"School of Fish" - Wishiwashi in Standard
Your next go-to deck for a next-level meta game call.
09/29/2018 by Jay Lesage
Goodmorning 60Cards readers! My name is Jacob Lesage, and Dragon Majesty has just released! I had just done a set review of what I think are some of the most promising cards in the set, and let me tell you – there are quite a few of them. There are a lot of puzzle pieces just waiting to be glued together, mainly those interesting Dragon-type support cards, such as Zinnia or Lance, but the one card that caught my eye was Wishiwashi. Wishiwashi-GX was a card that was released in Guardians Rising, and saw very little play: it was ran alongside in Wailord-EX in Expanded, and alongside Hoopa in Standard this last season. Being primarily utilized in mill-style decks, it looks like alongside this new Wishiwashi, it could finally see the light of day in modern Standard as an…. attacker? Let’s take a peek at what the new Wishiwashi does from the newly released Dragon Majesty set!
Table of contents
Wishiwashi – 30HP
Ability – Meet Up:
Your Wishiwashi-GX in play get +20 HP, and their attacks do 20 more damage to your opponent's Active Pokémon (before applying Weakness and Resistance).
(W) Water Gun – 20
Retreat Cost: (C)
The all-star from the upcoming set, Wishiwashi (DM; 31) is proving to offer a lot to its GX predecessor. The main selling point of this card is the ability – if you have four Wishiwashi in play, that means you can consistently pump out +80 damage on attacks, and also receive a buff of +80HP on your Wishiwashi GXs! Being able to dish out 100 damage turn after turn while having that much HP can put massive stops on your opponent’s strategies, so we need to find a way to swarm these fish and keep them alive. That 30HP seems to be a massive problem, as two Tapu Koko Flying Flips will score our opponent four Prize Cards, and a hefty amount of damage on our active Wishiwashi GX (since it is weak to Lightning). That leaves us with ultimately two options we can utilize to protect ourselves against the opposing Pokemon..
Machoke has the ability Daunting Pose, which prevents all attacks and abilities from our opponent that target our bench. That means that our Wishiwashi on the bench are safe from Tapu Koko, as well as outliers such as Decidueye-GX with that Feather Arrow ability. The con to playing Machoke is that it eats up a bench space – I learned very quickly that while this is an option that is effective, it is not the most efficient as we’ll need an ideal field of four Wishiwashi, and two Wishiwashi-GX (one in the active, one on the bench).
Sky Pillar makes for a very effective counter, provided we can find the Stadium out of our deck. We need to make sure that we can find it before their first Flying Flip, that way we can reduce as many attacks as possible. The one major difference between Sky Pillar and Machoke is that Sky Pillar is a Stadium – if our opponent can bump our Stadium before attacking, it becomes a major issue as the attack targeting our bench will go through. Machoke ensures that the damage is blocked regardless until Machoke leaves the field. However, Sky Pillar can be retrieved with Lusamine, and does not require a bench space.
After I climbed the mountain of deciding how I was going to protect my bench, I then inched forward onto how I was going to protect my active Pokemon, Wishiwashi-GX. Here’s the list I belted out.
- 4x Wishiwashi
- 4x Wishiwashi GX
- 4x Acerola
- 2x Professor Kukui
- 2x Lusamine
- 4x Guzma
- 4x Tate & Liza
- 4x Cynthia
- 4x Brooklet Hill
- 4x Nest Ball
- 2x Ultra Ball
- 4x Sky Pillar
- 2x Choice Band
- 3x Rescue Stretcher
- 1x Energy Recycle System
- 1x Gladion
- 4x Max Potion
- 7x Water Energy
The strategy of this deck is one that I foreshadowed too earlier, but one that is very simple: find as many Wishiwashi as you can, put them onto your bench, and then relax in the active spot with a 290HP Wishiwashi-GX. Using your one energy attack, Water Gun, you can successfully continue to heal your active and keep pushing out attacks while using Acerola, Max Potion, and Lusamine to heal all of your opponent’s attacks off. Repeat this strategy until you’ve drawn all six of your Prize Cards.
This will be our main source of healing, because it’s vital for us to not only remove the damage from our Wishiwashi-GX, but also to conserve the energy attached to it as well. Acerola is also great, because since it isn’t an Item like Max Potion, it doesn’t count towards attacks like Trashalanche. Likewise, since it is a Supporter, it can be looped with cards such as Lusamine. Whenever we have a spare turn, we want to nab back two Acerola with Lusamine.
Our second line of healing, Max Potion, comes in the form of an Item card. Max Potion is great because it can be played in the same turn as something such as a Cynthia, which means on turns where we can’t afford to play an Acerola because we need to draw into multiple cards, Max Potion can allow for that. This card does discard our energy though, so be sure to use these accordingly. Also, if you ever have a turn where it is suitable to use either a Max Potion or Acerola, use the Acerola first – you can only use one Supporter a turn, but you can always play a Max Potion. Keep that in mind, it’s very key!
Lusamine is excellent for looping Acerola for us, which can make our Pokemon even harder to KO. If our opponent is forced to 3HKO us, we can infinitely Lusamine loop and keep on abusing Acerola to deny KOs form the opponent. Lusamine also holds some other important purposes too – it can help us to fend ourselves off from the consistent onslaught of Stadiums that are coming our way. It’s vital that we have consistent outs to Stadiums to bump off Shrine of Punishment (or any forthcoming Stadiums in future expansions). It’s also important to always have outs to draw Supporters since the game is going to go on for a very long time, considering all the healing we’ll be doing. If you can ever find one Lusamine, that’s great – you increase your odds of winning the game significantly. If you can find the second one and you’re in a matchup where you have ample time to loop them, congratulations – you’ve found an auto-win. Lusamine also helps us to retrieve Sky Pillar in matchups that abuse Tapu Koko or Buzzwole-GX.
This is specifically for finding a Wishiwashi in the Prize Cards, or a Lusamine. Consider the following: if one of your Wishiwashi is prized, you’re restricted to doing 20 less damage each turn, and having 20HP less than you potentially could. Considering the duration of most games with this deck, you’re going to want as many Wishiwashi on deck as possible! The same goes for Lusamine, because if you can find both of them in a game (or even just a single one), you can begin to grab back Acerola which is ridiculous for this deck. Acerola can literally heal up to 280 damage in a single haul!
It’s extremely vital that we don’t get benched out since we only play four Wishiwashi, and four Wishiwashi-GX, so I made sure to include ample outs to basic Pokemon in this list. Four Brooklet Hill makes it easy for us to retrieve Pokemon out of the deck in the early game, or out of our deck in the late game when we just played a Rescue Stretcher.
This is the other half of our “eight search cards so that we don’t get benched out”, with the previous four being the aforementioned Brooklet Hill. Nest Ball is just used because it is the most efficient out to a Wishiwashi (or GX) and increases our search count to eight, which is a safe amount to avoid a donk.
Did I say eight search cards? I meant ten, because I don’t take risks with 30HP fishy-bois. These help get rid of any unwanted clutter before you play a shuffle-draw like Tate and Liza, or Cynthia.
We only play seven Water Energy total in this deck, and I was able to keep that count so low by playing one copy of ERS. This card is excellent for being the “Rescue Stretcher” of energy, allowing us to facilitate how many energy cards we need available to us at any point in the game. We end up with a fair bit in the discard pile after playing down all four copies of Max Potion.
This is to void off any damage from Tapu Koko, Buzzwole-GX, or literally anything else that can snipe. This is a count I solidify at four, because you need to find it ASAP against those matchups, otherwise you either succumb to their damage, or you can’t bench Wishiwashi (which means your HP and damage buff are both withheld). It’s not just vital to find it, but also follow up with a replacement Pillar for when the spread decks play down a Stadium of their own. Tapu Koko decks play four copies of Shrine most of the time, so be sure to use your Lusamines and Pillars appropriately.
In a deck where things aren’t supposed to die, you’d think that we wouldn’t play Rescue Stretcher – that’s because our opponents are very intelligent, and go after the targets they can kill when they become frustrated with Wishiwashi-GX’s high HP. In most cases, four Guzma in decks allow for four Wishiwashi KOs. Our Wishiwashi will always just chill on the bench (unless they get a cheeky turn two kill on one of ours that we started with in the active position), so you can never really let one GX die – of course, unless our opponent prizes a Guzma, which means we win most of the time. Rescue Stretcher alongside Brooklet Hill means you can shuffle your fish back in the deck and keep going in time and time again.
Kukui is cute for picking up surprise knockouts whenever the opponent is unsuspecting – whenever there’s a deck that has a vanilla damage amount that is predictable, I love to play a copy or two of this guy to make the impossible occur. Since we cap out at 100 damage with four Wishiwashi in play using Water Gun (20 + 20), there are threats that remain on the field with a little HP leftover. If you haven’t figured it out, I’m referring particularly to Tapu Koko right now with its 110HP total – if we let Koko live, our field will be flooded with tons of damage and we’ll promptly sign “loss” on the match slip. Kukui is also lovely to loop with Lusamine if we’re ever given the opportunity, so be sure to look out for those precious moments.
This is the correct amount of energy to play in this deck, I’m sure. With a single copy of Energy Recycle Systems, we total up to ten potential energy – that’s acceptable in my eyes.
Lillie was a thought I had when building this deck, but then realized that most resources in this deck are healing based, which means you won’t be able to burn through them as you would with most decks. Since you can’t burn thorugh your resources fast, Lillie is not the Supporter of choice because you won’t be able to maximize your draw. Sorry, Lillie!
This is an excellent healing card, but it contributes to your overall healing theme very minimally. Rather than switch out a damaged Wishiwashi-GX, I’d rather heal it all completely because otherwise my opponent is just going to Guzma it back up and take a KO on it at some point. It just avoids the inevitable, and doesn’t really get the job done. I wish Rough Seas was in this format, because then Switch Raft would become insane!
This is another card I figured would be good, but you need Water Energy attached in order to make it work. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t heal enough to make it worth your Supporter for the turn.
Buzzwole Variants – Slightly Favourable
Our Buzzwole match is pretty interesting, because we don’t play a crazy amount of Item cards so the Garbodor doesn’t do too much. We’re really just going to get poked a ton by Buzzwole, all the while preparing gracefully for Weavile. The trick here is to pace out your healing cards, and predict how much damage our opponent is going to do. If you can do that, and target down the Sneasel/Weavile when it hits the field, you’re more than likely to win the match. Just watchout for Evil Admonition – they’ll use it after trading Buzzwoles with you, because in order to keep up with their damage output, you’ll need to put down several Wishiwashi.
Malamar (GasKan) – Even
This matchup surprised me very deeply, because I thought that Necrozma-GX’s Prismatic Burst would just run through our entire deck. Surprisngly, our strategy here alters our opponent’s typical gameplan, because we just kill all of their squids whenever available. We have more outs to Guzma than a normal deck does, because we can always get them back with Lusamine. Provided we can just continuously kill their energy accelerators, they end up having a very hard time setting up. Now, if they know our strategy going in, they’re more than likely going to win because then they’ll focus highly on just setting up Malamars and preserving Rescue Stretchers; however, if they are unsuspecting, we’ll prey on their lack of knowledge and cut off their main power source, deeming Necrozma-GX useless.
Zoroark Variants – Slightly Unfavourable
We can’t really keep up with Zoroark variants because most of them play 1-2 copies of Tapu Koko. It isn’t quite the fact they play Tapu Koko, but they also can Trade into their counter-Staidum they need in order to bump Sky Pillar whenever they need it. That way, they’ll always get to spread to our bench and take those much needed KOs. Otherwise, they’d have a hard time to reach our damage barricade of 290HP, but instead they can take away our Wishiwashi and render Wishiwashi-GX as a dud of a GX. I’m not saying you can’t win however – you just have to KO their Tapu Koko in one shot, and then follow up by killing Zorua whenever possible. Their main attacker, Zoroark-GX, and their companion (Golisopod, Lycanroc) will never be able to OHKO you, so just worry about their spread-man Koko and you’ll be fine. They might struggle to find their Rescue Stretcher after KOing Koko, and that’s when you’ll have a small window to win the game. Keep Choice Band on deck so you can hit for 110 with three Wishiwashi in play, and 2HKO their Zoroarks.
RayVolt – Very Unfavourable
The thing that sucks here is that it would be such a favourable matchup but we have weakness to their side-ally, Vikavolt. To put it simply, this is an auto-loss because Vikavolt is just going to hit your Wishiwashi for a 300 damage OHKO whenever they get a chance. Your only hope this matchup is to kill Grubbin as soon as possible, or hope that they can’t hit a Rare Candy ever in the game. Our opponent will always keep their ten cards off of Tempest GX because we don’t play Judge, so it makes our matchup even worse. I’m not saying you can’t win this matchup, but it isn’t looking too pretty for us!
Today, we read an in-depth article on Wishiwashi, and I’m not entirely convinced this is the best deck by any means. It has a bit of a wonky matchup spread, but it could succeed in what the meta is turning into – there’s very little RayVolt running around with all of these Shrine decks popping up, and Malamar is seeing a ton of hype going into the next Regional Championships. Zoroark/Lycanroc is also popping up in higher numbers since being piloted by top-tier players, but I think that hype will be short-lived as it didn’t end up winning Philadelphia as it was projected to at the beginning of Day 1. Needless to say, keep this concept in your back pocket for a rainy day when it could succeed, but don’t make this your go-to for every tournament. This is for sure a metagamer of a deck, and it has to be timed appropriately! Thanks for reading my article today, if you have any questions feel free to hit me up in the comments or on Facebook. I’ll be eagerly looking forward to Expanded as I prepare for the upcoming Portland Regional Championships! See you there, and remember: get lucky, and run hot!
Max Potion (PF; 121)
Lillie (SUM; 147)
Professor Kukui (SUM; 148)
Water Energy (SUM; 2007)
Brooklet Hill (GRI; 120)
Rescue Stretcher (GRI; 130)
Acerola (BUS; 112)
Lana (BUS; 117)
Ultra Ball (SLG; 68)
Gladion (CIN; 95)
Lusamine (CIN; 96)
Energy Recycle System (CLS; 128)
Sky Pillar (CLS; 144)
Switch Raft (DM; 77)
Wishiwashi (DM; 31)
Nest Ball (SUM; 123)
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