Between Erik Nance and Andy Hahn, I feel that the month of August has done a pretty great job of previewing and discussing the upcoming format. That’s my goal as well, but I’d like to keep this article focused on the macro-level issues of the format; that is, metagame, interactions between decks/cards, and a bit of illumination as to what ultimately is the best deck for part one of the 2013-2014 season.
Where Does the Format Stand?
Before going any further, it’s worth analyzing the NXD-on format’s current status. Although all of the reprints out of Black and White, Emerging Powers, and Noble Victories, make the format relatively stagnant, similar to the year of non-rotation during DP-on, certain losses will complicate things for a while. More importantly, though, newer cards discussed in previous articles, as well as my last one, will shake up the field in new ways.
A. Nearly everything from last format is still viable.
If you had a large collection of modified-legal decks for BLW-on, I suggest that you keep most of it together, because the big hitters from last season are mostly still decent concepts. Other than Eelektrik and Gothitelle variants, which lost their star Abilities, everything is still legal in some capacity, and is – I dare say it – good.
- Klinklang loses versatility by rotation of Klinklang, but Plasma Klinklang is still a versatile threat.
- Emboar/Rayquaza was mediocre compared to Blastoise/Keldeo/Kyurem last season, but now stands to benefit from a metagame shift toward fast Grass attackers like Genesect EX.
- Speaking of which, Blastoise is still here and ready to go! Its Genesect game isn’t that bad either (although its non-EX matchups are sizably worse now).
- Darkrai EX is somewhat slower due to the loss of Energy Switch, but still packs a punch.
- Hydreigon might actually be better now than it was last season!
- Plasma still hits the fastest, and is the least donk-prone of all archetypes. Bangle fuels the fire for Kyurem dominance this season.
- Zany rogues like Zebstrika, Dragonite, and even Vileplume are potentially viable via Bangle.
Later on in the article, I’ll address how some of these decks could possibly be good right now, and maybe even offer up some lists! However, to avoid beating some topics to death, we’ll keep our focus on the bigger picture.
B. Silver Bangle and Silver Mirror balance the format.
I agree with the idea that the Silver Tools are format-defining. Since Mewtwo EX, EXs have dominated, and with the release of Plasma Freeze, the same could be said for Plasma Pokémon. These two cards are an obvious attempt to balance mechanics, but they have led to some very interesting developments:
- Non-EX attacking concepts are playable again. A single Bangle makes once-insurmountable EXs manageable targets for cards like Garchomp, Haxorus, the “Vileplume” gang, Empoleon, and so many more.
- In an unhealthy turn of events, Plasma can now be caught in multiple unwinnable gameplay scenarios, namely against Item lockers Zebstrika and Dragonite. Are either of these decks good enough to justify a hard counter, though?
- On that note, if Plasma does not run at least two Tool Scrapper, it will lose games solely due to the new Tools. Whether Plasma should runs more or not is a subject I’ll address later, but with rampant Silver Mirror usage, expect either a pretty fast – or very slow – loss as Plasma if you cannot counter it.
Discussing the Decks and the Techs; the Matchups and the Metagame
With that “post-intro” intro out of the way, let’s dissect some decks! For reference and convenience, here are all of the ones listed above…
- Darkrai (both regular and Garbodor versions)
- Plasma (both regular and Kyurem versions)
- Zebstrika and Dragonite
With all of the decks, I will be listing their matchups against builds I have deemed the most common and (arguably) most significant metagame threats: Blastoise, Darkrai variants, Plasma variants, Genesect, and Trubbish.
“Klinklang’s Carrying on”
You may be wondering: “How on Earth does Klinklang function without its Black and White counterpart?”
The answer: reasonably well! I must concede that it’s a shadow of its former self; however, against critical matchups like Darkrai, Virizion/Genesect, and regular versions of Plasma featuring tons of Special Energy, it is quite formidable.
Pokémon – 13
4 Klink DEX
Trainers – 35
4 Pokémon Catcher
Energy – 12
The idea is surprisingly straightforward: Swarm Cobalions, and then get out a Plasma Klinklang to shield them from non-EX attackers. Although the present build is still very much a work in progress, it has already shown an ability to keep up with top format hopefuls like Genesect, Darkrai, and Plasma.
The Hypnotoxic/Virbank combination appears as a thinner line here because of space, but it’s still useful clearing the board of Cobalion’s biggest non-EX threats, including Plasma Kyurem. Against builds featuring Virizion-EX, these become useless cards after a certain point; however, you can still outplay “soft” Virizion usage via Catchers and them not having Grass Energy at the right time.
– Blastoise was usually a win last season, but without the Ability to maximize health and Energy against Blastoise swarming, it’s surprisingly rough.
– Genesect is interesting, if nothing else due to the fact that you force them to A) only attack with G Booster; and B) have the prerequisite Energy in order to win. Some very smart playing could let you win on attrition alone, and some decent tech choices could do wonders, as well.
– Normal Plasma lists can be born out of their Special Energy, and if not that, are forced to over-commit to Kyurems and Absols. Kyurem-oriented lists with Water and Exp. Share fare much better, although Righteous Edge can still be marginally useful. In both matchups, Hypnotoxic Laser goes a long way.
– Darkrai is positive matchup in its normal incarnations, and I imagine it will only get better with the success of Jason Klaczynski’s Darkrai-focused version. You run a total of five Float Stone and Switch, plus a Durant to keep up with the Sableye somewhat, so a permanent Laser Lock is unlikely (but still possible). Darkrai/Garbodor is much harder, however – by not running Tool Scrapper, my list turns a fighting chance into nothing.
– Trubbish is also challenging due to the lack of Scrappers, but Lasers turn your painful 3-shots into 2-shots with Cobalion.
– Cut LaserBank entirely. The deck can function without it, and is actually my current version that I am using in the second HeyTrainer online tournament this season.
– Run Probopass DRX as a main attacker. It fits beautifully with the Energy denial theme, is yet another way to combat Garbodor/Blastoise/Genesect/Kyurem, and for two Energy is a bargain. If only its Basic Pokémon were Metal, though…
I think that a very well-tested, tweaked build could do wonders for the start of our 2013-2014 Modified season. But it’s a challenge to get down all of the right cards. The best-of-three 50 minute time limit will hurt it due to how easy it is for a stolen game two (that is, early Prize leads) to turn into a sudden death situation, which is itself unfavorable to Klinklang a little less than 50% of the time.
“Emboar: Is this thing any good?”
Answer: I really do not know. On one hand, it’s the best shot that non-EXs have against Genesect; on the other hand, it goes a negative game against Blastoise, and is perhaps the metagame’s worst victim to turn one Frost Spears. Furthermore, I simply have not tested this deck enough. So let’s throw a pure theory-mon concept out there, and see what there is to say on the matter…
Pokémon – 11
4 Tepig MCD
Trainers – 36
4 Rare Candy
1 Level Ball
2 Hypnotoxic Laser
Energy – 13
This is only a starting point, and was just as legal last format as it is now. My addition of Laser , however, is meant strictly for getting Plasma Kyurem into range.
The list is rough, so let’s get some important points of it out of the way…
– I run McDonald’s Tepig strictly because of the 70 HP. I wouldn’t exactly recommended going out and getting four copies of this obscure card, though.
Editor’s Note: The McDonald’s Tepig may not be legal. The rotation announcement lists the McDonald’s Collection as being legal, but only shows the set symbol for the 2012 McDonald’s Collection. Tepig is from the 2011 McDonald’s Collection (which uses a different set symbol). I am not sure if this is a mistake or purposeful by TPCi. Tepig BCR may be your only option.
– I put slightly less emphasis on setting up Emboar (not running a Pignite or a fourth Emboar) because Reshiram is a more capable “manual” attacker than Keldeo-EX, especially with the Hypnotoxics. While you manually attack Energy to a Reshiram, it maintains its threat level, making simple run-and-run Catcher/Frost Spear combos from Plasma not without risk.
– This list runs zero Pokémon Catcher, simply because I haven’t thought out the space for it yet. And this right here is why Blastoise was always strictly superior: because it conserves space between switching and Pokémon via Keldeo. Of course, we could probably fit in a couple Catcher by cutting Tool Scrapper and a either Float Stone #2 or Switch #2, but it’s pretty challenging to get it optimal.
– Blastoise is still a loss: You will always have less space than them, and always be disadvantaged by the Weakness matchup. But perhaps one way you could outdo them is by running three Rayquaza EX (outmuscle the Keldeos and have a higher Dragon count than their Black Kyurem EXs), or two Rayquaza EX and a normal Rayquaza.
– Genesect could outspeed you, but in most instances the Reshiram inclusion will absolutely annihilate them. That is, of course, they don’t run a counter-counter.
– I’m afraid that even with Hypnotoxic Lasers, you’ll have a nightmare against Plasma. If your matchup continues to be rough, I’d recommend going all-out, and running 2-3 Silver Mirrors.
– Darkrai is arguably positive: Your Rayquazas 1-shot Darkrai as they would in Blastoise, and your Reshirams make short work of any non-EX attackers. The problem, though, is that the ten extra HP on Black Kyurem EX time and time again makes the difference. And with Darkrai/Garbodor picking up steam, Mr. Mime won’t exactly make life easier.
– Trubbish just plain outspeeds you. Reshiram offers some hope as an attack deterrent through Outrage, and an attacking Emboar is actually pretty good here, but those high Energy attacks can only take you so far when they’re 1HKOing big attackers by turn two.
Even with type advantage versus the hottest new deck, it’s still a strictly inferior version of Blastoise. It enjoys most of the new advantages that Blastoise does from the new time limit, but it gets the added bonus of possibly escaping duels with Plasma as draws. Unfortunately, we still don’t know how those draws will work as of writing, but there are many situations – no matter what the rules – where Emboar could go 1-1 with Plasma much more easily than it can go 1-0 or 2-1, especially with Silver Mirror inclusion.
“Battle on, Blastoise…”
Strangely, I won’t be listing too many archetypes here, simply because the lists have been pouring out more and more. Additionally, there simply isn’t much to discuss on some of these – have been “talked to death.” I will hit the important points to me, though…
– Wartortle is still useful. Even if Gothitelle is no longer a force, preparing for the Blastoise when you fail to hit a Rare Candy on turn two is extremely valuable, especially against a more powerful, more lethal Plasma matchup.
– A high Beach count is now more important than ever. Plasma has all of the incentive in the world to run Frozen Cities, for instance, making Kyurem/Bangle much harder. We can mitigate this with those valuable Beaches.
– From my preliminary testing results, beating Genesect is a far from insurmountable task. Your game pretty much comes down to N drops, getting your attachments at the right time, and baiting the opponent into dropping G Booster prematurely. It’s not a positive matchup, but
it’s at least tolerable.
Matchups and Overall Playability
Against the field at large, your matchups still revolve around getting set up. Now, however you have the added challenge of playing around decks with Silver Bangle… which will be nearly everything emphasizing non-EX attackers. As a result, you will find yourself relying a lot more on Blastoise and Keldeo-EX.
I still feel that Blastoise is a very solid option; however, the momentum is against it. Bangles make more popular attacking decks like Trubbish and Vileplume in range of every EX in the deck, and Genesect attacks coupled with Virizions being splashed into other decks make for some rough times for the turtle deck. That’s not to say it can’t win tournaments still – it clearly can, and will continue to do so. It’s just more of an uphill battle now that more things can match the power of Black Ballista.
As a final note, best two out of three – even in a 50 minute field – will be kind to Blastoise. Like people have said so often, it is a “set up and win” deck, so naturally, with many more chances to set up in an event, it is more likely to last into even a limited top eight cut. PLEASE remember, though, to play quickly, and scoop obviously losing games!
Darkrai doesn’t change much at all: Plasma Blast doesn’t add a whole bunch, nor does it give you better options for attacking (e.g., why run Bangle when Dark Claw is practically an EX Bangle?)
The one question I’d like to address, though… is losing Energy Switch that big of a deal?
At first, I felt that you could play around it by running Switches and more Energy. However, nothing short of Scramble Switch gets around the fact that Sableye will still be stuck with that Darkness Energy… or that transitioning from one Darkrai to the next inevitably will be less graceful. That doesn’t make it a “bad” deck, but it certainly makes it a less effective one.
How effective is it, though?
– Blastoise is still a challenging matchup, and with no more Energy Switch, it just gets harder. The more that Blastoise is played, the more justifiable it is to run Garbodor version.
– Genesect lists floating around appear to like Skyarrow and even Float Stone over a pure Switch count. This makes the list susceptible to Hypnotoxic Laser when Garbotoxin is in effect, which is… ironic, given that this is precisely Virizion’s purpose.
It’s a minor issue, though: Genesect will run at least two Tool Scrapper, and immediately trigger its Poison removal all over again. But all of this is tangential to where the game is truly decided: In Genesect’s Deoxys-EX count (50 Emerald Slash + 130 Megalo Cannon? Yes please!), and ease of recycling G Booster. Both of these weigh in Genesect’s favor, so I’m inclined to say the matchup weighs toward it… but hey, Victini-EX/Victory Piece is a thing, right?
– Plasma is a patently worse matchup now with the release of Silver Bangle. You can still win, and your Enhanced Hammers will go the distance here, yet overcoming Bangles, and 2-4 Deoxys is brutal. I’ve played some close games against good Darkrai lists with Plasma, and it IS an exercise to make sure you win some games, but it is nevertheless in Plasma’s favor now.
– Darkrai losing Energy Switch does a very strange thing for the regular version vs Garbodor. On one hand, no Energy Switch makes attacking marginally harder under Ability lock. On the other hand, the lack of Energy Switch encourages regular Darkrai players to use Switch and Escape Rope. Add on Garbodor version’s loss of Crushing Hammer, and it appears like regular Darkrai will have the edge.
– Trubbish is probably a positive game for either version of Darkrai. Trubbish needs a whopping nine Tools to 1HKO a clean Darkrai, which is easier said than done with fast attacking, Hypnotoxics, and Garbotoxin if applicable. Of all the current meta decks, Darkrai is one of the best equipped to handle this new threat.
Darkrai is still a simple deck made simpler with the loss of Energy Switch tactics. Darkrai is a good deck, and is competitive against everything above, even if not favorable. It’s also the most cost-efficient deck, and remains a great choice if you have a less competitive family member interested in playing. Still, the loss of Energy Switch changes the fate of this deck, so for the time being, I’d recommend decks like Blastoise, Plasma, and Genesect before this, good though it may be.
“High on Hydreigon”
The title is a lie: Despite how fun it can be, I’ve never liked Hydreigon, and I still don’t. Between Bangles, Hypnotoxics/Virbank, Frozen City, and a strange resurgence of Dragon attackers, I just don’t buy this push back to it. The reason for this, at least in my limited opinion, is that people are overreacting to the loss of Energy Switch, so they are in turn thinking of ways to copy the effect… in the form of the most underperforming Darkrai variant right now.
That said, here are my favorite tech options for it, should you have a differing opinion…
– Entei-EX is the superior Genesect counter over Victini-EX. Despite being able to Turbo Energize, the extra beef on Entei (+70 HP!) makes a world of difference in actually tanking.
– Terrakion-EX is nice, but on the other hand, your options are somewhat limited as to beefy EX Fighting attackers. Between it, Groudon, and Landorus though, it is the only way that scores a clean, easy 1HKO on Darkrai. The only downside is that this requires two Prism, which is difficult in the face of Enhanced Hammers.
– Virizion-EX is a nice tech to cancel out status effects, and maybe swing a bit at Blastoise on the side.
– Against the rest of Plasma and Dragon attackers, there simply aren’t great options. All that work invested in a Giratina EX? Blown away in the face of a Kyurem or Rayquaza. Metal options? Not very feasible when your focus is blend GRPD and not WLFM!
All in all, I am not very convinced of Hydreigon, and with the shift from best-of-one 30 minute single game to best-of-three 50 minute match play, the clock will not be kind what is historically a come-from-behind deck. If momentum is shifting from Blastoise, then it has been plainly pulled away from Hydreigon.
Perhaps I am being narrow-minded about it, but it’s still a slower, less efficient form of its “Speed Darkrai” cousin that won Worlds just two weeks ago…
No puns, alliteration, etc . I feel that Plasma deserves some particularly close attention, though, because of how prominent it has been, as well as how much more prominent it will be thanks to Silver Bangle. I am convinced that Kyurem is at the heart of our new format: It is the most efficient attacker now thanks to Deoxys and Bangle, and is the number one reason why people will be packing Silver Mirrors in their decklists.
Since Plasma is the one deck experiencing the biggest changes (“loss” of Virbank/HTL and gaining of Bangle), its structure is the most important to discuss.
– Four Deoxys/Two Thundurus should be staple in standard Plasma: maximize your damage potential with your Plasma Pokés, and enjoy high odds of a strong turn one Raiden Knuckle.
(Two Thundurus does not apply to the Kyurem version.)
– I’m not sure how to best divide the non-EX attackers, but 3 Kyurem/1 Absol has worked very well for me. In my mirror experience, however, I’ve found that Absol has the stronger ability to swing the mirror, so during actual tournament crunch time, I’d likely run two.
– All of the things that made the Sabelhaus/North Carolina decklist good remain good. Blend GRPD is a nice addition to any standard list, and Bicycles speed up an already fast deck.
– Like I said earlier, Plasma should run two Tool Scrapper at least. Silver Mirror is meant to auto-win against YOU, so YOU need to be prepared for it!
– Also, what is the ideal Bangle count? Popular deck theory right now suggests three: not too few to whiff, but not too many to be excessive. However, I have found that a two count has worked surprisingly well, and has given me plenty of space for everything else I want.
– Blastoise is very workable now! Between Frozen Cities and Silver Bangles, Blizzard Burn and Mind Jack can much more easily get a Keldeo or even Black Kyurem EX within knockout range. The same main dynamics of the old BLW-on matchup apply (rushing them versus Black Kyurem EX attempting to slaughter a field of opposing EXs), but I’d call it an even or slightly favorable matchup for Plasma.
– Genesect depends heavily on how the first turn or two go for the opponent: If they’re pulling off that turn two Megalo Cannon, then life will be hard for Plasma most of the time. Otherwise, charging through is not much of a problem for Kyurem’s Blizzard Burn. Going first is very significant for that reason, though, so be prepared for an uphill battle if you go second as a Plasma variant.
– Plasma mirror, no matter which version you run, comes down to a few select cards: Absol count; Enhanced Hammer; Lasers versus no Lasers; and Max Potion/Mr. Mime. If your Absol count is 2-3, then reaching the 130 threshold at the right moment against an opposing, loaded-up Kyurem is easier; if you have Enhanceds, then you can slow down the Kyurem; if you have Lasers/Virbank (or simply more space dedicated to consistency/countering the mirror), then you have more strength; and finally Max Potion/Mime are virtually free turns every game.
– As said above, the Darkrai matchup is in your favor thanks to Silver Bangle. Outplaying the Garbodor version is slightly trickier, though.
– Last of all, the Trubbish matchup turns on something a little different: your Tool Scrapper count, and whether or not you play Frozen City. The counts on both make your game much, much easier.
I consider Plasma to be the best deck in the format now, and Kyurem/Bangle/Deoxys to be the best combo in the format. It’s not without its weaknesses, and not without its counters, but in a diverse field, it’ll shine.
“Item locking: Is it good?”
Zebstrika and Dragonite are both instantly stronger cards due to Silver Mirror: get your Item lock in through Disconnect or Deafen, and enjoy a virtual auto-win against Plasma (barring techs or a loaded-up Keldeo). These two may function similarly, but in my world of theorymon, I see two separate tracks for them.
For Zebstrika, the standard is a high Float stone count, Garbodors, Mirrors/Bangles, and Virbank/Hypnotoxic. This allows for a convincingly powerful lock, and allows you to whittle down even non-Plasma, non-EX attackers. Dragonite in theory can do the same thing, although it benefits much more from Rock Guard as its ACE SPEC than Zebstrika (150 HP is much better for it than a brittle 90!).
Matchups all boil down to how much locks hurt the opposing deck, as well as what counters they have to combat you.
Trappers like Carnivine DEX and Druddigon Promo aren’t bad counters, as aren’t Keldeo-EX and Darkrai EX. Plasma has some serious issues versus both: Silver Mirror lock and win. Likewise, an Ability lock through Garbodor/Disconnect, or just a lock against Wartortles, makes the Blastoise matchup good. The rest of the matchups out there I’m not confident about in this new format.
Now that we’ve got the old settled, let’s look at the two big new decks( before moving into an overall look at “the play”):
“I knew you were Trubbish when you walked in…”: Dissecting Trubbish
Load up a bunch of Tools on your guys in play thanks to Sigilyph’s “Toolbox” Ability, which lets you drop up to four onto it, and hit for a huge amount of damage thanks to Trubbish’s “Tool Drop” attack! Like Andy Hahn, I was inspired by the same Japanese video, and have settled in a remarkably similar list: No special techs, a 1-1 Masquerain line, and a Tool count consisting of 4 Silver Mirror, 4 Silver Bangle, 4 Float Stone, 3-4 EXP Share, and 0-2 Eviolite.
I’ve clocked in quite a few games with this deck, and while it’s certainly playable, here are my observations so far…
– The inactivity on turn one REALLY hurts this deck. I make this less of an issue by normally running a maximum count on my Exp. Shares so that a KO’d Pokémon with Energy does not lose me the game, but it is still exceptionally scary.
– Other than in Tool and ACE SPEC choice, you have little room for tech flexibility.
– Frozen City is brutal to Trubbish players. Drop two Energy… take four damage counters… be automatically Knocked Out by Kyurem PLF’s bench damage. Not a winning strategy, is it? However, you can counteract this with some smart usage of Silver Mirror.
– Speaking of which, how “do” you time your Silver Mirrors? Generally, it’s a fight against Tool Scrappers, as well as a game of probability calculations and predictions. Although you should never abide by one rule 100% of the time, generally avoiding playing all of your Silver Mirrors is the ideal plan, making your opponent waste one Scrapper on just one copy of Mirror. This leaves the rest open later in the game, and allows for an easy win.
– Blastoise’s EXs are pretty easy to KO, with 7-9 being enough to take out the entire deck. Given that the standard list runs one or even zero Scrapper, and you’ll be exchanging 1 Prize for two the whole game.
– In the Genesect matchup, Trubbish benefits greatly from opposing tools such as Plasma Badge and G Booster. Also, Bangle lets you catch up to the entire deck, 1HKOing Virizions and Genesects for seven Tools.
– See above for the Plasma/Trubbish games.
– See above the Darkrai/Trubbish games.
– Trubbish mirror is… not fun.
I’m shocked at how many people think that this deck is bad; it’s really not, and if you don’t take it seriously, it will beat you handily. Darkrai being so cheap and easy to play may push down its overall viability, but against the more controversial decks, Trubbish can hang with them.
“How on Earth do I run Genesect?!”
Generally speaking, it hasn’t been a question off if Genesect is decent; rather, it’s been about how to make it great. As a result, there are two conflicting theories: traditional lists functioning more like regular Plasma, and “turbo” builds utilizing Plasma Badge to grab the fast turn one hit.
You’ve seen much of the first one already, so I’d like to discuss my version of the “turbo”:
Pokémon – 8
Trainers – 38
4 Colress Machine
Energy – 14
As is obvious, we want a fast Genesect. Whether this means a turn one Virizion piling two energy onto it, or just a manually-charged Genesect, it does a very good job of getting your turn one Megalo Cannon. It’s designed to run quickly, albeit at the expense of your rough matchups.
All relevant matchups for Genesect have been discussed above, although for the rest of the
Genesect is a good deck, and when it gets going it has one of the most explosive “best starts” out there. I do feel like it is overrated, but it’s one of the strongest archetypes right now. Furthermore, best 2-of-three Swiss actually makes the deck weaker, as it raises your odds of whiffing the “awesome” start which would otherwise help it go undefeated in a Swiss.
(Also a reiteration of my earlier point: Deoxys makes Kyurems far more manageable! So whether you’re running a regular or turbo list, you might consider slipping a few in.)
What is the Play?!
As always, it depends on your metagame. But if I were to enter an event blindly right now, I would want to go with Plasma: It enjoys the best turn one in the game, can compete with all but the most hate-centric decks (4-2/2 Drifblim lines and Silver Mirrors are not kind to you). It also benefits immensely from a best-of-three Swiss, being able to grab up several Prizes quickly, or just that 1 Prize to break a sudden death (depending entirely on what gets you out of the draw range or not).
But all things considered, Plasma takes the rotation the best (it loses nothing), and competes with the wide variety of decks in this format the best.
Some Last Notes About the New Rules!
I had to rewrite and revamp much of this article because of P!P’s announcements. After all, best 2-of-three Swiss shifts things a lot!
However, nearly all of the changes are relevant to your success this season. Let’s recap them:
- Best-of-three Swiss in bigger events, with 50 minute time limits
- The return of draws
- Maximum cuts of top eight at States and beyond
1. For the most part, old concepts of Swiss rules apply: know when to scoop games, play quickly under a short time limit, and don’t accidentally say that you choose to go second! However remember that due to the short time limit, this is more of a correction to solitary bad opening hands as opposed to an attempt to let players have three close, thoughtful games. Slower concepts of past formats, such as the recent Nationals winner Accelgor/Gothitelle, could struggle in this environment.
2. Draws, on the other hand, are new for many players. This is admittedly where some of us who started playing competitively during Play! Pokémon’s first year managing the game (or before that) have an advantage: We’ve figured out how to function in this system, as well as the mistakes of it.
So what should you do?
– Understand the logistics of drawing. In Wizards of the Coast tournaments, as well as the first season of Play! Pokémon, wins were given a value of three points, ties were given a value of one, and losses were given zero points. Simple enough, right? Well, not quite…
– Understand when to execute intentional draws. It is not an ethical issue, and is a part of the game. Unless the point scale deviates from the 3-0-1 model , these final points will GUARANTEE a strong Swiss finisher top cut. Just remember that these always come within the last couple/few rounds of an event: At Worlds 2004, all players with records 4-1-2 or higher made cut, simply because the math was calculated as such.
Granted, top eight is a bit dicier than top 32, but in an event as competitive as US Nationals, a 9-1-0 player intentional drawing into his last two rounds for a record 9-1-2 gets the job done in a better, less risky fashion than risking your final two games.
Also, side note: Don’t ID just because you’re friends with someone! It may seem like the better alternative to knocking your friend out of cut but overall you lead to a worse-off situation, especially since your tie is worth less points for both players combined than a win is for the winner.
3. Finally, the top eight cap should be a welcome arrival to most players, especially those who were clamoring for best 2-of-three Swiss. But while the prolonged period of Swiss necessary to cut to a sufficient top eight should be longer, this is good for the skill of the game because players will be forced fight a healthier, more mixed variety of skilled opponents than they would have in the past, as well as have less of an opportunity to “scout” an opponent as you would have in a 128-man bracket.
It will have the same competitive feel as whittling down the field from 128, to 64, and so on, but it will be in a new, more interesting way.
Woah… big news abounds! As always, best of to everyone vying for victory in the new tournament season, and keep your cool and level-headed for every match! We’ll be playing a lot more games from here on out – at least double of what you used to play, so work on that endurance!
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