Welcome back! I underestimated my week’s craziness when I initially planned out the Flyer schedule for the month, so the mailbag edition I had planned for this week is going to wait one more before coming into being. The advantage of this: I get to plug the submission link this week! If any questions arose out of Philly, or anything arises as you read through this week’s content, submit a question and I’ll do my best to answer what I can in next week’s edition—ideally, though, submit by Wednesday.
We had the first major event of the North American season last weekend, and—perhaps unsurprisingly—Shrine of Punishments came out on top. It might be a bit unfair of me to characterize the winning deck as a Stadium, but there was no doubt that as I walked the floor on Saturday that Shrine was a staple of the format (so, too, was people forgetting to add Shrine damage).
Another key figure on the weekend was Zoroark-GX, though it’s one that confused me a bit. Zoroark was primarily successful along classic partner Lycanroc-GX GRI, but in a format where both Buzzwole/Shrine/etc. and Vikavolt/Rayquaza are key factors, I’m surprised that Zoroark kept up as well as it did. Of course, I probably ought not to be, as (so far) Zoroark has always found a way, but in the matches I watched this weekend, it seemed like the aforementioned duo frequently had the upper hand over Zoroark.
Every time I watched Vikavolt/Rayquaza, I was confused as to how it wasn’t just storming the tournament. So much can be achieved for so little, and I think it’s a concept that will linger for a long period of time. It probably didn’t storm the tournament because a Stage 2 is never a great consistency thing, but I think there’s just too much here for it not to be either really good or really countered moving forward.
We now have the meta breakdown from the weekend via RK9 Labs:
We have one known issue: Sylveon is catching Gardevoirs before Gardeovir does. We’re working on a revised count; stay tuned to RK9 Labs’ or my social media to that effect. Unsurprisingly, the decks I just discussed composed most of the metagame. What might strike some people is that only 2 decks composed more than 10% of the metagame by themselves. The diversity of matchups anyone could hit was pretty impressive—just how impressive is something we’re probably going to work on tracking as we move into the future.
Passimian was an upstart star on the weekend, and probably had the “most average CP total by its pilots from last season” award comfortably locked up. We saw a number of great players take it this weekend, including our own Mike Fouchet, but it didn’t end up working out in the end.
As we move into Memphis, I’d expect the following evolutionary trends from what showed itself above:
- Zoroark variants will probably condense. This will mean more Zoroark/Lycanroc and less of the fringe variants, I think, but Zoroark/Banette will grab a chunk of that pie too. I think Golisopod will trail off a bit, but not all that much, as it has a pretty reliably loyal follower base.
- Metagross…will probably pick up in play. The sentence feels dirty to write, but the deck for which I was once notorious will probably get second wind here after its T4 run in Oaks. I’m not sure that will work out all that well for its pilots, but if I were planning for Memphis, I’d be considering how to win the matchup.
- Malamar will probably rise in play. This will, ironically, probably only further cement Zoroark’s position as a solid part of the format. Malamar’s Zoroark troubles have not gone anywhere.
- The Vikavolt variants, taken together, were the biggest deck on the weekend. This suggests that the format is slow enough for a Stage 2 to get a substantial foothold
(not that Vikavolt is particularly slow, of course). This is generally a good barometer to suggest room for innovation in a format, and I’d be unsurprised to see some really crazy stuff cruise to the top in Memphis (or Frankfurt, of course).
Pro-Tip of the Week: Perhaps, I should start by affirming: it is illegal to flip a coin to decide the outcome of a match. There’s a good reason for this, too—flipping a coin to decide the outcome of a match changes the game from a matter that involves skill to one entirely based on luck, and from a legal perspective, that gets dangerously close to gambling territory in various jurisdictions. Obviously, the circuit could not exist within the entanglement of gambling regulations and things, so flipping a coin is not only illegal, but taken quite seriously when it does occur. Don’t.
Next week we’ll have some additional transition coverage as we move out of the first event to enter the 19 Day 2 point era. The best of luck to you!
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