hmdb.orgHello SixPrizers. I am back to talk about the metagame going into Regionals. So, here’s the deal on how this article is going to work. I am going to give what I consider to be the top four decks in the format right now a semi-detailed analysis and rundown of the popular match ups. I will briefly talk about some other decks, and give a two meta contrast.
As always, my pre-tournament overviews are meant to be a cheat sheet of sorts for players. This is not an exhaustive list of the best decks, nor is this article a definitive way to play any of these given decks. I am just trying to provide a means, for players who have not tested a lot, are new to the game, or are just looking for some general guidance, to quickly get up to speed on the basic knowledge of the format.
As for the match ups between the top decks, I will use non-numerical descriptors based off the data in my battle roads wrap up report. I feel that the results from that article are fairly representative, and I will only deviate where the results were obviously skewed.
Also, please understand that in real life (especially when talking about tyRam and ZPST match ups) there are a ton of players who play the deck and have subpar lists and in-game skills (to put it nicely). So, of course on the whole Primetime players (for example) likely have winning records personally against tyRam and ZPST.
What these ideal match ups represent is how the match up would play out if both decks had solid (fairly basic and consistent) lists, piloted by good players of similar skill level. In other words, assuming all else equal, how should the decks play out against each other.
The Top Four
These top decks are in no particular order and the lists are just stock consistent lists. Let’s get to it:
Pokémon – 15
Energy – 15
pokebeach.comWe all know how successful ZPST was during Battle Roads. By most reputable counts, it was the second most successful deck in the number of wins and the number of overall top cuts. The deck used to struggle mightily with Donphan Prime, but with the addition of Tornadus, the deck now can handle that match up.
This deck is hands down the fastest deck in the format. You have the potential to be swinging for 120 on turn one and you should realistically be hitting for 80 (if not 120) by turn two almost every game, unless you just draw a terrible opening hand. From there the key is just to apply massive amounts of pressure on your opponent’s field through taking out precious basics in the stage two decks and being able to out punch the stage 1 decks.
The list provided above is pretty standard and should only be used as a starting point (if you are still looking for a list to test and build off of). In general you can get away with playing two Shaymin and Pachirisu, but then you need to play better recovery cards and cards to pick up those Pokémon already in the field (such as Revive, Seeker, and Super Scoop Up).
Also, the Supporter line is always open for debate. I personally am convinced that four Professor Oak’s New Theory is a must, but the Professor Juniper and Sage’s Training counts (or even selections) are highly debatable. On to the match ups and possible techs for each one:
ZPST v. tyRam: Slightly Unfavorable
According to the top 2 results, tyRam beats ZPST nearly 70% of the time. I feel that this is a little too high. If I had to put a number on it, I would say that tyRam has a solid 60/40 or 55/45 advantage.
In this match up, the obvious key is to take out the Typhlosions early and often. Each and every Cyndaquil and Quilava that you can neutralize before becoming Typhlosion is a huge step toward victory. Please do not fall into the trap of going after those pesky Ninetales. If the tyRam player can successfully get two or more Typhlosions into play at the same time, your chances of victory plummet.
In this matchup, it is very important to hit every single energy drop and to spread the energy out amongst the two attackers: Tornadus and Zekrom. When a tyRam player can focus on one or two energy sources on the field, the match just becomes way too easy.
ZPST v. Primetime: Favorable
pokebeach.comAccording to the top 2 results, ZPST beat Primetime 72% of the time. Obviously, this is Pokémon and match ups are hardly ever that one-sided. So, I would say that this is probably closer to 60/40 in ZPST’s favor.
Obviously, here the goal is to take out the Magnemites and Magnetons before they become Magnezones. However, do not fret it one or even two Magnezones hit the field. All of the attackers in ZPST take three energies to secure the 1HKO with Lost Burn. This puts a lot of stress on the deck. Make sure to play very wisely with your Pachirisu and Shaymin drops.
Yanmega is mostly a liability for Primetime in this match up because they are easily 1HKOd by Zekrom and can even be KOd with Outrage after a single Bolt Strike.
Once the game gets rolling, you need to take out Magnezones quickly once they hit the field. This can be accomplished by saving the PlusPowers to hit a double drop. Also, force the issue and Catcher up the Magnezones early and often. Force them to hit the energy drops and/or the Switches to get Magnezone to safety.
If the deck plays Kingdra, it is important to take that Kingdra out because it will allow them to land two energy Lost Burn KOs against your big attackers.
In this match up, speed is king. Secondarily, it would likely be a good idea to trade one Pokémon Catcher for another PlusPower. Three Pokémon Catcher should be more than enough and the extra PlusPower is invaluable for netting 1HKOs on Magnezone.
ZPST v. Gothitelle: Unfavorable
pokemon-paradijs.comThe saving grace in this matchup is simply the raw speed of ZPST. There is always the possibility of the donk or disrupting the field of Gothitelle to the point of no recovery.
Here, the goal is to take out the Reuniclus threat early. This is the actual threat in the game. If you can take away the damage manipulation, flooding the field with damage is an easy feat. However, obviously taking out Gothitelle threats early is a solid back up plan. In this game if you opponent has two of one basic (say 2 Solosis) and only one of the other (Gothirita) then you obviously go for the single count basic on the bench.
In this game, having four Catcher is very important because you need them early and often. Also, some people have been playing around with techs like Magby to burn the active Gothitelle and force 1) them to waste energy to retreat out of burn, 2) come up with a Switch to get out of burn, or 3) hope that they do not take burn damage coming into your turn because you will be able to KO that Gothitelle.
If you cannot apply early pressure or pull off a tech idea like Magby, this game is basically over once they get Gothitelle and Reuniclus into play. That lock is just virtually impossible to break with ZPST.
– Obviously I said that against Primetime, 3 Catchers and 4 PlusPowers is beneficial. Yet against Gothitelle, I said the opposite. I stand by both statements. This is simply a metagame call for you to make.
– Now, I’m going to talk about the most common mistake a ZPST player makes (at least in my experience). Do not bench Zekroms without energy if you cannot either 1) use Switch to retreat a Zekrom, 2) Use Shaymin to move enough energy over to attach, or 3) have a DCE to retreat with. I’ve seen this happen so many times. A Zekrom player has great pressure on an opponent, only to bench a Zekrom without putting any energy on the new Zekrom.
This is tossing your opponent a lifeline. They can simply Catcher that Zekrom up and stall for at least two turns. This often allows you opponent to get that crucial Magnezone, Typhlosion, or Emboar into play. Please avoid this mistake (unless you are playing me :P).
I will be the first person to admit that Primetime is not my strong suit. So, I am linking you to some other articles that have likely better lists than mine. However, here is a skeleton list:
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 28
Energy – 6
OK, obviously this is a big time skeleton list with 10 open slots. There are many ways you could go with this list. Here are some of the options:
- You can run a Kingdra line to be able to add extra damage throughout the game. This could be a 1-0-1, 2-1-2, or 2-0-1 line.
- If you run the Kingdra line, Jirachi becomes a very important card and needs to be in the deck.
- If you run Jirachi you need some P Energy.
- If you do not run Kingdra, you will want to add max consistency to the deck with a 4-4 Yanmega line and a 4-2-4 Magnezone line.
- If you take this route, you will want to play a Pachirisu and more L Energy.
As you can see, this deck is one of the most flexible decks and that is why many top players like it. This deck can function in many different situations. You can go agro Yanmega and rush your opponent. Or you can survive the early onslaught (from decks like ZPST) and have a magnificent late game with Magnezone.
In Magic, I believe it is called something like filling out your arc (or something like that). The idea is that you want to hit key monster drops corresponding to the manna available to you and the stage of the game: 1 and 2 cost monsters early and 3-5 cost monsters late.
Primetime is the closest example of this we have in Pokémon right now. It drops the quick cheap attacker early and the big, expensive attacker late.
Onto to the matchups:
Primetime v. tyRam: Slightly Unfavorable
This is one of the most hotly debated match ups of this new rotation. According to the results complied from when the two decks met head to head, tyRam won 70% of the time. This was out of 10 reported matchups. I feel that this number is a little bit too high, but that it is closer to 60/40 or 55/45 in tyRam’s favor.
pokebeach.comAgainst tyRam, the Kingdra line is very important. This allows you to deal extra damage all the time to set up KOs with Yanmega or with two or fewer energies through Lost Burn. If you are running the Kingdra version, you also have the option of devolving Typhlosions for prizes.
As always, you want to take out the Typhlosions as early as possible. If the tyRam player gets multiple Typhlosions on the field at one time, it is likely game over.
Also, in this game take note of whether or not they play Ninetales. The non-Ninetales version of the deck can be very susceptible to Judges. Abuse that fact to no end. There might be times where it is even valuable to Judge them even without you using Yanmega to attack that turn, just to reduce their normally huge hand sizes.
Primetime v. ZPST: Unfavorable
The data shows that ZPST won this match up 72% of the time at the final table during Battle Roads. As I mentioned earlier, this is likely a little inflated and a 60/40 matchup is likely more reasonable.
Also, in this matchup that Kingdra is much less useful. So, in general, do not make it a priority to get out.
Here it is important to flood the field with energy and keep it spread out. It is relatively important to use the energy on Pachirisu drops the turn that you drop him, if you are playing that version of Primetime.
Primetime v. Gothitelle: Favorable
pokebeach.comUnfortunately, these two decks never met in a finals during the Battle Roads season. So, I am going to give numbers based on my personal testing, and hearsay from other players. I would peg this match up at 55/45 or 60/40 in Primetime’s favor.
The real question to this analysis is how fast can you get out your Magnezones? If you can hit your early Magnezones, you will be in great shape (you need two of them). If they can get the lock established before you get your Magnezones out you might be in trouble. You lose the ability to easily shrink your hand size and use Magnetic Draw, which in turn ruins your consistency.
The other option is to go Yanmega rush and hope that you can KO their Solosis before it evolves into Reuniclus. This is more important than neutralizing Gothitelle itself.
So, it is very important to track how your opponent is playing. If he/she is passing many turns in a row, it means one of two things: 1) they are stuck or 2) they are holding their hand and waiting for you to take a prize to use Twins to explode into a set up field. Utilize Judge early and often to limit their hand size.
To be completely honest, I am not a big fan of this deck either. If I were going to play a lock deck, it would be Vileplume based. However, this deck was demonstratively more successful than Vileplume at Battle Roads and is likely to see play at Regionals. Here is a very skeletal list:
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 25
Energy – 11
Obviously, this list is very basic and has nine open slots. The portion of cards that need to be added here are cards that remove damage off the board. In general, there are two main schools of thought on how to remove damage in this deck:
- You can add one or two of the dragons to soak up damage. If you do this, either you should play a line of Blissey Prime or Seekers to pick the dragons back up.
- You could also play Serperior in this deck. A 1-0-1, 2-1-2, 2-0-1, or 2-0-2 line could all be possible. The idea here is that Serperior will automatically remove the damage.
Other cards that can be used in this deck to success are Jirachi, Shaymin, thicker lines, more draw Supporters, and/or Double Colorless Energy/Switch to get unwanted Pokémon out of the Active Spot.
This deck, in general, is what I would call a “game state” deck. That means that if you can hit X game state, you basically win. In this case, you want to get out two Gothitelles, a Reuniclus, and something to soak up damage. At that point, in time you have essentially locked the game up against most deck. You could be down by 5 Prizes and still come back to win, if you hit this state.
Gothitelle v. tyRam: Favorable
A properly constructed version of this deck should not struggle with tyRam very much. According to BR data, Goth beat tyRam 66.6% of the time at the final table, but they only faced off three times. This seems to be a fairly accurate representation of the match up. For many people, this deck is the reason why they will refuse to run tyRam at Regionals.
In this matchup, it is important to get an early Goth lock and build a second Goth up on the bench. This second Goth needs to have enough energy to 1HKO anything on tyRam’s field. If you fail to get enough energy into play, you can struggle in this match up if you allow your tyRam opponent to Flare Destroy your energy off the field.
Gothitelle v. ZPST: Favorable
pokebeach.comThis is another match up that Gothitelle should not struggle with a lot. These two deck meet at the final table six times during Battle Roads with Gothitelle winning five of those games, 83%. This is a little bit too high of a percentage for the match up in general. Something closer to 65/35 or 60/40 is more realistic.
Really, the key to this matchup is just to survive the early onslaught. Here you really need an early Twins to get that lock going after ZPST has taken two or 3 Prizes at the most.
ZPST can hang in there in this matchup just by its pure speed in the early game. Make sure that you always bench doubles of the basics for your evolutions.
Gothitelle v. Primetime: Unfavorable
As mentioned earlier, these two never meet at the final table during Battle Roads. As with most decks that can hit for 130+, Gothitelle can struggle against Primetime. In this match up, the key is to neutralize the Magnemites and Magnetons before they can evolve into Magnezones and to hit the early lock.
Also, in this matchup you have to be very careful about how you allocate your damage on the field. You must remember to double check every turn that you have not left anything with 40 or less remaining HP. If you do, Yanmega can take the sniped prize.
You also must be wary of the Kingdra’s adding damage to your field and the Jirachi de-evolutions.
– The biggest drawback of this deck is that it is generally slow. This deck has games routinely going 30ish minutes. So, in the top cut your opponent’s best strategy is to often slow play and then win the second game on time and the third sudden death game. Do not be afraid to call a judge if you feel like they are illegally slow playing you.
The fourth deck to watch out for is tyRam. Here is a stock list that I have been running lately:
Pokémon – 19
Trainers – 27
Energy – 14
I know there are many, MANY ways that people are running this deck. Some people are dropping the Ninetales line and running more Supporters. Many people will tell you that four Junk Arm and four Rare Candy are essential. Some people also would rather have one or two fewer R Energy for more space and change the DCE for Rescue Energy.
Some people like it a bit more techy with Kingdra, Samurott, Darkria & Cressilia Legend, Magby, Smoochem, Aipom, Suicuine & Entei Legend, Jirachi, Zoroark, etc. None of these approaches are wrong. Find what works for you.
The core strategy of the deck is absolutely to get multiple Typhlosions into play at the same time and then wail away with Blue Flare. The other thing to remember is that Typhlosion is a great backup attacker. Furthermore, remember to use all of your Afterburners each turn (most of the time this is the correct place, although there are certain situations where it is not optimal).
tyRam v. ZPST: Slightly Favorable
According to our Battle Roads final table data, tyRam beat ZPST 71% of the time. As mentioned earlier, this is likely a little misrepresentative, with the match up being closer to 55/45 or 60/40.
Really, the only key to this game is to get multiple Typhlosions in play at once. If you do that, you almost always win. So, it is important to create opportunities for this to happen. If you must hold Cyndaquils in hand to wait for the right moment, do it.
The way that you create safe opportunities to play Cyndaquils or to cripple ZPST in general, is to attack their energy. If they just dropped Pachirisu and have not, moved the energy yet, take it out. Always hold PlusPowers in hand and Catchers (or ways to get those cards), so that you can always attack the Pokémon with the most energy attached on your turn.
Also, to slow down the energy drops, you should Catcher up clean Zekroms, Pachirisus, or Shaymins early and force them to pay energy to retreat out of it. They can only pull off the Pachirisu/Shaymin combo so many times.
If you clear their field of energy in the mid game (no matter how many prizes you are down), you usually win.
tyRam v. Primetime: Slightly Favorable
pokebeach.comThese two decks met ten times at the final table and tyRam won seven of those games. This matchup, as mentioned earlier, is close to 60/40 or 55/45 for tyRam (depending on the Kingdra line).
Really, to goal here is to neutralize their Magnezones and keep energy off the field. If you can accomplish this, you will win. So, say for example they have a damaged Magnezone in the active slot that can be KOd and a clean one on the bench with a single energy, you should absolutely Catcher up that clean Magnezone and Flare Destroy the energy off, instead of taking the kill.
tyRam v. Gothitelle: Unfavorable
Gothitelle won 66.6% of the final table match ups against tyRam during Battle Roads. I am not going to lie; this is a very rough game for tyRam.
In general, you want to take out the Reuncilus first. You always want to flood the field with damage and force them to be able to clean the damage off.
This is the main question that every tyRam player needs to ask themselves going into Battle Roads, do I tech for Gothitelle and Vileplume or just accept that they are rough games that you will likely lose?
I tend to lean more toward accepting them and focusing on consistency. However, if you want to tech for these decks the following are options: SEL (you can burn and hope to score the KO your next turn), Magby TM (same as SEL), Bellsprout TM (you can drag up a Bench-sitter, DCL + Rainbow (you can manipulate the damage on their side of the field to score Kos), or Smoochum/Aipom (energy manipulation).
The other option is to simply play for the time limit. If you can get there, you have a good shot of being up in prizes.
Those are the basic tenets of playing the main deck matchups. Now, let’s move onto what I consider the other viable decks. Here, I will provide a less in-depth information about each deck.
MagneBoar: This is the deck that won worlds and can still be viable with a solid list. Similar to Gothitelle, this is a “game state” deck. If you can hit the Emboar + Magnezone set up, you likely win. If not, you lose. If you are playing against MagneBoar, you need to attack the Emboars.
They are the backbone of the deck, and without the acceleration, the deck falls apart. Another viable strategy is to drag up a Magnezone with zero energy on it and snipe to the bench.
YMCA or Mew Box: YMCA is a deck that is designed to beat Gothitelle and it does that very well. However, it can struggle against other decks. Mew Box is in a similar situation. It beats Gothitelle but struggles to other top decks. The deck ultimately is very fragile. Its bulkiest attacker is Yanmega with 110 HP, but that is too easily 1HKOd by the three other big decks.
When playing against this deck, the key is to stream attackers. This deck is predicated on winning the prize exchange, so taking a KO with a Pokémon that cannot be return KOd is crucial.
Stage 1s: This deck obviously has a lot of configurations. You can use Yanmega, Weavile, Donphan, Zoroark, Cinccino, Beartic, Lanturn, etc. The most “traditional” variant is Yanmega/Donphan/Zoroark. In general, Stage 1s are a solid deck that can deal with a wide range of threats. Again, like so many other decks, it does not have many terrible match ups, but it just does not have favorable matchups against the big three. It also has a terrible matchup against Gothitelle.
To me, Stage 1s rush based decks are a slightly inferior version of ZPST. ZPST hits harder, is faster, and has more HP. However, you can play Stage 1s in a disruption style (Weavile, Beartic, etc) and try to mix in a little lock with your rush. If you are playing against a rush version, make sure to bench multiple basics. If you can get out of the early game you are in good shape. If you are playing against a more disruption version, you need to set up your field to be able to switch out of the active to avoid the Beartic lock.
MewLock: This is a deck that consists of Mew, Vileplume, Yanmega, and other friends (most often Aipom UL and/or Weavile UD) This deck is very good against most of the field, but it is even slower than The Truth and Gothitelle. This deck was brought to fame by Ness in the Top Cut Invitational. There were a couple of these decks that had success during Battle Roads, but it is very slow and can struggle mightily in the timed environment.
The key to this deck is being about to retreat out of the active without access to Switch. This means that you need wisely place energy on the field to allow you to retreat with just another energy drop. Alternatively, you could run Unown Cure to get out of trouble.
Reshiboar: This is the deck that theorymon lovers are infatuated with, but is much more difficult to handle in real life. In theory, this should be just as fast as tyRam, it should be better than tyRam head to head, etc. Yet, it just does not seem to hold true. The deck has to devote anywhere from 4-6 slots to energy recovery, and it’s counterpart (tyRam) can get away with not running any.
I would suggest that this is the main aspect holding this deck back. However, that this deck is demonstratively better against lock decks because you can hit for over 130 with either Bad Boar or RDL. Similar to MagneBoar, the key to beating this deck is taking out the Emboars. If you can accomplish this, the game will likely flow to your favor.
Cinccino/Kingdra: Here is a link to a good starting article and list for this deck. I tend to agree with the author of the linked article, this deck can really punish people for bad starts and you can steal some games early. In long drawn out games, this deck generally falls apart unless you are playing Gothitelle. It can swing for 100 with Cinccino on turn two or three and add more damage with Kingdra’s Spray Splash.
This deck has no terrible matchups, but also does not have a lot of favorable match ups. It is slightly unfavorable to tyRam. It is unfavorable to Primetime and ZPST. It is even with Gothitelle, if you can hit the Kingdras before the lock comes. It is favorable to the other Stage 1 decks, especially with Donphan based decks.
pokebeach.comThe key to playing against this deck is to take out the Kingdras. If you can control the Kingdra counts, the deck become very limited in its attacking ability. Secondarily, you really need to attack the energy on the board. This deck is without energy acceleration, if you can clear their side of the field, you will be at a great advantage, especially after the run out of DCE.
Kingdra/Yanmega: This deck is very good against MagneBoar decks and pretty solid against other stage two decks. It is just a Yanmega and Kingdra swarm to take many cheap prizes.
The Truth: Here is a link to an article on this deck and another. If I were going to play a lock deck, it would be this one. This deck is just so flexible and can be teched to fit any metagame. There is a lot of explanation in the linked article. Basically, you can use an assortment of Pokémon to gain the type advantage over your opponent.
Beartic: This is a Pokémon that top cut a couple of tournaments and even won a couple. One of the best combinations for this deck is Yanmega/Beartic/Vileplume. Yanmega can take some easy prizes. Beartic really shuts down ZPST when paired with Vileplume. ZPST just has to run through too many resources to keep up in this game.
Donphan and Dragons: This is a deck that saw some success but nothing substantial. This deck has mostly decent matchups against the main non-lock decks, but nothing spectacular. Really does not have any truly outstanding matchups and zero terrible matchups.
The Two Metas
So what should you play for Regionals? That is the main question, is it not? Well, in my opinion there are two distinct metas that could emerge. There is the Lock Meta and the Trainer Meta. For me, the deciding factor on which deck I would play comes down to how prevalent Gothitelle and Vileplume are going to be at your Regional. Obviously, there are going to be Gothitelle and Vileplume at every Regional, but you need to decide if there is going to be a lot of at yours.
Now, there are obviously some decks that cross over and perform well in both situations, but there are definitely distinct choices at to which decks you could play in each situation.
(Big warning: everything from here down is getting deeply into my personal opinion. Take from it what you want. I just wanted to put it out there for anyone who might benefit from it.)
If you are going to be playing in a Lock Meta, it is very important to be able to hit for over 130 damage each turn, or to be able to take a prize on turn one (turn two at the latest). Therefore, the decks to play here would be: Mew variants, ReshiBoar, Primetime, Turbo MagneBoar, or a lock deck yourself.
Mew has the weakness and speed advantage over Gothitelle and can drag/disrupt the Vileplume variants.
ReshiBoar is moderately fast. It can get you a prize lead and then you can use Bad Boar to take down their tanks.
Primetime can obviously hit for more than 130 with Magnezone while still holding up the early game pressure.
Turbo MagneBoar would be a decklist that runs a lot of trainers to be able to get set up very quickly. If you can get your Stage 2s out before the lock, you are golden.
Kingdra/Cinccino can be a solid deck choice here. If you can out speed the lock and get three Kingdras set up, you can swing for 130 damage each and every turn.
Finally, you could play your own lock deck. If you do this, you will likely be playing mirrors quiet often (or at least other lock decks). Gothitelle can allow you to beat the non-lock decks there but likely lose to the Vileplume Variants. For that reason, I would go with a modified version of Vileplume/Reuniclus. You can tailor the attacks to your meta. SEL for Reshiram, Donphan for Lightning Pokémon, something metal for Beartic, etc. However, I would suggest running Dodrio for retreat support.
Here it is important to be playing something with good match ups against the quick and consistent trainer decks.
tyRam has shown to be a great play (ever since Nationals) for a meta with limited Lock decks. It is fast and consistent with good matchups against almost everything that is not a lock deck.
ZPST is also a very solid choice. It is very fast and can win you games before they even start.
To be honest, I would shy away from Primetime in a non-lock prevalent meta. I fully admit that it is possibly the most skill-based deck, but the fact still remains that it struggles with tyRam and ZPST (as proven by the totality of BR results) and those two decks will be everywhere.
You will likely outplay most of these decks in Swiss (thus netting wins), but in the Top Cut where players have good lists and good skills, you will have put yourself at a deck disadvantage that will be harder to play out of, because your opponent will make less and less mistakes.
Also, if you can get away with being one of the few lock decks at the event, you can be at a great advantage. So, Gothitelle and Vileplume would be decent plays in the trainer based meta.
Uncertain / Hybrid?
Mark A. HicksNow, admittedly this takes a lot of guesstimating and meta gaming to base your selection of one of these twometas. So, what to do if you are not sure which meta will show up or if it will be a hybrid?
I think that I would revert back to playing one of the top four decks or The Truth in this order: Primetime, tyRam, The Truth, ZPST. Granted this is just my opinion but let me explain.
– Primetime has the most consistent match ups across all the field. Granted that many of Primetime’s match ups are unfavorable (ZPST, tyRam, Stage 1s), it has zero near auto-losses. Thus, you will not be completely out of any game and do have the opportunity to outplay your opponent.
– tyRam has the best match ups against the highest number of decks, in my opinion. It is outright favorable against ZPST, Primetime, most Mew variants, Stage 1s. However, it has near auto-losses (assuming no techs and a consistent list) to both Gothitelle and many Vileplume variants. This is a decent risk to be taking.
– The Truth: This deck can cover a ton of bases. You can tech in almost any type of Pokémon in a tank fashion and hit opposing decks for weakness. This deck has great match ups against basically everything but Primetime, MagneBoar, and Reshiboar.
– ZPST has the next best matchups against many decks, in my opinion. It is favorable against Primetime, Magneboar, Mew, Stage 1s. However, it also struggles mightily against Gothitelle and Vileplume, but might be able to win by ending the game early.
As I said earlier, that is just my opinion. If you really want to play another deck and feel comfortable with it. GO FOR IT. I would love to see a Rouge or non Big Four deck win. Obviously, do not feel bad or greatly second guess yourself if you feel that way. In decision of that magnitude at this stage of the game can be deadly.
Choosing a deck
– In this format, even the biggest matchup advantages are only up around 60/40 (maybe 65/35). This means that there is hardly a terrible deck choice amongst the top decks out there. So, do not freak out if you feel that you are not playing the BDIF.
– So, you should play the deck that you are most comfortable with and you know best. They key to playing well in a big tournament is to play consistently. You need to make the optimal plays the highest percent of the time possible. This means that you need to know matchups and deck mechanics.
– Along the same lines, know your limits. Obviously to win the event, you need to make it into the Top Cut. So, to make it into the Top cut, you need to play very well in the Swiss round. So, please be honest (ask your testing partner for their opinion on this and do not get mad if they tell you news you don’t want to hear) and consider your mental capacity to play well for an extended period of time.
Yes, Primetime will offer you the ability to outplay lesser players, but will you be able to play optimally through the very last round. Maybe it is worth it to play a different (yet still good deck) that is a little bit more “auto-pilot” because you will play it optimally until the last round.
I will admit that I have gone back and forth on whether or not to add this section. In full disclosure, I am an UG member and many of these cards have been talked about recently. However, I have had this article written since before those articles (Fulops, Fields) were published. Some might accuse me of lying, but I promise that these cards were in my back pocket before reading those articles and it is my intentions to provide my readers of the pertinent knowledge that I have for this tournament.
With that being said, these are several cards that I want to suggest to you as possible techs for the format. I personally, believe that consistency is the superior route, but if you need something to help a matchup, these might come in handy.
– Bellsprout TM/Carnivine TM: Both of these cards are basics. Therefore, they are easily searchable. The both have attacks that utilize C energy. Bellsprout is very fragile with 40 HP, but has a single energy Retreat Costs. Carnivine is more durable but has a two energy Retreat Cost.
However, both cards act as a Pokémon Catcher under trainer lock. Against decks like Vileplume and Gothitelle you can drag up Bench-sitters and attempt to either Knock them Out or at least force them to waste resources to retreat that Pokémon.
– Smoochum HS/Aipom UL: This pair of cards provides a player with some energy disruption. Smoochum is a baby and Aipom is a Colorless basic. So, they are both easily splashable. These two are more stall type cards that can mess with energy attachments. Say you are playing against a Magnezone deck. Well if your opponent has a Magnezone on the bench with a single energy on it and you need to stall, you could Catch up that Magnezone and then move the energy off it.
This could buy you some time, or at least force your opponent to burn resources (Switch, Junk Arm, SSU) to get it out of the active. However, these cards are easily countered by Shaymin or Energy Switch.
– Magby TM/Suicune & Entei LEGEND: These are your general burn techs. Magby is slotable into several decks. The idea behind Magby is to counter Gothitelle by burning the Gothitelle and hoping it takes damage coming into your turn. This would put damage on Gothitelle and then it would be easily KOd Zekrom or Reshiram.
– Kingdra Prime: Although Kingdra is already a main stay in a couple of the previously mentioned decks, it can be a helpful tech in many decks. We all know how deadly 10 extra damage per turn can be. This can be the difference between a 1HKO and getting nothing. The question that must be asked is how much it will ruin your consistency. This would likely need four or five spots in the deck to be successful. That can be a lot to ask for.
– Darkrai & Cresselia LEGEND: This is a great anti Reuniclus counter. It is a legend with a 150 HP. However, for a single P Energy (easily fulfilled with Rainbow Energy), you can use Moon’s Invite to rearrange your opponent’s damage on the field. You could flood the opponent’s field with damage and then drop DCL and Rainbow Energy to take two or 3 Prizes at once. It is a long shot, but sometimes something is better than nothing, right?
– Zoroark BLW: This guy is another multipurpose tech. It is a Stage One that for a Double Colorless Energy can copy the opposing active’s attack. This can be extremely helpful against many Pokémon (the Dragons, RDL, Magnezone, etc). This is specifically helpful for decks that struggle to hit for a lot of damage late in the game keep up with the big attackers.
– Bouffalant BLW 91: This guy is basically a star against two Pokémon: RDL and Zekrom. You can Revenge KO a Zekrom after a Bolt Strike and you can 1HKO RDL if your opponent was used RDL in the middle of the game. It is a Colorless Basic and only needs a DCE. This is a decent tech option.
Another key to having a good tournament is to remember to do the little things correctly. A lot of these seem very simple. Yet, I guarantee you that someone will mess up each of these this weekend. I know it is mundane, but please remember to do all the little things correctly.
– You need to know your decklist inside and out. This is important because in this game, knowledge is power (I guess that is true in most of life). So, the first time you get to look through your deck, you should be counting cards and seeing what you have to work with. Count your main Pokémon. Count crucial trainers. Basically, after the first look at your deck, you should know where all of your cards are. You should know your prizes, your deck, and obviously your hand.
– Think in general probabilities (at least). Say you have Juniper in your hand and you need a Catcher, that you know is in your deck, to lock your opponent out of the game. Say you have ten cards in your deck and you know that two of them are Catchers and you can draw seven of those cards. Those are good odds. If you need that Catcher and you only have one in the deck with 25 cards left, those are bad odds and you should try another strategy.
– Keep track of when you play Supporters. Since you have to discard the supporters, you should devise a way to track if you have played one on your turn. You can use a marker of some kind. I “tap” my supporter when I put it in the discard. This means that I lay the card perpendicular to the rest of the discard. Then at the end of the turn, I turn it to match the rest of the cards in the discard.
This is very important, because if you play a second Supporter and complete the action, you have ruined the game state and could possibly forfeit the game, or at least be assessed a prize penalty.
– Keep track of your Powers/Abilities used in the turn. Again, many people will use markers to put on Pokémon (separate from damage counters) to indicate the use of the power. You can also “tap” the Pokémon to indicate its use. Just make sure to be able to distinguish between your “tapped” state and one of the status states utilized in the game (Confusion, Asleep, Paralysis).
– Keep track of your energy drops. This is the one that I keep track of mentally. However, I have heard of people placing their manual drops on top of the Pokémon until the end of their turn. This one seems to be like a big hassle.
– Make sure to place your prizes at the beginning of the game and always take a prize. Now, if you forget to take a prize, always call a judge over. Most of the time, they will allow you to take a prize until an action in the game forces you to alter our hand (PONT, Judge, Professor Juniper, etc.). It never hurts to ask a judge.
– Finally, to the best of your abilities be planning ahead. The key to any strategy game (TCGs included) is that you need to be anticipating your opponent’s moves, your counters to those moves, their counters to your counters, etc. The best players are often the ones who can think farthest ahead.
Prague Cup Overview
ZPST took home the title and Primetime took second. These are not really surprising results. They are obviously two of the top four decks in the format. Furthermore, it was rumored that the top cut was cut from an hour per round to 45 minutes per round. So, it is interesting to note that the fastest deck in the format won on a reduced time limit. I cannot say if there was any correlation there, but it is interesting food for thought.
Well that pretty much wraps things up. I wish all of you the best of luck. It would be awesome to have some SixPrizes folks take down the event. I hope that his was informative and I hope that it helps some people get back up to speed that have not had the time to fully get ready.