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Josh Marking

Reviewing U.S. Nationals and Looking at Worlds

Learn about what happened at Naitonals and get a closer look at world decks!

07/20/2015 by Josh Marking

U.S Nationals took place two weeks ago and the Worlds’ championship is coming in less than a month! With that being said, in this article I want to discuss what happened at U.S. Nationals and go over the decks in top 8. I will break down each deck and talk about how I think they will perform at worlds. Finally, I will give some list that I think can beat the majority of those decks and have a good shot at worlds!

U.S. Nationals

For the past couple of years we have a seen a weird trend with U.S. Nationals and Worlds. There are decks that come out of nowhere and perform great Nationals, but struggle at Worlds. In 2014, we saw Flygon and Pyroar show up out of nowhere at Nationals. Pyroar made 2nd place while the Flygon deck made top 8. In 2013, we saw a Gothitelle/Accelgor deck win U.S. Nationals! Even though that deck had some hype, a lot of people did not expect it to do great at the tournament. And even in 2012, we saw a KlinKlang deck win Nationals, which took everyone by surprise.  Even though all these decks did great at Nationals, they all had the same fate at Worlds and that is they didn’t perform well at all. This year was no different for Nationals! We saw a Wailord deck 2nd place!! When people heard of this deck doing well they thought it was a joke, but everyone changed their mind when it made it all the way to Finals!! Next up was Hippowdon, a lot of people didn’t even know what Hippowdon did at the time and the deck caught a lot of people by surprise! The deck performed so well that it made it to Top 8. Finally there was a Klinklang deck that made it to Top 8 as well. People thought the deck was too clunky and didn’t have a chance but we were proved wrong! The big question is: will these decks have the same showing at worlds?!?

Top 8 Decks

Now that we reviewed over U.S. Nationals and the history over the past couple of years, let’s look at the deck lists of all top 8 players. I will discuss why the decks did so great and talk about if the deck has potential at Worlds or not.


It is no surprise that Seismitoad did great at Nationals. The card is super strong by having the potential of locking your opponent out of their trainers, and that’s a big deal. Along with this ability, when Seismitoad is combined with Garbodor it shuts down all the abilities in your opponents deck. This makes it where all your opponent can do is for the turn is play a Supporter, attach an energy, and attack.  The Seismitoad deck also plays crushing hammers to try and get rid of energies. If you are successful at flipping heads, you can slow down your opponent even more because you just got rid of one of their moves from the previous turn. The deck also plays Hypnotoxis Laser, so if you could get lucky and your opponent stays asleep, they can’t even hurt you for the turn!

Why did it perform well?

Just like I said a second ago, the deck shuts down item cards and supporters. If you looked around at Nationals you could see that almost every deck has a certain Pokémon that has an ability. One of the Pokémon is Shaymin EX. Pretty much everyone had this card in their deck to help Set Up, but once the Toad player got out their Garbodor with the tool, that card become useless.  Not only did almost everyone play Shaymin, but we saw a ton of Ability decks. We have the whole Zubat engine, Bronzong was heavily played, you couldn’t search your deck for a supporter card with Jirachi, Keldeo couldn’t get rid of poison with their Rush In ability, and many other abilities.  Basically this format was very ability heavy and shutting down those abilities proved to be the biggest reason why Seismitoad/Garbodor did so well.

Will it do great at worlds?

YES!! This deck has done great all year and I don’t see why it would die off. Once again, the deck has the potential to shut down all of your opponent’s item cards and their abilities. Is there anything stronger than this deck? I guess we will have to wait till worlds and find out!


When I heard about this card I thought it was a gimmick deck that didn’t have the potential to do well, just like everyone else. But, we saw that the deck could hold its’ own. Wailord has 250 HP and is never going to get one shot by the majority of the format. Combine this with Suicune to shut down all the heavy EX decks and you have a deck that wrecks the majority of the format. As soon as you think you are going to knock out a Wailord, they heal it to full HP with Max Potion or make it fly away with Cassius or AZ. The deck also plays a heavy energy disruption line which would slow your opponent down even more! The whole point of the deck is to deck out your opponent and if you did this in the first game you usually didn’t have time for a game two. If you want to learn more about the deck, I did an interview with Enrique who got 2nd place with the deck.

Why did it perform well?

The main reason the deck so well was the surprise factor.  A lot of people had no clue what the deck did or how to beat it. This was a big reason why the Wailord did so great at Nationals. Another thing was that the deck had a lot of auto wins out at the time. If you played against a deck that barely did any damage, you had a good shot of beating it because it would take them forever to heavily damage a Wailord. But once the Wailord was almost knocked out, you could just heal it and start the whole process over again.

Will it do great at worlds?

No. Sadly I don’t think our Whale friend has potential at Worlds. There are two things that are working against Wailord right now. People know how to play against the deck, which gets rid of the surprise factor. Also, all people have to do is tech in a Bunnelby in their deck to win the matchup. You can hear in the interview that Enrique stopped playing against players once they put in a Bunnelby in their deck because it just made it an auto win for the other player. Bunnelby has the potential to get cards back in your deck and you could also use it to deck out the Wailord players. The main strategy is you start putting back energies and switches in your deck with Rototiller. After you have completed that combo, you would start using Burrow to start decking out the Wailord player until you eventually win the game. It will be interesting to see if the Wailord players can adjust and somehow beat the odds.


We have seen Manectric do well at other events this season. It won two Regionals and made it to Top 8 at multiple States. It was actually shocking to me that Manectric did so well at tournaments with all the Landorus hype. But it seems that with the Empoleon, it was able to still beat those decks.  This deck has everything it needs for it to be a great deck! It has built in energy acceleration with Mega Manectric. It has a draw engine with Empoleon. And finally, you have the ability to turn off abilities with Garbodor. The Garbodor was a tech that we haven’t seen in the Manectric/Empoleon deck, but it seemed to work out well for the player because he did make Top 4! If you want to see the deck in action watch the video down below.

Why did it perform well?

The deck has the potential to switch between different Mega Manectric because they have free retreat. Combine this with Rough Seas and it is actually pretty hard to knock out these Mega Pokemon. The deck also had great matchups going into the tournament. The deck could one shot all of the Colores Rayquaza decks because of their weakness to Lighting. Seismitoad struggles against it because of the constant 110 damage from multiple Manectrics. The deck also had Resistance to Metal, which was another big deck at Nationals! Lastly, the deck had Garbodor. This could shut down the majority of the decks because most of the decks at the tournament didn’t play Megaphone or Xerosic to get rid of tools. When you did this, their entire engine was shut off just like in the Seismitoad/Garbodor deck.

Will it do great at worlds?

Maybe. The deck has great matchups across the board but I feel like the deck struggles with itself. It is a really clunky deck and it is hard to set up sometimes. I saw a ton of Manectric decks at the tournament but found out a lot of them did badly because they couldn’t set up. As long as you can set up, I feel like the deck has a great potential for Worlds. Make sure to test out this deck because I know a lot of people are still not testing it out.


Metal has always been in a weird situation the entire year. It seems that every time Metal did well at tournament, everyone shrugged their shoulders and didn’t care that it did great at a tournament. This time around was different for U.S. Nationals! The week before, Metal had won Canada Nationals and finally proved that it was a great deck and shouldn’t be just shrugged off. I guess it took a great player like Chase to help prove metal is a great deck. If you want to see the deck in action check out the video down below.

Why did it perform well?

One of the main reasons why Metal did so well at Nationals is because it has answers to everything! The deck played Aegislash EX, which made it where special energy decks couldn’t hurt you because of its ability. Seismitoad was in there to help out your fighting matchups and to slow down your opponent while you set up. Cobalion could be used to kill the safe guarders and to help discard special energies. Hetran and Kecleon gave you the option to KO EX Pokémon while putting your opponent in a weird situation, because they are known staring down a non EX Pokémon.  Mewtwo gave you the opportunity to knock out Pokémon that stacked a bunch of energies on their Pokémon and punish your opponent. Finally, Dialga gave you the chance to one shot Pokémon that had 170 hp if it was needed. All this combined with Bronzong gave you a powerful deck with multiple options to knock out whoever you wanted too.

Will it do great at worlds?

Maybe. Metal is a weird situation at the moment. With Garbodor winning in the finals and making it to Top 4, there will probably be an increase of Garbodor decks at Worlds. The deck will need to include either Megaphone or Xerosic to get tools of off Garbodor. But, with these cards you only have a turn or two before a tool gets back on the Garbodor, shutting down your abilities once again. Metal will have to evolve to counter these Garbodor decks and if it can do that then it has a shot at Worlds.


Klingklang was another deck that came out of nowhere for Nationals.  This deck included a standard metal list while throwing a Klinklang line in the deck. Not only could you block out special energies, you also had the potential to block EX Pokémon from hurting your Steel Pokémon. This proved to be a lethal combination and that’s why it made it all the way to Top 8. If you want to see an interview with Dylan Bryan and how he did so well at Nationals, then watch this video down below. He also talks about how Metal can beat Wailord without playing a Bunnelby.

Why did it perform well?

Just like the Metal deck, the Klinklang deck had multiple of Non Ex attackers and Aegislash to help out against special energy decks. The main reason this deck did so great was the Klinklang. A lot of decks at Nationals only played 1 or 2 non EX attackers. Once Dylan got rid of these attackers, his Steel Pokemon would be protected by Klinklang’s ability, making them invincible. The deck also played a Keldeo and Float Stone to counter lasers if your opponent played them.

Will it do great at worlds?

Maybe, but I am leaning towards No.  Just like metal, Klinklang is in a weird position because of the potential rise of Garbodor. Once your opponent gets out a Garbodor and a tool it shuts down all your abilities, making it where your Steel Pokémon can be hurt by EX Pokémon. Also, this deck doesn’t play a Cobalion to slow down the Toad players like we saw in Ben’s Metal deck. This is why I think the deck has an even harder time to beat Seismitoad/Garbodor.  We saw that Dylan lost to Jason’s Seismitoad/Garbodor deck and then Jason went on to beat Ben’s Metal deck.  This proves that Seismitoad/Garbodor has a great matchup against these Metal decks.


Our last surprise deck was the Hippowdon deck! Hippowdon has an attack that makes all EX Pokemon on the opponent’s side of the field not able to hurt the attacking Hippowdon.  The peer power of this made it almost impossible to beat the Hippowdon deck. The only way to hurt a Pokemon on Eduardo’s side of the field was to Lysander, Escape Rope, or use an ability to get around the Hippowodon if you were playing an all EX deck. Instead of me rambling of great this deck is, here is an interview I did with Eduardo who piloted the deck to Top 8.

Why did it perform well?

Just like the Klinklang deck, this caught deck caught a lot of people off guard because they didn’t play a lot of non EX attackers. Also, Eduardo played a Landorus to counter all the Pikachu decks and a Seismitoad deck to slow down all the other decks while setting up the Hippowdons on the bench. The deck also played a lot of disruption cards to slow down your opponent, which helps you even more. These cards included Xerosic, Enahnced Hammer, Max Potion, Pokemon Center Lady, Hypnotoxic Laser, and Silent Lab. Combine all these cards with Hippowdon and you had a great deck for Nationals.

Will it do great at worlds?

Yes! Unlike the Klinklang deck, there is no real way to shut down Hippowdon’s attack. Even if your opponent played a bunch of non EX attackers you have a way to cope with them, by using the Landorus and Seismitoad, which could easily get red rid of them. The only real option you can do is play a bunch of Lysanders and hope the Hippowdon player keeps dropping down Pokémon. Once you get rid of all of their bench Pokémon, drop your non EX attacker and finally KO the Hippowdon. Even this is a hard task, so if you are going to Worlds, I would test against this deck a lot and make sure you know how to beat it.

Metal Rayquaza

Metal Rayquaza was one of the most hyped decks that have been talked about while going into Nationals. The deck is played just like a metal deck, but you have Mega Rayquaza in your deck to do massive damage. This proved to be a really strong deck just because you had the potential to one shot most of the Pokémon in the format. Once again, I got an interview with the player Geoffrey who shared his insight about the deck and why he did so well at the tournament.

Why did it perform well?

Once again the deck operated just like the Metal deck, so you had the option to power up multiple Pokémon with Bronzong.  The big difference is that you have an attacker that can KO most of the Pokémon in the game currently. With 8 Pokémon on the bench, you can do 240 damage which knocks out everything in the game besides a Wailord. Also, the deck was really fast with Shaymin in it. With Shaymin and Skyfield you have the option to draw up to 26+ cards in your first turn if everything went to plan.  Then on turn two you could start swinging for maximum damage! If you played against a slow deck you have the option to out speed your opponent.

Will it do great at worlds?

Yes. I know that when we talked about Metal and Klinklang I talked about how these decks could be beaten by Seismitoad/Garbodor decks, but this deck has the potential to out speed these decks. Also, you have the option to swing for one shot on Seismitoad even with Garbodor in play. This is the main difference because you can still KO Pokémon while still being under Garbodor lock. The only thing you have to watch out for is Manectric decks. Sadly, this is what Geoffrey lost to in Top 8. This is another deck you need to test against if you have never played against it because it is a slightly newer deck.


This is a deck that has performed well all season, but nobody really played it at Naitonals. I saw multiple Seismioad/Crobat decks at Nationals, but they all lost to the Rayquaza decks. This is where the Manectric shines in your deck! With Manectric in your deck you have the option to beat these Rayquaza decks with the weakness being on your side. Also, a cool thing to note about this deck is that Kristy played a Rock Guard in her deck. Rock Guard is an ACE SPEC that you can attach to one of your Pokémon and if your opponent attacks this Pokémon it puts 6 damage counters on it. Combining this with Seismitoad makes it so that your opponent has no real option but to take off this tool, unless they used a Xeorsic for their turn.

Why did it perform well?

Seismitoad is a great attacker because it makes it so that your opponent is not able to play item cards for their turn. This attack only does 30 damage, but when you attach a muscle band, play a laser, and drop a Virbank City Gym, you have the option to do up to 80 damage a turn. Even though this is not too strong, this is where the Crobat Engine comes into play. You have the option to add 20 more damage with Golbat and 30 damage with the Crobat. This makes Seismitoad finally put out quick damage for the turn. Combine this with the Manectric in your deck and you can finally take down a Rayquaza, which is the decks main problem, because it can one shot your Seismtioad.

Will it do great at worlds?

Yes. It doesn’t matter what version of Seismitoad you are playing at Worlds because they are all going to be great plays. This deck has the option to actually beat the other Seismtioad decks because it makes it where your opponent can never put down a tool on their Gabodor, which gives your Golbat and Crobat free reign to put damage wherever you want too. Giving you this advantage in the mirror match is crucial because I think Seismitoad/Gabodor will be one of the biggest decks at worlds.

My Top Picks for Worlds

Now that we have discussed the Top 8 decks at Nationals and found out why they did so great I want to go over two decks that could have great success at Worlds. Now, these two decks are meant to beat the Top 8 decks, meaning that they might have some bad matchups outside of this field. But, if these Top 8 decks are played heavily at worlds then these decks great plays at Worlds.

Primal Groudon

Primal Groudon gives you the chance to one shot all of these decks from Top 8. If you put 4 strong energies on a Primal Groudon and have a stadium card in play, you can do 280 – 300 damage to a Pokémon. This damage even gives you the chance to knock out a Wailord in one turn. Also, Primal Groudon has the Omega Barrier making it where it is not affected by Trainer or Staidum cards. This means that Crushing Hammer, Lysandre, Hypnotoxic Laser, and many others have no affect on this monster! This makes it where you are the one to decide when Prmal Groudon comes into the active spot. The deck also plays Focus Sash, making it where your Primal Groudon can’t be Knocked Out if it has full HP and instead you are left with 10 HP. This makes it where you can attack with the Primal Groudon twice or Scramble Switch to get a fresh one.

Once you combine this beast with Wobbuffet, you have the option to slow down your opponent tremendously. Wobbuffet makes it so that your opponent can’t use any of their abilities unless it is a Psychic Type like Wobbuffett. This means that you can shut down the two most important abilities in the game which belong to Jirachi and Shaymin. If your opponent has a deck that heavily relies on these Pokémon, then you can shut down their deck entirely.  The only thing you have to worry about is those pesky Gulbats and Crobats because they can start damaging your Primal Groudon and shut down your Focus Sash.

Finally, the deck plays a Regirock. This Pokémon has the same Omega Barrier that Primal Groudon has, which is a great effect to have. But, this Pokémon gives you the ability to hurt Hippowdon and the KlinKlang decks. Even with this Pokémon in your deck, you still have a hard time beating these decks because Regirock needs 4 energies to attack and doesn’t even one shot these decks.  Even with this in mind, the Primal Groudon is still something to watch out for! Also, if you want to hear how Primal Groudon did at Nationals then make sure to check out Kevin Baxter’s article about his experience at Nationals by clicking here.


VG will always have a place in my heart and I am always finding ways to make it playable in the format. But, VG does have a chance to beat all the Top 8 decks.  You can one shot Mega Manectric with a G Booster and Deoxys on the bench. Also, the Mega Manectric can’t one shot your Genesect, so you can at least G Booster with it twice. The deck can hit for weakness on Seismitoad because you are playing an all grass deck. Even though the Seismitoad decks play Crushing Hammer and Head Ringers to slow you down, you have to be patient and they will eventually run out of these cards and you can start winning the game. Just like the Seismitoad deck you can hit Wailord for weakness. The deck plays a Raichu line to knock out the Suicune that your opponent can stall with. Without the Raichu line, you would lose this matchup because you don’t run enough energy cards to use G Booster every turn.

Metal and Klinklang are two decks that you can easily beat with VG. The deck plays G Booster to get around the effect of Klinklang. Also, both decks are slow and need a minute to set up.  Once the VG deck gets set up, it has the option to one shot everything in both of these decks because of G Booster. If the metal decks played a heavier Dialga line, then I can see that being a problem, but as of right now they don’t.

The Hippowdon deck should be another win for the VG Deck. Once again, you play G Booster to get through the attack of Hippowdon and you have the option to bring up non Ex Pokemon on the bench with Red Signal to take your last two prizes if needed. Hippopotas is also weak to grass, which means you can knock it out with just an Emerald Slash!

Finally, we have Metal Rayquaza. At first I thought it was an auto loss, but after thinking about it you should be able to win this matchup. In this deck I have Raichu to help knock out the weak Lighting Pokémon. Since most of these decks don’t play Altaria, you can play that weakness to your advantage. If these decks start to put in Altaria, you can swap out the Raichu for Ninetials, which gives you the ability to lock in a stadium and make it where they can never on shot your Pokémon.

 Thank you!

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I know it is a rather long article, but I think it gives a great insight about U.S. Nationals and I hope it helps you prepare for Worlds. If you like my content, please make sure to check out my YouTube Channel by clicking here! If you want to learn more about me and my YouTube channel then click here to learn about it. Good luck to everyone at Worlds and hopefully this article helps out with your play testing.



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