Hey guys! Today, I’m very excited to bring you the next installment of the North American Power Rankings! Brit’s been pretty busy lately, so he let me take over for him this time.
For the fourth Power Rankings of the season, I’m going to be primarily looking at the State and Regional Championships that took place in the Boundaries Crossed through Primal Clash format. Many players have had really strong showings at these events, which made it very hard for me to narrow this list down to 10 (and even then I had to cheat).
As always, I would like to express that this is my own opinion and what I write about is not necessarily spot on. 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!
Without further ado, here’s the newest version of the Power Rankings.
11. David Lopez (Change: New)
Like the first couple of iterations of the Power Rankings, I have decided to use this “bubble” spot to highlight a player who has narrowly bubbled out of a big top cut. David placed 9th at the Kansas City Regional Championships which ended his incredibly impressive streak of making top cut at major events. This streak dated all the way back to the Florida Regional Championship in February and included a top cut placement in all four weekends of State Championships. David was one of only two players to accomplish this feat during States and he even used a variation on the same Seismitoad-EX/Crobat deck for all four events. Congrats to you David for this incredible achievement!
10. Oscar Morales (Change: New)
Oscar is coming off of a Top 8 finish at US Nationals 2014, earning his first Worlds qualification. Back-to-back Top 4 performances at Spring Regionals definitely show that last season was no fluke for the Californian. Oscar has shown a lot of diversity in his deck choices over these events and also in his Top 8 States finish this year. Watch out for him to have another deep run at this year’s National Championship.
9. Kevin Baxter (Change: New)
Kevin, affectionately nicknamed K-Bax, is a force to be reckoned with right now. He has had several strong finishes at recent events with a 2nd and Top 4 at States and a Top 8 at Ontario Regionals. Better yet, all of these were done with decks revolving around the Primal Pokémon-EX that many people (myself included) initially thought to be unplayable. A strong Nationals finish could cement a second straight finish in the North American Top 16 for Kevin. Until then, enjoy your place in the Power Rankings!
8. Brit Pybas (Change: New)
Although Brit is new to this list, he deserved to be included earlier in the season. The only reason that he wasn’t is that he was not vain enough to include himself in his own Power Rankings. After earning his Worlds invitation at Winter Regionals, he followed it up with several solid performances at States. Brit was the first player to win a major event with Exeggutor, which helped to highlight it as the top tier deck that it is now.
Brit is a player with incredible foresight. He even scooped the first game of the finals in the Kansas State Championship before his opponent took their first turn! Brit discovered that both his Jirachi-EX and Virizion-EX were prized on his first deck search and knew that the time limit was not on his side. He went on to win that tournament even after having to give up that quick first game. Hopefully this skill can serve Brit well as he attempts to finally make the top cut at the World Championship this year.
7. Kristy Britton (Change: +1)
Kristy has continued on with her breakout season by winning the California State Championship. She is solidly cemented in the Top 16 in the North American Championship Point rankings as she has been for most of the season. After winning both a State and Regional this year, a solid finish at US Nationals would cap off a very impressive season and likely qualify her for Day 2 at Worlds. I hope to see Kristy climb even higher on these Power Rankings in the months to come.
6. Sam Chen (Change: 0)
A string of Top 8 and Top 4 finishes at State Championships have supplemented Sam’s incredibly consistent season. When re-checking results for this article, I was surprised to see how well he had done at States because it seems that his results flew under my radar. My guess is that, although these were great performances, this is just what I expect from a player as good as Sam at this point. Can he cap off his season with an invitation to the 2nd Day at the World Championships?
5. Brandon Cantu (Change: +2)
Brandon has continued to impress this year. He recently took 2nd place at the Texas State Championship, the largest State Championship to date. He followed that up with a 1st place finish in Mississippi the next weekend to propel himself further toward the top of these Power Rankings. After placing 2nd at Texas Regionals in the fall, a strong performance at the US National Championship on his resume is all Brandon needs to prove that he is one of the best of the best.
4. Kian Amini (Change: -3)
After starting the season on a tear, Kian seems to have momentarily plateaued. He did not appear in the top cut at any State Championships and only managed a Top 8 at the Seattle Regional Championship. However, Kian is still the number 1 player in North America based on Championship Points (before Points earned at Worlds 2014 are entered).
Kian’s reputation as “the best player you’ve never heard of” is quickly changing. With an invitation to the 2nd Day of Worlds and a deep run there, he might just cut that title in half and simply become the best player in the game — or at least reclaim the number 1 spot in these Power Rankings.
3. Ryan Sabelhaus (Change: -1)
Even after a 2nd place and Top 4 performance at States, Ryan drops a spot in the Power Rankings. His finishes were very impressive but almost seem lackluster coming from the player who has won a Regional Championship in each of the last four seasons. The players who outrank him on this list have had even more amazing finishes in the past few months, but they shouldn’t get accustomed to their placements. Ryan is also one of the most consistent finishers at US Nationals and I fully expect him to place highly there again this year.
2. Dylan Bryan (Change: New)
Dylan fell off of the Power Rankings in the 3rd installment but he is back with a vengeance. After piloting the newest version of his trusty Donphan deck to a Top 4 finish in Pennsylvania, he won the Connecticut State Championship with Exeggutor. Dylan then took that same Exeggutor deck to the Top 8 at Massachusetts Regionals and ultimately won the tournament with the previously unknown M Manectric-EX/Aegislash-EX deck.
Dylan is known for coming up with innovative decks like as the one he used to win Regionals. At the 2013 World Championships he piloted a Flareon deck that utilized many underplayed cards such as Drifblim DRX and Espeon DEX. And who can forget the Donphan deck he used to make Top 8 back at Pennsylvania Regionals in the fall? I hope that we see another spectacular rogue deck out of Dylan at one of the last two events of the season.
1. Chase Maloney (Change: +2)
Oh boy. Did “the kid” really just win another Regional Championship? Chase is racking up the Championship Points and quickly outpacing many of the giants of the game. When you add in his 100 Points from the 2014 World Championships, he will likely already be a lock for the Top 16 in North America and a Day 2 invite for this year’s Worlds. And that’s before he even fills up all of his League Challenge finishes!
Chase is one of the best performers at the World Championships that the game has seen in a while. He followed up his 2012 Senior World Championship with Top 16 and Top 8 finishes in the Masters Division. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him eclipse those runs this year and show the world that the kid is here to stay.