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2015 Autumn Regionals: Week 1 Analysis

A breakdown of the results from Arizona and Texas Regionals, analyzing the top decks and trends and looking forward to how these results will impact Week 2.

10/07/2015 by Pikachu's Hideout

Hello, 60cards readers!  Over the weekend, Regional Championships were held in Arizona and Texas.  This was the second weekend of major Expanded tournaments following the recent Arena Cup and the first major Expanded events in North America.  Historically, the first weekend of Autumn Regionals has had a significant impact on the following two weekends, so the player who effectively analyzes these results will find themselves well equipped for Week 2.  With that said, let's take a look at the results.

Top 16 statistics

Because we only had two events this weekend, we'll be taking a look at the Top 16 from Arizona and Houston.  Analyzing a wider pool of decks will give a better picture of which decks were most popular in Week 1.

In this table, the meta share denotes the total percentage of the metagame each deck occupied whereas the weighted meta share statistic takes into account not only the number of Top 16 slots each deck took up, but also how well each deck fared in the Top 16.  Decks were somewhat condensed for the sake of this analysis.  Some Yveltal players ran Archeops while others didn't, and there were actually three different Seismitoad variants that made Top 16 between the two events.  The specifics of these decks will be noted in the next section.

Going into this weekend, the decks people were probably most prepared to see were Yveltal, Seismitoad/Giratina, and Night March, and consequently, players were prepared for those matchups.  While Yveltal still managed to have a commanding presence in the metagame (partly due to the fact that so many players were running it), Night March hardly made a splash in the top tables at all.  Part of this is due to the fact that people were prepared to face it, but a big part of the credit has to go to the biggest deck of the weekend.

Blastoise made a bigger splash in Week 1 than a lot of players were probably expecting.  Though it shouldn't be too shocking considering the deck won Worlds and lost none of its power, players likely weren't expecting quite so many in top cut.  The pressence of Blastoise probably had an impact on the underperformance of Night March, since Blastoise has a number of tricks at its disposal, all of which give Night March a very hard time.

Of course, you just can't keep Seismitoad down.  Seismitoad/Giratina wasn't quite as dominant as some people expected (Yveltal gives it problems, as does a turn-one Blastoise), but Quaking Punch still proved to be a viable strategy over the weekend, with Michael Pramawat's Seismitoad/Crobat taking First Place in Texas (defeating Jason Klaczynski's Blastoise, in an amusing reversal of the Worlds Finals).  Seismitoad was one of the more versatile Pokémon of the weekend, too.  Not only was it a popular tech in Yveltal decks, but three different Seismitoad variants managed at least a Top 16 finish.  Yveltal and Blastoise may be the frontrunners right now, but you should still expect plenty of Toads in Week 2.

Vileplume is the big surprise here.  Most players knew Vileplume was powerful, but a lot of people struggled to find the right list to abuse it and as a result, people were assuming it would be an unpopular play.  A handful of players found good list, though, putting Vileplume on the Week 2 radar.  Miltank has proven to be the popular partner for Vileplume so far, with all three Vileplume players using it, though they opted for different supporting Pokémon otherwise.  Vileplume is a versatile card and there are probably plenty more combinations that we'll be seeing in the coming weeks.

The other decks are the fringe players.  It's hard to say conclusively whether Tool Drop or Rayquaza/Eelektrik are here to stay or if their Week 1 performance will prove to be a fluke, but if you weren't considering those decks, take some time to figure them out.  Vespiquen/Flareon was a deck a lot of people had high hopes for, and while it still remains powerful, Week 1 was not the ideal time to be using it with all the Archeops hype circulating.  Since the most successful decks of the weekend were decks that aren't hindered by Ancient Power, there's a good chance Archeops' popularity will fade, making Vespiquen a stronger play for the following weeks, so don't count it out just yet.

Results by event

Here are the players who managed to make Top 16 in Week 1, with a more detailed description of their lists.  As we can see, simply calling a deck "Yveltal" or "Seismitoad" doesn't fully capture the nuances of the lists that made a showing at Regionals.  There were a variety of interesting techs and trends which will be explored later in the article.

Arizona Top 16

1. Israel Sosa: Yveltal/Archeops/Ghetsis
2. Jonathan Paranada: Blastoise
3. Elijah Covitz: Yveltal
4. Zander Bennett: Turbo Rayquaza/Hex Maniac
5. Tyler Ninomura: Blastoise
6. James Deley: Yveltal
7. Sammy Sosa: Yveltal/Archeops/Ghetsis
8. Brandon Smiley: Vileplume/Miltank/Aegislash/Mewtwo/Slurpuff
------
9. Abigail Spurlock: Seismitoad/Giratina
10. Jeremiah Williams: Blastoise
11. Richard Torres: Virizion/Giratina/Lugia/Leafeon
12. Paul Johnston: Blastoise
13. Nathian Beck: Seismitoad/Genesect
14. Drew Kennett: Tool Drop
15. Jacob van Wagner: Blastoise
16. Sean Hipp: Vileplume/Miltank/Aegislash/Mewtwo/Slurpuff

Texas Top 16

1. Michael Pramawat: Seismitoad/Crobat
2. Jason Klaczynski: Blastoise
3. Austin Bentheimer: Blastoise
4. Caleb Gedemer: Blastoise
5. Brad Curcio: Yveltal
6. Derek Oudie: Night March/Archeops
7. Christopher Schemanske: Blastosie
8. Rodolfo Falcon: Vileplume/Miltank/Regice
-----
9. Ahmed Ali: Yveltal
10. Simon Narode: Yveltal
11. Ian Arellano: Seismitoad/Giratina
12. Mike Canaves: Tool Drop
13. John Kettler: Blastoise
14. Alex Wilson: Vespiquen/Flareon
15. Philip Barta: Yveltal
16. JC Sharp: Rayquaza/Eelektrik

Tier list

With only two tournaments under our belts so far, it's difficult to make a well-defined tier list.  This list is based solely on Week 1 results, not on any impressions of the power levels of these decks.  This should at least give you a decent impression of what to expect in Week 2.

Tier 1: Expect to play against these decks multiple times

Blastoise
Yveltal

Tier 2: Expect to play against these decks at least once

Seismitoad

Tier 3: Don't be surprised to play against this deck once or twice

Night March
Vileplume
Tool Drop

Everything not on this list is something of a wild card at the moment.  Of course, this list will become more fleshed out after another Week 2 results come in.

Popular techs and trends in Week 1

  1. Hex Maniac was arguably the defining tech of the whole weekend.  A good number of players ran a copy and Zander Bennett went as far as to focus his entire deck around repeatedly playing it.  With the ability to halt setups, counter disruptive Abilities like Mighty Shield and Irritating Pollen, and shut off engines like Deluge, it's easily one of the most powerful Supporters in the game.  With the popularity of Blastoise in Week 1, expect to see a rise in this card—even in Blastoise decks.

  2. A handful of players, most notably Israel and Sammy Sosa, caught a lot of players off guard with their Ghetsis tech.  In this format, a turn-one Ghetsis can completely shut down decks like Blastoise and Night March before they even have a turn, and with so many decks relying on VS Seeker, a well-timed midgame Ghetsis can just about lock your opponent out of the game.  This is another card likely to see an upswing in play in Week 2.

  3. Archeops definitely had a presence in Week 1, making Top 8 partnered with both Yveltal and Night March.  However, more Yveltal decks than not opted to not run Archeops, and since Ancient Power does nothing to stop Blastoise, there's a good chance Archeops won't see as much play in the following weeks.

  4. A lot of Yveltal decks were teching an old favorite, Sableye DEX.  Sableye isn't what it used to be, with its frail 70 HP, but it can still come in big if timed well, getting back a key Dark Patch or Hypnotoxic Laser, and now it's more versatile than ever since it can also recover VS Seeker to grab a Supporter, and Battle Compressor can be used to fill the discard pile with Junk Hunt targets.

  5. Blastoise players were running a number of different tech Pokémon.  The usual Mewtwo, Articuno, and even Wailord from Jacob Van Wagner's Worlds list were all in attendance, but players also experimented with new supporting attackers like Regice AOR and Kyogre-EX DEX.  Kyogre-EX is a particularly interesting tech; its Dual Splash does 50 damage to two of the opponent's Pokémon at once, making it a great card to use against Vespiquen and Night March, where it can easily pick off two Combee or Night Marchers in one attack.

  6. Speaking of Blastoise, some players opted to run Tropical Beach instead of Rough Seas as their Stadium of choice.  Tropical Beach can be quite useful on the first turn of the game, to refresh the hand and prepare for a big turn two, and if you fail to get a Blastoise out, Tropical Beach can get you a fresh hand to dig for key Battle Compressors and Ultra Balls to try to get Blastoise ready for the following turn.

  7. Giratina-EX saw some success in Week 1, but it's likely to be less popular going into Week 2 since it struggles against both Blastoise and Yveltal.

  8. With Tool Drop's success in Week 1, it's definitely a deck to be ready for in Week 2.  Both Hex Maniac and Ghetsis are good against it, but the best tech you could run is Startling Megaphone.  Michael Pramawat ran a copy in his winning Seismitoad/Crobat deck, giving him the ability to wipe the board of Tools and then lock the game with a decisive Quaking Punch.

  9. The Tool Drop decks from Week 1 ran some interesting cards.  Among the support Pokémon were Mew-EX and Shuppet ROS.  Mew and Shuppet both work well together.  Shuppet's Bleh attack discards a Special Energy from the Defending Pokémon, and Mew can copy that attack from a Benched Shuppet, taking advantage of its higher HP.  It can also make use of Sparkling Robe, making it immune to Special Conditions.  This gives the deck a solid Seismitoad counter and, as an added bonus, an answer to Accelgor (which, admittedly, wasn't much of a factor in Week 1).  Of course, Life Dew remains as big a threat as ever too.

Deck lists from Week 1

Here are a few sample deck lists from Week 1.  These aren't the exact lists that made Top 8, but they are reasonable approximations of those lists, and should serve as great starting points if you want to test with or against these decks.

This list is similar to the deck Israel Sosa used to win the Arizona Regional Championship.  It's a fairly straightforward list without too many major surprises, but it shows how powerful and versatile Yveltal-EX is when given access to all its support.  The big cards here are Archeops, Hex Maniac, and Ghetsis.  Though the latter cards have been addressed multiple times in this article, it bears repeating just how game-changing they both are.  In his Top 4 match against Zander Bennett's Item-heavy Mega Rayquaza deck, Israel used a turn-one Ghetsis to strip six cards out of Zander's hand, leaving him dead-drawing for the few remaining turns he survived.  Israel also made good use of Hex Maniac in the Finals against Jonathan Paranada's Blastoise, at one point Knocking Out a Keldeo while using Hex Maniac to ensure that Jonathan wouldn't be able to power up a response.

Blastoise lists are pretty tight with all the Items needed to get the turn-one setup, but this list showcases some of the options Blastoise has at its disposal.  Articuno is probably a staple at this point, as it causes advantageous Prize trades against non-EX decks and its Chilling Sigh can sometimes break a Quaking Punch lock.  Hex Maniac is very powerful here as well.  John Kettler played it in his Top 16 list, and if you're looking to play Blastosie for Week 2, you should definitely consider playing a copy of your own to help with mirror matches.

This wasn't one of the more prominent decks of the weekend, with just one showing in the top cut, but it's a very interesting build.  Hoopa-EX gives Mega Rayquaza new life, since an opening hand consisting of Ultra Ball and Sky Field could very easily lead to a turn-one Emerald Break.  Zander's list is very fast and Item-heavy; with only two draw-Supporters, he's focusing on Trainers' Mail, Acro Bike, and Shaymin-EX to burn through the deck for him.  This allowed him to repeatedly abuse Hex Maniac, keeping opponents unsteady while Mega Rayquaza ran through them.  With a good matchup against both Yveltal and Blastoise, this Mega Rayquaza variant could prove to be a very good play for Week 2.  Just watch out for turn-one Ghetsis or Hex Maniac!

Additional perspectives

We asked several talented players what their take was on the Week 1 results and how that would impact the Week 2 metagame.

I’m not terribly surprised by the majority of the results from Week 1. I wasn’t expecting any Vileplume variant to do this well and I was somewhat surprised by the Yveltal-EX decks playing Ghetsis, though it makes perfect sense. Had I thought of it before, I probably would have played it myself. I’d expect more Yveltal-EX in Week 2, and maybe even a few more Manectric-EX variants running around. I could see a throwback to U.S. Nationals and Day 1 of Worlds where M Manectric-EX/Garbodor/Wobbuffet becomes popular in an attempt to combat the Yveltal-EX and Blastoise decks.

-Jacob Van Wagner (2015 World Champion)

I feel the most important thing to get right in this format is your decklist. You can devote twenty of your cards to one matchup, or ten, five, and five to three different matchups, and the more versatile deck will usually come out on top. If you're able to do this and keep your deck consistent, you should be prepared for this format. If I were playing next week, I would pilot Yveltal-EX/techs because the engine takes up maybe forty cards and you have an entire twenty to devote to the specific matchups you'd like to beat.

-Daniel Altavilla (2014 Georgia Regional Champion)

Well, the main players of Week 1 were pretty expected, and going forward, I would expect the two to remain dominant forces. However, Expanded is a huge format with a ridiculous amount of viable decks, so you can't afford to play something that only beats Blastoise and Yveltal and hope to do well. Without a single obviously dominant deck arising week one like Donphan and Virizion/Mewtwo in the past, the Week 2 play isn't an obvious choice. Instead, make a decision based either on what you're most comfortable running for fourteen rounds of Swiss plus Top 8, or what you think has the fewest losing matchups, even if that means having relatively few extremely positive matchups—or more ideally, a deck with even matchups that you happen to be comfortable with. Good Luck!

-Evan MacPhaul (2014 New England Regionals Semifinalist)

I think the results from Week 1 were to be expected, aside from the Vileplume decks. Two made it to Top 8, but you can see they quickly folded. After seeing that Yveltal was highly dominant (which was no surprise seeing how strong Dark Patch is), then maybe for Week 2, people will change to Manectric decks since Manectric is also good against Toad/Bats, which we saw Pramawat win with in Texas. But you have to think that going into Week 2, there will be a decent amount of Manectric variants and possibly decks that counter Manectric as well, so maybe focusing on one of those plays is the way to go for Week 2.

Blastoise was also dominant, almost winning two different Regionals right after it just won Worlds, so if you can make a deck that counters both Stoise and Yveltal, then I recommend playing that for Week 2.

-Jose Marrero (Two-time Regionals Finalist)

With the first week in the books, Yveltal and Blastoise took half of the Top 16 placements at both Regionals and I'm honestly not surprised. Going into that weekend, the deck to beat was Seismitoad/Giratina and both Yveltal and Blastoise have amazing matchups against that deck. Going into this weekend, I really don't expect that much change, with Yveltal and Blastoise being the best two decks to play for the tournament, but I could see more Seismitoad/Crobat decks popping up because it won Texas and it has decent matchups against Blastoise and Yveltal.

If I was playing in Week 2, I would still play Blastoise because I think it has a better matchup against Yveltal from my testing. The only thing I would be worried about with the deck is if Yveltal starts playing, like, two or three Hex Manic in their lists; than the matchup starts to swing in their favor, but Hex Manic isn't that great in a lot of other matchups and Blastoise can still be so fast that a timely Hex Manic won't matter.

-Nikolas Campbell (Two-time Regionals Finalist)

Closing thoughts

Though the deck pool at the moment may seem smaller than it's been in months, don't let your guard down.  There are a number of decks on the fringes that just need the right conditions to succeed.  Now that Vileplume has proven successful, it could see an increase in popularity as more players give it a try.  Mega Manectric is positioned to make a deep run if it finds a way to contend with Blastoise, especially since it's resilient to Hex Maniac.  And of course, don't count Vespiquen out just yet.  Its Top 16 finish from Week 1 may just be the start of something bigger.

That does it for this week.  We'll be back next week with an analysis of Week 2 results.  For everyone playing in Week 2, best of luck to you.  See you next time!

 

60cards Team

[+9] okko


 

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