07/20/2018 by Caleb Gedemer
Tord Reklev is a machine, and almost a four-time International Championship winner. He fell just shy with another “broken deck” something that has been bounced around, but never proven until now. The first murmurs of this deck began all the way back with our very own Zach Lesage back before Latin America’s own International Championship. He didn’t play the deck himself, but threw the idea around a bit but gave up on the deck after a little while. In short, the players at the North American International Championship weren’t expecting Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) / Oranguru to be played and things deviated away from those that could have beaten it. Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX saw a resurgence, the deck my crew and I all played, and it got smashed by the deck. Jimmy Pendarvis lost to Reklev in the semifinals in dramatic fashion, not winning a game in the series.
If this format continued, and it will for Europeans, at least, what would change, what would stay the same? I’m here to give one last hurrah to the format and analyze the best deck walking away from it along with other contributing factors. Moving into this event, Americans at least, viewed Buzzwole as the undisputed best deck. It repeatedly did well even when faced with adversity, most recently doing well at the Mexican Regional Championship in late June. Also decided upon going into the event is the inferiority of Malamar (FLI; 51) . Malamar (FLI; 51) has been seen as a “bad deck” by most top players for a while now, and it’s certainly been very hit or miss in practice. It seems like it can run hot and win games, or beat up on bad Buzzwole players, both of which are common occurrences.
Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) seeing more play seemingly didn’t curb the draw to Malamar decks, and it somehow kept Buzzwole decks out of the Top Eight even still. Zoroark-GX decks adapted with the combination of Counter Catcher and Delinquent, giving them a legitimate way to ice a Buzzwole player out of the game by eliminating an Octillery and dropping your opponent’s hand size low. These strategies considered built for a strange Top Eight cut consisting of the following:
1st: Stephane Ivanoff with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) / Garbodor
2nd: Tord Reklev with Zoroark-GX / Oranguru (UPR; 114)
3rd: Jimmy Pendarvis with Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX
5th: Ryan Antonucci with Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 138)
6th: Edward Kuang with Malamar Necrozma-GX
7th: Fabien Pujol with Zoroark-GX / Garbodor
8th: Aaron Tarbell with Yveltal BREAK
The biggest surprise here has to be Yveltal BREAK, a deck that came out of nowhere to some deep finishes in the hands of Tarbell and a few others like Dustin Zimmerman, Clifton Goh, and James Arnold, respectively in order of final placement. The deck was well placed with strong matchups against Malamar (FLI; 51) and Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) , and a even-ish matchup against Buzzwole builds. The disruptive Zoroark-GX deck was able to get the best of it in the Top Eight, though, which was obviously a surprise to show up in the first place. I’m secondly confused about the surge of Zoroark-GX / Garbodor, a deck that always seems to do well regardless of how bad I think it is.
Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) / Garbodor seems like such an unlikely deck to do well since it takes a rough matchup against Buzzwole and all other Zoroark-GX decks, but I suppose when you run hot and play well you can make deep runs with the deck and even take down entire events! I want to brief you all about Zoroark-GX / Oranguru (UPR; 114) , now, in detail, as the deck is going to appeal to the masses with a mix of disruption and power. Being played by one of the game’s best it’s sure to be on everyone’s radar headed into the World Championship regardless, and will certainly pop up at events from here until then, too. Let’s go!
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