Good Plays for Canadian Nationals and Why It’s Important for the US!

Hello everyone! My name is Nikolas Campbell and I’m glad to be here on PokeBeach. This is my first article on PokeBeach, so I’m going to give a little background on who I am. I’m a 23 year old graduate student currently living in Southeast Michigan. I love to play any and all card games, from Magic the Gathering, to DC Deck building, to Poker, name any card game; I have either played it or will play it. Also I’m a big Detroit sports fan. Usually I’m wearing a Tigers jersey at most tournaments, so if you wanted to find me, that would be the easiest way.

Team Hovercats
Team Hovercats

As for my playing career in the Pokémon TCG, I started playing competitively when the set Triumphant came out, which was in late 2010. Since then, I have played in two World Championships and I’m going to playing in Boston later this year. I also have two finalist and two top 8 finishes at Regionals, two top 4 and two top 8 finishes at States, and five City Championship wins. I’m also part of everyone’s favorite Pokémon TCG team, Team Hovercats, which has a bunch of great players and people.

Now that all the introductions are out of the way, we can get started on what you came here for. As everyone knows, and should know by now, Lysandre's Trump Card was banned as of June 15th. Because of this, the metagame as we knew it was shaken up. Popular decks like Seismitoad-EX / Shaymin-EX can’t function like they used to by burning through their deck turn one, then playing Lysandre's Trump Card to reset and doing the same thing next turn. Now that this card is banned, people are now looking for ways to build their decks without this powerful card. One of the more popular ways of doing this is by using results from other tournaments to make their decks better for the metagame, or even in some cases, using decks from those tournaments that did well. The problem with this scenario is that there won’t be that many tournaments between now and US Nationals in a week, so any Nationals with Lysandre's Trump Card banned will be looked upon for any answers to the format. One of the biggest Nationals that will be happening in this short time frame will be Canadian Nationals, which is happening June 27th and 28th. Today I want to talk about how this Canadian Nationals will be one of the most important tournaments in recent memory and some decks I expect to see at this tournament.

But before I get going any further, I want to let everyone know just how cool a PokeBeach Premium Subscription is! Now is an great time to get started with Nationals and Worlds just around the corner. All of our Premium Writers have done a lot of hours of playtesting and are offering our many different opinions exclusively to you. Also when you upgrade to the Premium Subscription Service, please do join us in the Subscriber’s Secret Hideout forum, where all the Premium Writers personally give you deck advice and have in-depth discussions with you! Hope to see you there!

Canadian Nationals

Like I was saying, this Canadian Nationals will the most important tournament in recent memory and there is some history to back this up. This is the second time ever, with TPCI running events, that a card or cards were rotated out or banned between major tournaments. The last time this happened was in 2011, and Canadian Nationals changed everything.

History Lesson

In 2011, the Black & White set was just released and there was a couple of rule changes that were made to make the game more fun for the players. The biggest rule change made was that any player that went first could play Items, Supporters, and Stadiums, where in the past, you could not do that. When they did this, cards that were made before this rule change started to break the game, the biggest offender of this being Sableye. Not only did this card allow you to always go first with its Poke-BODY Overeager, it’s Overconfident attack was able Knock Out any Pokemon with the help of multiple Crobat G, Poké Blower +s, and PlusPowers. Instead of banning this card, they just rotated seven sets from Majestic Dawn to Arceus early to help balance the game after the rule change, and because of this, there was only six sets that players could use to make decks with. This rotation in North America happened on July 1st, which was one day before Canadian Nationals that year. So it was a very short time for people to figure out what they wanted to play for both and Canada and the United States. When I was playtesting during this time, there where a couple of decks that people thought were very good, but the deck everyone thought was the best deck was Magnezone Prime / Emboar, which was a deck that had a ton of draw power and could have one-hit Knock Outs every turn. The problem with it was that it was too slow and very clunky, but everyone thought it was almost unbeatable, even me. I thought for sure it would win not only Canadian Nationals, but also US Nationals, but I was very wrong.

To a lot of players surprise, one card took Canadian Nationals by storm and was played by a lot of players. That card was Yanmega Prime, a card that most players blew of, but it was almost too good. The card was so good during Canadian Nationals, it took three of the top 4 spots in the Masters division. These decks that made top 4 all used Yanmega Prime as it’s main attacker, with the only difference between them being the support Pokémon they used, whether Kingdra Prime, Donphan Prime, or Weavile. Every player was surprised by the dominance of Yanmega Prime, and the US player base only had a week to playtest with this card.

Now when US Nationals came around, Yanmega Prime was one everyone’s minds and a lot of players played it. It was so popular and so good, Yanmega Prime variants took all top 4 spots in the Masters division, but Justin Sanchez took first place with his Yanmega Prime / Magnezone Prime deck, which is shown below.

Pokemon (18)

3x Yanmega (TM #98)

3x Yanma (TM #84)

3x Magnezone (TM #96)

2x Magneton (TM #43)

3x Magnemite (TM #68)

2x Cleffa (CL #24)

1x Pachirisu (CL #18)

1x Tyrogue (CL #36)

Trainers (29)

4x Judge (UL #78)

3x Pokemon Collector (HGSS #97)

2x Copycat (CL #77)

1x Professor Elm's Training Method (UF #89)


3x Pokemon Communication (HGSS #98)

3x Rare Candy (PRC #135)

3x Pokemon Reversal (HGSS #99)

3x Junk Arm (TM #87)

3x Switch (BS #95)

1x Super Scoop Up (NG #98)

1x PlusPower (UL #80)

1x Pokémon Circulator (UL #81)

Energy (13)

10x Lightning Energy (XY #135)

3x Rescue Energy (TM #90)

Expectations This Year

With US Nationals being dominated by Yanmega Prime, it was no question that Canadian Nationals had a huge effect on the metagame in 2011. Now in 2015, will history repeat itself? In my opinion, yes it will. Lysandre's Trump Card was such an important card in a lot of decks, that most of them either can’t function anymore like Seismitoad-EX / Shaymin-EX, or have to be changed significantly like Shaymin-EX / Trevenant. Players will have to innovate old decks that were hurt by decks that abused Lysandre's Trump Card, or make completely new decks to compete. My expectation with this Canadian Nationals is we will still see some decks that people just took out Lysandre's Trump Card and think that its alright, but we will see some real interesting and innovative decks rise and make the top 8. So make sure you are paying attention to Canadian Nationals next weekend, there might be a card like Yanmega Prime, and you don’t want to miss out.

Good Plays For Nationals

For players actually going to Canadian Nationals, I want to give you some deck lists that I expect you to see at the tournament. I did a lot of testing with these lists with a lot of different playtesting partners, so I put in a ton of work. These decks are my top picks not only for Canadian Nationals, but also US Nationals, so please enjoy.

Night March

Pokemon (17)

4x Pumpkaboo (PHF #44)

4x Lampent (PHF #42)

4x Joltik (PHF #26)

3x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)

2x Mew-EX (DRX #46)

Trainers (36)

4x Professor Juniper (PLB #84)

3x N (NVI #92)

2x Lysandre (FLF #90)

1x Colress (PLS #118)


4x Battle Compressor (PHF #92)

4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)

4x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)

3x Muscle Band (XY #121)

3x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)

2x Revive (RSK #88)

2x Switch (RSK #91)

1x Computer Search (BCR #137)


3x Dimension Valley (PHF #93)

Energy (7)

4x Double Colorless Energy (XY #130)

3x Fighting Energy (XY #137)

This deck has been around for a while, but it had such a hard time with a combination of  Lysandre's Trump Card and Item lock like Seismitoad-EX, the deck was always considered tier two. But with the banning of Lysandre's Trump Card, the deck has brand new life and is considered by most players to be the deck to beat. Being able to deal tons of damage with non-EX attackers for a Double Colorless Energy is too good. Plus the fact that it can hit for these high amounts of damage turn one without a legitimate counter like Lysandre's Trump Card is just insane. The only thing this deck really struggles with right now is turn one Wally with Trevenant, but other than that, the deck has very solid matchups against decks like M Rayquaza-EX, Primal Groudon-EX, and Aromatisse.

If we take a closer look at the list, I put in some interesting cards that I want to talk about. The two Revives have been very good in my playtesting group for a couple reasons. One is that this deck needed a way to help recover from quick starts from not only your opponent, but your own quick starts of trying to hit 180 turn one, which require you to dump many of your important Night Marchers like Joltik. I tried Sacred Ash, but being forced to shuffle in five Pokémon was too much of a cost in this deck. Most of the time you only really needed one, which Revive was perfect for. The second thing that Revive did was give Battle Compressor another alternate use. You could get hands now with Battle Compressor, Revive, and VS Seeker, and have an insane turn by discarding two Night Marchers and a Supporter, then reviving the Night Marcher you want to attack with and getting the Supporter you wanted. It’s consistency at its finest.

You can see I opt to play Fighting Energy as the basic Energy of choice. The reason I did is my playtesting group really likes the Donphan deck right now, so I took the idea from Mees Brenninkmeijer to play Fighting Energy. The idea is you could Knock Out Robo Substitutes with Mew-EX using Spinning Turn and promote a non damaged Pumpkaboo to absorb attacks from your opponent’s Donphan. If you think there isn’t going to be any Donphan decks, you could cut the Fighting Energy and a Trainers' Mail for Grass Energy and a Virizion-EX to stop Hypnotoxic Lasers. Just make sure you try both versions in your playtesting.

Night March, or as my friends like to call it, “Might Narch,” is going to see a lot of play at both Canadian and US Nationals. Please make sure you are either ready to play this deck or play against it in your testing. I would not be surprised if this deck did not win both Nationals, but I said the same thing about Magnezone Prime / Emboar and it didn’t win, so we’ll see.

Next I’m going to cover a few other decks I think are good plays for Canadian and US Nationals. Even though I think Night March could easily win both Nationals, I feel all of these decks have good matchups against Night March, and could win a National Championships if they are played very well. After reading my analysis of these decks, you should have a very good understanding of them, and one of them could interest you enough to play it a Nationals.

So are you ready to improve your game right here and right now?

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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