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Top 8 Decks from Arena Cup Würzburg

An overview of Arena Cup Würzburg, including the final standings and profiles of the Top 8 decks.

09/07/2015 by Pikachu's Hideout

The first Arena Cup of the 2015-2016 season was held this weekend in Würzburg, located in the northern Bavaria, Germany.  91 Masters-division players competed, including some of the top players in Germany and some other players from the Netherlands, the U.K., and Finland.  Arena Cup Würzburg is noteworthy for being the first significant event of this season played in the BLW-AOR Expanded format, so this is the first indication of which decks can succeed in this format.  Night March and Yveltal decks were popular this weekend, especially alongside Archeops, and Vespiquen saw a fair amount of play as well.  After seven rounds of Swiss and the Top 8 played out, these were the final standings.

8th Place - Tobias Smutkowski: Yveltal/Garbodor

With the recent influx of huge Mega Pokémon and fast decks like Night March, Yveltal had fallen off the radar recently.  However, Yveltal is still an inherently strong card that refuses to go away completely, and it has access to powerful Pokémon that help slow down the other decks, allowing it to capitalize.  Tobias Smutkowski's variant ran Seismitoad and Garbodor.  This was a fairly popular Yveltal variant throughout the last season and it remains quite solid in Expanded.  Seismitoad locks down Items while Garbodor shuts off Abilities and both cards have excellent synergy with Hypnotoxic Laser, wearing down opponents while Yveltal-EX gets ready for a big Evil Ball.

One of the big advantages Yveltal has in Expanded is access to Dark Patch.  Last season, Yveltal/Garbodor decks had to rely on Oblivion Wing for Energy acceleration, but Dark Patch provides much faster Energy acceleration, allowing for a big Yveltal to swoop in out of nowhere to start putting on pressure.  Tobias took full advantage of this card, running a full four copies, along with a tech Battle Compressor to get Energy in the discard more quickly.  Along with powering up Yveltal-EX, Dark Patch can also be used on Darkrai, making Night Spear a viable attack.  With just a Muscle Band, Night Spear can OHKO Shaymin-EX and that 30 Bench damage is very relevant with so many 30 HP Joltik running around.  The ability to take two or three Prizes in one attack against Night March is a big momentum-shifter in that matchup.

A lot of this list is standard fare for Yveltal.  The deck runs one non-EX Yveltal as a seventh Prize and backup means of acceleration, along with a couple Shaymin-EX to bail out bad hands and speed up early-game setup.  Tobias also opted for the Garbage Collection Trubbish, giving him a way to retrieve a key Dark Patch or Laser, or one of the tech Items.  Of those tech Items, Enhanced Hammer is a great choice.  A well-timed Hammer accompanied with a KO can take all of the opponent's Energy off the board, making them hard-pressed for a return attack.  With Garbodor in play, Night March and Vespiquen need their DCE to keep up, and taking out two at once can seal the game.  Every single deck in Top 8 ran at least DCE, so it was clearly a valuable card throughout the event.

Though Yveltal proved to be a solid choice for the Arena Cup, Tobias ended up losing in Top 8 to Robin Schulz, who went on to win the whole event.

7th Place - Lucas Bremm: Night March/Archeops

Night March saw a lot of success at Worlds and a lot of players pinpointed Archeops as a very good partner in Expanded, so it's little surprise to see this deck doing well.  The idea is very simple.  Since Night March already runs a heavy count of consistency Items (e.g. Battle Compressor, Trainers' Mail, Acro Bike), it's very easy to fit a tech Archeops and Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick into the list, and the deck's engine allows it to frequently get Archeops into play on turn one.  A turn-one Archeops is very powerful, preventing Evolutions like Vespiquen, Crobat, and even Mega Pokémon.  Meanwhile, Night March is the most powerful non-Evolution deck in the game and can quickly overrun most other decks.

This archetype has been discussed before on 60cards, so let's just focus on a few key cards.  First of all, other than Archeops, Expanded gives Night March a couple other tools to work with.  One is Super Rod, which can retrieve a few Pokémon from the discard pile—be they Night Marchers or Mew-EX—to keep attackers coming.  This card has a distinct advantage over Sacred Ash, not only because it can get back Basic Energy as well, but also because it doesn't take quite so many Night Marchers out of the discard pile, making it easier to keep Night Marching for important numbers.  Of course, Expanded also gives the deck access to Float Stone, Silver Bangle, and Mew-EX, all of which were key components of the deck in the past, but are lost to Standard.

Lucas' success with Night March was cut short in Top 8, as he was taken out by Fatih Akdemir's Yveltal deck.  Still, Night March/Archeops was a solid deck for the event and it will likely see a lot of success in upcoming Expanded tournaments.

6th Place - Niklas Lehnert-Rappel: Yveltal/Garbodor

Niklas Lehnert Rappel made Top 8 with the same Yveltal/Garbodor list that Tobias Smutkowski used.  Though Niklas ultimately lost to David Sturm in Top 8, his success with Yveltal/Garbodor shows that it's not a deck to ignore going forward.

5th Place - Nico Alabas: Yveltal

Other Yveltal players at the Arena Cup opted to run Garbodor or Archeops to slow down other decks enough for Yveltal to keep up.  Nico Alabas took a different approach, running a more streamlined Yveltal deck and hoping to capitalize on the prevalence of those Archeops and Garbodor decks.  With that extra space, Nico was able to fit in more useful Pokémon.  He ran two Yveltal to give the deck a solid non-EX attacker that helps him build his board.  In addition, Yveltal is a great attacker against Night March, taking out a Joltik or a Pumpkaboo for one Energy, while giving up only a single Prize and getting a followup attacker ready.  Absol is also a very solid attacker.  Its Mind Jack can hit for a potential 120 damage (180 if Sky Field is in play!) and with Dark Patch, it can come out of nowhere to take opponents by surprise.

Keldeo-EX another great addition.  With either a Float Stone or Darkrai's Dark Cloak, it gets free Retreat, allowing Nico to freely move between Pokémon.  This has a number of uses.  Rush In can get a Pokémon onto the Bench so it can receive Energy from Dark Patch, at which point Keldeo can Retreat so that Pokémon can continue attacking.  More significantly, Rush In can get out of Poison and Sleep, which is a big advantage against Hypnotoxic Laser, especially since Nico can Retreat into a Seismitoad and start using Quaking Punch to prevent future Lasers.

Though Nico's Yveltal variant is ultimately just a few cards removed from the other Yveltal lists in Top 8, those few cards gave him a nice edge in terms of flexibility and consistency.  It clearly paid off, as Nico was 3rd Seed after Swiss before losing to Tobias Thesing in Top 8.

4th Place - Tobias Thesing: Vespiquen/Accelgor

Tobias Thesing made Top 4 at the Arena Cup with a unique Accelgor variant.  Rather than partner Accelgor with Trevenant, Tobias opted to use Wobbuffet and Robo Substitute as his Deck and Cover walls and supplemented his Accelgor line with a thick line of Vespiquen, giving his deck a heavy hitter for the late game and taking full advantage of Forest of Giant Plants.  Forest of Giant Plants is generally a great Stadium for this deck anyway, as it allows a Shelmet to immediately Evolve into Accelgor, making it easier to keep the Deck and Cover lock going.  The deck runs six Balls, so it has plenty of ways to keep searching out Pokémon.

Tobias also ran a bunch of Pokémon to help him dig for his next Deck and Cover.  The deck ran a fairly standard pair of Shaymin, but it also ran three Unown, serving the dual purpose of getting a little deeper into the deck and fueling Bee Revenge.  Tobias also ran a 1-1 Musharna NXD line, letting him see two more cards each turn.  This card becomes especially valuable late in the game when the deck gets very thin.  Though this deck won't necessarily get the perfect Accelgor loop like the old Gothitelle and Trevenant decks, Musharna still helps dig for the late-game DCE to keep attacks coming.

Since this deck doesn't have any Item-lock, the Paralysis isn't quite as powerful as it is in other Accelgor decks, but Accelgor is still able to capitalize on the fact that decks run relatively few Switch effects.  Copies of Switch and Escape Rope are used up quickly and though AZ is seeing an increase in play, draw Supporters and Lysandre also compete for VS Seekers.  Meanwhile, Keldeo can easily be taken out with a quick Bee Revenge, Paralyzed with Deck and Cover, or shut down with Wobbuffet or Hex Maniac.  Hex Maniac, by the way, is crucial to this deck's success in the Expanded metagame, shutting off Aegislash-EX, Virizion-EX, and most significantly, Archeops.  Hex Maniac prevents the Archeops matchup from being a complete wash, allowing a couple Evolutions to get into play and giving the deck a chance to Lysandre and KO the Archeops to get into the game.

Unfortunately for Tobias, Hex Maniac didn't do enough for him in Top 4, as he was taken out by Fatih Akdemir's Yveltal/Archeops deck.  Still, his deck was a unique spin on both Accelgor and Vespiquen which could impact how people view both decks going into future events.

3rd Place - David Sturm: Vespiquen/Flareon

David Sturm won the 2015 German National Championship with Flareon and he brought an updated version of that same deck with him to Würzburg.  This time, he ran a full line of Vespiquen alongside an equally thick line of Flareon.  Though it's normally overkill to run so many attackers that all compete for just four copies of Double Colorless Energy, David ran a couple cards that held his strategy together.  For one, he had Blacksmith and Fire Energy, allowing him to power up a couple Flareon with Basic Energy and keep attacks coming without the need for DCE.  In addition, David ran Life Dew as his ACE SPEC, allowing him to force the opponent to take even more Knock Outs than usual.  When they're staring down a Pokémon capable of getting an OHKO on their Pokémon-EX, the last thing an opponent wants is to have to take even more KOs to win.

Audino is a great addition to the deck in Expanded.  Alongside Unown, it's a card that can be searched out with Ultra Ball and then discarded with its own Ability, fueling Vengeance and Bee Revenge.  In addition, it's an out to both Hypnotoxic Laser and Deck and Cover.  David also opted to pad his Pokémon count with a full four Shaymin-EX and a Jirachi-EX, preferring to focus entirely on consistency rather than on matchup specific techs.  Overall, it made for a fast and efficient list.  The deck is designed solely to take fast OHKOs and win the Prize trade and it does so very effectively.

Silver Bangle is a natural addition to the deck as well.  The deck relies exclusively on non-EX attackers, so Bangle is just a better fit than Muscle Band.  The extra 10 damage quite often makes all the difference and the Pokémon unaffected by Bangle tend to have low enough HP that a Tool doesn't matter anyway.  And like Tobias Thesing, David also ran a Hex Maniac, giving him answers to problem cards like Archeops.  Ultimately, David Sturm finished in Third Place, a respectable finish both for him and for Vespiquen.

Runner-Up - Fatih Akdemir: Yveltal/Archeops

Fatih Akdemir was the most successful of the Yveltal players at Arena Cup Würzburg, and he made the Finals with a list somewhat similar to that of Nico Alabas, but with an Archeops thrown in.  He ran the same attackers as Nico (with one fewer Yveltal-EX) and cut a Shaymin-EX for a Jirachi-EX (to search Maxie), but the Pokémon lines are essentially the same.  The noteworthy change is the focus on an Item-based engine, with four Trainers' Mail, three Acro Bike, and three Battle Compressor, all of which have a hand in getting Archeops into play on turn one.  (As an added bonus, Battle Compressor can also load the discard pile with Energy for Dark Patch.)

A more significant difference in Fatih's list is the lack of Hypnotoxic Laser.  Instead, he ran more consistency Items and used his Stadium slots for Faded Town.  (Considering no Mega Evolutions made Top 8, it's questionable how valuable this card was throughout the day.)  There are a lot of small decisions Fatih made in his list that facilitate the turn-one Archeops play.  Despite the obvious power of Dark Patch, for example, he opted to run just three since it is often a dead card in the early game.  In addition, he ran only ten Energy, replacing the customary seventh Darkness Energy with a second Professor's Letter.  With Yveltal XY and Dark Patch, six Darkness  Energy is actually a reasonable count for the deck to run smoothly and the second Professor's Letter can just be burned from the hand at any time to play down the hand for Maxie.  He also ran only four draw Supporters, but with Battle Compressor and VS Seeker, the list still has plenty of access to them when needed.

Fatih beat Lucas Bremm in Top 8, where his array of non-EX attackers and access to Night Spear likely gave him an edge against Lucas' Night March deck.  He proceeded to defeat Tobias Thesing in Top 4, with his Archeops carrying a lot of the weight against Tobias' evolution-centric deck.  It's clear that Yveltal/Archeops was a smart meta call and is a strong Expanded play in general.  Fatih was ultimately defeated, however, in a 2-1 set in the Finals against a deck that a lot of players likely never saw coming...

Champion - Robin Schulz: Seismitoad/Giratina

It might seem a little unusual to talk about the surprise factor of Robin Schulz's deck considering that, at it's core, it's essentially a Seismitoad/Shaymin deck.  With four-of counts of Lasers, Crushing Hammers, and Super Scoop Ups, along with some Head Ringers and an array of tech Supporters, Robin's deck is very reminiscent of the deck that effectively redefined the game when Lysandre's Trump Card was still around.

Of course, the thing that sets this deck apart and gives it such a competitive edge is the inclusion of Giratina-EX.  Giratina's Chaos Wheel complements Quaking Punch very nicely, locking Virbank City Gym in play and blocking Special Energy.  Though this attack obviously involves giving up Seismitoad's Item-lock, it provides its own lock that can be even more devastating in the right gamestate.  For instance, a Night March deck could have a very explosive turn one, filling up their discard with a full nine Night Marchers, at which point Seismitoad is too little, too late.  The relevant Items have been played and Seismitoad just can't keep up with the damage output.  On the other hand, Giratina's Chaos Wheel can stall out that gamestate, preventing them from using Dimension Valley and Double Colorless Energy.  With Crushing Hammers to keep Basic Energy away, it's quite possible for Giratina to lock Night March out of attacking for the rest of the game.

Giratina works well with Seismitoad's tools as well.  Super Scoop Up is a bit awkward because of Giratina's clunky attack cost, but Crushing Hammer is obviously powerful, as is Hypnotoxic Laser.  With a Muscle Band, Laser, and Virbank, Chaos Wheel does 150 to the opponent's Active Pokémon.  Against the average Pokémon-EX, that amounts to 180 damage going back into Robin's turn, and the opponent can't even play around this by countering Virbank due to the effect of Chaos Wheel.  Aside from providing a lock that can counter even established boards, Giratina also brings a level of raw power to the deck that Seismitoad can't compete with.

Giratina's Ability can't be overlooked either.  Seismitoad decks have notoriously struggled with a lot of Mega Evolutions, but Renegade Pulse completely circumvents that issue, hard-countering Megas.  Mega-centric decks are forced to rely on non-Mega attackers to even attack Giratina, but those are hindered quite a bit by Lasers, Hammers, and Head Ringers.  It might be a little clunky to get two different Special Energy onto a Giratina, but when it's set up and timed right, it can completely lock opponents out of the game.

Attention needs to be given to the support Pokémon.  This deck runs a heavier count of Shaymin, which serve to help dig both for powerful Items and for the necessary Special Energy to start attacking.  In addition, there's a Keldeo-EX here to transition between attackers and get out of Special Conditions and negative effects such as Chrono Wind and Hip Bump.  Given that the deck runs four other distinct Pokémon-EX and typically aims to use them all during any given game, a Hoopa-EX is a great fit, grabbing a Keldeo, a Shaymin, and whichever attacker the situation requires.

The Giratina variants that people have been discussing focused on partners like Vileplume and Bronzong.  This pairing was unexpected, but undoubtedly effective.  With Giratina taking down the first significant event of the 2015-2016 season, it will likely become a serious force in the upcoming events, and Robin Schulz innovative build may very well become the standard for Giratina decks for the foreseeable future.  Take a close look at all of these lists.  Since Expanded is showing no signs of leaving the game anytime soon (especially for North American players), these decks could very well represent the metagame for months to come.


60cards Team

[+6] okko


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