The eight competitors to reach the Junior Division top cut had to make it through a strong field of diverse players and decks. They did it with innovative decks and smart tactics while obviously having a lot of fun, demonstrating the best of what the Pokémon TCG has to offer its players. Be sure to check out more Pokémon TCG and video game tournament coverage and analysis at Pokemon.com/Strategy.
Travis Beckwith’s deck included the usual grouping of Bronzong, Genesect-EX, and Aegislash-EX, but he opted to add Hoopa-EX for additional support. Hoopa-EX can make it easier for Travis to get Gensect-EX, Shaymin-EX, and Aegislash-EX on the field, but it can also create risky situations for Travis because it has a high retreat cost and isn’t able to attack.
Darkrai-EX is the centerpiece of Christian Moreno’s great deck. Christian uses Giratina-EX and Double Dragon Energy to quickly get a lot of Energy on the board, giving Dark Pulse all the power it needs. Plus, he also includes Hydreigon-EX to make it easier for Giratina-EX to retreat without penalty with its Dragon Road Ability, and it can even provide some extra damage that ignores effects on the defending Pokémon with its Shred in a jam.
The version of the Metal-type deck used by Mikah Javier featured a single copy of Parallel City, adding an option to make it difficult for his opponent to set up, or to discard some of his own Pokémon depending on the situation. He also added a second copy of Bronzong BREAK to his deck, giving him more chances to break matches open than his rivals.
Alex Marmon added Ho-Oh-EX to the common partnership of Mega Manectric-EX and Jolteon-EX to charge into the Junior Division Top-8. Ho-Oh-EX gives Alex a way to hit his opponent’s Bench. Plus, Ho-Oh is hard to knock out due its Purifying Fire Ability healing 50 HP each turn and some added HP from Fighting Fury Belt.
Seismitoad-EX was super popular in past seasons, but it has declined in popularity recently. But as Ethan Moskowitz has shown, it can still bring a ton of value to a deck, especially now that it can be bundled with some other excellent Water-type Pokémon including Glaceon-EX, Articuno, and Regice. Combined with the Trainer card Max Elixir, this deck is quick and versatile.
Kyle Inman took a completely different route from virtually the whole rest of the field. This deck uses Houndoom-EX and Bunnelby to chew away at the opponent’s deck until it’s gone. He enhanced his strategy with some uncommon Trainer cards, including Team Rocket’s Handiwork, Trick Shovel, and Team Aqua’s Secret Base. As long as Kyle can keep his Pokémon from getting knocked out long enough, he’ll walk away the winner—without knocking out a Pokémon himself.
Isaac Petruski was one of several Junior Division players that chose to use a deck based around the Metal-type Pokémon Genesect-EX and Bronzong. Isaac was the only one of these players to include Xerosic in his deck, giving him some added ability to disrupt his opponents. He was also the only one of these players to include a single copy of Assault Vest in his deck, giving him some added durability against decks using Special Energy.
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