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Mark Dizon

There and Back Again : A Standard Story

Observing how the 2017-2018 Standard Season Unfolded and using it as a guideline to try to figure out how the metagame shifts.

09/14/2018 by Mark Dizon

* On August 27th of this year, just two weeks ago before my first article debuted, at the same time as our Pokemon Worlds, a tragedy occurred in Jacksonville Florida in the United States of America. At a Madden NFL Tournament a player opened fired with a gun killing two people and injuring ten. In our gaming community this is almost unfathomable to occur. Let us take a moment of silence to send our thoughts and prayers to the victims and the family and friends of those victims. In doesn't cost us anything to be kind, and this should never occur in a gaming event. The reason we play is to love the game we play and share it with others *

Hey Trainers,

nice to see you again. Since my last article, we learned that Vikavolt Rayquaza is currently the new Rayquaza deck. As I am writing this, the Meta has shifted twice already. With Melbourne Special Event ending last week, we saw a sea of Rayquaza take over the Event and subsequent League Cups. This past weekend, we saw the regional in Brazil have a top 8 involving 7 Buzzwole/ Shrine Weavile Decks and One Zoroark / Golispod Deck come back to beat away the Zoroark's and Dedennes who came out to beat the Rayquaza Decks. With Philadelphia Regionals around the corner, you are probably asking yourself like I am "What is the Play?"

“It is important that we know where we come from, because if you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, you don't know where you're going. And if you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong.”
- I Shall Wear Midnight - Terry Prachett 

Sometimes to move forward we have to look back. So without further ado, here is an overview of how the Metagame evolved in the 2017-2018 Standard Season.  


Anaheim Open 
August 19th 
612 Masters 
Champion - Benjamin Pham Decidueye Ninetales
Finalist - Karl Kitchin Gardevoir
Top 4 - Andrew Munoz Gardevoir 
Top 4 - Michael Chin Gardevoir 
Top 8 - Xander Soriano Gyarados
Top 8 - Emilio Orozco Gardevoir
Top 8 - Luca Clavadetscher Drampa Garb 
Top 8 - Sorina Radu Espeon Garb 

Diego Cassiraga won 2017 Worlds with Gardevoir, and with the first tournament of the new season being the Anaheim Open, it mirrored closely to the World's Top 8 with Gardevoir and Garbador being the main decks. Traschalance and Garbotoxin gave the opportunity to control the game by turning off abilities and closing the game out when the opponent had played out all their cards. Gardevoir was the new hotness revealed at the event, with Secret Spring and the ability to have 230 HP and extra energy attachments per Gardevoir, you could quickly one shot other Pokemon. This would be the only regional played with this Standard format but it highly influenced the first regional after rotation. 

Bremen Regionals
September 16th 
346 Masters 
Champion - Marc Lutz  Golisopod Garb 
Finalist - Tord Reklev Drampa Garb
Top 4 - Tomas Just Drampa Garb 
Top 4 - Philip Schulz Golisopod Garb 
Top 8 - Philipp Emmerich  Gardevoir 
Top 8 - Benjamin Cheynubrata Hooh Salazzle 
Top 8 - Patrick Bartosovic - Tapu Bulu 
Top 8 - Tamao Cameron - Xerneas Break

German Player Marc Lutz took down the whole event with Golisopod Garb a deck the Japanese had brought to Worlds. Tord Reklev would make another finish with Drampa Garb which he had brought to win the NAIC in Indianapolis the past season. The loss of VS seeker was not slowing down the Trashalanhce menace. Ho-oh /Salazzle was another deck that was debuted by the Japanese at Worlds and brought a power house into the format that tried to quickly overwhelm the opponent. Noticeably only one Gardevoir Gx deck made into top 8 at this first regional of the new format. Tapu Bulu also reared up here for the first time showing that the deck could succeed in the new format

Hartford Regionals 
September 30th
751 Masters
Champion - Igor Costa Volcanion
Finalist - Michael Long Greninja 
Top 4 - Ian Robb Drampa Garb
Top 4 - Sam Chen Gardevoir Sylveon 
Top 8 - Ryan Sablehaus Volcanion
Top 8 - Peter Kica Golisopod Garb
Top 8 - Rukan Shao Tapu Bulu
Top 8 - Patrick Van Story Ho-oh Salazzle 

Hartford took place two weeks after Bremen allowing the North American Pokemon Community to practice at League cups and prepare to Battle in Connecticut. Igor Costa won a bad matchup with Volcanion vs Michael Long's Greninja Deck. Ian Robb brought the DrampaGarb Decks from Bremen and was able to show what he could do as a first year master. Sam Chen brought the evolution of the square one Gardevoir deck adding a Sylveon to help the deck set up better. Peter Kica brought about the Bremen winning deck but with three fire decks in top 8 it was an uphill battle for him. Everyone at this tournament was ready to fight the grass with fire. 

Vancouver Regionals
October 14th 
331 Masters
Champion - Pablo Meza Sylveon Gardevoir
Finalist -  Hale Obernoite Sylveon Gardevoir
Top 4 - Mark Garcia Gardevoir
Top 4 - Xander Pero Drampa Garb 
Top 8 - Sam Chen Drampa Garb
Top 8 - Olliver Barr Sylveon Gardevoir
Top 8 - Michael Long Greninja
Top 8 - Sean Timmons Golisopod Garb 

Sam Chen and Michael Long made back to back top 8s in the first two North American events. Tablemon himself took down the whole event bringing the same deck that Sam Chen had brought to Hartford. The ability to set up better than your opponent’s deck was just too much for this small west coast Canadian Regionals. Sam had switched to the Drampa Garb deck and Second Year Master and Dallas Regional Champion Xander Pero would begin to show that he was a Garbodor Master.

Belo Horizonte Regionals
October 14th
217 Masters
Champion – William Azevedo – Drampa Garb
Finalist – Dyego Rathje Sylveon Gardevoir
Top 4 – Gabriel Henrique Monteiro Necrozma Meowstic Spread
Top 4 – Leonardo Zanardi Drampa Garb
Top 8 – Claudio Ferla Straight Golisopod
Top 8 – Dalton Achetta Drampa Garb
Top 8 – Alex Silva Drampa Garb
Top 8 – Rodrigo Mendes – Volcanion

At the same time as Vancouver, south of the Equator, the first South American regional was underway. The top 8 was extremely similar to that of Hartford and Vancouver, however here Garbodor was the dominant deck and not Gardevoir.

European International Championships
November 17th
781 Masters
Champion – Tord Reklev Zoroark Golisopod
Finalist – Zakary Krekeler Silvally Metal
Top 4 – Christopher Schemanske Gardevoir
Top 4 – Michael Long Greninja
Top 8 – Teodor Skjaeveland Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 8 – Frederik Wold Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 8 – Eemeli Reijonen Volcanion
Top 8 – Magnus Kallard Zoroark Golisopod

This is where everything changed. Not a Single Garbodor deck in top 8. Shining Legends and Crimson Invasion had just become legal. Tord Reklev continued his tear of winning a second international in a row. In the final he debuted the first Zoroark deck and showed the world the power of trade, beating American Zakary Krekeler and what would turn out to be a one tournament wonder that was Silvally Metal. Michael Long made another top 8 with Greninja but as always was a bridesmaid and not a bride. This tournament also revealed to us the possibilities with max elixir plus Buzzwole Gx which conveniently allowed the deck to take quick knockouts on Zorua. This one tournament would influence the rest of the year due to the ability to draw multiple cards per turn and find what you need. The lay of a month really allowed Pokemon teams to band together and try to break the format.

Exactly a Month After The European International Championships we would have a trio of events to close out the year in each of the NA , EU, LATAM and APAC Regions



Memphis Regionals
December 16th
947 Masters
Champion – Michael Pramawat Zoroark Lycanroc
Finalist – Azul Garcia Greigo Golisopod Garb
Top 4 – Pablo Meza Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 4 – Andrew Mahone Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 8 – Ahmed Ali Zoroark Lycanroc
Top 8 – Rahul Reddy Zoroark lycanroc
Top 8 – Benjamin Potter Zoroark Lycanroc 
Top 8 – Benjamin Behrens Zoroark Golisopod

This event almost eclipsed the 1000 competitor mark and showed the growth of the Game. Michael Pramawat took down his 7th Regional Win with Zoroark Lycanroc. A direct counter to the Zoroark Golisopod Deck that made waves in Europe. Azul Garcia Greigo finished second with a deck to counter the Zoroark decks by combining heal, 4 enhanced hammers and Garbotoxin to lock his opponents out all the way to the final. This tournament would introduce us to the Buzzwole menace as it took the other two semi-finalist spots. Zoroark Lycanroc decks were extremely customizable and all the decks in the top 8 had at least 4 different cards in them. Fresh off his Vancouver win Pablo Meza came back to finish top 4. YouTube and Crowd Favourite Andrew Mahone would also complete a top 4 finish at this event.

SPE TURIN with a 132 players also occurred this weekend and the upcoming World Champion Robin Schulz beat Adrian Gomez of Spain with Zoroark Golisopod beating Buzzwole Lycanroc. Philip Schulz would come 6th with Drampa Garb which would have some of its last hurrahs on this weekend, being completely shutout.

Brisbane Regionals with 82 Masters was won by Tyson Maggio beating James Williams on Buzzwole Lycanroc with his Zoroark Golisopod. There would be a Golisopod deck in every final on this international event weekend. 

SPE ASUNCION with 28 players rounded out the closing event of the year in LATAM. The World Champion at the time Diego Cassiraga would defeat former World Champion Gustavo Wada as Argentina defeated Brazil in Paraguay. Drampa Garb would take down Zoroark Golisopod.

SAO PAOLO REGIONALS
January 27th
384 Masters
Champion – Gabriel Pino Semedo Gardevoir
Finalist – Vincius Lapadulu Tapu Bulu 
Top 4 – Alexandre Braga Zoroark Lycanroc
Top 4 – Pedro Dossi Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 8 – Andre Bortoni Miranda Tapu Bulu 
Top 8 – Nicolas Galaz Buzzwole Lycanroc 
Top 8 – William Azevedo Zoroark Lycanroc  
Top 8 – Rodrigo Ferreira Hoopa Mill

We started off the New Year with two standard regionals in the world and one expanded regional in North America. Fellow 60 cards writer Gabriel Pino Semedo would take down the second Brazil regionals of the year with Gardevoir beating a near auto win in Tapu Bulu. A good call for the event, he metagamed appropriately and surmised the combo of Gardevoir Gx and Gallade would have a good matchup vs Zoroark decks. Brazil Regionals Champion from Quarter 1 William Azevedo would make a second top 8 in a row.

Leipzig Regionals
January 27th
357 Masters
Champion – Bert Wolters Buzzwole Lycanroc
Finalist – Sean Cauberg Tapu Bulu  
Top 4 – Jonathan Hansen Greninja
Top 4 – Marc Lutz Buzz Garb
Top 8 – Benjamin Ghenynubrata Zoroark Lycanroc  
Top 8 – Tommy Roberts Gardevoir 
Top 8 – Patrick Landis Volcanion   
Top 8 – Adam Hawkins Zoroark Lycanroc 

Wow, Two regionals this weekend, Two 60 Cards Writer Champions. Bert Wolters also a fellow writer took down the European Twin of the Twin Regionals surprisingly against another Tapu Bulu deck but this match was more of a toss-up compared to Gabriel’s. This Top 8 also only had two Zoroark Decks. Bulu came about as a way to have the Zoroark Deck not control the matchup, and with Garbotoxin on the decline it put multiple players into the top 8. Bremen Regionals Champion Marc Lutz earned his second straight German Regional top 8 here playing another partner with Gardbodor this time, showing that Buzzwole was more than an aggro deck.


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