To Play or Not to Play?

Well, it’s the question on many people’s mind. “Should I play at Nationals?”. Here I will go over both sides of the situation and tell what I think is the right choice (you don’t have to agree with me, it’s just my decision).

With our possible Mid-Season Rotation people are having mixed feelings about Nationals. Some like the predictability of a Majestic Dawn-On Format while others like the variety and unpredictability of a HeartGold & SoulSilver-On Format.

I like a HeartGold & SoulSilver-On Nationals and Worlds preceding the 2011-2012 season, which will have this format guaranteed, because winning will become less of an accomplishment.

A HeartGold & SoulSilver-On format promotes a healthy environment for trying new decks and adding more skill into a game that has been raved by donk decks for years. With that said Majestic Dawn-On also promotes new deck ideas, but for a different reason: countering SableDonk.

People have started to put this off as a priority after the announcement of a possible Mid-Season rotation, but I think that people should still put a little time into it and it can always help you at Battle Roads if you are going to any.


I won’t go into a lot of detail for this section, because I know that so many of you know all about this deck. For those of you that don’t know about SableDonk, it is a deck to be used in the Majestic Dawn-On format with Black and White rules that is meant to donk and win on the first turn against multiple basic starts. Here is a sample list of SableDonk:

Pokémon – 164 Sableye SF
4 Crobat G
4 Uxie LA
4 Unown R
Trainers -424 Dual Ball
4 Quick Ball
3 Seeker
4 Pokédex HANDY910is
4 Pokéblower +
4 Pokédrawer +
4 Junk Arm
1 Alph Lithograph 4
4 Pokéturn
4 Victory Medal
1 Luxury Ball
2 Dusk Ball
3 Expert Belt
Energy -22 Special D Energy


Here is a J-Wittz video explaining how SableDonk works and some of the math in winning:

You can see why a lot of people don’t like this deck or a format that is overrun with it. I personally hate the deck (even though it is a probable choice for me in during Battle Roads) and would not like a Nationals that is all on “luck” of the donk.

Playing at Nationals

In a Majestic Dawn-On Format

pokebeach.comIf you are someone who is on the verge of a Worlds invite and Nationals has been announced as a Majestic Dawn-On format, I would highly recommend not playing at Nationals unless you have a perfect and consistent SableDonk counter.

Why risk losing a Worlds invite because some kid donked you at Nationals? It’s your decision obviously, but this is just my own opinion. This also doesn’t apply to people who have a good amount of points and are on the verge of an invite but cannot go to Worlds and need to win the trip.

If you aren’t worried about your worlds invite you should still be debating going to Nationals. With our current economy money is tight, I know. If only we had more money…

I know many people who don’t want to go to Nationals if we don’t have a mid-season rotation because it just isn’t economical to spend hundreds of dollars to have “luck” waste all of your efforts.

It’s still a fun time at Nationals, win or lose, but if you’re losing multiple matches when there is nothing you can do about it in your current situation (you can always play 4 Sableye and 4 Spiritomb, etc.) it doesn’t feel fair.

In a HeartGold & SoulSilver-On Format

For those of you that are worried about an invite this is a good format to play. With so many choices and the encouragement to think outside the box to build something good in under 2 months, it’s a good challenge that will prove useful for those of us who are good at deck building.

It also put more of a skill factor into a game that I think has been lacking of this for several years. People will have to think fast in situations where many decks will be unpredictable and so will techs. Again, it is entirely your decision, you don’t have to listen to or agree with my personal ideas.

Anyone who isn’t worried about a worlds invite should still go to Nationals. This is one of the best years to play and will be a good way to work on next year’s format. Everyone will have a good chance in this format unless someone makes an amazing donk list and leaks it. And on top of all this you can get prizes, and everyone loves prizes! I think Nationals will be well worth your money in a HeartGold & SoulSilver-On format for everyone.

My Opinion

Personally if we have a Majestic Dawn-On format for Nationals I will most likely not be playing at Nationals. This is my decision, because right now I am at an 1836.79 in Seniors and possibly a few more from Battle Roads.

This is a risky position, because a few donks will lose me my invite and I will only be going to Worlds if I receive an invite. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to risk losing a Worlds invite because some kid donk me…

If we have a have a HeartGold & SoulSilver-On format I will most likely be playing at Nationals because it’ll be a format where donks are almost irrelevant except for one or two deck exceptions.

A paid trip to Worlds would also be nice along with a box(s) of such a good set. I don’t expect to lose any points from Nationals in this format. Finally with 2 byes from a 2nd at Regionals my chances at making Top Cut are greatly increased.

Whether you choose to play or not to play I hope you have fun and play to win.

Thank you for your time, and I hope you liked it!

Henry Prior

Reader Interactions

9 replies

  1. J Humphrey

    Im not gonna go to nats because of the new format even though i got 4th in regionals…. 

  2. Michael Sison

    This article isn’t bad, but it could’ve been longer. :-)

  3. Anonymous

    Oh hey, this looks like a pretty interesting arti… OMG SABLEDONK IS IN BOLD LETTERS! INSTA-DISLIKE.
    Why does this have a -3 rating?

    I’d rather play HGSS-on because I’d like to play something that doesn’t involve Garchomp C snipes and power-spray abuse. Also I’d like to see Gengar SF go away too. :(

  4. eli moses

     I’m definitely going because of me winning states, but after my crappy experience at regionals i hope its going to be HGSS-ON because I hate donk decks badly. I need the points so either way i will be going and if its HGSS-ON it will actually be a skill based game and i can finally flourish not losing to your bad match ups because here really won’t be any for my new deck. won’t be any for my new deck.

  5. Joshua Pikka

    sorry to have to do this to you but its b-o-x-e-s, not b-o-x-s.  

  6. tim h

     I’ve tested a very very successful deck. It’s helped my beat sabledonk almost all of the time. 

    My pokemon lines:

    4 sableye
    4 Spiritomb
    3-3-3 Tyranitar Prime
    2-2 Mandibuzz
    2 uxie
    1 unown Q

    It’s stupidly hard for you to not start with sableye or spiritomb. If you get two spiritombs out, if they regice one, you can pull up the other. Nice. 25 pokemon is quite high, but it’s workable. You don’t need to run azelf because you dont run any 1-ofs except unown Q.

    • Callylove  → tim

      If I lived in the US and was attaining US Nationals or BattleRoads with a MD-On format, I would NOT run SableDonk, and I would NOT run VileGar (which is the decks most of the people would play). Think of TyraniPlume! This deck just destroys SableDonk and also hit VileGar for weakness!

  7. Anonymous

    I disagree with the majority who oppose a Majestic Dawn-on format for 2011 Nationals and World championship, and make claims calling it to  a “stale” or “unfulfilling victory”.The Pre HGSS-on format does in fact offer many new decks, new strategies including ideal staring Pokemon,  and is not threatened by “Sablydonking”.

    Nonetheless, those who are strongly in favor of this mid-season rotation do not understand that, in actuality, there are only a trifle amount of tournament winning decks in a HGSS-on format–contrary to what they believe is the case in the Majestic Dawn-on format.The HGSS-on format has not matured enough into a complex, and ideal playing environment. 

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