08/07/2020 by Kevin Clemente
World's 2020 is postponed. I doubt this is news to anyone reading this but it has made the normally dull TCG month of July drag on moreso than normal and even with a new set coming out August 14th the amount of excitement around a "World's Set" just wasn't there. Then a group of tournament organizers who have been running the many great online tournaments as well as other members of the community who recognized there is a hole that needs to be filled. That hole is being filled with the (unofficial) Pokémon Online Global Championships 2020, or POG Champs.
The POG Champs will be held with Day 1 open to everyone and Day 2 for those who advance from Day 1 as well as those with the necessary CP to advance to Day 2 for World's getting an autoinvite. The open field as well as all ages competing will be interesting and certainly something that I will be considering as I prepare for the event. Here is a link to their Twitter, which has more information and a link to their Discord. This article is going to be less of my thoughts on the event, because I think it is a great idea, and more of where I will be going with my testing and what I will be considering for each deck on whether or not I will play it.
This won't be a particularly long and drawn out meta prediction because any predictions currently could be proven wrong very quickly as people test and specifically as large content creators begin to test and spread more optimal lists with the general public. A few decks very obviously stand out and I have a feeling you know what they are going to be based off the table of contents but the decks to watch out for, not necessarily in order, are ADP Zacian, Eternatus VMax, Vikavolt V, Pikachu & Zekrom GX, Centiskortch and Control. Honorable mention goes to Baby Blacephalon, Spiritomb, Salamence VMax, Dragapult VMax, Falinks V and Decidueye.
An important note for the new archetypes is that this tournament is happening the weekend after the set releases and depending on your goals you need to take that into account. I am not expecting Eternatus VMax to be played as much as it could be Day 1 because getting a 4-3/4-4 line of Eternatus and 4 Crobat V is going to be quite difficult online and a lot of players won't be able to do it. So if your goal is to go 7-3 Day 1 you might actually be able to get through it without playing more than 1, maybe 2 Eternatus. This could allow something like Dragapult or PikaRom which are considered to have "Bad" match-ups vs Eternatus to do very well Day 1.
Day 2 I would expect the meta to look more like what an ideal meta would be as most people who have auto invites or make their way to Day 2 likely have access to the cards they need and therefore a different meta that looks more like what you would expect in a dream scenario.
Day 1 I would expect ADPZ to be the most played deck due to a combination of power and accessibility. Quite a few PikaRom will likely be around as well because I don't think it necessarily gets power crept out of the game yet though testing may prove me wrong. Vikavolt is probably going to be largely played as well based off of the amount of people who talk about how much they miss Seismitoad EX and believe item lock is the healthy piece this format is missing.
Centiskortch should show up in decent numbers as it probably becomes the best Welder deck, should be cheap enough that anyone who wants to play it can get it and the deck seems to have quite a bit of hype and power behind it. Control archetypes are not going to be too popular due to the stigma surrounding them but I would not sleep on different ones such as Mareep Mill which can survive Vikavolt's item lock fairly well and can punish people who add Crobat to decks in order to draw more quickly and thus become more susceptible to being milled out of the game.
All other decks previously mentioned will likely take up small amounts of the metashare and while I will test them the hype isn't there and the inherit power isn't obvious so they shouldn't be too popular and are not necessarily things to fear. For the next sections, I am going to go over the questions I have for the deck and I will be trying to answer with my testing. For those of you who don't know where to start with testing, trying to find these answers should help guide you and potentially bring up other questions you try to answer by playing match-ups and testing builds.
There are three questions I have about ADPZ to answer in my testing, does Crobat V increase turn 1 GX consistency, how is the Eternatus match-up and how popular will the deck be. ADPZ is a simple deck, do the thing (Altered Creation GX) and you win, don't and you lose. The addition of Crobat V allows you to Research, Dedenne and now draw deeper with Crobat all in one turn. This should, in theory, allow for a higher rate of success in pulling off the GX attack on turn 1 going 2nd. If it does, ADPZ really is a terrifying force.
The second question is about the new Eternatus deck, possibly the only deck left in the format that can one hit KO an ADP on turn 2. I wonder how consistently this can happen. Eternatus has to bench all of those juicy Crobat V so ADPZ can just gust around and take 3 prizes off of 2 Crobat to win the game but without being able to Ultimate Ray it is possible but difficult. The last question is a simple one, how popular will the deck be? The ADPZ mirror feels bad and I do not wish to high roll my chances of making Day 2 on the ADPZ mirror.
This deck screams of Mega Rayquaza, fast, aggressive and sets-up a huge board. My question is, how consistently can it do it? Mega Ray needed Sky Field but had Hoopa EX to search out all the pieces and Shaymin EX which did not have the once per turn stipulation of Crobat V. I know this seems like a simple question to ask but... if Eternatus lives up to the hype I will strongly consider playing it because if we've learned anything these past few sets, when they print cards with clear synergy they are usually very powerful and worth playing.
I have seen a lot of convoluted lists floating around the internet and I believe everyone should start their pre-rotation testing with this post-rotation list from Andrew Mahone. It is simple, straight-forward and exactly the type of thing that excels at the start of a format. After playing a handful of games with this decide which pieces can be cut back on and start adding your "spicy" techs to see if they actually improve the deck. One tech I am interested in adding for POG is an Yveltal GX which can be combo'd with Galarian Zigzagoon to take quick VMax OHKOs, especially if people try to get cute by teching Brycenman & Belelba to force you to remove a lot of your benched Pokémon.
Vikavolt is going to be a good deck, the main question I have is can it handle big HP Pokémon when they are piloted by a skilled player? Vikavolt may very well be the BDIF if people are not properly prepared for it and if the deck is built and piloted properly. The brings up the second question, can I master the deck in a week? Some match-ups seem like Vikavolt will walk right over them, and less skilled players will likely crumble under item lock but is the deck going to have the power to take on what are questionable match-ups on paper.
I'm not going to talk much about PikaRom because we've all played a bunch of it and played against it a bunch these past few months. PikaRom can play a Vikavolt V which is potentially going to help it versus decks like control or Baby Blacephalon and it is still super consistent and fast. Only thing we need to see, can it survive power creep? My gut says yes, but we'll have to play quite a few games to see.
Our new Welder deck. People will always play Welder and for good reason, the card is kind of amazing. Centiskortch combines with Welder and the new special energy that gives +20HP to fire types and is a tank that can tank hits to 2-shot anything and clean up with a Heatran GX or a 2nd Centiskortch. The questions I'll have for this deck is if it is good enough. One of the strongest VMax Pokémon we've got can uniquely utilize arguably the best supporter in the game should be strong but Welder decks can be inherently inconsistent and it may just be a tier 2 deck because of that.
The main type of control I am leaning towards is a Mareep mill more than traditional control. In theory, every deck in the format should have a tough time with this deck but we'll have to see if ADPZ ups to 4 switch and if Mareep can handle item lock. I probably won't be putting much time into control but it is a consideration for my testing and one that, if you are comfortable with the archetype, should consider as well.
These are the main decks I'll be testing. Some, like Centiskortch, are as simple as, does it work? Others are a bit more complex and come down to significant amounts of testing with various match-ups. Some decks were not mentioned in detail about how I will test them and the reason is, I probably won't. With a week between the set dropping on PTCGO and the tournament the best choice is to priortize the clearly powerful archetypes first and chose to test them in specific ways to find out which deck you find as "the play". If this were World's I would have printed up proxies over a month ago and already logged hundreds of games, but as a fun tournament I am excited to get to do some crash course testing the week before and decide the last minute. You'll be able to catch all of my testing on my Twitch channel and I am 100% happy to answer any questions you may have about the format. This is a fun tournament that should bring the community together and I hope everyone else feels the same way.
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