Hello everyone! I’m glad to be back again with the latest edition of the Power Rankings. I wanted to try to get one out before we went into Winter Regionals using the results of City Championships as the main criteria for writing. I think that there were only a handful of players who completed the daunting task of winning four Cities in the Masters Division, so I definitely would have given these competitors priority on the list, but alas, I was unable to prepare something for that format.
Now that Winter Regionals are over, however, I am excited to give new standings of who I see to be the best players in the game. We saw Phantom Forces format come to an end and have only been recently introduced to Primal Clash, but many of our top players remain as consistent as ever. I think that Power Rankings #3 sees a lot more change than #2, so I hope that will compel others to remain interested in this little project of mine.
As always, I would like to express that this is my own opinion (not any other writer’s) and what I write about is not an objective truth. If you feel that I have made an error in my reasoning or that I am displaying some kind of personal bias over an objective selection process, please let me know. In addition to this, I would also love to see what other people’s lists would look like!
That’s enough banter for now though. Let’s jump right into the list.
10. Jason Klaczynski (New)
Oh what an exciting player to introduce to the list. If you have followed the competitive scene for any amount of time, this name is probably very familiar to you. As a three-time World Champion, it is hard to make an argument against Jason not being a shoe-in for the “Greatest of All Time.” However, outside of Worlds, he is always faulted for having some lackluster performances at smaller events. I have decided to included him at #10 because he placed very well at Winter Regionals. I was (un)lucky enough to play him at both St. Louis and Florida and his pesky Seismitoad decks are near impossible to beat. With a Top 8 and Top 16 finish at these events, Jason is looking to continually convince us that he’s one of the best.
9. Justin Sanchez (New)
Well, he’s not entirely new to the list. If you’ll recall to the first rankings, Justin was one of the initial few that I included on the list. He fell off for the second rankings after not making much of a splash at the beginning of the season, though a lot of that is related to a busy work schedule and not poor performances. This past weekend, Justin sealed his invite for Worlds with a second place finish at the Florida Regional Championship. Justin is an incredibly consistent player when it comes to the biggest and hardest events and really hasn’t let his National Championship victory define his career. Welcome back to the fold, Justin!
8. Kristy Britton (Change: +2)
Kristy continues to take this season by storm. Another Top 8 at a Regional Championship is incredibly impressive when you combine it with her already stacked resume from this year. I am continually surprised that Kristy did not have many other results before this year, but it really seems like she’s found her groove. I look forward to seeing how much more she will accomplish the rest of the season.
7. Brandon Cantu (New)
While Brandon was certainly a notable player during the first two Power Rankings, I did not feel that it was appropriate to include him on the list. However, it is apparent to me that I can no longer ignore his results. I’m not sure how long he has been playing, but I met him at States last year and was impressed by his ability to pilot my favorite Blastoise deck. Since then, he placed in the Top 16 at the World Championship and placed second at the Houston Regional Championship. Brandon plays in a very competitive area and continually finishes at the top. We’ll have to wait and see if he can lock that North American overall Top 16 spot.
6. Sam Chen (Change: -3)
Though he may have fallen a few spots in these rankings, that doesn’t mean that Sam is a player to be ignored. After another great performance (Top 16) at the Oregon Regionals, Sam continues to maintain his spot at the top of the Championship Point ladder. Will this giant of the game (pun intended) be able to impress on later Power Rankings?
5. Frank Diaz (Change +2)
Frank’s increase can be attributed to a few things. The first of which is that I don’t think I had much of an argument to exclude him from the very beginning; he was someone I simply forgot about. However, Frank remains at the top of his game and, like many players on this list, is seated in the top ten in Championship Points. One of my favorite quotes from this game comes from Frank’s interview in the 2010 Worlds booklet where after his Top 4 finish he proclaims, “Before this I was underrated, after this I’ll be overrated.” Perhaps this sentiment can be applied here.
4. Israel Sosa (Change: +2)
The Prince of Darkness is without a doubt Israel Sosa. It has a been a very long time since a player has been so dedicated to sticking with one kind of deck and had the results to match his favoritism. Even without Dark Patch, Israel shows us again and again why Yveltal is such a force to be reckoned with. He switched things up for the SoCal Regional Championship by including Dusknoir BCR in his deck (shoutouts to Mia!) but it would seem that as long as good Dark cards remain legal, Israel will remain dominant.
3. Chase Maloney (Change: -1)
The kid that cannot be stopped. There isn’t much to stay about the Canadian boy wonder that I have not already discussed before. With another Top 8 finish at Oregon Regionals, Chase has his eyes set on the big money. Earning that spot in the second day of Worlds looks very promising.
2. Ryan Sabelhaus (Change -1)
When completing this writing, I found it very amusing that I decided to remove Ryan from his spot at the top. Amusing, really, because he’s such a good player and really the only thing I can fault him for is not winning a Regional Championship in the past few months. There is literally no other player that I would hold to this high of standard, but it’s what we’ve come to expect at this point. I will honestly be surprised if we do not see him taking home any trophies during States in a few weeks.
1. Kian Amini (Change +2)
And here we are at number one. I think that it is only fitting for me to award the first place spot in this entry to the player that is currently ranked number one in the US and Canada. Last time I wrote about Kian, I noted that he was probably the best player you had never heard of and I suppose that it is now my project to fix that perception. Kian has 50 more Points than Sam Chen at number two, but he is starting to be as consistently impressive as Ryan. With a top eight or better finish at Nationals or Worlds, I’m sure that he will be able to cement himself with the rest of the best.