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A 60cards Invitational Recap

An overview of the First Annual 60cards Invitational with deck profiles for all eight decks and video coverage of the recorded matches.

09/01/2015 by Pikachu's Hideout

The 2015 60cards Invitational was held on Sunday, August 23rd, following the conclusion of the 2015 World Championship.  Here, eight top-tier players gathered to compete for bragging rights and prizes, not the least of which was the 60cards Invitational trophy and an invitation to the 2016 60cards Invitational.  Profiles of the eight competitors and a list of the prizes can be found here.

The tournament consisted of three rounds of Swiss before cutting to a Top 4.  Each round lasted thirty minutes and consisted of a single game, whereas Top 4 was best-of-three.  The format was Boundaries Crossed through Roaring Skies—the same as the Worlds and Boston Open format.  This allowed players to make their deck choices based on the results of those two tournaments and also let players stick with the decks they had been playing all weekend if they were happy with their lists.

Before getting into the decks each player used, we'd like to address a couple issues that occurred during the event.  First of all, despite our best efforts, we were unable to stream the event as we had initially intended.  Shortly after the closing ceremonies at Worlds, the open gaming areas were shut down and players had to relocate to the Sheraton hotel.  Unfortunately, the open gaming areas there were very crowded and as a result, we were unable to get a good enough internet connection to run a stream.  We know a lot of players were looking forward to watching the event live and we're sorry that technical difficulties prevented that.  Fortunately, several matches were recorded and will be gradually uploaded via TeamFishKnuckles

In addition, many people have heard that we were forced to relocate halfway through the Invitational.  Contrary to what people have been saying, we did speak to the hotel in advance and we were assured that we'd have access to the room until midnight, giving us plenty of time to hold the event.  However, while we were playing, a player in another part of the open gaming area managed to damage part of the room, causing hotel staff to shut the area down early.  We regret that our whole event was forced to relocate so suddenly and we'll take measures to ensure that next year's tournament runs much more smoothly.  Now, on to the decks!


8th Place - Chris Fulop: Turbo Rayquaza

Chris Fulop has been a major advocate of Mega Rayquaza since Roaring Skies was released, so it's no major surprise that he opted to play it at the Invitational.  However, instead of using the more popular Metal Rayquaza deck, Fulop opted to run a turbo build instead, which he affectionately named "Crayquaza".  (He explains the reasoning behind this choice in depth here.)

Unlike the Metal variant, this deck is all about getting a Mega Rayquaza out and attacking for maximum damage on the very first turn.  To this end, Fulop ran a very thin Supporter line, instead opting for a lot of Items to power the deck.  Four Trainers' Mail dig for key cards, most of all Sky Field, which lets the deck go off, but also Spirit Link and Mega Turbo.  Battle Compressor serves a couple primary purposes.  First off, it thins the deck to improve future draws.  More importantly, however, it serves as a way to effectively search out Exeggcute so it can hit the Bench to fuel Emerald Break right away.  In addition, it can dump Supporters to access via VS Seeker and Energy to recover with Mega Turbo.  Of course, the deck's foundation rests on four Shaymin-EX, which serve to power through the deck early in the game and fill up the Bench for Rayquaza.

Of the Supporters, Fulop went with just three draw Supporters.  Colress is the most powerful draw in the deck, as it yields eight or more cards even in the early game.  N is a solid draw Supporter early on and an essential form of disruption.  Note the lack of Professor Juniper; Fulop didn't want to ever risk losing games due to dumping key resources, and with so much draw built into the deck already, Juniper is rarely necessary to bail out a bad hand.  He ran just one Lysandre because Mega Rayquaza frequently wants to attack the Active Pokémon anyway, and the one-of Xerosic was an out to Garbodor and Focus Sash, both of which could kill the deck's momentum if they're allowed to go unanswered.

The 2-1 Altaria line and Virizion-EX both serve as extra Pokémon to fill up the Bench and they both shore up otherwise-bad matchups.  Altaria prevents Mega Manectric from landing a one-hit KO on a Mega Rayquaza, swinging the momentum of that matchup, while Virizion-EX provided a soft counter to Seismitoad decks.  Both of these tech Pokémon could be recovered with the one-of Sacred Ash, if need be.  Fulop also ran a single Silent Lab as an out to Safeguard and Aegislash.  Although his deck would struggle against multiple Safeguarders with a counter-Stadium, the one Silent Lab combined with Lysandre gave him the chance to steal wins against those Pokémon.

Unfortunately, Fulop ran into some very unfortunate luck in the event, opening with essentially unplayable hands in both of his first two rounds and losing without making a single attack.  Though it's unfortunate his deck didn't see more action, Fulop still made a consistent and powerful deck that could've had much more impact on the tournament if things had gone a bit more in his favor.

7th Place - Igor Costa: Archie's Blastoise

Igor Costa opted to play the same sixty cards that took Jacob Van Wagner all the way to the top this year.  That deck was recently profiled right here on 60cards, so check it out for details on the list.  Though Igor had another great run at Worlds, he wasn't so fortunate at the Invitational, losing to Chase Moloney in Round 1 and to Yamato in Round 2.

6th Place - Chase Moloney: Archie's Blastoise

In an amusing twist, the two 2012 World Champions both ran the same lists as their fellow World Champion Jacob Van Wagner and both players ended up facing each other in Round 1.  Though Chase won his mirror match, he lost to Dylan Bryan in Round 2 before being eliminated by Ryan Sabelhaus in Round 3.

5th Place - Gabriel Semedo: Mega Manectric/Tool Drop/Garbodor

Brazilian champion Gabriel Semedo came to the 60cards Invitational with a Mega Manectric/Garbodor deck, but unlike the one Grant Manley played to a Top 4 finish at U.S. Nationals, Gabriel's version ran the Tool Drop Trubbish as a one-Prize attacker.  With eleven Tools in his deck, Gabriel had the potential to Tool Drop for very large amounts of damage, giving Gabriel very effective Prize trades.

Gabriel has some interesting choices for Tools as well.  He ran a full four Spirit Links.  Mega Manectric decks typically run three, but the fourth copy both inflates the Tool count for Tool Drop and gives the deck a little extra consistency.  Float Stone is a staple for a Garbodor deck and a couple Muscle Bands are there primarily for Trubbish, as they boost Tool Drop's damage output by 40.  The most interesting choice, however, is Jamming Net.  Rather than attempt to forestall attacks with Head Ringer, Gabriel opted for the other Team Flare Tool, which allows him to increase Mega Manectric's lifespan and get more value out of his Rough Seas.  Of course, it also boosts the damage from both Tool Drop and Assault Laser.

Gabriel's strategy is actually quite committed to the Tool Drop gameplan.  He runs a full four Trubbish and instead of the customary third Rough Seas, he instead opted for a Dimension Valley, allowing him to Tool Drop for just one Psychic.  This gave him a better chance of getting back-to-back KOs with Trubbish and keeping the momentum of the match in his favor.  Gabriel ran five Psychic Energy to get Trubbish powered up quickly and of course, he could easily power one up with a Mega Manectric's Turbo Bolt.

Gabriel lost Round 1 to Dylan Bryan, but won Round 2 against Chris Fulop.  Unfortunately, his comeback was cut short by Yamato, and he was eliminated after Round 3.  Still, he was a great player with an innovative deck and his participation in the event will likely bring some much deserved attention to Brazilian players.

4th Place - Ryan Sabelhaus: Flareon

Ryan Sabelhaus came to the 60cards Invitational with his variant of the Flareon deck that saw a fair amount of popularity and success in the middle of this season.  The deck is pretty straightforward: with Battle Compressor and Ultra Ball, dump a bunch of Pokémon into the discard pile so Flareon can use its Vengeance attack for huge amounts of damage.  Ryan ran a huge count of twenty-seven Pokémon, both as fuel for Vengeance and as a toolbox to handle various decks.

First off, Ryan ran three Leafeon.  This was a natural response to the Worlds results, where the Top 3 decks all focused on Water attackers.  Energy Crush can quickly overwhelm Seismitoad or Blastoise players who overcommit with Energy attachments.  Even a three-Energy Keldeo-EX will fall to Energy Crush if Leafeon also has a Silver Bangle and Seismitoad doesn't fare much better if Ryan has a couple Deoxys-EX in play as well.  (Side note: on top of powering up Leafeon, Deoxys-EX can add a quick 10 damage to Vengeance for situations where Ryan has an Ultra Ball in hand but no way to discard the Pokémon he searches.)  Of course, Ryan opted for the Energy Evolution Eevee and four Grass Energy to make Leafeon easily accessible.

As an additional answer to Seismitoad decks, Ryan brought two Virizion-EX, who can wall Seismitoad with their Grass Resistance, shut down Hypnotoxic Lasers with Verdant Wind, and get additional attackers running with Emerald Slash.  Ryan also ran a handful of consistency-boosting Pokémon.  Two Shaymin-EX helped him burn through his deck more quickly to hit bigger damage sooner, and as insurance, he also ran a Jirachi-EX.  Though Shaymin-EX is often more powerful than Jirachi, the single Jirachi is nice to have as a means of dealing with the cloggier hands where searching Shaymin would only yield a couple cards.  Plus, it can grab the N and Lysandre if need be.  Ryan also ran a 1-1 Slurpuff line.  It's not always feasible to set up a Slurpuff, just because it's often necessary to discard those Pokémon for Vengeance damage, but in situations where it can be set up, Slurpuff gives the deck a nice boost, especially when it gets a Float Stone down.

Ditto is a frequently underrated Pokémon.  It gives the deck a fifth out to a turn-two Flareon in case Ryan has trouble finding an Eevee on turn one (as he can just Transform into Eevee and then immediately Evolve on turn two) and its 70 HP makes it a little harder to KO in the early game.  Audino is an out to Special Conditions, but its Hip Bump attack can also cause a Seismitoad to fail a Quaking Punch in a pinch.  Kecleon is a solid side attacker against Mega Rayquaza and it can also copy attacks like Circle Circuit and Quaking Punch.  And Exeggcute is there to give Ryan some free discards, letting him better manage his resources.  Since it's so easily discarded with Battle Compressor, it's always readily available.

There are some noteworthy Trainers as well.  Silver Bangle ups the deck's damage output, which is helpful in a format where Mega Evolutions are popular, and the lone Float Stone gives the deck a free Retreater to promote after a Flareon is Knocked Out.  It's ideal on a Slurpuff to get a Tasting for two cards, but it'll work on any Pokémon, really.  Silent Lab is also interesting.  Though it's a risky card since so many of Ryan's Pokémon are Basic Pokémon with Abilities, it can be a very disruptive card when timed correctly, such as right before an N while the next Flareon is already set up.  Of course, it's an easy out to Aegislash-EX as well.

Ryan won Round 1 against Kevin Baxter, who was standing in for Yamato and playing his Hippowdon deck.  However, he was shut down fairly quickly by Andrew Estrada in Round 2, and lost without putting up much of a fight.  In Round 3, he played Chase Moloney, where his heavy Leafeon count gave him the win and put him into Top 4, where he was eliminated by Dylan Bryan's Raichu deck.

3rd Place - Andrew Estrada: Seismitoad/Crobat

Andrew Estrada played a Seismitoad/Crobat list very similar to the one Mees Brenninkmeijer played to a Second Place finish at Worlds.  Since Mees' list was recently profiled, the parts worth highlighting are Andrew's innovations.  For one, he opted for a tech Ghetsis.  This might have been a response to the success of Night March and Blastoise at Worlds, but it certainly proved to be an effective tech, shutting down Chris Fulop in Round 1 and Ryan Sabelhaus in Round 2.  Given the overwhelming power of a turn-one Ghetsis play, Andrew ran a Jirachi-EX instead of a second Shaymin to give him more outs to that play.  Of course, the Jirachi also gave him easier access to his other three tech Supporters.

The other notable inclusion in Andrew's deck is the tech Silent Lab.  An early Silent Lab to shut opponents out of Abilities can be devastating, especially for decks that rely on Shaymin-EX to get set up.  He used this card to great effect against Ryan Sabelhaus, playing it alongside a Quaking Punch to effectively lock him out of the game.  These small twists in a consistent list gave Andrew's deck quite a bit more flexibility and played a great role in his finish.  Andrew was ultimately eliminated by Yamato's unique Seismitoad deck in Top 4.

Runner-Up - Tsuguyoshi Yamato: Seismitoad/Genesect

Japanese players often come to Worlds with very unconvenitonal lists and this is no exception.  2004 World Champion Tsuguyoshi Yamato ran Genesect-EX in his Seismitoad deck and to great effect, finishing in Second Place.  Unlike some decks which have paired these two Pokémon in the past, Yamato ran no Virizion-EX, instead building the deck like a conventional Seismitoad deck with a few Genesect thrown in for good measure.  It's fair to say that most players outside of Japan probably haven't seen anything like it.

The Genesect line provides a few distinct advantages for the deck.  First of all, Yamato ran Plasma Energy, allowing him to access Red Signal.  Seismitoad decks typically get quite a lot of value out of dragging Benched Pokémon Active and being able to do so without using a Supporter is a very nice advantage, greatly increasing the disruptive potential of the deck.  Genesect also helped shore up some of Seismitoad's unfortunate matchups.  Primal Groudon has quite a bit of trouble dealing with Red Signal, and Primal Groudon, Primal Kyogre, and other Seismitoad all have trouble dealing with Genesect's Grass typing.  Though Yamato ran no way to accelerate Energy onto Genesect, his suite of disruption cards (four Crushing Hammers, two Head Ringers, and some Supporters) can slow the opponent down long enough to manually build up a Genesect or two.

But Yamato took it a step further by also including G Booster.  This gave his deck an explosive, heavy hitter to sweep through the last few Prizes or blow up a big threat before it got out of hand.  G Booster works surprisingly well in this deck since Yamato can use a Double Colorless Energy to singlehandedly cover the attack's entire discard cost, leaving Genesect just one Energy attachment away from a followup attack next turn.  Against bigger Mega Evolutions which G Booster doesn't OHKO, Yamato can use Hypnotoxic Laser alongside Virbank City Gym to get that extra damage.

Yamato's deck has quite an edge in Seismitoad mirrors.  With three Float Stones, he can easily get one or two down on Seismitoad before the Quaking Punch war begins, allowing him flexibility in his attackers even under Item-lock.  He also ran Team Flare Grunt, Xerosic, and Pokémon Center Lady, all three of which are very valuable to swing momentum in Toad wars.  These techs all give him a significant edge, and this is before Genesect is even taken into account.  Red Signal can drag up an unfortunate Benched Pokémon to break the Item-lock while Megalo Cannon can just tear through Toads unopposed.  Even with Bats at his disposal, Andrew Estrada had an uphill battle against Yamato in Top 4.

Yamato had some issues making it to the Invitational on time and the event had to start without him.  Kevin Baxter acted as his proxy, playing against Ryan Sabelhaus in Round 1 and taking an unfortunate loss.  However, Yamato rallied from there, tearing through Igor Costa and Gabriel Semeda to made Top 4, where he defeated Andrew Estrada before losing to Dylan Bryan in the Finals.  Making the Finals of the 60cards Invitational in this field of top players is an accomplishment, but for Yamato, it's just one in a long list of achievements.

Champion - Dylan Bryan: Raichu and Friends

Finally, we've come to the 60cards Invitational Champion, Dylan Bryan, who won with his Raichu deck that sacrificed a Crobat line for a whole bunch of assorted techs instead.  Let's address the most obvious part of the list first: the core is a very traditional Raichu deck, with a 4-4 line, four Sky Field, and three Shaymin-EX.  The Raichu gameplan is still quite consistent and the prevalence of these techs doesn't change that.

But let's take a look at the techs Dylan went with.  First of all, he ran two Tropius, which gave him an edge in the Seismitoad and Primal Groudon matchups.  With three Silver Bangles and a fair amount of drawpower, it's quite reasonable to get a Tropius into play with a Bangle and a Grass Energy on turn one, making for an immediate and pressing threat against Seismitoad.  Meanwhile, a Primal Groudon falls to Energy Press in one hit, even if it has a Hard Charm (provided Tropius has a Bangle).  Another tech that works quite well against Seismitoad is the 1-1 Mega Rayquaza line.  Against Seismitoad decks light on Energy disruption, an early  Mega Rayquaza can quickly sweep through multiple Toads and steal the game. In general, it's just a great card to put pressure on Pokémon that can't immediately OHKO it, and with Jirachi-EX and Winona, it can easily come into play on turn one.

Terrakion is here pretty much exclusively as an answer to Mega Manectric.  With an Energy and a Silver Bangle or Muscle Band, a Benched Terrakion is an immediate, pressing risk for a Mega Manectric, threatening a Retaliate OHKO as soon as the next Raichu is Knocked Out.  The last noteworthy tech Pokémon is Bronzong.  Though a 1-1 line isn't always fast to get into play and might not always be the most consistent with only two Metal Energy to work with, once it gets going, it does quite a bit of work toward keeping attackers powered up even when it's difficult to find a DCE.  In addition, Bronzong allows for a surprise Terrakion or Tropius to come out of nowhere, its Metal Energy filling the Colorless part of their two-Energy attack costs.

With three Bangles, Raichu's damage cap sits at 190, enough for all non-Mega Pokémon-EX that don't Resist Lightning.  For those that aren't OHKO'd by Raichu, there's Iris to add a few extra damage counters to Raichu's damage output.  It might be rare that Iris makes the difference in a big KO, but it's there in case it's needed.  Dylan also ran a Sacred Ash, which is great to recover the tech attackers.

Dylan went undefeated through the Invitational, taking down Gabriel Semedo, Chase Moloney, Ryan Sabelhaus, and Tsuguyoshi Yamato on his way to the top.  With a Regionals win and a Top 8 Nationals finish, Dylan Bryan has had a great season, and he closes it off by becoming the 60cards Invitational Champion.  Congratulations to him.


Congratulations to 2015 60Cards Invitational Champion Dylan Bryan! Thanks to everyone who joined us in the Sheraton and supported us. 

I would like to thank all 60cards authors who helped with the organization! Special shout-outs to Zachary Siddiq, Danilo Cavalieri and Josh Marking!

Despite some bumps in the road, the First Annual 60cards Invitational was a big success.  Eight fantastic players came together with some very innovative decks, making this a great tournament.  We look forward to making next year's Invitational even better!  Check back in this article throughout the week, as we'll be uploading the recorded matches right here on this page.  We hope you enjoy watching them.  Until next time!

60cards Staff







[+19] okko


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