Hello again SixPrizes! I’m back for my second article of the month on a more relatable topic for the majority of my readers: Regionals. As most of you know, we’ve just come out of three weekends in a row of Regional Championships all across the United States. I was able to attend the first two weekends in Virginia and Missouri, finishing in the Top 32 and Top 8 respectively.
There has been much change in the format throughout this month and it was very interesting to see a similar spectrum of decks winning and doing well as during Fall Regionals. Being able to see a diverse metagame evolve over the span of multiple large tournaments is always exciting to me and I’m enjoying the new system of three weekends of Regionals in the Fall, Winter, and Spring.
Choosing the right deck is more important than ever right now and the people who have been doing well have made amazing metagame calls as well as come up with some interesting decks.
The Top Cut has compiled a list of the Top 8 decks and players from each Regional. As you can see, the metagame has been varied this format, which is always a good sign for the health of the game. I’m going to go over a few of the big decks, their notable finishes, and explain why they did well.
Table of Contents
Blastoise and Emboar
1st Place // Missouri // Aaron Tarbell // Blastoise PLB/Keldeo-EX/Black Kyurem-EX PLS
1st Place // California // Chris Silver // Emboar LTR/Rayquaza-EX
2nd Place // Virginia // Santiago Rodriquez // Emboar LTR/Rayquaza-EX
2nd Place // Oregon // Bidier Jing // Blastoise PLB/Keldeo-EX/Black Kyurem-EX PLS
I decided to group the two “Rain Dance” decks together into one section because of their very similar strategies. I know they are better suited for different metagames, but down to the core they’re the same deck in my book. If I ever consider running Blastoise I’m also considering Emboar, and vice versa, making the decision between them based on how many Virizion decks I expect.
When Cities first started I shied away from Blastoise and Emboar in favor of multiple other decks including Team Plasma and Gothitelle/Accelgor, but nearing the end of Cities I picked up Blastoise for the first time since Virginia Regionals 2013 and fell in love all over again.
“Losing” Catcher doesn’t hurt Blastoise all that much; the ability to 1-shot anything makes up for not being able to choose your target. I put “losing” in quotes because Aaron Tarbell played Pokémon Catcher is his winning Blastoise list and had great success with it throughout the tournament, from what I’ve heard as well as playing him in the Top 8. His Pokémon Catchers caught me off guard and made the matchup an uphill battle trying to keep my Emboars on the field.
I talked with Chris Fulop after the tournament and he concluded that Pokémon Catcher should still be played in almost every deck and found it surprising that it took this long for people to realize how powerful the card is despite the added coin flip.
Another interesting note was that he went on to say that Pokémon Reversal should have probably been an addition to decks after the release of HeartGold & SoulSilver in 2010 as well.
I chose to play Emboar at Missouri because I expected a large amount of Virizion and a small amount of Garbodor. Both of these predictions turned out to be true and helped with my success. I built my list the morning of the tournament and played zero games with it going into the event, which was a little nerve-racking, but I ended both days of Swiss as 1st seed, which was very satisfying for me after my not as stellar performance the weekend before in Virginia, and my worries from the little experience I had with the deck.
Here is the list I ran:
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 34
Energy – 12
As you can see I played no Tool Scrapper. I based this decision off the fact that Tool Scrapper in low counts doesn’t help your Garbodor matchup enough to warrant the space, and in large counts it takes away from needed consistency to comfortably win your other matchups. I decided I would rather take one or two loses if I got paired against Garbodor and easier wins against anything else I may come across.
I also added Mewtwo-EX to be able to do consistent damage without being hindered by a lack of Inferno Fandango due to Garbotoxin. I ended up being paired against Landorus-EX/Mewtwo-EX/Tornadus-EX DEX/Garbodor LTR on the first day of Swiss and winning 2-0 due to my opponent drawing no Supporters either game and me being able to bench him out before he could get any attackers or a Garbodor out.
I’ll admit I had some serious luck on my side with that one, but even a loss in that game wouldn’t have made me miss Top 32 or Top 8.
I enjoyed playing the deck much more than the Virizion/Genesect variant that I used in Virginia. There’s so much more room for making a comeback when you rely on an Ability for your Energy acceleration rather than an attack. I always felt that a fast tempo on my opponent’s side of the field would spell the end for my Virizion deck; if I wasn’t able to get a lot of Energy out fast or take care of their big threat before they could wipe my Energy off the board I had a slim chance of pulling out the win. The opposite was true with Emboar, and I would often find myself making large comebacks that weren’t possible with Virizion/Genesect.
Overall, Blastoise (and Emboar) once again assert the dominance of the “Rain Dance” strategy on the format. Throughout my writing for SixPrizes, I’ve always been a big believer in Blastoise, and now is no exception. With the addition of Professor’s Letter in the newest set, I expect even more improvement to both of these decks and continued success through States and Spring Regionals.
1st Place // Oregon // Jacob Van Wagner // Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX/Terrakion LTR/Ho-Oh-EX
2nd Place // California // Kian Amini // Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX/Drifblim
2nd Place // Florida // Jose Marrero // Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX
Virizion/Genesect decks had the most variation in builds out of the high performance decks from Regionals, so it is an obvious choice to talk about, as well as considering the fact that I got some experience with it in Virginia. I was surprised by all the variation of builds of Virizion, but I always love to see creativity in deck building, especially when it pays off with a big finish.
I can tell how different the metagames were at each of these Regionals to aid in the success of each of these three variants. The most interesting to me was Jacob Van Wagner’s “Spookysect,” which seems very similar to the Darkrai-EX/Terrakion LTR/Ho-Oh-EX I used last year at Fall Regionals.
Jacob, as well as Travis Nunlist and their A+ testing group who came up with the deck, were kind enough to allow me to include their list in this article, so here it is:
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 32
Energy – 16
I really like all the options this deck has; Virizion and Genesect counter Blastoise very well, Terrakion takes care of Darkrai, and Ho-Oh is amazing in the mirror match. The best part about this variation in my opinion is the added Energy acceleration that is added with Ho-Oh-EX. As I mentioned before, my biggest issue with Virizion/Genesect was the lack of a non-attack form of Energy acceleration, and Ho-Oh serves that purpose very well.
It looks like a lot of testing went into this list and of course a lot of effort to come up with the idea to begin with, so a big shout out to Jacob and Travis for the deck!
Next up is the plain Virizion/Genesect deck piloted by Jose Marrero in Florida. Jose posted his list on a public Facebook group and allowed me to share it with you all, so here is what he played:
Pokémon – 9
Trainers – 37
Energy – 14
Jose chose to go with a more standard route with Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym over different attackers. The addition of 3 Potion was interesting, though. I ran 1 in Virginia and got good mileage from it. Using 3 is very interesting as it helps with your Plasma matchup, which I’ve found to already be very good, but doesn’t do much if anything against RayBoar, which I would be most worried about when using the deck.
The Town Map is another interesting addition, but seems well worth its place in the deck. Many of my losses with the deck were due to a prized G Booster and having to blindly hope I grabbed it from my Prizes.
Town Map eliminates the guesswork and helps you pick you G Booster out early before it can negatively affect you or even lose you the game. I also like the ability to choose your Prizes depending on the situation; getting a much needed Supporter or even an Energy to let you attack next turn can make all the difference in a game that’s coming down to the wire.
Jose made a great deck choice as well as some interesting tweaks in his list that paid off and has put him only about 10 Championship Points shy of a Worlds invite!
Finally, let’s talk about Kian Amini’s Virizion/Genesect/Drifblim deck from California Regionals. Looking back on the results from Fall Regionals, Kian played the same deck and got 5th place with it, so he’s had some experience with it which is always great going into a large tournament. The popularity of Plasma as well as other Virizion/Genesects made the Drifblim a great addition to the deck once again.
I sadly don’t have a decklist for this one, but you can refer back to some of my old articles where I have explained the deck in a lot of detail. This Virizion variation was the first deck I used after the rotation and I love seeing some newfound success for it!
We’ve seen a lot of buzz around the new variant of Team Plasma deck coined “The Yeti,” but I’m more interested in the other variations on Team Plasma that did well these past few weekends! Despite the widely accepted norm that “The Yeti” was the way to go with any Plasma variation, a few people dared to be different and it paid off for them with great finishes.
Evan Baker decided to use the old school version of Team Plasma and proved it still had just as much power as before. I talked with Evan about his deck; he had used “The Yeti” at the beginning of Cities and switched over midway through to the Kyurem variant.
Evan thought that people were too quick to shy away from Kyurem PLF when he realized it took care of some of the key issues “The Yeti” had, including an easy answer to Black Kyurem-EX and Rayquaza-EX without having to rely on a Stadium war between Frozen City and Tropical Beach.
He did very well with the deck at the Georgia Marathon and other Cities as well, and finally brought it to Missouri to top off his tournaments for this format with a big finish.
Next up is Daniel Lopez’s Cofagrigus version of Plasma. Putting more focus on Lugia-EX, Cofagrigus allows you to more easily take knockouts as well as punish your opponent’s setup with N. I wasn’t able to see the deck in action, but it seems like a great take on Plasma, and both Daniel and his brother David made the Top 8 at Florida with the same deck and I assume the same list.
Regionals has taught us more about Team Plasma and showed it to be a more diverse deck then most people thought. I’m looking forward to seeing how Plasma decks evolve for the upcoming format and what new things people can come up with to make the deck better and better.
One of the most interesting decks to come out of the rules changes was Dragonite. With the huge blow Gothitelle/Accelgor took from the popularity of Virizion, the format needed a new form of Item lock. Item lock has been a great strategy used in archetype decks for many years and Dragonite is no worse than any of its predecessors. Dragonite saw little to no play leading up to Regionals, but the two players who piloted it to success did very well.
Despite the additions to the core duo (Dragonite and Garbodor), these decks are relatively the same and achieve the same goal: keep your opponent Item- and Ability-locked while slowly taking Prizes.
Ryan’s version uses the aid of Victini-EX to provide early Energy acceleration and a great attacker versus an otherwise iffy matchup in Virizion/Genesect. I was testing the Victini-EX variant with my friend Jit Min in preparation for Virginia Regionals, but decided against it last minute, so I’ll go into Ryan’s deck first, as I have more knowledge of it.
The biggest issue I had when working on Dragonite was getting it to pick up steam quickly. Many games I would find myself already too far behind by the time I got my Dragonite up and running to do anything.
The one exception to this was in the Team Plasma matchup, which was hard not to win. For the most part you could go down 6 to 1 Prizes and still win by getting out a Dragonite with a Silver Mirror and a Garbodor on the Bench. It seems like a lot, but when you have so many turns to pull it off it becomes reality in a majority of games.
Ryan shared his deck with The Top Cut. Looking over the list, it seems focused on consistency over anything else, which is needed in Dragonite. Ryan also runs a Town Map, meaning both of the Top 2 in Florida ran a copy of the card! Could we see an increase in the use of Town Map? I love the idea of the card in any deck that relies on certain defining cards, like G Booster in Virizion, and your important Pokémon in Dragonite, as well as possibly Silver Mirror.
Dylan’s variation of the deck is more interesting, but less consistent in my opinion. I like the additions of Reuniclus and Virizion-EX, but Ryan proved that that deck can function without either and still get the job done. Both are much better in the Darkrai/Garbodor matchup which can sometimes be very difficult for Dragonite if they try to Confuse Ray while setting up multiple Darkrai-EX.
Dylan also ran Cresselia-EX and Champions Festival to get rid of the damage that he moved around with Reuniclus which is a really cool addition and one of the first uses for Champions Festival I’ve seen so far!
Both players did an amazing job with a very unique deck, something that we’re seeing more and more of with these rules changes. A diverse format open to creativity is something a game should strive to have and Pokémon is doing a good job moving toward that!
As always, I hope you all enjoyed the article and I would love feedback either on the SixPrizes forum or through email or social media. I’m trying to keep you guys in the loop on any information that might be hard to find and useful to you all as players and I hope everyone enjoys what I provide as much as I love providing it!
Good luck to everyone at League Challenges and States, I’ll have another article tearing apart the new set and hopefully I can get some good testing in before then to help you all with States. It’s great seeing my readers at events and I’m always up to have a discussion about my writing or just Pokémon in general if you see me. Thanks for reading!
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