Experts' corner

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Gabriel Semedo

My London Logbook

In this article, Gabriel shares everything he’s tested in the last couple of weeks, focusing on Shining Legends and Crimson Invasion’s additions and how can might perform at the European International Championship in London.

11/15/2017 by Gabriel Semedo

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I last wrote here at 60cards, but now I’m back to share everything I’ve tested for London Internationals. I’ve been testing all you can imagine from the new sets, Shining Legends and Crimson Invasion, in order to bring different ideas to our game.

 

My training sessions and my studies are not done yet, and I’ll be looking for the perfect deck until the last moment. Unfortunately I still don’t have that secret rogue deck, which will break the metagame (at least at the moment of writing), but I can tell for sure that I’ve learned a lot about the current format as a result of the vast variety of new cards and ideas.

 

I've tested just about everything, from Turbo Shining Volcanion to Silvally-GX Box, and from each experiment I managed to extract some knowledge. It was really fun to pilot so many decks with different concepts, and now I’ll share some of the conclusions I’ve came to during the process.    

 

Venusaur / Shining Genesect / Baby Rayquaza / Pheromosa-GX

 

When I built this deck I knew it would be just for fun, with no chances of winning a big tournament with it. The reliance on Venusaur’s ability, added to it’s awful matchup against Volcanion due to it’s weakness to fire made me give up on it right from the beginning.

 

But yet I decided to build it, so I could play with the deck to chill out a little between some intense matches during the training sessions. And it got me really surprised, once the main attackers aren’t GX/EX. Shining Genesect is really strong and Baby Rayquaza is amazing to bring energies to the table.

 

It’s really no big deal if the opponent spends a Guzma to KO a benched loaded Shining Genesect. He will only get 1 prize card from the attack, and it’s easy to bring back the lost energy with Baby Rayquaza. Rescue Stretcher is important in order to keep recycling the knocked out Shining Genesect. In other words: even if the opponent spends 4 Guzma to KO all four Genesect, the game is still not over, since you can bring them back with some ease.


I’ve earned some convincing victories against Gardevoir with the deck and that made me a little impressed. Who knows; it could be viable in the near future. By the way, Pheromosa’s Beauty GX is amazing, and has a lot of synergy with such a non-GX/EX deck, since its usual to see the opponent with only one prize card remaining.

 

I have also considered building Venusaur/Pheromosa-GX/Tapu Bulu-GX/Espeon-EX/ Aether Paradise Conservation Area, but the idea did not leave paper – feel free to try it out yourself.

Shining Volcanion / Po Town

With cards such as Aqua Patch, Max Elixir, Energy Switch, and Manaphy-EX, it’s possible to have a turn-one Shining Volcanion hitting two Ralts for 50.

With Wishful Baton and a little bit of luck not to get them removed, it is possible to move the energy from one Shining Volcanion to another. That’s pretty much the strategy: hitting 50 + 50 a couple of times and then devolving with Espeon-EX, if needed, while keeping energy on the field.

Lapras-GX and Tapu Fini-GX can also take advantage from Wishful Baton: while a choince-Banded Lapras can KO almost everything in the game (especially if the target is already damaged). Tapu-Fini can easily get rid of a damaged benched Pokémon, such as Tapu Lele-GX after it taking a hit from Shining Volcanion (50 + 120 = 170).

The main reason that made me give up on the deck is the probability of Mr. Mime being really popular, as well as the high count of items used to get the strategy flowing. At the end of the day, the best build for this deck was the well-known Waterbox version with the inclusion of Shining Volcanion as a tech card.

Lapras-GX / Manaphy-EX / Zoroark-GX / Wishiwash-GX

Speaking of Waterbox, I’ve decided to test a quicker and more aggressive version of the Alolan Ninetales-GX/Zoroark-GX deck, by swapping Alolan Ninetales for Lapras-GX + Max Elixir. I liked it very much; Buzzwole-GX and Volcanion are the ones that struggle the most to Lapras’ Blizzard Burn with a Choice Band.

Even though I don’t like their weaknessess, I think it’s viable to consider the deck. The main advantage is the quickness in using Aqua Patch and Max Elixir to get a Lapras-GX ready to attack.

Another Pokémon that got me surprised is Wishiwashi-GX. It is in the list because of its GX attack, which offers the possibility of knocking out everything relevant in the current metagame. It may look hard to achieve, but all you need are three water and a Double Colorless Energy. With the right combination of some Aqua Patch and / or Max Elixir, it’s possible to get it ready in one turn. The best part is being able to energize two of your benched Pokémon after hitting for a huge amount of damage, forcing the opponent to use a Guzma not to waste an attack on Wishiwashi-GX. Blue Surge GX can change the course of a match, since it has the power to OHKO big threats like Gardevoir-GX, for instance.  

Raichu-GX / Counter Catcher / Counter Energy

Right off the bat, I can tell I don’t like it’s weakness. Gallade destroys the deck, and Buzzwole-GX brings high pressure at the beginning of the match. My goal by building the deck was to measure the real power of Counter Energy and Counter Catcher. Electrode makes it easy to control the prizes in order to optimize those cards. Their impact on the game are amazing when they are enabled – they can entirely change the course of a match.

Counter Catcher + N is an extremely powerful combo. If you want to know the real power of the “Counter” duo, I suggest trying Raichu-GX. As a matter of fact, Raichu-GX performed better than expected – I thought it would be an electric Darkrai-EX, but it is way more than that. Its second attack, Thunder, can hit 190 with Choice Band. In other words: a 190 attack on the second turn of the game, after an Electrode’s Buzzap Thunder. 

Several times I managed to do the Electrode + Counter Catcher + Thunder combo on a loaded Drampa on the bench. I ended up using Thunder much more than Powerful Spark, which was intended to be the main attack. I’ve added a Zapdos EVO, since it can take advantage from Counter Energy, Electrode and Lightning energy, besides having resistance to fighting.

When you attach a Counter Energy to a Pokémon, you want the energy to be kept on the table as long as possible, in order to increase Raichu’s damage output, meaning that you’ll always need a Pokémon able to carry those energies.

Raikou SHL and Oranguru are in the list but their attacks are weak, while Zapdos EVO hits for 170 for the cost of 4 basic Lightning energy, which is easy to pull of with Max Elixir, Counter Energy, Electrode, and Raikou’s Booming Thunder. Although attacking with Zapdos is not the ideal scenario, it can take down a lot of basic relevant Pokémon with a Choice Band, such as Tapu Lele-GX and Espeon-EX.     

Lightning Box - Tapu Koko-GX / Xurkitree-GX / Jolteon-EX / Aether Stadium and friends

Electrode is a really good card. It helps accelerate energy and is great at prize control. But because of the deck’s weakness to Fighting types - Gallade and Buzzwole-GX - I decided to take one step further and create the Lightning Box, since there are some interesting electric attackers in the game.

The main idea here is to use the Counter Duo as much as possible, exploring some tech possibilities which can benefit from Counter Energy, such as Mew FCO, Mimikyu, Cobalion, and others. Jolteon-EX helps a lot against basic threats like Buzzwole-GX or Volcanion-EX. Xurkitree-GX is a good option, because of its ability. Tapu Koko-GX offers the possibility to hit big with its GX attack out of nowhere. The deck is really versatile – In fact, I didn’t play that much with it, but when I did, I liked it. Still, it may need some adjustments to become a viable deck.

Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX / 1-1 Alolan Muk

That’s the Buzzwole-GX version I like the most. To cover the matches where my opponent plays Mr. Mime, I’ve added a thin 1-1 line of Alolan Muk. It performed better than I expected, since Muk also helps a lot against Volcanion-EX as well.


And even with Alolan-Muk, there is a Regirock-EX on the list due to its +10 ability. It helps a lot hitting ideal numbers. Being weak to grass, Lycanroc-GX brings the option to play against psychic types, while it has a great ability and a very strong GX attack.

Turbo Buzzwole-GX

It’s a deck with some obvious counters, like Mr. Mime, Trashalanche Garbodor and Espeon-GX. But is also explosive and really consistent. Even if the opponent is playing a Mr. Mime, it’s possible to win a match against Gardevoir-GX thanks to the multiple Regirock-EX presence in the early game, granting some easy knock outs on Ralts. With the combination of Choice Band, Regirock-EX, Strong Energy, and Max Elixir is also possible to one hit a Gardevoir-GX. I like this kind of deck, because the matches are quick, which makes it difficult to tie some silly games at a big tournament. There’s no middle ground: you either win or lose.

Silvally-GX / Metal

I believe a lot of players have tested this, willing it to be an autowin against Gardevoir-GX, and then realized how easy Gallade can handle pretty much the whole deck by itself. It’s not a good deck and has bad matches against three of the current most popular decks from the metagame: Gardevoir-GX, Espeon-GX/Garbodor, and Volcanion-EX. 

I decided to add Dhelmise and Psychic energy, so each metal Pokémon can hit +10 – but the main reason for the addition is that with the correct tools, Dhelmise can OHKO Gallade (FFB), Espeon-GX/Buzzwole-GX (Choice Band), and Garbodor (no tool needed). 

To handle the Volcanion-EX matchup, the solution could be the addition of Celesteela-GX, since it’s weak to lightning, as well as the inclusion of Mount Lanakila, to increase Volcanion’s retreat cost and make Celesteela’s Rocket Fall hits for 180 with a Choice Band. The stadium also has a little synergy with Silvally-GX, but that is not so relevant. 

Final Thoughts

I still think Espeon-GX/Garbodor/Drampa-GX is the best deck in the Standard format. It doesn’t autolose to anything, and the impact of the new sets wasn’t bad for it – instead, the deck has gained some good options like Shining Jirachi and Shining Mew, inclusions that could be interesting depending on how the list is built. Besides, it has a good match against the main new archetype, which is Buzzwole-GX. 

I can’t state the same about Gardevoir-GX, whose brightness got diminished by the inclusion of the new sets. Now, it is mandatory to include a copy of Mr. Mime to deal with the early pressure Buzzwole-GX brings to the match. Moreover, the format now offers Metal type Pokémon apart from Metagross-GX. Cobalion + Counter Energy and Registeel are some good options, for instance.

Another deck that has improved is Volcanion-EX, due to its good matchup against Buzzwole-GX. And now there’s also the chance of facing a metal deck on its path.

The truth is, in spite of all the testing, the three best decks from the former BKT-BUS format are still the three best decks from our current BKT-CRI format, in my opinion. 

I really enjoyed testing such a large amount of ideas, and I truly think it’s possible to bring something new to London. I believe we will see different decks there. Now that we are only two weeks from the tournament, I will stop the experiences and focus on the metagame to sharpen my competitive skills. 

Thanks for reading and see you next time!

 

[+9] okko


 

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