Get to know the PokéStats TEU-CPA Invitational competitors!

The PokéStats TEU-CPA Invitational takes place this Saturday, November 21st: a double-elimination bracket consisting of the Top 16 qualified players across online tournaments during the last several months. PokéStats took the time to get to know each player a little bit better, and we bring you a short bio for each competitor so you have some more knowledge of who you'll be watching on stream this weekend! (Responses have been slightly edited for clarity.) 


Kashvinder Singh Mann
Age: 30
Home: Singapore
Occupation: unemployed - recently graduated (Accounting & Finance) and active Singapore Army personnel
Playing since: 2016 (Evolutions) but started back in 1999 with Base Set before taking a long break

What do you consider your biggest achievement in the game? Top 8 at the 2019 Singapore SPE which was a big surprise to me as the 2018-2019 was the first year I started to play more competitively in CP events

What deck did you have the most fun or success with in TEU-CPA? Centiskorch VMAX since it got me 3 tourney wins in the space of 15 days. I'm known for playing Welder decks and Centiskorch filled up the space left by TurboZard for me and I've been having a lot of fun playing it even if it might not be one of the best decks around.

Who in this Invitational are you most excited or afraid to play against? No one in particular, I need to beat them all anyway! 

Favorite food: Hainanese chicken rice



Marco Antonio Cifuentes Meta
Age: 19
Home: Chile
Occupation: student (engineering)
Playing since: around the HeartGold & SoulSilver block

What do you consider your biggest achievement in the game? 2x Regionals Top 4, especially my second one [2019 Santiago Regionals] where I played Shedinja Control not expecting to do well.

What deck did you have the most fun or success with in TEU-CPA? I played a lot of everything; I'm not really one to settle on a deck and play it for the whole format. The most fun I had was probably with Mewtwo & Mew-GX/Welder. 

Who in this Invitational are you most excited or afraid to play against? Not sure--I play with all of these players a lot since I am very active in online tournaments. Based on my probable deck choice, though, I'm hoping I dodge Pikachu & Zekrom-GX players... 

Favorite food: fettuccine 



Augusto Beringuer
Age: 23
Home: Brazil
Occupation: student (civil engineering)
Playing since: 2015 (my first deck was Night March, but at that time I had no Shaymin-EX, so it was a difficult start!)

What do you consider your biggest achievement in the game? Top 8 at 2017 São Paulo Regionals with Rainbow Force [Xerneas BKT]. At the time, many people considered Rainbow Force a bad deck. I played all season with the deck, polishing my list, and I was rewarded with this Top 8 at Brazil's last Regional of the season. I was given the nickname "Rainbow Boy." 

What deck did you have the most fun or success with in TEU-CPA? I really liked Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX/Zacian V with Pokémon Catcher, but my favorite is Centiskorch VMAX. 

Who in this Invitational are you most excited or afraid to play against? I'm happy that my Brazilian friend Vini Fernandez qualified. I'm also happy for Kash, he always cheered for me when we played Centiskorch VMAX in tournaments. 

Favorite food: pizza



Le Bui
Age: 22
Home: Washington, USA
Occupation: student (journalism)
Playing since: 2018 (Ultra Prism)

What do you consider your biggest achievement in the game? Top 4 at 2018 Anaheim Regionals with Zoroark-GX Hand Lock 

What deck did you have the most fun or success with in TEU-CPA? Blacephalon 

Who in this Invitational are you most excited or afraid to play against? I am excited for Tate Whitesell (editor's note: Tate Whitesell is not playing in this tournament)

Favorite food: anything fried


Jonathan Patricio
Age: 31
Occupation: marketing
Playing since: 2012 (Dark Explorers)

What do you consider your biggest achievement in the game? Top 16 at Chilean Nationals

What deck did you have the most fun or success with in TEU-CPA? Decidueye/Galarian Obstagoon

Who in this Invitational are you most excited or afraid to play against? Brandon

Favorite food: spaghetti



Vini Fernandez
Age: 13
Home: São Caetano do Sul, Brazil
Occupation: student
Playing since: 2017 (Burning Shadows)

What do you consider your biggest achievement in the game? Top 8 in the Senior Division at the Latin American International Championships with Florges Stall. 

What deck did you have the most fun or success with in TEU-CPA? Lucario & Melmetal-GX/Zacian V

Who in this Invitational are you most excited or afraid to play against? Yusuke, Lucas, Andrew, and my friend from Brazil, Augusto! 

Favorite food: pasta



Joshua Sutherland
Age: 21
Home: Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Playing since: 2013 

What do you consider your biggest achievement in the game? 17th at 2019 Daytona Regionals with Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel

What deck did you have the most fun or success with in TEU-CPA? Lucario & Melmetal-GX/Zacian V

Who in this Invitational are you most excited or afraid to play against? no one

Favorite food: not sure



Brandon Jones
Age: 25
Home: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Occupation: account development manager
Playing since: 2007-2008 

What do you consider your biggest achievement in the game? 6 World Championship invites

What deck did you have the most fun or success with in TEU-CPA? Decidueye/Galarian Obstagoon

Who in this Invitational are you most excited or afraid to play against? Gabe Smart

Favorite food: pasta


Henrique Jorge
Age: 31
Home: Brazil
Occupation: businessman
Playing since: 2020

What deck did you have the most fun or success with in TEU-CPA? Poison Eternatus VMAX

Who in this Invitational are you most excited or afraid to play against? No one in particular. 

Favorite food: hamburgers


Fernando Nicolás Cifuentes Meta
Age: 13
Home: Chile
Occupation: student
Playing since: 2015 (Primal Clash)

What do you consider your biggest achievement in the game? 2x Special Event wins (Senior Division)

What deck did you have the most fun or success with in TEU-CPA? I had the most fun with Charizard & Braixen-GX/Green's Exploration. 

Who in this Invitational are you most excited or afraid to play against? I fear no one!
 
Favorite food: shawarma


Yusuke Saeki
Home: Japan
Playing since: 2018 (Lost Thunder

What do you consider your biggest achievement in the game? 2x Sunday Open champion, PokeX Tag Bolt #10 champion, 17th place at the 2020 POG Championships

What deck did you have the most fun or success with in TEU-CPA? Pikachu & Zekrom-GX and Centiskorch VMAX

Who in this Invitational are you most excited or afraid to play against? I'm excited to play against the Cifuentes brothers, Vini, and Kash--they are all great players. 

Favorite food: sushi


Caleb Rogerson
Age: 14
Home: North Carolina, USA
Playing since: 2018 (Celestial Storm)

What do you consider your biggest achievement in the game? 2020 Dallas Regional champion (Senior Division)

What deck did you have the most fun or success with in TEU-CPA? Pikachu & Zekrom-GX and Garchomp & Giratina-GX/Green's Exploration 

Who in this Invitational are you most excited or afraid to play against? I'm excited to play against Andrew so I can say "Howdy" to him in the PTCGO chat box. 

Favorite food: pizza with Speed Energy on top 



Edward Valencia
Age: 23
Home: New Jersey, USA
Occupation: student
Playing since: 2015 (BreakThrough)

What do you consider your biggest achievement in the game? Qualifying for the first PokéStats Invitational!

What deck did you have the most fun or success with in TEU-CPA? Decidueye/Galarian Obstagoon

Who in this Invitational are you most excited or afraid to play against? I'm most excited to face Kash. We always have good games. 

Favorite food: hamburgers


Andrew Hedrick
Age: 16
Home: Iowa, USA 
Playing since: 2017 (Guardians Rising)

What do you consider your biggest achievement in the game? Top 4 at the 2018 Collinsville Regionals (Senior Division) and Top 16 North America in the Players Cup

What deck did you have the most fun or success with in TEU-CPA? Blacephalon

Who in this Invitational are you most excited or afraid to play against? Playing against Caleb or Vini would be fun, because I work with them a lot but I have no idea what decks they would bring. 

Favorite food: ice cream



Lucas Oldale
Age: 11
Home: British Columbia, Canada
Occupation: student
Playing since: 2015

What do you consider your biggest achievement in the game? 2020 Oceania International Champion (Junior Division)!

What deck did you have the most fun or success with in TEU-CPA? Lucario & Melmetal-GX/Zacian V

Who in this Invitational are you most excited or afraid to play against? Vini

Favorite food: sushi



Gabriel Smart
Age: 17
Home: Sacramento, California, USA
Occupation: student
Playing since: competitively since three years ago, but I've been playing casually for ten years

What do you consider your biggest achievement in the game? 2x World Championships qualifier, 2018 World Championships Top 64 (Senior Division), 2020 Collinsville Regionals Top 32

What deck did you have the most fun or success with in TEU-CPA? Lucario & Melmetal-GX/Zacian V

Who in this Invitational are you most excited or afraid to play against? Caleb, because he tests with me so he'll likely be playing the same deck as me. 

Favorite food: pizza

Announcing the PokéStats TEU-VIV Invitational

As we mentioned on Twitter yesterday, PokéStats intends to hold quarterly Invitational tournaments shortly after each new set release, with the goal of featuring the best-performing players from the preceding Standard format. Our first of these events, the TEU-CPA Invitational, has one day left in the qualification period and will take place on Saturday, November 21st (more details here). 

As tournaments will begin utilizing Vivid Voltage as a legal set very soon, we are officially announcing the start of our TEU-VIV Invitational qualification period as Saturday, November 14th. The first tournament to award points towards this Invitational will be the Chrollo's Tournaments Season 2 Kickoff Event, which you can register for on Limitless here

We are making some minor changes or clarifications regarding the qualification process in comparison to the TEU-CPA Invitational. These are designed to make the qualification requirements easier to understand and work towards, and to make access to the Invitational more fair for all players attempting to qualify. 
  1. Only tournaments hosted on the Limitless Online Tournament Platform will award points towards qualification for PokéStats Invitationals. As the online tournament scene continues to grow, it can be difficult to keep track of all available tournaments and ensure that all tournaments are run fairly by reputable staffers. The Limitless platform is an easy way to catalog available tournaments and standardize their operating procedures. We encourage any tournament organizers who do not currently utilize this platform to begin doing so (PokéStats will be migrating our own tournaments over to the Limitless platform in the near future). 
  2. Only Standard TEU-VIV format tournaments will award points towards qualification. The goal of our Invitationals is to highlight the top-performing players from a specific Standard format. Thus, Expanded, old-format, custom-format, or other tournaments will not award points towards Invitational qualification. While we understand that this may be a disappointment for players who currently enjoy the Expanded format or our own old format tournaments, we still believe this choice is necessary to make the Invitationals accessible to skilled newer players and help grow the community, as well as to make the qualification process easier to track and quantify. We want player skill in a particular format, not PTCGO card availability or years of experience in the game, to be the chief factor in who qualifies for our Invitationals. 
  3. 48 players will be the attendance number that determines whether we count an event towards Invitational qualification. Moving forward, PokéStats will not be analyzing data from online tournaments with fewer than 48 players. This is simply because there is a very large amount of data available from the current online tournament scene and we need to focus on the "biggest and best" for purposes of both metagame analysis and player points. This number is not arbitrary--PokéStats has treated COVID-era online events as similar to League Cups for purposes of data analysis, and 48 is the attendance size for League Cups that triggers CP allotment for Top 16 (not just Top 8) players. 
    1. Point allotments: As before, we will award points to the Top 16 players in online events (with 48 or more players) as follows:
      1. 1st place - 5 points
      2. 2nd place - 4 points
      3. Top 4 - 3 points
      4. Top 8 - 2 points
      5. Top 16 - 1 point
      6. (update 11/27/20) in events with 272 or more players, Top 32 placements will earn 0.5 points. 
  4. Any player qualifying for a PokéStats Invitational must be in good standing in the competitive community with no recent history of cheating, unsportsmanlike conduct, or other infractions. While PokéStats will evaluate everyone fairly on a case-by-case basis, it is likely that if you are banned from another tournament circuit for these infractions, you will not be welcome in PokéStats Invitationals. PokéStats reserves the right to remove a qualified player from an Invitational based on these standards and replace them with the next-highest-ranking player.
  5. PokéStats strives for high-quality content creation and, with this in mind, will make an effort to provide a high-quality stream experience with skilled casters for each Invitational. (The stream details and talented casting lineup for our first Invitational will be announced on our Twitter soon.) We will also strive to provide cash prizing for top performers in each Invitational and will look to secure sponsors from within the community to help achieve this. Please remember that for the foreseeable future, all donations to our Patreon will go directly back into the community in the form of Invitational prize pool funding.  
We will have more details about the ending date of the TEU-VIV qualification period and the date of the TEU-VIV Invitational in the near future, so please stay tuned to this website and our Twitter. Best of luck during the qualification process--we look forward to rewarding the community's highest-achieving online players in our Invitational circuit. 

A Statistical Overview of the "Ban ADP" Debate

Christian Chase 


Editor's note:
The conclusions in this article aren't representative of everyone on the PokéStats staff, but whether you agree or not, Christian has done some very solid statistical analysis and given good thought to his conclusions. I agree with his finding that ADP does not affect metagame diversity to a greater degree than other decks in previous formats (think Buzzwole-GX or Yveltal-EX/Garbodor), but “gatekeeping” or affecting the meta has never been my problem with ADP; I dislike ADP because I feel it significantly decreases the skill cap of any format it exists in. Regardless, the analysis here is worth reading and is useful for metagame analysis beyond simply the ADP debate. For those of you who don’t know Christian, I think he is one of the most underrated newer players in North America and he has a great mind for the game; I’m excited to work with him on more PokéStats content in the near future! (He’s been doing a great job keeping our OnToPP rankings running!) -Tate


Hey guys! My name is Christian Chase, and I have been playing competitive Pokémon TCG for about two years now, finishing the abbreviated 2019-20 season with 554 CP. I have been a part of the PokéStats team for about six months now; as a math major and statistics minor at the University of Florida, I'm very interested in the statistical and data-oriented side of the game we all love, and since I'm not the biggest fan of online play, this is where I've been focusing much of my Pokémon attention recently. 

Currently, one of the more controversial topics within the PTCG community is whether or not Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX ("ADP") should be banned. I decided to dive a little deeper into whether or not an ADP ban is is warranted. The algorithms I utilized for this are pretty baseline and intended for a wide audience to be able to understand the results. 


Overview:
  • A statistical analysis of why ADP is not the BDIF
  • Is a meta with ADP healthy?
  • Is the meta without ADP healthy/healthier?
  • A possible solution
  • Statistics of the solution
  • A look at the current Standard metagame through nine top decks


Decks

Eternatus

ADPZ

Blowns

Mew3

Centi

Pika

Luca w/ Zong

Inteleon

DeciGoons

Average

Eternatus

0.5

0.5

0.45

0.6

0.45

0.55

0.4

0.55

0.3

0.4777777778

ADPZ

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.4

0.4

0.45

0.6

0.55

0.4

0.4777777778

Blowns

0.55

0.5

0.5

0.55

0.55

0.55

0.6

0.4

0.35

0.5055555556

Mew 3

0.4

0.6

0.45

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.4944444444

Centi

0.55

0.6

0.45

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.35

0.35

0.35

0.4611111111

Pika

0.45

0.55

0.45

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.45

0.8

0.35

0.5055555556

Luca w/ Zong

0.6

0.4

0.4

0.5

0.5

0.55

0.5

0.6

0.35

0.4888888889

Inteleon

0.45

0.45

0.45

0.5

0.5

0.2

0.4

0.5

0.4

0.4277777778

DeciGoons

0.7

0.6

0.6

0.65

0.65

0.65

0.65

0.6

0.5

0.6222222222

Table 1: Analysis of the current Standard metagame through nine "top" decks.

This is a very rudimentary look at the current Standard metagame, including nine of the top decks and their matchup spreads. The average matchup spread has some relevant external factors that I will address when looking at each deck specifically. (Shoutout to Justin Lambert and Justin Kulas for their help with creating the matchup spreads.)


Let’s get into it. First, two disclaimers: 

1. DeciGoons
The matchup spread I present here points towards Decidueye/Galarian Obstagoon being a top-tier deck because of its wide range of positive matchups. But these matchups are based on opposing lists that don't have techs for DeciGoons. DeciGoons is a deck that a) lacks in consistency compared to the rest of the format and b) and is extremely dependent on the techs that its opponents play. The deck can win, and has found itself in top cut in multiple online tournaments (most notably winning a large Hegster TCG event); however, as its meta share grows, decks will tech for it. With techs put into consideration, DeciGoons would most likely find itself at the bottom of the matchup spread chart. These external factors are too significant to ignore, and because of this I will treat DeciGoons as an outlier and not include it in the final analysis.

2. PikaRom vs. Inteleon
This matchup skews the matchup spreads of both decks significantly, because of how favored PikaRom is over Inteleon. Inteleon (43%) looks a lot worse, and PikaRom (51%) looks a lot better. This is actually one of the few very lopsided matchups in this format (something that will be explored more ahead), and taking this matchup out of both decks’ matchup spreads leaves Inteleon at 46% and PikaRom at 47%, which are both better representations of how the decks actually fare in the current meta.


Can we say ADPZ is the BDIF?
With multiple decks so close in these matchup spread rankings, it is hard to definitively choose a BDIF based on matchups alone, so this choice has to come down to deck consistency--put another way, how often the deck’s engine allows it to achieve that ideal matchup spread. We can identify this by identifying what deck “takes the least” to achieve its core strategy. Obviously, ADPZ doesn’t need much to pull off its overall strategy, but when going second, it needs a hefty amount of cards to pull off the turn 1 Altered Creation GX. Because this isn’t as likely as Eternatus’s core strategy of simply attaching an Energy to an Eternatus V on turn 1 (whether going first or second), I believe ADPZ cannot be considered the BDIF, considering that its matchup spread is not significantly better than other decks. What makes both ADPZ and Eternatus “S tier” is their lack of reliance on external factors. They both have almost identical 50% matchup spread and their game outcomes are based primarily on sequencing skill and drawing luck. Other decks in the format rely more on external factors such as specific matchups, bricking off Marnie, etc. ADPZ and Eternatus remain mostly unphased by those factors due to their very strong draw power and linear strategies.

Now, I am not saying Eternatus is definitively the BDIF, but rather that it does what ADPZ does, just a little bit more consistently. Because of this ADPZ, in most cases, will be slightly behind Eternatus in the expected metagame analysis for most tournaments currently.

The standard deviation of the matchup spread I presented above is about 2.5%. This extremely low diversity in matchup spreads conversely implies a pretty diverse and balanced metagame. In terms of metagame diversity, this format seems to be a pretty good one.

What does this say about the format? Pick up any deck and you have about the same chance of winning as with any other deck? Not necessarily, because these matchup spreads do not consider factors such as player skill, personal list engine choices, or techs. There is still a lot of variance to take into account when looking at this format; however, this is probably the most diverse metagame we have seen in a while. (Editor’s note: format quality can be determined by average skill level of top decks, or by parity of matchup spreads for top decks, not simply by diversity of metagame. As Christian notes, this format does display fairly strong parity of matchup spreads, although I would not say the skill cap to pilot most decks is particularly high. -Tate)


Proving that this meta is healthy
Most Pokémon players I have talked to throughout my (relatively short) career in the competitive scene claim to prefer a metagame that is diverse. I would agree--but what does “diverse” mean? In order to test whether the current Standard meta is diverse, we can construct a simple ANOVA table in order to conclude whether there is a significant difference between the matchup spreads of the current decks. This will allow us to see if any of the averages mentioned above are significantly different from each other, which would point to a unbalanced meta in favor of the deck with the higher average. My work is below (gotta prove I did it!). Feel free to skim and read my conclusion afterwards. I even whipped out my old statistics notes for this one. (Note: as mentioned earlier, DeciGoons is an outlier, and will not be used.)


What does this mean?

As stated above, most Pokémon players prefer a meta in which a variety of decks have about the same average chance to win any randomly assigned matchup. By using the simple ANOVA test above, the current meta is shown to have no significant differences among the matchup spreads of top decks. Considering the context of ADP in the format, statistically, we can see that we still have a “healthy” meta of five or more decks that all can succeed consistently. Note that it took until the ninth Hegster TCG tournament this season for one deck to win for a second time (Eternatus).

Now, we must test if a format without ADP would be better statistically. If it isn’t, we show that a ban is unnecessary.


Is a meta without ADP healthier?
We actually don’t have to completely improvise results from a format with ADP banned, because of the fairly large no-ADP tournament recently held that Nick Robinson won with Sandaconda V/Coalossal. After talking with multiple players, I came to the conclusion that because of Nick’s win and the deck’s theoretically solid matchup spread, Sandaconda could replace ADPZ in the “top tier” decks in this no-ADP format. The updated matchup spread table replacing ADPZ with Sandaconda is below:


Decks

Eternatus

Sandaconda

Blowns

Mew3

Centi

Pika

Luca w/ Zong

Inteleon

Eternatus

0.5

0.3

0.45

0.6

0.45

0.55

0.4

0.55

Sandaconda

0.7

0.5

0.35

0.35

0.5

0.7

0.35

0.6

Blowns

0.55

0.65

50.5

0.55

0.55

0.55

0.6

0.4

Mew 3

0.4

0.65

0.45

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

Centi

0.55

0.5

0.45

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.35

0.35

Pika

0.45

0.3

0.45

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.45

0.8

Luca w/ Zong

0.6

0.65

0.4

0.5

0.5

0.55

0.5

0.6

Inteleon

0.45

0.4

0.45

0.5

0.5

0.2

0.4

0.5

Table 2: Analysis of a Standard metagame with ADP banned (replacing ADPZ with Sandaconda V/Coalossal.)



What does this mean?

This table shows that the meta without ADP has just as much matchup parity as the meta with ADP, implying that the banning of ADP has no significant effect on the meta. The meta still gives eight “top” decks the opportunity to succeed, and any one of them could reasonably win an event. ADP itself is not the issue.

The issue with ADP is the linear strategy that it inherently brings to games where it is used. This strategy allows players (even unskilled ones) to achieve those ideal matchup win percentages with relative ease. Some other decks in this format, such as Eternatus and Blacephalon, share this trait. The metagame appears to be diverse with or without ADP, but the argument can be made that the quality of the game itself is slowly deteriorating as the strategies of more and more top-tier decks require less and less skill to achieve consistently.


A possible solution and final words
I think my analysis makes it clear that ADP does not hurt the diversity of the metagame at this time. Sure, it gatekeeps certain one-Prize decks from succeeding within the format, but on the other hand, we have a diverse set of “top” decks that can succeed at any event, which is extremely appealing.

Although I believe nothing needs to be banned at the moment, if even more metagame diversity is desired (such as allowing fringe decks such as Sandaconda to see more success), my other plausible solution would be simply issuing an errata for ADP. Making Altered Creation cost three Energy could be one these plausible fixes, allowing ADP to still be played, but essentially slowing it down by one turn, giving one-Prize decks a better chance to compete.

All in all, ADP isn’t toxic for the metagame, it just shows the game's progression towards higher-HP Pokémon over smaller Pokémon. If you decide to play in an online tournament right now, you should expect a fairly diverse meta and you can reasonably win the tournament by selecting any of the eight “top” decks from my tables above. I think that’s all we can ask for right now, especially after past formats where it seemed like only two or three decks could ever actually win.

Thanks for reading, and let me know if you have any questions or comments!

Christian