Czech National Champion Martin Janous is playing a deck that is surprising, not only because so few people are playing it, but because it keeps winning.

At its core, it's the Vanilluxe/Victini deck that we examined a while back on, and now it's getting renewed attention through the success of Martin.

This is Martin's fourth appearance at the Pokémon World Championships: he was the Senior Division National Champion in 2007, advanced through the Last Chance Qualifier in 2009, and qualified for Worlds with a high player rating in 2010. Martin may be playing a surprising deck, but he's definitely a talented player who knows what it takes to win.

How have you done so far in this year’s World Championships?

I'm 4–2, and I think I have to win just one more to reach the single-elimination round. I've played against a lot of the stars of Pokémon TCG. I'm really nervous.

Tell us about your deck.

I went with this Vanilluxe/Victini deck because I won with it at the Czech National Championships. I went 9–0 there with this same deck. I think it's a good choice for the current field, because there are so many Pokémon-EX.

Was this a popular deck in the Czech National Championships?

No, it was not a common deck there either. I was inspired by a successful deck from the Italy National Championships that took place a week before mine. I kept it a secret that I was playing this deck, and it was a big surprise for my opponents, because they didn't know how to play against it.

And again you're virtually the only player to be using this deck, at least in your Division.

Yeah, there's an Italian player and a Swiss player, so only three people total.

What makes this deck great against Pokémon-EX?

None of my Pokémon are Pokémon-EX. When I knock out a Pokémon with Vanilluxe, it will probably get knocked out on the next turn. But if I'm playing against Pokémon-EX, I will take two Prize cards for every one that my opponent takes. And even then, only Mewtwo-EX can take me out with one hit; but again, it's a Pokémon-EX.

What's your toughest matchup?

Both of my losses were against Accelgor decks, and I've beaten that deck only once. I do have the Vanilluxe (Black & White—Next Destinies, 33/99) that has the Slippery Soles Ability, so I can switch Pokémon without retreating. I also use Bellossom (HS—Undaunted, 1/91) to help heal my Pokémon a little every turn, so that helps.

Congratulations to Martin for his success so far. This is definitely going to be a deck we’ll be keeping an eye on.