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Henry Brand

Striving towards Perfection - Recapping the World Championships and the origins of MewBox

A look at how MewBox, affectionately called "Perfection" won the World Championships, and how the deck shapes up moving forward.

09/13/2019 by Henry Brand

Hey everyone, it is me Henry Brand, your current Masters World Champion. I am ecstatic to write this article for 60 Cards and I hope that you enjoy it. I will be writing more articles for this site in the future and I will sue my expertise to guide you in the right direction.A few weeks ago, the Pokemon World Championships concluded, completely changing my life. Today we're going to relive the story of these events, discuss the deck that won it all, and take a look at how the deck fares going forward.Prior to the tournament I'd been in a slump. Fresh off the back of a poor performance at NAIC and feeling the effects of chasing a Day Two invite, I was no longer as enamored by Pokemon as I was 6 months prior. I'd fully resigned myself to a post worlds hiatus, bar any miracle occurring. That being said, I was still ready to give it my all.

The Beginning

After a successful collaboration with Stephane Ivanoff led to his NAIC win this year, we were keen to work together once again. Our testing group consisted of Stephane, Bert Wolters, and Brazilian player Joao Pedro Medeiros, myself and my fellow australian Jack Fone. Leading up to the event I had done minimal testing, but I had hope for the potential that Mewtwo&Mew possessed. So, when Joao told us he had a good Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71)  list, I was excited. We arrived on the Sunday before Worlds, checked into our airBnB, and began testing. These days were filled with a mix of testing and sightseeing, with a trip to the Spy Museum being one of the highlights.

Our original list was fairly similar to our final list, with the following key differences: Coach Trainer (UB; 192)  instead of Bill's Analysis (TM; 133) , Dedenne GX (UBO; 57) , two Electromagnetic Radar (UBO; 230) , two Solgaleo GX (BW; 104) , Dragonite GX (UB; 152)  and Blaziken GX (CLS; 28) , and no Magcargo GX (LT; 44) / Espeon & Deoxys GX (UB; 72) . I always felt that Coach Trainer (UB; 192)  was lacking, so I proposed Bill's Analysis (TM; 133)  and we noticed the benefit immediately. We tested Hapu (UB; 200)  as well, however the discard was too volatile, and digging one card deeper with Bill's Analysis (TM; 133)  was great. Swapping to three Dedenne GX (UBO; 57)  and one Electromagnetic Radar (UBO; 230)  was a quick change and one that required very little deliberation. The original inclusion of Blaziken GX (CLS; 28)  was as a three Energy attack to KO the likes of Zeraora GX (LT; 201)  and Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) , whilst Dragonite GX (UB; 152)  was a fairly straightforward inclusion to have OHKO potential on tag teams. When we began testing matchups, I found that the only way we would lose to Green's Exploration (UBO; 175) / Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20)  was because of Choice Helmet (LT; 169) , so I sought a way around that. This led to our main great dilemma: choosing the Fire Type attackers. We debated between the following: Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) , Magcargo GX (LT; 44) , Blaziken GX (CLS; 28)  and Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20) . Each had their strengths, with Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20)  and Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  also acting as outs to Fairy Charm (Psychic) (LT; 175) / Fairy Charm Ability (UBO; 171) , however the variability in damage numbers that Magcargo GX (LT; 44)  provided was too high, whilst also being able to discard Psychic Energy (TM; null)  for its Damage. By around Tuesday morning we were confident that the list could beat everything except for Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  and Malamar (FLI; 51) , both of which we expected to see play. This all changed when we began to test Espeon & Deoxys GX (UB; 72)  in the list. Having the win condition of six Energy Cross Divide against Malamar (FLI; 51)  made the matchup at worst even, but verging on favourable. In addition to the Malamar (FLI; 51)  matchup, it gave us so many more options in different scenarios, as well as the potential to skip Beast Ring (FLI; 102) .

Having scouted out the Day One field, we saw the surprise appearance of Gardevoir & Sylveon GX (UBO; 130) , and some select few Keldeo decks make it through. This immediately made us uncomfortable as our list at the time lacked Keldeo GX (UB; 47) , making both matchups autolosses. We decided to go halfway and teched only for Gardevoir & Sylveon GX (UBO; 130) , thinking that Keldeo GX (UB; 47)  would either not be played, or it would be countered. Our final changes saw us drop the third Bill's Analysis (TM; 133)  from the list for Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20) , then I cut the Dragonite GX (UB; 152)  for Resetting Hole Marshadow (UBO; 81)  whereas Bert left it in. We also deliberated on whether Fire Crystal (UBO; 173)  or Energy Recycle System (CLS; 128)  would be better, Joao and I went with Fire Crystal (UBO; 173)  as we hadn't tested ERS, but Bert went for Energy Recycle System (CLS; 128)  (the correct choice). Interesting as well is that Stephane felt he did not have enough games with the deck himself, so he stuck with his beloved Gardevoir & Sylveon GX (UBO; 130) .

The Final List

I'll discuss some of the things that were unconventional at the time, giving some insight to why we built the list how we did.

 

Here are my explanations:

4 Pokegear, 4 Acro Bike
Many lists prior to Worlds ran either Acro Bike (CLS; 123) or Pokégear 3.0 (UBO; 182) , not both. They also used a thicker count of other supporters to offset this. Instead of using a Lillie (UPR; 125)  or Coach Trainer (UB; 192)  draw engine, we opted to play both Acro Bike (CLS; 123)  and Pokégear 3.0 (UBO; 182) , to maximize how deep we could dig for Welder (UBO; 189)  every turn. This improved both the speed and consistency of the deck.

4 Mewtwo & Mew Tag Team GX
We opted to run four Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71)  to maximize the chance of opening it. Each search card you don't have to use for Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71)  is one more attacker you can get and Discard, so four is vital.

2 Bill's Analysis
If we couldn't play Welder (UBO; 189) , we wanted to ensure we could play it the following turn. Bill's Analysis (TM; 133)  was the best fit for this, as well as being a great way to find things late game after Reset Stamp (UB; 206) , such as: Switch (CLS; 147) , Custom Catcher (LT; 171)  and Stadiums to bump Power Plant (UBO; 183) .

3 Basic Psychic Energy, 3 Giant Hearth / 1 Viridian Forest
The only real benefit gained from Rainbow Energy (CLS; 151)  was having access to attackers like Altaria GX (DM; 41)  and two Greninja GX (BW; 197)  as a way through Keldeo GX (UB; 47) . We found Altaria GX (DM; 41)  to be a lacking attacker, and the benefit of the Greninja GX (BW; 197) did not outweigh the negatives of Rainbow Energy (CLS; 151) . The ten Damage proved a big issue in many matchups such as Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33)  and Malamar (FLI; 51) , and additionally Rainbow Energy (CLS; 151)  could not be attached using Turbo Strike which made it an easy decision in our minds. We chose a split of three Giant Hearth (UB; 197)  and one Viridian Forest (TM; 156)  because Giant Hearth (UB; 197)  is too crucial to be able to use Welder (UBO; 189) , especially with only eight Fire Energy (TM; null) . However, we opted for one Viridian Forest (TM; 156)  as an extra out to turn one Clear Vision with Latios GX (UB; 78) , and to enable Bill's Analysis (TM; 133)  to be able to find any card in the deck.

Cobalion GX
Easily the most commonly asked question any of us have received is "Why are you playing Cobalion GX (TM; 106)  if you don't play Rainbow Energy (CLS; 151)  or Metal Energy (TM; null) ?". It may be confusing at first, but Iron Rule is an incredibly powerful attack. In many games where I have had a slow start, Iron Rule has allowed me to gain tempo, for example, against pika where it will allow you to Tag Purge before they Full Blitz. Additionally, it's capable of buying you a turn to get more energy in play for attacks like Venom Shot or Lava Flow, or to find two Custom Catcher (LT; 171) . It's also very powerful in the mirror, where an Iron Rule will prevent your opponent from using Tag Purge for a turn, allowing you to take a KO.

1 Reshizard GX, 1 Magcargo GX, 0 Dragonite GX / Blaziken GX
Originally we felt that Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20)  was lacking, and whilst it isn't as vital as other attackers, it definitely pulls its weight. It primarily finds its place in here as a way for the deck to beat Gardevoir & Sylveon GX (UBO; 130)  and get around their Fairy Charm (Psychic) (LT; 175) / Fairy Charm Ability (UBO; 171) . Flare strike, Outrage and Double Blaze GX all find their uses in different games, with the main downside to Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20)  being its Retreat Cost of three when opening it. Magcargo GX (LT; 44)  was included over Dragonite GX (UB; 152)  and Blaziken GX (CLS; 28)  as it let you to hit 200 for three Energy (only 10 Damage less than  Blaziken GX (CLS; 28) ) and gets through Choice Helmet (LT; 169)  on Tag Teams and Darkness-type Tag Teams for five Energy, unlike Dragonite GX (UB; 152) . Additionally, being able to KO Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33)  for four Energy really solidified that matchup.

Game Day

Here is a run through of how my day went at Worlds.

Round 1: Green's Blacephalon

This was it, nervous excitement filled me as our week of hard work was about to come together. Seeing Green's Exploration (UBO; 175)Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) , I was immediately confident in the matchup as skipping Beast Ring (FLI; 102)  was fairly achievable. Both games went according to plan: Turbo strike -> Venom shot benched Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  -> Cross Divide GX to skip Beast Ring (FLI; 102) , then find two more Prizes.

Round 2: Ability Zard (Mehdi Hafi)
Only the second round and I already saw myself facing the talk of Day One, Ability Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20) . This was a matchup I was concerned about, whilst also being against an accomplished player who made it through day one. Game one saw a poor start from both of us, with Mehdi eventually taking control and winning. Game two he was forced to Welder (UBO; 189)  to his lone Vulpix (TM; 15) , however a donk was prevented by a Heads on Tail Whip! Despite this, having to dig so far through his deck to recover the poor start led to an eventual deckout via Magcargo GX (LT; 44) GX attack, amusing both of us. Our already bizarre series came to a disappointing close with him opening lone Turtonator (DM; 50)  and passing, leading to a donk with Turbo Strike.

Round 3: Pika Judge on Stream (Charlie Lockyer)
Going into this, I knew that Charlie was piloting the Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) / Judge (FLI; 108)  deck that had made it through Day One at the hands of him and several US players. I was confident in the Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33)  matchup, however the Judge (FLI; 108)  had the potential to swing it. Both games saw a fairly swift win for me, Judge (FLI; 108)  failed to brick me, with one of them actually giving me a hand of Welder (UBO; 189) / two Fire Energy (TM; null)  leading to either a turn one Tag Purge or Turbo Strike. One thing that this series did do, was showcase the strength of our deck. There was a point where I took a KO, then when Charlie took a return KO I was left with no energy on board, with the commentators evaluating it as a winning board state for Charlie. Next turn however, the game was swung completely back into my favour, as Welder (UBO; 189)  instantly let me Tag Purge from a zero Energy board, winning the game the following turn.

Round 4: Pika Judge (Ian Robb)
Both games went fairly similar to the stream games. I managed to to still draw well enough off of Judge (FLI; 108)  due to the consistency of the deck, with the favourable matchup leading to a comfortable 2-0.

Round 5: Dark Box (Zakary Krekeler)
Going into this matchup I wasn't entirely sure how Zakary's deck was built, so I tried my best to formulate a strategy. My plan was to either skip Beast Ring (FLI; 102) , spam Tag Purge, or deny his set up. I failed to set up game one and lost quickly. Game two I managed to outspeed him, then game three saw his deck falter and fail to set up entirely.

Unebelievable. I was 5-0 at the World Championships! Unfortunately, there were no other 5-0's, so I couldn't celebrate yet. Had to take it one round at a time until it was ensured.

Round 6: Pika (Kaiwen Cabbabe)
Downpaired against fellow Australian Kaiwen, I suffered a quick defeat game one from poor hands. I struggled to set up game two, but managed to claw my way back in. I was one turn away from winning when he managed to play four Custom Catcher (LT; 171)  in the single turn to cancel Tag Purge, and take the KO for game.

Round 7: Reshizard - ID (Blaine Hill)
Sitting at 5-1, I paired Blaine who was on 5-0-1. An easy ID, and I was all but guaranteed Top Eight now.

One player at 5-1-1 would most likely bubble, but I was confident in my Resistance after starting 5-0. I nervously awaited the Top Eight announcement, one of the longest hours of my life. Then, it was up... I'd made it! I was excited! I was nervous. I was overwhelmed. I'd told myself all day that I would take this tournament one round at a time, and Top Eight was no different.

Top 8: Pika (Kaiwen Cabbabe)
This was it, the rematch. Having lost to Kaiwen in Top Eight of the OCIC, here we were playing once again. It was surreal to be playing someone who I'd known from local tournaments, all the way in Top Eight of the World Championships. Game one I prized Latios GX (UB; 78) , Solgaleo GX (BW; 104) , and Magcargo GX (LT; 44)  so turn one Tag Purge or Turbo Strike were out of the question and my options were limited. Instead, I opted for the turn one Cross Divide GX, placing 70 onto Jirachi (TM; 99)  for the KO, ten on Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33)  placing it in range of Flare Strike, then 20 onto Zeraora GX (LT; 201)  putting it in range of Venom shot. The game quickly fell in my favor after that, with a Flare Strike into Venom Shot sealing it. Game two he used Tapu Koko Prism Star (TM; 51)  turn one, ending his turn with two energy on Raichu & Alolan Raichu GX (UB; 54)  and one on Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) . I manage to hit turn one Custom Catcher (LT; 171)  onto the Raichu & Alolan Raichu GX (UB; 54) and used Turbo Strike, attaching one Energy to the Benched Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71) . He responds with Thunder Mountain Prism Star (LT; 191) , Electropower (LT; 232) , Energy Switch (CLS; 129)  onto the Raichu & Alolan Raichu GX (UB; 54)  and attach, using Lightning Ride for 280 and the KO. With his means of Energy acceleration gone, I had the opportunity to seal the game, and I did just that! I found and Discarded Naganadel GX (UB; 160) , bumped the Thunder Mountain Prism Star (LT; 191) , used Welder (UBO; 189)  to bring my Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71)  up to three Fire Energy (TM; null) , then hit the Psychic Energy (TM; null) , using Venom Shot to KO his damaged Raichu & Alolan Raichu GX (UB; 54)  with all of the Lightning Energy (TM; null) . His attacker gone, energy acceleration gone, both of us knew that the game was all but over, and it ended shortly after that.

Top Four at Worlds, I'd actually done it, Pikachu trophy and all! Trying to keep my cool rather than let the shock of it all hit me, I stuck to my one game at a time policy and put all my focus into the next match.

Top 4: Greens Reshizard (Blaine Hill)
It's a good matchup, but we're in the Top Four of the World Championships, anything can happen. Game one I had a poor start, but clawed it back before finally losing due to my last Welder (UBO; 189)  being prized. Game two I elected to go second, a strategy we had developed in testing, which lead to a quick win. This brings us to the final game of the series, the make it or break it game for both of us. Blaine took some time to decide whether to go first or second, ultimately choosing second which was correct. I took control of the game, however human error got the better of me and I drew seven cards off of Dedenne GX (UBO; 57) 's Dedechange. I received a Double Prize Penalty, which gave him his only way to win. He played Power Plant (UBO; 183)  and KO'd Marshadow (UBO; 81)  with Custom Catcher (LT; 171) , however I managed to replace the Stadium and take the game.

It really sunk in to my friends and family before it did for me, they went mad! It's the finals of the World Championships - I most likely will never have a more important match ahead of me. Knowing I was to face a previous World Champion, and in a matchup I was concerned about, my friends and I all gathered in our hotel room to analyze the stream. After building his list and playing a few games, I felt that with only three Beast Ring (FLI; 102) , the best strategy would be to prize race him rather than skip Beast Ring (FLI; 102) .

The finals of the World Championships is here, I barely managed to sleep, but I took any sleep at all as an achievement. I spent my hours prior watching the Juniors and Seniors finals, and aimlessly walking around to ease the anticipation. Finally we were taken back stage and given the rundown. It was showtime.

Finals: Blacephalon/Naganadel (Shintaro Ito)
Shintaro had a weak start, choosing to Cherish Ball (UB; 191)  for the Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) , instead of Dedenne GX (UBO; 57) , despite a dead hand. I had a rough read that his hand either had two or more Beast Ring (FLI; 102)  or his Dedenne GX (UBO; 57)  was Prized. I had the option turn one of KO'ing either his Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  with Custom Catcher (LT; 171)  or his Poipole (FLI; 55) , so I took the gamble that either way his hand should be dead in most scenarios, taking the KO on Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) , knowing that even if a response is achieved I have the means to take a return KO. It turned out that his hand was three Beast Ring (FLI; 102) , with him then drawing Custom Catcher (LT; 171) . He used all three, then proceeded to Custom Catcher (LT; 171)  for three into an eventual crazy combo of Heatran GX (UB; 25) 's GX attack for six Fire Energy (TM; null)  to take the KO. I was still comfortable in this situation, taking a return KO with Double Blaze GX. We now get to the Double Prize penalty. Unfortunately, Shintaro had multiple warnings throughout the tournament for insufficient pace of play. The Judges had been prompting him to promote for quite a while, warning him of a potential escalation. It finally reached the point where they felt he had to be penalized. Despite the penalty, I believe that game to still have been slightly in my favour. Shintaro had to find Welder (UBO; 189)  from his Ultra Conversion, and at least two Welder (UBO; 189)  had already been used. We moved on to game two, where I completely outsped him, I took a turn one KO on his Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  with no response, then used Venom Shot on a Naganadel (LT; 108)  to remove Energy from his board. In both games I had been using Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71)  to attack with first, then used Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20)  as the second attacker. This was so that Turning Point on the three Prize Card turn would not OHKO my Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71)  with Weakness. I could potentially put down Jirachi GX (UB; 79)  to remove this Weakness, but that risked me not hitting it, as well the fact it would remove the Weakness of his Naganadel (LT; 108)  thus removing the option of Marshadow (UBO; 81)  to KO it with Red Knuckles. I used Custom Catcher (LT; 171)  to bring up a Poipole (FLI; 55)  with two Energy and KO'd it with Marshadow (UBO; 81) , exiting Beast Ring (FLI; 102)  turn and going down to two Prizes. I then finally ended the game, and thus the 2019 Pokemon World Championships, with Magcargo GX (LT; 44) attack: Lava Flow

Unbelievable. I'd just become World Champion, something I'd barely even dreamt of. I didn't know what to do in the moment, what do I do? how am I meant to feel? It was all so bizarre and overwhelming, with so many friends just waiting at the bottom of the stage to hug me. From that moment to when I got on the plane, it was all a blur. I know one thing for sure, this event changed my life.

Champion
Melbourne MEO Special Event

Going into the Melbourne Special Event, I still felt that Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71)  was the best deck. I harbored a slight fear of Keldeo GX (UB; 47) , but still did not value taking up the space to tech for it. The first thing I did was swap the Fire Crystal (UBO; 173)  for Energy Recycle System (CLS; 128)  as Bert did in his list, realising it to be undoubtedly the better option. I had two cards I wanted to fit in the deck: Wobbuffet (LT; 93)  and a third Switch (CLS; 147) . The Wobbuffet (LT; 93)  swung the ability Reshizard matchup which I expected to show up in droves. The third Switch (CLS; 147)  was in a way a luxury, but it really makes the pika matchup bordering on unloseable, and smoothed up the heavy retreat starts especially when adding Wobbuffet (LT; 93) . Unfortunately, with 1 acro bike being the only realistic cut for me, I was unable to fit the third Switch (CLS; 147) .

I managed to go 5-0-2 on Day One, beating three Ability Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20) , then a fourth in Top Eight. I eventually lost in Top Four to a rematch against Kaiwen on Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) . Game one I bricked. I managed to claw back a poor start in game two with Iron Rule GX, but in game three Cobalion GX (TM; 106)  was in the last three Prizes. The game got down to about a 60% chance for me to win, but unfortunately this one wasn't to be. Definitely still a good result to start the season.

Where to Next?

Going forward I believe the Wobbuffet (LT; 93)  is a necessary inclusion as it really makes a difference against Ability Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20) and it doubles as being quite strong against Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) . The biggest addition that everyone has been talking about is the new Hidden Fates Charizard GX. Its GX attack, Flare Blitz, has no additional effect other than dealing a massive 300 damage for two Fire Energy (TM; null)  and two other Energy. This is such a strong attack, and I think it really makes Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71)  an incredibly powerful deck, even moreso than it is now. At this stage I haven't settled on what I would cut for it, most likely either Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20)  or Cobalion GX (TM; 106) , choosing between the two based on whether you are more concerned about possible Gardevoir & Sylveon GX (UBO; 130)  or mirror match. Either cut I'm not comfortable with, but I truly can't see anything else, as touching consistency any further would be a terrible idea. As the Hidden Fates meta develops, we'll see how strong Jessie and James truly is, but at this stage I expect Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71)  to remain tier one, if not become BDIF.

I hope you all enjoyed recounting the wild ride that was Worlds, and that you all gained some insight into how Perfection came to be and how it will evolve going forward. It's hard for me to believe that I was so ready to quit, and now I'm here. At this stage I'll be taking Pokemon seriously again this season, traveling to LAIC this year and any others I can. I'm now doing coaching and streaming somewhat regularly, so if you're interested in more of what I have to say, go check that out.

Until next time,

Henry

[+58] okko


 

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