Our 2012-2013 season has now officially come to a close. This has been an unforgettable year for me for so many wonderful reasons and I hope that you all can say the same. This season has brought us many champions – both new winners and returning victors. But before we put the 2012-2013 season into the history books for good, let’s discuss how a few of this past weekend’s top players became the very best like no one ever was.
I realize that this style of article will not be as pertinent to most readers as my Nationals recap, but I feel like everyone can benefit from this information for future deck building.
Table of Contents
- Takuya Yoneda – Darkrai EX/Garbodor
- Johnny Rabus – Plasma
- Jason Klaczynski – Darkrai EX/Sableye
- Zach Bivens – Accelgor/Mewtwo EX/Garbodor
- Zach’s Worlds Report
- Closing Thoughts on Worlds 2013
Takuya Yoneda – Darkrai EX/Garbodor
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 37
Energy – 11
Yoneda made a lot of interesting decisions regarding his deck list, such as the decision to play only one Sableye. Another interesting choice he made was only playing 12 Supporter cards alongside a single Tropical Beach and Computer Search. I would not feel comfortable piloting a list with such few consistency cards, but it is hard to argue with the deck given the tremendous success Takuya Yoneda had.
It was a lot of fun to see Yoneda perform so well this weekend, and I was very sad to see him be eliminated in the top 8 when he just needed one more win to earn a paid trip for next year. The Japanese Worlds invitation structure is incredibly difficult. I would not want to play in a country where legendary players such Yamato, Yuta, and Yoneda regularly miss out on earning their invitation and are forced to make their way through the Last Chance Qualifier.
Johnny Rabus – Plasma
Pokémon – 11
Trainers – 35
Energy – 14
Johnny Rabus had an incredible run this weekend with a very unique Plasma list. The first thought in my mind when Johnny was telling me about his 3 Frozen City, 3 Switch, and 2 Max Potion this weekend was how did he fit all of these cards into his list?
The first cards that you will probably notice are missing from his list are the infamous LaserBank combo. After thinking about these choices they do seem pretty powerful to me. Of course the loss of Hypnotoxic Laser hurts Plasma’s Darkrai matchup, but the addition of Frozen City takes the Blastoise matchup into very favorable territory.
Think about this situation. You just replaced a Tropical Beach with one of your Frozen Cities. Your opponent needs to power up the Black Kyurem EX that they just placed on their bench in order to Knock Out your active Pokémon. When they do this their Black Kyurem EX takes 80 damage. This essentially lets us 1HKO the Blastoise player’s Pokémon.
I would imagine that Johnny would nearly always win the Stadium war as Blastoise decks typical play three Tropical Beaches in their decks, playing the first down on their first turn of the game.
Overall I love Johnny’s Worlds deck and could not be happier to see a friend place 6th in his first ever World Championship.
Jason Klaczynski – Darkrai EX/Sableye
Pokémon – 10
Trainers – 40
Energy – 10
In my post-Nationals article I mentioned that I hoped Jason Klaczynski would earn his Worlds invite through the grinder this year. Jason not only grinded in but became our first three-time TCG World Champion when no one else has even won two.
Once again I am surprised by Jason’s choice to include only 13 outs to Supporter cards. With three Sableye he has many opportunities to retrieve Random Receivers and Bicycles from his discard, but I would hate to miss a turn of using Night Spear due to having to use Junk Hunt to replace a dead hand.
Jason’s first place Worlds deck is very similar to the Darkrai EX/Sableye list that he used throughout Cities. His list at that point of the season featured just nine Supporters (4 Juniper, 4 N, 1 Bianca) with four Random Receivers instead of the more common approaches with Skylas and a higher Bianca count.
Jason took a different approach from nearly every other Darkrai EX player in attendance at the World Championship this year. Jason realized that Absol did not offer much to the deck. Attacking with Darkrai is desired in nearly every situation because of the 30 damage that it grants you to one of your opponent’s bench Pokémon. That 30 bench damage is invaluable against Plasma decks as it sets you up for a later turn where you will be able to Knock Out two EX Pokémon at the same time taking 4 Prizes.
Zach Bivens – Accelgor/Mewtwo EX/Garbodor
Pokémon – 19
Trainers – 37
Energy – 4
This is the deck that I used for the 2013 Pokémon World Championships. If you find this list of seemingly random Pokémon confusing then please allow me to explain. Shortly after Nationals I opened up a Word document and started listing the weaknesses of every deck; I would go into great detail about what would usually prevent a deck from succeeding.
When I thought about the reasons behind Gothitelle/Accelgor’s shortcomings, Keldeo-EX would always be at the top of the list. Keldeo-EX seemed to be the final obstacle that Accelgor needed to overcome for a strong showing at Worlds this year, so I searched for a hard counter to the water pony. The answer I was searching for came in the form of Garbodor.
Removing Gothitelle from the deck for a couple of trash bags was not the perfect solution because now I was opened up to another problem; Switch. Fortunately for me since the release of Float Stone the use of Switch has dropped off dramatically. Not only do decks have a new reliance on Float Stone, but decks such as Darkrai and Blastoise never used Switch to begin with.
My new deck had an auto-win against Blastoise, RayEels, and Hydreigon (which Denmark players favored!). I also had a very strong matchup against any Darkrai deck since they could never get out of paralyzation except for the one turn of using Tool Scrapper.
If they used Junk Hunt for Tool Scrapper then I would put down another Float Stone and knockout their Sableye with Deck and Cover. It would take three Junk Hunts to run me out of Tools. That is no easy feat to accomplish, especially when considering the fact that a Sableye will usually be the first Prize taken against a Darkrai deck.
The one matchup that my deck struggled with was Plasma. In testing I could easily handle list that ran little to no Switches such as our 2nd Place Masters finisher whose deck featured zero Switch. However when a Plasma list featured 2+ Switch alongside of a Scramble Switch my chances of winning started to drastically decrease.
Because of the tough matchup that I would theoretically have against certain Plasma players this was the first draft that I originally came up with for my Worlds deck.
Accelgor/Garbodor V. 1.0
Pokémon – 20
Trainers – 31
Energy – 9
The deck always did well but never seemed to be able to finish out games because of the severe lack of power that Cobalion presented. So I dismantled this deck and moved on to a Darkrai EX/Zoroark BLW deck that I spent all of my testing time for Worlds working on.
Darkrai’s main weakness to overcome for Worlds was its poor matchup against Blastoise. Zoroark helped immensely because I was able to send a Black Ballista right back their way with Foul Play.
Just three days before Worlds I started losing faith in my Darkrai/Zoroark deck. My Blastoise matchup was so much better but I began losing more and more to Plasma and mirror matches. Ultimately Zoroark seemed to take up too much deck space and with it being a Stage 1 it took away consistency from the previously all Basic deck.
In a slight panic at the airport in Chicago I began to look back through my notes on failed deck attempts from post Nationals. After sifting through countless Flareon decks (I wanted to play Flareon so darn badly!) I came across my Accelgor/Cobalion-EX/Garbodor deck. I decided I would try the deck one last time, so I edited the list quite a bit, removing the Cobalion-EX and Metals for attackers that could be facilitated by Double Colorless and the testing began.
Mewtwo EX provided the deck with the offensive staying power that it was missing throughout some games. The drawback of course was that I couldn’t safely use Mewtwo EX as an attacker against Plasma decks until very late in the game. If I did they would simply fire back with a Helix Force attack from Deoxys-EX.
My single copy of Virbank City Gym also proved to be invaluable. Virbank turned many 2HKOs into 1HKOs after poison damage in between both players turns as well as turning many 3HKOs into 2HKOs.
Four Enhanched Hammers slowed down Plasma decks just enough to let me pull out wins by removing key Blend and Prism Energies from their field.
Three Audinos made their way into my deck because I was scared of my Gothitelle matchup. In testing against Gothitelle I would get Garbodor online early granting me the use of Items. Eventually the Gothitelle player would use Tool Scrapper to stop Garbotoxin for the remainder of the game. Once my Garbodor was shut down I would use Audino to continue attacking, giving me a positive matchup against Gothitelle/Accelgor.
It didn’t take long to reach my final list and feel very comfortable with it. I had two days left for testing which showed me just how great of a matchup I had with everything that wasn’t a Plasma deck loaded with Switches. The morning of Worlds came and I filled out my deck list with much confidence.
Zach’s Worlds Report
Something pretty funny actually happened to me that I am thankful never actually mattered in testing or in the main event. I accidently left one of my boxes of cards back at my house in the US which had the Trubbishes I needed for my deck. Since I didn’t have any Trubbish DRX I was forced to use Trubbishes that I could never attack with. I didn’t want to use any Garbage Collection Trubbish because I feared being donked by a Deoxys-EX due to the 60 hit points.
Round 1 – Plasma w/ Lugia EX
I get an explosive start taking a very commanding lead. I have taken 2 Prizes, my Hammers have removed all but a single Energy from my opponent’s field, and he has a paralyzed Thundurus EX that will be Knocked Out at the end of his turn due to poison. The only Pokémon on my field with any damage was one of my two Garbodors that took 30 from an earlier Frost Spear and my opponent had not been able to take a Prize yet.
At this point I had honestly already thought that I would win this game without much trouble. This is where everything started to fall apart. My opponent switched his Thundurus to the bench and N’d me to four cards. Normally this would only be a minor annoyance, but I never saw another Supporter or Bicycle for the remainder of this game. I sat in agony for what seemed like eternity until my opponent had eventually Knocked Out all of my green and purple guys.
I have never been more frustrated with a game of Pokémon in my life than I was in my first round of the 2013 World Championships. My deck was performing just as expected and then an N to four completely shut me down.
Round 2 – Darkrai EX/Absol/Sableye
In round two I am relieved to play against a much easier matchup for my deck. I manage to win this game without much trouble at all.
I have played in tournaments with Nelson plenty of times before and have always had a pleasant experience. Nelson wins the opening coin flip and gets a fast start against my slow set up. By the time I am able to attack Nelson has availability to his Switches and Scramble Switch. Nelson was able to handle my deck well, not letting me take a single Prize card.
So I managed to start out Worlds with a discouraging 1-2 record. I knew that I had to win my last 5 games to make it into top cut.
Round 4 – Blastoise
Seeing my opponent flip over a Keldeo-EX and Squirtle as the game began left me feeling ecstatic. This game was entirely one-sided as he was only able to attack once this game because of the disruption of Garbotoxin paired with Deck and Cover.
Round 5 – Kenny Brittan w/ Blastoise
This game went great for me. I get to go first, bench two Trubbishes with Float Stones and get two Shelmets on the field. My turn two Garbodor stops Kenny from ever taking a Prize. Kenny compliments me on my deck, we wish each other good luck in future rounds and then wait for the next rounds pairings to be posted.
Round 6 – 2012 Top 4 Worlds Senior w/ Blastoise
This game plays out nothing like the previous two rounds. I go second but still get out Garbodor before my opponent gets Blastoise on the field. Unfortunately that was the only thing that I had going for me. I pass the for the next five turns because I could not get any Double Colorless Energies into my hand. On my seventh turn I finally start attacking and am able to come back at a decent pace.
Time was called on one of my future turns when I had 3 Prizes left to my opponent’s four. His bench consist of a Keldeo-EX with two Water Energies, a Black Kyurem EX with three Energies, and two Blastoise. My opponent has already used his Tool Scrapper as well as his Dowsing Machine. If I Knock Out his active Keldeo with my Mewtwo then he would be able to tie the game up with a Black Ballista forcing sudden death. I had three Shelmets in the discard pile meaning that he would get off at least one more attack before I would be able to Knock Out his Black Kyurem EX.
I think over all of my options and realize that my best chance of locking up the victory would be to Catcher up one of his Blastoise and make sure to not knock it out. I do this and he concedes as it would take him four turns to either attack or retreat with Blastoise active.
Round 7 – Plasma w/ Lugia EX
This game comes down to the wire. He goes first and I believe that he gets 60 damage on my active Trubbish with a Helix Force attack. THANK YOU 70 HP! After a very long drawn out game I just barely walk away as the victor.
I have successfully battled back from a 1-2 start. Only one more win stands between me and a 6-2 record good enough for top cut.
Round 8 – Plasma w/ Lugia EX
My opening hand has 2 Basics, an Audino and a Shelmet. I elect to start with Audino active and Shelmet on my bench to prevent any chance of a first turn loss.
I have a Shelmet prized and my opponent Knocked Out two early in the game. Because of this I have no other option but to N my opponent to two cards and be aggressive with Mewtwo EX. He only has one Plasma Energy and two Prisms left. The only Pokémon with Energy on his field is an active Lugia with two Plasma, and one DCE. His Lugia had just taken 120 damage from my X Ball.
He draws and can only use a Colress Machine to his Deoxys-EX and attack with Lugia for 120. I have a 2nd DCE in my hand as well as a Pokémon Catcher. This gave me the option to either Knock Out his active Lugia leaving him with only one chance to win the game; draw into a Prism Energy on his next turn. Or I could have Catchered up the Deoxys, attached another DCE and knocked it out. This would have left him with more outs to win as any Energy would allow his Lugia to knock me out.
I X Ball his Lugia, preparing for a win on my next turn. He draws and ecstatically shows me that he top-decked the Prism Energy he needed.
Closing Thoughts on Worlds 2013
I would like to point out a couple of interesting situations that I have noticed.
History repeated itself this year at Worlds. Last year Vileplume/Chandelure/Accelgor performed exceptionally well at US Nationals but had very little success at the 2012 World Championship.
This year we saw the same trend with Gothitelle/Accelgor claiming many top spots at US Nationals but not living up to the hype at the 2013 World Championship.
Another point to note is Jason Klaczynski’s deck choice. Last year Jason Piloted a Darkrai EX/Smeargle deck. His deck choice had none of the standard “techs” such as Mewtwo EX or Shaymin. His list was completely focused on achieving the same fast start in every single game that he played.
Again this year Jason chose to go with a Darkrai deck and remove the excess standard tech Pokémon such as Absol. Both years Jason finished with an X-2 record.
Why exactly am I telling you this? Maybe this is all just a coincidence, however I feel that there may be at least some value in keeping this information in mind for next year’s World Championship. Complicated, naturally inconsistent decks have not performed well in our recent speedy Worlds formats, and many top players have chosen to pilot the simplest of lists.
When building my decks for the 2013-2014 format I will be keeping in mind that Jason always finds ways to make his list as simple as possible and I will remember how Johnny Rabus did what I had never seen anyone else do by removing what we all considered to be staple cards from his Plasma deck and in turn was rewarded with a 6th place finish.
This was my second time playing at the World Championships. Although I finished with a disappointing 5-3 record, I had a great time and am thankful for all of the great people that I met. It is frustrating that I played against four Plasma decks while others such as Jason Klaczynski said that they didn’t face any Plasma decks in the Swiss rounds. But If I was able to go back and start the event over again I would absolutely play the same deck. With that being said, after seeing how few Gothitelle/Accelgor decks were played I would replace my Audinos with more useful cards.
Initially I was not planning to attend many Pokémon events in the coming year as I wanted to focus on other things as well as save on the huge cost that comes along with attending the World Championships every year. However after hearing the news about 2014 Worlds taking place in Washington D.C., I am more excited than ever to attempt to earn an invitation to play in Worlds. D.C. is only a 5 hour drive from my area!
This is an exciting time in the Pokémon world. Champions have just been crowned, a new set has been released, and our new season is rapidly approaching. Good luck to everyone in the up and coming Pokémon season. I am excited to see what this year holds in store for all of us here at SixPrizes!
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