I’m on the Road to Vancouver City! Meet My Friends in Indy Along the Way…

Alright… that title might not have as much musical potential as Viridian City.

Table of Contents

US Nats Recap

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The trouble my friends and I get into…

The US National Championship is now over and everyone has recovered from an epic weekend, barring a few cases of post-Nationals depression (PND). I’m sure everyone who attended Nationals had an amazing time filled with mischievous adventures, good friends, Steak ‘n Shake, and a lot of Pokémon!

For me, the best part of the Nationals experience is the people. I had fun getting to see all my old friends as well as making many new ones. As soon as I got home from Indy I wanted to go back!

Looking back on my Nationals performance I’d say I am satisfied with how I performed; being able to achieve Top 32 in the biggest tournament of the year feels good. I don’t regret how I played my games or my deck choice, which is why I’m happy with my performance. I will briefly go over my deck decision and tournament summary.

Deck Decision

My deck of choice for Nationals was Blastoise. Blastoise surprised everyone with how poorly it performed overall, but like I said I have no regrets. Had certain Blastoise players been paired up against different matchups during top cut I know we would have seen it going farther. Blastoise has good matchups across the board excluding fringe decks like Klinklang, Garbodor, and Kyurem with Exp. Share.

Here is the list I went with:

Pokémon – 13

4 Squirtle BCR

3 Blastoise BCR

3 Keldeo-EX

2 Black Kyurem-EX PLS

1 Black Kyurem BCR

Trainers – 34

4 Professor Juniper

4 Skyla

3 N

2 Colress


4 Rare Candy

4 Superior Energy Retrieval

3 Pokémon Catcher

3 Ultra Ball

1 Heavy Ball

1 Level Ball

1 Max Potion

1 Computer Search


3 Tropical Beach

Energy – 13

10 W

3 L

The list I chose to play was standard with no secret techs or anything. My goal was to try to do what Blastoise does best which is getting the turtle into play fast and hitting hard. The Baby Black Kyurem was for the mirror match and RayEels decks. The Max Potion was to help against Darkrai and Plasma.

Tournament Summary

Rounds 1 + 2 vs. BYES

Without the two byes earned from winning Winter Regionals I don’t think I would have done nearly as well as I did. During my byes I got breakfast. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to eat before going to the convention center so I was running on empty heading into the tournament. If I had to play out the first two rounds feeling as poorly as I did, with no food to fuel my body, I would have done badly. For me, my physical health can greatly affect how I play.

For future reference to anybody going to play in a long event such as Nationals, scratch that… any Pokémon event: don’t make the same mistake I did. Get up early and eat breakfast so you can be on top of your game.

Going into the third round I felt like a new man yearning play some Pokémon!


Rounds 3 + 4 vs. Blastoise

Unfortunately I can’t remember my opponent’s names. I know both games were Blastoise mirror matches that came down to the wire against friendly opponents. At this point the adrenaline started rushing through me going into Round 5. I was sitting pretty at 4-0 playing at the top tables. Sadly this is where things start to go downhill for me.


Round 5 vs. RayEels

My opponent got an early Dragon Burst to KO the Black Kyurem EX I started with and continued the steamroll from there. I almost made a 6-1 comeback on the back of my Baby Black Kyurem Knocking Out two Rayquaza EX in a row thanks to him whiffing R Energy due to well-timed N’s.

Unfortunately the dream died once he managed to get a Supporter off of my final N and hit the R Energy. I did have game the following turn which means somehow I managed to make the game insanely close.


Round 6 vs. Blastoise

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Blastoise going mano-a-mano.

This round I was paired up against Jando Luna. I had heard his name before and was excited to play against a strong opponent. Unfortunately the epic battle I was hoping for never got to unfold because it was the dreaded Blastoise mirror match, again.

Long story short, he got T2 Blastoise and was able to hit what he needed whereas I struggled. Sometimes that’s how the matchup goes. Either way I had a fun time talking to Jando during our game and can’t wait until the next time we play!


Round 7 vs. Darkrai

I was unable to produce a Blastoise throughout the duration of this short game. Losses like this will happen when you play Blastoise; it’s the nature of the beast.


As you can see my strong start was counteracted by my terrible finish. After starting with 2 byes, ending Day 1 at 4-3 felt terrible. I knew I could do better than this but I also knew that there was nothing in my power I could have done to prevent those 3 losses. I didn’t get Blastoise into play fast enough, or at all in Round 7, and got rolled. I accepted the situation for what it was and tried to stay positive going into Day 2.

In reality all I needed to do was win the next two games and I would make cut. It could have been worse. On the plus side, all of my opponents Day 1 were awesome people whom I was wishing the best for!

Rounds 8 + 9 vs. Darkrai

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My supporters cheering me on!

I actually managed to pull through and win my last two games! I have to thank all my friends for helping me forget about my terrible end to Day 1 and getting my mind in position for Day 2. Darkrai is a favorable matchup for Blastoise so that helped too.

Round 9 was a nail-biter since I didn’t get a Blastoise in play until around turn 6 or 7. A few turns and one clutch Max Potion play later I found myself able to take all 6 Prize cards and win the game.

I was ecstatic I was able to make Top 128 thanks to great resistance. This was my first time ever top cutting Nationals. Granted, this was only my second time participating, but it felt amazing!


Top 128 vs. Chris Nigel w/ Darkrai

I talked with Chris while sitting down before game one and he mentioned to me how this was his first time top cutting Nationals as well! As soon as he flipped over a Darkrai any anxiety I had vanished because of how confident I was in this matchup. Everything went according to plan and Black Kyurem swept both games fairly easily. Congratulations to Nigel on your Top 128 performance!

2-0, 7-3

Top 64 vs. Christian Ortiz w/ Blastoise

Going into Top 64 Christian and I both knew it was a Blastoise mirror match. Neither of us were excited to play this matchup due to how luck-based it can be. There is nothing more to say than Christian got the short end of the stick and stumbled a few times whereas I was able to hit what I needed to win.

Unfortunately Christian and I both knew whoever won in our matchup was most likely going to face Dylan Bryan playing Klinklang (thanks to Ace Trainer AU’s bracket) which was a terrible matchup. Christian plays in my area occasionally and I had yet to play him or really talk to him. Shout out to Christian for being awesome all around and I hope to play you again soon!

2-0, 8-3

Top 32 vs. Dylan Bryan w/ Klinklang

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You got me this time Dylan!

I knew going into the tournament that Klinklang was my worst possible matchup. My plan against Klinklang was simple: cross my fingers and hope I don’t run into it in top cut! If that failed then try to get a fast Blastoise or Baby Black Kyurem and try to kill them quickly. Sadly, both of my plans failed and I was destroyed.

Game 1 I wasn’t able to get Blastoise out until turn 5 and game two he was able to get three Plasma Klinklang out. I could go into more detail on each game but there’s no need to. I think Dylan is probably one of the most underrated players in the game for how well he always does and I know one day soon he will finally win big. I was able to crush his dreams at Regionals so he got his revenge by crushing mine at Nationals!

0-2, 8-4

The Top 5 Reasons to Go to Worlds

To anyone who is trying to make the tough decision of whether or not to make the trip out to Vancouver in August, here is my advice: if you can afford to go, I highly recommend going. Let me list the reasons why I personally love going to the World Championship. As a disclaimer, I have only been to Worlds once, but I have to say it was probably the most fun I have ever had, period.

These reasons are listed in no particular order.

5. Buying and Trading

Trading has been a fixture of Pokémon since the beginning.

If you go to Worlds you will be presented with the unique opportunity to buy from the shop they have set up. The shop resembles a Pokémon Center, the Japanese store, and is open to everyone. Unfortunately some of the coolest things you can buy are limited to a certain number.

For example, you could only buy one playmat every time you went through the line so that there would be enough for everyone. The competitors get the first go at the shop before it opens to the public, giving them even more opportunities to get Worlds swag.

The biggest downside to the shop is the line you have to wait in to get in, but it’s well worth it for what you’re able to purchase. You are able to get all the exclusive Worlds merchandise for much cheaper than what it goes for after Worlds. I believe the 2012 Worlds deck boxes were only $10 at the store but ended up being worth $20 or more after Worlds!

Trading with foreign players is another huge upside to going to Worlds. Once you enter the main area where Worlds is taking place in you‘ll be able to find Japanese players setting up shop. It’s obvious when people are selling Poké-swag because they will have everything on display such as sleeves, deck boxes, dice bags, etc.

Typically you will be able to buy Japanese merchandise much cheaper at Worlds than you would be able to online. Trading with people who don’t speak your language is something I found to be a fun challenge. Most people can speak some English and can name prices and such, so it won’t be too difficult. Just point to what you want, show them what you have to trade, and everything goes from there!

4. The Language Barrier

When you first walk into the check in line area for Worlds competitors you’ll be astounded at the atmosphere surrounding you. There are people from all over the world talking all different languages who are all there for the same thing! I know it sounds silly, but if you are there for the first time it’s an amazing sight to see.

Even if you talk to people who barely speak English you can find a way to communicate through the language of Pokémon. No matter what language you speak, you can play a game of Pokémon without knowing a word of your opponent’s native tongue.

Being secluded in the forest that is New Hampshire I have never experienced talking to people from foreign countries before, which could explain why I found this to be so cool!

3. Exploring Foreign Lands

This might not apply to some of you out there (habitants of Vancouver), but for most of us exploring is part of the Worlds experience. It seems that every year Worlds is at an amazing location with so much to do. Last year especially, there were so many tropical adventures to go on and memories to make. I know I miss swimming with the dolphins and turtles!

This year’s location isn’t as exotic, but Vancouver still looks amazing and I can’t wait to explore what the city has to offer. When you talk to people who have gone to Worlds many times before it seems that no matter the location memories were made and good times were had.

2. Making New Friends / Seeing Old Pals

Pokémon: The Universal Language

Getting to hang out with all of your Pokémon friends you don’t see often that you know and love at Worlds is a reason in itself to go. Not only that but you have the unique opportunity to make friends from around the globe! Even if they don’t speak your language it’s still possible to become friends thanks to Pokémon. Now I am going to share with you a story of how I made a Japanese friend without either of us knowing each other’s language.

The story starts with me standing in the competitor’s line to get into the shop so I can buy some Worlds swag. The line is dwindling down slowly but I’ve been waiting for around two hours. Every few minutes I can see the line inching closer and closer to the entrance of the shop. Luckily I came prepared and brought a few water bottles with me to stay hydrated.

Unfortunately the person in front of me didn’t and appeared to be somewhat dehydrated and looked really tired. I asked him if he wanted my extra bottle of water and soon realized he was Japanese and spoke almost no English! Luckily he still understood my gesture of trying to give him the water and he seemed thankful.

After that he pulled out his iPhone and opened up Twitter. He pointed to the screen and I was able to figure out that he wanted to see if I had a Twitter. I pulled out my phone, opened up Twitter, and after some confusion we were able to follow each other. I learned that his name was Toshiya Sakuma. From that point he started tweeting to me in Japanese, I copy/pasted his messages into a translator, and we were able to have some semblance of a conversation.

The translator I used wasn’t that great, but I was able to get an idea of what he was saying. It was a surreal experience for sure. After both of us purchased items from the store we went into the open play room and played some Pokémon! It was cool to see what the Japanese were up to and get a feel for their lists and play style.

It seemed almost impossible for me to become friends with someone who doesn’t speak my language but I learned that anything is possible when you get creative!

1. Playing Pokémon!

I know this seems cheesy, but it’s true. Playing Pokémon at Worlds against world-class players is a true test of skill. It’s also a lot of fun and you get to see the metagames from all over the world. Even if you don’t do well in the Grinder or main event you can still learn from foreign players by playing them in the open gaming room.

There are also side events where you get to play against former World Champions for prizes. Who knows, maybe you will have what it takes to defeat a World Champion!

Metagame Talk


If you’re fortunate enough to be attending Worlds or competing in the Grinder there are a ton of thoughts going through your mind. The biggest question right now has got to be is this: “Does my deck beat Gothitelle?”

Goth’s performance at Nationals was insane taking 3 out of the top 8 spots and winning the whole thing. The more I saw Goth in action the more I feared for it in the future; the future being Worlds of course. With Goth winning I know it will have a strong presence going into Worlds.

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No silver bullet for beating Goth.

Why am I so afraid of Goth though? Well the answer is simple really; it’s so difficult to beat! There is no real way to hard counter this deck, unlike the Klinklang that won Nationals last year. All you had to do to give yourself a winning chance against Klinklang was tech Lost Removers and get rid of their Energy.

The hardest counter you can really afford in most decks right now for Goth would be including double Keldeo-EX or Audino BCR techs. If you go overboard and play something crazy like 3 Keldeo and 2 Audino in your Plasma deck then you have a lot of dead weight against your other matchups like Blastoise, mirror, etc. You have to try to find the right balance of techs that will make the Goth matchup at least winnable.

With the amount I have tested against Goth so far I can tell you that there might not be a “silver bullet” answer to this deck. Let’s take a look at Goth list so you can see the face of evil for yourself.

Pokémon – 23

4 Gothita EPO 43
1 Gothorita BCR
4 Gothitelle EPO 47
3 Mew-EX
3 Shelmet NVI
2 Accelgor DEX
2 Duskull BCR
2 Dusknoir BCR
1 Munna BCR
1 Musharna NXD

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Juniper
4 Skyla
3 N
2 Colress


4 Rare Candy

3 Float Stone

2 Pokémon Catcher
2 Ultra Ball
2 Pokémon Communication

1 Level Ball
1 Tool Scrapper
1 Super Rod
1 Computer Search


3 Tropical Beach

Energy – 4

4 Double Colorless

This is a standard Goth list with nothing too special. Personally I like this list; it’s consistent and deadly. Musharna is a personal preference card, so if you’re finding that you don’t like it you can always cut it for more consistency or techs. If you are thinking of playing Goth I would expect to play against the mirror at least once, which leads me to consider adding a Keldeo to help make that matchup tilt in your favor.

Tips for Playing Against Gothitelle

The best way to deal with Goth is to play smart against it. There are certain things that you should do though when playing against this deck that you may not do against other decks.

Tip #1 – Unload Your Items (While You Can)

Always be aware of your opponent’s potential to get turn two Goth out. Basically what this means is do they have a Gothita out going into their turn 2? If the answer is yes, then you have some things to do on your turn that you normally wouldn’t do against other decks. Play the Items down in your hand, on your turn, if you’re expecting to get locked. This reminds of playing against Vileplume UD last season. Let’s look at an example of this:

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Even if you get N’d, at least your deck has been thinned out.

Player A is playing an Eelektrik deck going second. Turn 1 he is able to get three Tynamo out, 2 Lightning in the discard, a R Energy on a Rayquaza EX, and has 2 Level Balls in his hand. He’s facing down an active Mew-EX with benched Gothita. He passes the turn and gets Item locked by the infamous T2 Gothitelle. On his next turn he has nothing going for him and fails to get Eelektrik out to power up Rayquaza EX for the knockout on Goth.

What Player A should have done in this situation is use both Level Balls in his hand prior to passing the turn. Normally you wouldn’t do this because you should be scared of getting N’d. If Player A uses both Level Balls against a non-Item lock deck and then gets N’d he has less outs for getting Eelektrik into play.

Due to the nature of Item lock, you have to play Level Ball before the lock. You won’t get a chance to use the Level Balls anyway, so why not use them? If Goth N’s you after using double Level Ball for Eelektrik that’s unfortunate but only good things come of it. Now your deck is thinned of two useless Item cards making the odds of getting Eelektrik greater than if you had held onto the two Level Ball. If you don’t get N’d just evolve two Tynamo, attach Lighting, double Dynamotor, and Dragon Burst that Goth!

Tip #2 – Keldeo and Audino

If you play techs for the Gothitelle matchup like Keldeo or Audino be wary of when to utilize their Abilities. Audino is a one trick pony; you can only break Paralysis once with it. You better make sure that once you use your Audino you’re able to drastically change the board state by KOing a Gothitelle or disrupt the lock, otherwise you’ll fall victim to the lock again next turn.

Fun fact about Audino that most players don’t know: Audino only cures one Status Condition! Make sure to announce that you will be curing Paralysis when you use it.

Keldeo-EX is a much stronger tech against Gothitelle than Audino because you have the potential to break the lock multiple times. The only time I would prefer Audino over Keldeo is if you can’t afford to retreat Keldeo with your deck. If you can only fit one Keldeo in your deck it will probably act like an Audino where you will only get one use out of it due to Catcher.

For this reason I suggest adding multiple Keldeo-EX instead of one. That way you can continuously Rush In to break the lock. Depending on what deck you are playing you might struggle retreating the Keldeo into your attacker, or just struggle to even find both Keldeo without the use of Items.

It’s so risky to put one Keldeo down without the other because they can just KO it with Accelgor or lock it in place. Situations will arise where you’re forced to drop Keldeos one at a time thanks to cards like Juniper, but if you can help it I would suggest trying to get them both in play around the same time.

Keldeo-EX is the saving grace of the format that would otherwise be ruled by the sinister duo of Gothitelle and Accelgor. Without Keldeo, existing Gothitelle Accelgor decks would dominate the format uncontested. My love for the pony runs deep as you can clearly see in this video:


Tip #3 – Know When to Hold ‘Em and Fold ‘Em

As many of you know, US Nationals had 75 minute top cut rounds. This is part of the reason why Gothitelle did so well. With 75 minutes slower decks have the time they need to set up and win, whereas with 60 minutes your comeback could have been cut short by time.

When playing against Gothitelle you can usually tell when there is a light at the end of the tunnel and when the light goes out. If you are under the full lock, they have a thin deck, and you’ve run out of resources, you’re probably done for. A good Goth player will try to take all their Prizes on the same turn thanks to Dusknoir’s ability to spread damage thus even N can’t make miraculous saves.

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You may need to play the clock game.

Once all of your outs are diminished you have a few options depending on how much time you think has passed. You can play it out to eat up time, hope you win Game 2, and then bring it to time during Game 3. Or you can just scoop and have more time for your other two games.

Goth seems to be a comeback deck, so if you’re fortunate enough to hit time when they are making the comeback in Game 3 you could steal a win. Not to mention that there are chances they could whiff on Double Colorless Energy and miss Deck and Covering for a few turns. Although very unlikely, it could happen.

On the other hand if you’re actually the one playing Gothitelle you need to know when to scoop. Although 75 minutes is usually enough time for three games you don’t want to risk it by playing out an unwinnable game. We saw a great example of this in one of the US Nationals Masters Final games. I believe the scenario was that Edmund had his Shelmets Knocked Out. During a search through his deck Edmund came to the realization that his Super Rod was prized.

With no way to Deck and Cover there is no way to win the game. Wisely, Edmund decided to scoop saving him time for the next game. Props to Edmund for smart play and winning Nationals!


Plasma doing well at Nationals was to be expected, however the version that did well was quite unique. John Kettler did a good job covering Ryan’s list so I won’t be repetitive. Life Dew was certainly an interesting tech that I loved from Ryan, but it might be a one trick pony. People are catching on and realizing how game-changing Life Dew can be, thus the Tool Scrapper tech will come into play. Having your ACE SPEC Tool Scrappered away isn’t a good feeling. We are going to see it happen frequently at Worlds too if Life Dew continues to see more play.

How to Fix Plasma

I can picture more Plasma lists playing Dowsing Machine, Computer Search, or even Scramble Switch at Worlds instead of Life Dew. Here is my take on how Plasma will adapt:

Pokémon – 12

3 Deoxys-EX
3 Kyurem PLF
2 Thundurus-EX PLF
2 Absol PLF
2 Keldeo-EX/Audino BCR

Trainers – 35

4 N
4 Professor Juniper
3 Colress

3 Bicycle


4 Hypnotoxic Laser
4 Pokémon Catcher
3 Colress Machine
3 Float Stone
1 Switch
2 Team Plasma Ball
1 Ultra Ball
1 Dowsing Machine


2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 13

4 Plasma
4 Prism
4 Blend WLFM
1 Blend GRPD

I think people will be ready for the Dew.

I changed the ACE SPEC due to my prediction of Tool Scrapper becoming big. If you do expect the mirror match to play Life Dew you may want to consider adding a Tool Scrapper to your Plasma deck. A lack of Scrapper does leave you vulnerable to falling behind in the mirror match if you’re forced to KO a Pokémon with Life Dew.

The double Keldeo-EX not only shores up the Gothitelle matchup, but it also gives you free retreat once you slap a Float Stone on it. Although, having Keldeo-EX on board doesn’t mean anything unless you can get a Float Stone attached or have a way to retreat it. That is the main reason I could see Audino being played over Keldeo-EX. However Keldeo can be huge when you need to chain Blizzard Burns!


Looking at Plasma from a matchup perspective it has solid matchups against all Tier 1 decks. The Blastoise, Darkrai, mirror, and even Klinklang matchup are all either 50/50 or better. The one matchup seeming to fall through the cracks and could potentially be the bane of Plasma is Gothitelle.

Plasma can plainly aggro out Gothitelle before it sets up, but if Goth sets up you’re in for a rough day. Unless you play a tech or two, like double Keldeo or Audino, you will almost always lose once they get the lock on. There’s just no way around it! Besides maybe crossing your fingers and hoping they whiff Double Colorless Energy and can’t Deck and Cover for a few turns…

Thanks to the fact the Goth exists I think in order for Plasma to survive they will need to adapt by playing some number of Keldeo-EX or Audino BCR, which is why I include them in my list. The reason I would choose to play Audino over Keldeo is because it’s incredibly hard to retreat Keldeo under the Item lock with Plasma.

I still see Plasma doing very well at Worlds. It’s a strong, fast deck that has the potential to beat anything.


Blastoise is still its Achilles’ heel.

Going into Nationals I was prepared to see a decent amount of Darkrai. I was doubtful that it would go deep in the tournament, and I was almost correct. The reason being is because of its inherently bad Blastoise matchup, which I expected to be everywhere. From what I saw, Blastoise was heavily played and it seemed to be dropping Darkrai decks pretty handily, with only one Darkrai managing to squeak by deep into the tournament.

Omar Rehyan managed to get into the Top 8 playing Darkrai but fell at the hands of Ryan Sabelhaus and his Life Dew Plasma deck. If Omar didn’t play Tool Scrapper I can see Life Dew making a huge difference in the matchup. Other than the Life Dew tech it still seems like a 50/50 matchup, so the games were probably down to the wire.

Looking ahead to Worlds, I predict Darkrai making a comeback if people stop playing Blastoise since it has a 50/50 Plasma matchup and a decent Gothitelle matchup. The Gothitelle matchup becomes good for Darkrai once you add double Keldeo-EX. The downside to playing Darkrai for the grinder or Worlds is still the bad Blastoise matchup, but with how poorly Blastoise did at Nationals we may see a decline in the amount of Blastoise played.

How to Fix Darkrai

Overall I still don’t like Darkrai anymore; it just feels weaker than Plasma. Darkrai might need some huge innovations or a lot of luck in the matchup department for me to consider touching the deck for Worlds. This is where I’m at with Darkrai currently:

Pokémon – 9

3 Darkrai-EX DEX

2 Sableye DEX

2 Keldeo-EX

2 Absol PLF

Trainers – 41

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

1 Colress

3 Bicycle

2 Random Receiver


4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

4 Energy Switch

4 Dark Patch

4 Ultra Ball

2 Dark Claw

1 Enhanced Hammer

1 Energy Search

1 Computer Search


2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 10

10 D

As you can see I added double Keldeo-EX and one Enhanced Hammer for techs. If you expect to face a ton of Plasma I would add a second Enhanced hammer to aid you even further in that matchup, but again it’s another personal preference tech. When I say personal preference techs what I mean is that there is no right or wrong way to go about playing the deck. Either way you play it is good; you just need to take some time to playtest and decide what you like best.

Aside from those techs there’s nothing out of the ordinary, unless you’re not used to seeing Bicycle. Around States time people had doubts about Bicycle, but believe me, thanks to Ryan’s second place finish, with 2-3 copies of it in his deck, Bike is starting to get the recognition it deserves. From here on out I expect to start seeing more Bicycle than ever before. Bike helps to add consistency and speed to Darkrai, which is exactly what you’re looking for.


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Blastoise is down, but not out.

I consider the turtle to still be a strong choice going into Worlds and the Grinder. Although he only netted me a Top 32 finish at Nationals and overall did quite poorly, a lot of the flops were matchup based.

Klinklang should be dead going into Worlds due to the fact that Gothitelle is practically an auto-loss for it. There’s no way anyone would want to pick up Klinklang with its worst matchup being the US Nationals winning deck! Also, Garbodor is Blastoise’s oldest enemy and we all saw how it did. (Hint: not well.)

I don’t expect many Garbodor or Klinklang at Worlds thanks to Gothitelle scaring them away. If Blastoise can get positive matchups against Plasma and Gothitelle then the stage could be set for Blastoise to take Worlds by storm.

How to Fix Blastoise

From what I saw at Nationals, Blastoise actually struggles against Plasma decks thanks to Life Dew and Exp. Share. The Kyurem PLF/Exp. Share Plasma variant that Top 4’d Nationals does indeed give Blastoise problems, if the Blastoise player doesn’t play Tool Scrapper. Our very own Dylan Lefavour, playing Blastoise, was eliminated by the deck in Top 32. Luckily for Blastoise players everywhere is that there is a simple fix to Life Dew and Exp. Share; Tool Scrapper!

Here is my take on how Blastoise needs to adapt to survive at Worlds:

Pokémon – 13

4 Squirtle BCR

1 Wartortle BCR

3 Blastoise BCR

3 Keldeo-EX

2 Black Kyurem-EX PLS

Trainers – 34

4 Professor Juniper

4 Skyla

3 N

2 Colress


4 Rare Candy

4 Superior Energy Retrieval

3 Pokémon Catcher

3 Ultra Ball

1 Heavy Ball

1 Level Ball

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Computer Search


3 Tropical Beach

Energy – 13

10 W

3 L

Alright… so this is actually only 2 cards different from my Nationals list, but the minimal changes will make a huge impact. The first change you will notice is that I cut Baby Black Kyurem for Wartortle. The reason for this is that you need to have at least one copy of Wartortle in your deck to stand a chance against Gothitelle if they get the lock out before you get Blastoise into play. Even with Wartortle it’s hard to win under the lock because they can just Catcher-KO him with Accelgor, but at least you have a slim chance. I also predict less mirror and a small amount of RayEels, thus Black Kyurem will be less effective anyway.

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I’m wary of those Life Dews and Exp. Shares.

The second change made was cutting Max Potion for Tool Scrapper. The way I look at it, Max Potion the one free spot that could be changed for any tech. Currently I value Tool Scrapper over Max Potion because Life Dew and Exp. Share are threatening Blastoise’s livelihood. Max Potion only seemed to really only help me against Darkrai anyway, which was already a winning matchup.

I considered changing my ACE SPEC to Dowsing Machine just incase I need to reuse Tool Scrapper, but the more I thought about it the more I realized I really only need to Tool Scrapper one time. That led me to thinking Computer Search is better because it’s another card that can search out Tool Scrapper while also increasing consistency in the early game. The only reason I could see myself wanting Dowsing Machine over Computer Search is when I get into a situation where I’m forced to Juniper away Tool Scrapper early on.

All in all I still really love Blastoise and believe it’s a strong play for Worlds. I had little to no regrets about my list and think with some small changes it’s going to be a contender at Worlds.

Worlds Predictions

I predict that the top four decks at Worlds will be the four I talked about: Darkrai, Blastoise, Gothitelle, and Plasma. My prediction for the Top 4 of the World Championships is this: Plasma taking two out of the top four spots, Blastoise taking one, and Gothitelle the last. I am excluding Darkrai from my Top 4 prediction because I just don’t see it going that deep into the tournament. I can picture one making Top 8 and barely squeaking by just like at US Nationals, but I don’t see it going the distance.

I can’t predict which deck will win it all because the outcome of the games will most likely come down to luck in the end. Whichever player gets the better start, which players draws better, etc., are all what will determine who becomes World Champion. Once you get to a certain level of play where nobody misplays that’s when luck becomes a huge factor.

Just imagine if Edmund had opened Duskull and passed game three of Nationals; Ryan would probably be the National Champion!


What will this year’s promo card be? Coniferous forest?

All I can say is that I’m getting so pumped just thinking about Worlds and getting to see all my friends, and I can’t wait to see how the tournament plays out. I’m hoping to do well and run back my performance from last year with at least a Top 32 performance, but hopefully better! It’s going to be really hard to top last year’s Worlds experience simply because of how amazing it was, but I know I’ll try to make it happen.

I even got to meet Kanye West and Kim Kardashian on the plane to Worlds last year! Alright… maybe I stalked them a little bit, but I did get to sit 3 seats behind them on the plane!

This year I get to fly out to Vancouver with one of my best friends from Pokémon, Azul Griego, and stay with our very own Adam Capriola! So that’s a start to what is going to be another epic Worlds experience. I can’t wait! I hope this article helped you prepare for the Grinder or Worlds if you’re going. Maybe it even helped persuade you into going to Worlds!

It’s an incredibly awkward time to write at the moment because of the point we are at in the season. Some of you reading this might not be going to Worlds, so this information is irrelevant to you. On the other hand it’s hard to write about next format because we don’t know what rotation will be yet. (We’re waiting, TPCi…)

EDITOR’S NOTE: While editing this article, the rotation was announced to be NXD-On.

Either way I hope you enjoyed reading my article and be sure to let me know what you think in the forum. I’m always looking to improve my articles and your feedback really does help. See you all after Worlds and good luck if you’re going!

Peace out,

Raymond Cipoletti

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