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2015 Autumn Regionals: Week 2 Analysis

A complete breakdown of the results from Lancaster Regionals, with a look ahead to Week 3.

10/14/2015 by Pikachu's Hideout

Hello, 60cards readers!  This weekend had just one Regional Championship, but the tournament held in Lancaster Pennsylvania was the largest Regional Championship of all-time, with over 450 competitors in the Master's division alone (for a comparison, this is larger than the U.S. National Championships held from 2004 to 2008).  This made for very intense and high-level competition, with a very competitive Top 32, and at the end of the day, one player was able to complete an undefeated run and take the Championship with a deck many players had counted out.  Let's take a look at the results.

Top 16 statistics

As with last week's article, we have the data on all of the decks that made Top 16 in Lancaster.

Things changed quite a bit from Week 1!  Going into this event, the big two decks were Blastoise and Yveltal and the top players metagamed accordingly.  The big deck at the tournament was Mega Manectric, a natural response to Yveltal's Week 1 dominance.  In order to shore up the Blastoise matchup, players added Wobbuffet and Garbodor to the mix in order to lock Blastoise's Abilities and allow Mega Manectric to survive long enough to sweep through the opponent.  Some players opted for Genesect-EX along with Garbodor, using Megalo Cannon to one-shot Keldeo-EX and G Booster as a big threat for other matchups.  Mega Manectric decks are already very sturdy and consistent, so the fact that they had the ability to contend with the Week 1 frontrunners made them a clear-cut favorite.

The other big upset was the emergence of Vespiquen.  Last week, just one Vespiquen player managed a Top 16 finish, but this week, the deck made a much more respectable showing, ultimately taking the Championship entirely.  Vespiquen decks are versatile and make favorable Prize trades, giving them a solid chance against Blastoise and Yveltal while beating Mega Manectric decks handily.  It wasn't the most prominent deck in the Top 16, but it was certainly the most successful.  (Note that last week's article predicted that both Mega Manectric and Vespiquen would be good Week 2 plays!)

As for the leaders from Week 1, Yveltal still held its own.  It's really hard to keep that deck down with so much support and general consistency working in its favor, and with Hypnotoxic Laser and the speed of Yveltal-EX, not even Mega Manectric decks enjoy a certain autowin against Yveltal.  Expect to see Yveltal making a showing in Week 3 too, no matter how much people try to counter it.  On the other hand, Blastoise lost a great amount of real estate.  Though it dominated in Week 1, Blastoise's weaknesses are more easily exploitable than Yveltal's.  In particular, it relies heavily on Items and Abilities throughout the match, so an early Ghetsis or Hex Maniac can be devastating, as Israel Sosa demonstrated in Week 1.  In addition, Blastoise players in Week 2 seemed unwilling to acknowledge the threat of Garbodor and opted out of teching Startling Megaphone or Xerosic.  With so much of the field working against them, Blastoise players just couldn't keep up.

Vileplume didn't enjoy a repeat of its Week 1 success, partly because more players were prepared for it and partly because a metagame where so many people were playing Hex Maniac or running Mega Manectric just isn't favorable for it.  However, a new rogue deck appeared on the scene.  Russell LaParre made waves with his Bronzong deck running Tyrantrum-EX, Giratina-EX, and Aegislash-EX, an innovative deck that combined the power to lock opponents down with the raw power of Tyrantrum-EX's Dragon Impact.  In addition, its Despotic Fang Ability allowed it to punch through effects like Safeguard and Resistance Blizzard, giving the deck the ability to get around just about anything.  Though Russell missed Top 16, Greg Sweeney managed 9th Place, just falling short of Day 2.

And just like last week, Lancaster proved that Seismitoad isn't going anywhere, with two variants landing in Top 16 and some Yveltal decks running it as well.  There's not much else to say except that you should expect more Toads in Week 3.

The final standings

Here are the final standings from the Lancaster Regional Championship, along with the details of each player's deck.

1. Jimmy O'Brien: Vespiquen
2. Frank Diaz: Yveltal
3. Dylan Bryan: Vespiquen
4. Eddie Sitavi: Seismitoad/Giratina
5. Steven Varesko: Mega Manectric/Tool Drop/Garbodor
6. Azul Garcia: Mega Manectric/Tool Drop/Garbodor
7. Nate Pare: Yveltal
8. Dean Nezam: Mega Manectric/Tool Drop/Garbodor
9. Greg Sweeney: Tyrantrum/Bronzong/Giratina
10. Kyle Lesniewicz: Mega Manectric/Tool Drop/Garbodor
11. Benjamin Sauk: Vespiquen
12. Chris Fulop: Yveltal/Raichu
13. Michael Diaz: Seismitoad/Crobat
14. Joseph Ambrosone: Blastoise
15. Hunter Harless: Mega Manectric/Leafeon
16. Jay Leppo: Mega Manectric/Genesect/Garbodor

As you can see, the overwhelming majority of Mega Manectric players ran Garbodor and Tool Drop Trubbish, giving them both a hard counter to Ability-based decks and a very efficient one-Prize attacker.  The one exception, Hunter Harless, ran Leafeon PLF instead, allowing him to cleanly KO a Keldeo-EX that has enough Energy to KO a Manectric-EX.  Clearly the Mega Manectric players who succeeded did so because they were gunning quite hard for Blastoise.  We also saw two Seismitoad variants in Top 16, although with all the Mega Manectric around, it's no surprise that Seismitoad/Giratina was the more successful of the two.  Though it didn't quite live up to its initial expectations, it's clearly still a deck to pay attention to.

Tier list

As with last week, this tier list is based solely on results and is no indication of a deck's potential or power.

Tier 1: Expect to play against these decks multiple times

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

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

Here we considered results from both Week 1 and Week 2.  As Yveltal was the only deck to make solid showings in both weeks, it's the clear leading deck in the format.  It was overshadowed in both Weeks 1 and 2 by other decks, but those decks rely on a favorable metagame while Yveltal relies largely on its own strengths.  Though other decks may take the spotlight from time to time, Yveltal remains the safe deck in the format.  Though you shouldn't rule out any of the Tier 2 decks either (and that Tyrantrum deck could very well jump in popularity soon), Yveltal is the one deck you can be sure to see.

Trends from Week 2

  1. After Week 1, both Hex Maniac and Ghetsis went up in popularity, with an abundance of players teching one or the other as soft counters to Blastoise. With the fall of Blastoise in Lancaster, it's difficult to say whether these cards will remain popular.  They're mediocre against Yveltal and Mega Manectric, but solid against Vespiquen, so it will take some serious metagaming to determine whether they're still good plays.

  2. Garbodor was the other concession to Blastoise that some players made.  In addition, some players ran Wobbuffet, relying on Bide Barricade to stun Blastoise's setup (or at least slow Deluge) before Garbodor was online.  These cards are likely to lose some popularity in Week 3.

  3. Archeops fell by the wayside in Week 2, likely due to its weaknesses against Blastoise and non-Archeops Yveltal variants, as well as its susceptibility to Hex Maniac.  This opened the doors for Mega Manectric and Vespiquen to shine.

  4. Though Tool Drop itself didn't make much of an impact, Tool Drop Trubbish was the go-to for Mega Manectric decks.  With just a couple Spirit Links and a Float Stone in play, Tool Drop is already hitting for a base of 60 for just two Energy, and that's before counting opponents' Tools.  At worst, Trubbish is a one-Prize attacker that can finish off a Pokémon damaged by Turbo Bolt, but it often was much more, easily picking off Shaymin-EX and sometimes even bigger Pokémon.

  5. Giratina-EX maintained a marginal presence in the metagame, running alongside a couple different partners.  Expect to see a bit more of it in Week 3 given its strength against Vespiquen and Mega Manectric.

Deck lists from Week 2

Here are sample lists for a few of the top archetypes from Week 2.  We've reached out to a number of players, so check back here later to see if we've managed to secure an extra list or two.

This was one of the more popular Mega Manectric variants.  The deck uses Garbodor and Wobbuffet to shut off opponents' Abilities while Mega Manectric does its thing, and as a bonus, both Trubbish and Wobbuffet can be very effective attackers if need be.  Even without them, however, the deck can cycle between Mega Manectric, using Rough Seas to heal repeatedly.  This particular list ran both Hex Maniac and Ghetsis with Trainers' Mail and Jirachi-EX to help dig for them, giving it an extra weapon against Blastoise decks.

This list relies on the speed and power of Vespiquen.  With three Flareon as well, the deck will have plenty of attackers for the game, and Blacksmith provides an Energy acceleration option when Double Colorless Energy is hard to come by and also plays around Giratina-EX's Chaos Wheel.  Audino is here to counter Special Conditions from Hypnotoxic Laser and Jolteon lets the deck hit harder against Yveltal-EX and Mega Rayquaza-EX if need be.

This is the exact list that Eddie Sitavi piloted to a 4th Place finish, losing to Jimmy O'Brien in Top 4.  The distinguising feature of this list is the heavy count of tech Supporters.  He brought a little of everything to the table: draw power with N and Colress, Energy-disruption with Xerosic and Team Flare Grunt, healing with Cassius, and the flavor-of-the-week Supporters Hex Maniac and Ghetsis.  With this Supporter toolbox, he opted for a Jirachi-EX.  Otherwise, the list is the same Seismitoad/Giratina we've seen before, with no shortage of Hammers, Lasers, and Super Scoop Ups.  It's familiar, but there's no questioning its effectiveness.

Additional perspectives

We talked with Lancaster Runner-Up Frank Diaz about his deck choice and his thoughts on metagaming for Week 3.

Dark is always a safe bet lately, and I have a lot of experience with it. I didn't anticipate the large number of Manectric-EX decks that showed up. Luckily, I didn't play against enough of them to do poorly.  The community tends to be very reactionary, so people will likely be more prepared for Bees. With the variety of players that show up to Regionals, it's easy to get surprised by what shows up.
For Week 3, players should keep results from all three completed U.S. Regionals in mind. I'm going to spend the week trying out new things.

-Frank Diaz

We also got some valuable insight on reading the metagame from our 2015 U.S. National Champion Jason Klaczynski.

Today's Pokémon TCG players have more access to tournament-winning deck lists and strategies than ever before. While making Top 8 at these 300+ player Regional Championships that are full of great decks is now tougher than ever, there's still plenty of room for crafty players to enter the tournament with an edge. Looking for a specific example? Take Blastoise decks, which had much success during the first week of Regional Championships, especially in Texas. Given the popularity and success of Blastoise decks, crafty players added Ghetsis to their lists for the second week. (A small handful of clever players even had it during Week 1, correctly anticipating Blastoise's popularity!) With Blastoise's Week 1 success, it isn't hard to predict a rise in popularity of Ghetsis, and those thinking ahead might have been wise to avoid playing Blastoise during the second week of Regional Championships. The point here is that while information may benefit all players, those that are able to think an additional step ahead benefit from it more.

-Jason Klaczynski

Closing thoughts

Take a cue from these two great players.  Look carefully at the results from the past three North American Regional Championships (available here and in last week's article!) and plan accordingly for Week 3.  It's a more daunting task than it was for Week 2, with a somewhat less-defined metagame, but you have the information you need right here.

Stay tuned this week for a detailed metagaming guide from Phinnegan Lynch, and as always, best of luck for those attending Week 3 Regional Championships and thanks for reading.  See you next time!

[+26] okko


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