Monday, April 23, 2012

The Deck Out goes global: Germany

Jasmund National Park
Hi everyone!

Today is a time to look at relatively big country in both, economics and Pokémon TCG player base – Germany. Germany is a very rare bird in Pokémon TCG community because its community seems to be striving and the game is growing all the time. And it already has a player base that’s probably the world’s 3rd largest (after U.S.A. and Japan)!

Even though Germany has a huge player base, it seems to lack international success. What’s the reason for this? Well, that’s what I’m here to find out! Let’s get going.


Population:  81, 8 million
The most famous living person: Angela Merkel, Michael Ballack
The most famous company: Deutsche Bank, Siemens, BMW
Currency: Euro
Fun fact: The working week in Germany also includes Saturday

Local Player Profile

My source this entry is German player Steven Mao. He has played the Pokemon TCG since the first Diamond and Pearl set was released and he’s still playing. He’s a big TCG fan and also plays some other ones, but not really mainstream ones like YGO or Magic, even though he once played YGO. He stopped playing YGO, because the community wasn't really nice and some cards were too expensive.

He has also played Naruto and Bleach TCG in Germany but unfortunately it has stopped, due to bad selling quotes. So, besides Pokemon, he plays the japanese Card Game Weiß Schwarz, which features many Anime and Game titles. It is great fun and playing with your favorite Anime-/Game Characters is nice too! Steven is still a student and working on my A-Level classes (it is called "Abitur" in Germany).

Non-competitive playing and leagues

All of Germany’s leagues are official. But not everyone who goes to league, also plays in tournaments - for example beginners. Germany has some juniors who come to league but won't always be participating in tournaments. However, most of them are doing so, if they get notified when the tournament is.


Steven really likes Germany’s Pokémon TCG community. All players are really nice and there isn't a bad atmosphere going on during big tournaments. Most of the players are really fair and Steven thinks that the Spirit of the Game works very well in Germany.

Naturally, during bigger tournaments, the atmosphere is more intense and serious, but he think that it is part of the game and not a bad thing. It is also great to see new players, especially in the Junior/Senior Division, who show that the game is still attracting a lot of children, which are the future of the TCG.
Also, it’s very easy to loan cards that you don’t need for your decks. This happens very often in Seniors division since they don’t always have the cards for their decks but it’s usual in Masters age division as well.

Competitive playing and tournament organizing

Steven thinks there are a lot of players looking at Pokegym as well as Sixprizes. There are also German Forums, but they aren't used that often and the more competitive players are discussing their decks in their own teams and so on – not on the internet.

The amount of TOs and leagues depends on where you're living in Germany. There are cities with less TOs and there are cities/regions with more. However, Steven would say, they have a good amount of TOs and Staffs for tournaments.

In Steven’s opinion, Germany’s skill level is absolutely high enough for top placements in the World Championships. However, for some reason Germans somehow have a curse when playing internationally so they can’t show their true potential.

Steven hopes this year's Worlds will prove the opposite, because Steven is slowly thinking that the players in the Worlds think, when playing against a German, that it is quite an autowin.

Esa’s Note: I’ve noticed this very similar phenomenon happen in the Worlds – German players are either dropping or with 2-5 records. Of course there are some players with good results as well.

Player base

In Germany the size of the player base depends on where you live since Germany is such a big country. They have the most players in Northrhine-Westphalia, which is located west in Germany. Steven also live in NRW, so he enjoys the biggest tournaments in Germany.

Their tournament attendances of this season so far (including all age divisions) look like this:

Battle Roads: max. ~38
Cities (last season): max ~60
Regionals: max ~90
Nationals(last season): ~300

Steven thinks the numbers of players are steadily growing. If not – it still has been quite stable, so that there isn't really a decrease in the player base.
In fact, their Nationals always show them that they can break the player record almost every year.

The age divisions in Germany are divided like this:
60% Masters
30% Seniors
10% Juniors

Even though the success of German players hasn’t been huge in the World Championships, Germany still a few respected and well-known players.

- Tobias Thesing, who got 3 times (!) second place at Nationals and always with his own creation of deck. For example, last year it was Magnezone/Steelix.
- Jonas Rasmussen, a junior who just started playing this game. He won German nationals (his first one) and placed Top 8 during worlds, which is the best German achievement so far. He is the next star of the Pokemon TCG, from German perspective.

- Philip Schulz, who is a senior, placing second last nationals and afterwards always had excellent results during tournaments. He won several Battle Roads and Regionals and placed 2nd at the Prague Cup.

Steven thinks that at the moment a lot of people are just copying decklists on the internet and changing 1-2 cards. Steven doesn’t enjoy this way of the game since it makes the metagame boring and predictable. Steven thinks that more innovation would be more than welcome to the Germany’s Pokémon TCG scene.

The Local Distributor of Germany is Amigo-Spiele Company and even though Steven didn’t say anything good or bad about them, I think the numbers speak for themselves. My big brother was an exchange-student in Germany for a year and they even had results of Pokémon TCG tournaments printed in a magazine! From, what I’ve heard the Pokémon TCG is probably promoted in Germany better than anywhere in the World (excluding Japan).


It seems that in big countries, the Pokémon TCG is really going strong as long as the local distributor does its part. Germany is a very good example of a well-run Pokémon TCG scene where every piece of the puzzle finds its own spot easily. The players are happy, there are huge numbers of players attending to Nationals every year and Germany has had decent success in both – Junior and Senior division even worldwide. All, that’s left, is a German master doing very well in the World Championships but if we look at the numbers of German players attending to Worlds every year, I know that it will happen someday (probably 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. Amigo-Spiele is the distributor for Magic, Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh. Germany get their own products sometimes (unique Christmas Calendar, their own Organized Play magazine published by the distributor (I found one with Tobias's point of view for Emerging Powers a few months ago - does it still exist ?)…

    Also, I didn't know it was possible to eat at a KFC : clean, inside a plate, with a glass not in plastic, served by kind employees… Until I ate in Regensburg in Germany.

    Germany is tits.

  2. According to search rankings Canada has 1020 participating players this season as apposed to 522 from Germany and 12065 from the US.

    Just to put things in perspective....

  3. - Jonas Rasmussen, a junior who just started playing this game. He won German nationals (his first one) and placed Top 8 during worlds, which is the best German achievement so far.

    We have Top 8 finishers in Mastern and Seniors too.
    And Steven won last years ECC.

  4. Tsk, tsk, Steven, shame on you for forgetting Yasmin´s 5th place in 2010.

  5. another great article esa! if you want info on the state of Indiana (US) for a deckout goes global, just reply saying you do.

  6. Anonymous: Whoa, I didn't know the difference between Canada and Germany was so big. I guess it's because Canadian Nationals are usually smaller. But I guess that's because of the size of the country.

    iwontraichualovesong: Well, if you could be so nice and e-mail me, it would be great help!


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