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Brandon Flowers

All About Worlds '17

A look at the somewhat different format, decks, and general approach to the 2017 Pokemon World Championship!

28. 07. 2017 by Brandon Flowers

 

 

Worlds Day 1 Format

Worlds Format is a different beast from that of Regionals, Cups, or any other tournament, and should be approached accordingly. As many know, and many others do not, the Pokemon World Championship format for Day 1 play is not the same as that of a Regional – match points don’t directly come into play, and there isn’t a cut of an exact top 32/64/etc. Day 1 play at Worlds is based on winning a specific number of rounds based on attendance; in 2016 that was 6 wins out of 8 rounds. This year it’s expected to be the same or less, due to a decrease of attendance. So of course, the goal is still to win as many as you can – but once you hit that number, the worrying is done, as is your play for the day. If you win out and hit the required number of wins before the rounds are done, you’re done playing as well. You don’t have to worry about bubbling at all; the set number of wins gets you to your goal immediately. While many of you probably already know this, it’s not something that is talked about or delved into at great length, and can be extremely beneficial. Prior to having it explained to me last year on site at Worlds in San Francisco, I didn’t even know, and I definitely appreciated finding out before play.

It also means that ties are essentially the same as losses – playing to a tie in Day 1 Worlds will not benefit you in the slightest, and will actually hurt both you and your opponent as much as a loss would. This detail can cause certain deck choices to be much more desirable than others – playing something like Greninja in this format can cause games to go to a tie more often than playing something like Volcanion, and as a result may end up lower on your list of choices. When selecting my deck for 2016 Worlds Day 1, this played a ‘slight’ factor into this; I was already pretty heavily leaning towards Vespiquen/Vileplume, and this knowledge pretty much cemented that choice. Having a deck that plays to a definite result significantly more often than a tie was beneficial enough for me to weigh it in on this decision. More on this later as well, right after more notes on the general format.

Worlds Day 2 Format

Day 2 Worlds is a bit more of what most people are accustomed to – it’s a set number of Swiss rounds, with a cut to top 8 based on match points at the end of the rounds. This is the same as a Regional at face value – bubbles out of top 8 still exist, ties can be beneficial, and resistance matters. Prizing and Championship Points for the following season are given by placement. Also different, luckily, is your deck choice – at least potentially. You can choose to play the same deck, or change it up, so long as the deck stays Standard format. Obviously this benefited some people pretty well – while I don’t think Greninja was the best choice for Day 1, that statement didn’t really apply to Day 2, where it got 2nd place in the Masters Division. While the exact prizing for this year has not been published yet at the time of this article, prizing from last year broke down by 1st, 2nd, top 4, top 8, top 16, top 32, and all other participants. Everyone in day 2 received 40 Championship Points just for playing, increasing incrementally to 60, 80, 100, and then invites for all of top 4 (which equated to 500 points this year). The only confirmed correlation so far is the continued giving of invites to top 4. Monetary prizing increased incrementally again as well - $1500 for t32, $2500 for t16, $5000 for t8, $7500 for t4, $15000 for finalist, and $25000 for first place.

So, onto what that actually means for approaching this famed and fabled tournament: be comfortable with multiple decks, and be prepared to switch if you make Day 2. While I did not switch decks or cards at all last year from Day 1 going into Day 2 (and it suited me greatly to keep it steady), this isn’t always the best approach. Had I played Vespiquen/Vileplume Day 1 and found out Giratina EX would have been a popular and strong play going into Day 2, I would have almost certainly switched the following day. Being able to adapt to the field and know your options is necessary if you want to be a Worlds caliber player and do well in a field full of people from around the world looking to accomplish the same thing you are.  

VOLCANION EX - DAY 1

     Another year, another triangle of counters as well. Last year VV was my go to, but it was readily countered by Metal and Giratina, and even itself if it draws as dead as I did on stream against Se Jun. Getting past that, it had good options against the rest of the field, providing a strong attacker and a way to paint your opponent into a corner with item lock as well. This year, the item lock decks aren’t quite as fast or domineering, and provide issues similar to Greninja in way of tying at inopportune times as far as Day 1 is concerned. With Gardevoir GX on everyone’s mind, and Metagross GX being a pretty clear counter, Volcanion is what comes first to my mind. Volcanion is a strong, Basic based deck that has the ability to close out games fast and the power to do so in its favor. Being able to attack hard and fast reduces the chances of ties, and given that abilities are still accessible, it has the power to OHKO nearly anything around. Here’s a taste of how I would approach it:

(Lysandre is Guzma, AZ is Acerola)

 

     The list is quite similar to Michael Catron’s finalist Origins list, with a tweak for format and meta. Minimum of 2 Turtonator GX is a must in my opinion- it gives you the boost you need against Gardevoir GX, making your numbers much more favorable and giving you more reliable one hit knockout potential. Nitro Tank GX is also just a really good recovery option to keep your momentum and close out games, in situations you may otherwise fall off and start to run out of energy. The lack of Max Elixir here does slow it down a little, but keeps non-EX Volcanions more accessible and handy, making matchups against non-EX decks like Zoroark, Garbodor, and Vespiquen slightly more favorable. The Choice Band/Fury Belt split is also an extremely underrated option in a format that has already moved past Field Blower as a constant inclusion, making your baby Volcanion stick while giving surprise plays with a 230 HP Turtonator GX or a 220 HP Volcanion EX. Luckily, Fury Belt and Band both hit a OHKO on Gardevoir GX as well, as long as you can get to 2 Steam Ups from Volcanion EX. Unfortunately, Choice Band can’t be fully done away with just yet, as it allows you to KO any viable Basic Pokemon that doesn’t have a Belt itself while ability locked with Turtonator GX. 190 is a magic number in too many situations, and makes it much easier to hit the 210/220 HP of Ninetales GX and M Rayquaza EX as well.

     No Lysandre, no problem here as well – the Lysandre in the list is actually Guzma, as noted above it. With so many Switch and Float Stone, Guzma outperforms Lysandre in every way here. Rotating between Volcanion EX, kicking back to something with a Float to give you a wide range of retreat options, or even just getting you out of a tight spot, Guzma combines Lysandre and Olympia in a way that Volcanion takes advantage of to the fullest. Guzma replacing Olympia and giving you more switch options gives you the space for Fury Belt as well. Acerola is a neat sub in for Max Potion as well – it can get something out of a tight spot, much like Olympia, but gets you the tools and energy back  to hand, allowing more fodder for Steam Up, and reuse of a tool that may otherwise be a dead card.

     Tapu Lele GX and VS Seeker are the reasons running 1 Fisherman and 1 Acerola (which is AZ in the above list) are good options – accessibility to tech options makes them much more consistent, and gives outs to them more often. Lele can also be a strong backup attacker, with the main drawback being lack of ability to use Steam Up to boost its damage. While all of your fire attackers have a modifiable damage output based on Steam Ups and Fire Energy discarded, Lele has modifiable damage based on the number of energy you can get on it, which Volcanion can lend some help with. Knowing all your options and choosing when to best use them is a huge key to success.

     One more good option that isn't in the list is Ho-oh GX - it gives you yet another GX option, a differing weakness/resistance, and an even bigger attack than Turtonator's Bright Flame. Ho-oh's Phoenix Burn, while being a hefty 4 energy, provides a nice 180 damage to get you over most of the meta, pushing 240 with 2 Steam Ups and even more with other modifiers like Band or Belt. Being weak to Lightning is an added perk to get you over things like Lapras GX, Ninetales GX, or Vaporeon techs. While I couldn't find a defining spot for this card, it is certainly still worth consideration.

      While I do think Volcanion would also be a good play for Day 2, the changes revolving around that are strictly situational based on what decks you might expect more of. So rather than micro critique Volcanion anymore, let's delve into a considerably different approach instead. 

 

METAGROSS GX - DAY 2

While Volcanion is my favorite Day 1 play, I think Day 2 could see a different twist on things. Metagross GX with a few techs to deal with Volcanion EX/Flareon AOR in way of Altar of the Sunne stands to be pretty powerful. Metagross inherently just has a great Gardevoir matchup as long as it can setup, and is very strong against a majority of the meta. Vikavolt/Bulu struggles with it, putting it in the same camp as Zoroark and Garbodor, all of which struggle to take out the behemoth, giving Metagross a chance to Max Potion away all their efforts while continue to take KOs itself.

 

Other than Mimikyu and Altar, this is a pretty conventional list. The key is finding the necessary space for Brigette, Max Potion, and Kukui without sacrificing the consistency that’s required for a Stage 2 deck to work for a full day of Swiss.          

Metagross’s key strength is that it’s near unstoppable once it gets going – capitalizing on that and making it consistent with minimal techs is the best way of approaching it. Mimikyu and Kukui are rather techy, but given they are two single card techs that can change match ups pretty dramatically, they’re definitely worth it. Kukui with Choice Band gets you to 200 with Metagross, which takes out threats like Espeon GX, Umbreon GX, Lapras GX, and even Turtonator GX in the unfortunate event you run into it. While Altar of the Sunne (which is named Moone in the list, but is actually Sunne) can help a little against Volcanion, it’s much more likely to put in work against the occasional Flareon AOR tech. Volcanion has the Blowers and stadiums to overcome the 2 of Altar, whereas most things that play Flareon won’t play 6 different outs to bump it.

The rest of the deck is just consistency – Max Potion, Rare Candy, and Vulpix all lend to the set up and maintenance of the deck, and the rest is just framework to work with. Knowing when to use Beacon is pretty key to setting up properly as well. Vulpix is a good buffer to use in setup, giving you the Pokemon lines you need, and a non-EX to throw off prize count. If you don’t have to use Mimikyu, don’t, and it will maintain the offset prizes, forcing your opponent to go after Metagross GX primarily. Forcing them to target Metagross puts them in a bad situation, since Max Potion and rotating Metagross can prevent them from taking prizes for several turns, while you dispatch their threats. The list doesn’t have many cards from Shadows yet because it doesn’t need them – the main thing Metagross gained from Shadows is a great matchup. Guzma isn’t generally optimal, since you want to put the energy from the active into the discard to reuse on the next Metagross – so Lysandre sticks around in this case.

Of course these aren’t the only decks that I think are strong going into this new, somewhat unexplored format, but I think they’re ones to watch for sure. With all the hype on Gardevoir GX, people are often quick to overlook established archetypes that stay strong and anchored in the meta. Despite not going to Worlds this year, I’m very excited to see the results of the tournament, and see what new and groundbreaking decks come out of it. 

Good luck and goodbye for now!

Brandon Flowers 

[+9] okko


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