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Jay Lesage

"Pokémon is like Science" - Looking Ahead to Latin America Internationals

Don't catch me snoring on my plane ride back from Australia and definitely don't snooze on this fire article...

04/12/2017 by Jay Lesage

Don't catch me snoring on my plane ride back from Australia – and definitely don't snooze on this fire article that'll give you all the insight you need to be successful later this month at Latin America's International Championships.

I just returned back from playing in the Oceania Internationals, and it was a phenomenal tournament filled with very many surprises. One of those many surprises was the heavy emergence of Decidueye/Vileplume as a tier one deck, as opposed to its usual cameo appearance at large events by John Kettler. This was most likely largely attributed to Goncalo Ferreira's recent success at Sheffield Regionals the week before the big event, and since nothing changes between Oceania and Latin American (besides the release of promos), we're faced with a slightly more developed metagame than before. For those who know me, I personally enjoy these metagames the most because they truly reward the players who put in the work, and research what the definitive best play is.

The difference between Oceania and LA is that Oceania was less mature than what LA will eventually be; LA has more contrast and character to it, and more precedent to it than most events. I love analyzing previous tournaments, seeing what saw success, and then developing offensive strategies to combat the prior knowledge! These are all things that make card games so fun, and guessing a correct prediction is even more satisfying. One group that does a great job of compiling stats is Complexity Card Gaming – their Facebook page is loaded full of useful stats from tournaments that have passed by, and I scope their numbers out quite frequently to make accurate assumptions. Today, we can look at how to properly gauge a metagame, and what to look out for in future tournaments. 


A hypothesis in science refers to what we think will happen before the experiment takes place – much to my surprise, Pokémon is much like science when it comes to sequences! In the hypothesis phase, we must look at what precedents we have to go off of, as well as what we feel like in our gut will happen. A hypothesis is vital towards tracking our accuracy, as well as for record purposes, however if the hypothesis is wrong in the end that's okay; it just means we have to try harder next time! For instance, let's take a peek at some numbers from Oceania:

Source: Facebook

Decidueye/Vileplume (DV) ended up taking the highest number of seeds in the Top 32, with a 32% metagame share, followed by Darkrai with 25%, Volcanion with 10%, and a remaining 33% share from other various decks. Although DV, Darkrai, and Volcanion were the top contenders in Day 2, it's important to note the small decks that did well, because we still must have a game plan against them. In this instance, we saw an overwhelming amount of DV make the Top 32, which means that at the following tournament we may see a spike in Volcanion – this is based on people's false opinion that Volcanion “autowins” against DV. Online, people have been launching all sorts of articles about Mega Mewtwo/Espeon-GX based decks featuring Wobbuffet, Garbodor, or some combination of both. In my opinion, people will be much more apt to try this sort of deck, because it boasts solid matchups against both DV and Darkrai as well as Volcanion. As long as a deck can potentially dethrone the defined “best deck in format” (in this case DV), it will always see play at the next big tournament. This is a rule of thumb I tend to go with, and it seems to do me well at most tournaments. 

My prediction following LA Internationals: DV will continue to see rise, as well as Volcanion to defeat DV due to its Fire-weakness. Darkrai will see a decline due to its subpar DV matchup, and its iffy matchup to Volcanion (especially lists that play Pokémon Catcher). Mega Mewtwo will re-emerge as a tier one deck due to its natural consistency, as well as its strong matchups to the top tier decks. Fringe decks like Lapras may appear due to people attempting very hard to counter the metagame. Yveltal is one of the first decks that we'll look over at this hypothesis stage to do well:

Na – Sodium [Yveltal/Garbodor]

This is a list that I've been recently testing as a contender in the metagame, and I think it may resurface to best the top tier decks. With a little bit of a flashback, I remember this deck faring as the defined BDIF heading into Europe Internationals, with the Top 4 decks being all Yveltal/Garbodor; the deck faded out to favor Turbo Dark, however, which has a much weaker DV matchup – but DV was non-existent when Darkrai emerged. Now that we have all of these decks jumbled up into the mix, it's very interesting to see people forget what was once tried and true. The beauty behind this deck is its simplicity, its consistency, as well as its ability to abuse speedy attackers like Tauros-GX and Yveltal-EX. Yveltal BKT is yet another topic of discussion – I believe this card is at one of its high points. Not only can it strand a Vileplume in the active slot, but it can also impact Darkrai quite negatively. At Oceania Internationals, I played Darkrai against Yveltal, and promptly took a fast loss to a turn two Yveltal BKT sniping all of my big EX's. It was effective because my Darkrai's had not built up enough momentum to take an OHKO on these Yveltal, so I was unable to respond. Yveltal BKT is also extremely effective against Volcanion, where most players aren't used to conserving switch cards – they'll simply forget Yveltal BKT existed, and fall right into your trap. 

Tauros-GX fused with Ninja Boy is a concept we haven't quite versed yet either; in fact, very few people have wrapped their head around this being a possibility in tournament! Just today I was playing DV on PTCGO and my opponent had a damaged Hoopa-EX in the active slot that I had Lysandre'd the previous turn. From what seemed out of nowhere, they Ninja Boy'd into a Tauros-GX, and used Mad Bull GX to OHKO my only Decidueye in play, which seemingly won them the whole entire game. Now obviously this plan will only work “x” amount of times until the opponent will catch on, but it truly displayed how big the surprise factor in Pokémon still is! I love winning almost as much as I love losing in those scenarios, just because it's exciting to see where the game will take you. Regardless, I chalked up another loss on the drawing board, and it sparked my interest in this deck.

Something very miniscule that I thought was still important to note was that Garbodor decks are trending to play a 2-1 Garbodor line; pre-DV era, I was all for this idea, but now that Item-lock is an established thing, we should really revert back to playing two copies of Garbodor, because otherwise our chances of drawing into it under Item-lock become slim to nil. We also won't have access to our Super Rod while underneath Item-lock, so it's equally scary if we only play one Garbodor and are forced to discard it turn one with a costly Sycamore. I'd rather be safe than sorry, folks! That's partially why I've included a single copy of Hex Maniac – not only does this babe shut down Vileplume and Decidueye, it allows us to reattach a Float Stone after our opposing DV player has used their Beedrill-EX's Double Scrapper attack to discard our Pokémon Tools. Most lists have been trending towards playing Hex Maniac as one of their tech Supporter cards of choice, and I fully agree with it: it's just too good to not include. 

He – Helium [Vileplume/Decidueye]

Like all things, helium is lighter than air, and allows us to float very high balloon-style – much like our feathered friend Decidueye, we'd like our win/loss record to soar into the sky! With this handy archer, we can be sure to do so, but we have to overcome some interesting variables first. Let's take a look at the new hybrid DV list that Goncalo Ferreira just used to win Malmo Regionals! 

This deck has been recently beaten to death by the media, and I'm not going to overdo what its main strategy is – but essentially it's going to establish a Vileplume early on in the game, and proceed to get multiple Decidueye in play to abuse Feather Arrow as much as possible. Colorless and simple attackers such as Tauros-GX and Lugia-EX help to spawn off very easy attacks on the opponent in the early game; the beauty of these Colorless attackers help to balance out matchups where Decidueye would be typically slower/weaker. For example, the Lugia really aids us in taking down Volcanion decks, because without it we wouldn't be able to attack our opponent without expecting a return OHKO back. Tauros aids us in any matchup where they otherwise wouldn't be able to OHKO our main attacker, namely the Darkrai and Yveltal matchup. In a case where they are forced to two shot the Tauros, we can promptly use Mad Bull GX to return OHKO them, and take two fast Prize Cards. To make matters worse, having a Vileplume in play makes it much harder for the opponent to find a Lysandre, which means in most cases they're forced to attack head on into it, or suffer a slow death via Tauros' Horn Attack. This masterful creation was developed by the beloved John Kettler, and was perfected by the player mentioned above, Goncalo Ferreira. 

What we have to take away from this deck right now is that it's in the hot seat – it has had the most success of any deck as of late, with some people even calling it “unbeatable”, which is surely untrue. It poses extremely strong matchups to everything in the format, except for the counters that were designed to beat it (we'll talk about these a little later). For now, the strengths of the deck are incredible, and it bares very few weaknesses, but if we lament on these weaknesses, we can take away that DV is a relatively inconsistent deck. It doesn't thrive in a best-of-one scenario, and can often draw flat out dead hands. If I were to play this deck, it would have to be in a tournament where it was two-out-of-three, and where I felt like people wouldn't hard counter me with ability-lock cards, such as Wobbuffet, Hex Maniac and Garbodor. Speaking of those cards, let's take a peek at some of the advantages each one of those can offer to us!

I know that I've already briefly touched on the Hex Maniac, but it's just too good against DV in order to strap down on their setup, or to protect yourself from Feather Arrows. It also is one of your few outs in order to play Item cards! I enjoy Wobbuffet quite a bit, and even went on to play it in my Darkrai list from Oceania – it's a beautiful starter, and it's still fantastic against DV if you draw into it at any point during the game. If you start first, you'll have at least one turn to play Item-cards, and in almost every match against DV, I'd Ultra Ball for a Wobbuffet just to make my opponent's setup much more difficult. However, be wary, because this also gives them access to Item-cards! Alex Hill taught me this the hard way when we played in Round 7 of Oceania Internationals. Lastly, Garbodor is usually our go-to ability prevention plan, but lately people have been playing Beedrill-EX. We need a more sophisticated plan for the long run, and if I were to be running any of these three options, I'd go for a mixture of them; I'd rather be safe than sorry! Expect a ton of the best deck always at future events. 

H20 – Water [Quad Lapras]

Lapras was a very surprising deck that actually finished first seed going into Malmo Regionals Top 8! It's arguably one of my favorite decks to toy around with, and seems to have very interesting matchups. The deck itself was piloted by Karl Peters, and is based around attrition – it will wear you down before you have a chance to take your final Prize Cards. Not only that, but it has tons of Energy removal, so if your deck isn't prepared to handle that, it may not be a great day for you. Let's take a peek at a list that I've altered to better suit my playstyle:

The way the deck plays out is beautiful, and namely draws very well due to Lapras' Collect attack, allowing even the worst of hands to be solved with a single Water Energy. It's also very relieving to know that Lapras will 100% be your starter every single game – the number of mulligans your opponent will draw before that is alarming, though. The list plays very many disruptive cards, such as full suites of Crushing Hammer, and Team Flare Grunt. Combined with a pair of Enhanced Hammer, and Team Skull Grunt, this deck may go down a few Prize Cards, but the opponent will have a very hard time managing their Energy in order to map out a plan to take all of their remaining Prize cards. The strategy of this deck is very simple yet effective, and surprisingly even takes down matchups where you'd think this deck would lose!

For example, against DV, this deck has a moderately shaky matchup – however, its Energy removal ability allows you to discard one of Decidueye's precious 7-8 Energy cards in their deck. This hurts them an unbelievable amount underneath Item-lock, and can destroy their entire gameplan! Decidueye also has Hollow Hunt to combat this strategy, but we pack Team Skull Grunt in this deck to discard multiple Energies from their hand during our following turn. This is a cycle that will repeat provided we have the correct cards in hand, and will usually only occur after the Lapras player using many collect attacks. If they use Feather Arrow twice and follow up with a Razor Leaf, they'll be able to OHKO a Lapras, so be very wary about the weakness or be sure to attach a Fighting Fury Belt before Allergy Pollen hits the field. Overall, this matchup still slightly favors DV, but the DV player has to ooze with skill in order to capitalize with many resourceful plays to win; you'll see very many DV players misplay this matchup, and promptly lose Energy very quickly to lose.

This deck manages to slow the pace of the game down with its disruptive nature. This key feature allows the deck to play tons of Supporters, namely because it can use most of them in a game! In a normal game, we'd usually play Judge to knock our opponent's hand down low and the promptly use collect to redraw back to 7 cards. I've had this nifty idea to replace all of the Rough Seas with Silent Lab, and then play a heavy line of Judge and Trainers’ Mail: this would knock their hand down to 5 cards on their turn, and would prevent Shaymin, Hoopa, and other basic abilities from setting up our opponent's side of the field. From there, Lapras would just bank energies and start streaming prominent attacks against the opponent, leading to a very prompt victory! This idea would benefit against decks like Volcanion, DV, and Mega Mewtwo, but would give us a shakier Darkrai matchup, which is one that we worry about. I'm namely skeptical because they can just reattach Energy with Yveltal's Oblivion Wing attack, all the while setting up vicious 2HKO's. We can take down any matchup provided we disrupt their Energy enough, and Silent Lab in theory may provide more benefits as opposed to Rough Seas. 

As I've been saying about this deck, it's at a weird spot in the metagame; it's extremely hard to say where it will fall in terms of potential success, but I believe somebody will break this deck even more than it already is. I can speak for myself as well as many others when I say I'm scared to play this deck – on paper, the matchups don't seem too hot, but also through playing the deck you'll realize that this deck doesn't play out like it does on paper. In a nutshell, it's very surprising, and I'd urge anybody practicing hard for Regionals to try this deck out. This deck will be highly underrepresented, and I'd be surprised to see more than two of these in any major top cut coming up. 

O – Oxygen [Volcanion]

Volcanion is the deck that poses the most synergy in this format, and has been a fan favorite since its first release in Steam Siege. I admire this decks consistency, as well as its ability to dish out consistent, hard-hitting damage as early as turn one. If I had a nickel for every time this deck sandbagged one of my Shaymin-EX's turn one with an Escape Rope, I'd probably have somewhere close to 3$! This is a timeless deck that will always be present, regardless of how much Garbodor there is just because people enjoy it so much. Below is my list for Volcanion:

This deck poses a threat in this metagame due to its sheer speed alone – this deck can setup at intensely fast paces, which can overwhelm an opponent. I absolutely adore how bulky the regular Volcanion is, especially in the early stages of the game. A 130 HP basic Pokémon that can pack a punch of 140 damage as early as first turn? Yes please! It powers up your Pokémon for you, and compliments the EX counterpart to an unparalleled level. This deck is always going to be extremely popular, and with the expected rise of DV in the metagame, you can expect Volcanion to rise to the occasion as well (did you get the steam joke? “Rise”? Okay, too far, I get it). Luckily for us, this deck has various weaknesses that we can expose to triumph over our fiery friend.

Volcanion is extremely reliant on its abilities; if we can shut down the deck's abilities, we can control the pace of the game, and limit their eventual damage output. Things that severely impact this deck harshly include Silent Lab, as well as well-timed Hex Maniacs. This list is very close to Pedro Torres', the winner of Oceania Internationals, and for a good reason. I enjoy Pedro’s' list because of the high Stadium count to counter Silent Lab, as well as his singleton copy of Salamence-EX – Salamance absolutely destroys Darkrai-EX decks, simply because of how many EX Pokémon they have to have in play. If the opponent decides to play a Hoopa, they then have to have at least two Darkrai in play, as well as a Shaymin slot as well – that means with a Fighting Fury Belt attached to our Salamence, we can OHKO any single Pokémon in their entire deck! 


Volcanion poses a very intense DV matchup, in a sense where we hit for weakness, but the opponent will play as defensively as possible. DV will always attempt to Lysandre a high-retreat target in an effort to stall, but as long as we don’t bench Hoopa or Salamence, and keep our attackers powered up at all times, then we should have no problem steam-rolling our opponents. They'll also try to use their Colorless attackers against us in an effort to resist weakness, but with a few Steam Ups we clean up rather nicely. Be cautious of the opponent using Hollow Hunt for multiple Lysandre – keeping a copy of N in your hand can help to combat them from playing defensively. This is a matchup where the opening coin-flip plays a large role in the matchup, and sometimes can be the difference between an explosive turn one by the Volcanion player, or a blowout Vileplume turn by the DV player. The variability is all within the probability of calling the correct outcome of the coin-flip! 

This deck is a positive thing for the metagame, because without it there would be less ways to keep DV in check, and other Grass-based decks would have more potential to run rampant. The deck is also stupidly consistent, to the point where it barely ever draws dead, and always consistently holds onto Supporters throughout the game. Due to thick counts of almost every card, the deck never “prizes” anything too costly, and contains its resources quite well. This will be one of the most played decks also on the account that it is one of the cheapest decks to reproduce, pilot, and learn to play. 

Ne – Neon [Turbo Darkrai]

Ah, alas a classic S-tier deck! Darkrai is as simple as a deck can possibly get: attach Energy as quickly as possible, setup beastly high-HP attackers, and do it all insanely fast. This deck currently has an uncommon weakness to Fighting in Standard, which means nothing will be hitting it for double damage (barring a few random Zygarde-EX decks). The wild thing about this deck is that it isn't quite good at pushing the heavy damage, but more so retaining a specific tempo throughout the entire game – once Energy are in play, as long as you have Exp. Share attached to some benched Pokémon, you'll only increase your damage output. The risky payoff is that you exchange low damage output at the beginning of the game for high late game damage; my ultimate goal with Darkrai is to have an OHKO on an EX/GX for my final two Prize Cards. Here's a peek at my list that I've been currently playing with: 

This list is very closed to what Jesper played at Oceania to a lot of success, but the biggest thing we can take away is that his list was very aggression-based as it should be – I mean, after all, it is call Turbo Darkrai for a reason! It's evident in this list as seen by the four Trainers’ Mail, the third Exp. Share, as well as the third copy of Lysandre. The fourth Trainers’ Mail is very nice for multiple reasons; I enjoy this card very much so as a four-of, because it just gives you so much reach that you wouldn't have otherwise. It can allow you to reach for a Supporter card, an Ultra Ball (which basically ensures a setup via Hoopa-EX), a Max Elixir, but most importantly it thins your deck to increase your math with Max Elixir! This deck is only as good as its pilot, and what I mean by that is that your Max Elixir's effectiveness depends on how good the player piloting it can thin their deck. Most of the time you can manipulate your deck in order to ensure the attachment will connect, but sometimes players will overlook small plays that can cost them a few Elixir connects throughout the course of the tournament. For example, if you're depending on an Energy card from a Max Elixir, then do everything you can to take non-Energy cards out of the deck via cards like Hoopa-EX, Trainers’ Mail, and Ultra Ball. 

I opted to play a Wobbuffet in my list in anticipation for DV at Oceania, but much to my dismay it didn't benefit me as much as I thought it would. Even with the Wobbuffet, you can still lose to DV based on being unable to find that Wobbuffet throughout the game, and when you do find it, the timing of it also matters big time. I found that Wobbuffet helped me to improve the matchup, but was never enough for me to swing it into something positive in my favor; I was always facing an uphill battle. I feel like Jesper's ideals of “go H.A.M.” before they item-lock you is the way to live, and your fate relies on the opening coin-flip. If you can hit one or two Max Elixir, not bench Hoopa, and place down some Fighting Fury Belts and Exp. Shares, you should be able to take the game against DV based on your established tempo. If they manage to start, in most cases you won't have this privilege. In much simpler matchups, such as Volcanion, it's quite easy to capitalize on cards like Hex Maniac, Parallel City, and Silent Lab to put the nail in their coffin. Mega Mewtwo is a deck that causes you a bit of trouble, mostly due to their ability to Damage Swap. Since we're usually 2HKO'ing things, Mewtwo is able to heal quite frequently, and Lysandre to target easy KO's like Shaymin-EX. Darkrai will always see play due to how easy it is to play, and how it always stands a chance. 

Kr – Kryptonite [Mega Mewtwo]

Mega Mewtwo is the most trendy deck coming up, and for a good reason – it can beat basically anything, and seems to be the deck poised to beat DV the most. It's very consistent, and has very many strengths, including a very bulky HP, a snowball-like pressure effect, and healing factors followed with a ton of options to ability-lock. My favorite part about Mewtwo is that it has options for the mirror in the form of Espeon-GX, all the while having successful tools to handle other tricky matchups, such as Garbodor and Wobbuffet for DV. It's consistency is inherently within Hoopa-EX, and being basically setup after just a single usage of Scoundrel Ring. This is my go to play for the next tournament, because I know that it's the strongest counter deck currently in the format, and shouldn't be underestimated. Let's take a skim over my most recent list that has answers to everything:

Alas, a relatively unorthodox list, our Pokémon line is thicker than most because we focus on being able to beat everything – above all, this is a deck of many talents. Most of our counters to other decks take place in Pokémon form, so just like any other deck, it's important that we sport a playset of four Ultra Ball to have ultimate access to these resources. We also play very thin lines of things, including Travis Nunlist's idea of playing a 1-1 Espeon-GX, a 1-1 Garbodor, followed up by a pair of Wobbuffet. The idea behind 2 Wobbuffet and a 1-1 Garbodor is that although the Garbodor line is thin, if we are Item-locked, we will be able to send up Wobbuffet, and use our Ultra Balls to search out our thin line, and re-establish our Item-playing ability. I've been considering bumping up the Garbodor line to a 2-1, but the 1-1 seems to be working just fine for me in terms of setup. The only thing that seems to be disappointing is that sometimes a specific piece is prized, but that’s the price we pay in order to fit so much in the deck. The reason why Espeon-GX is able to tower over the mirror is due to Mewtwo's clause on its own attack: “do not apply weakness”. Since Mewtwo doesn't apply weakness, it needs quite a few Energy to OHKO an Espeon, all the while Espeon will be more than likely OHKO'ing Mewtwo for its normal Energy cost to use Psychic. Espeon is also very useful to inflict confusion onto opposing Pokémon, and is surprisingly very underrated in today’s metagame! For example, one time I was playing DV against Espeon-GX, and they confused me underneath my own Item-lock – I was forced to either retreat my active Decidueye, or to attack and force a 50/50 coin flip on myself and risk  damaging my only attacker in play. I went for the attack, flipped tails, took 30 damage on my only attacker, and got KO'd the following turn by my opponent's Espeon to promptly lose the game.

It's plays like this that make me consider Espeon-GX as a better card – the Energy cost is a tad bit off-putting, but in this certain Mewtwo list, it works wonders, and I urge people to try it out in their own lists. If your metagame doesn't call for Wobbuffet, Garbodor, or Espeon from time to time, cut them out for other cards such as Mega Turbo, Trainers’ Mail, extra Stadiums, or even the fourth basic Mewtwo-EX. 

General Findings 

Most of the above decks are going for a common trait, and that trait is to be able to counter the next up and coming deck. This is how the metagame rotates on a consistent basis: it will always try to beat the next idea. Players are becoming very innovative in regards to countering metagames, provided that the metagames are consistent.... but that's the biggest issue. Sometimes metagames aren't consistent, and knowing your area is very important in order to gauge this. In this science themed article, you'd most likely expect there to be another section titled “experiment” - but that would be your next upcoming tournament. We won't be able to ever gauge a tournament until after it happens, but we can get as close as possible to picking a deck. We need to know a few general things first, such as how big is the tournament? Is it a best-of-one format? And what is currently the biggest hyped deck? One of the most notorious examples of this is California's top players consistently playing Yveltal/Maxie's whenever applicable; another example would be Florida players consistently playing Flareon decks. By knowing what is played there the most, you can counter the majority of players. When it is a much larger tournament, let's say a Regionals, factor in what the locals are playing, and then follow that up with trends – wait, trends?

Yes, Pokémon is a game where trends are extremely common. Like for example, DV became very large after winning a few Regional Championships. I'm more than sure another deck will come along to counter it (most likely a Mewtwo-based deck), and then that will continue to see play. Trends develop in sequence to defeat the top tier decks, or to improve consistency. If I were to summarize what a trend is in a few words, it would be simply the evolution of decks in a given area. Staying on top of trends are very important, because if we don't remain well versed in these sorts of things, we'll be caught off guard at our next upcoming tournament. Pokémon is a game that rewards practice, and usually players who practice are also the ones setting these trends for the herd to follow. Don't be a herd, be a leader! 

I always urge myself as well as other players to innovate in this game, because without innovation there would be no interesting decks. One great example of this is Volcanion; people knew Volcanion would go well with its EX brother in the moment it was released, and that archetype was a given. Other decks, such as Carbink/Zygarde in the Expanded format, were not so much a given, and required players to dig through card pools and theory different ideas. They were rewarded by doing very well at certain Regionals, and set the bar quite high for creativity. 

If you don't have time to analyze the metagame, here's a tip for you: have a set of eyes at the actual tournament that can give you real time updates. A lot of information doesn't get published online that you can find at the tournament, such as certain rounds having specific trends. For example, let's say after Round 4, there are a crazy amount of Gyarados at the top tables, but for some reason they get phased out by Round 6 at a major Regionals. Our next question in order to finding the secret behind our metagame may be behind what phased out a specific deck in the earlier rounds. Just because a deck didn't win a tournament doesn't mean it isn't the best play, and likewise. Other insights at the tournament are extraneous variables, such as a player receiving a penalty pre-game or a player receiving a disqualification prior to a big game. These are variables that can influence a tournament without us noticing, and can overall change how an event plays out. By piecing together all of these bits and pieces, we can slowly and surely find the key to solving a metagame!

Final Words

The Latin American Internationals are right around the bend, and I surely recommend people to begin reading their metagame a little bit more seriously in order to cut deeper into the event. Popular plays are typically exploited by those who browse the card pool, and as I've said earlier in the article, Pokémon is a game that benefits those who do their research! Try your absolute best to devote a little bit of time each week in preparation for a big event, because let me tell you, it will creep up on you; the last thing you want to do before a big event is to be unprepared. One of my best tips is to gather all your cards for your deck before the event, that way you don't have to fret over finding those precious Shaymin-EX for your deck. Also, reading tournament reports from current Regionals will allow you to stay up-to-date with what people are playing, while simultaneously giving you access to those next level plays people search ever-so-hard for! A good rule of thumb is that if you think they are a good player, they're most likely doing something right – in my experience, if I feel threatened as a player across the table from them, they most likely have an ounce of skill. In order to prepare for LA Internationals, I'll be talking to my Latin American friends about what their metagame is currently like, and any facts that may be necessary to know; for example, did you know Brazil used to have the 2nd largest National Championships in the world next to the USA? I didn't know until recently either! These are the useful tidbits we can all use when preparing for our next big tournament. In the wise words of DJ Khaled, “don't ever play yourself”. 

All of these things are really exciting, and are a passion of mine when playing this game – it's almost like a game of Clue, and whoever wins the game will most likely be the most poised to win a given event. Within my objectives, I'd like to go over my goals from Oceania.

On my way back to Toronto, I had a lot to review with the way I played this weekend. I acknowledged that my goal was to make Top 32 this weekend, but I didn't foresee a Top 8 as a goal of mine – this showed when I failed to make Top 8. As a competitive player, I need to be able to stretch my endurance further in order to make the third day, so in the future I need to adapt my mindset for prolonged success. Also, I noticed that several players around me were misplaying due to jet lag, so perhaps for these international events, it is even more important to get to the location earlier in the week than I initially presumed. Even though these are my noted points, I understand the struggle of being a normal human being, like school is of the utmost importance to me! However, experiences in life as well as personal interests also mean quite a bit to me, so achieving proper balance in life is key. In the future, I think this may be an article I could potentially write about, because it seems to be one that a lot of new players find difficult to understand. As malleable as time is, we don't have enough of it, and of course I got a tad carried away being in the Asia-Pacific area playing the game I love and enjoy! I had a blast going to the zoo, as well as seeing the other side of the globe with my family. Pokémon may be the highpoint of competitiveness for me, but remember to hold your loved ones close to you because you may not get to experience those events ever again. Pokémon is really making dreams come true this year, and I'm happier than ever to have a chance to compete in Brazil later on in April. Until then 60cards, have an awesome day, and thanks for reading this monster 7000 word article. Cheers!


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