Mike on the Metagame: Cities Week 4

And we’re back again, here with Week 4 analysis and Week 5 predictions! I hope everyone had a good Christmas and all that holiday stuff.

This next upcoming week might arguably be the most important week of Cities thus far – we have the marathons this week! This means we’re going to have to look at some of the regions quite differently than we would have otherwise. Let’s get to it!

Not too much changed with Week 4, with Luxchomp still creating mayhem and winning the most games, the most tournaments, and being the most played, with a whopping 14 gold medals (out of 34 tournaments reported). Its successes in the Midwest spiked again, hauling in the most amount of wins for the deck, as well as the most top placings. Gyarados and Vilegar are pretty equal to each other, but distant seconds to the mammoth that is Luxchomp, each putting up a respectable seven wins each.

Machamp and Dialga continue to have presence, but again, nothing significant, with both winning a tournament a piece. Some more decks emerged as potential threats to the Big 3, but only three other decks could come out on top, and two of them we’ve seen already. None the less, let’s check them out:

Uxie Donk- Winning in the CO/UT area again like it did two weeks ago, Uxie stormed through one of the region’s two tournaments to win the gold medal. With only one Vilegar in the top cut in two tourneys over there, it likely had a pretty clear path to victory again, avoiding any of the auto-losses in Spiritomb and Dialga. Not too surprised – this deck can take any tournament down if it avoids the bad matchups and players aren’t ready for it.

Arceus- Winning a tournament in the Midwest is nothing to scoff at. Winning with a good rogue deck puts icing on the cake (just ask Jimmy Ballard). This is exactly what Scott Faust did, taking home a medal with Arceus. I’m quite curious myself to see what his list looked like, as I have zero experience with Arceus and have continually wrote it off as an inferior deck. I’d love to be proven wrong though!

regigigas-diamond-pearl-promos-dp40 (1)Regigigas- If winning a City with a rogue in the Midwest is tough, the only thing harder is doing it twice. Albeit might not be the same person winning, Regigigas took down two tournaments in the Midwest. Again, I wish I knew the exact contents of the list to enlighten both myself and you readers, but alas, I don’t. My only suggestion would be to check out Tom’s article from a couple of weeks ago to get a good idea on what to play if you like the prospect of using Regigigas.

So with only these three decks winning tournament besides the aforementioned Big 5, we’ll move on to regional predictions, as you guys can pretty clearly see what is and what isn’t doing all too well.

Northwest (WA/OR)

Well it seems as if I was right on the nose with my predictions: the three reported tournaments were won by two Vilegar and a Luxchomp, with six Luxchomp topping alongside one other Vilegar, and only two other decks: Shuppet and Gyarados. With the Luxchomp dominance continuing, I expect the metagame to stay pretty much the same this week.

Advice: Vilegar crept up on the Luxchomp this past weekend, so be expecting more of that. Obviously Luxchomp will still be the major force threatening everyone, but you might see some more people switching to Vilegar for the favorable Luxchomp game. This could lead to Dialga with a heavy SP-mirror game to be successful: maybe even as so far to play more than just one Ambipom/one Dragonite. Otherwise, stick with one of the two aforementioned decks and continue to ride their train of successes.


For the first time in awhile, California delivers a little bit more diverse metagame than usual. With its four tournaments still being won by the Big 3 (Gyarados capturing two), we see some new decks placing in the Top Four: two Magnezone, Shuppet, and a Raichu Prime deck. Clearly some of these players had successes with rogue and could handle the big decks, but in the end couldn’t capture the title.

Advice: This week also brought more Vilegar than anything to California, so it seems as if that has spiked in popularity. With the lower presence of Luxchomp this week, expect less Vilegar to counter it. This may make it easier for Gyarados to come in and clean up, beating up on the random decks that did well this week as well as taking advantage of the potentially lower Luxchomp and Vilegar counts.


uxie-legends-awakened-la-43pokemon-paradijs.comUnfortunately only two tournaments reported here, but we have one won by Uxie as I talked about earlier, and one taken down by the beast. The Big 3 made up the rest of the Top Fours minus a single Magnezone deck, signifying a bit more centralized metagame in the region as opposed to last week. This is pretty surprising for me, but again, with only two tournaments as the sample size, this might not be a very accurate description of what was played as a whole and what to expect for next week. None the less, I will try!

Advice: Similar to California’s metagame from last week, if you can find something to beat the Big 3 relatively consistently, play it! If you’re like the other 99% of Pokémon players though, play whichever one of the three you are most comfortable with. If you can get a good Dialga going, go for it, and that would also combat the unruly Uxie Donk deck that seem to keep circulating in the area. Pick something you are comfortable with and roll with it.

South (TX/OK/etc)

Well I was pretty good here with my predictions as well, with Luxchomp taking 4/5 Cities and Vilegar winning the final one, with both decks making up most of the Top Four as well. Kingdra/Gengar and Uxie both clinched spots in the Top Four for the second week in a row, showing that they can still compete in the southern metagame. With so much Luxchomp domination here, there are only two options…

Advice: See Northwest last week. Beat ‘em or join ‘em. I know Kettler has taken the join ‘em side and has had success recently, as two (right?) of the four Luxchomp victories coming from him. So if you don’t want to play Luxchomp, what’s left for you? Pretty much Vilegar. It can beat up on Luxchomp pretty bad if you play the right cards and know how to play the matchup well enough, as well as having a pretty strong Gyarados matchup.

The Midwest (OH/IL/WI/MO/western PA/etc)

And we’re back to the usual with a ton of data streaming from the Midwest this week, with 11 tournaments reported. Unsurprisingly, Luxchomp took home gold at five of these, while the other six were half Gyarados and half Regigigas and Uxie as mentioned earlier. Luxchomp also had the majority of Top Four appearances, followed closely by Vilegar with seven.

Some random decks that did well include Mewperior, Charizard, and Yanmega/Scizor, with Magnezone making a showing here as well. Machamp was on the rise this week in an attempt to combat the dominance of Luxchomp, but was inevitably unable to take down the beast, likely running into the bad matchups that Gyarados and Vilegar produce for it.

2 time World Champion Jason K

Advice: Be aware that many of the region’s top players are actually travelling down to the Georgia Marathon this weekend, so it might prove to be the easiest weekend of tournaments that the Midwest has seen in a long time. Notables like Jason Klaczynski, Alex Brosseau, Kyle Sucevich, and plenty others are making the trip down, leaving the area open to more players to have a shot at winning.

With that said, it looks like Luxchomp is still the deck to beat…and to play. With a lot of the top players leaving, counters like Vilegar become weaker and simply just better decks become better, ie. Luxchomp. So, perfect your Luxchomp list, go out and have a ball and win a medal while these guys aren’t around.

And with that it ends out predictions for regions this week, as the whole eastern seaboard is going to be going nuts with Pokémon this week. With three marathons going on, we’re going to see a lot of progression in just a few short days, and hopefully a ton of new decks coming out on to the scene. Let’s check out the three marathons in a bit more detail:

The South Jersey Mini-Marathon

Well this is where I’ll be…for two of the tournaments. :P A four-dayer, these tournaments will probably be the least attended of the three marathons, but will still probably garner a significant amount of players. With the Northeast already bringing in some powerful numbers, these tournaments will be well attended and I expect six rounds/Top 8 at all of them. Hopefully we’ll get some players from New England to come down and we’ll have some good turnouts.

Deckwise, the Northeast has been a pretty good spread recently between Gyarados, Luxchomp, and Vilegar. At the Brooklyn City last weekend, however, I’d say about 50% of the field was SP. This led to a lot of mirror matches (I played four on the day!) obviously. Gyarados was definitely a top contender, but fell both to Luxchomp and Vilegar in the Top 8. Vilegar reigned supreme in the end, topping the three Luxchomp left in the tournament (including myself).

So, for the first tournament or two, I expect a lot of SP again, as well as some more Vilegar. I expect that by the time it gets to the later of the two tournaments, the balance between the three top decks will once again be, well, balanced. Gyarados will become more popular and SP less.

Also, people get bored playing the same decks over and over again, so I expect to see some rogue-ish type of decks in the later tournaments, probably making Luxchomp the best deck to play for the last two. I’ll be playing Luxchomp for both of the tournaments I go to, with an emphasis on the mirror as well as the Gyarados matchup.

The Ontario Marathon

I don’t know too much about this string of events, but I know one thing: it’s going to be a blast! I know of a few people that are going to all 8 tournaments (whoa) and I know they’ll have a good time. This probably won’t attract as many people as the Georgia Marathon, but I’m sure they’ll have good turnouts and whoever plays and does well has the opportunity to gain a significant amount of points toward their Worlds invite.

As for what to play and what to expect, it’s really up in the air. I’d advise anyone going to play Luxchomp the first day or two, as it is by and far the best deck to play when you aren’t sure what to expect. Obviously the majority of the players at these tournaments will be from Canada, and traditionally, Canada has weaker players, so Luxchomp will also be a good play for this reason: it punishes weaker players far more than any other deck can right now.

After the first couple of days, the metagame will likely begin to shape up and you can switch your deck choices accordingly. If Luxchomp seems to be dominating, maybe run Mewtwo or switch to Vilegar. If Gyarados comes out of the gates swinging, possibly toss an Expert Belt or two into Luxchomp, or Entei/Raikou LEGEND to combat the matchup. This is the beauty of long marathons like this: you can change your deck everyday to what you expect to see the next day. If you guys are there and want some advice while you’re there, post on the forums and I (and other I’m sure) will be more than glad to offer some advice based on the data you give to us from the days prior.

The Georgia Marathon

The Big Kahuna, the end-all be-all of marathons, is the Georgia Marathon. Now in its 4th year, the Georgia Marathon has grown to be a beast of an event, with eight events and attracting some of the biggest names in Pokémon. With players coming from the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic, the Southeast, the Midwest, and even California, this will be like a mini-Nationals (maybe even a mini-Worlds!). If you’re there, be prepared to play a tough opponent every round of every day. No easy buckets here, guys.

Most of the advice that I gave above regarding the Ontario Marathon applies here as well: Luxchomp is a safe bet the first couple of tournaments, and change/tech accordingly based on what you see. The only difference is the caliber of player here is much, much higher. You will need to spend time tweaking your deck to perfection and getting ready every day. Your head will probably hurt after every single tournament, especially if you’re doing well, so it might not even be a bad idea to sit out a day, or drop early and watch the rest of the games. You can gather a lot of information about the other competitors’ and their decks this way.

If there is going to be a new major deck during the City Championship season, this is where you’re going to see it come out. With so many good players attending, the creativity will be flowing and you’re going to see some decks that you might never have thought of. Will they win? That’s a question that still needs to be answered. Be ready for a slew of techs that you might not expect as well, so literally be ready for everything.

I don’t have too much else to say about the metagame this week, it’s going to be an interesting week seeing how the marathons pan out and all. If you’re going to one of the marathons, and you want to catalogue your results/findings o the forums, that’d be phenomenal and I’ll try to keep myself updated and helping anyone that needs help in that regard.

See ya’ll later and good luck!


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