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Steven  Mao

GER & AT Nationals Guide

In this article Steven talks about everything associated with the joint National Championship ...

05/15/2015 by Steven Mao

In this article Steven talks about everything associated with the joint National Championship this weekend and gives you another perspective to observe the biggest Nationals in Europe!

Guten Tag 60cards readers!


In this article I will talk about everything associated with the National Championship this weekend and want to give you another perspective from which you can observe the biggest Nationals in the European region!

 

1) Background

German Nationals were always the largest event in Europe for several years already and the only comparable event would be the European Challenge Cup in Arnhem. One reason for such a big outcome is the distributor responsible for the German Organized Play: Amigo-Spiele.
Their continuous support for the Pokemon Trading Card Game have really bear fruits. Year after year their organization and program for German Nationals have improved, like for example the Coverage, Live-Streaming and the Pokecup Side-Event (A team of three players play individually in their respective division and their accumulated points will be the end score). The prizes for the Side-Event are by no means bad. Each year multiple Nintendo DS Consoles, Pokemon DS Game versions and Booster Boxes were awarded to the Top 3 Teams!

I think I can say with confidence that Amigo-Spiele is the best distributor in whole Europe. Many countries are not able to enjoy such a broad variety in Special Premier Events and Organized Play activities, which is really unfortunate.

Of course this is not only an advantage for German players, but many other European players profit from Special Events, like the on-going Arena-Cup which had quite some numbers of non-German players participating.

 


But everything will be different in this year's National Championship.

Unlike the previous three years, where this event was held in Bochum (western part of Germany), this year's location will be in Stuttgart (southern part of Germany, near Austria) and this is not the only change.

Together with Austria this year will be a joint National Championship with both Nations players participating in the same Main-Event!

That means that you can play against Austrian OR German players during the swiss rounds, but the rankings after swiss rounds for the Top Cut will be seperated. So, in the end it's the same for the Top Cut, but completely different for the swiss rounds.

As this will be the first time, I can't give you more detailed information regarding this system, but there will be a Coverage section where you can follow up on what happens in Stuttgart.

Here are some useful links from Amigo-Spiele if you plan to stay up-to-date:


Blog: >> http://event.amigo-spiele.de/category/event/pokemon-nationals-2015/ <<

Livestream: >> http://www.twitch.tv/amigoevent <<

Saturday Live-Stream Schedule:

Live-stream starts at 12 o’clock till end of swiss rounds/Saturday top cut.


Sunday Live-Stream Schedule:

09:00 – 10:15 TCG AT Masters Top 8

10:30 – 11:45 TCG DE Masters Top 8 (TCG AT Masters Top 4 will not be streamed)

11:45 – 12:30 VGC Masters Top 8

13:00 – 14:15 TCG AT Masters FINALS (TCG DE Masters Top 4 will not be streamed)

14:15 – 15:00 VGC Masters Top 4

15:30 – 16:45 TCG DE Masters FINALS

16:45 – 17:30 VGC Masters FINALS

All times are in Central Europe Time (CET)

 

Youtube: >> http://www.youtube.com/amigoevent <<


Articles will be updated on their blog, which are mostly in German for the TCG.
However there will be seveeal interviews and deck-features which should also be interesting for international followers.

2) Schedule and Outlook

During the weekend all kind of people can enjoy this big event to its fullest. 
It is always great to have sections for beginners and maybe also interested parents to learn more about their children's hobby. But of course also semi-competitive players can have a lot of fun and win great prizes at the Public Events. Let us take a closer look at the schedules and dates.

Main Event
Saturday:
Registration from 07:30 to 09:00 Uhr (you must be in the line before 09:00!)
Players Meeting at 10:00
Opening at 10:45

Entry fee is free.
You need to have your decklist ready.
The format is Standard without the new Roaring Skies set!


Public Events

The Public Events are free for everyone to enter.
You do not have to have the German or Austrian nationality!

Saturday:
Pokémon League from 09:00 to 20:00
further events from 12:00 to 20:00 (registration closes at 18:00)

Sunday:
Pokémon League from 11:00 to 17:00
further events from 11:00 to 17:00 (Registration Closes at 15:00)



Many prizes are awaiting you!

On Demand Events:

- All tournaments are 8 player single elimination 
- As soon as 8 players have gathered for an event it can start
- You will get 'OP-points' as prizes, which you can trade for special products
- Each player gets 5 OP points as participation prize




In my opinion a great alternative to the main event if you are not too competitive or are dropping out of a tournament. The prizes are very good as well.

For more information check them out >>HERE<<


Side-Event: Poke-cup Team tournament

This special Side-Event is free for everyone to enter. 
You do not have to have the German or Austrian nationality!


Saturday:
Registration from 12:00 to 20:00

Sunday:
Registration from 09:30 to 10:00 (you must be in line before 10:00!)
Players Meeting at 10:30
Start of round 1 at 11:00
End of tournament at 17:30

Format: Expanded (max. 5 swiss rounds = 50 min. best-of-three)
A decklist is not required.
A team consisting of three players of any Age Division have to register. 

Entry fee: 10 Euro per player. You'll get 2 packs of German Roaring Skies as participation prize.

Team Ranking is based on:
1.) Total victory points of the team
2.) Ranking of lowest ranked individual player in team
3.) Ranking of highest ranked indiviual player in team

An overview of the prize-structure can be found >>HERE<<

 

3) Preparation recommendations

This is just a short reminder for things you should look out for when you are going to attend a large tournament. Especially if you were busy the few days and are likely to forget things, this little overview should help you a little.

#1: Transportation

It is always important to plan how you get to the location. If you have made arrangements with someone going by car or are driving yourself, make sure to inform your friend/ yourself about the actual traffic situation.
For the ones going by train this might be even more important as the German trains tend to be late or demonstrate for several days.
→ Just check if everything is still as planned and you should be fine!


#2: Packing your stuff

This might be one of the tougher procedures when you have to decide what you will take with you. Of course this won't be much of an issue for local players, but should be relevant for almost the rest of the travelling group.
Things you really should take with you are:

- Your deck obviously

- Spare sleeves in case you need to resleeve after the deckcheck

- Cards for deckbuilding, especially useful Expanded-format cards if you plan to participate in the Pokecup on sunday

- Something to drink and eat, as most stuff in at the location are pretty expensive and you don't know how far the next supermarket or restaurant might be. There will be also no planned lunch break, so if your rounds take too long you probably won't get the chance to get something in time.

- Personal belongings, Hotel information (if you're staying in one) and maybe a charger for your phone shouldn't be forgotten as well, as this will be a two-day event.

If you plan to trade some cards your trade binder will be helpful as well.
Just remember that you aren't allowed to sell cards at the venue as mentioned by Amigo-Spiele.

(This is in order to prevent little kids buying overpriced cards and selling cards under value. I think this is the right step to take, as Pokemon is really an easily exploitable business for some people).


#3: Get enough sleep

This might sound trivial, but is really a crucial factor for your performance on the next day!

With the current Best-Of-Three format and expected 8-9 Swiss rounds (for the Masters Division) you are bound to play almost the whole day. Concentration and focus are very important factors, which can easily change the outcome of a game and therefore you should stay in your best condition all the time!

Nonetheless I have also seen few people performing better than usual with a very low amount of sleep, but this is usually should not be the norm.


#4: Have your schedule ready

If you plan to attend certain events make sure to note down when and where they are held. Amigo-Spiele has posted a rough schedule for all events, which you might print or save somewhere just in case you are unsure of some dates.

With all that settled you should be well prepared and can enjoy your time with friends and the Pokemon TCG!


4) Meta/ Expected plays

Being able to predict what is going to be played was always an important skill to perform well during Nationals. Especially if there is an established format, which might led someone to think that it is easy to predict the right decks, but it is not – not this season.
As already pointed out in several other articles, our current format is really diverse and allows a relative high number of playable decks to perform well. The only exception is Seismitoad EX, which is up to now the most powerful deck, as it is effective on an universal base and brings trouble for most decks. As, in my opinion, Seismitoad EX isn't the most broken and unbeatable card, many other decks WILL be prepared for and find ways to counter it.

To get a better overview about the current metagame in Germany/Austria I will review the results of the most recent Regionals:


Munich Regionals – 21.03.2015 (29)
1.) Martin J. (Seismitoad/Slurpuff)
2.) Fatih A. (Seismitoad/Slurpuff)
3.) Marc L. (Groudon/Manectric)
4.) Luca S. (Seismitoad/Slurpuff)
5-8.) Nico S. (Seismitoad/Slurpuff)
5-8.) Philipp L. (Seismitoad/Slurpuff)
5-8.) Vlastimil B. (Yveltal/Garbodor)
5-8.) Simone Z. (Night March)


Cologne Regionals – 28.03.2015 (49)
1.) Dennis B. (Yveltal)
2.) Tobias T. (Yveltal)
3.) Brent H. (Yveltal)
4.) Philip S. (Virizion/Genesect)
5.) Jereoen R. (Yveltal/Garbodor)
6.) Nico S. (Seimitoad/Slurpuff)
7.) Florian R. (Gardevoir)
8.) Manuel R. (Seismitoad/Slurpuff)


Speyer Regionals – 11.04.2015 (32)
1.) Phlipp L. (Gardevoir)
2.) Patrick L. (Seismitoad/Slurpuff)
3.) Günther K. (Exeggutor)
4.) Tobias T. (Yveltal/Garbodor)
5.) Tobias S. (Virizion/Genesect/Raichu)
6.) Viet-Tuan P. (Seismitoad/Slurpuff)
7.) Max K. (Flareon)
8.) Christian L. (Yveltal/Garbodor)


Dortmund Regionals - 11.04.2015 (55):
1.) Steffen E. (Flareon)
2.) Soren N. (Yveltal EX)
3.) Simon O. (Flareon)
4.) Nico A. (Virizion EX/ Genesect EX)
5.) Erik G. (Yveltal EX)
6.) David S. (Fairy Toolbox)
7.) Thomas W. (Gardevoir EX)
8.) Matthias L. (Exeggcutor)


Mödling Regionals – 13.04.2015 (32)
1.) Marc L. (Seismitoad/Garbodor)
2.) Lukas P. (Exeggutor)
3.) Martin J. (Seismitoad/Slurpuff)
4.) Manuele T. (Seismitoad/Garbodor)
5.) Simone Z. (Yveltal/Garbodor)
6.) Benjamin H. (Night March)
7.) Sandro P. (Flareon)
8.) Vlastimil B. (Fighting/Crobat)


Weiz Regionals – 15.04.2015 (28)
1.) David H. (Seismitoad/Slurpuff)
2.) Matthias L. (Seismitoad/Garbodor)
3.) Manuele T. (Seismitoad/Garbodor)
4.) Martin J. (Seismitoad/Slurpuff)
5-8.) Lukas P. (Exeggutor)
5-8.) Marc L. (Fairy)
5-8.) ? (Donphan)
5-8.) Matthias M. (Seismitoad/Garbodor)


Ludwigsburg Regionals – 18.04.2015 (28)
1.) Marc L. (Seimitoad EX/Garbodor)
2.) Patrick L. (Seimitoad EX/Slurpuff)
3.) Chriso A. (Fairy)
4.) Manuel J. (Fighting/Crobat)
5-8.) David H. (Flareon)
5-8.) Niklas L. (Yveltal EX)
5-8.) Nico S. (Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff)
5-8.) Tobias S. (P Groudon/Victini)

Berlin Regionals – 18.04.2015 (48):
1.) Simon E. (Flareon)
2.) Martin J. (Seismitoad/Slurpuff)
3.) Karl P. (Seismitoad/Slurpuff)
4.) Christian G. (Yveltal)
5.) Lukas P. (Gardevoir)
6.) Benjamin C. (Manectric/Seismitoad/Crobat)
7.) Ole S. (Donphan/Groudon)
8.) Antonio T. (Night March)


Hamburg Regionals – 25.04.2015 (42):
1.) Jonas E. (Exeggutor/Dragalge/Swampert)
2.) Bert W. (Night March)
3.) Janik R. (Donphan)
4.) Finn L. (Yveltal EX/Garbodor)
5.) Sigrid R. (Fighting/Crobat)
6.) Kevin K. (Donphan)
7.) Steffen E. (Flareon)
8.) Florian V. (Virizion EX/Genesect EX)


Leipzig Regionals – 25.04.2015 (?):
1.) Martin J. (Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff)
2.) Karl P. (Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff)
3/4) Christian G. (Yveltal EX)
3/4) Petr J. (Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff)
5-8.) Benjamin C. (Manectric EX/Crobat)
5-8.) Antonio T. (Night March)
5-8.) Lisa S. (Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff)
5-8.) Thomas J. (Flareon)


Wasserburg Regionals – 25.04.2015 (21):
1.) Luca S. (Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff)
2.) Philipp L. (Gardevoir EX)
3.) Tobias S. (Gardevoir EX)
4.) Patrick L. (Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff)
5.) Christine H. (Night March)
6.) Lydia H. (Virizion EX/Genesect EX/Mew EX)
7.) Manuel J. (Gardevoir EX)
8.) Simone Z. (Seismitoad EX/Garbodor)

 

 

Thanks to Robin S. for providing the information! 


As we can see from the results the most successful and at the same time dominating deck is -unsurprisingly- Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff. The sheer power of Item lock together with disruption items, which you can easily draw into with Slurpuff's Ability, paired with their infinite usage through Lysandre's Trump Card really allows the deck to win against most other decks. Bad Match-Ups like VirGen can be won even though most players was sceptical at first. Seismitoad EX is slowly getting out of control as it doesn't really have a bad match-up now and counts as one of the most consistent decks available.

Both Eriksen brothers Steffen and Simon from Denmark were able to take 2 Regional wins with their own touch of the Flareon deck, which has been made popular by Orion Craig. Leafeon is probably one of the best Seismitoad counters currently available with the help of Silver Bangle and Deoxys EX. With Flareon's explosive Vengeance damage outputs and the speedy trainer engines Battle Compressor and Acro Bike, Flareon is not an unreasonable play.

We can also observe that Mega Gardevoir is starting to top cut and start to spread throughout the tournaments. Once Mega Gardervoir is set up with the help of the regular Xerneas, it is going to OHKO everything thrown in the active spot; Seismitoad is no exception!

With Fairy Garden providing free retreat and kicking the opponent's Virbank City Gym, Seismitoad players will really struggle if they're facing a Mega Gardevoir with 6 energies on board. Fairy Pokemon having resistance to darkness also helps a lot against Yveltal EX decks, which are still a really solid play.

Yveltal variants, especially with Garbodor are probably the safest deck choice for a wide variety of playable and also unknown decks. It has a relatively good Seismitoad Match-Up with the help of Baby Yveltal's energy acceleration and Darkrai EX's free retreat ability. Its only struggle is against decks with Manectric EX and probably VirGen.

VirGen was the most dominant and also most consistent deck during the last season and it is still a strong contender. The deck is at the moment very well positioned in the metagame, having favorable matchups against Seismitoad, Fairies and Yveltal decks. Although having a few very hard match-ups like Flareon and Fighting decks, I think that the consistency aspect and the fact how easy it sets up will lead to a few VirGen decks at the top tables.

It is really hard to pick a deck this year as there are too much variety and having overall coverage is not possible. But at least your deck should have a solid Seismitoad EX Match-up as this is doomed to be one of the most played decks, as you could see in the collated table.
 
If you're looking for decklists for those top 5 deck listed above kindly check Marc's latest article >>HERE<<. I can 100% vouch for those great lists, which I would play at Nationals just like that!

5) Favorites for the title

Usually this section is rather subjective and you can't really justify your nominations, but this year the Top 22 players in the European Region get a paid invite to the World Championships 2015 and this led to a heavy CP fight for the top spots.

As the top players in the CP ranking are dedicated players, who have traveled far and fought hard for their current placing, we can say that players in the Top 22 Ranking are clearly favorites from an objective point of view.

So, let us observe the players in the Top 22 ranking who will attend German/Austrian Nationals this weekend:

#1: Niklas Lehnert-Rappel – 895 CP
Deck contributing to the most CPs: Virizion EX/ Genesect EX


 

Niklas is the winner of this year's ECC and thus got 500 Championship Points from this major Premier Event, which counts as a Regional. His VirGen Deck including a Golbat Tech has brought him up the No. 1 spot without any Nationals have been played yet.
After the ECC Nikas haven't played that much anymore, but you should be well aware of him, as he has proven himself on an international base already.

 


#11: Marc Lutz – 760 CP
Deck contributing to the most CPs: Seismitoad EX/ Garbodor




Fellow 60cards article writer Marc Lutz counts as one of the most consistent and successful players in Germany. Being the winner of last year's ECC and an all time favorite for the Nationals, he is surely a force to be reckoned with!
Most of his Cps were earned by his Seismitoad EX/ Garbodor deck, but his adapting skills allow him to perform well with any deck and therefore Marc is always able to use the right deck to counter the metagame at the right time. His deckchoice matters a lot for many players, who see in him a tough-to-beat opponent.


#13: David Hochmann – 756 CP

Deck contributing to the most CPs: Seismitoad EX/ Slurpuff



 

Also a fellow 60cards article writer and very well known for his flashy blue hair is David Hochmann!

David is together with Niklas the 'Rappelmann' Team, which is doing Tournament match recordings in Germany and also PTCGO-Streams. With their outstanding peformances throughout the year, both players have become also well known by international communities.

David is a really creative and smart player and can come up with optimal lists and techs for current decks. Although he is not as consistent of a player throughout the season he will eventually find his rhythm and proceed to dominate the European tournament scene. To be able to win 4 Regionals and therefore gaining 600 CP through them is an impressive feat and a good example to show that.


#21: Matthias Luppa – 680 CP
Deck contributing to the most CPs: Donphan

 
Matthias is on the left side. David is just a photobomb as always!

Matthias is the last German player residing in the Top 22 in Europe and has went through a lot of travelling to get to his current standing. Most of his Championship Points were earned during the first part of the season with the bulky Donphan Deck. After Donphan has become a threat to most decks and gotten countered, Matthias needed to adapt to the metagame and tried several decks like Fairy Tool Box and Night March. He has topped many Regionals, but lost most of the time during Top 8.

Matthias is surely an above average player, but needs to find the right deck choice to perform well.

He is very dedicated this season and I wouldn't be surprised if he has invested more time into his hobby than most other players have.

6) Closing thoughts

I'm really excited to see how this year's all new Nationals will become. 
As for myself choosing a deck is difficult, but at the moment I'm tending to play Flareon or Gardevoir. 


This deck is taken from the lists the Eriksen brothers have used to win two Regionals in Germany and is very well built. Credit goes to them for the creative yet reasonable Glaceon tech. 

Flareon has a lot of potential and is able to keep Seismitoad EX in check if you can get out Leafeon. Although having trouble against decks which can keep the pace with you, it is still a very explosive deck and can trade prizes very well.

An almost autowin against Virzion EX/ Genesect EX is very nice and it needs a good pilot to perform well. Even though you have Trump card in here, an overview of your ressources and the timing which card is played will decide about the outcome of the game.


Here is my version of MGardevoir EX, which I have already built for a long time, but never came to play it in a tournament. EXP. share is here my special tech, as it allows you to keep the pace going even if your opponent is able to knock out one of your main hitters. With EXP. Share decks that one hits you aren't necessary autolosses anymore and you can recover more easily from the knock out.

Besides it is a very valuable tech in the mirror match, where you can string KOs after your first Gardevoir goes down.

Florges is included in here to have a cheaper two-energy hitter against those fast decks like Night march and Flareon. It is also a great first attacker if you are in the process of building up your board and have no fear of it being knocked out.
This deck is not as Gardevoir focused as other list with only 2 MGardevoir EX and 2 Spirit links, but is necessary to have the additional options against other decks. 
You can easily cut cards like Spiritomb or Florges if you want have a more Gardevoir centric version. How well each list performs is dependent on what decks you're going to face and with such a large tournament like Nationals I prefer to have these options available. 

That's it for my little guide to German and Austrian Nationals. I hope you have gained some new perspectives about the Pokemon scene in Europe and will follow the coverage!

Thanks for reading and see you next time!

-Steven

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