What to Watch For: Worlds

pokebeach.comSo, 6P nation has gone quiet the last few days and will likely stay that way until after the World Championships are over and done. Many of the top players and writers for this site are traveling to San Diego to compete for the grand title.

I on the other hand am not going. Unfortunately, I went 7-7 through the first two tournaments I played in this year and my 9-1 run at Nats was not enough to gain the invite. It wouldn’t have mattered because I do not have the money to travel there this year. Hopefully, next year I can make it to Worlds.

Anyway, back to the discussion at hand. There are two more UG articles coming this week, but probably not a whole lot more. So, since I am just sitting at home and waiting for school to start, I decided to write some stuff up.

Today’s article is going to be a list. No, it’s not a decklist, but rather a list of what I think the most intriguing storylines are at Worlds this year. The decklists of the major decks have been beaten to death already. It’s time to talk about something else.

I know many of you will already know about these. However, I honestly feel that one big thing holding back the Pokémon TCG is event coverage. This includes both live coverage of the event, but also pre-coverage and post-coverage. The Pokémon Company International fails in this area.

The other two games, Magic: The Gathering and Yu-gi-oh, both have more coverage, and thus, I feel that it enables them to grow. Those two games are more accessible to the average/casual player.

(Yes, we have deck analysis and metagame analysis post events. That is important to the game. But, we need more storylines to follow than just what deck is going to win.)

So, if you already know about these things please do not flame on the article. This is meant to be a simple way to get casual players back in the loop for worlds and to just help further the coverage. This is similar to how ESPN does top 10 lists going into the playoffs of every major sport. The audience can usually predict the list, but they put it out there to get everyone on the same page.

Well enough of my ranting, let’s get to a list:

1. How good will the live coverage be this year?

pokebeach.comThis year, the game is moving leaps and bounds in the right direction in the area of live coverage. We have video footage of the finals at the Canadian National tournament. We have video footage of the finals at the US Nationals (although the video is quite far away). We also have people who are dedicating time to Tweeting about the standings and the progress of the tournament.

How is the Worlds coverage going to break down? The guys over at TheTopCut.net will be on the floor tweeting during the rounds, but they are also playing. So, will they get someone else to keep the information flowing during the main event? I sure hope so.

2. How will the players not from North America fare (excluding the Japanese and exclude them for the remainder of this topic)?

I am actually quite interested in this. North America is the only place that the HGSS-on format has seen tournament action. Often times the people with tournament experience do well. Testing is one thing, but actually being the middle of a competitive tournament is much more valuable. So, will this create an advantage that the North American players can exploit?

To be honest, I would tend to think that the non-North American crowd will be just fine.

3. Now, what type of impact with the Japanese have on Worlds this year?

We all know how their country was devastated earlier this year through natural disaster. I am not concerned with how well they know the format because they have had a format similar to this for a while now. However, I am curious to see how many Japanese players make it to the main event. Yes, we know that Yuta will be there, but how many others are coming?

I sincerely hope that more Japanese get into the tournament. They are very good players. I would hate to see the majority of a competitive community miss out on this tournament.

4. How will the new Grinder style play out?

pojo.comThe new single elimination, best two out of three format could really shake up the field. It forces the LCQ (last chance qualifier) invites to be subject to the “luck of the draw.” Pokémon cannot intentionally line up the field to make it favorable for the better players.

So, it leaves the possibility open that two of the better players in the World get paired up in the first round. What if say John Kettler and Jason Klaczynski are paired up in the first round? That would be a huge disappointment in my book because one of them would be eliminated after a single round.

5. Exactly how many invites are going to be awarded through the Grinder?

We all know that Pokémon has stated that eight invites will be given out. However, will they stick to that guidelines? We all know that Japan did not have its National tournament this year. I personally hope that Pokémon takes those invites and adds at least them to the Grinder invites. There are also going to be a lot of players at the LCQ. I hope that this pushes Pokémon to add a couple more invites anyway.

I know that there are arguments on both sides for increasing the number of invites given to the grinder. I know that many people do not want more invites because it “dilutes” the field. I am OK with that.

6. How many babies see play?

pokebeach.comMost of us know how the US National tournament concluded. Justin Sanchez and Pooka spent a few turns trading tails flips on the baby Pokémon. Then going into Justin’s turn they both hit heads, and Justin won by a Mischievous Punch KO. Justin was as deserving as anyone else to win the tournament, but MANY people bemoaned the fact that in the end luck was the final deciding factor.

So, will most people leave the babies out of their decks? Will Manaphy see more play as a Cleffa replacement? Will people forgo the available help of Tyrogue to ensure that they are not donked?

I think that this will be a very interesting development to keep track of.

7. What decks will do well? What deck will win?

We all know what the big three are: tyRam, PrimeTime (MegaJudge), and Megazord. However, there is quite the debate raging on which deck is the favorite. People seem to be stuck deciding between tyRam and PrimeTime. This will be settled at the tables. We know that PrimeTime won US Nationals.

So, in my opinion, it has to be the frontrunner. However, I feel that tyRam easily could have taken down US Nats if more of the top players were playing it. I do feel that tyRam will see more play amongst the top players, so maybe it can cause some havoc.

Also, most people are writing off arguably the most accomplished deck of the young format: ZPS. It has two National Championships to its name. That is more than any other deck can boast, and the two wins came from very different field. At Canada Nats the field was very favorable, but at Mexico the field was not as favorable for the deck.

Yet, both Canada and Mexico are tournaments of similar size to Worlds. There were seven-ish Swiss rounds with a Top Cut. If ZPS was consistent enough to take those two tournaments down, why can’t it take down Worlds?

8. How will the top US players do?

If this game is going to grow, it needs story lines. It needs “stars” to do well. People identify with the best players. So, how will the best US players do? Is this the year that Pooka breaks through at Nats? Can Pram follow up his second place run with another good showing? Will Ness even make it into the big dance? Can Kettler keep his qualification streak going? Will Fulop win it all and then effectively retire from the competitive scene?

These are the types of questions that need to be asked. These are some of the storylines that need to be cultivated for the game to grow.

9. How will TheTopCut video coverage fare?

This is what I am personally most interested in. TheTopCut.net is hosting two events this week that will both be video recorded with commentary. The first event is a four on four team marathon battle Thursday in the open play room.

This event will feature TheTopCut.net crew facing off against teams from our very own UG, HeyTrainer.org, and PokéGym.net. This is a great opportunity to build some friendly rivalries in the game. I am extremely stoked to see how this plays out.

The second event that TheTopCut.net is hosting is the Top Cut Invitational: Tournament of Champions. This is going to be an eight person tournament featuring some of the game’s best players. This event has confirmation from Chris Fulop, Jason Klaczynski, Yuat Komatsuda, Con Le, Justin Sanchez, Sami Sekkoum, Tsuguyoshi Yamato, and hopefully the soon-to-be reigning World Champion. This is a star-studded line up of competitors with real bragging rights on the line.

What is going to be awesome about this event is that each round there will be a feature table that gets video coverage and there will be another camera floating around the event to get coverage of the other games. The event will be commentated by none other than Pooka and Crim.

BulbapediaSo, you will get the inside scoop on each game. If all goes according to plan this will be livestreamed. It could be the first time that Pokémon has live coverage and it will the first time that matches of this caliber will be recorded and posted on the internet with commentary.

This is a huge step for the game. I strongly encourage everyone to support this. Here is the link to their coverage website. If this gains enough support and is popular enough amongst the fan base, hopefully Pokémon will take notice. If TPCi takes notice it could be the beginning of live coverage for the game for several years to come.

10. How my local player will fare?

I know most of you people out there do not care about my local league. However, giving my buddy Luke (a Junior) a mention will be very special to him. He has worked very hard to prepare for this opportunity. I wish him the best of luck.

(And I needed a 10th point for my list.)

Well, I hope that this prompts some great discussion in the comments. If you have strong feelings about any of these points let’s talk them out. This is how communities grow.

Reader Interactions

12 replies

  1. Anthony Smith

    So will the LCQ not be seeded based on performance throughout the season or what?

      • Anthony Smith  → tim

        What I mean is, what is to stop them from seeding based on player’s ratings after Nationals?

        Forgive me but I don’t understand since I’m a n00blet.
        Do they just instead fill the LCQ bracket randomly when its single elim with no swiss?

        • Anonymous  → Anthony

          This is a great question.

          As far as I know, it is just open registration and random seeding.

          The guys over at the Top Cut seemed to think that two great players could easily be paired against each other either in the last episode or maybe the one with Kettler in it.

  2. Anonymous

    I like that you addressed things other than having a large article about what decks to look out for, because I already know which decks to look out for.

  3. Anthony Smith

    @airhawk06:disqus : Since the comments seem to break after 3 nested comments I’ll reply here.
    Re-reading I see you used the words “Pokémon cannot intentionally line up the field to make it favorable for the better players.” I’d argue that they could probably justify it, but, given their position, and given that they aren’t doing swiss I think I can understand why they need to do random seeding. That is, it’s the most un-biased means of going about filling it.

    Either decision could be argued as arbitrary, but I think taking previous results, which can be influenced by a lot of things, may be the most unbiased way of going about it.

    It would be interesting to have a definite answer. I guess they don’t call it the Grinders for nothing.

    • Anonymous  → Anthony

      You raise a great point. Yeah, I guess they could do use past tournaments to seed the people. I just do not see it happening for a couple reasons.

      1) It would take a lot of work to set these pairings up. I’m not sure that it would even be possible to do in the approximate hour that they have given themselves.

      2) The format has changed. Now certainly, great players will always be great players, but especially this year there is a valid argument that the season does not mean a whole lot in terms oh who is “best” in the new format.

      3) The way I would look at it is this: The LCQ is essentially the beginning of the World Championship for the players who did not qualify. Meaning, that if you cannot win the Grinder, then that’s your fault. So, P!P does not owe it to any of the top players to assure them an easier path to “qualification.” Everyone already had an equal shot of getting an invite. But, that is just the way I look at it.

      Thanks for the great points!

      This type of discussion is exactly what I was hoping for this article. :)

  4. Zeb Charlton Zeb Charlton

    If you give Luke a Hershey’s Kiss before every match as his good luck charm, he wins. That’s his secret technique for worlds.

  5. Edmund Nelson

    I thought there was going to be a hand cam for each featured match in the top cut invitational? I’m hyped for the invitational more so than worlds even, all these great players playing in one place, the learning potential is vast.

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