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Pokemon TCG: 2023 World Championships Decks Preview

Pokemon 2023 World Championship Decks

The Pokemon World Championships are the most anticipated event of competitive Pokémon play around the world. This three-day event typically occurs in August each year when Pokémon trainers from all around the world gather to compete to be crowned the “Very Best” and a non-negligible prize pool of over 2 million dollars. To give some perspective, last year in Yokohama, Japan, there were over 10,000 trainers competing in the tournament and similar numbers are expected this year in Honolulu.

The winners of each Pokemon Championship season are also recognized with the release of a celebration copy of their deck that everyone can purchase to practice and learn the strategies from the World Champions. Usually there are four of these decks chosen among the winners and runners up of Master, Senior and Junior Division and they all includes a 60 card deck together with a few commemorative items. In particular, the items included in each of the 2023 Pokémon TCG World Championships Deck are a 2023 World Championships booklet, a Special 2023 World Championships pin, a 2023 World Championships coin, a 2023 World Championships deck box, a A playmat, one poster and the usual code card for the Pokémon Trading Card Game Live.
Unfortunately, these decks can not be used in official competitive events although they are great for casual playing and for training. Moreover, you can always look to purchase all the singles cards to re-make the deck after you tried it out and you find the playing style suits you.

The four 2023 Pokémon TCG World Championships Decks that will be made available from the 1st of March 2024 will include the decks used by Vance Kelley and Tord Reklev (winner and runner-up of the Masters Division), the one used by Gabriel Fernandez (Champion of the Senior Division) and the Shao Tong Yen's one (the Champion of the Junior Devision). The play style of each deck is quite different and interesting to play and we wanted to briefly summarize the main characteristics of the decks together with the main Pokemon they are based on below.

1) Vance Kelley's Deck is based around the well know Mew VMAX/ Genesect V engine that is all about having Fusion Strike Pokemon as well as the energy in play. Genesect V ability in fact allows the player to draw cards equal to the number of Pokemon of Fusion Strike Pokemon in play to ensure you have all the key cards you need. Mew Vmax is then the key active Pokemon being able to use any attack from other Fusion Strike Pokemon on the bench. Oricorio, Mew V and Meloetta are the only other Pokemon of the deck that is instead filled with Supporters, Items and Stadium cards to provide the needed protection to the Pokemon team and the flexibility to adapt to different adversaries.

2) Tord Reklev’s Deck is full of Psychic Pokemon cards with synergistic effects that mainly aim to win the game thought a strong control strategy. Gardevoir Ex is the key Pokemon in this deck as its ability allows a player to pick any energy card from the discard pile and attach it to a Pokemon. If carefully planned, this ability should allow Gardevoir Ex to power up in just one turn to then deliver a powerful attach for 190 damage. Kirlia and Jirachi abilities are key to this strategy as they allow the player to draw some cards and to discard some others to ensure there is always a good amount of energy cards in the discard pile to fuel the engine. The attacks of Zacian, which damage grows as the amount of energy attached to the Pokemon or those of Scream Tail that depends on the damage counters on the Pokemon are other great examples of how well designed and balanced this deck is.

3) Gabriel Fernandez’s Deck is based on the Lugia VSTAR ability to add any Pokemon directly to the player bench even if they are not basic Pokemon. In this deck, the elective target is Archeops that can therefore use its ability to add two special energies to Lugia charging it up for a powerful attack. The deck is also filled with other Pokemon which ability can trigger once placed in the bench and supporters and items to increase the chances to fish out Lugia and start the deck engine.

4) Shao Tong Yen’s Deck is somehow different from the other decks as it's engine focuses on drawing and discarding cards in order to obtain high attacks from its Pokemon. In particular, the deck benefits from discarding cards to the so called “Lost Zone”, an area outside the usual discard pile where cards can not be retrieved. Comfey's ability and the supporter card Colress's experiment are key to add cards to the Lost Zone while also drawing cards to your hands. Cramorant and Sabley's attacks are then directly dependent on how many cards are in the Lost Zone while Kyogre and Radiant Greninja's attack require cards to be discarded in order to increase their damage.

I personally find all these decks very interesting and distinct from each other. I am not sure which one would fit better my playing style but I cannot wait to try them all out. Luckily for me, Zatu not only store the four separate decks at a very reasonable price but they also have the four-deck package that is a very good way to try them all!