Experts' corner

Chris Fulop

London Fallout

With London's First Ever Intercontinental Championships Behind Us, The Standard Metagame Settles Down And Chris Looks At Where It Stands Going Forward!

12/15/2016 by Chris Fulop

Hello everyone! Yveltal. Yes. Yveltal. I'm not even going to beat around the bush with one of my usual attempts to come up with an engaging introduction to this article. I will be discussing the new scourge of the Standard Pokemon format: Yveltal. I guess "new" scourge is a bit misleading, seeing how the Pokemon has been at the forefront of the game's competitive scene more or less since it was released. It is actually somewhat interesting, seeing how I predicted that some sort of Yveltal/Zoroark style deck would be a frontrunner for the budding metagame at the start of rotation this summer. (This is actually a deck that did end up winning one of the younger age groups at Fort Wayne Regionals!)

That being said, at the start of the format, Yveltal was more or less nowhere to be seen. Months went by without much impact by our Dark avian friends. Yveltal-EX was just outclassed by the OHKO potential of Pokemon such as Mega Rayquaza, Volcanion, Xerneas, and Mega Mewtwo. Well, or so players thought. Yveltal took down Orlando Regionals in a pretty surprising turn of events. I wrote how it was my favorite deck to come out of the event, and it wasn't entirely because it did end up winning the whole thing. I just love Breakthrough Yveltal, and have been singing it's praises since it's release. It continues to exceed even my lofty expectations of the card, and that is saying something. Yveltal-EX is really only as dangerous as it has shown to be because Yveltal BKT is so unbelievably strong in conjunction with it. The double shot of 60 damage is just so good at setting up targets for Yveltal-EX to sweep, it isn't even reasonable.

The final piece of the puzzle is Garbodor. Yveltal-EX, even when paired with its BKT counterpart, is still a bit behind in the power creep if that can be believed. The additional disruption of Garbodor allows the deck to fight on even footing with the other more powerful decks. Greninja and Volcanion are at a huge disadvantage without their Abilities. Decks like Mega Rayquaza are less directly impacted, but they certainly rely on Abilities to set up and maintain a flow of resources that is necessary due to the fairly complex board state it relies on to keep up with it's game plan.

Once you force the unfair decks to try and compete on a fair level and cut their legs out from underneath them, you realize very quickly that very few decks are really equipped to play Yveltal's game against it. There are decks that will have a field day against Yveltal if you really want them to. (Alex Hill's Vespiquen/Zebstrika deck, which took 9th place VERY narrowly on breakers at London's Intercontinental,  massacres the archetype, but struggles a bit against other decks in the field.) The problem is, the decks which can fight Yveltal well face a bit of a fundamental issue.

With Garbodor, Yveltal slows decks down and cuts off "unfair", more degenerate strategies. This means if you want to do well against the deck as a whole, you need to be built in a way that lets your deck function optimally ALSO in this slower, grindier, "fair" manner. In general, this means you are likely doing something that is going to be poorly suited to match up against a Mega Rayquaza, a Volcanion, or a Greninja. (These are all "degenerate" decks, admittedly in different ways, but Rayquaza and Volcanion are very pushed proactive stratgies, while Greninja is able to dump a ton of damage into play without really needing to rely on attack damage.)

Yveltal is the natural evolution of a strategy that had already held a place in the format. Mega Mewtwo Garbodor and Mega Scizor Garbodor are really the precursors to this deck. They take a low maintenance, sturdy attacker and pair it with Garbodor. Mega Mewtwo was arguably the best deck for a reasonable length of time. Why is Yveltal just so much better than it, though? Well, things are never extremely black and white, but I think there is a pretty prominent reason for why Yveltal is the best Garbodor partner: Yveltal BKT.

Dark not only gets great attacker in Yveltal-EX, which I like MORE than Scizor and less than Mega Mewtwo, but it gets a fantastic NON-EX attacker. Scizor was paired with Cobalion, occasionally, while Mewtwo really had no good non-ex partner available. Yveltal BKT not only gives the deck a longer game, as it is a non EX, but it gives it the inherent advantage in Garbodor "mirror" matches, where it's Pitch Black Spear attack can easily set up EXes for Yveltal sweeps. (It helps that, prior to Garbodor, it's Ability Fright Night turns off Spirit Links for Mega decks.)

That is another huge factor: Yveltal-EX (and Yveltal) are the best attacking options that are not Ability reliant that are also not Mega Pokemon. This means you can be more aggressive, and do not have to clog your deck with a thicker Pokemon line and Spirit Links. It makes potential t1 Max Elixirs more threatening when your Pokemon are so dangerous right out of the gate.

Even prior to Yveltal's raise to dominance, its style of deck was arguably the "best" deck in the format. Now we've seen the approach refined. It won in Orlando. It took 1st and 2nd in Fort Wayne Masters. It won both younger divisions as well, although one of those lists opted for Zoroark over Garbodor. It took 5 of the 8 spots in London, in what I'll easily call the toughest field that we've seen this year so far since Worlds. Oh, did I mention it then wound up taking up all the top 4 spots?

This accomplishment is really impressive beyond just showcasing that it was the deck of choice for many of the best players. It is impressive beyond just showcasing that those players performed extremely well. It is impressive because this was a tournament where the deck was ABSOLUTELY being gunned for. The deck came fairly well out of left field in Orlando when Azul won with it. By Fort Wayne, it was unsure how "real" the deck was. It was clearly good, but it wasn't certain that it was one of the best decks overall. How much would being a known quantity impact its performance? It was a disruptive deck with a lot of play to it. Those are the types of decks that usually benefit greatly by players being uncertain of how to properly interact with it. Well, in Fort Wayne, it crushed the event again. It was absolutely for real.

In London, it had a huge bullseye on its forehead. You had many great players going to great lengths to try and beat it. As I mentioned, Alex Hill and others ran Vespiquen/Zebstrika. Tyler Ninomura snuck into day 2 at 32nd seed with a Jolteon-EX, Lugia, Garbodor concoction attributed to his friends Ross Cawthon and Team X-Files. At the end of the day, it didn't matter, as over the course of 14 rounds, Yveltal stood tall. VERY tall.

This was the "Night March" test for the deck. Not only did the deck prove it was great, but it proved it was not just a strong metagame choice. When the room built to beat it, it still beat the room. That is a HUGE testament to an archetype's strength. Night March spent months beating back a metagame consisting of ONLY decks aiming to beat it. I'm certain Yveltal's stability isn't to that level, but it still passed a tough test with flying colors. It isn't beating a field of 50% Vespiquen/Zebstrika decks, but it can hold up to being a gunned for known quantity for sure.

Alright, I also want to debunk something: Yveltal Garbodor is the best deck, however, I don't think it is oppressively so. I've seen the pre-emptive witch hunt going on at Virbank and similar groups, and it just makes me roll my eyes. The deck, at face value, is very much a fair deck: What it does isn't degenerate. It doesn't really OHKO things. It doesn't get quick turn 1 KOs. It doesn't present an overwhelming board state. It grinds out decks very, very well. That is not a bad place for a "best deck" to be. It wins, but usually through competitive games and there is a lot of play on both sides. It is disruptive, but not in a Trevenant or Seismitoad or Vileplume manner. The deck doesn't lock decks out of playing the game. Yes, certain decks get hit pretty hard by Garbodor, but even then they can play the Lysandre game to fight over them.

If you want a "best" deck, Yveltal is a pretty reasonable one to have terrorizing the format. It isn't like Night March where if you didn't bring a deck that was dedicated to beating it you were running about a 20% chance to beat it. It has a bunch of 50-50 to 60-40 matchups against the top decks. It was such a popular play because it had few BAD matchups in the known metagame, and it allowed good players a game plan to leverage their expected ability to outplay an opponent.

Anyways, lets look at the top 8 from London quickly before I go into lists for Yveltal Garbodor.

1.) Michael Pramawat: Yveltal Garbodor

2.) Jay Lesage: Yveltal Garbodor

3.) Phillip Schulz: Yveltal Garbodor

4.) Tord Reklev: Yveltal Garbodor

5.) Yveltal Garbodor: Yee Wei Chun

6.) Greninja: Grafton Roll

7.) Volcanion: Pedro Torres

8.) Volcanion: Attar Ricco

9.) Alex Hill: Vespiquen/Z

I included Alex by virtue of the fact that he had the same record needed to top 8, and that it came down to 2nd tie breakers for him to whiff. For the sake of continuing in the event, "close" doesn't cut it, but for the sake of discussing the best performing decks for the weekend, I'll definitely count it. Worth noting is that he lost round 9 on day 1 to Volcanion to finish at 8-1, and due to the nature of day 2 pairings, was immediately repaired against the same opponent losing a second time. While Volcanion was a very popular deck, and a matchup Alex says is winnable (I'll admit it looks pretty rough on paper to me) it is unfortunate to take back to back losses against the same opponent in Swiss.

This is a really cool deck. At it's core, it is a Vespiquen list, running 27 Pokemon and thus getting the standard damage output you'd expect from Vespiquen. In order to beat Yveltal, it also runs Zebstrika, which just abuses the deck through type advantage. Zebstrika gets the nod over the usual Eevee line featuring Jolteon because it functions under Garbodor, which is key, not only because Yveltal runs it but because you run a 2-2 line as well.

Garbodor is your solution for Greninja, which is probably not too bad even without it, but also an attempt to combat Volcanion. If they can just use baby Volcanion bolstered by the EX's damage output, you can't possibly keep up. This at least gives you a chance.

The deck also runs 3 Klefki, which prevent damage from Mega Pokemon. This stops decks like Mega Rayquaza, Mega Mewtwo, and Mega Scizor. Between Vespiquen being a strong overall attacker, Zebstrika being a great secondary attacker and counter to the format's best deck, Garbodor hosing another sector of top decks and Klefki catching another portion, the deck really does combat a large portion of the field.

It also makes up for the fact that I've been unable to locate the lists for 5th-8th place so far, since has yet to post the lists from the event at my time of writing this. My biggest regret of this is being unable to look at Yee Wei Chun's list, since I am focusing primarily on Yveltal for this article anyways. Yee is also a player I was not personally familiar with going into the event, but after hearing his accomplishments at both his Nationals and at Worlds, I have to say I am impressed.

I'll use Pramawat's list as my base point. Not only did he win the event, but he is the most accomplished player in the top 8 of the event, and the player who I have watched play the most so I can personally attest to how great a player he is. This isn't a knock on any of the other players, there was a HUGE amount of talent in that top 8. You can't reach that sort of accomplishment without being very good at this game.

Pramawat's list uses the bare bones for Pokemon. 3 Yveltal EX and 2 Yveltal ( BKT ) is the standard. 2-2 Garbodor and 2 Shaymin EX is also a the prevailing number. None of the lists in the top 4 ran less than these numbers, except Phillip who opted to run NO copies of Yveltal BKT! Pram doesn't run any additional attackers, either. There is something to be said about streamlined effeciency, clearly.

9 Darkness Energy and 4 Double Colorless Energy is the universally accepted number it seems. I don't disagree. 9 is the "safe" spot for Energy, and I really don't think the upside is worth it to pad that number. You can justify a higher count in some Elixir decks, but I don't think this deck wants that. You would be better served adding other cards than having a minimal impact on your Elixir hit rate. Pramawat opted to run a Super Rod as well, which makes sense with his bare minimum approach to his Pokemon line. It also makes mid and late game Elixirs that much more effective by refilling your energy density if need be. I generally dislike Super Rod, and not everyone chose to run one, but I do like it in this archetype.

Pram ran a pretty standard Supporter line when it comes to the basics. 4 Sycamore, 3 N, and 2 Lysandre is par for course. Now, where he really deviated was with the other inclusions. Pram cut into his draw engine by removing the Trainers' Mail entirely. Of course, this is after I spent my last article hyping up how much I like the Mails in the deck, and wanted the full play set of them. I still think Mail is great, and most of the lists ran them, but I understand Pram's choice here! Mail makes the deck quicker and more consistent, but that isn't really what the mirror match, in this case the most important matchup, is about. By adding Supporters and other cards which help in the mirror, you are giving yourself a deck better suited for this metagame. You end up trimming raw consistency in exchange for zeroing in on important matchups, and it clearly paid off.

What is nice too is that these cards allow the deck to start off slower and still win. The cards in question here are Team Flare Grunt, Enhanced Hammer, Delinquent, and Pokemon Center Lady. The Grunt and Hammers let the deck attack the mirror's energy supply, and this matters on multiple fronts. It allows you to jump ahead on board position, which is even more important than the exchange is in this matchup. (A rare thing to say about Pokemon these days, I know.) Second, it works well with setting up Pitch Black Spears. In the mirror, you often see Y-Cyclone used to conserve energy cards. By stripping an energy off the active with Grunt, and hitting a Hammer on the now benched DCE, you stand a good chance of getting extra Spears off. The way you play the mirror match out often hinges on carefully positioning and protecting your energy cards (there isn't a ton of margin for error due to how the Evil Ball math plays out) and when players are walking on egg shells trying not to over-power Pokemon for this purpose, they leave themselves extra open to being punished by choice Energy removal cards.

These Energy removal cards are great in general, since you are already slowing decks down, and cutting off Abilities. Any sort of additional disruption plays into the overarching plan of making opposing decks stumble. I mentioned in older articles how Hammers are great against Darkrai Giratina, a deck that didn't make much of an impact this event at all, but even against random assorted decks this energy pressure is useful.

Delinquent is a card that honestly I didn't warm up to for a bit of time. It seemed a bit random, especially in a deck that doesn't actually have too many Stadium cards, and one that isn't actually that weak to other Stadiums in particular. I do like how it is a re-useable answer to Sky Field against decks that hinge on having it. The Stadium warring isn't really it's main purpose, though. If at any point in a game you catch your opponent with 3 or less cards...something that happens a lot, actually, especially in close games, you can leave them with a 0 card hand. That is so dangerous that even if you don't DRAW the Delinquent, your opponent will be terrified by the threat of being reduced to a 0 card hand. Whether you have it or not, they may end up adjusting their play to be more conservative to avoid it. This is a deck that also cuts off Shaymin EX mid and late game, so it forces players to be a bit harder pressed to always be able to refill their hand.

Now, this overlooks the fact that even if you don't give an opponent a 0 hand, it's still dangerous! Especially as the game progresses, resources get depleted. If your opponent has 4-5 cards in hand, there is a good chance that a lot of those cards are very useful. You can still get rid of useful cards even if you don't induce a dead draw from it. There are definitely decks that will struggle against being hit by multiple Deliquent in a game, even if none of them individually are totally backbreaking. The mere presence of this card asks its opponent to play conservatively, and if they ignore that, they get punished. I love a card which can be used as a lone copy and will induce a total change of play from the opponent whether you show it or not. The passive value gained from the inclusion of this card cannot be overstated.

Finally, we have Pokemon Center Lady. Center Lady has two major purposes here: It negates Pitch Black Spear damage, and it helps keep you alive against Greninja decks. In the mirror, Pitch Black Spear threatens Shaymin KOs, and also drops 60s on Yveltal-EX, setting up Evil Ball KOs. Opponents will often assume those are safe KOs later, and play accordingly. Being able to strip 60 damage off a Pokemon against a deck that doesn't really get OHKOs otherwise is really important. Previously, this card had been an Olympia in many decks ( Jay's list included! ) and they serve similar functions, I feel, but with how big the mirror match is right now, I prefer the Lady.

Without the Olympia, Pram did run an Escape Rope. This is a 4th "switching" card, which I like, since it allows you to get 1st turn attacks off of Max Elixir more regularly. It also alleviates some of the stress put on the deck in terms of switching Pokemon around since you end up with Fury Belts on a lot of your Pokemon. Garbodor usually eats up a Float Stone as well. If Garbodor is missing, Fright Night turns off Float Stone if it is active, and this makes retreating your own copy annoying, but it also makes Float Stone a dead card in the mirror against opposing copies.

That is a very interesting point of discussion for the mirror match, too. There is a whole complicated dynamic involving players having or not having Garbodor active. With Garbodor "on", Fright Night is off, and both players have Float Stone and Fighting Fury Belt available. If it is off, the tools are as well, and that makes both decks weaker. Whether to go for Garbodor at all is an interesting sub game. Setting it up demands resources, and if you can let your opponent be the one to get Garb out, you can devote your time and effort to other aspects of the game. Yet if they get a Trubbish with a Tool and threaten to evolve if it is beneficial, and you don't have that same parity, at least a Trubbish in play, they can leverage that choice over you. It is an interesting issue to try and balance, but it generally is ideal to just grab a Trubbish and suit it up. Actually commiting to Garbodor is a bit more dependent on what te game state looks like, but the nature of the game changes depending on whether Garbodor is in play or not.

To return to Escape Rope, not only is it an aditional Switching card, but it has other nice uses as well. Pitch Black Spear incentivizes players to promote "dying" EX Pokemon with 60 or less HP to attack with. Shipping it back to the bench to pick off with Escape Rope isn't that uncommon. Yes, the same purpose can be served by a Lysandre but additional value in a "switch" is good. The card also works great against Jolteon EX and other "protective" Pokemon. If Jolteon EX attacks, you can Escape Rope it to the bench, then Lysandre it up, with the protection aspect of it's attack "falling off" as it hits the bench, and thus you can KO it. The play was common in old Night March builds, but it applies here as well since the deck consists exclusively of basic attackers.

Pram ran 3 copies of both of his tools, which I like. A lot of players only run 2 Fighting Fury Belt, and I really prefer 3. I think that 6 Tools is ideal with Garbodor anyways. I think that Fighting Fury Belt is just so impressive: 170 HP on Yveltal BKT is so bulky. 210 on Yveltal EX is as well. I definitely find a lot of games where I'd want to use all 3. Without Trainers Mail to dig to find them, the 3rd copy is extra important. They also synergize well with Pokemon Center Lady, where the strength of additional HP and healing cannot be overlooked.

All of the lists opted for 2 Parallel City as the only Stadiums. City stops gimmicky decks like Rainbow Road and Rayquaza. You also need some amount of Stadiums to run Delinquent. In this case, I feel like Parallel City also offers defensive perks. In the mirror, being able to discard damaged EX Pokemon to escape Pitch Black Spears is useful. This is another interesting quirk of Delinquent: If there is already a Parallel City in play, and you want to discard benched liabilities, you can Delinquent into your own City.

Pram went with the full 4 Max Elixir which I think is mandatory. In fact, Tord was the only player in top 4 to not run the full 4 copies of the card, and I am certain that is just wrong. The card is too strong in the deck not to want to run as many copies as possible.

Jay's list was not too far off of Pram's. I mentioned how he cut the Pokemon Center Lady for Olympia, which is fine. Other than that, the deck was only 3 cards off. Jay ran 3 Trainers' mail in place of a 3rd N, an Escape Rope, and the Super Rod. Super Rod is optional, but I really like it, especially since Jay also ran the bare minimum in term of Pokemon. The 3rd N being cut makes sense, seeing how the overall card replacements were being shifted into Trainers' Mail, which helps the overall consistency of the deck. I don't know how I feel about cutting the Escape Rope, but it does make sense seeing how he opted for the Olympia ( a 4th "Switch", albeit a Supporter) over the Pokemon Center Lady. Olympia's healing is a bit weaker than the Lady, but the match often ends up being enough. (It can prevent a Shaymin EX from being picked off by two Spears, at least. It also prevents a 3 Spear KO on an Yveltal, although that admittedly rarely comes up, especially if Belt get involved.)

Phillip's list is really interesting because he took a pretty different approach with the deck. The first thing to look at is that he runs 4 Yveltal-EX (And no Yveltal BKT!) and 4 Float Stone. He also ran Trainers' Mail. My educated guess here is that he wanted to increase the odds he had for actually attacking on the first turn of the game off of Max Elixir. By running more Yveltal-EX, a reasonable Float Stone target (as opposed to its Fright Night counter part) and the 4th Stone, I'm sure Phillip's t1 Pitch Black Spear, Y-cyclone and Evil Ball rate was higher than any of the other t4 lists. I like making the deck more aggressive in general, but I think this didn't serve the mirror match, the most important matchup in the event, as well as the more disruptive builds.

The other really interesting change is only 1 Shaymin EX and 1 Jirachi promo. I like the Jirachi, its disruptive and buys time, and I see how it is kind of the replacement for Enhanced Hammer(s) and Grunt. It doesn't serve the same role entirely as using it kind of takes your foot off the gas a bit, but it is an answer to Special Energy cards. It would be really useful against a deck like Vileplume Toolbox. It is easy to look at these lists in the vacuum of what made top 8, but players did have to anticipate a wider potential field too.

I dislike having only 1 Shaymin-EX, especially since part of this deck's build seems to be leaning towards being faster. Having more access to Set Up early would go hand in hand with this.

The other two unique inclusions to his list were a lone Town Map and an Ace Trainer. I hate Town Map: I really, really do. I think it is a waste of a card and this isn't a deck that gets punished by having specific cards prized. That said, I'll admit it played reasonably impressive when I watched him play with it on Stream as it let him control his prize draws over the span of a game. This did seem to help plotting out a game plan, but it just seems so clunky. It has no immediate impact on the game, it is a miserable draw late in the game where it's return is greatly minimized, and it also gives your opponent knowledge. A good player is going to be able to not only know what card you took from your prizes, and what is still prized, but also be able to infer information about your hand and overall game plan based on how you take your prizes. It played better than I would have guessed, but I am still completely off board on the card.

As for Ace Trainer, I like how disruptive it can be early in the game, and how late game it also can disrupt an opponent while giving you a big hand. One issue I have with the card is that it's best window is in the early mid game where the 3-card hand is very punishing for an opponent before you can pull off the same with an N, and the deck only plays 1 copy. I don't WANT more than 1 copy, as it's pretty situational, but it is a card that would be so much more impressive alongside Battle Compressor or Jirachi-EX. I really only got to play with the card in Greninja, since it is so synergistic with that deck, but I've always loved the card. I'm not sure I like it over less speculative cards, but I find it interesting for sure. I do see a bit of a disconnect were the build seems a bit more aggressive at times, while also running a card that wants to fall behind.

In 4th place, we have Tord Reklev, who I singled out earlier as the only player to run just 3 Max Elixir: I still hate that. He does run an Yveltal XY in it's place, which does serve a similar purpose of dumping energy in play, but also has the benefit of putting some nice set-up damage in play. This is the type of incremental damage Yveltal-EX LOVES. Tord also runs the Jirachi like Phillip, as well as 4 Yveltal-EX.

Oh. And there is an Yveltal BREAK. I'm honestly not entirely sure what the major function of the BREAK is, as while I do really like the card in a vacuum, I'm just not sure I see how it fits into this build in this metagame. It doesn't seem to synergize particularly well with what the rest of the deck is doing. With 150 HP it also is 10 shy of being 2 hit by Yveltal BKT. It's cute, but the problem is also that it demands triple Darkness Energy to attack. This isn't the easiest to pull off, especially since it makes for an awkward transition...if you have a DCE and a Dark on an Yveltal and want to shift gears, you're still 2 energy short of attacking. I am also even more turned off by the inclusion of the Darkness hungry Yveltal BREAK while going with only 3 Max Elixir. Exilir seem even MORE vital in this build where you're trying to pull off the BREAK.

Tord ran the 3 Trainers' mail, but also opted for the 4th N. He was the only player to embrace the full set, and Jay even ran only 2! I can't even object to playing 4 Sycamore and 4 N, but I'm not sure it is needed. The 4th copy is really only needed for additional consistency, and when 3 other players all made top 4 with less copies in their deck, I think that is a pretty strong suggestion that it is a luxury, not a necessity.

Going forward, it'll be interesting to see where the deck needs to go. For this event, the clear cut correct choice was to build the deck with the mirror match in mind. More people bandwagoned the archetype than went way overboard trying to beat it. In Orlando and Fort Wayne, the deck was successful but not nearly as plentiful. Now, with the deck expected to be such a high density of the field, going out of your way to choose a deck that beats it is too lucrative. Building slower and grindier for mirror may not be the best approach when people are going to bring more dynamic threats against you going forth.

If I were playing in a tournament tomorrow, I would honestly just copy Pram or Jay's list. Both are great, and while Jay cared more about his Trainers' Mail than Pram did (A sentiment I enjoy), I think their overall approach to the deck is still very similar, and where I'd want to be.

I want to close this out by discussing the matchups against Volcanion and Greninja, seeing how they were the two other archetypes that made it into the top 8. Grafton Roll was the 2nd seed player, losing to Pramawat in top 8 on the back of a bit of luck. He got benched game 2, and had a poor game 3. Traditionally, I'd take Yveltal Garbodor over Greninja, especially with Pokemon Center Lady, but Grafton claimed to be confident in the matchup, and his 2nd seed placement in a field of the deck definitely shows he knows what he is doing. I think the matchup is actually pretty close, but I also think that it really demands a strong Greninja player to perform well in the matchup. If I were playing against a random player, I would feel very confident as an Yveltal player.

As for Volcanion, I assume that comes down to starts a lot of times. If they get a great start and can also keep you off of Garbodor by KOing it, it will be rough. Max Elixirs allow the deck to get powered up for decent damage even without Abilities well enough to at least take swings at the Trashbag, but I still dislike the matchup for Volcanion.

Anyways, it wouldn't be one of my articles without a Rayquaza list, right? After deviating from Raichu last time, we're back on board just to prey on all of the Yveltal decks! The deck is good against Yveltal, Volcanion and Greninja, which is great. It's auto loss of Giratina/anything also has pretty much fallen off the face of the metagame since it's great performance in Orlando, so that is also beneficial. I'm a bit concerned we'll see a spike in Lightning counters to beat Yveltal, though.

If Rainbow Road is an issue in your metagame, you can fit in a promo Magearna to shore that matchup up. With a reasonable Raichu line, I feel as if the matchup is fine on it's own though.

Anyways, let's hope that we see some other decks doing well in the upcoming weeks, because as much as I like writing about Yveltal, I'm tired of writing about it already! This format is pretty fun overall though, even if the same decks seem to filter their way up to the top. Intercontinentals honestly really reinvigorated my excitement for the game right now, and I really regret not having been able to go. (I'll be honest, there wasn't even a reasonable chance I'd have been able to afford that trip, but it would have been fun!) I think Intercontinentals is such a great idea, and it seems like the tournament was extremely well received and ran fairly smoothly! Great job, everyone involved. Anyways, until next time!

[+8] okko


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