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Alex Wilson

1st Place St Louis Regional Recap and a Look Toward Oregon!

Two-time Regional Champion, Alex Wilson, goes back over his weekend in St. Louis and lists some decks...

16. 03. 2017 by Alex Wilson

Two-time Regional Champion, Alex Wilson, goes back over his weekend in St. Louis and lists some decks that should be considered for the upcoming expanded regionals in Portland, Oregon.

Hey guys, thanks for checking out my first 60cards article! As it’s my first time here, let me tell you a little bit about myself before I get into the good stuff. I'm a twenty-two-year old college student shooting for a Bachelors' degree in computer science. I live near Charlotte, North Carolina though I moved here from San Antonio, Texas last year. Practically my entire life has revolved around Pokémon, having first started when my dad found a Pokémon Silver cartridge in a boot at a ski shop when I was in first grade. However, it wasn’t until 2011 when my family finally got Wi-Fi that I discovered there were real life events and competitions Pokémon fans could attend. My first event was an Emerging Powers prelease and I’ve been addicted ever since. For the first four years of attempting to play competitively, I was having trouble learning how to metagame and make consistent lists, but after some practice and dedication, I started travelling out of state for larger-scale tournaments. Last season, I nearly maxed out my available City Championship points, placed Top 16 at Houston Regionals, and won Boston Regionals defeating Night March with my M Rayquaza-EX deck, sealing my first Worlds invite! And now to add to my Poké-resume, I won the largest Regionals in history in St. Louis! Now on to the good stuff!

As most of you probably saw on stream, if you weren’t competing in St. Louis, that is, I won my second Regionals title with M Rayquaza-EX! Before I go over each of my rounds and why I chose to play Rayquaza, here’s the list I used to go 9-0 day one and steamroll my way through Top 8.

After winning my first Regionals last season with Rayquaza, it has been kind of hard for me to play anything other than Rayquaza in Expanded. Leading up to St. Louis, I was testing decks like Trevenant, Accelgor, Yveltal, and even Blastoise. But as soon as I heard that Yveltal, M Gardevoir, and Volcanion were three of the most hyped decks, I had to play Rayquaza. In my testing the week of St. Louis, Rayquaza was destroying every deck that I was expecting to see that weekend. The only deck I did not expect to play against was John Kettler’s Decidueye/Vileplume build, which I had to play against twice. Here’s how all of my matchups looked like both days of the tournament;

Round 1: Dragon Rayquaza WW (1-0)

Round 2: Yveltal Maxie’s WW (2-0)

Round 3: Volcanion WLW (3-0)

This matchup was against fellow 60cards writer Brad Curcio. He won the coin flip but started with only a lone Keldeo-EX. After he played zero cards and said pass, I let go of Rayquaza’s leash and let him do what he does best, pulling off a turn one 180 damage knockout. In game two, he had a better start thanks to his Hoopa-EX, and while I had an equally strong start, I overextended and ran out of recourses in the late game. Having won the first game, I risked discarding a Rayquaza-EX to get a turn-one knockout, but inevitably needed it in the late game. The third game was literally a repeat of game one, except this time I had to pull off a turn-one 240 damage Knock Out, which Rayquaza can pull off most of the time with access to an Ultra Ball and Abilities.

Round 4: Carbink Focus Sash WT (4-0)

This matchup consisted of one game and a half of another and we still ran out of time… In the first game, he quickly set up three Carbink BREAKs with Focus Sashes, which ultimately lead to his downfall. Usually this matchup is tricky, having to rely on Hex Maniac and Lysandre. But luckily, I played Giratina which turned off all of his BREAK Evolutions’ Abilities, allowing me to easily sweep through the matchup with a M Rayquaza-EX. The second game, however, thanks to my Giratina being Prized, mainly consisted of me denying my opponent of any knockouts with his weak Fighting type attacks before time was called.

Round 5: Turbo Darkrai WW (5-0)

This matchup is arguably Rayquaza’s easiest matchup. If I remember correctly, I think I won game one with a turn-one donk, but I honestly can’t remember if that was from this round or from round seven. Needless to say, in this matchup, Rayquaza can easily Knock Out any Darkrai-EX that is being built up on the Bench, preventing them from ever taking so much as a single Prize per game.

Round 6: Yveltal/Zekrom/Tauros-GX WW (6-0)

This was by far my most interesting matchup during the weekend. The first game was your ordinary Rayquaza vs Yveltal matchup where Rayquaza came out on top. But game 2 was a completely different story, after setting up a strong field of multiple Yveltal-EX with Fighting Fury Belts and Max Elixirs, he then Benched a Tauros-GX and a Zekrom (BW). While he promoted the Tauros and Zekrom once or twice, hoping I’d deal a little damage to it or be content with taking only one Prize card, I was always able to Lysandre and KO the main threats. Mad props Cole for having a solid run with that creative build!

Round 7: Yveltal Maxie’s WW (7-0)

Round 8: Yveltal Maxie’s LWW (8-0)

Israel Sosa was my toughest matchup of day one! I consider Israel to be the greatest Yveltal player the game has ever seen, and for good reason. So, it was nerve-racking enough going up against such a high caliber player such as him, especially after losing a very close game one. Essentially, both games one and two came down to each of us having either one or two Prize cards left. And in game three I got lucky with yet another 210 damage, turn-one donk.

Round 9: Volcanion WLW (9-0)

Going into round nine, fellow 60cards writer Rahul Reddy and I were the last two undefeated players in the tournament. He initially asked if I wanted to ID, but with my eyes on going undefeated day one and having an extra three match points toward Top 8, I felt I could pull off the win thanks to Rayquaza’s obvious advantage over Volcanion. Game one was a great, close match where we both had two Prizes before I took the game. Game two went in the opposite direction that I had expected, with him winning after using three Steam Ups, twice, to OHKO my M Rayquaza-EX. In the end, I was able to win game three. I started off with three back-to-back Hex Maniacs, preventing him from using his Hoopa-EX and Shaymin-EX to set up, and shutting off Volcanion-EX’s Steam Up Ability. This allowed me to take the game pretty convincingly.

Rayquaza!

Day 2

Round 10: Raikou/Eels WW (10-0)

This was the first time I had made an appearance on stream during the weekend, where I faced against another great player, Andrew Mahone. Most people consider Raikou/Eels an autoloss for Rayquaza, yet time after time I have proved that it’s a 50/50 matchup. While Raikou can one-shot M Rayquaza-EX due to Weakness and takes two Prizes, so long as Rayquaza can chain a few Hex Maniacs in the game, it’s an even matchup. This is exactly what happened in the first game, where I was able to play three or four Hex Maniacs essentially for the win (though I made a huge misplay leaving my active Keldeo-EX completely vulnerable to a Thunder Wave, which thankfully landed on tails). And in game two, I played another four or five back-to-back Hex Maniacs for the win.

Round 11: Decidueye/Vileplume LL (10-1)

Here’s where my winning streak came to a crashing halt. I was paired up against my good friend John Kettler and his Decidueye/Vileplume deck that I eventually had to play again in the finals. Basically, here’s how both games went; John sets up the turn one Item-lock, immediately starts spreading damage with Decidueye-GX, and Rayquaza sits there helpless since Keldeo-EX was never able to get set up. This matchup proved to be one of the toughest matchups for Rayquaza, even when winning the coin flip.

Round 12: Accelgor/Wobb LL (10-2)

Here I was paired against my good friend Anthony Nimmons, whom I rode with and shared a hotel room with for the weekend. Aside from Decidueye, this was the only other deck I had not prepared my deck for. (Though I tested with it vigorously in preparation for St. Louis.) In my early testing with Rayquaza, I was considering a Magearna-EX, but after seeing that there wouldn’t be many Accelgor decks in St. Louis, I chose to use the space for Giratina. In both games, Anthony was able to Lysandre my Keldeo-EX and use Deck and Cover, followed by doing the same to my Rayquaza. I never saw my AZ, nor took more than two Prizes either game.

Round 13: Yveltal Maxie’s LWT (10-2-1)

Round 14: Decidueye/Toad ID (10-2-2)

Top 8: Decidueye/Toad WW (11-2-2)

Like the round right before it, I was paired against Alex Schemanske on stream. Since I had little knowledge of this deck, I had regretted not playing with him in round fourteen. Obviously, we both wanted to ensure our spots in Top 8, but after seeing day two’s results, both the winner and the loser of our match would have still made Top 8. I have yet to go back and watch the match on stream, but in the first game, I played a turn one Ghetsis getting rid of four Items from his hand. I built up a solid Bench and Knocked Out his lone Dartrix on my second turn for the win. He went first in the second game, allowing him to get a better setup. By turn two, he was able to set up a Seismitoad-EX Item-locking me, but just shortly after I was able to fully build up a M Rayquaza-EX. Drawing into a Sky Field, I was able to Knock Out his Seismitoad-EX and Lysandre the rest of my way through the game.

Top 4: Volcanion WW (12-2-2)

I was once again paired against Rahul Reddy for my Top 4 matchup. The first game was fairly even with me taking my last Prizes before Rahul could. But in game two, he went first and passed leaving only a baby Volcanion with a Fighting Fury Belt on the field. I quickly jumped at the opportunity and used all of my available recourses to pull of another donk.

Finals: Decidueye/Vileplume LWW (13-2-2)

The entire weekend led up to this one last matchup, and lo and behold, it was against a good friend of mine. While watching the Top 4 match between Vileplume and Night March, I knew that I had some insanely tough games ahead of me. After making a few jokes about the stream providing our game with a Mega Rayquaza coin, we shook hands followed by John setting up a turn one Vileplume. This first game mimicked the other two games we had played prior to top eight. While under Item-lock, Rayquaza has a tough time getting set up. The only option I had available to me while attempting to set up was fishing out a Hex Maniac from my deck. The problem with playing Hex Maniac, however, to combat a Vileplume, is that while I’m able to use Items, I can’t continue my turn since I cut off my Hoopa-EX’s and Shaymin-EX’s Abilities.

After destroying me in the first game, I chose to go first and pulled of a turn one Ghetsis, ridding his hand of his only Ultra Ball. (Though I now realize playing a Hex Maniac can hurt Vileplume much more than a Ghetsis.) He topdecked a Trainers’ Mail, followed by another Ultra Ball, allowing him to search for a Shaymin-EX to draw a few cards. After a few turns of John struggling to properly set up, he scoped to me knowing that he wanted as much time for us to get a full game three in before running out of time. Naturally, he went first, but missed the turn one Item-lock! I was able to set up a full Bench and a Rayquaza-EX, putting me at a much more advantageous spot than in game one. The entire game, I was able to put pressure on John with a combination of Hex Maniacs, Lysandres, and knockouts every turn. Eventually, I had only two remaining Prize cards, discouraging John from Benching another Shaymin-EX. After a turn of John attacking with Hollow Hunt GX, I opted to Lysandre and KO his Vileplume rather than dealing 150 damage to his Defending Decidueye-GX. I’ve questioned many times as to whether this was the most optimal play or not. But considering everything worked out in the end, I’m glad I choose to take out the Vileplume. After knocking it out, he used two Revitalizers to rebuild his Vileplume and N’d me to one. Fearing a crazy six-to-one Prize card comeback, I grabbed the Lysandre off the N and won the tournament!

I had my post-victory interview with Pooka, had some pictures taken by Doug Morisoli, then rode in a car for ten hours through the night, returning home to my bed at 9:00 AM Monday.

Rowlet

Looking Ahead Toward Oregon

After finishing well at a big tournament, it’s really hard to not want to make plans for more events. Roanoke, Virginia was the only other Regionals I was planning on attending this year, but after returning from St. Louis, I’ve already booked trips to both Toronto Regionals and Madison Regionals, which should undoubtedly be streamed by TPCI. As much as I want to fly to Portland, Oregon at the end of the month, sadly the timing is just not right for me. However, I’d still love to share which decks I’d consider after seeing what went down in St. Louis.

M Rayquaza-EX

Although Rayquaza now has a huge target on its back, it’s still worth some consideration. With Yveltal, Darkrai, and Volcanion decks all expected to make a huge presence (like at all Expanded tournaments), Rayquaza just might be able to easily feast upon the players who choose a “safe” meta play. Though I loved the list I ran in St. Louis, and wouldn’t change a thing from it, there are a few changes I’d greatly consider looking ahead.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…There’s not much you can do to change up a Rayquaza list, but I feel these small changes can make a huge impact on the way this deck could see success.

Magearna-EX

Taking out the Giratina is the first thing I wanted to do after returning from St. Louis. The only reason for playing Giratina was to help against the Trevenant matchup, (and the occasional Greninja or Carbink), but after realizing that Trevenant is no longer as relevant in Expanded as it was a few months ago, Magearna-EX seems like the more useful Pokémon. Magearna-EX’s Ability prevents any effects of your opponent’s attacks done to your Pokémon with a Metal Energy attached, which makes M Rayquaza-EX immune to Poison and Paralysis from a Deck and Cover or something random, like a Dragonite-EX’s Hyper Beam, which usually discards an Energy from the Defending Pokémon. If you don’t want to use the spot for Magearna-EX, I’d recommend trying out an Aegislash-EX. With decks like Yveltal, Night March, Accelgor, and Decidueye relying on Double Colorless Energy to attack, Aegislash-EX can make for a useful wall while building up your side of the board. If need be, it can even attack for 70 damage with a DCE and Metal Energy attachment, knocking out Joltik, Pumpkaboo, Shelmet, Regice, Rowlett, and all sorts of other little critters. And if you still don’t like Aegislash-EX, try a Virizion-EX. A couple of years ago, when Hypnotoxic Laser was seeing a lot of play, Virizion-EX was an essential ingredient for any Rayquaza deck, but lately, Hypnotoxic Lasers have not seen play in any successful decks. Have you ever heard the expression “history repeats itself”? Hearing a few murmurs here and there about Seismitoad/Bats and Yveltal/Garbodor seeing play. A Virizion-EX tech just might pay off in the end. It’s also yet another hard-counter against any Accelgor decks that stand in your way.

Draw Support

Professor Juniper is the only other change I find myself considering. While Ghetsis can make for some awesome turn-one plays, I only successfully used it once in St. Louis. I want to put an emphasis on that with this deck, you WANT to get the turn-one Hex Maniac out every game. Hoopa-EX and Shaymin-EX are your draw Supporters. With a Sky Field and Hoopa-EX, you’ve already set yourself up for a successful game. Ending your turn with Hex Maniac and a Mega Evolution puts you in a huge lead. Hex Maniac is so good, in fact, that I’ve even considered playing three of them! But I think the space is a little better used with a Professor Juniper. And with Decidueye/Vileplume’s recent success in Anaheim, St. Louis, and even Australia, I fully expect it to make a huge appearance in Oregon. While under Item-lock, it’s hard to build up your side of the field without the use of Ultra Balls and other Items. Assuming your Bench won’t have more than one or two Pokémon, playing a Colress won’t net you a very large hand. And if it’s the beginning of the game, an N might not be as disruptive as if it were saved for the late game, it probably won’t net you any additional playable cards either. Playing a Professor Juniper to draw into seven new cards just might be what you need to catch back up and start taking knockouts. And with Hoopa-EX and Jirachi-EX, getting out that Professor Juniper is a little easier than most make it out to be.

Accelgor/Wobb

If Rayquaza isn’t your cup of tea, this is the deck I would start testing immediately in preparation for Oregon! It has seen success in Philadelphia when Mike Fouchet placed second with it and in St. Louis with Anthony Nimmons making it all the way to Top 8. If I were going to Oregon, this is hands down the deck I truly feel I could win the tournament with. Accelgor has a huge advantage against mostly any deck that has no way around Paralysis, namely Decidueye/Vileplume! When a Wobbuffet is sitting in the Active spot, Decidueye can’t use Feather Arrow, no Set Up with Shaymin-EX, and Vileplume’s Ability isn’t preventing Items from being played. Additionally, if Decidueye plays a Forest of Giant Plants, Accelgor can evolve twice as fast! Here’s a consistent list I was testing with prior to St. Louis.

"I hear you can win the next Regionals?"

"I hear you're good?"

Tauros-GX

Tauros-GX is one of the newer cards to enter the format since its release in the first Sun and Moon set in February. While you might not ever attack with it, after a Deck and Cover, promoting Tauros-GX to the active spot can make your opponent second guess as to whether they want to attack that following turn or not. With as little as six damage counters on Tauros-GX, it can attack with Mad Bull GX for 180 damage! With nine damage counters, it can 1HKO anything standing in its way for 270 damage! Mew-EX can even copy Tauros-GX’s attacks making for even spicier plays. Though that still counts as your GX attack for the game, so use it wisely.

4 Wobbuffet

Playing four Wobbuffet serves for maximum consistency, ensuring that your opponent will never have access to Abilities unless they can Lysandre their way around it. And though you might not be able to play your own Shaymin-EX, you can still use Munna’s and Musharna’s Abilities.

Tool Scrapper

One card I haven’t seen to many Accelgor decks play is Tool Scrapper. While Xerosic is useful, I’ve found myself using Tool Scrapper in more games. With Tool Scrapper, you can get rid of a Float Stone attached to a Keldeo-EX and say a Fighting Fury Belt, making it easier to Knock Out the Defending Pokémon. Xerosic can only discard one tool, but has the added effect of discarding a Special Energy from an opposing threat. Still, it’s your one Supporter for the turn, and while trying to keep a consistent stream of Deck and Covers rolling, I’ve found myself needing to play a draw Supporter most turns that I’ve played Tool Scrapper simultaneously.

Stadiums

Mike Fouchet proved that four Virbank City Gym might be the best way to utilize stadiums in Accelgor, but if you want to get a little crazy, you can play a Tropical Beach to help your early game, or even a Parallel City! I played around with Parallel City and used it roughly fifty percent of the time. Ultimately the downside of Parallel City is that it decreases Accelgor’s damage by 20. And though you’re typically attacking with Mew-EX, the deduction in Accelgor’s damage output can prolong a game by a turn or two. Four Virbank City Gym is optimal, but if you want to take one out for a Beach/City, you’ll have an extra option that may help in a fourteen-round tournament.

Blastoise?

One last deck I want to give you is a deck my friend Blaine Hill suggested I test prior to St. Louis Regionals. The deck is essentially your typical Blastoise/Keldeo list that won Worlds in 2015, but with the added use of a powerful attacker from Sun and Moon, Lapras-GX.

I won’t get too much into the deck since I’m sure you’ve all seen plenty of Blastoise lists in the last couple of years. But with the added power of Lapras-GX’s Blizzard Burn attack, I can definitely see this deck playing at the top tables in Oregon. Blizzard Burn attacks for 160 damage, and with a Fighting Fury Belt attached, it’s a 230 HP Pokémon attacking for 170 damage! Though using Blizzard Burn prevents Lapras-GX from attacking the next turn, having one of your Keldeo-EX Rush In and retreat makes Lapras-GX an awesome tank. I also included Professor Kukui in this list, which not only gives you two additional cards, but increases Lapras-GX’s Blizzard Burn to a 190-damage attack. Of course, we can’t forget that Keldeo-EX can attack. With as much Energy as you can possibly attach to it, a Fighting Fury Belt, and a Professor Kukui, Keldeo-EX can attack for as much as 280 damage! That’s 560 damage to a Volcanion-EX!

Lapras can make a splash.

Lapras can make a splash!

Ending Thoughts

With two Regional titles behind me, both thanks to Rayquaza, it’s kind of hard for me to not have such a biased opinion about the raw strength of Rayquaza. Though I would more than likely play Accelgor if I were to compete in Oregon, it wouldn’t surprise me if I had Rayquaza built and sitting in my bag just in case I were to change my mind at the last minute. I strongly feel all the decks I mentioned in this article have the Ability to win Portland Regionals. Whether you play one of the above decks or not, I hope you see success in Oregon and in getting your 500 Championship Points! Until Virginia Regionals, I’ll be grinding it out at some Standard League Cups.

That’s gonna do it for me today, thank you so much for checking out my first 60cards article! I’d love to know what you guys think about my opinions and what decks you think will see success in Oregon. Show me some love with that like button!

Until next time, Emerald Break!

-Alex

[+13] okko


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