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Denise van Wijk

The North American Top 16 - 2016

Denise profiles most of the Top 16 North American players who you can expect to see at the 2016 World Championship.

08/11/2016 by Denise van Wijk

Hi guys,

After having been away for months I will now make yet another appearance. Of course after introducing the great talent that will represent Europe at this year's World Championships in San Francisco, I could not miss out on the opportunity to also present to you the 16 players in North American with the most Championship Points who will also go onto playing day 2 straight away.

16. Brad Curcio


Brad was born and raised in Africa, but currently resides in the US. 

He has been playing competitively on and off for about 6 years now, but has been taking a break in between seasons. Most of his points this year came from Regionals. He made T8 twice, and also won one, getting him about half his points from that alone. The deck that got him the most points is Yveltal (expanded mainly). He played it at every Regionals he attended. As for Worlds, besides the obvious Night March, he expects a lot of Trevenant. His favorite decklist is easily the one he played for Florida Regionals.  

15. Jacob Lesage

Jacob is a Canadian Pokémon player, having played the game for a decade now, but only started taking it seriously around 2008-2009. His point breakdown is allocated to a Top 8 Provincials, Top 8 Regionals, and a Top 8 Nationals run. He also won 4 City Championships, and almost maxed out on LC's. YZG has earned him most CP. He played around the deck in at least 12 City Championships, and made Top Cut at all of them but two, so YZG was my go-to deck for sure. For Worlds, he expects lots of Trevenant to be popular. To have a shot you must be able to beat it. Here is the list Jacob played to make Top 8 at Ontario Regionals:


14. Israel Sosa

Israel is a season US based player with Guatemalan nationality. He has played the game competitively for over 4 years, but has been playing the game since the release of Stormfront, which has been quite some time. The majority of Israel's points have been from Regionals, where he placed 1st, 4th and made top 8. The rest of his points came from States, Cities and his Worlds performance last year. The deck that got him the most points this year is Yveltal-EX/Archeops which he played during all the Regionals. 150CP came from straight Yveltal-EX/Archeops and the other two Regional placements were with Yveltal-EX/Archeops/Parallel City/Silent Lab. The top 3 decks under Israel's radar for Worlds are Night March, Trevenant and Waterbox. These seem like the strong play for Worlds for obvious reasons.

His favorite deck this year was Yveltal-EX/Regirock. He built a bond with the deck from its uniqueness and slow pace play style, resulting in his opponents being confused as to what to worry about, the Yveltal-EX or the Regirock. Also adding different techs here and there can throw a lot of people off because they are not prepared for everything ;) 

13. Connor Finton

Connnor is an American player from the Atlanta Georgia area. He started playing in the Fall of 2012, so just about 4 years ago.

His season started off pretty mediocre with just a Regionals top 16 and a poor Cities run where he only netted 110 Championship Points. He received his invite after the first week of States where a top 16 finish pushed him just over 300 Points. After acquiring his invite Connor really kicked it into gear and had a great finish to the season with back to back State Championships and a Regional Championship.
- League Challenges: 85
- Cities:110
- States: 200
- Regionals: 195
- Nationals: 40
- Worlds 2015: 40

Mega Rayquaza was his go to deck by the end of the season and netted him 250 Championship Points, making it his best performing deck this season.

For Worlds, Connor thinks the two biggest decks will be Night March and Trevenant. Of course there will also be other decks like Waterbox and Vileplume variants that should also have a fair showing. 

12. Ross Cawthon


Ross is an American player who has played the game competitively for 16 years! Ross accrued his points through a wide variety of events, he received points from States, Regionals, Cities, Worlds 2015, Nationals and LCs. States and Regionals were especially important in accumulating points, accounting for 355 CP. He gathered most of his points with Night March, which is also the deck he expects to be more popular at Worlds.

Favorite from this year (Winter Regionals 5-2-2):


11. Frank Diaz


Frank is from the United States, more specifically, New Jersey. He started playing the game since it came out, but only turned competitive in 2003.

The competition for top 16 this year was intense according to Frank. Even with a strong start to his season, he needed to keep collecting points all year round. Regionals have a high point pay out, and that’s were he accrued the biggest chunk of points. To accrue his points, Frank has been playing safe and opted for conservative dark decks most of the season. For Worlds he mostly expects Night March.

This list got me first and second place regionals finishes back in the fall.



10. Paul Johnston

Paul is a US player from Bellevue, WA, which is near Seattle. He played the game for more than 17 years, since Base Set was released. He accrued most of his points from his finishes at States, Regionals & Top 4 at U.S. Nationals.

With regards to his most successful decks, Archie’s Blastoise got him 45 points for finishing Top 16 at a Fall Regionals. Tyrantrum/Bronzong got him 75 points for finishing Top 8 at another Fall Regionals. Greninja got him 70 points for finishing Top 4 at States. Lastly, he received 300 points for playing Water Toolbox at U.S. Nationals.

With regards to the most popular deck at Worlds, he think we all know the answer to that question, he is certain it’ll be Night March. The metagame will mainly be a mixture of Night March decks or decks that are designed to beat Night March. There will be some unique decks that’ll be played that may surprise us or people think have a good chance and hope to face good matchups.

Paul has always been a fan of Bronzong decks because heh has historically done well with them. Throughout his Pokemon career, he always enjoyed playing stage 2 decks but given the current card pool and metagame, it’s very hard to play a competitive stage 2 deck and expect to do well. That’s why he likes Greninja but besides that there isn’t much else to play unless you also consider Vileplume. In the past, his favorite deck was the classic Gardevoir/Gallade deck from 2007-2008. He was also a huge fan of the Delta Gardevoir EX deck and Delta Metagross/Delta Dragonite (Metanite) deck. 

9. Kian Amini

Kian is an American player, who started playing competitively 5 years ago.

He has earned all of his points from every type of tournament.

- 90 CP from League Challenges

- 160 CP from Cities,

- 240 CP from Regionals

- 50 CP from States

- 100 CP from Nationals

- 60 CP from Worlds 2015

The deck that has earned him the most points this season is definitely Seismitoad-EX/Crobat. He won a Regionals and finished 25th at Worlds 2015 with it. He has been playing the deck for about two years and it has always been his 'comfort deck'.
Its pretty obvious which deck is going be the most popular (Night March). He expects players to just play a deck that can beat it.  

8. Jeffrey Cheng

Jeffrey is an American TCG player who started playing the game competitively in 2013. He accumulated the majority of his points this season through his second place placement at the past World Championships, as a senior. He also won a State Championship. Jeffrey accrued most points with his Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX deck, with which he won states.

Jeffrey expects Night March and Trevenant decks to be the most popular at the World Championship after they had the most successful finishes at the U.S. National Championships. However, he thinks the popularity of Night March will drop Vespiquen because Pokemon Ranger covers a lot of the holes that Vespiquen previously did.

This is the Pyroar list Jeffrey used to make top 8 at Worlds in the Senior Division in 2014.


7. Aaron Tarbell


Aaron is an American player. From good ol’ Indiana; the birth place of Hoosiers and …. corn. He started playing after watching Harrison Leven’s finals match at Worlds 2012, so about four years ago. In 2014 he met Harrison in person and he ended up giving Aaron his Blastoise list which allowed Aaron to win a Regionals by flipping heads.

Mostly of his points were accrued through item lock decks. Travis Nunlist has built all of Aaron's decks, even the ones he wouldn’t play himself. They included Seismitoad-EX stuff and Trees stuff. Harrison also gave Aaron a Raichu/Bats list that netted him 130 CP. Jacob Van Wagoner, Travis and Aaron played a Blastoise list at Worlds that got Aaron an extra 60 points. So he is fortunate to be friends with the best players in the world.
Personally, he has earned himself 50 points this year from a Sceptile/Bats list that he made and won a Cities with, and 90 points from LCs very early on in the season.

He got most of his points with Trevenant Break. It’s netted him about 390 out of his 720 CP. He doesn’t like it when his opponents plays items. It seems unfair. 

He expects Night March to be very big at Worlds since it won US Nationals. It’s a strong deck that has the potential to beat anything and it gained Pokemon Ranger in Steam Siege which allows it to beat some of its bad match-ups more easily. He wishes we had Karen, but he states that Karen hates him.

His favorite decklist is Blastoise. The one he won a Regionals with back in the day. 

6. Azul C G

Azul is an American TCG player who has played Pokémon competitively for 6 years.  

He received the majority of his points through State Championships, mostly with his Quad Zoroark deck

For Worlds, Azul expects Night March to be popular

5. Kevin Baxter


Kevin is from the United States and has played competitively for a little over 4 years now.

He accrued most of his points this year from playing variations of Yveltal/Zoroark/Gallade in Standard. The deck got him 190 CP from Cities, 220 CP from States, and 80 CP from Nationals. Throw in a 2nd place at Regionals with Vespiquen/Flareon, and that pretty much sums up his season.

He thinks Night March will continue to be very popular at Worlds. With some of its counters falling at the hands of Pokemon Ranger, the metagame should be even more centered around it.

YZG has obviously been his favorite deck this year, so Kevin was so kind to just share my Nationals list.

4. Nick Robinson


Nick is an American player, only having played the game competitively for 1 year.

He received the majority of his points from US Nationals (500 out of 772), during which he played Night March/Vespiquen - therefore the deck has netted him the majority of his points (550 out of 772).

He expects Night March to be very popular at Worlds.

His favorite deck list is the Super Jank list that he played to make Top 4 at Ft. Wayne Regionals.


3. Simon Luong


Simon is an experienced Canadian player who has been playing for 6 years now.

He accrued his points in the following manner:

10 points from League Challenges
140 points from City Championships
80 points from Provincial/States
75 points from Regionals
500 points from National Championship

Simon won Nationals with Mega-Ray, netting him the majority of his points. Other than that, Vespiquen and Night March got him a large chunck of his CP. He also played around with some gimmicky decks (Groudon, Camerupt, etc.) that managed to get him a half decent amount of CP.

His prediction for Worlds: 'Night March leading the way with a target on its back.'

With regards to his favourite decklist, nothing in the current format really stands out for Simon so he has to say that his favourite deck was the Plasma Lugia list he played in the 2014/2015 season for City Championships and Winter Regionals.


2. TJ Traquair


TJ is a Canadian player, playing Pokémon TCG competitively for 4 years now, of which he played in the Masters division for 3 years.

He accrued most of his points this year at Regional level events. He won the Boston Open earlier in the season which gave him a good head start. He also won Seattle Regionals and became second at Edmonton Regionals.

To gain his CPs, he actually ended up playing a lot of different decks this season but for substantial points this is how he accrued his points:
- 150 CP Yveltal/Maxie's
- 150 CP Toad/Bats
- 135 CP Wailord
- 100 CP Darkrai/Giratina/Garbodor
- 80 CP Raichu/Bats
- 70 CP Seismitoad/Garbodor
- 60 CP Seismitoad/Giratina/Musharna

After winning US Nationals and being one of the best decks all season in standard, he definitely expect there to be a lot of Night March decks in the field, especially with even more cards coming out in Steam Siege to make the deck even better. He also expects turn one item lock decks like Trevenant and Vileplume to try and keep Night March in check.

His favourite decklist would probably be the Seismitoad-EX/Garbodor deck that he played during the States/Provincial series.

1. Ciaran Farah


The player with most CPs in North America is Ciaran Farah, a Canadian player from Toronto. He has played Pokémon for 5 years now, of which he played 3 years in Seniors and 2 years in Masters. This upcoming Worlds will be the 4th he attends.

Ciaran accrued his points in the following manner:

- 400 point from 2nd at nationals

- 120 from a 2nd at regionals

- 160 from cities

- 50 from states

- 60 from Top 32 Worlds in Boston

- 61 From League Challenges 

With regards to the deck that accrued him most points he has to admit that was Metal despite only playing it for one tournament (Nationals), but since he become 2nd it accrued him the most points. He also got a lot of points with Seismitoad-EX/Crobat, Raichu/Crobat, Vespiquen/Crobat, and Lucario-EX/Crobat. As you can see he really likes Crobat-focused decks! 

For Worlds, Ciaran expects item lock decks to see significant play especially Vileplume decks. Other Night March counters should also make up most of the field. He doesn't think Night March will see that much play on the 2nd day, as everyone should be prepared for it and a lot of the top players seem to hate playing the deck, myself included. However Night March can beat anything so Ciaran admits he could very easily be wrong.

Ciaran's favourite deck of all time is Klinklang BW, he played the deck exclusively for the 2012/2013 season and was heartbroken when it rotated. This season his favourite deck was probably Raichu/Crobat. He played Raichu last season as well as this season and loved the speed and damage output the deck had.

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