Monday, April 30, 2012

The Deck Out goes global: Italy

Vineyards in Italy
Hi everyone!

It’s been a huge stream of The Deck Out goes global entries lately, and this is no exception. Today, it’s time to look at Italy, which most of you probably know for Pizza and Pasta. However, Italy is also a great TCG country and has had some great success internationally. I think Italy is one of the most competitive and ambitious Pokémon TCG countries in the whole world and it shows in their tournaments results and deck choices. In my experience, Italian players very often play rogue decks and oppose the main stream in the international tournaments.

It sounds that everything is great in Italy. However, is Pokémon TCG community in Italy healthy from Italian player’s point view? Let’s find out!


Population: 60,6  million
The most famous living person: Francesco Totti, Francis Ford Coppola
The most famous company: Ferrari,
Currency: Euro

Fun fact: With almost 40 million visitors, Italy is the fourth most visited country in the world.

Local Player Profile

My source for this entry is an Italian player named Riccardo Maganza. He has been a Pokémon TCG player for  5 years now. He is 15-years old now and he has been studying languages for 2 years. When he goes
abroad everyone tells him that he’s Northern-European-looking guy because he has a light blonde hair and he speaks quite good English.

He’s now in his first year in Master category and to be honest, he’s struggling in the new age divison. It's really difficult to get used to Masters age group because they play in a complete different way than lower categories do.

Riccardo has top 8'd Nationals in his first and only Junior year and then he made 2 more top 8's and a top 4 at Senior in their Nationals. He has missed the top cut in Nationals just once due to very poor testing. Riccardo is also looking forward to turn 18 and to become a Pokémon Professor.

Non-competitive playing and leagues

Almost every imporant league is official in Italy. There are also some unofficial leagues in Italy but with neglect able attendance.

It’s good to remember that Italy is made up of 3 big areas: Nothern, Central and Southern. There are also Sicily and Sardinia but they're not considered to be a part of those three sections because they are very big islands and they are on their own.

Riccardo thinks there are leagues in almost every region but, for example, the only center you can play in in Central Italy is Rome which is a bit decentralized. There is a same, if not worse, situation in Southern Italy. He thinks that everyone who regularly plays in Leagues in Northern Italy also plays in tournaments because there are a lot of tournament cities of the Northern Italy.

However, since the only big center is Rome, many players find them too far of any tournament so they just
play in Leagues if they live in Central or Southern Italy.  Sicily has also some tournaments but it's too big of a region to go to tournament. Sardinia, on the other hand, has no official tournaments AT ALL.

This argument stands also for attendance numbers as well. They're similar in Northern Italy and Rome but Southern Italy and Sicily have MUCH lower numbers.


Italy has a pretty positive and pleasant community in Riccardo’s opinion. Everyone is smiling and there is no hate at all. Playing at tournament's is always enjoyable new players are always warmly welcomed to the tournaments. People loan cards freely to anyone as long as they know the player, they’re loaning to.

Competitive playing and tournament organizing

Italy has one UN-official website ( The Italian players use it just like Americans use the PokéGym. They used to have an official forum directly managed by our OP but the site had spam problems and other problems and since the OP was never around even though he was the only Admin on the site. Due this problems, the players decided to create a forum from players to players, now the site admin is Marco “Nemes” Escher, who is a very strong players.

In Riccardo’s opinion, Italy has a very creative player base. Even if almost everyone is playing archetypes in "regular season" tournaments, most players come up with some really innovative ideas. Until two years ago, when the SP-era started, every Nationals was won by the player who had the best rogue idea, even in Seniors and Juniors.

The Organized play of Italy is run by Gedis Edicola, which also runs YuGiOh and other games for children. The Italin players are not happy AT ALL with this because the OP had always been directed by one person (Marcello Murgia) for 5+ years.

Now, since Gedic took over,they have late news.For example, last year the information of Nationals location was revealed only a half and a month before the event.  Also, the tournaments are
often sanctioned slowly and the players in Italy hope that all that is going to change in the next years.

In Riccardo's opinion, this kind of improved this year when Marcello opened an official FB page for the italian TCG trying to make communication easier ( He can't really tell you if that will work. It's a really fresh page (Riccardo thinks it opened less then a week ago)..

However, there are good things happening in Italy as well. For example, they had the biggest Regional turnout in Europe this year. Milan Regional had an impressive 121 people attendance (20-28-73) The event was organised by Marco Escher. Riccardo thinks Marco always comes up with cool ideas for his tournaments and this year he decided to put up 5 Mewtwo EX in the prize pool. This led people from every part of Italy and even France and Switzerland to come.

Player base

As Riccardo is from Northern Italy, he knows the attendance numbers of tournaments in Northern Italy the best.

Battle Roads:
SR/JR <10

City Championships:
SR/JR ~ 10
MA: 20+

SR/JR: 10/15
MA: 30+


JR ~ 20
SR ~ 30
MA ~ 70

As we can all see, the age divisions are divided just like the are in almost every country. (Maybe a bit healthier than in most countries)

20% Juniors
20% Seniors
60% Masters

The player base of Italy has been growing steadily but the last two years, the amount of players has stayed the same and the growth has stopped. This – once again – sounds very familiar, doesn’t it?

When it comes to respected Italian players, Riccardo can name a lot of them (in Masters and Seniors).


 - Alessandro Cremascoli (1x Nationals winner, Benelux Cup 2010 3rd place, multiple top cuts at Nationals, countless victories at minor tournaments and Worlds participations.)

- Simone Soldo (2x Nationals Winner IN A ROW, 1x Top 32 at Worlds, Nx top cuts at Nationals, countless victories at minor tournaments and Worlds participations.)

- Marco Escher (Very consistent player, always judging at Nationals, countless participations at Worlds)

- Lorenzo Voltolina (He has been playing for just one year and he managed to top 8 at Worlds 2011, Riccardo thinks that he deserves to be respected...)

- Andrea Ceolin (2x Nationals winner, 2011 ECC top 2, Nx Worlds participations, Nx Top cuts at Nationals)

- Alberto Ceolin [Andrea's Brother] (Very consistent player, Nx Worlds participations and top cuts at Nationals)

- Martina Canto (1x Senior Nationals Champ and really consistent player, Nx Worlds participations and top cut at Nationals)


- Simone Zucchelli (3rd place at Junior Worlds 2009)

- Michele Zucchelli [Simone's brother] (2011 ECC Junior Champion, 2x Junior Nationals Champion IN A ROW)

- Marco Facchin (2nd place at Worlds 2011)

In Junior’s division, there really aren’t players that have good results yet but I’m sure Italy will produce more top players to each age division in the future.

As easily guessed, Riccardo thinks that they can compete really well at Worlds. Last Worlds Italy had the best win/played ratio among ALL the countries (even though their Nationals Champ Andceo went 1-6). Their own Marco Facchin placed 2° in Seniors and Italian players were really happy about that. Italy also has top 2'd VGC Masters - Matteo Gini- , which is pretty good for a pizza and mandolin country in Riccardo’s opinion.


Italy’s Pokémon TCG scene is going strong. Even though they have little issues with their new LD, the game is going strong and the age divisions aren’t yet too far away from each other. Italy’s challenge in the future will be getting new Seniors and Juniors players to the Pokémon TCG scene, to prevent the game dying in those age divisions. This shouldn’t be a problem with a correctly managed PR since Italy has already a lot of successful players worldwide in both TCG and VGC. The skill of level of Italy is already high enough and all the Italian players have to do is to maintain the game’s state.

I hope you enjoyed this entry and feel free to leave any comments!

P.S. As scans from Dark Explorers have been released, the next entry will be Impact Crater, be sure to check it out!

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. Still enjoying this series a lot. Thanks for putting it out there

    ~baby mario

  2. Esa, why did you sell out your awesome deck articles to Sixprizes? Your killing your blog man, very sad... Hope you come back! Because these articles are just gap fillers in my opinion.

  3. ^ agree
    Anyway, good job esa ;)

    -an Italian player


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