Friday, June 7, 2013

2 days to National Championships panic!

Hello everyone!

As you may remember, I have my own Nationals this weekend! They are on Sunday, so just few days left! To
Time to get serious!
be honest, I’m very insecure about my Nationals this year due to a simple fact – I haven’t won a single tournament this year! It has never happened to me before, so it’s a whole new situation for me. Mainly, I devote mu unsuccessful season for bad luck, but also, because I have from time to time gone to a tournament unprepared. However, to Nationals I’m not going unprepared! I have tested a lot of different decks and match-ups and believe that I have found the crown jewel among the tested decks.

If you are interested on how I’m doing at get the news if I was able to get my 7th(!) National Championships –title before anyone else, remember to follow me on Facebook or Twitter, where I’ll update my results from the tournament and other big tournaments like Worlds and ECC as well!

Today I don’t really have any kind of topic. I just wanted to let my thoughts out of my system before Nationals and that’s one of the positive sides of having you own blog, you can write there whenever you feel like it! But don’t worry, all the musings in this article, is related to metagame, decks and competitive playing.

Confusing tournament results

After looking at the results from Battle Roads and International National Championships, the results are very interesting. In the U.S. Plasma has been dominating Battle Roads by overpowering everything else in quality. However, internationally Plasma hasn’t been nearly as successfull even though it has been as popular as in the United States. I don’t know why this is, but one of the reasons may be that in the end Plasma lacks something. It was also the most played deck in Japan, but it didn’t win a single tournament in the B-league. In National Championships decks like Gothitelle and Darkrai EX have been able to win it all. Plasma has been on top of all the tournaments, but in the end another deck has been able to take it all. And it can’t be even be explained by the players, who played the deck, because both Tord Reklev, who was 2nd in Norwegian Nationals and Steven Mao who was 3rd-4th in Germany’s Nationals with Plasma can be considered as the top5 players of Europe! However, I would be surprised if Plasma wouldn’t be able to win any National Championships, but in the end I believe that the wins will be evenly divided between Gothitelle, Plasma and Darkrai EX decks, which in my opinion form the tier1 .

I think this makes things very interesting especially for the U.S. Nationals, because I’m 100% sure that so many rogues will rise in the U.S. Nationals that Plasma won’t be able to win it all. Last year the U.S. Nationals had a real bomb when Klinklang was able to take it all and I’m sure this year will be no different.

Rogues Rising

This is the most interesting time of the season, because a lot of rogues already rise in the Battle Roads and International Nationals. This season it’s even better, because Plasma Freeze gave us so many good and creative cards that we haven’t even seen all of them in action yet. One of my favorite concepts that have risen in the to the public knowledge is Quad Snorlax, that saw some random play in Japan, but was made known by Ryan Vergel in the west. You can check Ryan’s very good and thorough article about Quad Snorlax fromCeladon City Gym.

Here’s my take on Quad Snorlax.


4x Snorlax


4x Skyla
4x Cheren
3x Ghetsis
3x N
2x Bianca
2x Professor Juniper
4x Max Potion
4x Shadow Triad
4x Recycle
4x Pokemon Catcher
4x Hypnotoxic Laser
4x Virbank City Gym
4x Crushing Hammer
3x Switch
3x Team Plasma Ball
2x Enhanced Hammer
1x Super Rod
1x Rock Guard

There really is not much you can do to this deck, but as I like the Recycle-idea of the deck, the small changes I made was to add Rock Guard (which adds the damage output of the deck and can be Recycled with Recycle) and added 1 Shadow Triad, so you could get one Plasma card more. Also, I found the space with the help of Super Rod instead of 2 Revives, because with the extra Shadow Triad you can always get a Snorlax back if necessary.

Quad Snorlax is only one of the decks we will be seeing in the next few weeks of very important tournaments. Maybe, I’ll surprise you as well ;)

Random and the Finnish situation

The thing that IS surprising in my opinion is how stale the metagame really is. There were almost more deck variants last season than this year, because of all the different Darkrai EX variants that worked very differently and were different decks. This year if you build e.g. Big Basics, you may choose your attackers, but the game plan is still pretty much the same. RayEels is also a very strong option, but in the end Eelektrik/Bouffalant isn’t good enough anymore. Even though Plasma Freeze would in my opinion allow players to be more creative, it has only made the metagame more stale – so far.

What I am expecting at my Nationals is a few Team Plasma decks, a lot of RayEels, a bunch of Blastoise and a few Klinklangs. Big Basics haven’t been that popular in Finland even though it has taken a lot of tournaments in Finland as well, so I don’t know about that. Darkrai EX has also seen some decrease in play, so it will be interesting to see, if anyone has reinvented Darkrai EX.

What I am most concerned about is the player base in Finland. I wouldn’t be surprised if we only had 5 Swiss rounds and top4 in MASTERS. Something that happened the last time… Never? It has been seriously difficult to keep going with the blog as I can see the Pokémon TCG of Finland dying in front of my eyes. In the last tournament, there were only about 30 players, when usually at this point of the season, the same tournament gathers 60 or more players. A decrease of 50%! In one year. The numbers aren’t beautiful and it doesn’t make my win any easier. With 5 Swiss rounds, even 4-1 isn’t always enough to get into topcut, so I really have to aim at winning all the games, which isn’t easy in the current format where small bad luck can screw your whole tournament. You could say I’m nervous, but thankfully the wait is over soon and Nationals are soon behind me. It’s also good to mention that Finnish Nationals have never been so late in the summer, so it’s a new situation for me. Usually we have our Nationals in May, so I don’t have to stress things so long, but now it’s different.



I know this wasn’t an ordinary article, but I hope you ot something out of it. Heck, in fact this wasn’t an article at all, but only flow of my thoughts. This was more for me than for the readers, but I know getting different points of views are always welcome if you want to develop as a player.

Well, now everything is said. And the only thing that can speak for me is my actions in the National Championships. Wish me luck (I'll certainly need it more this year than any other year) and remember to stay tuned on either one of the social media sites!

Thanks for reading!

P.S. I haven't even decided my deck yet! I have two options left - maybe I should just flip a coin...


  1. damn esa, i really hope the tcg in finland picks back up for you. im sure you watching the game you love die in front of you is no fun...

  2. Lugia EX is the best!

  3. Blain's last resort sais that you can only play it if you have NO other cards in your hand yet it still sais to show your hand to your opponent...LOL!

    1. Other that Blaine's Last Resort. What if you have a hand of multiple Blaine's Last Resorts?

    2. It says you to show your hand because if you have 2x blain last resort in hand your opponent have to know your other card was blaine too

  4. 3xDarkrai EX/3xAbsol/3xSabelye/1xKeldeo w/4xBicycle, I think it should work with the optimal Trainers. I'm waiting to see your national's decklist...
    Do your best on nationals!

  5. It might affect the player numbers that the "Tampere Open" mahjong tournament is on the same day...

  6. You'll win this nationals too... you always do that :P

  7. "Builder of 2 World Championships winning decks and 6-time National Champion of Pokémon TCG reveals the secrets of metagame, rogue and secret decks."

    Hope you make the 6 a 7!

  8. What happens if you run Quad Snorlax and all of your Snorlax are prized?

    1. That would mean you mulligan(the whole point of Quad Lax is that you never run any other Basic so your opponent can never retreat), and shuffle your hand and prizes in. If you play your prizes down before seeing your hand, you need to shuffle them back in when you mulligan.

      It's precisely because of this kind of thing that it is recommended you first draw your hand of 7, and only after ensuring a non-mulligan you place the 6 prizes. Saves time on having to shuffle an extra 6 cards in.

    2. The weird thing about this deck is that it's more possible than not to actually win before the game even starts, very funny and hard to beilieve. Only problem, you could easily lose if you give the opponent enough time to charge another pokemon and the laser knocks out the defending pokemon coming into your opponents turn.

    3. Impossible. You don't lay down your prize cards until you have a basic pokemon in your hand first.

  9. Ensi vuonna saadaan hyvällä tuurilla saman kokoinen turnaus kuin vuoden 2004 SM:ssä kerroit olevan. Jos sitäkään.:)

    But yeah, since most players seem to think that the game is too luck based and rather drop to play Mahjong maybe that´s for the best. I still do like the game but there´s lot of room for improvement. X & Y sets, don´t disappoint me please.

  10. Just a heads up, Plasma has won a few National Championships already. It's just so hard for people to get all the cards in the short amount of time between the release date of Plasma Freeze and Nats. Also the cost of making the deck was a factor in many of the player's decision (in comparison to a cheap, but good darkrai deck).

    Good luck though Esa, I'm sure you'll do great.

  11. Run plasma or garbodor. Win. Congratz.

  12. esa might of posted a fake list online


  14. he got t4. look at the twitter!

  15. At my nats i saw a plasma garbodor deck.

  16. Fear the chicken Esa, fear the chicken.


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