The New Champions of Pokémon TCG!
01 July, 2012 in Play! Pokémon
Three first-time winners take top honors at the U.S. Pokémon TCG National Championships!
It’s all over from Indianapolis, and what a weekend it’s been! We now have three new Pokémon TCG National Champions: from the Junior Division, Ian Robb; from the Senior Division, Ty Wheeler, and from the Masters Division, John Roberts II. This competition was tough, with a lot of brilliant strategies being used—these players had to weather attacks from all directions to claim the title of National Champions!
Congratulations to our winners and to everyone who participated in the Pokémon TCG National Championships!
Here are the players that took top honors:
Junior Division Champion: Ian Robb
Junior Division Runner-Up: Jonathan Croxton (Charlottesville, VA)
Senior Division Champion: Ty Wheeler
Senior Division Runner-Up: Jason Martinez (Glendale, CA)
Masters Division Champion: John
Roberts II (St. Louis, MO)
Masters Division Runner-Up: Kevin Nance (Trinity, NC)
Ian Robb, Junior Division Champion
Congratulations on winning the National Championships, Ian. How do you feel?
I feel really good, but I'm really surprised! This is my third Nationals, but this is the first time I made the elimination rounds.
How did you do in the tournaments leading up to this year?
I did really well. I won the State Championships, four Battle Road tournaments, and two City Championships.
Did you bring pretty much the same deck that you used to win all of those tournaments?
No. I felt like I had to change it because I knew the competition would be different.
Tell us a little about your deck.
It's a "Hammer Time" deck—it has 4 Crushing Hammer and 4 Enhanced Hammer cards to knock Energy off. You want to start with Smeargle and use Professor Juniper to get Energy into the discard pile, then use Dark Patch to move it onto Darkrai-EX. Then I just have to put 1 Energy on Smeargle to bring it back to my Bench and Darkrai-EX can start attacking.
Your deck has a lot of items in there. Did you have problems against Vileplume decks?
I didn't play against any. I got really lucky to avoid all of them!
What was the toughest deck you played against?
It was the Finals match I just played. My opponent had Celebi Prime, Mewtwo-EX, and Terrakion. I lost the first game, but I stuck to my strategy and won the next two.
Are you going to make any changes to your deck before heading to Hawaii?
Probably, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do! I kind of expect to see more Vileplume there.
How are you going to celebrate?
I don't know. I'm probably going to sleep!
Ty Wheeler, Senior Division Champion
Congratulations on the National Championship! How are you feeling?
It feels good! It feels good to win finally. This is my ninth National Championships. I've made Top 16 five times and Top 8 twice.
That's a lot of experience that you bring to this tournament. Did you come in this year with a plan to do something different than you would have in previous years?
Well, I didn't come in this year with the most popular deck like I did in previous years. I made a deck that would counter those decks, which I don't usually do.
Explain how your deck works.
Basically, the two most popular decks are Darkrai-EX and Zekrom with Eelektrik. I decided to play four Terrakion, which matches against both of those Pokémon’s Weaknesses. And then I played four Mewtwo-EX because it's a solid attacker, especially against Pokémon that are strong against Terrakion. It's a fast deck. I use Exp. Share to keep my Energy in play, and I use Smeargle for drawing power.
What was the deck that gave you the most trouble?
In the Top 8 I played against Celebi, Terrakion, and Tornadus. That matched up well against me, especially with Tornadus moving Energy. So that was a hard match. I was able to pull it out because I had a lot more Energy and I had more Mewtwo-EX.
How did that final match go?
His strongest attacker was able to be Knocked Out by my Terrakion, so it was just a very good match-up for me. That's how most of my weekend went—I was able to take down the most popular decks with good type match-ups.
How are you going to prepare for the World Championships?
I think I'm going to have to change it up. My deck was a little unexpected here, and that was an advantage for me. But now people are going to expect it, and they might add counters to their deck for it.
What is your method for practicing leading up to Nationals?
I get together with some of my friends mostly. But my mom and brother also play, so that helps me practice.
When did you settle on the deck you brought here?
I locked this deck down about three weeks ago. That's a little early for me—I often don't have a deck done until a couple days before.
Did the extra time to practice and get to know your deck give you an advantage here?
Yes. I know my deck really well. I can play it very easily and I don't make many mistakes with it.
How are you going to celebrate tonight?
I'm not sure. I’m probably just going to go out to dinner. I'm pretty exhausted!
John Roberts II, Masters Division Champion
How are you feeling about winning your first National Championship?
I feel absolutely amazing. This is my first Nationals, and I can't believe it.
How much have you played Pokémon TCG?
I started playing all the way back in 1998 or 1999, and played a few years. I didn't really play competitively back then. My deck got stolen so I stopped playing for nearly 10 years. When I got back into the game last year, I started playing competitively.
How did you decide which deck to bring to Nationals?
I feel like this deck had the best chance to come back against any deck, except maybe the Mew Prime / Accelgor deck. It has answers for just about anything. It's a deck that can get behind and have the strength to come back even when I'm down. It makes a lot of comebacks, unless my opponent manages to knock out several of my Klink.
Is that what your toughest match-up is then?
Well, that and decks with Crushing Hammer and Enhanced Hammer. I play with a lot of Special Energy. Also, Entei-EX is good against my Klinklang. Fortunately, I didn't see a lot of these decks.
How did that final battle go? From the crowd, it looked epic.
Yeah. In game one, he started dropping Mewtwo-EX. I had Cobalion, and used Energy Press to get a Knock Out. He got a Shaymin, so he was able to load up the other Mewtwo-EX and Knock Out Cobalion. Otherwise, I was going to knock the second Mewtwo-EX out with Iron Breaker. The other games were close, too. My Kyogre-EX came up big in game two, when it took out two of my opponent's Tynamo.
What are you going to do to prepare for Worlds?
I don't think I'm going to do anything. I'm going to bring the same deck. I'm just going to go and have fun. I'm not going to stress about it too much, because I've already won Nationals. Worlds will be icing on the cake. Well, I'm still going to try to win! [laughs] If people don't make adjustments, I think I'll have a pretty good chance.
How will you celebrate?
I think I'm just going have some pizza!
Congratulations to our new National Champions!Return to the National Championships page for more stories from the 2012 Pokémon National Championships.