Hello again 6P! I’m back with another article for you guys—the last one of 2017! Last time around, I walked you through my top 3 picks for Memphis. I’m hoping most of you know that I got 3rd place with a list that had 59/60 cards from what I wrote back then.
I went with Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX because of its many strengths, however, an extra one that occurred to me closer to the event was this: with such a big tournament, where essentially a tie means a loss, a fast, aggressive deck seemed like a very attractive option. The deck had a chance at stealing games through donks (though it never once happened), but overall games just went by faster, thus I very rarely got to a tie situation (only once out of 15 rounds!).
Unlike my Vancouver Regional win where I finished Day 1 with a 5-0-4 record and a guaranteed spot on Day 2, 19-20 points would be Top 64 at best. Picking Buzzwole to finish more games quickly was a great idea, as can be seen in how my games went:
R1 Solgaleo-GX / Zoroark-GX / Rayquaza WW
R2 Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc GX LWW
R3 Decidueye-GX / Zoroark-GX WW
R4 Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX LWW
R5 Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX LWW
R6 Greninja BREAK WLW
R7 Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX LWW
R8 Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX LWT
R9 Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX WW
During Day 1, I played a 24 out of a possible 27 games. I lost Game 1 a total of five times, only to make a comeback in the series. I’m 100% sure that, with a deck such as Gardevoir-GX or Golisopod/Zoroark, I definitely would not have been able to pull off such comebacks. Analyzing why I ended up losing those 5 games could be a point of interest in and of itself, but hindsight is 20/20 and I definitely made the right choice for the day, finishing as 1st seed with an 8-0-1 record.
I have never been in this ‘comfortable’ position so far at a Regional, always having to climb the ranks from Day 2 with very little margin for error. Day 2 Swiss rounds actually ended up being a lot smoother than Day 1:
Going on a 6-0 win streak to secure a spot in Top 8 felt amazing, and then getting streamed twice was also extremely fun. Day 2 was going swimmingly and I was guaranteed 1st seed out of 949 players after 15 rounds of play, and a total of 36 games of Pokémon.
My Top 8 match went pretty well too. Then Top 4 came along and the deck finally ran out of steam. 3rd place out of 949 players still feels like a pretty awesome way to close out 2017 though, and I’m very excited about 2018 and all the upcoming tournaments.
Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX is a deck I was testing originally, and even wrote about all the way back on the 25th of October. I definitely regret not having explored the concept more, as I was clearly on the right track. I don’t consider myself a great deck builder anymore, at least with regard to new ideas or groundbreaking innovations, but that one could’ve been it, if I had stuck with it.
Nevertheless, the deck is now a reality—and quite possibly best deck in the format? It took quite a few spots in Day 2 and also Top 8, but I feel like we have a new best deck after every tournament nowadays.
The Next Frontier: Dallas
The next big Standard events are Leipzig and São Paulo Regionals, and surely these will reflect much of what happened in Memphis. In North America, however, Dallas Regionals is in the Expanded format. Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX was already an established archetype there, and it should continue to do well in the upcoming event, as Ultra Prism won’t be out yet.
Japan’s tournaments have definitely been trend setters so far for our Expanded metagame, and the most recent concoction is a direct counter to Zoroark’s dominance in their format: Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor. Resembling the Landorus-EX/Garbodor of seasons past, Buzzwole could be a great counter to Zoroark decks solely based on weakness and abuse of Wide Lens to get a KO on 2 Zorua’s at the same time.
Pokémon – 11
1 Oriocorio GRI 56
Trainers – 36
Energy – 13
This might be a one hit wonder, as the tournament was reported to be a field of 75% Zoroark (around 750 players, all using 4 Zoroark in their decks, for a total of 3,000 Zoroarks!). If San Jose’s results are anything to go by, this deck could’ve easily taken down that tournament as well.
I myself played Zoroark/Lycanroc and ran into a few Fighting-based decks with Buzzwole and Landorus. However, they didn’t include Garbodor, and thus we were essentially trading 1HKOs except I had extra draw power to hit my outs. I’m definitely going to give this deck the benefit of the doubt though, and as we get close to Dallas I’m sure I’ll be able to report a lot more accurately on the deck’s attributes.
Moving on from that, we have Night March and Zoroark/Lycanroc as “the decks to beat.” I won’t go into those as they’ve been explored by my fellow writers. Instead, I’d like to revisit the Golisopod/Garbodor deck that I used at Fort Wayne, which goes hand in hand with with the result we saw in Memphis with Azul’s Golisopod/Garbodor deck for Standard. I’m modifying it a little bit from past experience and to adapt better to the current metagame. Here’s where my list stands:
Pokémon – 18
Trainers – 32
Energy – 10
The notable changes are the reduction in the Garbodor line, from a 4/3/1 split to a 3/2/1 split. Trashalanche is being underrepresented right now, but I feel like that’s when it becomes incredibly powerful. This lead to reworking the energy to include basic energy, rather than go full Blend/Rainbow splits, but that could easily be reverted back.
The other big change was making space for 3 Enhanced Hammers. Going for 4 felt impossible with how tight the list currently is, so 3 was the happy medium in order to keep Trashalanche as an option. You could easily go 6 basic Grass and just drop the single Garbodor, but I think it’s worth keeping as an option for a great non GX attacker. This doesn’t apply in Standard because most Zoroark decks are not running any Enhanced Hammers, but after analyzing the Top 32 from San Jose, only 3 decks ran the card, of which only one deck played more than 1 (Wailord-EX by Drew Kennett). On top of that, most Zoroark lists are playing a single Field Blower, with only 5 opting to play 2. This simply adds to the potential of Garbodor as a card to stop Zoroark in its tracks.
Golisopod with Garbodor has been a successful concept since it was unveiled at Worlds by the Japanese players. If quad Enhanced Hammer Golisopod Garb was able to stop (most) Zoroark Lycanroc decks in their tracks in Standard, I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t do the same in Expanded where it has a few extra tools to work with and people are playing even less cards to counter the concept. The metagame looks ripe for such a deck or Buzzwole/Garb to just slice through all the Zoroark hype in Dallas.
Those are my current thoughts for Expanded, before I start really grinding out the games in the upcoming weeks. I plan on testing these 2 decks further, alongside getting better at piloting Night March and straight Zoroark in preparation for the event.
The Land Beyond the Horizon: Standard
Now we can move on Standard. The next big Standard event in North America actually takes place with the new Ultra Prism set. However, there are League Cups and 2 Standard Regionals on the same day as Dallas, one in Brazil and another in Germany, along with the second International of the season in Sydney, Australia. As we get closer to the date, my focus will shift more toward that tournament, but I figured now would be a good time to take a look at some of the cards from the new set that I really like.
Glaceon-GX – Water – HP200
Ability: Freezing Stare
As long as this Pokémon is your Active Pokémon, each of your opponent’s Pokémon-EX and Pokémon-GX in play, in their hand, and in their discard pile has no Abilities (except for Freezing Stare).
WCC Frozen Bullet: 90 damage. This attack does 30 damage to 1 of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. (Don’t apply Weakness and Resistance for Benched Pokémon.)
WCC Polar Spear-GX: 50× damage. This attack does 50 damage times the number of damage counters on your opponent’s Active Pokémon. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)
Weakness: Metal (x2)
Glaceon-GX has a lot of attributes that make it a great card, but the most important one is its Ability: Freezing Stare. With the SUM Energy Evolution Eevee, you get a turn 1 Ability lock on the most important abilities in the game right now: Wonder Tag and Trade. With the 50/50 chance of going first, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Quad Glaceon-GX deck with a lot of disruption be a succesful concept in the very near future. Either that, or a combination of Glaceon + Zoroark + Tapu Lele, in order to take advantage of the fact that you can use Trade and Wonder Tag while your opponent can’t.
The Frozen Bullet attack is a concept we’ve seen before, and the WCC cost is actually very decent and makes the card even more viable. The biggest let downs of the card: its GX attack, although it has good synergy with its main attack, and the Metal weakness, seeing how there is so much Metal support in the set.
Leafeon-GX – Grass – HP200
Ability: Nature’s Breath
Once during your turn (before your attack), if this Pokémon is your Active Pokémon, you may heal 50 damage from 1 of your Pokémon with Energy attached.
GCC Solar Beam: 110 damage.
G Grand Bloom-GX: For each Basic Pokémon on your Bench, search your deck for a card that evolves from that Pokémon and put it onto that Pokémon. (This counts as evolving that Pokémon.) Then, shuffle your deck. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)
Weakness: Fire (x2)
The other Eeveelution in the set has so much potential with a turn 1 Grand Bloom-GX attack. Things like using Brigette for 3 Rowlets and setting up triple Dartrix in a single turn, or triple Zorua into Zoroark-GX, look incredibly strong. There’s definitely a challenge in finding the right balance between getting the Eevee active and finding a Grass energy, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Decidueye/Leafeon became a thing, while Zoroark/Golisopod could potentially end up adding a 1/1 line as it already runs the Grass energy and a high count of free retreaters.
Its Ability means the card has use throughout the whole game, and not just early on for its GX attack. Its only attack, Solar Beam, is actually a solid option if you consider a deck with Decidueye setting up the extra damage for Choice Band’d Solar Beams to take KOs.
The last card I want to talk about is the new Magnezone:
Magnezone – Metal – HP150
Ability: Magnetic Circuit
As often as you like during your turn (before your attack), you may attach a M Energy from your hand to 1 of your Pokémon.
MMMC Zap Cannon: 130 damage. This Pokémon can’t use Zap Cannon during your next turn.
Weakness: Fire (x2)
Resistance: Psychic (-20)
Abilities that allow you to break the rule of attaching one energy per turn have historically seen tons of play. The one exception could possibly be the last Magnezone released, which had this Ability for Lightning energy. However, that was mostly due to the lack of good Lightning type attackers to support it.
This Magnezone is getting Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX, which simply deals 220 damage for an MMMC cost, and discards 3 energy attached to it. This combination is very similar to Blastoise+Black Kyurem-EX from the past (one which you can still possibly play in Expanded), which saw a fair bit of success.
The deck will very likely need Octillery or Zoroark support to cope with finding resources. The deck could end up being a great play and possibly as strong as Gardevoir was at one point. Or it could be a mid tier deck like VikaBulu where the combo is appealing, but is simply not good enough to take big wins at the Tier 2 events.
There are other interesting cards in the set, and the Prism Star mechanic will certainly shake things up a bit. However, the delay of the Solgaleo-GX promo is a very sad one, as I was genuinely looking forward to playing a Solgaleo-GX deck in the near future. I loved the Lurantis-GX + Solgaleo-GX combination from the previous format, so this one seemed to have the potential to bring it to a level where it could compete with the rest of the powerful decks out there.
Muchas gracias once again for reading my article. I hope you start off the new year really well, and I’ll see you guys with a couple more articles in January! Best wishes to everyone!
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