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Jay Lesage

¿Loco Murciélago? - Noivern-GX Swooping in for Worlds!

Will Noivern-GX win the 2017 World Championships? It may not be as crazy as you think. Find out why in Jay's article!

08/16/2017 by Jay Lesage

This article brought to you by CCGcastle.com The best place to get your Pokémon singles!

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Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening 60Cards readers! No matter where you are in the world, most likely you’re busy testing vigorously for the upcoming 2017 World Championships in Anaheim, CA. Just like many Pokémon players, I’m testing decks nonstop, working around an assumed metagame that doesn’t even exist yet.

During this unknown period, we have to form assumptions based on any prior facts or just simply take calculated risks. “But Jay, this is Worlds, why would I take a risk now when it’s the pinnacle of every players season?” – Because, young Fomantis, as players, sometimes we must take the plunge in order to make ends meet.

For example, look at Ito Shintaro and Cody Walinski from the 2016 World Championships – Cody went on to pilot the newfound Greninja/Talonflame deck, with the new inclusion of Bursting Balloon to fend off the highly played Night March deck. Not only did this deck Cody played have an answer to the ever-growing Item-lock that was present in the format, but it also was able to take out glass cannon decks, like Vespiquen. This deck was one of the less consistent decks of its time but had an answer to almost every deck in the format, and that’s what made it a well-calculated risk on Cody’s behalf. In the case of Ito, he went on to play a very obscure M Audino-EX deck that focused mainly on streamlining this giant tank of a Pokémon. This deck was able to stand its ground against the top tier decks but most likely was going to struggle in the early rounds of the tournament to the lesser-known decks. Ito knew this but was willing to take the risk in an effort to go all the way (which obviously he did, since he was the 2016 World Champion).

These calculated risks are things that not only make a great player but also a great legacy for a deck going forward. Without people taking risks, we wouldn’t have many of the archetypes we see today (think Daniel Altavilla playing Zoroark Drampa, or Charlie Lockyer piloting Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu). These are some of the most recent examples of decks that have made their mark on the metagame.

Yours could be the next.

Today, we’ll talk about a couple of decks that could make their mark at the World Championships with a little bit of effort from the deck testing department.

Noivern-GX: This is a deck that was extremely hyped when it was first announced, but upon further inspection, it was written off due to a bad Gardevoir-GX matchup. At first glance, it's glaring weakness to Fairy type can be quite convincing that it will fail against Gardevoir, but there are some assets that we can attest to here. We talk about matchups later on, but first it’s imperative to talk about what the card actually does as a whole.

Noivern-GX

HP - 200

This massive bat has a good amount of HP. Two-hundred is nothing to scoff at for a Stage 1! This is one of Noivern's impressive features, being able to take a couple hits before going into the discard. With the use of cards like Acerola, Super Scoop Up, and Bodybuilding Dumbbells, we can take advantage of this card’s health, and transform it into an asset that can't be taken down easily.

Attacks

Distort (D)(C) - 50 -Your opponent can't play any Item cards from their hand during their next turn.

This attack is the epitome of this deck - disruption. For anybody that's been playing since Seismitoad-EX, you know how backbreaking an Item-lock deck can be! There have been numerous hellraisers who have even gone as far as attempt to ban cards like this, because usually they’re metagame defining. This time around, Item-lock is in a little bit of a weird place. With cards like Garbodor GRS in the format and Tapu Lele-GX as the preferred support Pokémon over its predeccessor, Shaymin-EX, players are shifting to a slower-paced format where Items aren't as "strong" as before. I say this, because most of the time, playing higher counts of Items will harm you more than they will aid you in setting up. There are several niche uses for this attack as well, and many timely moments where this can severely cripple your opponent, but for a simple Double Dragon Energy, it poses a harsh threat.

Sonic Volume (P)(D)(C) - 120 - Your opponent can't play any Special Energy cards from their hand during their next turn.

This attack is one that will have to take a back seat to Distort, but is a very strong attack indeed. Reminiscent of Giratina-EX from Ancient Origins, this attack is capable of shutting down entire decks, provided that they play only Special Energy. I love this attack for many reasons and helps the deck sew up many matchups that otherwise would be terrible! When you need a little bit of a damage push, this attack can take a swift KO after a few soften-up attacks from Distort and or Tapu Koko’s Flying Flip attack.

Boomburst GX (P)(D)(C) - This attack does 50 damage to each of your opponent's Pokémon (don't apply Weakness and Resistance for benched Pokémon).

Boomburst GX is an attack that seems rather underwhelming at first glance, but once again is given light by including a copy of Espeon-EX in our deck. With the simple flip of a switch, this deck magically can shift from an Item-lock deck into a spread deck! Coupled with Tapu Koko, the spread damage on our opponent's side of the field can build up quite quickly, and catch our opponent right off guard. Boomburst GX can also take swarmed KO's on simple Basic Pokémon, such as Ralts, Combee, and Magikarp.

Weakness (F)

Noivern-GX has a Weakness to Fairy-type Pokémon, which is namely alarming in regards to Gardevoir-GX, its counterpart that was also released in Burning Shadows. Luckily for us, Gardevoir is an evolved, Stage 2 Pokémon, that in turn functions on Rare Candy. Besides that, Xerneas BREAK, Sylveon-GX, and Gardevoir-EX are the only other glaring Fairy-type Pokémon that stand in our way. Fairy isn't the best Weakness to have, but I've been dealt worst cards in my life.

Retreat (.)

This Pokémon has Free Retreat! This is a lovely little add-on to our deck, and allows us an insane amount of flexibility. Considering that Tapu Koko has Free Retreat as well, we'll be able to rotate between our attackers with relative ease and jump into action with any attack we please. This also allows us to prolong the lifetime of our attackers, because when one is damaged, we can retreat freely, and keep that attacker waiting safely within the barricades of our bench.

General Strategy

The general strategy of this deck is a rather simple one, yet very effective: establish a Noivern-GX as quickly as possible, and use Distort to disrupt your opponent while putting pressure on the opposing attackers. It's really THAT simple! However, as much as I'd like to say there aren't complications, there are complications. Some decks function fairly well under Item-lock, or are just able to OHKO our Noivern-GX's, so this deck isn't as one-dimensional as Seismitoad-EX once was - it is much more versatile! The strategy is highly dependent on what deck your opponent is playing, but generally Item-lock is just the base of this strategy. There's tons more disruption that this deck can expand on, and Distort is just the tip of the iceberg. If your opponent is playing strictly Special Energy for example, you can just lock them out of the game with a simple Sonic Wave attack, and prohibit them from ever attacking (barring a surprise Pokémon Ranger). Against Stage 2 GX decks, we can begin with a turn one/turn two Distort, and then follow up with a Boomburst GX (after they have a full bench) in order to gain a quick spread on the field. After a few Tapu Koko spreads, they'll be left with a ton of Pokémon that we can swiftly de-evolve with Espeon EX, and then sweep the rest with Distort.

If our opponent ever manages to apply too much pressure on us, it allows us to take advantage of our healing arsenal, such as Acerola and Super Scoop Up. SSU has really good synergy with this deck, mainly because it allows us to dig deeper into the deck with Shaymin-EX, heal off a damaged Noivern-GX, and sometimes just give us a way to retreat! Followed up with a few copies of Bodybuilding Dumbbells, our Noiverns just become too big of a threat to our opponents, and we'll overwhelm them with infinite Distort attacks.

Deck Construction

4-4 Noivern-GX

We play a thick 4-4 line because it's important that we draw into what we need when we need it. With Item-lock, it's extremely important to establish the lock as early as possible, and your chances of winning diminish the longer you fail to setup. It's also very important to have benched Noivern to switch into, in order to prolong your swarm of attackers. Drawing into Noivern is also insanely important - if you don't draw into one, you won't be able to attach any of your Double Dragon Energy! It's also nice to have so many copies for general setup purposes.

2 Tapu Koko Promo

We play these babies in order to spread mass damage on our opponent's Pokémon - this strategy is initiated when we're unable to best our opponent with Distort. Tapu Koko also holds its own against several low HP basics, such as Combee, Magikarp, and Ralts. Tapu Koko also allows our math to become stronger, and soften KO's when otherwise they would be more difficult. Starting with Koko also is lovely - free retreat is just the best!

3 Tapu Lele-GX

We play such a heavy lineup of Lele because we want access to our decks Supporters at all times - especially our copy of Wally. This allows us to get a turn one Distort, as well as get us key Supporters, such as Acerola or Wicke. Lele is also a fantastic attacker in our deck, and reminds me of Mewtwo-EX from back in the day. Being able to clear our opponent's only threat with an Energy Drive attack is one of the best feelings in the world, after all!

2 Shaymin-EX

Much like Jonathan Crespo's Trevenant deck that he used to win Philadelphia Regionals, we play ample amounts of Shaymin EX so that we can dig hard for vital cards in order to reach a turn one Distort. Shaymin EX is important to dig for cards that we can't search for, such as SSU or Bodybuilding Dumbbells. Most importantly, we use Shaymin EX to dig for vital reosurces like Double Dragon Energy.

1 Espeon-EX

Espeon EX ties in with our spread strategy with Tapu Koko - what makes a spread deck even stronger? The ability to de-evolve our opponent's Pokémon! After a couple attacks, followed up with a Boomburst GX, your opponent's Pokémon will be ripe for the picking, once you hit them with a Miraculous Shine, sending all of their basic and Stage One Pokémon straight to the discard pile. Espeon is also very useful against Mega Pokémon once your opponent has ran out of Spirit Links - they'll be unable to re-evolve without wasting a turn. Sometimes, this can be a very valuable strategy in buying time while waiting for usable cards or a draw Supporter.

1 Magearna-EX

Magearna EX is an absolute staple in this deck, just because without it, we'd be unable to stop a Jirachi Promo form using Stardust all the way to victory, especially since all of our energy cards are special. Likewise, and more commonly, Drampa-GX's Righteous Edge does a fine job of cleaning up all of our Special Energy. Need a fix? No problems, all of our Double Dragon Energy will function as a Metal Energy, which will allow Magearna's ability to protect us from these harmful attacks. Even better, it has niche functions such as against Froakie's Bubble, or Espeon-EX's Miraculous Shine attack. It can even prevent Espeon-GX from confusing our Noivern with Psybeam. Go figure! Pro tip: attach a Rainbow to Magearna in order to threaten a OHKO on Gardevoir-GX.

4 Sycamore/3 N

This deck plays a standard four-count of Sycamore and three N to boot. We want to be able to dive deep into our deck, while simultaneously posing the ability to conserve our resources with N. N is also dangerous in combination with Item-lock since it'll prevent our opponent from playing a sneaky VS Seeker to draw out of a trash hand. It will also allows us to prevent our opponent from consistently Shaymin-looping us - using Shaymin-EX's Sky Return over and over in an effort to prevent our Distort-lock.

1 Wicke

This is a card that in testing seems very good in crazy scenarios. As opposed to playing something like, say, a Delinquent, this card will allow us to exchange our opponent's hand with something else. For example, on their first turn, they might play down their entire hand in an effort to use all of their Item cards before we use Distort. However, if they leave their hand down to one good card (and let's just say for the sake of this common scenario, that one card is Professor Sycamore), we can exchange that one lone draw Supporter for another card in their deck. It's ridiculously effective, and can prove wonders in stealing quick games. In combination with Item-lock, a lot of the time it will leave them with an unplayable card (much like an N to one), but now we can complete this goal much earlier in the game before our opponent has had a chance to thin their deck.

2 Guzma

I usually would play one Guzma in a deck like this, since most Pokémon that are active will stay active (due to Item-lock, our opponent can't play Float Stone/Switch/VS Seeker [for Guzma]) - but I enjoy having two copies of Guzma, because once a physical copy has hit the discard, if I play two in my deck, I can use Tapu Lele to search for the other physical copy that's in my deck. Sometimes VS Seeker isn't superior to the real deal, and this is one of those cases. Guzma can also be used to be defensive and stall for time against monsterous decks or to strand a Pokémon active while spreading with Tapu Koko or Boomburst GX. You can also be cheeky and strand a Pokémon active while using Sonic Volume, preventing your opponent from using Special Energy to retreat their active. Since we only have 5 total energy that we can attach to non-Dragon type Pokémon, it's very apparent we need a consistent switching card.

1 Wally

Ah, the key to our deck! The main objective of turn one will be to grab a Wally via Tapu Lele or by any other means possible, and then quickly evolve into Noivern-GX and establish a turn one Item-lock via Distort. This allows us to break the rules of the game, and get an attack off one turn earlier than normal - this can be crippling for our opponents! It can also allow us to recover if we whiff a turn one Noibat, by benching one the next turn and promptly evolving via a Wally.

1 Hex Maniac

There are several Pokémon with abilities that can hurt us, including Tapu Lele GX, Gardevoir-GX, Greninja BREAK, Volcanion-EX, and many, many more. Hex Maniac gives us a chance to foil our opponent's plans with a card that they can't counter, and when in combination with Item-lock, it can put our opponent in some very hot water. I namely included one copy of this card to aid the Volcanion matchup in particular, and it will also help us against Greninja BREAK to prevent Giant Water Shuriken.

1 Brigette

In order to stream constant Distort attacks, we need to get as many of our attacker as we can into play as early as possible. In this case, coupled with multiple copies of Lele, we can Brigette to put out many basic Pokémon as early as turn one.

1 Acerola

My personal favorite card in the deck - Acerola allows us to stream attacks seamlessly by abusing our high HP. This card goes hand-in-hand with Bodybuilding Dumbbells in order to preserve our Noiverns turn in and turn out. Acerola can pickup support Pokémon such as Shaymin or Lele in order to reuse them, or to pickup a Pokémon out of the active spot (provided that they are damaged). Acerola catches a ton of opponents off-guard, so be sure to watch out for this card at the World Championships! Lastly, this card is amazing at removing targets off of the board in the late stages of the game - it can deny our opponent Prize Cards when they need them the most, and can ruin plans in a pinch. Did I mention this card has synergy with our Rainbow Energy? The tricks are endless!

4 VS Seeker

See all of these cool Supporter cards we play in this deck? We now magically play +4 of each; thank you, VS Seeker and TPCi!

3 Trainer's Mail

Much like Decidueye/Vileplume, this is one of the decks that needs to have an explosive turn one! We can accomplish this by playing multiple copies of Trainer's Mail, and ripping deep into our deck. Cards like this tend to combo well with support Pokémon like Lele and Shaymin-EX, because they allow us to dig through so many cards when we otherwise wouldn't be able to. Cards like this allow us players to stretch past the boundary of our opening seven cards, and reach for a complete board state. In this case, a turn one Distort becomes much easier when we can hunt for key cards via Items. Just be careful not to explode with these against Garbodor - Trashalanche damage will add up against you!

4 Super Scoop Up

SSU has to be one of the biggest godsends this deck could've received - it helps us execute our strategy so much. It's uses are endless, whether it's being able to pickup a damaged attacker, switch out our active Pokémon, remove a target from the field, or abuse an ability over and over, this card is too good to not play four of. Although it's a coin-flip, it's such a great effect that we have to take the risk! Preserve these for moments when you can utilize them the most, as you can't get these babies back once they hit the discard pile. Roll your dice responsibly, folks.

4 Ultra Ball

This card is once again the foundation of any consistent deck, and we have no reason to not sport a full suite of these in our deck. We have Pokémon of all stages, types, and HP in this deck, so no specific type of Ball would prove more efficient than Ultra Ball. It's also nice to discard key Supporters in this deck early on in order to use them later with VS Seeker.

2 Bodybuilding Dumbbells

We're about to put the "dumb" back in Bodybuilding Dumbbells - an extra 40 HP?! That's ridiculous, especially when you can't have them removed via Field Blower while Distort is in effect. We transform Noivern into an even scarier GX Pokémon, which is a pretty hard task to complete! Although it doesn't add damage on like Choice Band, we have enough healing cards to make these weights go the distance, and make drawing six Prize Cards look impossible for our opponent. The longer we can keep our attacker alive, the longer the Item-lock will last. You can also pick these up with SSU and Accerola, and evade big KO's. I feel like most of the time, these cards are the reason why this deck even works.

1 Special Charge

This card is evidently good in this deck, since we only play four DDE, four DCE, and a single Rainbow Energy. Special Charge aids us in tidying up any sloppy Sycamore plays we may have made in the few opening turns, or any aggressive Ultra Ball plays we might have made along the way. I also like this, because this card makes it okay to make those "over-the-top" plays we'd normally have to play it safe on. I'm a risk-taker, and this card makes me feel good about that.

1 Rescue Stretcher

We gotta save those Noiverns somehow! This is essentially so we can clean up after any KO's, and effectively can help us either setup or recycle Pokémon to the fullest extent. I find this card helps get back discarded support Pokémon, and put them back into the deck in preparation for a late game N to a low hand size. Overall, one is just nice to have, especially to fetch back our one-of Pokémon like Espeon and Magearna.

1 Field Blower

This is just a cute card to scrap off any Tools that our opponent might have gotten into play before we initiated our Item-lock brigade. This card is most effective against Fighting Fury Belt and against strong Stadium cards such as Po Town. Try to conserve this for the turns when you can't use Distort, and have to take a KO via other attacks.

4 Double DragonEnergy/4 Double Colorless Energy

We sport a full suite of these in order to use Tapu Koko/Lele and Noivern-GX at any point within arms reach. If we took away one of either energy's count, we'd hurt the math of drawing into either significantly. Although it hurts to play only Special Energy, we void off any sort of attacks that would discard them with Magearna, and we can recycle them with Special Charge.

1 Rainbow Energy

This allows us to use a Rainbow plus any one of our four Double Colorless in order to use Distort. It's good for math purposes, allows us to use Acerola, and rounds out our energy count to a smooth nine. I don't see a purpose to not run one of these, if not two.

Possible Inclusions

Energy Removal Cards (Team Flare Grunt, Crushing Hammer, Plumeria, Enhanced Hammer)

These cards are absolutely amazing in this deck, since it is sometimes difficult to draw into energy while underneath Item-lock. If I were to add any of these into my deck, it would most likely be Team Flare Grunt. TFG is stronger than Plumeria right now because this deck plays so many resources, it would do us a disservice to discard cards via Plumeria. Also, most of the time, by removing energy off of the active, it will bait out more energy attachments to the same Pokémon, so it will in turn have the same effect as a Plumeria would eventually have. Enhanced Hammer is also cute, but I'd try to stem away from any more Item cards in this deck so you don't immediately lose to a swift Trashalanche. The same principle applies to Crushing Hammer - too many counts of this card are needed in order to make it effective, and we just don't have the space.

Choice Band

Choice Band is something I highly still consider in this deck, as it boosts the match drastically. Since we're attacking many times at a lower damage output, we really can get a lot of mileage out of a few copies of this card. It also helps our match against 180HP basic Pokémon EX/GX.

Prize Mapping/Turn Planning

First Turn: When you play your first search card, ideally it will be something like a Brigette, or an Ultra Ball to setup your field full of Noibat. This is all you need. If you start second, use Tapu Lele and Shaymin to draw through and find your copy of Wally. Use Wally to evolve into Noivern-GX, and then find a DDE in order to begin using Distort.

Search your deck to identify Prizes Cards - look for DDE, Lele, Shaymin, Magearna (if you have knowledge of energy disruption in opponent's deck/Espeon), Espeon (if opponent is playing evolution Pokémon). Be sure to scope out key one-of Supporters, such as Wicke, Wally, Hex, Acerola, and most importantly, Brigette.

Second Turn: Begin to setup multiple Noivern, and find Bodybuilding Dumbbells out of your deck. These are key for keeping Noivern alive, and allow for easier streaming of our main attacker. Try to Wicke the opponent to a trash hand if applicable. Begin stockpiling useful cards, such as VS Seeker, Acerola, and Super Scoop Up.

Search your deck to identify more Prize Cards - look for Rainbow, Tapu Koko, Dumbbells, and VS Seeker. Special Charge, Field Blower, and Rescue Stretcher are also cards that may be of assistance in the late game.

Matchups

[For the sake of this section, I opt to cover only the most key decks and may not have included some hometown favorites. This is a very generic matchup spread, with the more important matchups being tried-and-true. Some of the less popular matchups (or simple matchups) may have been theorized, and in order to prove results I urge you to test the matchup yourself.]

Gardevoir-GX - Slightly Favorable

Ah, the proclaimed BDIF of the standard format currently! This deck gives Noivern a solid run for its money, because of the weakness we were talking about earlier in the article. The key to this matchup is an early Distort, coupled up by a combination of Boomburst GX in combination with several attacks from Tapu Koko. It's best to preserve your Rescue Stretcher, and not to evolve too many Noivern GX at a time so the opponent doesn't have too many targets. A turn one/two Distort will prove it impossible for the opponent to Rare Candy into Gardevoir, allowing you to get off the coveted GX attack. Also important - preserve energy in this matchup. You'll need a DCE on two different Koko in order to win, as well as an energy to use Miraculous Shine, and none of these energy can be DDE. Your opponent may attempt to only bench Ralts as neccessary, but they'll soon find that while underneath Item-lock, finding those Ralts can be difficult in the late game when you can't setup using Octillery's Abyssal Hand. Ultimately, the game will end by devolving all of the opposing Pokémon, and drawing a ton of Prize Cards at once (followed up by Item-lock to finish off the remainder).

Volcanion - Unfavorable

This is a matchup I'm still attempting to work on, and proves to be majorly difficult in terms of putting out a winning record. For starters, Baby Volcanion (Power Heater) proves to be such a burden to get over, mostly because they just have so much HP! For our Noivern deck, we rely on attacking our opponent's Pokémon EX in order to swing an appropriate prize trade, or we aim to devolve our opponent's Pokémon. Lastly, we aim to lock them out of the game by preventing our opponent from playing Special Energy from their hands. Volcanion as a deck evades all three of our win conditions, so this matchup basically comes down to using Distort and praying that they can't setup. New age Volcanion lists come packed with Brooklet Hill as well, so they're able to search their deck without the use of Items. Overall, this isn't a matchup you want to run into whatsoever.

Mega Rayquaza - Favorable

Against Mega Rayquaza, you're going to want to approach this matchup extremely aggressively with a mission - turn one Distort, turn two Sonic Volume. My abusing this strategy, we can lock our opponent from using their own DCE, and in turn they will be forced to rely on their four copies of Basic Energy. We just outspeed them in terms of beating them to the punch, while also managing to slow them down with Item-lock. It's a pretty big upill battle for the Mega Rayquaza player, but we improve our matchup even more if we run energy denial cards like Team Flare Grunt. This deck plays way too many Items to beat us down!

Greninja - Even

This is a deck where I find the matchup to be extra difficult - we attempt to devolve them with Espeon-EX in the final turns of the game. Overall, it turns out to be pretty effective, because the spread damage ends up happening very quickly. Just as a recap: we do the same thing we do against Gardevoir, but we have a little more time to do it. The biggest hurdle is that Greninja has 130HP after being devolved from its BREAK counterpart, so it's a little bit of a jump from Kirlia's 80HP (or Ralts' 60 HP). Some Greninja lists also opt to play a copy of Jirachi Promo, so be wary!

Garbodor Varients - Even

Garbodor has a few plays that can really hang us high and dry - like using Garbotoxin to shut off our Magearna, and proceeding to use Drampa's Righteous Edge to discard our energy. Luckily, Distort prevents our opponent from playing Tools onto their Pokémon, so this situation doesn't happen very often. Be sure to pack a Field Blower in your hand just in case this issue arises at some point during the game; all you have to do is remove the Tool and the proceed to Item-lock in order to continue the strategy. Only let their Drampa max out at 80 with Berserk - by doing this, you can exchange very well and play healing cards on Noivern in order to have a positive trade. Don't play a billion Items turn one, as tempting as it may be! In the end-game, you can even devolve a couple Garbodor for the game. This is probably the hardest matchup to execute, and requires tons of practice!

Vespiquen - Very Favorable

Against Vespiquen, all you need to do is continue to use Sonic Volume to lock your opponent out of using Special Energy! Voila! They can do very little to combat this strategy, and is best combatted by them using Tapu Lele to Energy Drive. This will only last for a couple attacks - even if they kill the first Noivern, keep trekking, and you will eventually KO their only attacker. Also, don't bench a target that has a retreat cost - they will gust it up in desperation to break the lock. If this fails, Boomburst and then devolve all of their attackers for a clean sweep on the game.

Vikavolt - Slightly Unfavorable

Against this deck, it's a very delicate balance between Tapu Bulu being a Basic, and Vikavolt being a Stage 2. Due to this imbalance of Pokémon, it's hard to gage a proper strategy to execute against the opponent. My best advice is to Distort until the opponent mounts enough energy to use their GX attack, and then try to take a swift KO. In setting up trying to find Charjabugs, they'll most likely disard a few Rare Candy, so when you break the lock they'll have a difficult time evolving into Vikavolt. If the opponent sets up, you're more than likely going to lose.

Decidueye/Ninetails - Slightly Favorable

I absolutely love Decidueye, but it has a very manipulative use of Item cards! The deck usually sleights a ton of mandatory Items in order to setup, and is very reliant on Special Energy as well. In order to succeed in this matchup, we not only attempt to Item-lock our opponent, but we also try to lock them out of energy. I feel like when our opponent starts first, they setup too fast, so then we must attempt to devolve them for the win. Otherwise, if they start slow, we'll capitalize on this by preventing them from playing DCE. Simple as cake! They can never OHKO us, so we'll always be able to just pickup our Noiverns with Acerola and SSU. Ninetales GX attack can be a really big nuisance (as well as Ice Blade), but once we work our way around that by evolving quickly, we're in no immediate trouble.

A Midnight 360 Into Worlds

Is Noivern-GX the play for the World Championships? Only time will tell. Depending on how much Volcanion will see play, we can gauge Noivern's success within a controlled metagame. I love how free the deck feels when you play it, and I've always loved the use of SSU within Item-lock decks. Item-lock is something that always will be powerful, and will forever be a favorite within the hearts of some players. For myself, I know that this is one of my favorite kinds of decks, so I hope that you readers will have as much fun with it as I have!

I've been probably testing 30-40 hours a week leading up to this exclusive event, and I figure it's only fair that I put forward the best information in planning for an event. That's why whenever there's a deck that needs exclusive covering, I always choose to do the odd ones out because most people only cover the hype decks. Things like Gardevoir and Golisopod decks have been beaten to death by popular writers, so I figured this was something new that needed a bit of spotlight on it. I know that when I read other peoples articles, I also thoroughly enjoy reading through to new decks, and seeing new insight on theories that never really got expanded on. I also dig a good rogue, you feel?

In leading up to the event, it's been a long season of travelling to every international tournament, no matter the distance (cough, cough, Australia, cough, cough)! It's been a tremendous amount of fun, but I'm glad this year’s summit event is finally arriving, and with the aid of a new expansion (Burning Shadows). They've carried this tradition since they released Steam Siege before Worlds 2016, and it makes Pokémon a deckbuilder's game. People are going to be coming out of the woodwork with newfound combinations, deck ideas, and a ton of stuff that I never would've imagined.

Likewise, I'll probably have a couple surprises in store for them too - and for that reason, Worlds becomes the most unpredictable event of the season. Practice hard, play hard, and win hard. If you see me at Worlds, or just have any general questions about this article, feel free to chat me up! I always love a good conversation. I'll be arriving in Los Angeles at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, so there'll be tons of time if anybody needs a Q&A about Noivern pre-Worlds. Until then guys, safe travels!

Jay Lesage

#PlayPokémon 

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Henry Brand

Striving towards Perfection - Recapping the World Championships and the origins of MewBox

09/13/2019 by Henry Brand // A look at how MewBox, affectionately called "Perfection" won the World Championships, and how the deck shapes up moving... (+58)

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Mark Dizon

Level One - Preventing Cheating

09/19/2019 by Mark Dizon // With the first regional of the season fast approaching. Level One goes over common cheats and how to protect yourself... (+28)

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Nico Alabas

The future of UPR-HIF

09/23/2019 by Nico Alabas // Nico takes a look at the current format and how it will develop after Worlds, the SPE in Melbourne and the Regional... (+19)

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