Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

Daytona Beach: The Aftermath

Zach explains the expected metagame heading into San Diego, Brisbane, and Singapore.

12/04/2019 by Zach Lesage

Back from the Beach

What’s up everyone? I just landed back in Toronto from my Daytona Beach Regional trop and I wanted to share my thoughts on the metagame heading into San Diego, Singapore, and Brisbane this weekend. We saw plenty of top players see success with many different decks so this article might get a little bit all over the place, but it will be an informative read heading into this weekend. Similar to my past few articles, this article will be slightly shorter in nature to accommodate more articles for the site. Let’s just jump into it. 

My Thoughts Before Daytona

So I went into Daytona with 25 decks, but a lot of those were concepts that couldn’t see success even if I tried. If you are wondering, it included decks like Reshiram & Zekrom Tag Team GX (CoE; 157)  / Naganadel (LT; 108)  and Green’s Blastoise & Piplup Tag Team GX (CoE; 38) . The biggest reason why I continuously build rogue decks is because I am in search of the play for each and every weekend that I attend an event. I was super close to playing Raichu (CoE; 67)  / Weezing (CoE; 77)  for Daytona after going 4-2-1 with it at the Friday TCG Challenge, but I was terrified of the amount of Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Tag Team GX (CoE; 156) , Malamar (FLI; 51) , and Florges (CoE; 152)  decks that I expected to face. The deck that I had been testing the most before the event was Doll Stall, I felt confident I could play it really quickly, and for the most part I did well with the deck. I had multiple opponents play towards ties instead of trying to finish games and it is my fault for not calling a Judge to solve that issue. For this of you who didn’t know, I have been actively been trying to improve myself as a person over the past few months and I find it a consistent struggle between calling a Judge or not.

In this case, I cost myself the opportunity to make Day Two at Daytona and it honestly upset me that it was in my control. I’m not trying to say that I played my deck perfectly, I think I played it well, but I didn’t make any game bending mistakes to cost me three ties. I’m gonna day that this event was a combination of me not calling a judge and hitting some unexpected poor matchups. My list was extremely similar to the list that I posted in my article (cut Faba (LT; 173)  for Channeler (UB; 232) ), but I don’t think I had the best list at the event. The best list goes to DDG / Full Grip’s “Gang” that saw Isaiah Williams and Grant Manley both make it to the Top Eight. Williams gave the deck its best finish ever with a Top Four finish at the event. The biggest additions to their list were Wobbuffet (LT; 93)  and Professor Oak's Setup (CoE; 201) . The Wobb made their matchup against decks that feature Victini Prism Star (DM; 7)  a sweet auto-win and Professor Oak made their deck less vulnerable to Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71)  based decks because it could get out Latios GX (UB; 78)  quicker. Those two cards alone made their list much better and I likely would have come to the same conclusion had I been able to playtest Doll Stall more before the event. Here is their busted list in case you have missed it:

Let's jump into what the metagame looks like going forward.

The Metagame of a Near Future

Based off the results of this weekend, I think Doll Stall might get tossed in the back of the binder. If you are wondering why, it is because a lot of players in Daytona were ready for control. I ran into multiple Gardevoir & Sylveon GX (UBO; 205)  decks that played Oranguru (UPR; 114) , Omastar (TM; 76) , and Custom Catcher (LT; 171) . I ran into ADP decks that played Customs, Cyrus Prism Star (UPR; 120) , and other tech cards. If you look at the finals of the event, it was very clear that those two decks had outs to Control. That means that it is easier to cut down on your choices heading to any major event this weekend. {preview end} If you ask me, these are going to be the top played decks heading into this weekend:






As you can see, ADP should reclaim its throne from LAIC as the most played deck heading into this weekend. That is thanks to Will Jenkins crushing Day One of Swiss and Xander Pero making the finals with that deck. ADP has a lot of strong matchups because it plays a handful of nifty tech cards. Customs help it win against control, Cryogonal (UB; 46)  helps it win against control, ADP has a naturally strong Mally matchup, and the deck beats Mewtwo with Girafarig (LT; 94) . The only difficult matchup it has is ABZard, but that deck can sometimes fold to itself. Oh wait, I almost forgot, GardEon is difficult too. I didn’t have too many struggles when lists weren’t running Faba to try and win against it or when I ran four Chaos Swell (CoE; 187) . As GardEon reaches its biggest North American accomplishment ever, I feel like the deck might be out in full force for this weekend. If I decide to play ADP for this weekend, I will likely add in a Lucario & Melmetal GX (UBO; 120)  to try and get past GardEon. If you are playing GardEon, it is likely a great idea to play a Weakness Guard Energy (UB; 213)  in your deck. All that leaves is the looming mirror match. The biggest thing that you will need to prepare for is Heracross for ADP mirror, but Drampa (CoE; 159)  has also got the job done for me in the past. The key thing to take from here is that ADP has strong matchups across the board and it is a relatively easy deck to play. 

The thing is, I could go over each and every deck, but I would make this article too boring to read and it wouldn’t do us any good. If you look at how the metagame has evolved over the past few weeks, it works like this:

A deck sees success

Players counter that success with tech cards

A clearly strong deck stands out

Most players counter that deck

This has been the case for LAIC and Daytona. Players were well equipped to beat ADP in São Paulo because the deck became the new Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) - a heavily played deck with well rounded matchups. We saw that when ABZard won the event to get around this difficult matchup. With the meta seemingly set after LAIC, Doll Stall looked like it was the deck to beat because almost all players didn’t tech against the deck. For Daytona, that proved different as we saw Customs come back in full force, decks adding techs, etc. So if the metagame continues on in this same pattern, here is what this weekend is going to look like:


Playing Custom Catcher (LT; 171) , Cryogonal (UB; 46) , Girafarig (LT; 94) , Heracross (UB; 107) , and maybe Drampa (CoE; 159)  or  Lucario & Melmetal GX (UBO; 120)


Playing Turtonator (DM; 50) , Customs, double Marshadow (UBO; 81) , Faba, and maybe  Greninja GX (BW; 197)


Playing Customs, Omastar (TM; 76) , Weakness Guard Energy (UB; 213) , and maybe  Oranguru (UPR; 114)


Being a normal build, similar to LAIC, or a hybrid build like my earlier Welder & Friends concept


I would assume most lists would look like Daniel Altavilla’s T16 list with Ultra Necrozma GX (FLI; 95) , but Michael Catron’s list is also a strong starting point. Brady Guy also saw success with his Garchomp & Giratina GX (UB; 146)  list so we could realistically see any variant of Malamar (FLI; 51) .

It should be noted that other decks might include ‘Cross to beat ADP.

See Ya in San Diego

The most important thing to take from this article is that most decks can easily adapt to the metagame with a wide range of available tech cards. Keep your eyes peeled for information from your favourite content creators to see if there is anything I missed. I am going to try and release two more articles this week; one on improving your mental health in the game and the other will be a deck list dump. It should be a great week to read articles and I wish you the best of luck this weekend!As for me, I am currently at 668 CP and my goal is to get a stipend to attend EUIC in Berlin. I have been putting in a bunch of effort lately to improve as a player and I truly hope it pays off. If you are looking to follow me on my adventure, here are the links to my Social Media / sponsors:

PTCGOStore: use code zlesage5 to save 5% off your order

TCEvolutions: use code zach10 to save 10% off your order

Facebook: Zach Lesage

Twitter: zlesagepokemon

YouTube: Rare Candy TCG

Reach out to me if you are interested in coaching or any other business opportunity. 

Let’s go have some fun,

Zach Lesage

[+26] okko


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