Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It's time to move on

Hats off to the readers.
Hello everyone!

It’s sad, but true. It’s time to move on. And I never thought that moving on even from a serious relationship would be this difficult, but after all, I believe that every blogger and blog share a very serious relationship. Otherwise the blog wouldn't be very interesting for the readers. All the nice people I was able to meet at Worlds this year made this decision even more heart-breaking, but in the end I do what I gotta do.

TheDeckOut has been online for almost exactly two years now and it has been an unbelievable project for me and a lot of work. I have learned a lot, not only about the English grammar, but also about Pokémon TCG and the community all over the world. I wouldn’t change anything that I have experienced with The Deck Out. I have also had the priviledge to talk and meet with a bunch of great people all over the world.

However, all good things come to an end and now it’s the time for The Deck Out to make room for other Pokémoni TCG fan sites and blogs. If you want to know why, there are several reasons for it.

Finnish Pokémon TCG scene

I have said many times in my blog that the Finnish Pokémon scene is dying. This is an undeniable fact. It's also the biggest reason why I have struggled to continue with my blog the whole last season and THE biggest reason why it's time to stop writing to The Deck Out. After moving to new city, I haven't had anyone to play Pokémon with, so competitive playing has been almost an impossibility for me. That's probably one of the biggest reasons why I had a mediocre last season as well.

People often ask me, why I don’t start promoting the game and establish a league etc. to grow the game. I have been building the Finnish Pokémon TCG scene from the rock bottom and I have really given my all to this game and the Finnish players. You could say that I have ran out of fuel. There is nothing more I can offer to the Finnish Pokémon TCG scene personally and it’s time for new forces to step in and take responsibility, if they ever want to grow the game in Finland. Unfortunately I believe that there is no “new wave” coming in the Finnish Pokémon TCG and we will be back with 20-people Nationals next year. I sincerely hope I am wrong, but I doubt it since Matti Kettunen who has been organizing all the tournaments the past years (and loaned me all the cards I have needed), has quit the game as well. When you have that few players around and almost no tournament organizers, you don't really get any competitive or fun feeling from playing and my blog's content would be full of theorymon, which wouldn't help anyone. But that will remain to be seen.

2) The spark is gone

To be honest, after experiencing the greatest seasons of Pokémon TCG (in my opinion seasons 2005-2008), I just don’t get the excitement I used to get from this game. Also, when looking at the future cards, it seems that Pokémon has no intention to stop releasing Basic EXs that will dominate the metagame. However, there just might be light in the end of the tunnel if we look at the "new alternative format", which will start after 2014 season. On the other hand, they decided to reprint Pokémon Catcher in Plasma Blast so...maybe it's a good time to take a break from playing after all as they have no intentions of making stage2 Pokémon playable in a while.

On the other hand, it just may be that I have “grown out” from the game. I remember the times when I could easily play 8 hours a day and was still eager to play more and more. Nowadays I don’t usually even want to play more than 5 games in a row, because I quickly get frustrated for various reasons. I don't really know why, but all I know is that the spark that once was there, doesn’t exist anymore.

3) Time, writing and life

Every single time a featured writer writes a single article in my blog, they always say “whoa, that was a lot of work; I can’t comprehend how you can write an article every week!” During the 2-year span I often asked this from myself – how did I have the time and energy to write those articles AND Underground articles on top of that? I have no idea, but I’m proud that I was able to do it. Now, the “real” life takes more and more time from my time, so I just don’t have enough time to write entries that would benefit anyone. I also was very active during this summer and thanks to that the next years I'm more than busy with 2 different schools, working part-time during school and writing for a professional magazine. I'm surprised if I have time to even play Pokémon anymore! I can't give up writing, because I love it, but writing a Pokémon TCG blog is out of question - at least for now.


I’ll be honest. Writing is the thing I enjoy the most in my life (alongside good music) and I can’t live without it. However, too much is too much and that’s why I can’t concentrate on all the things in my life at the same time. I had to stop doing something and unfortunately it’s the blog I need to stop writing when I look at the priorities of my life.

I believe I have been able to help a lot more people than I originally thought I could help with my blog. I receive e-mails daily and I have personally answered over 1000 e-mails from people all over the world (I still have almost all of them saved in my e-mail folder) asking for advice or help during the past two years. Even though I couldn’t always answer all the e-mails I got, I have tried to answer them as many of them as I could. And every single time I was able meet new people in big tournaments and they thanked me for my blog or asked for an autograph, I really felt like I had done something that really mattered. Thank you for acknowledging my work.

With the help of Ukinin-san I have also been able to close the gap between Japan and the rest of the Pokémon TCG world and I’m proud of that and hugely grateful for Ukinin-san for the possibility. I’m sure there are people who will continue my work when it comes to Japan, because all things Japan always gather a lot of attention and for example RestlessBob has already for a while done great coverage of Japanese tournaments at Pokegym.

When I first started my blog, I didn’t believe anyone would be interested in puny Finnish players’ opinions about the game, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Deck Out has grown more than I could ever have imagined and I owe it all to you and only to you.

I also like to believe that my blog’s popularity encouraged other people to establish their own Pokémon TCG blogs as well, because a lot of Pokémon TCG blogs have been established after The Deck Out was established two years ago. After all, if my horribly written blog could be popular, then any other blog could be popular as well! Before ending this final entry, I would like to give a shout out to every fully competitive Pokémon TCG site I know of and I think is worth checking out. I think all of these sites are worth following and by promoting them you can help to grow the game. Maybe you and your friends could establish your own blog as well! There is still space in the Pokémon TCG
blogsphere for (how do I put it nicely...hmm) "personal" blogs.

Celadon City Gym

The Top Cut

The Charizard Lounge

Flip or Die

Ace Trainer





One Hit KO


TCG with hats

(Not for children)

On the Bubble (Not for children)

Let me know if missed something, because this entry will be the first thing that people see, when they visit The Deck Out, so the more there are links to quality competitive Pokémon TCG sites, the better.

And just when you thought you could get rid of me completely, I would like to take you back to one very important point of this entry - I love writing! And since Pokémon TCG will have a place in my heart as long as the game exists (and probably even after that as I have played it over 50% of my lifetime!), I probably can’t ever stop writing Pokémon TCG articles. It may be once a year or twice year, or maybe even 5 times a year, but I will keep on writing. However, the fact is that I won’t publish enough material to support The Deck Out, so it’s probably more prudent for me to write to a site that publishes material more often. I don't know, which site I will write in the future, but I'm sure I can arrange something. All suggestions on which site you would like me to write are more than welcome!

I hope you have enjoyed The Deck Out as long as you have been reading it and that it has been a useful or at least entertaining blog for you!

There were a lot of things I really would have still liked to promote with my blog (e.g. the appreciation of Juniors and Seniors in the game). Remember that even though we might live on other continents and have huge age differences, Pokémon TCG is something that binds us all together. In the end, it’s our common language. 

I want to thank all of you whether you have read, commented, argued, loved, hated, defended or followed The Deck Out! It was an experience like no other and it wouldn't have been nothing without you.

Thank you.

Sincerely yours,

Esa Juntunen


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It has been a while: Aftermath of Worlds

BCIF (No, I'm not kidding!)
Hello everyone!

It’s been a while. In fact, it has been two weeks already since my last article! Today I’m here to share my Worlds experience with you. The feelings I got from Worlds were very controversial. On the other hand, I would have loved to play, but in the end I was more than grateful that I eventually had to be a part of the translation team even though my big brother’s car accident led me to it. Why I was happy translate even though I love playing? That’s a very interesting question indeed, which I will try to answer in this entry.

Anyways, I wasn’t’ able to provide any updates from the tournament venue, because the internet access was 150 dollars per day… I’m very disappointed to that, but oh well, I had a blast nonetheless! As I was inside the staff area from Thursday onwards, I will give you today an inside-scoop about some things that I wouldn’t have probably heard as a player. Of course I can’t say all the things, because some of them were confidential, but I will tell everything that wasn’t!

Let’s get going.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

World Championships 2013 - Metagame, Stories and The Accident

Me as a translator? That's what I call the last resort!
Hello everyone!

I knew I was going to Worlds, but for a long time I didn't book the trip. Eventually I decided to book the trip, but then something tragic happened - my big brother got hit by a car. So what does my big brother got to do with anything? Well, he should have been the Finnish translator, but due to the accident he can't go to Worlds at all! On such a short notice it was impossible to find another translator, so I had to make a big decision. I had to step down from the player position and step up the translator's spot. I would have loved to play in the Worlds this year, because this will probably be my last Worlds, but this was the right thing to do since there was no one else for the spot and I can't really go regretting the decision now. It will be a different experience for sure, but I'm sure it will be fun nonetheless!

Anyways, even though I will be watching the Worlds Championships from the sidelines this year (which is really heart-breaking for me as I would have loved to play), it doesn't stop me today looking at what to expect at Worlds. Decks, players, Japanese decks etc.

And remember, even though I will be in the sidelines, I will try to update interesting things from Worlds on Twitter and Facebook in the Worlds after each round, so remember to follow me there, if you want to know up-to-date things about the tournaments.

Let’s get going!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Tropical Beach giveaway 4 winners and Pokedemia!

Pokedemia is the new cool.
Hello everyone!

I was supposed to do a Worlds-entry today, but due to the changed circumstances, I had to move it for Wednesday. Anyways, today I have two important things - the winners of the last Tropical Beach PTCGO codes and a shout out for a great new Pokémon TCG blog.

Let’s start with the correct answer to the last question and who are the winners. The correct answer to the question: Who do I consider as the best player in the game is…. Sami Sekkoum! Not the most surprising choice, but not the most obvious choice either. He is the most consistent player in the Worlds and National Championships history and that’s a reason enough for me. Anyways, the winners of the last PTCGO Tropical Beach codes are:

Christina Pendergrast
- Connor McClure

Congratulations to the winners! E-mail me to:
thedeckout@gmail.com to claim your prize.

Then, to the more important thing today! Steffen Eriksen from Denmark has established a new Pokémon TCG blog, which has a very interesting approach on writing and I really love the concept and hope it will become hugely successful. I will let Steffen introduce the blog and idea to you.

Hi everyone!

My name is Steffen Eriksen and I have been a Pokémon player for quite some time. Recently I got the idea to start a new blog with inspiration from The Deck Out. My blog will be named Pokedemia and will, as the name indicates, have a more academic focus on Pokémon TCG. To my knowledge there is yet no site which does that and I think that the Pokémon community can benefit from having a site which takes a more academic approach. The subjects which will be included on the blog will be: Mathematic, Economics, Econometrics, Statistics, Marketing and much more. As a special feature of the blog, I welcome people to write in with articles they wish to publish on the blog. For more information about me and how the blog is going to work visit:

I hope that you all will enjoy reading my blog and a special thanks to Esa for letting me advertise my new blog here!

Steffen Eriksen

Be sure to check Pokedemia out! I love the more mature approach to Pokémon TCG as the game’s player base has become a lot older and I believe I may very well to write to Pokedemia in the near future as well! I hope that the site will get an explosive start with great articles.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tropical Beach giveaway 4!

It’s giveaway time!

I have planned a few competitions for the Tropical Beaches and they are pretty simple. I give you a question and you answer it on Facebook (I presume almost everyone has a Facebook nowadays). However, if you don't, just e-mail me your answer to: thedeckout@gmail.com.

I hope most of you put your answers to Facebook, where I have asked the question, so that my e-mail box won't be filled with e-mails and that I know who I am giving the codes to.
Remembr to share the contest with your friends as well, so they have a chance to win 4 Tropical Beaches as well!. I will choose the winner(s) among the people who answered correctly to my question.

You can find the Facebook question here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Deck-Out/224210994308067?ref=hl#!/permalink.php?story_fbid=544523722276791&id=224210994308067

Anyways, today's question is! (I warn you, these are difficult ones).

Who do I consider as the best player in the world?

You have TWO days to answer the question and then I'll reveal the winners on Facebook and Twitter!

Good luck!

Monday, July 22, 2013

NXD-on, what's the story?

Virizion EX is the new "I'm good at every deck"-card
Hello everyone!

I was going to make another PTCGO giveaway contest today, but then changed my mind. After all, I haven't discussed the upcoming rotation at all in my blog yet!

If you didn't yet know, it’s official now and it has been for a while, but due to my hectic life in the summer I am bit late to analyze the changes. The next format will be Next Destinies-on! And what will that mean for the game and for the upcoming format? That’s what I am here today to discuss. What is even more interesting is the fact that they released the possible “alternative format” alongside the “modified” format starting late 2014. What kind of impact that will have to the game? That will be very interesting to see. If you haven’t yet seen the official announcement, check it out here:

Anyways, today I’ll be discussing, which cards will be out of the game in the next format and what it means for some decks. I’ll also take a look at the cards that are more viable now that certain cards have been rotated out. I might have missed the rotation of some cards, so feel free to comment if you notice anything lacking in my analysis!

Remember that the rotation takes place AFTER Worlds, so Worlds’ will be still played with the BW-on format.

Oh and one more thing. The Top Cut Invitational that I had last year priviledge to attend to is organized this year again. This time, The Top Cut needs your vote in order to decide the remaining contestant of the tournament! I voted for Sami Sekkoum, who is your vote? If you haven't yet voted, you can vote here: http://thetopcut.net/2013/07/20/vote-for-the-last-member-of-the-top-cut-invitational/ The tournament is just something very special and I encourage everyone to follow it!

Anyways, Let's get going.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tropical Beach giveaway 3!

It’s giveaway time!

I have planned a few competitions for the Tropical Beaches and they are pretty simple. I give you a

Beedrill won Worlds.
question and you answer it on Facebook (I presume almost everyone has a Facebook nowadays). However, if you don't, just e-mail me your answer to: thedeckout@gmail.com.

I hope most of you put your answers to Facebook, where I have asked the question, so that my e-mail box won't be filled with e-mails and that I know who I am giving the codes to.

Remembr to share the contest with your friends as well, so they have a chance to win 4 Tropical Beaches as well! I will choose the winner(s) among the people who answered correctly to my question.

You can find the Facebook question here:


Anyways, today's question is! (I warn you, these are difficult ones).

In which match-up I beat Yuta Komatsuda in the Worlds Championships of 2009?

Hint: It was a mirror match.

You have TWO days to answer the question and then I'll reveal the winners on Facebook and Twitter!

Good luck!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tropical Beach giveaway 2: The winners!

Impact Crater

This time the contest was even more interesting than last time! At first, I thought that everyone would just say Zelda, but then some people remembered the Ace Attorney picture in Miska camp and eventually almost everyone jumped on the Ace Attorney bandwagon. Even though I love Zelda and Ace Attorney, the correct answer is neither of them.

It seems that people have good, but short memory! The hint was that there was a reference in my blog to the game series every three months. A lot of people seemed to dismiss the hint completely.  But the question is, what happens every three months? A new set is released! So, a new “Impact Crater” –entry is made every three months as well. This leads us to the correct answer, which is… Metroid! And more precisely Metroid Prime-series. You can find the final boss of the Metroid Prime 1 from the Impact Crater and if you Google search e.g. “Impact Crater Nintendo”, you can find Metroid references all around the search hits. However, I was positively surprised to see that some people remembered that Impact Crater-entries are released every three months and could connect it with Metroid Prime. Great job!

More right answers came with e-mail this time and the lucky winners of PTCGO  Tropical Beach codes are:

David Zou
Juho Hautala
Melissa Parker (e-mail)
Arren Mallot (e-mail)

It seems that differing from the masses has been a key to victory so far. Tomorrow, a new contest will take place once again and I believe it’s the easiest question so far. So, will the masses be right tomorrow? Stay tuned on Facebook and Twitter to find out!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tropical Beach giveaway 2!

No, it isn't this game, although this game is AWESOME.
It’s giveaway time!

I have planned a few competitions for the Tropical Beaches and they are pretty simple. I give you a question and you answer it on Facebook (I presume almost everyone has a Facebook nowadays). However, if you don't, just e-mail me your answer to: thedeckout@gmail.com.

I hope most of you put your answers to Facebook, where I have asked the question, so that my e-mail box won't be filled with e-mails and that I know who I am giving the codes to.
Remembr to share the contest with your friends as well, so they have a chance to win 4 Tropical Beaches as well!I will choose the winner(s) among the people who answered correctly to my question.

You can find the Facebook question here.

Anyways, today's question is!

What is my all-time favorite VIDEO game series for Nintendo consoles?

Hint: You can find reference to it from my blog every three months.

You have TWO days to answer the question and then I'll reveal the winners on Facebook and Twitter!

Good luck!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tropical Beach giveaway time!

It’s giveaway time!

I have planned a few competitions for the PTCGO Tropical Beaches and they are pretty simple. I give you a question and you answer it on Facebook (I presume almost everyone has a Facebook nowadays). However, if you don't, just e-mail me your answer to: thedeckout@gmail.com.

I hope most of you put your answers to Facebook, where I have asked the question, so that my e-mail box won't be filled with e-mails and that I know who I am giving the codes to. Remember to share the contest with your friends as well, so they have a chance to win 4 Tropical Beaches as well! I will choose the winner(s) among the people who answered correctly to my question.

You should leave your answer HERE: https://www.facebook.com/#!/permalink.php?story_fbid=538489889546841&id=224210994308067

Anyways, today's question is! (I warn you, these are difficult ones).

Which player I asked for help for my Zapdos EX/Rayquaza EX/Electrode EX deck via Private Message at Pokegym in 2006? (Real name or nickname). 

Hint: He is a former SixPrizes Underground-writer.

You have TWO days to answer the question and then I'll reveal the winners on Facebook and Twitter!

Good luck!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

10 years of competitive Pokémon TCG: The Unbearable Lightness of almost Being a Pokémon Master

Hello everyone!

As Worlds will be soon and it’s difficult to decide whether to discuss Worlds format or the future

Eeveelutions tend to break the format
format, I decided to make a compromise and do another history entry! The last one was a bit controversial and the general tone of the article was negative. This time, the story is pretty much the opposite. Almost a Cinderella-like story. Also, did you know that the new Pokémon TCG season started yesterday! If you don't believe me, just check your Pokémon.com account!

But before we get going, it’s good to remind you that it’s no good reading this, if you haven’t read the previous parts of my history. You can find the previous parts here:

- 2005
- 2006
- 2007

Anyways, it’s always good to make a quick recap of where am I now. It’s autumn of 2007. The last two seasons have been highly disappointing for me Pokémon TCG-wise as first I failed at Worlds in 2006 and the 2007 was full of negative feelings and experiences. HOWEVER, even though the years had been failures for me personally as a player, they were remarkable years for me as a deck builder, because my builds had won Worlds Championships two years in a row! Finland was able to produce World Champions two years in a row, which I think no one expected. All the eyes of Finnish players were on me, as almost everyone awaited me to be the 3rd Finnish World Champion. However, as I had lost a bit of my confidence and interest in Pokémon TCG, because of the failure of my past two seasons, I didn’t expect anything from myself. Especially since I didn’t feel comfortable with the format. How so? Let’s get going to find out!

Monday, July 8, 2013

The U.S. Nationals results and hindsight

Life Dew flew under the radar all this time
Hello everyone!

The U.S. Nationals are finally behind us! And the only thing left is the Worlds Championships - the most important tournament of the season for me and a lot of non-U.S players. However, before I make a Worlds Championships entry later on in this month, it’s time to look back to the results of the U.S. Nationals winning decks, and why these decks ended up winning each age group.

I’ll analyze each age group, but of course I will concentrate mostly on Masters, because that’s the only age group I could find a lot of good information from! We already know the top8 of the Masters division giving us a good picture of what really did well. I’ll also do some a not-so-rough draft of the Masters’ winning deck, which I believe won’t be too many cards off. I hope you enjoy!

Let’s get going.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

PTCGO Tropical Beach giveaway!

Virtually free!
Hello everyone!

As you know if you follow me on social media, a few days ago I received Tropical Beach codes for PTCGO as many other Worlds 2011 and 2012 attendees. Soon I realized that as I don’t play PTCGO at all, they are just a bunch of useless codes for me. I could sell them for 20-30$/each, but I would really like to reward my fans instead of making money with them. That’s why I will posting competitions to my blog and to social media where I give 1-2 codes at a time, with which you can use to claim 4 Tropical Beaches in PTCGO. To be amongst the first to know when a new Tropical Beach code competition is available in my blog, follow me on:

Twitter or

The competitions are simple. I ask questions about my Pokémon TCG career, me or my blog and I will reward 1-2 people who answered correctly. I will post the question of the day to Facebook, where I hope you answer the question, because that's teh only way I can recognize who answered correctly. If you don't have Facebook, e-mail me the answer to:
thedeckout@gmail.com. I hope you will write on Facebook, because otherwise my e-mail will be filled with e-mails before I have time to say Pikachu.

So stay tuned in social media! Also, there may be codes hidden somewhere inside my new blog texts as well! So, read every entry carefully! The competitions will start somewhere next week after the U.S. Nationals, so everyone can attend.

Anyways, this will happen somewhere next week and before that I’ll try to get some more additional Tropical Beaches from other Finnish players as well to share with, so I hope I can give away a LOT of Tropical Beaches for free. I hope that you will take the code only if you sincerely need it for playing and that you don’t take it and sell it just to make money and that you only claim one code (since you get 4 Beaches with one code). It would defeat the whole purpose of me giving these away for free. Thank you.

One more thing! I would like to give one Tropical Beach right here, right now. This Tropical Beach goes to a person, who is probably the most active commenter in my blog and thus I want to recognize the time he spends on reading and commenting on my blog. Alex Hill! E-mail me to:
thedeckout@gmail.com to claim your PTCGO Tropical Beach if you need one. If you don’t, just comment on the comments section and I’ll pass it on to someone else.

Thanks for being the best fans a blog can get!

Also,  you should give HUGE props for the following people who gave me their Tropical Beach codes, so I can give you more of them:

- Matius Hurskainen
- Miska Saari

At the moment I already have 14 codes to share with you guys!

Oh and good luck to everyone attending the U.S. Nationals this weekend!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Worlds preperations: Miska Camp 2013

Hello everyone!

As you may know (or not know), the Miska Camp took place last weekend. Miska Camp is an annual

An epic showdown between me and Kumis
meeting of Finnish players, where the players going to Worlds test for Worlds’ decks and strategies. However, over time it has developed to be much more than just preparing Pokémon TCG decks for Worlds Championships. Anyways, just like last year, I will do a picture-entry of this year’s Miska Camp.

I hope you enjoy the pictures! It sure was a blast again this year even though the Worlds preparatios… Well, there were less them than I had expected, but I sure had a lot of fun nonetheless! You can find the pictures from the entry below this.
Remember to click the pictures to enlarge them.

The Miska Camp 2013 Experience

A familiar scenery

Mahjong is still strong in these ones

One of my favorie mirror matches of all-time

Stage2 EXs? YEs please!

Finnish summer

Target acquired

Board games, carda games, all the same!

We got quite a nice amount of attendees this year as well!

Mission accomplished.

Time for a nap? Not yet!

And we thought THIS format was bad.

Gigas vs. LostGar

Fully equipped.

Miska has a very own cablecar on their back yard.

Flamed bacon strips. That didn't go well...

Gourmet food á la Esa. Can it get any better?

Yes it can!

DialgaChomp vs. Regigigas

Miska takes on MetaNite with his World Championship deck!


After some brotherly quarrel...

...it's time to take a rest!

Friday, June 28, 2013

10 years of competitive TCG: The failed experiment of PUI

Hello everyone!

Today I’m doing my most controversial entry of the 10-years of competitive TCG –series.

One of my favorite cards EVER.
However, I’ll leave all the names and too sensitive information out of this entry to avoid as much controversy as possible. Today, I’ll be discussing my -and only - my point of view about the 2006-2007 season and you’ll see that the season was not only the worst and most controversial out of all the seasons in the history of this game, but also the season when I was probably at the top of my game.

I have had a decent amount of controversy in my blog the previous weeks, so I wanted to just get this out of the way as soon as possible, so I don’t have to concentrate on controversy as The Deck Out is going to start a new chapter in its existence VERY soon (what might that mean??). The 2006-2007 season is also the season I am most disappointed of and it’s good to notice that all the things in this entry are only my own opinions – not absolute facts. I also hope to hear from the players that played this season that how YOU experienced the season and did you encounter the things I encountered during the season.

Anyways, before reading this, you MUST read the previous years in order to know how I ended up here and what has affected my attitude. Click below to read the previous parts.

- 2004
- 2005
- 2006

A quick recap of where we are now. It’s autumn 2006. I am 15-years old and just failed in the World Championships in my first year in Masters by going 3-5 with the same deck as Jason K used to win Worlds. I was hungry for success since over 300 hours of playtesting (and my whole summer had gone in vain). Miska Saari had also just become the first non-US or Japanese World Champion. Pokémon TCG is booming in Finland thanks to our great Local Distributor and OP Admin, the game is growing all the time. The final needed boost was Miska’s World Championships victory, which blew up the attendance in leagues all around Finland. On the other hand, I had almost succeeded in destroying the Hyvinkää league and we only had 7 attendees per week. However, my big brother finally came back from Germany and was ready to save our league. Will he succeed and what makes this season the most controversial ever?

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Pre-Nationals "Underground" article

Klinlang won't repeat its last-year success.
An interesting fact before you get going to read this 11,000 word article behemoth. This article should have been an Underground article (with a better grammar of course). I have put tens of hours of time for this article, so I hope you enjoy it and that it's worth your time! It really should be since most people would pay to read this.


Last  year when I did this article for the Underground for the first time, I said Klinklang had a chance to win the whole tournament. To be honest, I also recommended that you shouldn’t play Klinklang in the tournament, because I didn’t believe that a Klinklang player could dodge all the Hammertimes in the U.S. Nationals. About that I was dead wrong, because Hammertime was a lot less popular in the U.S. than in Europe (even though over 50% of my blog’s readers are from the U.S.)

Even though I wasn’t a Klinklang fan due to Hammertime gaining popularity all over the world last year, I needed to admit the facts – Klinklang was a real tier1 contender last year. Even though each person may favor one deck over another and from time to time I may have very strong opinions (and phrase them incorrectly), for me the job of Pre-Nationals article is to provide an objective point of view and analysis about the metagame. That is my mission today - provide a clear and balanced picture of the metagame I expect for the U.S. Nationals. Along the 10-years of playing I’ve become very familiar at predicting the metagame and it’s one of the skills that can only be developed with experience and time. Even though I live in Finland, I have kept a very close eye on the U.S. Nationals ever since 2006, so I’m pretty familiar of predicting the U.S. metagame.

However, if you are looking for my personal (and maybe biased) opinions, you won’t be disappointed either way. At the end of the article, I’ll list my opinions of top3 techs AND decks for the U.S. Nationals and some last minute gameplay tips for tournament play in the current format. Last time the deck, I placed at the top of my list didn’t win Nationals, but Worlds! That’s why I like to think my opinions are pretty accurate (if opinions can be considered accurate) and should at least provide some serious food for thought.   

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Featured Writer: Anna Schipper and the Nationals winning Eelektrik!

The perfect metagame counter
Hi everyone!

Today, I’m glad I can offer you something very innovative and at the same time competitive content. I asked the just-crowned National Champion of the Netherlands – Anna Schipper if I could write an article about her Nationals winning deck. Well, instead of me writing the article, she offered to write the article by herself! And to be honest, I think it’s better that way. She is the expert with her deck and I wouldn’t have been able to give you as thorough analysis of the deck as she can.

Something about the quality of the deck tells the fact that I was very interested in it even though it was an Eelektrik variant. As you may know, I have dreaded Eelektrik as long as it has been available in the metagame, but even I could imagine myself playing this deck. It only means the deck is top-notch and that you would be fool to not test it.

Also, even though we live in different countries, I have played against Anna TWICE in the Worlds Championships, so I know how good player she really is. Our Worlds matches are tied 1-1. Too bad that we can't face each other this year as Anna isn't going to Worlds! Anyways, I let Anna take it from here. Enjoy the article!    

Monday, June 17, 2013

Comic Relief

Hello everyone!

Today I have something COMPLETELY different for you. And this time it's nothing controversial either! (boring right?) Thanks for Juho Hautala for this awesome comic strip masterpiece. I hope this comic series will become a permanent part of my blog.

Also, I'm still debating whether I am going to Worlds or not. It's a tough decision since not so many Finnish players are going to Worlds this year and it would be very boring without friends to hang out with.

I do have some very good news as well. There is a VERY high-quality quest writer coming this week as well (a fresh National Champion with the winning deck!), so look forward to it.

The article-level just keeps on developing as the season's climax is almost here and as I got kicked out from the Underground, you will be in special treat next week. I already finished my Underground article and since I won't be posting it to the Underground, it will be released in my blog. An 11,000 word article-behemoth discussing all the metagame decks for the U.S. Nationals and Worlds including some very nice game-play tips! It will be released next Monday, so keep a close eye on my blog and you will get a rare glimpse on what Underground articles usually look like.

Anyways, for now, enjoy the comic strip!