“Like sands of the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.”
And thus sand is a valuable commodity, and Tropical Beach is one pricey card!
Like many of you out there reading this, I don’t own any Tropical Beaches and would rather not spend $600+ to obtain a playset of the most expensive competitive card in recent memory. Therefore I’ve decided to prepare for Fall Regionals, sans Beach, and share with you the deck options I feel are viable for those of us without the Worlds promo.
Even if you are fortunate enough to be stocked up on Beaches, my hope is that by detailing my game planning process you will pick up some insight on how I approach a metagame and perhaps even new ideas to consider.
And at the very least, maybe you can throw one of these decks together to give to a family member or friend so they can have a semi-legitimate go at Regionals. I’ve got a few pals I’m bringing out to Philadelphia Regionals, and having not played seriously the past few years, my cardpool is nada and I’ve got to piece together competent decks for all four of us.
This article will be laid out in the chronological order of which I’ve gone about my playtesting and deck discovery, so let’s begin with one of the most commonly asked questions by Underground members, a query I also first asked myself upon delving into testing again …
Tropical Beach in decks like Blastoise and Genesect?”“Do I NEED
I think it’s pretty safe to say “Yes, you do.” Neither of those decks have an accessible turn 1 attack (unless you run Colress Machine and Team Plasma Badge in Genesect), thus you are often best off attempting to get a Beach in play (often through the assistance of Skyla) and filling your hand in hopes of bolstering your second turn potential.
But let’s say you only own 2 Tropical Beach and the optimal Blastoise list plays 3 Beach. Or you only own 1 and the best play is 2 in Genesect. (You own at least 1 Beach but 1 less than what is considered standard.) Does that mean Blastoise and Genesect are off limits as deck options? I would lean toward “yes” again, but I don’t think the answer is so clear cut. This decision depends partly on the expected metagame.
If you expect to face primarily other decks relying on Tropical Beach as well, then having 1 less Beach in your list won’t hurt quite as much, and you may gain an advantage in certain situations. In a matchup of Beach dependent decks, after one Beach comes into play, which will often happen turn 1, all remaining copies in both players’ decks essentially become dead cards. They can’t be used for anything other than discard fodder. If you have 1 less Beach in your list, then you have 1 more potentially live card than your opponent, which could give you an edge. You’ve forgone consistency for potential.
Having that 1 less Beach hurts though when you want to get one of your Beach into play before your opponent, but can’t find one or have to expend a resource to draw it. In that case you’ll probably wish you had played an extra copy of the card. And of course against pretty much any non-Beach deck, you’ll have rather had that additional Beach in your list.
This gambit rides on your ability to predict the metagame (and receive fortuitous pairings). If you think you’ll face a bunch of other decks playing Tropical Beach and can make full use of that open spot, then it’s an option to consider. But if you are unsure of the metagame, then it’s not worth the risk. The new best-of-three format is going to reward consistency more than ever.
I’ll also say that I doubt the Regionals metagame will become inundated to the point where you should expect to play against someone using Tropical Beach a majority of rounds. There are only so many of the card in circulation and a limited number of decks that utilize it. Perhaps as you get deeper into the tournament you could expect to face more players using Beach (as most better players will own a playset and be tempted to pilot a deck incorporating it), but with extended Swiss this season (there will be more Swiss rounds to compensate for uniform Top 8 cuts), I again would advise a more stable list.
If you own 2 less Beach than desired or none at all, then definitely move on to another deck. Beach is an impactive card integral to the strategy of certain decks and there is no replacement for it.
I decided from the beginning of my testing that I’d focus on developing decks requiring zero Tropical Beach since I would be doing a majority of my testing with three friends who also owned no Beach and had no desire to invest in the card.
My one friend played competitively for a number of years and is just getting back into the game this season (thanks in part to the entry fees and increased prizes) and then our other two friends are newcomers to competitive play who are intrigued by childhood nostalgia of the Pokémon franchise.
I figured it would be best if we all made an effort to play the same deck so everyone would be on the same page, thus starting our development of “the Sand-less-lot,” or perhaps “the Beach-less Boys” if you prefer feel good 60s surf rock over feel good 90s children movies (i.e. decks not needing Tropical Beach).
Step 1: Figure Out What’s Good
Before diving into testing and deck creation, it’s important to identify which decks are most inherently strong, meaning they would be good in a neutral metagame (one that neither favors nor opposes the decks).
Pre-Klaczynski Open, I thought Plasma would be the deck to beat because it lost no cards in the NXD-on rotation and could easily incorporate Silver Bangle. The results of the K.O. suggest however that DarkGarb, Blastoise, and Genesect are better options.
After allowing several weeks for the meta to play itself out, it seems all four deck are fairly close to one another and matchups can be swayed by certain card choices (like the addition of multiple Tool Scrapper to combat DarkGarb and Promo Landorus to again counter DarkGarb). If I were to rank the four decks according “threat level,” which is an ambiguous stat I’m making up combining popularity and ability to win a tournament, here’s how I’d rank the decks:
I don’t know if Blastoise will be the most popular deck (as it’s certainly the priciest out there, requiring 3+ Beach), but I think it’s the strongest because like Ray Cipoletti mentioned earlier, it’s immune to most of the hate going around.
It doesn’t rely on Special Energy, nullifying opposing Enhanced Hammers and the two Drifblims. It doesn’t use Plasma Pokémon, making Silver Mirror is useless against it (as well as the stray Haxorus PLB). It scores 1HKOs, so healing strategies using different potion cards don’t affect it. It has mobility thanks to Keldeo, so Status Conditions are relatively easy to play around. Most simply, it does the best job of any deck out there at turning opposing cards into dead weight.
Garbotoxin does shut off Deluge, but that can be countered by playing extra Tool Scrapper. I just feel it’s the deck most naturally protected from counter strategies (known and unknown) that will be seen at Regionals.
I rank DarkGarb as second on my threat level scale for several reasons. Firstly, it won the Klaczynski Open and was well documented first on video and then later through Lex’s tournament report, so anyone can deduce how this deck is played and be armed with a competitive list.
Secondly, it’s the easiest of the four decks to build. A typical list could be put together from scratch for less than $170 with some smart shopping. By comparison, the next most economical deck, Plasma, would run slightly higher depending on whether or not Promo Landorus was included in the list. The price difference isn’t that much, but Darkrai consists mostly of older cards which players might already have, so that also factors into it being a bit more obtainable.
(Genesect is $400+ if it uses 1 Beach. Blastoise is in the mid $700 range with 3 Beach. Money should be no object for high level events like Nationals and Worlds, but Regionals typically have more diverse player turnouts, it’s early in the season, and I’m not convinced players in general are all that vested into 2013-2014 yet.)
Thirdly, it’s a deck that lends itself to a skilled player. Sableye provides options, and tactical players gravitate toward the card. (There is a reason 3-time World Champ Jason Klaczynski played the card all last season.) Fourthly, and though a minor point, DarkGarb avoids all the Special Energy hostility by playing solely basic Energies, as well as any Team Plasma negativity (i.e. Silver Mirror) by playing maybe only a single copy of Absol PLF.
The issues with DarkGarb are that the 50 minute time Swiss time limit may hinder its ability to win a best-of-three match (though I think the new tie scenarios, Section 8.3, might even favor the deck, which I will explain later) and that Tool Scrapper will be more prevalent since Garbodor is now on the map.
Plasma (Thundurus, Kyurem, Deoxys) I rank a close third, but it may very well be more of a threat than DarkGarb. With the new tins infiltrating stores, Plasma is the second most inexpensive of the big four decks and is now accessible to many players.
A quick Kyurem is still very strong (its Metal Weakness, Plasma grouping, 130 HP, efficient attacks, and non-EX status are all blessings from Arceus) and the deck itself is quick, which should lend well to the 50 minute best-of-three format since it has a higher likelihood than the other decks at actually completing three games and coming back if it loses the first game.
Unfortunately Plasma suffers from much of the hate that Blastoise avoids, and thus is in a precarious situation depending on how bright the spotlight shines on it. It’s the easiest of the four decks to techs against.
I place Genesect last of the four threats because it’s the newcomer and least proven. It ranks behind only Blastoise in terms of cost and doesn’t seem to have any explicitly favorable matchups besides Plasma if it runs heavy Drifblim and Hammers. Blastoise and DarkGarb both provide close battles and several fringe ideas don’t mind squaring off against the greenies.
There is always an allure to playing a shiny new deck though and many people will be jonesing to try it out. It’s good. I just don’t think it’s as much of a threat as the other three decks until someone besides Henry Prior has tournament success with some variation of it because until then, it will probably be the least represented of the four decks.
Step 2: Identify Weaknesses
After establishing the main contenders, I then like to compile a list of their weaknesses that could be exploited and look for commonalities to formulate new decks and shore up existing ones.
I mentioned some Achilles heels above, but I’ll organize them below (along with semi-reasonable counter cards in parentheses) for organization purposes. Shout out to Zach Bivens and I’m sure Erik Nance who also use this technique to spot holes in the metagame.
- Prefers to use Abilities (Garbodor DRX)
- Attaches multiple Energy per turn from hand (Frozen City)
- Can be reliant on Tropical Beach for draw (Counter Stadiums + N)
- Attacks with Pokémon-EX (Silver Bangle, Suicune PLB, Sigilyph DRX, Klinklang PLS)
- Some reliance on Item cards (Zebstrika NXD, Dragonite PLF)
- Keldeo and Blastoise have Weakness to Grass (Genesect-EX, Leafeon PLF, Tropius PLB)
- Black Kyurem has Weakness to Dragon (Garchomp DRX 90, Haxorus PLB, Rayquaza DRV, Kecleon PLF)
- Other: Zoroark NXD can 1HKO Black Kyurem-EX for a DCE
- Garbodor needs a Tool attached for Garbotoxin to be activated (Tool Scrapper)
- Hits for Bench damage (Mr. Mime PLF, though Garbodor can shut off its Ability)
- Tries to set up double KOs (Potion, Max Potion, Gold Potion, Champions Festival)
- Likes to use Item cards (Zebstrika NXD, Dragonite PLF)
- Attacks with Pokémon-EX (Silver Bangle, Suicune PLB, Sigilyph DRX, Klinklang PLS, though Garbodor can shut off those Pokémon’s Abilities)
- Utilizes Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym quite a bit (Virizion-EX, Counter Stadiums, Float Stone, Switch)
- Sometimes cycles Enhanced Hammers with Sableye (Play more basic Energy)
- Darkrai-EX has Weakness to Fighting (Landorus-EX, Landorus Promo, Stunfisk DRX, Terrakion BCR, Terrakion-EX, Lucario PLS)
- Relies on Special Energies (Enhanced Hammer, Drifblim PLB, Drifblim DRX, Garchomp DRX 90, Cobalion-EX)
- Hits for Bench damage (Mr. Mime PLF)
- Attacks with Plasma Pokémon (Silver Mirror, Drifblim PLB)
- Uses Pokémon-EX but doesn’t always rely on them for attacking (Silver Bangle)
- Kyurem PLF has Weakness to Metal (Cobalion-EX, Lucario PLS, Klinklang PLS)
- Deoxys-EX has Weakness to Psychic (Drifblim PLS, Drifblim DRX)
- Thundurus-EX has Weakness to Fighting (Sawk PLB, Landorus-EX, Landorus Promo, Stunfisk DRX, Terrakion BCR, Terrakion-EX, Lucario PLS)
- Hits for Bench damage (Mr. Mime PLF)
- Sometimes tries to set up KOs (Potion, Max Potion, Gold Potion, Champions Festival)
- Attacks with Plasma Pokémon (Silver Mirror, Drifblim PLB)
- Devotes space to targeting Special Energies (Play more basic Energy)
- Genesect-EX and Virizion-EX have Weakness to Fire (Flareon PLF, Victini-EX, Entei-EX)
Feel free to mention any other weaknesses or counters you can come up with in the discussion thread and I’ll add them to the article.
After getting out these exploits out in the open, I finally started to put together some decks.
Step 3: Come Up with Decks
It should go without saying that the four aforementioned decks are viable options for Fall Regionals. However, being in my Beach-less situation, I’m only considering DarkGarb and traditional Plasma. Those two decks have been discussed in great detail many times already though, so I’ll only spare a few more words on them.
As far as Plasma, I’m a fan of Henry’s notion to play it with basic Energy in it. I think having a couple help mitigate some of the animosity other decks show toward Team Plasma.
(I suppose not all variations of Genesect need Beach, like Mike Diaz’s, but it’s still one of the more expensive decks to build because of the new EXs included.)
However good those decks may be, I am always keen to work on new and lesser established concepts in attempt to gain an edge over the competition. Assuming at the time that Plasma was BDIF, pre-Klaczynski Open, I first worked on establishing the (almost) auto-win condition, Item locking a Silver Mirror.
Idea #1: Zebstrika w/ Mirror
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 38
Energy – 10
My initial goal was to create a deck that would have good Plasma matchup. If Zebstrika can Disconnect with a Silver Mirror attached, it’s pretty much game over (barring the rare Landorus-EX sighting). I felt if I could get Zebstrika to beat one deck, then I maybe I could adjust card counts, lowering the edge in the Plasma matchup while improving others in return.
However, I found it much more difficult to get Zebstrika to beat Plasma than I imagined. It seems simple, right? Disconnect with a Mirror and you’ve got game. The problem is that getting Disconnect off is not so easy.
Plasma decks have Energy acceleration in the form of Colress Machine, whereas Zebstrika has no acceleration (unless you tried cramming Exp. Share and Masquerain PLB into the deck to give it Energy conservation, a close cousin of Energy acceleration).
If Plasma wins the opening coin flip, it can pretty easily get damage on the board turn 1 with either Thundurus or Kyurem (or even Deoxys), then turn 2 follow up with a KO on whatever you attached your Energy to on your first turn. You’re then immediately behind in Energy drops and if the Plasma player hits a couple Catchers and Tool Scrappers, it’s over. You’ll never get to Disconnect.
Even if Zebstrika does win the flip, there are still opportunities for the evil villains. It’s not guaranteed the Zebstrika player will actually get all the necessary cards for the T2 Disconnect. Missing the Mirror or an Energy or the Zebstrika happens more commonly than you’d think. A turn 1 Catcher from the opposition can also delay the Disconnect, forcing the Zebstrika player to waste Energy retreating (or a switching card to promote Zebstrika active again).
The Plasma player can also go straight for their Keldeo-EX if they play one, a non-Plasma Pokémon, and power it up. Keldeo will do 90 damage with a combination of 2 Prism and Blend WLFM Energy attached. This is enough to 1HKO Zebstrika and can swing the game quickly. If the Plasma player plays Landorus-EX, it’s even more effective.
So, the deck had to be fully clothed in anti-Plasma garb to get it to win at the rate I thought was acceptable. (I don’t think this list is perfect though, so please tinker with it.) The Catcher are used more for stalling than offensive plays; dragging up a Pokémon with any Retreat Cost will bide time to get the Disconnect going. The time when Catcher should be used proactively is when your opponent drops a Keldeo. You’ll want to bring it up immediately, hopefully Laser it, and Disconnect it to the discard in three turns.
I initially had little success partnering Zebstrika with Garbodor against Plasma, hence this version was favored. However, that version likely has more of a chance against non-Plasma decks, though you may be spread too thin trying to balance the list (specifically the Item cards) against a variety of decks.
Another idea might be to pair an Energy accelerator like Victini-EX with Zebstrika, as much of the reason it struggles is because it falls behind in Energy drops.
But enough on this deck; I don’t recommend playing it (at least my version) at Regionals unless you have some kind of personal vendetta against Plasma.
The next deck I began testing was Vileplume. Yes, I know it’s a deck that seems a perfect candidate for Tropical Beach, but I wanted to give it a go since it’s one of the more unique concepts to come about recently. I used Henry’s list and A. Hahn’s list for inspiration, though I limited the attackers to two copies each of Rayquaza DRV, Stunfisk DRX, and Cobalion-EX to try and counter Stoise, Darkrai, and Plasma while ignoring Genesect.
The deck tested terribly for me, but one thing I noticed was Stunfisk + Bangle did a number on Darkrai. 1-Energy Megalo Cannon anyone? Intrigued by the “Trap Pokémon,” I began working on ideas incorporating it because of its strength against Darkrai.
Idea #2: Stunfisk
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 39
Energy – 8
This deck looks laughable, much like Stunfisk itself, but it’s surprisingly ok. Its strengths are that it uses no Pokémon-EX, all its attackers can swing for 1 Energy, it uses no Special Energy, and it types up decently against popular cards to hit for Weakness.
My friend Josh and I have gone through numerous iterations of the deck, many of which included a Drifblim line, but we settled on a Stunfisk/Leafeon focus when we realized how badly Kyurem PLF destroyed the deck, even with the help of the purple balloons.
Typically the deck wants to lead with Stunfisk and get damage onto the board, targeting Pokémon-EX. Leafeon can do significant damage at times against Stoise, Genesect, and Darkrai.
Nothing in the deck has that great of damage potential, but with Silver Bangle and type advantage it manages to win games. I’ll go over its matchups against the big four so you have an idea of how things play out, and whether this would be a good play depending where the metagame settles.
DarkGarb – “Winner, winner, Darkrai dinner!”
If you stream a few Stunfisks with Bangles and hit a couple Catchers, you’ll win. Leafeon doing 60+ isn’t even that bad. Absol PLF is a card to watch out for though as it’s a non-EX and will take two shots to Knock Out. I did not test against DarkGarb using Gold Potion, so I am not sure if healing ability would make a difference.
Blastoise – “I like turtles.”
The Blastoise player will in an ideal scenario prefer to attack with Black Kyurem-EX, leaving only 1 Energy on their field so Leafeon is only a slight nuisance. However I’ve found the Blastoise player will often be tempted to lead with Keldeo as it’s easier to get a Keldeo rolling than Black Kyurem, plus hitting 6 Black Ballistas is stretching their resources.
This gives Leafeon an opportunity to score a 1HKO on the attacking Keldeo, assuming 3 Energy in play plus a Bangle for a 180 damage Energy Crush.
Eventually the games seem to end with Black Kyurem-EX trying to hit a couple Black Ballistas while the Stunfisk player tries to ice a Frozen City in play. If the Blastoise player misses their Beaches and the Stunfisk player hits a couple timely N, Stunfisk will win. 120 damage on a Black Kyurem with Frozen City in play freezes it from attacking.
Testing has somehow been about 50/50, which I guess is ok considering Blastoise is a good deck and costs a bajillion more dollars than this.
Genesect – “You’re bugging me.”
I cringed as Dylan suggested everyone play Mr. Mime in Genesect because it improves Genesect’s already favorable odds here. Stunfisk would normally like to peck away at 2 Pokémon-EX, whereas with Mr. Mime in play Muddy Water becomes quite fruitless. Even just being able to get off two Muddy Waters with splash damage is pretty huge.
Lugia is quite bothersome too since it removes Energy from play and bypasses the Prize trade. Silver Mirror is a recent addition to the Stunfisk list though, and can hinder the Lugia (and Genesect).
The Genesect player’s strategy should be to lead with Genesect and/or Virizion and then clean up with Lugia for their last 2 to 4 Prize cards. Leading with Lugia tends not to go well.
Plasma – “Always giving me the cold shoulder.”
The Stunfisk player has no response to Kyurem. You can try to bait them to waste Tool Scrappers and maybe stick a Silver Mirror in play on a Stunfisk (which may then succumb to a Keldeo), but that’s about your only hope.
I will keep tinkering with Stunfisk because nothing would feel greater than winning Regionals with Stunfisk, and I’d suggest giving the deck a try yourself and seeing if you can improve upon the concept. It feels close to being decent and the price is right (about $85 for the full deck).
One issue, besides the unfavorable matchups, is that games with this deck take a long time to play out and the outcome is often uncertain until the very last turn, which could either bode well or woefully with the 50 minute best-of-three Swiss format. (Whomever wins Game 1 will likely take the match.) Also, it is undoubtedly bad against outliers like Tool Drop.
And then of course if Mr. Mime becomes a universal staple, Stunfisk will sorrowfully bury itself in the mud indefinitely.
Next on the agenda is a deck that should have less variability with the 50 minute time limits, and which is why I wanted to test it out.
Idea #3: Lugia
Pokémon – 10
Trainers – 35
Energy – 15
I originally tested with a focus on Cofagrigus PLF 56, but found it to be pretty awful. It’s a lot easier to drop Deoxys down for a damage boost, plus really you’re only going to be able to Six Feet Under once a game. If you use the Ability twice, then your opponent only has to Knock Out 2 Pokémon-EX to win, which is way too easy.
It would be nice to fit a non-EX in here to make your opponent draw 7 Prizes (and to have a chance against Safeguard Pokémon), but I’ve decided to take an approach similar to A. Hahn’s list and focus on speed. I don’t feel confident enough in my playing ability yet to work on a more hybrid build, but Johnny Rabus’ list from Worlds is neat. It gives you more of an opportunity to throw different looks at your opponent and tactically employ Lugia. Same with Simon Narode’s list, which uses Lugia as a tech.
Anyway, as I tested, my list slowly shifted closer and closer to Andy’s, but Ultra Ball fell out of favor early on. I usually found myself discarding Energy with Juniper, and it was rare for me to actually combo an Ultra Ball Energy discard with an immediate Raiden Knuckle. Team Plasma Ball saves me from awkward discards and more easily helps Colress net extra cards.
The strategy is to lead with Thundurus because it can get damage in play from the get-go to soften stuff up then transition into Lugia. I’m running the list without Prism Energy because of all the Enhanced Hammers and Drifblims floating around. This does exclude Deoxys as a potential attacker, but I’ve had nary an opening to Helix Force anyway.
As far as matchups go, it’s been pretty close against all of the big four. This list doesn’t have any tricks up its sleeve, but its consistency and speed give it a chance against anything not based around Safeguard Pokémon or Silver Mirror.
Those are the three decks I’ve put in the most time testing as of writing this article and feel comfortable talking about. However I do want to mention resources for other ideas that are cost-effective and probably much more viable than my creations.
Erik Nance wrote an incredible article about his development of Trubbish PLS 65/Sigilyph PLB, aka Tool Drop. I plan to test the deck the next couple weeks before my Regional on the 26th, but from what I understand this is a smart play if you expect Plasma to be popular.
A. Hahn shared his Flareon/Leafeon/Drifblim/Garbodor build last month which he wrote is favorable against all of the big four except for DarkGarb. I haven’t gotten around to testing it because for whatever reason it hasn’t piqued my interest and I think it might be a Beach deck. Dylan Bryan’s original idea played the Stadium and I’m not sure why Andy chose to exclude it.
Flareon/Leafeon/Zoroark NXD is another idea I’ve heard in passing. Theoretically it should have a positive matchup against Blastoise and Genesect.
A Quad Garchomp deck piloted by Cédric Gouin recently won a 46 player 6 round Premier Event in France. I like the concept because Garchomp is non-EX, non-Plasma, can attack for 1 Energy, and doesn’t rely on many Special Energies. If I get around to testing it and it performs well, I’d give it serious consideration as an inexpensive option for Regionals.
Big Basics have returned with a new partner in crime: Drifblim. Brit Pybas shared his Landorus-EX/Mewtwo-EX/Drifblim/Garbodor build on Celadon City Gym recently and in early September A. Hahn talked about his Landorus-EX/Lugia-EX/Drifblim deck. I’m not really big on these types of decks though since Blastoise should be able to beat them and I consider Blastoise to be the biggest threat right now.
In addition to Lugia builds, Plasma lists focused solely on Kyurem for attacking are another option for players without Beach. Henry Prior covered this deck back in June before US Nationals. Hervé Guillemet played it with Manaphy PLS at the recent tournament in France, which might be a good move. I have no experience with this deck so I don’t feel comfortable sharing much of an opinion on it, but I wanted to at least give it a mention.
Talkin’ ‘Bout Ties
Before concluding this article, I feel it’s my duty to help inform you of the updated tournament rules which became public on Friday. The biggest piece of information you need to be aware of is tie scenarios during 50 minute +3 turn best-of-three Swiss rounds. John talked about this last Thursday, but I want to throw my two wooden pennies into the fray as well.
To be as clear as possible, since the rules document is written as confusingly as possible, here is my interpretation of the most likely new match outcome scenarios.
New Match Outcome Scenarios
- If Game 1 hasn’t finished at the end of 50 minutes +3 turns, it’s a tie. (Unlikely scenario.)
- If Game 2 hasn’t finished at the end of 50 minutes +3 turns, the winner of Game 1 wins the match. (Likely scenario.)
- If Game 3 hasn’t finished at the end of 50 minutes +3 turns, it’s a tie. (Likely scenario.)
All scenarios are regardless of the Prize counts.
And then of course if either players wins two full games within the 50 minutes +3 turns, they win the match. The difference during Swiss is that unlike in the top cut, Prize cards aren’t taken into consideration as tiebreakers as they would be during scenarios #1 and #3.
In the case of scenario #2, if the player who lost Game 1 was ahead in Game 2 and had taken more than 50% of their Prize cards on the final turn of +3, they would be considered the winner and the match would be determined by a sudden death Game 3.
I hope this makes sense, but if you have any questions please ask!
As far as what decks might gain an advantage from this alteration, I think there are two juxtaposing strategies that could shine:
- A strong but slow deck can try to win a drawn out Game 1 and then not let Game 2 complete.
- A fast deck can try to finish a full three game series, eliminating variance.
Neither strategy is foolproof, but I think they are both better than the third option of playing a mid speed deck which has less of an ability to deny or complete a third game. A deck like that would end up with more ties, and I think you really want to be picking up W’s if possible.
Of course you shouldn’t play a deck solely because it’s fast or slow; it needs to be strong against the metagame too. And scooping is soon going to be considered an art form. Wear a watch and while you prepare for Regionals, have at least a rough idea of how long games versus certain matchups might take.
“I believe I can fly.”
It was fun coming up with deck ideas, though there is a reason the top tier decks are top tier decks. They’re good! It’s a challenge trying to make decks that can compete with them, let alone on a budget.
If Regionals were tomorrow, under a spell of irrational confidence I’d play Stunfisk and probably regret my decision after starting off 0-3 against a trio of Plasma decks. If by the third weekend of Regionals Team Plasma has blatantly taken over though, then I’ll play Trubbish. Otherwise if I’m pretty sure Safeguard Pokémon and Silver Mirror aren’t the vogue, then Lugia, I choose you.
(I’m not confident in my ability to learn the ins and outs of Darkrai well enough in time. TDK would be a consideration of mine if the meta isn’t straight up hating on it.)
I hope that even though the three decks I decided to test didn’t turn out to be all that game breaking I at least gave you some ideas and that this was an enjoyable read. All our other writers are way more knowledgeable than I, so please feel free to question anything I’ve written here. As long as I’ve got you thinking, then I’ve done my job.
Catch you at Philly Regionals,
…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.
After 45 days, we unlock each Underground (UG/★) article for public viewing. New articles are reserved for Underground members.
Underground Members: Thank you for making this article possible!
Other Readers: Check out the FAQ if you are interested in joining Underground and gaining full access to our latest content.