08. 11. 2016 by Chris Fulop
The most prestigeous and impactful Standard event we have had this season so far is in the books now, and that event was Orlando Regionals. The Top 8 consisted of 5 different archetypes: Yveltal Garbodor, Vileplume Toolbox, Darkrai Giratina, Mega Mewtwo, and Volcanion. I am going to focus on the top 8 from Masters only, as it is usually the most telling in terms of overall quality. I'm not disrespecting the top players in the younger age groups, either. I've seen plenty of players compete in cross age division tournaments do extremely well over the years, but the problem is that the skill gap between the great younger players and the average player is massive and that can definitely skew results overall.
Of these placements, the one that really came out of left field was the whole event being won by Yveltal! While Yveltal was pretty well hyped at the start of the format, it looked to fall off the radar pretty quickly. Initially, players looked more towards Zoroark ( A card that has been all but absent in the format despite an expected popularity ) and more so Darkrai EX as the best Dark options. Well, Azul Garcia Griego smashed through the whole field to take home the trophy proving once again that the pesky big evil bird is still a tier 1 threat.
Vileplume Toolbox, piloted by quasi-local player Alex Schemanske ( Hey, he isn't from Ohio, but he comes to a lot of the local events here! ) was a break out deck from Worlds, but players didn't seem to be all that sure on how well it would carry over into the new format. With less gimmicky Battle Compressor engines and decks inherently weak to Item Lock, its "free" wins seemed to be rarer on paper. To make things worse, it lost AZ to rotation, making the deck far clunkier than it had been. It gained access to replacement options such as Olympia and Ninja Boy, but finding the right build wasn't overly transparent. I'm pretty sure a 2nd place finish in this EXTREMELY impressive field of competition puts the doubts to rest: This deck is absolutely real. To make things better, it is also very flexible in what it can do, so it shouldn't suffer too much from players "adjusting" to it. These types of decks always give a pilot the ability to prey on average players who aren't quite good at playing past the disruption. On top of this, the deck isn't easy to play, and as a result I don't expect a ton of players to bandwagon it, which means incentive for players to put a bullseye on it going forward should be minimal.
The biggest story to come out of the event has to be the performance of teammates Ryan Sabelhaus, Rahul Reddy, and Brad Curcio: All names by now you should be well familiar with. All three of them ran 60 card indentical lists, and all three of them stormed into the top 8 with their Darkrai Giratina list. I'm actually moderately upset by this: I had finally tuned Mega Rayquaza to a position where I loved it against the field besides Giratina. I also felt that Giratina was on enough of a downswing to make it a great choice. WELL, I can throw that projection right on out the window as this level of consistent performance cannot be overlooked. While the deck didn't make the finals, placing two copies into top 4 ( With Rahul losing in mirror in top 8 ) is more impressive than the performance of any single archetype. The interesting bit is that I really don't think that the list they ran is all that innovative: It doesn't do much terribly new, it is just extremely well tuned and, I assume played extremely well by good players. Considering the fact I didn't view the expected metagame to be terribly weak to the deck, the results tell a story of raw power rather than capitalization on an opening on the field.
Next up, two copies, albeit slightly different lists, of Mega Mewtwo Garbodor both made top 8, piloted by former World Champion Igor Costa and John Orgel ( Who I am not familiar with personally, unfortunately. ) This was the defacto "best deck" headed into the weekend, and I think that it stays pretty well entrenched as a tier 1 format defining deck. I think it may have suffered a bit in that everyone kind of pegged it as one of the big decks to beat, and thus it hard a bit harder time than it could have. The big issue is, the deck is really hard to hate out of a metagame: You can avoid being weak to it, but its a resilient deck that is hard to prey on through any real exploitable weaknesses. That is one of the key traits to a format defining tier 1 deck. Mega Rayquaza would be the opposite of this...when people want to beat the deck, they can run Raichus, or Giratina as hard counters, or just run more Parallel Cities to give it fits ( It can beat them, but they can be added to the most mundane of decks to give it a big increase in that matchup. ) There really are not any silver bullets that decks can embrace against Mega Mewtwo.
Finally, the last deck to grace the top 8 in Orlando was a pretty streamlined Volcanion deck run by Daniel Lopez. Volcanion is an extremely powerful and consistent deck that has gained steam in recent weeks leading up to the event. The deck has three major enemies: Mega Rayquaza, Greninja, and Garbodor. Giratina did a pretty good job of keeping Rayquaza in check at the event, the prevailant Garbodor likely did a number on all of the Greninjas, and well...the 6 copies of Garbodor in the top 8 didn't bode well for Lopez's continued run. That being said, I don't think that the deck is just dead to the card: With Volcanion's attack and Max Elixir helping to put energy in play, the deck can muster enough offense to clear the board of the obnoxious stinky trash bag, at which point the decks using Garbodor are usually pretty soft to the decks overwhelming damage output from there. I feel as if Volcanion is just a somewhat medicore deck, in that it is weak to quite a few aspects of the format and that it has to be really tough to avoid all of them and take down a whole event with it. I love how it plays, and you almost always get a great game out of it, which is absolutely a huge selling point, it just seems like one of those decks you pick up when you want to secure a good placement, despite it being pretty difficult to take to a fantastic showing.
Anyways, lets take a look at all of the lists!
Yveltal, 1st Place
- 1x Yveltal
- 3x Yveltal EX
- 2x Yveltal
- 2x Shaymin EX
- 2x Trubbish
- 2x Garbodor
- 4x VS Seeker
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 4x Professor Sycamore
- 3x N-supporter
- 2x Lysandre
- 1x Olympia
- 3x Max Elixir
- 1x Super Rod
- 3x Float Stone
- 3x Fighting Fury Belt
- 2x Parallel City
- 1x Reverse Valley
- 2x Enhanced Hammer
- 2x Trainer's Mail
- 9x Darkness Energy
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
The Pokemon here are nothing ground breaking. You have 3 Yveltal EX as a primary attacker, being backed ( Although really, these Pokemon are huge role players for the deck's offense. ) by Yveltal ( XY ) and Yveltal ( BKT ) You know by now if you read any of my stuff how much I am in love with Fright Night ( My heart only beats faster for Mega Rayquaza. ) and this is a great shell to run it with. You run a bunch of Darkness Energy to use with Max Elixir, so it is quite possible to attack with either this Yveltal or Yveltal EX on the first turn, and it is easy to repower them as they fall down. The best part about pairing the BKT Yveltal with Garbodor is that you turn off it's Ability, meaning you can actually suit it up with Fighting Fury Belt giving it a hefty hit point total and some extra damage. This Yveltal is devastating in all of the EX matchups, and Garbodor paired with Yveltal EX is just extremely good against most of the non-EX matchups. The near total lack of Lightning type Pokemon in the format makes the monotonous weakness of this deck's entire attacker suite pretty irrelevent too.
I had looked at BKT Yveltal a bit recently in a shell pairing it with Bursting Balloon and Hex Maniac spam ( The ruling with this pairing allowed you to choose the order of the two card's effects, making it so that you could just keep a Balloon attached to the Yveltal past the end of the turn because you could stack it so that it's Ability turned back on before checking to discard it at the end of turn, an effect that no longer takes place due to said Ability. ) and I was just...not quite happy with the various builds I had for that deck. As people were becoming more and more prepared for Balloon, the results suffered too. This is a much better compromise for how to abuse Yveltal seeing how I think the card is great right now, especially when it can actually hold tools. The fact that prior to Garbodor coming down you can use it to hault Spirit Link abuse on the first few turns of the game is just icing on the cake.
One of the things that surprises me with the Pokemon selection here is the inclusion of only 1 Yveltal ( XY ) I mean, I can see the defense of it now that I'm seeing the list, but I will openly admit I'd have had a very hard time on pulling the trigger on running less than some combination of 4 of Yveltal. I'm not saying I'm right, at all, it is just a big jump for me that I'd have needed someone else to beat into my head because it is pretty counter intuitive. Those are the types of things you learn to accept through a lot of reps with a deck, and I'm definitely deferring to Azul on this since you cannot argue with those results.
The definitive Garbodor line in the whole top 8 ( to the surprise of I assume literally no one ) was a 2-2 line, and this deck is no different. Alright, SPOILER, Igor actually went with a 2-1 Garbodor line in his deck, which I think is interesting and probably fine, you just accept the fact you may have a few snags with prizing the card in key matcups. ( He ran a Super Rod as well, so he had access to more than the one copy, too. )
The Energy line isn't very surprising either. For a Max Elixir deck, 9 Basics and 4 DCE is pretty much the normal. I've argued that 8 Basics is...defensible, usually in conjunction with Super Rod, but I love not having to trim it that thin.
On the topic of Max Elixir, one of the few issues I do have with this list is the inclusion of less than the full playset of the card. If you are making the concessions to your build ( By concessions I mean a bloated energy count, more or less. ) then Max Elixir is usually just the best card in your deck. "Put a Basic Energy into play" is extremely powerful, and if you want that effect at all ( Which almost every deck would ) I don't see how I'd want less than, well, as many as I can legally run. ( Which is 4...although you can probably get away with more in Virginia...I'll be curious to see if the editors nix this or not...) I gave benefit of the doubt on the Yveltal count, but this is one spot I'll just be stubborn on. If I ran this deck ( Which, for reference, I plan on...this is by far my favorite deck in the top 8, and the fact it won is only additional reassurance to me. )
The Supporters are pretty par for course...4 Sycamore, 3 N, 2 Lysandre...until we see Olympia. This is admittedly a card I was not expecting to see in the deck, and one I'm not totally sold on being necessary. I'm not saying it is bad and needs to go, I just assume it falls under one of the decks luxury slots ( alongside the 2 Enhanced Hammer. ) and my gut is telling me I'd rather have the 4th Max Elixir over it.
In order to make Garbodor work, you really want 5-6 Tools, and the generally accepted line is 3 Fighting Fury Belt and then 3 Float Stone. No complaints on that from me, and I can see where Olympia comes in hand here. Yveltal ( BKT ) can turn off Float Stones...you often want to retreat Pokemon without cutting them off of Fighting Fury Belt ( Or if they already have a Belt. ) so I get it, it is just a bit awkward as a very situational card that gets run as a 1 of with an engine that isn't really great at getting to it.
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