"Draft Day is Upon Us"- A Look at U.S. Nationals Fantasy Drafts
Hello 60Cards Readers! I’ve decided to go a different route with this article because of all the new content that has been going around the internet. There have been numerous articles, set reviews, and just an overall abundance of material for deck ideas right now. For this article, I wanted to talk about something that happens around this time of the year, which is also probably my new favorite pokemon-related activity that we have grown into. This activity is the 2014 U.S. Pokemon National Championships Fantasy Drafts. I’m not sure about any of you, but I loved watching these things go on last year and really loved watching the thought processes from everyone that was involved in the drafts. It’s never a bad time to watch people goof off, give compliments to their friends who have had good seasons, and just to show confidence in somebody that they believe will have a strong showing at the National Championships.
I’ve decided that I’m going to discuss the drafts that happened last year, along with some of their results and methods of doing the drafts. Hopefully this will help people to learn how to have their very own Nationals Fantasy Draft this year. After discussing past Fantasy Drafts, I’m going to get into my top choices of this year’s fantasy draft, along with a breakdown of every player that has 1st or 2nd round byes going into the event.
Last year, the drafts started to happen right around Mid-June, which is why I wanted to do my article around this time as preparation for anyone that is interested in doing one of these drafts. My favorite 3 Fantasy Drafts from last year would definitely have to be The Top Cut’s Fantasy Draft, On The Bubble’s Fantasy Draft, and the draft that was done on our very own Sabelstream. Hopefully these three will do another Fantasy Draft, along with everyone else that wants to join along.
Most of these drafts being mentioned were done in just a normal fashion. Players were chosen in a normal fashion and the names were eliminated in an order so that no person could have the same competitor. The public draft that drew a lot of attention last year was probably the fan-favorite of drafts that happened. Our community’s very own, Ryan Vergel, graciously hosted a U.S. Nationals Fantasy Draft and even had a grand prize of 100$ to the winner. The draft was free to enter and had very simple rules, but wasn’t done in a normal elimination method of choosing competitors. Ryan decided to use the “banking” method of drafting, where players are given a certain amount of “money” to start off with and can buy players based on their monetary worth.
Let’s get into the first Nationals Fantasy Draft of 2013, which would be from our friends at The Top Cut:
The Top Cut’s Fantasy Draft:
As The Top Cut is a very funny group of influential players in the game, they decided to have a “theme” for the annual Fantasy Drafts. They have decided that the player with the least amount of points from their team will have to perform something embarrassing as a result, while the winner is declared the Fantasy Draft Champion of the year. Here was the initial draft order, along with the incredibly cheesy team names to go with their captains:
Pram: “Pram’s Stackers”
Ben: “The Great White Cakes”
Crimz: “Team Crimmilicious”
Drew: “The Nature Boys”
Pooka: “Primetime Pookas”
It seemed as though Pram had a very large advantage with the first overall pick. Now that the draft order had been chosen, all of the teams took to their different strategies and chose teams of 5 players. Here were the official teams and the overall position that each player was chosen.
1st Round (1st overall): Jay Hornung (1 bye)
2nd Round (10th overall): Ty Smith (2 byes)
3rd Round (11th overall): Michael Pramawat
4th Round (20th overall): Dylan Bryan (2 byes)
5th Round (21st overall): Andrew Krekeler (2 byes)
The Great White Cakes:
1st Round (2nd overall): Jason Klaczynski
2nd Round (9th overall): Kyle Sucevich
3rd Round (12th overall): Mike Newman (2 byes)
4th Round (19th overall): Frank Diaz
5th Round (22nd overall): Benjamin Potter
1st Round (3rd overall): Ross Cawthon (2 byes)
2nd Round (8th overall): Ryan Sabelhaus (2 byes)
3rd Round (13th overall): Dylan Lefavour (2 byes)
4th Round (18th overall): Brent Siebenkittel (2 byes)
5th Round (23rd overall): Adam V (2 byes)
The Nature Boys:
1st Round (4th overall): Tom Dolezal
2nd Round (7th overall): John Roberts II
3rd Round (14th overall): Mike Diaz (1 bye)
4th Round (17th overall): Dustin Zimmerman
5th Round (24rd overall): Gino Lombardi (2 byes)
1st Round (5th overall): Harrison Leven (2 byes)
2nd Round (6th overall): Jando Luna (2 byes)
3rd Round (15th overall): Ray Cipoletti (2 byes)
4th Round (16th overall): Chris Nguyen (1 bye)
5th Round (25th overall): Chris Bianchi
It was pretty obvious that everyone had a different game plan going into this draft. Team Crimmilicious certainly had an affinity for that list of players with 2 byes, which is a very strong strategy for choosing players as they will have a very high resistance. The Great White Cakes certainly didn’t care about those byes, as they chose players with a multitude of experience at the large scale tournaments. Snagging up Kyle Sucevich and Jason Klaczynski in the first two rounds certainly doesn’t seem like a bad strategy to me. As everyone’s team was locked into place, the scoring chart for their draft looked like this:
Along with a player earning an additional 10 bonus points from going undefeated in the Swiss rounds, which is an almost impossible task to accomplish. As Nationals progressed, the team captains were able to watch their teams rise or perish with each round. With the Top 128 being announced, it was extremely clear the Crimz had chosen a strong strategy of choosing only players with 2 byes. Every one of his choices had made it into the Top 128 of Nationals. Let’s take a look at the results of the Fantasy Draft:
1st Place: Team Crimmilicious (100 Pts.)
Ross Cawthon – Top 64 (15 points)
Ryan Sabelhaus – 2nd (45 points)
Dylan Lefavour – Top 32 (20 points)
Brent Siebenkittel – Top 128 (10 points)
Adam V – Top 128 (10 points)
2nd Place: Pram’s Stackers (65 Pts.)
Jay Hornung – Top 128 (10 points)
Ty Smith – Top 128 (10 points)
Michael Pramawat – Miss
Dylan Bryan – Top 8 (35 points)
Andrew Krekeler – Top 128 (10 points)
3rd Place: The Great White Cakes (60 Pts.)
Jason Klaczynski – Miss
Kyle Sucevich – Top 16 (25 points)
Mike Newman – Top 64 (15 points)
Frank Diaz – Top 32 (20 points)
Benjamin Potter – Miss
4th Place: Primetime Pookas (40 Pts.)
Harrison Leven – Top 128 (10 points)
Jando Luna – Top 128 (10 points)
Ray Cipoletti – Top 32 (20 points)
Chris Nguyen – Miss
Chris Bianchi – Miss
LAST Place: The Nature Boys (35 Pts.)
Tom Dolezal – Miss
John Roberts II – Miss
Mike Diaz – Top 128 (10 points)
Dustin Zimmerman – Top 64 (15 points)
Gino Lombardi – Top 128 (10 points)
Though Drew’s team did get last place and he was the overall loser of the Fantasy Draft, I’m not sure whether a punishment was implemented or not. Either way, this was an extremely fun draft to watch happen. I guess we’ll have to see if Team Crimmilicious can remain the Champion for another year or whether another member of The Top Cut will knock him off the throne. To review this Fantasy Draft and see other great content, be sure to check out TheTopCut.net.
On The Bubble’s Fantasy Draft:
Although there weren’t really many results or giant articles about this fantasy draft, I certainly remember watching this one. All of the members of On The Bubble are extremely funny and I would definitely recommend watching this Fantasy Draft if they do another this year. Although they did do the Nationals Fantasy Draft in a video on their stream, the video doesn’t seem to be around anymore so I’m unsure of the point system that they used for scoring. Quite honestly, they might not have even scored the draft and just did this because it’s a really fun activity. Either way, here are the teams and overall positioning of their Fantasy Draft from last year:
Although we may not know the scoring system, based off of looking at the teams and overall positioning of the players last year, I would have to assume that the winner would be either Mike Newman or Kenny Wisdom. It seemed very strange to everyone that one of the favorites to do good at this tournament, Dylan Bryan, wasn’t even on the list of players. Bryan surely could have been a first-round pick in this draft, but it seemed as though they completely forget he was going.
There’s no way of telling without knowing the point system, but it’s always fun to look back at the memories of last year and see how each member of On The Bubble did. Hopefully they are also doing another Fantasy Draft this year, which would be posted on their Facebook page when the time comes around for drafting.
Ryan Vergel’s Nationals Fantasy Draft:
Now this Fantasy Draft was definitely the talk-of-the-town when it was first announced. There was free admission into this draft and there was a 100$ prize for the winner of the competition! Talk about a great deal. The rules of this event were also very simple and laid out on the Facebook page created by Ryan. He stated that the only rules of the competition were:
You get $1000 to spend
The person with the most fantasy points wins
In the event of a tie, the player who correctly chose the new national champion is the winner. If this needs a tie, the player with the most players who top cut (128 or higher) is winner. In the event of a further tiebreaker being needed, the player with the best player/point breakdown wins.
Points are awarded according to how each of your drafted players finish.
You will only have ONE submission allowed. You may edit your submission ONE time if I believe you made an error in calculation, but not to choose a new team after thinking more or discussing with others. This is entirely subjective and arbitrary, and will only happen once as a fall back for players who make errors in additions. You guys suck at math.
If your submission has violated one of the rules, you are automatically out of the competition. Be sure to count correctly.
Submissions are due by Friday, July 5th, 8 AM EST.
A player’s cost will be determined in the following hierarchy: if named, they are specifically that price. If they are a champion, they are that price, if they have 1 or 2 byes, they are the price that players with that many byes have.
I will allow ONE edit to your choices, if I believe you made a mistake
This Fantasy Draft was extremely well thought out and was really cool too see everyone participate in. Everyone was actually taking it pretty seriously because of the free cash reward and it made every choice very personal and important. Ryan chose to make a different point breakdown than the other drafts and also chose a very cool format, which is what made this draft so fun to watch. The point layout used to determine the winner was the placing’s of each competitor at U.S. Nationals done here:
Top 4: 1000
Top 8: 500
Top 16: 400
Top 32: 300
Top 64: 200
Top 128: 100
Records of X-3: 25
It was very clear that this draft gave a huge amount to anyone that actually predicted the overall winner of the tournament. Now that the point breakdowns had been given, it was time to show the pricing of each player. Remember, each person was given 1000$ to spend how they would like so there were also many different strategies employed by each person that participated.
Any previous US masters National Champion or Worlds Finalist
Anyone with 2 Byes
Anyone with 400 or more Championship Points
Anyone with 1 Bye
Anyone with 200 or more Championship Points
All of the results of the admissions were compiled into a spreadsheet on the Facebook page and the wait until Nationals began. It was very enjoyable to watch everyone’s different strategies for choosing teams. Some players decided to just take all players worth $50 and hope for the best. Giving their team the best opportunity to choose the winner seemed to pay off in the long run as the overall winner was decided as Kenny Britton! Although he may not have chosen all of his players from the $50 section, he certainly struck gold with one of his choices. Let’s take a look at his team:
Kristy Britton - $50
Jayson Harry - $50
Kevin Kobayashi - $50
Omar Izaguirre - $50
Edmund Kuras - $50 (National Champion Winner)
John Kettler - $50
Curran Hill - $50
Ashon Haswell - $50
Andrew Parmely - $50
Alec Noah - $50
Andrew Murray - $50
Jimmy McClure - $50
Travis Nunlist - $50
Chris Jester - $50
Dylan Bryan - $150
Kenny Britton - $150
I’m not sure whether there is going to be another draft like this for the 2014 U.S. National Championships, but I certainly would enjoy another one of these drafts. Congratulations should go to Kenny for picking his team and the absolute winner of the tournament, but we’ll have to wait until this year to see if he can pull off another Fantasy Draft win. Once again, the announcement of another Fantasy Draft like this would probably be announced sometime on Facebook, possibly on the Virbank City page.
This Year’s 2014 U.S. National Championship Fantasy Draft:
Now for this year’s drafts coming up, I figured that I would go over all of the players that currently have 1 or 2 byes going into the event. These players are going to have a better shot at making it on to Day 2, which will net everyone more points if they are chosen to be on teams. It surely doesn’t mean that everyone on this list is going to be worth a lot of points, but it will definitely be an advantage. I’ll also go over my top 15 draft choices for this year, based off of research and results from previous tournaments this year.
Here is the list of players with byes from winning a State Championship or making the finals of a Regional Championship:
Jacob Van Wagner
Franco Llamas III
This is just the list of States winners and Regional Championship finalists that I have found from tournament results earlier this year. It seems as though there are going to be many named players with a couple of free wins at Nationals this year, although they are hardly free from having to do so well at their respected tournaments to be given byes. This year’s Fantasy Drafts are going to be filled with many players that probably didn’t show up on the drafts from last year.
Just remember, these players do have byes at the U.S. National Championships, but it doesn’t mean that these are the only players to choose from. Many named players, such as Jason Klaczynski, Kyle Sucevich, and I believe Dylan Bryan doesn’t have any byes. All three of these players should be on your draft board though, as they have proven themselves to be strong competitors at the National level.
MY TOP 15 CHOICES: Now that I’ve gone over all of the players that have earned byes at the U.S. National Championships, I would like to go over my top 15 choices and why I would choose this person. I don’t like to actually draft players the Fantasy Drafts, as I am very superstitious about these things, but I would love to share my input on top choices and help everyone in their drafts. Just because somebody isn’t on this list doesn’t mean that they are going to win the whole thing, this is just my top 15 choices from my personal experiences with this community. I don’t personally know some of the higher ranked players not on this list and I’m unsure of how they perform at very large scale tournaments, which is why they might not be on here. Let’s start off at number 15:
15: Justin Sanchez (2 Byes)
Justin is a former U.S. National Champion from 2011 and has shown that he can perform well with hundreds of people in the field. He had to go through one of the largest tournament populations in the game to become the National Champion years ago, so it would be hard to leave him off of this list. Not only has Justin gotten his Worlds invitation this year, but he has also earned himself 2 byes at the National Championships. This should certainly raise his value for Fantasy Drafts this year.
14: Evan Baker (2 Byes)
Although most of you may not know Evan Baker as well as the other names on this list, he has earned himself 2 byes at the National Championships from making a Regional Championship Finals, he has earned his Worlds invitation this year, and he has done all of this without changing away from a Team Plasma deck. I actually just recently met Evan on the Georgia marathon this year, but I can already tell that he has a fire burning under him when it comes to performing well and putting his name at the top. Evan Baker may not be a household name just yet, but be sure to watch out if you find yourself paired against this guy after his byes are done.
13: Brandon Smiley (2 Byes)
Brandon has made his presence known this year from many tournament placing’s, which include a Texas Regional Championship win and many other large scale tournament top cuts. Although we haven’t seen just how good he is on the National level for the masters division, Brandon is definitely someone to keep an eye on with his invitation to Worlds secured and his 2 byes at the National Championships.
12: Ross Cawthon
Currently sitting at 485 Championship Points for this year, there is one name that I would be extremely scared to see at this year’s National Championships… Ross Cawthon. This guy loves to play unusual decks and proved that last year when he decided to use a Garchomp/Altaria deck. Not only did he choose a peculiar deck to play at one of the largest Pokemon tournaments ever, but he also made top cut and advanced into the top 64. I’m not sure what strange deck that Ross will have in store for this year’s National Championships, but I’m sure that plenty of people will be reading his cards while he’s moving up the standings. Ross is definitely going to be the hungriest player at the National Championships and nothing will get in the way of those last 15 Championship Points.
11: Jason Klaczynski
Just barely missing out of the National’s top cut last year was our own 3-time world champion, Jason Klaczynski. Missing cut at 6-3 last year is definitely going to fuel Jason to perform at his highest level this year. He has certainly proven to everyone that he doesn’t crack under the pressure of large-scale tournaments with his 3 World Championship wins. Is this going to be the year that DJ Klacz finally breaks into the book of National Champions, or will he just have to win a 4th World Championship to get back at everyone for not winning Nationals? Looks like we’ll just have to wait and see.
10: Michael Pramawat (2 Byes)
Pram has done extremely well this season for the very low amount of tournaments that he has been able to attend. He is currently at 396 Championship Points and would need a very good showing at this year’s National Championships to secure that Worlds invitation. This is going to be much easier for this veteran player with the help of his 2 byes from winning the Virginia Regional Championships this year. I’m not sure what Pramawat has in store for everyone at Nationals, but just know that he needs Championship Points and is going to be very well prepared for this tournament.
9: Henry Prior (1 Bye)
Henry is definitely a good friend of mine and has proven to be an extremely good player under a large amount of pressure. We have seen him play on stream countless times at the large scale tournaments, most of which he has made top cut in. He is currently sitting at 512 Championship Points and has his invitation to the World Championships, along with just 1 bye at the National Championships. Although this may not be as strong as having 2 byes, Prior has performed very well this year and with the help of this bye should do very well at the National Championships.
8: Kyle Sabelhaus (2 Byes)
Who is this guy? I have no clue. Such a weird last name, though. It seems so familiar. Oh well… Kyle did not have a very good start to this season and didn’t do very well until he started to get his head in the game. Beginning to actually focus on tournaments and play-testing, Kyle has earned himself 2 byes at the National Championships this year and has also thrust himself into the category of people earning travel allowance. With 2 free wins by his side and a humongous amount of play-testing in his future, I predict a strong performance from the older Sabelhaus brother at Nationals.
7: Frank Diaz (2 Byes)
Frank “Frank Sauce” Diaz is coming off of a top 32 at the National Championships last year. He has also earned himself 450 Championship Points and is well on his way to those last 50 with the help of 2 byes from a Regional Championship win. He has performed very well in larger tournaments and has a Top 4 at Worlds under his belt, along with numerous other deep runs at U.S. Nationals. Not to mention, Frank was undefeated in the Swiss round for 2011, so be sure put your faith in this guy on draft day.
6: Israel Sosa (2 Byes)
Currently ranked 5th in North America for Championship Points, Israel has proven that he thrives under the lights of a Regional Championship. He has won 3 Regional Championships this year and has earned his invitation to the World Championships this year. I’m not quite sure how these performances at Regionals will translate on the National level, but it’s hard to think that he won’t have a strong showing with those 2 byes under his feet.
5: Dylan Bryan
It doesn’t matter whether this guy has 9 byes or 0 byes; Dylan Bryan is always a great choice for the National Championships or the World Championships. He has proven himself over and over again at these huge tournaments, which include a Top 8 at last year’s U.S. National Championships and three Top 16’s at the last 3 World Championship. I would love to have someone up here with more byes to have a security blanket, but Dylan is going to be extremely well prepared and he will impress everyone with his creativity again this year. Hopefully no one will forget to draft this name during your Nationals Fantasy Draft’s.
4: Jose Marrero (2 Byes)
Now I might just have a lot of faith in Jose because we live near each other and I get to witness the path of destruction he lays behind him, but don’t get caught napping on this guy. He should be picked up early in these drafts and deserves to be from his stellar performance this year. Currently ranked #2 in North America for Championship Points, Jose has proven to be a huge threat at just about any tournament he attends. You also can’t forget that he is coming off of a top 16 from last year’s National Championships and is well on his way to another good performance with 2 byes. Don’t let this pick slip too low, as I’m sure someone else would love to gain this man’s points when the results come in.
3: Jay Hornung (1 Bye)
After coming off of his third place finishes at both U.S. Nationals and Worlds 2 years ago, he also earned himself an invitation to Worlds again, even though he already had his invite from making Top 4 the year before. This year, Jay has earned himself a bye for the National Championships and seems to be ready for another big placing at a large-scale tournament. It’s hard to argue with picking this guy after his incredible accomplishments over the past couple of years. This argument only gets stronger with the addition of a first round bye to help him rise through the standings at Nationals.
2: Dustin Zimmerman (2 Byes)
This guy here loves his Jamba Juice. He also loves doing really good at big tournaments. I’d be extremely surprised if Dustin doesn’t go in the first round of many Fantasy Drafts this year. He made top 4 at the World championships last year, earned another invitation to Worlds again this year when he didn’t need to, and also earned himself 2 byes from a Regional Championship Finals appearance. Dustin is primed and ready to perform under the spotlights of Nationals and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed from this pick.
1: Kyle Sucevich
I know what you’re thinking. No byes. No Worlds invitation. That doesn’t matter at all. This is the National Championships. If there is one thing that I have learned from playing this game for so long, it would be that Kyle Sucevich knows what he is doing at the U.S. National Championships. Even last year, he went in the second round of The Top Cut Fantasy Draft with no byes and decided to play a standard Plasma build with Computer Search as his ACE SPEC. He rose through the standings and would up making a Top 16 finish. This Top 16 at Nationals would normally be a huge accomplishment to everyone else, but this just gets thrown onto the pile amazing accomplishments that Kyle has made from the National Championships. If you don’t feel like drafting the guy that has gotten 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, Top 8, Top 16, and Top 32 at the National Championships… Well, I’m sure the guy right behind you in the draft would be more than happy to pick the “Primetime Pooka.”
Let’s Wrap It Up…
Well guys, that’s going to wrap it up from me. Hopefully I’ve shown everyone how much fun Fantasy Drafting for Nationals can be and I hope that everyone joins in on the fun. Make sure to tune in and watch the drafts that everyone else is doing and figure out who you might have picked instead of them. Hope you all enjoyed the article and feel free to message me with any questions. Thank you for reading!