Virginia Regionals was this past weekend. Everyone on the internet has been discussing the results (and casualties) of the tournament and eagerly awaiting the results of next week’s Regionals. I know I can’t wait to see what does well! For those that don’t know, there will be three Regionals this weekend (in Missouri, Southern California, and Oregon).
Odds are some of you reading this will be attending one of these Regionals, or the one in Florida the weekend thereafter. There are even Cities and League Challenges going on around the country this weekend as well. Much Pokémon will be played this Saturday and Sunday by all, and the goal of this article is to aid those competing.
Table of Contents
- The Point Payout
- VA Top 32
- Cough Cough
- Ray Plays Ray
- The Tournament
- What a Drag
- Turtle Time
- On My Mind
- “The Yeti”
- Gang Green
The Point Payout
Toward the end of my Cities run I started to realize just how important Regionals are in correlation with attaining a Worlds invite. For those who don’t know, TPCi has upped the Championship Points Regionals give out from last season. In my opinion, you will need to have at least one decent run (Top 8 or better) at Regionals to get your invite this year.
This past weekend I heard many players asking how many Points different placings at Regionals are worth. To clear up any questions on how many Championship Points you get for Regionals, I will post the rewards here for your convenience:
- 1st Place: 150 Championship Points
- 2nd Place: 135 Championship Points (if division attendance is 4 or greater)
- 3rd and 4th Place: 105 Championship Points (if division attendance is 8 or greater)
- 5th Place through 8th Place: 75 Championship Points (if division attendance is 32 or greater)
- 9th Place through 16th Place: ￼45 Championship Points (if division attendance is 64 or greater)
- 17th Place through 32nd Place: 30 Championship Points (if division attendance is 128 or greater)
- 33rd Place through 64th Place: 15 Championship Points (if division attendance is 256 or greater)
The amount of Championship Points Regionals are worth has only increased slightly from last year. The increase in Points is not what makes Regionals more important this year, it is the increase in the Points needed for a Worlds invite. If you want to achieve 500 Championship Points this season you will need to do well at one of these events.
VA Top 32
Now that we know what we are playing for, let’s take a look at the results from Virginia Regionals and go over what they mean for the following weekends. Thanks to The Top Cut for compiling this information! Here are the Top 32 Masters decks from last weekend:
- 11 Virizion/Genesect
- 6 Rayquaza/Emboar
- 4 Blastoise
- 4 Darkrai/Garbodor
- 3 Lugia
- 1 Dragonite
- 1 Gothitelle/Gardevoir
- 1 Victini
- 1 Darkrai/Dusknoir
- 1 Tool Drop
As you can see, Virizion/Genesect was the most popular deck in the room by a decent margin. The success of Rayquaza/Emboar also feeds off the success of Virizion/Genesect, as it is almost an auto-win for RayBoar. If Virizion/Genesect wasn’t so popular and successful, there is no way Emboar would be the second most popular deck in the Top 32.
Following Emboar, we have the more traditional ‘Rain Dance’ deck, which is Blastoise. The lowered amount of success Blastoise saw here was definitely due to its poor Virizion matchup. Besides Virizion, I would say that Blastoise has 50/50 or better matchups across the board, given the optimal list.
Following Blastoise, we have what no Ability-reliant deck wants to face, Darkrai/Garbodor. Darkrai, in my opinion, does very well against the ‘Rain Dance’ decks that were popular. Most Blastoise and Emboar decks only played two or fewer Tool Scrapper. Against Virizion decks I ￼would say Darkrai/Garbodor has a 50/50 matchup, if not worse, depending on the Virizion deck’s Scrapper count.
Lugia/Snorlax (“Yeti”) is the final deck I would consider part of the popular metagame that did well at this event. I think an important reason Plasma decks didn’t do excessively well in Virginia was the amount of Silver Mirrors floating around the room. Even Darkrai/Garbodor was teching in Silver Mirror!
I would consider Cities as a part of my practice for Regionals, coinciding with my online and team testing. I was fortunate enough to win three City Championships as well as scrounge up a second place. My successes during Cities came from a variety of decks including Blastoise, Darkrai/Garbodor, and Lugia/Cofagrigus.
In case anyone is curious about Lugia/Cofagrigus, here in the list I used:
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 32
Energy – 12
This deck was strictly a metagame call. It is very good against Virizion and Empoleon. Its Darkrai/Garbodor matchup is horrific, not to mention you concede to a Safeguard Pokémon. I would not recommend this deck at any tournament where Darkrai/Garbodor is present.
Getting back on topic; having much success with Blastoise and Darkrai Garbodor, I knew I wanted to expand my testing with those decks. The more I tested those two decks the more I knew that I would be playing one of them for Regionals. The problem with going off of Cities testing is the fact that our meta was lacking in Virizion/Genesect.
Once Regionals got closer I started to hear rumors that Virizion/Genesect was going to be huge at Virginia. It was popular and winning almost everywhere but in my area. After learning this, I began testing my two decks (Blastoise and Darkrai/Garbodor) against Virizion/Genesect. I soon learned that VirGen was not the best matchup for either of these decks. I lost around 70% of the time with Blastoise. The Darkrai/Garbodor matchup was much closer to 50/50, but didn’t feel favorable.
With Regionals fast approaching I started to feel less confident in my deck choices. I knew I needed to find a new deck, but I wasn’t comfortable with the other meta decks. My failsafe deck of choice has always been Blastoise, so I figured if all else fails I would play it.
Unfortunately, all else did fail, and my “safe deck” didn’t feel safe at all. Luckily, there was a deck eerily similar to Blastoise, which had a great Virizion matchup! That deck was Rayquaza Emboar.
Ray Plays Ray
With time of the essence, I ended up getting most of my testing done with RayBoar the day before Regionals. I landed in Virginia Friday around noontime, having all day to test. After putting the deck through the ringer I became slightly more confident in playing RayBoar the next day. Furthermore, having the most popular deck in the format, Virizion/Genesect, be a near auto-win was a luxury I liked having.
RayBoar was by no means better than Blastoise though; there are many flaws in the deck. Those flaws would be being more inconsistent, needing switch cards, and having a worse Yeti, Darkrai/Garbodor, and Accelgor matchup. I knew only a fool would play Accelgor in a room filled with Virizion so I wasn’t worried about that, but having a slightly worse Garbodor and Yeti matchup was scary. Ultimately, I decided to man up and play RayBoar late that night. Ray is also my name which I took to be a good omen.
My list finalizations came around 2 AM while talking with Brit Pybas and Dylan Bryan. Throughout the night I was concocting some crazy Emboar lists with Silver Mirrors, but was talked out of it by my friends, thankfully. Remember: Real friends don’t let friends play bad decks! Here was the final list I came up with and ended up playing the next day:
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 35
Energy – 11
One thing I want people to understand about this list is that it is built for consistency. I managed to fit Electrode as well as four copies of Tropical Beach and 13 Supporters. I sacrificed techs such as Pokémon Catcher, Max Potion, and other attackers to do this. In a long tournament where every match matters you can’t afford to dead-draw multiple times, especially when playing a setup deck.
If I were to play this deck again this weekend I would go back and add a third Scrapper and cut either a Beach, Skyla, or N. As much as I love all of those cards I believe a third Scrapper is going to be necessary if you want to beat Darkrai/Garbodor, which you will need to do.
The only other change I am considering is to conform to the seemingly more standard Energy lineup of 9 Fire and 2 Lightning. I found myself whiffing the L Energy more than I wanted to in some games during testing, so I decided to go with an 8/3 lineup. This deck is unlike Blastoise; you need L Energy to do massive damage. With Blastoise you have Keldeo-EX to attack when you are lacking Lightning. With Emboar, you only have Reshiram, which is rarely going to do much outside of the Virizion Matchup.
The cards that I would not change if I were to play this deck again that some people may find unique would be the 1-1 Electrode line, and the tech Escape Rope. Electrode saved me from so many late game N’s to low numbers. It also aided in setting up and streaming Dragon Bursts for 180 damage.
Escape Rope is a card not many people expected me to play, but put in a ton of work. Not only did it provide a switch effect for me when I needed to get Emboar out of the Active Spot, but it also ended games. How I played Escape Rope to end games was typically when my opponent tried to stall for a turn with a useless 1 Prize Pokémon while trying to protect more important Pokémon. Usually these 1 Prize Pokémon would be Bouffalant for VirGen, an irrelevant Sableye ￼for Garbodor, or Squirtle for Blastoise.
Most players didn’t expect Escape Rope, not bothering to bench other irrelevant Pokémon, and leaving themselves vulnerable. One of my rounds against Darkrai/Garbodor ended when my opponent was Junk Hunting with a Sableye Active and Darkrai EX and Garbodor on the Bench. Escape Rope forced my opponent into a lose-lose situation where he either gives up the attacker he had just set up, or his Garbodor.
He ended up sacrificing Garbodor and attempting to N me out of an attack the following turn. With access to my Abilities I was able to draw out of it with Electrode and Juniper into the Superior to end the game. Situations like this occurred so often just because people were not prepared for Escape Rope. I highly recommend playing one Escape Rope in your Emboar deck.
As for the actual tournament itself, I managed to make Top 8. Day 1 I went 5-1-3 with the loss being to the mirror match, two ties being to Darkrai/Garbodor, and one tie being to Yeti.
The matchup between Darkrai/Garbodor is nearly impossible to win, however it is not impossible to take a draw. If you manage to win either game one or game two while taking your time to do it game three will usually go to time if you can set up. Darkrai/Garbodor is naturally a slow deck, which is a flaw you can easily exploit.
Rarely will RayBoar beat Darkrai/Garbodor in a best-of-three, so it is probably best to play for the tie. Rarely, you can even win a very long Game 1 and never finish a Game 2, making you the winner. I do not condone actual stalling by any means to achieve these goals, but legal time extension (switching between Pokémon to avoid KOs and thinking about each decision for a reasonable amount of time) should be your goals.
I ended the tournament going 9-2-3, which means I managed to go 4-1 on Day 2. I got somewhat lucky to have gotten to play against 5 Virizion/Genesect decks throughout the tournament and one other rogue Virizion/Genesect/Sigilyph deck. I say somewhat lucky because the whole reason I played Emboar was because I knew Virizion was going to be the biggest deck in the room, so I knew I would play against it a lot. I made a metagame call and it paid off big time.
If you expect to be playing against a lot of Virizion/Genesect in your coming tournaments I highly recommend my Emboar list. If you find that Darkrai/Garbodor is gaining popularity due to it winning in Virginia I would be wary of running Emboar. My advice would be to focus most of your testing with this deck against Darkrai/Garbodor while using time, as that will be the matchup you will face most frequently.
What a Drag
In the end I was bested by Dylan Bryan’s insane Dragonite deck in Top 8. I honestly don’t know how he keeps doing amazing with these rogue decks, but I have to say he knows his stuff and is one of the best players in the game.
To give people more insight on Dylan’s deck I will give you a rough skeleton of his list from what I saw when I played him:
Pokémon – 18
Trainers – 33
Energy – 9
I know this list is probably way off on certain counts, but that is the general idea of what he played. It is to be hoped that he will reveal his list in a future Underground article for all of us, though he isn’t scheduled to write again until mid-February.
The next deck I want to go over is easily my favorite deck in the format, and the deck I feel most comfortable playing and talking about. That deck is Blastoise, of ￼course. Throughout Cities I managed to scrounge up two wins with Blastoise and felt I had come up with the optimal list for any tournament. This is also the list I would have played for Regionals if Virizion wasn’t so prevalent.
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 33
Energy – 12
Free Slots – 2
I left two free spaces in this list because that is what I would do before tournaments. Before the tournament I would decide what I wanted to play that day based off of the metagame, or if I wanted to try something new. The cards that went in those two spaces were a combination of these cards:
- 2nd Black Kyurem BCR
- 4th Blastoise BCR
- 3rd Black Kyurem-EX PLS
- 1st Jirachi-EX
- 1st Zekrom PLF
- 1st Max Potion
- 4th Tropical Beach
- 4th N
- 1st Energy Retrieval
- 3rd Pokémon Catcher
- 3rd Tool Scrapper
The Supporter, Jirachi, and Beach additions were me trying to find which I preferred best. If I were to play the deck at Virginia Regionals I would have gone with a fourth Beach and a third Black Kyurem EX or Energy Retrieval. If I were to play the deck this coming weekend at Regionals, I would play a third Tool Scrapper and a third Pokémon Catcher. Tool Scrapper is an obvious inclusion to beat Garbodor, however the logic behind Pokémon Catcher may not be so clear.
Pokémon Catcher is amazing in Blastoise right now, especially with the success of Emboar and Garbodor. Against Emboar you can cut them off of their Emboar with just ￼a three Energy Keldeo-EX, which is game changing.
Against Garbodor, a Catcher heads on a Garbodor can act as a pseudo Tool Scrapper by ridding the field of Garbotoxin. You can also use it more aggressively in that matchup, pulling off a huge turn of Catcher on a Benched Darkrai EX, Tool Scrapper on Garbodor, and Black Ballista for the 1HKO.
In my opinion Pokémon Catcher also is one of the only cards that gives you a good shot at defeating the Genesect decks. If you are able to Catcher a Genesect and KO it right after Virizion Emerald Slashes to it, that can be game breaking. Some of the only times I found myself winning that matchup was when I could pull off that combo.
Against the Yeti decks, if you Catcher a fully-powered Lugia or Snorlax and rid their field of nearly all Energy on board you will probably win that game. Of course, you can also use Pokémon Catcher defensively just like before and try to stall for time to set up, but I would not recommend doing that unless you need to. With Catcher hinging on a flip I only expect to hit one or two per game, and I find myself playing conservatively with them.
If I end up going to Regionals this weekend, or the next weekend, Blastoise is going to be one of my deck considerations. If Virizion/Genesect decks die down a bit due to Emboar’s rise in popularity it could just be Blastoise’s time to shine again. Even with all the Virizion decks one player, Ross Cawthon, still managed to make Top 4 in Virginia with Blastoise. I’m not sure how much VirGen decks Ross played against to get to Top 4, but it’s not an impossible matchup, and if you add a third Tool Scrapper even Darkrai/Garbodor gets easier.
So, Blastoise could be the play for upcoming Regionals, and be sure to be prepared to play against it.
On My Mind
The deck that has been on everyone’s mind this week is Dylan Bryan’s Dragonite deck, but following it is Darkrai/Garbodor. Michael Pramawat won in Virginia with DarkGarb, defeating Emboar convincingly in the finals. You can watch Pramawat play his deck on camera at On The Bubble’s YouTube channel here and here and hear him talk about the deck in this interview:
This was my other deck of choice for Regionals if I decided not to play a ‘Rain Dance’ deck. The reason I decided not to play Darkrai/Garbodor was because of its shaky Virizion/Genesect matchup. According to Pramawat he felt confident in the matchup, especially since most Genesect decks started cutting Laser/Bank from their lists.
After playing him in the tournament, and drawing, I am fairly certain that our lists were similar. Here is the list I would have played in Virginia had I played Darkrai/Garbodor:
Pokémon – 10
Trainers – 40
Energy – 10
This variant of Darkrai/Garbodor is very similar to the one that I used to win a City Championship. The deck I played at Cities was geared toward a more local meta, so I played 2 Escape Rope and more consistency due to Accelgor/Garbodor decks floating around. The above variant is geared toward a more generalized metagame.
The tech Silver Mirror is to help against Plasma decks, mainly. The goal is to Junk Hunt for Lasers and setup cards, and try to get KOs through Poison. Sableye is untouchable with a Silver Mirror attached. If the Mirror gets Scrapped and Sableye gets KO’d, Junk Hunt the Mirror back, or Dowsing for it!
Dowsing for Mirror is a crucial play in this matchup if you can pull it off because it forces the Plasma to KO three Silver Mirrored Pokémon to win the game. With the second Silver Mirrored Sableye you can Junk Hunt back your Dowsing Machine, and this way you have access to a third Silver Mirror for your Absol. Most Plasma decks are not running three Tool Scrapper, and with Garbodor shutting off Genesect’s Red Signal, it will be impossible for your opponent to win.
If for some reason you find yourself struggling against Plasma and this plan isn’t working out for you, then perhaps changing the Supporter lineup to include Skyla or a second Silver Mirror would be good options to look at. If you play Silver Mirror correctly I don’t think Enhanced Hammers are needed. They were mainly for the Plasma matchup, but I think Silver Mirror does more work.
Now that Darkrai/Garbodor has won week one of Regionals I’m not sure how safe of a play it will be going into week two. The power of the deck has made itself known. People are going to be prepared to face Darkrai/Garbodor and packing multiple copies of Tool Scrapper. It will probably be a decent play for this weekend, but I don’t see it being as successful as it was in Virginia simply because people are going to be ready for it.
The superior Garbodor deck might actually be Dragonite, if you can find a working, consistent list.
Ah yes, the infamous “Yeti” deck we have all heard so much about on the internet. Before I get into discussing the deck, I want to let the cat out of the bag and explain to everyone why the deck has been called “the Yeti.” Most people have heard of the deck, and even played it, but have no idea how the deck got its name.
The name actually came from a small group of friends who decided to name it that based off of a League of Legends character named Nunu. His Yeti, Willump, is the real yeti. One of the phrases most commonly said by Nunu is, “The Yeti knows the way.” This is why people say that when referencing “the Yeti” deck.
So, the Pokémon deck named “the Yeti” is referencing League of Legends, and has no Pokémon origins whatsoever. Through the power of the internet the deck, and its name, spread like wildfire, and now the name seems to have stuck. Sometimes it’s funny how things work out.
Now that I have explained the name of the deck, let’s get to talking about the deck itself. Personally, I have very little experience with the Yeti. Luckily, a friend of mine managed to Top 8 Regionals with the deck, and is happy to talk about it with you today.
In my last article I interviewed Angel Miranda on Darkrai, and today I will be asking him a few questions as well. I claimed that he was an up and coming player, and he has lived up to my expectations. He is back here today to discuss the Yeti with you in another interview.
What list did you end up running? Was there anything notable or different that would make this list unique?
Pokémon – 10
Trainers – 36
Energy – 14
I don’t think there’s anything really unique to this list. Maybe my numbers are different from other Yeti players, but when building this deck I wanted consistency. I wanted to be able to last 14 Swiss rounds, so I didn’t over-tech the deck and didn’t play any crazy cards. I think for a Regional you want the most consistent list possible.
Why did you choose to play the Yeti? Have you had previous success with this deck?
I played this deck twice before Regionals. The weekend before Regionals I played in 2 City Championships. Saturday I went 4-2 and got 10th. The next day I went 4-0-1 getting 1st, beating Michael Skoran’s Virizion/Genesect deck in the finals.
The night before Regionals I was unsure what I wanted to play because I felt people would probably try to counter Yeti. My friend Christian Ortiz told me about Gothitelle/Gardevoir. I was really close to playing that deck with him, but with only a small testing sample with such a rogue deck I felt it was too risky to play, so I stuck with the deck that gave me my most recent successes.
I felt Yeti was consistent enough for Regionals and could play out some of its counters (except Item lock + Silver Mirror).
How are your deck’s matchups against the top decks of this format?
I think this deck is close to even with just about all the decks in the format. I mean, of course you destroy Empoleon if they don’t play heavy Silver Mirror. This deck has close matchups against straight Darkrai, Blastoise, and Virizion. I think Darkrai/Garbodor has the advantage over this deck, but it’s winnable as long as you play your Scrappers right. I want to say I have the advantage versus RayBoar, but I actually didn’t play against it throughout all three tournaments.
Note from Ray: The Yeti is very slightly favorable against Emboar decks.
If you could go back and redo Virginia Regionals what would you change about your list?
I wouldn’t change a thing. I felt the list was perfect. I did consider a 3rd Tool Scrapper, but I was still able to handle Darkrai/Garbodor. Maybe now that Darkrai/Garbodor won Regionals I would play a 3rd if I play this again in Florida. I have no idea what I would cut though.
Thank you for your time Angel, and congratulations on making Top 8! I trust Angel’s thoughts on the Yeti deck because I believe him to be a very good player with far more experience playing this deck than myself. I hope you enjoyed hearing Angel’s thoughts regarding the Yeti deck.
Virizion/Genesect was easily one of the most popular decks in the room at Virginia Regionals, and the results showed in the Top 32. I had never ￼considered this deck as an option for myself because I hate the mirror match and was deathly afraid of facing Emboar decks.
Of course, I still had a build ready to test against, which was eerily similar to the one from Dylan Bryan’s most recent article, only being a few cards off:
Pokémon – 8
Trainers – 38
Energy – 14
Closer to the event word started to spread of a Skyarrow Bridge version of the deck, which didn’t play Lasers. I knew I needed to test against this version, and I was happy to find out Emboar had a much easier time against it!
Here is the list I tested against, which also seemed similar to the lists the ￼popped up at Regionals. It also seemed to be more popular than the Laser variant:
Pokémon – 10
Trainers – 36
Energy – 14
This variant of the deck with Skyarrow and Catchers destroyed Blastoise and is what made me really want to switch to Emboar. Virizion/Genesect with Skyarrow is also insanely consistent, getting turn two Emerald Slash nearly every game.
Some players, such as Jimmy Pendarvis, even went as far to add Roserade DRX 15 into the list. Personally, I don’t like Roserade and think it’s not needed, but you can’t argue with results. When you play Virizion you have the luxury of almost never drawing dead because the deck is so consistent, and your Blastoise matchup is very favorable.
In fact, I think most of the metagame is either a 50/50 matchup or slightly favorable for Virizion/Genesect, excluding Emboar. Playing the variant with no Lasers gives you an edge in the mirror too. If you play Lasers in Virizion, and face the mirror match, that’s six dead cards you have.
I think if Emboar dies down thanks to Darkrai/Garbodor winning, ￼which it might, Virizion becomes a strong play. It’s nearly impossible to pinpoint the metagame exactly, but if you get the vibe that there are going to be very few Emboar decks in the room, Virizion is going to be a strong play.
I think that the metagame will shift away from Darkrai/Garbodor, due to people adding Tool Scrappers. This could leave Emboar in an even more favorable position, as well as Blastoise. I don’t think Virizion will get even bigger than it was in Virginia, but I still expect it to be very popular, especially since it doesn’t play Beach. As for the Yeti, I still don’t know where it stands, but it doesn’t seem like it would be a bad play for this weekend either.
I’m really curious to find out if Dragonite will become part of the metagame or if it will just be a one-time wonder. I also can’t wait to see what kind of cool new rogue decks will emerge this weekend.
If there is one final thing I want to stress to my readers about regionals it is this: Avoid getting sick! I was throwing up all day Saturday and was actually planning on not even going at the beginning of the day. Luckily my friends convinced me to go and I can’t thank them enough, especially Brit Pybas. While I was at the tournament a bunch of people helped take care of me, which I am so grateful for. Being sick at a tournament is no fun, even if you do well.
I later found out I got food poisoning from bad meat at a Denny’s. There were a ton of Pokémon players who also got sick this weekend, whether it was from the lack of a lunch break, dehydration, a virus, or food poisoning like me, I urge you to stay healthy this weekend, and at any Regionals you go to.
Adam said before that packing a lunch can be a lifesaver, and I advise you all to do that just in case we don’t get a lunch break again. I did come prepared this Regionals thanks to Adam’s wise words, but I couldn’t actually eat anyway thanks to my stomach. I am sure had I not gotten sick my weekend would have been infinitely more enjoyable. If you come across any food that looks extremely unhealthy, uncooked, or sketchy, it’s not worth eating.
Don’t get sick, stay healthy, play well, and have fun. This is the magic formula for a perfect weekend! I hope my article was able to help you decide what you want to play this weekend, as well as just give you information on what the format looks like. I’m not sure if I will be at Regionals this weekend, or the next weekend, but if I go be sure to say hi to me! I hope anyone who goes to a tournament this weekend does well and has fun.
Best of luck,
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