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Justin Sanchez

Meta game analysis! What I think of the hype decks.

09/11/2014 by Justin Sanchez

Hello again 60card readers! After having played two League Challenge tournaments and paying close attention to the results of the Regional tournaments in Europe, we can make a couple educated assessments on the state of the meta game as it is. Today I will be giving you my personal look into what I think of all of the popular decks and just how good of a choice I think these decks are for tournaments.

As many of you guys may know, in the past these League Challenge tournaments were actually named Battle Roads. The Battle Road series was useful to get in practice against legitimate competition because Battle Road points were always needed to qualify for the World Championships. With the increase in the number of League Challenge tournaments, many players can either wait to play in these or simply do not have to attend the same exact League Challenge as other competitive players. With this happening, it is harder to really predict what is good because the results are so spread out. I can say though that I have come up with a list of decks in my head that are immediate contenders for you to win your local League or City Championship.

Empoleon/Dusknoir-Yes, I would play this deck for my upcoming tournament.

Many have attempted to use this king of the penguins to no prevail. What changed this Pokemon's fate was the introduction of a coin flip to the effect of Pokemon Catcher. Due to this game changing errata, the mighty penguin has become a HUGE part of current format. With an incredible ability that boosts the consistency of your deck as well as a cheap attack for a lot of damage, this guy has shown his worth in the current card pool. Do not be fooled though, without the aid of his buddy Dusknoir the mighty penguin would be nothing. It is Dusknoir that adds the finishing blow to the opponent. If you are wondering how, his Sinister Hand ability allows you to move around the damage on your opponents Pokemon as often as you like. This is crucial to get key KO's on your opponents Pokemon with energy. What you want to do is attempt to get enough damage on the board to either take all of your prizes in one turn OR KO the Pokemon on your opponents field that provide an immediate threat to you. While this deck is extremely powerful, it is not in the price range of many players budgets as it requires a minimum of 2 Tropical beach in the list(easily $300 in cards if you get a crazy good deal on two.)

Virizion/Genesect-No, I would not play this deck for my upcoming tournament.

While I personally would not play this deck for my upcoming tournament, there is no doubt in my mind that this is one of the most powerful decks in the format. The problem that I have with this deck is it's ability to adapt to a meta game and it's reliance on getting two energy on virizion by turn two. I feel like this deck has 0 adaptability to a meta game. There aren't simple inclusions that you can play in this deck to help vs the things that give you trouble. While it has consistency, it does not truly have speed. If I stepped into a tournament with this deck, I would feel extremely uncomfortable as I know that 10 players could be playing an almost exact list as mine and there was really nothing I could do to push myself to an edge over them. One of the greatest things about Pokemon is the strength that your deck list holds for you and having an edge over the competition is key to going far in a tournament. Sure, there are always bland decks and deck lists that make it far, but remember that out of those 1-2 bland decks there were 10-20 other players with a near identical deck list who didn't make it. Do you want to leave it to chance to be one of the few who make it? 

This deck does hold many strengths though, like consistency and raw power. Immunity to Hypnotoxic Laser is also another strong point that this deck holds. With catcher being a coin flip now, red signal is now better than ever, although you can't really expect to use it more than twice a game. While I find this deck very powerful, I simply would not trust it to lead me to a victory. 

Darkrai/Sableye-Yes, I would play this deck for my upcoming tournament.

Darkrai/Sableye is the deck everyone seems to count out at the start of a new format. It seems with just about every change, people say that Darkrai is finally done. I must admit that even I didn't think Darkrai would have what it takes after having its main win condition(Pokemon Catcher) get nerfed that bad. Fortunately for Darkrai, that was not the case. With quite possibly the best attack in this format, Junk Hunt lets you re use your Pokemon Catchers so you can likely hit the amount you need to win the game. The deck's consistency and sheer damage output is huge in this format and this powerhouse just seems like it will never go away. Junk hunt brings a huge amount of skill into the deck and it really separates the phonies from the great players. Choose your two trainers from Junk Hunt wisely, as even choosing 1 of the 2 cards you get back incorrectly could cost you the game. 

Virizion/Mewtwo-No, I would not play this deck for my upcoming tournament.

Similarly to Virizion/Genesect, I think this deck suffers from being very straightforward. Unlike Darkrai, it does not have sableye to re use a bunch of the great item cards in the format. Not only that, but loading up Mewtwo EX to attack often leaves you vulnerable to Deoxys EX and opposing Mewtwo EX attacks. Another problem that I find with this deck is that Mewtwo's true potential lies in facing Pokemon that use multiple energy to attack. Pokemon like Black Kyurem EX and Empoleon will typically have 1 on them at the most when Mewtwo has a chance to attack them. I think the biggest plus for this deck is that it is even more consistent than Genesect/Virizion. You can either have a Mewtwo ready to attack with a DCE or opt to charge up Virizion to power up your Mewtwo. Honestly, consistency is the only thing I really see working for this deck to stay competitive, and that is why I would not play this for my upcoming tournaments.

Blastoise/Black Kyurem EX/Keldeo EX-Yes, I would play this for my upcoming tournament.


Easily one of the most powerful decks that we have seen since it's introduction during last year's cities format, this deck is still a top contender. It was made an elite deck during last year's state championships when Black Kyurem EX was released. With Pokemon catcher being less reliant, Squirtle are safer than ever! Most of the time, if the cards fall in the right place for this deck, you will beat anyone no matter how good they start. It simply has some of the most explosive plays in the game currently. Now, in the best 2/3 format I believe this is purely the best deck in the format, but if it is best of 1 the deck is slightly powered down. Still, it is one of the top decks in the format and is nothing to scoff at. Recently Rayboar was revealed which is said to be Blastoise's reckoning, so we will see exactly how that plays out in the future.

Rayboar-No, I would not play this deck for my local tournament.

It was not until recently that this deck got just what it needed to survive in the current meta game. Due to an influx of grass EX decks, as well as the loss of a consistent Pokemon Catcher, this deck became one of the most feared to play against. It is said that Rayboar has a great edge over Blastoise which is a reasonable assumption. Due to Black Kyurem's dragon weakness, Rayquaza only needs to discard two energy to KO it rather than the typical three per EX. Also, with the inclusion of Shred Rayquaza, you can trade your non EX Pokemon for their EX. Due to this, I would assume it does in fact have a good Blastoise match up. I have also heard that the deck has a very mediocre Empoleon matchup, which would definitely discourage me from playing the deck. But, despite all of that, none of those are the reason that I would choose not to run this deck. Personally, I feel that this deck requires more to get going than the Blastoise deck does. It is certainly less consistent as to use it's MAIN attack, it needs to grab an energy it plays a lesser count of. Not only that, but it's main attack requires you to constantly rid yourself of energy which is never good when N is in the format. Part of what makes Blastoise so strong is that it can just stick a bunch of water energy on Keldeo EX to have an attacker on the board as well as score a KO. Despite catcher receiving a nerf, people still play it in decks and it would be foolish to not include switch cards into your list, a luxury Blastoise can live without. Overall, I feel that this deck is more of a meta game choice rather than an intelligent play.

Plasma-No, I would not play this deck for my upcoming tournament.

Now, I will be completely honest with you. The only reason that I would not currently play this deck is because I have not been able to perfect a list. After much testing I think the deck is still extremely viable in the current format. While losing a guaranteed catcher was a huge loss, the deck can also for the most part safely power up it's threats on the bench. Many people disagree with me but I really do feel like this may be the sleeper deck for the current format. I apologize for not having much for information on this deck but my honest opinion is that after testing a good amount, someone will find the right list and be able to dominate with this deck.

Overall, I think all of these decks are capable of winning tournaments. There is more than just deck choice and deck list that decides whether you win a tournament including match ups and luck. Play smart friends and I hope you have a great time at your upcoming tournaments!

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