too much to say.

Game 1:

This game is much like our game in Swiss. I use Leafeon and Enhanced Hammers early on while he is forced to target my Trubbish with Pokémon Catcher. Late game Flareon and Drifblim simply do too much damage for his deck to handle.


Game 2:

This game was even worse for him as he draws no Energy the first two or three Turns. I am able to discard lots of Pokémon and simply out-speed him with Flareon and the virtual auto-loss doesn’t allow him to do much to fight back.


Top 16: Jason Klaczynski (US) with Darkrai

I get to play this game on stream and on the stage so I’m sure some people already know what happens. I was hoping that this matchup would be closer to even because he did not play any Absol. It would come down to whether or not I could draw well throughout the game and discard 16 Pokémon. However, this was still my most difficult matchup and I knew it would be a series of close games.

Game 1:

I believe I go 2nd with an Audino start. I am able to force him to play around Terrakion to give me more time to set up. I unfortunately prized my Landorus EX this game, but I am able to use my Leafeon to put damage on a Darkrai EX instead. There is one Turn in the beginning where Jason uses Junk Hunt for Dark Patch and Hypnotoxic Laser with one other card in his hand. I have an N, two Professor Juniper, and an Espeon. I decide to play the Professor Juniper and know that I will have to work very hard to discard Pokémon the rest of the game. However, if he doesn’t have a Supporter then I will have more Turns to discard Pokémon and build up Energy in play. He unfortunately plays a Professor Juniper so this backfired, but I think it’s one of those times where there really isn’t a correct play at the time because of the incomplete information available. I am forced to play Professor Juniper and discard a Flareon at another point in the game and have my 4th Flareon prized. Jason also targets my Mr. Mime with Pokémon Catcher and I have an Audino with 40 damage, which sets Jason up for a two prize Turn with Night Spear later in the game. I have a Super Rod and have to shuffle in a Mr. Mime and a Fighting Energy, but then I have another big decision. Do I shuffle in the Flareon or another Fighting Energy? Many people feel I should have shuffled in Flareon because I could have Ultra Balled for Flareon the Turn before Jason played N. However, I would have been one Pokémon short of doing 180 damage had I made this play and would have had to draw my last Audino off of the N instead. In addition, if Jason played Pokémon Catcher on a basic Pokémon instead of knocking out my active Flareon I would be two Pokémon short of my 180 and I would have no way to win. Maybe if I had not played the Professor Juniper early game things would have been different, but I did not know I would  have to play a Professor Juniper and discard a Flareon later on. I still had the opportunity to win if I drew Flareon off of Jason’s N, but I didn’t and lost a close game. I’m happy with the way I played this game and think that I made the right plays at the time.


Game 2:

I get to go first and I manage to get Terrakion, Landorus EX, Mr. Mime, and Eevee into play. Jason uses Night Spear on my Landorus EX that has a Fighting Energy Turn 2. On my Turn, I play N and miss a Fighting Energy for my benched Terrakion, which would have put me in a great spot. Instead, I just settle for Hammerhead. Jason starts his Turn and then someone comes to our table and says Jason attached an extra Energy. Nobody is sure if we missed it or if they didn’t observe the game correctly. However, I look at my discard and notice I played a Supporter every Turn, went first, and I have three Supporters (All N’s). This means that Jason is starting his 3rd Turn and has not attached an Energy yet. He has no Dark Patch in his discard pile, yet he used Night Spear Turn 2. This unfortunately leads to Jason getting a Game Loss. It looked like Jason was in a good position to win, but if he didn’t get an illegal Turn 2 Night Spear off I probably would have had an Energy on my benched Terrakion and a better board position. I think I would have been in good shape, but I’ll never know for sure. I didn’t notice at the time because I had been playing Pokémon for many hours at this point and I was busy planning out my next Turn. Jason plays slowly so I was trying to plan out my Turns so they would be as quick as possible without making any mistakes. Jason had also been playing all day in addition to the Last Chance Qualifier, which could easily have led to this mistake. I wish the judges could have caught this and enforced a faster pace of play. I am confident improvements will be made next year as Pokémon seems to be taking steps in the right direction to improve the game!


Game 3:

I have to play 2nd with another Audino start. This seems to be a trend in my matches against Darkrai EX! I have a very strong opening with my trio of Landorus EX, Terrakion, and Mr. Mime. I am able to discard 9 Pokémon before Jason even draws a prize and use Hammerhead once. However, I play a Supporter and off of six or seven cards I draw no more Supporters, Random Receivers, or Tropical Beach. A Flareon with a Double Colorless Energy would have done 120 damage with Vengeance because Landorus EX was knocked out and would have become the 10th Pokémon in my discard. This would have knocked out the Darkrai EX with 60 damage from Hammerhead and put me in a great spot to win with Terrakion and a Fighting Energy on the bench along with more Eevees. Unfortunately, I simply draw pass the rest of the game.


Concluding Thoughts

In hindsight I’m happy I decided to go with Flareon. Gothitelle/Accelgor was slightly less popular than expected so maybe I could have played a different Pokémon instead of Espeon. Overall though, I’m happy with the 60 cards I played. I will always wonder what would have happened if I had played Klinklang, but all I know is I would have started off the day 0-1 and might not have even made Top Cut. Both of my losses in top 16 were much closer than they appeared, and I could have won if I had drawn slightly better. I’m glad the three people I lost to ended up 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. They were all enjoyable to play against and I’m glad they went on to do well. Flareon was tons of fun to play and I have no regrets!

I know a lot of people are excited to try Flareon in the new format. I don’t want to say too much because I do not have that much experience with the new format, but Flareon seems to lose nothing with the rotation. However, the metagame will shift and I think we’ll just have to wait and see if Flareon still has enough good matchups to compete. Flareon gets the new Drifblim from Plasma Blast as a possible addition and does not have to tech for Gothitelle/Accelgor anymore. However, Flareon might have to make room for Tool Scrapper if Silver Mirror becomes widely played since it is a Team Plasma Pokémon. Only time will tell if Flareon can still compete. It was great seeing old friends and meeting new ones at Worlds. Thank you to all the people that playtest with me and all the people that were rooting for me to go all the way with Flareon. Hopefully next time Worlds rolls around I can finally get that big finish I’ve been looking for!

Written by Dylan Bryan, 21. 8. 2013

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