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!

Early tournaments

The rotation has just rotated a  lot of sets out of the format and we were left at only with 4-5 sets to build a modified deck. With Mysterious Treasures, nothing too big happened. I played some Lucario/Minun/Plusle deck for fun, which I had netdecked from Yamato. Other very successful decks were Empoleon and T2 Seaking! We played the Battle Roads with this format and as PUI had changed the invite system back to normal (no more trips awarded from ranking points, thank god), we were just playing for fun.

It’s also good to notice that as the toy store, which we played our first 4 years, bankrupted, we needed to find a new place to have our league. Thankfully we find a very good spot. I believe Tom also never came back to Hyvinkää league, but just moved to another town and we thought he had quit the game even though he had the trip for the next year.

“Secret” Wonders

Thanks to a new set Secret Wonders, everything changed for a long time. Gardevoir and Gallade were released. They were horrifyingly overpowered compared to the rest of the cards we had and started soon to dominate all the tournaments all over the World. The only real contender against the “GG” deck was Magmortar variants.

The funny thing about GG was that I was never comfortable with it. I won CCs with Absol/Gardevoir/Gallade, but it was not until Claydol (Great Encounters) was released when I felt less and less comfortable with the deck. It started to dominate every single tournament and even though I played with the deck in every tournament (and won almost all the tournaments), I still felt like it was missing something. Something about the deck bothered me the whole season, but as I couldn’t figure it out I just kept on playing with it with a great tournament results.

Before I realized the season was almost over. I had my mind on other things than Pokémon this season, because of *Coughgirlscough* and due to the failures of the past two years. However, I was soon back in business, because it was time to take my 4th Nationals title! I was playing Gardevoir/Gallade even though I didn’t like the deck, because it was simply the best.  

The first failure (National Championships 2008)

So, let’s look at the list I played in the Nationals this year. This list might be one-two maybe even 6 cards off, because I have written these to anywhere, but I will try to remember my best.


4x Ralts (SW)
2x Kirlia (SW)
3x Gardevoir (SW)
1x Garevoir LV. X (SW)
2x Gallade (SW)
2x Baltoy (GE)
2x Claydol (GE)
1x Duskull (DP)
1x Dusknoir (DP)
1x Jirachi ex (CG)
1x Holon’s Castform


4x Roseanne's Research
3x Celio's Network
2x Bebe's Search
3x Steven's Advice
2x Team Galactic's Wager
4x Rare Candy
3x Windstorm
1x Warp Point
1x Switch
1x Lake Boundary
1x Night Maintenance


4x Call Energy
3x Psychic Energy
3x Double Rainbow Energy
3x Scramble Energy
2x Heal Energy

1. Round Bye

I think I only got one bye this season, because we only awarded one bye per person this year. Noneteless, one bye is also good, because it increases the resistances a lot.


2.  Round (Gardevoir/Gallade)

This was against Matti Kettunen, who soon become the main TO and translator in our tournaments. However, as this was his first tournament ever his skill-level were…umm questionable. Well, to be honest the game was very tight, because Matti had T2 Gardevoir and I had to give 4 prizes before I got one attacker out. However, if Matti would have been any better player back then, I would have probably just lost miserably. I couldn’t be happy how the deck functioned in the very first game…


3. Round (Don’t remember)

I sincerely have no idea about this round. I won, that’s all I can remember.


4. Round (Gardevoir/Gallade)

This were to be my first real test in the tournament, because the player on the other side of the table were one of the best players out there. I remember the game being extremely tight, but in my last turn I was able to get Steven with Telepass, which I used to draw Lake Boundary and used Roseanne to search for Holon’s Castform, attached it to my Gardevoir, got DRE back from Gardevoir and OHKOed his Gardevori thanks to Lake Boundary. It was very similar to Jason’s Worlds winning move this season. Just without Jolteon*.


5. Round (Togekiss/Ho-Oh)

Tom made a serious come back to Nationals as he didn’t play at all during this season. And there he was again in 4-0 against me. Just how many times had we been there to play against each other, when we both were undefeated? Too many times. He was playing Togekiss/Ho-Oh, which was in my opinion the worse version of Magmortar/Togekiss, but it didn’t seem to slow Tom down. He got T2 Ho-Oh with 6 energy, because he started the game. I didn’t have time to get Psychic Lock, so Togekiss’ Powers got through. Well, nonetheless the game is more than winnable even at this point. All I needed was Scramble Energy on Dusknoir when Tom draws his 4th prize and Ho-Oh will go straight back to discard pile (check Ho-oh(Secret Wonders) if you don’t know what its power does). Anyways, I tried to KO Tom’s Ho-Oh twice with Psychic Lock, but both times he flipped heads. Well, no worries all I need is the Dusknoir and I have the game! I use A LOT of draw power every turn and search for Duskull with Roseanne. Now, all I need is Scramble Energy. I draw, evolve Dusknoir, draw some more. Nothing. Tom draws his 5th prize. I use 2 Steven’s thanks to Telepass and still no Scramble Energy. Yargh. The one Ho-Oh, which came to play in T2, drew all the 6 prizes.


6. Round (Ampharos/something)

It sure was a creative and weird deck, which aimed at stopping my Poké-Powers. Unfortunately the deck had so many moving parts that once I got Psychic Lock and Gallade to secure my KOs, I pretty much just steamrolled him. I don’t remember the details of his deck, or the game, but all I can remember that the deck was VERY frustrating to play against, because I didn’t feel like my deck worked even without disruption.

Well, nonetheless I was in 5-1 and easily made the top8.


Top8 Kumis (Togekiss/Magmortar/Techs)

You all may remember Kumis from my last year’s National report and Kumis.dec that for example Jason K. played in the U.S. Nationals. Well, this time, Kumis was once again playing with a very weird deck, because it wasn’t a normal Togekiss/Magmortar. It had cards like Mawile (Gallade counter) and some other weird cards in it. One of the most important things in the deck were that it had a lot of Special Energy cards and only like 7-8 Fire energy you could take with Togekiss’ Power. The reason why I remember the games so good was that Mike Liesik from PUI was visiting our Nationals this year and he watched all the game played between me and Kumis.

1. Game

I got a T2 Gardevoir and gained the board control. Kumis did manage to tie the game with Scramble Energy on Magmortar LV.X, but thankfully I had Gallade ready and put Magmortar LV.X down to 50 Hp. Kumis didn’t have energy to retreat his active Pokémon and as the Magmortar LV.X on the bench had the least amount of HP in play, I used Gardevoi LV.X’s Bring down on it. After that Kumis tried to win the games with Togekiss, but Togekiss isn’t really the best attacker in the game, because it’s very flippy.
1-0 (6-1)

2. Game

Kumis decided to go first and starts with Mawile. I know this may be a problem for me, because Gallade only does so much damage as I have face-down prizes. Anyways, I decide to go aggro and OHKO Mawile in T2 with DRE Gallade. Kumis only has one Togekiss in play and brings it to the active spot. He hits 70. the only thing I need is Holon’s Castform and I have the game. I look through my deck and notice that Castform is prized. Well, no matter, time to set-up. I search for Ralts and Baltoy and hit Togekiss for 70. After that Kumis somehow did manage a comeback. He was able to hit 6 energy with his Togekiss in the later turns (probably all his Fire Energy in the deck), which caught me by surprise and OHKOed my Gallade. The game lasted a very long time and soon there were only 10 minutes left. We fought to the last prize, but one last Night Maintenance, and Togekiss’ Power finished the game in Kumis’ favor. The odds really weren’t in my favor this day.
1-1 (6-2)

3. Game

This was probably one of the most intense games I have ever played. We knew that person who drew the first few prizes would end up winning. There wasn’t much time left. Well I go second as I don’t have anything else but supporters. Kumis passes. I attach energy to Ralts and use Roseannes. Kumis evolves Magmortar, attaches energy to it and hits 20. I use Celio evolve Kirlia and use Psychic Research. I search some more cards from my deck. Kumis plays down Magmortar LV.X and makes me “Miettis”burned. He attaches another energy on Magmortar and hits for 40. Time is called. So, here we have it. If I flip heads, I can evolve my Kirlia to Gallade and win the game. If I flip tails, I lose. This one flip will decide who goes through to the top4. I flip and



1-2 (6-3)

I was kind of shocked. It was my first Nationals that I DIDN’T WIN. For me winning in Finland was a normal situation. And anything other than winning was abnormal. Nonetheless, I decided to be in Nationals and watch the final games. The winner of Nationals that year ended up being Tom’s girlfriend. I was shocked about that as well, because they didn’t play at all that year. However, maybe she only had a good day.

After Nationals

After Nationals I was in a very difficult spot. Even though my parents supported my hobby now more than ever, they still wouldn’t pay me a trip to Worlds just, because they didn’t have any money. I worked the whole summer and in the early summer I decided that I will go to Worlds – no matter what it takes. I had this vision about a rogue deck that defeats GG in theory. All I needed to do was to plan the deck on paper. And so I did. I once wrote the deck creation process to the SixPrizes Underground, but as I don’t have access there anymore, I can’t unfortunately explain it to you.

Anyways, soon at the Miska Camp, where I show my deck, a lot of people were enthusiastic about the deck. Everyone wanted to play the deck and some built their own Glaceons on the spot. Tomi S (DennisHawk) also made his own rogue involving Palkia LV.X and Honchkrow LV.X, which was very popular among Finnish players as well. Everyone in Finland were going with a rogue to Worlds and we were sure to take the tournament by storm.

Worlds Championships 2008

So, I was able to come up with a unique rogue for Worlds. Unfortunately as rogue decks are very interesting, many Finnish Seniors wanted to play the deck as well, but in the end it proved to be too difficult for all the Seniors and all of them (there were 4 players playing Glaceon) got a negative record from the tournament (including Miska). Thankfully our new Junior hope Heikki was able to get into top16 with this very same deck, which was a very impressive feat.

I can easily say that this is the deck I am the most proud of since there were many people who tried to break Glaceon LV.X. before Worlds, but didn’t succeed in that. I’m just sad the deck never made it to the Worlds booklet, because I think it would have deserved it.

Anyways, here is the list.


4x Absol(SW)
3x Eevee(MD)(Sand Attack)
2x Glaceon(MD)
2x Glaceon LV.X(MD)
1x Jirachi ex(CG)
2x Baltoy(GE)
2x Claydol(GE)


4x Energy Removal 2
3x Cessation Crystal
3x Crystal Beach
4x Team Galactic’s Mars
2x Island Hermit
1x Team Galactic’s Wager
3x Bebe’s Search
2x Celio’s Network
2x Night Maintenance
2x Roseanne’s Research
3x Castaway
1x Strength Charm


4x Call Energy
7x Water Energy
1x Psychic Energy
2x Multi Energy

The idea of the deck was pretty simple. Don’t let your opponent get his/her set-up. When your opponent doesn’t play Cessation Crystals you have the power to control when you can use the powers and when you don’t. I also noticed that many players were playing Warp Points instead of Windstorms in their decks so Glaceon + Cessation Crystal was something that locked most metagame decks COMPLETELY. Usually Crystal Beaches, Absol+Cessation and Jirachi ex are enough to bring down any player playing the BDIF of that format – Gardevoir/Gallade (GG). I only lost against GG 3 times in IRL testing prior Worlds Championships with this deck so if I was going to face a GG every second round or more often (which was my prediction), I would be able to make it to the top cut. So, did my plan work out as I wanted it to? Well… Not exactly!

1. Round Matthew Chin(U.S) Scizor/Empoleon

I had no idea what he was playing but after he laid 3 Basics it was a good sign to me because it meant a small hand. He flipped Piplup, Baltoy and Scyther. After seeing the Scyther I was like “why did I have to play against Scizor in the first round”. Empoleon is a tough match-up against Glaceon even with Bronzong.. With Scizor things get very tricky for me, because Scizor OHKOS Glaceon LV.X with ONE energy (that was broken back then). However, I got a pretty decent start with Eevee and Call Energy. I had T2 Claydol and Absol w/ Cessation. I started discarding his 4-5 card hand and didn’t hit anything too good. He searched for Chatot as he saw my Absol but I kept my hand size in 3-5 so it didn’t help him too much. Whenever he drew a new hand, I just destroyed it. I got a Glaceon with 3 Energies on bench but didn’t manage to get 3 Waters to it so it would be in OHKO range for Scizor. I flipped heads for Avalanche and started building 2nd Eevee on my bench. He didn’t get a Metal Energy yet, so I got the 2nd Glaceon on the Bench and 2 Energy to it. After that he did get a Metal to Scizor and OHKOed my Active Glaceon. But I was ready with my Night Maintenance and Bebe’s Search and KOed him right back. After that I just ran through his remaining Basics. Good game!


I can’t describe how relieved I was after beating a Scizor deck. It was the one card I didn’t want to see the whole day even though I knew it would be around. I predicted that if I won the first match-up my chances getting against Gallade/Gardevoir were higher than if I went 0-1. So here comes the first GG.

2. Round Player from Argentina (Gardevoir/Gallade).

I hand a pretty decent opening hand once again. I went first and used Psychic Balance for 1 with my active Baltoy. He got a T1 Gardevoir and I was suddenly “yes”. He only had 3 or 4 cards in his hand, so next turn I was ready to search a Jirachi ex and Psychic Energy and just kill his pokemons before he couldn’t even attack. I Roseanned and noticed that Jirachi was prized. Oh well, I still got Claydol and Absol Cessation again with Crystal Beach. next turn he attached a Call Energy to Gardevoir and searched for Pachi and Chatot. I flipped ER2 heads and used Celio for bench Glaceon and attached Water. So he had 1 card in hand and Gardevoir with Call Energy and bench Pachi, Chatot and Baltoy. From now on I just discarded his hand and loaded Glaceon again with Energy. It was a bit ridiculous game because I flipped 4/4 heads from ER2 and just run through his Pokemons. It really feels great to go 6-0 against GG after GG getting a T1 Gardevoir with DRE.


So it seems like my playtesting matches weren’t so off after all.

3. Round Tomi Sjöblom(Finland!) (Honchkrow/Palkia LV.X/Absol)

Some of you may remember Tomi (Dennis Hawk). He was probably our most creative deck builder and made top32 this year and top16 with Regigigas in 2010. He is probably the most underestimated player I know. However, he has quit the game already unfortunately.

So the only Finnish player who was in 2-0 against me already in the 3rd round. There were at least 30 other players and we are against each other! And both with rogue decks. It was pretty ridiculous. All the deck around us were like 100% Empoleons and Gallade/Gardevoirs. It was weird playing against a Finnish player in the Worlds, but eventually I was 10 damage away from winning the game, but didn’t have a Strength Charm at the right moment. Very close game.


I just hoped that I’ll play against GG again so I can get myself to 3-1.

4. Round Jay Hornung (Gallade/Gardevoir)

I knew the name, but I didn’t know Jay as a player that well back then. I knew he was probably a good player, but that’s all I knew about him. 

My starting hand was semi-good. 2 Crystal Beaches, Roseanne, Jirachi ex, Celio’s Network, Energy Removal 2 and Team Galactic’s Mars. So, if he is playing GG, the start would be pretty good. I’ll go first and Jay flips Ralts. I topdeck Multi energy. He uses Call energy and searches for Baltoy and Chatot. I use Roseanne, flip ER2, heads, searched for Water and Baltoy and Psychic Shield. He retreated to Chatot and got 5 cards. I started searching Eevees to bench and attaching Energies while Psychic Shielding. I tried to keep my hand as small as possible so his set-up slowed down with no Powers. After all I got Glaceon LV.X going and got 40 to bench with Avalanche.

Then something game-changing happened.  He got a first Psychic Lock in the game and I tried using Claydol through it (I was being too careless as I was too sure I had the game). Jay noticed this after I was drawing the cards so we called the judge. I only got a warning. Jay had the option to call the judge after it, and then it would have been irreversible game play, but decided to call the judge right after I drew the cards. This saved me a probable prize loss/multi-prize loss/ game loss. I knew it was a difficult decision for Jay as I could see with my own eyes that Jay really was struggling with what he would say to judge when the judge asked if he would agree that the 3 most right cards in my hand were the cards I drew. Well after a while of pondering, he agreed and thanks to this I only got a warning. If Jay had started disagreeing with me or called the judge later, I don’t know what would have happened.

After that I started to concentrate on all games with 54549%. In the end, the game was 6-0 for me, so I really blamed myself for using Claydol even though I didn’t even have to use it. It was a stupid slip-up and it is the only warning I have gotten in my 7-year World Championships' career.


With 3-1 I was pretty sure that I’ll face a GG again since it was the BDIF and with Tomi going 4-0 and Tom (the last year’s Worlds Champion) going 3-1 in Masters, Finnish Masters were in pretty good positions. I checked the pairings and I knew that the next player was playing GG because he was…

5. Round Gino Lombardi (U.S) Gardevoir/Gallade/Muk/Cresselia LV.X

Gino had just win National Championships of the United States with his Gardevoir/Gallade and was often considered as the best GG player in the World. So, if I was able to win this game, anything would be possible. So, did I manage to win the game? Take a guess before reading any further.

I knew Gino was playing Muk, which was a new tech at the time, but it really doesn’t do anything against my deck. I start with Eevee and he gets 3 Basics, which was good for me, because he had a pretty small hand. Again with Roseanne/ Call Energy I got a T2 Absol and Claydol but I didn’t have to attach the Cessation yet because Gino didn’t have Baltoy yet (no need to stop my powers). I attached the Cessation to Absol and kept on discarding. Then Gino brought Pachirisu to an active spot and hit 40 to my Absol while discarding Cessation Crystal. The only thing that Pachirisu did was he giving me my powers back, nice! After that I brought Jirachi ex Psychic Shielding for a couple of turns since I had problem drawing my Celios , Bebes and Glaceons from my deck. I noticed that 1 Glaceon was prized so I had to use Island Hermit to find it.

After Psychic Shielding Gino brought Ralts, Hypnosising my Jirachi ex. If I had flipped tails he would have got a Cosmic Power next turn but I weren’t too worried about it because I still would’ve had a very good chance of winning. Anyways I flipped heads. I just gave my Glaceon a 3rd energy and Psychic Shielded the Ralts away. After that Gino started building his Benched Muk while I was Psychic Shielding. I got 1 Heads from 2 ER2 so I got 1 turn more before the Muk was coming. With no Warp Points in my deck I was forced to attach a Cessation to my Glaceon, so I could heal the confuse done with Muk by Level Upping after Muk hit the Glaceon. So, I brought my Glaceon with Cessation in the active spot and used Speed Slide for a KO. Gino came with Muk and hit 50. I level upped and hit 70. Then Gino Killed my Active Glaceon and I brought my 2nd Glaceon LV.X to the active spot. Next turn Gino used Warp Point and I brought my Absol with Cessation to the active spot and Gino pointed out that he didn’t notice the Cessation on Absol (no powers for him during the whole game). I retreated with Absol and just ran through his last Pokémon. It was easily the toughest GG match during the whole tournament and the first GG so far getting any prizes from me! After the game Gino also showed great SoTG as he praised my deck after he lost the game. At the time, I felt really GREAT being praised by such a recognized player.

Note: Gino ended up being 3rd in the Worlds this year only losing to Jason Klaczynski in the top4.


So I won the National Champion and I was 18-1 against GG in lifetime. I can say that I was pretty happy with the result. I was confident that I’ll make the top cut so I relaxed a bit.

6. Round Sami Sekkoum(The Great Britain) Empoleon/Dusknoir/?

3 all-star games  in a row? That’s how Worlds should always be! I knew Sami was a good player and I thought he was playing Empoleon so I was facing a difficult match-up from one of the best players in the world. I got a Jirachi EX start. That isn’t too good against Empoleon. In my opening hand I also had too much supporters and Stadiums, which was an issue, because Sami started with Chatot(MD). Not much to say, Sami Mimiced for 7 and I was already in trouble. The game was pretty funny, because it all came down to a Energy Removal 2 flip in the second turn of the game. Sami got a T2 Empoleon with Rare Candy and was ready to run through me. If I flip heads, he won’t have anything and I will kill his Empoleon with my Jirachi EX. If I flip tails, I will be demolished by Empoleon. Long story short, I flipped tails! After I lost, and we were gathering the cards from the game field Sami admitted that if I had hit the heads he would have been doomed. Well, good players must have a bit good luck on their sides as well! And winning all the 3 all-star games would have been too good to be true IMO. 


So I had to win the next round. I would’ve preferred winning the last match because playing under pressure is fun but exhausting (with 5-1 I would have been through for sure).

7. Round Simone Soldo(Italy) Bronzong/Ampharos/Gardevoir/Absol ex/Claydol

I knew what he was playing and after thinking what do the spread decks to against this I thought it was an autowin like a Gardy. Too many Scrambles and too many stage2. But after my opening hand which had: 2 TGMs, Baltoy, 2 Crystal Beaches, Celio and Bebe I wasn’t so confident no more. I went first and passed. he used Call and Bebe for Claydol. I got an energy search for Absol and retreat the Baltoy for Absol. He then uses Claydol, Rare Candies Ampharos and Gardevoir on T3 and I was pretty much like “ok, byebye topcut”. I discarded his hand, but he drew 4 prizes before I even got something to attack with into play. After flipping all the Er2 and Snow Cloaks tails, it still looked like I had a chance, but he topdecks night Maintance and uses Celio/Bronzong/Candy/Bronzong for the last prize. It was a pretty frustrating game as I had the most horrible draw I ever had with the deck. And for a moment I thought it would cost me the whole tournament!


After this I’m sure that I won’t get to the top cut. Tomi also lost his last match (5-2), so he doesn’t help my opponent’s percent. I gave up the hope to get to the top cut and go to talk other Finnish players. After 2 hours of waiting the standings are finally up and Tomi shouts that I’m the 32nd! And yes the tournament had top32. Rofl. Feels good!

Then I realized that I would have to face Alex Brosseau who was with 15-0 record at this point (8-0 in the Grinders and 7-0 in the Swiss of the World Championships! Something no one else than Yamato has been able to do). It seems that he was on an unstoppable run to become the World Champion. He was playing Empoleon/Bronzong, which was a very difficult match-up for my deck.

In the evening, I go to bed and knew that I had to flip at least 50% heads from ER2 against Empoleon if I want to win it.


It was pretty crazy. It had been 3 years since I last were playing in the top cut of World Championships. The feeling of the top cut in the Worlds is just something SO awesome.

Top32 Alex Brosseau (U.S.) Empoleon/Bronzong

1. Game

I got my 2nd Absol start of the tournament exactly where I needed it. I Got Absol with Cessation and destroyed his hand very quickly. I also got good cards in my hand so I could keep my hand size small until I’ve KOed the Chatot. This one was over pretty fast, because I was able to just run through his Basics with Glaceon LV.X.


2. Game

I got an Absol start but my hand was  total garbage. He got Empoleon out In T3  and I couldn’t flip heads with Energy Removal 2, so he just run through me! This was also a pretty fast game.


3. Game

Alex was frustrated because of my 2 Absol starts in a row, so he decided to cut my deck for a non-Absol opening. He succeeded and  was happy when I opened with Baltoy. Some of you may know how good poker face Alex has when playing. However, as I used TGM in the 2nd turn Alex looked a bit shocked. It was probably the first time his poker face broke down that tournament. I was pretty sure that the card was an important one. After the tournament I heard I hit Rare Candy/Empoleon with my Team Galactic’s Mars from Alex’s 5 card hand.

It decided the whole game, because otherwise Alex would have been able to get everything into play. After that, I went Aggro Glaceon after flipping 2 Heads from ER2s and that was all I needed for the win. After that he didn’t draw anything so he stalled with Bronzor's Hypnosis for 3 turns because I flipped tails 3 turns in a row, lol. After I flipped heads from the Sleep check, I just run through the Basics which were left. If i remember correctly, his Chatot was prized in this game.


I was VERY excited after this victory (obviously). I won one of the worst match-ups against probably the winner candidate of the whole tournament. After the game I also heard that Alex had never before lost to a non U.S. player. I will also never forget when I saw Matt Moss’ face after Alex lost to me. It was hilarious.


Augustini Pugliese Argentina (Gardevoir/Gallade)

1. Game

Before this I had only lost 1 prize against GG so I thought it was going to be an easy match. I looked my hand and it was pretty much perfect. Absol, Call, Eevee, Castaway, Crystal Beach, Roseanne and something. I went first and started discarding. He immediately searches for Chatot with Call so I start making my hand smaller. After discarding and getting Claydol and Glaceon for set-up I noticed that the Jirachi ex is prized again. It makes the things more complicated against GG. I start Avalanching but I kept flipping tails thus not be able to get any easy prizes off the bench. After 4 KOs and 2 Avalanche Heads Augusti gets a topdeck Gallade for his 0 card hand and KOs my Glaceon. I noticed that he was pretty excited because I only had Jirachi with 1 Energy on the bench, because the other Glaceon was prized too. I then proceed for Castaway, Water, Strength Charm and Super Psy Bolt Gallade for the KO. Didn’t see that one coming!


2. Game

He started with Ralts and Call. I start with Eevee, but no Call or Roseanne, only Celio, Energy and Crystal Beach. The start was the 2nd worst in the tournament. I couldn’t find Bebe or Roseanne so I could search for Jirachi ex. After he got Gallade going and I got 2 Er2 tails I scooped.


3. Game

I was nervous about this until I saw my opening hand. It was similar to the first game so I just run through his deck again. I don’t think he got a single prize in this game. Just the way I like it!


Top8, nice, I have only been once on the next day in Worlds so far and that was when I was playing in seniors. So here we go top8.

Top8 Jimmy O’Brien(U.S) Empoleon/Bronzong

Jimmy played against a GG in the top16 match so if the GG player would’ve won the match, I would’ve been more than happy!

1. Game

Again, I got a perfect start. I started discarding his hand. He has nothing and I go Celio for a Glaceon. Check my deck, double check my deck and then notice - my both Glaceons were prized -.- Well, good timing! I got Jirachi ex, use an Island Hermit, turn 2 prize cards face-up and still don’t see any Glaceons! I didn’t get a KO with Jirachi but if I had got I still wouldn’t have drawn a Glaceon from prizes! So, long story short, I didn’t get a single prize during the game.


2. Game

We both got a semi good starting hands. The game was very though. It all came down to Jimmy misplaying when he needed an Water energy on Empoleon, because Crystal Beach was in play and attached a Call Energy to his Empoleon. Thanks to that, I got the 1 extra turn I needed for the victory. Closest game of the day.


3. Game

I look at my starting hand and it’s pretty good but I don’t start with Absol. I can get a T2 Claydol, but Jimmy gets a Cessation to Prinplup in T2, which shut down my Claydol. After continuous tails from ER2s and Snow Cloaks I really couldn’t do anything. If some of the flips would have been heads I could’ve had a decent chance in winning the match but flipping was a huge part of this deck and due to the prizing in the first game, my luck eventually decided to run out. 1 prize away from top4 of Worlds Championships with a unique rogue, you can imagine how much that hurt.


The moral of the story: Luck is all you need.

Finland didn’t win this year the Worlds like we were able to do 2 years in a row, but I was able to prove to myself that I was almost as good a player, as I was a deck builder back then. I was very happy even though I was very close getting to top4, which would have made all the difference in the world.

With a little more luck I would have been able to meet Jason Klaczynski in the finals. Many people came to me after the tournament to ask my autographs for their Glaceons and said that they wanted to see me to play against Jason with my deck as Jason eventually won the Worlds with Gallade/Gardevoir. I would have loved to see that as well, but thankfully I was able to play against Jason in the Top Cut Invitational last year (even though it wasn’t nearly as good game as this match-up would have been).

One could say that the Worlds were a success for me. It was my second year in Masters and I made it all the way to top8. It was nothing to be ashamed of but the Glaceons prized in the first game against Jimmy really bothered me for a long time. Well, there is always next year!


Once again, this turned out to be as long as some of my UG articles, but the story really was worth telling in my opinion. And I also feel like I wouldn’t do any justice for the history of my Pokémon TCG career, if all of these weren’t that long.

I still haven’t booked my flight to Worlds, but I am already sure I am going there.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment on anything! I hope this was an entertaining read and that I managed to keep you interested throughout the whole story. More coming soon!

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Who claimed the code?


  1. Thank you Esa for the good read and the code! =)

  2. hahas i think im like the first guy to read it but oh well i dont play TCGO

  3. Wow. What a read. I saw that the code was claimed in the comments, but read the whole thing anyways. Congrats to Jason K.


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