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Denise van Wijk

The European Top 22 - 2016

Denise profiles most of the Top 22 European Pokémon players who you can expect to see at the 2016 World Championship.

08/02/2016 by Denise van Wijk

Hi all,

I know it has been some time, but thought I couldn’t let the opportunity slip to introduce the Top 22 players that will represent Europe during this year’s World Championships in San Francisco. I just ended up booking my own flight, so I am super excited to see you all there! Just like last year, I had a little chat with the best 22 players and asked them about their journey to Worlds, which decks they expect to see in San Francisco and asked them about their favourite deck. 

22 - Gunther K


Gunther is an Austrian Pokémon player who has been involved with the game since 1999, but only played competitively since 2010.

He accrued most of his points from Nationals, giving him 500 of his 980 CP.

His Nationals deck, a Vespiqueen/Zoroark deck, earned him the most points. He also won a Regionals with the deck.

He expects Night March, Trevenant, Vespiqueen/Vileplume, Waterbox, and Toad to be popular deck choices in San Francisco.

His favourite deck this season has been Wailord, but he is also a big fan of Tool Drop. He also really likes his 2011 Nationals deck with Omastar and Aerodactyl.

21 - Luca Schuster

Luca is a competitive TCG player from Austria, a small country next to Germany. He has played the game for almost 9 years, but only started playing competitively for the last two years after finishing school which allowed him to travel more freely. 

Luca accrued his points in the following manner:

    • 84 CP through LCs
    • 180 CP from Cities
    • 495 CP through Regionals
    • 200 CP from Nationals

Giving him 999CP in total.

Luca considers LCs as crucial in achieving his invite. He argues that one very important LC ensured him a spot in the T22

The deck that accrued Luca most points was Mega Rayquaza-EX. As crazy as it may sound, the deck netted him 485 CP, which is simply insane.

As most people do, Luca guesses that Night March will one of the most popular decks because it gets a huge boost from Steam Siege. Still, he expects Toad and Vespiquen variations to be very popular, but he hopes that maybe one person will manage to win with a deck that wasn't expected at all!

20 - Ryan Moorhouse

Just like last year, Ryan Moorhouse was able to secure his Day 2 invite. As you may remember, Ryan is a competitive Pokemon player from the United Kingdom.

He is one of the most consistent players, obtaining most of his points through Regionals and Cities, winning four Regionals and three Cities. It is clear that he is a player to watch out for. Besides his Regionals and Cities wins, he also maxed out on League Challenge placements and made Top 32 at UK Nationals, not to forget he carried over 40 CP from the 2015 World Championships with him, to give him a total of exactly 1000 CP.

The decks that helped him obtain the majority of his points were based around Yveltal-EX; Yveltal-EX has been very lucrative for this English player, last year he received the majority of his points this way and this year the Darkness Pokémon helped him secure his four Regional wins - using a Yveltal-EX/Zoroark/Gallade deck in Standard and his Yveltal-EX/Archeops/Gallade deck in Expanded.

Ryan’s metagame call for Worlds ultimately depends on whether Karen will be printed. If Karen is not printed, he expects Night March to stay the most prominent and popular deck for San Francisco, especially after it won U.S. Nationals. If Karen does end up being printed in Storm Siege, he expects the metagame to shift greatly and M-Rayquaza-EX to become the most popular deck for Worlds as Karen will counter Night March.

Ryan’s favourite deck for Expanded is his Yveltal-EX/Archeops/Gallade deck. He is confident the deck can handle any matchup and has a lot of options at its disposal. This list gave him two wins during Expanded Regionals in the U.K.

19 - Charles Barton


Charles is an experienced English Pokémon TCG player, having played competitively since 2010. He has experienced a large range of formats which has given him a greater appreciation for the game. He says he is blessed to have entered the game in one of the "golden ages," so as to speak - the SP era.

Charles acquired his Championship Points from 6 League Challenge wins, 2 City Championship wins, a Top 2 and Top 4 at City Championships, 2 Regional Championship wins, 2 Regional Championship 2nd places, and a Nationals Top 8 finish. Charles argues that the nature of an attempt at Top 22 in Europe means that a player typically need to win or Top 2 a majority of events, which is why Charles kept going to events until he had satisfied each Best Finish Limit (as he presumed most of the players in Top 22 also did), a long process but a rewarding one!

If Charles were to look to a single deck for the provision of a majority of his points this season, he wouldn't be able to pin it on a single specific deck...however he has found that Seismitoad-EX based decks accounted for a considerable amount of CP this season (varying between Giratina-EX, Crobat and Red Card as partners at points) and this has certainly played its part in his success this season. Item-lock has always been, and always will be, a huge facet of competitive play within the Pokémon TCG says Charles.

According to Charles, at this point in time, it's hard to be able to accurately predict what the metagame will be for the World Championships - with, at the time of writing, Karen not having been confirmed, he feels that we have two very different formats on our hands, with only one being the eventual actual format. That being said, it is either a format with Karen that we play or a format without Karen. If Karen is not legal for play, then Charles sees largely the same format as what has been the case for all Fates Collide-on National Championships. If Karen is legal, on the other hand, then there is a huge, gaping hole where Night March was; and whilst another deck will likely fill that void, the format will then stabilise to adequately deal with the new threat.

If Charles had to choose a favourite decklist from this season, it would be his Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX list that he used to great success at Regional Championships:


18 - Filipe Cardoso


Filipe Cardoso is a Portuguese player, who has been playing Pokémon TCG for a long time; his first Nationals dates back to 2006, when he was still a Senior. He liked the game that much, that he hasn't stopped playing since.

To acquire his points, Filipe topped literally every single Premier Event in Portugal in quick succession, which brought him 4 Regional Top 4s, a City win, Top 2 and Top 4. At this point, Filipe starts to prepare for Nationals, a highly competitive tournament in Portugal as most players still need their 300 CP for their invite, due to to the limited number of Premier Events in Portugal. Portugal only offered 9 Premier Events and the country does not even offer any LCs! This makes Filipe’s placement a great achievement! Due to the limited number of Premier Events in his country, Filipe traveled to France where he played 2 Regionals, looking back at the experience favourably. Filipe ended up winning Nationals netting him a total of 1040 CP. 

In every premier event that Filipe received points from, he played a different deck. So technically, he got most points with Trevenant BREAK, as it was his Nationals deck.

Throughout the season, he played a plethora of different decks: FairyTina, Vespiquen/Bats, Manectric-EX/Bats, Night March, YZG, Toad Tina, Straight Seismitoad-EX, and Finally Trevenant BREAK.

If Karen doesn't release, Night March will surely keep its popularity at Worlds. Either way, Filipe expects Darkrai-EX/Garbodor(/Giratina) to be extremely popular, as well as Metal. Let's see how Pokémon Ranger affects Seismitoad-EX, Giratina-EX, and others like Jolteon, as he hasn't tested it yet.

Filipe does not really have a favourite decklist for this format, as he changes decks all the time. Even his Trevenant deck for Nationals was mostly a meta call. His favourite deck of all time? Definitely the Palkia G/Dialga G/Luxray GL list he played during Worlds 2009, but he won’t write about it here, as he guesses most readers wouldn't be interested.

Filipe would like to wish all the players attending at Worlds the best of luck!

17 - Tobias Smutkowski


Tobias is a German TCG player. He started playing Pokémon competitively about 5 or 6 years ago. However, he had a one year break in between and started playing again when entering into the Masters division.

Tobias accrued most of his points by maxing out nearly all of his League Challenges, Cities and Regionals best finish limits and also by managing to get a Top 8 placement at German nationals.

There isn't one particular deck which accrued Tobias the majority of his points because he changed his deck almost every tournament. Actually, there should be like 6 decks that gave him roughly 150 CP each this season.

In San Francisco, Tobias definitely expects Night March to be one of the most popular decks. It should still be pretty strong after the release of Steam Siege and it's just the most consistent deck in the format.

Tobias played the following deck at a random Regional Championship. It was built to beat Night March and Greninja. It’s a fun deck and he managed to obtain Top 8 with it, but looking back at it, he realises it might not be the BDIF. Try it out!

(This list an updated XY-Steam Siege version, so you guys can even play it at Worlds!)


16 - Mees Brenninkmeijer


Mees is an experienced Pokémon TCG player from the Netherlands, he has played the game competitively for 8 years now.

He acquired the majority of his points through Regionals, netting him 420 CP, which was most important in securing him his invite. 

Sableye/Garbodor was the key deck for Mees to acquire his points this season. He describes it as a very cool deck that exploits an alternate win condition that requires you to play the game completely differently.

Mees expects Night March to be popular in San Francisco, without Karen the deck seems like an obvious and powerful choice. 

15 - Nicklas Paredes Danielsen


Nicklas is half Danish and half Spanish, but currently lives and plays in Denmark. He has been playing Pokémon since May 2013, but started playing competitively in 2014 when he received his invite for the World Championships in 2015, Boston. He decided that his ambitions were much higher this season, so he aimed for a Day 2 invite by going for Top 22 in Europe.

This season Nicklas managed to accrue 1059 CP in total. Most of them come from Regional Championships, but his run at the Danish City Championship marathons and the Danish National Championship is what ultimately led him to place himself amongst the best 22 players in Europe for this season. In order to make Top 22, he states you pretty much can’t miss a beat or you’ll fall short at the end of the season.

Nicklas accumulated his CP in the following way:

3rd place at the Danish National Championship
Total: 300 CP

1st place at Odense Regional
1st place at Vejle Regional
3rd place at Nordic Championship
7th at Herning Regional Championship
Total: 480 CP

City Championships:
1st place at Denmark’s annual Christmas Tournament
1st place at Lumby City Championship
1st place at Aalborg City Championship
1st Place at Fuglebjerg City Championship
Total: 200 CP

League Challenges:
1st place
1st Place
1st Place
2nd Place
2nd Place
3rd Place
Total: 79 CP

The decks he used throughout the year have been somewhat diverse but also consistent, which means he stuck to a few different decks throughout the year.

These were the decks Nicklas primarily used:

Tyrantrum/Giratina/Metal: 342 CP
Greninja: 300 CP
Mega Mewtwo Y/Yveltal/Parallel City: 215 CP
Night March: 150 CP

So in terms of having the most success and accruing him the most points, Tyrantrum is the deck that kick-started his season and scored him a load of points. It was a fun deck to play and it had a lot of answers to the metagame at the time.

The decks Nicklas expects to be the most popular in San Francisco have to be Water Box, Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX/Garbodor, Metal, and Trevenant. He is a bit uncertain with regards to Night March since it’s a deck that has proven itself to not be underestimated but the player base is quite sick of it, so the counters against it are all over the place.

As for his favourite deck list, it is certainly not the strongest deck, but it’s a fun deck to play and it holds a special place in his heart as Nicklas built it completely from scratch himself, and the deck allowed him to make finals at City Championships 5 times consecutively.

14 - Patrick Landis

Patrick, a Swiss Pokémon player who has been playing the TCG competitively since 2001, has a long track record in the game, marking this year as his seventh World Championship.

He collected 1085 CP this year, earning most of his points from Regionals, with 495 CP, 300 CP from his Top 4 at Nationals, 160CP from Cities, and 90 CP from LCs. Patrick was able to secure his Top 4 at Nationals as he was one of the first to play Greninja in the XY-FCO format. Due to his Nationals success, Patrick was able to secure his Top 22 position.

He thinks that with Steam Siege legal at Worlds, it is very difficult to predict what decks will be played. Especially Night March depends on the fact if Karen will be legal or not. Either way, this worlds will be very interesting and Patrick is excited to meet old and new friends there.


13 - Martin Belohlavek

Martin Belohlavek is a player from the Czech Republic and has played the Pokémon TCG since HGSS. 

In order to earn his invite, Martin placed Top 8 and Top 4 at several Regionals, had a good run during Cities which netted him 160 CPs and to top it off, he won Czech nationals.

To earn his invite, Martin changed decks quite regularly, but played Toad/Tina at most Cities, made 3 top cuts at Regionals with Tyrantrum in Autumn and won Nationals with Trevenant, therefore attributing most of his CP to those decks.

He thinks that any deck that did really well at U.S. Nationals will be really popular at Worlds. Night March will still be pretty popular as well!

So far, Martin does not really have a favourite decklist, he usually tests different builds of a deck that appeal to him the most and then before the tournament, he figures out the best list.

12 - Fatih Akdemir  


Fatih was born and raised in Germany but his parents are originally from Turkey. He started playing competitively around 2014-2015.

Fatih received most of his points from Regionals and his second place at German Nationals of course. Sadly his City runs are pretty weak each season, which he attributes to the best-of-one format.

During the season, Fatih always keeps switching between decks in order to keep up with the current meta-game. But he guesses Trevenant got him the majority of his points as this was the deck he played during German Nationals.

He think the San Francisco metagame all depends on whether Karen will be in Steam Siege or not. He thinks we will not get it and therefore Night March, Trevenant, Vileplume variants, and Water Toolbox should be the decks to expect.

When asked about his favourite list, Fatih said he really loves Pyroar as it got him his first big tournament win. Other than that he would probably choose Mega Dragon Rayquaza as he always loved the deck concept and even made Day 2 with it last year at Worlds.

11 - Stephan Norregard

Stephan is a Danish TCG player, having played the game competitively for 12 years now.


He accrued the majority of his points during Nationals, he did not only win the tournament, but went undefeated as well with a record of (8-0-2). He won Nationals with Night March, making it the deck that brought him most CPs. However, this is not the deck Stephan played the most, as that title would go to Mega Mewtwo-EX/Baby Yveltal.


During Worlds he thinks the two dominant decks will be Night March and Trevenant.



10 - Steffen Eriksen


Steffen is Danish but currently lives in the Netherlands, so that explains why you see the ‘NL’ after his name in the rankings. Steffen has played competitively for more than 11 years, playing his first tournament in the 2004/2005 season. During his first season, he participated in the Danish National Championships, placing 12th, after only playing for 3 weeks!

Steffen obtained most of his points from Regional Championships, where he managed to obtain 585 out of the possible 600 (not counting the ECC). However, here is a breakdown of his points from this season:

LC: 87/90
CC: 190/200
RC: 585/600
NC: 200/500
Worlds: 40

Adding up to a total of 1102 CP.  

Steffen played a large amount of tournaments this season, starting back in July 2015 where he won the first few LCs as practice for Worlds. However, he already knew at that point that unless you do exceptionally well at either Worlds or the ECC, you will have to perform really well at Nationals. Steffen therefore decided to start early gathering points, so he only needed a Top 8 or Top 16 at Nationals.  

To obtain his points, Steffen used a lot of different decks during this season, which have all given him a lot of CP. 

Vesp/Bats: 285 CP
Night March: 257CP
Mega Ray: 150 CP
Flareon/Vesp: 105 CP
Mewtwo/Yveltal: 90 CP
Sableye/Garb: 80 CP
Toad/bats: 50 CP
Bunnelby mill: 45 CP
Donphan: 40 CP

His prediction regarding Worlds is highly dependent on what is released in the new set. If Karen is not released, Night March will be the most popular deck. If Karen is released it is much harder to say which deck will be most popular.

Steffen’s favourite deck of all times is Donphan aka the president, but for this season it was certainly the list he used to win Groningen regionals, which contained 32 Pokémon. He used a similar list at the Arena Cup Berlin, which is available here. The only major difference between this list and the one Steffen used in Groningen was the shift from Bronzong to Yveltal.

9 - Robin Schulz


Robin is a player from Germany and started playing Pokémon in 2009.

He obtained most of his points at the beginning of the season, when he won the Arena Cup Würzburg, placed 2nd at the Supernova Blast in Milano, and won two Autumn Regionals, netting him a total of 585 points. He was only able to attend 4 City Championships, but fortunately managed to gather another 150 CP at these, which put him at slightly above 800 points with some League Challenge finishes. He then placed 3rd at Nationals securing him the Top 22 spot.

The most important deck for Robin has been Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX, which not only started off his season with the win in Würzburg and great performance in Milano, but also finished the job at Nationals! In addition to that the deck is responsible for two of his City finishes (2nd & Top 4). Other notable decks are Flareon/Vespiquen & Sableye/Garbodor (Regionals 1st), YGZ (Cities 1st) and Mega Mewtwo-EX (Cities Top 4).

For Worlds, Robin thinks it is very unlikely that Karen will be printed in Steam Siege, so he expects Night March to be the deck to beat at Worlds. Special Charge and Pokemon Ranger remove a lot of possible counters, so he guesses people will most likely lean towards decks with a turn-one Item-lock, namely Trevenant and Vileplume, if not going for Night March themselves. 

Robin enjoyed playing different kinds of ToadTina lists throughout the season, but his two favourites are by far the ones from Nationals (Standard) and Supernova Blast (Expanded). He also really liked Yveltal-EX/Gallade/Zoroark deck at Cities and wishes he would've started playing it earlier than just for his last one! 


8 - Gawein Wagner

 Unfortunately, we have been unable to reach Gawein for an interview.

7 - Lauri Hyttinen


Lauri is a Finnish player who has playing competitively since 2014. 

He received most of his CPs through winning 2 Regionals, 3 Cities and Nationals.

Different Toad variations gave Lauri the majority of his points in the Expanded and Standard formats. He played Seismitoad-EX/Genesect-EX in Expanded and  Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX in Standard.

Lauri believes that not much will change for Worlds and therefore expects Night March, Trevenant and Greninja to dominate. However, he is looking forwards to see creative decks from the next format.

His favourite decklist is Watertoolbox:


6 - Ondra Skubal

Ondra is a player from the Czech Republic and started playing the game 6 years ago, however this is only his 4th competitive season (his 3rd in Masters).

Ondra looks back at his season with satisfaction, he won 2 Regionals, and also made Top 2 and Top 4 and came second at Nationals. He is less satisfied with his Cities run, where he could only make Top 4 at 3 Cities and one Top 2. He also played a few LCs which resulted in him achieving 1151CP.

Ondra describes himself as not being a man of many decks; throughout the season he stuck to 4 decks, namely Night March, YZG, and Manectric Bats for the Standard format and Vespiqueen/Flareon for Expanded. Night March gave him 550 CP, however he really feels that YZG was most valuable to him (±400 points in XY-BKP format).

He is not certain what Worlds will bring and still thinks there is plenty of time to test and figure that out, however he does think Garbodor may be popular, an example could be Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX, however another ‘Big Basics’ variant might be popular as well.

Ondra would like to thank Heddi Brahmi for helping him during the whole season. Without him, he wouldn't have been able to get the Top 22.


5 - Martin Janous


Martin is also from the Czech Republic and has played Pokémon competitively since 2005.

Similar to last year Martin had very challenging Autumn season. He just made 1 top cut at a Regionals. However, he had very strong City season with 190/200CP, but had to rely on the Spring Regionals in order to secure his invite. He placed 1st, 2nd and Top 4 at Regionals and with points from Top 8 at Worlds last year, he was sitting at 900CP before Nationals, needing just a Tp 8 in order to secure his Worlds invite.

Last year Martin had just 2 or 3 decks and so figuring out what deck had most points was simple. But this year it is much harder to pinpoint to the deck that netted him most points. Strictly speaking, it has to be Trevenant because he made Top 4 at Nationals with it. However this year he played a lot different decks at tournaments. He accrued 100+ CP with the following decks: Mega Mewtwo-EX, Mega Manectric-EX, Vespiquen/Vileplume, Trevenant and Night March.

Martin thinks this Worlds will follow a similar path as last year. Last year’s metagame looked as followed: there were about 10 very strong and competitive decks and if you picked 1 of them, you had very bad match-up against at least 2 other decks from the pool. This year Martin expect the same. The metagame is still a bit random and pairings are more important than before. You need so much luck in terms of pairings to avoid your bad match-ups. If you look at results from all Nationals around the world, you often see that Top 8 consists of 6-8 different decks.

He thinks there is no best deck at the moment and with a new set for Worlds it would not alter the metagame too much. The only thing that would change the metagame rapidly is Karen being printed in the new English set. If Karen would be in the set then decks like Night March, Vespiquen/Vileplume and other Vespiquen variants would be useless and with a lack of these decks we can see some other decks making an entrance. But without Karen in the new set, the metagame will remain the same, it will sole add some techs (like Pokémon Ranger or Ninja Boy) and maybe 1 or 2 new decks.

This is decklist, that Martin made Top 4 at nationals with.


4 - Tamao Cameron

Tamao  is a player from the UK, currently living in Coventry which is right in the middle of the UK.  He has been playing competitive Pokémon for 6 years now.

Tamao got most of his points this year from larger tournaments, winning UK Nationals and making Top 8 at the ECC meant he didn't have to rely as much on the smaller tournaments throughout the season to secure his invite.

Vespiquen-based decks definitely got Tamao the large portion of his points. He started off the season by playing a lot of different variations of Vespiquen including with YZG built into it, and loads of one off techs in another build. Then he dropped it for a while until Nationals where Tamao played Vileplume Vespiquen. Also Manectric/Bats got him a lot of points because of his ECC performance.

Tamao is uncertain what will be good in San Fransisco without knowing exactly what's going to be in the next set, but he thinks if nothing changes too much, it will be similar to now where Night March, Water-based decks and Trevenant dominate. Maybe Volcanion-EX will help put Fire decks up there too.

Tamao’s favourite list this season was the Manectric/Bats list he played for the ECC, it's the only decklist this season that he thoroughly tested and practiced to try and perfect. 


3 - Luca Clavadetscher

 Unfortunately, we have been unable to reach Luca for an interview.

2 - Mehdi Hafi


Mehdi is a French Pokémon player, playing the game competitively for 4 years.

He accrued most of his points early on in the season, accounting for 800 CPs, the ECC granted him another 350, which is all he needed to secure his Top 22 position.

When asked which deck accrued him most points, Mehdi answered with: “Night March, Night March, and Night March!”

He gave exactly the same answer when asked which deck he thinks will be popular for San Francisco.

Mehdi doesn't have any favourite decklist because he is currently not testing

1 - Simone Zucchelli


Simone wrote a nice paragraph about his experiences:

Hallo, 60Cards readers, my name is Simone Zucchelli and I’m 17 years old. I’m Italian and live in Rovereto, a small city in northern Italy. Unfortunately, I’m the only Italian in the Top 22, but I won’t be alone at this World Championship. I started playing Pokémon 8 years ago, in January 2007 with a Golden Sky Theme Deck, but afterwards I built a deck based on Tyrannitar ex and I finished Second at my first Italian National Championship. The following year I really started playing competitively when I discovered my future favourite deck GG (Gardevoir/Gallade). That year, I won the National Championship with that deck and added some new techs which allowed me to finish 3rd at the 2008 World Championship in Orlando, Florida. Ever since I continued to practice to become a better player, playing with my family (a special thanks to my brother Michele) and I still continue to do so. This has been a very busy year and I had to travel a lot to achieve all the points required.

These are my results:
National Championship: 2nd Place
Regional Championships: 1st in Florence (two times), Antwerpen (Belgium) and Vienna (Austria)
City Championships: 1st place in Mantova, Torino, Callusco and Venezia
League Challenges: Six 1st place finishes

I played a lot of different decks during this season and despite that I topped almost all tournaments I participated in, only the following three deck allowed me to accrue a lot of CP: Yveltal/Zoroark, Vespiquen/Flareon, and Seismitoad/Giratina. The Pokemon World Championships is a very particular tournament with many expert and intelligent players, for this reason it’s really hard make a prevision. In my opinion the deck that will probably win, will be the one that nobody expects like last year with Keldeo/Blastoise. Good luck everybody, see you in San Francisco!"

[+19] ok


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