Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

Broken Deck: The Secret Before London

Zach goes through the secret deck heading into London! This article is a must-read!

11/14/2017 by Zach Lesage

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I Got the Ghaz’

Hey 60Cards readers, what have you been testing for London? Is it the best deck in format? Is it busted? Is it broken? Busted… Broken… Broken? Busted?… If those words sound familiar, you most likely have come across a Seena Ghaziaskar private message! Now before I get started with this article, I want to explain why this article is relevant and how this article has the possibility to seriously change the outcome of London Internationals. It all starts with a fantastic deck builder and player, Seena Ghaziaskar, messaging many top players spreading a secret deck that is pure gas. Secret decks have always been part of the game since the beginning of competitive play, but it is rare for them to have such a unified checkmark from some of the best players in the game. This article will go through the story of Ghaziaskar at Internationals, discuss the state of secret decks in the game, and go through the actual secret deck for the tournament. Before we get too far along in this game-breaking story, let’s show some credibility to Ghaziaskar.

Seena Ghaziaskar

Age: 28

Hometown: Columbus, OH

Years Active: 2001-2009, 2017

Notable Accomplishments:

1st Place US Nationals 2005

Top 4 Place US Nationals 2006

Top 16 Place US Nationals 2009

1st Place Origins Special Event 2017

1st Place Regional Championships 2005

1st Place Regional Championships 2006

Top 8 Place Regional Championships 2017

As you are reading, your jaw may have dropped while wondering how a player could have so many strong accomplishments in the game over a long period of time. Well, you would be correct to think that Ghaziaskar is one of the greatest players to have ever played this game. You may also want to know that he is currently banned for an indefinite amount of time. That being said, I do know what happened and I would like to share his story with you. Whether you believe Ghaziaskar has been properly punished with his ban or that you think he should be allowed to play Pokemon at some point in the future, he has built the deck that most top players are considering for London.

The Story

This story is based on what I have observed in person, from what Ghaziaskar has told me, and from other credible sources who have explained this story. This story does not represent my beliefs as a player nor does it represent the beliefs of 60Cards. This portion of the article is merely a representation of Ghaziaskar’s story for those who have yet to hear it or for those who have forgotten about it over time. 

As Ghaziaskar was happily sitting at table one during the 2017 North American International Championships, you can tell that he has achieved something dear to him. He had just obtained his invite to play in the 2017 World Championships. Now, to a player of Ghaziaskar’s caliber, a World Championship invite normally wouldn’t mean much, but it is notable to add that he has taken many years off from playing competitively. No matter if he wins out, ties out, or loses out, he will have enough Match Points to place within an amount of Championship Points to make it to Worlds! Or so he thought. As he was setting up to play his opponent, judges quickly crowd over him and ask to perform a deck check. Like any player in any tournament, Ghaziaskar quickly felt his heart sink… 

Now this is not to incriminate anyone, but I personally believe that every player has fears when getting deck checked - similar to getting pulled over my a police officer, we always fear for the worst. Did he write out his deck list properly? Was he missing a card? Did he some how gain an extra card? How were his sleeves looking? He had just sleeved up in brand new Dragon Shields that morning… Clear Dragon Shields… 

… And like that, Ghaziaskar was out of contention for the 2017 North American International Championships and had lost his invite to the World Championships. Ghaziaskar was promptly disqualified based on the judges stance on his use of clear sleeves. As most players should know, Pokemon cards get damaged by playing them and will have slight edge wear from playing in tournaments. Furthermore, there is a possibility of using the differentiation between wear on cards to gain an unfair advantage. That being said, Ghaziaskar has apologized for his ignorance by playing clear sleeves. He has stated that it was a careless decision, but he doesn’t believe that he gained an unfair advantage. Nonetheless, as stated earlier in the article, he is banned for an indefinite amount of time based on the beliefs of TPCI.

This is where the story and the reign on Ghaziaskar should end right? Nope, not at all, he still plays the game… online, on PTCGO. Despite being banned, Ghaziaskar continues to play test for reasons that many people can only speculate on. Maybe its based on his competitive pride? Maybe its based on his yearning to help other players? Maybe he just wants a chance in the lime light again? Whatever the cause may be, he has created ‘the play’ for London; the deck that most top players are considering for the tournament. 

Ideology of Secret Decks

Do you know what the deck is? That is, you may not even understand what players are hinting about. Well, if you aren’t able to field through cryptic inside-jokes between top players, you wouldn’t be able to know. As much as the consensus between top players is that Ghaziaskar leaked the deck to too many of us, the general player base has no clue on what this deck is. Here is an example of an inside joke made by my friend and fellow Pro Play Games teammate Daniel Altavilla in a Facebook Group:

This is not to take a stab at top level player or to showcase any particular player who has kept the secrecy of this deck. It is a mere look into the secrecy of the game at this particular point heading into one of the most important tournaments of the year. I do believe though that sharing the deck list and my thoughts about this secret deck should be useful to everyone going to London. It will take away the level of secrecy and possibly change the outcome of the tournament entirely.

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