Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

Atlantic City: What Happened?

Zach goes over his experience at Atlantic City Regionals and explains his view on the metagame going forward

10/02/2019 by Zach Lesage

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What’s up 60 Cards readers? It’s your homeboy (and currently sleepy) Zach Lesage here and I wanted to let you know about Atlantic City. No, not how much I gambled or the McDonalds Chicken Tenders that I ate, I wanna let you know about the tournament. In this article, I will be focusing on a condensed tournament report, my list, and my thoughts on the metagame going forward. For the next while I will be releasing shorter articles that get directly to the point so you don’t need to spend much time reading them to extract the info you want. 

Anyways, that’s where we’re at, so enjoy. 

Welder & Friends List and Report

I want to start of this section by explaining expediting your learning process by showcasing a video I created on the deck. As many of you may know, I help create videos for the Rare Candy TCG YouTube channel to help the community out. In these videos I showcase my actual decks, my actual lists, and how I play them. I figured this would be a great starting point for players who are looking to understand the deck and it gives us a great mix of media forms (something most sites lack). Anyways, so here is the video so be sure to check it out.

As I am sure you will notice, the list that I played at Atlantic City was a slightly different list that came to me a few days before the event. I wanted to have something consistent that would endure the full nine rounds during Day One and give me a shot at the Championship. Here is the list that I played:


While I was playing the event, Pokégear 3.0 (UBO; 182)  seemed like a hit-or-miss Card, but that isn’t what lead to me dropping from the event. I started off the event with a swift 2-0 record. I comfortably beat a Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71)  deck and a Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20)  / Ninetales (TM; 16)  deck which gave me a huge confidence boost going forward in the day. The copies of Stealthy Hood (UBO; 186)  that I included in my deck were already putting in work and I was excited to face mirror matches all day long. At least, that’s what was expected right? Well, things seemed to change as I looked around at the other decks at the top tables. Going into the third round, I saw that I was playing against one of the better players in the game, Isaac Milaski. He flipped over a Volcanion (UBO; 34)  and I was excited to play a mirror match of some sorts. Well, when I found out he was playing Green's Exploration (UBO; 175)  /  Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20) , I was slightly confused. A few weeks ago I single handedly destroyed this deck in the finals of a League Cup, but his list was much more refined. He also opted to play Stealthy Hood (UBO; 186)  as a tech against Ninetales (TM; 16)  which meant I was going to struggle to Knock Out the Pokemon I wanted. Between poor draws, some rough hands off Reset Stamp (UB; 206) , and other variance - I quickly found myself at 2-1. Well, I have been in worse positions so my mind was set on the prize. Unfortunately for me, that was the last game where my deck would resemble anything past a theme deck. I hit some normal matchups, but my opening hands consisted of six Fire Energy (TM; null)  and a starter or being forced to discard four Fire Crystal (UBO; 173)  off a Dedenne GX (UBO; 57) . There were games that I was able to get Welder (UBO; 189)  in my hand, but I was always lacking enough Energy to do anything in them. My deck flopped.

I don’t think the deck was wrong, but I would have slightly altered it knowing that the metagame had less Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20)  / Ninetales (TM; 16)  decks than expected in order to make room for Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71)  decks, Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  / Naganadel (LT; 108)  decks, and Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33)  decks. Heading into future League Challenges, League Cups, and Knoxville Regionals, I will need to find a more compelling strategy. Let’s peep out a few of my metagame observations from this weekend.

Metagame Observations

It is always hard to take a loss as a player, but in my Pokemon career, you tend to get used to it at some point or another. We had major events in North America, South America, and Europe that will directly affect future events because the metagame was different than most players expected. With Campinas being the smallest event, it is easier for the general population to disregard the results of that event because it had much different results than Cologne and Atlantic City. It saw a surge of Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20)  decks with a Green's Exploration (UBO; 175)  version of the deck winning the event. Personally, I wasn’t a believer in that deck until this weekend, but I think it is much better than I originally anticipated. Playing multiple copies of Reset Stamp (UB; 206)  and Power Plant (UBO; 183)  seems so strong against decks like Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71)  and since this format already contains inconsistent Welder (UBO; 189)  based decks so let’s shuffle those hands back in. Jirachi (TM; 99)  can only help a dead hand so much right? I think that is the same premise that allowed Gardevoir & Sylveon GX (UBO; 205)  decks to see success; Reset Stamp (UB; 206)  and Power Plant (UBO; 183)  is a really good combo right now. 

Jumping into the the larger events, we saw the exact same finals play out the same exact way in both Cologne and Atlantic City. Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71)  was crowned Champion at both events over Pidgeotto (TM; 123)  / Oranguru (UPR; 114)  decks. While Control decks are always going to be strong, Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71)  has a plethora of options available to it. Furthermore, Tord Reklev took that deck to a whole other level and included Shedinja (LT; 95) in it - a strike of genius in this stale format. His inclusion of Shedinja (LT; 95)  means that most players will have to Knock Out three Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71)  instead of two. That is because three Prize Cards + three Prize Cards equals six and two Prize Cards + three Prize Cards + three Prize Cards equals eight. That tiny inclusion mixed with some other list innovations means that you can stay in games longer than before. 

So with all of that being said, how will the metagame look going forward? With Azul Garcia Griego and Reklev being Poke-celebrities in their own right, I would assume that Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71)  decks are going to surge in popularity. The highly sought after card was already released in a tin so it’s easier to acquire the cards for that deck than ever. I don’t think Grant Manley’s performance with Pidgeotto (TM; 123)  / Oranguru (UPR; 114)  will see the deck gain much metagame coverage because it is an incredibly difficult deck to pilot correctly. With Ability-based GX decks growing in popularity, I also foresee Power Plant (UBO; 183)  decks seeing a surge in popularity. Those decks can also run answers to Shedinja (LT; 95)  by teching in Lysandre Labs (FLI; 111)  and they can also run Stealthy Hood (UBO; 186)  to get around Ninetales (TM; 16) . Beyond that, Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20)  / Ninetales (TM; 16)  or my Welder (UBO; 189)  & Friends variant will continue to see some amount of play along with other decks like Malamar (FLI; 51)  / Spell Tag (LT; 190)  running around. Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33)  also saw decent play, with our very own Daniel Altavilla making Top Eight, for the same reason as Power Plant (UBO; 183)  based decks. It is likely one of the most consistent decks in format because it has specialized search cards like Electromagnetic Radar (UBO; 230)  and can utilize Judge (FLI; 108)  to disrupt your opponent. Since it can sometimes be difficult to read giant blocks of text, I’ll post it more clearly below:

Highly Played

Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71)  (with and without Shedinja (LT; 95) )

Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33)

Decently Played

Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20)  /  Ninetales (TM; 16)

Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20)  /  Green's Exploration (UBO; 175)

Gardevoir & Sylveon GX (UBO; 205)

Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  /  Naganadel (LT; 108)

Malamar (FLI; 51)  /  Spell Tag (LT; 190)

Lightly Played

Pidgeotto (TM; 123)  /  Oranguru (UPR; 114)

Quagsire (DM; 26)  /  Naganadel (LT; 108)

The format is more or less of the same as it was before, but the amount of each deck being played has certainly changed. As I have hinted towards in this article, I am a big fan of Power Plant (UBO; 183)  based decks, like Gardevoir & Sylveon GX (UBO; 205)  and Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20)  / Green's Exploration (UBO; 175) , because they have solid matchups against the top decks. I also think that Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  / Naganadel (LT; 108)  can be a solid anti-metagame pick if you added in a Mew (UBO; 76)  to help counter Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33)  decks (since it already has a strong Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71)  matchup). More decks will start to include Power Plant (UBO; 183) , Reset Stamp (UB; 206) , Stealthy Hood (UBO; 186) , and Reset Stamp (UB; 206)  to start countering the format (and we might see a slight surge in Keldeo GX (UB; 47)  based decks too). I hate to say it, but our format is still in a poor state right now because we don’t have enough answers to deal with the inconsistencies that we are forced to deal because of the Rotation. Hopefully some of that changes when Cosmic Eclipse rolls around later this month, but it doesn’t seem too likely. The best advice that I can give you is to take ideas from the top performing lists this weekend, like playing four copies of Dedenne GX (UBO; 57)  to make your deck more consistent, and play test as much as possible. You will find your decks setting up more often than your opponents and you will know how to crawl out of difficult situations by becoming a more experienced player. If all else fails, you can always start getting ready for Expanded with tournaments coming up in Richmond and Portland. 

See Ya in Knoxville

Well that’s a wrap for today. I will be writing more articles heading into my second Regionals of this new season, Knoxville, to help all of you succeed. We have big plans here at 60Cards and I hope you can absorb as much information from some upcoming exciting news. As for me, I finished registering and booking flights for every major event in North America (and Latin American Internationals) all the way up until San Diego! I’m excited to play Pokémon, prove to myself that I am one of the best players in the game, and see all of my friends who play this game. After going 3-1-1 at Worlds Day Two to 3-3-1, it took me a couple of days to come down from the level of disappointment that I felt. While I can’t be certain that I will have a fulfilling finish at Worlds this year, or any tournament for that season, I will use my hope as a fuel to push myself as far ahead as I can. I have already earned 285CP and I don’t plan on stopping soon. Anyways, as I continue on my Pokemon adventure, feel free to follow me on all of my social media. 

Facebook: Zach Lesage

Twitch: zlesagepokemon

Twitter: zlesagepokemon

Youtube: RareCandyTCG

I also have open slots for coaching so if you are interested, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook.


Zach Lesage

[+26] okko


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