U.S. Nationals Recap and Top 8 Deck List Analysis

Hey PokeBeach readers, it’s me, Nikolas Campbell again, and I’m happy to be back! Since my last article, U.S. Nationals has come and gone, and it was one of the most interesting tournaments we have had in a while. In the Masters division, we had over 900 people playing for the chance to be called U.S. National Champion. Everyone Play! Pokemonplayed their hearts out, but in the end, we saw three-time World Champion Jason Klaczynski win with his Seismitoad-EX / Garbodor deck over Enrique Avila with his innovative Wailord-EXSuicune deck. With Jason winning, he has cemented himself as the greatest of all time and no one can question it now. While this is big news that Jason won and should be celebrated, I don’t think that was the biggest thing that happened this weekend. In my opinion, the biggest news was how diverse the metagame was, and even all the top 8 lists in the Masters division were different in terms of deck composition.

These top 8 deck lists all had something different that helped rise above the others. This was completely different from the results of Canadian Nationals, which had Crobat in six of the eight decks. In my last article, I thought whatever decks did well at Canadian Nationals, people would gravitate towards and play, but as we will see, only one of the top 8 deck lists from U.S. Nationals had Crobat in it. I think there is a couple reasons to why there was such a big difference in both U.S. and Canadian results. In this article, I want to go over the top 64 decks and each top 8 deck list of U.S. Nationals and analyze why these list did so well in this metagame.

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Top 64

First, I want to congratulate everyone that made top 64. It was a huge accomplishment this year with the change in the format resulting from Lysandre's Trump Card being banned. Now let’s look at the results:

 Metal Variants  11
 Seismtoad-EX / Crobat  10
 Seismtoad-EX / Garbodor  8
 M Manectric-EX Variants  9
 Landorus-EX Variants  5
 Raichu Variants  4
 Wailord-EX / Suicune  3
 Primal Kyogre-EX  2
 Primal Groudon-EX  2
 Night March  2
 Hippowdon  1
 Blastoise / Keldeo-EX  1
 Flareon  1
 M-Rayquaza-EX / Shaymin-EX  1
 Donphan  1
 Yveltal-EX / Garbodor  1
 Trevenant / Gengar-EX  1
 Bunnelby  1


As we can see, there is big range of decks. Metal had the biggest showing in the top 64, but they were varied in which techs they played, like Klinklang or M Rayquaza-EX. Metal also had all three different variations make the top 8, making it the most successful deck at the tournament. Bronzong will be around for a long time, so make sure to pick them up and try the deck out. I’m sure it will be good until it rotates, just like Eelektrik from Noble Victories.

Though the most popular deck was Metal, the most popular card was Seismitoad-EX. With the ban of Trump Card, a lot of people, including me, thought Seiemitoad would see less play, but as we can see, 18 different variations of Seismitoad-EX decks made top 64, and even some Metal and M Manectric-EX decks played Seismitoad-EX. I finally learned that no matter what happens to this format, this card will always be the best, without question. It will always warp the format, which is a pain, but hopefully they will make a good counter to it in the future. As for now, always have this card on your mind, especially if you’re going to Worlds.

Outside of the most popular decks, we see a couple of new decks that broke out this year. As everyone knows and is talking about, Wailord-EX made the biggest splash at the tournament. I will be going over the second place list later on in the article, but basically it reminds me of Ross Cawthon’s The Truth deck from 2011 Worlds, where it took the format by surprise and no one knew what to do. Wailord-EX was a great deck, but it wasn’t my favorite deck of the top 64. That honor goes to Harrison Leven’s Bunnelby Lock deck. This deck is similar to Dustin Zimmerman’s SableyeGarbodor deck from 2013 Worlds, where he would use Junk Hunt to recycle cards like Crushing Hammer and Enhanced Hammer to make a lock, then attack with Darkrai-EX as a win condition. This Bunnelby deck is very similar; you would use Bunnelby’s Rototiller to recycle disruptive cards, then when you created a lock, you use its Burrow attack to deck your opponent. This seems super fun to me, and I can’t wait to try it.

Like I said, congrats to the top 64, but now I want to analyze the top 8 lists and see why they went over the top of the other lists in top 64. All of the top 8 deck listed were posted on pokemon.com, so I will be looking at those for this article. Knowing why these decks did well will give you a better idea of what to look for when choosing your own decks for tournaments, putting you ahead of other players. After all, these decks made top 8 at one of the hardest tournaments in years. How can you get better examples of good players and lists than that?

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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