Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Deck goes finally global! - Finland

Nokia is the Finnish brand number one
Hey all The Deck Out followers!

It took a forever for me to get to this point but here I’m finally. Ready to launch The Deck Out goes global. In this entry, I’ll discuss what The Deck Out goes global will include and I’ll also show you a schedule for the goes global – entries. I’ll also show you an example of how will the goes global entries look like in the future by covering my own country’s game in the same manner. If you have any suggestions to make for the upcoming entries, please do because then I have time to modify all the other entries.

I think this was a good time to start The Deck Out goes global series because I have the Mewtwo EX  -series going on as well. As I said, I’ve been able to get answers from a lot of countries and I’m very thankful for everyone who has been helping me with this very ambitious series. Here are the countries and dates, which I’m planning to cover. I hope that there will also be some changes with the schedule because I’m still waiting for contacts from a few countries


9/2/2012 Finland
16/2/2012 Poland
23/2/2012 Brazil
1/3/2012 Norway
8/3/2012 Spain
15/3/2012 The UK
22/3/2012 Mexico

29/3/2012 France
5/4/2012 The US (Florida)
12/4/2012 Philippines
19/4/2012 Canada
26/4/2012 Germany
2/5/2012 Italy
9/5/2012 Denmark

16/5/2012 Sweden
23/5/2012 Switzerland
30/5/2012 The Netherlands
7/6/2012 Portugal
14/6/2012 Malaysia
23/6/2012 Australia & New Zealand

As you can see the schedule and the list of countries, I’m already ready to cover, is pretty long and it will go all through the summer. This is good news for me because my exam will be in the mid June and after that I can start preparing for World Championships and blog about that. Thanks to goes global, I’ll probably be making 3 entries per week every now and then just to get out all the content I want to get out in a timely manner.

Even though the list of the countries is already very long, I’m still missing a few. As you can see there are “only” 21 countries but as this is Pokémon TCG my motto is “Gotta catch em’ all”. Here is the list of the countries I’m still looking for contacts.

- U.S.A.(Any area other area than Florida)
- Argentina
- Belgium(I heard from Hapé that Belgium’s OP was reviving slowly but if there is any active/inactive players reading this, I would like to get more in-depth info and updates about the situation)

Also, if your country isn’t listed for some reason, let me know if you are able to help me to get information from your country!

As I will be covering many different countries and therefore cultures there are always some controversies along the way. I try to be as objective as possible during the entries and will try to base every sentence of every entry on facts and only facts. I must warn you in advance that not every entry will be only fun and great spirit in the community but there will also be some very controversial entries along the way. There will be some very weird in some entries
and I’ve laughed out loud more than once while reading all the answers I’ve gotten. The cultural difference is very clear between some countries and it will show in these entries. Also, not every country has a healthy OP and happy players so I hope that if you are reading these entries, they will help you to appreciate what you have if you are happy at your Local Distributor and OP in general. If you disagree something when it comes to your countries entry, feel free to comment, this series is all about the international discussion and understading the differences between every Pokémon community.

I promised to show you how the goes global entries will look like for an example of Finland so here we go. My very first The Deck Out goes global – entry. All suggestions for the future entries are more than welcome!


Population: 5,4 million
The most famous living person: Kimi Räikkönen, Mika Häkkinen, any snowboarder/ice hockey player
The most famous company: Nokia, Rovio (Angry Birds maker)
Currency: Euro

Fun fact: Forest covers 86% of the Finland’s area

Local Player Profile

Well, you know me. My name is Esa Juntunen and I’ve played the game forever. I’ve always been a cery competitive person no matter what I do and Pokémon TCG Is no exception. If you want to know about me, be sure to check out “About Me”-tag in my blog or check out my previous entries where I speak about myself. The other player profiles will be more interesting because you don’t already know everything about them.

Non-competitive playing and leagues

Most of Finnish leagues are official even though they aren’t in card shops. There are a lot of players playing only Pokémon videogames and in some leagues the league is just a place for same kind of  people to gather. For example in the league, which me and my brother based in the 2004, people are still playing very competitively but the main focus is not only Pokémon TCG but also Go and Mahjong and occasionally Citadels or Dominion. The Finnish get serious when (before Nats and Worlds) they need to but usually most of the season , people are just having fun in the leagues.

The amount of Finnish players has been increasing recently and the amount of players per league has been dropping steadily. I think Finland doesn’t have enough league leaders that are ready to spend time get new players but they are just happy with players that come to league without any effort from the league leader.


As I said earlier, the community and atmosphere in the tournaments is very laid back and not so competitive. The only exception of the season is Nationals where every player goes to win the tournament and players become suddenly very much more serious than before when they’re in the Nationals. This is only for a few weeks before Nationals and in the Nationals but the difference in atmosphere compared to the normal atmosphere in this time frame is so radical that everyone notices it.

If you want to get a deck together, you can get it by loaning the whole deck from someone or the cards from 15 different players. The only exception is once again Nationals where people aren’t that willing to loan cards or they have already loaned most of their very playable cards to other players. If you want to get the deck together for Nationals by loaning, you need to be asking the cards a lot before the tournament, not 10 minutes before the tournament as people usually do.

Competitive playing and Organized Play

I think everyone uses my blog for the main resource just because they have been used to trust my articles in the Finnish Pokémon forums in the past. The other sites that are used are, and All the info about the forums and results can be found from the Finnish Pokémon forums that are by players for the players.

Finland’s metagame shifts in every tournament so much that you can’t really predict what’s in this and that time. People are usually countering the winning deck of the previous tournament but sometimes they are not. Predicting the Finnish metagame is usually impossibility.

I believe that Finland is one of the most innovative countries of the whole world. We have a very small player base but we still have already many rogues getting in the top cuts in the World Championships. Best examples are probably me finishing in top8 with my Glaceon LV.X/Absol in the GG season, Tomi S. finishing top32 with his Absol/Honchkrow/Palkia LV.X in the same season and finishing into top16 with his Regigigas in 2010. There was also Miska Saari finishing in top8 in 2007 with his Mew EX/Mew EX/Rayquza ex d/Vaporeon EX deck. The best placements in Worlds for Finnish players have come with metagame decks(like the two World Championships) and there isn’t that much data about the Finnish rogues because they always run out of luck in top8 so they don’t make the Worlds booklet. I’m very sad that neither, my Glaceon deck or Miska’s mess-deck didn’t make the Worlds booklet because they were so much different compared to any other decks the current meta had.

Finland has a lot of league leaders but the tournaments are usually organized by the same person. Occasionally there are also other people helping the main organizer of the tournaments. I think our country needs more organizers because what are we going to do if the main organizer stops organizing tournaments?

The Local Distributor of Finland is Bergsala Enigma, which is probably the worst Local Distributor ever. The things have been looking better once the person in charge changed but I think that everyone who has Bergsala Enigma as the LD in the “Jens-era” knows that it was the worst time for Pokémon. In Finland the lateness of prizes, Premier Tags etc. affected the players so much that we saw a decrease in player amounts after Bergsala Enigma took over Pokémon in Finland.

Player base

No matter, which official tournament it is, we always have at least 40 players (excluding one city, which holds tournaments). There isn’t a huge difference between BR, CC and Regionals attendances – it’s always somewhere between 40-70 players. The only exception in the attendance is Nationals where we have had 110+ competitors the previous 4 years, we’ll see if we have that many this year but there is always hope.

I think Finland isn’t an exception when I say that the player amount has been decreasing from the best times. It’s usually the same faces in the every tournament and there isn’t that many new players that have started the game recently. This helps the community to become stronger but it’s bad for the game because the game will die eventually if nothing is done. I think that with more advertising, the amount of active players can be easily doubled in Finland.  With a few well-placed ads and good league leaders things would be so much better but at the moment there is no light in the horizon.

The age groups in Finland are divided like this, which is in my opinion just sad.

Juniors: 10%
Seniors: 20%
Masters: 70%

The Junior divison is almost dead and I think it’s bad for the game because children are the future of this game. I doubt that every Master will be playing the game in their thirties.

When it comes to the most respected and well-known, I think there are 3 players that rise above others.

Tom Roos(World Champion and National Champion of 2007)
Miska Saari(World Champion 2006, Top8 Worlds 2007, National Champion of 2009 and Top4 of Worlds 2009 and Top16 of Worlds 2011)
Me (5-time National Champion, etc.)

Finland is the only European country that has a World Champion and the only country besides U.S. and Japan that has a Masters World Champion so there is no doubt that Finland couldn’t compete in the Worlds in every age division about the top spots. Finland is a very small country but in the end we have been doing sickly well when it comes to Worlds.


I hope you enjoyed the very first entry of The Deck Out goes global and will be eager to learn more from other Pokémon TCG countries. The future entries will also include the "metagame" section for some countries. At least I’m very excited while I write these entries because it’s very interesting to learn things from different countries and cultures and compare them with your own. I try not to offend anyone during my entries but I can’t guarantee it because I try to stay objective with things.

Anyways, I hope you are looking forward for the future entries. Feel free to leave any comments and thoughts about these articles. I’m pretty sure they will stir up some emotions along the way but let’s stay correct, shall we?

Thanks for reading!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I love hearing about other poke communities. I know here on the island of Oahu in Hawaii we have a small player base. Pokemon league almost always has a very low turnout. There is definitely an increase in players during tournaments but still not enough to ever have more than a top cut of 4 for masters. During tournaments we usually have about 2 seniors and almost never have any juniors. Sadly, most people choose Yu-gi-oh and MTG over Pokemon. My info might be out of date though since I have not been able to compete for the past 7 months due to deployment. I am looking forward to coming home and checking out the league to see if it has grown.

  3. Who's doing the New Zealand part?

  4. Hey Esa, I'm Riccardo, the ono who sent Italy's entry.
    Glad you started this!

    I'll update you with metagame infos by the time of my entry so that you'll be able to keep it updated! ;)

  5. Hey Esa,

    Glad to see you've started to get it up! I can send you an updated profile for the UK, if that's better?


  6. i know a few people who may not mind doing some stuff for the us(indiana) part. send a personal message to Mr. Rumpleteezer on 6p. he recently wrote a front page article for them, and he might be interested in it.

  7. Hey Esa!

    I do not see Singapore in the list of countries! Do u need a writer from there? Do let me know (:

  8. "The amount of Finnish players has been increasing recently and the amount of players per league has been dropping steadily. I think Finland doesn’t have enough league leaders that are ready to spend time get new players but they are just happy with players that come to league without any effort from the league leader."

    I don't understand... Haha

    Also, just curious, where is your contact from Canada from? I'd say it's safe to say Canada is too large (geographically) to be represented by only one person :\ I don't think it deserves two articles or anything, I'm just guessing that the people in Ontario have a completely different metagame than the people in BC, and they're probably just as foreign to each other as countries to other countries.

    1. I was about to comment on that myself. There are four Pokemon cultures in Canada: Toronto, Vancouver, Quebec (including the Ottawa Valley) and Eastern Canada. There's a lot of sketchy history in Toronto and Vancouver - from my visits there to play I can tell you it's probably one of the most corrupt communities I've played in outside southern California (never been, but everyone I know describes it as hell unless you know the organizers). The atmosphere is very life-or-death competitive and a lot of people just see it as a way to put their kids through school. People there told me tons of stories of sketchy judging, racketeering, bribes, etc. This is all second-hand (I'm from the north Bay Area myself, but I don't know enough people and leagues to really cover it for you, I used to know a guy who would but he's in jail lol).

      Quebec on the other hand is a VERY chill place, they get some very nice guys who are quite good players. I spent a lot of time in Ottawa, and the pokemon culture there is generally good, aside from one guy known affectionately as Captain Douchenozzle. Three guesses why.

      I know Vancouver has a VERY questionable history, with a former national organizer having gotten trouble from the feds. No idea how that turned out, though. In general the "big city" Pokemon culture has attracted both gang and police attention before. It's crazy.

      I know nothing of Eastern Canada's Pokemon scene but have been told it's laid-back and more like Quebec.

      As a Canadian-born traveler I'd love to see you break up Canada because it really isn't uniform at all. I'd love to see how Vancouver has cleaned up and how Toronto got so apparently bad. I'd also love to see you interview some Quebec players.

    2. OK, I'll certainly take that into account. I'm sad to hear that things have been that bad in some parts of Canada but that makes my work even more interesting so I'm looking for more up-to-date information from Canada. Feel free to contact me if you have any info about other parts of the Canada or let me know if you know someone who can help with that.

      Thanks for both of your input, I'll surely look closer to Canada now that you've said that!

  9. You should probably ask Hampus for the Swedish part, he's the best player here!

  10. desufnoc: It's weird that children choose Yu-Gi-Oh or MTG instead of Pokémon because I think that Pokémon has the best community. Unfortunately, I think that's the case in many other areas as well.

    Luichi: You got your answer:D

    Nathan: Sure, if you have time for it!

    elmaga: Ok sounds great, looking forward to it, thanks a lot!

    Anonymous: Thanks for the info, I'll be sure to contact them in the near future.

    Jeremy: Whoa, how did I forget Singapore. E-mail me to:!

    Crawdaunt: Haha, yeah I totally messed up that sentence. I meant that the attendance in both tournaments and in leagues has been decreasing steadily. And one reason for this is that league leaders don't even try to get new players to come to leagues - they are just happy the way they are.

    Doss: I did ;)

  11. I agree with you about Bergsala Enigma. The system just doesn't work now and they should do something to it or just leave it to someone else who can handle Finnish's Pokemon organizing better.

  12. "The most famous living person: Kimi Räikkönen, Mika Häkkinen..."
    Aww yeah, you also have Marcus Grönholm and Tommi Mäkinen too, is it true that everyone in Finland is a badass driver? XD

    Keep up the good work pal. Best wishes from this motorsport fan.

  13. As for belgium players, I know a good one.
    Im only able to contact him at the ECC so.

  14. Zami: Indeed!

    Anonymous1: Haha, true, I thought that Formula 1 should be more known than rally but it's always cool to hear that there are people who knows that Finnish are very good rally drivers as well!

    Anonymous2: Sounds great, let him/her know my e-mailk if he/she is willing to help me!

  15. hello esa!

    im living in argentina and this country has the most best ranked player on south america by
    the big comunity of pokemon and organized play are in buenos aires then mar del plata and then mendoza(mi place) in that order
    check out the link for directions in every city
    dont miss this country is very beautiful and very cheap for the tourists..we expect you


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