Experts' corner

Rahul Reddy

Recapping the World Championships 2017

Rahul goes over his Worlds 2017 and Anaheim Open experiences, before discussing what happened at the World Championships and why.

08/31/2017 by Rahul Reddy

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What is up guys? It's Rahul back again! Before I begin I want to thank all of you for the continued support and praises, because even though I didn't have the best performance this year and felt like I let down everyone, I take pride in being there and at putting up a fight. With that being said, let's jump into the World Championships 2017! 

My journey began earlier than most; I left early Tuesday for sunny Los Angeles. I always like getting to the National and World Championships early, so I have time to spend with friends and nail down my deck choice.

For this event, I had already locked into Vespiquen, if I could make it consistently beat Gardevoir-GX and Golisopod-GX, which I viewed to be two of the bigger threats going into the weekend. I already felt confident in my Greninja, Mega Rayquaza-EX and Volcanion matchups and knew that I had about a 50/50 vs. Decidueye-GX/Alolan Ninetales-GX, as well as an autoloss to Decidueye-GX/Vileplume. I had locked myself in on Vespiquen quite early knowing that this would be the last tournament I could pilot the deck at, and I felt nothing but blind confidence in the deck and my abilities to pilot it.

I decided that I should be making it through the gauntlet of day one, and if I didn't, it would be due to bad luck or matchups (a lot of good matchups to Vespiquen did in fact make it through day one, so that assumption was correct).

Upon arriving in Los Angeles, I met up with fellow CCGCastle teammate Azul Griego, and we were picked up by Israel Sosa. We got an authentic taste of Mexican burritos and enjoyed a round of mini golf before picking up Franco Takahashi from the airport and making our way back to Israel's house where he graciously allowed us to stay for a night. We met up with Alex Wilson and Chip Richey and talked decks for a bit with the both of them locking in on Mega Rayquaza-EX. This reaffirmed my choice in Vespiquen. We made our way back to Israel's house, and I tested a couple of games with both Israel and Franco rarely losing any and beating the percieved big deck Gardevoir-GX handidly, with the inclusion of a Tapu Koko Promo to the Vespiquen list.

Wednesday rolled around, and Israel left bright and early to grab Grafton Roll, Jose Marrero, and Ryan Sabelhaus from the airport.

We meet up with them at the famed Anaheim Packing District and grab a quick bite to eat before heading over to the Marriot. More testing ensues, and everyone is just as confused as before. My CCG teammates Igor and Ryan tell me they believe Espeon-GX/Garbodor is the play, but I had already discounted it as a bad deck in my mind and locked in Vespiquen. After being greeted by many people and enjoying a fun filled Wednesday, we called it a night. At this point, I had made up my mind completely about Vespiquen. 

Thursday is the fated day when decklists are turned in from 4-8 p.m. and with nothing but confidence in myself, I was in line at 3:30 p.m. with a completed Vespiquen list ready to go. The check-in line was smooth, and the swag from this year was very cool as I made it through with no hassles. That was it; I turned in my decklist, and there was no going back on Vespiquen now. Ryan locked in Espeon-GX/Garbodor, and we all just hung out Thursday night preparing for the next day. Ryan unfortuantely came down with stomach flu on Thursday night, so naturally I was concerned for one of my closest friends, but he was able to shake off the bug by the next day. 

Day 1 of the World Championships

I've explained vespiquen many, many times, so I wont go into the nitty gritty of every card choice that I made in this particular list. But I will highlight three cards in particular.

1 Mr. Mime

The Mr. Mime was an inclusion I made at the NAIC for countering the Decidueye/Ninetales deck, because it shuts down their Ninetales and Tapu Koko Promo from damaging my bench. Eliminating a win condition for them is huge, and it put in work at the NAIC, so I was inclined to keep it for this tournament.

1 Tapu Koko Promo

Tapu Koko originally was a Jolteon-EX for the Ho-oh-GX and Mega Rayquaza-EX matchups; however, after testing the Gardevoir-GX matchup, I always found myself just a few damage shy of taking the knockout on Gardevoir. I added the Tapu Koko and found myself spreading at least twice, which lead to me winning the game. I was able to soften up the entire field enough to just take early two shots that transitioned into easier knockouts later in the game. The free retreat of Tapu Koko also was a huge plus.

1 Field Blower

I decided that two Float Stone was overkill now that I had Guzma. I decided it was finally time for a card that I had never had space for, Field Blower. With Fighting Fury Belt being more popular than ever, and all these pesky stadiums like Po Town and Silent Lab, I decided this might be a sneaky inclusion to help in those matchups in particular. 

Friday morning rolls around, and the opening ceremony is everything I'd hoped it would be: It was electrifying and sent chills down my spine. I can't help but be excited like a little child at the prospect of playing against the world's best players knowing I made it this far. So at the conclusion of the ceremony, they announce that pairings are up.

With my heart in my hand, I walk over to see who my road would start against.


Round 1 vs Bryan Hunter (Alolan Ninetales-GX)

This was an unfortunate coincidence because the night before I ran into Bryan in the lobby, and he told me that he put a Karen in his deck just for me and to my dismay I was sitting across the table from him in the first round. 

Game 1

I get off to an extremely strong start and begin targeting anything and everything on his bench. I make it down to two prize cards and haven't seen the Karen all game, so I assumed he was messing with me last night and it wasn't in his deck. But a turn later the cursed card comes down and I'm in a poor spot all of a sudden. I manage to scrape together enough damage to two-shot an Alolan Ninetales-GX and take my last two prizes to seal off game one. I'm nervous because I know there's no way that the next two games are going to go that smoothly, and I begin preparing to play for a tie. 

Game 2

The second game I struggle to get set up and he's off to the races. I can't get anything of semblance and after his second Karen of the game, it was the nail in the coffin. I had to pack it up knowing that there was no hope left in that game. 

Game 3

I get off to a rough start having to discard three of my four VS seekers off my turn one Sycamore leaving me with very few resources to work with throughout the game. I manage to get down to three prize cards in a game of attrition, but at this point, I'm completely out of resources. No more Ultra Balls, VS seekers, Sycamores, or Acro Bikes. My opponent had just one VS Seeker left and a two card hand. I had already been Karened three times in just this one game already and was hoping he wouldn't have the last one to ensure that I wouldn't win this game. To my dismay he had the VS Seeker for the fourth Karen, and my heart sunk knowing that it was simply the end for me. I couldn't muster up anymore damage to do anything and I swifty lost from there. (0-1-0)

Round 2 vs Alex Bobernreith (Espeon-EX/Drampa-GX/Garbodor/Po Town)

I see a none too pleasant opponent this round who I have already had a bad experience playing against at the NAIC. I didn't know what he was playing, but he was grinning from ear to ear saying that he was glad he found one of the only bees players in the room. I was already shaken up from my last round, so I wasn't looking forward to this.

Game 1

This game was the one I was closest to winning, I had to play into my opponent's Po Town shenanigans and evolve twice onto the same Pokemon due to Espeon-EX and then managed to KO the Espeon-EX but left my board in a position that another devolvution would end the game, but if he didn't have any recovery cards, then I would just win the game with a knockout on a Tapu Lele-GX. My opponent grabs a second Espeon-EX, which baffled me right there and managed to KO my entire board with a devolve. I lost the game swiftly right there. 

Game 2 

This game was pathetic on my end making misplay after misplay due to my own mental state after the last game I played  into Po Town again and my deck also crumbled underneath itself leaving me to lose a quick game two that I never got completely set up in. (0-2-0)

Round 3 vs Greninja 

Now here I was facing the brink being eliminated only two rounds into the tournament. The confidence I had in the morning was gone and I was left praying for anything to go right after the last two decks I faced destroyed the spirit I had left. I was greeted with a decent matchup in Greninja this round but was expecting to brick and lose the way the day was going. 

Game 1 

The first game my opponent has a Greninja in hand, and I manage to clean up the game really quickly with a swarm of Vespiquen that were knocking out his poor frogs before they even had a chance to become Greninja BREAK. His late game Silent Lab and N combo had me sweating for a while, but he broke the Shadow Stiching lock and used Moonlight Slash to take a KO on my Vespiquen. With that I was able to drop the Forest of Giant Plants in my hand and the Tapu Lele-GX I had been holding waiting for him to break the lock and dig for the last Double Colorless Energy in my deck and finish up the game. 

Game 2

This game was much less exciting as my opponent had two Frogadier prized and as I began running through him he couldn't establish a board whatsoever. Vespiquen is excellent at putting early pressure on any deck, and I did just that with his only hope being the Silent Lab and Ace Trainer combo. However, I had an attacker on the board and was able to stream knockouts. (1-2-0)

Round 4 vs Steve (Volcanion)

I did it! I managed to score a win at the World Championships. I would have been incredibly heartbroken had I made an exit without a single win this year after the season that I fought through. With that, the pressure was off, and as much as I hoped I would make it through to the next day, I resolved to try to have fun on the brink of death in the tournament. 

Game 1 

The first game went just as a Vespiquen vs. Volcanion game would go. I went first and set up an early Vaporeon and Zoroark applying early pressure. By the time he was able to answer the Vaporeon, I had enough Pokemon in my discard to one shot anything on his side of the board. He knew there was no hope left and conceded the game quickly after he realized that my stream of attackers were going to be near endless and an N wouldn't do anything because both Vespiquens on the board had DCEs attached to them. 

Game 2

The second game was much different and much scarier. My opponent took a turn three KO on my Vaporeon leaving me with a weak board and a dream. I began placing a ton of pressure with Zoroark and set up a second Vaporeon by the fifth turn. That very turn he was able to answer perfectly and take it out once again. I managed to find my Field Blower and swiftly continue taking knockouts. He once again realized that I had reached peak velocity to take KOs on everything, as long as I found DCEs. Steve conceded and wished me luck further. (2-2-0)

Round 5 vs Noah Sawyer (Vespiquen)

Back in the same spot as last year 2-2, but this was where I made my exit last year from the big show, and I didn't want it to end so soon this year as well. I was excited that my matchup was a mirror but what awaited me was a nightmare. 

Game 1

The first game began swimmingly with myself getting off to an early lead and taking prizes before him and being ahead on the trade the entire way through, but I realized that I had a DCE prized, and I would need that to seal up the game. Alas, I couldn't find it, as it was my last prize. I lost the game. My opponent also had a Teammates, which ensured that he had the return knockout in the matchup. I had to dig every turn burning precious resources to get to that goal. I was distraught knowing that I lost a game that was all but won in my hands. 

Game 2

This story ends as a tragedy as my deck crumbled beneath my feet and Noah's didn't, taking me quickly out of the tournament, as I struggled to set up the entire game. My third loss meant I was knocked out of the World Championships. (2-3)

Day 1 Recap

I was beyond heartbroken at this point, due to my unfortunate luck and circumstances that took me out of the tournament, but what happened on the first day overall?

There was an overwhelming amount of Mega Rayquaza-EX that made it through, as many had expected. Ryan making it through with Espeon-GX/Garbodor reassured many players into locking that into their day two deck choice. Mikey Fouchet and his Gardevoir-GX deck making it through gave confidence to the Gardevoir players as well. Leaving the day two participants confident in their choices moving forwards. Mega Rayquaza-EX and Golispod-GX emerged as the decks to beat.

There were three primary Golispod-GX variants, the first being piloted by a handful of European players: Golisopod/Eeveelutions, which uses the eeveelutions to gain the type advantage against almost every matchup you can imagine. The second variant was piloted by the players of Latin America and most notably Thiago Giovanetti, my close friend and second place finisher at the LATAMIC. They played a Golisopod-GX/Decidueye-GX variant that centered on spreading with Necrozma-GX and then cleaning up with Golisopod-GX. The third and most succesful variant was brought over by the Japanese in the form of Golisopod-GX/Garbodor.

Why not pair Golisopod-GX with the best card in the game? Golisopod put on a lot of early pressure and in dealing with the card, players would have to play tons of item cards leaving them vulnerable to Garbodor. Golisopod-GX was an undeniably good card for this event, but it was clear that everyone had different ideas on how it was good and why. It beat Gardevoir-GX and Garbodor decks, which was the main reason everyone really liked the card. 

After a heartbreaking day one, I watched my friends go off and begin to test for the second day of play, while I was left alone to lament my failure in my hotel room. I was distraught and messaged Thiago in hopes that he would send me his Golisopod-GX/Decidueye-GX list, which he did. I built it, played a few hands with it, and it was the most fun I've had playing a deck in a long time. Golisopod-GX is a very fun card, and I committed to the deck instantly even though Ryan was telling me to play Espeon-GX/Garb and score some early points. 

Anaheim Open and Day 2 of Worlds

The second day began with competitors eyeing the main prize of being champion, but for me, my journey began to reach next year's World Championships in the Anaheim Open. I was still upset from the day before, but I had resolved to let myself have fun at this event and see what would happen. Courtesy of Thiago and the boys over at Bulldogs Gaming, Golisopod-GX/Decidueye-GX was the deck I piloted at the Anaheim Open. 

Looking at the list, it is very similar to most of the Decidueye-GX/Alolan Ninetales-GX decks that have existed, replacing the Alolan Ninetales-GX in the list with Golisopod-GX and adding Acerola to recycle whatever you would need in a given matchup. 

2-2 Golisopod-GX

At first I was a little skeptical about just a 2-2 line, but after playing in the Open I realized that it really was all I needed. I was using so many other tools like Decidueye-GX and Necrozma-GX to set up alternate win conditions that Golisopod-GX was more of a luxury at the end of the day. With the inclusion of Forest of Giant Plants, I was able to cycle Golisopod-GX with relative ease once my set up was established. 

1 Necrozma-GX

This card was the MVP of my Anaheim Open games. I don't think I loved a card more than I did this one. Necrozma-GX was incredibly good against any deck that ran more than one EX/GX Pokemon. I was able to set up an early Necrozma-GX and then proceed to sweep my opponent's fields with Golisopod-GX or set up snipes with Decidueye-GX and use Tapu Koko Promo to spread damage and take a quick game. Necrozma-GX also provided huge utility against Mega Rayquaza-EX, because of its ability prohibiting Colorless types from damaging it. 

2 Acerola/2 Guzma

I would have preferred more Acerola but the split worked perfectly. I was able to set up and then just continuously pick up whatever I needed and reuse my Golisopod-GX to do a ton of damage. I also was able to wall and stall with Decidueye-GX by picking them up, once they were damaged because nothing can really one shot Decidueye-GX. 

So with the list and the techs discussed and out of the way, lets do a brief tournament report again. 

Round 1 vs VikaBulu

Game 1

So fair warning: I have yet to play a single game with this deck coming into the tournament, so it is absolutely brand new to me and I'm learning as I go. VikaBulu as a first round matchup seemed really hard and game one, I focused on the devolve strategy with Espeon-EX. Although I ended up just winning the war of attrition with Acerola and Golisopod-GX, taking a very close game one that could have gone either way.

Game 2

The second game I flipped my strategy entirely and went for the early Necrozma-GX. My logic was that he could only Tapu Wilderness one Tapu Bulu-GX, not both of them and the Tapu-Lele-GX he put down, so I could take four easy prizes on the back and just have one big threat to deal with. Itt worked just how I drew it up. I was able to pick off two of the back liners and then after he used Tapu Wilderness, I began smacking him with the Golisopod-GX army. I dominated the second game. This was the moment I realized how incredibly broken Necrozma-GX is. (1-0)

Round 2 vs Bert Wolers (Decidueye-GX/Alolan Ninetales-GX)

I wasn't allowed to have any easy matchups early on in the tournament, as I was paired with last year's Top 8 World Championship finisher Bert playing Decidueye-GX mirror.

Game 1

The first game was one of skill and perfect plays with both of us knowing that the easiest way to close out the game was with an Espeon-EX Miraculous Shine, so we both worked towards that play in particular. I discovered that my Espeon-EX was prized, so I went for a more aggressive line that didn't pay off with him finding his Espeon-EX and devolving two of my Decidueye-GX and a Golisopod-GX for KOs in the same turn, leaving my board barren and devoid of any real attackers. I was forced to concede a game that I was not favored in, due to my Espeon-EX being prized.

Game 2

This game was one where one player got his owls onto the board and the other did not, I was the player who managed to not set up a single owl and be faced down with three on the other side to lose a quick game and the series. (1-1)

Round 3 vs Kirk Dube (Mega Rayquaza-EX)

Game 1

I was matched with good friend and owner of the Super Rod Cast Kirk Dube piloting the Mega Rayquaza-EX deck that he scored a Top 4 with at a League Cup the week prior, so I  had an inkling of what he was doing. He proved me right by destroying me in the first game without a single chance for me to recover.

Game 2

The second game was me going hard with an early Necrozma-GX and putting so much early pressure on him that he couldn't do anything, as I cleaned up six prizes in a matter of a few turns. 

Game 3

The third game was a testament to both our fatigue, as I managed to almost punt the game by replacing the stadium before using Feather Arrow to take a knockout on a Magearna-EX that I had planned out perfectly. I thought that I had taken a game that was a sure win to a tie with the plays that I made but I was able to seal the deal and score a win that should have been an easy one. (2-1)

Round 4 vs Mega Rayquaza-EX

I was faced with another less experienced Mega Rayquaza-EX player.

Game 1

This was my favorite game of the entire tournament, as I went second and lead with a Tapu Koko Promo spread to start the game. Then I put up a Rowlet and let the boy get knocked out. On my third turn, I used Black Ray GX to win the game because my opponent benched 3 Shaymin-EX on his first turn.

Game 2

My opponent didn't make the same mistake, but I still went aggressively for the Black Ray GX strategy and it paid off, as I took another very quick game and sealed up my third win of the open. (3-1)

Round 5 vs Waterbox

Game 1

My opponent flipped over a Lapras-GX, and I knew it was lights out for him. I was able to set up a quick Golisopod-GX and run through his entire board in a matter of a few turns.

Game 2

This game he went for the Glaceon-EX approach, but I was able to just Black Ray GX and clean up with a Tapu Lele-GX to take another quick game. (4-1)

Round 6 vs Ryan Allred (Volcanion)

Game 1

I hit what I percieved to be an autoloss but managed to take Game 1 down to a single prize card due to Necrozma-GX. Had Ryan whiffed off the N to one card, I would have taken the game the following turn, but he drew the fire energy to seal the game.

Game 2

Game two went similarly to first in that I went for an early Black Ray GX and placed immense pressure on my opponent and shockingly I was able to take this game. 

Game 3

My deck clunked out in typical fashion and I was run over quickly by the consistency machine that is Volcanion. (4-2)

Round 7 vs Drampa-GX/Garbodor

Game 1

This first game was one that I considered scooping multiple times as I wasn't setting up and nothing was going my way. I managed to get off an N to one card and then KO his Drampa-GX in the active spot. I then was able to take out his second Drampa-GX and N once again to continue the chain until I made an insane six-to-one prize comeback on him to win a lengthy game one. I was planning on taking this one to time if possible and not allowing a second game to conclude. 

Game 2

I didn't get set up, and he absolutely rolled me very quickly. 

Game 3 

This game was another lengthy one, but I was playing very quickly and got set up and managed to apply pressure with Golisopod, and I took the game at the very end on turn one of time, due to my aggressive playstyle. I didn't want to tie and went all-out for the win. It paid off. (5-2)

Round 8 vs Simon Narode (Espeon-GX/Garbodor)

Game 1

The first game was going in my favor until a crucial Hex Maniac turn from Simon. That turn I had planned on sniping his lone Espeon-GX and getting down to one prize card to close out the game without any troubles, but he manuevered that next turn into a Tapu Cure GX, setting me back further than I could have imagined and he took a close game one.

Game 2

The second game was one where he began steamrolling me and I thought that I had lost, but I was able to N him low and begin my comeback. That plan was halted quickly when I was down to three prizes once again and he found a VS Seeker to close out the game against me. They were some close and amazing games, and I wouldn't have preferred losing to anyone else. (5-3)

So I finished 97th at the Anaheim Open and snagged 40 CP for this upcoming season. That is a 10th of my invite and some free CP in the race for Top 16, which I am pursuing after falling short in the 2017 season. 


Huge congratulations to everyone who performed well at this year's World Championships. Seeing a seasoned veteran like Diego Cassiraga take home the title this year was heart warming. As for me, the season already began with the Anaheim Open, and I'll be traveling to as many regionals as my school schedule allows.

The first stop is just around the corner with my travels taking me to Fort Wayne, IN in just a few days. I'll be there representing CCGCastle. I know that Worlds just concluded, but the grind never stops. I also have booked my travels to Hartford, CT, Daytona, FL (I live approximately one hour away) and Memphis, TN, so I hope to see everyone at those regionals. I am opting to not attend Vancouver Regionals, because it is the third weekend of Regionals in a row following Hartford and Daytona. I'd rather use that time to focus on school and exams. San Jose also is a no from me, because London is the week before, and I am planning on attending that. The plans are in the works! 

So I'd like to thank all of you for your continued support and encouragement in my endeavors. Keep supporting me over at my YouTube channel, The Chaos Gym, and check out Be sure to use "CCGTEAM5" for 5% off your next order to snag some brand new cards.

Also be sure to check out for some beautiful aluminum dice counters, and use promo code "ccgcastle" for free shipping on your order. I have a beautiful set of pink dice, and I love them so much. Until next time guys, it has been real.

- Rahul Reddy

[+14] okko


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