Adam Vernola put it best, "100 people think they're in the top 25"
The Truth is Out There. Print Ross' Worlds Deck!!!!!
"100 players think they're in the top 25." ~ Adam Vernola
Nothing, you've either got the talent or you haven't. Now some things will potentially stop a talented player from succeeding, but not the other way around.
75 top ranked players that could win Nats/Worlds on any give year.
What about the players who can't go to Nats or Worlds? Do you rank them as really good or Top 75 if they do well at their Regionals?
That's why I hope they really keep top cut at Nats @ 64 because then it fells like the games best are going at in a years best tournament at least in the US. Maybe out of those 64 about 5 would be "out of place" by either donking their way there or getting really lucky and having favorable match-ups throughout the day. Kind of like March Madness, but in Pokemon. In basketball though their are probably really around 12 teams that are legit contenders.
Top 4 Midwest Regionals 06-07, 6-3 @ 06-07 Nats, 1st Nats attended
Top 16 Midwest Regionals 07-08, 08-09
2nd WI States 06-07, 07-08; 2nd IL States 08-09 (I need to stop taking 2nd at States)
Top 124 @ 08-09 Nats, Skipped Nats 07-08,09-10
I think that one thing that shows your mastery of the game is your ability to analyze the weaknesses of the current metagame and make a counter or rogue deck, and/or the ability to analyze your opponent's play (particulary in best of 3 matches) and exploit it to your advantage. This could be something as simple as realizing how to bait them into giving you what you want with a Marley's, or something bigger such as paying attention to what cards they run and maybe keeping track of something such as how many Unown G's you think they run.
First and third, however, may be entirely separated by luck. For example, I was in a T4 match at Cities last Saturday. Game 1 I won, Game 2 I got donked T1 (yes, he was playing Machamp :/), and Game 2 came down to 2 coin flips. We both had 1 prize left as time was called, his Machamp Lv. X knocked out my Gengar with Strong-Willed, I got tails on the Fainting Spell flip, brought up a benched Mesprit Lv. X, hit him for 300 (weakness/body ftw!), and he got heads for the game (he ko'd me with take out). This match came down to coin flips, and I had a 75% chance to win, yet I still lost. No amount of skill could have made up for that. Also, the T1 donk game 2 was pretty annoying...