Hey, for those of you that only know me as the guy who Top 16’d with Flareon, my name is Dylan Bryan. I’m a sophomore majoring in engineering and started playing Pokémon when I was around 6 years old. I played from Base Set until Gym Heroes. I started playing again in 2006, so this is the start of my 7th year of playing Pokémon competitively since I got back into the game.
I have qualified for Worlds the past 6 years, the past 3-of which I have made Top 16. I don’t say this to brag about my credentials, but I feel like a writer needs to have consistent results in a tournament setting to show they have a good grasp on the format. I’m still looking for that big finish at Nationals or Worlds, but I hope with practice and a few lucky breaks I can get there.
The most recent event that has taken place is the Klaczynski Open. This is the only large tournament that has been played with the current format and the results will impact the metagame heading into Regionals. Since the results of this tournament surprised many players, I decided to break down where each deck stands in the current format and how they can each adapt to the changing metagame.
Table of Contents
My Thoughts on the Metagame
Many players complain that the format is too simple and that there is not enough skill involved. I believe there is less in-game skill than in past formats, but I believe a large amount of success now comes from deck choice and deck building. If you give a World Champion a starter deck, they simply aren’t going to win very often. There are many players that would perform better if they would just play a different deck or change a couple of cards.
This is why analyzing the metagame going into a large event, such as Regionals, is one of the most important steps to performing well.
Toolbox was underplayed at the first major event of the season and Trubbish seemed to be overshadowed by Garbodor. Toolbox has a difficult time dealing with Darkrai/Garbodor as you are forced to target Garbodor with Pokémon Catcher. Otherwise, the Trubbish player cannot attach multiple Tools to Sigilyph in order to 1-shot Darkrai EX.
Many players write this deck off as irrelevant because Darkrai/Garbodor won the Klaczynski Open. However, we should not forget that after Gothitelle/Accelgor won U.S. Nationals everybody wrote off Klinklang.
Despite having one bad matchup, multiple Klinklang decks managed to make top cut at Worlds because everyone was focused on teching for the deck that won most recently beforehand (Gothitelle/Accelgor).
A similar situation could arise with Toolbox if Darkrai/Garbodor has too big a target on its back in addition to the 50 minute time limit deterring people from playing it. Playing multiple Silver Mirrors is strong against Plasma in addition to Genesect EX. If Blastoise doesn’t get a strong enough start, Trubbish can trade favorably against EX attackers.
Trubbish may remain a gimmicky deck, but it can also be a strong contender with the right matchups. It all depends how the metagame continues to develop.
Hydreigon is admittedly the deck I have played the least with and was surprised to see it even make Top 8 at the Klaczynski Open. I have never been a fan of this deck since Blastoise came out because a decent Blastoise player can 1-shot your attackers and take all your Energy out of play. There are so many decks that can achieve 180 damage or more. This ruins the Max Potion gimmick that makes the deck so strong. The deck also has to tech Tool Scrapper for Darkrai/Garbodor.
The deck is certainly playable and capable of making top cut, but it seems inferior to a deck like Blastoise or Darkrai/Garbodor. It suffers from the natural inconsistencies of a Stage 2 deck and has more bad matchups than its counterpart, Darkrai/Garbodor. It’s definitely a deck to test against, but I don’t see it having any huge success come Regionals.
Blastoise performed well and proved to be a solid contender in the upcoming format. The deck didn’t lose or gain anything outside of the option to run Jirachi-EX and Scoop Up Cyclone. It still suffers from the natural inconsistencies of being a Stage 2 deck, but best-of-three Swiss rounds help alleviate the problem of getting bad starts.
Despite having a Grass Weakness to Genesect EX, Blastoise proved it can still deal with this deck with a strong enough start since Genesect can’t keep up with Black Kyurem EX’s Black Ballista.
The biggest problem that arose for Blastoise was its nemesis Garbodor. With Garbotoxin rendering Blastoise useless, one copy of Tool Scrapper simply isn’t enough to consistently deal with the matchup.
Part of Darkrai/Garbodor’s success was that it caught several players off guard. Blastoise will have to adapt by making changes such as playing an additional Tool Scrapper or Dowsing Machine as the ACE SPEC to act as an extra Tool Scrapper in the matchup. Blastoise will still need a strong start to win, but with these changes it will be a force to be reckoned with come Regionals. No deck likes staring down a Turn 2 Blastoise.
Plasma was arguably the most hyped and tested against deck going into the Klaczynski Open. Plasma was already a strong deck and now it was able to achieve 180 damage even easier with the help of Silver Bangle and Deoxys-EX. I believe this was illustrated in the results as not a single Plasma deck managed to make top cut!
The deck can beat Blastoise roughly half the time, but it struggles to deal with Drifblim, Enhanced Hammer, and Silver Mirror. These cards were all present in the top cut, which is a testament to how strong Plasma is in the current format if left unchecked.
In the current metagame Plasma isn’t a very strong play. The top-decks all seem to either be 50/50 or have a favorable matchup after teching against Plasma. However, if Plasma continues to underperform players in turn will begin to remove some of their techs for Plasma. This could open the door to Plasma having some success.
Despite all the teching against Plasma, there are changes that Plasma can make to adapt. Basic Energy is effective against both Drifblim and Enhanced Hammer. Tool Scrapper helps against both Silver Mirror and Garbodor. In addition, the 50 minute time limit for Swiss rounds at Regionals arguably benefits Plasma more than any other deck. It has the best chance of going up Prizes early and stealing a game because time was called.
I feel like some players saw Darkrai/Garbodor’s success coming, while others were completely taken off guard. Whatever the case may be, many players consider it to be a top-deck in the current metagame. Darkrai/Garbodor seems to be a well-balanced deck that has answers to everything in the current metagame. Enhanced Hammers for Plasma, Garbodor for Ability-based decks, and Sableye for consistency.
I think that Darkrai/Garbodor is a strong deck, but I think it will be at least slightly less dominant than its performance at the Klaczynski Open.
Darkrai/Garbodor won the event, which means that many people will be testing with and against it. This means that players may add in more basic Energy or Tool Scrapper to combat Darkrai/Garbodor’s success. Another factor that hinders Darkrai/Garbodor is the 50 minute time limit. Losing a long Game 1 that came down to N can make it near impossible to comeback in a three game series if your opponent plays slowly. Lastly, Virizion/Genesect’s Top 4 finish may cause players who dismissed the deck as “overhyped” to give it a second look.
Although Darkrai/Garbodor defeated Virizion/Genesect, the Virizion/Genesect was playing 10 cards to crush Plasma (4-4 Drifblim and 2 Enhanced Hammer)! If those 10 slots are devoted to consistency or even Mr. Mime, the matchup swings into Virizion/Genesect’s favor. The ability to block Hypnotoxic Laser with Virizion-EX’s Verdant Wind, block bench damage with Mr. Mime’s Bench Barrier, and 1-shot Darkrai EX once during the game with G Booster is often enough to turn the matchup.
I think if Virizion/Genesect finds the right balance between teching for Plasma and staying consistent enough to beat Darkrai/Garbodor and the rest of the metagame, it has the potential to be one of the strongest decks. This brings us to…
A lot of people rushed to test this deck based on its success in Japan. While some players thought it was a solid deck, many players dismissed it as overhyped much like Garchomp/Altaria last season. However, the deck proved to be a force in the metagame when paired with Drifblim after making Top 4 at the Klaczynski Open.
I think it was dismissed because Virizion/Genesect was not a proven deck yet and many players could not find the optimal way to run it in the current metagame. A lot of the original lists either played Team Plasma Badge to attempt to compensate for the loss of Energy Switch or played a slower version with Bouffalant DRX as a backup attacker.
Both of these decks struggled to deal with a fast Kyurem with a Silver Bangle. Kyurem could Knock Out Genesect EX using fewer resources, causing the deck to struggle against a strong Plasma player.
The simple solution is to add in a counter to Plasma. This meant playing a combination of Drifblim and Enhanced Hammer, two cards which were also part of a successful Genesect variant in a Japanese Battle Carnival. This concept was strong enough to secure Genesect a Top 4 spot in the Klaczynski Open until it lost to Darkrai/Garbodor. I believe this was because the Genesect variant spent too many deck slots countering Plasma.
Genesect has the potential to be very successful come Regionals if players can find the right balance between teching for Plasma and staying consistent enough to beat Darkrai/Garbodor and Blastoise. I don’t believe there is a perfect Genesect list as the metagame will be constantly changing, but below is my attempt at achieving a balance between techs and consistency in Genesect along with my thought process.
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 33
1 G Booster
Energy – 13
I think this is a good start for anyone looking to try out Genesect in the new format now that the metagame is starting to develop. However, I believe a deck list can only offer so much insight. Not understanding card choices can lead to a player taking out essential cards, not knowing how to adjust to the changing metagame, or making small mistakes in a particular matchup.
For these reasons, I’ve decided to break down my thought process in order to explain the differences in my Genesect list. I am a firm believer that every player should be able to explain every card choice in their deck if they want to achieve consistent success. Regretting playing or not playing even one or two cards could cause you to miss top cut.
Virizion-EX is the first key component to the deck’s strategy. It is usually the ideal Pokémon to start with as attacking with Emerald Slash Turn 2 is very strong. The 50 damage will set your opponent’s Pokémon up for knock outs and power up your benched attackers at the same time. If you simply attach an Energy card every turn and use Emerald Slash twice, then it is not very difficult to have 8 Energy in play Turn 4.
This also thins your deck of Grass Energy, making it more likely that you draw useful Trainers throughout the game.
Virizion-EX’s Verdant Wind also has a huge impact on the format. This card alone can make a player second guess playing Hypnotoxic Lasers because Virizion-EX prevents Special Conditions. You often only need to attack with 1 Virizion-EX, yet I advocate running 3 copies. This is because even though you only attack with one, it can be essential get another Virizion-EX out if your opponent plays Hypnotoxic Laser since it prevents Special Conditions.
In addition, I run 3 copies because it is your ideal starter since the deck tries to Emerald Slash Turn 2. I have seen players run 4, but I feel like the deck space is better used to prepare for a bad matchup rather than slightly increasing my odds of starting with Virizion-EX.
3 Genesect EX
Genesect is not surprisingly the second key component to the deck. Its Ability, Red Signal, has a Pokémon Catcher effect when you attach a Plasma Energy. This is strong because it potentially allows the Genesect player to the target the bench more than a player that is using 4 Pokémon Catcher!
Megalo Cannon is a decent attack for its Energy cost that feels much like Darkrai’s Night Spear. The attack cost is not too steep because of the Energy acceleration from Virizion-EX in addition to Colress Machine.
3 Genesect EX seems like the standard number to play, but I have considered dropping to 2 for space since I also play Lugia EX as an attacker. I have stayed at 3 copies because Lugia EX feels more like a tech card to me and I often find myself powering up 1 Virizion-EX, 2 Genesect EX, and 1 non-EX during a game. Prizing Genesect EX would become an issue if I only ran 2 as I would be forced to power up Lugia EX even when a second Genesect EX would have been more optimal.
1 Lugia EX
Even though Genesect EX does just as much damage and uses less Energy, there are times where Lugia EX is superior. The first reason is its typing. Other than Drifblim, it is the only attacker that is not weak to Fire. If your opponent attempts to play a Fire counter, such as Victini-EX, they can easily take out your Grass EX Pokémon in 1-shot in addition to all your Energy.
Having a Lugia EX ready on the bench essentially lets them trade Victini-EX for either Genesect EX or Virizion-EX. You come out 1 Prize ahead, but at the cost of several Energy cards because of Lugia EX’s Overflow Ability (netting you 3 Prize cards) and Victory Piece (allowing Victini-EX to attack for zero Energy).
Lugia EX also does 120 damage, instead of 100 damage to the active and 20 damage to the bench. This is essential when dealing with Pokémon like Bouffalant. Bouffalant can dish out 120 damage to your Pokémon-EX and can survive 2 attacks from Genesect EX thanks to its Bouffer ability. Lugia EX can save you an entire turn by Knocking Out the Bouffalant in 1 Turn with Plasma Gale. This nets you an additional Prize card thanks to Overflow in addition to preventing an additional 120 damage from Gold Breaker.
Lugia EX can also be essential when your opponent attempts to force you to take “7 Prize cards.” This means that they force you to Knock Out 1 non-EX Pokémon in addition to 3 EX Pokémon. This makes it so the single Prize card doesn’t help you win the game because you still need 6 Prize cards off of 3-of your opponent’s EX’s. Lugia EX counters this strategy by either Knocking Out an EX Pokémon previously damaged by Emerald Slash or Megalo Cannon or simply killing a non-EX for 2 Prize cards.
This strategy is best used toward the end of the game, otherwise your opponent may be able to play down another non-EX Pokémon and Knock Out Lugia EX so that you still have to take “7 Prize cards.” This is because even if you Knock Out the first non-EX with Plasma Gale, you still have to Knock Out 2 Pokémon-EX. If your opponent plays down a non-EX you now have to Knock Out that Pokémon in addition to those 2 EX Pokémon.
In addition, a fast 2 or 3 Prize card lead from Lugia EX opens you up to being disrupted by N since there will most likely be many unused cards remaining in your Deck.
I feel Mr. Mime is an underrated card in this deck. Its Ability, Bench Barrier, appears to prevent “only” 20 or 30 damage at most a turn. However, if Darkrai EX uses Night Spear 6 times that 30 damage to the bench every turn adds up to 180 damage! I feel like this is a card that can potentially give you one more turn to win the game by helping your survive.
Mr. Mime is also helpful in the mirror match. A common scenario would be your opponent using Emerald Slash for 50 followed up by Megalo Cannon for 100. This puts your 170 HP EX at 150 damage, a perfect number for your opponent as they can Pokémon Catcher up a different Pokémon and use Megalo Cannon to do 100 and Knock Out your benched EX.
Mr. Mime prevents this 20 damage on the bench and stops your Pokémon from taking 100 damage. That 100 damage Mr. Mime essentially prevented can allow you to attack an addition turn and win the game.
4 copies of both Professor Juniper and N are standard as they are the strongest draw Supporters at the beginning of the game. Colress is also a very strong draw Supporter, but it is bad to start with and the first 2 turns are very important for a Genesect deck. Missing the turn 2 Emerald Slash can potentially set the deck very far behind.
Skyla is very strong in this deck because it is often missing 1 card for the Turn 2 Emerald Slash. You might have an Energy and no Virizion-EX, or a Virizion-EX ready to attack and no way to get it active. It also allows you to play tech Trainer Cards, such as Tool Scrapper and Enhanced Hammer, more effectively. It also lets you search for G Booster. It’s not worth risking Professor Juniper when you only need a specific Trainer card.
I feel like 1 Tropical Beach is essential because we play 4 Skyla and our deck does not attack turn 1. It seems too good not to play, yet I see several players cut it for space. There is a big difference between using Skyla for Professor Juniper and using Skyla for Tropical Beach. They both give you a hand of 7 cards, but using Tropical Beach still allows you to play a Supporter. However, I still wouldn’t play more than 1 copy because I believe there are more important cards and you are generally behind if you Tropical Beach turn 2.
Tropical Beach also serves as a Stadium counter to Virbank City Gym. This may seem pointless as Virizion-EX prevents Special Conditions with Verdant Wind, but Darkrai/Garbodor can turn off Virizion-EX’s Ability! In addition, Tropical Beach is also useful for recovering off of a late Game N when your opponent is attempting to make a comeback.
I like this card as an option in my Genesect deck, yet I don’t think it is worth playing more than 1 copy like I see in some other lists. I think some players are drawn to this card because they can re-use G Booster. This is a nice option to have if you are forced to play Professor Juniper and discard G Booster. However, I only consider G Booster a strong option toward the end of the game as using G Booster multiple times causes you to discard too many Energy cards.
However, Shadow Triad is also useful for recovering a Plasma Energy, which is essentially a Pokémon Catcher with Genesect EX’s Red Signal Ability. It can also get back Colress if you need a Supporter or even a Plasma Pokémon. All the versatility Shadow Triad allows makes me want to play one copy, even if it is a situational card.
This is the ACE SPEC of choice for Genesect EX. The ability to 1-shot an EX once during the game in addition to bypassing Silver Mirror makes this card too good to pass up. It is easily searchable with Skyla so can quickly find the single copy.
I think one of the big mistakes I see a player making is revolving their Genesect deck around G Booster. Playing like this simply causes you to run out of Energy and resources after you take an initial Prize card lead.
In addition, you must be careful to only play down G Booster when you want to use it otherwise it will be a huge target for Tool Scrapper. With Darkrai/Garbodor’s recent success tons of players will ensure they easily have access to Tool Scrapper in their decks. However, doing 200 damage even once can put you a turn ahead in a Prize race or it can allow you to Knock Out your opponent’s only attacker in play.
This card is standard in practically every deck. Being able to search for any Pokémon is essential to setting up. It can also allow you to discard useless cards in a particular matchup so you don’t draw them later, such as Drifblim in the Darkrai/Garbodor matchup. I only play 3 because the deck needs space for Drifblim in order to compete in the Plasma matchup.
Even though Virizion-EX can accelerate Energy with Emerald Slash, it is never bad to attach even more Energy! If your opponent gets a strong start going first, Virizion-EX may only be able to attack once, leaving you with only 2 Grass Energy in play. In addition, G Booster and Plasma Gale are both Energy intensive attacks. Playing 1 or 2 Colress Machine during a game is sometimes necessary to replace the Energy you are forced to discard.
Pokémon Catcher is one of the cards that define the format, yet I only play 3 copies. This is because Genesect EX’s Red Signal is essentially a Pokémon Catcher when you attach a Plasma Energy. Other decks don’t have another easy way to target your opponent’s bench Pokémon and are forced to play 4 Pokémon Catcher, but Genesect decks can free up one slot to tech for its more difficult matchups.
3 or 4 ways to get out of the Active position seems standard in Genesect decks. This is essential because you need to get Virizion-EX active on Turn 2 to use Emerald Slash.
However, not everybody is playing Float Stone. I think the biggest reason for this is because they don’t want to Float Stone a Genesect EX because you can’t attach G Booster later in the game. In a Genesect variant without Drifblim and Lugia, Skyarrow Bridge is very strong as it lets your Pokémon retreat for free without committing a Pokémon Tool to Genesect EX.
In this variant of Genesect, the best option is either Switch or Float Stone. I believe Float Stone is superior because opening with Switch and a draw Supporter is useless if you don’t have a way to search for Virizion-EX! However, you can attach Float Stone to you active Pokémon, play Professor Juniper, and then draw Virizion-EX to retreat to.
Skyarrow Bridge works in the same way when all your Pokémon have 1 retreat. Switch can remove Special Conditions when your opponent has Garbodor out, but Tool Scrapper allows you to turn off Garbotoxin and remove the Special Condition with Virizion-EX’s Verdant Wind. In addition, Tool Scrapper can remove your own Float Stone off of Genesect EX so that you can attach G Booster.
Since I run Float Stone and Darkrai/Garbodor is rising in popularity after its win at the Klaczynski Open, I decided to play 2 Tool Scrapper, rather than the standard single copy. Turning off Garbotoxin is essential. It is also strong at targeting Float Stone, Dark Claw, Silver Bangle, G Booster, and even Victory Piece.
In addition, Genesect EX is a Plasma Pokémon. This makes it potentially vulnerable to Silver Mirror. It doesn’t seem like Silver Mirror is widely played right now, but playing against a deck with 3 or 4 copies of Silver Mirror can be a lot more troublesome with only a single copy of Tool Scrapper. With the exception of Blastoise, Pokémon Tools are a huge part of the metagame right now and I feel Genesect has to adjust accordingly.
This is mostly a tech for Plasma, but it is easy to Skyla for against any deck playing Special Energy. If Plasma isn’t doing well in the metagame you can easily take it out and if Plasma is dominating then you can make room for a second Enhanced Hammer. Knocking Out your opponents active Pokémon and discarding a Special Energy on a benched Pokémon allows you to take 4 Energy Cards off of your opponent’s side of the field.
When you combine this with Drifblim’s Shadow Steal, it is easy to see how 1 Enhanced Hammer can help you make a comeback.
This card is mostly for cycling Grass Energy back into the deck. If you are forced to discard Energy Early Game, you might find yourself struggling to find Energy cards after you put most of them into play with Virizion-EX as the game goes on. Super Rod helps the deck get the last few Energy cards to finish a game.
9 Grass Energy
I feel either 9 or 10 Grass Energy is the optimal number. Due to the fact that I play 4 Plasma Energy and Super Rod I felt I could cut one for space, but I would consider adding a 10th if you find yourself short on Energy when testing.
Plasma Energy can be attached with Colress Machine, used as a Pokémon Catcher with Red Signal, and is essential for Lugia EX’s Plasma Gale. In addition, it can be recycled with Shadow Triad. I play 4 copies because it is a very versatile card in this deck.
I believe Genesect is a very strong deck with Regionals just over the horizon. It is a strong choice against Plasma decks thanks to Drifblim and its other matchups are close to even. It is fairly simple to play, while still giving you a few options in different matchups. If everybody is preparing for Darkrai/Garbodor after its success and they are still teching for Plasma, the door is wide open for Genesect/Drifblim to perform very well.
I hope you all enjoyed the article and have a much stronger grasp on Genesect/Drifblim. Even if you didn’t agree with everything I wrote, I think it’s good to hear different perspectives on both the format and a specific deck. Hearing other player’s opinions can often help you go back and see something you may have overlooked.
If you have any questions about the article feel free to message me and I’ll be more than happy to answer them. I wish everybody the best of luck at Regionals this October!
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