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Karl Peters

A Last-Minute Worlds Guide

A last-minute guide for all of you, who are still looking for a great deck for Worlds.

08/21/2015 by Karl Peters

1. The Filter

Hey, guys! Just a few days left until the biggest Pokémon TCG event of the year – the World Championship. Just like all the other professional player, I’ll board the plane soon, which will leave Germany in the direction of Boston. Like every year, I’m looking forward to this big tournament, where I’ll meet awesome people and compete with them. “Super excited” would be an understatement.

Today I’d like to focus on some decks that have arisen from the last few days before Worlds. There might be decks that are in the runnning now according to recent developments, while other decks can now be discounted. In other words, we’re going to have a look on the meta and its recent developments.  As you can see, there’s still so much information, but not so much time. So, that’s enough from me and my thoughts about the World Championship. Let’s start with the first topic.

Many people have already talked about Tier 1 and Tier 2, what they are and all the other basic information. Well, this article should serve as kind of a filter for you, that will take you on a short journey before we get down to brass tacks in Boston!  I’ll show you all the pros and cons of each deck with regard to the meta’s development

2. Last-minute speculations and analysis of relevant decks

I’ve spent the last few Saturdays testing in the back of a Starbucks coffee shop here in Berlin.  With friends and other professional players from all over the world, I was – well I still am – looking for the best deck that has the potential to come off as a winner at Worlds.  It sounds like a lot of fun, but sadly that’s not the case. This year, it’s really hard to build up a good list.

Last year, I became the German National Champion with Genesect and I knew that deck would dominate in Washington as well.  But this year, it’s more complicated than that, due to the big split in the American tops.  Jason won with Seismitoad/Garbodor, but is it really the best deck?

Sure, this deck has to be great – in the end it won. But if we have a closer look at his matchups, it’s obvious that his opponents were often ideal matchups for him. Furthermore, it’s hard to analyze the tops, since nobody had a real counter to Wailord-EX. That means we haven’t got a real basis for our research.

Next to Jason and his deck, there was Dylan Bryan with Klingklang, who had great matchups as well.  Grant Manley with Manectric-EX seems to be more interesting, if you ask me. It was the most solid deck that was played in Top 8.  Just imagine that everyone in Top 8 knew the lists from all the other players and were allowed to change two to four cards in their own lists. Then Dylan Bryan could have beaten Jason by adding in Xerosic, a couple Steel Shelter, and a Cobalion-EX.

Well, if we consider things in this way, I’ll claim that Grant Manley would have won the match against Enrique Avila's Wailord just by adding in a Bunnelby.  As you can see, a small switch of just a few cards can have a huge impact on the result of the Top 8. 

What’s all this speculation for? Well, after such a big tournament, we all analyze the results. We do a lot of research and think about “could haves” and “should haves,” because in the end, they show us a new perspective and give us a hint about how to build our decks.  Basically, we see the mistakes that were made and try to avoid them with new and probably better strategies.

This year, my imagination was pushed to the envelope, since the Top 8 of the U.S. Nationals was far from clear and transparent. I admit that it was not easy for me to interpret this assortment of eight different decks. Honestly, I didn’t expect that.  However, fact is that there are two decks which can be discounted completely. I arrived at this this opinion after some short testing phases.

Firstly, Wailord-EX, is overhyped worldwide right now, if you ask me. Just have a look at the different sales and trades platforms and you will understand my opinion: utopistic prices for a deck that can be countered smoothly by Bunnelby. We're probably going to meet many players in Boston using Bunnelby since there are always those so-called “venturers” who try their luck with Wailord-EX.  That’s why it doesn’t make any sense to put this deck into your luggage and take it to Boston.  In the end, you’ll have to go X-2 to survive the first day. Since there’s Bunnelby that can definfitely kick you out, I really do advise against Wailord-EX.

The second deck that can stay at home this year is Hippowdon. Well, we all had it in our agenda for a long time, but sadly it has never revealed its true potential during our testing. It was hard to dominate adversial decks with Hippowdon. Although the deck does have many advantages, I cannot ignore the biggest disadvantage: there’s no real chance to win a match against Seismitoad-EX, which was, by the way, the winner of U.S. Nationals. Hippowdon is just too slow and needs too much Energy to keep up its lock.

Since Jason won Nationals with Seismitoad, there will likely by many copycats in Boston, since many players will try to benefit from Seismitoad-EX’s recent success. This means they will copy Jason’s list either completely or at least rudimentarily.

3. What are we actually focusing on? Which decks can still become important?

So, two decks are crossed out. That means these decks still have some potential:

Kyogre
Metal Rayquaza
Metal/Seismitoad
Metal/Klinklang
Manectric/Garbodor
Seismitoad/Garbodor
Night March 
Genesect 
LandyBats 
SeismiBats
Eevee decks

They all are, in their own way, powerful decks. But let's start to rule out some decks so we have a smaller pool to select from. That will bring us closer to a feasible Worlds deck and also shows us which deck will most likely dominate at the tournament.



Night March

This is a deck which has overshot its zenith, if you ask me. We have tested it over and over again during the last few weeks, so I’d say the testing phase with this deck was quite intensive.  Although it reveals its advantages quickly and its high damage output is an extra plus, in the end we were faced with several issues, that can’t be fixed. One of its biggest problems is Seismitoad-EX. If you meet this Pokémon in a match, you can be sure that your opponent will pressure you easily right from the start due to Seismitoad-EX's lock.

On the other hand, we can get an explosive setup early on provided we start with a good hand. Such a hand would include Shaymin-EX and Battle Compressor. This leads to a quick damage outpit at the beginning. Sadly, that’s it.  This deck has nothing else positive to bring in this format.  Furthermore, it’ll be hard to be flexible enough in the late game due to its fast setup early on.

Here’s an example for you to understand me better:

You were able to get nine Night March Pokémon in your discard pile on turn one. In addition, you have the perfect field: Mew-EX Active with a Double Colorless Energy and a Dimension Valley. And there’s more to it than that: Pumpkaboo on the Bench and let’s say Shaymin-EX as well. 

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Okay, let’s move on with our imagination.

What if your adversary pulls your Shaymin-EX Active and with that, kicks out your Stadium. What if they play Head Ringer on Mew-EX or discard your Double Colorless Energy with Xerosic? Furthermore, they attach to Seismitoad-EX and use Quaking Punch.  Your turn one doesn't seem so great anymore, does it?

So, all in all, the issue with Night March is that your victory depends on perfect timing. In the beginning, it can put a lot of pressure on your opponent and you may be able to one-hit many Pokémon. Yet, as soon as your adversery plays something unexpected, it’s almost impossible for you to react adequately. You need to use your resources perfectly.

Even if you try to fix the problem with certain matchups with Empoleon or Leafeon, there are still the basic issues that remain because of the whole one-dimensional play.

That’s why I’d say, Night March, you’re dismissed

Let’s move on to a deck, that is the complete contrast to Night March.  It doesn’t focus on a perfect timing or selective play. 

Genesect/Virizion

This is a deck with a respectable history. At first it was underestimated by many players, but last year it had its breakthrough.  Not only did it win German Nationals, but also the World Championship. Moreover it was the deck which won the European Championship this year and – maybe you’ve already guessed it – last year as well.

There have been a lot of articles about this deck. That’s why I won’t tell you all the details, since you may already know them.  If you ask me, this deck is more than great. Sadly, the meta has always developed against Genesect/Virizion.  Other decks, such as Night March or even Mega Rayqaza, are too powerful and fast to be managed at the same time.  I believe that this is the reason that it became less relevant during the past several weeks.

Sure, you can play Genesect at Worlds and hope to not meet Night March or Metal Rayquaza during the first seven of nine preliminary rounds, but I’d prefer a deck that doesn't just rely on perfect pairings to survive a tournament.  However, this deck is quite controversal. There are many different opinions and I represent the attitude that Genesect’s glorious time is over. Then again, maybe I'm wrong.  Perhaps it’ll rise like a phoenix at Worlds this year.

4. “Bye-Bye” To the first decks

Which deck are still in our contest? Let’s have a look:

Kyogre
Metal Rayquaza
Metal/Seismitoad
Metal/Klinklang
Manectric/Garbodor
Seismitoad/Garbodor
LandyBats
SeismiBats
Eevee decks

5. The era of Metal – which way is the best?

Now let's look at the three big Metal variants, and I'll try to dismiss two of them by the end of our discussion.

Metal Rayquaza

This is a deck with a mechanism that is basically easy to deal with. On the one hand, you’ve got M Rayuaza-EX, who can hit for an unreasonable amount of damage if you have a full Bench.  Three Energy is quite a small price for up to 240 damage, if you ask me.  Sounds nice so far, but let me put this deck in contrast to its two other Metal rivals to see which one’s the best.

When it comes to matchups, you'll have to consider that Metal Rayquaza's options are very limited.  You’ll face lots of issues with it. For one, anything that doesn’t get damaged by Pokémon-EX can be problematic for you. Decks such as Klinklang or even decks like Primal Kyogre with Suicune can be a lot of trouble.

So, what can this deck do to deal with those problems?

The best way to deal with it is to attack with Non-EX Pokémon. Sadly, the palette of Metal Pokémon is quite limited. The only Non-EX which comes to mind is Heatran, which deals with Suicune but hasn’t got any chance against Klinklang.  Moreover, you should know that you’ll need three Heatran to reliably contend with three Suicune. 

Here's the video of the U.S. Nationals Seniors Finals.  It shows both the potential of Metal Rayquaza and its limitations.

Let’s consider the technical options of straight Metal, which has been quite effective in the past. It even made Top 4 at U.S. Nationals.  To be clear, I’m talking about Metal/Seismitoad, a deck which has a perfect combination of single cards. The main strategy is obvious: lock your opponent, whether with Aegislah-EX or with Seismitoad-EX.  This deck is marked by technical finesse. Moreover, it cannot be easily handled by your adversery. 

If we compare this deck with Metal Rayquaza, we see that this second version offers more advantages where timing is concerned.  Besides, it’s more advantageous and succesful during complicated situations.  For example, if you meet Seismitoad/Garbodor in a match with your Metal/Seismitoad deck, the extra space you gain from not playing a Mega Rayquaza line can be used for Cobalion-EX, and Steel Shelter can be used instead of Sky Field.  This leads to a more successful matchup with Seismitoad/Garbodor. 

Moreover cards such as Heatran or even Kecleon can find a spot in your Metal deck. No M Rayquaza or Spirit Links needed.  Finally, cutting Sky Field offers enough space to add many helpful tools.  Here's a sample deck list.

If you compare both decks directly, you’ll notice that Metal Rayquaza is too one-dimensional and somehow uncreative, contrary to the meta’s trend right now.  The alternative with Seismitoad and all the other tools – depending on your opponent – is way more complex and it also offers you more options that your opponent may not immediately notice. 

So, these were the first two of three different Metal decks. In the end, we only need one Metal variant to narrow down our selection of possible Worlds decks. If you ask me, it’ll be perfect when only four or five decks are left to choose from.
That’s why we’re moving on to the third Metal variant, which is also the most fastcinating one, in my opinion.



Klinklang had disappeared for a period but now it seems to be back, celebrating its comeback with a Top 8 finish at U.S. Nationals, courtesy of Dylan Bryan.  This deck is marked by its ability to lock, shutting many opponents out of the game entirely.  Of course, this deck has disavantages and weaknesses as well.  You’ll have difficult matchups with Garbodor and Seismitoad-EX, as Seismitoad prevents your setup and Garbodor shuts off your Plasma Steel and Mighty Shield Abilities, stopping your own lock. 

Yet, you can do something about this situation with cards such as Chatot from Plasma Blast or Steel Shelter. These cards are perfect extensions for this deck to improve its weaknesses in difficult matchups.

I’m a big fan of this deck as it perfectly fills the gap. There is no need to be afraid of decks which forbid your Abilities. 

So here’s a possible list for this deck:

So, we did consider all three Metal decks. Let’s see which one of them has enough potential.  Well, if all three of them met each other in a game, Klinklang would win. This is due to the fact, that the other two Metal alternatives don't have anything that can bypass Plasma Steel except Heatran, but even Heatran does no real damage. 

But does this mean that Klinklang is automatically the best deck for our big tournament?

Mabye, but to be honest, nobody knows how the meta on Day 1 will be.  In case almost everyone shows up with Seismitoad/Garbodor, it will be hard for some of us to play seven to eight rounds successfully.  That’s why I suggest crossing out one of the decks from our list rather than looking for the favourite one here.

Metal Rayquaza's options are just too limited for playing on a high level. There are too many big and great rivals and the other two Metal decks are far ahead of it.

6.  Halftime and the first favourites

These decks are left. I would do a split here and separate them into "Possibilities" and "Let's have a closer look".

Possibilities
Metal/Seimitaod
Metal/Klinklang

Let’s have a closer look
Kyogre
Manectric/Garbodor
Seimitoad/Garbodor
LandyBats
SeismiBats
Eevee decks

I’d like to move onto the two Crobat decks, going through the details and facing the facts. So, here we go!

Seismitoad/Crobat 

This is a deck which caused quite a stir during the season.  At this time, it was the perfect combination to avoid decks such as LandyBats or Primal Groudon-EX.  How about today? Is there still a spot for this deck in the current meta?

Yes, it still has it…somehow. Its chair wiggles, if you ask me.  This deck made Top 8 at U.S. Nationals. Sadly, it said goodbye right afterwards.  It comes with lots of good and solid advantages, but they’re not really outstanding enough. 

Contrary to decks such as Kyogre or Metal, which have a solid base, this deck has a lot of vulnerabilities.  Even decks such as Manectric-EX with Garbodor, that does not need much energy and deals more damage, give Seismitoad/Crobat a very hard time.  In general, every deck with Rough Seas will be a big issue.

Of course, there’s the possibilty to tech against them and improve your matchup, but then there’s already the next problem waiting for you: there’s almost no space for you if you consider playing Crobat. Cards such as Laser and Super Scoop Up require too much space. As you see, even if you have great and innovative combat tricks, you won’t be able to implement them due to shortage of space.

I won’t say that this deck is completely bad, but the issue, as with Metal Rayquaza, is that the rest of the meta takes less effort when it comes to solving complicated situations.  Well, let’s put this deck in contrast with LandyBats.

Day and night. Black and white. Completely different but somehow still related.

Both decks are quite similar in their structure and strategy. LandyBats focuses more on damage and SeismiBats comes with a great lock ability.  That’s why LandyBats has to struggle with almost the same issues as SeismiBats – shortage of space.  Rough Seas is its biggest enemy as well. If you’re not able to kick this card out as soon as possible, I can guarantee you a quick loss!

Basically, LandyBats has never changed or developed since its discovery.  You can say that it’s still in its infancy concerning its strategy.  Maybe it’s not possible to reinvent the wheel. Nevertheless, new ideas and techs would be more than great!

I believe that LandyBats had its big performance at the first Regionals of this season. Maybe it has already overshot its zenith.  Let’s remove this deck from our list. SeismiBats as well!  Both decks come with too many issues. Yet, I still hope that they will not disappear completely, since they are well known for their performance during crazy situations, such as drawing one or two times more than planned. They always surprise me. 

So these are left:

Possibilities
Metal/Seismitoad
Metal/Klinklang

Let's have a closer look
Kyogre
Manectric/Garbodor
Seismitoad/Garbodor
Eevee decks

Well, slowly our selection thins out… 

7. The two suprising candidates

This deck has won German Nationals this year. If we change it a little bit, it can be interesting for Worlds. What do you think?  In the middle of our season, this deck had its breakthrough. People worldwide discovered that Seismitoad/Slurpuff was the best deck in our format. Other players invented a completely new Eeveelutions deck.

This deck is your personal "answer" to all the other decks.  Earlier in the season it was one of the strongest decks, but time has changed our meta.  Did Eeveelutions survive this change?

Yes, it did. With cards such as Raichu or Garbodor, it differs from its older version, and you’re not able to recover all your resources anytime as Trump Card is missing.  Nevertheless, Eeveelutions plays an important role. It includes cards such as Shaymin-EX. The outcome of this is a more explosive deck, which offers a lot of space for unexpected maneuvers.

In addition all the included Pokémon in this deck can take advantage of a lot of different Weaknesses.  Seismitoad-EX and Kyogre-EX are both popular. This is perfect for Pokémon such as Leafeon. Even Raichu is placed in the new version of Eeveelutions because M Rayquaza-EX is well received by so many players.

But you should know that this deck does come with drawbacks.

Games against Night March will be always lost. No matter what you’re doing. You’re always one turn behind.  Moreover, decks with Crobat should be avoided as well. Your rival will be able to eliminate your smaller Basics and with that, win the Prize race.  You are faced with other issues if you meet a Metal toolbox deck.  Of course, it could be possible for you to avoid Aegislash – but just at the beginning. Sooner or later the problems will show up.  Your ressources are limited, so you won’t be able to play around Aegislash forever.

As you can see, there’s no real defined opinion. But if you ask me, I’d put this deck aside.  It’s too risky to play with this deck at Worlds. On the one hand, the chance for a comeback is quite small, and on the other hand, I’m not a true fan of decks which can only react to certain situations. I prefer active and dominating decks.

Kyogre EX is back – finally. For some of you, it might be a suprising comeback.

This giant of the sea is a powerful card and the whole deck includes a great amount of technique and strategy.  With its attack, we’re able to put grand and interesting damage combinations on the opponent's board. This will help us draw our Prizes quickly and all at once in the late game.

Cards such as Articuno remind us of trick techs that were played often in the past. These cards were only played in certain situations, because they didn’t influence the normal game.  They do work perfectly as an extension in this deck.

The third factor of this deck is Suicune, which fits this deck well with its shield.  And then there’s the Stadium, Rough Seas – the most powerful Stadium at the moment. It made a big impact on U.S. Nationals.  This card has many advantages. Primal Kyogre can KO anything within two attacks, even if your opponent heals with Rough Seas.  In case your opponent doesn't bump Rough Seas in time, you'll be able to use it to heal your whole board while pumping up your Pokémon with Energy.

So, let’s move on to the negative points.  Firstly, Primal Kyogre-EX needs way too much Energy. In fact, four of them for only one attack. Sure, we have the Ancient Trait, which allows us to play two Energy each turn, but you’ll still need two more in your hand for next turn to attack again.  This is the biggest disadvantage.

The only deck that can be a problem for you is Klinklang. Others, such as Leafeon or Virizion decks are quite rare, so you won’t meet them often.  Klinklang forbids you to carry out almost all your attacks.  Suicune or Articuno are left as the only potential attackers.  It’s quite hard to tech against this matchup and honestly, it’s not worth it. Furthermore, I’m convinced that Klinklang won’t be played that often at Worlds this year, as it’s more defensively oriented. According to my experiences, professional players prefer more active decks at Worlds.

So, all in all, I’d say that Klingklang will take at most 10% at this tournament on day one.

That’s why I believe that this deck is a good choice, as you can benefit from it right from the start. In addition, with cards such as Keldeo-EX, Float Stone, Suicune, and Rough Seas, you’re preprared for many difficult siutations.  It may not be perfect, but you can hardly go wrong with this deck. 

So, if you're really considering playing this deck, here’s a list for you! 

8. The "All-Star Faction" – the field becomes even smaller

Possibilities
Metal/Seismitoad
Metal/Klinklang
Kyogre

Let’s look at these two:

Manectric/Garbodor
Seismitoad/Garbodor

Well, there are only two question marks left. But let me tell you in advance: both decks are in the running.

Manectric/Garbodor

Another big suprise from U.S. Nationals.  Manectric-EX crossed our paths from time to time since its release, but it never revealed its true potential – until now.  Well, rather, until the day this deck made Top 8 at U.S. Nationals.  Who knows, maybe there was a chance that Manectric-EX would have won the whole tournament if it hadn’t met Wailord-EX in Top 4.

Nobody expected this result.

This deck is unusually fast, strong, and flexible.  Basically, it has everything a winning deck needs.  Its damage is powerful as well, and moreover, your board can make use of it quickly. There are not many requirements needed for your attacks. And there’s more to it than that: Mega Manectric-EX hasn’t got any Retreat Cost.  Besides, you can also add Rough Seas or Pokémon Center Lady to your deck since it seems like you have endless space.  Sounds almost perfect, doesn’t it?

Manectric’s biggest rivals are Fighting Pokémon. At U.S. Nationals, some people played a combination of Manectric-EX and Empoleon. In theory, this counters cards like Landorus-EX. But does it really make sense? 

Well, I’m convinced that you don’t need Empoleon.  Relatively few people play Fighting Pokémon today. The only active Fighting deck is Groudon, but honestly, that deck is becoming less relevant as well, since great Metal decks are dominating our current meta, leaving no chance for Fighting decks.  Even Landybats is a rare guest at tournaments, as it contains too many difficult matchups.

Real rivals for Manectric players are Kyogre decks due to the fact that both decks include Rough Seas. This provides a great healing during a long match, but Kyogre's attack offsets Rough Seas' healing for Manectric by spreading 30 damage across the Bench.  Moreover, Primal Kyogre can KO a Mega Manectric in only two attacks, whereas Mega Manectric needs three to KO a Primal Kyogre.  Sadly, there’s no real master plan for such a situation. I suggest you prevail quickly to control the game.

In case you make it up to three Mega Manectric-EX, it should be easy to come away a winner, provided you have Max Potion and Rough Seas in your hand. 

You will probably have a second issue in your matchup with Klinklang. So, what can you do against this rival?

Well, basically you have plenty of space to fill in your Manectric deck, but I disadvise you to add too many techs.  Since you're playing Garbodor, it shouldn’t be a big deal to bring Klinklang down, provided that your opponent does not play Xerosic or any other Tool-discarding card.

In case you’re against an experienced player and they eliminate your Garbodor, it could be hard for you to finish off the match, but Garbodor isn't needed to have a safe, positive matchup against a lot of other decks.  Basically, you should have a slight edge over many decks. That should be enough. All in all, it's one of my favourite decks for Worlds.

Your main task is to command your deck in every situation. Also, stick to the simple setup and avoid overloading this deck with too many techs.
Here’s another list that can be used as a basis.


Okay, we’re almost done. Let’s look at the last deck on our list, our "all-star": Seismitoad/Garbodor.

Our good old friend Seismitoad-EX. I wonder how many different decks this card was included in. I wouldn’t even start counting them...

Since its release day, there has been always a lot of attention on this winning deck.  That’s why I haven’t got much to say about this deck, since you all know how good it is already.

My mom has taught me to start with the positive points – always. So, let’s look at the obvious advantages.

Firstly, it’s a lock deck, which means you’re dominating the game automatically.  Secondly, not only do you lock Items, but also certain Abilities.  Thirdly, Shaymin-EX in your deck provides concesistency in your setup and also in the late game (assuming Garbotoxin isn't online).  So all in all, it's a deck which has a lot to offer. It gives you the opportunity to control the game and to react flexibly enough in difficult situation. 

A big and obvious disadvantage is Grass, just like in the older version. Your goal is to avoid Pokémon such as Leafeon or Genesect-EX/Virzion-EX.  Every Grass Pokémon seems to be a problem at first. Also, decks such as Landy/Bats with Hawlucha are difficult to handle because of how quickly they put on pressure.  A new potential rival might be Metal. Cards such as Steel Shealter in combination with Cobalion-EX or Aegislash-EX can be a big challenge. 

Overall, though, this deck is firm as a rock – no matter what was banned. I admit that Seismitoad-EX is one of the strongest EX cards that was ever printed.  There’s no real summary needed for this deck, since we all know it’s one of the favourite decks due to its power.

9. And the finalists are… 

Let’s see...which decks has survived our scrutiny: 

Metal/Seimitaod
Metal/Klinklang
Kyogre
Manectric/Garbodor
Seimitoad/Garbodor

It’s hard to say which one is the perfect deck, since they all come with their advantages and disadvantages.  I really want to tell you, that you should always consider this: in the end it’s not your deck that’s crucial for your victory.  There are parameters such as your own skill, your opponent’s skill and deck and – like always – a good portion of luck.

These five decks differ completely from each other and not everyone can play them. One might have more success with one list than another player. This is caused by their own experience and skills.  That’s why I recommend that you test a lot and try out different builds, so that you explore your personal style and favourite deck.

Practice makes perfect, so always stick to your goals and keep your head up and I’m convinced that you’ll receive successful results soon. Probably not at Worlds immediately – well, who knows – but rather at smaller tournaments.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed my article and maybe some of you have gained some ideas and a new perspective.
 

So, I’m packing my luggage now. See you in Boston, guys! Have a safe flight and a nice trip!  

Many greetings.

Karl Peters

 

 

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