The Top Cut Invitational 2012

Hello, everyone! Last year we were privileged to be able to host the first Top Cut Invitational, which featured eight of the game’s best players squaring off to see who would come out on top. When all was said and done, the winner ended up being the most successful player in Pokémon TCG history, Jason “Ness” Klaczynski. Now that another year has passed, we are looking to invite some new players to clash with the veterans. Without further adieu, here are the players that we plan to invite to this year’s tournament!

Jason Klaczynski (Confirmed)
Tsuguyoshi Yamato (Confirmed)
Sami Sekkoum (Confirmed)
Yuta Komatsuda (Confirmed)
John Roberts II (Confirmed)
David Cohen (Confirmed)
Esa Juntunen (Confirmed)
Tom Dolezal (Confirmed)

Due to time constraints, we were able to invite only eight players. While there were many more that we considered, eventually we decided on these players for various reasons. I know people are going to be upset that some of their favorites or friends were excluded, but I think we all can agree that this is an intriguing mix of some of the best the game has to offer. Also, we would love to invite the World Champion, but it’s not practical; the player will want to celebrate their win instead of playing more. Ultimately, we are looking for a tournament that showcases the highest caliber of play and exciting stories with players from all sorts of backgrounds.

Overall, the point of the tournament is to give more exposure to these players and show them for the stars that they are. Although the tournament itself is important, the goal is to give everyone an in-depth look at what makes each of these players special. Of course, this means videos of every match and interview will be posted online for everyone to watch! If the Internet connection exists, we will stream as well, but there is no guarantee of that. Since we feel like the future of the game involves video coverage, the emphasis will be on capturing every one of these players in detail.

For the tournament itself, we tried to pick a format that gives the best opportunity for players to be showcased. Here are the details for everything the event entails.

Date and Time

The tournament will take place in the open play area after the World Championship ceremony concludes. Right now the approximate time is Sunday, August 12th at 6 PM HAST (Kona’s time zone), but it is subject to change.

Format and Structure

If you’ve ever watched Starcraft 2’s GSL, you’ll be familiar with the tournament structure. On the day of the event, the players will be placed into two groups of four randomly. Two players from each group will advance to the Top 4. Here is how things will look.

Round 1

Player 1 vs. Player 2
Player 3 vs. Player 4

Round 2

Winners play each other; winners advance
Losers play each other; losers eliminated

Round 3

Both 1-1 players play each other; winners advance, losers eliminated

Basically you must win two games to advance, and you are eliminated if you lose two games; it’s pretty straightforward. The games for the group stage will be 30 minutes + 3 turns. Then we will move onto the Top 4. The undefeated player from Group A will face the 2-1 player from Group B and vice versa. All top cut matches will be 90 minutes Best 2-of-3. The purpose of this is to have legitimate series that aren’t hindered by time limits. In addition, we may see more diverse decks with the longer time limits! Of course, this will be run with the current HS-DEX format.

Tournament Rules

For any ruling disputes, we will be using standard P!P rules to resolve the issues. Penalties will be the same. We may need some people to help judge the event.


Right now we don’t have anything set, but there will be booster boxes among other merchandise as prizes. If you would like to donate some prizes for the players, please contact me here or at!

Now that we have a year of experience under our belts, we’re going to make a ton of improvements that will make this a more enjoyable event for everyone involved. When it comes down to it, this is a spectator event. We want the community to be able to watch the best players in the world face off to show what the Pokémon TCG is all about! If you have any suggestions or feedback, feel free to post here or contact me however you feel fit. Thank you!


43 responses to “The Top Cut Invitational 2012”

  1. Sam Marshall-Smith

    Why aren’t I on the list? I have a worlds invite, that means I’m like, the best player ever. Right? Right…?

    1. Vlad

      sam.. yo are a scrub no offence.. everyone knows that you do not deserve that invite.. you came third in UK seniors nats and got your invite passed down.. also everybody knows you lucked out against me in top8 and did not deserve to go through.. I was clearly ‘the won’ to win.. with no VVV in top4 if i got through it would have only been zekeelz and darkrai in the top4 and i dominate them decks ‘cos i tested a lot! therefore-more you played QUAD TERRAKION at nats?? really SCRUB SCRUB.. oh and for your information I’ll see you at worlds ‘cos i have also got a invite AND a qualified properly for it (35th in europe).. this being my first year playing I am pretty proud off myself =)

      From Vlad

      1. Sam Marshall-Smith

        XD Seriously? Ok, firstly, I was being sarcastic… No one in their right minds would think they were on the same level as Sami and Jason with just a worlds invite… Second, I didn’t get my invite through a passdown, I had it ANYWAY, I got a paid trip through a passdown, not the invite its self. Third, you lucked out against me in game 2… Also, you were NOT the favorite to win, that was Chris Fotheringham. And lastly, Quad Terrakion also won 3 nationals in masters alone. I really hope you were joking. I really do.

        1. baby_mario


          And people wonder why UK players (apart from the Sekkoums) get no respect?

          We might not be good, but at least we could show some dignity.

          I think the Invitational line up is just fine. It’s not supposed to be fantasy US Nats top 8 with bonus Yamato. Obviously you could make a case for a lot of other players being worthy, but the people they have should make for a very interesting tournament.

          1. Sam Marshall-Smith

            Was this directed at me or Vlad? If me, I was simply explaining I didn’t “lucksack” through nats and that quad Terrakion is competitive.

          2. baby_mario

            It’s a ‘if the cap fits’ thing.

        2. Micah Tate

          I don’t want to get in this argument or anything, but massive congrats on beating VVV with quad terrakion, how the heck did you even do that? Terrakion is supposed to autoloss to lock decks XD I don’t care how much luck was involved, unless VVV flips quad tails 50% of the time I can’t see it losing, you must have played like a boss man!

          1. Sam Marshall-Smith

            Umm.. I didn’t? I only played it in round 1 and lost, it was one of my two losses

          2. Micah Tate

            I completely misread Vlad’s post then, my bad XD

  2. Hunkyross

    YES! That’s more like it, 50% US and 50% not! 😀

    Does this mean Yamato’s going to worlds? If so, does that mean he’s grinding in? I hope not. Or at least i hope don’t meet him. I hear he’s rather good…

  3. Edmund_Nelson

    Surprised Jay Hornung wasn’t invited

    1. Hunter

      Me too

  4. Cory Glore

    Sounds sweet.

  5. Gyrados Gyrados

    i think Jay H, Curtis L, Ross C and Jason H deserve the spot over Esa

    1. Balasar

      no. jay, maybe. ross and jason, no (sorry). esa has a lot of skill and is a decent guy.

    2. drakospaladin101

      Esa is a 6 time national champion and created 2 world winning decks. The only person i question on the list is john roberts. I know he won nats, but this is his first year of competitve play, so you would think they would choose someone with more experience and accomplishments, like Ross Cawthon or Jay Hornung. But John still earned that spot, so yeah

      1. Gyrados Gyrados

        6 time national champion in a area with like 30 masters….
        ross has qualified for every single worlds, which is something only sami on that list can say. hes also been to the finals twice which only jason or david can say.

        1. drakospaladin101

          Look, there are many more than 30 masters and i am quite appalled that you would be so arrogant and close minded and say that winning a tournent like that anywhere but here is really easy. The US has the biggest nationals, but t really doesnt matter how big a tournament is
          It is still a nationals that still has 7 swiss rounds and a top 16. Esa has won that 6 times, which is probably more than you could say. He has also been invited to worlds almost every year that he has played, not to mention that he created 2 world winning decks and several excellent rogue decks asell. What i don’t understand is why you would say Esa doesnt deserve that invite. He clearly is an exceptional player, quite literally one of the best in the world, and has enough experience.

          1. CommonSense

            Nothing against Esa but he did win the Nationals twice as a Seniors…and they had 6 rounds and a top 8 this year…which esa had a first 2 round byes. So he played 4 rounds of swiss before top cut and 3 rounds of top cut. Esa should be proud of his wins…but shouldn’t get cocky his Nationals was smaller than most of our States.

          2. Marineking

            Esa has won nearly everything in Finland in last 8 years. With his deck builder skills Tom (07 WC) and Miska (06 WC) (still the only European world champions, and from the same league and town) were able to win their worlds titles. He has top cutted in worlds -05, -08, -10. Best result being 5-8th place with his own glaceon deck in 2008. Only once (-06) has he scored a negative score at worlds.

            I think its not really reasonable to say that, he doesn´t deserve the spot in this. Being from small country does not mean, that someone cant be good enough. With his blog, he has influenced worlds metagame in this year more than any other person in the world.

            Esa is a magnificent person, he has lots of skills in playing the game, and he likes to help other people and inspires them. He has also been judging at 2 nats, and with that he shows lots of unselfishness.

            I would call him a “pokemon pro” rather than “pro player” becauce after all his accomplisments, playing is not even half of what he has accieved in this game.

            Before he himself wins the world title, there will be people to say that there are lots of better players in the USA who deserve the spot becuase he can prove his playing skills only once a year.

            I dont say that for example Jay Hornung would be a worse pick. He is a great player among lots of ohters, but I have to say that if you want/have to pick someone ohter than US or Japanese, Sami and Esa are the best choises you can make.

          3. CommonSense

            I think the main issue people have with Esa is he’s not as accomplished as the other people on the list or those discussed who aren’t (comparing accomplishments he would be in 8th on this list and behind many other people discussed). I think people feel like he was chosen for being well known, and a non US player rather than for his record. Winning Nationals in Finland is the same as winning an smaller size states in the US. Granted he only had 1 chance to do so and did it repeatedly, but this is not something that sets him apart. The same with the Worlds Top 8, it is impressive, but certainly doesn’t raise him above other names that are tossed around or that are on the list.

          4. Patrik

            Hey here is one thing. Finnish players consistently do great at worlds as a whole. When compering the win/loss ratio by country Finland is always near the top. This proves that Finland has overall good players. Making consistently doing great harder. Every competitive player in Finland goes to pretty much every tournament. This means Battle Roads are sometimes only slightly smaller than Nationals.

            In Finland Battle Roads can be the same size as nationals so 6 rounds top 8. Esa does amazing all year round. What we can take from this is that he does amazing in high level tournaments the whole time because of how the Finnish community works.

            Winning 6 nationals even with byes is not easy because the first 2 rounds which you have byes will be the easier rounds of the tournament and the 4 of swiss after are the harder ones. His 6 nationals titles do speak a lot. Sami has 4 and Esa has 6 and they are relatively similar size nationals. One is 7 swiss t16 the other is 6 swiss t8. Not a big difference.

            Esa is not as accomplished as the other people? I think he is rather equally accomplished as other people. They are in different territories. Esa does consistently great everywhere and is an amazing deck builder while some people have great runs at a few tournaments.

            Not trying to knock anyone down, but the least accomplished player on the list is John Roberts II.

            This is not US nationals top 8. This is getting the best players from around the world. Esa deserves his spot in the tournament for his consistently good playing and his great deck building.

          5. CommonSense

            I’ll disagree Finland is right up there…The US and Japanese dominate Worlds repeatedly and than you have Mexico and the UK in the next few spots. Tom Roos won in 07 but that seems to be more the exception than the rule and I don’t really see how this reflects on Esa. There is a huge difference between 7 Rounds and Top 16 and 6 Rounds and Top 8…don’t even compare the 2. Same as Sami record vs Esa…UK Nationals is larger and many people would say harder. The John Roberts vs Esa debate is a different argument entirely. Esa did consistently at his Natioanls over a long period of time. John won a Nationals almost 20x larger than Finland Nationals. I’m not saying Esa doesn’t deserve the spot I’m just saying he is less deserving than a lot of other people. Saying Esa got the spot over a more deserving US player is something I can’t disagree with but I do see the need to keep the tournament not US dominated. Personally I would have liked to have seen David Booji over Esa since he did win the ECC this year.

          6. baby_mario

            David Booij would have been another good choice.

            However, he is not as well-known as Esa, and that was probably a factor.

            I honestly see little point in complaining about the line-up. It’s all quality players who are capable of producing some great matches for us to watch.

          7. CommonSense

            I don’t think anybody is arguing and discussion if fair…besides it builds hype.

          8. Cake Walvin

            “eight of the game’s best players”
            “we are looking to invite some new players to clash with the veterans”
            “Due to time constraints, we were able to invite only eight players.”
            “While there were many more that we considered, eventually we decided on these players for various reasons.”
            “I think we all can agree that this is an intriguing mix of some of the best the game has to offer.”

            I think no more needs to be said.

          9. coolestman22

            Says the one who is arguing.

          10. drakospaladin101

            I get that, but he still earned those wins and is still an awesome player. I get they are smaller, but its still like a states. I dont know anyone who has won those many nats, so he still deserves the invite.
            On Jul 26, 2012 5:18 PM, “Disqus” <notifications@

    3. baby_mario

      All this crap about who does or doesn’t ‘deserve’ a spot.

      Where does it say that the intention of this tournament is to invite the 8 ‘most deserving’ or even the ‘best’ 8 players in the world? Nowhere.

      It says in the announcement that it’s supposed to be ‘an intriguing mix of some of the best the game has to offer’ which it is.

      There are lots of people who would be great for the tournament who didn’t get in, but at some point, topcut had to make a choice. Trying to belittle any of the players on that list looks petty and is definitely not a classy move.

  6. Paulmstone1991

    It would be good to invite players from South America and Oceania to see how they play. Maybe them give a surprise. At least there should be one per continent.

    1. Micah Tate

      One player per continent? I’m moving to Antarctica!!! 😀

      1. Paulmstone1991

        Okay, perhaps that’s the only way that you got to win a tournament. While we can say that the last world champion Junior came out from Brazil. Some South American players managed to top 8 and top 16 in world, Chile returned to the world with a player who played 5 of them. Since 2008 that country had not premiers and now it’s starting again. I think South America is stronger than other years, and inviting those places TheTopCut players can expand their audience and repercussion.

        The top 10 ranking shows players from different countries were the biggest winners during the season. And not even called Jay.
        Call John is an award for his last, great and wonderful tournament.
        Calling players who earn the ranking is not an award for regularly?

        All names are well above … Esa … it’s amazing what a blog can do for you … But it seems disrespectful to say that playing in Antarctica is the same as playing outside our country

        1. Micah Tate

          It was a joke. You are reading way too far into this. I am not trying to disrespect any player-base and I didn’t even mention Esa; I am just trying to make someone laugh.

          1. Carlos Martinez

            You are racist.

  7. BrunoM

    Im from Argentina,last year when i played the world’s I saw the top cut invitational tournament and it’s very cool,you should invite some of south america players.
    This year my teammate will play worlds for 2nd time and he is on top 10 at ranking world (CP obviusly),you can invite him 😛 or national champion for example.

  8. Zach Lesage

    Maybe you guys could consider doing 16 or 32 person invitational for next year. I personally think Jay, Ross, and Curtis should have been thought of to go in this. I don’t need to stare why Jay or Ross should be in this but, Curtis won Canadian Nats this year, has made top 8 worlds, and has a pretty long list of accomplishments to back those up too. As much as there is the argument that Canada has a weaker meta game or less players, Canadians still have put a dent in the US meta game and we have won a fair share of tournaments in the US considering only 8 of us (in Ontario) travel down. Kyle should also be in this and maybe some of the top rated players in NA. As much as 8 players is cool, it excludes tons who deserve to be in there too.

    1. baby_mario

      IIRC the Invitational was untimed matches last year. Doing that on the Sunday with 16 or 32 players isn’t really practical. Everyone is pretty tired by that stage anyway.

  9. K2theAblaM

    For people saying “Why wasn’t so and so player invited over this person….” Shut the hell up. It’s been stated plenty of times that this is an exhibition tournament and the people chosen were chosen for a reason. Get over it, and enjoy the games when they’re streamed/uploaded for your viewing pleasure.

  10. JayHornung

    I really appreciate all of the support that I have gotten from people that think I should be in tournament…I’m sure Kyle just realized that I’ll be too busy off celebrating my Worlds win.

    In all seriousness though, it is a very short list and there is always going to be disagreement on who deserves the spots the most. So lets all keep it civil when discussing who should and shouldn’t be on the list because overall the list seems very well rounded.

  11. Mark Kah

    I’m just really excited to see the matches and I don’t get why so many people are complaining…

  12. Paternico

    Esa diserves the invate!! to all u haters out there :(p

  13. Vanguardmetrics

    Holy pickle, some people are raging in the comments. It’s entertaining to read actually. I think you guys should delete some of them, they’re going overboard

  14. Matt Sanchez

    I just got into this game because of your youtube channel. I can’t wait to see these guys competitive side.