Experts' corner

Gabriel Semedo

Why Has the Metagame Changed So Much

Gabriel talks about the metagame and his predictions for the future.

12/17/2018 by Gabriel Semedo


Hey everyone! This last weekend was intense in the Pokémon TCG world, as we had many important high-level tournaments in November and the start of December. After Latin America International Championships (LAIC) and Roanoke’s Regionals, the metagame has changed drastically. We had the Zoro Control deck dominating at LAIC, and I feel like most players didn’t expect such a controlling, strong and efficient deck. As for Roanoke, we had a more prepared metagame to deal with such control decks, but still we had some big showings from Hoopa/Steelix. In the end, we could see that the decks which had some “natural” advantage against control decks ended up doing better, liker Gardevoir-GX and Blacephalon-GX. Both archetypes have enough resources to go toe-to-toe against Control decks and do not need to play techs that won’t go with flow of the deck. Cards like Oranguru ULP and Girafarig LOT are cards that won’t make it into these decks.

In short, prior to LAIC, non-GX focused decks such as GasKan, Granbull, Exeggutor, and Tapu Koko spread were quite popular because they could easily deal with all decks that had Pokémon-GX in them. Then Zoro Control arrived and the non-GX decks began to have serious problems, since most non-GX decks have limited capabilities. Sylveon GX – who had good appearances in tournaments, even winning a Special Event in Chile – was no longer popular and not a deck that the players expected at LAIC, especially with Malamar around, which was the BDIF of the American format before the arrival of the Lost Thunder. Without a good control deck on the radar, the format was theoretically free for limited resource decks, and because of that, Zoroark-GX Control proved to be the perfect fit for LAIC. Control Decks only work when the format does not expect a deck with this strategy, so the hint for upcoming tournaments is already there – if the format does not have any control deck, be smart, you need to prepare yourself somehow to face this kind of deck. Someone is sure to be preparing something to win the tournament, or you can start preparing a control deck to surprise the format. After LAIC, the control decks proved strong enough to hit most of the format decks, so the way the players found to guard against the control decks was to use decks focused on Pokémon-GX again like Gardevoir-GX, Blacephalon-GX or even VikaRay, since the Pokémon-GX offer Abilities and super strong attacks, something that control decks can’t deal with. Basically that was how the metagame developed in recent times.

I’m wondering now: How will the metagame behave itself from now on? What will be the evolution or change in the metagame? What is the correct call for the next Regional?

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