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Caleb Gedemer

"'FLAAAAAAAME" — My Experience Playing the Second Place World Championship Deck List and More

Read all about Caleb Gedemer's World Championship experience and more!

08/31/2016 by Caleb Gedemer


Hello everyone, it feels like it has been a while. I am back for some story time pertaining to my World Championship adventure and how to start tackling the new Standard Format of the new season. I have already begun playing games with this new block and while a luck element still heavily exists, the game is far more balanced than it has been in ages; rest in peace, Night March. I hope you all enjoy my latest piece!



Immediately after my National Championship, I prematurely decided that I would not be attending Worlds and obviously not competing. This was due to the fact that I did not receive a Day Two invite, although I came extremely close. I did not like the odds of advancing to Day Two after fighting off a huge field of players in Day One.

This sentiment faded when I was convinced by my girlfriend to still go and play. I have been debating whether I would even like to play competitively in the upcoming season and she did not want me to regret my potential “last chance” to contend for a World title. I do intend to play just as I have for the past few years in this upcoming year however, so rest easy.

I took a short break from any form of testing after Nationals as well. This gave me some time to clear my head about my thoughts on the game. As I began to get back in the swing of things, I focused most of my efforts on my favorite deck, Vileplume with Jolteon-EX and Vespiquen. It fared well against nearly everything and possessed the uncanny tact to win any game with just a turn one Vileplume as any ‘plume deck does. In an extremely luck based format I prefer to choose something that capitalizes the most on a degenerate turn one board position.

The deck ran extremely well, but after playing more and more against a Greninja BREAK deck with Talonflame, I began to question the deck entirely and the hype and resurgence of quad Zoroark decks (a fairly bad matchup) took any chance of me playing my original choice and stuffed them away.

After more testing against that very Greninja BREAK deck, I turned my eyes towards it as the only logical choice; Greninja BREAK along with Talonflame had and has good matchups against Item lock decks as well as Night March decks. These two factors combined made for the “safest” deck on paper to play. Now I do hate inconsistent decks, but in two out of three matchplay, I felt confident I would not be rolled over by bad draws. This being said, Greninja BREAK began to run the gauntlet and I crammed in over a hundred games in the blink of an eye. My deck was chosen and my sights were set for an eight in the morning flight out of Chicago on the Thursday before the event.

Upon arrival, I got in line for registration quickly and talked over some more card choices with Cody Walinski and Enrique Avila (partners that tested the deck with me). We ultimately decided by the end of the night that Trainers’ Mail was not worth an inclusion and it was better to buff out other card counts that will prove useful in every game. I went to sleep that night confident in my deck choice and the list I would be using on the next day. My deck list is included below. 

The Event

Match One versus Greninja BREAK/Talonflame

Game One (Going Second)

I generally consider myself to be very confident in mirror matches and I was well aware that this game may be decided on one player decking out. The list I used did include a copy of Pokemon Ranger, specifically for the mirror to bypass the effects of Shadow Stitching from an opposing Greninja. This can be great to take a clutch knockout and apply enough pressure to stop the back and forth loop of Rough Seas healing which essentially creates a stalemate in a given game.

Anyways, this game started out strong for my opponent, as well as myself. We both opened with Talonflame and were able to achieve a strong starting position as a result. Ultimately, I whiffed a Water Energy of any kind off of an N for six and was unable to Water Duplicates right out the gate. My opponent decided to capitalize on their advantage by using Talonflame’s Areo Blitz to get multiple Greninja into play, as well as their BREAK counterparts. This, in retrospect, may have been a mistake due to the fact that they did not begin the Shadow Stitching lock as soon as they could have.

Fortunately for me, however, I was able to use Water Duplicates shortly after and begin to establish a healthy board that would put me in good position to either pressure a Prize exchange with Pokemon Ranger or fight back and forth with a deck out game.

Honestly, this game game down to a few key turns, but other than that it was just Shadow Stitching for forty, Retreat to a different Greninja BREAK, rinse and repeat while abusing Rough Seas. I was able to personally use Pokemon Ranger to knock out two Froakie on my opponent’s Bench and eventually knock out a Greninja BREAK. Knocking out the BREAK would likely have given me a natural win on Prizes in the long run, but after some thought, my opponent checked our deck sizes and concluded they could not win, regardless of Prize count. Our game lasted the entire fifty minute time limit and that made the win that much more elevating.

1-0; 1-0-0

My opponent was using fifty-nine of the same cards as me, so I was a bit lucky to get away with the win, considering the fact that they played first and got the first Water Duplicates off. Throughout my four years in a row now of competing in the World Championships, never had I ever won the first match of the tournament. Finally doing so was very satisfying, personally.

Match Two versus Aegislash-EX/Bronzong BREAK/Shaymin-EX/Vespiquen/Zoroark

Game One (Going Second)

I was assuming my opponent may be playing Vileplume with Vespiquen, considering some of their past results with the deck over the course of the season, but alas, I was wrong. They revealed after their first turn a Vespiquen deck with Zoroark and Bronzong for recovery. I immediately feel quite confident in the matchup, as well as my start, which consisted of a Talonflame in the Active spot.

I get two Froakie down into play to avoid any Lysandre shenanigans and go for an Aero Blitz to get the options for a turn two Water Duplicates from Frogadier. My opponent has an alright turn but cannot take a knockout on my Active Talonflame. This is extremely sick because it allows me to have yet another potential turn of attacking with the bird, or even leaving it on the Bench after Retreating for a late game recovery option or defense against opposing N drops.

I nail the Water Duplicates and have a Bursting Balloon attached against an opposing Zoroark. I manage not to Prize a single Frogadier and go to town. My opponent takes a quick knockout with Zoroark’s Mind Jack for one hundred sixty, but with the repercussion of Bursting Balloon’s sixty damage bop. This sets up perfect math with Aero Blitz, so after getting two Greninjas out already, I search my deck for one more as well as a BREAK for next turn.

Another knockout comes from the opponent and we both sit at four and five Prizes respectively. I know they are in for some pain, however. I promote a BREAKpoint Greninja and Evolve to the BREAK. I manage to get the XY Greninja into play as well and another BREAK. I swamp their board with Giant Water Shurikens and Water Shurikens and they concede knowing they have no way to come back from the devastation that would have ensued.

Game Two (Going Second)

With game one going so well, I am again pretty confident going into this one. My starting hand, however, is quite poor. I have to Dive Ball for another Froakie to avoid being Benched out, but that ultimately was irrelevant when after two turns both of my Froakies are knocked out anyways.

Game Three (Going First)

I mulligan multiple times throughout this series, but this game was especially bad. I finally get a Talonflame in hand, but the rest of the contents are absolutely dreadful and I do not have another Basic. I do not even have a Supporter or Energy! For this reason, I decide to mulligan yet again and manage to draw two Froakies, accompanied by two Greninjas a Frogadier and some Energy. Once again, unless I draw a Supporter with this given hand, my odds for winning are not looking great.

I have to pass right out of the gate and for this reason my opponent thinks I may have a dead hand, which they are right about. I have to just Water Duplicates and I do get three Frogadiers out. Now, my opponent switches gears and assumes I was simply bluffing. They decide to play an N for the turn. Now, I have some things to work with, but not too many immediate options.

I draw a Greninja and Evolve up which leaves me with a field of one Greninja and two Frogadiers. I cannot help but worry about the longevity of this weak setup. I play a Bursting Balloon on my Active Greninja and then I play a Supporter for the turn and gun for an Energy. I whiff the Energy! I really liked my odds in that situation, too. Regardless, I opt to just leave the Greninja in the Active position with the Bursting Balloon to get the most mileage out of that card. I also was unable to draw any more Greninjas or a way to get them.

My opponent is unable to knockout the Active Greninja with the Balloon, but still opts to take a chip at it, damaging themselves in the process. Now it is unfavorable for me to Evolve that Greninja into a BREAK and I am going to be in some serious trouble if I do not find more Greninjas to attack with.

I am able to find one, but not the right (BREAKpoint) one. From here, I have to attack with the Active one with damage, using Shadow Stitching for a knockout. My opponent after knocking me out and getting an N played against them, promotes an Aegislash-EX to stall for a bit and set up their Bench more fluidly. Now, I have a real chance to set up again. I put a Splash Energy on my Active Greninja to purposely not damage the Aegislash-EX to leave it there and have more crucial turns to get things going. I repeatedly use Shadow Stitching and play a few Ns to get a few cylinders clicking.

Alas, my opponent plays their own N and I draw complete trash. I am stuck for a while with just passing and eventually they find the necessary Energy to not only Retreat Aegislash-EX but attack with Vespiquen for a knockout on my Active Greninja BREAK. Now, the game becomes a downward spiral and I run out of Pokemon in two or three turns.

1-2; 1-1-0

Bad luck had to strike at some point, right? I still feel amazing about my odds in the tournament and hope that the draw problems are something I can leave behind in my last game. Onto the next one!

Match Three versus Carbink BREAK/Lucario-EX/Shaymin-EX/Zygarde/Zygarde-EX

Game One (Going First)

This is a pretty favorable matchup if you play first. It can be more difficult playing second or with a poor starting hand. Fortunately, I opened with Talonflame (now three out of five games) and was able to build a commanding board position that could swamp any potential Zygarde-EXs that threatened my attackers. Vileplume is relatively weak when Talonflame can just search out any two cards. I was able to take down on Zygarde-EX and place a few knockouts elsewhere and the game was mine.

Game Two (Going Second)

This game I started with Talonflame again, but even still, when a Zygarde-EX gets an attachment turn one, but turn three they can be knocking out every Greninja they see. Basically, it boiled down to my opponent knocking out my lone Froakie on the Bench and then I was subsequently left with just a Talonflame and no Supporter. I was Benched out on the following turn.

Game Three (Going First)

Froakie, Rough Seas, VS Seeker, Water Energy, Water Energy, Water Energy, Splash Energy, draw for turn: Bursting Balloon. Needless to say I attached the Bursting Balloon and the Splash Energy and passed. My opponent was able to find Zygarde-EX with a Forest of Giant Plants and a Strong Energy for the Land’s Pulse knockout on my lone Froakie and the win.

1-2; 1-2-0

Alright, now the feeling of defeat is starting to creep into my mind, but I still manage to dismiss it knowing that my deck is extremely strong and as long as I can avoid bad luck nonsense I should be able to win out and take my play to Day Two.

Match Four versus Aegislash-EX/Bronzong BREAK/Cobalion/Genesect-EX/Magearna-EX/Shaymin-EX

Game One (Going Second)

When my opponent flipped over Metal Pokemon, naturally I should feel confident because of Greninja’s Shadow Stitching really throwing that deck to the curb, but instead, a feeling of dread swept over me since my hand was just garbage. This hand very quickly spiraled out of control as I used a Water Duplicates on the second turn and and Prized one Frogadier. Normally, this might not even be that bad, but with the rest of my hand being unplayable, I had no means to pressure my opponent and get anywhere in the long haul of the game.

A Genesect-EX attacked with Rapid Blaster on the second turn of the game due to Max Elixir and from there the game was over. My opponent took knockout after knockout and I had no way to recover my lost frogs and no way to even Evolve into Greninjas.

Game Two (Going First)

Oh man, now I am facing elimination if I lose this one and whoops my hand did not want to cooperate. I was able to once again Water Duplicates on the second turn, but I Prized two Frogadier this time. Yeah, the game was over at this point. Genesect-EX was swinging on the second turn and some Bubble flips batted away the loss for a few turns. Unfortunately, that was just a pipe dream and reality set and and the loss was taken.

0-2; 1-3-0

Jeez, what a let down! While I flamed out extremely quickly, my other friends playing the deck were faring quick well and gaining confidence in their ability to make it onto the next day. I decided to keep playing since everyone else I was staying with was still occupied in the game room and I wanted to hopefully redeem myself in my own personal way.

Match Five versus Druddigon/Mew/Seismitoad-EX/Shaymin-EX/Yveltal/Yveltal-EX

Game One (Going Second)

They went first and did not have much going on. They dropped an Yveltal-EX and I licked my lips. For my turn I did start with Talonflame and was able to just get a great hand to build off of on the next turn. Their turn concluded with an Oblivion Wing, but that damage was just completely offset with Rough Seas.

From here, Water Duplicates went off and Greninjas swarmed the field. Anyone that has played or watched a few games of this matchup knows that Greninja BREAK just destroys Yveltal decks. They simply do not do enough damage and the little that they do can be healed via Rough Seas and Retreating between attackers on the Bench. My opponent knowing this decided to concede the next game and get on with their day.

1-0; 2-3-0

Woo, on my way to the goal of five wins, three losses and zero ties. Meanwhile my deck partners continued to win and the field was looking very promising for them both.

Match Six versus Shaymin-EX/Trevenant BREAK/Wobbuffet

Game One (Going Second)

Opening Talonflame always is great against a potential Turn One Item lock, but unfortunately for my opponent, they were not able to do much of anything. I am fairly certain no Supporter was played and they passed the turn. This allowed me to just do my thing and go to work with Water Duplicates and streaming Greninjas and subsequently the BREAKs. Later on when they did get a Trevenant BREAK out, Rough Seas went in and negated that nuisance of Silent Fear.

Game Two (Going Second)

This game was nearly as uneventful as the first. I opened with Talonflame again and the rest was a downward spiral. My opponent had some more draw, pass turns and I won on the fourth turn of the game with a Moonlight Slash for eighty on a damaged Wobbuffet.

2-0; 3-3-0

This was somewhat satisfying, knowing someone else was having as bad a day as mine had been. My friends continued to win big as well!

Match Seven versus Aegislash-EX/Articuno/Glaceon-EX/Manaphy-EX/Seismitoad-EX/Shaymin-EX

Game One (Going Second)

Alright, now I was getting back into the light of day with table numbers and as another consolation, I got to play a matchup that I was not the most familiar with, so that would be fun! My opponent opens with a Seismitoad-EX and gets some things going on their first turn with Shaymin-EX abuse and Max Elixirs. They are in a good board position and will be able to use Grenade Hammer on the their second turn to dial up on the pressure. I know that is how one wins the “Water Box” matchup against Greninja BREAK, so I am not entirely sure how I will recover from this.

On my turn I have limited options but get another Froakie down on the Bench to save my Active one since I did not start with Talonflame. On his turn he continues to power up another Seismitoad-EX and hits me with Grenade Hammer for a knockout. This game is kinda getting out of my hands already because by the time I really get to do anything, my opponent will have taken three Prizes. I decide to play it out a bit longer and see if I can make anything out of it, but it is far too late for that. I concede and move on hoping that playing first will help my cause for the win.

Game Two (Going First)

This can also be a longer match to play, so I was wary of this and tried to manage my time in the best way possible. Yes, at this point none of these games really matter but it was a competition with myself, of sorts. This game went better because my opponent was playing from behind once they missed the turn one Grenade Hammer. I was able to get all of my frogs into play and go from there. Greninjas fell quickly, but one I had two BREAK in play, that looked to be about all their deck could handle.

They played Manaphy-EX and Shaymin-EX down, of course and I capitalized on that with two Giant Water Shurikens a piece for four Prizes. After that, one Seismitoad-EX had to be taken down, which is a bit of a feat but can be managed with access to multiple Greninjas and actually using Moonlight Slash for maximum damage. Once that was gone I had won the second game.

Game Three (Going Second)

This one could maybe go to time so I maintained a fast pace of play. I was extremely aided by a very poor start on my opponent’s part as they did not manage to get more than one Energy in play on their first turn. Grenade Hammer just did not come until later in the game and I was able to knock out multiple Seismitoad-EX as they posed little semblance of a threat. To further my position, my opponent had to Bench Manaphy-EX and Shaymin-EX once again to try and dig a little deeper to counter my offensive, but it ended up helping me in the end with those “free” Prizes.

2-1; 4-3-0

Alright, that was definitely my favorite series so far as I blindly (for the most part) played the matchup correctly and came out on top, even after losing game one and feeling the pressure of time.

Match Eight versus Shaymin-EX/Vespiquen/Yveltal/Zoroark

Game One (Going Second)

Woo, if I win this one I can say that I at least had a positive record. My opponent opened really strongly with multiple Battle Compressors and three Combee in play on the first turn. I personally had a good one two, with opening Talonflame and getting Froakies down into play. My turn was aided by a Bursting Balloon drop that would hurt my opponent quite a bit if they decided to bite into it. They decided to pass to get rid of the Bursting Balloon, but this too helped me out a bit since it bought me precious time.

Water Duplicates and three multiple Greninja out on turn three? This game was a wrap since my opponent never had a chance to play Hex Maniac until later in the game when it was too late. I was able to Shuriken for days and take cheap Prizes and trade more effectively than my opponent’s own non-EX deck.

Game Two (Going Second)

This time this player did not have the same kind of luck, even though it did not even matter in the first game. I opened with my bird once again so my consistency was definitely going to be point. My opponent just drew and passed and the Greninja BREAK arsenal started to take shape. Aero Blitz is such a good attack and I always had what I needed. Soon, my opponent conceded just based on the strength of my Pokemon on board, knowing they could not make a comeback.

2-0; 5-3-0

So there we have it! My mediocre World Championship run had come to an end, at least I finished in the positive side of things. I managed to salvage my poor performance with some fun games to finish the tournament. I was really excited that my friends Cody and Enrique had both qualified for Day Two!


On the second day of play, we all know how Cody did. He tore it up and went guns blazing all the way to the Finals. I firmly believe that he should have won that matchup if he did not have such bad luck (the two losses he took was extremely similar to some of mine throughout the day).

The compilation of decks and deck choices this year were actually quite diverse than expected. Night March was far from as dominant as it was expected to be and as we all know M Audino-EX went on to win the entire thing! I had never for a second even considered that card to be viable, so that was a pleasant surprise to see.

Talking about Worlds in detail is not too relevant anymore, so let us conclude here and wave goodbye to Night March in the Standard format. Good riddance.


Decks Worth Exploring


  • M Mewtwo-EX (Psychic Infinity)


We will start here with one of the two main hyped M Pokemon-EX. This card was somewhat played earlier on during City Championships last year with some limited successes. I personally played it for a Cities, but ran into some problems and finished with an awful record of 3-3-0. A friend of mine, though, played the same list a day earlier for a first place finish.

Anyways, this deck previously had some major problems with Night March. Naturally, M Mewtwo-EX has a strong attack with high HP, a great combination for success. Along with Mega Turbo and Double Colorless Energy, M Mewtwo-EX can attack for powerful damage quickly and shake up opponents.


This big heffer can be a pain to get into play. Remember, in most cases, having the Mewtwo-EX in play along with a Mewtwo Spirit Link and a M Mewtwo-EX will be preferable. Mega Turbo without Battle Compressor to Discard Energy cards can be an unreliable means to accelerate Energy cards for extra damage with M Mewtwo-EX. Focusing on the consistency of the deck will be key to hone in on the optimal list for this build.

M Rayquaza-EX itself can be a big problem for this deck, but to combat it, be sure to into Parallel City. Garbodor can also help to disable Hoopa-EX’s and Shaymin-EX’s Abilities that allow M Ray to stream huge damage and recover from Parallel City drops.

  • M Rayquaza-EX (Emerald Break)


We will start here with one of the two main hyped M Pokemon-EX. This card was somewhat played earlier on during City Championships last year with some limited successes. However, this year, it is poised for a bigger performance as it clocks in as what is probably the best deck around.

Why is it so much better now? Night March is gone everybody! M Rayquaza-EX had an absolutely glaring Weakness to the Lightning type. If that was not enough, Night March could also just naturally take big knockouts on the flying dragon.


Even with Night March gone, the Weakness to Lightning still remains prevalent because of the new Lightning juggernaut, Raichu. However, unlike against Night March, Altaria can be enough to dismantle the Weakness-capitalizing offensive. Night March being the speedy and overwhelming deck it is, has the ability to play Hex Maniac to turn off Altaria and still hit for big damage. Raichu is a bit more clunky and on occasion may struggle to reach the correct number of Benched Pokemon and have Hex Maniac to go along with it.

Parallel City is and has always been a big problem for Bench building decks. Playing multiple Super Rod can work wonders for recovery, even though we are all left wishing Sacred Ash was still around in all honesty. 



  • Raichu


One of my favorite cards and favorite decks from a season ago. This card and the deck that went with it was very strong in the onset of City Championships with Night March being all the rage everywhere. I paired Raichu with Crobat to get ahead on Prizes and hit key numbers. With Crobat being rotated out, Golbat and Zubat actually do stay in Standard with their Generations set print. A better pair, however, may come in the form of Eevee Evolutions, namely Flareon and Vaporeon (Jolteon would be useless since Raichu is already Lightning). Flareon can help against M Sceptile-EX, which should see some play in the coming format. Vaporeon may carry more weight, however, with its tact against Volcanion-EX and its deck.

This deck also gained a cute new “partner” in the form of Klefki with Steam Siege. Klefki can attach itself to a Pokemon and prevent damage from attacks on M Pokemon-EX. This can be especially useful to shore up weaknesses to M Pokemon-EX and it serves as a useful Bench sitter in the meantime while we wait to use it.


M Sceptile-EX was straight up the worst matchup for Raichu with Crobat. Not only was M Sceptile-EX immune to Abilities, aka the damage supplementer from Crobat, but the leftover damage could be healed with Jagged Saber and moving between M Sceptile-EXs. Flareon is an easy fix to this as I mentioned earlier and Klefki could even be great too to prevent damage and buy extra time to keep attacking, hopefully garnering a knockout.

Parallel City, like M Rayquaza-EX, Raichu relies on filling a Bench full of Pokemon and dealing large amounts of damage as a result. With Parallel City likely to become prominent again to counter these two decks, Super Rod counts will be pertinent to success in combating this. Karen may too also be released in the coming future and with that, both decks will have a great supplement to their Pokemon recovery.  


  • Volcanion-EX


Volcanion-EX is a new archetype that is also poised to do well this year, but with the way some decks are developing, it may not get to rock the format like it maybe could. Its Steam Up Ability can power its attack through the roof, as well as give the baby Volcanion a serious boost that will pressure any deck.

The regular Volcanion is a super strong card with its first attack. Attaching Energy that were Discarded with Volcanion-EX’s Steam Up is pretty damage amazing and works quite synergistically in the grand scheme of things.


Garbodor is a major problem, but given the lack of any reliable Tool removal in the format, it will remain a problem until the company says otherwise with a removal card. Shutting off Volcanion-EX’s attack is extremely degenerate to play against, since attacks will not hit the right numbers and most decks will be able to overpower the now weak volcanoes.

M Rayquaza-EX gives this deck a serious blow to the gut. M Ray is able to deal more efficient knockouts to Volcanions and Volcanion-EXs (even with Fighting Fury Belt attached) than any other deck. Sky Field might even be played by Volcanion-EX decks which will let M Rayquaza-EX run free with a loaded Bench and keep swinging for massive damage. 


  • Xerneas (Rainbow Force)


Xerneas! I tried out this critter when it first came out in a rainbow toolbox deck with Bronzong and Smeargle. Its major problem was the consistency factor and after I nearly considered it for City Championships last Winter, I was ultimately deterred by the aforementioned problem.

This deck boasts a hard hitting non-EX Pokemon that is a relatively easy attacker to power up. Max Elixir when playing upwards to around eight Fairy Energy makes Rainbow Force doable. Even a forgotten card, Exp. Share, helps this deck get better. Volcanion-EX is the real reason why this deck is set to make a splash into the metagame. Its dual type status allows Xerneas to hit for one hundred ninety even without Sky Field being in play (of course, the other Benched Pokemon do have to be of different types, though).


Consistency can still be an issue with this deck, sadly. Even with a host of Supporters, now with N, bad hands can happen and this deck, more than really any other deck, struggles immensely when an attack for the turn does not happen. In order to improve this, maxing out, or getting close to maxing out, N and Professor Sycamore counts can really help. Teammates is an underrated card since Xerneas gets knocked out fairly easy and Teammates can help keep a Xerneas attacking chain going under pressure.

Parallel City, oh man, are we starting to see a theme here? Parallel City might be one of the most underhyped cards moving into the new Standard format, but regardless, it hinders this deck too. Limiting the Bench means limiting the diversity of Pokemon types and less damage in the end. 

Tying it All Together

The new Standard format looks quite promising and is sure to be a breath of fresh air and fun for most players. No more degenerate Battle Compressor combinations that strip the game of its skill level and reward players that can draw the most cards on their first turn playing their cards.

The makeup of the different decks is going to be pretty exciting to watch and think about as the format progresses. There are going to be a lot of matchups that will be able to be won based upon skill interactions. I personally believe that knowing how many Klefki to play and knowing when to use them could be an interesting game of thought in the near future.

Choosing and perfecting a deck list for a sixty card deck in the Pokemon Trading Card Game never gets old and that will be no different this season, even if last season’s Night March dominated field was a bit too much.


Expanded might be a bit of a crapshoot for this coming year. There are so, so many decks to choose from now, it might become a bit much for the average player to decide and gauge what is the best play for a given tournament.

Above all else, before the end of Spring Regional Championships in this past season, it is important to note that Night March had carried over its dominance in the Standard format over to the Expanded one. Many top players played and placed well with the deck and it even won a Regionals.

Night March will however be hindered by the upcoming release of the Karen Promo, but it will be dubious to see how many people decide to pack a Karen in their deck. Think about the Ghetsis situation after the concept was leaked to the general public as a hard counter in the early turns to Archie’s Ace in the Hole Blastoise decks. Ghetsis pretty much annihilated those builds in the beginning of games and was enough to get people to stop playing the Blastoise deck. In the same regard, Karen may be enough to stop players in their tracks before considering Night March, but at the same time, Night March players may firmly believe that people are thinking that people will not play Night March and therefore they will not play Karen. This train of thought can be quite confusing and it will be tricky to develop a correct hypothesis based upon the limited number of tournament results before upcoming Regional Championships.


I am starting college this year and boy am I happy about the new changes! My school schedule not only allow me to continue playing Pokemon at my own convenience but it will make sense to as well! This new structure may still benefit big spenders and travelers to tournaments, but at the same time it is sure to allow those less fortunate to get the most out of their money and time by attending fewer events (that are even closer to home, too) to achieve an invitation to the World Championships.

The prizes this year are bound to receive quite a bit of hype, no more annoying booster box prizes! Everyone loves money and cash is a great step in the right direction for growing the Pokemon scene and bringing more interest to the game. Most people are impressed and surprised that I have won a few bucks here and there in merchandise and prizes from playing Pokemon, but one of these new cash prizes would be sure to put them over the top!

League Cup tournaments are quite interesting and the fact that they are replacing City Championship tournaments is pretty awesome. These important events are going to be held four times a year, which even allows a player to miss one or two a season for other obligations, if needed. The best, but maybe worst for some players, is that they are held in card shops around the countries that participate in organized play for Pokemon. If one is to live in a prominent area in the gaming scene, it will be easy to hit multiples of these events and capture the greatest chance for success.


That is all I have for you all today! The state of the game and the competitive scene is looking bright lately and I could not be more exciting for the season to get underway. I hope you all enjoyed reading, good luck this year!

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