I’m not sure I’ve ever sensed quite as much apathy from the community over a format than that which permeated the general attitude that led up to this past weekend in Roanoke. I don’t know anybody that actively liked the PRC-SUM format, and do know many that actively despised it. Alex Hill might’ve been one of the few that embraced its overlord, Decidueye/Vileplume, to success from start to finish, but I don’t believe even he had any great love for the format. The predictability of Roanoke’s metagame was truly unique — and no small bit boring.
It comes as no surprise, then, that the Top 2 decks were not prime metagame contenders. Of course, Quad Lapras-GX has seen discussion since its breakout in Europe, but while many Americans looked to the deck in Brazil, I’m still not really sure that many players took it all that seriously. Perhaps this was to their own peril. I personally did not factor Lapras seriously into my deck choice, as I didn’t expect many to play it — and, indeed, it was a small, but effective, chunk of the field.
On the other hand, Araquanid SUM saw nearly zero serious consideration before this weekend, and I’d honestly muse that it never will again. Grant Manley has a propensity for succeeding with some strange things, but generally speaking, his revelations have come at the end of formats and not been able to gain longstanding footholds as archetypes. When coupling the reality that Roanoke was pretty unique in the predictability of its metagame with the fact that Guardians Rising seems to have the potential to annihilate our current understanding of not only the metagame, but the game itself, I’m in no hurry to check my Water Bubble supply. Props to Grant on mastering the weekend’s metagame.
Roanoke Review: Recapping VA
It was clear that the majority of top players in the community went with Decidueye or Mewtwo this weekend, with a smaller (but certainly not insignificant) chunk electing for Speed Dark, Volcanion, and M Rayquaza. A few, like Grant and Peter Kica (M Gardevoir PRC/Garbodor), took shots with unknown options, but most stayed with standard fare. I fit into that category myself, electing to pilot Decidueye/Vileplume. There was no especially brilliant reason for that choice, and my peers articulated its merits quite well last week, so I’ll refrain from doing so here.
My only other viable option was M Rayquaza-EX/Gumshoos-GX, which was Sean Foisy’s suggestion for the weekend. While I couldn’t shoot any deathly holes in the concept, I was not confident in its Decidueye matchup. Gumshoos does solve many of the deck’s problems, though, and Chris Derocher piloted that list to a Top 32 finish (Sean himself landed in Top 64). Principally, Gumshoos offers a way to OHKO an attacking Giratina-EX, a reasonable response to a hefty M Mewtwo, and, broadly, a GX attack that’s widely applicable. It was testing decently the night before, but particularly with Pokémon’s realignment of the CP paradigm, I really didn’t think a potentially poor Decidueye matchup was something I wanted to chance, as I wanted to at least assure myself of some points (given even a Top 128 finish contributes a sizable chunk of CP).
Perhaps this attitude could be described as complacency; at some point Saturday the idea certainly crossed my mind. I do not believe there was a truly and objectively correct play for the weekend, so I don’t feel too bad about the choice in any event. As you’ve probably guessed by my tone, I certainly wished for more in my conclusion, but here’s how the day went:
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