Experts' corner

Malik Hisyam Zaihan

A Look at Kuala Lumpur Regionals

Malik gives his thoughts on the expected metagame going into Kuala Lumpur.

12/19/2019 by Malik Hisyam Zaihan

This weekend will see the Oceania zone’s second Regional Championships take place, in the heart of Southeast Asia, Malaysia. The capital city of Kuala Lumpur is set to witness one of the largest events to date, with over 400 players reportedly signed up for the event. 

Often times an overlooked region, I will be providing some insight into the metagame in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong as we look towards the Kuala Lumpur Regional Championships which will be held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre this weekend. 

Recent Results

The Singapore SPE, which recently saw 122 Masters participants, kicked off the calendar of large events in the subregion of Asia within Oceania. Between that event and the Kuala Lumpur Regional Championships, a buffer weekend saw League Cups held in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong as well as League Challenges in Singapore and Manila. 

Before we take a look at how the metagame is shaping up, we take a quick look at these event results and see what has been prevalent around the region.

Singapore SPE 

7-8 December 2019

122 Masters

1.     Kaiwen Cabbabe – Mewtwo & Mew GX Toolbox

2.     Adrian Velasco – Green’s Lucario & Melmetal GX / Omastar

3.     Lee Keng Fai – Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX / Keldeo GX

4.     Clifton Goh – Mewtwo & Mew GX Toolbox

5.     Edwin Kan Jia Ju – Malamar / Giratina

6.     Ho Man Kin – Garchomp & Giratina GX / Mismagius

7.     Tan Yong Siang – Green’s Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX / Buzzwole & Pheromosa GX

8.     Edmund Khoo – Gardevoir & Sylveon GX

The Singapore SPE final was an intense showdown between 2 great players in the region, Kaiwen Cabbabe of Australia and Adrian Velasco from the Philippines, who shocked the competition with an unorthodox version of the Lucario & Melmetal GX deck with Omastar, utilizing a Green’s Exploration and Draw Energy engine rather than the typical Welder build. Adrian managed to make his way to the finals before eventually losing to Kaiwen’s Mewtwo & Mew GX Toolbox.

The rest of the field in Singapore was made up of mostly ADP and Mewtwo & Mew GX decks, as well as quite a number of Gardevoir & Sylveon GX and Malamar variants. Interestingly, Reshiram & Charizard GX decks did not perform very well in this event, with none making it into the Top8. 

The Weekend After

The calendar of events in the region was set nicely to allow a one weekend buffer between the Singapore SPE and the Kuala Lumpur Regional Championships, with almost every country hosting League Cup and Challenges to keep players’ momentum going. Here we take a look at these event results :

Kuala Lumpur League Cup

14 December 2019

57 Masters

1.     Low Kien Yi – Green’s Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX / Buzzwole & Pheromosa GX

2.     Keith Yong – Reshiram & Charizard GX / Ninetales

3.     Malik Hisyam – Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX / Keldeo GX

4.     Colin Tang – Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX / Keldeo GX

5.     Lee Keng Fai – Naganadel & Guzzlord GX / Mismagius

6.     Aaron Lim – Mewtwo & Mew GX Toolbox

7.     Kent Ng – Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX / Keldeo GX

8.     Ethan Lee – Gardevoir & Sylveon GX


Hong Kong League Cup

14 December 2019

1.     Ho Man Kin – Garchomp & Giratina GX / Mismagius

2.     Peter Lo – Garchomp & Giratina GX / Mismagius

3.     Pui Lam Lee – Malamar / Giratina

4.     Kelvin Law – Mewtwo & Mew GX Toolbox

5.     Tat Sun Sun – Mewtwo & Mew GX Toolbox

6.     Chun Hei Cheng – Malamar / Garchomp & Giratina GX

7.     David Yau – Gardevoir & Sylveon GX

8.     Siu Chun Lee – Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX / Keldeo GX


Singapore League Challenge

14 December 2019

18 Masters

1.     Kaiwen Cabbabe – Malamar / Giratina

2.     Edmund Khoo – Mewtwo & Mew GX Toolbox

3.     Marcus Chai – Mewtwo & Mew GX Toolbox

4.     Walter Ho – Garchomp & Giratina GX / Mismagius


Manila League Challenge

14 December 2019

1.     Kenneth Chan – Malamar / Ultra Necrozma GX

2.     Patrick Ebio – Lucario & Melmetal GX

3.     Carlo Neria – Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX / Keldeo GX

4.     Stephen Castillo – Malamar / Giratina

5.     Miggy Hayakawa – Malamar / Giratina

6.     Patrick Go – Gardevoir & Sylveon GX

7.     Mikko Cadiz – Mewtwo & Mew GX Toolbox

8.     Joshua Lim – Mewtwo & Mew GX Toolbox

Over in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the League Cup was taken down by a Green’s ADP deck with Buzzwole & Pheromosa GX, a similar build to the one that made Top8 at the Singapore SPE. The rest of the field saw plenty of ADP decks as well as Mewtwo & Mew GX decks.

Interestingly, Hong Kong saw plenty of Garchomp & Giratina GX decks make Top8, 2 of which making it to the finals. Ho Man Kin, who also made a Top8 appearance at the Singapore SPE with the archetype won this event.

Singapore and Manila saw many Malamar variants pop up, with Kaiwen Cabbabe and Kenneth Chan taking wins with the archetype, albeit with different builds. A point to note is that in 4 out of 5 of these events, there is 1 Gardevoir & Sylveon GX in the top standings. Also, following its lack of presence in the top tables at the Singapore SPE, Reshiram & Charizard GX decks again barely made an appearance throughout the region. 

Looking to Malaysia Regional Championships

Over the years, the Regional Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has been consistently increasing in number of participants, showing rapid growth of the game in the region. The most recent edition of the event infamously went over the minimum number of players needed for a 2-day swiss event, a first in the region. This year, it is expected to see over 300 Masters division players again, and will have players flying in from all over the region to compete. 

With recent local results in mind, I will be going over the decks that I expect to see, sorted by how popular I expect them to be as well as my reasoning behind them.

Most Popular

-       Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX / Keldeo GX

-       Mewtwo & Mew GX Toolbox

-       Malamar variants (Giratina, Garchomp & Giratina GX, Ultra Necrozma GX, Trevenant & Dusknoir GX)

It is a no brainer that ADP is expected to be among the most popular decks in the field, as it can be built to have answers to almost any top tier deck in the format depending on the techs it runs. It had a heavy presence at the Singapore SPE with 2 different variants making it into the Top8, and saw a lot of play at the Kuala Lumpur League Cup, occupying half of the Top8. As also reflected in events in the US, expect ADP to be one of the 2 highest played decks in the field. 

Mewtwo & Mew GX decks will also see a lot of play due to its high versatility and wide attack pool. It has had a lot of success, winning the Singapore SPE and having a heavy presence across the region the weekend after. An interesting point to note is also that Australian players are heavily known for the archetype, with a group of them in the Latin American International Championships making Day-2 as well as occupying 5 of the Top8 spots at the Brisbane Regional Championships concurrent with the Singapore SPE. While not that many Australians may fly down to Malaysia, a handful of them are expected to make an appearance.

My third pick may come as a surprise, but I would expect to see Malamar variants making a big splash in this upcoming Regional, having seen it rise back in popularity in the US as well as making a handful of appearances locally. The question mark would be which variant will see the highest in popularity.

Mid Popular

-       Reshiram & Charizard GX / Ninetales

-       Gardevoir & Sylveon GX

-       Garchomp & Giratina GX / Mismagius

While not having a lot of success locally, I still expect many to be running the archetype which brought Robin Schulz to his International Championship win in Brazil. Despite having issues with consistency and the high tendency to have unplayable hands, it can still put a lot of early-game pressure on top tier decks such as ADP and Mewtwo & Mew GX, taking wins in the process.

Gardevoir & Sylveon GX has seen some success, winning the recent Daytona Regional Championships and making appearances across the region. With many ADP players opting to not run Lucario & Melmetal GX to counter it, and with the archetype starting to run Lugia GX and Weakness Guard Energy as answers to that, it is still a relatively good pick for this tournament. Expect to see a moderate number of Gardevoir & Sylveon GX in the field.

Earlier on in the season, piloted by notable players such as Marc Lutz and Gustavo Wada, we have started to see more of the Garchomp & Giratina GX archetype, most recently winning the San Diego Regional Championships. It saw a lot of play in Hong Kong, with one player making the Top8 at the Singapore SPE as well. World Champion Henry Brand also piloted this deck to a Top8 finish at the Brisbane Regional Championships.

On The Radar

-       Green’s Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX / Buzzwole & Pheromosa GX

-       Lucario & Melmetal GX

-       Naganadel & Guzzlord GX / Mismagius

-       Blacephalon / Pidgeotto

-       Doll Stall

-       Pidgeotto Control

A different approach to the ADP archetype, is one built with no Abilities, relying on a Green’s Exploration engine. This archetype showed its strength recently by making Top8 at the Singapore SPE as well as winning the League Cup in Kuala Lumpur, piloted by local Low Kien Yi. It is a very tanky deck to go against, as beating it essentially requires knocking out 2 Tag Team GXs, while they have a very versatile way of taking 6 prizes. However, being a Green’s Exploration based engine, it does have its own issues with Reset Stamp.

As mentioned earlier, Adrian Velasco from the Philippines brought a unique Lucario & Melmetal GX deck to the Singapore SPE, with the archetype also seeing success at the San Diego Regional Championships, taking a 2nd place finish with a different engine. Expect to see this deck also making an appearance this weekend.

Other notable mentions include Naganadel & Guzzlord GX / Mismagius, Baby Blacephalon / Pidgeotto as well as Doll Stall making appearances due to their easy accessibility. Naganadel & Guzzlord GX decks are usually able to setup as early as Turn 1 and start dishing out a lot of damage, although the deck can be susceptible to unplayable starting hands as well as item lock. Blacephalon also has the ability to dish out a lot of damage and potentially one-shot high-HP Tag Team GXs. Control & stall decks such as Lillie’s PokeDoll and Pidgeotto also have the potential to lock opponents out of games, leaving them unable to execute their usual gameplan. Depending on how other decks tech around it, these decks can surely be a pain against many of the top-tier archetypes.

Closing Thoughts

Just as any player attending the Regional this weekend in Kuala Lumpur, I am extremely excited to be competing against the best in the region. Competition aside, I strongly feel that the beauty of events in Southeast Asia is its constant international feel, and I am looking forward to meeting players from all around the region, who will be traveling over to compete. 

That being said, I hope that this article has managed to shed some light and help those of you still struggling to pick a deck. Safe travels to Kuala Lumpur to all competitors and may the best player win !


Special credits to TKS for helping me define my expectations of the metagame, Patrick Ebio for helping me compile results as well as Nicholas Yong for proofreading.

[+28] okko


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