The more time that passes, the more a format seems to get solved. We do go through transition periods where the onetime counter decks shift from being the play to being the countered themselves, but this tends to be a one-of solution rather than a more holistic one. For instance, in Portland we saw decks meant to counter Zoroark-GX become the primary targets for the “new” counter deck, which gave rise to Espeon-GX resurgence, and decks like Hoopa slowly made their way to the very top tables rather than being a low tier menace usually seen floating around the bottom tables.
With more and more tournaments occuring every year, we are subjected to these stretches of time where formats exist longer and longer, and while this becomes incredibly stale for those playing new events day in and day out, I think that it does raise the skill cap to some degree. In theory, if a meta-game becomes “solved,” there are much clearer answers for the “play” every week, and if every player has access to the same amounts of information as everyone else, your actual play in a tournament is far more measurable. Thusly, your results are more about how well you play each and every round rather than hoping to get lucky in the matchup lottery of an undefined format.
We have been playing the current format since Collinsville Regionals, and frankly even that format was only a slight shift from the format before that—with Glaceon-GX really being the only new addition, with a few more fringe decks (like Hoopa) on the side. Lycanroc-GX/Zoroark-GX, Buzzwole-GX decks, and so on have been dominant since December and Memphis Regionals, and with Forbidden Light ready to come out as well, it does not seem that there will be much more to shake this up outside of Malamar. Furthermore, Forbidden Light seems liable to make this old deck even stronger, with new toys like Beast Ring and a non-GX Buzzwole.
At any rate, I think those attending the Latin American International Championship this weekend have a clear and distinct metagame to anticipate. If there results of League Cups post-Portland Regionals are any indication, I think that the meta has settled past the anti-Zoroark-GX meta and is now somewhere more spread out, where there is simply going to be a little bit everything. I foresee a field where neither Zoroark-GX’s counters or the counter’s counters are more dominant, and so if I were headed to Sao Paulo, I think I would play a deck hedged against everything and attempt to find something that is safe and comfortable against both Zoroark-GX, its counters (Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc, Sylveon), and the counters to those (Hoopa, Espeon-GX/Garbodor, Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX).
This may sound like an incredibly daunting task, but I think we can absolutely find a safe solution to all of this! Let’s look at my top two choices for this upcoming weekend and try to hash out the final few spots in the list to give anyone the best chance depending on their prospective metagame.
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