Experts' corner

Mark Dizon

Take Five - Keeping up with Kuala Lumpur

With the last regional of the year in the books - Mark looks at the big takeaways from the event and how it might effect your league cups leading into Bochum

12/23/2019 by Mark Dizon

Hello, 60 Card Readers, 


It's been a while since Daytona, however, that event was talked to in-depth. We had a trio of regionals around the world and now have closed out the year with the last regional in Malaysia. With even more players than the SPE in Singapore, the meta really was fleshed out at this event with Metagame favorites and some new innovation. Let's dive right into it. 



Let's get the elephant out of the way. I could have started these takes by talking about Mewtwo taking down another tournament, but we couldn't ignore the darling of the tournament. Malaysia's own Mohamad Syahmi Abdul Razak almost took the trophy home however he was bested by Brisbane Finalist Brent Tonisson with Mewtwo. 

ADP has really had three forms - generic slow ADP with energy attachments and 1-2-3 turns & Green's ADP and turbo ADP with N's resolve. Victory Sign Victini might not have taken down the whole tournament, however, it has left many people talking. The combination of ADP and Bird trio was surely something that many did not have on the radar as I woke the next day to texts from Patrick Tan Ebio of the Philippines, let me know that the deck had knocked him out of CP contention. Brief aside, how great is it that Pokemon is so global and we can make friends across the world! 

Taking players by surprise, Mohamad used the good old strategy of everyone has a strategy until they get punched in the face. I can only imagine the look on multiple player's faces when Mohamad flipped over Moltres Zapdos and Articuno GX and immediately did not know what to do. I would expect that 25% of them thought it was probably a meme deck and they were ready to take it down. 

Mohamad took the general Green's Engine and added a Pokemon that would be able to take big knockouts with 210 Damage attacks ensuring that it would knock out all non-tag team Pokemon. With Green's in his deck after an ADP GX attack, he would only need to knock out two Pokemon GX attacks. This quickly changes the game plan and the number of knockouts needed from the general ADP decks.

The way the deck is constructed truly shows it consistency, maxing out on counts of Tag Call to find every attacker in the deck and allowing you to fish out a Bird Trio if it ever GX'ed attack.  The multiple copies of Cynthia&Caitlin in conjunction with Mallow&Lana really allowed you to chain healing and keep the Bird Trio alive, or have quick switches. Custom Catchers over multiple Great Catchers also improved the matchup versus One Prize attacker decks allowing you to go after the support Pokemon in the format. 

I would absolutely be prepared to play against this deck at all your cups. It is fun, new and powerful. Like the Giratina Garchomp deck from the trio of events this month, many players are interested in playing decks that stray from the metagame. You will need to have a plan to take this down. Also the deck on paper seems to be very good against Malamar and that seems like one of the safer decks currently. Test this, play against it and be prepared. 


Brisbane, San Diego, Singapore, Iquique, Kuala Lumpur. Of these five events in December, Five of them were won by Mewtwo. Brent Tonisson the winner in Kuala Lumpur was also the Finalist in Brisbane. The deck has shown it's power and has come to two distinct builds. Perfection has become the version running psychic energy and acro bikes, while the slowtwo has been popularized as well running Guzma and Hala to provide a different pathway to victory that allowed you to win without Welder being the main focus. Interestingly Henry Brand popularized the original Perfection build from Worlds and the other players on the continent have been improving the deck as time has gone on. 

All my cup points this year has come from Mewtwo. In a vacuum the deck is the most powerful, I have missed win and ins for points at both regionals I have played this year. In best of three, the deck has a higher skill cap as it allows you to overcome the games you brick. Is it the best deck in the format? There are arguments to be had for it. It does have auto losses, trust me I never want to see a Lucario Melmetal across the table, but even bad matchups like Malamar can be salvaged. Should you be playing this deck in cups? Absolutely. Sometimes the deck hurts you but if you are willing to commit and learn the deck, you will be rewarded. It feels a lot like Zoroark when it comes to options, but it is much more powerful in a Vacuum as Zoroark would never be able to one-shot Knockout's on Tag Teams. 

Visitors from Afar 

Cameron Shenoy is an American player that I have had the pleasure to play against. He has also produced some great content for Cut or Tap. Recently we saw Diego Cassiraga make top 4 at San Diego Regionals and now we are seeing an American compete in the APAC Region. Cameron brought the Californian Deck of Persian Checkmate that was piloted to Top 16 finishes in San Diego by Preston Ellis and Jacob Chen. The deck is complicated and rewards you for crafting a game plan that allows you to checkmate your opponent. Cameron earned wins just by being able to disguise his game plan to opponents. I do think that players will play this at your cups as well but they really need to put in the work to understand the deck. 

Adrian Velasco finished Top 16 at this event after a finalist finish in Singapore. I actually asked for his list beforehand as he hails from my birthplace of the Philippines but was denied and no sir as the deck was secret for the event. Trust me I wish it was shared with me because it is something else. The deck runs more attackers compared to the original stock version of the list. Being able to play cards like Latios GX and one prizer such as Dusk Mane Necrozma with even more options and ways to swing the Prize Trade. Playing against this would be extremely confusing at first, as Pokemon would be attacking that you would not be expecting. One interesting piece of this list is the Pokemon Research Lab and the double Omanyte Omastar. This provided the deck with another angle of attack in the slower matchups and the importance of this plan was shown with Adrian only running 3 Green's Exploration. 6 Stadiums really ensure the deck will always win the stadium war. The energy count was is something to really look at as the deck seems to really want as many cards as possible in the hand. With only three basic energy, the deck is looking to play a slow game as it does not have welder to attack early and often. Adrian's deck is looking to grind you, slow you down and treat you like the Marc Gasol Memphis Grizzlies.  Draw energy is a revelation in pure card velocity as it gives you an additional out to what you are looking for. I am surprised that there are not at least two Custom Catchers to give you a gust whenever you need it as it was in Henry Brand's Brisbane list. I really want to play this deck, but it's going to take some practice. 

Teaching an Old Dog some new tricks

Giratina Garchomp was a fresh addition to the metagame that was introduced when it top 8d Brisbane Regionals and won San Diego regionals in the hands of Henry Brand and Justin Bokhari at the beginning of the month. I missed the top 8 on breakers on the same weekend piloting Henry's list and immediately understood the power of the deck. 

You can ignore what your opponent is doing for the most part. Pokemon is generally known as non-interactive game when it comes to you and your opponent playing and this deck takes it to the next level. Well, the deck was taken to another level by adding Roxie to the deck and achieved a Top 8 and Top 16 in the hands of Hong Kong players Wong Wo Pan and Chi Shing Lai. One of the best parts of the deck is being able to take the knockouts you need with Garchomp & Giratina. Powerplant also allows you to slow decks like Mewtwo down. Malamar was the only deck really running Shadow Box Mimikyu. Well, the Hong Kong players added this card into this deck in tandem with the engine of Weezing from Cosmic Eclipse and Roxie. Sometimes with this deck, you just really need more card quantity. Especially after a Mismagius. The ability to now be able to deal an extra two damage allows you to be able to knockouts with Calamitous Slash faster.  I can dream of the busted turns where you are able to surge, double Roxie and deal four damage with Weezing and Calamitous Slash a Pokemon and then Calamitus Slash the next Tag Team to close out the game. 

An Evolving Meta 

I know that not many players are inundated with this format. This format sucks is something we have heard often and many players are disinterested in the game. These formats come in ebbs and flows. I am really enamored at how the meta has evolved and how new decks have been introduced and improved over the last five events providing a breath of fresh air as we hurtle towards Sword and Shield. With no big standard event in North America for the rest of the quarter. I implore players to really take a look at decks as they prepare for cups and see the ingenuity and deck building prowess of the other regions of the world. When one region is lacking another is innovating. 

Super Congrats Goes Out to 60cards APAC writer and correspondent Malik Zaihan for coming Top 16. An International Top 32 Competitor and Regional Semi-Finalist, we miss him in NA but he is a great ambassador for the game in the region. If you read his article beforehand, you would see that he understood his area's meta. 


Well that is it for today for Take Five. Pre Daytona I had taken a lot of cups off as I wasn't enjoying the format. Now I am raring to play. You better believe I won't just be playing Mewtwo as I look to try some of these new decks. Good Luck in your cups! 

[+0] okko


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