Fulop’s Korner: Worlds 2011

Hello everyone! I am facing a pretty interesting challenge on my hands right now. I have just landed Monday night, having flown back from San Diego. My article is currently due Tuesday. I am unsure if, by the end of this article, that it will be up on Tuesday, and due to the timing of Worlds, Adam has given me some leeway with when I can get this posted, but I will be doing my best to get it done in a timely fashion.

Not only so you, as readers, can get access to it quicker, but so that I can make sure my memory of events and games remains crisp and accurate. The weekend was extremely long, and tiring (but most importantly fun!) so I apologize if I get any tiny details mixed up, and I will gladly correct them after the article goes up if anything gets brought up.

I do not think it will be an issue, but I have a lot to write about, and since this article is primarily a tournament report, some things may be a little off but it shouldn’t be too bad.

Magneboar Wins!

Go me!

Let me first lead off that I will take a brief moment to feel vindicated. First and foremost, Masters was won by Magneboar. After some degree of backlash for my support of what some claimed was an “inferior deck”, having it go on to win Worlds in the hardest age group is, at the very least, a testament to the fact that I was not merely “incorrect” or ” giving out false information ” the past few months, as some members continue to have claimed.

I am sure they will not be swayed in their conviction, but I feel that having TWO Magneboar lists make the Top 8 of Worlds (David Cohen, who took first, and an Italian player who lost in top 8 to Ross’s Vileplume deck) is as good of defense of the validity of my information as anything else.

It goes to show the cyclical state of the format that I had addressed previously. Just because a deck isn’t ideal at any given point in time does not mean that it is not powerful and a potential tier 1 deck. A deck’s viability is (generally) dependent on what other decks are being played.

At US Nationals, Magneboar was the primary target: players came in with decks gunning for it. To make it worse, most players who used Magneboar simply had lists prepared for mirror and decks which had been a bit behind curve. Magneboar is “Deck A”, and the other decks in the format are “Deck B”.

Deck A is facing a huge handicap when it is being teched against by all of the Deck Bs at the tournament, and in turn does not run any cards to try and “fight back”. Had Magneboar lists been tweaked to try and fight back against the tactics used to exploit it, things could have been very different. The issue is, at Nationals, it was very difficult to really get a read as to what would be the most played deck, and it is also difficult to figure out in the very short period of time we had to tweak decks, how to properly “counter-tech”.

Now, we look at the Worlds metagame. Judging by the LCQ, and the open play area, a vast majority of decks could be summed up as Megazone, Typhlosion, and Stage 1 decks. Arguably 80% of the decks being played fell under those categories. This left a fairly defined format, and one in which Magneboar was suddenly a pretty strong choice again.

The deck was an overwhelming favorite against the Typhlosion decks, had a varying matchup against Megazone (60-40 vs Pachi without Kingdra, 40-60 vs builds with Jirachi and 2 Kingdras, with other lists falling closer to 50-50) and a 60-40 matchup against the Stage 1 decks.

Zekrom had also done well in the LCQ, and the deck’s Zekrom matchup was very strong. With the adaption of Twins in the list and a tweaked list, Magneboar was again well positioned in the format. With the swarms of Typhlosion seeing play, you were likely to face a load of 70-30 or better matchups all day long.

The Flippy Format

pokemon-paradijs.comOne other thing I feel like I need to address is the nature of this “flippy” format. Now, Pokémon Reversal flips are annoying (and you’ll see how they impacted my games on the course of the weekend, but I flipped roughly 30% on Reversals over the course of the whole time I was in San Diego), but the biggest factor of this format is clearly the opening flip.

The format has become inherently aggressive. Every deck wants to be the fast deck, take prizes, and ideally, through the use of Reversals, slow down an opponents set up. All of the Yanmega decks were at a huge advantage going first, but could fall behind when stuck on the draw. This became more and more relevent as the “speed” decks faced off against each other.

The fact that both decks hinged heavily on being aggressive meant that whoever went second was at a ridiculous disadvantage. I could use this as a means by which to insult the awful decision to change the opening first turn rules, but I feel thats redundant and done to death. I think that there are two trains of thought for how to approach the format.

The first seems to be the prevailing one: Build a deck trying to exploit the advantage that speed decks have. Yanmega Magnezone, Stage 1s, Zekrom, and to a degree Typhlosion are all built to exploit the huge edge going first gives. The way players have build decks emphasizes the importance of the opening flip. Often times, if these decks do go first with a strong hand, they merely steamroll the opposition.

Yet let’s just note here that the decks are notably stronger going first, and due to the fact that they are built with multiple cards that inherently gain strength as the aggressor, they are packed with cards that are often much weaker on the draw. Their overall Plan A becomes weak. The biggest fundamental flaw of aggressive decks are that they are weak when NOT being the aggressor.

And in this format, that means if you lose the flip, your decks game plan is just significantly weaker than your opponents’, regardless of hand strength often. Your role in the game shifts, and your deck doesn’t even try to run tools to rebound from that. Thus players have “accepted” the fact they are putting many games in the hands of flips.

Now, the second train of thought actually seemed to win out in the tournament. Build a deck that “accepts” the non aggressor role, and just pile your deck with powerful cards and a strong end game. This was hard to do at Nationals because the format was young, and the metagame ill defined.

Dealing with the Flip

pokegym.netGoing into Worlds, we had a very clear cut metagame. I’ll be addressing Finalist Ross Cawthon’s deck later, and his build was a perfect example of how exploitable such a defined format can be. In a field of aggressive decks, players have a very strong game 50% of the time, and a notably weaker one the other 50% of the time.

The idea behind a deck like Magneboar and Vileplume decks is that you can simply not TRY to be the faster deck, thus somewhat negating the opening flip. Clearly it is still an advantage, but your deck is packed with comeback cards, and game plans to rebound.

Decks need to have an ideal role. Magneboar recognizes it’s going to fall behind, but compensates for this by having the most powerful game plan. It is far better at “coming back from a deficit ” than any other deck in the format. (Well, maybe Vileplume has that distinction.)

Typhlosion Reshiram is actually in the middle ground theory wise. It is “faster” than the Twinboar lists that did well, as they didn’t try to rely on often NEEDING to fall behind to set up, but still slower than the other decks in the format. It has a stronger “end game” then most decks, but at the same time, had a far weaker end game than Magneboar.

All of the other decks became “inbred”, trying to fight other speed decks, which had defined the post Nationals metagame, leaving them open to a deck like Magneboar which they no longer focused on beating. Cards which had previously been allocated toward that matchup, and decks in general which were built to beat it, got replaced by decklists better suited for beating the “Big 3”.

So Magneboar had the fundamental “Late Game Advantage” play, and also was now the “off the radar” deck. All traits of a great play for a big tournament.

Megazone vs Typhlosion Reshiram

Now, clearly I’m enjoying the “Ha! I was right about Magneboar!” moment, and will shamelessly bask in it for a bit. But I also wanted to extend the “told you so” moment to cover the Typhlosion Reshiram matchup against Megazone.

Throughout the course of the Grinder and Worlds, the top players who used a good Megazone list had OVERWHELMING results against Typhlosion decks. Let’s list off a few:

Jason Klackzinski (LCQ) – 4-0 vs Typhlosion Reshiram
Sami Sekkoum (Worlds)- 4-0 vs Typhlosion Reshiram
Jwittz (Worlds) – 5-1 (5-2, but a Game 3 time loss in top 8)

Also, in Juniors, the World Champion Wada 2-0ed the Typhlosion Reshiram in the finals, while the runner up in Seniors, using Megazone, won Game 1, lost a very close Game 2, and lost Game 3 with a Pachi start on turns. A few other players posted 3-0, and 2-0 records vs Typhlosion with their Megazones as well.

Ironically, my personal results were not as favorable on the weekend, but as you’ll see in my tournament report, the results are a bit unrepresentative of the games that were played. All of those players confirmed that they felt the matchup was quite favorable for them, and really only lost if the Typhlosion player got a really fast start on them. Anyway, enough of my personal vindication rant, let’s get more into my actual tournament report.

Tournament Report

I was put in a bit of a bind with getting to Worlds this year. As many may have noted, up until the last minute, my room situation was a bit “questionable”. I was unwilling to purchase a flight to San Diego until I knew if my rating invite would hold up, so that left me with roughly a month to get a reasonably priced flight.

Had I failed to qualify, I had no intentions of trying my hands in the Grinder. No one person can realistically expect to be a favorite to actually make it in. As someone low on funds, I can’t justify taking that gamble. To top it off, my girlfriend Emily was very confident she would NOT be able to make it to Worlds, but at the last minute, was able to make it.

So that put me in a lovely bind planning wise, but luckily through Kayak.com, Emily found us airfare at $282 a piece. The problem? Both days of flying involved 6 AM departures.

So Wednesday, I manage to sleep roughly 3 hours prior to having to wake up at 3:30 AM, and end up meeting her at Cleveland Hopkins airport. The flight out to Houston, where we’d meet our connecting flight, was miserable, outside of the fact that our flight had a 30 minute “preview” of the purchasable DirectTV option for the flight.

This allowed me to watch half of an episode of Law and Order (sadly leaving me with a very cruel cliffhanger) and Emily got to catch a riveting episode of Captain Planet. I did switch over for the ending theme song, which, if you do not know, I suggest you watch it immediately:

We land in Houston, where we believe we are taking the same flight as my friend Kaitlyn, only to find that they decided to save money and take some absurd extra stop through San Francisco. Of course, this leads them to missing a flight and taking forever to actually get to San Diego, so I call it karma for not flying with us.

We get into San Diego and I call up Matt Dunford and he drives up to pick us up from the airport. Huge props to Matt for playing taxi duty literally all weekend for everyone. Totally selfless and a huge help to a ton of people.

The next two days turn into us hanging out with friends and eating food, swimming, going to the mall, watching two friends play “Drunkamon” over a cruel bottle of Sailor Jerry’s rum, and very little sleeping or playtesting. I was a bit lucky because I didn’t have to wake up early to watch the Grinder, but I did have to get up for the registration for the main event.

I end up getting a smaller shirt for my girlfriend, and she winds up with the whole swag bag. The Grinder is interesting, with a ton of Reshiram Typhlosion doing well. It was by far the most played deck. The other surprises were the emergence of a lot of Zekrom decks, and also Yamato’s Lanturn Prime Yanmega Zekrom deck, which he pilot’d to a 6-0 record. (He was unlucky enough to not get the round 1 bye either.)

pokegym.netThe interesting thing about that deck was that I had came to generally the same conclusion with the deck previously. I started off using Yanmega Donphan Zoroark, and then splashed a 1-1 Lanturn. After talking with Sami Sekkoum on Facebook, we discussed just trying like a 3-3 line of Lanturn and cutting Donphan.

I threw together a rough list (which, due to sleep deprivation at 4 AM, I giddily named “Team Thunderfish” – the Lanturn was the Thunderfish, fyi). I proceeded to have abysmal results vs Kaitlyn on Apprentice, likely the results of variance and a pretty poor list on my end. She was always able to get Magnezone Prime up too fast, and I couldn’t apply enough early pressure. I did not run Pachirisu and Zekrom.

I’m not sure if I would have eventually arrived there, but I might have as I was also testing Zekrom Yanmega with favorable results during this time. I gave up on the deck after the poor results, as I wanted to focus on testing different decks rather than trying something so out of left field which would require a ton of extra tuning to get down.

The alcohol induced Team Jerry (myself and some mystery drunks) were going to participate in the Top Cut Challenge, facing off against the team of Crim, Pooka, Drew and Pramawat with some fun decks, and I had built Magneboar. We never actually played them, but I had Magneboar built all Friday, and went something like 9-2 in pick up games, which was actually better than the results I was getting with any other decks.

I should have been 10-1 too, but I blew one game getting greedy going for RDL and getting punished for it when I could have just won the already favorable exchange with Magnetons. Never underestimate the irrational joy given off by taking 2 Prizes at once. The prospect of it put me in “Must Ozone Climax” tunnel vision.

At the end of the day, Yamato had grinded in, as had two Ohio players Jack Iler and Spencer Brown, so HUGE props to both of them! I’m so proud. That left Ohio with 6 players in Masters, myself, Drew Holton, Tom Dolezal, Andrew Mondak, and the two Grinders. I’d say that was a very respectable performance. Jason Klaczinski got robbed out of getting into Worlds in the last round by a literally atrocious handling of a judge call. I’ll recap.

pokemon-paradijs.comThere is roughly 3 minutes left in the game. Jason’s opponent uses Sage’s Training. Somewhere in the midst of this, Jason realizes his opponent only had 2 cards in his discard pile that had been discarded by the Sage. He calls a judge over. This gets a long ruling discussion. At this point, time is called.

Jason decides to just let the Sage issue go, because he had won Game 1, and had a substantial prize lead with 3 minutes left on the clock. The judges then issue an EIGHT MINUTE time extension. When the maximum amount of time POSSIBLE for them to play was 3 minutes (plus three turns). This costs Jason the game, as he had been overextending to take prizes to secure the win on time rather than play for the long game.

Not only did an issue which likely should have resulted in some form of notable penalty (the missing Sage discard! especially in the win and in round of the LCQ!) go unpenalized, but then a literally assinine time extention was given punishing the one player who not only wasn’t in question of suspect game play, but was being kind by opting to NOT chase a penalty. Literally sickening.

The fact that such a ruling could be given at Worlds disgusts me. Clearly, Jason goes on to lose a number of coin flips Game 3 and lose the sudden death game, and miss Worlds. Thanks staff.

At this point, I have literally not a clue what to play. I disregard using Twinboar because while I felt it was a good play, I hadn’t fine tuned the deck enough, and had done far more playtesting with Megazone up to that point. Everyone else seemed to default to Megazone as well, so there was a bit of peer pressure there too.

Here is the list I wound up running

Yanmega Magnezone, Worlds.0

Pokémon – 20

3 Magnemite TM
1 Magneton TM
3 Magnezone Prime
4 Yanma TM
4 Yanmega Prime
1 Cleffa HS
1 Tyrogue HS
1 Horsea UL
1 Kingdra Prime
1 Jirachi UL

Trainers – 29

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Judge
1 Copycat
3 Sage’s Training
1 Twins
4 Pokémon Communication
3 Pokémon Reversal
4 Rare Candy
4 Junk Arm
1 Switch

Energy – 11

4 L
4 P
1 Rescue
2 Rainbow

I originally had a 2 Twins, 2 Sage’s Training split, but Jason and Sami sold me on going with 3 Sage’s Training. I have no idea, in retrospect, which I would have preferred. I opted to add Tyrogue in because I wanted early pressure, an extra starter, and an answer to opposing baby Pokémon.

I also knew it was a pretty passable stall card against Typhlosion midgame if you needed to buy a turn. I had seen a lot of decks opting not to run Tyrogue anymore, so I felt the inclusion of it wouldn’t negatively impact my starts that much. I was correct.

The 4th Yanmega Prime I still feel is “optional”, but the argument is you want to get it in play turn 2 every game, BEFORE playing Judge or Copycat. It’s correct logic, but with 3 and 4 PokéComm, the odds aren’t that bad anyway, but 4 may be correct. Space is somewhat tight though, so other cards may offer more utility then a slight percentile increase in t2 Yanmega attacks. (I got a t2 Yanmega 0 times this tournament, for reference.)

Anyway, pairings go up, and I get paired against Mondak. Great round 1 pairing guys. Thanks.

Round 1 vs Andrew Mondak with Typhlosion Reshiram

pokemon-paradijs.comWell, this game was pretty unfortunate for both of us. He goes first and uses Collector, opening with Cyndaquil. I draw, and I am faced with a rough call. He played no energy on the first turn, and I had a Judge and a Pokémon Collector. My decision tree pretty much was to Pokémon Collector and Eeeeeeek, or Judge, and Tyrogue the Cyndaquil.

If I don’t Judge, I whiff an energy attachment for sure. I wasn’t really willing to do that here, as it meant I went second AND fell behind on my attachments, which is really bad. (I had a Magnemite and Yanma and Tyrogue in my opening hand.) His turn one play was interesting as well. I knew he ran a lot of draw Supporters. I put him on either a t1 Juniper/PONT, or at the very least, a Ninetales and a held back energy for Roast Reveal.

I figured if he did either of these he’d get a pretty fast start and I’d be overwhelmed. I’m not sure if this play was correct yet, but I Judge, and draw junk. He had a pretty poor hand previously before my Judge, but it seemed too strong. If you whiff a t1 energy drop it increases the odds of the other cards being strong. He actually ends up having to hang his Cyndaquil to my Tyrogue.

I end up going up by 2 Prizes, but my hand is junk. My game state wasn’t bad, except I still had no Magnezone, and he was getting set up. Eventually he retakes the prize lead and I’m just in bad shape as my field is still underdeveloped. I finally get to Twins for Magnezone, but I’m so far behind on board at this point that I managed to squander the 2 Prize lead I managed to afford myself early on.

Based on his start, with an average hand that should have been a game I win. In retrospect Collectoring for Cleffa is likely to “have better results”, but at the same time, if his initial hand WASN’T bad, and developed, I’m in really bad shape. I really felt that, on the draw against a turn 1 Collector, I had to gamble to give myself the best chance. Taking a conservative approach that also whiffs a key energy drop is hard to pull the trigger on.


So this is about the point they offer us 6 rounds. Which of course means I have to 5-0 to make top 16 at all, because 4-2 with a round 1 loss won’t give me good breakers at all. This is actually the first time out of all my Worlds that I’ve lost the first round.

Round 2 vs ????? with Mew Yanmega Zoroark

pokegym.netI open with two Magnemite. He goes first, and turn one, Tyrogues my active Magnemite with two PlusPowers. I Collector, and return the Tyrogue kill with one of my own after retreating. He ends up bringing up Zorua, and flipping heads to kill my Tyrogue. My field is very underdeveloped, with no Magnezone at all.

Luckily, I get out Kingdra Prime, and Yanmegas. I am getting crushed, and manage to keep my hand size awkward so that he cannot use his Yanmega, and this puts him in a really awkward spot. He goes down to 2 Prize vs my 3. I wish I remember more of the midgame, but it was basically me desperately trying to win the prize exchange ratio.

Magnezone comes out WAY too late for me again this game. I had seen him earlier with Jirachi in his list as I believe he had Comm’d it into his deck. I go into the tank and see an insanely sick play. I have 2 Yanmega with enough damage on them that Jirachi is a loss. I Spray Splash a Mew, and then Sonic Boom it.

He’s unable to match handsize and hits my active Yanmega. I spray splash a Yanmega with 40 up to 50, and hit his active Yanmega for 70. He KOs my active Yanmega to go to 1 Prize, and I slam down Jirachi, get a Heads on his Power, and attach an energy from my hand.

I Spray Splash the Mew I left at 50, take a prize, and then double devolve his two Yanmega to take all 3 Prizes in one turn without giving him a bench spot to play down his Jirachi. I made a few really boneheaded mistakes midgame, having assumed I’d lost, but I played a sick end game and pulled out a game I had no idea how I’d won.

I know he ran at least Crobat Prime with Mew, but I assume he ran other tech attackers for Mew as well, but I did not see them. I was literally shaking after pulling that game out.


Round 3 vs Joshua Aaron with ?????

Well, this round was after lunch break, and well, my opponent fails to show up. Literally the longest 5 minutes of my life. After an average of maybe a turn 8 Magnezone the past two games, I’ll take a free win. We also find out that we get 7 rounds instead of 6, but the top 16 cut off, instead of top 32, stands.


Round 4 vs ????? with Yanmega Magnezone

pokegym.netWell, this game I finally get a good draw. I unfortunately go 2nd again, but my start beyond that is far better. This turns into one of those “one player sets up, takes a lead with Reversals, and the game isn’t really that close” types.

After my first two real games wound up being such disgusting starts for me, I was more than ok to take an easier win for once. These types of games are never that fulfilling because its just a difference in starts. You don’t feel like you outplayed anyone, you just feel like you outdrew and outflipped them.


Round 5 vs ????? with Typhlosion Reshiram

This is the round I feel really bad about because I don’t remember the details too well, which is a shame because I remember it being a really good game. I played against one of the Finnish players, but I do not remember his name off the top of my head.

I am really bad with names, and I apologize. I wish I had written down my opponents names for this. I think I fell behind by a prize, and eventually was able to just dump enough energy into play to use Magnezones to get a lot of midgame KOs. I flipped really well for once in this game and got some good cheap kills which really helped a lot.

I made a few mistakes, but luckily variance allowed me to still be ahead in the game. Kingdra Prime did some work this game as well. I BELIEVE I hung a Cleffa at 20 damage, and eventually skipped ahead in the prize exchange off of that. This was encouraging because his start was actually pretty strong too. I managed to go off at a reasonable pace for once too.


Round 6 vs David Meulenbroeks with Typhlosion Reshiram

pokegym.netThis was an interesting game. He goes first and has a turn one Collector, and a turn two Typhlosion but my start isn’t bad either. I wiff on a bunch of Reversals, and he hits a bunch of them, and I’m falling behind pretty bad on prizes. I’m spreading a lot of damage, and just trying to stick Reversals so that I can keep his energy managed by pulling up Typhlosions, but I flip really bad on them.

I have 4 Prizes left to his 1 at the end, and I had the ability to kill 3-of his Typhlosions in one attack. I bench Jirachi and get 1 heads and attach. His only energy in play was 1 energy on Reshiram, and on his Typhlosions. If I hit the Reversal, I bring up Ninetales, and Jirachi all 3 Typhlosions and he gets killed by Magnezone the next turn.

I flip 2 tails on my Reversals, so I bring up Magnezone, and KO his Reshiram for 100. He drops a 2nd Reshiram, and plays down his topdecked 2nd PlusPower to get the KO on my Magnezone the turn before I take the other 3 Prizes.

Really heartbreaking loss, but he was a really fun opponent to play against. We had some nice conversation during the game and even though it was such a high stakes match, it didn’t feel like it, and the lack of pressure actually helped me play a really tight game against him.


Round 7 vs Ross Cawthon with Vileplume

pokegym.netAlright, Ross was running the crazy Vileplume Reuniclus silver bullet deck. He started off 4-0, then lost to J-Wittz round 5, and apparently made a silly error to cost himself round 6, putting him at a win and in position. I open Yanma and Magnemite, vs his Phanpy.

I attach to Magnemite, and pass. He draws, and passes. I Rare Candy, Magnezone, and have the Lost Burn for the turn two win, but instead I concede. With a win Ross makes it into top 16.

With a win, I sit at about 20, which because they decided NOT to cut to top 32, meant I couldn’t advance. I had absolutely no desire to grinch Ross out of a shot to go the distance. My opponents all had awful tie breakers. The perks of a round 1 loss I guess.


I was a bit disappointed in my overall performance for my last World Championships, but I know I had finished 5-2, with one disappointing loss to a friend round 1 (bad draws happen) and one heartbreaker of a sick game against a new friend (I wound up chatting with David more throughout the weekend).

Had this been any other Worlds, I made top 32 and have a chance to keep playing and my journey doesn’t end, but I took a round 1 loss, so I was pretty well out of luck. I wasn’t happy about 6 rounds because it meant I’d have had to gone 5-1 to make top 16, but they wound up adding the 7th round, which meant I had to go 6-1! In this format, that’s so difficult to do. I don’t understand why they decide to shorten the cut for such an important tournament.

The fact that Swiss games are not match play is, in and of itself, a really bad thing. Yet this is offset by the fact that the cuts are so deep. It allows players take a bad hand/matchup or two and still be ok to make it to match play. This format in particular is EXTREMELY high variance.

To use THIS FORMAT to then make the cut off that much more unforgiving is disregarding the actual nature of the game. Non-matchplay games are extremely flukey, and I had hoped that the organizers would have acknowledged that and kept the cut the same as usual.

chrisinplymouthI understand we were like two players away from the top 32 cut off, but to force such a huge chunk of the top cut to come down to tie breakers, which are generally out of your own control and pairing based, is awful. You have two choices.

Either cut to a top 16, and have 2/3rds of 5-2s wiff despite having very good records, or cut to a top 32 and have all 5-2s make it, and the downside is that like one extra 4-3 sneaks in. I don’t understand how the round up to the top 32 isn’t more legitimate here.

There is NOTHING more aggravating to players then whiffing a cut on resistance, a statistic they have almost no control over. If you whiff cut at 4-3 you have no right to complain, but at 5-2, a lot of players played very good Pokémon and got punished because their opponents had a bad day.

It was way too close to the numbers needed for top 32 to only hit a top 16. It’s in the past now, but I really hope if this situation comes up again that it is handled differently.

Ross wound up sneaking in at top 16 at the 16th Seed. Sami used a list 1 or 2 cards off of mine, and finished 7-0. Tom Dolezal finished 6-1 with Typhlosion Reshiram. Jay Hornung finished at I want to say 5-2 and made cut. J-Wittz finished 6-1 with a very similar Yanmega Magnezone list (me, Sami, and Josh all used Kingdra and Jirachi).

Ross wound up beating Sami due to a series of favorable events. According to Ross himself even, his match against Yanmega Magnezone with Jirachi was a very challenging one, and he had lost to J-Wittz in Swiss. Sami gets a very slow hand in Game 1, and loses that one in a very tight finish.

Game 2, he has the game locked up, but is forced to play fast due to time approaching. He announces “I’ll Spray Splash and Linear Attack” choosing his targets, and goes to draw 2 Prizes, before realizing he cannot use Linear Attack afterward because the Spray Splash prize breaks hand equilibrium.

pokegym.netThe judges rule that Sami has entered the attack step and cannot rewind without permission from his opponent, which Ross denies. As a result, Ross ends up winning the match. I don’t think very many people would let such a take back happen in such a game breaking moment in the top cut of Worlds.

I know I’d have done the same thing. Sami had the expendable card in hand to empty to match the Spray Splash into Linear Attack work too. It’s one of the downsides with having to rush due to time. I really wish the two of them did not have to play each other.

In the end, David Cohen won with Magneboar, beating Ross Game 1 of the finals with a very strong start, losing Game 2 pretty solidly, and then winning a sudden death Game 3 with Magnezone hitting on the 2nd turn after winning the random flip to win the 2011 World Championships for the Masters.

Tom Dolezal finished in 3rd place, with Reshiram Typhlosion, having lost to Ross’s deck. I also wanted to give a shout out to Joey Nawal who took 4th in Juniors. Awesome job! It is looking like the Worlds decks will wind up being Magneboar, Typhlosion Reshiram, Yanmega Magnezone and Ross’s Vileplume contraption. I’m pretty happy with the decks that wound up featured in the finals. All 3 age groups had fantastic matches.

I talked to David Cohen earlier, and received his list that he used to win with, with permission to post:

Twinboar by David Cohen

Pokémon – 19

3 Tepig BW07
1 Pignite BLW 17
2 Emboar BLW 20
3 Magnemite TM
1 Magneton TM
3 Magnezone Prime
2 Reshiram BLW
1-1 Rayquaza & Deoxys LEGEND
2 Cleffa HS

Trainers – 26

4 Pokémon Collector
3 Twins
3 Professor Oak’s New Theory
4 Pokémon Communication
2 Energy Retrieval
3 Junk Arm
2 Switch
4 Rare Candy
1 Fisherman

Energy – 15

9 R
4 L
2 Rescue

Blissey-Prime-1061pokemon-paradijs.comThe other deck I wanted to address was Ross’, which I do not have a full list for, but I can discuss and then try to throw together a list for it. The idea behind his deck was to exploit the obvious archetypes in the format.

He would set up Vileplume and Reuniclus, making it so that most decks had a very restricted damage cap, unable to play Reversal or PlusPower. He would then use Seeker, and Blissey Prime to heal damage off his field while he methodically took his prizes.

His 3 attackers were Zekrom, Donphan Prime, and Suicune Entei Legend. Donphan was a very hard kill, and a strong attacker. Zekrom required they be able to do 130 in one shot, which decks outside of Magnezone really can’t do very well. Suicune Entei is the “game ender” with 160 Hit Points and some pretty healthy damage output.

Its main purpose is a silver bullet against Typhlosion Reshiram, being able to do 160 damage to their entire deck without it being able to be KO’d in return. The deck would set up with Twins, and also used the new Tropical Beach promo card given out at Worlds! I did get a chance to see Ross’ deck, but didn’t see all the numbers, so here is my take on it.

Pokémon – 24

3 Oddish UD
1 Gloom UD
2 Vileplume UD
2 Solosis BLW
2 Duosion BLW
2 Reuniclus BLW
1 Chansey HS
1 Blissey Prime
1 Cleffa HS
1-1 Suicune & Entei LEGEND
2 Phanpy HS
2 Donphan Prime
2 Zekrom BLW
1 Pichu HS

Trainers – 24

4 Twins
4 Copycat
4 Rare Candy
4 Pokémon Communication
2 Seeker
2 Tropical Beach
4 Pokémon Collector

Energy – 12

4 Double Colorless
4 Rainbow
4 F

reuniclus-black-white-blw-57pokemon-paradijs.comI’d not sure if I have the energy right, as only having access to Rainbow for Entei Suicune Legend means you have the potential to get locked out by Typhlosion attacks discarding them. He may run a few R Energy, but I’m not sure. I would also like Sage’s Training in here too. I know he ran at least 1 Pichu in here.

I’m not sure what I’d cut for it, but at the very least, one copy seems worth being able to Poké Comm/Collector for. I’m not sure on the Stage 1s, but I feel that since you are using your Rare Candy on Vileplume first more often then not, you need to play Duosis down more often then Gloom so Gloom gets the 1-of spot.

One thing of note as well is that I believe both the Junior and Senior finalists who ran Megazone ran 2 copies of Kingdra in them. I know at least one of them did. I want to say both, but I was focusing primarily on the Ross vs Cohen match then.

Editor’s Note: Here is Ross’ actual list, courtesy of Mikey Fouchet:

Pokémon – 27

3 Solosis BLW
2 Duosion BLW
2 Reuniclus BLW
3 Oddish UD
2 Gloom UD
2 Vileplume UD
2 Phanpy HS
2 Donphan Prime
1 Chansey HS
1 Blissey Prime
1-1 Suicune & Entei LEGEND
2 Zekrom BLW
2 Pichu HS
1 Cleffa HS

Trainers – 22

4 Twins
4 Sage’s Training
3 Pokémon Collector
2 Seeker
1 Copycat
1 Professor Oak’s New Theory
3 Pokémon Communication
3 Rare Candy
1 Tropical Beach

Energy – 11

4 Double Colorless
4 Rainbow
2 F
1 R

Top Cut Invitational

I also want to discuss my performance in the Top Cut Invitational which was held Sunday night, but I want to address the Team Thunderfish videos taken Saturday Night. While everyone was in the open gaming room, a group of us went around doing what could be best described as an ill-advised series of motions while chanting out ” TEAM! THUNDER! FISH! ”

Outside of our core group, we had numerous high profile guest performers in these videos, including HeyTrainer’s John Kettler, Jason Klaczinski, Sami Sekkoum, Yamato, and everyones favorite announcer, Nick McCord. (Who did a great job again this year minus his mistake about the Pichu use in top cut.)

Anyway, onto the Top Cut Invitational. I had just finished watching the closing ceremony and didn’t really have time to tweak my deck much, but I wound up playing the following list for the tournament:

Yanmega Magnezone, TopCut.0

Pokémon – 21

4 Magnemite TM
1 Magneton TM
3 Magnezone Prime
4 Yanma TM
4 Yanmega Prime
1 Horsea UL
1 Kingdra Prime
1 Jirachi UL
1 Cleffa HS
1 Tyrogue HS

Trainers – 29

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Pokémon Communication
4 Judge
1 Copycat
2 Sage’s Training
1 Twins
1 Professor Oak’s New Theory
4 Junk Arm
4 Rare Candy
1 Switch
3 Pokémon Reversal

Energy – 10

4 L
4 P
2 Rainbow

I basically cut the Rescue Energy (I don’t like the card in this deck) for the 4th Magnemite, a card I had wanted regularly throughout the main tournament, and cut a 3rd Sage for a PONT because I wanted something a bit more conservative that could also get me a large berth of cards.

I’m not sure its correct, but I didn’t want the 3rd Sage (it burns way too many resources, and with going down to 10 Energy, I couldn’t afford to be discarding them to, so I made a concession to add a shuffle card in…PONT was the only one I had on me, and it got the nod!).

We broke the tournament off into two pods, with double elimination.

Pod 1

Chris Fulop – Megazone
Yacine Sekkoum – Megazone
Dylan Lefavour – Typhlosion Reshiram
Jason Klaczynski – Vileplume Mew Toolbox

Pod 2

Sami Sekkoum – Typhlosion Reshiram
Tsuguyoshi Yamato – Team Thunderfish!
Yuta Komatsuda – Typhlosion Reshiram
Justin Sanchez – Zekrom

Round 1, I played Yacine, Dylan played Jason, Sami played Yamato, and Yuta played Justin. Yuta wound up beating Justin, Sami won a very narrow game against Yamato, as Yamato was exactly 1 card away from decking Sami with a well timed Judge play! Jason decked Dylan, locking a Magnezone active with Aipom, moving every energy attachment away, making it impossible to ever attack.

Round 1 vs Yacine Sekkoum with Megazone

pokegym.netWell this is one of those unfun games. I go first with a Collector, and get a turn 2 Yanmega and Judge after playing a Magneton with 2 energy. The turn 3 Magnezone hits, and I get out a flurry of successful Reversals, and I end up taking a quick win as he scoops a turn or two after I gusted up and killed his only Magnet in play that had all of his energy in play.

This was one of those lopsided games again where one player is just not even in the game due to the start difference, and going second.


Round 2 was me against Jason, Dylan against Yacine, Sami vs Yuta, and Justin vs Yamato. My game didn’t end early this time, so I didn’t catch the details of the games, but Dylan beat Yacine, Sami beat Yuta, and Justin beat Yamato, thus eliminating Yacine and Yamato from the tournament in the second round.

Round 2 vs Jason Klaczynski with Vileplume Mew Toolbox

I have a good hand, and he starts with a lone Sunkern. He benches an Oddish and attaches to the active. I end up getting a turn 2 Yanmega, and snipe Oddish. I wind up taking a 3 Prize lead, and he has only 1 Oddish left in deck as he gets Mew Prime up and Lost Zones a Muk.

I have actively avoided playing down any Magnezone, but I end up needing to Judge mid game to match hand sizes, so I know I have a Switch in deck, and he has no Oddish benched, so I evolve into Magnezone (I had 2 energy on it already) and Judge and Magnetic Draw and dump down to 4 after drawing.

He drops Oddish, and pulls my Magnezone active. I draw, have no energy. I play my hand down to a very low number, and Magnetic Draw with a 2nd Magnezone that I Rare Candy into, and proceed to whiff the Switch OR a single Energy. If I got either, I kill his last Oddish and can’t really lose.


Instead, I whiff, and I have to flip for Lost Burn. I suceed, and kill a Mew. I couldn’t really “save” the energy to try and retreat it, because the next turn he brings up Aipom and starts moving it away. I knew once I whiffed the energy that I’d have to wind up letting it die to poison, but he had 6 Prizes left, so I’m ok with that.

I end up letting it die, and he has 4 Prizes or so left at this point, and I get Yanmega to snipe his Sunflora and Vileplume for 40 each. He Judges me the turn before I have win in hand (he’d already played 1 Judge, so I was hoping he didn’t have a second.)

All I needed a the Jirachi I had, or a means by which to get it, and to either get one heads plus an energy, or to flip 2 heads, to devolve both, but unfortunately, I sit there for a good number of turns, and whiff the Jirachi. I make my last stand trying to use Thunder Wave with Magnemite but get tails and lose.

I had not seen my Switch at ALL during the first half of the game, as had I, I’d have burnt it just so I could use Junk Arm with it, rather than shuffle it in with Judge or Copycat and have to chase it all game, especially since I had him locked out of Vileplumes.

Whiffing even a single energy off a Magnetic Draw for at least 5 was crippling. With that many energy on Magneton with no Oddish even in play, and me at 3 Prizes, I assumed playing Magnezone was perfectly safe there, but alas it wasn’t.


Jason and Sami had “Byes” while I played Dylan for the last elimination in our Pod, and Yuta played against Justin. Justin wound up losing to Yuta, while I played Dylan…

Round 3 vs Dylan LeFavour

pokemon-paradijs.comDylan starts out opening Reshiram and goes first. He Collectors, but misses an energy drop. I Collector for Yanma, Magnemite and Horsea, and I believe I end up Eeeeeeeking. Dylan then Pokémon Reversals up Horsea, plays 2 PlusPowers, drops Ninetales, and Junipers, hitting Roast Reveal, and a Rare Candy Typhlosion to turn 2 my Horsea. Cute.

I believe I bring up Tyrogue, who stays asleep here as I build up a bunch of Magnezones on my bench. I’m able to take a few cheap prizes, and eventually have to just burn through two Magnezones attacking while the third sits on my bench. I’m actually ahead on prizes, down to 1 to his two.

He has to try and Reversal my Magnezone with a Rainbow on it, or I have lethal for my last prize next turn. He Reversals…tails. He’s forced to Juniper to 1 card in his deck. He draws, Junk Arm…Reversal…Tails. He Junk Arms again…Heads. He’d played a PlusPower prior, so he gets the kill.

He has 2 card in hand, 1 in deck, and 1 Prized. I simply promote Magnezone Prime with 140 HP. Junk Arm Reversal to strand his energyless Ninetales literally securing game…Tails. Junk Arm #2…Tails. His turn, he draws his last card, Junk Arm for Reversal? Heads.

I lose by losing all 3 flips there. Not a whole lot I could do there, going 2nd vs his start and losing Horsea right off the bat like that. A pretty aggravating loss, but that’s this format.


So I was out of the tournament in I believe 5th place. The finals wind up Sami vs Jason, and Jason ends up winning. The tournament was “untimed”, by the way, and me and Jasons game likely took up a whole hour, so had it been any form of realistic timed game I win round 2 handily, but Jason’s deck, untimed, had such stupid plays with Aipom and Vileplume, where if he ever got access to anything with a 2 energy cost attack and 1 energy on it, he just decks them.

Sour grapes aside, the best part about these games is that most of them were video taped and will be available to be viewed at TheTopCut.net shortly. My initial game vs Yacine was unfilmed, at which point I announced I’d lose all the filmed ones, which was obviously true.

I managed to get this done as quickly as I could, so hopefully Adam will get it up on Tuesday for you guys. [Editor’s Note: Sorry it’s late! I didn’t receive this until very late last night.] My next article will be an in depth analysis of what to expect next. We have some new cards in the format, including Tropic Beach, and the entire set of Emerging Powers, so I’ll give my initial analysis of what I feel the set will do to the format.

The new set, coupled with the fallout from Worlds, should lead to a fun Battle Roads season ahead of us! So let’s wave goodbye to the 2010-2011 format, and welcome in the 2011-2012 format with open arms! I look forward to writing for another season for everyone here and I hope my article was as enjoyable as a glorified tournament report could be.

…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.

After 45 days, we unlock each Underground (UG/★) article for public viewing. New articles are reserved for Underground members.

Underground Members: Thank you for making this article possible!

Other Readers: Check out the FAQ if you are interested in joining Underground and gaining full access to our latest content.

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

You are logged out. Register. Log in.