Experts' corner

Ryan Sabelhaus

"Preparing for the World Championships"

Ryan is back again with another short article on preparing for the World Championships in Boston.

07/18/2015 by Ryan Sabelhaus


Hello again 60cards readers! Now that the National Championships are over and done with, it's that time of the year to start preparing for the biggest tournament in Pokemon. The World Championships are going to be here in about 5 weeks, which means that there is plenty of time to practice for the big event. Forming the perfect 60 card combination with the best odds of winning this tournament would be the intended goal we are looking towards. To reach that goal, we have to start with a strong foundation of deck choices. In this article, I'm going to go over some deck choices that I've started practicing with. Feel free to take these lists and form them to your own play style to help with Worlds preparation. Regardless of whether you like these different decks or not, I would suggest making sure to get practice against these 3 choices. They had very good showings at the U.S. National Championships and will most likely be seen at Worlds as well.

Primal Kyogre-EX

This deck had a strong showing at U.S. Nationals with 10th and 14th place finishes from Omar Reyhan and Mike Lesky. Initially, I didn't think this deck had the capability to go that far with such a quick-paced format. Theses giant whales were able to prove their strength and resilience through never being knocked out in one shot, along with healing cards to help survivability. With a Primal Kyogre-EX that has a hard charm, the only real threats that come to mind would be a Primal Groudon-EX with 3 strong energy and a Genesect-EX using a G-Booster attack. Everything else will have to use multiple attacks, which will take even longer with a Rough Seas in play and multiple attacking Primal Kyogre-EX.

The attacker in this deck also allow for some sneaky plays to happen with Primal Kyogre-EX being able to damage all benched Pokemon-EX. Perfect math can allow for multiple knockouts with the same attack, along with Absol being able to help manipulate that damage. With Shaymin-EX being a drawing option for every deck in the format, Tidal Storm can eventually do enough damage to get some free prize cards and help quicken the game. Keldeo-EX can also be a sneaky attacking option when given enough water energy, as most opponents assume 150 damage as the maximum damage output.

I recently played this exact deck list in a tournament series being done for Worlds preparation. It is called the Pokemon Elite Championship Series and involves an 8-man single elimination tournament with best 2/3 matches. This deck carried me to the finals, where I lost a very close series to Dylan Bryan with his Primal Groudon-EX deck. In one of the games, he was able to get 4 strong energy on a Primal Groudon-EX, which was just too much for me to handle. Overall, this would be one of my favorite choices in the weeks leading up to Worlds. Primal Kyogre-EX is bulky, consistent, and could prove to be a true threat.


This version of Metal is very similar to Dustin Zimmerman's deck that landed him 11th at U.S. Nationals. Bronzong has such a strong ability in this format and should have another good showing at the World Championships. The ability to charge up multiple different attackers each turn can just be too much to handle for some decks. Each attacker also has different strengths that allow this variant to exceed expectations. One of the most important, Aegislash-EX, can slow down multiple threats that use special energy cards. Some examples of common special energy abusing Pokemon in this format would be Seismitoad-EX, Raichu, and M Rayquaza-EX. When used properly, a well-timed Aegislash-EX attacking can actually seal up many different matchups.

Heatran is very underrated in these Metal decks. With a bulky 130 HP and two great attacks, Heatran can effectively 2-shot Pokemon-EX and provide an upswing on prizes that can help to win games. Most Metal variants play at least one Heatran, but Dustin and I both realized the strength that comes with multiple non-EX threats and have gone with two. Seismitoad-EX can also be a nice change of pace when a Quaking Punch lands in the first couple of turns. Without trainers to accelerate their turns, opponents will have to slow down their strategy. This added time usually allows Metal decks to get out multiple Bronzong and prepare for a battle. Cobalion-EX is also an effective trading option against Seismitoad-EX decks, which can be one of the worst matchups. With no way of retrieving double-colorless energy, a Cobalion-EX using Righteous Edge becomes extremely hard to deal with.


There is no better preparation for the World Championships then by playing against what has just won U.S. Nationals. This is the list that Jason Klaczynski used to win Nationals, which means that this is the deck to beat right now. This deck outlasted over 900 other decks and was able to take home the gold, so it obviously can't just be forgotten during testing. Practice against this deck, practice playing this deck, and make sure you understand the strengths and weaknesses that Seismitoad-EX/Garbodor abuses in every different matchup. If the deck you are considering playing has a tough time against Seismitoad-EX, then I would suggest working on that matchup as much as possible until you figure out a solid strategy to win.

Garbodor can effectively shut down almost half of the decks in the format that rely on using Pokemon abilities. Bronzong won't be able to use Metal Links, Crobat lines can't drop damage down when they evolve, Keldeo-EX can't use Rush-in to stop status conditions, Klinklang doesn't stop Pokemon-EX from attacking metal Pokemon. So many decks revolve around abusing abilities and just can't deal with a Garbodor shutting them down. Not only are abilities gone, but now add in energy removing disruption cards to make times even harder. Flare Grunt, Xerosic, Crushing Hammer, and Enhanced Hammer now become extremely difficult to deal with when done under trainer lock. Not to mention, Head Ringer creating more awkward situations that involve not getting an attack off each turn. Do not take this deck lightly during your testing for Worlds.


Performing well at the Pokemon World Championships is going to revolve heavily around preparation. Competitors must make sure to understand every matchup and employ different strategies that lead to victory. Although everyone that has qualified for the World Championships has done relatively well at many large-scale tournaments over this year, the most prestigious tournament is a COMPLETELY different ballgame. Every opponent you face has earned a spot to play in this event through performing well, which means that there will be no free wins. You must sit down each round knowing that a World-class competitor is going to be facing you and has been practicing for weeks to have a good showing.

For any of the people that are playing at this tournament for the first time, congratulations on earning your invite to the World Championships this year! You have truly showed your talents throughout the year and earned this right to compete for the ultimate prize in Pokemon. Just to help with anyone that may be confused or worried about performing at Worlds, just remember:

1) Try and relax. This is the biggest tournament of the year with the largest prizes, but it's still just a Pokemon tournament where you can see all of your friends and have a great time. Nationals and Worlds hold some of the best memories in my life that I've gotten to share with my Pokemon family, so never forget to just have a good time. Take a bunch of pictures with friends, create memories for you to remember, and just soak in the World Championship atmosphere.

2) Prepare for everything. Last year showed exactly what I'm talking about with the huge influx of Virizion/Genesect that seemingly came out of nowhere. Pyroar was the big threat after U.S. Nationals, which spelled disaster for grass Pokemon at first. Virizion/Genesect somehow found its way back to the biggest stage of them all at the World Championships, showing off the first and second place trophies. Don't let your guard down when it comes to deck choices.

3) Get some sleep before the big event. Everyone always says to do this and I never truly took it seriously until a couple of years ago. One mistake is all it takes to lose a series, which can be the series that knocks you out of making top cut. You need to be in the best state of mind for this tournament. No excuses!

4) If you make it to the second day of competition or already having that invitation, be sure to pay attention for what does good on the first day of the World Championships. Don't completely change your deck based on what did good, but also don't just ignore what made it through. Keep an eye on what performed well and decide if it's worth adding in a tech card for any particular matchups.

5) Don't change your deck at the last second. I've done this multiple times and have payed the price for it. Don't try to get fancy and completely change decks to a "cool new idea" that you heard about. There is a VERY small chance that it will pay off for you, but most likely you'll be running into the hardest tournament of the year with a new deck that you don't have much practice with. You don't exactly know the odds when playing different supporter cards, you underestimate different matchups, and eventually the day just goes badly. Play what you know best. Play what you prepared with.

Overall, these decks are good starting points with testing and should be able to help with preparation towards Worlds. I wish you all the best of luck on the grandest stage of them all and hopefully will get to see everyone there. For anyone going, I'll certainly be there to say hello and can't wait to see everybody. I'll be competing on the 2nd day of competition and can't wait to play some more Pokemon. Thanks for reading this article and let me know if there are any questions.

-Ryan Sabelhaus <3

[+7] okko


Thank you for your time. Please leave us your feedback to help us to improve the articles for you! 





Make sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to see the latest stories. 


Pokémon and its trademarks are ©1995-2018 Nintendo, Creatures, and GAMEFREAK. English card images appearing on this website are the property of The Pokémon Company International, Inc. 60cards is a fan site. Our goal is to promote the Pokemon TCG and help it grow. We are not official in any shape or form, nor affiliated, sponsored, or otherwise endorsed by Nintendo, Creatures, GAMEFREAK, or TPCi.



Welcome to our Pokemon Community Portal. Have a look around and enjoy your stay!