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Jose Marrero

A Closer Look at the Oceania International Finalist Decks

Jose goes over the two decks that made the Finals at the Oceania International Championship last weekend.

03/20/2017 by Jose Marrero

Introduction

Hello again, 60cards readers! Now that the second International Championships have concluded, I briefly want to go over the two finalists decks of the Oceania International Championships. As many of you saw Pedro ended up taking the whole tournament straight after Sheffield Regionals where he placed in Top 8 with his Volcanion deck. Now Pedro has one of the most prestigious titles under his belt. Pedro's meta call for the tournament was smart seeing as he faced a number of Decidueye-GX decks leading up to Top 8 and all three rounds of Top 8 as well as the finals. Which brings me to Mexico's own, Pablo Meza who placed second at the Oceania International Championships with Decidueye-GX/Vileplume which was a deck pioneered and made popular by John Kettler. Pablo also had to beat a number of mirror matches to get to the finals, unfortunately, his run ended there. Also shout out to US players, Alex Hill (Top 8) and Kian Amini (Top 4) for representing the US well. Kian's Top 4 performance should now keep him in prime contention of staying in Top 4 before Brazil's travel award cutoff so congrats to him.

With that said, let's go over Pedro's winning Volcanion list.

Volcanion

The general concept of this deck is to use Volcanion's attack, Power Heater to fuel Volcanion-EX so you can then use Volcanic Heat in conjunction with Steam Up to hit the numbers you need for the one hit KO. Honestly, it's no wonder Pedro ended up winning the event because of how consistent his Volcanion list is. His Pokémon line is pretty straight forward other than the fact that he played one copy of Salamence-EX which I'm unsure if it's needed or if Pedro actually used it where it mattered. Still, Salamence-EX is very strong against decks that rely on EX Pokémon such as, Turbo Darkrai-EX and M Rayquaza-EX as well as M Mewtwo-EX. I'm sure Salamence-EX would do wonders against these matchups. I think I would keep it in the deck for now especially since M Mewtwo-EX is starting to see more play after the success of Decidueye-GX and of course now Volcanion. Some players play four copies of Volcanion non-EX, however, you only really use two at most in a game. Playing four does increase your chances of opening with it though which is the obvious opener you want so it's up to you if you rather play four Volcanion or Salamence-EX.

Moving out of the Pokémon we see Pedro ran one Fisherman and one Olympia. I'm sure both of these inclusions surely helped against Vileplume so they don't Lysandre and stick something like Hoopa-EX or a non-energy Volcanion-EX active for cheap wins thanks to Feather Arrow. Olympia also heals 30 damage which can be relevant against Feather Arrow and Pitch-Black Spear you just have to make sure you use Olympia wisely since you only get to use it once while under the item lock. Pedro maxed out on Trainers' Mail, and Max Elixir which is probably one of the reasons why the list ran so smoothly. Max Elixir makes it so that you have the potential to attack with Volcanion-EX on the first turn assuming you are going second of course. Not to mention you can potentially power up Salamence-EX out of nowhere. Pedro's Tools of choice were two Fighting Fury Belts and two Float Stones. I like the 2-2 split because you don't want to have an opening hand clogged with Tools.

Two Escape Rope as well to get out of the active and to refresh Volcanic Heat. Escape Rope is also clutch against Jolteon-EX given that Pedro didn't run Pokémon Ranger. Pedro ran five ways to get out of the active which is even more because you can VS Seeker for Olympia. With this deck, it's important to get out of the active at a moments notice because it can be the difference between a win or a loss. Pedro played just two Energy Retrieval which should be enough since he played Fisherman anyway which get's back four Basic Energy. Now for Pedro's stadium of choice, he decided to play two Sky Field and one Scorched Earth. It was smart playing two different stadiums because against let's say M Rayquaza-EX you want to be able to bump their Sky Field. Lastly, Pedro ran twelve Fire Energy which for this deck is ideal. You can argue and probably get away with eleven, but I think twelve is best so you have a higher chance of hitting those Max Elixirs.

Other Card Options

Flareon-EX:

A solid backup attacker that can dish out some big damage and unlike Volcanion it can attack non-stop. It's ability, Flash Fire lets you attach a Fire Energy from one of your Pokémon to Flareon-EX. Now it's attack, Blaze Ball has a base of 50 damage and does an additional 20 damage for each Fire Energy attached to Flareon-EX. You can see how the damage keeps adding up with its ability. I can see playing a one of Flareon-EX in the deck if you really wanted.

Entei AOR:

A great attacker against both M Rayquaza-EX and Rainbow Road decks because they thrive on filling their bench up which is what makes Entei useful. It's attack, Combat Blaze has a base of 20 damage then adds an extra 20 damage for each Benched Pokémon your opponent has and only just for two Fire Energy which you can be powered up in a single turn thanks to Max Elixir.

Pokémon Ranger:

I was surprised to see Pedro not running this card because of Jolteon-EX and to refresh Volcanic Heat.I guess Pedro relied on Escape Rope plus Lysandre to take out Jolteon-EX. However, Pedro did play Olympia which is another way to refresh Volcanic Heat.

Professor Kukui:

The extra 20 damage can make a difference at times and in some cases making it so you don't have to waste Steam Ups.

Switch:

Similar to Olympia, however, it's not a supporter, but can only be used once. Switching out into something with a Float Stone comes in clutch for when you are trying to use Volcanic Heat again.

Parallel City:

Obviously useful against M Rayquaza-EX and Rainbow Road, however, they can recover pretty easily and plus they play four copies of Sky Field to win the stadium war.

Rough Seas:

Great against Decidueye-GX decks now that it's one of the strongest and most popular decks in Standard.

Decidueye-GX/Vileplume

The general concept of this deck is to try and get a turn one Vileplume no matter if you go first or second. Then you are wanting to get out as many Decidueye-GX as possibly. Realistically you will get out two or even three and if lucky enough with your draws you can get two-three Decidueye-GX and a Vileplume all out on the first turn. Of course, this wouldn't be possible without Forest of Giant Plants. Now that you know what the deck wants to achieve let's now go over some of the Pokémon Pablo decided to play. Decidueye-EX is basically the main attacker outside of Lugia-EX. It's attack, Razor Leaf does a solid 90 damage but with Feather Arrow, you can hit numbers easier. Now it's GX attack, Hollow Hunt GX lets you get back any three cards from your discard and put them into your hand for just a single Grass Energy. This attack is extremely strong for getting back supporters or energy while being under the item lock yourself. Two Lugia-EX makes sense because Deep Hurricane is very strong against Volcanion and Yveltal because they have 130 health.

Pablo played one copy of Meowth which probably stole plenty of games and a big reason for the deck's success against some of its tough matchups such as, Volcanion. Meowth's attack, Turmoil Strike does 50 damage to any Pokémon with damage counters on them so if you were to drag up something with a big retreat cost then spam Feather Arrow and Meowth's attack then you can see how fast you can take prizes and steal games. I still like the 2-2-2 Vileplume line even in Expanded because you only need to really get one Vileplume out and if it goes down then you can potentially get out again thanks to Revitalizer. The rest of the list is pretty simple with two Float Stones which you want to be placed on Vileplume first before evolving into it so it doesn't become Lysandre bait. Three Level Ball so you can search out pretty much any Pokémon other than Decidueye-GX and Vileplume as well as the EX's.

Other Card Options

Tauros-GX:

Mad Bull GX threatens one hit KO's and since they are under the item lock it's going to be more difficult for the opponent to go around Tauros-GX since they can't VS Seeker for Lysandre.

Espeon-EX:

Takuya Yoneda played a copy of this card in his Top 8 list from the Oceania International Championships. It's attack, Miraculous Shine for just a single Colorless Energy lets you devolve each of your opponents evolved Pokémon and put the highest Stage Evolution card on it into your opponent's hand. This attack is very useful against opposing Decidueye-GX because once you put 80 damage counters on each of their Dartrix then you threaten multiple KO's. Or against Vespiquen only needing to put four damage counters on each.

Beedril-EX:

Great to get rid of Tools on a Garbodor had they went first this way Vileplume overwrites it so they can't reattach a Tool or use items in general.

Mewtwo EVO:

Because M Mewtwo-EX/Garbodor is a huge threat for this deck playing one of these Mewtwo can threaten a one hit KO on them because they will likely want to stack up a huge M Mewtwo-EX.

Jirachi XY67 Promo:

John Kettler ran one of these in his Top 16 Anaheim list. Getting rid of a Special Energy while being immune for a turn might be enough to get you a win against something that threatens game next turn. The extra free Feather Arrows while being immune sounds too good not to play.

Olympia:

Playing this card makes Vileplume less prone to Lysandre stalls and against the mirror healing 30 damage might make a slight difference.

Team Flare Grunt:

Having the option to discard Energy while having your opponent under item lock can be clutch at times since it's not that easy to find energy when your hand is nothing but items.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this short article. Be sure to keep an eye out for your upcoming Standard events for these two decks because they will surely see a moderate amount of play. Honestly, Vileplume can overcome Volcanion if you get a turn one Vileplume set up and plan out your strategy with a Lysandre on a big retreater and then using Meowth from there which is how Pablo won game two against Pedro. However, Pedro's list was ideal against the item lock due to cards like Olympia, and Fisherman which both help under the lock not to mention Scorched Earth can be useful in that matchup as well. I personally dislike Volcanion so I would much rather play Decidueye-GX/Vileplume because a turn one Vileplume can beat anything which is why the deck is so strong. People thought Decidueye-GX/Basics were strong but no it's with Vileplume that makes it a wonder.

With that said, don't forget to check out The Chaos Gym on YouTube and Twitch for updates and player interviews, as well as live streaming from Grafton Roll and Rahul Reddy. As always, be sure to check out Team ARG's Pokémon page on Facebook, Team ARG Pokemon-TCG for tons of deck lists and interviews from great players. If you have any questions about these lists or decks in general or about Team ARG then please feel free to leave me a comment below or message me on Facebook and I'll be sure to get to them as soon as possible. As usual, if you enjoyed reading this article, then please consider giving it a thumbs up. If you want to see a specific type of article or topic next time, don't hesitate to give me ideas down below and I'll consider them, or if you have any other deck ideas and want to see an analysis on it, then, by all means, post it and I'll take a look. As always, keep an eye out for more articles to come. Until next time!

-Jose

[+18] okko


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