Christopher Schemanske: We’re back at Worlds! The atmosphere at Worlds is impossible to replicate, and I can only imagine that’s going to be especially true this year: the three-year gap since Washington DC, the exciting Pokémon TCG format, and the addition of Pokémon GO and Pokémon UNITE are lining up to make this the most exciting Worlds yet. And with a fourth day of competition this year, there should be plentiful opportunities to watch Pokémon competitions of all sorts.
I’m particularly excited about the Pokémon TCG format at Worlds this year: without any rotation or major set release, players won’t be flying blind, but it’s a format that’s only had two weekends of major tournaments, meaning there’s still some room to explore. This is an excellent balance, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the best in the world craft for the event.
I’m also really excited for the London Open, which will kick off the race for Worlds 2023. While the headline is the main event, the Open event is always a fun aspect of the weekend for those looking to get a head start on next year. I’m wishing the best to everyone in their preparation and travels to London—we’re going to see some exciting action this weekend!
Ellis Longhurst: The Pokémon TCG World Championships features world-class talent, so I wouldn’t be surprised if competitors found success with any of the five decks mentioned above. At this event, the key differentiator will be how effectively competitors manage all the other aspects of their performance. For the first time ever, the World Championships is a four-day event, which means that it will be as much a test of endurance as a test of skill. Adequate sleep, sustenance, and hydration have never been more important.
This may favor local competitors because they won’t need to adjust to a new time zone or experience the rigors of overseas travel. It may also favor those who are familiar with the competition venue through their attendance of the Europe International Championships in 2017 or 2018.
Help your favorite competitor navigate the long road to victory by sending them a message of support!
Many of the Pokémon TCG's non-main expansions have had a lesser impact on the competitive scene, but Pokémon GO actually has multiple strong cards, such as Radiant Charizard
. The two that grabbed my attention the most, though, are PokéStop
and Radiant Blastoise
PokéStop is a Stadium that can help players draw Item cards—and discard other cards, which can actually be a benefit. For example, PokéStop enables the new Solrock
deck, not only by drawing useful Item cards such as Level Ball
and Rescue Carrier
, but also by discarding Psychic Energy for Solrock's Sun Energy Ability.
While Solrock/Lunatone is not a bad deck, I feel like PokéStop has more potential than that and hasn't been fully tapped. My guess is that it will end up finding a spot in Origin Forme Dialga VSTAR
and other similar decks.
Tord Reklev: Nothing quite matches the unique feeling and atmosphere present at the World Championships. All the most dedicated Pokémon players from around the world, gathered in the same location, to battle it out and share their love for the game. This year is quite special, as there is no rotation before the event. The Pokémon GO set features some cards that can impact the metagame, but so far it looks relatively similar to what we saw at the North America International Championships.
I am excited to see what the best players in the world will bring. Will our power rankings be a close estimate, or will we see breakout performances of completely new archetypes, like we saw at NAIC with the Mewtwo V-UNION deck? There is no doubt players will be trying their absolute hardest to figure out “the next big deck,” and effort will not be lacking. It’s a tournament where a lot of players historically have been prone to take risks, both with deck choice and interesting inclusions in already established archetypes. I think if someone figures out how to beat the five decks featured in our power rankings, they will be in serious contention for winning it all!
Robin Schulz: For the first time in many years, there will not be a main expansion released between the North America International Championships (or US Nationals, back then) and the World Championships. This changes the way players have to prepare for the event. Instead of trying to find the new best deck, it becomes more important than ever to know the ins and outs of all the existing decks and how they match up against each other. Those looking for some high-level gameplay will surely not be disappointed by the tournament.
However, if you’re looking for something new, don’t worry. Thanks to the special expansion Pokémon GO, there are a few new cards to look out for. It naturally won’t be as impactful as a full release, but I expect at the very least to see a lot from Radiant Charizard
. It’s a really strong card that can be played in various ways and will surely show up on stream at some point!