2012 US Nationals Winners!

From June 29th to July 1st, over 1000 players competed in the Masters division to decide the US National Champion. After three grueling days of competition, eight players would emerge from the humid air of Indianapolis with invitations to the World Championship in Hawaii. Here are the Top 8 finishers from the 2012 US National Championship!

1st – John Roberts II (Klinklang)
2nd – Kevin Nance (Zekrom/Eelektrik/Mewtwo)
3rd – Jay Hornung (Darkrai/Mewtwo)
4th – Chris Murray (Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus/Terrakion)
5th – Ashon Haswell (Zekrom/Eelektrik/Mewtwo)
6th – Tom Dolezal (Darkrai)
7th – Breton Brander (Darkrai/Mewtwo)
8th – Carl Scheu (Darkrai/Mewtwo/Tornadus)

Tons of different decks made it through the event. In a format that most people felt was stale, we had four different decks finish in the top four. In some cases, we saw new, creative decks pop up to surprise the competition. For others, it was consistency that brought them here. Let’s go over the decks for the top four finishers with lists that should be close to the real ones.

In the end, the only man left standing was Yeti Gaming’s own John Roberts II with his trademark Klinklang deck. For those who don’t know John’s story, check out some of the interviews we got with him over the weekend. In his first season, the Klinklang player bested 1004 other players to take home the title of National Champion. Let’s take a look at a sample list.

Klinklang – John Roberts II

Pokémon – 14

3 Klink
1 Klang
3 Klinklang
2 Darkrai EX
2 Groudon EX
1 Kyogre EX
1 Shaymin EX
1 Cobalion (Energy Press)

Trainers – 35

4 Heavy Ball
4 Eviolite
4 Max Potion
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory
4 N
3 Rare Candy
3 Junk Arm
2 Pokémon Catcher
2 Pokémon Communication
2 Copycat
2 Random Receiver
1 Revive

Energy – 11

4 Rainbow
4 Prism
3 Metal (Basic)

How the heck does a deck like this work? It’s a Stage 2 deck without Vileplume or Energy acceleration! In this format, that seemed like a recipe for disaster, but John Roberts proved that wrong. Once this deck gets three Energy in play with a Klinklang, it’s nearly impossible to take down. The strategy of the deck is similar to most other ones in the format – swarm with high HP EX’s. However, the thing that sets Klinklang apart from other decks is the healing. In most situations, a 180 HP Groudon EX with an Eviolite will not be KO’d in one hit. So, after you take a hit, Klinklang uses Shift Gear to move the Energy to another Pokémon, and then you use Max Potion to heal your attacker. Then, simply shift the Energy back to your attacker, and it’s like you never took any damage at all.

Against a deck like Darkrai, which generally tries to KO attackers in two hits, you can deny your opponent prizes for the entire game with Shift Gear and Max Potion. If you need to switch to another attacker, Darkrai EX’s Dark Cloak gives anything with a Darkness Energy free retreat. In this deck, that means Rainbow and Prism give your attackers free retreat, and you can send out a different one, moving all the Energy to it with Shift Gear. Once this deck gets in gear, you grind your opponent down until there’s nothing left. Unless your opponent plays Lost Remover, it’s going to be nearly impossible to stop this deck. It’s no wonder why John Roberts II was able to pilot this deck to a victory at US Nationals.

Mewtwo/Eelektrik – Kevin Nance

Pokémon – 16

4 Tynamo (3 Thunder Wave, 1 Spark)
3 Eelektrik
1 Eelektross (Slurp Shakedown)
3 Mewtwo EX
1 Raikou EX
1 Zekrom
1 Shaymin
2 Smeargle

Trainers – 32

4 Professor Juniper
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory
4 Junk Arm
3 N
3 Pokémon Catcher
3 Dual Ball
2 Level Ball
2 Max Potion
2 PlusPower
2 Switch
1 Skyarrow Bridge
1 Super Rod
1 Random Receiver

Energy – 12

8 Lightning
4 Double Colorless

During States and Regionals, Mewtwo was the king of the mountain without question. However, when Darkrai was released, the genetic freak lost a lot of its luster. Well, Kevin Nance didn’t quite agree with that. Instead of adding Terrakion in his deck to deal with Darkrai, he decided that Mewtwo was the way to go still, and he was right. Using a fairly “simple” version of an Eelektrik deck, Kevin was able to defeat many Darkrai decks thanks to the combination of Mewtwo and Max Potion. Basically the point is to X-Ball your opponent into submission with the best Energy acceleration in the game, Eelektrik’s Dynamotor. Since people were playing less Mewtwo EX in their decks, this strategy was even more effective than usual.

Some interesting cards in this deck include Eelektross and Raikou EX, both of which are good against Trainer lock decks. Against Vileplume decks, Slurp Shakedown is a great way to drag up Vileplume and KO it in two hits. In some situations, it can be used to pick off a cheap prize at the end of the game when you cannot use Pokémon Catcher. In addition, you can use it to replace the vulnerable 90 HP Eelektrik with a bulky 140 HP Eelektross, making it more difficult for your opponent to get a cheap prize. On the other hand, Raikou EX is a great card for picking off Benched Pokémon in any matchup. If your opponent doesn’t use Terrakion, it’s difficult to KO the big dog. In some situations, it is possible to KO a Vileplume in two hits with Volt Bolt. Even though these techs might seem minor, they can impact games in a huge way. While Kevin’s approach to the Zekrom/Eelektrik deck was an unusual one, it worked out extremely well for him.

Darkrai/Mewtwo – Jay Hornung

Pokémon – 11

3 Darkrai EX
3 Mewtwo EX
3 Smeargle
2 Shaymin

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
4 Junk Arm
4 Dark Patch
3 Eviolite
3 Pokémon Catcher
3 Random Receiver
3 Ultra Ball
2 PlusPower
2 Switch
1 Professor Oak’s New Theory
1 Dual Ball
1 Max Potion
1 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 13

9 Darkness (Basic)
4 Double Colorless

What can you say about Jay? Without a doubt, he is one of the game’s most consistent performers with a long list of accomplishments, and now he can add another one to the list. If you want to learn about his deck in-depth, Jay was kind enough to do a video with us to explain the whole thing. Basically the concept is to have a quick, consistent deck that can play as an aggressive Darkrai deck or switch it up to hit hard with Mewtwo. When it comes down to it, these are the two strongest Pokémon in the format, so why not play them together? Unlike the “Hammertime” version of the deck that revolves around Crushing Hammer and Lost Remover, this deck is all about beating down your opponent as quickly as possible.

Normally Darkrai decks struggle with Vileplume decks because the game enters a point where you are unable to KO their attackers without using Trainers. However, the inclusion of three Mewtwo EX allows you to get big KO’s by moving all your Energy to a Mewtwo with Shaymin’s Celebration Wind and using X-Ball. If you can manage to get enough Energy on it, Mewtwo will KO anything in the format, even if you can’t play Trainers. Overall, the deck was planned out very well, and it took Jay to a third place finish.

Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus/Terrakion – Chris Murray

Pokémon – 15

3 Smeargle
3 Celebi
3 Mewtwo EX
2 Tornadus EX
2 Terrakion
2 Shaymin

Trainers – 33

4 Dual Ball
4 Random Receiver
4 Junk Arm
3 Super Scoop Up
3 Pokémon Catcher
3 PlusPower
3 Skyarrow Bridge
3 Switch
3 Professor Juniper
1 Energy Retrieval
1 Energy Search
1 N

Energy – 12

5 Grass
4 Double Colorless
3 Fighting

Overall, this had to be the most unusual deck to make it the top four. If you take a look, there actually are only four Supporters in the whole deck – three Professor Juniper and one N. Most decks run around 10-12 Supporters! Instead, Chris Murray decided to rely on Smeargle’s Portrait to set up, and he ran so few Supporters that his opponent didn’t get to benefit from the same strategy. Nowadays a lot of decks do rely on Portrait, so when you combine denying your opponent’s draw engine with aggressive attackers, you get a strong deck.

Thanks to Celebi’s Forest Breath, you can start attacking as early as the first turn with Tornadus EX and Mewtwo EX. It’s not unusual to be hitting for 60 damage on the first turn, and you can hit for 100 with Tornadus EX’s Power Blast on a good day. To round the deck out, we have Terrakion, which can come out of nowhere to Retaliate for a OHKO on Darkrai EX. If everything goes as planned, CMT is a very scary deck, especially if your opponent’s Portrait fails. Even though Chris normally judges, this unorthodox version of the deck took him to a fourth place finish, meaning his trip to Hawaii is paid in full.

So, there you have it! Hopefully this provided some insight on why these four players were so successful at the biggest tournament of the year. Look out for these players to make a splash at the World Championship. Anyone who’s aiming to win in Hawaii will have to make sure they can handle these decks. Aloha!


18 responses to “2012 US Nationals Winners!”

  1. Micah Tate

    I would like to make a correction: the Eelektross Kevin used was the slurp shakedown/suction heal Eelektross, not the wild charge Eelektross.

    1. P Suitch

      I thought so too. I would think him stupid to use the other. Of course he was second, but the card sucks.

      1. P Suitch

        Yeah, I compared my cards to 57:30 of the Top 4 match, it is the Slurp Shakedown Eelektross. I wonder if they even asked.

    2. Pooka311

      Whoops! I will go ahead and fix that. Thanks!

      1. Micah Tate

        No problem, just didn’t want Mr. Slurp Shakedown to lose any fame XD

  2. Renato Simões

    Great post!

  3. Guest

    Yeah, “sample list”
    JRII played Pokemon Communication too.
    There is nothing to get Darkrai EX out of the deck in your “sample list”

    Seriously, what’s that “sample list”.

    also : “SAMPLE LIST”

    1. Pooka311

      I felt like something was missing when I put the list together, but I didn’t wasn’t sure what it was. Thanks!

    2. Guest

      John had probably the best build no doubt about it. Its funny because he plays the most UN-expected decks and does so good with them. He got top four at Regional s with CMT/Kyrem techs

  4. Mr.Snivy

    John had probably the best build no doubt about it. Its funny because he plays the most UN-expected decks and does so good with them. He got top four at Regional s with CMT/Kyrem techs

  5. ayoooo

    “You will not see us post or share a complete decklist ever. We believe that giving out decklists stops people from being creative and makes the game stale. Instead, we are trying to share knowledge so that you can build decks on your own. If you are looking for someone to make a deck for you, there are plenty of places you can go for that, but that is not what The Top Cut? does.”

    1. Kyle Sucevich

      Yes, and that still is not the focus of The Top Cut. We have started to post decks after events are over to give people an idea of what was successful at the time. Otherwise, we don’t do anything like that while events are in progress.

  6. Andrew Sayegh

    Im new to pokemon so why do you not need darkrai, or mewtwo to put darkrai ex or mewtwo ex on top of?

    1. Kyle Sucevich

      The EX Pokémon are just more powerful versions of cards that give up two prizes when they are knocked out. Mewtwo EX and Darkrai EX are Basic Pokémon, so you can play them down immediately; they are not Evolution cards.

      1. John Roberts II

        I can give my actual list now that worlds is over. The one on here is not accurate.

        1. gary drummer

          well, what is it!

  7. Andrew Sayegh

    How good would you say the mewtwo electrik deck was?

  8. Andrew Sayegh

    What kind of shaymin was number 3 using?