Team CGC Razes Its Way to Top 64 at the 2024 Pokémon Regional Championships in Toronto

Posted on 11/1/2023

Plus, a spicy winner’s interview yields an interesting lore drop for Top 4 finalist Azul Garcia Griego.

Over the weekend of October 28-19, Team CGC Cards turned up the heat at the Enercare Center for the 2024 Pokémon Regional Championships in Toronto, Canada. With all four members in attendance placing in the Top 64 of their respective divisions, this event brought out the team’s best performance so far this season.

Click images to enlarge.

Surpassing his performance at the previous Regional Championships in Sacramento, Azul Garcia Griego steamrolled Day 1 of the event with an impressive 9/0/0 match record, not dropping a single game for a perfect 18-0 win record. He was the only team member to be featured on the official event live stream, masterfully taking down a Single Strike Lugia deck in Swiss Round 13 of Day 2.

“I think Fusion Mew would’ve been a pretty good play” states Azul in his winner’s interview after Round 13. However, the Masters Division members of Team CGC decided to play Charizard ex for this event as “Grant was really hyped on Charizard... we tested a couple of [matchups] where he thought they were a little more favored than we did, and he was right.”

Azul (right) confesses Shroodle is his second favorite Pokémon to caster Juancho (left).

Teammates Grant Manley and Caleb Gedemer both finished Day 1 at 6/2/1, joining Azul in Day 2. While 12% of trainers in Day 2 were piloting Charizard ex, the key point setting Team CGC Cards apart from the rest of the Charizard players had been “figuring out which matchups to go second and which ones to go first, as it is not as intuitive as one would think" according to Grant. This intricate knowledge of how to use the deck to its maximum potential landed Azul in Top 4, Grant in Top 32, and Caleb in Top 64 of the 1,538-person Masters Division event.

Opting to split from the pack, Seniors Division team member Remi Lorenz (5/3/0) brought a saucy Arceus Duraludon deck featuring Alolan Vulpix to the stage. “I usually play skill-based decks, but for this tournament I wanted to try something different,” said Remi of his deck choice. Tough tournament openers against Lost Zone Giratina and Palkia Chien-Pao gave the Seniors trainer rough tiebreakers, resulting in getting bubbled out of Top 32 at an overall 33rd place finish.

Remi Lorenz (right) and his testing partner Isaac (left).

Despite missing Top Cut this event, Remi holds a lot of love for the city. Ever since 2017, “Toronto has always had a place in my heart because it was my first Regionals... I think Toronto will always be one of the best Regionals I go to because the Toronto community is such a kind and giving community and one that I owe a lot of my early days of growth to.”

As the Obsidian Flames meta era comes to an end for major North American events, all eyes are on the upcoming Paradox Rift expansion releasing early November. This set introduces several highly anticipated Paradox Pokémon along with the respective “Ancient” and “Future” mechanic labels. Paradox Rift gains tournament legality on November 17th, just in time for the 2024 Latin America International Championships (LAIC) in São Paulo, Brazil. With all eyes on new Pokémon such as Iron Hands ex and the item Counter Catcher, many trainers are expecting significant evolutions to current archetypes and playstyles for a fresh and exciting field of play.

Will Lost Zone Box be able to adapt once more? Is it finally time for Lugia to fly away? Can ex cards such as Roaring Moon or Iron Valiant take the lead? Whatever the case may be for LAIC, Team CGC Cards will be bringing the action with their next appearance at this meta-defining event on November 17-19, 2023.

Azul Garcia Griego (left) and Grant Manley (right).

Team CGC Cards was assembled by Danny Oesterreich in 2022, and is comprised of seasoned players Azul Garcia Griego, Caleb Gedemer, Kidd Starck, Grant Manley and Remi Lorenz. The team will compete next at the 2024 Latin America International Championships, at the Expo Center Norte - Pavilhão Amarelo, in São Paulo, Brazil on November 17-19, 2023.

Please join us in wishing the team the best of luck throughout the upcoming season and keep an eye out for new updates on the team’s performance by following them on Instagram and Twitter, @teamCGCcards, and the CGC Cards social channels, @CGCcards. You can also watch the players do battle by checking out the events live on the official Pokémon YouTube and Twitch channels.

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