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Jay Lesage

"Brick Squad" - Glaceon-GX/Champions Festival

Glaceon-GX is an emerging deck in Standard that can take on any contender.

09/14/2018 by Jay Lesage

Hello 60Cards readers!

My name is Jacob Lesage, and welcome to the 2018-2019 season! There’s a lot going on, as I’m finally moving into my new apartment after a very long period of time. For those that have been following, they know that it has been a long time coming in terms of my move coming to an end. I’m finally settling in to the big city of Ottawa, and I’m just gaining the wiggle room I need to participate at some upcoming events. I’m very excited to be competing in some upcoming League Cups and Challenges, but unfortunately I’ll be missing out on the Philadelphia Regional Championships coming up soon. However, even though I’ll be missing out on it, that means I can spill the beans on a potentially spicy play that’s in the current stage of testing. That’s the best part about upper tier players missing out on events — they don’t mind letting out secrets about what they were thinking of playing. In this particular case, I wanted to play a deck that was able to capitalize on beating many upcoming decks form this format — this deck in particular is Glaceon-GX!

Introduction 

The deck’s initial phase all kicked off when I was pondering about most matchups in Standard — most players are complaining about losing a lot due to bricking (drawing into no draw Supporters). It was upsetting for me, because that’s not how Pokémon should be. No players should REALLY anticipate beating certain matchups due to them bricking, because let’s be honest — it’s not a deserving win. As a veteran of this game though, I must contest that it is possible, it happens a lot of the time, and we take those. That’s why today, I’ve built a concept around the ideal “brick scenario”, and finding ways to manipulate it and cast it onto our opponent. The idea stems back shortly to our most recent World Championships, where myself as well as many other players played Marshadow SLG in our Rayquaza-GX decks. The idea behind it was to give an extra out to drawpower for yourself, all the while reducing our opponent’s hand to four cards on turn one. That way, they either brick completely, or they have a vastly reduced amount of choices throughout the rest of the game. I asked myself how I could expand on this topic, and a brainchild was born completely from this hellbound way of losing. I present to you, Brick.dec!

Glaceon's Strategy 

This deck is aimed entirely around bricking our opponent as early as turn one, which will buy us enough time to spread damage and take KOs using Glaceon-GX. Our early turns will include the following steps in any sequence of sorts:

• Find a way to get Eevee into the active spot

• Using Eevee’s ability, Energy Evolution, attach a Water and find a Glaceon-GX

• Using either Marshadow’s Let Loose ability or Judge, and get your opponent’s hand to four cards

• Next turn, find Double Colourless and begin attacking

• Stockpile healing cards in hand, such as Lana or Champions Festival

This sequence of stuff is actually very easy to pull off, as long as you play the proper order of cards. Mysterious Treasure is really good at finding our Psychic support Pokémon, and Nest Ball is super handy at grabbing the essential Eevees that we’ll need to fire up at the beginning. If you can ever Marshadow Let Loose into a Lillie, you’re very likely to pull of this turn one combo. I’d say you can get it around 90% of the time provided it is played out optimally! 

 

Card Counts

3 Glaceon-GX

Glaceon-GX is the bread and butter of our whole deck, and ties into the incorporation of our whole strat — we want to be able to ability-lock our opponent out of the game, and limit their outs to Supporter cards. If we can prevent our opponent from having options by limiting their hand size, all the while preventing Lele’s Wonder Tag, we have a high percentage chance of bricking our opponent. Glaceon’s attacks aren’t fantastic, but they’re good enough to warrant it as playable. Polar Spear is great for preparing KOs and sniping weaker basics, like Inkay, Grubbin, and Sneasel. Ice Spear is a very different attack, that finishes off the job for us — if there’s ever an imminent threat on our opponent’s board, I try to at least plop one 30 damage blot on it using Polar Spear; that way, when we need to OHKO it in a single turn, we can use Ice Spear with another Glaceon-GX. Supbar attacks, but a killer ability ties this Pokémon into a monster in the right hands. Its Water-typing also allows for some unique support cards, which we’ll talk about in a little bit!

4 Eevee

This count is optimal because we want to start Eevee every single game that we play. If we can’t start Eevee, we either want to draw into it, or draw into a search card that can find it out of our deck. Energy Evolution makes this card very good for ability-locking our opponents with Glaceon-GX.

4 Marshadow

This lovely card holds two purposes for us — one, it allows us to get our opponent to four cards in hand, which further limits their options. Next, it allows us to pop off on the first turn of the game and draw into all the pieces we need in order to get a Glaceon up and running in the active spot! It’s highly exciting to be able to see more cards than most other decks in the format, which means we’re far more consistent than a lot of other decks in the format. I like to play as many Marshadow as possible on turn one, but leave a bench space open just in case we need to play another Lele or Marshadow down for their ability. 

2 Tapu Lele

The engine for most popular decks, Tapu Lele has high value for its Wonder Tag ability to either nab us a draw Supporter; or in this deck’s case, a healing Supporter or disruption Supporter. There’s so many great cards we can search out with Lele, and I wouldn’t want any less than two in this deck. Energy Drive also makes it a lovely attacker in this deck, especially since we run DCE.

1 Judge

Playing a single copy of Judge is great, because it allows you to restrict your opponent’s hand size via Tapu Lele. It’s also useful when you have no space on your bench, but also want to restrict hand size. That’s why I love this card at a single copy!

3 Guzma

Most decks play four of this card,but we don’t need too many because we can snipe Pokémon on the bench. We also don’t need to bring up targets too often, because our opponent won’t really have too many threats on board all the time. Since they’re going to be bricking a lot, we don’t need many Guzmas because there is nothing particularly to get rid of. In the case where they draw out of their brick state, then go ahead and Guzma up a threat they’ve been preparing, and be sure to re-Let Loose in the same turn. 

4 Lana

Lana is a card that hasn’t seen a crazy amount of play, however it is very good against so many decks! It off-puts a lot of our opponents form being able to 2HKO us, and turns that into a 3HKO. By that time, we’ll usually be able to wear them down and take out whatever attackers we’re facing. Lana also aids us in countering Shrine of Punishment, something that would hurt our deck greatly if we didn’t have an answer. Multiple Lana ensures that we draw them when we need to, and we get them on time. The longer we can keep our Glaceon alive, the better chance we have of winning the game. Easy does it! 

3 Champions Festival

The useless Worlds promo finds a place in a competitive deck? Who would’ve thought! This deck needed a card to counter Shrine of Punishments, and this is just it — I love this card against BuzzShrine decks because we can neuter their damage down to nothing. Our field is particularly full in the early game, due to our massive use of Marshadow and Tapu Lele, so we can usually trigger Festival very easily. The tricky part is timing the card so our opponent can’t abuse it — with our massive disruption on our side, most of the time we can make it so that our opponent doesn’t draw basics, meaning they can’t trigger Festival themselves. Just be wary, if they have 6 Pokémon in play, they can use it too! 

2 Switch, 2 Escape Board 

We need to make sure our Glaceon is in the active spot on turn one, and these cards just make sure to get it done. Escape Board is a great edition because all of our basics have a single retreat, meaning we get off the hook scott-free! Also, Switch is a nice card in order to keep all Pokémon mobile.

1 Aqua Patch

There’s sometimes awkward points in the game where you’re stuck, and need to get an attack off but can’t power up a Glaceon in time – Aqua Patch is great for just a single turn of attachments, and can go a long way. It helps to swing tempo in games where you fall behind, and sometimes can catch our opponent off guard. I figured this was a better spot overall than the 8thWater, but some may beg to differ because it influences Eevee’s Energy Evolution probability for turn one. I just like this as an option, and it’s been great — however, the testing is still in its early phases, so this may end up being cut. 

4 Nest Ball 

Nest Ball increases our chances heavily of drawing into Eevee, so we want to make sure we maximize our outs. I mean, after all, we are a lock deck, which means we want to increase the odds of getting off the lock as much as we possibly can! Nest Ball helps us to get there by doubling the odds. 

4 Mysterious Treasure

Following Robin Schulz’s principle at the 2018 World Championships, Ultra Ball may aid in minor flexibility, but discarding two cards always just feels… well, bad.  In our case, this deck also feels the same, so we’ve actually maxed out on Mysterious Treasure in order to spam as much Marshadow as possible on turn one. It can also search out Tapu Lele, which aids our deck’s overall consistency! Mysterious Treasure just helps the deck in so many ways. 

1 Rescue Stretcher

Rescue Stretcher isn’t a necessity in this deck by any means, but it’s better than playing four copies of Glaceon-GX by far. I’d rather have the versatility of grabbing a Lele I discarded earlier, or perhaps a KO’d Eevee from earlier on in the game. I’m unsure if there’s a better spot for this card, but it seems like this is optimal in the deck. Could be cut for something else potentially, but if your prizes are bad, and you don’t have another Glaceon, you’re up the creek without a paddle. Try this out first before you switch it.

2 Enhanced Hammer

When you don’t have many options in hand, you may be forced to play a Special Energy down — we can discard those with Enhanced Hammer. We can dig for them very easily with Marshadow as well — it can be very difficult for our opponent to find energy when they are under ability lock. This strategy is especially strong against decks like Zoroark, where their main draw is based around ability draw (Trade).  

Options

Switching Raft

Switching Raft is a card that comes out in the new set — Dragon Majesty. It allows you to switch your active Water Pokémon, and heal 30 damage from it. I’m unsure how many I would play in this particular deck, but I’m positive that it would take a few spots at least. I love the idea of being able to alternate between Glaceon and heal them off on the bench!  

Pal Pad

Pal Pad could be a great addition to help in getting cards like Lana back, or perhaps Guzma. I would consider cutting something like the fourth Lana for the Pal Pad, but that’s about it(?).

Field Blower

Sometimes, Choice Band can be very harsh to our deck, so a copy or two of Field Blower would help in preserving our Glaceon’s HP.

Tapu Koko

Tpau Koko might be better than Choice Band in some cases, however that means our Glaceon’s ability isn’t in play. This is for Buzzwole Matchups where they all have 130 HP — if you can get off two Flying Flips, the matchup becomes so much more free. 

Matchups 

VikaRay — Slightly Favourable

We block out Rayquaza’s Stormy Winds ability which means that they’ll be restricted most games to just using whatever energy they can find off of Vikavolt’s Strong Charge. Provided we can lock them up T1 or T2, they should have an extremely hard time getting a Vikavolt out. They’ll attempt to use Tempest GX in order to try and get out of their brick state, so make sure to keep a bench spot opened up for another Marshadow drop in the early-mid game. They may resort to trying to 2HKO your Glaceons, so keep a Lana or two in your hand just in case. You’ll eventually run them out of energy, and they’ll fall off the map damage-wise. Now the opposing side of this is they get lucky, and draw into their Rare Candy + Vikavolt off of a very small hand-size (which is something every deck fears). Do your best to find the Aqua Patch in the deck, because you’ll need it in order to keep tempo. Otherwise, try to KO the Grubbin before it can evolve.  

Zoroark/Lycanroc — Very Favourable 

We’re playing a deck that not only reduces hand size, but it also locks out our opponent from using their main attackers’ abilities (Bloodthirsty Eyes and Trade). Since this deck utilizes Lycanroc as a gust effect, they probably play 2-3 Guzma as a result of that, which means they aren’t breaking our lock anytime soon. We also play Enhanced Hammer to get rid of their Double Colourless, which all translates into a very favourable matchup for us. Their best plan of attack is to use Tapu Lele, but we’ll just use Enhanced Hammer and Lana to set them back into their place. Eventually, they’ll either not find the energy they need, brick, or run out of energy. The choice is all just in how quick you setup/preserve resources. This is a very easy win if we setup!

Buzzwole/Weavile — Unfavourable

This deck actually plays 0-1 Tapu Lele as their only GX ability, which means we aren’t getting much mileage off of Glaceon. They also have Weavile, which can OHKO anything on our field provided we have enough Pokémon with abilities in play. While we do have Champions Festival to warrant off any Shrine damage, it is still difficult to work around this matchup in a positive way. We lose to this matchup a fair bit of the time.

Buzzwole/Garbodor – Favourable

This is the exact same as the prior matchup, however since they don’t play Weavile, as long as we watch our Item count, we should be okay. Lana and Festival help us to stay alive long enough in this matchup, and spread damage all over the opponent’s field. This is a relatively simple matchup!

An Icy Wrap-Up

This deck has proved to be very good in standard right now by being able to keep up with Shrine-based decks, and also prove to be consistent. It can disturb all of the VikaRay decks by manipulating their hands, and also shutting off their Rayquaza’s ability. Decks like this that have a common theme in a game (i.e. shutting down abilities) that are good against card mechanics tend to do well in tournament. Exampes of these include Garbotoxin, Giratina with Chaos Wheel, or Seisitoad-EX with Quaking Punch. I hope to see somebody capable take this to the top tables, and refine it into a concept that could take down an upcoming regionals. I’ll be trying avidly to re-enter into the Pokémon scene as somebody more full-time, because I miss playing as much as I used to a season ago. Until that day though, cheers 60Cards, and remember: get lucky, and run hot!

 

Jacob Lesage

#PlayPokemon

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