Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Deck Out goes global: Denmark

Hi everyone!

In today’s The Deck Out goes global, I’ll take a look at Denmark. I think most people connect Denmark to LEGOs and windmills. However, there are lots of other things in Denmark as well. How about world-class Pokémon players? Indeed, Danish players have top-cutted in Worlds multiple times and in fact, there were a Danish player in the Masters age division final in 2007. He was defeated by Finnish player (Tom Roos).

Denmark is a Scandinavian country and if you have followed this series, you know what it probably means for the Pokémon TCG of Denmark. Yes, the Local Distributo of Denmark is Bergsala Enigma and the story is probably familiar to most of you.


Population: 5,6 million
The most famous living person: Lars von Trier, Viggo Mortensen (half-Danish)
The most famous company: Carlsberg, Lego Group
Currency: Danish Krone
Fun fact: The average tax rate in Denmark is 49%.

Local Player Profile

My source for this entry is a player named Steffen Eriksen and he’s 22-years old. He’s currently studying mathematics and economics and just finished writing his bachelor project about a win-rate model in Pokémon TCG. You can find his project here.

Steffen has been playing this game nonstop since I he was 15, when one of his friends introduced him to the game. Soon after, his brothers start playing and now his mom and dad plays too. He has been a Pokémon professor since the day he turned 18 (also when he was 15, but then PCI changed the rules). He has been attending Worlds 3 times (07, 08, 10) with best result being top 16 in 2007 (Flygon EX Heel YEARH!) and tried to grind in 09 and 11. He has started his own league together with a friend for over 4 years ago and it is now the biggest league in Denmark.  

Besides playing, he has been a head judge at many tournaments, all from small celebrations to Nationals. Last year, he studied a year in Groningen (The Netherlands) and attended their tournaments, which was an awesome experience. It gave him the opportunity to meet a lot of new people. This is also why Matijs Moree (the only featured writer in TheDeckOut so far), went with him to Denmark to help Steffen judge Nationals last year.

Non-competitive playing and leagues

All the leagues in Denmark are official, however there are not many of them. This is due to the recent restriction that a league has to have a shop connected in order to remain open. Since almost all the leagues were located at community centers and football clubs, it was hard to overcome this restriction. However, since Steffen’s parents have their own company, they decided to go in and practically run the entire business, until leagues could find other shops to help them. It has not been easy now when everyone has to pay for our league material and tournament material. However, in the case of tournament material they get the money refunded when the tournament is held and the remaining material are sent back. This requires that a shop (or company if you like) must put out the money and thereby take a risk. It’s really hard to get a company to do so, especially if they earn no profit by doing so. So, in general Denmark’s leagues are official, but because of above mentioned restriction, it is not easy to have a league in Denmark.

The people who goes to leagues, also plays tournament. On the other hand, they also have a lot of players, who do not attend any league but play tournaments.  Often they are relying a lot on these people to show up at tournaments in order to have enough people.


Usually the atmosphere in Denmark’s tournaments is very laid back and people like to have fun. Steffen personally loves the atmosphere, they have in Denmark. Everyone is nice and they are very kind to new players. Everyone knows each other and in general, we are one big group. This is also seen when we travel to international tournaments. Danish players travel often to big tournaments like Worlds and ECC in big groups. As long as Steffen has played, the community of players has been very kind to everyone in Denmark. He thinks that they have a really good community and that they are always open for new people.

People in Denmark are in general fine with borrowing cards to each other or sometimes even whole decks. Steffen started myself borrowing cards until he could gather his own deck. His family often borrows out a lot of cards and many other players do the same. Anyone can always borrow the card you need from someone.

Competitive playing and tournament organizing

The official website in Denmark from the distributor is never updated and therefore not used. They do have a Facebook page, which informs all the players about what is happening in the community. They also have an email system, which my Steffen’s friend and Steffen started, which is very successful. The rest is communicated out to the players at the league.   

I believe that in the current metagame right now, most people just copy some good list they see and then make some minor modifications. Steffen thinks, more creativity would be welcome, however it is pretty hard with this metagame since there so many things you should be aware of when building your deck.

Denmark doesn’t have that many tournament organizers and that means that most of the tournaments are run by the same people. There was a season, when Steffen was the only one who ran the tournaments, simply because it was too difficult for other players to become organizers. The same goes for league leaders. Since they only have a few leagues, then they also only have a few league leaders. Steffen thinks that we have a lack of league leaders and especially organizers. He hopes that they will have more in the future, but for this to happen, Denmark needs more support from our LD.

When it comes to Denmark’s Local Distributor, you might have guessed it, when you look at how the game has been developing in Denmark. Yes, it’s once again the notorious Bergsala Enigma :/

Player base

This is quite depressing actually. Denmark had around 84 players in total at their last Nationals and 100 the year before. The number has been going up and down, but in general it has been decreasing. This is due to many factors, but mainly the shift of distributor. Since this shift, a lot of the support has been cut and this had a really bad influence on the attendance at the tournaments. Denmark’s distributor also - for some reason - decided to move nationals to Copenhagen where there are almost no players (less than 10 in the whole city). As funny as it might sound, most of the play takes part on Fyn (island located in the middle of Denmark), and more precise Lumby (tiny city with less than 1000 people or so). Steffen wants to note that traveling is very expensive in Denmark and it doesn’t help that they have a bridge between the part of the country with the most players and Copenhagen, which cost approximately 30 euros to cross (one way!!) for a normal car.

When looking at the general attendance number at our tournaments it around 20-30 people for normal tournaments like BR’s and Citiy’s.  

As indicated earlier the number of players has been decreasing. If they want growth in the game, they need a distributor, who is better promoting the game and one who is easy to get in contact with. At the moment our distributor is sick half the time and is therefore really hard to get in contact with.
Esa’s Note: I share the pain with everyone in Scandinavia.

They often also get the material late, however lately, it is becoming better. What they need is more leagues. Denmark needs people, who can take initiative and open a league. They have one who is about to start up a league in an interesting location. So, Steffen really hope this can turn the tide, because as it looks now, if his league (Lumby) goes down, they will probably take most of the organized play with us.

In this season the players are divided approximately as follows:
Juniors: 25%,
Seniors: 10 %
Masters: 65%.

Steffen isn’t satisfied with the size of the Juniors and Seniors division and they are trying to get more senior players. For a few years ago, we had the most players in the senior division and only a little in the junior division, while the master division always has been quite big. But in the past years a lot of players (especially seniors) have quitted the game due to the all the problems mentioned earlier. A lot of senior players have also moved up to the master division and thereby caused a decline in the number of senior players

They have a few players in Denmark who have done great internationally. First of all, they have Steffen From, who came 2nd at worlds 2007, where Steffen made top 16 also. Steffen F. has won nationals at least 3 times. Other strong players are Lars Andersen and Simon Eriksen, who both have done really good at both national and international event. Lars made top 16 in 2009 Worlds, while Simon came 2nd at the BeNeLux cup 2010. This is just some of the results, there are many more, but that was just the ones Steffen had on top of my head. The mentioned players are all from the master division. They also have good players in both junior and senior division, but not that many.

I believe that the Danish players have the necessary skill to compete at international level, which can be seen from the results. They have been at the top before and Steffen is sure that it will happen again. Their problem is now that they need new players in our area, in order to get bigger tournaments and thereby more practice for all players. Currently, if Danish players want to rank high, they have to travel to Germany and The Netherlands to attend big tournaments. This costs a lot of time and money, which not many players have at the moment. Steffen sincerely hopes that they soon will get an increase in the player base, so they can develop new top players.


Anyone, who has been following all The Deck Out goes global entries, know the story of Denmark. A Scandinavian country that has done well in the World Championships, when the player base was still big. However, after Bergsala Enigma took over, the game has been dying slowly and Danish players have been forced to take drastic actions to keep the game alive. I admire the effort, the players of Denmark have been doing to keep the game alive but as long as the LD does nothing, the players are also in a dead-end. I wish Denmark is able to fix things and that we’ll see Danish players in the World Championships very soon!

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment on anything!

A legal note: The things written in this article don’t necessarily present the official opinion of The Deck Out.

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  1. " ‘The Gay Fuckers’"

    Do you know what this means? I would remove the whole paragraph because it could offend someone.

    When I read that it sounded just messed up, and changed my opinion of you...

  2. You should review the text, there is a strange mix of "I, we" and "he, they" about the same person, it's weird to read.

    Thanks for this entry, keep it up !

  3. Have I known that this would come up so late after I wrote it, it would have been reviewed. However it is rewritten by Esa since I handed it to him, because I wrote it from my point of view (1st person) and Esa changed it to 3rd person. But still great job from Esa doing this. It gives everyone a good view of the game in all the countries :)
    About "The Gay Fuckers". It is just a joke, something they do, because they find it funny. It's not meant to offend anyone. I hope that noone has been offended by it. And one note. I do not take any part of that group!

  4. It is kind of interesting to see that the closer we come to Finnish Nationals the less "actual" content we get.

    1. More like Dark Explorers is around the corner and he is preparing his Impact Crater for UG exclusive.

  5. Hmmmm you're right....

  6. Sorry about if the paragraph offended anyone. I deleted it as requested. However, in the end I'm here to share things from the communities all over in the world and since it seems to be a part of Danish Pokémon TCG, I hoped no one would be offended. It has nothing to do with me or Steffen personallu - it's just a part of Danish Pokémon TCG community and I think nobody should be offended by it. And yeah, I was pretty busy so I forgot to send it to Steffen for review. Should've probably done that.

    And as I have said already about 44234324 times, there really was no point of writing about metagame the past few weeks because the scans of the new set weren't yet released. Also, there was no point of writing about the past format because all the decks from that format were already analyzed and almost no tournaments will be played with it in the future.

    If there are things, you wish me to write about, feel free to contact me and request them from me. I know it's easy to be negative and I don't mind about it as long as I get contructive criticism. However, I think that problem is now solved because the new set and scans are now released and there will be a lots of things to analyze for the future.

    Also, not that anyone would be interested but Eye on Japan: Part 3 will be release in late May. But it seems that the consensus in the comments is so greatly towards UG release of Eye on Japan: Part 3 that it will be an UG article. /sarcasm


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