Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

A Closer Look at the North American International Championship Finalist Decks

Jose examines the two decks that made the finals of the North American International Championship not too long ago.

07/08/2017 by Jose Marrero


Hello, 60cards readers! I'm glad to be back from the North American International Championships. Before I begin I decided to play Raichu/Lycanroc-GX because I felt it was a solid play given the current meta. Long story short I didn't do too well because I literally just kept whiffing Double Colorless Energy to attack which was very frustrating at times. However, my buddy Franco Takahashi played the same 60 as me and needed to get Top 256 for his Worlds invite which he ended up achieving which I was excited for him especially since he did it with my list even though I scrubbed. Anyway, for this next article, I'll be discussing the two finalist decks of the North American International Championships piloted by Norway's own, Tord Reklev and US owns John Kettler. First I'll start with Tord Reklev's winning Garbodor/Drampa-GX list and then transition over to John Kettler's runner-up Decidueye-GX/Vileplume list. Both lists are very consistent given that both players ended up making it to the finals of a 1300+ man event. Consistency is key and both players were no slouch to knowing this. The World Championships is next month and players will surely look back at successful lists and change them accordingly with the new set, Burning Shadows. These two decks should still be top contenders heading into Worlds so they should stay relevant.

With that said, down below is Tord's winning list.


From taking a quick glance at Tord's list I can see why he ended up winning the North American International Championships. Just look how ridiculously consistent his list was. Barely any techs but instead four of's of a lot of things including Tapu Lele-GX. Tord decided to go with a simple Pokémon count but more noticeable the four Tapu Lele-GX as I mentioned. Honestly, Tapu Lele-GX is a great attacker and by playing four you at least have a solid attacker should you not find Drampa-GX. By playing four Tapu Lele-GX you basically will have the option to use any of your supporters whenever you want and more likely to open with one which is great since Brigette is the ideal supporter on the first turn whether you're going first or second with Garbodor/Drampa-GX. Three Drampa-GX is pretty common these days because of how powerful Drampa-GX is as a whole. All of its attacks have their own merit making it that much more versatile given that all its attacks take Colorless Energy. The three-one Garbodor split is also a staple because you want to still have the option to lock your opponent out of abilities with Garbotoxin. Tord also played all four copies of the Breakpoint Trubbish which I definitely agree on because getting rid of your opponent's energy is a lot stronger than just milling one of their cards from their deck. I've actually been Acid Sprayed a number of times which is always troublesome.

Let's move on into Tord's supporter counts starting with his four ofs. Four Professor Sycamore and four N combined with four Tapu Lele-GX makes so much sense and gives the deck so much consistency. At any point in the game, I can easily see Tord having both options any time he wanted because he ran four of each. Having eight outs to N is ridiculous and scary at the same time if your opponent knew this. Moving on we have a couple one of supporters including Teammates and Brigette. As I said a turn one Brigette is what most decks want to achieve should they play it. Being able to search out two Trubbish and a Drampa-GX on the first turn seems too good to be true. Teammates, on the other hand, is more situational since you have to be KOed in order to trigger it. Because Garbodor only takes a single energy to use Trashalanche it's easy to have another attacker ready once Teammates is of use. Even to power up a Drampa-GX should it already have an energy you can then set up a Berserk play with a Choice Band if needed. Which brings me to Choice Band since Tord played not three but Four of them. A lot of lists only play three making the fourth copy catch people off guard. It's likely your opponent will try and play around Trashalanche so having the extra 30 damage from Choice Band helps a ton and by playing two Field Blower you can then manipulate the damage from Trashalanche, even more, depending on if your opponent has Tools on the board. Tord also played four copies of Float Stone which again you only really see three unless it's the Espeon-GX variant.

However, Tord decided to max some important cards making it less likely to whiff them when they are needed most. You much rather have a Float Stone on Garbodor for Garbotoxin to be active instead of Choice Band because you can then stalled by Lysandre. Drampa-GX takes advantage of Choice Band quite nicely because they let its attack Berserk hit up to 180 damage which is relevant a lot of times when going for one hit KO's on opposing EX or GX's. Tord played one copy of Rescue Stretcher along with a Super Rod. I see lists playing just the two Rescue Stretcher, however, with Tord only playing five Basic Energy it makes more sense to play one of each in case you need to get back Psychic Energy. You can tell Tord thought about his list and most likely tested it a lot to perfect it which ultimately came n handy which proves that hard work pays off. Lastly, Tord, as you can see, didn't play any stadiums more notably Team Magma's Secret Base to help fuel Berserk's damage output. He instead played four Rainbow Energy which not only fuels Berserk but is versatile for attacking with anything. Down below is Tord's 1st place interview with Trainer Chip if you want to check it out.

Other card options

Mewtwo EVO:

Sam Chen actually played a copy of this card in his Top 4 North American International list. Many other players including myself teched a copy of Mewtwo because of Espeon-GX being dominant. With a Choice Band or Professor Kukui, Mewtwo can one hit KO a three energy Espeon-GX for just a single Double Colorless. Not to mention Mewtwo can also one hit KO opposing Garbodors as well with a Professor Kukui.

Tapu Koko SM Promo 31:

Sam Chem also ran one of these as well as Igor Costa in his Top 4 North American International list. However, Igor ran two copies because his deck focused more around it since he played it with Decidueye-GX and Espeon-EX. Overall an early Tapu Koko can set up KO's in the long run which also acts as a counter to Gyarados should you face up against it.

Oricorio GUR 56:

Another Gyarados counter but more importantly a Vespiquen/Zoroark counter which again Sam Chem played in his Top 4 list.


Philip Schulz ran a copy of this card in his Top 64 North American International list along with Rainbow Energies. With two energy attached and a Choice Band Zygarde-EX can one hit KO opposing Drampa-GX's as well as Zorua and Zoroarks which is mainly why Philip ran it in his list.

Tauros-GX+Ninja Boy:

This combo can catch your opponent off guard for a potential two prizes on anything depending how much damage is on the Pokémon you used Ninja Boy on. A surprise KO with this combo can turn the matchup back into your favor which is why it's a very strong combo especially if your opponent doesn't know you play them.

Hex Maniac:

Tord played the Garbotoxin Garbodor, however, Hex Maniac can still be useful if you can't afford to go into Garbotoxin in case your running low on attackers and with Tord's four Tapu Lele-GX you ca search Hex Maniac out at a moments notice. Hex Maniac is great against decks like Greninja or Volcanion in case Garbotoxin was taken out early.

Professor Kukui:

Tord opted not to run this card while Sam Chen did. I don't think it's a needed card and looking at Tord's list more he focused more on N or Professor Sycamore to consistency draw and disrupt his opponent's which I feel is the way to go since Tord ended up winning the event. His list is super consistent with all the four ofs which definitely had to be a big part of him making it all the way to the finals.

Team Magma's Secret Base:

Interesting that Tord didn't run a single one of these but instead opted to go with four Rainbow Energy to fuel Drampa-GX's Berserk. Against the mirror match, you can just take advantage of your opponent's stadium which is what Tord probably thought about when deciding not to play any.

With that said, let's now get into John's 2nd place list.


John's list is pretty straight forward and most of it are staples in any given Decidueye-GX/Vileplume list. However, I like that John kept to his roots and decided to keep Lugia-EX when a lot of lists dropped it for other attackers such as Drampa-GX or Tapu Koko. Deep Hurricane and Aero Ball are still very strong when you have Feather Arrows to back it up. John played two Tapu Lele-GX which acts as a Lugia-EX in a sense and are great once Vileplume hits the board since you can still search out supporters. A new inclusion I can see is the one of Olympia which people don't expect. With two Tapu Lele-GX, you can search our Olympia if Vileplume were to get dragged up and there isn't a Float Stone on it. The one of Field Blowe I love as well which I too played when I won a League Cup with the deck. Even if your opponent get's Garbotoxin out you still have a chance to bounce back. Overall John's list is solid and I'm sure people were surprised that it made it all the way to the finals. That's how you can tell how good John is with Decidueye-GX/Vileplume. Down below is John's 2nd place interview with Trainer Chip if you want to check it out.

Other card options


I know Brad and Azul's Mexico Regionals list ran this card and quite frankly it has great synergy with Feather Arrow since they let you hit better numbers with Berserk. Righteous Edge can also help stall while letting you Feather Arrow away. Not to mention Big Wheel GX can come in handy once Vileplume is on board because chances are you're going to draw playable cards even if you're under the item lock.

Tapu Koko SM Promo 31:

Again Brad and Azul ran this card on top of Drampa-GX in their Mexico Regionals list as I said. Flying Flip in conjunction with Feather Arrow is very strong for chipping away and setting up KO's and Tapu Koko's free retreat helps when you open with it.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this short article on the finalist decks of the North American International Championships. With the next event being the World Championships next month these two decks can still be relevant with the inclusion of the new set, Burning Shadows. I'll have new Burning Shadow decks in upcoming articles as the weeks come before the World Championships. Decidueye-GX in general gains Acerola which will definitely see play as well as Guzma on top of many other new Burning Shadow cards. As I said I'll have a number of more articles coming up this month so be sure to take a look at them as they are published which hopefully will prepare you for Worlds even more. As for myself, I'll be competing in Day 1 so if you see me there be sure to come say hello or take a picture with me because Worlds is once a year and should be memorable.

If you haven't already check out The Chaos Gym on YouTube and Twitch for updates and player interviews, as well as live streaming from Grafton Roll and Rahul Reddy. If you want to help support my team, be sure to check out Team ARG's Pokémon page on Facebook, Team ARG Pokémon-TCG for tons of deck lists from great players. My Twitter is down below if you want to follow me then, by all means, go for it. If you have any questions about these lists or decks in general or about Team ARG then please feel free to leave me a comment below or message me on Facebook and I'll be sure to get to them as soon as possible. As usual, if you enjoyed reading this article, then please consider giving it a thumbs up. If you want to see a specific type of article or topic next time, don't hesitate to give me ideas down below and I'll consider them, or if you have any other deck ideas and want to see an analysis on it, then, by all means, post it and I'll take a look. As always, keep an eye out for more articles to come. Until next time!

-Twitter @Jose_MarreroTCG

[+15] okko


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