04/25/2019 by Daniel Altavilla
Hey there 60cards readers, we have the European International Championship coming up in a week fresh off of Denver Regionals. The Mile-High party ended up with another #DDGWIN thanks to good ol’ Shredemer, and the trip overall was very fun, even though I got sick Friday night and had to endure that for the entirety of the event. Now that I’m not sick it’s time to look forward to Daytona Regionals, which is going to be a giant easter egg hunt because Expanded is always so puzzling in a fresh and exciting way because of all the viable deck options. And once this small Expanded distraction passes us by, it’ll be grind time yet again in an attempt to prepare for Berlin! This is really going to be a difficult couple of weeks, but I feel I have enough of a grasp on the Standard format to jumpstart my testing and ideally that will rub off on anybody who reads this article!
Table of contents
There have been a few constants in the Standard format that developed around Collinsville. The first being that
Marshadow (SLG; 45)
has a grip on the format. Our little Shuffle Draw friend has been the topic of controversy, as people are begging for a Marshadow ban. Let Loose is easily the best Ability in the game right now, allowing you to reset your hand in an attempt to stretch a turn out and giving you a chance to close the game out as soon as Turn 1. This makes for one of the worst attempts at player interaction we have currently because of the lack of strong Turn 1 options in Standard from some decks and the overwhelming amount of them in others.
I’d argue that Marshadow somewhat balances out the format because when Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 138) perfectly sets up, there is little chance that Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 162) can do anything about that. Which is why Let Loose is going to give them a chance to slow ZoroRoc down by even a measly single turn. This lets an aggressive deck like Pika be even more aggressive, in the same way Zoroark is a consistency machine turn 1 but has consistency in Trade as well. Without Let Loose, Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) / Naganadel (LT; 108) and Pikarom are still good, but they don’t have the opportunity for a big swing turn in most games like other decks do, and they are needed to keep Zoroark-GX in check in the meta.
I think in a 100-game sample size, Pikarom and Blacephalon will always come out to be the best performing decks. I was having this discussion with 60cards mogul Zach Lesage at Denver Regionals, and it feels that Zach turns to Blowns so often because of how many games he puts in. Once you hit a certain point, you’ve now played a deck that has 2 Let Loose and wins every game in 6 turns or less. You have the opportunity to close the Game out on turn 1, or to make your opponent stumble for even just a turn to put you ridiculously far ahead. The Alolan Muk (SUM; 58) helping to swing Pika and Zapdos and your already positive Zoroark-GX matchup makes for a deck that can’t really be beat in such a large sample size. You have double Let Loose, Beast Rings and Alolan Muk all as backup strategies that can cheese wins.
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