Experts' corner

Caleb Gedemer

London Lessons and the Steel City — a Recap and Silvally-GX Analysis

Tord Reklev took down another International Championship, this time with Golisopod-GX / Zoroark-GX. What else did well, though?

11/30/2017 by Caleb Gedemer

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The first International Championship of the 2017/2018 season has come to a close. Tord Reklev has continued his dominance by winning his second consecutive International Champion title and many new archetypes were introduced to the game. Per Limitless, we have the results of the event, summarized in the Top Thirty-Two placements as follows:

9 Gardevoir-GX @ 28%

6 Golisopod-GX / Zoroark-GX @ 19%

5 Silvally-GX / Metal @ 16%

2 Garbodor / Golisopod-GX @ 6%

2 Decidueye-GX / Zoroark-GX @ 6%

2 Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX @ 6%

1 Volcanion @ 3%

1 Silvally-GX / Fighting @ 3%

1 Heatmor / Raichu @ 3%

1 Greninja BREAK @ 3%

1 Drampa-GX / Zoroark BREAK @ 3%

1 Drampa-GX / Garbodor @ 3%

At first glance, it’s easy to see that Gardevoir-GX was by far the most successful deck by concentration. When you look a little closer, though, it becomes clear that Golisopod-GX / Zoroark-GX was the most successful deck by placement (first place and a Top Eight placement, among other solid finishes). The biggest surprise from the event was probably the rise of Silvally-GX / Metal, since going into the tournament it was relatively unknown and kept under wraps. Aside from that, things were generally as expected. A few other decks cruised under the radar a bit, like Decidueye-GX / Zoroark-GX and to a lesser extent some of the Buzzwole-GX decks.

It’s clear to see that Gardevoir-GX is here to stay and contrary to popular belief, the “Broken Deck” version of it with four Max Potion is incredibly strong. It was a go-to play for many of the game’s best players and even made a Top Four appearance, losing to the Silvally-GX / Metal deck. It’s becoming clear to see that almost every deck has a weakness, whether that be a direct Weakness to a certain type, or just a specific type of deck. Let’s get a little further into detail here, shall we?

Big Winners

Gardevoir-GX (3rd, 14th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 21st, 25th, 28th, 29th)

This might be the worst of the “big winners” as Gardevoir-GX only had two super-strong finishes. Most of the players using the deck didn’t fare so well on the second day, finishing amongst the worst placings aside from Christopher Schemanske and Damian Wincenciak. Gardevoir-GX is undoubtedly a strong deck, but I think it becomes apparent that once it makes a day two that the players you’re likely to face have prepared extensively against it. This means you’re probably not going to hit as many good matchups and you’re more likely to face decks like the Silvally-GX / Metal deck that surprised everyone and almost took the event by storm.

Golisopod-GX / Zoroark-GX (1st, 8th, 9th, 20th, 23rd, 24th)

This deck shook things up. It really serves as a discovery of the potential of Zoroark-GX with Puzzle of Time in the Standard format. It’s clear to see that Puzzle of Time is viable again and that Trade makes it happen. While this may be the best pairing with the combination since Golisopod-GX is so versatile, there may be other versions of the deck that will arise in the near future. In any case, though, this was the most successful deck overall of the weekend with two Top Eight finishes and ultimately, the champion’s deck of choice. It had solid finishes outside of the Top Eight two, with a bubble placing from Benjamin Pham and three spots just outside the Top Sixteen. This deck is sure to be a force going forward and might be the deck that steals the throne out from underneath Gardevoir-GX.

Silvally-GX / Metal (2nd, 11th, 13th, 22nd, 30th)

This deck was super successful as well. Second place is amazing and two Top Sixteen finishes is nothing to scoff at, either. This deck is really similar to M Manectric-EX decks in the past, nothing flashy, but does just enough to get things done. It doesn’t really have a huge damage output, but its relevant typings make it strong against some of the most popular decks in the format. The Silvally-GX Memory Tool cards are sweet, as they can change the type on Silvally-GX to Psychic or Fighting right now. Each of those types work wonders against popular Pokemon right now, so this deck has fantastic options. I expect this build to become more popular going forward and we should expect to see more of it in the results category real soon.


What was left out? A few things, actually. Tapu Bulu-GX / Vikavolt didn’t see a single spot in the Top Thirty-Two, neither did Metagross-GX! Neither are particularly strong decks right now, so that’s not a huge surprise to be honest. Alolan Ninetales-GX / Zoroark-GX was one of the most hyped decks going into the weekend after lots of League Cup success, but saw little to no play and bombed. The ever-so-popular European Xerneas BREAK deck didn’t take a spot, either. There was a Silvally-GX / Fire deck that placed right outside the cut as well and a few other fringe decks like Bisharp / Zoroark BREAK. Overall, I think the second day placements were pretty indicative of the format. The decks that placed the best were thought to do well and was shown as such. I am surprised that Greninja BREAK did so well, though, as I do not think it was positioned that well and had a lot of bad matchups in the event. Its general inconsistencies make it a lackluster play for large events in my opinion, too.

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To the Future and Beyond

The format is a lot more solidified now. I predict that some players will gear themselves towards decks that weren’t known before this tournament now, now that the lists for those decks are out in the open. Aside from that, things will likely stay the same; Gardevoir-GX will remain up on top, while other decks try to compete against it directly while still retaining solid matchups against the rest of the field. Garbodor decks have been phased out a little bit, but Garbodor die-hards will continue to play those decks for the foreseeable future just because it’s what they know best. Here’s a look at an updated tier list using the decks from the Top Thirty-Two finishers:

A Tier


Golisopod-GX / Zoroark-GX

Silvally-GX / Metal

B Tier

Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX

Decidueye-GX / Zoroark-GX

Drampa-GX / Garbodor

C Tier

Drampa-GX / Zoroark BREAK

Garbodor / Golisopod-GX

Greninja BREAK

Heatmor / Raichu

Silvally-GX / Fighting


I am not a huge believer in tier lists, but you can tell from this one that the top three finishers of this event are ranked the highest. Other solid decks that did well but weren’t played in higher numbers are lagging just a little behind in the lower tiers. Weaker decks like Heatmor / Raichu, for example, fall in the last tier as they may have been more of “one-hit wonders” than anything, but might still stick around and push out decent results from time to time. While the format has a lot of diversity, the best few decks are certainly defined and shouldn’t be changing around too much in the near future.

Breakdown of Silvally-GX / Metal (Zakary Krekeler)

This deck is just a hodgepodge of of strong attackers. Silvally-GX on its own is strong, but it needs partners to beat decks like Gardevoir-GX. Metal Pokemon fit the bill very well and that’s why Zakary played a whole slew of them. This deck can stack up against pretty much anything and should be a major playing in the game for months to come. Let’s take a look at the list Krekeler used!

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