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Franco Takahashi

Preparing and Predicting the Basic Meta for City Championships

Franco shares his thoughts and his predictions about which decks will be seen at City Championships to provide a guide for making good meta calls.

12/03/2015 by Franco Takahashi

Introduction

Hello, 60cards readers, this is Franco again.  Now that December has started, it means that City Championships are underway in the U.S. and soon in other countries as well.  Since Cities are getting started, I would like to share some of my insights and predictions for the early Cities meta in the Standard format, providing you with some sample deck lists so you can see the characteristics and structures of each deck. I’m hoping this serves as a guide to help the readers predict the meta and be more prepared for their tournaments. 

About the Meta

A lot of players may know this already, but I would like to go over it anyway for the beginners. The “meta” generally refers to the decks commonly played at events. Predicting the meta oftentimes could become a key factor to help you for the event. “Metagaming” means predicting the meta and choosing your deck to have the best odds. Often making the right meta call doesn’t guarantee you the victory for the whole event, though, because even though you chose the right deck for the event, there are still important factors such as whether the deck is well built, if the player managed to play properly throughout the event, or simply luck factors. Still, predicting the meta is a huge factor going into an event.

Since City Championships are held at different cities all over the country, they’re the tournament series where I would say that the meta varies a lot depending on the area you live. For example, last year during Cities in Florida, Flareon soon became a meta deck, and as a result, it kind of became suicidal to play decks like Virizion/Genesect in Florida, while other Cities outside of Florida didn’t had nearly as many as Flareon so decks like Virizion/Genesect were doing well.

If you are planning to attend to events like Cities marathons, generally the meta could shift more radically and quickly due to the fact that most players are trying to counter the deck that did well the previous day, so those who are planning to attend City marathons should consider this also. Once Cities start, generally there will be some rogue decks doing well that might become part of the meta, depending on the area where you live. So since Cities have barely started, I am going to cover the Basic decks that I personally expect to see at Cities and provide some sample lists to explain the characteristics of each deck, hoping to give you guys a good concept of each deck to help inspire your deck-building.

 

Decks I Expect to See at Early Cities

Night March

I personally believe that Night March is a deck to expect in the upcoming Cities.  It is a very fast deck that can put out high damage quickly, and it is a non-EX deck that I believe will see play at some Cities due to its quick strength and low cost for the deck parts.  Since Stardust Jirachi is receiving a lot of hype as a great tech to many decks and Night March is a type of a deck that relies heavily on Double Colorless Energy to attack, I feel like one of the Night March variants that I expect to see during Cities will be Night March with Bronzong, allowing the deck to accelerate Basic Metal Energy, which helps you against Stardust Jirachi, preventing the Energy from being discarded, and last but not least, it gives you an option if you’re under Chaos Wheel lock from Giratina-EX. The Hex Maniac in this list is to counter Aegislash-EX’s Mighty Shield Ability and to stop Golbat and Crobat from sniping Night March attackers on the Bench for a crucial turn. I personally think that this could be one of the most common Night March variants during Cities due to its nice recovery with Bronzong, allowing it to cover Night March’s weakness slightly better. Keep this deck in mind, both as a potential play and as a potential opponent.

 

Bronzong/Tyrantrum/Giratina

This is one of the decks that made a strong presence during this past Regionals in the Expanded format.  With the return of Float Stone and with some new additions such as Smeargle, I personally think it’s a great deck even in a Standard format. The deck has a good synergy between the main attackers and Bronzong, whose Metal Links Ability allows you to accelerate Energy for the cost-heavy attacks.  Since Giratina-EX and Tyrantrum-EX are Dragon-type attackers and those are the main attackers in the deck, it utilizes the Double Dragon Energy very well, which is one of the strong aspects of the deck. Tyrantrum-EX has a very strong attack that allows you to Knock Out most Pokémon-EX in one hit and Giratina-EX blocks your opponent from playing Tools, Special Energy, and Stadiums.

Giratina’s Chaos Wheel is a very strong attack under the right circumstances and the combination of those two attackers allows you to have a very versatile strategy. As I mentioned before, since I predict that Stardust Jirachi is going to be a very popular tech and the main attackers generally rely on Double Dragon Energy, utilizing Smeargle’s Ability in combination with Bronzong’s Ability allows you to set bring back a Fighting Energy from the discard and accelerate at same time, which will help you to set up a Tyrantrum-EX without relying on Double Dragon Energy too much. Overall, the deck did well in Expanded. It has good recovery and Energy-acceleration, and the attackers are very strong and flexible, so I believe that it will be seen a lot at these coming Cities. 

Lucario-EX/Bats

This is another deck that’s made a strong showing recently in the Standard format. It takes advantage of all the Fighting support cards such as Strong Energy and Fighting Stadium to increase its damage output really quickly and using low-cost attacks to deal more damage. As you can see, the Bats also help this to happen more efficiently, allowing you to set up two-hit Knock Outs or one-hit Knock Outs better. The Bats really improve your matchups against decks like Vespiquen or Night March. Taking Prizes from Joltik or Combee with the Bats really improves the Prize trade.

This is a standard list you can expect to see, a simple, straightforward list that focuses on putting heavy damage out quickly utilizing different cards in the deck. Also, since Lucario-EX is a Fighting type, it has a nice edge against Manectric-EX decks, and Crobat itself has very useful attack, allowing you to pick some Prizes off the Bench or simply hit for decent amounts of damage to an Active that’s Weak to Psychic-types. Overall, the deck is good to set up the one-shot or two-shot KOs with speed and low Energy costs, and it seems to be doing well so far in the Standard format. Considering that the meta for Cities is still in developing phase, I personally expect to see a lot of Lucario-EX/Bats for these upcoming Cities.  

 

Magnezone / Raikou / Pikachu EX

This is one of the decks that I’ve noticed that getting a lot of attention and hype. Since Magnezone is the heart of the deck, it takes a little time for it to set up, unlike Archie’s Blastoise, and also, instead of having Superior Energy Retrieval, we have Fisherman and regular Energy Retrieval. Fisherman is a strong card in this deck like Superior Energy Retrieval, but it’s a Supporter, not an Item card, so it is not as good as the original Archie’s Blastoise in terms of speed and explosiveness. Also, since it is Ability-based, the deck can potentially suffer from a well-timed Hex Maniac also. 

But despite the deck’s weak points, once it sets up, the deck is strong. Raikou has a great attack, dealing 110+ damage most of the time, and since it is a non-EX attacker, it makes really good Prize trades, and benefits from an Ability making it slightly harder to be Knocked Out. The secondary attacker, Pikachu-EX, is a nice addition to the deck, giving Magnezone players the ability to Knock Out any high-HP Pokémon in one shot by discarding sufficient amounts of Lightning Energy from Pikachu-EX.

Since Pikachu-EX needs to discard Energy after the attack and it has quite low HP for a Pokémon-EX, it can become a risk when you attack with Pikachu-EX, but I think it’s worth it to play the card just for the ability to Knock Out big threats and take control of the game. Octillery has nice synergy with Magnezone, helping maintain its Energy stream, and Flash Energy helps you to erase the Fighting weakness from the attackers. For those reasons, Magnezone is another deck I predict to be popular in the upcoming Cities.

 

 


Mega Manectric EX

 

Mega Manectric is one of the main decks in the meta since the beginning of this season’s standard format.  And I think the card has a very versatile way to use with different techs to keep the deck’s strategy wide which I think it’ll still remain in this upcoming meta and also the fact that it has a very good feedbacks among players which I predict to see this deck for cities at some form of a variant.  With the new set, Mega Manectric can utilize cards like Giovanni’s Scheme to push its damage output for the knocking things out if necessary, or card like Skyla which it helps to boost the consistency of the deck better allowing you to search for 1 trainer card such as supporter, tool, or Ultra Ball to search for either Hoopa EX or Shaymin EX to set up.  Also Mega Manectric can do interesting tricks combining the new Smeargle from BREAKthrough by increasing the consistency to swap and have the proper energies to the right techs or attackers.  Since Mega Manectric decks have many variant and versions, I’ve decided to put one of the most common variant which is the water version using attackers like Articuno and Regice, the water version was one of the most popular variant during Ancient Origins format so I believe that some players are going to stick with this version which is why I chose to post this sample list for the readers to take a brief look at it.  In the end, as I mentioned there most likely will be seen Mega Manectric variants that plays cards like Gallade or other techs in it; but overall we have to remember that it is a Manectric deck and despite its different techs, it will still have a same pattern that the deck generally needs to attack with Manectric in the game to whether Assault Laser or to Turbo Bolt for the techs, so I believe that if you manage to have an answer to Manectric, I’ll say you have a winning chance against the deck, so keep that in mind.  Since it is a deck and that allows you to put different techs and has a very good feedback from players, I personally predict to see Mega Manectric at cities as well.


 

 

Vespiquen

Vespiquen is another strong deck that has a lot of potential as a deck by been able to tech different cards based on the meta, and also proved to be done well during this past Regionals in expanded format as well.  The main advantage Vespiquen has is that it is a strong none EX base deck that can has a high damage output from mid to late game in general.  Unlike Night March decks, Vespiquen decks gains power for each pokemon in the discard so it gives more variety to the deck with different techs based on the meta.  I’ve decided to post the Flareon version since I think it is one of the strong Vespiquen variant because Blacksmith is card that is very helpful against Giratina EX and Stardust Jirachi.  Also by having a fire type, it also gives a good edge towards decks like Sceptile EX decks and event some metal type pokemons as well.  In addition to this, by running a eevee into the deck, you can also play Jolteon to ease your match up against Mega Rayquaza, Yveltal, and Lugia.  I also predict that there will also going to be seen Vespiquen with Bronzong as well with similar concept as Night March with Bronzong tech.  Due to the fact that many non EX based decks proved at the past events that they are good convince me to say that I will expect to see a Vespiquen at cities also.


 

 

Conclusion

Those were the decks that I personally predict to be in the early meta for cities and the decks I would expect to see and face against them during the event.  Night March is a strong non EX deck that can deal a lot of damge quickly and it maintained its popularity from its easiness to gather the cards to build the deck, and Bronzong deck that utilize Tyrantrum EX and Giratina EX seems to be in favor for many players so far due to its nice energy acceleration and recovery and how powerful the attackers are that it is considered a well balanced deck to enter into a unclear meta.  Lucario EX Bats is another deck that deals quick damage output and utilizes Golbat and Crobats well which it is favored by many players that I wouldn’t be too surprised to see at the event.  Magnezone deck is one of the hyped deck ever since the new set was released and so far some players seem to like its power when Magnezone is set up utilizing Raikou for prize trade and Pikachu EX gives you the option to knock out a potential threating pokemon.  Mega Manectric deck is a very versatile that has many versions and can be tuned based on the meta which it seem to have a noticeable popularity from players that I personally expect to see Mega Manectric in the meta as well.  Vespiquen is another deck that has very versatile options into the deck that can be tuned in different ways and it is a non EX base deck, and proved in the past events that it made a strong impact into the meta also that I will still expect to see at the upcoming cities as well.  In addition to those decks I was mentioned above, I also predict to see some portion of Sceptile EX decks and also Mega Rayquaza EX decks as well so I suggest for the readers to make a little note on that as well since Sceptile EX did well in the UK Regionals and Mega Rayquaza is also another choice for players that have in mind as well.  Hopefully this article could help players who are trying to get ready for the upcoming cities and hopefully that my personal prediction of the meta could become some sort of a guide towards the unclear meta of cities.  As I mentioned before, most likely there will be other unseen or unpredictable decks at the event, so I decide to make a prediction based on what I currently know to form a basic meta prediction, and the meta can be different or could change differently based on the area you live as well so keep in mind that as well.  Well thank you so much for reading this article and hopefully this became a starting line for some of the readers.  See you guys at an event or in my next article!

Franco

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