Experts' corner

Mark Dizon

Through the Trees in Toronto

The Big Takeaways from Toronto

03/14/2019 by Mark Dizon

Toronto turned the format on its head. What a tournament. With Pikarom being the number one target, and a ton of decks being played to counter it, multiple players decided to counter the counter. This ripple effect caused a number of non-games and a ton of frustrated players who couldn’t play their items. Our first expanded regionals with Team Up and a lot of players are lost again as we prepare for Greensboro.

Trevenant. You do not want to lose to Trevenant stormed into day 2. The deck is non-interactive and caused multiple games of sadness. Trevenant’s ability to set up so easily with fewer cards every game, allowed the deck to carry out its game plan every game. Playing Expanded means fewer Guzmas and not many ways to break the lock. The Archie’s decks had removed Keldeo making energy attachments even harder. Trevenant also made the fighting matchups almost free. I personally was knocked out of the tournament in round eight by the deck because you had no way to one shot a Trevenant and Tree Slam knocked out almost every Pokémon. The deck is not affected strongly by Wobuffet, or Silent lab and Garbodor was non-existent outside of the Zoro Garb decks that were favored versus Trevenant. Technology wise the biggest innovation in the deck was the addition of Pyroar which blocked damage from basic Pokémon to not get hurt by Pikarom. Main Ahmed was able to win a league cup in the area the weekend before putting the idea into the Canadian Players Meta. Trevenant took eleven decks into day two amounting to thirty-three percent of the day two field and fifty percent of the top eight. Unfortunately, it wasn’t able to close out the tournament, but it put to the whole format on notice the deck. 

Pikarom was the original deck that everyone was looking to gun down. The top three decks played at the event were Pikarom, Archie’s and Lucario. Out these decks, there was only one Pikarom deck and One Archies in day 2. The Archie’s deck made top 8 while the Pikarom deck finished in the last place of day 2. It is almost crazy that of the most played decks that only two of the one hundred eleven decks in the top three decks made day two. This is extremely interesting as this rarely happens when it comes to matchup spreads and how the game evolves. With the decks that are being put forward as the best decks for Greensboro would this result happen again. Most players are expecting a shift to Zorogarb and Pikarom being the best decks put forward other than Pikarom and Fighting Decks. The big shift to these two decks is that they will both have a great Trevenant Matchup and if Trev is played in huge numbers again then these two decks can go together to make a day two push.

Since the dawn of the expanded format, there have been nineteen tournaments and now of those nineteen tournaments Night March has won three of them. Putting Night March on top with Garbodor and Zoroark as multiple tournaments winning decks. Night March will always be good in the format. Like the Magic the Gathering decks Affinity which has been around since their inception of there expanded format, which can always win a tournament when no one is expecting on ready for it. I agree with the sentiment that it would not be a good play for Greensboro. The next best time to play it will be the next expanded tournament after the next release.

With Night March winning, we need to talk again about Jimmy Pendarvis’ win. Four wins in a season, how insane. How much closer is he now to taking on Pram for one of the greatest of all time. Is he on the top 5 list? Where is he located now? Jimmy has won four of the North American regionals for $20,000. He has been able to win three of them in expanded. One of the biggest things we saw in the top 8 of this tournament was the sub-optimal play of his opponents in top four and the finals. Does this mean that playing against Jimmy is just an intimidating factor in top cut? Does Jimmy just have a killer instinct that prevents his opponent from playing 100 %? They said one of the biggest things about Tiger Woods when he was unstoppable is that players were merely intimidated by his presence that they didn’t hit the ball the best they could. Maybe it’s like the old EA Sports Games of old where Jimmy’s Gamebreaker meter just fills up faster than most. With Greensboro on the horizon, he attempts to take down a fifth and then more than half of the North American Regionals.


Since the start of the Modern Era, Toronto regionals has not been one by a home-grown Canadian Master. With Zach Lesage being the only one to take down a regional since the inception of the Modern Era, Canadians have been wanting to win their Home Regional to take it back from the Americans.

Ciaran Farah (24), Trevenant BREAK with Pyroar  

Marvin Lu-Banzon (23), Trevenant BREAK with Pyroar

Simon Trottier-Lacasse (21), Mew/Counter Energy Toolbox

Wesley Tam (20)

Zach Lesage (20), Hitmonchan/Wobbuffet with Goomy

Noah Bujak (19), Zoroark-GX/Garbodor

Main Ahmed (19), Trevenant BREAK with Pyroar

André Chiasson (19), Zoroark-GX/Garbodor

Benjamin Souriol (19), Zoroark-GX/Garbodor

Andrew Estrada (19), Trevenant BREAK with Pyroar

Andrew Amistad (19), Trevenant BREAK

David Tomhave (19), Zoroark-GX/Garbodor

Vincent Vuong (19)

Colin Norman (18), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX


With almost half the regionals Day 2 being a hodge-podge of Canadian Royalty and local up-starts, this was Canada’s best chance to take down the Canadian Regional. Just going down the list we have former number one in NA Ciaran Farah, Marvin Lu-Banzon who had another high finish in Vancouver last year, Simon Trottier-Lacasse carrying the torch for all the Montreal players and having an amazing run on stream, Wesley Tam a local threat at every league cup, Zach Lesage currently the flag bearer for Canadian Pokémon, Noah Bujak reaching the finals, Main Ahmed who is not only one of the most consistent Canadians on the circuit but also a deck innovator who isn’t afraid to try new things. Andre Chiasson, who just recently returned to the game this year, called his shot for day two. Benjamin Souriol, David Tomhave I don’t know much about, but they were able to take the game down. Colin Norman had an insane run at the Nashville Open and barely plays events due to his focus on school. Andrew Estrada is a former World Champion and Vince Vuong is a player who should probably be traveling more for regionals.


I want to give a special shout out to Andrew Amistad. He has been one of my longest friends in Pokémon and it has been tough for him. He’s gotten very unlucky in the past and Ontario has some of the toughest cups in the world save for maybe in Indiana and Florida. Most of the players in day 2 could be one of our cup winners. Andrew has put a lot of work into learning Trevenant and knows his deck really well. He achieved his day 2 by beating Pablo Meza in his win and in on stream. I was 4-2-1 when I was paired with Andrew and I was already upset knowing that he would be an auto-loss. I conceded in frustration in Game 2 on turn 2 and though I was sad at the variance of being paired against my auto-loss, I was really happy when he made day 2. If anyone deserved it, he definitely did. Don’t you fret about tournaments, it can only get better.

The other special shout-out I want to give out is to Senior Player Tyler Annaert. I have been coaching Tyler for a while and I have seen him grown from a bubble boy to a competitor with more to go. In our area, we have some of the best Seniors in North America. Rowan Stavenow is a former world champion with multiple regional finishes and wins. Lucas Xing has multiple regional finishes and three wins. Raymond Long, Aiden Ulian, Abijah Jong, Adam Omarali, Ryley Mckay iare all names from Canada that can challenge for regional top 8s. Krytal Florendo is another first-year senior that has had top 8s in Junior who can challenge as well. Tyler achieved his first top 8 this weekend after so many top 16/32s and he thought he’d never get it. He ended up finishing with a top 4 finishes, and Tyler just like Andrew shows, keep putting in the work and it will come.




Though Canada wasn’t able to take their home regional down, there’s a lot of good faith in the growth of the community. It sucks that we aren’t able to travel as easily as our counterparts down south to regionals and every event is either an expensive flight or a 12-hour drive. However, the passion that unites us all is Pokémon and we love to travel to these events. We have the same CP Thresholds but aren’t playing with the same tools, but we are all fighting for our invites because that’s what we want to do. I really don’t know if Pokémon will change anything when it comes to this, and we are blessed to have the number of cups that we have, but I hope in the future we might be able to have more Canadian Regionals once again, or maybe our own National SPE.


As I sit here on the penultimate day before Greensboro, I know I won’t be running back Hitmonchan. I know that the field will be diverse and only the top 64 will be likely to get points. I need a strong finish here with only three more major events on the horizon for me to get my invite. I know many of you are in the same boat. I think this is a safe deck tournament, where you play your pick and just play your best. I wish you good luck and if you see me say hi

[+20] okko


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