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Jay Lesage

"Meta-NOT-Gross" - Post-Rotation Metagross!

Need a League Cup finish? The Metagross list included in here will help get you where you need to go.

09/03/2018 by Jay Lesage

Good morning 60Cards readers! My name is Jacob Lesage, and as of now we are officially entering the 2019 season! Worlds has concluded, and Robin Schulz has now become the 2018 World Champion. Jeff Kolenc fell just short of the win in finals, allowing ZoroGarb to become the new top deck, earning a first place finish with it. Maybe Stephane was onto something when he won NAIC with it, and then took another win at Valencia with the same deck. Who knows, all that’s left to focus on is the 2019 format, where we lose a lot of key stuff that was usually in our decks. Let’s take a brief moment to look at some of the stuff we’re going to lose: 

•  Professor Sycamore (STS; 114)

•  N (FCO; 105)

•  Evosoda (XY; 116)

•  Octillery (BKT; 33)

•  Max Elixir (BKP; 102)

•  Puzzle of Time (BKP; 109)

•  Greninja (BKP; 40)

•  Garbodor (BKP; 57)

•  Float Stone (PF; 99)

•  Super Rod (DRV; 20)

•  Brigette (BKT; 134)

•  Strong Energy (FRF; 104)

• …and many more!

 

 

Introduction 

This is just a very brief glimpse of some of the cards we’ll be losing in the rotation, and it’s very important that we note what cards we can use to replace them. Here’s a couple good replacements for cards that we’ll need in the 2019 format. 

Brigette (BKT; 161)  – Replaced with  Apricorn Maker (CLS; 124)

Apricorn Maker allows you to search your deck for two “Ball” cards, which somewhat can replace what Brigette did. Players are opting between Pokemon Fan Club and Apricorn Maker for basic search, and I’m almost certain that Apricorn Maker is better. By grabbing two copies of Nest Ball, it’ll allow you to not only thin your deck, but give you some utility to also grab an Ultra Ball if you popped off and have a ton of basics in play already. Fan Club also has its own strengths though – by not having to grab directly two Ball cards, it can preserve them in the deck for future basic Pokemon searches; Fan Club can also net you a Tapu Lele-GX for a Supporter, whereas a card like Nest Ball can’t (since it forces you to bench said Pokemon).  

Float Stone (PF; 99)  – Replaced with Escape Board (UPR; 122)  

Escape Board (UPR; 122)  actually isn’t the worst replacement, and it’s good for many decks that run on 1 or 2 Retreat Cost per Pokemon. This isn’t a one-stop shop for most decks, as it doesn’t fulfill all Retreat Costs, but I mean the card itself isn’t bad by any means. Switch and Escape Rope are also mildly important in decks as well, but if your Pokemon only have a single Retreat Cost, then Hover Board is the way to go! 

Professor Sycamore (STS; 114)  – Replaced by Lillie (UPR; 151)  

Lillie is going to be the new queen of standard, especially on the first turn! This card mimics Bianca from older eras, but with a twist: if it’s your first turn, draw until you have eight cards in your hand. This can give many decks a significant boost in their opening turn, and can preserve the other combo pieces you may have wanted to hold onto. I’m open to this card coming to life over Professor Sycamore because it allows you to preserve resources you may have discarded. This card will most definitely show more skill that Sycamore ever could.  

N (FCO; 105) – replaced with Judge (FLI; 108)  

This is a replacement that I’m not okay with – I loved N to bits in every format when it came out, and now that it’s being dropped from standard. Judge does a mediocre job at recovering what N did as a whole, and can actually aid the opponent most of the time when it comes to hand disruption. The only thing Judge excels at is disrupting the opponent at the very beginning of the game when they have a hand size of seven, and it gets dropped down to four – with Brigette exiting the standard format, this can severely detriment specific types of decks. I favour 1-2 copies of this card. 

Evosoda (XY; 116)  – replaced with  Timer Ball (SUM; 134)

While Timer Ball relies on coin flips, it should workout in our favour most of the time! It isn’t too bad of a card to not run, and can actually aid in some effects that are triggered by evolving from your hand (ex. Lycanroc-GX’s Bloodthirsty Eyes would not be triggered from Evosoda because that involves searching your deck, and not playing it from your hand). This replacement should go over just fine.  

Super Rod (DRV; 20)  – replaced with Rescue Stretcher (GRI; 130)  

Super Rod is going to be very missed, especially since it can get back energy and Pokemon alike. Rescue Stretcher will be a fine replacement, however since it is unable to get energy back, it will make players think twice about discarding energy when they use cards such as Mysterious Treasure or Ultra Ball. Decks that can recover energy from the discard pile are at an immediate advantage at this stage in the season. This replacement is seemingly fine, since Sycamore is rotated and there is no longer many cards that can toss resources.  

These are all just staples in decks that I know people want opinions of going into the next season – a lot of these purposes are essential to most decks, especially setup decks. Zoroark decks are probably feeling the burn now that Brigette is gone, and they’re forced into only netting two basics based off their turn one Supporter instead of three.  

Today, I wanted to talk about a deck that I found to be quite strong in my testing. Metagross, the deck in particular, has a very strong spread against most of the metagame, and can take many OHKOs very easily. Recovering energy makes it very simple to chain attacks, and just being able to heal off damage makes this deck top tier in its own right. The only downfall that this deck has is the fact that it is a Stage 2 deck that can suffer from bricked draws – however, if we play consistent, thick counts of cards, we should have no issues setting up whatsoever. Here's my sample list that I’m currently working with for the post-rotation format! 

Metagross Decklist

 

Strategy

The strategy with Metagross is one that is very simple, yet very effective – using Geotech Systems, you are going to reattach energy every single turn from the discard pile to your Pokemon. You can retreat Metagross into another Metagross, and then follow up by reattaching energy to the new one. Then, your damaged Metagross on the bench can be healed by using Max Potion! Vuplix is the Pokemon that puts this deck into motion by using its Beacon attack in order to setup multiple Metagross. It’s a consistent deck with a straightforward gameplan that’ll leave any player satisfied. 

Card Counts

4-3-4  Metagross GX (GRI; 85)

 

This is an incredibly T H I C C line of the heavy boy because we need to draw into our Beldum as quickly as possible, as well as evolve into Metang whenever possible. Three Metang has been my magic number thus far, and proves to evolve very nicely when you have open Beldum spots on the bench. I’m not a fan of two Metang because you’ll never draw into them – I find I often have to Beacon for a Tapu Lele, and that reduces my ability to grab Metang. Four Metagross just makes sense when you’re trying to get three in play to secure your board state. This lineup makes the most sense for an intensive setup deck that relies on swarming your main attacker. Algorithm also makes for an exceptional mid-game setup attack, that can help to nab some things and turn the tides of a match! It got even stronger now that N has rotated because they can no longer shuffle your hand into your deck (besides using Judge). 

Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60)  

Since we don’t have that many draw Supporters in the deck, it’s vital that we play many copies of cards that can search them out. Tapu Lele is searchable via Beacon and Ultra Ball, and supplies a ridiculous amount of outs to draw Supporters that we need so badly. Tapu Cure makes for an excellent GX attack in this deck, as it allows us to fulfill our strategy of consistently healing up our Metagross GXs to the highest extent. Another two Max Potions in the deck? Yes, please!

Alolan Vulpix (GRI; 21)

We really only use this Pokemon for its Beacon attack – it allows us to setup our entire field very fast, and it only gives up a single Prize Card! If we can setup our field quick enough to only have GXs on it, then we’re really cookin’ – that means our opponent knocking out our Vulpix was virtually for nothing, and it puts us in a great position as we’ve now put our opponent in a 7-Prize game. Also, Vuplix’s second attack with a Choice Band can hit most Fire-type GX Pokemon for 100 damage, softening them up for a 2HKO with Metagross. I’m in LOVE with this card! If you want something spicy, include a copy of Alolan Ninetales GX – it can snipe off pesky targets to get them off the board. 

Guzma (BUS; 115)

This card is useful for getting your heavy retreaters out of the active spot, all the while allowing you a way to reset Metagross’ Gigaton Stomp attack for reuse. This is an easy 4-of in most standard decks now.

Hala (GRI; 126)

I find most games I need to open with an Algorithm GX to setup the rest of my field, which opens me up to using Hala at some point in the late-game. It’s very good in order to reach those high hand-sizes and net any Max Potion/Choice Band combo you may need in order to pull off the game. Shuffle and draw for four is suboptimal, but is also an option if necessary. 

Lillie (UPR; 151)  

Lillie is as explosive as it can get turn one! Drawing until you have eight cards in hand is going to be equivalent to Brigette turn one, and can determine the entire temp of the game. Eight cards is just an explosive new height to reach, and is going to be unprecedented this season as far as new Supporters go. Lillie also holds value mid-game as it can also draw up until six, so I’ve considered playing additional copies of this card.  

Volkner (UPR; 156)

Volkner is exceptional in this deck at finding that one last combo piece you need, whether that is Rare Candy, Max Potion, or Choice Band! It can also net you your only copy of Rescue Stretcher. I’ve considered adding in a single Lightning Energy just to thin out the deck and have access to energy whenever you want – I’ve also considered adding in a second Volkner in order to just have consistency in finding Rare Candy, but one copy is fine for now.  

Max Potion (GRI; 128)

This is as ideal as it gets for denying KOs on all of your Pokemon. The last thing you want is for a Metagross to go down and then you’re out of energy for the game, so it’s vital that we keep them alive! Max Potion is nice because since we’re consistently retreating our active Pokemon, we’ll never be facing the downfall which would be removing all energy. Since there are no energy to remove, we reap the full benefit of Max Potion.

Choice Band (BUS; 162)

This is very important in order to score OHKOs and end the game as quickly as possible. Although we recover resources very easily with this deck, and we can withstand the test of time in a long match, ending a game as quickly as possible means we can apply solid pressure onto our opponent (which deters their gameplan). Getting timely OHKOs to disrupt our opponent’s setup is also key, so Choice Band is maxed for that exact reasoning. 

Rare Candy (UR; 82)

4, 4, 4s…. seeing a pattern here? I’m really just maxing the most important cards in this deck so that we can always have them at bay whenever we need them the most. I’ve included a maxed out set of Rare Candy in order to setup Metagross as fast as we can. The more Metagross we get into play, the better for our deck. Whether we’re hiding behind a Vulpix to continue setup, or we’re going head-first with an Algorithm GX, we can rely on Rare Candy to help us setup in the quickest way possible. Our format also lost Espeon-EX, which was able to neuter Rare Candy to some degree – Rare Candy is now stronger than ever. 

4 Ultra Ball/4 Nest Ball

This is really important in order to establish all of our basic Pokemon as quickly as possible. I’ve considered a single copy of Apricorn Maker (or a playset of Acro Bike) in order to ensure that we get our basics out when we need them the most, on the first turn. These are essential to setting up our big beast of an attacker that is Metagross. Vulpix can also be used to find our basics as well, so one Ball card can get a lot of mileage with Vuplix. 

1 Rescue Stretcher

This single inclusion allows us to make more aggressive plays with discarding certain counts of Pokemon cards. It can also allow us to nab back any useful Pokemon that may have been KOed at some point in the game. Overall a very strong 1-of card in the deck.  

Possible Inclusions

1 Dhelmise

Dhelmise is great to hit that extra 10 damage against 190HP Pokemon such as Buzzwole-GX or against other hard to kill Pokemon such as Ultra Necrozma-GX. It’s important to be able to hit that 10 damage, otherwise it will live an additional turn and can potentially ruin your gameplan (or gain a favourable Prize exchange with you). 

1 Necrozma-GX

This card is useful because of its Black Ray GX attack – if I were to cut something for it, it would most likely be the fourth Choice Band since this card can soften up your opponent’s side of the field quite nicely. 

1 Mimikyu

Mimikyu is cute in the mirror to copy attacks, or against certain matchups (ex. Malamar) in order to gain a favourable Prize exchange. This deck is as vanilla and consistent as possible, but this is a spicy tech that can gain some leverage in certain matchups. I’d highly advise testing this out if you’re serious about playing Metagross in tournament, as it is very good and has high potential.

1 Lightning Energy 

This is just for utility with Volkner – if you play this card, I’d also consider playing Xurkitree-GX so you can Lightning GX very early (locking your opponent out of their draw out), and then abusing Hala early on. This is a very early thought process, but it seems good on paper! 

Matchups

Buzzwole-GX – Even

This is a matchup that we can excel in quite easily, provided that we can KO their Diancie Prism within the early game. Essentially what will happen is we’ll have deal with a GX attack from either their Buzzwole or Lycanroc, and then from there regain control. Our opponent will attempt to use Jet Punch in order to accumulate spread damage on multiple Metagross, but don’t worry about this – just find extra Max Potions and take them out. This is a matchup where Mimikyu can come in handy (as well as Dhelmise). Their biggest play they can do is Lycanroc in order to Bloodthirsty Eyes up an energy-less Metagross – if this occurs, then feel free to keep a Guzma on hand in order to get out of a sticky situation. Otherwise, they might end up getting off several turns of Jet Punch. Our bulkiness is usually enough in this matchup to put up a solid fight!

Malamar (Psychic) – Favourable

All of their attackers are actually 180HP or less, so we’re in a solid position against this deck provided we can get setup! They may use Black Ray in order to get KOs setup across our board, so just get ready to play a few Max Potion in sequence. Besides that, feel free to run through their entire board, as this is a relatively easy matchup. You can counter Black Ray with Tapu Lele’s Tapu Cure GX. If they use Moon’s Eclipse, just take a Guzma OHKO on something and proceed to carry out the gameplan. 

Malamar (Ultra Necrozma) – Unfavourable

This variant actually is favoured against us, since we can’t OHKO their Ultra Necrozma-GX in one shot! If we play Dhelmise, our match significantly improves. It’s basically the same as regular Psychic Malamar, except they can take OHKOs on us but we can’t take OHKOs on them. Their lack of Float Stone does give them restricted mobility though – I’ll have to test this a little bit more, but I’m pretty sure it’s not looking good for us. 

Zoroark – Favourable 

Zoroark decks are almost always going to be unfavourable against us. They can’t disrupt us because we can always attach energy to Metagross via our ability, so they’re forced to 2-3HKO our Metagross (which will rarely happen). Provided we setup and preserve our resources, Zoroark can’t really touch us. We’ll take out their Leles with an OHKO attack anyways, so this is an easy win, ladies and gents. 

Conclusion 

This deck is an absolute menace right now in the standard format, especially now that Garbotoxin has rotated and there is very limited ability-lock to look at. I expect this to be at all of the top tables going forward into League Cups and Brazil. I’m still smoothing out what deck I really want to play for the first big tournament of the year, but only time will tell! As always, thank you so much for going over my article, and I hope it aided you on what to play for your first set of tournaments as well. Remember, get lucky and run hot!

 

-Jacob Lesage

#Play Pokemon 

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