Who doesn’t want to play in Worlds? Everyone wants a shot at becoming World Champion! But for some of us with not-so-stellar seasons, including myself, that chance only comes with outlasting the competition in the Last Chance Qualifier the day before Worlds. Thankfully, I’ve made it through the “grinder” once before in 2010, so I’m here to help you have the best chance of getting in.
The LCQ is a timed single elimination tournament, with approximately only the top 8 competitors earning an invite into Worlds. Each match is a best of 3, the same as the top cut of any event. Masters division players must have 10 Play! Points to enter into the LCQ.
There are three things you MUST consider if you’re going to want to earn a spot at the World Championships:
1. Deck Choice
Your deck choice is a monumental decision to have to make. Eels? Darkrai? Klinklang? You have to pick something that has the possibility to win against the top tier decks. If your deck loses to Eel variants due to Weakness, you’re probably going to have to change things up a bit to allow you to deal with this very popular deck, or possibly switch decks altogether.
One thing to keep in mind is the best 2/3 timed format. Losing Game 1 or 2 with a slow set-up deck such as Vanilluxe can be devastating toward your chances. A lot of times, Game 3 doesn’t finish and the aggressive deck will win on time because they’ve take a prize or two.
I would also stay away from the Klinklang deck. I know, I know, it won US Nationals, but the deck has a very strong weakness to Lost Remover or Enhanced Hammer, especially if they are using Sableye to get it back. Because it won Nationals, there will be an increase in the use of Hammer and Remover, making the deck very dangerous to play.
Your deck needs to have a fighting chance versus these decks:
2. Darkrai Variants
3. Decks with Mewtwos
4. Vileplume Paralysis decks
If you find yourself losing to one of these decks in practice over and over, you need to make an adjustment. Some adjustments will be simple with play style or a tech of one card, and others will be more extensive with many card changes to your deck. An easy solution would be to play one Lost Remover for Klinklang and Junk Arm for it to stop their attacks. Another is to play an Unown (Cure) to get an extra attack in versus Accelgor. A more complex change would be teching multiple Terrakions into your Eels list as well as Fighting Energies to deal with Darkrai. You need to find a nice medium for beating all of these decks without sacrificing too much consistency.
An important thing to note is the strength of Mewtwo EX. Maybe we all forgot how good it is, but playing 3 Mewtwo is still a good idea. A great example of a Mewtwo war not being dead is the Top 4 match between Kevin Nance and Jay Hornung at US Nationals this year, which you can watch here:
Both of these players made it very far into the tournament thanks to the use of Mewtwo EX. He’s still a very strong attacker and, since they played 3, they would always win the Mewtwo war when it began.
The number one most important thing you can do to win more games, is to play more games, more specifically against those five deck types mentioned above. The more you practice each matchup, the more games you are going to win against those deck types. When you’re in the tournament, each game will feel much easier than if you hadn’t practiced much.
Unfortunately, the single most important thing for making it through the LCQ isn’t something I can teach you. It’s luck. Grinding in is difficult and you need to have some things go your way in order to get in. In 2010 when I made it in, I knew some things went my way that day and felt blessed to be able to get in. Hopefully I’ve helped to give you a better chance at making it through this year and competing in the World Championships.
Feel free to ask me anything on Twitter @xGWH and I will get back to you.