Experts' corner

Malik Hisyam Zaihan

Metagaming Melbourne

Malik shares his prediction on the metagame for the upcoming International Championships in Melbourne.

02/19/2020 by Malik Hisyam Zaihan

Hey readers, it’s me again with another metagame article. This time, we’ll be looking at the upcoming Oceania International Championships, which will be held in Melbourne, Australia this weekend. 

Granted, things are looking to be very exciting as players prepare for not just the exciting introduction of a new set block, but with it a drastic new change in the rules for players going first. For a very long time, people have debated on how advantageous going first was in determining the outcome of 50/50 matchups, but now players going first will not be able to play supporters anymore! With such a big change in going first, this will definitely make decisions on going first or second more complex depending on how decks are built.

Anyways, in this article I will be going over the decks I am expecting to see play in Melbourne as well as rough predictions on how popular they would be. The metagame aspect is essentially a big guess on my part, but with some thought put into it as well. So without further ado, lets jump straight into it! 

Sword & Shield

The new Sword & Shield set is set to shake up the metagame and how we build decks drastically, with the re-introduction of Professor Sycamore (or Juniper, depending on how long you’ve been around) in the form of Professor’s Research bringing back the raw draw power we have sorely missed. Marnie is a pseudo-disruption supporter bringing a new mechanic of shuffling hand cards to the bottom, making those cards in your previous hands essentially inaccessible when drawing cards. Other cards such as Quick Ball, Vitality Band, Air Balloon, Aurora Energy, and powerful Pokemon V cards such as the much anticipated Zacian V will set the new standard in deck-building moving forward.

My Expectations 

Before going into detail with the different archetypes that I expect to see, I will first attempt to categorize them into different categories, starting with what I believe will be the most popular, and working my way down the ladder. I would like to stress though, that this is by no means a tier list.

Highly Popular

Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX (ADP) / Zacian V


Mewtwo / Malamar


Mid Popular 

Cinccino Mill

Zacian V / LucMetal

Blacephalon UNB variants (Green’s, Jirachi & Lucky Eggs, Pidgeotto)

Mewtwo / Welder


Notable Mentions

Galarian Obstagoon

Morpeko V

Giratina & Garchomp GX

Frosmoth variants

Green's Exploration ADP variants

Reshiram & Charizard GX / Welder


ADP / Zacian V

What happens when one of the few top contenders from the previous format gets such a powerful and synergic new partner? At first glance, Zacian V’s Intrepid Sword ability does not sound that powerful as it means your turn essentially ends, but in a format where going first means no supporters – it’s a total game changer being able to draw additional cards and have a chance of attaching additional energy.

The addition of Zacian V and Metal Saucer into an already powerful deck such as ADP gives it a totally different dimension, with better outs to possible Turn 1 Altered Creation GX scenarios going second. What makes this deck so powerful is its newfound ability to hit such big numbers, and ability to quickly come up with checkmate scenarios after having taken the first 4 prizes on Tag Team Pokemon. With Altered Creation GX, Zacian V is able to hit for 260 damage, just 10 shy of the key amount of HP possessed by Mewtwo & Mew GX, which is usually solved by the new Vitality Band, Shrine of Punishment (although notably you lose the additional prize effect) and even Galarian Zigzagoon. 

This archetype doesn’t lose much from the new first turn rule, especially if it is able to start with Jirachi and a benched Zacian V, being able to use Stellar Wish Turn 1 and ending the turn with an Intrepid Sword, potentially setting up for a strong second turn. These scenarios aren’t that farfetched with the introduction of Quick Ball, being able to easily get basic Pokemon out. With the amount of hype surrounding the deck as well as how inherently strong it is, I am fairly confident that it will see a lot of play. This, however, means that it may also be heavily countered.


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