Experts' corner

Gabriel Semedo

Report: Top 16 at Brazilian Nationals

Gabriel Semedo talks about his run in the biggest Brazilian Nationals of all-time.

06/02/2016 by Gabriel Semedo

Hey, 60cards readers! This time I’ll talk about my Nationals 2016 run, in which 326 Masters played in the XY-GEN format. The 2016 Nationals was a record-breaker when it comes to the number of players, much greater than 2015 Nationals that had around 227 players. Even though a lot of players quit the game in between 2015 and 2016 Nationals, a lot of new players showed up to this one, which is great and appreciated.

Deck Choice

My main goal for Nationals was to play with the safest deck possible that had no autolosses or bad matchups. Finding a deck like this will always be a hard task because you’ll always have that one deck that wrecks you. A good example is my Turbo Toad deck that I created and had a great appearance in Europe, especially in German Nationals. I was afraid of Vespiquen for Brazilian Nationals and I had a feeling lots of people would play it for Nats.

I started to go for different deck ideas, even though it would probably not be as innovative as my Turbo Toad deck. My playtesting showed that Vespiquen/Zoroark/Yveltal could be the one I’ve been looking for. My teammate Augusto Lespier was a great help in building the decklist and studying the deck. I started to play and do well against the biggest decks in the metagame such as Turbo Toad, ToadTina, Night March, Trevenant, Greninja, and M Manectric. Well, nothing is perfect and I felt like all matchups above were more or less 50/50. It didn’t put me down though and I felt if I put work into it I could make some matchups more like 60/40 in my favor. With all that in mind, I went for information on the internet, asked for other people’s help and playtested really hard. Then I saw that the Portuguese player Paulo Silva was playing the same deck as mine and I decided to talk to him about the decklist. After a good conversation, he showed me some good ideas that I was not aware of and I felt like these ideas gave the final touches in order to create the best deck I could, also leaving myself really comfortable and confident to make a good run at Nationals.

My final list ended up like this:

Deck Analysis

4-4 Vespiquen

The main attacker of the deck. Against Greninja I really need a thicker line to get it out as soon as possible. Against decks that focus on Pokémon-EX or Mega Pokémon, it is essential to have it out to dish big damage. Lots of times these matchups will end with Vespiquen knocking out three Pokémon-EX in a row. Vespiquen is not as necessary against Night March and Item-lock decks, but it can help in the late game. 

3-3-1 Zoroark/Zoroark BREAK

The 3-3-1 line is really consistent, especially against Item-lock decks that happen to be Vespiquen’s biggest weakness, a Pokémon that relies a lot on Battle Compressor to do big damage. Zoroark BREAK is really situational but it can be good in the mirror match to knock out Vespiquen with a single Darkness Energy instead of a DCE. The extra HP is awesome against Trevenant, where I can also copy their Tree Slam attack to put some pressure. The matchup where Zoroark BREAK really shines is against ToadTina, where I can copy Giratina-EX’s Chaos Wheel for a single Darkness Energy, leaving them in a tough spot. Unfortunately, in a key match in the Top 32 it was Prized, and it was probably one of the reasons I didn’t make it into Top 8. 

3 Yveltal XY

It is a soft counter to Night March and Trevenant, but its attack Oblivion Wing is really key to attach Energy to Vespiquen in order to knock out M Manectric with Assault Vest, Aegislash-EX, and Giratina-EX with Chaos Wheel online.

1 Yveltal BKT

I was contemplating between Yveltal BKT and Xerosic. I ended up going with Yveltal BKT because it is helpful against Night March and it’s another attacker to hit harder against M Manectric and Pokémon-EX with Fighting Fury Belt. Xerosic was missed though and could’ve been key in many games.

1 Jirachi

Not the most useful Pokémon but it pretty much wins the matchup against ToadTina and that’s good enough for me.

3 Unown

Unown is so good in a format like this full of Item-lock, where Trainers’ Mail and Acro Bike are easily locked by Vileplume, Trevenant, and Seismitoad-EX. Having a card that draws card in these scenarios is really important. Also, it is fuel for Vespiquen’s Bee Revenge.

3 Shaymin-EX

To be honest, the only time I played three Shaymin-EX in a game it made me win it afterwards. Most of the time I play down one or two Shaymin, but playing three copies gives consistency and in the worst case scenario it can be Battle Compressor’d to give Vespiquen more damage with Bee Revenge.

4 Professor Sycamore

You can probably get away with three copies, but the fourth helps a lot under Item-lock.

1 Teammates

This card is really key against Night March and makes the matchup much better for us.

2 Lysandre

Really useful and strong. I see some lists that only play one copy, and it is okay, but the second one can definitely change a match. 

1 Hex Maniac

Really situational card. Did not play much of it, but when I did it was magical.

4 VS Seeker

So staple. Especially with 4 Battle Compressor.

4 Battle Compressor

I feel like the deck can run well with 3 Battle Compressor. Most of the time I used 2 Battle Compressor to do everything I need and then I played another Battle Compressor to discard the last Battle Compressor. Once again, I played 4 copies for consistency so I could always hit my Professor Sycamore on turn 1. Had I played three copies I’d play another techy supporter like Giovanni’s Scheme, Birch, or Shauna. In the format XY-FCO I’d most definitely play N.

4 Ultra Ball


2 Level Ball

Shout out to Paulo Silva for helping me a lot in here. The 2 spots for Level Ball were originally Parallel City and Delinquent, which are good cards in my opinion but can leave my deck sort of inconsistent. For example, against Greninja I want to have 2 or 3 Vespiquen as soon as possible, but with 4 Ultra Ball I couldn’t do it as much as I could. Also against ToadTina I felt like I couldn’t get Jirachi as easily as I wanted to, since I had to play Ultra Ball for Shaymin to get my setup.

1 Muscle Band

I think this is the right number in such a tight decklist, and I never felt the need of a second copy. It was crucial to get some knockouts.

2 Float Stone

You can probably do well with one copy, but sometimes you need to burn the first one on the first few turns and the second one comes in handy.

1 Super Rod

I’ve never valued a Super Rod so much in any other deck. Overall, it is a safety card in case you discarded something with Sycamore or such, sometimes you don’t even need it. For me, Super Rod in this deck was as important as VS Seeker or Double Colorless Energy. Every single match I needed it. And Super Rod is much better than Sacred Ash, because you only getting back the essentials and you can get Energy back as well. Sacred Ash can get you back some unnecessary Pokémon that you had discarded.

4 Darkness Energy

The count is a bit low but I was able to adapt to it. The deck focuses on the four Double Colorless and the Darkness Energy are only for the awkward spots like Giratina-EX, Xerosic, Jirachi, etc. I think 5 is the right number of Basic Energy, but there is no room for it.

4 Double Colorless Energy


Cards that did not make into the deck from lack of room

Parallel City

This is an awesome card in the deck. You can get rid of Shaymin-EX and automatically increase Vespiquen’s damage.


The card is so versatile. Assault Vest and Fighting Fury Belt are huge threats for the deck. Also, Xerosic helps a lot against ToadTina, along with Jirachi it can be really favorable.


The card can be game changing in some spots. It can also get rid of Stadiums that hurt us, for example, at Nationals I played against an Aegislash-EX that had Fighting Fury belt attached and Parallel City that reduced my Vespiquen’s damage by 20. I could not win against it.

4th Unown

Such a good card in Vespiquen decks.


During playtesting, I didn’t use it that much but it gave some safety. Also, the option to Burrow my opponent and maybe win the game is really neat.

Giovanni’s Scheme

This card can draw cards if I really need to and the +20 to my attacks can come in handy against decks like M Manectric. I really wanted it in my deck at Nationals.

2nd Hex Maniac

I know it is really situational, but against Greninja this card is extremely important. If you don’t deny them from getting their abilities going, the game can really turn in their way.

Cards that are good in the deck but I didn't like so much


Judge is pretty much a staple in a XY-GEN format, being a weaker version of N. But the truth is this deck has a really complicated early game since I probably can’t thin out my deck very much to safely Judge into a decent hand. Plus, I don’t play Acro Bike or Trainers’ Mail, so the odds of me getting a better hand than my opponent off a Judge is thin. As for disruption cards, Delinquent is much better in this deck since I can mess with my opponent while I keep my hand.

Forest of Giant Plants

Theoretically it is a good card in the deck because I can knock off my opponent’s Stadiums and get my Vespiquen out quickly. But in the end, Level Ball can give me the setup I need, where the Stadiums are rarely game changers.

A brief Nationals report

Day 1 – A day to remember

Night March – WW
Vespiquen/Zoroark – WW
Vespiquen/Zoroark – WLD
M Rayquaza – WW
Garchomp – WLD
Turbo Dark – WW
ToadTina – WW
ToadTina – WW
Night March – WW

7-0-2 (2nd place)

Day 2 – A day to forget

Night March – LL
Turbo Toad/Aegislash/Metal Energy – WLD
ToadTina – WLD
Trevenant – LWL
Night March – WLD

Final record: 7-2-5 (16th place)

There is no particular match or moment that I think I need to highlight. They went the way they are supposed to. I’m still trying to understand what happened on Day 2 where I simply wasn’t able to repeat my performance from Day 1. My only “mistake” was probably drawing too many matches even though I wasn’t playing slowly. The deck can take some time to play on some turns when you need to figure what to discard on Battle Compressor for a certain matchup but I believe I didn’t take much to make those decisions.

My goal now is get better at making good decisions quicker to compensate my opponent’s that take their time. Drawing is not all bad, but it is not as good as a win. I believe I could’ve turned 3 out my 5 draws into wins had I had an extra 5 minutes to play.

YZV in Fates Collide

Now to finish off the article I want to present a Vespiquen/Zoroark list with Fates Collide. I believe this deck with reprint of N can get much better.


As I said before, I’d feel comfortable playing with 3 Battle Compressor if I had a Supporter that can draw as much as Professor Sycamore. Well, N fits the role perfectly, especially in a deck that relies too much on Double Colorless and don’t want to get it discarded.


Final Thoughts

This was my Nationals campaign where I believe I made the right deck choice and gave my best in the tournament. Now it is time to focus on the World Championship and try out some strategies with Fates Collide. That means my upcoming articles will have decks and in-depth strategies with Fates Collide for the Standard format.

Thanks for reading!


[+5] okko


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