Experts' corner

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.

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.

February 9th 
333 Masters
Champion – Tord Reklev Zoroark Gardevoir 
Finalist – Joey Ruettiger Buzzwole Lycanroc   
Top 4 – Philip Schulz Zoroark Gardevoir 
Top 4 – William Azevedo Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 8 – Jimmy Pendarvis Buzzwole Lycanroc   
Top 8 – Azul Garcia Greigo Buzzwole Lycanroc  
Top 8 – Corey Godfrey – Ho-oh   
Top 8 – Frank Percic Buzzwole Garbodor 

333 Masters descended on Sydney with no North American Regionals happening at this point. Taking the idea of Gallade and Gardevoir, the European contingent brought together Zoroark Gardevoir and surprised many of the competitors in the event. Tord Reklev would win an unprecedented third international beating Joey Ruettiger of America on Buzzwole Lycanroc. Not since Michael Pramawat’s first international win had an American won an international. The top 8 was rounded out with some stellar names, with Brazil Regional Champion William Azevedo making top 8, and American Stalwarts Jimmy Pendarvis and Azul Garcia Greigo joined by up and coming American Frank Percic all on a Buzzwole Variant.  Buzzwole seemed to be the consensus pick for most consistent deck and we would see that effect the next Regionals

SPE LIMA with 35 masters would happen the next weekend with Zoroark Gardy in the Hands of Rodrigo Pereda beating Farlieb Cuba on Gardevoir in an all Peruvian Final and Top 8

February 17th
1066 Masters
Champion – Ian Robb Zoropod Lurantis  
Finalist – Natalie Shampay Buzz Garb    
Top 4 – Alexander Hill Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 4 – Pearce Blend Zoroark Lycanroc
Top 8 – Gustavo Wada Volcanion   
Top 8 – Russell Laparre Zoroark Golisopod  
Top 8 – Alex Bunker Buzzwole Lycanroc    
Top 8 – Joey Ruettiger Zoroark Golisopod

The largest standard regionals ever crossed the thousand player mark with a bang. Zoroark Golisopod was seen as the best Zoroark Variant to take on the dominance of Buzzwole Lycanroc who had the largest target on its back. Ian Robb who fell in the top 4 of Hartford would take down the whole tournament versus Natalie Shampay who elected to build a Buzzwole deck to counter the trade of Zoroark and the blood thirsty eyes of Lycanroc with Garbodor. Russell Laparre would bring to North America the tech of Oranguru from Ultra Prison to show that Zoroark could go to full control mode and just mill players out. Fresh off his finalist placing in Sydney, Joey Ruettiger came back with Zoroark Golisopod to notch another top 8 finish. 

February 17th
276 Masters
Champion – Adam Hawkins Zoroark Weavile  
Finalist – Nico Alabas Zoroark Weavile    
Top 4 – Jack Campbell Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 4 – Jake Mallender Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 8 – Bert Wolters Buzzwole Lycanroc   
Top 8 – Stephane Ivanoff Hooh   
Top 8 – Benjamin Pham Zoropod     
Top 8 – Lucas Henrique de Araujo Pereira Zoropod 

On the other side of the Atlantic. Malmo regionals showcased a completely different look from the European side to answer the Buzzwole Problem. Due to the amount of abilities Zoroark Weavile faced off in the finals with Adam Hawkins from England and his Zoroark Break triumphing over Nico Alabas from Germany in the Sweden Regionals. Bert Wolters could not follow up Leipzig with back to back wins. Benjamin Pham mirroring Russell Laparre in St Louis finished with a top 8 finish not matching his season starting Anaheim Open win.

February 24th
181 Masters
Champion – Esteban Chocano Volcanion
Finalist – Francisco Osorio Volcanion
Top 4 – Bastian Silva Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 4 – Damian Ezequiel Anile Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 8 – Javier Gamboa Zoroark Golisopod   
Top 8 – Richard Esteban Lizama Duskmane Solgaleo
Top 8 – Nicolas Galaz Buzzwole Garbodor
Top 8 – Marcelo Silva Perez  Zoroark Golisopod 

In the first special event in Chile, there would be 3. Francisco Osorio and Esteban Chocano battled in a Volcanion Mirror of all things. Esteban would beat his country man sealing the win on home turf.

March 3rd
140 Masters
Champion – Claudio Ferla Zoroark Golisopod
Finalist – Brett Stratton Zoroark Golisopod
Top 4 – Vinicius Souza Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 4 – Rafael Yioto Zoroark Magnezone
Top 8 – Otaavio Gouveia Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 8 – Cassiano Mendes Buzzwole lycanroc
Top 8 – Augusto Cesar Beringuer Funari Buzzwole Garbodor
Top 8 – Vitor Soares Buzzwole Lycanroc 

The tournaments in South America would continue the following week with Cladui Ferla of Brazil Defeating Brett Stratton of America to keep the title on home turf. He would win the Zoroark Golisopod mirror. In a top 8 the continued the trend of Zoroark vs Buzzwole with this one having Buzzwole come on top.

SPE GUAYAQUIL would occur on the same weekend in Ecuador with 31 masters. 5 Zoroark decks a Buzzwole Lycanroc deck and Volcanion made up the top 8 with Cristian Andre La Mota beating Guiellermo Estupinan with Buzzwole Lycanroc defeating Zoroark Glaceon.

SPE LA PAZ with 32 Masters would happen the next weekend in Bolivia. 5 Bolivians 2 Chileans and 1 Mexican made up the top 8 in this LATAM SPE. Ricardo Pantoja of Bolivia would take down Nicolas Galaz of Chile making his third LATAM top8 this season with Buzzwole defeating his Wishiwalls deck.

March 17th
975 Masters
Champion – Ryan Sablehaus Buzzwole Lycanroc
Finalist – Alex Schemanske Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 4 – Joey Ruettiger Greninja
Top 4 – Igor costa Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 8 – Kyle Sablehaus Zoroark Gardevoir
Top 8 – Athavan Balendran Glaceon Zoroark
Top 8 – Kyle Lesniewicz Sylveon
Top 8 – Edwin Lopez Buzzwole Lycanroc

To Buzzwole or not to Buzzwole was the question of the March 17th weekend with One regional and 4 SPE happening it was a make it or break it weekend with the first major standard tournaments since Collinsville. Though they didn’t hit the 1000 mark Charlotte was still a huge event albeit to it being arguably the worst run event of the season. Ryan Sablehaus and Kyle Sablehaus did the double as both brothers top 8’d the event. Unfortunately they were not able to meet in the final but notably a brother of another famous brother duo, Alex Schemanske lost the Buzzwole Lycanroc mirror. Joey Ruettiger continued with a 3rd straight Top 8 since Australia but this time with a Buzzwole counter in Greninja. Igor Costa notched his second standard top 8 of the year while Kyle Lesniewicz known as the Sylveon Master showed up in his first standard top 8.

March 17th
151 Masters
Champion – Tord Reklev Zoroark Golisopod
Finalist – Stefan Weber Duskmane Solgaleo
Top 4 – Miloslav Suchanek Sylveon
Top 4 – Miloslav Poseidni  Zoroark Golisopod
Top 8 – Rosa Klint Zoroark Gardevoir
Top 8 – Ondrej Kujal Buzzwole Garb
Top 8 – Filipp Lausch Zoroark Weavile
Top 8 – Zedenek Zajicek Volcanion

Who is Tord Reklev and what does he eat? Tord Reklev scored his fourth top 8th and third win of the season running back Zoroark Golisopod and not trying to innovate. Buzzwole Lycanroc was not as dominant here as it was in America and it showed with only one Buzzwole variant in the top 8 running Garbodor and eschewing Lycanroc all together.

SPE BUENOS AIRES had 37 masters   with Alejo Antonio Salvador Iturbe defeating Damian Exqeuiel Anile in the final with Zoroark Glaceon beating Zoroark Gardevoir. World Champion Diego Cassiraga would finish 4th with Zoroark Gardevoir

SPE SANTIAGO #2 occurred with 89 masters. Jean Valdvieso with Zoroark Golisopod defeated Maurcio Pereira on Buzzwole Carbink. Marcelo Silva Perez would make a second top 8 in a row running back his same deck.

SPE MANILLA occurred with 74 masters. In the APAC region. We saw our first glimpse of Klive Aw taking down hometown hero Patrick Ebio. Buzzwole Lycanroc won this battle vs Zoroark Golisopod.

March 24th
469 Masters 
Champion – Xander Pero Espeon Garb
Finalist – Colton Decker Espeon Garb 
Top 4 – Alex Hill Tapu Bulu
Top 4 – Jake Morgan Zoroark Lucario
Top 8 – Ricky Gao Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 8 – Simon Narode Sylveon
Top 8 – Hunter Butler Hoopa
Top 8 – Caleb Gedemer Buzzwole Lycanroc

Just a week after Charlotte and the standard event was completely different. Was it the west coast sizing? Xander Pero took down Colton decker in a sixty card mirror. Alexander Hill made his second top 8 in a row, and Sylveon did as well this time in the hands of Simon Narode. Ricky Gao was the lone non-American in the top 8 and 60 cards writer Caleb Gedemer notched his first Standard top 8. Espeon Garb was the counter to the Buzzwole menace and it finally stole a regional from Zoroark and Buzzwole to put Garb back on the map. This would mark the first event for Lucario GX to see play.

Over the next five weeks we would see a bevy of international SPEs.

PERTH REGIONALS had 71 Masters. Perth Regionals occurred on the same weekend as Portland. This event had Colin Tang of Singapore with Buzzwole Lycanroc taking down Zoroark Lycanroc and Tait Tran of Australia.

SPE BUENOS AIRES had 55 masters. William Azevedo had his fourth top 8 of the season and second win defeating Octavio Gouveia in an all Brazil Final taking down Buzzwole Lycanroc with Lucario Lycanroc. Gustavo Wada would finish 5th in the event with Espeon Garb.

SPE BOGOTA with 30 masters was taken down by American Player and 60 cards writer Caleb Gedemer using Zoroark Lycanroc to defeat Colombian Local Juan Gabriel Corridor Cuerdo on Buzzwole Lycanroc

SPE SANTIAGO #3 with 90 masters had Bastian Silva defeating Nicolas Silva Perez in an all Chilean Final having Buzzwole Lycanroc defeat Zoroark Lucario. Marcelo Silva Perez would make it 3/3 top 8ing all Santiago SPEs.

JAKARTA INDONESIA REGIONALS has 75 masters and was won by American Sam Chen defeating Gerald Acuzar from the Phillipines. Sam piloted Zoroark Lucario defeating Gerald in a mirror. Honorary Canadian Malik Hishyam Zaihan Came through with a top 4 finish with Tapu Bulu

April 27th
596 Masters 
Champion – Dyego Rathje Buzzwole Lycanroc
Finalist – Azul Garcia Greigo Buzzwole Lycanroc  
Top 4 – Vinocius Lopes Tapu Bulu
Top 4 – Pedro Torres Zoroark Lucario
Top 8 – Matias Matricardi Tapu Bulu
Top 8 – Fabien Pujol Zoroark Garbodor
Top 8 – Brett Tonnison Zoroark Golisopod
Top 8 – Caleb Gedemer Zoroark Lycanroc

Though he couldn’t close out the Belo Horizonte regionals, runner up Dyego Rathje became an International Champion and continued the streak of American Players losing in the final. Crowd favourite Azul Garcia Greigo lost a controversial ruling involving slow play preventing the World Favourite to overcome the hometown hero in a Buzzroc Mirror. Fabien Pujol would introduce us to the Zoroark Garbodor concept at this event in top 8 and Caleb Gedemer continued his streak with another top 8 with Zoroark lycanroc.

SPE BANGKOK with 48 masters happened two weeks later with Gordon Koh beating Clifton Goh in an all Singapore Buzzwole Lycanroc Tapu Bulu Final. Thailand was heating up the APAC Race.

May 12th
558 Masters
Champion – Daniel Altavilla Buzzwole Lycanroc
Finalist – Frank Diaz Zoroark Garbodor
Top 4 – Gustavo Wada Zoroark Garbodor
Top 4 – Ian Robb Zoroark Golispod
Top 8 – Ryan Sablehaus Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 8 – Jose Marrero Zoroark Lycanroc
Top 8 – Jimmy Pendarvis Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 8 – Andrew Estrada Golisopod Garb

Things heated up in the great white north with only one Canadian making the top 8 and it being the former World Champion Andrew Estrada coming out of retirement. Daniel Altavilla would take down Frank Diaz in the final adding another trophy for Buzzwole. Frank Diaz and Gustavo Wada would bring Fabien Pujol Zoroark Garbodor list and test the tournament with Ian Robb making his fourth Standard top 8 , Ryan Sablehaus top 8ing again after Charlotte and 60 cards writer Jose Marrero notching his first Standard top 8.

SPE TOURS would happen the next week in France with 136 masters. Heidi Brahmi would win in for France defeating Francisco Toranzo Santiago of Spain on Ultra Malamar in the first tournament with Forbidden Light in. Miloslav Poseidni and Stephane Ivanoff would both make another top 8 with Buzzwole Lycanroc.

SPE MEXICO CITY 1 would happen with Sam Chen defeating Rahul Reddy in an all American final with 56 masters. They and Daniel Altavilla would all play Malamar showing the new hotness from forbidden light.

SPE CANCUN would happen the next weekend in Mexico with 99 masters. Edgar Jarillo Soto defeated Miguel Angel Lopez Bernal in the final in a Zoroark Golispod Mirror. Sam Chen was the only American to make this top 8 running back Malamar.

June 2nd
365 Masters 
Champion – Bastian Silva Buzzwole Lycanroc
Finalist – Frank Diaz Zoroark Golisopod
Top 4 – Nicolas Galaz Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 4 – Marco Cifuentes Zoroark Lycanroc
Top 8 – Gustavo Wada Zoroark Golisopod
Top 8 – Diego Cassiraga Malamar
Top 8 – Sebastian Lozano Buzzwole Lycanroc 
Top 8 – Moses Santibanez Zoroark Lycanroc

After 4 SPEs, Santiago finally had a regional. Bastian Silva who won the first SPE would take down the regional with Buzzwole Lycanroc beating Benjamin Ferrel on Zoroark Golispod. Nicolas Galaz finalist of SPE La Paz and multiple top 8s at the Santiago SPE would finish in the top 4. Former World Champions Gustavo Wada and diego Cassiraga would make the top 8 as well.

June 2nd 
732 Masters  
Champion – Igor Costa Buzzwole Lycancroc
Finalist – Will Mantho Buzzwole Lycancroc
Top 4 – Jake Ewart Greninja
Top 4 – Ian Robb Buzzwole Garb
Top 8 – Caleb Gedemer Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 8 – Xander Pero Buzzwole Lycanroc
Top 8 – Zak Taylor Ultra Malamar
Top 8 – Joey Ruettiger Buzzwole  Lycanroc 

The American Regional of the three this weekend involved the resurgence Buzzwole Lycanroc with the new Baby Buzzwole. Igor Costa would win his second regional of the season. Caleb Gedemer, Ian Robb, Joey Ruettiger would all continue their hot streaks. Xander Pero would make a non-garb top 8 to close out this Standard Regional Season.

 SUBANG JAYA REGIONALS had 173 masters and Adrian Velasco of the Philippines defeated Klive Aw of Signapore in the final. His Ultra Malamar deck took down Klive trusted Zygarde Lycanroc deck avenging the loss the Philippines took when Klive won the Manilla SPE.

SPE RIO DE JANIERO with 39 Masters would be won by William Azevedo defeating country man Ian Anderson Fukuda with Zoroark Golispod taking down Malamar. Diego Cassiraga would come 5th place. William would add another tally to his season by taking down the event.

SPE SIGNAPORE with 71 Masters would be won by Shane Chee of Malaysia defating Klive Aw who made another final with his Zygarde Lycanroc. This was Klive fourth final and he lost to Zoroark Lucario. Patrick Ebio of the Philippines would notch his second top 8 while Clifton Goh would notch his third after Anaheim and Bangkok. Colin Tang who won Perth Regionals earlier in the year would make top 8 with Christopher Schemanske of America. 

SPE MEXICO CITY 2 would have 38 Masters and was won by Mexican Hero Pablo Meza winning his second Standard Event of the season defeating Caleb Gedemer who notched another top 8. It was a Zoropod vs Malamar final. Christopher Schemanske following up from his top 8 the previous weekend reappeared here in another country on another top 8.

SPE HONG KONG had 61 masters NG kwun Hung would defeat sun tat sun in a Zygarde Lycanroc bs buzzwole Lycanroc final. Patrick Ebio would notch his third top 4 and be the only non-Hong Kong resident in that top 4.

June 16th
505 Masters  
Champion – Seb Symonds Zoroark Lycanroc
Finalist – Magnus Kalland Zoroark Golisopod
Top 4 – Marc Lutz Buzzwole Garbodor
Top 4 – Ryan Moorhouse malamar
Top 8 – Juraj schoff buzzroc
Top 8 – Luke Williams Zoroark Lycanroc
Top 8 – Tomas just Espeon Garb
Top 8 – Tord Reklev Buzzwole lycanroc

Sheffield Regionals would close out the European Regionals circuit with Tord Reklev notching his 5th Standard top 8 and first without Zoroark. Marc Lutz would add a third top 8 and Magnus Kalland a second after his EUIC top 8.

Mexico City Regionals
June 23rd
223 Masters    
Champion – Edgar Jarillo Soto Zoroark Golispod
Finalist – Christopher Schemanske Buzzwole Garbodor
Top 4 – Alex Schemanske Zygarde Lycanroc
Top 4 – Fernando Castaneda Perez Malamar
Top 8 – Angel Loya Buzzwole Garbodor 
Top 8 – Michael Pramawat Buzzwole Lycanroc 
Top 8 – Aaron Rozbicki Buzzwole Lycanroc 
Top 8 – Jimmy Pendarvis Buzzwole Lycanroc

The Last LATAM regional would see the Schemanske’s tie the Sabelahaus Brothers with their own double top 8. Edgar would defeat Christopher taking another win for Zoroark. Jimmy Pendarvis would achieve the Americas Triple Crown for Top 8ing a regional in Canada America and a Latin American Regional tying Gustavo Wada.

This would be the precursor event to the North American Internationals. 

SPE SANTIAGO 4 with 49 masters would be the 4th SPE in Chile being taken down by Nicolas Galaz again who could possibly be one of the top 5 players in LATAM due to his consistency. He beat Carlos Rojas with Buzzwole Lycanroc versus Zygarde Lycanroc

SPE DUBAI with 29 Players would be won by Miloslave Posledni and Zorogarb after multiple top 8s in the season. Slovakia player Kristian Hodas would achieve a second top 8 and 4 dubai players all lost in the top 8.

North American International Championships
July 6th
1534 Masters   
Champion – Stephane Ivanoff Zoroark Garbodor
Finalist – Tord Reklev Zoroark Control
Top 4 – Jimmy Pendarvis Zoroark Golisopod
Top 4 – Adam Hawkins Malamar
Top 8 – Ryan Antonucci Zoroark Lycanroc
Top 8 – Eduard Kuang Malamar
Top 8 – Fabien Pujol Zoroark Garbodor
Top 8 – Aaron Tarbell Yveltal Break Spread

Tord Reklev would make a fifth International Final losing to fellow European Stephane Ivanoff and his Zoroark Garbodor list. Tord innovated Zoroark again coming this time with straight Zoroark and no secondary attackers. Adam Hawkins Malmo champion would join a star studded top 8 that included Jimmy Pendarvis, Fabien Pujol with a second straight international top 8 and Two Time Canadian National Champion Eduard Kuang. Aaron Tarbell brought the innovative Yveltal break spread deck a new archetype to this tournament.

WORLD Championships
August 26th
125 Masters   
Champion – Robin Schulz Zoroark Garbodor
Finalist – Jeff Kolenc Malamar

Top 4 – Klive Aw Zygarde

Top 4 – Petro Torres Rayquaza

Top 8 – Eric Smith Rayquaza

Top 8 – Nicolas Galaz Buzzwole Lycanroc  

Top 8 – Shuto Itagaki Rayquaza 

Top 8 – Brian Millar Zoroark Golisopod

With the last tournament of the year we saw many story lines come to an end. As a European Representative Robin Schulz who had already won an SPE the past year took down Worlds with the European Favourite Zoroark. They started the mess with this card and obviously finished with it. Finalist Jeff Kolenc continued the Canadian Trend and brought a new Malamar list by NAIC top 8 competitor and countryman all the way to the final. Crowd Favourite Klive AW was the APAC hero with multiple finals he continued his year with a world’s top 4 and LATAM Nicolas Galaz hero of Chile continued his consistent year with a Worlds Top 8.

Every single tournament influenced the next whether it was innovation or a rock paper scissor shift. We saw Zoroark and Buzzwole tussle the whole latter part of the year with Garbodor and Gardevoir trying to stay relevant and then adding Malamar to the mix. As we approach Philadelphia this weekend and look over what happened in Australia and Brazil. What could be the change for us in this new format? How will the past results influence the new Metagame. I cannot wait to find out.

[+5] okko


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