¡Bienvenidos! This past weekend, I took 4th place at the Mexico City Regional Championships. This article will go in-depth solely on this experience. Make sure to check out my article coming out tomorrow as well. Having another deep run made me ecstatic, because it pushed me toward my dream of Top 16 in North America — I’m currently sitting in a tie for 16th. I predict the cutoff to be approximately 1100 CP, so I still need to perform well at the remaining tournaments.
Like most reports, (and certainly a part of Christopher’s last weekend,) there’s usually a funny story along with each deck choice. Going into this weekend, I was set on avoiding Garbodor. I’ve always found myself drifting towards the “cool decks,” most notably M Gardevoir-EX STS. What could be more fun than doing 180 and flushing out the Bench, right? M Rayquaza and Decidueye-GX/Vileplume AOR give me those same feelings of excitement. My initial thought was that Garbodor GRI wouldn’t provide this same feeling for me, but I was wrong.
Despite the “cool decks” being my favorites, I planned on playing Vikavolt SUM/Tapu Bulu-GX. I added in 1 Vikavolt-GX for the Volcanion and Metagross matchups, both of which I expected to spike in popularity. I’m enamored with Stage 2 decks, which is what drew me to building it in the first place. It recently took 8th place in Madison, but also had several other finishes throughout the Top 32.
Espeon-GX/Garbodor GRI also performed well in Madison, picking up a 4th place finish with Colin Peterik. He’s a longtime friend of mine from Chicago, so it was awesome to see him succeed. Going into Mexico, Pablo was set on continuing to play it after his heartbreaking 33rd place in Seattle. He and I talked about a list, but I had no intention of playing it at the time. Vikavolt SUM/Tapu Bulu-GX was what I had decided on, or so I thought. Despite this, I formulated a combination of Pablo’s, Colin’s, and my own preferences into the list.
During the final few hours of Friday, I went down to the Starbucks in the lobby to play a few testing games with Andy Gray. He was set on Espeon-GX/Garbodor GRI as well, which made me rethink my deck choice. I 2-0’d him with Vikavolt, but also insisted on playing one game of Espeon-GX/Garbodor GRI mirror.
This was the first and only game I played with the deck before the tournament, but I found it incredibly smooth and fun to play. The deck has tons of raw power and flexibility to utilize. It felt a lot like Luxchomp from 2010, containing tons of options to outplay an opponent. I went to bed confused about my deck choice, wishing I could play both for entirely different reasons. I felt like Vikavolt was a riskier deck that could win the whole tournament, but the other half of me felt confident in every matchup with Espeon-GX/Garbodor GRI.
Pokémon – 19
Trainers – 29
1 Pokémon Fan Club
Energy – 12
The aspects I loved from Colin’s list were the Pokémon line, 8 Psychic Energy, and 2 Hex Maniac. Multiple top-notch American players chose to play Decidueye-GX/Vileplume, so I tossed in the 2nd Hex Maniac the morning of. Originally I had 4 Professor Sycamore, but dropped down to 3.
The goal of the list was to make the deck as consistent as possible. Delinquent should be better than Team Rocket’s Handiwork, but it was lackluster. I used it effectively 4 times throughout the tournament. Once was against Volcanion, where I actually caught him with 3 cards in his hand. It won me that game immediately, but if I had any other draw supporter, it would have worked just as well.
The other 3 times were used to knock off Forest of Giant Plants to slow down my opponent. I did it twice to Decidueye-GX/Vileplume, with some success. The other time was on stream against Rahul Reddy. The audience may have thought a Delinquent when he had a dead hand was a terribly play, but it had meaning. His Vespiquen list only runs 2 Forest of Giant Plants; the first was already in the Discard Pile. Removing the Forest ensured my victory because there was no way he could retaliate with an attacker. If he ever benched a Combee or Zorua, I could attack with Divide GX immediately.
The last card I’d like to highlight from the list is Oricorio. I used it many times throughout the tournament against decks other than Vespiquen. Against Danny in Top 4, I almost stole Game 1 by being able take 4 Prizes with Oricorio + Lysandre over 2 turns. Unfortunately, he drew Teammates off of the N to 3. I forgot about Teammates at the time, but spreading the damage would have been incredibly risky. Perhaps it could have lost me the game in an alternate universe where I spread the damage and he draws a VS Seeker off the top.
Oricorio also came in handy Round 7 against Raichu/Zoroark, where I used Supernatural Dance to snipe off Zorua and Pikachu on the bench. During Round 10, I also sniped off a Decidueye-GX with 150 damage. Oricorio has plenty of synergy with Divide GX and setting up a OHKO with Trashalanche.
Here’s a list of my matchups throughout the first tournament. Afterwards, I’ll highlight the difficult matches where the deck shined.
R1: Eeveelutions (2-0)
R2: Greninja BREAK (0-2)
R3: Drampa-GX/Tauros-GX/Garbodor GRI (2-0)
R4: Sylveon-GX (2-0)
R5: Drampa-GX/Garbodor GRI (2-0)
R6: Volcanion-EX (2-0)
R7: Raichu XY/Zoroark BKT/Eeveelutions (2-1)
R8: Greninja BREAK (2-1)
R9: Vespiquen AOR 12 (1-2)
R10: Decidueye-GX/Vileplume AOR (2-0)
R11: Drampa-GX/Zoroark BKT (0-2)
R12: Greninja BREAK (1-2)
R13: Decidueye-GX/Vileplume AOR (2-0)
R14: Decidueye-GX/Vileplume AOR (2-0)
Top 8: Vespiquen (2-1)
Top 4: Drampa-GX/Zoroark (0-2)
Throughout the weekend, the deck dominated against Garbodor and Decidueye-GX/Vileplume. Having 4 Float Stone and 8 Psychic Energy was important to increase the probability of a turn 1 Psybeam. The 2nd Hex Maniac also helped secure the Decidueye-GX/Vileplume matchup. The deck struggled against Greninja and Drampa-GX/Zoroark. In both of these matchups, I was slaughtered in my first games against them because I had no idea what I was doing. Moving from Day 1 to Day 2, I learned from my mistakes and made sure to play better.
In Game 1, I was unfamiliar with his deck, but I saw the general strategy of it. He has an explosive turn 1 through the use of Set Up, but fizzled out quickly afterwards. He didn’t have a Supporter and Sky Returned a Shaymin-EX, but I stopped that plan with Hex Maniac. The turn afterwards, I established Garbotoxin and removed a Basic from his bench every turn with Oricorio.
Game 2 I fell behind quickly because he sets up multiple Stage 1’s on the 2nd turn. I can’t find a way to continuously attack, so I fall behind 2 Prizes to 5. At this point I play an N and he accidentally shuffles his hand into his Discard Pile. This gives me a prize penalty, but it didn’t matter. On a side note, this was one of the tensest matches I played over the weekend. This ruling took about 20 minutes to resolve, severely holding up the tournament.
In Game 3, I started off by steamrolling him. He doesn’t have a chance in this game because I’ve established Garbotoxin, have Trashalanche ready in the back, and pulled off the turn 2 Divide GX. However, I didn’t take a prize for it accidentally. I realized this the turn after when I N’d myself and took another Prize with Psychic. This resulted in a prize penalty, bringing my opponent back in the game. He eventually has a swing turn and goes down to 3 prizes, equaling mine. I threw down an N at some point, to which he drew nothing. From that turn I was able to roll him over with Trashalanche.
I consider Greninja to be tied for the deck’s worst matchup alongside Drampa-GX/Zoroark. The game is out of my control against Greninja because it plays like solitaire. I’ll usually win if the opponent draws poorly, starts Froakie and goes second, or gets their only Froakie knocked out by Divide GX or Psychic early on.
Instead of describing a single round, I’ll lump them together into this section. My first match against Alex was one-sided because none of the above happened; I didn’t have a chance in any of the games. One determinant in the match I learned was to always have a second Trubbish ready for when Garbotoxin falls. The swing turn occurred when Alex used Field Blower to remove the Float Stone, then used Giant Water Shuriken twice. If I had an open Trubbish, Rescue Stretcher, and a tool, I could have swung the game back in my favor.
The next important point to winning the match is knowing when Garbotoxin is in danger. The combo requires two Giant Water Shuriken, meaning he needs to start the turn with a Greninja BREAK active, and have a second on the Bench. One spicy play I made was during Round 11 where I purposely kept Talonflame alive in the Active spot because I didn’t have N. He used Aero Blitz the previous turn. If I chose to KO Talonflame, he would have pulled off the combo to remove Garbotoxin and won the game.
binacle.tumblr.comThe “rule” of preventing two Greninja BREAK would also apply if the opponent has a Greninja and a Frogadier as their highest evolutions going into the turn. There is a maximum of 1 Greninja BREAK coming into play, meaning Hex Maniac doesn’t have to be used. I try and save them for the turns that would be devastating if I was N’d and Garbotoxin was removed.
My final word of advice is to retreat the damaged Espeon-GX after they attack it. I’ll usually set up two of them, then use 3-4 of my other Bench spots for Trubbish. Trashalanche in conjunction with Hex Maniac or Garbotoxin carries the deck in the late-game. Giving the opponent an easy knockout with a Choice Band + Moonlight Slash reduces the amount of times they need to use Giant Water Shuriken to secure knockouts.
In Game 1 I go first and outrace him. Rahul Reddy got nothing the whole game, and quickly fell out of contention. He scooped once I had a backup Oricorio with an Energy.
In the second game, the same thing happened early. He starts Combee and attaches to a benched one. I attached a Float Stone to my active Eevee and knocked out the Combee with Energy Drive. On his turn, he couldn’t find a Vespiquen or Zoroark and had to pass. Since he couldn’t get anything going, I was able to Lysandre a Combee and KO it with Energy Drive the next turn.
I was down to 3 Prizes when he started attacking. I forget what happened at this point, but I end up powering up a Garbodor GRI and Lysandre a Shaymin-EX to put me down to 1 Prize. My problem was that I don’t have much left on my board. I had Tapu Lele-GX with 100 damage and a Double Colorless, along with an Espeon-GX with a Psychic Energy. He N’d me to 1. For the next 4 turns, I couldn’t find any kind of Energy, Lysandre, VS Seeker, or Rescue Stretcher to win the game. This was especially frustrating because I could have used Supernatural Dance to remove a Combee and damage a Zorua instead of Trashalanche. I tunnel visioned on going down to 1 Prize, which lost me the game.
Game 3 was uneventful, like the first. He draws insanely well and I lose quickly. It was frustrating to throw away the second game, but I made sure to utilize Oricorio effectively in Top 8.
little-amb.tumblr.comDespite losing this 0-2, it was a close match in the second game. The first was quick, due to my inexperience of the matchup and Danny’s incredibly set up. If I recall correctly, he used Brigette for 3 Zorua, Big Wheel GX, then evolved them all the next turn. There wasn’t anything I could do. During Game 2, I established a plan to limit my Bench to 3 throughout the game. Zoroark would cap out at 100 damage using Mind Jack, allowing my Garbodor GRI to trade with them efficiently. The game came down to a Confusion flip on my end. I was down to 1 Prize with Divide GX available. He Foul Played Psybeam, and I flipped tails.
This match was the closest out of my Decidueye-GX/Vileplume matchups. Against the other two, I set up rather easily and controlled the game. Despite drawing poorly against Brad, the deck has such a good matchup that I still managed to win. I only played a Pokémon Fan Club on the third or fourth turn of the game until I was N’d to 3 into Tapu Lele-GX.
There are 5 ideas central to destroying Decidueye-GX/Vileplume
- Establish Garbotoxin
- Establish a Flareon in case they Field Blower the Garbotoxin and build Vileplume
- Remove Float Stone whenever possible with Field Blower
- Use Psybeam
- Place 2-5 damage counters with Divide GX/Oricorio on Tapu Lele-GX so it’s a guaranteed OHKO with Psychic
Garbotoxin is the king of this matchup. 3 Feather Arrows per turn can be worrisome, because Espeon-GX can cap at 90 damage if they hold back Energy. I love Flareon because it forces them to attack with Tapu Lele-GX. This is easily shut down by Psybeam, or a OHKO with Psychic. There isn’t much the opponent can do against Trashalanche either. Garbodor GRI has a whopping 120 HP!
Float Stone should be removed whenever possible to increase the usefulness of Psybeam. Confusion is scary, especially if there’s no way to retreat the Active Pokémon easily. Attacking for 60 damage with a Choice Band is all that’s needed for the first Espeon-GX. I hold the Double Colorless until I need to use Psychic so a returning Energy Drive does less damage.
Here’s a sample of this matchup from my games against John Kettler.
Instead of describing what happened, this will be a quick strategy guide of how to play against Vespiquen. This matchup is more complex than Decidueye-GX/Vileplume, containing more dynamic components.
- Limit Bench to 3, avoid Benching Tapu Lele-GX.
- When going first, set up a turn 2 Divide GX with an active Trubbish.
Divide GX is the best way to win the game on the second turn. It’s still possible for Vespiquen to come back, but taking two Prizes is a huge advantage. Your opponent will need to set up a combination of 3 Combee/Zorua in order to stay in the game. Stalling with Trubbish is best in order to prevent a Choice Band + Sky Return on an Espeon-GX. 140 instead of 200 on Espeon-GX is more detrimental than 90 vs 120 on a Garbodor GRI.
- When going second, take a knockout with Psybeam or Energy Drive.
Taking early knockouts is important, but it’s also important to keep up the momentum. My Game 2 loss to Rahul in Round 9 was because I couldn’t develop my board as I was taking knockouts.
- Set up one Espeon-GX, MAX!
- Set up multiple Garbodor GRI
- Set up Garbotoxin. Bench Oricorio and attach an Energy to it
This is when you lock your opponent out of the game. Use Oricorio to assassinate the places with Energy. This strategy is effective when your opponent is at 2-3 Prizes, meaning they can’t win by knocking out Oricorio. 2 is less than ideal because it means a Lysandre onto a Tapu Lele-GX can end the game.
From the list I used, there aren’t many cards I would change. Similar to Christopher and I’s Metagross list, it functioned well for what was predicted. Some cards ended up being deadweight: Dhelmise and Delinquent; although others exceeded expectations: Alolan Vulpix, 4th Float Stone, 8th Psychic Energy.
I would start off by immediately removing Delinquent. It provides utility with Stadium removal, but not many decks play them in the first place. A 4th VS Seeker would be best for the deck, giving another out to a Supporter. When building the deck, I failed to notice that Colin played 4 VS Seeker with his 6 count of draw Supporters.
The last change I would consider is removing the 2nd Hex Maniac. It was amazing against Greninja and Decidueye-GX/Vileplume, but is unnecessary. The 4th VS Seeker keeps the total # of Hex Manics available the same (2+3=1+4). Against Decidueye-GX/Vileplume, the matchup is already incredibly favored. If they establish Vileplume before Garbotoxin, just shred through them with Flareon. Some cards I would consider adding is a Professor Sycamore, Tapu Koko PR, or Professor Kukui.
Thanks for reading my tournament report! Like I’ve chronicled in my previous articles, I’m currently on a long stretch made up of the final tournaments. Mexico marks the halfway point, and hopefully my luck from there continues onto the next 3 weekends. Espeon-GX/Garbodor GRI is what I’ll play at Origins if nothing changes from now. I believe it can compete with every deck given perfect play. See you all at Origins or Internationals!