Hey guys, Jon here again with another article. With the release of Unified Minds and TPCi announcing that Worlds will be held with the post-rotation, UPR-on format, there’s a lot of information to take in and analyze in a short amount of time. There are so many new decks and cards that need to be explored. Although having to deal with an entirely new format, I am quite excited to see how everything will turn out in the end at Worlds.
Now I will admit, I have been very lax when it comes to playing recently due to how draining the entire season has been. I was able to finish 11th in North America which gives me a free invite to Day 2-of Worlds, but the side effect of going to so many events is burning out somewhere along the line. In my time off I’ve still been talking about decks and other ideas with people, but without the stress of realizing that there’s a big event coming up next week that I need to scramble for. Also, I, like many other top players, have been playing a lot of Teamfight Tactics (TFT for short). We joke about how TFT will be our downfall in terms of doing well at Worlds because we’ve played so much of it. Breaks are nice, but with Worlds just a couple of weeks away, it is time to buckle down and prepare for the big finale of the season.
In my testing so far, I’ve noticed that a lot of the decks that dominated before (e.g., PikaRom and ReshiZard) are still quite good, if not the best now. This might be due to lists of the newcomer decks not being perfected yet, but this is at least what preliminary testing is showing. My personal favorites have been PikaRom and ReshiZard, and those are the ones that I will be going over today. With that being said, let’s go!
Pokémon – 11
Trainers – 38
Energy – 11
A lot of PikaRom lists in the past included high counts of Jirachi to help with consistency and getting as early of a Full Blitz as possible. Now that I’ve had a little time to test, I can say that Jirachi doesn’t fit in this deck as well as it used to. It makes you quite slow versus the mirror, which will be quite popular, and using the 4 slots to include Jirachi comes with a side effect of having to include Escape Board as well, which takes up about 6 slots now. Those 6 slots instead could have gone toward changing the deck to include newcomers such as Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX, which I will get into later, and cards that are now good such as Custom Catcher, which I will, once again, get into later.
Another card that seemed rather standard in PikaRom that’s now gone is Lillie. This is a bit of a personal preference because people still play Lillie in their PikaRom lists, but I’m going to run through why I don’t necessarily like Lillie in PikaRom anymore:
- Firstly, it’s only ever really good on the first turn of the game. Often in the midgame you will find yourself using Lillie to draw 1 or 2 cards, which is less than mediocre.
- Secondly, even its turn 1 capabilities are limited due to the loss of cards that can burn other cards in your hand in the format. Losing Ultra Ball means that your Lillie likely won’t be used to its full turn 1 effect.
- Lastly, it gets outclassed by the other Supporters now. Erika’s Hospitality is a way better draw option and Volkner is a lot better now that we only have Custom Catcher if we want to use a Gust effect.
This guy is great in the ReshiZard matchup due to his high HP. With the loss of Choice Band, ReshiZard needs to play either Koga’s Trap or Shrine of Punishment in order to hit the 240 on a PikaRom, but with Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX having 260 HP, they can’t get rid of it in one hit.
Let me tell you something I’m not a fan of: prizing Tapu Koko p. Before, you would always be in an extremely bad spot. Now, you have a little leeway because you can use Rayquaza-GX to find the extra Energy, which can then be Energy switched to your desired attacker.
It’s the only Gust effect this deck can reasonably use. I’ve seen people choose not to include this card in their lists because they don’t want to deal with the fact that you need 2-of them at once in order to use the Gust effect, but with heavy Volkner, it is on the easier side to find them when needed.
I’m a little on the fence on this count. This could very well become 2 down the line after testing more, but for now I just have it at 1. Reset Stamp is too good of a card not to play because you will often see your opponent with a large hand size. Take for instance Green’s ReshiZard; they continuously add cards to their hand with Welder, Green’s, and Heat Factory p, so using Reset Stamp against them at the right time is crucial.
That’s all for PikaRom. I think the deck is still very strong and a great starting point for anyone trying to figure out what to play for Worlds or the DC Open.
Next we have ReshiZard, my personal favorite at the moment:
Pokémon – 7
Trainers – 42
Energy – 11
This deck plays extremely tanky with its strategy being to make your opponent take the awkward 8 Prizes by throwing 2 Volcanions, a ReshiZard, and then another ReshiZard at them in hopes that if the can deal with the first ReshiZard, they can’t with the second. You have a multitude of healing Items to your disposal, which are easily accessible, making this deck extremely strong and consistent. Here are some specifics about the list:
Volcanion UNB, 3 ReshiZard4
This is standard as you want to start Volcanion and you want to make sure that you have enough ReshiZards to win the game with. The only real issue with this lineup of Pokémon is that we autolose to any deck that can set up a Bronzong TEU against us. I seriously doubt that anyone will be playing Bronzong outside of in some crazy rogue deck, but hey, the format is blind, so who knows what could happen? If for whatever reason Bronzong becomes an issue, then including a Eevee & Snorlax-GX would do the trick.
Compared to other decks, the Supporter line in this deck is quite basic. This is due to the straightforwardness and simplicity of the deck. Green’s allows you to set up what you need that turn or for the following turn, and Welder allows you to accelerate you Energies to cater to ReshiZard’s hefty attack cost. The one cute tech here is the single copy of Lt. Surge’s Strategy which is used in niche situations where you may want to play 2 Green’s in one turn or to use Green’s to find a Welder in order to power up an attacker.
These are the non-Supporter consistency cards that we have to our disposal. You’ll notice that the deck is relatively light on Supporters, but that isn’t a huge issue because of the Pokégears and Acro Bikes we can use to find them. As for Heat Factory p, we usually find it early on with Green’s, but if you find it without Green’s, then even better for you.
Custom Catcher fits comfortably into this deck because of how easily accessible it is with Green’s Exploration. Even ReshiZard variants like this one in the past opted to play Custom Catcher over Guzma.
These are my favorite cards in the deck and are frankly a large part of why the deck is so good right now. Mixed Herbs, similar to Custom Catcher, are easily accessible with Green’s so the requirement of needing 2 at a time isn’t an issue. Great Potion and Mixed Herbs are what make your ReshiZards so tanky. I don’t know about you, but a 270 HP monstrosity that cannot seem to get Knocked Out seems pretty strong to me. Choice Helmet is acting as Choice Bands replacement and also making it that much harder for our ReshiZards to go down. Like said before, If they get through the first one, they’re going to have a really hard time with the second.
These are the Stadium cards in the deck (excluding Heat Factory p because I talked about that earlier). The Giant Hearth is used to find the Energy you need to Welder onto your attacker easily. Power Plant also has a few neat uses, but what mainly sparked my interest was for when you’re against Keldeo-GX. Sure, you can attack with Volcanion, but Power Plant makes it so much easier and convenient. The 1 Shrine of Punishment is for PikaRom as Pikachu & Zekrom-GX has 240 HP and with Shrine we can now wipe out a PikaRom in one hit.
That’s the in-depth analysis of the decks that I find to be the best right now, but there are many more that ideas that I’ve been dying to try out. I’ve made some notes and ideas on the format that I think could be useful to you guys, so take this next part of the article as an idea dump from me. This is just some stuff that I have noticed and these things may change down the road.
Jon’s Idea Dump
As stated before, PikaRom and ReshiZard are both very strong decks, but there are many other decks that I think are strong or could be strong.
1. The first is Dark Box, which has had back-and-forth opinions on social media. Some say that it has way too much going on, and some going as far to say that it is likely the best deck in the format. I don’t know exactly how I feel about it yet, but I seriously doubt that anyone has found the perfect 60 cards for it. I do think that a good list for Dark Box would be quite strong though. By this I mean a list that gets the deck to do what it wants consistently; the most complaints I’ve heard about Dark Box are about inconsistency.
2. The next idea that I’m trying to make work is Beheeyem UNM. Beheeyem is a different beast to take down in terms of deck building. Consistency is more important than ever because you need to be able to find the attack every single turn to keep a lock going. I find this most comparable to the Trevenant/Accelgor and Gothitelle/Accelgor decks of the past, so my first thought was to try and build it like those were built.
For those of you who remember, Gothitelle/Accelgor played Musharna NXD, whose Forewarn Ability allowed you to look at the top 2 cards of your deck, take one, and put the other back. This was good because when your deck got thin, it made it easier to find the key cards of the combo. Pidgeotto TEU has a similar Ability except you bottom deck the card you didn’t take. Keldeo-GX is the first wall that comes to mind, but the hefty 2 Retreat Cost makes me think that it probably won’t be as good as people make it out to be. You could play Silvally-GX to deal with the retreat, but at that point your deck turns into a huge mess.
3. Malamar is a trap. The deck loses minimal from rotation, but it’s so average compared to the other decks right now. This is a bold statement, I know, but I can’t get Malamar to beat anything anymore.
4. Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX has a slew of Fairy Charms at its disposal. It is also pretty tanky. Maybe a deck could be made out of it?
5. I’ve never been a huge fan of Shedinja lock, but I do think that now it could be quite good, especially if people don’t give it the respect it deserves. I don’t see myself playing it, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the deck get overlooked and dominate the event. You’ll notice that the lists I posted earlier don’t have many counters to Shedinja, so if you do expect Shedinja you can try to fit in a Lysandre Labs here or there to help with that cause. Both decks having Custom Catcher is nice because those are useful against it as well.
6. It’s hard to make 1-Prize attacker decks work due to how good the GX decks are at dealing with them now. The first thing I tried was Spiritomb UNB with other 1-Prizers, and it wasn’t the best to say the least.
The format isn’t completely explored, so I’m always toying with ideas to try and make a Stall deck or Lock deck that is “broken” and doesn’t allow others to play the game. I haven’t found anything yet, but like I said, I’m always looking.
Alright guys, that’s all for now. I’m very excited to keep digging through this format to try and find out “the play” for Worlds, but for now this is what I’ve got. I’ll be coming to you guys once more with another article right before Day 1 to help you guys get ready, but until then, thanks for reading, and of course ask any questions if you have them. Peace!
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