Two and a Few

Pre-NAIC Tournament Results, What They Mean, PikaRom vs. ReshiZard, and Words on a Bunch of High-Placing Lists
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PikaRom + ReshiZard lead the format. But which is better for NAIC?

This article is going to be focused on giving an overview of what decks are viable going into NAIC, while also looking at what decks have been performing the best and what those trends might suggest going forward.

Recent Results (Santiago & Origins)

Headed into NAIC, it is important to track what decks have been doing well. In this case, the results of the two events I think are most important to be familiar with are Santiago Regionals and Origins SPE.

In Santiago, the Top 8 deck breakdown for Masters was as follows:

1. PikaRom
2. PikaRom
3. PikaRom
4. Shedinja
5. ReshiZard
6. Malamar
7. Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX/Slowking
8. ReshiZard

As for Origins, it was attended by over 100 Masters and won by Daniel Altavilla who defeated Will Jenkins in a ZapBeasts mirror match.

These standings paint a clear picture: PikaRom and ZapBeasts are the de facto “best decks” in the format, as you cannot overlook a single archetype taking the top three positions at a Regionals or the top two spots at a large SPE. The only other deck that could stake a claim to being the frontrunner is ReshiZard, and that is because it did have the highest metagame share of the Top 32 field at Santiago with 13 copies present. Two of those made it into the Top 8. But when the metagame is congested with that many copies of the deck, and PikaRom still rose to the top, it’s evident that in a tournament full of ReshiZard decks, PikaRom is well positioned.

One of the big losers from this is Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel. That is a deck that absolutely preys on ReshiZard while sporting a poor PikaRom matchup. It also is not a deck I’d want to be piloting against Zapdos. After Ian Robb took down Madison Regionals with Blacephalon-GX[LINK], the deck didn’t parlay that placement into further success in Santiago. I don’t think the deck is bad, but I do think the metagame is trending away from it.

PikaRom vs. ReshiZard

I’d like to take a moment to address the two big TAG TEAM decks, PikaRom and ReshiZard. I’ve hit on the fact that I believe they are the clear-cut “best decks,” and that may be misleading. They are both clearly Tier 1 archetypes, but most importantly they are the most popular decks. They are the defining pillars of this format. Everyone knows them, everyone knows they will show up in large numbers, and everyone respects the fact that they will be successful. When making a deck choice, you have to respect them. You shouldn’t be piloting a deck that is soft to either deck.

The aforementioned argument is also one of the reasons I think that PikaRom is the better deck fundamentally. Both decks are extremely powerful and possess a raw strength to them. The problem is, I don’t feel ReshiZard is as flexible a deck. In Madison, Eevee & Snorlax-GX played a huge part in giving the deck a weapon to deal with Water-type attackers, but even then, the deck stayed reliant on using bulky, OHKOing TAG TEAM Pokémon. This is always going to be somewhat exploitable. The nature of the deck prevents it from getting too fancy with deviating from its game plan to react to counter measures from the metagame’s evolution.

PikaRom is a much more adaptable archetype. The Zapdos package more or less universally accepted by all lists gives the deck so much more play to it. Even with a big bullseye on its head, it is difficult to build a deck that is very favored against it.

ReshiZard, on the other hand, has really bad matchups against both Blacephalon and Malamar decks. Despite my love of Malamar, I understand that it holds a relatively low metagame share, and it’s not popular enough to cause players to pivot off a deck choice. (Blacephalon has a similar play rate.) Still, if there was enough of a target on ReshiZard’s back, there are decks that it basically can never adapt to beat. PikaRom doesn’t have that problem as there are so many potential tools the deck can run. Volcanion and Arcanine do offer ReshiZard 1-Prize attacker options, but they are both harder to maneuver into and not as streamlined as the Zapdos package that PikaRom has access to. I think that due to the results from Origins, if you want to play ReshiZard, you will want a stronger 1-Prize attacker presence. Volcanion in particular is a nice weapon against the 110-HP Zapdos.

ReshiZard

Pokémon (16)

2 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

2 Eevee & Snorlax-GX

1 Growlithe UNB

1 Arcanine UNB

1 Volcanion UNB

4 Jirachi TEU

2 Marshadow SLG

1 Miltank CIN

1 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Dedenne-GX

Trainer (32)

4 Welder

3 Guzma

2 Kiawe

 

4 Switch

4 Ultra Ball

3 Acro Bike

3 Nest Ball

2 Fiery Flint

2 Fire Crystal

1 Field Blower

2 Escape Board

1 Choice Band

 

1 Heat Factory p

Energy (12)

12 Fire

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 16

* 2 Reshiram & Charizard-GX UNB 20
* 2 Eevee & Snorlax-GX TEU 120
* 1 Growlithe UNB 21
* 1 Arcanine UNB 22
* 1 Volcanion UNB 25
* 4 Jirachi TEU 99
* 2 Marshadow SLG 45
* 1 Miltank CIN 78
* 1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57

##Trainer Cards - 32

* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 3 Guzma BUS 115
* 2 Kiawe BUS 116
* 4 Switch SUM 132
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
* 3 Nest Ball SUM 123
* 3 Acro Bike PRC 122
* 2 Fiery Flint DRM 60
* 2 Fire Crystal UNB 173
* 1 Field Blower GRI 125
* 2 Escape Board UPR 122
* 1 Choice Band GRI 121
* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178

##Energy - 12

* 12 Fire Energy Energy 2

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=73688 ******

via Vincente Rodrigues Cuevas—5th place Santiago

This is the highest placing list from Santiago, and most of the lists I’ve seen from that weekend are built similarly. I feel Eevee & Snorlax-GX is worse now than it was previously since players aiming to hard-counter the Water-weak Fire decks now are aware that EeveeLax is an obstacle they will have to overcome as well. I still think you play Eevee & Snorlax-GX, but it is no longer a next-level innovation that will give you a notable advantage against the field.

I mentioned before the demand for more 1-Prize attackers, so Volcanion and Arcanine go up in value. You don’t want to go too heavy to the point where you ruin the consistency of your primary game plan, as the deck needs to be optimized to attacking with its TAG TEAMs early, too.

I’m also convinced that the Jirachi and Kiawe builds of the deck are the most consistent. I remember being high on Green’s Exploration coming off the heels of the release of Unbroken Bonds, and I’ve quickly soured on the card. The deck-building constraints it imposes are so high, and as long as Judge and Marshadow are seeing play, the engine feels flimsy.

PikaRom

Pokémon (15)

2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX

3 Zapdos TEU

1 Zeraora-GX

1 Tapu Koko-GX

1 Tapu Koko p

4 Jirachi TEU

2 Marshadow SLG

1 Dedenne-GX

Trainer (34)

4 Guzma

4 Lillie

2 Volkner

 

4 Electropower

4 Ultra Ball

3 Escape Rope

3 Nest Ball

2 Electromagnetic Radar

2 Energy Switch

1 Rescue Stretcher

2 Choice Band

2 Escape Board

 

1 Thunder Mountain p

Energy (11)

11 Lightning

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 15

* 2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX TEU 33
* 3 Zapdos TEU 40
* 1 Zeraora-GX LOT 86
* 1 Tapu Koko-GX GRI 47
* 1 Tapu Koko p TEU 51
* 4 Jirachi TEU 99
* 2 Marshadow SLG 45
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57

##Trainer Cards - 34

* 4 Lillie SUM 122
* 4 Guzma BUS 115
* 2 Volkner UPR 135
* 4 Electropower LOT 172
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
* 3 Nest Ball SUM 123
* 3 Escape Rope BUS 114
* 2 Electromagnetic Radar UNB 169
* 2 Energy Switch SUM 117
* 1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 2 Choice Band GRI 121
* 2 Escape Board UPR 122
* 1 Thunder Mountain p LOT 191

##Energy - 11

* 11 Lightning Energy Energy 4

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=73688 ******

via Alexandre Caporali Braga—1st place Santiago

Joao Pedro Medeiros Zambrano took 3rd place at the same event with this exact deck list. I think that is a big testament to the quality of the build. PikaRom isn’t exactly something new and flashy at this point, and I don’t think this build reinvents the wheel. However, one interesting thing about this list is that it opts not to play any Tapu Lele-GX, instead resorting to 4 Jirachi TEU, 2 Marshadow SLG, and 1 Dedenne-GX. Dedenne has such great synergy with Electromagnetic Radar. I’ve seen lists running Lele alongside Dedenne, but this group of players seems to have felt Lele was unnecessary.

ZapBeasts

Pokémon – 17

4 Jirachi TEU
3 Zapdos TEU
1 Blitzle LOT
1 Zebstrika LOT
1 Buzzwole FLI
1 Nihilego LOT
1 Kartana UNB
1 Marshadow SLG

1 Tapu Koko p

1 Absol TEU
1 Pheromosa & Buzzwole-GX
1 Tapu Koko-GX

Trainers – 34

4 Guzma

4 Lillie
2 Cynthia

 

4 Electropower

4 Nest Ball

3 Switch

3 Ultra Ball

2 Escape Rope
2 Rescue Stretcher

2 Choice Band

2 Escape Board

 

1 Shrine of Punishment
1 Thunder Mountain p

Energy – 9

4 Lightning
4 Rainbow
1 Beast p

via Will Jenkins—2nd place Origins

ZapBeasts hasn’t changed much, although it has embraced Pheromosa & Buzzwole-GX. This beefy TAG TEAM can take a hit, spread damage, and most importantly, break serve in the Prize exchange with its Beast Game GX attack. To get an unaided KO isn’t the easiest without using Beast Energy p, but with Beast Energy p it can OHKO a Benched Marshadow or Jirachi for 2 Prizes. With a likely increase in 1-Prize attacker decks and thus mirror matches, I would absolutely be playing BuzzMosa as you don’t want to find yourself behind on the Prize exchange, praying the opponent whiffs a KO. Even worse, acknowledging this card is in other decks, you do not want to be behind and watch your opponent take their final 2 Prizes in one turn, either. Even if you don’t believe that the card is necessary, if others are resorting to it, you are pressured into matching the ploy.

Potential Inclusions

1 Mew UNB

If you expect a rise in Weezing as a result of the success of this deck, may want to include Mew. I’ve seen Mew in multiple lists already, and I think moving forward I’d also go in that direction.

Volkner

The biggest deviation I’ve seen between lists is the choice between whether to run Volkner or not as a secondary draw Supporter. I am not opinionated one way or the other.

Aerodactyl/Slowking/Ultra Beasts

When looking at decks trying to leverage a game using all 1-Prize attackers, there is a new deck I spotted that made Top 32 in Santiago that revolved around using Slowking LOT, Aerodactyl TEU, and Triple Acceleration Energy while stocking the usual Ultra Beast suspects. Let’s look at this deck briefly.

Pokémon (15)

3 Aerodactyl TEU

2 Slowpoke LOT

2 Slowking LOT

1 Buzzwole FLI

1 Nihilego LOT

1 Kartana UNB

2 Jirachi TEU

1 Absol TEU

1 Mew UNB

1 Ditto p

Trainer (35)

4 Lillie

3 Guzma

2 Cynthia

2 Erika’s Hospitality

 

4 Ultra Ball

4 Unidentified Fossil

2 Energy Loto

2 Nest Ball

2 Rescue Stretcher

1 Field Blower

3 Choice Band

3 Escape Board

 

3 Shrine of Punishment

Energy (10)

4 Triple Acceleration

2 Double Colorless

2 Rainbow

1 Beast p

1 Counter

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 15

* 3 Aerodactyl TEU 130
* 2 Slowpoke LOT 54
* 2 Slowking LOT 55
* 1 Buzzwole FLI 77
* 1 Nihilego LOT 106
* 1 Kartana UNB 19
* 2 Jirachi TEU 99
* 1 Absol TEU 88
* 1 Mew UNB 76
* 1 Ditto p LOT 154

##Trainer Cards - 35

* 4 Lillie SUM 122
* 3 Guzma BUS 115
* 2 Cynthia UPR 119
* 2 Erika's Hospitality TEU 140
* 4 Unidentified Fossil UPR 134
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
* 2 Nest Ball SUM 123
* 2 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 2 Energy Loto GRI 122
* 1 Field Blower GRI 125
* 3 Choice Band GRI 121
* 3 Escape Board UPR 122
* 3 Shrine of Punishment CES 143

##Energy - 10

* 4 Triple Acceleration Energy UNB 190
* 2 Double Colorless Energy SUM 136
* 2 Rainbow Energy SUM 137
* 1 Counter Energy CIN 100
* 1 Beast Energy Prism Star FLI 117

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=73688 ******

via Eduardo Alfaro Espinoza—24th place Santiago

I have not played with this deck, but I felt like it was such an interesting list that I wanted to at least include it in this article, even if I can’t pretend to have a ton of insight into it.

Aerodactyl is a great card, albeit extremely difficult to enable. The fact that you need to get Unidentified Fossil—an Item—into play to get Aerodactyl out is a huge barrier. Still, you cannot overlook how potent the card is. It has a hefty 130 HP and does 180 damage for CCC since this deck doesn’t run any EX or GX Pokémon to turn off Fossil Fang‘s damage boost. Unfortunately, between the fact that it needs both a Fossil to evolve from and a Special Energy card to attack with, both of which are limited to 4 copies in the deck, Aerodactyl is asking for a lot from a limited engine.

Aerodactyl and Slowking both key off of Triple Acceleration Energy and you are limited to 4 copies of the card. You are banking on taking timely Ultra Beast KOs on their appropriate turns to take pressure off of this chancy strategy. Technically, the deck is able to power up its attacks with two attachments, but I feel like that is asking a lot as most decks can successfully score KOs each turn. I’d be concerned about this deck’s ability to keep up with decks that have plans to use single-Prize attackers against it, as I expect a reasonable fail rate when it comes to providing a OHKO six turns in a row.

I like the idea of the deck, and I applaud the innovation here, but I’m not sure if this is the optimal build or if it can ever be a better alternative to ZapBeasts. I’m more excited about how cool this deck is than my confessed concerns above make me sound. When facing a new deck for the first time, I usually process it and then try and formulate what I think its potential flaws are, and work from there.

Zoroark-GX

pokemonkorea.co.kr

After Madison Regionals, one of the most hyped decks was Zoroark-GX armed with Persian-GX for a consistency boost and Slowking LOT as a non-GX counter to Fire decks. The build ran a full set of Triple Acceleration Energy, a card I absolutely love in the deck. One of the issues I’d always had in Zoroark decks was the annoying issue of sometimes whiffing the DCE, particularly early. Having 4 additional “DCE” that can act as stopgaps while you try to find an actual DCE smooths the deck over a lot. Of course, on top of this, it allows the deck to run attackers which key off of CCC attack costs, such as Persian and Slowking.

One of the problems with this deck, which relied almost exclusively on Slowking to be its game plan against ReshiZard and Blacephalon-GX, is that ReshiZard added Eevee & Snorlax-GX. This flipped the matchup. As a result, I’ve seen two different offshoots of the deck.

Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX

Here is a deck that placed 10th in Santiago which seemed to jam every popular Zoroark partner possible into a 60-card shell, as it also ran a 2-2 Lycanroc-GX line!

Pokémon (22)

4 Zorua SLG

4 Zoroark-GX

2 Rockruff FLI

2 Lycanroc-GX GRI

1 Meowth UNB

1 Persian-GX

1 Slowpoke UNB

1 Slowking LOT

1 Alolan Grimer TEU

1 Alolan Muk SUM

1 Ditto p

2 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Marshadow UNB

Trainer (29)

4 Lillie

2 Guzma

1 Acerola

1 Cynthia

1 Judge

 

4 Nest Ball

4 Ultra Ball

3 Pokémon Communication

1 Field Blower

1 Pal Pad

1 Rescue Stretcher

2 Choice Band

1 Bodybuilding Dumbbells

1 Counter Gain

 

1 Brooklet Hill

1 Devoured Field

Energy (9)

3 Double Colorless

3 Triple Acceleration

2 Unit FDY

1 Rainbow

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 22

* 4 Zorua SLG 52
* 4 Zoroark-GX SLG 53
* 2 Rockruff FLI 75
* 2 Lycanroc-GX GRI 74
* 1 Meowth UNB 147
* 1 Persian-GX UNB 149
* 1 Slowpoke UNB 42
* 1 Slowking LOT 55
* 1 Alolan Grimer TEU 83
* 1 Alolan Muk SUM 58
* 1 Ditto p LOT 154
* 2 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60
* 1 Marshadow UNB 81

##Trainer Cards - 29

* 4 Lillie SUM 122
* 2 Guzma BUS 115
* 1 Acerola BUS 112
* 1 Cynthia UPR 119
* 1 Judge BKT 143
* 4 Nest Ball SUM 123
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
* 3 Pokémon Communication BLW 99
* 1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 1 Pal Pad FLF 92
* 1 Field Blower GRI 125
* 2 Choice Band GRI 121
* 1 Counter Gain LOT 170
* 1 Bodybuilding Dumbbells BUS 113
* 1 Devoured Field CIN 93
* 1 Brooklet Hill GRI 120

##Energy - 9

* 3 Double Colorless Energy SUM 136
* 3 Triple Acceleration Energy UNB 190
* 2 Unit Energy FDY FLI 118
* 1 Rainbow Energy SUM 137

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=73688 ******

via Alexis Hormazabal—10th place Santiago

Ditto p has never felt more overworked. This deck manages to fit everything it wants into one list. I am impressed. I don’t mind the thin Pokémon lines. I’ve always been a proponent of fitting as many weapons as possible into the same deck, especially when the deck functions well enough even without them.

I think my biggest issue with this list is the compromise it has to make in terms of Energy. It is stuck with only 3 “Fighting Energy,” 3 Double Colorless Energy, and 3 Triple Acceleration Energies. Yes, these are functional counts. Yes, with Persian-GX online, it helps to smooth potential problems out. With only a 1-1 Persian line I’d like to see 1 copy of Mallow in the deck. I have always liked Mallow in Zoroark decks mainly due to the Energy issues, and while I’m in support of leaving it out in the 4 DCE, 4 TAE builds, I think when the Energy regresses to being a bit of a mess like it is here, I’d like the extra insurance.

One of the other problems I have is that the deck is so jam-packed with Pokémon that it doesn’t have any answers to the Mill decks. Normally I’d argue that is easy enough to fix as it is only a 1-card shift, but I don’t see a lot of flex spots left in this list.

Zoroark-GX/Silvally-GX

The other deck that I like finally gives some play to Silvally-GX, a card which previously never saw the amount of success that I believe PCL envisioned when printing it. Silvally benefits greatly from Triple Acceleration Energy, and with Fighting Memory and Water Memory, it can provide type coverage against PikaRom and ReshiZard within the same line.

Pokémon – 22

4 Zorua SLG
4 Zoroark-GX

2 Type: Null UPR
2 Silvally-GX

1 Meowth UNB
1 Persian-GX

1 Alolan Grimer TEU
1 Alolan Muk SUM
1 Ditto p
1 Oranguru UPR

1 Marshadow UNB

2 Tapu Lele-GX
1 Dedenne-GX

Trainers – 30

4 Lillie

2 Guzma

2 Judge

1 Acerola

1 Professor Kukui

 

4 Nest Ball
4 Ultra Ball

3 Pokémon Communication
1 Field Blower
1 Pal Pad
1 Rescue Stretcher

2 Choice Band

2 Fighting Memory
2 Water Memory

Energy – 8

4 Double Colorless
4 Triple Acceleration

This is a sample list of the deck that I’ve based off of what my friend has been testing. You have a standard Zoroark shell, featuring both a thin Persian and Alolan Muk line. I had seen some lists shifting away from Alolan Muk in the past few weeks, but if Zapdos is spiking in success and thus popularity, I wouldn’t consider trimming it. Rather than running Lycanroc or Slowking, the 2-2 Silvally-GX line offers the best of both worlds, in that it gives you type coverage over both Fighting- and Water-weak Pokémon. Sure, you have to get your Memory Tool cards out, but that isn’t that difficult.

Oranguru is there for grindy, long games, specifically against Stall decks, and Marshadow is your searchable counter Stadium play. I don’t like any of the Stadiums in Zoroark, but you do need a counter for Stadium Prism Stars, and I think that being able to search up Marshadow is more valuable than whatever minimal impact an actual Stadium may make in your favor.

If I had to play a Zoroark deck for NAIC, it would be paired with Silvally. It is less messy than alternatives, and I think has less holes in its game plan the other versions. This list is more of a functional starting point than a refined “solution” for the list. I think improvements can still be made.

Weezing

Pokémon – 18

4 Koffing UNB
4 Weezing UNB

1 Blitzle LOT
1 Zebstrika LOT

1 Persian TEU
1 Ditto p
1 Tapu Koko SM31

1 Tapu Lele SM45
1 Larvitar LOT 115
1 Frost Rotom UPR
1 Oranguru SUM
1 Marshadow SLG

Trainers – 32

4 Cynthia
4 Lillie

1 Guzma
1 Tate & Liza

 

4 Mysterious Treasure
4 Nest Ball

2 Rescue Stretcher
2 Ultra Ball
1 Counter Catcher
1 Escape Rope

1 Pokégear 3.0
4 Spell Tag

 

3 Shrine of Punishment

Energy – 10

4 Counter

4 Double Colorless
2 Triple Acceleration

Coming out of Santiago, I would have told you that I felt that Weezing was a poorly positioned deck. With the rise in Zapdos decks that I expect as a result of Origins (and other events this past weekend) I think there is reason to revisit Weezing. It is tough because I see almost every deck playing Mew because it is decent against PikaRom. The fact that Mew’s popularity isn’t even directly related to how popular Weezing is can be frustrating for Weezing players, as you won’t expect the ebb and flow of metagame cycles regarding tech cards here.

I know the following is a poor justification for a deck choice, but I do think that even now: a lot of players are miserable at playing against this deck. While that doesn’t help your odds at beating prepared players, at a big event, knowing that a lot of the people you’ll play could cost themselves games against you is a legitimate selling point. If your goal is just to secure some amount of CP from NAIC, this mentality can lead toward a higher likelihood of accomplishing that.

Malamar

Pokémon – 18

4 Inkay FLI
4 Malamar FLI

1 Ditto p
2 Ultra Necrozma-GX
2 Giratina LOT

2 Jirachi TEU

1 Marshadow SLG

1 Mew UNB
1 Dedenne-GX

Trainers – 32

4 Cynthia

4 Guzma
4 Lillie

 

4 Ultra Ball
4 Mysterious Treasure

2 Nest Ball
2 Switch

1 Adventure Bag
1 Rescue Stretcher
2 Escape Board
1 Choice Band

 

3 Viridian Forest

Energy – 10

6 Psychic
3 Metal
1 Beast p

This isn’t too far from the same Malamar approach I’ve been arguing in favor of for a while now. Rather than go over the inclusions, which I think I’ve hit on ad nauseam over the months, I’d rather focus on a few cards I wouldn’t mind adding.

Potential Inclusions

0-1 Drifblim UPR

There are two interesting potential inclusions in the deck. The first is Drifblim, whose Damage Transport attack moves 4 damage counters from each of your Pokémon to your opponent’s Active Pokémon, which is a death sentence for Weezing—a deck that otherwise mauls Malamar. I’m not seeing a ton of Weezing decks, and I think that is because I don’t feel like the deck is well positioned. I think that it is enough of a known quantity that its opening has kind of closed.

I do not plan to play Drifblim at NAIC. You wouldn’t run a Drifloon (no matter how cute it is) and instead just branch off of a Ditto.

1 Gengar & Mimikyu-GX

The second option is Gengar & Mimikyu-GX. The card is interesting. On one hand, if you get stuck with it in play against a deck you don’t want it against, the 3-Prize liability can be back-breaking. It can be potent against Stall decks, but it is a nightmare for Shedinja, as you can overload Horror House GX and mill them out with it.

How much Shedinja should we expect at NAIC? I’m not sure. If you feel like the answer is “a lot,” then sleeve up Gengar & Mimikyu-GX. The card is also a beefy attacker that can punish opponents with a large hand size. Horror House GX on the first turn can also be used to buy you a turn of setup to break serve, too. Using it for “value” like this does require you to risk a 240-HP 3-Prize trap on your field, so don’t get too cute with that application. I like it for when you feel you will otherwise be surely overrun, which makes the gambit worth it.

Shedinja

Pokémon (23)

4 Blitzle LOT

4 Zebstrika LOT

4 Nincada LOT

3 Shedinja LOT

1 Meowth TEU

1 Persian TEU

1 Ditto p

2 Oranguru UPR

2 Trumbeak LOT

1 Mew UNB

Trainer (34)

4 Lillie

2 Ingo & Emmet

2 Tate & Liza

1 Brock’s Grit

1 Faba

1 Gladion

1 Lt. Surge’s Strategy

1 Mars

 

4 Acro Bike

4 Nest Ball

4 Ultra Ball

3 Great Ball

1 Chip-Chip Ice Axe

1 Counter Catcher

1 Crushing Hammer

1 Pal Pad

1 Rescue Stretcher

 

1 Champions Festival

Energy (3)

3 Fire

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 23

* 4 Blitzle LOT 81
* 4 Zebstrika LOT 82
* 4 Nincada LOT 29
* 3 Shedinja LOT 95
* 1 Meowth TEU 125
* 1 Persian TEU 126
* 1 Ditto p LOT 154
* 2 Oranguru UPR 114
* 2 Trumbeak LOT 165
* 1 Mew UNB 76

##Trainer Cards - 34

* 4 Lillie SUM 122
* 2 Ingo & Emmet TEU 144
* 2 Tate & Liza CES 148
* 1 Lt. Surge's Strategy UNB 178
* 1 Brock's Grit EVO 74
* 1 Gladion CIN 95
* 1 Mars UPR 128
* 1 Faba LOT 173
* 4 Acro Bike PRC 122
* 4 Nest Ball SUM 123
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
* 3 Great Ball SUM 119
* 1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 1 Pal Pad FLF 92
* 1 Chip-Chip Ice Axe UNB 165
* 1 Crushing Hammer SUM 115
* 1 Counter Catcher CIN 91
* 1 Champions Festival PR-BLW BW95

##Energy - 3

* 3 Fire Energy Energy 2

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=73688 ******

via Marco Cifuentes—4th place Santiago

Here we are at the most obnoxious deck in the format, and one that got 4th in Santiago. Shedinja has added Chip-Chip Ice Axe, which is another utility card that can be added into your Oranguru loop once you have yourself decked. It can combo well with Trumbeak to strip key Supporter cards out of the opponent’s deck that otherwise may be useful to disrupt your game plan. Champion’s Festival is both a counter Stadium for the deck and also a way to deal with Spread decks such as Weezing which can ravage your entire board state.

Conclusion

While I do think there is a clear hierarchy in the metagame, with the pair of Lightning decks at the top, Zoroark and ReshiZard right below that, and then a pile of interesting options below, I do think that the format is open. If you have a deck you feel particularly comfortable with, and it is at least reasonable, you can play it.

I am not convinced Malamar is the best deck for NAIC—especially with the spike in Zapdos builds—but I’m already locked in on playing it because I am so comfortable with the deck.

Knowing your deck and its matchups is what is most important. Don’t go into an International Championships ill-prepared with a “better choice” because it is usually a trap.


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