Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

Portland Woes - Picking the Right Deck

This article goes over Zach's top picks heading into Portland and his favourite deck in Standard right now.

10/19/2018 by Zach Lesage

Scratching my Head

Whaddup 60 Cards readers? Are you ready to play some Expanded? No? Uhhh… Well, I don’t feel like I am particularly ready for this event too! Does that shock you?

It shouldn’t! We are in a weird place in the metagame where the majority of players are not attending Portland, there hasn’t been an Expanded tournament since April, and Standard is boring until Lost Thunder releases. In this article today, I will be going over my top three picks for Portland and finish the article with my top pick in Standard.

Hopefully you are as excited as I am for this article so let’s hop into it.

Looking for Comfort

In a mist of doubt even the best players can lose focus when preparing for an event and I see myself getting trapped in a certain mindset sometimes. Heading into Portland, I found myself in a bind where I am left to wander in my anxious mind. Standard has become stale with Malamar (FLI; 51)  being the best deck in format, Expanded is such a vast format with plenty of cards to choose from, and Lost Thunder looks like it will shake things up.

With that in mind, and the next major event being Expanded, I am looking at decks that I am comfortable with. I have played all of the following decks to success in the past and I am hoping to snag a piece of that success back to earn some CP in Portland. Each deck will have an anchor so that you can instantly jump to the deck that you want to read about the most.

Buzzwole / Garbodor / Shrine of Punishment 

Donphan / Wobuffet

Trevenant BREAK

I will have the list that I will be playing in Portland posted next Friday. I hope that it is one of those decks, but you never know when the next best deck will come along and win you over.

Buzzwole / Garbodor / Shrine of Punishment

Buzzwole (FLI; 77)  / Garbodor (GRI; 51)  / Shrine of Punishment (CLS; 143)  is a deck that I came up with heading into Worlds,  I didn’t play it, and I regret not playing it for that event. I was able to recover that lost event by playing the Standard version of this deck at Philadelphia and Memphis to earn some Championship Points. To me, this deck is a Buzzwole (FLI; 77)  toolbox deck and I have been playing Buzzwole (FLI; 77)  since last November; I get it. It is a nice feeling when you go into an event and realize that you know what deck you are playing inside and out because you will make less mistakes. The below list is my take on the archetype and it has been working smooth during my testing sessions.

Between the archetype standards of damage modifiers ( Diancie Prism Star (FLI; 74) , Shrine of Punishment (CLS; 143) , Muscle Band (XY; 121) , Choice Band (GRI; 121) , Strong Energy (FRF; 104) , and Beast Energy Prism Star (FLI; 117) ) and Garbodor (GRI; 51) , this deck is an expansion over our current Standard iteration. This deck gets boosted with Korrina (FRF; 95) , N (FCO; 105) , Teammates (PRC; 141) , and a few other consistency cards. The strategy? Attach Energy to the right Pokemon, plan Knock Outs, and follow through.

Donphan / Wobbuffet 

Donphan (PS; 72)  takes me way back to 2015 when I was able to make Top 8 at two State Championships and I have been known to bring the deck back when it is relevant. Most recently, I played a similar version to this deck at Salt Lake City, UT Regionals with fellow 60 Cards writer Daniel Altavilla and I ultimately placed within the Top 64 of that event. That latest version has inspired this version and there are a few cards that have been released since Salt Lake City that are played in the list below.

Those cards include Buzzwole (FLI; 77)  which allows this deck to hit a damage peak that was previously difficult to get to. Buzzwole (FLI; 77)  helps get that one sneaky Knock Out during a game and it does it so cost effectively. The best part? Our opponent can’t play around it because there are only single Prize Card attackers in this deck. I have also added in a a copy of Diancie Prism Star (FLI; 74)  because it allows Donphan (PS; 72)  to use Spinning Turn for even more damage. The only card that I am questioning is the Phanpy (CLS; 72)  that I should play. I currently play Phanpy (CLS; 72) because it has one less Retreat than Phanpy (PS; 71) , but the extra HP might be nice. Regardless, that is only a minor change that I might make heading into next week.

Trevenant BREAK

Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66)  and I have been in a vicious relationship that ended at the 2016 Canadian National Championships where I didn’t place as high as I was expecting. With a few years for me to play around with other decks, here I sit in 2018 looking back at this card wondering how it went so wrong. The biggest appeal to me is the ease of play, the inclusion of Tapu Lele, and a potential lack of techs in the current metagame. 

Like I said above, this deck is more of spread deck, but the Item lock is what makes Trevenant (XY; 55)  a competent threat. I have been dabbling with Marshadow (SLG; 45)  in the deck because it does play four copies of Mysterious Treasure (FLI; 113) , but I am unsure if it is necessary heading into Portland. That might free up my copy of Delinquent (BKP; 98) , but that is another cards that I have grown accustomed to lately. My list might change a bit, but I will update next Friday with my tournament list if I end up playing this deck.  

If You Have Standard Tournaments...

If you aren’t going to Portland and don’t have all of your League Cup / League Challenge finishes yet, I recommend trying my latest version of GasKan! The following list aims to have a solid mirror matchup and has a few different attackers than a regular list.

The Giratina Prism Star (UPR; 58)  and Lunala Prism Star (UPR; 62)  allow for big attacks from a single Prize Card attacker and they both have a Darkness-type Weakness. The same can be said with Dawn Wings Necrozma (BW; 106)  which means that other Malamar (FLI; 51)  decks will struggle to get Knock Outs on these Pokemon. They can use Mimikyu (GRI; 58)  but you should realistically be able to get the Prize Card war started and as long as you don’t Bench a Double Prize Card Pokemon, you should be able to take the win. This list also makes it exceptionally hard for Buzzwole (FLI; 77)  / Garbodor (GRI; 51)  / Shrine of Punishment (CLS; 143)  to keep up due to the amount of HP your Pokémon have and your Rayquaza GX (CLS; 109)  / Vikavolt (SUM; 52)  matchup is favourable because of Chimecho (CIN; 43) . I don’t want to say that this list solves the metagame, but it is likely as close as we are going to get before Lost Thunder changes everything. 

Off to Portland 

Well, that’s it for today 60 Cards readers. I am in between three decks for Portland and I will post my list up next Friday for all of you who are curious to which deck I ended up picking. I hope to see many of you in Portland and feel free to talk to me if you see me at any event. I am still feeling uneasy about Expanded because this event is important to my position in the Top 16 of North America, but I just need to relax relaxing that I have put in the effort when it comes to testing. I will be working on producing the highest level of content going forward on a consistent basis as I work on a strategic plan to make 60 Cards a better website. During this time of rejuvenation, I welcome any and all feedback that will help see the site succeed. The immediate goals of the site are to streamline regular content, release it on a continuous basis, and provide more articles for the same value. These are hefty goals, but I will be working long hours to make sure I can keep the value of my word. 

If you are looking to find out what’s going on in the world of Zach Lesage, here is the linking for all of my current Social Media / business projects.

Twitter: zlesage_pokemon

Coaching: The Dark Patch



Twitch: TBA

Thanks for all of the support and let’s have an awesome season,

Zach Lesage

#PlayPokemon #Pokemon #60Cards #PokeAcademy #TheDarkPatch #DeadDrawGaming

[+21] okko


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