Mike on the Metagame: Cities Week 3

Note from Adam: Mikey sent me this article last Friday, but I had some things going on and wasn’t able to get it posted until now. Sorry about the delay, and we’ll still have 2 more articles this week.

luxray-gl-lv.x-rising-rivals-rr-109pokemon-paradijs.comWell hello again SixPrizes Underground members, we’re here with a look at the metagame from Week 3 of the City Championship series. As per the usual, I’ll be giving an overview of the format, then get into more detail as the article carries on.

No surprise, for the third week in a row, Luxchomp dominated the scene dramatically. Coming in with a whopping 15 wins this week (nearly half of the reported tournaments), it is clear that Luxchomp isn’t giving up its stranglehold of the format anytime soon. Interestingly enough, while in the past two weeks a significant amount of the Luxchomp wins have come from the Midwest, it seems this week the victories are much more spread out, with no more than three coming from any given region of the country.

This leads me to believe Luxchomp is being A) more widely played, and B) becoming even more successful against a variety of decks in a variety of metagames, truly showing the power and versatility of the deck. This seems like a good time to mention Fulop’s latest article, which showcases this latter fact perfectly: you can change just a few cards in your Luxchomp list and, in effect, you are playing a very different deck. I’ll also mention briefly Luxchomp had the most spots in the Top Four as well, with 29.

Again, coming in distant seconds, comes Gyarados and Vilegar. Both performed well, eerily similar, in fact, to last week. Each took home a handful of gold medals, Gyarados with five and Vilegar six, while securing a large chunk of the Top Four spots as well, Gyarados bringing home 15 and Vilegar nine. Last week showed similar results, with both decks winning the same amount of tournaments as each other, but Gyarados clearly being more prominent in the Top Four across the country.

As for the rest of the “top” decks in the format, they also performed about the same as last week: Dialga took home two gold medals, with Machamp variants and Sablelock securing two each. None of the decks that were “one-hit wonders” from last week took home a medal this weekend, but we do have a few newcomers to the stage. Let’s take a look at them right quick:

Gengar SF/Crobat G – Winning in Nevada, it took out a seemingly auto-loss in the finals, Tyranitar Prime/Umbreon Prime. I’ve been toying around with Gengar variants that don’t include Vileplume, so I’m not too, too surprised to see it coming out on top somewhere.

The ability to take so many easy prizes against so many decks is outstanding, and usually gives you the game if you can flip 50/50 on “Fainting Spell” flips. Combined with disruption, and ways to look at and manipulate your opponent’s hand (Looker’s Investigation, Smeargle, Judge, etc.), you can probably Poltergeist for a KO or two as well, further giving you an edge.

Blaziken FB – Don’t really know much about this deck, as it’s a very vague description and could have been paired with many other cards, but we can take a look at what it beat to win: Abomasnow in the finals, with Mewperior and Tyranitar coming in 3rd/4th. Like some of the winners from last week, I’d be interested to see what the success of this deck would be with more of the top tier decks present.

Donphan – Also winning in Missouri like Blaziken, “Donkphan”, as it was reported, took down two Luxchomps in Top 4/Top 2 to win the tournament, with the remaining Top 4 deck also being Luxchomp. Clearly this was a metagame play: Donphan should have a very good Luxchomp matchup if it doesn’t have to worry about too many other decks out there, namely Gyarados.

steelix-unleashed-ul-87Steelix – Taking a win in Texas, Steelix has always been a threat, but one that many decks forgo and take a loss to. This allows it to come in occasionally and steal some tournaments. Without something to 1HKO the beast, it can easily run right through decks. Gengar and Fire Pokémon are its main obstacles, and, surprisingly enough, one of them was present in the Top 4 at this tournament (a Blaziken/Houndoom deck).

Although I can’t be sure, I imagine that the winning Steelix deck played against the other semi-final deck, another Steelix, before beating Luxchomp in the finals. If there is little Fire in your area, definitely consider this monster of a deck.

There’s not too much to talk about on what’s not doing well, as it is about the same as last week. Machamp variants saw a very slight decline in popularity this week, but nothing significant; the deck is still clearly around, but success is still low. Dialga, on the other hand, enjoyed a slight increase in success as opposed to last week. Sablelock, though not very popular to begin with, seems to have dropped off the map once again, similar to the first week of Cities.

Uxie Donk appeared less this week as well, along with other rogue favorite, Mewperior. It seems these decks were experiments of deckbuilders in week two, and week three brought them back to reality and use more standard decks.

Region Predictions!

Northwest (WA/OR)
Luxchomp continues to dominate the Northwest region, winning twice and topping on five other occasions, accounting for more than half of the top decks this week. Once a region of disarray in week one, the Northwest is finding its way back to stability. With two weeks of Luxchomp domination, expect a lot of hate this week. The proportion of random deck in Top 4 to tournaments is still one of the highest of any region, so you still need to be prepared for that funk stuff too. My predictions from last week were pretty accurate, as Luxchomp clearly dominated and people “stuck to their guns.”

Advice: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em; that’s what they say right? I think that’s what you got to do this week. Either have a favorable Luxchomp matchup, or play the deck yourself. Vilegar could prove to be a good play this week, giving you good odds against a lot of Luxchomps, especially if they are teching more for mirror than anything else. Machamp wouldn’t be a terrible choice either, considering Gyarados seems pretty non-existent in here (although I know Ross has been doing well with it). Machamp Prime can clean up on some of the weaker, random decks as well.

Once again, California delivers one of the least diverse metagames in the country. Out of four tournaments, the Big 3 (Luxchomp, Gyarados, Vilegar) took all of them, along with all the Top 4 placings, save one, which was reserved for Machamp. Becoming even less diverse than last week, California seems to be the place to play if you are very comfortable in the matchups between these top three decks. Each of them can beat the other given player skill, decklist, and, of course, a little luck. Clearly nobody was really comfortable with Dialga enough to pilot it into victory this weekend, but that could change this week if people have been practicing.

Advice: Know your matchups. If I knew of a deck to beat the top three decks right now, I’d be playing it, so it’s hard to say exactly what to play. Probably stick with whatever you’ve been playing, and tailor the list to deal with the mirror and the other two decks you’ll be playing a lot. Again, Dialga could be a strong play if you’re comfortable with it. Basically, just be comfortable with your deck and I’m sure you’ll do fine.

garchomp-c-lv.x-supreme-victors-sv-145Very different than the neighboring region, this area of the country offers one of the most varied results that we’ve seen this year, while still retaining some order. In five tournaments, all were won by a different deck, and only one deck came 2nd-4th more than twice: Machamp. With one win and two other placings for each of the Big 3, clearly the players here have found ways around the stranglehold that these decks place on the format in other regions. Unfortunately, this also means that you have to be prepared for a lot of different things, sometimes running your decklist thin and dropping consistency.

Advice: My advice from last week was not really taken, as I thought Dialga could be a good play for the Body-driven metagame. This week I’m going to switch my opinion and say to play Luxchomp. With such a wide-open field of decks to play against, Luxchomp has the ability to beat all of them. Focusing on the core build with some techs depending on what you feel needs to be worked on would be a good idea, and probably give you a leg up on everything you come up against.

South (TX/OK/etc)
We have a bit more to go on this week from last, with four tournaments reported. Half taken down by Luxchomp, with the other two wins in the form of Gyarados and Steelix, as we discussed earlier. Steelix also secured two other spots in the Top Four this week, possibly raising some eyebrows (including mine!). Steelix players have exploited the lack of Fire and Gengar in their metagame and have found success. Don’t expect it to stay that way now, though. Blaziken will likely find its way into some Luxchomp lists this week, making the matchup much harder for Steelix.

Advice: Again, a pretty open metagame leads me to believe that Luxchomp would be a good play here as well. I suggested Vilegar last week, and it will still probably be a solid play, but Luxchomp with Blaziken has the ability to take down those pesky Steelix decks while giving positive matchups across the board otherwise. Also, with the inclusion of Blaziken, Vileplume gets a little bit weaker, as Luring Flame can hurt a ton. If you plan on playing Vilegar, be prepared with a couple of Warp Energy.

The Midwest (OH/IL/WI/MO/western PA/etc)
For the first time since I started, there isn’t an overwhelming amount of data coming from the Midwest. Still, the region seems dominated by Luxchomp, with it encompassing 9/20 top spots, two of which were wins. Nothing even came close; Gyarados was the next most-winningest deck in the region, with one win and two other placings. However, the region did see its first real “random” decks winning tournaments in Blaziken and Donphan, as I discussed above. Missouri always seems to have interesting decks coming out on top (see Colin Moll: Torterra, Beedrill, etc).

Advice: Is the Luxchomp train over yet? I don’t think so. Keep playing it until it’s really done. You could run Vilegar to help counter Luxchomp, but you might be met with some Darkness hate in Tyranitar and Sablelock, which both secured a top spot this past week. Be prepared for the Luxchomp hate again if you roll with it, as Donphan could become more popular with it taking down a field full of Luxchomps this past week. Dialga might not be a bad tech, or an extra P Energy for Crobat to poison the big armadillo… or whatever he is.

Southeast (FL/GA/etc)
toxicroak-g-diamond-pearl-promos-dp41Well, of what I suggested last week, three out of four of the tournaments reported were won by what I would have played: two wins by Luxchomp and one from Dialga. The last was one by Vilegar, which likely beat on the dominant SP decks. Gyarados also made a relatively strong showing with three top places. More interestingly to me is not one but two Tyranitar Prime decks doing well this week.

A card that I feel is actually pretty strong right now, I’m not too surprised to see Tyranitar at the top tables. I know many Luxchomps have opted to not play Toxicroak G Promo in place of other, more generally useful cards, but this exclusion created an opportunity for TTar to step in and gather some wins.

Advice: Hard to say exactly what to play here, and I hate to say it again, but I think Luxchomp is the play here. Although the most popular deck, it isn’t an overwhelming force, and this could play to an advantage if you decide to run it. A lot of other decks need to dedicate more space to dealing with certain matchups than Luxchomp does, so, if you were to play Luxchomp, you could tech less and be just as, if not more, prepared for the same decks. Make sure you keep Toxicroak in for Tyranitar and Lucario for Gyarados. Switch to 3-1 Garchomp if you haven’t already and you should have a solid mirror match as well.

Mid-Atlantic (NC/VA/MD/etc)
Although there were a myriad of decks to Top Four this week in the Mid-Atlantic, only one come out on top: you guessed it, Luxchomp. Dialga and Steelix were the only other decks to appear more than once in the Top Four, showing that Fire might be a good choice this upcoming week. With Vilegar non-existent it seems, SP and Gyarados can more freely run Trainers to aid their speed, just like I said last week.

Advice: Luxchomp with Blaziken, and an emphasis on mirror again seems like a strong play here; takes care of the pesky Steelix and pseudo-mirror in Dialga. However, Gyarados is certainly a strong play again this week, and as I said last week, with Mesprits/SSUcan easily roll over unsuspecting Luxchomps. With little Vilegar around, Gyarados can focus on speed and getting out quick. Be prepared for Dialgas, though, so run Combees and a couple Seekers as well.

Northeast (NY/NJ/New England/eastern PA)
I wasn’t able to go to any tournaments this weekend, but Luxchomp and Vilegar continued to dominate the scene, with Gyarados making its presence felt as well. I’m pretty sure there was at least one more win for Gyarados as well in NJ, but I want to keep my source of data consistent. I’m going to Brooklyn, NY Cities tomorrow, and I’m going to play Luxchomp (could you have guessed with all my previous advice? :P).

In order to combat Gyarados and Vilegar, I’m going to either be playing Roserade GL to “lock” some guys and hopefully take some easy prizes, or Entei/Raikou LEGEND in order to get a bunch of KOs against both decks, and hopefully put a bunch of damage on the field against Gengar as well. If you’re not into Luxchomp, I’m sure a Gyarados list with some D Energy and more of an emphasis on Sableye will do well both versus Luxchomp and more importantly, better your Vilegar matchup.

Advice: I kind of built it into the paragraph above, so look up :P

vileplume-undaunted-ud-24Again we only have two tournaments to go on here, but Luxchomp took both of them. Because of Gyarados’ success last weekend, Luxchomps came out swinging with Lucario GL and were able to take down the mighty beast.

Advice: Now that people have switched to Luxchomp, it might be a good time to switch to Vilegar and take fairly easy wins in Luxchomp and Gyarados. Each will be teching for each other, allowing Vilegar to come in and exploit both of them not being prepared for Vileplume.

So there you go for regional prediction. Let me think if I have any national predictions…

– Luxchomp will continue to dominate. I think this is obvious enough, but I figure I might as well mention it. If you’ve read Fulop’s latest article, you can clearly grasp why it is the best deck in the format and why it’s winning so much. It’s just so versatile and can adapt for literally any metagame.

– Tank decks will continue to succeed. I feel that decks like Steelix and Tyranitar Prime, although they are not universally accepted as “top tier” decks, will continue to do well. Why is this? They just can’t lose to some decks. If you run Steelix and run into a Luxchomp with no Fire Pokémon, it becomes nearly impossible for the Luxchomp to win if you get up a Steelix.

I think Scizor is actually better than Steelix right now because of the easier ability to 1HKO Pokémon as well as its natural ability to not be attacked by so many cards. Also, Pokéhealer/Junk Arm is absolutely devastating to so many decks. A big guy that can 1HKO anything and can heal huge amount of damage a turn is too much for a lot of decks to handle.

Apologize for the lateness and shortness of this article compared to the previous weeks, but I had finals this week (last one was 7pm-10pm last night) so I haven’t looked at anything Pokémon until this morning. I’ll be done next Tuesday, so I should have more insight for you next week. Till then!


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