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Frank Percic

Saint Louis Sleepers: Three Decks That Underperformed at Collinsville Regionals

Three under-the-radar picks that can make some noise in the Standard format.

03/16/2018 by Frank Percic

 

Introduction

Hello again 60cards readers. Frank here, back with another article regarding the most recent large-scale American Pokemon tournament, The Collinsville Regional Championships. During this regional held Feb. 17-18, we saw high numbers of variance in the types of decks being played. By this, I mean a lot of different decks were spread throughout the tournament. For example, data from RK9labs shows that between the 1,064 players in Collinsville, the most popular deck, Buzzwole/Lycanroc, was piloted by only 109 players; this is less than 9%. In Memphis Regionals, held in December, the most popular deck was piloted by 149 players while only 999 were entered in the main event, equating to 15%. The logical explanation for this lies in the fact that for this most recent Regional Championship, a new set, Ultra Prism, was legal to use for the first time. That being said, many new archetypes have arisen given these new cards. In this article, I will be taking a look at three of those new archetypes that I feel underperformed and have a lot of potential in the future of this current Standard format.

Weavile/Zoroark

The first deck I would like to go over is the recent winner of the Malmo Regional Championships: Zoroark/Weavile. There are many different iterations of this deck, some of which we have seen win multiple League Cups. However, for this article I analyze the winning list from Malmo. I picked this list, because it performed the best out  all versions. After being played by top players like Sam Chen, Michael Pramawat, and Caleb Gedemer, Sam was the only one to see mild success with it in America in the form of a top 32 finish. I feel like the other version, with multiple Zoroark BREAK is better suited for the current meta. See the list below.

The thing I like about this deck is the inclusion of Zoroark BREAK. As we have seen in Expanded this season, Foul Play is an extremely strong attack. The fact that you can copy your opponent’s active Pokemon’s attack for just one energy is too strong, especially since the presence of Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX in Collinsville was so strong. This paired with the fact that Trickster GX is also available can really put a lot of pressure on your opponent. There are so many strong attacks to copy right now, such as Dangerous Rogue GX, Knuckle Impact, Infinite Force, etc. Not only this, but your opponent also has to watch how many Pokemon with abilities they are playing, because of Weavile, which makes it almost impossible for any opposing deck to function properly without being punished.

In the future, there are a few minor changes I would make to the deck, especially depending on the meta. Currently I think that Hoopa SHL could be a good inclusion given the scarce amount of non EX/GX attackers being used currently. A good cut for this card could be one of the Zoroark BREAK, as I feel like one is strong enough. I also feel as if the Devoured Field is unnecessary, as the numbers it is used to hit are so specific that one of the card won’t make a huge difference in its overall performance. What this can be cut for is entirely dependent on preference though.

Garchomp/Lucario

The second deck I want to talk about is Garchomp/Lucario. This deck was talked about quite a bit after the cards were first announced late last year. The deck shows some promise still in its ability to do 200-plus damage while also having an insanely strong search engine. However, once Ultra Prism was finally made available in America, most players found the deck to be sub-par. It was played by six players during Collinsville Regionals, and only saw slight success in the form of a top 32 finish during Malmo Regionals. While most players have counted this out for this part of the season, I feel like an alternate build could present a lot of potential. See this list below.

I put this deck together after witnessing the initial troubles of the more common builds for the deck. The main problem that the deck seems to experience is energy acceleration. Setting up multiple Stage 2 Pokemon that require two energy attachments to attack is very difficult when compared to the set up powers of Zoroark-GX. Most other players tried combatting this issue by including one or even two Garchomp BKP. I found this too to be underwhelming. Therefore, I Included the acceleration-focused engine seen above. The Exp. Share allows for a second attacker to be ready once the active is ultimately knocked out, and Puzzle of Time also allows for Double Colorless Energy to easily be recovered as well.

Given this build, I feel like this deck could potentially produce some solid results. The 150 HP of Garchomp gives many pokemon a difficult time at knocking it out. Specifically, Zoroark-GX and Golisopod-GX need quite a bit to be able to get rid of a Garchomp with one attack, whereas a Garchomp with a Devoured Field in play will OHKO both of these immediately. Not only that, but other archetypes have trouble taking KOs on Garchomp as well. Many decks are currently structured to take three high-damage KOs. For example, Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX needs to use its Meteor Impact or Sun’s Eclipse GX attack to knockout a Garchomp, and Buzzwole-GX can only knockout a Garchomp with Knuckle Impact or Absorbtion GX. Attackers like these take quite a lot of resources to actually attack and will only take one prize, while Garchomp will OHKO both of these for only two attachments. Obviously, it is a little more complicated during an actual match. However, on paper this deck seems to be able to go toe-to-toe with a lot of popular archetypes.

Now that the deck has been considered viable, I want to go over a few of the more specific inclusions and why they have merit.

Exp. Share: I won’t go too much into this, because I talked a little bit about the card earlier. Basically, the Exp. Share allows for better energy acceleration, solving the main problem of the deck. Not being able to attack every turn will really ruin this deck. Having two Exp. Share is very important, as you will always want to have one attached when your active pokemon is knocked out. Obviously, Field Blower can really hinder this mechanic. However, I feel that once one is able to stick the positive prize trade and search engine of the deck allows you to keep up.

Devoured Field: This card really makes the deck work. Devoured Field allows Garchomp to hit for 210 damage after playing Cynthia, which ends up being a very relevant number. 210 HP Pokemon are wildly popular within the standard format in the form of cards like Zoroark-GX and Golisopod-GX, to name a few. With most of your Garchomp needing to have an Exp. Share attached, this deck utilizes the extra damage of Choice Band much less often, making Devoured Field very necessary.

Choice Band: This one-of tech is mainly here for Gardevoir-GX. Hitting 230 damage is only possible with this card, and against Gardevoir-GX, you will need to be taking OHKOs as that is what they’ll be doing to you. Hopefully, you are able to keep up with the fast pace of Gardevoir-GX and win by taking prizes more efficiently.

Guzma: As I mentioned earlier, you’ll want to be playing Cynthia as much as possible in order to do 200-plus damage. However, there are occasions where bringing something up from your opponent's bench is a better option, such as taking a crucial KO on a 60 HP basic or sticking something in the active to stall your opponent. Therefore one Guzma is worth a spot, especially since you can search it out with Lucario when needed and recover it with Pal Pad and Puzzle of Time.

Field Blower: Field Blower has basically become a staple at this point in the game. However, I wanted to take a few sentences out of this article to explain why there are three in this list. Firstly, Garbotoxin will shut down your deck very fast. Not being able to use Lucario’s ability is very bad for anyone piloting this deck. Most other cards are at relatively lower counts due to the fact that they can easily be searched out. However, most often you will not be able to just search your deck for a Field Blower, as Abilities will be off when you need it most. Secondly, Parallel City can really stop this deck, and while there is no way to prevent your opponent from using the card on you, you can at least remove it as quickly as possible with 3 Field Blower. Also, as mentioned previously, Gardevoir-GX can really make this deck need a lot of cards in order to keep pace. One interesting combo is actually using Field Blower to remove your own Exp. Share once said Pokemon is ready to attack, and then attaching a choice band to KO a Gardevoir-GX in one hit. On top of all these reasons, Field Blower is just a versatile card. There are many other uses for it, such as removing a Fighting Fury Belt from Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX, allowing Garchomp to take a clean KO.

Gible: The reason I chose this Gible is because retreating for free is very important for conserving both energy and attackers. Each energy attachment is vital, and making sure you are not losing energy is very important. Some of the time, retreating into a sacrificial lamb to take a hit while you streamline more Garchomp is necessary.

Garchomp BKP: Though I claimed earlier that this card was not the sole answer to the deck’s initial problems, I still feel like the card is worthwhile. Turbo Assault is not only good for energy acceleration, but also presents a secondary attack option so as to not waste a 200 damage attack on a low-HP or single-prize pokemon. This Garchomp can take OHKOs on 60 HP Basic Pokemon and has great typing, as Fighting Weakness affects many popular cards like, Tapu Koko, Zoroark-GX, and Drampa-GX. Turbo Assault will KO most Fighting-weak, one-prize attackers and hits great numbers for Fighting-weak GX Pokemon to be knocked out by a Quick Bite attack.

I am hoping that everything else in the deck should be pretty self explanatory or easily concluded from everything said about it previously. I would just like to conclude the discussion about this deck with a few more short anecdotes. Firstly I am not convinced that this list is entirely perfected. However, I do think that this approach to building Garchomp/Lucario is the best. Some cards I would have liked to include but could not include many gusting effect cards, such as a 1-1 Lycanroc-GX line, Escape Rope, and Counter Catcher. Other cards include Enhanced Hammer, Mewtwo (EVO), an eighth Fighting Energy, a third Tapu Lele-GX, a third Riolu, and a second Pal Pad. Sadly these would not all fit within the deck, and thus the previously posted list is optimal 60 I have decided on for the time being. Lastly, I acknowledge this is not the best deck available. There are still a lot of weaknesses that the deck has. For example, Volcanion can give it some trouble by having a 130 HP, one-prize attacker. Gardevoir-GX being able to take out Garchomp very easily is difficult to handle, and Ability lock also really slows down this deck. However, I think at the very least a build like this can take the deck from being completely disregarded to a lower tier competitive deck, and I would not be surprised if a list similar to mine were to perform decently at a large event given that the decks able to give Garchomp/Lucario a bit of a struggle are not heavily played at this time.

Solgaleo-GX

The last deck I want to talk about is something I have been brewing up almost immediately after attending Collinsville Regionals and that is Solgaleo-GX. After watching Sydney Morisoli become just one win shy of taking Solgaleo-GX to the second day of the tournament, I immediately became interested in the idea. I soon found out after that this deck was a Solgaleo-GX/Zoroark-GX hybrid deck, similar to the Gardevoir-GX/Zoroark-GX deck that earned multiple top 8 placements during the Oceania International Championships. However my mind immediately brought me to craft a deck similar to the Solgaleo-GX/Rayquaza deck that my good friend Athavan Balendran piloted to a 24th place finish at the Hartford Regional Championships earlier this season. I quickly made a list and then messaged Athavan for some help making the deck. Per his advice I have come up with the following.

The thing I like the most about this deck is the fact that it is about as straightforward as you can possibly get. The deck has one main strategy which you will almost never stray from regardless of what deck you are facing, making the decision making aspect very minimal. The list was designed with the ability to use Sol Burst GX on your second turn in as many games as possible, and that it does. The idea of the deck is to charge up two Sunsteel Strike attacks with Sol Burst, take two GX/EX knockouts on the following turns, replenish the discarded energy with Solgaleo Prism Star (or Rayquaza if necessary) and then finally take your last two prizes with another Sunsteel Strike. I would describe this deck as a slightly more difficult to set up, but highly self-sufficient, version of Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX. By that, I mean that it has a greater damage output, can survive more damage, requires less cards to attack, and is slightly less hindered by Ability lock.

Most of the inclusions to this deck seem pretty self explanatory. Therefore, I am just going to go over why I think the deck is so good, the mechanics of getting the deck setup, some things to watch out for when playing, and lastly some optional inclusions not in this list.

Solgaleo-GX is extremely well positioned in the meta currently. Having 250 HP makes it almost impossible for most decks to take a clean knockout and is even sturdier when paired with a well-timed Max Potion, while also being able to hit for 230 base damage. This will almost always KO whatever pokemon is in your opponent's’ active spot. The Ultra Road ability makes your deck quite versatile as well. The new Prism Star cards, too, make this deck extremely powerful, as Solgaleo Prism Star can recharge your entire board or hit for a whopping 160 damage if necessary. Cyrus Prism Star can also ruin your opponent’s setup if played at the proper time. The deck is also very spacious as it requires no need for switching cards, due to Solgaleo-GX’s Ability; it can operate with one Choice Band; and it thins itself of energy after using Sol Burst GX. This space allows for the inclusion of cards to most optimize a turn-two setup, such as Skyla and Heavy Ball. All of this being said, let’s go into how the deck should be played.

Ideally, you will want to get as many Cosmog on your field as early as possible, especially if you are going 2nd, as one or two may be knocked out in the following turns. Usually this is in the form of Brigette. Don’t worry too much about getting down Solgaleo Prism Star or Rayquaza, as these will come in to play a little later and don’t need to hit your side of the field immediately. This also means that you should save any Heavy Ball for a Solgaleo-GX next turn. On the following turn, you need to work toward getting off a Sol Burst GX. Most often, I found myself using Skyla to grab either a Rare Candy or Heavy Ball and then using the combination of those two cards to Sol Burst on my second turn. However, in the off chance that I cannot do that, I will retreat to the bench and Evolve to Cosmoem if possible. Once Sol Bursting, you should attach five Metal energy. I usually divide this by making sure that all of my Solgaleo-GX in play have three, and then dividing the remaining energy evenly between any Cosmog/Cosmoem. From this point on, there should ideally be four more turns before you win the game. The first turn after a Sol Burst, your main priority is to take a GX/EX knockout at the end of the turn, and secondly to evolve any remaining Cosmog or Cosmoem into Solgaleo-GX, especially those with a lot of energy. On the next turn, you should be taking another two prizes. If you are unable to do this, be it that you had your board cleared of energy, or just cannot get another Solgaleo-GX in play, this would be a good time to go in with either Rayquaza or Solgaleo Prism Star to charge another Sunsteel Strike or two. Once your Pokemon again have enough energy to attack, you should be using Sunsteel Strike for your final prizes.

Most of the time, your games will play out like previously described. However, there are a few things you will want to be weary of when playing this deck. Firstly, Buzzwole-GX can be a real pain. The early pressure of Jet Punch, combined with the fact that Absorption GX can KO a Solgaleo-GX early on, really makes the matchup unfavorable. Hopefully you can deal with this threat though an early Mewtwo or even a late game Solgaleo Prism Star. This will not only remove the threat of Buzzwole, but also help skew the prize trade in your favor. One other card that can really give this deck some problems is Garbodor. The Garbotoxin Ability really slows down the deck, due to the fact that your primary means of getting Pokemon out of the active position is with Solgaleo-GX’s Ultra Road Ability. The deck needs to constantly switch between attackers or else it is essentially useless. That being said, make sure to be very conservative with Field Blower and Guzma when facing any Garbodor deck.

Lastly, I would like to state that the deck seems to lose to any deck that attacks heavily with non EX/GX Pokemon. Solgaleo-GX is really only meant to do damage three or four times per game. That being said, you need to use those to take as many prizes as possible. Therefore, any deck that can attack solely with one-prize attackers can run you out of resources before you win.

Conclusion

In conclusion, these three decks are obviously not in the highest tier of competitive play. However, I still believe that any of these decks can day two at a tournament in this current format given the proper time and practice. Thanks everyone for reading and I hope to be getting another article to you all within the week. Also, always feel free to come say hi if you see me at a tournament, and be sure to ask about coaching if you are interested, as this is something I have been looking to start doing. Thanks everyone! Until next time!

[+21] okko


 

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