Hello everyone. It’s hard to believe that Dallas could be topped as the largest Regionals in Masters TCG, but it happened. The sheer amount of people in Collinsville created a diverse meta with many different decks succeeding. Unsurprisingly, Buzzwole-GX decks and Zoroark-GX decks reigned supreme once again. I thought that the new behemoths of Ultra Prism could stand up to the gods of BKT–CIN, but apparently not. Many players strayed from new decks, because of inexperience or inconsistency, in Empoleon or Magnezone.
As for me, I was unable to justify playing Cloverfield into the heavy meta of Buzzwole-GX and Gardevoir-GX/Zoroark-GX I predicted. Unfortunately, my run on Day 1 presented many good matchups I would’ve loved to hit. Espeon-GX/Garbodor was what I settled on because I thought it would be a good enough meta call. Several of them made Day 2, but fizzled out among the matchups presented there. The Parallel City version has a better matchup against Zoroark-GX, so perhaps I would’ve had more success than others.
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 32
1 Pal Pad
Energy – 12
My list remained similar to what I posted last week with little modifications to smooth over the list. Lusamine ended up failing again because it was only good in the scenario where I had multiple Energy in hand to be attached in the turn where I lulled. It’s main goal was to recycle Guzma and Parallel City, but I bit the extra spot and included a 2nd Parallel City and Pal Pad instead. Lunala p was taken out because I didn’t expect any mill decks to resurge other than Sylveon-GX. Psybeam is useful enough to win that matchup, but a Super Rod was added as insurance as well.
I beefed up the count of draw Supporters to 11 because I didn’t find anything else I wanted to include. The 4th Choice Band wouldn’t have made a difference in any of my matchups. If anything, I would’ve wanted to include a Nest Ball for the times when I missed the T1 Brigette. It’s important to get an Energy attachment onto Eevee, Drampa-GX, or Tauros-GX ASAP or else it’s very easy to fall behind.
Speaking of the bull, it was a suggestion made to me by Brit Pybas shortly after posting the article from his testing. Tauros-GX was insanely good on Saturday against all matchups other than Buzzwole-GX. It improved the Greninja matchup by being able to do an efficient amount of damage and KO Froakie immediately, the Zoroark-GX matchup by adding a 1HKO option with Mad Bull-GX, and was generally helpful as a problematic attacker while Garbotoxin was live.
R1 Zoroark-GX/Luxio UPR/Garbodor GRI (0-2)
R2 Ho-Oh-GX/Kiawe (2-0)
R3 Metal/Garbodor BKP (2-0)
R4 Greninja BREAK (2-1)
R5 Zoroark-GX/Weavile UPR (1-1)
R6 Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor (2-0)
R7 Zoroark-GX/Garbodor (1-2)
R8 Greninja BREAK (2-1)
R9 Golisopod-GX/Garbodor (2-0)
Final: 6-2-1, 83rd.
My hopes of Day 2 were eliminated after Round 7 against Gabe Cherniske. Zoroark-GX/Garbodor is eventually what Brit settled on, and I’m surprised it didn’t do better honestly. Essentially, Hex Maniac could be used every turn by putting a Bursting Ballon on Garbodor BKP. If the Garbotoxin was targeted down, the attacker would take 60 damage and finished off by Zoroark-GX.
Our matches were pretty uneventful with me unable to find any of the meaningful attackers in my deck Game 1, him dead-drawing Game 2, and me getting run over in Game 3. There was a turn where I N’d him to 3 with Garbotoxin and confused his active Garbodor GRI, but he flipped heads and set himself down to a single Prize. If he had rolled Tails, I had a great opportunity to recover by eliminating the only threats to my Espeon-GX and him without a board or draw Supporter.
Earlier in the day, I unfortunately matched up against Zoroark-GX/Luxio/Garbodor GRI. I thought my opponent’s deck was incredibly cool—even featuring Unit Energy LMP and Kartana-GX—but sad for me in that it was a poor matchup. Disconnect is insanely good for guaranteeing a turn of Abilities after a Field Blower. The 30 damage is also pesky enough in dealing with Drampa-GX or Tauros-GX so that Zoroark-GX can clean up with 120/150 damage. Near the end of Game 2, we were close after I N’d him to 1 under Garbotoxin and him having no way to easily take his last Prize.
After a few turns of him finding lackluster cards, he drew a Field Blower and was able to regain some footing. I thought to close out the game by setting up Garbodor GRI for my final 2 Prizes, but I failed to consider Espeon-EX. I could’ve devolved his Luxio with 60 and Zoroark-GX with 60 (after Horn Attack that turn) instead of needing a Garbodor GRI. I drew through most of my deck with plenty of outs, but alas he draws one of the few outs in his deck to win in the extra turn I gave with my misplay. There was a high probability to draw the Garbodor GRI anways, but I was punished.
My match against Sam Chen was my first encounter with the Zoroark-GX/Weavile UPR deck that Michael Pramawat also played. He stole Game 1 with his 3rd and final Guzma he played in the list that I wasn’t expecting. A few turns earlier I also decided to set up a Garbodor BKP instead of Garbodor GRI. This play would have been great if I had drawn one of the remaining tools in my deck within a few turns, but I never found one. The Garbodor GRI would have allowed me to win the game with Trashalanche before he did.
In Game 2, I quickly fell behind but was able to sneak 2 Prizes with Espeon-GX and another 2 with Trashalanche on a Tapu Lele-GX. It was at this point where Sam used Trickster-GX to copy Divide-GX, but placed damage counters awkwardly. He didn’t put on any Tauros-GX, which allowed it to stay out of 1HKO range permanently. Later, he still could’ve won with a Guzma and Mew-EX to KO my Espeon-GX but missed the opportunity. With 2 minutes left in the round for Game 3, we tied.
I can’t help but think that I could’ve made Day 2 had I taken an extra second to think in Round 1 and 5 to choose the other line of play. The Round 1 was 100% the wrong play, but the one in Round 5 was just one choice that didn’t work out. I feel like I had a good enough understanding of my deck, but perhaps the deck requires a level of play that I can’t be at 100% of the time. I played optimally 99% of the time, but in the two decisions I chose poorly in I either lost or tied. Yet, even so it’s possible that the result wouldn’t have changed. In Round 1, we would have just gone to Game 3 at that point, and against Sam he could’ve made the right decision and won Game 2.
Winners of the Weekend
To start off, congratulations to Alex Hill for placing 3rd. Brit and Jimmy also finished somewhere in Top 32. I’m unsurprised that Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX did well, as it has a better matchup against Buzzwole-GX variants than Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX. However, the most interesting part to come of this weekend is the deck played by Ian Robb and Joey Ruettiger, the winner and Top 8 finisher of the weekend. They played a 2-2 Lurantis line and Professor Kukui to reach critical numbers like 190 and 210 with Golisopod-GX. I can’t help but credit the creator (Wes Hollenberg) in his innovation of an already existing deck. Ian and Joey are both doing exceptionally this year as first year masters.
Look Toward Expanded
Since Dallas, I’ve done very little testing for Expanded in order to prepare for Collinsville. The same group of us that played Zoroark-GX/Counter Energy for that tournament are trying to modify it for the new meta and cards out of Ultra Prism. The list we played in Dallas was 57-58 cards great, but could’ve had the final few spots tweaked. We predicted Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX and Seismitoad-EX/Zoroark-GX to be popular and included Entei and Pokémon Ranger to counter them. These spots could be reallocated to a Sudowoodo GRI, the much needed card I could’ve won every Zoroark-GX mirror with throughout the tournament. I’d also include Teammates (which everyone else in the group played except for myself.) Here’s the updated list I’m going to begin testing:
Pokémon – 22
Trainers – 32
1 Red Card
Energy – 6
Upon looking at the new set, I don’t think there’s anything that will drastically change Expanded. Glaceon-GX will definitely be good, but I still think Zoroark-GX will have a fine time in dealing with it. Rough Seas will give Glaceon-GX an easy way to heal without requiring Acerola, so there may be some merit in testing it. In conversation with people last weekend, many pointed out that Expanded decks run fewer Supporters because of VS Seeker and the reliance on Trade.
I’m still pondering what partners will work in the deck, but I’m sure that Garbodor BKP is a reliable option. The type-changing Eeveelutions could also be good for specific matchups like Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX. The other version worth testing is a Quad Glaceon-GX list that hopes to win with Red Card and such.
Drampa-GX/Garbodor should have an easy time against Glaceon-GX, so I’m unsure how prevalent the deck can be. Wailord-GX should also outlast it, and Trevenant BREAK may win because each one can survive for multiple turns. Only testing will tell if the Ability is good enough to warrant. The deck also relies heavily on going first, meaning that 50% of the time it will start off losing. Zoroark-GX decks can spend that turn using Brigette and securing a Supporter for the following turn.
The idea of Hex Maniac in Standard with the use of Bursting Balloon is one I want to explore in Expanded as well. Yes, Hex Maniac is legal in Expanded, but I see the merit for trying both. An example of this is that it’s possible to shut off an opposing Sudowoodo with a tool than with a Supporter. I see this combination best fitting into Isaiah Williams’ Dallas list that ran 4 Exeggcute PLF. The Alolan Muk line can be replaced by Garbotoxin with a few other cards taken out for Bursting Balloon. This can achieve the same effect of the Standard deck, a soft Hex Maniac without the use of a Supporter.
However, as there are more cards legal in Expanded, there are more cards eligible in stopping this combo. Ghetsis can make it more difficult to find Tools to attach to Garbotoxin, and any form of Item lock will make it impossible to attach a Tool. What I’m recommending isn’t the swapping of Hex Maniac for the Garbotoxin combo, but a junction of the two.
The other form of anti-Sudowoodo measures I can think of is running a thicker Alolan Muk line, 3-2 for example, that can afford to discard Alolan Muk once Sudowoodo turns on again. Without discarding the Alolan Muk at the start of the turn, the deck loses the easy way to boost damage with Exeggcute. With this new strategy, the Alolan Muk could be discarded, leaving an Alolan Grimer on the Bench, then the entire combo reused with Propagation available.
The other form of Zoroark-GX/Garbodor is one similar to Christopher’s deck from a League Cup from New Years Weekend. His version didn’t play Garbodor BKP, and therefore didn’t include Bursting Balloon. I think that this is warranted in beating Buzzwole-GX and may be the alternate attacker I choose if I relegate Counter.dec. Garbodor GRI certainly would have made a difference in my R13 match in Dallas against Andrew Mahone’s Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX, but may also have been less useful in the mirror match elsewhere.
larvitarr.tumblr.comSableye/Garbodor hasn’t seen great success in any of the times it’s been played this year. My last encounter with it was in Dallas where I played against it on stream Round 4/5. I took a tie against it by managing to stall out forever with Foul Play to recycle Puzzle of Time. However, Missing Clover could give the deck a new win conditition. A new version of Sableye/Garbodor could be based on exhausting opponents’ resources with Crushing Hammer, Life Dew, disruptive Supporters, etc., then plan to take swing turns with Garbodor GRI and Missing Clover. I’m excited to see what decks Missing Clover can fall into because I think it’s such a cool concept. Unlike Greedy Dice, it doesn’t rely on luck but can have the same game changing effect. I’ve found that its only home is in Zoroark-GX in Standard, but maybe Sableye can give it a home in Expanded.
I haven’t played Sableye/Garbodor to a tournament before and most likely will not for the foreseeable future. This is because I don’t think I have enough experience with the deck and won’t bother spending my time learning it for the next few weeks. If the deck has a presence in the meta, I’ll accept that and pick a deck that can beat it rather than join it. This new iteration of the deck will also struggle as much as the original with Ghetsis, the inescapable card that cripples Sableye/Garbodor completely.<
I’ve heard both sides of the Glaceon-GX argument. As noted before, the masses generally agree that it’s better off in Expanded due to the nature of the other decks played. However, this doesn’t change the damage output of Frost Spear, nor the inherent lack of space or definition in this type of deck. The two routes of attack are to play a quad-list, like quad-Sylveon-GX, that focuses on cheesing the opponent out of the game with Red Card, Crushing Hammer, etc.
The other version I’d like to test is one that is more consistent and hopes to outclass other decks by taking advantage of the Ability and its somewhat decent attacker. My idea is to pair it with Zoroark-GX and its engine, but have the other space committed to Aqua Patch and healing cards to cycle Glaceon-GX. The deck would also include enough flexibility to where it can act as a Zoroark-GX deck in filling the board with Sky Field to take a crucial KO. Here’s the draft of a list:
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 34
2 Red Card
Energy – 9
I threw it together to be revolved around Glaceon-GX, but also not too much. The 3 Aqua Patch and 5 Water may be too much for the deck I’m trying to build. It’s unlikely that this will go for 210 damage at a time with Zoroark-GX, perhaps 170/180 is more doable because the deck only plays 11 Basics. The focus isn’t to pull off Freezing Gaze T1, but to have it available for the rest of the game. Blocking the T1 Brigette is nice, but it’s important in crippling Zoroark-GX for the remainder of the game.
That’s it for today! Although I didn’t do amazingly at Collinsville Regionals, it was still fun to play Espeon-GX/Garbodor for the day. Looking back on it, I’d replay the deck again without any changes. There weren’t any times where I felt the list was wrong, just that I had hit some unfortunate draws in the wrong matchups. Perhaps I’ll have better luck in Costa Mesa in the coming week. I’m really liking Zoroark-GX/Counter because it can handle itself and proved fruitful at the last tournament. Everyone who played it got points last time, and hopefully some of us could push to Top 8 this time. The imperfection of the list should have been worked out by the time Dallas came around had more time been spent on it.
As always, good luck at any upcoming tournaments and feel free to say hi.
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