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Metagame Analysis

Recap from Anaheim and Harrogate

What happened in Anaheim and Harrogate? Let Metagame Analysis fill you in with the latest news in both the Standard and Expanded format. This article is totally FREE!

12/20/2018 by Metagame Analysis

Chillin’ in Both Formats

What’s up 60 Cards readers? We just had an exciting weekend in North America and in Europe with the conclusion of Anaheim and Harrogate Regionals respectively. Since both events were in different formats, Expanded and Standard, we decided to cover both events on this week’s Metagame Analysis! Remember, this article is totally FREE for your reading pleasure in hopes that you can enjoy a taste of our premium content and maybe splurge on a PREMIUM membership.

We have done a great deal of improvements on the site lately to make a subscription more worthwhile so maybe try it out with the FREE TRIAL that we have available until the end of the month. Anyways, we are getting slightly off track, let’s jump into this article to cover the events from this past weekend!

Lookin’ at Anaheim (Expanded)

Anaheim Regionals saw Dead Draw Gaming continue their impressive seven major event winning streak with Jimmy Pendarvis winning the event with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20) . Did you just experience déjà vu? Not only did Pendarvis win Anaheim, he also won Portland Regionals with the same deck and he also won Roanoke Regionals too. THREE PEAT?!?! Pendarvis has obviously exerted his dominance in the modern era of Pokémon and we are in awe with his success! Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20)  was not the only deck that saw success, Vespiquen (ANO; 10)  / Flareon (PF; 12) , Rayquaza GX (CLS; 109)  / Ho-Oh EX (DR; 22) , and Buzzwole (FLI; 77) all saw success by making the Top Eight at the event! Expanded didn’t really change too much with the release of Lost Thunder, Faba (LT; 173)  was the most included ‘new’ card from that set, but other cards like Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  were not as successful. That’s ok, we are here to cover the best performing decks from the event so let’s look at the decks that we are going to cover in this Metagame Analysis. 

The Decks

Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  /  Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20)

Vespiquen (ANO; 10)  /  Flareon (PF; 12)

Rayquaza GX (CLS; 109)  /  Ho-Oh EX (DR; 22)

As stated above, all of these decks were featured in the Top Eight of Anaheim Regionals and are a great place to start exploring the Expanded metagame.

If you are new to the game or if you are looking to improve your game for Dallas Regionals in January, give all of those decks a look into as we go into more detail about them below. 


Pendarvis won the recent Anaheim Regional Championships with his Portland Regionals winning deck, Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20) . The strategy of this deck is to draw through your deck with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  by using Trade, locking your opponent with Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20)  by using Quaking Punch, and using disruption Supporters. Once you run out of cards in your deck, you can use Tirtouga (PLB; 27)  to loop through your deck to avoid decking out, use Lusamine (CIN; 96)  to get back important Supporters, and proceed to disrupt your opponent. The deck is obviously a compelling concept by having a high amount of success so lets peep this list out.

One of the new cards that Pendarvis included in his deck was Faba (LT; 173) , a card released in Lost Thunder, that continues to push the boundaries of what a ‘control’ deck can do! Faba (LT; 173)  is more of a definitive card than Enhanced Hammer (GRI; 124)  or Team Flare Grunt (GEN; 73)  because once a card hits the Lost Zone, it is gone. Like GONE! Poof!!! You can NEVER use that card again! It isn’t just Special Energy either, it can take away a pesky stadium or even an annoying Pokémon Tool. I would expect Faba (LT; 173)  to see more play in future Expanded events so keep your eyes peeled!


Connor Finton busted out his amazing Vespiquen (ANO; 10)  / Flareon (PF; 12)  deck that seemed to surprise the competition as he marched all the way to the finals. The strategy of Vespiquen (ANO; 10) / Flareon (PF; 12)  is to acquire many Pokémon in your Discard Pile to use either Bee Revenge or Vengeance for an OHKO. You can get Pokémon in your Discard Pile by using Unown (ANO; 30) ’s Ability, Zebstrika (LT; 82) ’s Ability, Battle Compressor (PHF; 92) , and other common cards like Ultra Ball (SLG; 68) . Using all of these cards in combination can increase your damage at lightning speeds and allow your single Prize Card attackers to Knock Out double Prize Card attackers. You need to be careful with the amount of resources your Discard though, because you can often find yourself with limited cards in your deck so make sure that you realize that you can deck out or run out of cards like Double Colorless Energy (SLG; 69) . As long as you keep your plays fresh and your mind clear, this deck should lead you to success.

One of the coolest cards that we enjoyed in Finton’s list was the inclusion of Parallel City (BKT; 145) . This card actually works in multiple layers so get ready for a few interesting ways to play this card. It should be known that if you limit your opponent’s Bench, then you will subsequently be reducing the damage of your Vespiquen (ANO; 10)  and Flareon (PF; 12)  due to their typing. If you limit your Bench, you can actually discard more Pokémon to improve the damage cap of Bee Revenge and Vengeance to potentially get a Knock Out. With Pendarvis winning with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20) , you can always limit how much damage their Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20)  does too. Lastly, you can bump other opposing stadiums, like Silent Lab (PRC; 140) , because Parallel City (BKT; 145)  is still a Stadium Card. We truly enjoyed the inclusion of this card and we expect it to be a staple in future iterations of the deck.


Preston Ellis popped off in Anaheim by making Top Four with a unique Rayquaza GX (CLS; 109)  / Ho-Oh EX (DR; 22)  deck that seemed to sweep the competition. The strategy of this deck is to use Rayquaza GX (CLS; 109)  to accelerate Energy into play by using its Ability, continue to nab more Energy with Max Elixir (BKP; 102) , and get ever more energy with Ho-Oh EX (DR; 22) ’s Ability. If you like big powerful decks, this deck is definitely the right pick for you, and it is likely going to see play in Dallas too! There isn’t too much else to this deck, it just seems to pop off and Knock Out Pokémon with plenty of HP. If you don’t believe us on the simplicity of this deck, check out the list yourself, it features many copies of the same cards to make sure that the strategy always works out!

Our favourite card in the deck, Zeraora GX (LT; 201) , is a magical inclusion in this deck for multiple reasons! Firstly, it gives all of your Pokémon in play a chance for free Retreat because you can spread your Energy wherever you want, similar to Darkrai EX (DE; 63)  in Darkness-type decks. Additionally, it can use it’s GX attack to attach five Energy out of nowhere in a pinch. With all of these strategies working together, I am sure Ellis used them throughout many of his rounds in Anaheim. 

Lookin’ at Harrogate (Standard)

While Pendarvis was dominating in Anaheim, we had Philip Schulz dominating in Harrogate with a brand NEW deck, Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Gyarados (BUS; 33) . From what Tord Reklev apparently brought up as a joke, World Champion Robin Schulz’ brother took as a real deck. Regardless of the origin of the deck, Schulz was able to successful win Harrogate Regionals and force many players to at least try out this new concoction. In other news, Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  / Naganadel (LT; 108)  was able to dominate another tournament, losing to a deck that featured Water-type Pokémon in the finals, by coming second overall at the event.

I am sure you all know how much our own writer, Zach Lesage, loves to talk about that deck, so it should be no surprise that he was happy to find out about it seeing success. He has gone on the record to state that it is the best deck in format and it is hard to argue against him when the deck continuously pushes the limits of the game. Most of the other decks were not as interesting, such as Malamar (FLI; 51) , so we will cover those at a later date! 

The Decks

Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) / Gyarados (BUS; 33)

Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) / Naganadel (LT; 108)

We assume that those two decks will see huge spikes in play at upcoming Standard League Cups because they both made finals at the recent Harrogate Regionals in the Masters division. Instead of blabbing on about the format, let’s look at the decks that actually saw success!


Schulz dominated Harrogate Regionals with a new deck, Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Gyarados (BUS; 33) , a deck that seems to have been birthed to beat Blacephalon. The strategy of the deck is similar to any Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  deck, Trade, Riotous Beating, being consistent, etc. with an added support attacker, Gyarados (BUS; 33) . Gyarados (BUS; 33)  hasn’t really popped into the metagame before, but it seems like it is trying to directly target Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) , due to the recent surge in popularity of that deck. There is some basic synergy between the two cards, Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  can Trade away Magikarp (CIN; 17)  so that Gyarados (BUS; 33)  can do extra damage, but beyond that it is a simple Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  + partner attacker deck. Let’s look into the list right now!

One of the cool inclusions in this deck is that Schulz plays a single copy of this Magikarp (BUS; 32) , instead of maxing out this Magikarp (CIN; 17) , so that spread decks can potentially Knock Out the Magikarp (BUS; 32) . This can lead to Gyarados (BUS; 33) doing an extra 50 damage which can often mean the difference between winning and losing a game. Additionally, you can always Evolve a Ditto Prism Star (LT; 154)  into a Gyarados (BUS; 33)  which means that you can freely discard any of your Magikarp (BUS; 32) to do extra damage. Whichever way you decide to play this deck, carefully plan using Trade to maximize your efforts, best of luck!


60 Cards own Zach Lesage was able to tear up the competition in São Paulo and Roanoke with Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  / Naganadel (LT; 108)  so we already covered  some of the ground with this deck. As stated before, this deck is all about consistency, taking quick Prize Cards, and overwhelming your opponent as soon as possible. The goal is to quickly use Burst GX, get Naganadel (LT; 108)  set up, and start using Mind Blown with Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) ! If your opponent is able to draw two or three Prize Cards, you can use Beast Ring (FLI; 102)  to quickly attach Fire Energy (GEN; 76)  to your Ultra Beast Pokémon to have more Mind Blown fodder available. This deck has solid match ups across the board, is easy to play, so we think its going to be a solid choice for upcoming League Cups and League Challenges.

An interesting inclusion by Raz Wolpe is Alolan Muk (SUM; 58)  and Ditto Prism Star (LT; 154) , a strategy that we know Lesage has been testing for a while. While Lesage hasn’t really pulled the trigger on it, likely because he will just accept the loss to Granbull (LT; 138) to shut off their Oranguru (SUM; 113) , Wolpe went all in and made it to the finals at Harrogate. Alolan Muk (SUM; 58)  is great at blocking Basic Pokémon from using their Abilities, so maybe give this list a try to see if it works for you. 

Until Next Time

Well, that concludes this week’s Metagame Analysis! I hope that you have enjoyed this journey and that you look forward to next weeks FREE article.

Next week, we will be looking over the Expanded metagame heading into Anaheim for your viewing pleasure. It is our hopes that with the content becoming better each week, that you will decide to support our site with a subscription.

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