Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

"Updated" The 2nd Annual 60cards U.S. Nationals Fantasy Draft

Jose discusses the fantasy draft picks for each participating member of the 60cards team ...

06/23/2016 by Jose Marrero

Jose discusses the fantasy draft picks for each participating member of the 60cards team and as a bonus includes a decklist from each participating member and their perspective on the decks they chose.


Hey, 60cards readers! I's that time of the season again to do another 60cards U.S. Nationals fantasy draft. We actually did one last season so if you want to check how that one played out, feel free to click this link to bring you to that article. This time around we streamed the draft on Josh "Squeaky" Marking's Twitch and YouTube channel, Team Fish Knuckles, so be sure to check it out there to see our thought process on how we selected each player for our team's draft. Just like last time, we decided to include only 60cards U.S. writers just because they are the ones attending U.S. Nationals. A couple members were unfortunately unable to take part in it, but that's okay since this time we actually had more participants than last year nonetheless. The rules were the same as last time where drafters earn points based on the final placements of the players they drafted, with the winner being the one with the most points. In the event of a tie, the drafter who personally finished highest would be the winner.

This time we drafted eight people each unlike last time where we only drafted six. Because we did eight round picks we did not include Senior or Canadian picks since we wanted to keep it as simple as possible. The points per placement are down below so we can easily calculate scores after Nationals. Feel free to use our point system if you decide to do a draft of your own. We again used a traditional snake draft, so each drafter was numbered from 1 to 7 and we proceeded in order. Once each player had made their first picks, we moved backward from 7 to 1, and so on. This made the initial order of drafting less impactful and gave everyone a more fair chance. For an added bonus I grabbed a decklist from each participant in which they gave a short paragraph on the deck that they chose. I wanted you guys to see what the players said about the deck they chose from their own perspective. What's really interesting is that every player actually ended up picking a different deck than the others without even knowing what others went with. I will update the final standings after Nationals to see who was our 2016 winner. Hope you guys enjoy!

Point Structure

Tiebreaker: Our own final standings

Winner: $10 from each person (total of $60)


Rahul Reddy

1st Round: Azul Garcia (1 Bye) - Top 32 - 100 Points

2nd Round: Christian Ortiz (2 Byes) - Top 64 - 75 Points

3rd Round: Jose Marrero (1 Bye)

4th Round: Andrew Wamboldt (1 Bye) - Top 64 - 75 Points

5th Round: Jimmy McClure (1 Bye)

6th Round: Bob Zhang - Top 128 - 50 Points

7th Round: Dean Nezam

8th Round: Grafton Roll - Top 64 - 75 Points

Total= 375 Points= Winner

Rahul's first pick went to one of the most consistent players this season who also has the second highest amount of Championship Points, Azul Garcia. He won multiple States as well as Top 8ing multiple Regionals this season so no surprise that Rahul snatched Azul right off the bat. Azul also has three Top 32 finishes at Nationals, one being last year so a strong first pick for Rahul. For Rahul's second pick he chose to go with a player who's won two States and a Regionals this season and has over 500 CP, Christian Ortiz. With Christian having two Byes for the season it's a no brainer on why Rahul took him as his second round pick. Christian's Nationals placements include a Top 16 in 2008, Top 64 in 2010 and 2012 as well as a Top 32 in 2013 so quite a resume if I do say so myself. Now we get to Rahul's third round pick which is none other than myself. I would say I've had a pretty good season thus far with getting 1st, 2nd, and 3rd at 3/4 States I attended. I've also made it to the Top 16 at Nationals back in 2013 as well as a Top 64 in 2010 so I'm due for another good finish. Hopefully I make Rahul proud and not regret his choice on drafting me.

Rahul's fourth pick went to Andrew Wamboldt who also has a Bye for the season. Andrew's a pretty good player who comes up with unique decks and performs fairly well with them. Most recently being Vespiquen/Vileplume whom Andrew created. Next up, we have Jimmy McClure who's had a great season as well with winning a States and netting himself a $1000 stipend. Jimmy does also have a Top 64 finish at Nationals last year. On top of that Jimmy recently won the Origins Win-a-Trip-to-Worlds event. Following Jimmy, Rahul went with a player named Bob Zhang who piloted Accelgor/Wobbuffet to a Top 8 finish back during Regionals. Rahul's 7th pick went to the one and only Dean Nezam who has over 500 CP and is a consistency machine who also made it to the Top 32 at the last two Nationals so don't be surprised if Dean does it yet again or even better. Lastly, for Rahul's final pick of the draft he went with a fellow Florida player named Grafton Roll who recently attained his invite, but is a great player who made it to Top 4 at both Nationals and Worlds back in 2011 when he was a Senior.

"My top pick for U.S. Nationals is Vespiquen/Raichu/Gallade because of its versatility at dealing with the meta. While Night March is a difficult matchup it's a definite winnable one as long as you draw what you need and fill up your Bench making their Target Whistle useless. Greninja becomes a super favorable matchup along with the new and popular Water Toolbox deck. The only bad matchup in my eyes is Trevenant and in a Bo3 9-round tournament, I expect Trevenants to tie a ton and I myself don't expect to tie a single time, making this a quick and efficient deck option that has many different angles to it."

Josh Squeaky Marking

1st Round: Alex Hill (2 Byes)

2nd Round: Jonathan Paranada (2 Byes)

3rd Round: Sam Liggett (2 Byes) - Top 128 - 50 Points

4th Round: Eric Gansman (2 Byes) - Top 128 - 50 Points

5th Round: Nathan Brower (2 Byes)

6th Round: Jeremy Jallen (2 Byes) - Top 32 - 100 Points

7th Round: Bodhi Tracy (2 Byes)

8th Round: Hayden Jacobus (2 Byes)

Total= 200 Points= Fifth Place

With Josh's first pick he chose to go with Alex Hill who's had a pretty good season so far with most recently taking second at Regionals and netting himself two Byes. Alex has gotten a few Top 64 placements at Nationals, but most recently a Top 32 finish last year so maybe he's due for another come next month. Moving on Josh chose to take Jonathan Paranada for his second round pick who finished his Regionals run with a 1st and 2nd place netting him two Byes and almost 600 CP. A solid pick for sure. For Josh's third pick he went with a player that hasn't played too much this season, but did manage to net himself two Byes at Regionals. However, Sam is no slouch when it comes to Nationals because he does have a Top 4 finish under his belt from 2013 and with two Byes I can easily see Sam go the distance once more.

Josh's next pick may be surprising to some, but let's take a look and see why Josh chose to go with Eric as his fourth round pick. Eric did manage to make it to the finals at a Regionals to also net himself two Byes. However, I don't think Eric has his invite as of yet, but that should only make him more hungry come Nationals to finish it off there. For Josh's fifth round pick he went with one of the Brower brothers, Nathan who has two Byes from getting second at Florida Regionals and a solid 400+ CP and counting. Josh's 6th round pick went to the one and only Jeremy Jallen who recently got his Worlds invite off the last weekend of Spring Regionals taking second place and two Byes. Very strong choice given the fact that Jeremy has multiple Top 16 Nationals finishes under his belt. Last but not least, Josh's 7th pick went to Bodhi Tracy who took second at Regionals and also has two Byes to go with that and is sitting at a solid 400+ CP. Lastly, Josh decided to go with Hayden Jacobus as his final pick of the draft. Hayden also has a second place at Regionals for the season and is sitting at a nice 400 CP.

"To be honest a turn one Vileplume wins so many games. I wouldn't worry too much about Aegislash-EX since it's only really played in Metal decks. Jirachi on the other hand can be troublesome, but they can't play Ultra or Level Ball to search it out anyway making it harder to draw into it. I mean Vespiquen/Vileplume did end up winning UK Nationals."

Max Armitage

1st Round: Michael Pramawat (2 Byes)

2nd Round: Kian Amini (2 Byes) - Top 16 - 125 Points

3rd Round: Igor Costa

4th Round: Ryan Sabelhaus

5th Round: Max Armitage

6th Round: Sam Chen

7th Round: Simon Narode

8th Round: Jacob Van Wagner

Total= 125 Points= Sixth Place

Max's first pick of the draft went to Michael Pramawat who's season has been phenomenal thus far. He's won a States and Regionals this season and he took 2nd at Nationals in 2014 so be sure to look out for him at the top tables with having two Byes as well. Max's 2nd round pick went to Kian Amini who has a Regionals win under his belt as well for the season and a whopping 500+ CP. Kian has a Top 128 finish at Nationals and I'm betting he's hoping to get at least a place higher to add to that. Next up for Max's third pick is the one and only Igor Costa which might seem off, but he recently moved to the US and I believe he is in fact playing at US Nationals. Igor has a huge resume under his belt including the sole title of World Champion and numerous National titles from his home country of Portugal. Still Igor is a strong player and I wouldn't be surprised to see him at the top tables come Nationals next month. For Max's fourth pick he chose to go with one of the best players to ever play the game, Ryan Sabelhaus. Everyone knows Ryan no matter what country they are from. When you hear his name people immediately know who your talking about. Ryan took 2nd at Nationals in 2013 and has a number of Regional wins under his belt. On top of Ryan's 2nd place Nationals finish he also has a Top 16 back in 2014 and numerous other Top finishes. Ryan's no slouch when it comes to Nationals.

Following Ryan's pick, Max decided to pick himself for his fifth round pick because why not? If you believe in yourself then you should be able to bring points to your team and get ever so closer to winning the draft. I can respect Max picking himself because Max is a very solid player who's season so far has been good to him. With Max having over 550 CP I'm not surprised he picked himself and quite frankly probably is glad no one took him earlier. Max did get Top 64 last year so let's see if he can keep it going. Sam Chen is Max's 6th round pick. Sam has a Top 16 finish back in 2014 as well as a Top 32 finish last year, which he's probably hoping to match or do slighty better next month. Simon Narode is Max's 7th round pick. Simon took 2nd at Worlds back in 2013 and Top 8 in 2015. Simon also has a number of Nationals placements. They include a Top 16, Top 128, and Top 32 in 2012, 2013, and 2014, respectively and most recently a Top 128 finish last year. A very solid performace for the Worlds Runner-Up and a strong pick from Max. Lastly, for Max's final pick of the draft is none other than our reining World Champion, Jacob Van Wagner. Why not pick the World Champion? Frank Diaz picked Jason K last draft and he won Nationals so we will see if Jacob can hold his own come Nationals next month.

"I chose a Metal list because with the combination of Heatran and Genesect, you can handle Greninja in Tandem with Aegislash and Bronzong BREAK being able to deal with Night March. This list is very good against two of the best decks in the current meta. Other than those decks Metal can use a combination of all of its attackers and generally find a path to victory. This deck can hold its own against nearly everything in Standard and I think it's odds of doing well at U.S Nationals look pretty good right now. Hope you enjoy the list."

Nikolas Campbell

1st Round: Kevin Baxter (2 Byes) - Top 32 - 100 Points

2nd Round: Israel Sosa (2 Byes) - Top 128 - 50 Points

3rd Round: Aaron Tarbell (2 Byes) - Top 64 - 75 Points

4th Round: Christopher Schemanske - Top 128 - 50 Points

5th Round: Enrique Avila

6th Round: Andrew Ramey - Top 128 - 50 Points

7th Round: Calvin Nordberg

8th Round: Nicholena Moon

Total= 325 Points= Runner Up

For Nik's first pick he chose to put his money on Kevin Baxter. He's sitting at a staggering 600+ CP and has two Byes from taking second at Regionals for the season. Kevin also has a Top 32 and Top 64 finish at Nationals and just overall is a very good player who was one of the ones to bring Yveltal/Zoroark/Gallade to the format. A very strong first pick coming from Nik. For Nik's 2nd round pick he went with the one and only Israel Sosa who's had one of the greatest Regionals runs in Pokemon history with winning three in a single season. He also won a Regionals this season and has two Byes to add to that along with Kevin. I believe this will be Israel's 2nd Nationals. Still, don't be surprised to see him do well come next month. Aaron Tarbell is Nik's 3rd pick of the draft. Aaron has a Regionals win from Florida and has over 500 CP. With two Byes it shouldn't be hard to see Aaron make it to day 2 of Nationals next month.

Moving onto Nik's 4th round pick we have Chris Schemanske who has over 500 CP for the season. Overall a solid player who does pretty well at events. Following Chris we have Enrique who took 2nd at Nationals last year so no surprise Nik took last years Runner Up. Andrew Ramey is Nik's 6th round pick who recently got his invite to Worlds. For Nik's 7th round pick he chose to go with Calvin Nordberg who actually got top 4 at Nationals back in 2013. Calvin also has a Bye for the season after his States win. Lastly, Nik chose Nicholena for his final pick of the draft. She hasn't been playing all that much this season, but she's a strong competitor nonetheless.

"I have been enamored with this deck ever since it was released upon the world at German Nationals. It reminds me a lot of my favorite deck in Expanded, speed Darkrai, in the sense that it is a very quick deck with Max Elixir and Energy Switch to set up big attackers. The core concept of this deck is to set up the best attacker possible against your opponent's deck quickly. Either with Seismitoad-EX for Night March, Articuno for Greninja, and Aegislash-EX for Vespiquen/Vileplume. I really like this deck for Nats because it has a very good matchup against Trevenant, Night March, and Greninja which make up a ton of metagame. One weird choice I made for this deck is the Suicune from BREAKpoint. The reason for this card is to have an non Pokémon-EX that runs off water energy that can one shot a Shaymin-EX. Also it can help in the Greninja matchup by being active and being able to block off Shadow Stitching on your bench Pokémon, most importantly it won't shut off a bench Manaphy-EX to give free retreat. Other than that it’s a pretty sweet deck and you should definitely try it out in your testing for Nationals!"

Kevin Baxter

1st Round: Jason Klaczynski (2 Byes)

2nd Round: Ross Cawthon  (1 Bye) - Top 128 - 50 Points

3rd Round: Jimmy O'Brien (2 Byes) - Top 128 - 50 Points

4th Round: Caleb Gedemer

5th Round: Treynor Wolfe (2 Byes)

6th Round: Andrew Mahone

7th Round: Brit Pybas

8th Round: John Kettler

Total= 100 Points= Seventh Place

Kevin's first pick of the draft is none other than the three-time World Champion and last year's National Champion, Jason Klaczynski. You can't go wrong with people the reining champ. Jason is probably the most well-known player to ever play the game. He's been playing from the begginning and has numberous titles under his belt so it's a no-brainer that Kevin snatched Jason up so quick for his first pick. On top of Jason's win last year he also has a Top 8 from 2004 and a Top 16 from 2008. With Jason also having two Byes for the season, it's probably going to be too easy for Kevin to get points on his board with Jason on his team. Moving on to Kevin's 2nd pick he chose to go with Ross Cawthon who has a Bye for the season and is a two-time Worlds Finalist. Ross has three Top 64 finishes at Nationals which is the only tournament he's missing a big finish at. Will this be Ross's year? Guess we will see next month. Jimmy O'Brien is Kevin's 3rd pick. Jimmy has had a crazy good season so far with winning a Regionals and sitting at over 500 CP with his two Byes. Jimmy has a Top 128 finish from last year. A solid pick for sure. Caleb is Kevin's 4th pick of the draft. Caleb is sitting at a staggering 600+ CP. Even though Caleb doesn't have any Byes for the season he's still one to watch out for since he's a pretty consistent player overall.

Treynor Wolfe is Kevin's next pick who has two Byes for the season and close to 500 CP. Treynor does have a Top 128 from 2012 so he's surely to be hungry this year for another strong finish. Kevin's 6th round went to Andrew Mahone who most recently took 9th place at Worlds last year. A strong late round pick from Kevin. I'm surprised Andrew wasn't picked before, but maybe that's due to him not having any Byes for the season since most people rather draft people with Byes. Still Andrew is always worth the pick no matter how early or late. For Kevin's 7th pick he chose to go the risky route and chose Brit. Brit hasn't played much this season. However, Brit did get top 64 last year which proves he can do well at Nationals. Finally for Kevin's last pick of the draft he opted for John Kettler. John is a very good player from Texas and is the founder of Heytrainer. From personal experience playing against John he knows what he's doing when it comes to big events. John has a number of placements at Nationals. They include a Top 64 in 2005 and 2006, a Top 128 in 2010 and a Top 16 in 2012 so be sure to keep an eye on him come Nationals.

"I'm sure nobody will be surprised to see a Zoroark list from me, but I still think it gives me the best chance to do well in Standard. There has been increasing hype around Greninja, so I've tweaked my list a bit to help with that matchup. The extra Hex Maniac and the extra Zoroark BREAK (by copying Shadow Stitching) will limit the number of times they can use Giant Water Shuriken which is what gives them the edge. I've bumped up my Reverse Valley count to make it easier to hit 130 with Mind Jack. I removed the Maxie/Gallade combo from this list to make some room. It's tough to get out Gallade with the Item-lock decks in the format, and it often isn't needed anyway. Unfortunately the 2nd Target Whistle also had to go because it was a luxury. Besides those changes, and switching my shuffle draw to N's, the list plays very similarly to my States deck."

Franco Takahashi

1st Round: Connor Finton (2 Byes) - Top 128 - 50 Points

2nd Round: Mark Garcia (2 Byes)

3rd Round: Mike Canaves - Top 128 - 50 Points

4th Round: Dylan Bryan

5th Round: Russell LaParre - Top 16 - 125 Points

6th Round: Dustin Zimmerman

7th Round: Rahul Reddy - Top 128 - 50 Points

8th Round: Franco Takahashi

Total= 275 Points= Third Place

Franco's first pick went to Connor Finton, a player that's won two States and a Regionals this season and has over 600 CP as well as two Byes. Connor does have a Top 128 from a previous year so maybe he's due for another strong finish next month. For Franco's 2nd pick he chose to go with Mark Garcia. Mark has won two Regionals this season and is sitting at almost 500 CP. With two Byes I wouldn't be surprised to see Mark go far. As for Franco's 3rd pick he went with Mike Canaves. Mike's a pretty solid player from Florida and usually does fairly well at Nationals. The one and only Dylan Bryan is Franco's 4th pick. Although Dylan hasn't played too much this season he's still a force to be reckoned with. However, Dylan did get Top 8 last year so we know he's a strong competitor at Nationals. On top of that Dylan's other Nationals placements include a Top 16 in 2012 and a Top 8 in 2013, which makes Dylan a very solid pick. Moving on we have Russell LaParre as Franco's 5th round pick. Russell has a Top 16 from 2014 so maybe it's time for Russell to step up his game once more.

For Franco's 6th pick he went with the one and only Dustin Zimmerman. Most people know Dustin after he finished in Top 4 at the 2013 World Championships. Dustin has numerous finishes at Nationals most recently being a Top 16 last year. He also has two Top 32 placements from 2009 and 2013. I wouldn't be surprised to see Dustin go far since he's a solid player overall even though he hasn't played much this season. Rahul Reddy is Franco's 7th round pick. Rahul got his first Worlds invite this season so I'm really proud of him. Rahul does have a a couple Top 128 finishes one being when he went 9-0 in swiss in 2013 and 7-2 back in 2012 so you can see Rahul does fairly well at Nationals. Rahul is also one of the sole creators of Flareon in Expanded along with Grafton Roll. And finally for Franco's final pick he chose to go with himself just like Max. Franco also has his invite this year and is another fellow Florida player.

"I think Trevenant will be one of the good plays for U.S. Nationals, mainly because the deck has a good chance overall if you manage to lock your opponent turn one by slowing up their setup and putting board pressure while they are having difficulty setting up their own board. With the release of M Alakazam-EX, Trevenant now has the option to Knock Out bulkier attackers, and Alakazam’s Ability has a nice synergy with Trevenant also. In addition to this, the deck already proved that it can do well based on the fact that it performed well at Nationals like Argentina and other places. Thus why I consider Trevzam as one of the good options to play for Nationals."

Jose Marrero

1st Round: Brad Curcio (2 Byes) - Top 64 - 75 Points

2nd Round: Frank Diaz (2 Byes) - Top 64 - 75 Points

3rd Round: Daniel Altavilla (2 Byes)

4th Round: Dalen Dockery (2 Byes) - Top 64 - 75 Points

5th Round: Brandon Smiley 

6th Round: Brandon Salazar

7th Round: Brandon Cantu

8th Round: Grant Manley

Total= 225 Points= Fourth Place

I chose to pick Brad Curcio for my first pick of the draft because he has multiple Top 16 finishes at Nationals and has two Byes for the season after winning the biggest Regionals to date with 499 Masters. Brad usually does well no matter what event he attends. I have faith in Brad and I'm hoping he can put points on my board. For my 2nd pick I went with Frank Diaz who has two Byes for the season as well after winning and taking 2nd at another Regionals. He's sitting at over 550 CP. Frank's Nationals placements include a Top 8, Top 16 and numerous others as well as a Top 32 from last year. My 3rd round pick went to Daniel who has two Byes after winning a Regionals. He's sitting at over 500 CP as well.

For my 4th pick I went with Dalen Dockery who has two Byes from Regionals as well. Dalen has over 450 CP and I wouldn't be surprised if he put some points on my board come Nationals. Following Dalen I went with Brandon Smiley as my 5th round pick. Smiley is a pretty consistent player nonetheless who got Top 8 at the Boston Open. For my 6th round pick I chose the 2014 National Champion, Brandon Salazar. Brandon has had a fair season thus far and he got Top 32 at Nationals last year. As for my 7th round pick I decided to go with Brandon Cantu. Cantu has a Top 64 under his belt at Nationals as well as a Top 32 last year. For my last and final pick of the draft I went with Grant Manley who took Top 4 at Nationals last year so I'm hoping he can put some points on my board as well.

"This deck is one of my top deck choices going into Nationals next month, which should be no surprise since it gave me some success during States earning myself a bye. With Greninja and Trevenant being two of the most played decks right now I think M Rayquaza can still make a comeback come Nationals even though Night March may also see a strong showing, however Night March has slowly been dying off due to Trevenant and Greninja's dominance which should be two of M Rayquaza's favorable matchups and not to forget the most recent Night March crusher, Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX/Garbodor. I wouldn't be surprised to see a handful of Rayquaza decks make it to day 2."

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude the coverage of this year's 60cards U.S. Nationals Fantasy Draft. Which team do you think has the best chance to take home the win? Feel free to post down below with the team you're rooting for. If you guys have any feedback for next year's draft feel free to give suggestions in the comments or message me them. If any of you guys are going to U.S. Nationals then goodluck and I'll be sure to see yall there. With that said, thanks for reading. Until next time!


[+19] okko


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