It’s Showtime! A Detailed Look at the Format and Regionals

sportslogos.netHello SixPrizes nation, 6P’s newest Underground writer here to deliver some juicy UG information for your reading pleasure.

First I should introduce myself to the newer generation of players who haven’t heard of me yet. My name is Kent, and I’m from Toronto, Canada. My Pokémon accomplishments include State and Regional championships, National top 4s as well as double-digit City and Battle Road wins. I own a lifetime winning percentage of over 80%, and I’m generally considered to be one of the most consistent players out there.

I have been out of the game for the last 3 years focusing on school, but have quickly acquainted myself with the new format and currently sit in the top 20 globally in terms of CP after Fall Battle Roads, despite 3 X-1 whiffs.

My aim here is to provide you with entertaining articles and analysis that covers niches which the high quality roster of writers that Adam has assembled here have not covered as part of their excellent contributions. Just like my fellow writers, I will offer up top tier deck lists and analysis of current metagame matchups and look-ins on how I approach certain matchups, but I will also eventually tackle issues that are different from what you have seen already, such as Pokémon financial analysis looking at prices of cards and speculation on what cards I believe will go up in value or drop in value.

In future articles, I will also be taking a critical look at the current Championship Point system, and how it affects all of us as competitive players.

Since this is my first article, any feedback is appreciated. If you like or don’t like the way I format things, please shoot me suggestions and I’ll work on it for next time. Any other questions regarding the format or decks or anything in general just shoot at k.shen0@gmail.com. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Without further ado, here we go:

General Thoughts and Tips about this Format

Mark A. HicksAs someone who has been away from the game for so long, I came into this format very surprised, seeing it as totally different from what I was used to 3-4 years ago. It took me a while to get used to such things as the new Rare Candy rules, the new first turn rules and other such rules that you are most likely already aware of.

I made a few misplays of my own simply by not knowing what anything in the format does, but I adapted very fast and it took me just two tournaments before I picked up my first tournament win since I last played.

I won’t go over rules and commonalities that you are probably well aware of by now, so I’ll get straight to the more advanced stuff that will help you guys become better players in this format. Let’s begin with the most important card of the Battle Road season.

The TRUE Impact of Pokémon Catcher

When Catcher was first spoiled, there were many people quickly assuming that Stage 2 decks would be dead and the format would move to a fast paced format full of nothing but rush decks. As you all know by now, the death of Stage 2s was greatly exaggerated, with some of the most popular decks at BRs running Stage 2s as integral part of the decks.

Decks relying on Typhlosion, Gothitelle, Reuniclus, Magnezone and Vileplume head many BR top cut reports, shattering the myths that Catcher would “ruin” the format. So despite all I just said, how can Catcher still be the most important card of battle road season? Because Catcher has had an enormous impact on how the game has been played, even if it isn’t the effect most people had assumed.

More than ever before, the metagame is a fluid, answer driven one

pokegym.netThe most notable impact of everyone and their mother running Catchers is that Pokémon has turned into a more answer driven game, differing from the past when many matchups involved decks setting up and playing through their strategies, rather than responding to board position and game state.

I liken this to the NCAA’s overtime rules for College Football, in which each team gets one possession to try to get points, either a touchdown or a field goal. When the first team gets a touchdown, the team going second has no choice but to answer with a touchdown, and when the first team slips up and gets either a field goal or no points, the second team has a chance to take over and win the game.

What this means is Pokémon has become a much more reactive game, and many players still haven’t adapted to the change, and are misplaying accordingly. While not all matchups play out this way, many of the matchups between top decks have, and I’ll go through those and the ones that don’t in the metagame specific write-up later on.

Utility cards are more important than ever

This is a very common mistake among lower tier players, in terms of deck building and game play. Due to the reactive nature of the metagame, utility cards such as Catcher, PlusPower, and Defender are more important than they have ever been in the modern era. These are the cards that create the β€œanswers” to the attacks that an opponent’s deck can throw at you.

This means that it is even more essential to not run useless cards in your deck, as doing so will make you run out of answers at the end of games, causing you to lose a game you could have won had you had that extra knockout.

This effect creates an ever bigger gap between well-tuned, top-tier lists and lists played by lesser players – for every Energy Search, extra Pokégear 3.0, extra energy, and random marginal tech they run is an extra possible answer you run, which will lead to more consistent wins in the long run.

Watch what you pitch

pokegym.netIn game, this is played in terms of discard from Junk Arm and Professor Juniper. I’ve seen many players lose games because they carelessly pitch utility cards such as extra Junk Arms, Catchers, and PlusPowers for discard effects when they really didn’t need to.

There’s no reason for you to discard a Junk Arm and a Catcher to a Junk Arm for the Rare Candy to evolve your third Typhlosion, unless it’s absolutely key that you need to, and most of the time it isn’t.

Tempo, tempo, tempo

The practical application of the nature of the format is one in which you answer opponents threats to create tempo using those utility cards that you should be playing and not wasting. Using Catcher and PlusPower effectively to secure key revenge KOs is the key to winning most matchups between aggressive decks.

An example of this would be somebody Catchering up a Ninetales late game just to KO it, even though they still need multiple prizes and I’m putting pressure on them with my Reshis and Tys. Due to the nature of Catcher, it is usually in a player’s advantage to eliminate threats first to sway tempo in your favor, while saving easy KOs for the end.

As long as you keep track of how many Catchers you have played, and have remaining, you can manipulate the board to your advantage and ensure you have the firepower you need to get the 6th prize. I’ll go into this in detail in the specific deck vs deck analysis. This is one point that feels like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many players misplay at it.

The best example of tempo I can use is what happened to me in the 2nd BR I played in, in the finals. I was against Yanmega/Tangrowth and I had a disgustingly slow start. By turn 3, I hadn’t set up a Ninetales yet, and I had an active Cyndaquil with no energy and a benched Reshiram with 1 energy along with another Cyndaquil and a Vulpix.

He had an active Tangela with 3 energy, about to evolve it next turn and start putting me in a huge hole. Instead of stalling by putting Reshi active or charging the benched Reshi for a next turn kill, I opted to drop a PlusPower and 2 Junk Arm after attaching an energy to the active Cyndaquil, knocking out the Tangela and setting him back just enough so I could set up and come back to win it.

It’s the kind of high-risk, high-reward tempo based move that sometimes needs to be made to win games where you get a terrible start, and it definitely set the tone for the match and allowed me to score CP in just my second tournament back.

Prize Manipulation

pokegym.netDue to the nature of Twins, certain matchups now come down to manipulating prize counts so either you have less than your opponent so you can Twins or prevent them from using Twins.

This leads to it being advantageous to make plays such as 3 Afterburners on a Cleffa to put them up on prizes, or passing an attack and not giving them the counters they need to KO one of their own with Reuniclus. I’ll go into these in the matchup write-ups.

Most mirrors are not 50-50

This is a key misconception, and it ties into what’s been said about the nature of this format. If two players are equal, and both decks are the same, then yes it is 50-50, but a mirror can be well in your favor simply by playing a superior list. In aggressive mirrors, the player who has more answer cards while maintaining consistency in their decks will have a significant advantage.

I’m something like 10-1 in Reshiphlosion mirrors simply because my opponents consistently run out of threats mid-late game and miss a key revenge KO. I know my list to be more polished than theirs because they run cards that take up deck space without providing a threat.

Also, I know when to pitch those key cards and when to hold onto them, while many of my opponents haven’t shown that they do. Those missing PlusPowers, Junk Arms, and Catchers late game are the difference between winning a mirror and losing the mirror. In heavy setup decks like Gothitelle, the deck that can more consistently setup is the one that will have the advantage.

Inevitability

biz.freshaddress.comA key point that most people forget is that most of the field at any given tournament save Worlds will have a majority share of average to below average players. This means that there is a sense of inevitability in most of the early round matches you play in which if your deck sets up and does what it is supposed to do against any of these players, then you will win the game simply because your deck is built better and more powerful.

This is why for tournaments such as Battle Roads and Cities, I always opt for low-risk plays, and consistent options with comeback potential, shelving high-risk high-reward plays until Nationals or Worlds. There is absolutely no reason to play a deck that can crap out and lose to Joe Random playing Houndoom Prime because your deck lacked the consistency to get anything going and has no comeback potential.

This is why to maintain a consistent record, I always aim for decks such as Metanite in ’07, MMS later that year, Gardevoir/Gallade in ’08, and Reshiphlosion now – these decks will set up fast enough 9 out of 10 games or better, and if I set up, even a bit late, I will overpower a poorly built deck no matter their lead.

While a deck like Magneboar is powerful and possesses good matchups against the format, the risk that I can get no setup twice and lose to Donphan or something pushes me away from playing those decks in tournaments where I can’t afford more than one loss.

Aggressive vs Reactive

pokemon-paradijs.comWith all this information, this format can be simplified into two positions, aggressive vs reactive. In every matchup between 2 archetypes, one is the aggressive deck and one is the reactive deck, and it is essential to know in any given matchup which role you are playing and how to play that role appropriately.

In some matchups, the role shifts midgame and you need to adjust accordingly, and knowing when to change gears is a huge part in mastering this format. An example of this role shift is Goth vs Reshi. Early game, Reshi is the aggressive deck, trying to impede Goth’s massive setup, but once Goth is set up, Reshi is now the reactive deck, needing to react to Goth’s moves and either use Flare Destroy, Bellsprout or other techs situationally in order to try to answer Goth’s threats under their lock. I’ll go into detail in the matchup write-ups and give you a clear picture of how this idea works.

Now we will take a look at the expected metagame for Regionals, and I will go through specific matchups.

The Approaching Storm – A Look at Regionals

The first big tournament of the year is approaching fast, and the format will be the same as the format we’ve had for the hundreds of BRs that have just finished, making for an interesting situation in which we have a very large sample size of how certain decks perform in the metagame right now. To be honest, this is a pretty stagnant format that’s been played to death, and there won’t be many rogue decks.

Looking at the list of decks that won Masters Battle Roads, 160 is a pretty decent sample size to begin analyzing the metagame, and provides us a clear picture of what to expect for Regionals. Let’s take a look at some of the key numbers first:

Battle Roads by the numbers

70.6 – The percentage of the metagame that the top 5 decks cover, painting a significant picture of the expected regionals field. Those 5 decks are vastly different in style and Pokémon: Reshiphlosion, ZPS, PrimeTime (Yanmega/Magnezone), Gothitelle and Stage 1s.

25 – The percentage of the winning field that Reshiphlosion takes up, a significant percent that is enough to give it the title of “BDIF” (best deck in the format) for the fall Battle Road season.

13.75 – The percentage of the metagame that Trainer lock decks (Goth, Ross, Mewbox) make up, showing that while these deck perform well against the most played deck, it isn’t easy to win tournaments with them because they are in general, less consistent decks due to the extreme setup requirements. Most people don’t own the 3-4 Tropical Beach needed to make Gothitelle run consistent, so the majority ones you run into won’t be optimally built.

28 – The number of ZPS decks taking BRs, showing that a deck with a poor matchup against the most popular deck can still succeed if it has solid matchups against most other decks.

1 – ZPS deck out of 28 that didn’t run Tornadus.

6.25 – Percentage of β€œrogue” decks that won in this metagame, showing that despite all the talks of a diverse format, the reality is that this is a very developed, archetype intensive format that nobody has truly β€œbroken.”

So what do all these numbers mean? Pretty much it means there are a select few decks that you NEED to have an answer for, and a few select matchups that you will need to know how to play inside out in order to succeed at Regionals. Let’s begin with the decks.

Reshiphlosion

Hands down the most consistently dominant deck during BRs. The reason why I played this deck is because it can be aggressive and reactive at the same time. It can setup and come back against fast decks, and can come out blowing things up vs set up decks. Reshi has the best mid-game out of all the top decks, as well as an above average early and late game, making it the safest play against an unknown field.

It’s got tough matchups against some big decks, but makes up for it by being easily more consistent. Reshipholosion is this format’s equivalent of a five-tool player in baseball, capable of excelling in almost any phase of the game.

Example List

Pokémon – 19

4 Cyndaquil HS

2 Quilava HS

4 Typhlosion Prime

2 Vulpix UL

2 Ninetales HS

3 Reshiram BLW

1 Cleffa HS

1 Bellsprout TM

Trainers – 28

4 Pokémon Collector

4 Pokémon Communication

4 Rare Candy

4 Junk Arm

4 Professor Juniper

3 Pokémon Catcher

2 PlusPower

1 Revive

2 Cheren

Energy – 13

11 Fire

2 Rescue

– The Ninetales version runs a lot more consistent than the non-Ninetales version and it should be played if you value consistency. Setting up one Ninetales is usually enough; rarely do you ever need 2.

– Bellsprout is my favorite tech to run with this deck. It helps your bad matcups immensely, but you can go with something like SEL for personal preference. 2 Rescue is necessary for teching Bellsprout, as Rescue lets you instantly reuse it to wreak havoc if they have a DCE, Switch, or something else to get out of the initial Inviting Scent.

– I recommend Juniper over PONT for sure in this deck, as you absolutely want to have outs to dump energy early game. There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting with two Typhlosions on the field and 3 energy in your hand with no way to dump them. There is no reason to run any PONT over Juniper here.

Matchups

Vs ZPS

pokegym.net

This matchup is greatly in Reshi’s favor if you know how to play the matchup. Going back to the aggressive vs reactive point, you need to play completely reactive in this matchup if you are the Reshi player. The key is weathering the early attacks by going balls out to set up a decent board using Cleffa if needed.

Once you set up, use Catchers and PlusPower to eliminate and answer threats, going for Zekroms first and foremost. For example, if they are attacking you with a Tornadus, don’t just send up a Reshi and OHKO it if there is a Zekrom on the bench. It is almost always a better play to Catcher and PP to eliminate a benched Zekrom with energy, as it poses more of a threat.

If they don’t have any Zekroms or you don’t have any way to kill a Zekrom, then you would target the active. Go for Tornadus 2nd after they are out of Zekroms, and only go after Shaymin/Pachirisu when you are down to your last prize or two and you can easily win by going for the easy knocks.

Vs Gothitelle

First of all, if you aren’t playing vs a top-tier list (3-4 Tropical Beach), you will win a decent percentage of the time on games where your setup simply outclasses theirs to the point where they can’t recover. Against good lists, you can’t put any damage on their board early game and you can’t take cheap early KOs until you are set up. Don’t let them knock out their own baby and Twins up.

This matchup is all about how much you can get up before they get the lock on you. If you have multiple Typhlosions up, you can play with their energy, burning them out. If you’re teching, the ideal Bellsprout target is Reuniclus. If you play other techs, then the key is setting that tech up.

Sometimes, it is ideal to knock out your own Cleffa with Afterburner to keep their prize count lower than yours. This matchup isn’t easy, but it is by no means an autoloss.

Vs Stage 1s

pokemon-paradijs.comThis matchup is very similar to the ZPS matchup. You need to weather out the early pressure and eliminate threats. The first target in this matchup would be Zoroark, as that is the only one of their Pokémon that can OHKO a Reshiram.

After that, it depends on game state and you can target whatever is the biggest threat is at the moment to set yourself up for the win. Stage 1s is a fairly easy matchup for Reshi, and you’ll win if you play it right.

Vs Primetime aka Megazone

This matchup depends on the kind of list they are playing. If they’re running the variant with Kingdra, the #1 thing you need to watch out for is not letting yourself get set up for a devastating Jirachi attack. That means watch the HP on your Pokémon and don’t use unnecessary Afterburners if it’s setting them up nicely. A big Jirachi is the easiest way to lose this matchup which is otherwise in your favor.

If they’re running Zoroark instead, it’s similar to some of the other matchups in which you answer threats. This one depends more on game state, as Magnezones pose bigger threats than Zoroarks here, but you won’t always be able to secure OHKOs on them.

Sometimes you’ll need to Catcher up a benched ‘Zone and Flare Destroy in an attempt to slow them down, and knowing when to do that over taking prizes is part of playing this matchup properly.

Vs Mirror

pokemon-paradijs.comPretty straightforward matchup here. What you should be focusing on from the start is denying them the resource they need, slowing them down as much as possible as a result. What I mean by this is for example, if they focused their early 2 turns on getting their Ninetales out, then Catcher that and take it out when you can.

If they have 2 Ninetales running and just set up one Typhlosion, then don’t attack Ninetales and take out a benched Quilava or Cyndaquil or the Typhlosion if you can. If they have 3 Typhlosions and 2 Ninetales, take out their Reshis.

Obviously none of this stuff is set in stone and it depends on game state, so try to look at the match from your opponents perspective. Which Pokémon would I least like to lose if I was playing from their side right now? Take that one out.

Just remember a good opponent will be thinking the same way, so a lot of mirrors can be won/lost in the deckbuilding phase, depending on how many Catchers, PlusPowers, and other utility cards you were able to fit into your deck.

Quick Hits vs Other

– Against Ross, Bellsprout is a massive headache for them. Similar to the Gothi matchup, you need to manipulate prize count early to reduce the effectiveness of Twins.

– Against Emboar variants, the key is taking out 2 Fandango Boars if they do set up. The only way to beat them if they set up is by taking out their energy accel, so sometimes it is right to Catcher up the Boar twice if you have to.

– Against most random decks, the inevitability factor will win you games. You can easily win against most random decks that don’t play energy accel simply by burning away energy, and Reshi’s unmatched mid-game is simply too much for most decks that aren’t designed to beat it to keep up with.

Zekrom Pachirisu Shaymin Tornadus aka ZPST

pokegym.netZPS is the fastest deck in the format, on the back of the fact that their entire setup consists of 3 basics and a couple energy, meaning one Collector is usually enough to get going and turn 2 KOs are not only possible, but common.

Personally, I dislike decks like ZPS because you can easily lose to anyone if you miss on your ideal start and they get a fairly fast setup. I believe decks that rely on speed as their only plus tool are not optimal deck choices if you believe you are one of the better players at any given tournament, as you have a significant chance of losing to players you really shouldn’t lose to if they are lucky enough to get a quick setup nullifying the speed factor of your deck, knocking you out of a tournament if it happens a couple times or early in the tournament.

If you are playing ZPS, maxing out consistency and the odds of getting the combo early is key to doing well with it. The list that Kettler posted a couple weeks ago is a good start, with maximum Oak, Juniper, and Pokégear for consistency and Judge recovery.

Personal preference aside, ZPS can have some decent matchups across the board with some teching. Tornadus has pretty much been made standard in the deck to counter Donphan, and you could tech something like Mew Prime to counter Gothitelle.

Example List

Pokémon – 13

4 Zekrom BLW

3 Tornadus EPO

2 Shaymin UL

2 Pachirisu UL

1 Cleffa HS

1 Tyrogue HS

Trainers – 32

4 Professor Juniper

4 Professor Oak’s New Theory

4 Junk Arm

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 PlusPower

2 Super Scoop Up

4 Pokégear 3.0

4 Pokémon Collector

2 Dual Ball

Energy – 15

11 Lightning

4 Double Colorless

– This list maximizes the outs of getting a turn 2 Zekrom up and running, which is key to the deck performing well. Maxing out Pokégears works in this deck because of the extra space running all basics provides you, as you can still max out on hand refresh regardless.

– This is a techless list, but teching Mew would help out the Goth matchup. You’d have to fix your energy base to include Psychic Energy if you do go that route.

Matchups

Vs Reshipholosion

pokegym.netThis matchup is tough because if they get a decent setup, you pretty much will run out of gas. The best way to try to win is smart Catcher play, using it to kill Ninetales early if they have it, and go for OHKOs on Quilavas before they evolve.

Try to take as many OHKO prizes with Tornadus as possible and Bolt Strike sparingly, as it lets Reshi take out a Zekrom without using up their answer cards if you hit yourself carelessly. Even playing perfectly, you have to hope they don’t set up fast, or you will lose regardless if they play a well-built Reshi deck.

Vs Gothitelle

Very tough matchup here, as if they get the lock on you, you will absolutely run out of gas. The only way to win is either to tech with stuff such as Mew Prime or pray they have absolutely no way to set up. Even with Mews, you need to watch out for Catcher.

If you’re looking for See Off targets, something like Cinccino BLW is good, as you can bench Mew and DCE for a kill right away, not giving Goth the chance to Catcher a benched Mew. Even with Mew, it’s still a tough matchup, and one that will take much luck to win.

Vs Primetime

This matchup is pretty good, as ZPS is completely immune to Jirachi and your speed is a very big advantage against a deck that needs a stage 2 to set up. Try to make sure they get out their first ‘Zone as late as possible and it should be a win.

After one Bolt Strike, Yanmegas are OHKOs with Outrage too. The only thing to watch out for is Judge, as that is a card that throws the deck off a lot, but if you’re maxing out on consistency with high counts of Oaks, Junipers, and Pokégear, it will lower the chance that a well-timed Judge ruins you.

Vs Stage 1s

pokegym.netThis matchup is also about eliminating the biggest threats early to slow them down. Missing a OHKO midgame will usually lead to a loss in this matchup, as most of the time it will be whoever takes the first prize and keeps up in a prize trade. They should be trying to OHKO full HP Zekroms with Catcher, PlusPower and Zoaroark, and the key should be not playing too hard into it.

Again, try to take as many early prizes with Tornadus and keep setting up bench threats, using the Pachi/Shaymin combo as a way to keep Zekroms safe in your hand until they are needed.

Vs Mirror

Comes down to card advantage and tempo, and whoever misses a midgame OHKO is in a ton of trouble if they can’t dig out of the hole. Again, use Bolt Strike sparingly, as you don’t want to let your opponent revenge KO a Zekrom because you carelessly used Bolt Strike to take out a Pachi or something. If you can take things out with Tornadus do it.

For example, it is usually a profitable play to PlusPower and Tornadus to KO a post-Bolt Strike Zekrom rather than use your own Bolt Strike even if you are using an extra utility card to do it. Again, the biggest target should be a Zekrom with energy on the bench, in which you should Catcher up and PP to knock it out with your own Zekrom.

Hide Zekroms in your hand when you can. Just remember to think a few turns ahead and you should be able to outplay people in this type of matchup.

Quick Hits – Vs Other

– Emboar variants should struggle vs ZPS, as their setups is slower than Reshi on average and you should be able to disrupt them enough. If they do get set up well, then it’s a loss.

– The Ross matchup is similar to the Goth matchup, if they get the lock up it’s bad news for you. Possibly teching Bellsprout could help but still, all forms of Trainer lock are very effective against ZPS because it relies on cards such as Catcher and PlusPower. Other than beating them pre-setup, it’s very hard to win.

– Against random decks, just execute the strategy. If you start slow though, it’s possible to lose to very bad, inconsistent decks if they set up and there’s not much you can do. It’s an inherent weakness of a deck that relies on speed.

Gothitelle

Gothitelle is probably the Trainer lock deck that is best suited for the metagame at the moment. I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t play this deck unless you own 3-4 Tropical Beach. The versions run by the top players in the world all play the Beach count necessary for the deck to set up properly, and relying on low Beach counts to set up will lead you to an inconsistent performance because the deck just doesn’t have the space to sport a consistent draw supporter engine without it.

While you see a healthy showing of Gothitelle as BR winning decks, just keep in mind that a healthy chunk of those winners are players like Jason Klaczynski, who are running optimal lists with high Beach count, and the bigger picture is there are tons of Goth decks that flopped across the country due to a less consistent build.

Sure it is possible to win a tournament without a high Beach count, but it takes a ton of luck and good setups all day. Goth is popular because it has very good matchups against the two most popular decks in the format, Reshi and ZPS.

Example List

Pokémon – 21

4 Gothita EPO 43

2 Gothorita EPO 46

4 Gothitelle EPO 47

3 Solosis BLW

1 Duosion BLW

2 Reuniclus BLW

1 Chansey HS

1 Blissey Prime

1 Zekrom BLW

1 Cleffa HS

1 Pichu HS

Trainers – 28

4 Tropical Beach

4 Twins

4 Pokémon Collector

4 Rare Candy

4 Pokémon Communication

2 Seeker

3 Junk Arm

1 Pokémon Catcher

2 Sage’s Training

Energy – 11

8 Psychic

3 Double Colorless

– As consistent as this archetype can get; 3-4 Beach is essential in a proper Goth list.

– Higher Junk Arm count lets you get down in cards to a bigger Beach draw.

– Gothitelle is very inflexible when it comes to teching – there is absolutely no room to tech as you already only have 28 spots for Trainers after essential Pokémon and Energy spots are taken up.

Matchups

Vs Reshiphlosion

No worries here about dropping a Beach early. Get up an active Goth asap and if they gift you damage counters, use it to KO your own babies and go nuts with Twins. Most poor Reshi players will play right into Twins and give you the tools you need for a full set up. Against better players, watch out for Flare Destroy and Bellsprout. A good Reshi player will try to force you to take out their Bellsprout early to deactivate Twins, so play around that accordingly.

Make sure you keep an eye out for how many Energy you have left when dealing with Flare Destroy. A lot of this comes down to how good a player they are and how prepared their list is. Against most Reshi players though, you should be able to get your lock up and win easily.

Vs ZPS

With any kind of set up you should win this game. Again, drop Beach as soon as you get it. If ZPS is taking a turn to Beach, it’s an extra turn where they don’t take a prize. If they’re teching Mew, you’ll see them See Off or use something like Relincanth CL to get something (usually Tornadus or Cinccino) in the Lost Zone so play accordingly and target benched Mew if they put them down. It should be a pretty easy matchup given proper set up, and it’s about weathering the storm until then.

Vs Primetime

Magnezone is any damage manipulation deck’s worst enemy. This matchup is tough, as Yanmega can come out swinging and pick off Solosis for easy prizes. Never end a turn with one benched Solosis, as they can just keep picking them off one by one if you do.

If you do get your lock and Reuniclus up, target Magnezones before they are able to get too much energy into play and force them to either let them die or burn up all of their energys to KO you. If you have the opportunity to target Magnetons for quick kills then do that.

There’s not much you can do late game when they have energy and multiple Magnezones so the key is trying to not let the game get to that point. It’s a tough matchup regardless, and it comes down to how fast you can get your strategy going.

Vs Stage 1s

pokemon-paradijs.comSimilar to the ZPS matchup, but you need to watch out for Yanmega snipes when setting up so again, don’t end a turn with a single Solosis again or they’ll just chain snipe them. Once set up, they won’t have the damage output to do anything to you, so it should be an easy game if you get up a single Gothitelle and Reuniclus. If they tech Mew or something, then watch out for that and target it before it can take out a Goth if you can.

Vs Mirror

This matchup is very tough to play. You can’t rely on Beach to set up because it helps them as much as it helps you and most likely they’re not playing 4 Beach so you’re at a disadvantage for dropping the Beach as you have 3 dead cards now compared to their 1. It’s hard to strike a balance between getting rid of their threats and having the option to Twins, and it all depends on game state and knowing if you can follow up on their plays.

All I can really say is plan ahead and don’t KO early unless you know that a Twins can’t hurt you that much even if they have it. Practice this a lot if you are playing Gothi, as this matchup is very tough to play.

Vs Other

– The Ross matchup is tough and your goal early is to try to stop them from getting a Vileplume up. This one depends a lot on game state when it comes to early prize manipulation so play accordingly.

– Magneboar and Reshiboar are tough matchups for Goth. You can’t just automatically play Beach, as it helps them too and also if they set up you will lose. Your best bet is probably just to get a Goth active asap before they can Candy up.

Primetime aka Megazone

pokebeach.comPrimetime is a very intriguing choice in this metagame. The deck doesn’t sport any truly bad matchups, but doesn’t possess any windmill slam auto wins either, having mediocre to above average matchups across the board against all the big decks in the format.

With Yanmega’s ability to control the early game with free attacks and Magnezone’s potential to deal massive damage to eliminate threats, Primetime is a deck able to excel in all 3 stages of a game, something only Reshiram can also claim. Jirachi makes a great finisher to a deck that is capable of outplaying weaker players in the hands of a strong player.

Example List

Pokémon – 18

4 Magnemite TM

2 Magneton TM

3 Magnezone Prime

4 Yanma TM

3 Yanmega Prime

1 Jirachi UL

1 Cleffa HS

Trainers – 32

4 Pokémon Collector

4 Judge

4 Pokémon Communication

4 Junk Arm

3 Sage’s Training

3 Copycat

3 Pokémon Catcher

3 Rare Candy

3 PlusPower

1 Switch

Energy – 10

6 Lightning

4 Psychic

– If you’ve noticed by now, I value consistency very highly as my preference for lists give me as much consistency as I can fit.

– In terms of PlusPower, Junk Arm, and Catcher, Primetime is the Magnezone based deck that can fit the most of these tricks and it is a huge advantage when you can catcher something out to one shot with Magnezone – something Magneboar doesn’t have the luxury of doing consistently.

– Some people like to fit a Kingdra Prime line in this, but it takes a huge sacrifice in consistency in order to do so.

Matchups

Vs Reshiphlosion

pokegym.netEarly game you should be using Catcher, PlusPowers, and Yanmega to take down stray Cyndaquils and Quilavas for prizes, trying to slow them down as much as possible. Entering mid-game, drop 80 damage onto Typhlosions with Yanmegas, either with 2 Linear attacks or Catcher + PlusPower + Sonicboom, while they are still fully setting up and use Judge heavily to slow them down once you get a Magnezone up.

Take the last few prizes with Magnezone and Jirachi. This matchup is pretty straightforward and pretty even on paper so if you can force your opponent into misplaying, you should be able to tilt the matchup in your favor.

Vs ZPS

This matchups is actually very tough for this deck, as Jirachi is made useless here. The build that plays Kingdra is much better suited for this matchup than without. Use PlusPowers to Revenge Zekroms with Yanmega whenever possible and keep tabs on how many low-hp basics (Babies, Pachi and Shaymin) end up on their bench so you can get them as your final prizes.

Use Magnezone to deal with threats until you can snipe off those last few basics with Yanmega. Judge really hurts them so whenever they get a big hand, Judge them back down.

Vs Gothitelle

Magnezone absolutely crushes Gothitelle, so simply just disrupt their setup with Yanmega early and OHKO Gothitelle with Magnezone late. Pretty simple matchup here and one in which you don’t even need to worry much about Twins because you can beat them even if they fully set up. If they don’t play 3-4 Tropical Beach, early Judges will absolutely cripple them.

Vs Stage 1s

pokegym.netUse Yanmegas to snipe off basics before they evolve and set up a nice Jirachi cleanup on evolved Pokémon and use Magnezone to take prizes when needed. The toughest Stage 1 variants are the ones that play Donphan, so it’s essential to knock out as many Phanpies as possible pre-evolution.

If you’re desperate you might even need to double PlusPower Sonicboom Donphans to put them into Jirachi range so don’t forget that option is open to you.

Vs Mirror

Pressure early with Yanmega and set up Magnezones. This matchup is a very simply prize race and whoever can set up a nice double or triple kill with Jirachi will usually come out ahead in the prizes so play by that. Catcher up energyless Magnezones and PlusPower to put 80 on them to set up those Jirachi kills regardless of if they switch or not. Just play by game state, set up your own Jirachi and watch out for theirs.

Quick Hits – Vs Other

– Against Ross, rather than hitting Oddishes or Solosis, it’s even better to gust up a Phanpy and take them out, as Donphan is the biggest threat that deck can throw at you. If you can eliminate their outs to Donphans, then it’s a pretty straightforward matchup similar to how the Gothitelle one plays out.

– Emboar variants are tough as you don’t want to take a prize too early because of Twins. If one bad Twins can rout you, just focus on setting up damage on Emboars for Jirachi later, remembering if you take out 2 Fandango Boars, the game is essentially over.

– Against random decks, just set up Jirachi kills and make your opponent play into your hands.

Stage 1s

pokebeach.comStage Ones can mean many things, but the general gist of it is a bunch of Stage One lines that come out hitting fast. The list of Pokémon that fit this billing in this format include Cinccino, Zoroark, Donphan, Yanmega, and Lanturn. Catcher makes Stage Ones hit much faster than before and make it a viable archetype as an early-midgame dominant speed deck that thrives on limiting opposing deck’s setups.

While Stage 1s can be played in many different combinations, the general strategy still runs the same – start hitting things early and keep the pressure up all game long.

Example List

Pokémon – 19

3 Phanpy HS

3 Donphan Prime

4 Yanma TM

3 Yanmega Prime

2 Zorua BLW

2 Zoroark BLW

1 Cleffa HS

1 Tyrogue HS

Trainers – 29

4 Pokémon Collector

4 Pokémon Communication

4 Junk Arm

4 Pokémon Catcher

3 PlusPower

2 Professor Juniper

3 Professor Oak’s New Theory

3 Copycat

2 Judge

Energy – 12

8 Fighting

4 Double Colorless

– Using Donphan Yanmega and Zoarark as an example, the deck is built for speed and disruption maxing out on Catchers and Junk Arms and a high PlusPower count. Any Stage 1 decks will use a similar Trainer engine.

– Tyrogue gives the deck an energyless prize against opposing babies, which is very useful in prize races.

Matchups

Vs Reshiphlosion

pokegym.netPretty straightforward matchup, and one that is very tough for this deck. The only hope you have is to disrupt their setup enough early with Catchers and stop them from setting up. If multiple Typhlosions hit the table, it’s an uphill battle that this deck is not equipped to win. The biggest obstacle to this deck is its bad matchup against the most popular deck in the format.

Vs ZPS

This matchup is interesting because ZPS slightly outspeeds Stage 1s, which puts you on the defensive rather than the offensive in the early game, something that is not true for any of its other matchups. Against ZPS, you need to weather the early attacks and smartly pick off revenge kills.

Also, if you can target benched Zekrom with energy with your Zoroarks, it will run them out of gas much quicker, and is definitely something that you should be looking for during a game. A lot of figuring out who to target is dependent on game state so there isn’t much to say here but whoever misses a key KO midgame will usually be the one who loses.

Vs Gothitelle

Tough matchup as you don’t really have anything that can deal out enough damage to Gothitelle once it sets up. Really, the only hope is to destroy their setup enough to win the game before they get anything going, but it’s still a very tough matchup for this deck to handle.

Vs Primetime

pokemon-paradijs.comDon’t play into Jirachi is key number 1. After that, targeting Magnezones with Donphan + PlusPower is very disruptive and this should be a fairly good matchup for the deck if they don’t run Kingdra. Watch out for residual damage from your own Donphans as that can play right into their Jirachi, only use Donphan to KO Magnezones, and get it out of there when dealing with the Yanmegas.

Vs Mirror

It’s a prize trade matchup mid-game and whoever misses that key prize will lose the game. This one takes a lot less strategy than the Primetime mirror, as there’s really nothing you can do but revenge kill. Whoever takes the first prize and keeps up the pressure will usually win. This is one of the least skill-testing mirrors out there.

Quick Hits – Vs Other

– The Ross matchup is just as bad as the Gothitelle matchup, and there really isn’t much you can do but hope they have absolutely no setup.

– Against Emboar variants, disrupt their setup and target the Fandango Emboar if they get set up and remember that taking 2 out usually means game. The only way to beat a set up Emboar deck is to cut off their energy supply so even wasting multiple Catchers to kill them is needed.

– Against random decks, your speed will usually be too much for them to handle and this deck won’t lose to many random non-archetype decks.

Conclusion

While there is obviously still the possibility of rogue decks appearing for Regionals, the numbers paint a picture of an archetype driven format, due to the format not changing since Battle Roads and most possibilities already having been discovered.

Cities will bring a fresh new breeze to the metagame after, but for now, your best bet is to prepare for the known rather than worry about the unknown.


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