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Jonathan Walquist

The Net-Deck, the Un-Deck, and the Anti-Deck.

Jon's two seconds on how to compete with Tier-1 decks in three different ways.

06/28/2016 by Jonathan Walquist

Hello, 60Cards readers! Jonathan here with another article. The famous Origins Win-a-Trip tournament reminded me of something I was considering as the subject of an article; and the results pushed me over the edge. So here it is, a short article to show the depth of a concept that has only been hinted at in recent times. No lists to mind, just some interesting stuff to meditate on later.

Forever, there have been sly comments about the Meta and the Non-Meta, and how decks dominate formats across the TCG world. Tier lists are a common way to express the success, combined with popularity, of certain archetypes; which we like to call Tier-1, or the BDIF (best deck in format). Tonight I'll show you a little of what goes on behind the scenes of deck-choice for tournaments.


Table of contents

The Black Parade

The Net-Deck

The Un-Deck

The Anti-Deck

Concluding Thoughts


The Black Parade


Our favorite little basics are back with more firepower tha ever; Fates Collide gave Night March a lot, which you can take an in-depth look at through some of Karl Peters' article. An avid antagonist of everything about the deck, I have my work cut out for me to beat the BDIF and survive against the rest of the field. So what do I do?

First, I'd like to share a reitteration of the archetypes represented in the top-8 of Origins:

  • Darkrai/Giratina/Garbodor
  • Trevenant BREAK
  • Night March/Vespiquen
  • Genesect/Bronzong


Night March has dominated for a while, but it was beat down to ony one top-8 showing at the most prevalent Standard tournament in America this year, and that with a tech in Vespiquen, making it a little bit of a different deck. However, Night March is Night March, and this top-8 definitely showed a bit of how it was defeated in every other instance, especially the total lack of pure Night March. 

So why is Night March Still on everybody's top Nationals deck lists, and why didn't it show up when most of the best players in the US were all in one place?

The answer is simple: Hate

To make it clearer, I'll just start my list of things that hate on Night March. Darkrai with Fighting Fury Belt is hard to OHKO; Giratina-EX can shut the entire strategy down in an instant with fearsome attack effects; Garbodor hates on Shaymin, and thus Night March, which is crippled without Shaymin; Trevenant Item locks, which fatally wounds the deck in certain situations; Trevenant BREAK can KO multiple Pokémon in one Silent Fear attack; Genesect with a Fury Belt is also hard to OHKO; Bronzong BREAK can KO all of the Night Marchers in play with one shot from Metal Rain...I could go on with other decks, but why? It is clear that everythig in each of the other archetypes represented in top-8 had its value in the NM matchup. If that isn't extreme hate towards a deck, then it must be extreme respect.

The most intelligent and experienced players in a tournament full of people just like them will think past the immediate meta. If there are this many good counters to Night March in the format, then it is hard to justify a piloting of the deck itself. Or, that's one way you could take it. There is a cycle of Deck, Un-Deck, and Anti-Deck that repeats itself over and over and over and over and... the best path to success is to know when to stop.


The Net-Deck

If you Can't Beat them, Join them

Joining the most popular decks in their efforts to strangle the format like tyrannical rule sounds just... great.

It's almost too easy to pull a successful list from online and bring it to a tournament and have your hopes to do well not-so-crushed. It's a good deck, after all.

If you're looking for a few Championship Points to secure an invite that was coming anyway, or you just want to do good enough to make cut half the time, this part of the triangular cycle is for you. The Net-Deck option is by far the most popular and applicable, and it almost guarantees that a skilled pilot can top in a modestly regular metagame. Meta decks, or Net-Decks, tend to dominate a format geared to beat their most popular Anti-Decks. When hate is scarce, these decks will win without question... most of the time. Night March makes its living off of such formats and metagames, so it isn't hard to see why this spot fits in the triangle.

But, bear with me. There are some more fearsome teeth and nails to follow in the next five minutes.


The Un-Deck


When faced with multiple impossibly good choices, either way, you win.

If Trevenant BREAK is dominating your metagame, and you want to win the entire tournament, another way to do it is by eliminating all the competition and leaving yourself a smaller shot to beat the top decks. In that case you could feasably run Greninja BREAK or YZG.

The Un-Deck is simply, from the relativity of the BDIF, another good deck that doesn't necessarily lose automatically to anything that matters, nor does it necessarily win. If you want to sit at the top tables for Swiss, then either win big or go home fast, this is the corner for you. the consistence of this corner is tested and secure. Your hands are on good sleeves with this choice.

But... what if I want to beat EVERYBODY?


The Anti-Deck


Won't we never really not understand the insignificance of this statement?

Jokes aside, the Anti-Deck really hates the Net-Deck and most of the Un-Decks. As a result, it becomes an absraction; something that can only be reached in certain circumastances and through difficulty and both terrible and awe-inspiring plays. If you're trying to win it all, and I do mean, it ALL, in the absolute most spectacular way, then this dangerous corner of the cycle is for you.

I cannot give a current example of this type of deck, because it changes with the metagame's solar wind. To put it in perspective; try to build a deck that beats Trevenant BREAK, Night March, Vespiquen/Vileplume, YZG, M Manectric-EX, Waterbox, and Metal... every time. Such a task is for those seeking to become the definers of the game itself, not just the metagame.


Concluding Thought

In my muses about these concepts, I would love to hear more ideas in the comments below. This metagame, nay this TCG, is still a largely blank canvas, just waiting for your imagination to give it something it likes.

[+2] ok


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