Hey all. So, I got through my first semester of finals. Now I have about a month to chill and get back to having some fun. Hopefully, I will have played in my first City Championship by the time this gets put up; as of the writing of this article I have not. It is the week of the 12th and I want to go over some numbers with y’all. I will also be talking a little bit about the results and the decks. Let’s get going.
As I did with the Battle Road results, I have been compiling the City Top 4 results in a spreadsheet. Hopefully, at the end of the City Championship season this will give us more data about certain matchups, but for now we will stay on the aggregate level. Here is a list of decks that have scored multiple top four finishes along with the total number of top four finishes for each.
- Magnezone/Eelektrik – 48
- ZPST – 44
- TyRam – 34
- Cobalion, Kyurem, Electrode (aka CaKE/CoKE) – 23
- Chandelure (w/ and w/o Vileplume) – 23
- The Truth (basically anything with Vileplume/Reuniclus) – 19
- Durant – 16
- Zekrom/Eelektrik – 15
- 6C (Virizion, Cobalion, Terrakion, Zekrom, Reshiram, Kyurem) – 11
- Donphan and Dragons – 10
- Magnezone/Yanmega – 9
- Lanturn/Eelektrik – 9
- Gothitelle – 6
- VVV (Vanilluxe, Vileplume, Victini – some w/ Mew) – 6
- Mew/Vileplume – 4
- Kyurem/Feraligatr – 4
- Stage 1s – 4
- Donphan/Machamp/Vileplume – 4
- Terrakion/Yanmega/Zoroark/Tornadus – 4
- ReshiBoar – 3
- Donphan/Machamp – 2
- Yanmega/Mew/Cinccino/Stuff – 2
If you were to stop and do a quick analysis here, this is how we would break it down.
Cobalion, Kyurem, Electrode (aka CaKE/CoKE)
Chandelure (w/ and w/o Vileplume)
The Truth (basically anything w/ Vileplume/Reuniclus)
6C (Virzion, Cobalion, Terrakion, Zekrom, Reshiram, Kyurem)
Donphan and Dragons
VVV (Vanilluxe, Vileplume, Victini – some with Mew)
However, this does not tell the whole story. So, let’s take a look at top two finishes:
- Magnezone/Eelektrik – 31
- ZPST – 25
- TyRam – 12
- Chandelure (w/ and w/o Vileplume) – 12
- Cobalion, Kyurem, Electrode (aka CaKE/CoKE) – 10
- The Truth (basically anything w/ Vileplume/Reuniclus) – 10
- 6C (Virzion, Cobalion, Terrakion, Zekrom, Reshiram, Kyurem) – 8
- Donphan and Dragons – 7
- Zekrom/Eelektrik – 6
- Durant – 6
- Lanturn/Eelektrik – 6
- Magnezone/Yanmega – 5
- Gothitelle – 4
- Mew/Vileplume – 2
- ReshiBoar – 2
- VVV (Vanilluxe, Vileplume, Victini – some w/ Mew) – 2
- Kyurem/Feraligatr – 2
- Stage 1s – 2
- Terrakion/Yanmega/Zoroak/Tornadus – 2
It is safe to say that if you stopped and did your analysis here there would still be two very clear Tier 1 decks: Magnezone/Eelektrik and ZPST. However, tyRam is caught by the rest of the previously established Tier 2 pack. I would just move tyRam into the Tier 2 set with all the other decks that have 10 or more top 2 finishes. Then everything else would be Tier 3. But, let’s move on and look at outright championship victories. Here is everything with at least two first place finishes.
- Magnezone/Eelektrik – 18
- ZPST – 14
- The Truth (basically anything w/ Vileplume/Reuniclus) – 8
- Chandelure (w/ and w/o Vileplume) – 6
- 6C (Virizion, Cobalion, Terrakion, Zekrom, Reshiram, Kyurem) – 6
- Cobalion, Kyurem, Electrode (aka CaKE/CoKE) – 4
- Donphan and Dragons – 4
- Durant – 3
- Magnezone/Yanmega – 3
- Lanturn/Eelektrike – 3
- TyRam – 2
- Zekrom/Eelektrik – 2
Now when I do an analysis everything with at least two victories is at least a Tier 2 deck. So based on that assumption and the results, there are still two Tier 1 decks: Magnezone/Eelektrik and ZPST. However, the Truth, Chandellure, and 6C look to be the Tier 1.5 decks, with everything else being Tier 2.
So, viewing all of these breakdowns together I would personally rank the decks in the following manner.
Cobalion, Kyurem, Electrode (aka CaKE/CoKE)
Donphan and Dragons
So, let’s talk about some of these decks.
This deck should be a surprise to anyone. We might as well just call it MagneRock 2.0. What is even more crazy is that this deck runs MUCH smoother than MagneRock. It is all contained within a single Energy type and just really works well. Also, between Professor Juniper, Junk Arm, retreating, Engineer’s Adjustments, Sage’s Training, and Thundurus EPO, there are plenty of options for getting Lightning in the discard.
Speaking of Thundurus, there are two big Basics that this deck needs to choose between. Some variations of the deck run Zekrom BLW as a backup attack, while others run Thundurus. Personally, I feel this is not even a close comparison. I know that everyone loves the fact that Thundurus discards Energy and is guaranteed to attack turn two, but I feel that Zekrom is just the outright superior choice.
Pokemon ParadijsThe HP difference and attack strength is just too much. Also, most of the time I can get the turn two Bolt Strike anyway. With all the previously listed options for discard, and a Switch or two in the deck, getting the turn two Bolt Strike is not as hard as some would have you believe. That is merely my opinion though.
The other thing to mention is that this deck can abuse N about as well as any deck in the format. That is not to be underestimated. I have won more than one game with this deck after being down four prizes to open the game. That one N can really devastate your opponent. If they do not draw well it is normally just a matter of hunting their energy off the field and you win.
If I get more time, I might go into a more in-depth look at this deck but for now, this will have to do. If you have any questions about this deck or any of the decks, feel free to ask. I will gladly give you my two cents (if I have any thoughts about your questions). I really like to discuss this game and to help other people out.
Well, a new set came out and we still have this bad boy staring us down. There is not a whole lot to say about this, but it just got even better with Eviolite. I will point out that many people were claiming that Zekrom/Eelektrik was a better version of this deck; those people appeared to have missed the mark a bit. Zekrom/Eelektrik is a great deck, but we will talk about that one a bit later.
ZPST’s greatest strength is pure, raw speed. The ability to turn one you for 120 (or at least 80) is just too good to pass up. The deck’s pure speed is not worth sacrificing to cure all the end-game struggles. Just let this baby do what it does best: put pressure on your opponent, starting on turn one.
Obviously, this deck got help from Eviolite. Eviolite is just a great little tool that helps with that nasty recoil damage and turns Zekrom into a tank. It also allows the deck to play the Outrage game a bit better.
Pokemon ParadijsSo, the Noble Victories set has finally given most players what they wanted, a reason to leave TyRam. It’s cool. Well all know (myself included) that this deck is very linear and is a little bit of a one trick pony. However, in the past, that one trick was good enough for it to be the clear-cut BDIF. Now, it is the oddity deck.
The deck reached Top 2 twelve times, but only won twice. That does not seem like a good percentage to me. Furthermore, the deck is clearly sitting in the third spot as far as overall Top 4 appearances. So, why is it the third most consistent deck to a) Top Cut, b) Top 4, and c) Top 2, but then it is only tied for the 11th most wins? This seems to be a curious phenomenon to me.
Because of that (and that fact that I think it should be doing better at the final table), I dug a bit deeper into the numbers to see what it was losing to at the final tables.
This deck lost to 3 ZPST decks, 2 Magnezone/Eelektrik decks, 2 The Truth decks, and 1 Lanturn/Eelektrik deck at the final table. So, I built up some of those lists and went to town testing. Here was my personal results:
- Lanturn is just too hard to deal with. It is an unfavorable match up. Period.
- ZPST should still be about 50/50.
- TyRam won six of the ten games I tested it against Magnezone/Eelektrik.
- TyRam went 50/50 against The Truth.
So basically, the deck has a bunch of 50/50 matchups that can go either way. So I kind of just left it at that. The deck has 50/50 matchups against 7 of the decks it lost to at the top tables. If it wins 3 or 4 of those, then it is still sitting comfortably right in the middle of the pack, if it wins 5 or 6 it would be the clear third best deck according to first place finishes (which would put it in line with the other two compilations). That was enough to satisfy my curiosity.
I will say one thing, I think Rocky Helmet is very good here, but I will cover that a bit more later on.
Pokemon ParadijsWell, I said all along that The Truth’s viability would hinge on the ability of Kyurem players to hit a turn two Glaciate. Even with CoKE in the meta it would seem that this is not happening enough for The Truth to be squashed out.
The Truth did get a lot of fun new toys from the last set. Terrakion, Cobalion, and Kyurem can all be added to The Truth’s toolbox of attackers. Also some old friends such as Steelix Prime have seen some rise in action. Basically, the deck is extremely customizable to any meta and can find great success.
However, this deck may still be one of the trickiest decks out there to play. First, you need to read your local meta correctly. Second, you need to be able to execute the game plan flawlessly.
Here’s an interesting deck. This is a deck that started out with people saying, “oh look that’s an interesting power.” Then people built the deck but most were thinking, “this should be a fun league deck” or “I don’t know how competitive this deck is, but it makes me want to play the game again.” Then there was a 50+ page thread explosion on HeyTrainer. The deck got covered by Esa. The rest is history.
Basically this deck can be run with or without Vileplume. I personally like the Vileplume version better. You pair this with Dodrio and you get to use the power twice for 60 damage and then attack for 50. Then if the flips go your way your opponent will take burn and confusion damage. Then they are in a world of hurt.
Without Vileplume the deck focuses more on using three or four Cursed Shadows per turn for 90-120 spread damage.
pokemon-paradijs.comThe problem with this deck is that it get substantially worse without Tropical Beach. No deck abuses not attacking like this deck does. Tropical Beach is the perfect fit here for consistency. Yes, I know some people have run this deck to success without Tropical Beach, but it is truly an inferior build without it.
I would almost recommend to look for something else to play if you do not have the beaches. (I know that is no fun to hear, but I really think it can be that big of a difference maker over the course of a tournament.)
If you want to know more, go look around the web. There are some great articles across a lot of the Pokémon sites.
We all know that Esa brought this deck to the Western World in his Eye on Japan article. Then like most things, we collectively said… meh. It’s too unfocused. It must be inconsistent. Blah, Blah, Blah.
Well, guess what? It works. However, there is a big caveat. It is very difficult to play correctly. That is always the case with reactive decks like this. When a deck is reactive by nature, the margin for error is razor thin. Here you need to recognize the proper strategy very quickly and then execute it to perfection.
This is because most of the time you only have 1 or 2 copies of your main attacker for any given match up and you have next to nothing in the Energy acceleration department. So, developing your board and keeping things moving is a difficult task.
Pokemon ParadijsThe ants have invaded and things are looking like they might stay for a while. This deck is the least fun deck to play against, in my opinion. If your opponent has a good list and is a skilled player, nothing else puts you on a “win now” clock like Durant does. It is scary the way people thought that LostGar was going to be scary. However, Durant has actually achieved the whole “I need to take 6 prizes in 6 turns or lose” thing.
This is the one deck that everyone knows is good, but they hate losing to. That being said, it is refreshing to have a deck that can legitimately win games in a different manner than taking six prizes first. It is also very cheap, which is always a bonus.
Here we have the most hyped card of Noble Victories. In my opinion, the hype was a little bit more than it deserved. Do not get me wrong, this is still a great deck. It is just not on the level that we thought it was going to be and here’s why:
This deck just fails a little too often to be a true Tier 1 deck. There are just too many times (even if it’s once per tournament) where you use Energymite and get… Nothing. Then you are really behind in the match. Also, this deck is missing mid to end game consistency. Yes, if might work on turn two. You might take 3 prizes on turn three, but if you lose the energy on your board, you might be in big trouble.
This is a very good deck, just not a great deck. I’m sure others will disagree with me, but hey, it is what it is.
pokemon-paradijs.comHere’s a nice little surprise (and one I got right from my last article, OK enough braggin). Most people thought that D&D would fall off the face of the earth because of Kyurem (they also said that about tyRam). The problem though is that Kyurem actually helps D&D more it hurts it.
First, Kyurem allows D&D to cover more type advantages. Second, Kyurem cannot OHKO Donphan. I think that people underestimated that second point. Unless you can OHKO Donphan you are not a great counter. Third, Glaciate just works into D&D’s favor. It powers up the Outrage attack all the more quickly.
Toss in the fact that Donphan can really abuse Rocky Helmet and we still have a very solid deck. It also doesn’t hurt that the two best decks in the format currently are pure Lightning types.
Overall, this is just a lesser version of Magnezone/Eelektrik. I know that it hits for two types of Weakness. I also know that it is a Stage 1 and is a bit faster. I also know that it does not struggle with Energy conservation as much. However, it is way more fragile and less consistent. Those two things wipe out its advantage in my book.
Back to this deck. I had plenty of arguments with friends about why this deck was just OK. They swore to me that it was at least every bit as good as TyRam and better that ZPST. Well, it seems that both of those are untrue.
In my opinion, this deck is kind of stuck between TyRam and ZPST. It is not as fast as ZPST and it does not manipulate energy, is as consistent, or as sturdy as TyRam. It is a “jack of all trades, master of none” type of deck. I still think it is a good deck, but I think that it is inferior to those two.
So, there you have it. A few thoughts about the decks of the current meta. Now, I want to talk specifically about one card. I honestly feel that this is the most undervalued card in the format. I know that some of you will say, “I like that card” or “that card sees play” or “it’s not undervalued.” I will stand up and disagree with all of those.
Pokemon ParadijsI cannot stress enough how great this card can be and how it is just untapped potential staring us in the face. I honestly feel that this card is so good that every deck aside from ZPST and Magnezone/Eelektrk and Vileplume decks should be running AT LEAST two copies.
Let’s start with the decks that don’t need to be running it. First, Vileplume decks establish an Item lock. So, it would be useless in there. Second, Magnezone doesn’t play by the same rules as everything else. It’s attack scales by 50. So it takes just as many resources to KO something with 110 HP as something with 150 HP. Very rarely do you desperately wish that 110 HP thing was only at 90 HP.
However, starting with ZPST I think there is potential. I know everyone loves his or her Eviolites in ZPST. I get it. Eviolite is getting to be a staple in that deck to where if you play ZPST without Eviolite people look at your funny. Well, let me tell you, this is no laughing matter. Here’s why. You still take 20 damage recoil. Yes, I know you might be able to pull off an Eviolite + Defender once or twice and take 0 recoil.
However, you are still in a simple PlusPower + Bolt Strike/Blue Flare range. Last time I check most ZPST and TyRam builds played at least 3 PlusPower and 4 Junk Arm. So, they could (theoretically) use a PlusPower for every one of their prizes. Eviolite just does not do enough.
On the other hand, look at Rocky Helmet. You can put Rocky Helmet on your energized Pokémon or on the easy prizes like Pachirisu (depending on the game state). Then your opponent has a difficult decision to make.
Furthermore, I think that Rocky Helmet is the missing piece to most TyRam players build. Here, you are going to damage Reshiram with Afterburner anyway. So, there is no real reason to use Eviolite. However, if you can force your opponent into attacking a Rocky Helmet (not that hard to do if you have multiple in play, which is also not hard to do because TyRam remains one of the fastest drawing decks out there), virtually everything in the game is OHKO able on your next turn. That Zekrom with Eviolite, easy pickins. That Magnezone, send it to the scrap heap.
Pokemon ParadijsThis card also gives you a pseudo-Vileplume counter. It is deadly if you can drop it on the field before Vileplume gets there. This is true for TyRam and ZPST.
When I was testing the TyRam v. MagneEel/The Truth/ZPST matchups, Rocky Helmet was the MVP. It really brings all of those games back to at least 50/50.
Furthermore, this is a great counter to Kyurem for both ZPST and tyRam. Even a Kyurem with Eviolite is just a single PlusPower drop away from being OHKOd by Reshiram or Zekrom when Rocky Helmet just damaged Kyurem. This is a great option to have.
Basically, I think that if more people used Rocky Helmet in TyRam it would be knocking on the door step of Tier 1 placement. Also, if more people used Rocky Helmet in ZPST, it would close the (minor) gap between ZPST and Magnezone/Eelektrik.
I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this one. That’s OK. Mainly, I just wanted to give everyone an update on the City Championship national meta. I tossed in the Rocky Helmet part for free.