There are a lot of new faces in the Pokémon TCG Masters Division Top-8, showing that there’s always room for more skilled players and innovation in this challenging format. The variety of decks on display makes for entertaining battles, too. Be sure to check out more Pokémon TCG and video game tournament coverage and analysis at Pokemon.com/Strategy.
The combination of Night March and Vespiquen isn’t a secret to anyone, but Nick Robinson was one among a relatively small pool of players who chose to use that deck in the Masters Division competition. His deck incorporated Enhanced Hammer, Startling Megaphone, and Xerosic to disrupt his foes, and he was also one of the few players that used a full set of four Unown to increase his consistency and Vespiquen’s damage.
Marco Garcia’s deck focused on using Seismitoad-EX and Giratina-EX to prevent his opponent from using Item cards. He also used cards like Team Aqua’s Secret Base, Xerosic, Team Flare Grunt, Silent Lab and a full set of Crushing Hammers to further disrupt his foes.
The Water Tool Box decks were one of the most popular in the US Nationals field as a whole, and Paul Johnston was able to pilot his version to the top cut. He opted for a relatively heavy count of three Seismitoad-EX, and he included Regice in his deck to give Pokemon-EX some extra trouble. Eleven Water Energy is one of the higher counts of energy we can remember seeing from such a successful deck, emphasizing the impact cards like Max Elixir have had on the Pokémon TCG.
We saw several players take advantage of the combination of Darkrai-EX’s Dark Pulse attack, Hydreigon-EX’s Dragon Road Ability, and Double Dragon Energy. But Liam Williams as one of the only players to add Latios-EX to his deck, giving him some extra options that other players didn’t bring. He also had a pair of Parallel City and Enhanced Hammer, which were sure to disrupt many of his foes.
Chris Siakala opted to bring a pretty conventional Night March deck to the competition, with only Mew, Jirachi, and Shaymin-EX to aid the Night March Pokémon. One interesting card he used we don’t always see in Night March decks is the Target Whistle Team Flare Gear Trainer card, which can put an unwanted Pokémon card discarded by the opponent back onto their Bench.
Michael’s Bergerac’s deck was one of the more traditional Trevenant builds we saw in the competition. Like most players in Columbus, he opted not to use any Mystery Energy with all of the focus on countering Special Energy cards. That focus is evident in Michael’s deck as well: he ran four Crushing Hammer in an attempt to crush his opponent’s chances of setting up.
James DePamphilis probably wasn’t surprising anyone when he started out matches with Phantump on the field, but he may have put a scare into his opponents when he dropped Absol onto his Bench. Absol’s Cursed Eyes Ability allows James to move 3 damage counters from one of his opponent’s Pokémon to another, a great tool for unexpectedly taking down a foe with little HP remaining.
When everything goes right, Vileplume, Vespiquen, and Forest of Giant Plants can prevent the opponent from ever being able to use Item cards at all. Fred Hoban used a slim, efficient build in his deck, with four Unown, Ultra Ball, and Battle Compressor to optimize his odds. He also used two Bunnelby, which can help out when things go awry.
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