I had hoped to begin this month’s article with a sweeping discourse of my performance at St. Louis Regionals. I had spent a great amount of time in testing and in practice since my last article and shifted my thoughts through various new decks and archetypes. The Tauros-GX decks that I spent the beginning of my time on ended up falling a little short of greatness. There was simply something missing that I could not add to the deck without ruining the basic concept or simply creating something that was noticeably inferior to an already existing deck.
From there, my attention shifted to Lurantis/Genesect crafted by Mikey Fouchet. He talked about it in some detail in his last metagame write-up and I was initially enamored with the concept. Though I did not discuss it initially with Mikey, my Sheep teammate Dean Nezam had played some practice sets against the deck and thought it had some potential so I began to test it almost exclusively. Unfortunately, I found that the combination of cards, like my Tauros decks, were just lacking a certain “oomph” and it too was relegated as an interesting gimmick rather than anything substantial. The strength of Lurantis could not be denied and instead of giving up entirely on this new card, I simply shifted the focus of the deck away from Genesect and G Booster and began to try out all sorts of unconventional pairings.
Lurantis reminds me quite a bit of Mega Manectric decks in that both cards provide consistent and reliable Energy acceleration without a heavy commitment to one type of Energy. This allows our build to focus on pairing Lurantis with something to combat its natural weakness to Fire types. From here, I started trying out cards like Glaceon-EX, Seismitoad-EX, and various other Water Energy attackers but again this too was lacking. As time progressed, I began to believe that Grass (mostly other Lurantis decks) would be a popular choice for St. Louis so I wanted to try and counter them as well and even went as far as testing out a build featuring both EX and non-EX Volcanion.
The final iteration of the deck abandoned trying to use typing to counter a metagame and merely wanted to be as consistent as possible and use various DCE attackers to try and out-damage other decks instead of abusing Weakness. I knew that there would be some matchups this concept would not be able to overcome but through a lot of testing, I believed that it had a good shot at performing well. Here is the final list that I ended up playing for Regionals:
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 35
Energy – 11
I knew that Fire decks (Flareon presumably) would be impossible to overcome and fringe concepts like Mega Rayquaza would also be incredibly difficult but everything else tested favorable to even. Yveltal/Maxie’s more or less depended on who went first as I could evolve quickly through my Stadium card and potentially negate any damage that Archeops might be able to cause. Seismitoad decks were naturally very favorable and Night March was surprisingly winnable with the right openings. What I did not calculate was the amount of Volcanion that would show up at the event (it had essentially zero presence in Expanded up until this point) and the lack of Grass-weak Pokémon.
Ultimately, I failed to perform but I do think this deck is worth considering for the right metagame. I’ll detail a brief report of my tournament below but there was never a game where I drew poorly or felt the deck was inferior. It was an experience reminiscent of when I played Mega Scizor in Fort Wayne where I needed matchups to fall a certain way and they simply did not. Here’s how the tournament went:
R1 Volcanion (Ryan Sabelhaus) (LL)
R2 Greninja (WW)
R3 Lycanroc-GX/Eevees (WW)
R4 Mega Gardevoir STS (WW)
R5 Volcanion (LL)
R6 Yveltal/Maxie’s (Igor Costa) (LWL) — This series actually went to a tie but I conceded as I was in a losing position in Game 3 and a tie would knock us both from the potential to Day 2 while a win theoretically kept one player alive.
Final: 3-3, Drop
Another unsatisfactory performance at Regionals putting me super far behind in the points race. I think if anything that I really ought to focus on playing decks with less risk associated with them. I still feel somewhat comfortable with earning my invite this year but I will definitely need to make every single performance count from here on out!
What a Hoot!
Absolutely right now the hottest (hootest?) topic is the success of Decidueye/Vileplume in Standard and I would like to briefly cash out my thoughts and opinions on the subject before looking at some decks in Standard.
The deck itself began with modest origins; being piloted to a Top 16 finish by legendary player John Kettler at the Anaheim Regionals. Many players looked to this event as the harbinger of things to come in the new Sun & Moon format and with Kettler being the only one to find success with Decidueye, it was quickly overlooked. It would not be until the following Regional Championship in St. Louis where Kettler would find even greater success in Expanded with the concept netting him a 2nd place finish. From there, I believe that every player planning to attend the Melbourne International Championship had his or her eyes focused on the deck and as we know now, it had an incredible showing at this tournament.
For Real Tho
The question that now needs to be addressed is whether or not this deck is the real deal. Did it strike gold by simply being in the right place at the right time and were its results merely a case of being the most played deck and not the best deck? This is a difficult question to answer and I’m sure players differ in some degree in their answer but I believe the popular answer is that Decidueye/Vileplume is the undisputed best deck in the format.
However, I controversially disagree! I do tend to be quite the naysayer from time to time in Pokémon and I would like to believe that this is not intentional. I do not disagree for the sake of disagreement but it probably goes without saying that I have a different way of thinking about things and whether I am correct or not remains to be seen. My argument, however, is as follows:
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