Monday, January 9, 2012

Power Player interview: Kyle "Pooka" Sucevich

Hey all The Deck Out followers!

Today I have something very special for you – my second interview ever. This time I had the privilege to interview the founder member of and multiple U.S. National Championships Top4er Kyle “Pooka” Sucevich. Kyle is considered one of the Worlds’ best player since his success in the U.S. Nationals is outstanding. I’m very glad that I could keep the interviewee quality as high as before and I’ll try to keep it that way in the future as well.

As I said, he is also the founder member of which releases game videos straight from the tournaments. If you aren’t yet familiar with TheTopCut, be sure to check their website out! I have always admired his work with TheTopCut and his achievements as a player so I was very glad when he agreed to do an interview for my blog.

Anyways, I don't think Kyle needs any more introduction so let's start with the interview.

Age: 22
Current status: Player (and Commentator)
Active since: 1999-
Scholarships won: $12,500
Best achievements:
- 1st  U.S. National Championships
- 2nd U.S. National Championships
- 2nd U.S. National Championships
- 3rd U.S. National Championships
- 5th U.S. National Championships

You are one of the founders of website. What was the reason you started that site and how has the mission of the site developed during time?

Over the past year, I became a big fan of Starcraft 2, especially the competitive scene. It was easy to watch and get involved because there were so many videos and streams of people playing, and they even have a television studio in Korea dedicated to professional Starcraft 2 coverage. Without a doubt, Sean "Day[9]" Plott was a big inspiration for me. Then, I attended the MLG Columbus event during the summer, and I was amazed at how spectator friendly everything was. In all honesty, the atmosphere of the event reminded me of a large Pokémon tournament, but the difference was the amazing production and promotion of the event. If Pokémon had a fraction of the tournament coverage that Starcraft 2 has, it would draw people in and make the game grow much bigger. 

So, I talked with my friends Josue "Crimz" Rojano, Michael Pramawat, and Drew Holton, and we all agreed that something needed to be done. Through live streaming, tournament coverage, and professional analysis, we planned on producing tons of Pokémon TCG content in order to get the game out there. If we could manage to provide media coverage for Pokémon, it would draw new players in and make the game better for everyone. Overall, our mission is to help the Pokémon TCG get more exposure so it can grow bigger. We all grew up playing the game, and we want it to survive for future generations. is one of the top websites of the Pokémon TCG at the moment, are you planning to stick with the website to the very end of the Pokémon TCG?

Yes, we have big plans for the future at The Top Cut. In our first six months we were able to accomplish more than we thought was possible, and we aim to grow bigger in 2012. If you told me six months ago that we would be able to obtain footage from the Finals of the World Championships and post it online, I would have laughed! But, to our surprise, that is exactly what happened, and everyone can watch the Finals in full for the first time ever. Eventually our goals are to stream games live from tournaments, increase the production value to make the videos more appealing, and run separate tournaments like the Top Cut Invitational we ran after this year's World Championship. If we can get enough funding, these goals are in reach.

You have done very well in the U.S. Nationals the last few years, which is arguably the most difficult tournament of the year. How do you manage to do it? Do you prepare to U.S. Nationals differently when compared to any other tournaments?

Actually, I don't know how it keeps happening. Every year before Nationals a new set is released, so I make sure to test every deck just so I have a good idea of what everything is capable of. Then, I choose a deck that will be consistent enough to last through the immense number of rounds at Nationals, but I always make sure to have a trick or two up my sleeve to catch people off guard. To be honest, I usually end up choosing my deck one or two days before the tournament. In fact, this past year I built my deck two days before Nationals. If I had to attribute my success to anything, it would have to be a combination of understanding how a new set impacts the format, solid tactical gameplay, and luck. No matter how good you are, you have to be lucky to do well in such a large tournament.

Even though you have done amazingly well in the U.S. Nationals, you haven’t been on the top in the World Championships. Do you have any idea of why?

Again, I'm not sure why this keeps happening. By the time Worlds comes around, everyone has figured out the format, so my advantage in that area disappears. Maybe I haven't made the best deck choices, but I don't think that is the main reason why I keep doing poorly. When it comes down to it, I guess all of my luck is used up at Nationals, I don't have any left for Worlds. Every year I am determined to do well and practice a lot, but I am unable to win. Hopefully I will have a good showing one year.

What would be a realistic and the best choice for the next Worlds and Nationals location in your opinion? 

For US Nationals, I think the location we have now is perfect. Indianapolis is the best location we have had for the event, and I hope it stays there every year. On the other hand, the location for Worlds could use some improvement. Even though Hawaii is a beautiful place, people cannot afford to go there, which really takes away from the allure of the event. Above all, Worlds is supposed to be the one time of the year where people from all over the world can get together and unite for the game they love, Pokémon. At this point, people are tired of the rotation of Hawaii and San Diego. I wouldn't mind having it in another tourist location, like Chicago or New York, and I would love to see it hosted in a country besides the United States. Please, just not Hawaii again!

What’s your favorite card of the format and why? What’s the card you hate the most in the format and why?

Without a doubt, the card I love the most is N. Overall, the biggest problem with the format was that there was little room for a slow start. If your opponent took a lead, it was very rare that you would be able to make a comeback (unless you were playing a slow Trainer lock deck). Now N gives you a chance to come back if you fall behind early on, and it really makes games more complex. Anything that introduces more strategy and skill to the game is a good thing. Of course, the card I hate the most is Pokémon Catcher. Above all, this card is the reason why games can be so mindless and straightforward. Thanks to Catcher, it's very easy to take six prizes in six turns. Extremely aggressive decks have little to no drawback because of the card, and it makes a lot of cards unplayable. If you eliminated Pokémon Catcher from the format, people would complain much less.

What do you consider as your best achievement in the Pokémon TCG and why?

Well, I don't really like to talk about my achievements too much, but doing well at Nationals so many times has been special. When the tournaments are so big, you can't expect to do well. How are you supposed to get past 900 other players without getting really lucky? Winning Nationals in 2009 was my best achievement, but it was an even bigger surprise to make it back to the Top 4 the next year. Then, I thought for sure I had no chance of doing well in the HS-On format because of all the T1 wins and games decided by Reversal flips, but I ended up in the Finals again. I've made it to the Finals of US Nationals three times now, and I don't think that will be matched by anyone in Masters any time soon. If I somehow make it back to the Top 4 this year, I might have to retire because it only can go downhill from there!

Which format do you consider “the best” for Pokémon TCG and why?

Overall, the best format for the game was the 2005-2006 season. With so many playable decks, nobody was complaining about a dominant archetype. At the same time, the game managed to be very skill based. Most matchups were long and drawn out, and the better player would come out on top a lot of the time. Thanks to cards like Scramble Energy, Rocket's Admin., and Pow! Hand Extension, people were able to come back from bad starts. With the Holon engine and Swoop! Teleporter, decks were consistent, allowing people to set up nearly every game. On top of all of that, there was no unfair advantage to going first or second, and first turn wins were extremely rare. What more could you ask for from a format?

What’s your favorite deck in this format and why?

Right now I don't really have a favorite deck. Every deck has a fatal flaw or bad matchup that prevents it from being a safe choice and tournament play often boils down to your matchups and who goes first. If I had to pick one, I would go with Typhlosion/Magnezone because it combines the versatility of Typhlosion with the stability and raw power of Magnezone. Unfortunately, the deck can be inconsistent at times, especially compared to all of the decks that rely on nothing but Basic Pokémon. 

What’s your all-time favorite deck and why?

Even though I played Dialga/Garchomp for the longest time, my favorite deck to play was Luxray/Infernape in 2009. Because of the SP engine, the deck was consistent, but it had a ton of options and opportunities to outplay opponents. Quickly people figured out how powerful Luxray GL LV.X was, but Infernape 4 was underrated. Luxray's Bright Look worked very well with Infernape's Split Bomb, and you could switch gears at any minute with Infernape 4 LV.X's Fire Spin to hit for a big amount of damage. Even though it didn't do well at Worlds that year, I felt like Luxray/Infernape was the most versatile deck in the format, and it had a chance to win against anything. 

Choose one, pick one! 

Reshiram vs. Zekrom - Zekrom is pure evil, so I'll go with Reshiram.

Donk vs. Win-on-time - Win on time is the clear choice. At least you got to play a game this way!

Consistency vs. Tech - Although I am a fan of tech, consistency is more important.

Pidgeot vs. Magcargo - Unless you're using Ludicolo, Pidgeot is the clear winner!

EX vs. Prime - If we're talking about the old ex's, then I would choose those. Otherwise, I'll take the Primes over Mewtwo EX any day!

Worlds vs. Nats - Both are incredible events, but there's just something special about the World Championships.

Pow! Hand Extension vs. Pokémon Catcher - Catcher is the better card, but I would rather have Pow! in the format.

Winning vs. Playing - Winning is great, but you can't win all of the time.

New player vs. Veteran Player - Both bring something to the table, but veteran players are where it's at!

Is there anything you would like to say for the Pokémon TCG Community/The Deck Out readers?

First of all, thank you for interviewing me! I love The Deck Out, and I'm honored to be a part of it. Please check out our website,, for all sorts of Pokémon TCG coverage - from interviews to matches. Check out our YouTube channel (TopCutPokemon) to watch all of the different games we have online, and be sure to follow our Twitter and Facebook pages as well. We have big things planned for 2012, so thanks to everyone who has supported us so far! If anyone would like to contact us, please send an e-mail to Spread the word about Pokémon so we can make the game bigger and better than ever before! Thank you!

That’s the end of my second interview ever. Remember to Check out when you have time. Huge thanks to Kyle for agreeing to make an interview with me. I hope you enjoyed the interview as much I enjoyed interviewing.

Please let me know what you thought about this interview and what kind of interviews and what kind of people would you like to see interviewed. I’m in progress for getting an interview from both Yuta Komatsuda and Tsuguyoshi Yamato and if I am able to succeed with that, I’m pretty happy with myself. Anyways, let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading!



  1. Awsome interview! sending it to all my friends to check out. Keept up the awsome work! it's really helping the game grow :)

  2. great stuff! I think you should interview Curan Hill he's a great palyer!

  3. Thanks guys! Too bad no one comments on interviews even though they are widely read. Well, fortunately there is Facebook, lol.

  4. @Esa Well there really isn't a reason to comment on interviews. No questions or anything. The only thing you could say is thanks for the interview to be honest.

    Thanks for the interview. :]

  5. great interview and great questions! I really appreciate the work that the topcut guys do. I've learned a lot from their videos and enjoy the commentary. Good group of guys!

  6. Awesome.

    This " to hit for a big amount of damage" sounds like something would say.


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