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Jonathan Walquist

Break, Take, Reiterate

Playtesting Blog from Matchup #1: Mega Mewtwo!

23. 10. 2016 by Jonathan Walquist

Undercover,

 

in the shadows, inside the closet of the metagame, must Mega Rayquaza have been until now. It is like an enemy that no one regards as new or impressive; and an enemy that seems easily defeated when the right few cards are present.

Not the case. Not the case at all.

Hello and welcome to the first of many blogs following my playtesting with my deck, All-Colorless M Rayquaza-EX. And in the tradition of the first of many, the short blogs will follow essentially the same structure throughout:

    • Rival Decklist, Analysis, and Reasons for Choosing It
    • Theories Regarding how the Matchup might Play Out
    • Case Study and Advanced Card Interaction
    • Results and Guiding Conclusion

 

So without more talk, here is the first major opponent: Mega Mewtwo with Garbodor! (List by Chris Fulop in his article "The Magnificent Seven")

 

Prospective List-List Analysis

Solid, Chris. Solid.

This is probably the most consistent list I have encountered for Mega Mewtwo. It doesn't have many of the more inconsequential tech cards, which other versions gather in an effort to counter the meta. I wanted pure, and that is what I was able to get thanks to this list. The reason I chose this list was because it contained everything that made up the core of every Mega Mewtwo deck, no matter what techs are included. This proved a solid basis for battles in tournaments to come.

I am not going to bore you with another rendition of Chis's words about the card counts in this deck; however, I do have some comments to share.

Before Playtesting:

: The count of Garbodor seemed low. In general, I have the rare opinion that a supporting card must be thick enough (3+ copies) or have enough search support (more than just Ultra Ball) to be effective within a build. A 2-2 is good for something that is a tech against a more popular support card, like Altaria in my deck; but, as I thought about it, I had a strong inclination that Garbodor was much more important here vs. a great majority of the metagame.

: I agreed with the zero count of Special Charge and Super Rod, because it made sense. If the deck failed to win after powering up two or three Mega Mewtwo with up to eleven energy cards, it wasn't going to win anyway.

: Parallel City destroys my deck, right? I was convinced that I needed to have a convincing counter to this card within my deck. That is why Paint Roller has its spot. I had a feeling that I may fail against Mega Mewtwo whenever it could access one of these even so.

After Playtesting:

: In the matchup against my version of Mega Ray, the count of Garbodor was definitely too low. Only in four of the ten games did it enter the battlefield, and the set up required for it seemed to ... slow down the plays required to beat Mega Ray. My prediction proved true for the matchup I tested.

: Super Rod is a necessary inclusion in this particular matchup and possible many others. When discarding for Sycamore, at least one Mega Mewtwo is sacraficed per game, which makes it almost impossible to beat Mega Ray without Super Rod to recover and set up. My feelings were wrong, but it is possible that the matchup is less than ideal even with Super Rod, making its inclusion excessive.

: I was completely wrong for fearing Parallel City, and I was completely right to include Paint Roller. I only suffered drawbacks for a turn at most thanks to my abundance of answers; and, to be honest, most of the time an Emerald Break for 90 happened. I never fell behind because of this stadium.

Theory

This matchup seemed solidly even across the board. In tournaments where these decks collided in the past (even though it was the other version of Mega Ray, which might have made a difference), the two weren't blown out. Mega Mewtwo seemed to have the lead by a small margin.

I reasoned that my only chance against Parallel City would be a counter stadium and a Winona. It seemed logical that I could recover more quickly than those Mega Ray decks based on Hoopa-EX, because I did not need an ability to fill my bench, and I had three Winona and three VS Seeker, while there are usually only two Hoopa-EX and however many Ultra Ball were left in other lists.

Advanced Card Interaction

During the ten games I played in the same conditions, I noticed a few specific interactions between cards that were helpful in determining the outcome of some plays before they began. I will explain:

    • Paint Roller and Two Stadiums. When a Parallel City is in play and I have not only a Paint Roller but also a Sky Field in hand, it is helpful to use the Paint Roller first and see another card. I have noticed that, in many TCGs, the more cards I see when determining the next action, the more effective that action will become.
    • Damage Change can literally never KO Mega Rayquaza. It is impossible. I noticed that no matter how it is set up, a Damage Change will not KO the Mega; this is because it has a greater maximum HP. It is a good point to see. It is also true for Pokémon that have equal HP, like Pokémon-EX with Fighting Fury Belt. It is best to go for a seven-energy KO with Psychic Infinity than it is to heal with Damage change. It is more worthwhile to invest in a OHKO or something disruptive than it is to heal from a potential 2HKO.
    • Four energy is the threshold for success on Mega Mewtwo. If the Pokémon has four energy attached, any EX with three will be dealt 220, and any other with two will be dealt 190. That should cover all Pokémon on an OHKO basis. Even the high-HP Pokémon-EX like Wailord and the Primals succomb due to their four-energy attacks.
    • Careful sight of Float Stone must be kept. If a Pokémon without the ability to retreat during the rest of the game is stuck active, it is likely that the game is already over. Many decks will pick off attackers in this situation, so it is best to plan two angles of attack. For example, if there aren't many energy cards left in deck and a Hoopa is active without Float Stone, it is best to charge two seperate attacking Mewtwo, and wait until one of them is KOed. This way, one of them can make a comeback.
    • Professor Sycamore discards too many vital resources. It might be a fact of the Standard Format, but this popular supporter can seriously damage a strategy by forcing the discard of vital cards. It is not the state of the game that warrants the use of Super Rod; it is the use of Professor Sycamore in high counts.

 

So there is a blurb of dense information about how some of the cards work in relation to how Mega Mewtwo battled Mega Rayquaza. If you want to read about the cards in Mega Rayquaza, read the article (here).

These are the results from the ten games, in stats:

Mega Rayquaza vs. Mega Mewtwo: 90%/10% based on 10 individual games.

This surprised me. Not only did my deck defeat Mega Mewtwo more than I expected it to, it actually seemed like an easy set of games.

But why?

Conclusion

Mega Rayquaza in the Colorless form of the deck defeats Mega Mewtwo because it has the power to score Knock Outs early on Mewtwo during the set-up part of the game; because it has enough HP to survive any attack under four energy while simultaniously taking one-hit Knock Outs; because is has more than the conventional four answers to the most popular Mega Ray counter, Parallel City; and because it does not have Hoopa-EX, which is easily taken into the active and stranded, slowing down the deck's continuation, nor does it depend on abilities to recover.

Thank you for reading. I applaud anyone who was willing to read this far.

The next battle is against the same Darkrai/Giratina deck that took three of the top-8 placements at Orlando Regionals.

Thank you.

You're all divine.

-JMW

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