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National's Prelude

Dallas Schmidt

Hey guys! It's Dallas from Dead Draw Gaming and I'm here to write a little bit about what you can expect to see at the US Pokemon Nationals.

If you haven't heard yet, Pokemon Company recently released prize info for Nationals and it has people pretty excited. Apparently they are giving away $225,000 in CASH prizes for certain placements! This will make the competition crazier than ever before. I'll leave a link at the bottom if you'd like to check it out for yourself, but otherwise let's talk about what decks I believe will be seen at US Nationals this year.

•Night March• 

This deck has spread like wildfire all throughout competitive Pokemon TCG. It took State Tournaments by storm, and became the deck to beat. Ever since the release of "Puzzle of Time", the deck no longer needed to really worry about the lack of energy or loss of DCE. Puzzle also allowed the deck to pull off plays that normally couldn't be done as easily (Target whistle/Lysandre).This deck's sole purpose is to burn itself to increase damage output, and increase the percentage of hitting certain outs. Night March is heavily reliant on items, as over half of the deck is filled with them. It plays several 4 ofs including: Battle Compressor, Vs Seeker, Ultra Ball, Trainers Mail, and Puzzle of Time. It also benefits from the fact that in most cases, it is trading '2 for 1' prizes. Although the items in this deck are what makes its motor run, they can also fall prey to item-lock decks. Which will bring us to our next deck:

•Trevenant BREAK•


Naturally, the damage output of this deck can be a little low. But due to the amount of items being played in all competitive decks these days, and the popularity of low HP Night Marchers, it has given Trevenant BREAK an opportunity to shine. The best scenario for this deck is to use Wally turn 1, and get their opponent item-locked with Trev's ability "Forests Curse" before they even have a chance to do anything. Any deck not able to play items will not only be slowed, but more often than not, they will literally have NOTHING as an option. Normally, any ultra ball can equal a Shaymin EX for more cards, or maybe a VS seeker can hit a Sycamore in the discard. "Forest's Curse" eliminates all of those possibilities and leaves your opponent in a tough spot, forcing them to Hex Maniac for the use of items or possibly Lysandre around the problem. Trevenant also benefits from the fact that it is trading '2 for 1' prizes, as its main attacker is non-ex. 

•Seismitoad Variants•

As long as Seismitoad has been around, he has been a hell of a player in meta matchups. Any item lock you can put on your opponent will limit what they can do, and in certain situations, they will have no way to respond. Toad's damage output is really low, so muscle band is almost always needed. The beauty of toad is that he pairs well with many different friends (Bats, Garbodor, Giratina) , and leaves valuable deck space for items such as scoop ups and hammers. I believe the most common Toad variant we will see at Nationals will be ToadTina. Mainly because special energies are really popular at the moment, and Giratina's attack "Chaos Wheel" halts the use of special energy. 

•Greninja BREAK•

The biggest hype and natural advantage I see in Pokemon these days, is being able to trade '2 for 1' prizes. Greninja BREAK does just that, while allowing you to snipe any Pokemon you see fit. Greninja (XY41) comes equipped with the ability "Water Shuriken", which allows you to discard a water energy and deal 30 damage to any Pokemon once per turn. This being paired with Greninja BREAK's ability "Giant Water Shuriken" (discard 1 water & deal 60 to any Pokemon), the damage will rack up quickly and allow you to take prizes faster than normal. This is another deck that benefits from turn 1 Wally, evolving Froakie to Frogadier & using his attack "Water Duplicates". Potentially leaving you with 4 Frogadier ready to be evolved on turn 1 (if you went second of course). Greninja will also splash a few other Pokemon such as Miltank and the promo 'stardust' Jirachi. 

•YZG (Yveltal/Zoroark/Gallade)•

Yveltal, the king of darkness, has led many players to victory throughout the years. His attack "Y Cyclone" allows you to deal a good amount of damage, while protecting your energy and setting up your next combatant. Yveltal, Zoroark, and Gallade - what do they have in common? These bad boys all use DCE and have come together to make a very strong and versatile deck. Zoroark gives YZG much needed movement with his ability "Stand In" (Similar to Keldeos Rush In) , as he is normally equipped with a float stone and free retreats into whoever you please. He is also a very good non-EX attacker as long as your opponent has benched enough Pokemon. Some decks opt to use Zoroark BREAK, while others will steer clear. Gallade is brought to the field by using Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick. This is pulled off by using consistency cards such as: Battle Compressor, Acro Bike, and sometimes Unown. Gallade's ability "Premonition" allows the user to pick and choose the order of the next 5 cards, giving you an advantage and in turn helping you swing the match into your favor. Gallade is also a clutch fighter and counter to some of Yveltal's enemies : Manetric Ex, M Manetric Ex, and Jolteon Ex. YZG will also use other Pokemon such as baby Yveltal and Fright Night Yveltal. 

•Manetric Variants•

Manetric can be played, I believe, 2 separate ways. The first route players may take, is non-evolved Manetric Ex combined with either Garbodor or Bats. This will allow players to squeeze disruption items/supporters into their decklists , all while keeping the speed of the deck relatively fast. Combining Bats with Manetric also gives you a non-Ex fighter and extra chip damage, which will be important. The second route for Manetric is to evolve. M Manetric dishes out good damage and charges up your next attacker with discarded energy. M Manetric can be paired with Jolteon Ex or Regice, both of which will give you a certain type of lock and advantage over the opposing player. 

•Vespiquen Variants•

The bees have been busy this year winning tournaments all over the world. Vespiquen is a very good Pokemon considering the following: it's a non-Ex attacker, has free retreat, and gets stronger throughout a match. Vespiquen's attack "Bee Revenge" does 20 damage +10 for every Pokemon in the discard. Similar to that of Night March, Vespiquen will run several consistency cards to burn itself and increase damage output. Vespiquen can be played 2 different ways. A common deck that was seen countering a heavy-laced Night March field had played vespiquen, baby Yveltal, and bats. This deck was made to counter Night March on several levels, and stay even if not ahead due to trading 1 for 1 most of the time. This of course was before Night March gained Fighting Fury Belt, giving them much needed HP. I'm not sure Bees/Bats/Yveltal will be seen at Nationals, but it might make a slight appearance.  The main Vespiquen set up you will need to worry about will be Vespiquen Vileplume. Vespi Vile is a deck that has potential to literally win turn one. If it sets up properly, it will have decent damage output and item lock both players after turn 1. This matchup will be severely effected by who wins the roll! Let me first make a list of everything VV must accomplish to take the win:

-Must hit Forest of Giant Plants to allow T1 evolution.

-Must get float stone onto Gloom before evolving into Vileplume. Without this, Vileplume may be hit with Lysandre and brought to active, which is basically a win condition for opponent(unless they play AZ or double attach DCE for retreat).

-Must simultaneously evolve Combees into Vespiquen for attackers and discard Pokemon for damage.

-Must protect/save DCE's , as many builds of VV do not run puzzles and do not want to rely on their 1 Bunnelby. 

Vespiquen Vileplume is a glass cannon you will most likely come across at some point. Knowing how the deck works might possibly effect the outcome of your match against it.

•M Rayquaza (Speed Ray)•

M Rayquaza is a heavy hitting speed demon that gets stronger as your bench grows. It plays multiple copies of 'sky field' and Shaymin EX, allowing it to have an explosive turn one. Rayquaza is able to evolve T1, making it a very good EX to play. This standard format is filled with electric Pokemon, forcing Ray players to tech in a 1-1 Altaria line to trump their weakness (also able to evolve T1). Some Ray players opt to use Jolteon Ex, giving them an edge on other Basic heavy decks. 


This big bulky dude seems harmless. Well he is. The only way Wailord wins is by decking it's opponent out or by destroying all opposing energy. The idea around it, is to keep the whales alive by healing constantly, drawing, and passing. Healing the whales by many different means such as: Max potion, Az, Cassius, and even Pokemon Center Lady. The deck normally ran 0 energy, but now I'm seeing versions with Aegislash Ex and Durant both attacking at times. It might seem funny drawing and passing constantly back and forth , but the Wailord player has a trick up their sleeve. Once you have a decent hand (20 cards +) they will bench a Durant , retreat active Wailord with float stone or some other way, and then use Durant's attack "Chip Off". Discarding cards at random from your hand until you only have 4. This is a good choice in many players' eyes because decks are burning themselves these days, only making Wailords job that much easier. 


These are the decks that I believe will be seen the most at Nationals this year. I am not denying the fact there will be rogue decks popping up around the place, as I believe rogue decks are a smart play and the hardest to play against. I also might have missed some other commonly played decks but I believe these to be expected. I also did not include any other decks Fates Collide might have brought to the table. After reading this article, if you feel the need to acquire some of these cards for a deck you're building, please check out as they have all of these cards at competitive and reasonable prices. Thank you for reading! 

•About me•

My name is Dallas Schmidt and I am a 23 year old master from Minnesota. I've played for about 4 years and only have been competitive for the last year or so. I've actually qualified for worlds this year and I couldn't be any happier! 


National prize info:




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