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Ole Stognief

Go Further - Using decks from Worlds for the next season

Yanmega, Greninja, Audino - can these decks from Worlds be played on next season?

29. 08. 2016 by Ole Stognief

Hey, 60cards readers! It’s Ole again, just back from Worlds in San Francisco to publish a new and fresh article here for you. The last week was 100% Pokémon: exciting matches, intense fights, interesting decks and unexpected ideas. You probably followed the live streams if you weren’t present there yourself.

Three decks were surprisingly successful: the Senior division winner Vespiquen/Yanmega, the Masters runner-up Greninja/Talonflame and the Masters winner Mega Audino-EX. How could they perform that well? And will they be viable for the 2017 Standard format?

My short Worlds Recap

I chose to play Night March for Day 1 at Worlds. Since I expected many players to choose the same deck (see my pre-Worlds analysis of Night March on 60cards), I included a 1-1 line of Barbaracle FCO into my Night March variant. Here is what my list looked like:

My tournament went as follows:

1st Round vs Night March / Vespiquen - 1:0 (WW)
2nd Round vs Toad / Bats - 1:1 (LL)
3rd Round vs Greninja - 1:2 (LL)
4th Round vs Toad / Yveltal - 1:3 (LL)

I had a good start into the tournament, winning a favored matchup against Night March/Vespiquen with some help of my Barbaracle tech. Toad/Bats in Round 2 was a very unfavorable matchup anyways - but after that loss, my deck stopped to work properly for some reason. I drew dead against Greninja both games and played terribly against Toad/Yveltal, losing 0-2 three matches in a row. I decided to play the remaining rounds although I couldn’t qualify for Day 2 anymore.

5th Round vs Entei/Volcanion - 2:3 (WW)
6th Round (no show) - 3:3
7th Round vs Greninja - 4:3 (WW)
8th Round vs Vileplume/Aegislash-EX/Jolteon-EX - 4:4 (LL)

None of the matches were really exciting to be honest – but that’s probably the downside of playing Night March! It was still nice to meet some other Pokémon players and talk about Worlds and Pokémon in general.

The 2017 Standard Format

From my opinion, the early 2017 Standard format will be much more interesting than the Worlds format. The diversity of decks was huge – that’s usually a good thing. But too many games were decided by random draws or were just one-sided because of one player holding a dead hand. The Night March vs. Item Lock metagame led to the T1 becoming overly important to the outcome of the game.

Probably the most important set of the XY era was Phantom Forces where all Night March components and some other strong Pokémon and Trainers were released. The list below shows some of the cards that are leaving the Standard format next season:

  • Night March (PHF)
  • Seismitoad-EX (FFI)
  • Trevenant (XY)
  • M Manectric-EX (PHF)
  • Aegislash-EX (PHF)
  • Battle Compressor (PHF)
  • Dimension Valley (PHF)
  • Startling Megaphone (FLF)

The OHKO monsters Night March and two of the Item-lock Pokémon Seismitoad-EX and Trevenant XY can’t be played anymore next season and hopefully make way for some new strategies. For example, I can imagine Stage 2 decks relying on Rare Candy to mount a comeback. An example for this could be Magnezone BKT – its Lightning-type support would help to fight the most powerful Pokémon-EX remaining, M Rayquaza-EX.

It will be interesting to watch the new metagame evolving. I personally hope that there won’t be a fight between the BDIF and the rest of the decks again because that will likely lead to an unhealthy metagame.

Some of the successful decks remain in the Standard format of the next season. I’ll take a look at three interesting decks to find out which cards they lose and how they can adapt to the challenges of a new metagame. The first one will be Jesper Eriksen’s Vespiquen/Yanmega which won Worlds in the Senior division. Then I’ll analyse the two decks featured in the Masters finals, Cody Walinski’s Greninja/Talonflame and Shintaro Ito’s Mega Audino-EX.

Jesper Eriksen’s Vespiquen/Yanmega

Jesper’s deck has many of these things that a deck needed last season to be successful. The Grass type Pokémon Vespiquen and Yanmega can be ready to attack for a lot of damage as early as T1 with the support of Forest of Giant Plants. It’s a lot of damage – for only a few Energy. Vespiquen just needs a DCE to deal 180 damage or even more and Yanmega is able to attack for free under certain circumstances thanks to its Sonic Vision ability. Furthermore, they are both Non-EX attackers, forcing the opponent to KO many Pokémon to draw all prize cards.

The deck loses only a few cards after the rotation:

  • 1 AZ
  • 2 Battle Compressor

The loss of AZ won’t hurt the deck much. The two Battle Compressors were more important to help the deck setting up though. Many Vespiquen variants used the maximum of four copies to fill the discard pile with Pokémon and deal more damage with Bee Revenge. Jesper’s deck only used two of them but they were still important in certain situations. Besides adding damage to Bee Revenge, Battle Compressor could discard two Pokémon for Revitalizer or a Supporter for VS Seeker.

I think that this deck will still be viable in the 2017 Standard Format. The loss of Battle Compressor is difficult to compensate for – but that’s a problem for many decks that rely on the card much more than Vespiquen/Yanmega does. Here are some possible inclusions that seem worth to look at:

  • Unown AOR: The classic Vespiquen partner fills the discard pile and gives some more draw support.

  • Klefki STS: This card can be the key to success against Mega Pokémon-EX like Rayquaza. It can easily win a turn if the opponent doesn’t have a Lysandre in hand. After usage, Klefki goes to the discard pile to fuel Bee Revenge’s damage.

  • More Level Ball: Adding more Level Balls to this deck can help finding Pokémon during setup to either play them down or discard them with Ultra Ball or Professor Sycamore. A downside of Level Ball is that it can’t find Yanmega, Yanmega BREAK or Shaymin-EX.

Cody Walinski’s Greninja/Talonflame

Not many players expected Greninja to do so well at this year’s World Championships. The deck has a huge potential power, dealing large amounts of damage every turn with the option to spread that damage on many of the opponent’s Pokémon. It suffers from its slow setup and from its reliance on Frogadier’s Water Duplicate though.

Talonflame from Steam Siege is a very intelligent addition to this deck. If the player is lucky enough to open the game with Talonflame, it can relieve Froakie from early pressure during the setup phase. Masters runner-up Cody Walinski decided to run 4 Talonflame and 3 Froakie as his only Basics to start with Talonflame as often as possible. 

Similar to Vespiquen/Yanmega, Greninja/Talonflame loses just a few cards:

  • 1 Greninja XY
  • 1 Battle Compressor
  • 1 Startling Megaphone

Battle Compressor is a consistency card in this deck. It helps with the setup (e.g.discarding the useless Talonflame) but the strategy doesn’t rely on it. Losing Greninja XY hurts more because the maximum possible damage output per turn is reduced by 30 without it. Startling Megaphone is also difficult to replace. It would help against Garbodor next season and it could remove Fighting Fury Belt to score KOs more easily.

My favorite cards to add here for the next season are:

  • Rare Candy: When Seismitoad-EX and Trevenant XY leave the format, Rare Candy can return into Stage 2 decks. One or two copies of it can help with the setup and relieve Frogadier from the Evolution work a little bit.

  • Wally: Cody’s variant didn’t feature Wally. Getting the T1 Frogadier is rather unlikely anyways and later in the game, setting up multiple Greninja quickly is more important than evolving one of them faster. One copy of Wally still seems reasonable. It can be found by Talonflame early in the game.

  • 4th Greninja BKP: The deck might struggle when Greninja is prized. Playing another copy would help solving that problem.

  • Trainers’ Mail: Bert Wolters’ Greninja deck used three copies of Trainers’ Mail to increase consistency. Cody didn’t play any and opted to try Splash Energy instead. You can find some slots for Trainers’ Mail there if you don’t like Splash Energy.

  • Garbodor counter: Greninja’s damage output per turn is quite low if it can’t use Giant Water Shuriken. Startling Megaphone and Xerosic both leave the format. Lysandre could help but Greninja struggles to KO the 110HP Garbodor in one hit. Players will have to find a new way to fight Garbodor if it becomes more popular next season.

Shintaro Ito’s Mega Audino-EX

Shintaro’s victory was probably the biggest surprise at Worlds since 2004 when Tsuguyoshi Yamato won with his Team Magma deck. Nobody except for some Japanese players had M Audino-EX on the list. There were a few players at Worlds who tried their luck with different Audino variants and Shintaro achieved the greatest success out of them.

M Audino-EX seems below average at a first glance. Its 220 HP and the Fighting weakness make it a bulky Pokémon that is difficult to OHKO even for Night March. The attack is not very promising though, dealing only 110 base damage plus a conditional 50 damage to the bench. The Colorless type Audino won’t hit any Pokémon for weakness.

That damage output is just enough to make it playable. 110 damage are sufficient to KO a Shaymin-EX which is an easy Lysandre target for M Audino-EX. The 50 bench damage can be used to either KO another low-HP Pokémon on the opponent’s bench (e. g. Joltik or Phantump) or to spread damage and prepare KOs in the following turns.

Another strength of Audino is its Colorless type attack. It can be combined with Pokémon of other types – Shintaro went with the Metal types Magearna-EX and Cobalion. Magearna and Metal Energy were used as a Trevenant counter: they prevent all effects of the opponent’s attacks except for damage, shutting down Trevenant’s Silent Fear completely.

I won’t take a look at the cards that Shintaro’s list loses next season because I think that an Audino deck needs to get adjusted to the specific metagame to exploit its maximum potential. If - for example - M Rayquaza-EX becomes the BDIF soon, I don’t see a way how Audino could succeed then. I believe that future Audino decks will look very different from Shintaro’s variant.

That’s it for today – I think that those unique ideas from Worlds 2016 are worth trying in playtesting for the next season again. I’m looking forward to competing in exciting tournaments again soon!

-Ole

[+12] okko


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