Hey all, long time since I’ve had an article here I feel like. I’m going to be trying to go over some of the national metagame this week as well as giving you a rundown of the rogue deck that I played at my first week of states. Let’s start off with some metagame analysis though!
Coming out of Cities, Luxchomp was far and away the best deck, with the most wins, the most top cuts, the most everything. Vilegar and Gyarados were distant seconds, but still very formidable decks. Dialga was played sparingly but had some success nonetheless. Machamp, the final of the “Big 5” underperformed and was written off as generally a mediocre deck.
The only real big deck introduced from Call of Legends is the infamous Lostgar, which had mixed expectations going into week one of States. Everyone was preparing for it, but it seemed not that many people were going to play it. Looking at the results, it seems as if this was exactly the case.
If we take a look at the results, Luxchomp is still by far the most popular and successful deck in the format. Surprise surprise! Not really. Everyone here on SixPrizes has been talking about how Luxchomp is still the strongest deck and the most versatile and the most able to steal games and etc etc etc, you’ve all heard this 1000 times.
More interestingly, in my opinion, is the significance of some of the other decks out there right now. Dialga definitely saw a spike in play, personally I played against two Dialga variants in my tournament and saw multiple others running around.
On the national scale, we have two winning Dialga lists (one coming from the insanely talented, Dialga-man Kyle “Pooka” Sucevich) as well as a number of top four and top eight finishers with the deck.
Vilegar has settled down a bit, but is still pretty popular and successful, coming in with three wins so far, along with multiple other higher placings. Gyarados is around the same, with two wins and a similar amount of good places in the top cut.
These results aren’t too too surprising, but I am a little shocked to see Gyarados doing so well. Although I knew it was still going to be a solid play for States, I assumed many people had given up on the deck in light of Lostgar.
Even former World Champion Stephen Silvestro piloted the deck, and though I’m not sure, I’ve heard he went X-1 in swiss, losing only one round on the first turn, and then missed the cut (only a T4?). So, Gyarados is still a force.
My personal opinion is that it can’t compete with Luxchomp if it runs Expert Belt and Vilegar is still its hardest matchup, especially the Gyarados builds that I’ve seen running around. The one Gyarados I played against this weekend, my Vileplume completely stopped him: he didn’t play more than one card a turn once Vileplume hit the field.
Although I didn’t compile the data by region like I did for Cities, if we look at the Gym for information we can see what is what by region pretty easily, but we also have to realize that, for the most part, it’s the same everywhere: SP dominates with Vilegar and Gyarados taking some spots, different areas have more focus on one or the other, and then there are a bunch of random decks that are popular in one area and not so much in another.
The best way to assess your own local metagame is to think back to what you saw played a lot week one, and even further back to Cities. Fulop mentioned in his last article that Machamp was popular in Ohio, while there is very little around in the Northeast, because we have a pretty decent amount of Gengar floating around.
There were also a couple Magnezone decks here, while other regions had none, but had some Regigigas variants running out, while we had none of those.
So, going through it pretty quickly, I’ll try to point out some of the irregularities in each region that I can see:
Canada was totally dominated by SP decks, more so than maybe any other region. I don’t think I would ever suggest using Machamp, but if you’re playing in Canada be aware that you’ll likely run into a LOT of SP, so be prepared.
Vileplume, Machamp, Scizor are all cards that are pretty good vs SP decks. If you plan on running SP yourself make sure you have all your mirror techs in there; Dragonite, Ambipom, Toxicroak will all help immensely in the long games that are SP mirror matches.
I wouldn’t suggest running anything that you think has an “iffy” matchup vs either Luxchomp or Dialgachomp, as you will almost certainly run into at least one, if not more, throughout the tournament.
The Northeast was still populated by a lot of SP decks, but there was certainly a decent amount of variety as well. At New York, there were a bunch of Gengar variants around, both Vilegar and Lostgar, and at least one combination of the two. Gyarados was present, as was Magnezone. There was at least one Sablelock as well.
Three of the four top decks ended up being Luxchomp, though.
Up in Connecticut and New Hampshire there was a bit more variety it seems, with two Gyarados and Sablelock holding it down in Connecticut in the top four, with Gino coming out on top with Luxchomp. I imagine this was a pretty good representation of the field.
Although I don’t know all the specifics up in New Hampshire, I do know Con took the event down with Sablelock and Alex Frezza did well with the deck too. If you’re heading over to Massachusetts this weekend, be prepared for this varied deck metagame; you’re going to have to deal with everything from Gyarados to very different SP decks in Sablelock and Luxchomp.
I think New Jersey and Delaware will be a bit more focused, with the majority of top players running Gengar and Luxchomp.
The Mid-Atlantic looks to prove another difficult region to prepare for. With Pramawat winning with Steelix this past week, I wouldn’t advise playing something like it or Scizor, as I would be surprised if people didn’t throw in silly Fire techs just in case the deck is still around this week.
Looking at North Carolina’s results, it seems as if some players were already doing this, with Sablelock/Blaziken performing very well. Beyond that, SP decks were popular but not as popular as other regions it seems, and Gyarados was a big contender. VileLostGar took home the troph—I mean medal! in North Carolina, so I wouldn’t write out Gengar as a non-factor either.
And then you have the random Machamp that Top Foured there as well, and you have yourself a very diverse metagame to prepare for. I would advise Luxchomp for a field like this, and just try to fit what you can. I really like Fulop’s list he posted with Dialga in it, and I might add a Weavile/D Energy to combat Gengars.
With less SP, you probably don’t need all three of the SP mirror Pokémon, which helps free up some spots for techs for other decks.
The South seems to blend a lot of SP and a lot of Gengar, but mostly SP: Oklahoma had an all Luxchomp Top Four, where Louisiana was three-quarters SP, and Georgia had half its Top Eight SP. Since there is a decent amount of Gengar, though, Machamp would be a poor choice to try and counter these guys, so you’ll have to look somewhere else.
I tried making that Machamp/Umbreon deck that I wrote an article about oh so long ago work again, but it doesn’t have the “umph” factor and does have bad matchups to a lot of things not SP or Gengar.
Not too sure what to recommend here, as I’m kind of in the same boat, but I’m probably going to go with SP myself this weekend, as it the “safe” choice, and with appropriate techs, can seriously take on anything when piloted by a competent player.
The Midwest, or at least the middle of the country, has so many damn States in it that I don’t even know where to begin! I’ll leave Ohio out, as Chris talked about it a lot in his report, but we have Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Iowa to talk about here.
pokemon-paradijs.comSome of these states I don’t have a lot of information on, but what I can say is this: there is a ton of variety.
Almost every tournament was won by a different deck, and each had a different supporting cast of decks to back them up. Luxchomp and Vilegar seemed to be the most popular, with Dialga and Gyarados coming closely behind here. With such a hodge-podge of decks, again it’s hard to give advice.
Go with what you’re feeling. I know Josh mentioned in the forums that he might switch to Luxchomp this week after coming 2nd with Sablelock, and some people told him not to if he wasn’t comfortable with the deck; if it’s been said once, it’s been said a thousand times: go with what you’re comfortable with. Especially in a diverse format like this.
This leaves the West which again, encompasses a large area, but when you have one state like California going on, there’s not really much else I can do. I don’t really know what the overall Californian metagame was, but looking at the results, it seems as if there was lot of SP and a good amount of Gengar, with it winning and being the runner-up, and I know Chad Harris piloted it to a Top Eight finish as well.
Idaho was won by an Arceus deck, followed by three Dialgachomps, and then an array of interesting decks for the Top Eight. And then we can see Oregon having some interesting finishes, with a straight Scizor deck winning the whole thing, edging out a straight Machamp deck in the finals, with Lostgar and Luxchomp rounding out the Top Four.
Don’t even get me started on the rest of the Top Eight there! All of this leads me to believe that, although SP and Gengar will be popular in the West, you are going to have to be prepared for a bunch of random decks, but not bad random decks, GOOD random decks.
pokemon-paradijs.comOne of my friends from California, though he didn’t do too hot, is a good player and ran some weird Manectric/Luxray deck. So there are definitely good players playing weird decks out there, so be prepared for anything.
That’s about it for the metagame analysis, I hope it can help at least a little bit. The national metagame is probably more important overall, but taking into account your local metagame is what can separate you from winning the event or just making the cut.
NY States Report
Now I’d like to go into my own tournament. I played in New York States, which had just under 60 Masters, so we had a six-round, Top Eight tournament, which would likely not let anyone in top cut that wasn’t 5-1 or better, as the number of players was so close to the “tipping point” to go up to a Top 16 cut.
I had decided a week prior to play my Magnezone/Scizor/Vileplume deck that I had been testing out and have really liked in testing. I knew it had a tough Gengar matchup (either Vilegar or Lostgar), but I was expecting a lot of SP and Gyarados as well as random stuff, and I was pretty comfortable in all those matchups, and I knew my deck could roll over these decks if it got the chance.
Let me start off with the decklist so you guys can follow:
Pokémon – 28
4 Spiritomb AR
Trainers – 18
Energy – 14
So let’s see what I need to explain here…
pokegym.netThe Magnezone line might seem a little weird: Only 3/3 Magnemite/Magneton was fine, as we have Scizor as a backup attacker, and in attempt to cut cards and keep the Pokémon count from getting outrageously high. You need three Magnezones maximum throughout any given, and can often get away with only two.
Looking back, I would have liked a 4th Magnemite to increase better starts as well as recover from an early Magnemite KO from something like Luxray or Garchomp. Two Magnezone Prime was perfect in helping stabilize set ups and get the last few KOs against things.
I don’t want to say it’s not the main attacker of the deck, but him and Scizor play equal roles in attacking, so only two was fine in that regard. One Magnezone SF is certainly needed for his power, and his attack came in handy a couple times as well (mostly vs Gyarados).
The Magnezone LV.X is where a lot of people might raise their eyebrows. With Vileplume, the card is stellar. Against SP decks not named Dialga, it can 2HKO any of the LV.X Pokémon SP without fear of them retreating/Poké Turning/healing and it gives you a turn to set yourself up if you need to.
You also don’t need to Lost Zone three Energy then just to KO a 110 HP Pokémon. The “Energy Trans” of Magnezone is also phenomenal, though probably just an added bonus. Getting rid of the Fighting weakness of Magnezone is also pretty big vs stuff, especially SP.
It also gives you the option to hit for straight 80 and not Lost Zone Energy, so you can get them back with the other Magnezone.
The rest of the Pokémon are pretty self-explanatory. Regice is in to get rid of the unneeded cards (there’s a lot of them every game unfortunately – extra Spiritombs, extra Vileplume line, extra BTS, etc) and help vs Gengar decks especially.
pokemon-paradijs.comThe Energy is pretty balanced. I would like a 3rd Warp. The single Rescue was a Palmer’s for a while, was the 4th Magnemite for awhile, but I decided on the one Rescue as it kind of acts like both of those as well as providing an Energy.
I think I only used it once for its Rescue purpose and the rest of the time it was just an Energy that I ended up Lost Zoning with Magnezone Prime. So, it could probably be replaced for the 3rd Warp, which would probably be better overall.
Trainers are also pretty straightforward. Maximum consistency as well as providing the disruption in Judge. I originally had a bit more diverse Trainer lineup, with the 3rd Judge and 3rd Twins being a single copy of Seeker and Copycat, but decided in the last few days to just make it a bit more uniform.
Seeker is great to have in the deck, but there’s really no room to fit more than one, maybe two, so I figured it wasn’t worth the subtraction of Twins and Judge. I was happy with my decision, as I used all three Twins at least two games and all three Judge one of my games vs Sablelock.
The thing about this deck, especially in such a fast format like this one, is that you can’t be afraid to go down two, sometimes even 3 Prizes, while setting up.
I consistently sack two Spiritombs a game vs stuff like SP and Gyarados because I know once I get everything up and going, they can’t compete. Once your field gets narrowed down to two or three Magnezones, Vileplume, and Scizor, SP can 2HKO at best anything on your field, and often can’t even do that.
This is where Seekers would be phenomenal, but I view them generally as a win-more card, because once I get into these scenarios, I’m usually going to win the game anyway.
pokegym.netSP matchups generally take experience to understand how to play them. Scizor is a big guy here, but often he’ll be hitting for little damage for a while and will eventually become the tank to roll through with. Magnezone Prime takes some prizes throughout out the game, and Magnezone X is the champion here.
Gyarados the strategy is pretty simple: if they have a Rescue attached, use Magnezone SF’s Gyro Ball to switch out to Scizor Prime so they can’t hit that, and if they don’t have Rescue, simply 1HKO with Magnezone Prime and then they can’t get another Gyarados going for at least two turns, as they can’t play Pokémon Rescue, which leaves Combee as their only option.
Gengar I didn’t test too heavily against, but Regice is key and just attack with whatever you can. Vs Lostgar try to get a Scizor Prime that’s swinging for 130 so you can just do that every turn.
Well, let’s delve into my tournament and I can give some more insight from that:
Round 1 vs Uxie
Didn’t know what this guy was playing, so I started Spiritomb and Oddish (if I had known it was Uxie, I would have not benched the Oddish). I go first, evolve to Gloom. He goes, has Cyclone in his opening hand, and proceeds to draw a lot and Crobat enough damage onto Spiritomb and then 1HKO Gloom.
Round 2 vs Dialgachomp
Wasn’t too pleased when he flipped over Dialga and Garchomp to my Regice. However, I had Collector and was able to get Spiritomb out turn two and start getting set up. He had the T2 Dialga G LV.X, but kept it out there and used Deafen for a turn or two (probably not knowing it didn’t really affect me much!)
pokemon-paradijs.comI think I went through two Spiritombs this game, and by the time I started attacking, his Dialga was still active (awesome!) so I Magnezone Primed it for the KO. He then sends up another Dialga, and I Lost Burn another three Energy to get rid of that guy and hopefully rid myself of the Dialga threat for the rest of the game.
It worked, and he had a tough time the rest of the game setting up and drawing prizes. Garchomps were met with Scizor who was slowly tanking itself to victory. Once Scizor had four Metals on it, it wasn’t dying and was taking a prize every turn, and he couldn’t keep up.
Round 3 vs Dialga/Scizor/Skarmory
Weird game. She sets up Scizor with Skarmory, which is met with a Magnezone Prime 1HKO. She then sets up another Scizor, and I’m forced to Warp my Magnezone Prime back to the bench so I can draw some easy prizes (I gave up two early to Scizor) so I can comeback in the game. Once this happens, though, I have no way to touch Scizor.
So, tied on prizes, I send up my Scizor and we just kind of sit there for a few turns passing while I get two Energy attachments a turn (a bunch of Energy discarded and was getting them back with Magnezone SF, and my Magnezone Prime was leveled up so I could move the Energy around).
Once I had a significant amount of Energy on the board, I Warped my Scizor back to Magnezone Prime, attached Unown Q to it, and retreated the big guy back to Scizor. One more turn of passing from here and Magnezone Prime came back up and 1HKO’d a Belted, three Special Metal Scizor for my last 2 Prizes.
Round 4 vs Feraligatr/Blastoise
I get a T2 Vileplume and he can’t set up under it and I win by Gyro Balling a few times for the game.
Round 5 vs Sablelock (Aziz)
After that, he couldn’t KO anything and I just slowly and steadily took prizes. Magnezone X was great, especially when he misplayed by filling his bench without Bronzong, and his Energies were stuck on the active when I paralyzed him. Was a good game, but SP can’t deal with a field of huge guys once everything else is gone.
Round 6 vs Gyarados
Again, I sacked two Tombs early to set up. He gets going relatively fast and I have to race against time to tie and win the game. Eventually, I get my strategy going and KO a Gyarados, and then take two easy prizes with Scizor. The next Gyarados is met with Magnezone Prime, which consequently takes the final 2 Prizes as well, Lost Burning two Energy a turn for the win.
So from 0-1 to 5-1, not too shabby! The top cut looked like this:
(1) Luxchomp vs (8) Uxie
(2) Luxchomp vs (7) Magnezone/Vileplume/Scizor
(3) Mightyena/Vileplume vs (6) Luxchomp
(4) Vilegar vs (5) Dialga G/Alakazam 4
I know those matchups are right, not sure about the seeding though.
I’m up against my friend Jason who knocked me out of my last Cities in a thrilling three game series between my Dialgachomp and his Luxchomp. I knew he ran 1-1 Dialga in his list, so I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy Luxchomp game to say the least.
Top 8 vs Luxchomp
Game 1 I open Spiritomb and a decent hand. He opens Dialga :( He calls for two basics and passes to me. I think I Collector and evolve something. He has the Dialga G LV.X in hand, and gets Unown Q with Collector, and retreats it to the bench.
At this point, I know, barring something incredible, I’ve probably lost the game. Luxchomp is easyyyy if I stop their Trainers and make them deal with Scizor. Not so much otherwise. I play out the next few turns to see how it goes, but scoop to save time.
Game 2 gives me the worst hand I saw with the deck all day: Regice, Lightning, Metal, Gloom, Magneton, Magnezone Prime, Magnezone LV.X. I topdeck Collector, but he opens with the T2 Garchomp LV.X and I’m so behind by turn five or six that I just scoop to not prolong the inevitable.
A heartbreaking way to exit the tournament, but a solid day overall. I only gained like 40 points which kind of sucks, but the deck ran well and I had a good time. I’m not sure if I’m going to play the deck again this coming week, as it lost its surprise factor as well me not being solid on its consistency (obviously).
I’m looking at SP alternatives, both Luxchomp and Dialga, and have been playing them all week trying to get a feel for what I want to do. Hopefully everything will go well. I’ll be at New Jersey if anyone wants to say hi!
Hope I helped everyone, and if you have questions or comments, please do post about them and I’ll be glad to help! Thanks!
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