Experts' corner

Chris Fulop

Orlando Regionals Review

Chris Reviews All Of The Top Decks From Orlando Regionals While Offering Insight On Card Choices And Where To Take The Lists Next!

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!

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 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.

On that note, one other thing that stands out to me is the 2 copies of Trainers' Mail. I'm assuming that this was merely a situation where the count started at 4, and to make room for specific cards they just got trimmed as the most expendable card in the deck. ( This makes sense since Max Elixir being at 3 is probably due to a similar fate. ) I'd really like to buff this count, and if you fit the 3rd I feel like a 4th can then come at the expense of the 3rd N. I feel like what my gut is telling me is to revert this tuned list into it's initial skeleton ( I want to cut the Olympia and maybe 2 Enhanced Hammer and run 4 Max Elixir and 4 Trainers' Mail. ) which is likely wrong.

On the topic of Enhanced Hammer...this has always been the type of card I've avoided playing, its just awkwardly situational and I usually require a lot of talking through to get convinced to run it. I'm more open to it in decks with a proper engine to get them ( Like with Teammates, or back when Korrina were legal. ) but I LOVE how it has to be just a throttling against Giratina. Most of the decks in the format are running DCE, and thus the card is probably pretty great right now. This is spoiling things again, where the Darkrai Giratina lists that made cut ran 1 copy of Enhanced Hammer, but I much prefer two copies to the one. If you think the card is good enough to run, I'd rather be able to reliably hit it. The one copy feels like such a gamble to me. The fact that 4 decks in the top 8 ( and 3 of the decks in top 4 or better ) ran Hammer means it was a great metagame call, and if we see more Giratina later it will be clutch there. Still, going against my own argument here, I could see myself trying -1 Olympia, -1 Enhanced Hammer, -1 N, +1 Max Elixir, +2 Trainers' Mail.

Super Rod is pretty much a must with a Max Elixir deck, and it makes the thinner than expected Yveltal count more justified. I also like Rod with the 2-2 Garbodor line, as if you prize a piece it can be a major problem. As for the Stadiums, I like the line. Parallel City is just a great card, and its furter disruption alongside Garbodor against a lot of decks. It gives you another means to attack Rayquaza as well, besides Fright Nighting Shaymins all game ( Not the worst plan, although the two approaches don't really work together well. ) and Parallel City is just a card that ends up having so many situational uses too. One Reverse Valley is just a bit of extra damage, and I'm also not certain it is a mandatory card I don't feel. It is on the thin list of cards I'm considering trimming for more Trainers' Mail.
Overall, I really love this deck, and since I complained about Rayquaza's positioning at the start of this article, I'm hoping to pick this up as my new go-to.

Oh man am I not looking forward to addressing this giant pile of Pokemon this deck runs! We'll start with the easy stuff. Alex ran a 3-3-3 Vileplume line, which isn't anything exciting. I've seen various 'Plume builds which ran like, a 4-4-3 line, and honestly that is just overkill. ( This build also opts for only 2 Level Ball, which is less than some builds, so I think that whiffing the t1 Plume a bit more often is acceptable. I said before the decks that just fold to a t1 Plume are no longer prevailant, so the equity of the "hard lock" on the first turn is a bit lower. You still want the quickest Plume you can get, but it feels less like you are giving away a free win than it used to, and if that means you can fit in more options for the longer games you are more likely to play, I am all for it. ) 3 Shaymin EX is the highest count we see in our top 8 here, but the deck oddly has the highest demand for draw power in the cut, since you don't really get access to midgame Item draw, and you have a pretty demanding first turn.

The overall game plan this deck is going for is pairing it's Item lock with disruptive attacks which prevent the opponent from being able to damage you at all. The three main attackers in the deck are Jolteon EX ( preventing damage from Basic Pokemon ) Glaceon EX ( preventing damage from Stage 1 Pokemon ) and Regice ( preventing damage from EXes ) ( Honorary mention to "the state of the game" for preventing damage from Stage 2 Pokemon. Sorry Greninja, you didn't top 8, I'll take my pot shots. ) Unlike last format, you have less decks which are totally cold to these attacks ( Most decks have some ability to diversify their attackers. ) but under item lock, it is difficult for decks to seamlessly manuever between them. Still, if you just look at the top 8 decks, you'll see how good Jolteon EX is. Yveltal Garbodor, Volcanion, and Darkrai Giratina simply have no way to attack a Jolteon EX once it gets swinging. Mega Mewtwo doesn't really have an answer to Regice. ( Go Garbodor! ) If Vespiquen or Gyarados showed up in numbers, Glaceon does a lot of work there too. ( I feel like with how the metagame has turned out that the 2nd Glaceon is probably unnecessary. )

Mew EX is the glue that holds this all together. I mentioned before how the games kind of devolve into this alternation between attackers...Vileplume leads with it's choice of lock attack, and the opponent has to answer by switching attackers. ( This stresses the energy supply in play under Item lock as most switching methods are Items. ) Vileplume then usually meets the new attacker with it's appropriate counter, and this exchange continues on. This deck only runs 10 Energy cards, and switching around is demanding on your Itemless game too. Mew EX lets you switch between attacks without forcing you to retreat/power up a second Pokemon. Mew is admittedly a bit frail, but its great towards making the deck flow.

On the topic of flowing, I discussed how retreating is a big issue, and Manaphy EX is a great solution to burning energy cards. The deck has 6 Water sources ( 2 Basic and 4 Rainbow ) and Manaphy gifts a free retreat cost to any Pokemon you have equiped with one of them. This is instrumental towards you having the flexibility edge against decks that AREN'T just cold to one of your attackers.

Magearna EX doesn't seem like it is super useful against many of the decks in the format at the moment, but the two biggest roles it plays are stopping Mewtwo EX/Mega Mewtwo EX from dumping a bunch of damage onto your Pokemon, and more importantly, it stops Promo Jirachi from just stripping away your energy every turn. Seeing how the deck is entirely dependent on Special Energy cards, you need some solution. With 4 Rainbow Energy, you meet the Metal Energy requirement for the Ability to cloak your Pokemon.
On the topic of Jirachi, it is just a great card at the moment. It is strong against a lot of decks ( It is also very hard to circumvent while under Item Escape Ropes, and you cut off VS Seeker for Lysandre. ) and you can use Mew EX to attack with it too. Another big part of the card's use is that you need a way to get Double Dragon Energy off of Giratina EX because if they manage to attack before you power up your Pokemon with Special Energy, you can't really ever attack. Still, you only have 2 Water to be able to power up with, but it gives you hope there.

Lugia EX is a good "out of no where" attacker, and it also gives you something that actually hits harder. Everything else in the deck is pretty low impact, which is fine based on how the deck plans to play, but there are a lot of game states where you want/need to be able to up the pressure. This is also nice for time issues, where you need to try and close out a match quicker.

The Pokemon I am somewhat surprised to not see is Hoopa EX. The deck does rely on a lot of EX Pokemon, but I understand that bench space is actually really cramped in this deck since you need 1+ Vileplume, a Shaymin EX or two, likely Manaphy, often a Mew, and then your attackers. You don't really have the luxury to bench the Hoopa in most games. One of the things that make me like it is that it acts as a midgame "wild card" Pokemon for searching out your EXes once you no longer have access to Ultra Ball while under Vileplume.

The Trainers are pretty straight forward. We have 4 Sycamore and 4 N, which is pretty well mandatory with no Item draw midgame and no VS Seekers. To round out the Supporters, we have 2 Lysandre and 2 Ninja Boy. I think Lysandre is pretty self explanatory, and I honestly wouldn't hate 3 of them. I think the card is extremely good under Item lock, especially since the deck is all about picking and choosing what you want to prey on with your lock. The damage output is low, and you "hang" a lot of Pokemon which retreat too, so picking them off is important. 2 would be fine with VS Seeker, but I'd love to see a 3rd.

Ninja Boy helps with the "no Ultra Ball" issue midgame as it acts as a Supporter based means to grab a new Pokemon, and it also lets you cheat powering it up. That is really it's secondary purpose, the consistency boon, that is, as it mainly lets you alternate between attackers without that need to retreat and power up something new. This is definitely the best Ninja Boy deck in the format at the moment.

Finally, the deck rounds itself out with 4 Ultra Ball, 2 Level Ball, 4 Trainers' Mail and 4 Forest of Giant Plants. The Forest are the gimmick which lets the deck ( and Vileplume in general ) function and you want it turn 1 as often as you can get it. The 10 Items seem out of place, but they are a necessary liability for the mid and late game as you want to burn through them as much as possible setting up on the first turn. They were better before when you could AZ Vileplume back to your hand and re-evolve it in a turn with Forest, but we can't have it all, right? They are still necessary for the deck to flow, even if they are overall rather awkward.

Anyways, I'm less into this deck than I am Yveltal, but purely for personal reasons. I don't like being so reactive in general, and I also would be a bit worried about taking too many unintentional draws with this deck. If you can get fast with the deck, it isn't that bad though, because one nice thing about establishing locks like this is that your opponent is forced into shorter turns as well due to less actual available plays. Assuming the opponent isn't being extremely methodical ( good players will be, the average player likely will not be. ) the games should be reasonable.

The two cards I'd like to add to this deck would be the 3rd Lysandre and a 3rd Water Energy. I'm not too big on the 2nd Glaceon EX, and would try cutting it for one of those. I don't really see what else is expendable though. Lugia may be a luxury which can go, and MAYBE...this is risky, but MAYBE a 3-3-2 Vileplume line is functional.

Stupid Giratina EX...why does it have to be so good? Anyways, lets break this dominating build down. The Pokemon are nothing new: 3 Darkrai EX as the leading attacker that also pulls double duty as a huge damage output late in the game. Giratina EX clocks in at only 2 copies, which is all you need as it is pretty demanding to power up and 2 is going to be plenty in the matchups where it really shines. ( You also have 1 Super Rod to help out here if need be. )

We have a 2-2 Garbodor line to help make the deck even more disruptive. Giratina is extremely good at locking a large portion of the metagame out of the game by cutting them off of Special Energy cards, and two of the biggest decks that avoid using them altogether are Greninja and Volcanion...both weak to Garbodor. You wind up with so many different weapons against so many different decks. Mega Pokemon can't hit Giratina ( Most Mega decks run Garbodor now, but you can Lysandre them if they sneak a Tool down before Chaos Wheel, and they can't rebuild from there ). Decks hinging on DCE can't keep up with their attacks. Decks relying on Abilities get shut down.

To keep the deck consistent we have the basic 2 Shaymin EX and 1 Hoopa EX. The one thing I am a bit surprised by is the lack of even 1 Yveltal ( XY ) as a means to set up KOs and put energy into play. I've always run 1-2 of them, and the complete omission is a bit surprising but I'm not going to second guess it too much. I'd like to hear the justification for it though. As for Energy, it is a Max Elixir deck, so we wind up with 10 Darkness Energy and 4 Double Dragon Energy. It is on the higher end of Basic Energy in my mind, but the deck benefits so much from stockpiling it in play that I see why.

Trainer wise, we have 4 Sycamore, 2 N, 2 Lysandre, and this recurring Olympia trend. They ran the 2 Parallel City to lock in with Chaos Wheel ( Typing this gives me flashbacks. ) which is backbreaking for a lot of matchups. Again we have the 3 Belt 3 Float Stone split for Garbodor ( and well, because both Tools are just naturally great in this deck too. ) 4 Max Elixir is a given. They had to trim down to 3 Trainers' Mail, which I am actually not a huge fan of simply because they also only ran 2 N, which brings the draw power down to the very minimum I'd be comfortable with. I'll acknowledge the irony in me complaining about consistency issues when 3 copies of the deck all made top 8.

Finally we have the one Enhanced Hammer, which is clearly great for mirror match. If you can hit the Hammer and use Chaos Wheel, you can lock them off of Chaos Wheel from there on out. Hammer is also good against much of the field anyways.

One of the cards I noticed as an omission is Special Charge. I liked the ability to get back DDEs against Jirachi and Hammers and just in case you are stuck discarding them and such. The deck has a strong enough fall back plan with Darkrai that you can fight past "worst case scenario" where you run out of DDEs, but with the deck getting a lot of attention after this Regionals, I do expect a lot more hate for it and that means needing to protect your DDE better.

Alright, unlike the Darkrai Giratina lists which were all identical, the two Mewtwo builds were a bit different. I'm going to focus on Igor's build since, well, fair or unfairly, he is the most accomplished player in this whole top 8 with his very impressive World's resume, and my blind trust in his deck building ability gets him the nod. On top of that, I feel like I like his list a bit better at first glance anyways.

Like the Giratina Darkrai lists, this is a pretty established archetype and the list isn't really anything crazy. As a result, I'm not going to go over the same card selections in tremendous detail unless I feel like they really need discussed.

We have a 4-3 Mewtwo line, 2 Shaymin EX, the Hoopa EX, and a 2-1 Garbodor line. The only thing of note here is the thinned Garbodor line, which is fine. You run the risk of prizing Garbodor some, and maybe stumbling and failing to replace a KOed one, but the important Pokemon to be able to produce two copies of is the Trubbish in the first place. This prevents the opponent from locking you off of Garbodor entirely if they can produce a Lysandre early. You can always Super Rod back in the Garbodo and retrieve it from there if need be and evolve Trubbish #2. One thing worth noting is that there is some real value to the opponent being unaware of the lone Garbodor copy. If I see a 2nd Trubbish benched, I'm far less likely to try and chase KOing Garbodor since it should be easy to replace as you always assume a 2-2 line. You give up a lot of ground taking a non-EX KO that also eats your Supporter for the turn and also does nothing to pressure the opponent's energy supply on board or their attackers with damage. If I find myself assuming the can get a replacement, I'm properly deterred from taking that line a lot. This is an extremely example, but I remember one of my friends, back in 2008, running a Duskull and no Dusknoir in one of his decks, just to bench, because it basically had the same impact. You bench it and the opponent ASSUMES you ran Dusknoir, and would just limit their bench because the blow out of getting one of your Pokemon shuffled back in was so great you would never risk it. It worked out really well until word got out that he didn't actually have the Dusknoir. ( I also remember a friend who would walk to his table each round with his friend and would talk about using Dusknoir's Pokemon Power in an earlier round to said friend just barely within ear shot of his new opponent...he didn't run Dusknoir either. )

ANYWAYS, back on topic, I like the 2-1 Garbodor line, and even now that this line is a known quantity and on the radar somewhat, its tough to ever assume someone is piggybacking on the idea.

The Trainers are all really streamlined. 4 Sycamore, 2 N, 2 Lysandre 4 VS Seeker 4 Ultra Ball 4 Trainers' Mail. All of this is pretty standard, and I like the 4 Sycamore and 2 N when you back it up with 4 Mail. I mentioned wanting to aim for that line in Azul's Yveltal list, and this was one of the reasons I felt pretty confident it would be fine.

The deck runs the 2/2 Parallel City and Shrine of Memories split, which is the norm for this archetype now. Toss on the Super Rod ( Which isn't even super necessary with a 4-3 line and Mega Turbos as your acceleration if it weren't for that Garbodor line. ) 4 Mega Turbo and 3 Float Stones and we are left with only one interesting count...

The list runs 4 Spirit Links. I have always run the deck with the standard 3, and with the 4 Trainers' Mail, I assumed that would be plenty. You never need a 4th Mega Mewtwo for obvious reasons, and you should have plenty of time to find them with the deck's engine. Still, both builds ran the full playset, and I doubt that is a coincidence.

Lets take a moment to look over the 3 changes Orgel made with his list opposed to Igor's though. He ran only 3 Mail, 3 Mega Turbo and no Super Rod and instead ran a 3rd N, a 2nd Garbodor and a lone Pokemon Center Lady. He opted for an N over a Mail, which is draw for draw, and the Super Rod is only really super appealing in Igor's list due to the 1 Garbodor, so that seems like a fairly appropriate exchange as well. I'm not sure specifically where the Pokemon Center Lady really shines, but I'm not the biggest fan of 1-of cards in decks with no engine to support them.

Going forward I do think that this deck needs to adapt a bit. Looking at the finals of this tournament, the deck seems like it would struggle in both matchups. You are pretty cold to Regice, and the thought of running a Pokemon Ranger makes me feel ill. I ran Lugia EX in previous builds, and still kind of like it, and if you did that, you could run a Mew ( non-EX ) to copy it's attack with. That is 120 damage from a non EX to an attacking Regice. It feels super elaborate and not worth it, though.

I also feel as if Yveltal ( BKT ) is just a huge beating for this deck, and I'm not too sure the best route to take against that deck. John's Pokemon Center Lady is a pretty great counter for the bench damage, and I wonder if he had the foresight to expect Yveltal and it influenced the inclusion. I assume the card is also good against the spread damage out of Greninja, but that seems a bit awkward to include there since you do have Garbodor to crimp the damage output a ton.

This is the most surprising build of the top 8 for me. The Pokemon are really simple. It is stripped down about as bare as it can be. You have the mandatory 4 Volcanion EX. Daniel only ran 3 Volcanion, which like Azul's Yveltal count, is a trim I'd have been very resistant to. Finally, we have the consistency of 2 Shaymin EX and 1 Hoopa EX. I've always been a fan of running thicker lines of these just to speed up the deck some. 12 Fire Energy is pretty standard, even if I had wound up on 11 being where I felt most comfortable.

Now we get to the Trainers and I am just a bit confused. 4 Sycamore, 3 N, 2 Lysandre. This is normal. We have Olympia again...people seem higher on this card than I am, but I don't hate it either. I like it less when we see the rest of the list, but I'll get to that. The 1 Fisherman is good, and it is pretty much the perfect fit alongside the 3 Energy Retrieval for providing enough means to re-fuel all of your Volcanion EX Abilities.

4 Ultra Ball...4 VS Seeker...4 Trainers' Mail. All great and pretty expected. 4 Max Elixir is great too, and necessary to help combat Garbodor as well as just being great. I like the 1 Parallel City. The deck doesn't really need Stadiums, but I do like the option to expand the bench and to lock it in early against other Parallel Cities to try and win that war pre-emptively.

Now lets get down to what I am...less sure of. Daniel ran an immense amount of Switching cards, being 3 Float Stone, 1 Escape Rope, 2 Switch and the Olympia. I see that this build is aiming to make Volcanion EX the primary attacker opposed to trying to take advantage of the fact you can get some pretty impressive damage out of the non-EX. I just feel like the deck is running 7 cards that are used to allow the same Volcanion EX to keep attacking...and that the number of turns you OHKO something with a Volcanion EX and it just lives to keep attacking isn't frequent enough to warrant these numbers.

The other problem I see is that the list only runs 1 Fighting Fury Belt. If I'm banking on Switch looping Volcanion EXes, I'd want more Belts to help make them sturdier. I'd want to try -1 Fire Energy, -1 Float Stone, +2 Fighting Fury Belt. I also want to run a 2nd Hoopa EX if I can find space for it, it just seems like such a strong opening play and this is one time where I'd rather hedge on the side of caution with it potentially being prized.

I feel like I came off sounding really harsh in this section, and I'm not trying to, I guess I feel like the strengths and perks of Volcanion have been discussed over and over again and all I narrowed in on were the criticisms, and as a result it sounds really lopsided like I am vehemently against this deck and that isn't the case!

Anyways, I want to close this article by going over some of the overarching themes to take from these decks. First off, Garbodor was everywhere. 6 of the 8 decks ran a line of the garbage bags. This makes me leary of decks which are extremely weak to the card. Greninja and Volcanion come to mind. This should definitely influence builds going forward.

Trainers' Mail was a huge winner. A lot of the decks ran a full playset and a 4 Sycamore 2-4 N engine. I mean, this isn't really surprising or anything, but we have officially settled into what is the defined best engine right now. 6-8 Draw supporters, 4 Trainers' Mail, and 2 Shaymin is the base line. I'd argue that previously the need for Mail was up in the air still, and now I think there needs to be a STRONG argument in support of cutting them not to start with them.

This concludes my analysis of Orlando Regionals and I hope it offers a fairly comprehensive starting point for anyone trying to get their head wrapped around where Standard is headed now!

[+2] okko

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