Experts' corner

Chris Fulop

Rounding Out The Format

Chris reviews two new lists, updates Mega Rayquaza, and shares important tips for long tournaments.

19. 10. 2016 by Chris Fulop

Hello again everyone!

Nope. Still no clever hook or catch phrase intro. After 6 years of writing, if it hasn't happened yet, it probably isn't going to ever. I'm just not that creative! Anyways, I'm still locked in on Standard, and I wanted to go over a few of the decks I didn't really touch on last article as well as update a few that I did. I am pretty sure I will include a slightly adjusted Rayquaza list from now until the end of time (or it rotates) because it is still my favorite deck to play. I also have an updated and fairly different take on the Rainbow Road archetype, which I am particularly happy about since I was not a big fan of the more traditional list that was in circulation.

Before I get into the decks, I want to go over a few pointers for Regionals. This isn't the first time I've stressed these points, but they are so important that I feel personally obligated to include them.

Get Enough Sleep: Hey, these tournaments are 9 rounds long, and let’s be honest, most run very, very slowly. You'll be there all day, and by the end of the day, especially if you've been drained by tough, stressful matches, you'll be feeling it. You may not actively make atrocious decisions, but no matter how much denial people are in, everyone plays worse towards the end of the day when they get tired. I've been stuck in way too many tournaments where I've gotten only a few hours of sleep beforehand, and it usually catches up to me. I don't have too many examples of it actually costing me matchups, but I know it affects me. I say this as someone who is used to having a messed up sleep schedule and staying away for long periods of time on no sleep. I'm sure it is worse for a lot of people. I know it is a rare chance to see a lot of your friends you may not get to see often, but trying to ensure 6-8 hours of good sleep before an event is important. This isn't as important if you make day 2, as even if you get too little sleep Saturday night, you aren't stuck playing as long.

Eat/Drink: This falls in line with getting enough sleep, but try to have something to eat and stay hydrated. I pretty much camp the water fountains between every round. I'm also hopelessly addicted to Energy Drinks, and while they help a lot (Especially with me never following my own advice on sleep) it is important to try and save those for the last few rounds if you can to avoid any sort of crash coming down off of them. I usually save a Monster for the end of round 7. As for food, I still get very nervous at events, and that makes it so I don't like eating breakfast, it messes with my stomach somewhat. I usually carry snacks (usually healthier) to eat throughout the event. Lunch breaks are pretty useless. The time allowed almost never works out because you have 400+ people all storming the same like 2 options for food. I usually don't bother and just pack my own food to eat. Another standby is to make the first person in your group of friends to drop to be on food duty and grab stuff during the rounds. Hey, not all heroes wear capes...or make day two...or sometimes round 4...

Know Your Deck: This is a looser rule, in that sometimes there are factors preventing you from having as much time to test as you'd like. Often times you end up changing decks at the somewhat last minute and test all you can but it still isn't as much as you'd like. That said, I think at any of these big 2 day events that it pays off so much to be intricately familiar with your deck. I'm very critical of the time limit set for match play and how often it leads to draws and incomplete games. I do not doubt that most good players can pick up a deck, in a format they are overall fairly well versed in, and play it very well. The problem is, even if you can, you play slower. I'm sure some readers are going to stubbornly deny it, but almost everyone is going to be affected in some degree. Not only do you have to actively think through things more, which hurts your time management, it also makes the toll the tournament takes on you mentally greater. These event are long and draining, and knowing your deck helps reduce the wear and tear on your mind over the span of the tournament. One final important part of this is that you learn when and where it is important to give up a game. Knowing when to concede for time's sake is important!!! I cannot stress this enough. I see so many fantastic players, even players I consider to be better at the game than I am currently play out games they have no business still chasing and get punished for it. By knowing the deck inside and out, you know where the big turning points are and what games are pretty much a lost cause. Yes, a lot of games are pretty cut and dry, but it helps to know the deck. For major events like this, I'd much rather play a deck I was extremely well versed in that is slightly worse positioned than a deck I'd be picking up with only 20 or so games under my belt with.

Anyways, onto the decks!

Time for a late disclaimer: I was testing this deck and wrote about it before noticing that Jose Marrero also covered it in his article. I've adjusted the discussion to be a bit of a companion piece to what Jose wrote, so please go drop by and give his article some additional traffic if you haven't done so already!

The goal of this deck is to use Team Magma's Secret Base to place 20 damage on as many of your Magikarp as you can. Why? Gyarados, for only CC, does 30 damage plus 30 more per damage counter on a Magikarp. You can cap at 210 damage, which KOs most things in the format right now. Gyarados itself as pretty solid hit points, albeit with less as the game progresses as that 20 damage on Magikarp has consequences!

Anyways, the gameplan is to be able to recycle Gyarados and Magikarp to keep using beefy non-ex attackers to score OHKOs and eventually just win the exchange. (Ground breaking, right?) Let’s go over the numbers in the list.
4 Magikarp: You clearly need to run a full playset of these not only because they are your main (only) attacker's basic, but because you want as many as you can Bench as your damage hinges on it.

3 Gyarados: With all of the recovery necessary to recycle the Magikarp, you do not need a full set of Gyarados. 3 is going to be plenty, as you have an abundance of search cards and a large amount of ways to recycle them.

2 Remoraid: I've been torn between a 2-2 line of Octillery and a 1-1 line. On one hand, the deck is pretty thin on Basics. I prefer opening with a Magikarp simply because the deck runs 4 DCE and 2 Switching cards, so it’s not a foregone conclusion you can effortlessly Retreat on turn 2. Still, I hate mulliganning, and I really don't want to Prize a piece of the line as I think it is fairly necessary to the deck's engine.

2 Octillery: The deck places a decent amount of demand on your resources in that you need to get back Magikarp almost every turn, a DCE, and make sure you have a Secret Base out. The deck also otherwise is pretty strong against Garbodor, which is nice since it is both popular and a huge problem for decks hinging on Octillery to do a lot of work.

1 Mr. Mime: Jose mentioned how he ran a Mr. Mime because he wanted an answer to Rainbow Roads that run Galvantula or Hoopa, and while I think that is a valid point, I am also concerned with this deck starting to turn heads. (Jose wrote about it as an under the radar deck...I see it getting fairly routinely discussed now, so I am unsure how under the radar it still is now.) It isn't that hard for decks to run cheap Bench damage effects if they wanted to sway the matchup. Hoopa is easy to splash. Something like Spinda, who does 10 damage to everything on the opponents Bench for a C is a nightmare without Mr. Mime. I feel like a week ago I would have been fine without the Mr. Mime, but now I feel like it is pretty mandatory.

1 Shaymin-EX: Jose opted not to play one, despite including it in his list of potential options. I've always leaned towards the side of the argument that I want 1 Shaymin in my lists as an important safety net. I don't want to use Shaymin-EX if I do not have to. I won't use it just to chase a great start. I do want it available for games where my draw is subpar and I NEED it. With the 2-2 Octillery line and how many Balls I play, yes, it is a personal preference call as to whether or not you want to run the Shaymin, but I like it.

4 Double Colorless Energy: Yep. Running the full playset.

4 Dive Ball: The deck is almost exclusively Water, and you want a full Bench of Magikarp on the first turn. I think this is a given.

2 Level Ball: Hey, more Magikarp! These don't cover as much as Dive Ball does, which is why I'm only running a pair, but they get Karp and both ends of the Octillery line.

4 Ultra Ball: Yep. I'm running 10 total Balls. Jose wasn't running these, but I can't imagine cutting them. They let me get the Shaymin-EX if need be, but more importantly, they are instrumental in milking value out of Octillery. With a 2-2 line, it is totally reasonable to get both in play and be able to use their Abilities multiple times, and Ultra Ball is great for that. Between Octillery and Shaymin-EX wanting low hand sizes, I think this is a mandatory 4 of still.

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