A Champion Shall Be Crowned

The SabelCenter Top 8, a Look at Nationals Fantasy Drafts, and Last-Minute Deck Choices

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The National Championships for the United States are coming up this weekend and it is very clear that every Pokémon player can agree on one thing: no one is confident in their deck choice to take home the gold. It seems every person that I’ve talked to has shown a clear disdain for their deck because of an unpatchable bad matchup.

This format is definitely hard to figure out, but results from other National Championships have shown a resounding success for Yveltal-EX. Different Yveltal variants have made the most top 8s for foreign Nationals by a large margin. This overpowered card has lead to a significant rise in Raichu XY, which has lead to Virizion/Genesect/Raichu being the second most popular deck for these Nationals’ top cuts. Plasma will always be a strong contender in this format based on its overall speed and power, but Pyroar XY becomes a very large threat to Plasma with every one of their normal attackers being a Basic Pokémon.

With all of the anticipation building up and deck choices becoming more and more difficult, it becomes hard to realize that Pokémon is a game that we all play to have fun. Take a second to realize that underperforming at a tournament, which could possibly have over 1,000 players in the Masters Division this year, is perfectly understandable. Try not to stress so much and give yourself any added pressure. Nationals is the most fun tournament of the year and is a time to see all of your friends from around the country for a weekend of great times.

Remember to enjoy the weekend, seeing everybody that you have met through this game, and playing in the National Championship. It’s better to make sure this weekend is spent seeing friends and making memories that will last forever, instead of setting overly high expectations of leaving as nothing less than champion.

SabelCenter Top 8

As I’ve stated in my previous article, one of the main problems that I find with how information is communicated over the internet would be the handling of praise for creativity and consistency. The only results that seem to be noticed would be the finishes that have a “1st place” trophy next to them. This section is made to highlight my top 8 performances or accomplishments of late that most people may not have heard about.

With numerous Nationals results coming in from around the world, there have been many great achievements that may have gone unnoticed in the Pokémon community. Players have poured their hearts and souls into their respective National Championships, which has either lead to great victories or smoldering defeats. Let’s start the countdown at number 8:

8. Wolfgang K. Causes a “Toppling Wind” at Austrian Nationals

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A deck out is still a victory condition!

Although this National Championship may not have been the main focus of the Pokémon community, a very unique accomplishment deserved to be recognized from this event. A very strange deck made it to the top 8-of this tournament and almost managed to take home a big win. This deck was none other than Aggron DRX/Sigilyph LTR/Sableye DEX!

Wolfgang actually managed to set up this crazy strategy through multiple rounds and used Aggron’s “Toppling Wind” ability to discard 3 cards from his opponent’s deck whenever an Aggron was played down on the field. Through the use of Devolution Spray and Sableye using Junk Hunt, he was able to discard all of the cards from his opponent’s deck until they could no longer draw any cards and he was declared the winner.

Even though Wolfgang didn’t take home a National Championship with this unusual combination, he definitely deserves some credit for actually using this deck in his Nationals.

7. David Jensen and His Weasels, and Rabbits, and Eggs! Oh My!

Another notable performance with a crazy deck would be from the National Championships in Norway. David Jensen is a very well-known player that has been recognized for his creative deck choices. Piloting this Weavile PLF/Lopunny FLF/Exeggcute PLF deck all the way to a top 8 finish is definitely a feat to be marveled at.

Through the use of Exeggcute, with its Ability to return to a player’s hand from the discard pile, and Lopunny, with its Ability to return to a player’s hand while in the field of play, David was able to discard many Pokémon from his hand and KO anything that stood in his way with a “Vilify” from Weavile.

This combination may have been seen before, with Weavile/Exeggcute being used in tournament play earlier this year, but the addition of Lopunny in this deck created quite a bit of commotion from the Pokémon community.

6. Nelson Chua Secures a Worlds Invitation

Nelson is an extremely consistent player that plays out of Singapore. He has become very well known for consistent finishes and performing well at the National Championships in Singapore. Not only does Nelson play well in his home country, but he also travels over to the United States and has had many top placings at the tournaments he attends.

Nelson managed to pilot his Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX/Raichu XY deck all the way to a 4th place finish before being stopped by Jeremy Leong and his Flygon deck. Although he certainly would have loved to make it to the finals of this well-known National Championship, I’m sure Nelson will be just fine with this 4th place finish bringing him his invitation to the Pokémon World Championships.

5. Jeremy Leong is Whipping Up a Sandstorm

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Jeremy is becoming more well known around the world for his consistent finishes and strange deck choices. Jeremy managed to capture another 2nd place finish at his National Championships in Singapore, but with a very strange deck that people didn’t seem to realize existed. The deck that Jeremy played revolved around using Flygon BCR and Dusknoir BCR to accumulate and spread damage on the opponent’s field, while also slowing down the opponent through the use of Accelgor DEX and its “Deck and Cover.”

This deck does take a very long time to set up the strategy, but through the use of many Tropical Beach and Supporter cards, Jeremy was able to proficiently put damage and pressure on his opponent’s field. Even though he got another 2nd place finish and didn’t win his National Championship, Jeremy chose a great deck to play and probably had a lot of fun becoming a Nationals runner-up.

4. Why So Many Cows at French Nationals?

Before French Nationals happened, I’m sure that no one would have expected these results from their top 8. Not one, not two, but THREE Miltank decks made it into the top 8 of the French National Championship. Jeremy A. piloted his Miltank FLF/Greninja XY deck to a 2nd place finish, along with also being the only undefeated player in the Swiss rounds. The other two decks that made the cut at this Nationals were Empoleon DEX/Miltank FLF and were played by Cyrille L. and Benjamin P.

None of these players actually won the event, which was inevitably won by a Yveltal/Darkrai/Garbodor deck, but all of them made it very far with decks that most Americans wouldn’t consider to be top tier. This is certainly not an achievement that should just be brushed away.

3. Jennifer Wilson Becomes Australian National Champion

The Australian National Championships just happened very recently and received little to no coverage online. [Editor’s Note: Ace Trainer Australia provided pretty commendable coverage, though it may have gone unnoticed.] Although the news may have been reported from other various sources not on Virbank City (the Facebook Group), I actually didn’t find out about this National Championship until a friend posted the results that he found.

There were a good amount of players at this National Championship and Jennifer deserves all the credit in the world for taking her Darkrai/Garbodor deck through the tournament to a 1st place finish. Although I’m unsure if she played Yveltal-EX, Jennifer chose a very consistent deck choice and apparently made a good decision for her metagame. Every National Champion deserves to be recognized for their hard work and preparation, which is exactly why Jennifer made it into this edition of the SabelCenter Top 8.

2. And the Commentators for This Year’s US National and World Championships Are…

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“And there goes the battle!”

The wait is finally over and the commentators have been announced! After receiving tons of submissions and videos from players and Pokémon admirers around the world, everyone was very skeptical of who was going to get the jobs. The commentating was great last year, but it seemed like there was a very large community member that was deserving of a shot this year. Kyle “Pooka” Sucevich was finally announced as a commentator for the Trading Card Game US National and World Championships this year. He definitely earned the spot from his huge role in developing the game of Pokémon for the community through The Top Cut.

Also coming back to commentate again is Josh “JWittz” Wittenkeller, a celebrity of the Pokémon community that has been on the TV program “King of the Nerds” for his large following on YouTube. Josh is a fantastic commentator and is very used to being in front of a camera from all the YouTube videos that he has put out over the years.

It looks like Josue “Crimz” Rojano will be back again this year as well, which could lead to some great quality joking and insight. Josue is another member of The Top Cut that has been a great part of helping this community grow over the years.

The final commentator for the Trading Card Game US National and World Championships this year is Dylan “ExoByte” Mayo. Dylan is an employee of the Pokémon Company International and will certainly help to bring experience to this commentating crew since he was the commentator for last year.

1. Edward Kuang Strikes Canadian Gold

The winner of the Canadian National Championships has been decided and Edward Kuang is walking away with the trophy. Edward is an extremely skilled player from Canada that was also National Champion in 2011. It is very clear that he understands the Canadian metagame and has proven to be a lethal force at the National Championships.

Although this tournament will not be anywhere near the numbers for the US National Championships, it will definitely be a great indicator of how decks may perform for US Nationals. Edward managed to take out veteran players like Zachary Lesage, Simon Luong, and Ricky Gao on his way to victory with his Yveltal/Darkrai deck that incorporated Crushing Hammers. Be sure to congratulate Edward on his big win at the Canadian National Championships!

And that will end this edition of “SabelCenter Top 8.” Be sure to tune in for my next article and see the next top 8 recent accomplishments that deserve some credit. If there is anything that I missed or an achievement that has gone unrecognized and deserves to be on #SCtop8, be sure to let me know so i can add them to a future list. Everybody deserves credit for their accomplishments in this game, regardless of their placings in tournaments.

US Nationals Fantasy Drafts

One of my favorite things about US Nationals is the fantasy drafts. I love giving players credit that they deserve for having consistent seasons and earning byes at Nationals. It’s so fun to watch the thought processes from each person in the draft while they make their picks and it’s never a bad time to watch people goof off while giving compliments to their friends in the community.

I’ve decided that I’m going to go over the two fantasy drafts from the two influential groups of players in our community, which are The Top Cut and On The Bubble. These drafts were done in a normal fashion where players were chosen and eliminated in order. Each draft was also a snake draft, in which the player with the last choice gets to pick immediately after to help even out the unfairness of choosing last.

After the players have been picked and each team has been formed, points are given out for final placings of each player at the US National Championship. Whichever team has the most points is determined as the winner, so choosing consistent players that will perform well is crucial to doing well at these drafts.

The Top Cut’s Fantasy Draft

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The Top Cut finally decided to do a US Nationals fantasy draft a couple of days ago on their stream. This very funny and influential group in the Pokémon community did a fantasy draft last year and decided that it would be well worth the time to do another. The initial draft order was chosen and it looked as though Pramawat would have the same advantage that he had last year by winning the 1st overall pick. Pram decided to change his team name from last year and go with a name that represented his country during the World Cup for soccer, which would be “Team ‘MURICA.”

The second overall pick would go to Kyle “Pooka” Sucevich, who actually came very close to last place in last year’s draft. Hoping for a better season of redemption, Kyle kept with the same name from last year and started up the “Primetime Pookas” again. The overall last place from the draft of 2013 was Drew Holton and his team “The Nature Boys.” Keeping the same name as last year, they would have the 3rd pick and would be looking for a much better season with a more consistent team for the 2014 draft.

With the last pick of this 4-person draft, Josue “Crimz” Rojano would try to repeat fantasy draft history and become the draft champion for two years in a row. Getting the last overall pick is certainly not a good start to the campaign for a repeat championship, but Josue will still have the team to beat as the reigning champions.

Michael Pramawat’s “Team ‘MURICA”

1st Round: Ryan Sabelhaus (2 Byes)
2nd Round: Jose Marrero (2 Byes)
3rd Round: Israel Sosa (2 Byes)
4th Round: Jay Hornung (1 Bye)
5th Round: Paul Johnston (1 Bye)
6th Round: Chris Murray (1 Bye)
7th Round: Dean Nezam (1 Bye)
8th Round: Ross Cawthon

Pramawat came in second place last year for the US Nationals fantasy draft and is definitely looking for a team that will carry him to the gold this year. Pram decided to choose two 3-time Regional Champions by choosing Ryan Sabelhaus and Israel Sosa, along with one of the best Nationals performers of all time in Jay Hornung. [Editor’s Note: Jay isn’t attending Nationals this year.]

This team is also looking very fierce with the addition of Jose Marrero, who was one of the first players to earn their invitation to the World Championships by getting over 500 Championship Points. Pramawat decided to go with Paul Johnston out of Washington for his 5th round pick, which is just another player that’s earned their invitation to Worlds at 530 Championship Points.

As the players began to dwindle down and the consistent players with byes decreased, Pram went with the players closest to his area that have won multiple State Championships each by choosing Chris Murray and Dean Nezam. For the last pick on his team, Pramawat somehow managed to pick one of the greatest Pokémon players in the game with Ross Cawthon. A very good addition to this powerhouse team of players, Ross has gotten 2nd place at the World Championships twice and shouldn’t be overlooked for Team ‘MURICA.

Just as the US Men’s National Team in the World Cup of 2014, Team ‘MURICA is hoping to have all their players move into the knockout round of top 8. [Editor’s Note: The USMNT lost to Belgium yesterday and was knocked out of the tournament. Things are not looking good for Pram.]

Kyle “Pooka” Sucevich’s “Primetime Pookas”

1st Round: Dustin Zimmerman (2 Byes)
2nd Round: Jeremy Jallen (2 Byes)
3rd Round: Kevin Baxter (2 Byes)
4th Round: Nikolas Campbell (2 Byes)
5th Round: Yoshi Tate (1 Bye)
6th Round: Jason Klaczynski
7th Round: Ray Cipoletti
8th Round: Jando Luna

Pooka is looking to have a better run than last year’s US fantasy draft out of his team. He decided to start off strong with arguably one of the best players in the game right now, Dustin Zimmerman. Earning his invitation to the World Championships two times over at 1,057 Championship Points, Dustin also has 2 byes to help boost his performance at Nationals. Jeremy Jallen, Kevin Baxter, and Nikolas Campbell soon joined the “Primetime Pookas” to give them a strong foundation of players with 2 byes.

With 4 players that have all earned their invitation to Worlds and that have shown consistent play in big tournaments, Pooka decided to choose a rogue player from his area in Yoshi Tate. Yoshi is known for his random deck choices with tech cards for everything, but Pooka has plenty of experience against Yoshi and knows what he is doing with this pick.

Jason Klaczynski made a 6th round appearance and is looking to make a big impact on the National scale for the first time, even though he has made immense impacts on the global level at Worlds. Some may wonder if this was an easier choice than it should be from Jason’s past success, but having byes at Nationals can play a big role in success.

Pooka rounded off the team with Ray Cipoletti and Jando Luna, which shows that some players don’t need byes to be chosen on draft day. Ray and Jando have both proven themselves to be great players with consistent results. The “Primetime Pookas” are certainly not looking for a repeat performance of last year with this strong team, but only time will tell whether Pooka will be commentating over his own team’s players in the finals of Nationals.

Drew Holton’s “The Nature Boys”

1st Round: Kyle Sabelhaus (2 Byes)
2nd Round: Frank Diaz (2 Byes)
3rd Round: Justin Sanchez (2 Byes)
4th Round: Michael Pramawat (2 Byes)
5th Round: Ben Potter (2 Byes)
6th Round: Evan Baker (2 Byes)
7th Round: Dylan Lefavour (1 Bye)
8th Round: Drew Holton

“The Nature Boys” are back again to prove that last year was just a fluke. Drew was ready to show everyone that his team this year will take home the gold and won’t even be close to last place, which was very evident from his strong choices in this year’s draft.

His first 6 picks all had two byes, which is an unbelievable start to a fantasy team. Not only do all of the first 6 round players have two byes, but they are all very skilled players that have proven themselves to be strong contenders for a top 8 at US Nationals. Frank Diaz, Michael Pramawat, and Ben Potter are all Regional Champions that have gone through large fields of players to earn the gold, while Kyle Sabelhaus, Justin Sanchez, and Evan Baker all came in 2nd place at a Regional Championship to earn the two byes. All 6 of these players will prove to be a strong foundation for “The Nature Boys” this year.

Dylan Lefavour is going to be the first player without 2 byes to be chosen, but is still a past World Champion! The last pick of his team was none other than himself. It seems as though Drew couldn’t help but have confidence in himself this year, which could prove to be a blunder if he isn’t prepared for this tournament. Everyone just needs to remember that Drew has already gotten 2nd place at Nationals once before, so I wouldn’t consider this pick too random.

Out of my personal opinion, this seems like the strongest team in the draft for this year.

Josue “Crimz” Rojano’s “Team Crimmilicious Strikes Back”

1st Round: Chris Nguyen (2 Byes)
2nd Round: Dylan Bryan
3rd Round: Sam Chen (2 Byes)
4th Round: Henry Prior (1 Bye)
5th Round: Jacob Van Wagner (2 Byes)
6th Round: Brit Pybas (1 Bye)
7th Round: Tom Dolezal
8th Round: Joe Baka

This is the team to beat for this year. It may not be the best looking team in comparison to others, but Josue’s team is the reigning champions for the 2013 US Nationals fantasy draft. Instead of going with the same players that got him his win last year, Josue decided to go with Chris Nguyen as his first round pick. Chris is one of the players with 2 byes that does not have an invite to Worlds yet; definitely a strong pick to go with a player that will be very hungry for a good performance.

Dylan Bryan is an extremely strong pick coming out of the 2nd round and is a threat to other fantasy teams regardless of how many byes he has. Crimz followed up the next couple of rounds by choosing Regional champions Sam Chen and Jacob Van Wagner, along with the extremely talented 2-time State champion of this year, Henry Prior. Getting 3 big tournament winners in these rounds was a strong mid-draft showing from Josue’s team, which was then followed by another State Champion in Brit Pybas.

Josue decided to finish his team off with quite possibly the strongest performer at large tournaments in the game, Tom Dolezal. Although he doesn’t really play in many tournaments throughout the season, Tom always has a strong showing in the large tournaments like Nationals and Worlds. Joe Baka was the final pick for “Team Crimmilicious Strikes Back,” which helps to round off this team on another consistent player out of Illinois.

Only time will tell whether Crimz can strike fantasy gold for a second consecutive year, but this team will certainly have a strong showing at US Nationals.

On The Bubble’s Fantasy Draft


Another fantasy draft that happened recently was from another influential group in Pokémon, which is On The Bubble. They are known for their funny commentary, hilarious videos and stream shows that they post to YouTube, and video coverage of tournaments around the country.

This draft was another normal snake-elimination style draft with 10 participants. With 60 total players from this draft, we’ll just go over some major choices from each player and discuss some reasoning behind their picks. Some of these players have already been reviewed in the previous draft, so a short description of major choices should suffice. The first overall pick of this draft went to Henry Prior, so let’s just get right into the teams.

Henry Prior’s Team

1st Round: Ryan Sabelhaus (2 Byes)
2nd Round: Jason Klaczynski
3rd Round: Paul Johnston (1 Bye)
4th Round: Dean Nezam (1 Bye)
5th Round: Jack Dockendorf (1 Bye)
6th Round: Joshua Marking

Definitely strong choices out of Henry. He seemed to be going with people he knows the best and that have previous experience performing well in big tournaments. Dean Nezam has had many strong performances in both the Seniors Division and the Masters Division. Jason Klaczynski is another strong choice, but Henry is instilling a lot of faith in a player that hasn’t had an extremely strong performance at Nationals yet.

Harrison Leven’s Team

1st Round: Harrison Leven
2nd Round: Daniel Lopez
3rd Round: Christopher Murray (1 Bye)
4th Round: Dylan Dreyer
5th Round: Jack Iler
6th Round: Ashon Haswell

Harrison definitely didn’t care about byes and just chose players that he had faith in. Choosing himself in the first round was definitely a risky choice, but he must have a lot of faith in his Nationals preparation. Christopher Murray is another strong choice that performed very well at State Championships and made top 4 at Nationals two years ago. Ashon Haswell also has a top 8 at Nationals under his belt from two years ago, which only helps to strengthen Harrison’s team with experience at this tournament.

Isaiah Middleton’s Team

1st Round: Kyle Sabelhaus (2 Byes)
2nd Round: Sam Chen (2 Byes)
3rd Round: Brandon Jones (1 Bye)
4th Round: Michael Pramawat (2 Byes)
5th Round: Nicholena Moon
6th Round: Tyler Ninomura

Kyle Sabelhaus is definitely a strong choice out of the first round, along with Regional Champion Sam Chen following him in the second round. Michael Pramawat is another Regional Champion that went in the 4th round of this draft to Isaiah. Nicholena Moon will also have a strong showing if she keeps up with her consistent results.

Dustin Zimmerman’s Team

1st Round: Brit Pybas (1 Bye)
2nd Round: Henry Prior (1 Bye)
3rd Round: Benjamin Potter (2 Byes)
4th Round: Kenton Anderson (1 Bye)
5th Round: Nik Campbell (2 Byes)
6th Round: Chris Derocher

Brit Pybas and Henry Prior have both proven themselves to be strong competitive players in recent tournaments. These first two rounds will prove to be a strong backbone for Dustin’s team. Benjamin Potter and Nik Campbell are two very strong choices with 2 byes each. Dustin definitely chose experienced players with Nationals byes for his team, which is a very good strategy for these drafts.

Jeremy Jallen’s Team

1st Round: Dustin Zimmerman (2 Byes)
2nd Round: Dylan Lefavour (1 Bye)
3rd Round: Christopher Nguyen (2 Byes)
4th Round: Jason Martinez (2 Byes)
5th Round: Mark Garcia
6th Round: Drew Bennettkennett

Dustin Zimmerman is one of the strongest players in the community today, which will probably result in points for Jeremy’s team. Following that first round pick with a previous World Champion and two more players with 2 byes could prove to be a good combination as well. Chris Nguyen and Jason Martinez both have very good shots at getting points out of Nationals with their byes, so be sure to keep an eye on this team.

Christopher Murray’s Team

1st Round: Michael Skoran (1 Bye)
2nd Round: Johnny Rabus
3rd Round: Jon Bristow
4th Round: Jimmy Pendarvis
5th Round: Angel Miranda
6th Round: Daniel Altavilla (2 Byes)

Christopher’s team certainly didn’t care about byes either, but chose players that are around his area that he has seen show consistent results. Michael Skoran is a very good player that could have a strong showing at US Nationals, along with Johnny Rabus and Jon Bristow. Although Angel Miranda plays VGC competitively, he is another player to watch out for at Nationals.

Brandon Smiley’s Team

1st Round: Israel Sosa (2 Byes)
2nd Round: Jeremy Jallen (2 Byes)
3rd Round: Kian Amini (2 Byes)
4th Round: Kevin Baxter (2 Byes)
5th Round: Brandon Smiley (2 Byes)
6th Round: Long Bui (2 Byes)

This definitely seems to be one of the strongest teams in the draft. All players have 2 byes and have all done very well at Regional Championships. Regionals are a great indicator of performance at large-scale tournaments, which should be shown in the results after Nationals. This team will be the team to watch out for.

Kevin Baxter’s Team

1st Round: Jose Marrero (2 Byes)
2nd Round: Frank Diaz (2 Byes)
3rd Round: Justin Sanchez (2 Byes)
4th Round: Evan Baker (2 Byes)
5th Round: J.W. Kriewall (2 Byes)
6th Round: Alex Hill (1 Bye)

Another very strong team from Kevin Baxter. Definitely one of the best draft teams out of this year for On The Bubble. Kevin chose many players with 2 byes each, along with Alex Hill, who is another very consistent player out of Michigan. Look for this team to come out with a lot of points after the dust settles.

Brandon Jones’ Team

1st Round: Karl Kitchin
2nd Round: Jay Hornung (1 Bye)
3rd Round: Joe Sanchez
4th Round: Michael Diaz
5th Round: Tyler Westover (1 Bye)
6th Round: Alex Gardner

This team doesn’t have many byes, but does have many strong players. Jay Hornung is one of the strongest competitors at Nationals, along with Michael Diaz coming out of the 4th round. Diaz made top 4 at the World Championships 2 years ago and should have a strong showing at this years Nationals as well, if he prepares.

Raymond Cipoletti’s Team

1st Round: Dylan Bryan
2nd Round: Ross Cawthon
3rd Round: Samuel Liggett
4th Round: Raymond Cipoletti
5th Round: Michael Chin (2 Byes)
6th Round: Nicholas Bailey

Dylan Bryan and Ross Cawthon are going to be the two strange choices out of this draft class for 2014. They are both extremely good players that have amazing performances at big tournaments, but they don’t have any byes. This didn’t seem to bother Ray, who picked them both up with his first two choices. Sam Liggett is another strong choice after his top 4 at Nationals last year.

Last-Minute Deck Choices

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To finish off this article, I wanted to provide decklists and discuss the advantages/disadvantages of the top 3 decks coming into Nationals, which are Yveltal/Darkrai, Virizion/Genesect/Raichu, and Plasma. I didn’t want this article to just be about Pokémon-related stories and drafts, which is why I wanted to share some of my own personal lists for popular archetypes in this format.

Let’s get started with a Yveltal/Darkrai variant. I’m going to be covering a version with Crushing Hammers and Enhanced hammers, which is similar to the list that won Canadian Nationals this past weekend, since Yveltal/Garbodor decks have been covered so much. Here are my lists that I have been testing with, along with their advantages and disadvantages.


Pokémon – 10

3 Yveltal-EX
2 Darkrai-EX DEX
3 Sableye DEX
1 Absol PLF
1 Druddigon FLF

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Juniper
4 N

1 Colress

1 Lysandre
4 Random Receiver


4 Crushing Hammer
2 Enhanced Hammer

4 Ultra Ball

4 Dark Patch
1 Pokémon Catcher
1 Escape Rope
1 Professor’s Letter

1 Dowsing Machine


4 Hypnotoxic Laser

2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 12

8 D
4 Double Colorless


  • This deck is extremely fast. It can win most of its games based purely off of outspeeding other decks.
  • Crushing Hammers and Enhanced Hammers will help against Plasma, Virizion/Genesect, Yveltal/Garbodor, Yveltal Raichu, and many other decks in this format.
  • With Lysandre, Escape Rope, Pokémon Catcher, Dowsing Machine, and 3 Sableye, there are many opportunities to attack an opponent’s Benched Pokémon.
  • Garbodor decks are usually very slow and have little to zero Energy acceleration, which will allow Crushing Hammers to finish those decks off without letting them attack much.
  • Enhanced Hammer are also very good against Raichu, Charizard, Pyroar, and Fairy variants that play Special Energy cards.
  • Sableye is one of the strongest cards in the game with its attack that can retrieve 2 Item cards that can help in crucial moments.


  • It does not have a very good matchup against Trevenant/Accelgor decks because of only 1 Lysandre and 1 Escape Rope.
  • The matchup against Rayboar and Blastoise isn’t very good without Garbodor, even with the Druddigon to retaliate the Dragon EXs.
  • Crushing Hammers only add to the amount of flipping cards that this deck plays, although they don’t all need to be heads to achieve a win.
  • Pyroar can be a very big problem for this deck without Garbodor.


Pokémon – 13

4 Virizion-EX
3 Genesect-EX
3 Pikachu XY
2 Raichu XY
1 Jirachi-EX

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Juniper
4 N

2 Colress
4 Skyla
1 Shadow Triad
1 Lysandre


3 Ultra Ball
1 Level Ball

3 Muscle Band
2 Energy Switch
2 Tool Scrapper
1 Enhanced Hammer
1 Super Rod
1 Professor’s Letter

1 G Booster


2 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 14

8 G
4 Plasma
2 Double Colorless


  • This deck has a very strong matchup against Yveltal-EX-based decks because it plays Raichu.
  • There are many ways to attack an opponent’s Bench through the use of Genesect-EX, Lysandre, and Jirachi-EX to grab the Lysandre.
  • Hypnotoxic Laser does not come into effect because of Virizion-EX’s Ability, so Special Conditions aren’t as big of a problem.
  • Two Tool Scrapper help the deck to have a good chance of beating Yveltal/Garbodor decks.
  • Jirachi-EX is a very strong card with a Raichu attacking, as it can grab a useful Supporter while also providing another Bench spot for more damage.
  • Extra copies of Pikachu help the deck to always be a threat against Lugia-EX and Yveltal-EX.
  • Muscle Band allows Virizion to KO Blastoise, Sabeleye, and all other 50/60/70 HP Basic Pokémon on the second turn.


  • Pyroar and Emboar both have a good matchup against this deck, which are both expected auto-losses.
  • Yveltal/Garbodor decks still have a chance of beating this deck with the help of Hypnotoxic Laser putting Pokémon-EX to Sleep with Garbotoxin activated.
  • It may be difficult to find G Booster at the right time without the help of Roserade DRX 15.
  • This deck can be very prone to a late-game N.
  • Plasma can outspeed this deck if they get a quick Lugia-EX and there is no retaliation from a Raichu on the following turn.


Pokémon – 10

4 Deoxys-EX
3 Thundurus-EX PLF
2 Lugia-EX
1 Absol PLF

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper
1 N
3 Shauna
2 Colress
2 Lysandre

1 Shadow Triad
3 Bicycle


4 Ultra Ball
1 Team Plasma Ball

4 Colress Machine

4 Muscle Band

3 Switch
2 Startling Megaphone
1 Escape Rope

1 Dowsing Machine

Energy – 14

4 Prism
4 Plasma

3 Double Colorless
2 Rainbow
1 L


  • This deck is the fastest deck in the format. It can legitimately win a full 6-Prize length game in 3 turns when it draws well.
  • 2 Lysandre and Escape Rope help to attack Benched Pokémon and draw Prize cards faster.
  • Bicycle help to provide some cover from early game Ns after a Lugia-EX knockout.
  • This deck capitalizes on the bad starts of any deck it plays against. Even one bad turn can spell the end against this extremely fast deck.
  • 2 Startling Megaphone help to solidify the Yveltal/Garbodor matchup, which was normally not as strong without them.
  • Thundurus-EX has the ability to 1HKO a fresh Yveltal-EX with a Raiden Knuckle + 4 Deoxys-EX + Muscle Band.


  • This deck has a strong dislike toward Enhanced Hammers because all of the Energy are Special Energies.
  • Pyroar is a very bad matchup for this deck since there are no Pokémon in this list that can attack Pyroar.
  • Early game Ns can be very disrupting if they are done after a Lugia-EX knockout.
  • Playing 4 Deoxys-EX is very strong in this deck, but also causes this deck to start with them occasionally.
  • Raichu is very annoying if they have the ability to bring a Lugia-EX up to the Active Spot before it can attack.

Let’s Wrap Things Up…

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I wish everyone the best of luck at US National Championships. For anyone that may be attending the event this weekend in Indianapolis, make sure to come and say hello! I love meeting every member of this community that I call my family and can’t wait for the National Championships to get underway. If anyone has any questions for me about the article or anything Pokémon related, don’t be afraid to message me and ask. Thanks for reading!

– Ryan Sabelhaus

…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.

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