Anaheim Analysis and Preparations for the Next International Tournament!
Hello 60cards readers! It’s Tablemon back with another article for you...Let's talk about Standard format!
03/09/2017 by Pablo Meza
Hello 60cards readers! It’s Tablemon back with another article for you as we are now at the second ever International tournament, to be held in Melbourne, Australia.
Now as I am writing this, there is only one tournament in this new Sun & Moon Standard format that we can use to analyze results, as this will be published by the time Sheffield Regionals is taking place at the time.
One can’t help but notice some similarities between what happened in Anaheim and what happened in the first Standard format Regional of the season in Orlando.
Orlando was the first tournament of the new Standard format or an unknown metagame, while Anaheim was the first tournament after a new, very hyped up Sun & Moon set released, with no prior results and therefore leading to, once again, playing in an unknown metagame.
Taking this into account, it’s very difficult to use a bold deck choice in a tournament where you have no idea what the metagame out of a 500+ player field will be. You can make some educated guesses and assumptions, sure, like the fact that reliable decks such as Turbo Dark (coming off of an Athens Regional win) or Mega Mewtwo EX (crowd favorite with a powerful and simple strategy) would make an appearance. However, there were many other questions going into the tournament that could certainly not be answered despite however many hours you were able to put into testing during the weeks and days prior to the event.
Some of theses questions were: How good are Decidueye GX and Lurantis GX in the tournament setting? How good are the Eeveelutions Espeon GX and Umbreon GX? IS Solgaleo GX a niche card or can it become an archetype on its own? Sun & Moon brought about many great new cards but all share a weakness to fire, and with Volcanion decks being very accesible, how big will these be as counters to the new hyped up cards?
There are only so many things you can control as a player when testing, and going into a tournament, especially in a new undefined metagame, simply guessing the metagame is just as important as picking the right deck and having the most optimal 60 cards in there.
So how do you approach an unknown metagame? Like many of the top players did--with a reliable, tried and tested strategy, which is a more conservative strategy, or you’re simply bold and take a huge risk, hoping it’ll pay off in the end by doing extremely well, or things going south pretty fast.
I went with the more conservative approach, and to me the biggest assumptions I made going into Anaheim were the following:
It’s very likely that there will be a lot of Turbo Dark.
It’s very likely that there will be a lot of Volcanion because it’s a solid deck and it does well against the new cards, along with doing OK against the already established meta.
It’s very likely that Greninja will see very little play.
Finally, it’s very likely there will be a ton of new random decks featuring the new cards.
After I posed those 4 questions, I then went to the drawing board to see what were my best options for the tournament with those factors taken into account, and had the following decks as my top choices:
Mega Mewtwo EX / Garbodor
Yveltal EX / Tauros GX / Garbodor
Mega Mewtwo EX / Garbodor
Mega Mewtwo EX with Garbodor felt like a really solid choice, simply based on the fact that it has a great Volcanion matchup if you run 2 Parallel City, to avoid Salamence-EX from being an issue, it has a solid Turbo Dark matchup, specially with 4 Stadiums to ensure a turn 1 Parallel City doesn’t screw you over, as you end up OHKOing them far easier early on into the match than they can OHKO you, and it’s very solid against any of the new cards that were sure to pop up in the various decks, such as Tauros GX as you can avoid attacking into it and it’s not hard to OHKO.
Yes, I certainly do have some sort of special affection for this card but based on the above assumptions I made, not only does Greninja have a great matchup against Turbo Dark (provided you stabilize early on or they don’t have a near perfect start), Volcanion (Silent Lab + Shadow Stitching + weakness) but with so very little expected, there was a low chance of seeing the promo Giratina, along with any mirror matches. Now, the biggest issue here was the fact that the new Decidueye GX and Lurantis GX could easily deal with Greninja, and now after the tournament we can see that Mega Mewtwo EX was way too popular for Greninja to have a chance.
Yveltal EX / Tauros GX / Garbodor
Yveltal-EX went from hero to zero pretty fast in the last few tournaments. It was deemed too strong and people were asking for the card to be banned after it won the Orlando Regional, and went on to dominate the Fort Wayne Regional and the London International tournament. It then fell off the radar quite a bit though as people hard countered it through fairy type decks with healing and random Zebstrikas or Jolteon EXs in whatever deck they could fit them in. Since it fell off the radar though, I was positive that there would be very little lightning played, specially with no new powerful Sun & Moon lightning type Pokemon, and therefore Yveltal could come back strong again and with new tools at it’s disposal in the form of Tauros GX and it’s Mad Bull attack.
All 3 options in my mind seemed very viable for the upcoming Regional, but in the end I settled on Mega Mewtwo as I was sure I would not be the only one to have this train of thought and Mewtwo covered my assumptions well enough, along with having good matchups against my other 2 options.
Now it came down to making a deck list, and between testing on my channel and tournament results, I knew my list would definitely be based on Igor Costa’s Mega Mewtwo EX deck from Dallas.
The night before the tournament I had a run of some pretty bad draws with the deck, going 0-4 against my friend Sam Chen, but after that, I went on a hot streak where I would get above average hands and was able to completely dominate the various matchups I tested: Solgaleo GX / Darkrai-EX/Dragons, Lurantis GX/Vileplume, Turbo Darkrai, Volcanion-EX and Mega Rayquaza-EX. I was fairly happy with my deck list at that point, but had a small disagreement with my friends over a few cards. In the morning of, Ross Cawthon mentioned a 1/1 Espeon GX line in the deck as a spicy tech to include and to give us a way to hit the bench, have Confusion as a last resort, 50/50 chance to win and as an attacker against Giratina EX. I was sold after a few minutes of debating and here’s what I ran at Anaheim Regionals:
Mega Mewtwo Anaheim
- 2x Trubbish
- 1x Garbodor
- 2x Shaymin EX
- 1x Hoopa EX
- 1x Eevee
- 1x Espeon GX
- 3x Mewtwo EX
- 3x M Mewtwo EX
- 4x Professor Sycamore
- 3x N-supporter
- 2x Lysandre
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 4x VS Seeker
- 3x Trainer's Mail
- 3x Float Stone
- 1x Super Rod
- 3x Mega Turbo
- 4x Mewtwo Spirit Link
- 2x Parallel City
- 2x Shrine of Memories
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
- 7x Psychic Energy
As I’m sure you’ve read a ton about Mega Mewtwo EX decks at this point, I’ll just go over the main things from the deck:
3/3 Mega Mewtwo-EX - The main attacker, with the damage change Mewtwo to abuse that effect which can outright win you games on it’s own.
1/1 Espeon GX - A spicy tech for utility purposes and great in mirror as Mega Mewtwo EX decks (like mine) don’t tend to run any form of switching besides Float Stone, which Mega Mewtwo’s will usually not able to use as they will have a Spirit Link attached.
2/1 Garbodor - With very little to no Greninja expected, but still useful to shut down decks in the later stages of the game. Very useful vs Volcanion-EX of course but not 100% necessary to win the matchup.
2 Parallel City / 2 Shrine of Memories - This is where none of my friends agreed with me, and they played 1/2 respectively, but then went on to complain how Salamence EX was a big issue. 2 Parallel is so good and I think it’s the best Stadium in the format at the moment, with Silent Lab a close second.
3 Mega Turbo / 3 Trainer’s Mail - Another disagreement, where my friends ran 4 Mega Turbos, as they argued Mega Turbo can make or break a game, and I can’t say I disagree, but with proper resource management and playing a bit more on the conservative side with discards and energy attachments, I do feel 3 can be just enough whereas 4 gives you room to make mistakes or maybe go for more high risk high reward plays at different points in a game.
Aside from those few card selections, the rest of the list should be very familiar to anyone who has followed the metagame closely, and if you’d like more information on Igor Costa’s list and reasoning behind the rest of the card counts/choices, you can check out my video review of the top placing decks at Dallas over here:
Round 1 vs Cameron Denney w/ Espeon GX / Wobbuffet / Tauros GX (0-0-0)
Game 1, my heart sinks just a little bit as he flips over Wobbuffet active and Eevee on the bench. I assumed Umbreon GX to set up KO’s for Wobbuffet with the active + bench damage, but he immediately attachs a Psychic energy to Espeon GX and that’s when I knew it was going to be a long day. I’d say it was pretty unlucky to hit one of the very few, if not the single, Espeon GX based decks in the field when using Mega Mewtwo EX, and I also dead drew as I had no supporters and Wobbuffet wouldn’t allow me to use the Shaymin EX in my hand. I lost in 4 turns after Espeon GX just ran through my field, and game 2 was similar. I played zero supporters total in both games to lose the match 0-2.
Round 2 vs Nestor Cruz w/ Decidueye GX / Tauros GX (0-1-0)
I got bumped to the second to last table, which is discouraging but I knew I shouldn’t let this get to me. He flips over Rowlett and I’m relieved as I have a very good hand. He sets up some Decidueye’s but Garbodor shuts off his abilities and I’m able to play conservatively until I have Mega Mewtwo EX with 7 energy OHKOing Belted Tauros GX’s and every Decidueye GX he tried to power up. Both games played similarly and I was able to take the match in a quick manner 2-0.
Round 3 vs Eric Chambers w/ Volcanion EX (1-1-0)
I actually sat down next to him in my previous round so I had a chance to see a bit of his previous match while picking up my things to hand in the match slip, and I noticed a Salamence-EX in his deck. Knowing this definitely helped me in making sure I played conservatively with my EXs, by only playing Hoopa down if I absolutely had to, along with making sure I played Parallel at the right time to avoid a clean OHKO from a Salamence-Ex onto my Mega Mewtwo. That was the plan at least, but it actually played out where he didn’t get stellar hands in games 1 and 3 and I had Garbodor out turn 2 both games, so his damage output was severely diminished and he didn’t have a reliable way to discard energy to attach through baby Volcanion. I did however, lose round 2 to a dead draw so I win this round 2-1.
Round 4 vs William Sermeno w/ Turbo Darkrai (2-1-0)
Turbo Darkrai is regarded as an even matchup for Mega Mewtwo because a turn 1 Silent Lab can seriously hurt you, but with 4 Stadiums total at my disposal, I was able to counter the Silent Labs effectively and I honestly got some pretty stellar starts in both games, setting up for a 2HKO with the first Mega Mewtwo EX and having a benched one ready with a ton of energy to just come in and sweep by taking OHKO’s on Darkrai EX’s that were holding Fighting Fury Belts. I 100% attribute this win to my decision to ignore my friends and go with the 4 Stadiums.
Round 5 vs Mitchel Silva w/ Rainbow Road (3-1-0)
This was definitely a deck I did not expect to face during this tournament, but I felt pretty happy with the matchup, specially since I decided to run the 2 Parallel (recurring theme huh? The 2 Parallel were invaluable all tournament). Game 1 went by pretty fast as he had a prized Volcanion EX so he was struggling to OHKO even the first Mega Mewtwo before the Parallel + Garbodor lock. Game 2 was a bit closer but still the high HP + bench control was too much to handle for him.
Round 6 vs Isiah Williams (Top 32) w/ Turbo Darkrai (4-1-0)
Finally a name I recognized, as I know Isiah is a really good player. This series played out similar to Round 4, where Mega Mewtwo was just able to power through and get quicker OHKO’s against his Darkrai EX, combined with a KO on a Shaymin EX. Game 2 I didn’t draw too well and was overwhelmed in the beginning so I had to concede that one, but then game 3 Mega Mewtwo’s superior damage output showed once again why this is arguably a positive matchup.
Round 7 vs Kenny Britton (eventual 1st place) w/ Darkrai EX / Dragons (5-1-0)
Last time I faced Kenny was back in 2012, and he completely stomped me. I was definitely looking forward to this game and once he flipped over 2 Darkrai-EX I felt pretty good with my chances as my hand was pretty to start off with. A few turns in though, he played Hoopa for 2 Giratina-EX, and up until that point there had been no indication as to wether he played those, so I had not bothered to search for Trubbish or Eevee as an anti-Giratina measure. Through a smart Parallel play, he removed every possible Pokemon I could KO to win besides the Giratinas, and with some timely Lysandres on his part, he was able to pick off my lone Trubbish and my lone Eevee. I benched the Eevee and Sycamore’d hoping to hit 1 of my 4 Psychic but whiffed, so I had no outs to attacking Giratina-EX at all at that point. So I lost a game 1 by being 1 prize away, but I had no information on his Giratina’s which changed the way I would’ve approached the matchup. Game 2 went differently with him having a not so stellar start, draw wise, but he was able to put pressure with Giratina-EX and even though I did have access to Espeon GX this time, I was never able to find the 3rd Psychic energy to attach and KO it, thus sealing my fate in 2 incredibly close games.
This felt like a win and in situation, as a 6-1-0 record would’ve allowed me to ID into Day 2. Now at 5-2-0 I had to win out to make Day 2, or win and tie and hope for the best but I knew my resistance wasn’t great as my Round 1 opponent had beat me and then gone on to lose the next 4 rounds and drop from the tournament.
Round 8 vs Andrew Kennet (Top 16) w/Solgaleo GX / Lurantis GX (5-2-0)
As soon as we sat down, I knew I was in for a rough ride. Solgaleo GX has too much HP, and gets rid of its energy so Mega Mewtwo EX can, at best, hope to 2HKO. Game 1 was a complete blowout where he won in 4-5 turns as 2 Solgaleos took all 6 prizes back to back pretty much, with one turn in between to power up through Lurantis GX. After that devastating game 1, I knew I had very little chance in this matchup and immediately recognized Drew’s deck as a very bold but very good choice for this metagame. Game 2 I actually had a chance to pull off a win. Through Garb I was able to ‘trap’ a Solgaleo GX in the active slot, and I was missing the Mega Mewtwo EX to be able to OHKO the powered up Solgaleo GX in the back, with his 3 energy and my 6, but I was never able to find the right combination of cards to pull that off and thus he eventually powered up the active Solgaleo and KOed my Mega Mewtwos.
I know this deck has created a lot of hype and expectation, and now that I faced against Drew and saw his deck work in detail, rest assured that the only cards missing from the list in my video featuring the deck here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sqU6Dr0BwA&t=25s are the tournament specific techs he used (Glaceon EX and Genesect EX) but the base there is a really solid starting point.
Round 9 vs Corbin Moon w/ Yanmega / Xerneas BREAK (5-3-0)
With my tournament run pretty much over at 3 losses, I figured I still needed to Top 64 to make $250 and get a few extra points. I definitely was not prepared for the awesomeness and hilarity that followed against a deck I never ever ever expected to face or even imagined. Huge props to my opponent for playing such a deck, and it took me the first 2 games, (won the first one, lost the second one) to finally understand how to properly approach the threats. Yanmega was more annoying as it didn’t need any energy, and the 150 HP Xerneas BREAK also meant I needed 5 energy total to OHKO. I wasn’t drawing too well in the third game and it was incredibly close, but a few smart Damage change plays ended up being crucial in netting me the win and securing Top 64.
So now that’s 5/5 tournaments where I’ve lost the important match. I guess this tournament I essentially had two different chances to secure Top 32, through winning Round 7 OR winning Round 8 and 9, which is better than the rest, but I really want to make a Day 2 at this point.
Now let’s analyze the aftermath of Anaheim and how this will affect both Sheffield and Australia:
1. Kenny Britton – Darkrai EX/Giratina EX/Salamence EX
2. Tony Jimenez – Turbo Darkrai EX
3. Lawrence Xu – Turbo Darkrai EX
4. Jeffrey Cheng – Vespiquen AOR/Zoroark BKT
5. Igor Costa – Yveltal EX/Garbodor BKP/Tauros GX
6. Ryan Sabelhaus – M Mewtwo EX/Garbodor BKP
7. Rahul Reddy – Vespiquen AOR/Zoroark BKT/Vaporeon AOR
8. Travis Nunlist – M Mewtwo EX/Espeon GX/Garbodor BKP
As we can see from these results, Mega Mewtwo EX was a great call for the tournament, and even though Giratina EX came out on top, both Ryan and Travis had answers to it in Hex Maniac and Espeon GX respectively. All of the decks that placed well were definitely great calls, though I never considered Vespiquen as an option solely on the fact that I assumed there would be a lot of Volcanion EX, which turned out to be not true. There obviously were some but not enough to be truly scared to run things like Lurantis GX, Decidueye GX or even Solgaleo GX.
Unsurprisingly at this point, the Sun & Moon set didn’t have a really big impact on the metagame as many of us assumed. The first place deck didn’t use any cards of the new set, the second place deck did use a single Lillie and Kukui but mentioned they weren’t relevant at all, and aside from Espeon GX in Travis’s deck, only Oranguru featured in the Vespiquen decks.
The last 2 Regionals prove how strong the dark type archetypes are at this point in time, and I would argue both Darkrai EX and Vespiquen are the current tier 1 decks, with Mega Mewtwo a close second. Mega Gardevoir EX on paper would be a good counter to such decks but as it plays out, it’s too susceptible to Silent Lab, Parallel City and Garbodor, all of which can be seen in the top decks AND other metagame decks such as Yveltal.
There aren’t any really good fighting types out there, so I don’t think the dark types reign over the Standard format is going to end any time soon. Not even Zebstrika will be making a strong appearance as most people will prefer to run Jolteon and a combination of the flexible Sun & Moon Eeveelutions. Finally Yveltal, though strong as proved by Igor’s Top 8 finish at Anaheim, is not the dominant force it was assumed to be back in December.
Europe reacted pretty heavily against the dark types with a fairy centered meta, but I’m not so sure that will happen once again. Last time around it was a brand new format, where as this one is a lot more well established and clearly Sun & Moon didn’t have the impact we all though it would. What I think will happen though is there will be a little more showing of newer decks like Solgaleo GX/Lurantis GX (one of my current favorite decks for Australia), along with the GX Eeveelutions and Decidueye variants.
On paper, Solgaleo GX/Lurantis GX should be able to beat outright any non-fire EX based deck as it trades extremely well against them. Through testing a lot after getting demolished by the deck at Anaheim, I now realize that it’s not always easy to set up the Solgaleo GX and there are even games where a turn 2 Solburst GX is not the best play.
The biggest drawback for this deck is Volcanion EX. You can’t trade well against it, there aren’t any good water techs you can run to counteract this, and Volcanion EX is guaranteed to have a decent presence at every tournament this season because of its accessibility.
I’ve gone through quite a few iterations to try and deal with this clear weakness to the deck. From Weakness Policy to a full 2-2 Araquanid line but none of these have worked. Either you don’t have enough space to keep the deck solid enough (Araquanid’s case) or the cards are just not easily accesible at the right time to be able to prevent the early onslaught (Weakness Policy).
So I decided to simply take the loss, like Drew did at Anaheim. Solgaleo GX is a great attacker against EX decks, and Lurantis GX is the best attacker against non EX’s and this is the base 56 card list I’ve settled on so far:
Solgaleo GX / Lurantis GX
This base is of course based on Drew’s so huge props to him and everybody else who worked on the original concept and list. I know this has caused a lot of controversy so I just wanted to make sure it is know this list is inspired on the current successful one.
That’s 56 cards, which gives us 4 free slots to work with, and here are what I’m still considering going with:
+1 Glaceon EX
+1 Genesect EX
+1 Water energy
+1 Level Ball or Trainer’s Mail
To match Drew’s list almost card for card, there’s a reason he got Top 16, and whilst I’m not entirely sure Glaceon Ex is enough to deal with Vespiquen decks, specially if Mew EX becomes a thing in them, it certainly gives you other options against evolution decks and Second Bite can be an OK follow up to a Solar Blade from Lurantis GX.
Genesect EX is overall a solid attacker, it’s ability is nice to ensure you have the option of Float Stone readily available when you need it, and is an attacking basic Pokemon to deal with the aforementioned Glaceon EX from opposing players.
Another option for the decks slots is a different approach to dealing with Vespiquen:
+1 Giratina EX
+2 Double Dragon energy
+1 Trainer’s Mail
If you manage to set up fast enough, Giratina EX can provide an auto-win in the Vespiquen matchup, but that’s the issue, getting it out quickly enough. The Double Dragon energy are there so you have a way to power up a little bit faster without needing to Sol Burst onto it. On paper Giratina EX would always beat Vespiquen, but the reality is, Vespiquen runs very fast, way faster than you do, and they can have multiple DCE in play before you even have the Giratina EX up and running, rendering your special energy lock effectively useless.
And finally, we have the, let’s forget about the bad matchups and just make the deck more solid, choice:
+1 Level Ball
+1 Grass energy
Skyla can be useful at many points throughout the game, its main purpose is definitely to find that early Rare Candy in order to get the Sol Burst going, but that’s not sufficient to win games, you really need to set up further Solgaleo’s to keep OHKOing your opponent’s EX’s, and Skyla can find you the missing piece, Rare Candy or Ultra Ball into Solgaleo, for you to be able to have those set up.
Turn 2 SolBurst is of course essential, but if you do that and you power up easily KO’d Cosmog’s and Cosmoems, it can really set you far behind and make you rely on Lurantis GX to power up your next 2 Solgaleo’s, rather than just the final one.
You always have to assess wether the immediate benefit of an early Sol Burst will be good for you in the later stages of the game, or if holding on to your GX attack until you’re able to have 2 of them out is better. You can still keep attaching and maybe even get a KO with Solgaleo before even using the first Sol Burst GX, and that’s completely valid against a high pressure deck such as Turbo Darkrai or Yveltal EX which would try to target your Cosmog’s early on if possible, to prevent you from having Sol Burst targets or getting rid of energy. Once those fragile Cosmog’s turn into Solgaleo’s though, unless you’re Volcanion EX, they’re pretty much impossible to take down in one hit, so that’s when it’s actually safe to Sol Burst GX your energy.
There are many things that can go wrong whilst setting up with this deck, and that’s it’s biggest set back aside from it’s Fire weakness, but I do believe we will be seeing a ton more of this deck and many variations and tech options in the upcoming tournaments.
Here’s a rundown on how the matchups play out whilst using this deck:
Mega Mewtwo EX / Garbodor (65 - 35)
Now I’ve been saying how good of a matchup this is, but Solgaleo sometimes reminds me of Greninja. If things work out for you, you’ll probably beat most of the Ex based decks out there, but since there are a few pieces you need to reliably set up before you are actually able to get things moving, there’s a chance you will never get to that ‘turning point’. Such is the case vs Mega Mewtwo EX. Garbodor can really hinder your mid game if you haven’t found your Float Stones or you attached them to something other than Solgaleo for whatever reason. This sometimes buys enough time for Mega Mewtwo to pull of a 6 energy Lysandre OHKO on a powered up Solgaleo GX which is how they can turn this around. Cosmog’s and Cosmoems weakness to Psychic also allows them to pressure with just the regular Mewtwo EX on turn 2, so getting more than 1 Cosmog down in the first turn is absolutely crucial. If you reach the tipping point of OHKOing back to back Mega Mewtwo EX’s with Solgaleo Gx, you should be well poised to take the win. Not having any Stadiums means Parallel City can also be an annoyance and thus bench management is incredibly important.
Yveltal EX / Tauros GX / Garbodor (65 - 35)
This matchup plays out similarly to the Mega Mewtwo EX one in the sense that Garbodor is annoying and can effectively trap you at times, but their damage output is a lot lower than Mega Mewtwos, and they don’t hit for weakness on your Cosmog’s and Cosmoems, so you have a little bit more breathing room to stabilize and be able to execute your Sol Burst comfortably in order to achieve back to back OHKO’s on EX Pokemon. High Fight Night Yveltal lists are more difficult to deal with, as it’s unlikely you will not use Shaymin EX at one point or another and it will very likely be sniped. It’s hard to justify discarding 3 energy to OHKO a non-EX, so this is their way of trying to control the matchup, and may even Pararllel City themselves into a 3 bench scenario in order to remove potential Lysandre targets.
Turbo Darkrai EX (70 - 30)
This is a really good matchup, as Oblivion Wing Yveltals don’t deal enough damage to pressure you, and can be easily deal with by Lurantis GX. Darkrai EX is the real threat and they basically need all of their energy in play to be able to OHKO a Solgaleo GX. As long as you reach that tipping point I’ve mentioned, this should be a fairly straightforward matchup. Silent Lab can hurt your early game though, as with no space for Stadiums, that renders Shaymin EX immediately useless.
Darkrai EX / Dragons (70 - 30)
This plays out the same as the above matchup. The Salamence EX or Giratina EX don’t really change anything other than the fact that the Double Dragon Energy can maybe get them closer to OHKO’s but not even that is enough to overpower a potential 3 Solgaleo GX which pretty much take prize cards immediately after they’re sent up to attack. A Lysandre into a dragon with 2 Energy is just way too devastating for them.
Mega Gardevoir EX STS (80 - 20)
Same deal, you trade way too favorably and they don’t have any non ex attackers that threaten you at all, so it should be fairly simple as long as you set up. They also apply a lot less pressure on you in the early game so reaching that tipping point is fairly easy.
Mega Rayquaza EX (50 - 50)
Mega Rayquaza is a weird matchup, and can actually be closer to 50/50 as they have free reign early on and their maximum damage output is 240, but any respectable Mega Rayquaza EX list out there at this point should be running at least one copy of Professor Kukui to hit that magic 250 damage against the Stage 2 GX’s, namely this particular deck. The early pressure they can put on you, coupled with some timely Lysandre could actually mean trouble for you, but if for some reason they don’t get a stellar start, back to back OHKO’s on Mega Ray’s should very likely be able to seal a game. There’s also the fact that they have to find the Professor Kukui first which is not always the easiest task, but try to avoid benching Shaymin EX’s if possible as getting a KO without requiring Professor Kukui is what they’re looking to achieve here.
Vespiquen (20 - 80 to 40-60 depending on techs)
This is an absolutely terrible matchup. They can easily take 2HKO’s vs Lurantis GX, which is your only real viable option here besides whatever tech you might decide to include, such as Glaceon EX or Giratina EX, but neither of those are any guarantee. I don’t like saying anything in Pokemon is a worse than 20/80 matchup simply because dead draws are a very real thing, but this one could actually be worse as Vespiquen is one the most consistent decks in the format thanks to Unown, Acro Bike, high Shaymin EX count, etc.
Volcanion EX (20 - 80)
Weakness is just too big a detrimental factor in this matchup, and you can’t ever hope to trade evenly with this deck. If they don’t completely dead draw, they’ll just be taking prizes and favorable trades against all your Pokemon every single turn.
thinking outside the box for Australia
The aftermath of Sheffield will certainly have an impact on the decks being played in Australia, especially if something new and unexpected pops up, but despite that, the field and the ‘safe’ choices should stay relatively the same.
I don’t have a super special rogue deck prepared here or anything, but I do think that there might be some small adjustments decks could potentially make to secure winning games a little bit easier.
Ask yourself, how many games have you won or lost that simply come down to who finds the Lysandre they need to seal off a game? Also, how many games has Shaymin EX allowed you to set up BUT has also cost you the game as your opponent had that Lysandre target readily available?
So if so many of our games are coming down to that, why not try a few things outside the box in order to compensate for them? Now the obvious answer is, you can’t just drop Shaymin EX. It’s use in every single deck is 100% justified, but have we really (we as in, the Pokemon community) tried our hardest to find a draw engine with the item cards available at the moment, to try and get rid of this liability?
I think the 2nd place at Athens, the Vespiquen dekc with the thick 3-2 Octillery line and a single Shaymin EX, with 3 VS Seeker, proved to us that there are a few unexplored ways we can approach deckbuilding, so some of the things I’m considering for Australia and currently testing are Acro Bike + Nest Ball + Oranguru based engines, along with playing 3 Lysandre and 3 VS Seeker instead of the normal 2/4 split.
My reasoning behind the 3 Lysandre is simply, many times most VS Seeker end up being Lysandre targets, and having 3 Lysandre can actually make it more likely for you to draw it early to swing a game in your favor, but also more likely that at any given point in the game you actually did use one and therefore have access to it with your VS Seekers. Another scenario that I believe is quite common is where you need the Lysandre to win, but you actually haven’t used any yet, and therefore your VS Seeker doesn’t become your win condition, but rather finding the actual Lysandre.
And with this out of the box ramblings is where I will finish up the article. I hope you enjoyed this, and expect a follow up article at the end of the month with my Australian tournament report, along with an analysis of how the metagaming is shaping up after we have more and more tournaments with Sun & Moon available.
In the mean time, you should definitely check out my youtube channel youtube.com/tablemon for some awesome free content, and to see some actual play time of the decks I mentioned.
Until next time!
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02/22/2019 by Jose Marrero // Jose goes over his outstanding Top 4 finish at this past Oceania International Championships. (+36)