Experts' corner

Manuel Jorach

Getting Ready for Berlin

Check out Manuel's first article for 60 Cards

04/18/2019 by Manuel Jorach

Hello out there. This is Manuel from Europe. My goal is to give you an outlook how we prepare for our internationals, held in Berlin end of this month. I will also mention my most likely pick for Berlin.

The Meta in Europe in General


For a European player, I have been playing a lot in the US, and I have gained experience in both areas. In Europe, people have more different approaches for a tournament. This is probably, cause it's not one country and in every country, the people prefer different types of decks. In my home country, Austria, most people play lightning stuff or  Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) . This is quite similar to Germany. In Italy for example, you can find more stall decks. So there is clearly not one European meta, which makes deck choices at smaller tournaments so important.  Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  is way more popular in Europe than in North America. The most played deck will be either  Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) versions or  Zapdos (TM; 40) Jirachi (TM; 99) , number three will be Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) , in front of Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) , I think.  Malamar (FLI; 51) will still see some play, as well as stall. After reading this article you have a decent overview of the European meta and you can make your own decision based on that.

 Europeans Always Play Zoroark

I’ve heard this stereotype pretty often in the US. There is some truth in it actually. So the first decks I’m talking about will be  Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) variants.With what do we partner  Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) is basically the first question.  Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) is just extremely consistent and this makes it possible to play besides  Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) two additional stage ones. The probably most known  Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) deck is  Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) / Lucario GX (BW; 100) / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74) . This combo is just amazing against Pikarom.  Lucario GX (BW; 100) takes a one shot on  Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) for just one energy. Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74) s ability gives you the chance to bring a charged up in the Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) active to either finish it with  Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74) itself or with a Lucario GX (BW; 100) . This deck will represent a decent share of the EUIC meta.

ZoroControl is Back?

In Denver I saw Pendarvis playing ZoroControl. Some people might think, even though he has Hammers, he has a bad Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  matchup. This is not 100% true, especially if  Blacephalon GX (SM8) (JP; null) runs only one Energy Switch (LTR; 112) , like the list I played at the Dubai Special Event. If you don’t have the chance to get enough Energiy in play, you can get in serious trouble with it. I played against ZoroControl twice in Sao Paulo; I tied vs Jimmy and lost to the finalist in Day two.

Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  has to run  Alolan Muk (SUM; 58) to have a chance vs  Zapdos (TM; 40)   Jirachi (TM; 99) and other decks which are heavily reliant on basic pokemon's abilities. With locking their Stellar Wish, Oranguru (SUM; 113) 's instruct, Let Loose  Marshadow (SLG; 45) and also the Ability of Marshadow GX (BUS; 80) , which can easily take out a Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) , you just get a huge advantage because your trades or bloodthirsty eyes still work.

Another interesting card for  Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) is Ditto (DP; 17)  from Detective Pikachu. You can copy any attack of any Pokemon on your opponents’ board, but keep in mind, you still need the necessary energies to do so.


Even though  Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) is easy to counter, there will be various versions of it. I played  Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) in Melbourne and the Cannes, France SPE. I personally never really liked the Tag Teams, because if one gets KOed, your opponent gets three prize cards. I started playing the speed Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) , which we developed together in Melbourne. My only fault was, not listening to Marrero and I cut the Absol (TM; 88) . Absol (TM; 88) increases the retreat cost of every Basic Pokemon by one; this is extremely nice against  Malamar (FLI; 51) and  Zapdos (TM; 40) Jirachi (TM; 99) . That's why my performance at the Melbourne Cup was way better than at the Internationals. With Absol (TM; 88) , Ultra  Malamar (FLI; 51) became a decent matchup. I personally think the speed Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) approach might make a comeback soon, as it has a decent  Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) (besides  Lucario GX (BW; 100) lists),  Malamar (FLI; 51) and  Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) matchup.  Zapdos (TM; 40) Jirachi should be a 50/50. I never adjusted to the  Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) box lists with  Jolteon GX (BW; 173) and  Zapdos (TM; 40) and Jirachi (TM; 99) , because I just took my Blowns out of the binder again, when I saw Zach winning a regionals with it, thanks again! I think that  Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) Box variants will be a big thing in Berlin, as they also were in Denver.

Zapdos / Jirachi

This deck is truly a decent one and in my opinion one of the most powerful decks. Its damage output isn't that huge, but it is similar to Luxchomp back in the old days. This deck can set the opponent under pressure by being so fast. The most important thing is to get rid of the opponents Alolan Muk (SUM; 58) . Without Basic Pokemons being able to use thier Abilities, this deck loses a lot of power. The  Jolteon GX (BW; 173) attack can be horrible for the opponent if you use it in the right moment. A one off Let Loose  Marshadow (SLG; 45) should be played in  Zapdos (TM; 40)   Jirachi (TM; 99) as well in my opinion. I would recommend playing a list similar to the one Torres used to win Bolzano. I played against him in Top Eight and lost with Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) . I like the idea of playing one  Shrine of Punishment (CLS; 143) to hit the 180 for Gx´s like Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) .

Malamar Causes Frustration

I never played Malamar (FLI; 51) , cause I always thought there is a better option than that out there. This deck has in my eyes far too many weaknesses, e.g. losing to Let Loose or bad hands in general,  Absol (TM; 88) techs and  Alolan Muk (SUM; 58) fun, to just name some. I think it´s especially not a deck, decent players should play. If you play well you can simply do better with other decks. I didn´t see many Malamar (FLI; 51) s in Denver.


Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  has been my favourite deck since it came out. I used it for my greatest achievements this season, palcing Top 32 at the Sao Paulo Internationals, runner up at the Dubai SPE, Top Eight at the Bolzano and for some other tournaments. I always get CP with it, totaling at over 700 just with Blowns. I like the deck, because it has no relevant autolosses and because of its consistency.  Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) is a 50/50 matchup.  Zapdos (TM; 40) Jirachi (TM; 99) really depends on the opponent, if he's a pro, your matchup is not really good. Almost all  Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) variants are very good matchups and also against stall, you should be able to win, depending on your start. As stall will be a thing in Berlin, this will be the matchup I´ll playtest the most. I decided to play  Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) until the new set comes out right after I made top Eight in Bolzano. I had a great start in Denver and finished 64th with 6-3-0. The losses were Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33)Zapdos (TM; 40) Jirachi (TM; 99) and  Quagsire (DM; 26) Naganadel (LT; 108) . The last one being a random non meta deck, it still destroyed my chance to day 2. The odds are very low that you face such decks, so you should be fine in Berlin. I will play it because it has no relevant autolosses, so if I prepare well and focus on my games, I might be able to achieve a decent finish with it, if RNG is not against me. My list will be similar to the one Zach used to win Collinsville. One card I´m debating on right now is Lysandre Labs (FLI; 111) , to improve the  Zapdos (TM; 40) Jirachi (TM; 99) matchup, I played that card in Brazil already to have an advantage vs Malamar (FLI; 51) . An  Absol (TM; 88) might be useful aswell, if your opponent fights against your  Alolan Muk (SUM; 58) plan. One of those techs might be useful.

See Ya in Berlin

Thanks for reading my very first article on 60Cards. If you have any feedback for me, just feel free to hit me up online or in person at one of the next events. My journey will continue in Daytona Beach this weekend. I still need to pick up some CP for my stipend to NAIC. If it all works out, I will play all four internationals this season. I´ve already reached my highest goals: a stipend to Australia and the EU Top22 Day Two Worlds invite, I'm currently number three in the ranking and there is no chance that too many people pass me. So stay tuned to hear more from me and my great Team LV5 friends. 

[+25] okko


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