Let the Teching Begin

On the Best Finish Limits for 2019–2020 and My Current Top 3 Decks for Worlds
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Heavy travel may not be in the cards for me in 2019–2020…

Hello there 6P! We’re in the final countdown for Worlds, as we are now under two weeks out from the event! I’m getting excited about it after a roller coaster of a season, which began with me forgetting to write down my Supporters at LAIC 🇧🇷 to accumulating over 1,000 CP in the span of four months.

Many details were released for the next season already—pretty much everything except for how Travel Awards for Internationals will work. From what we know right now, each mini season before an IC will have its own Best Finish Limit (BFL) of 8 for League Cups and Challenges. This is an absolutely terrible decision, even if it only affects a small minority of people.

This would be fair if all countries had an even distribution of Cups and Challenges, but that is hardly the case. There are cases where whole countries have less than 10 Cups per quarter, while others in the same region have upward of 100. If this is intended, it’s a slap in the face to the most dedicated players and it will impact my decision on what to do next season. If I can’t compete with Brazilian players due to the lack of Cups and Challenges in Mexico, I will be taking a different approach to the game and will likely not travel to most Regionals.

A season with a BFL of 2 for Cups and Challenges per quarter will look like this for me:

  • 6–9 Regionals
  • 2–4 SPEs
  • 4 ICs + Worlds Day 2

And a season with a BFL of 8 for Cups and Challenges per quarter will look like this:

  • 3–4 Regionals (Atlantic City, San Diego 🇺🇸, maybe Dallas 🇺🇸, Santa Clara)
  • LAIC (since I already have a Travel Award)
  • NAIC (because it’s so close) + Worlds Day 1

Unless I happen to stumble into a stipend for the other ICs, it’s not financially feasible for me to compete with the Brazilian player base as the system currently stands. This will, however, allow me to refocus my efforts into other areas, such as more consistent content creation with streaming and more hours for coaching due to less travel.

Hopefully we’ll find out soon exactly how this will work, but enough of my ramblings; let’s jump into the meat of the article, my top three choices for Worlds as of today.

My Top 3 Decks for Worlds

I started my Worlds testing on the Monday right after NAIC with this mindset for deckbuilding: this is a completely new format, so I need to not make any assumptions and get my decks hyper consistent before I consider teching for matchups.

I went through that process for 2–3 weeks, trying to get decks consistent and performing well over and over. Now that we are less than two weeks away from Worlds, however, I’m at the stage where I do want to make some matchups a bit easier if I can with techs, which brings me to my current lists for Worlds.

1. PikaRom

Pokémon (12)

2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX

1 Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX

3 Dedenne-GX

2 Zeraora-GX

1 Tapu Koko p

1 Zapdos TEU

1 Tapu Fini UNM

1 Hoopa UNM

Trainer (36)

4 Cynthia

4 Volkner

1 Erika’s Hospitality

 

4 Custom Catcher

4 Electromagnetic Radar

4 Electropower

3 Energy Switch

2 Pokémon Communication

2 Reset Stamp

2 Switch

1 Great Potion

1 Stadium Nav

1 Tag Switch

 

2 Lysandre Labs

1 Thunder Mountain p

Energy (12)

12 L

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 12

* 2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX TEU 162
* 1 Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX UNM 220
* 3 Dedenne-GX UNB 195
* 2 Zeraora-GX LOT 201
* 1 Tapu Koko p TEU 51
* 1 Zapdos TEU 40
* 1 Tapu Fini UNM 53
* 1 Hoopa UNM 140

##Trainer Cards - 36

* 1 Thunder Mountain p LOT 191
* 1 Tag Switch UNM 254
* 3 Energy Switch ROS 109
* 4 Custom Catcher LOT 231
* 4 Volkner UPR 156
* 2 Switch SUM 160
* 2 Lysandre Labs FLI 111
* 4 Electropower LOT 232
* 1 Great Potion UNM 198
* 1 Erika’s Hospitality TEU 174
* 4 Cynthia UPR 148
* 1 Stadium Nav UNM 208
* 2 Pokémon Communication TEU 196
* 4 Electromagnetic Radar UNB 230
* 2 Reset Stamp UNM 253

##Energy - 12

* 12 L Energy GRI 168

Total Cards - 60

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Pokémon-wise, I’m going for a techy approach. The 1 Tapu Fini UNM and 1 Hoopa UNM are techs to ease the Blacephalon-GX and Malamar matchups respectively. I feel like this spread will be especially strong for Day 1-of Worlds, as it will give you coverage going into a completely unknown metagame. No matter how much we try to predict, my educated guess is as good as anyone else’s.

Aside from that, 2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, 2 Zeraora-GX, 1 Tapu Koko p, and 1 Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX are pretty standard, along with the 3 Dedenne-GX. Dedechange is insanely strong and I expect Dedenne-GX to see play in 2 or 3 copies, just like Tapu Lele-GX, in most decks for the next two years or so.

There is an argument for a 2nd Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX because its attacks are powerful, especially Lightning Ride-GX, as it allows you to 1HKO the 270–280-HP TAG TEAMs currently dominating the format.

In the Trainers department we have a mix of consistency and utility, with Volkner being key to find the missing piece of the puzzle. Usually we Dedechange hoping to draw 1 or 2 pieces like Energy Switch, Electropower, or Eletromagnetic Radar, and then Volkner gets you the missing piece to get that early Full Blitz.

Ironically, pre-rotation, it was difficult to find Thunder Mountain p at the right time, while finding Tapu Koko p was easy with Nest Ball or Ultra Ball. Now, though, we have to rely on Pokémon Communication for the Koko, but Stadium Nav allows for a much easier option to find Thunder Mountain p reliably.

The 1 Great Potion is the iffy part, and for the longest time I had 2 while having 11 Energy, but as time went on, I missed having the 12th Energy, and you can search for the Great Potion through Volkner when it’s needed. With the extra discards from Dedenne-GX, the 12th Energy is crucial to have because you will likely lose a few throughout the course of the game.

2. GG Malamar

Pokémon (18)

4 Inkay FLI

4 Malamar FLI

2 Giratina LOT

1 Espurr UNB

2 Garchomp & Giratina-GX

1 Marshadow & Machamp-GX

2 Jirachi TEU

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Mew UNB

Trainer (33)

4 Cynthia

4 Lillie

1 Erika’s Hospitality

 

4 Mysterious Treasure

4 Pokémon Communication

3 Acro Bike

3 Switch

2 Reset Stamp

3 Spell Tag

2 Escape Board

 

3 Viridian Forest

Energy (9)

6 P

3 F

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 18

* 4 Inkay FLI 50
* 4 Malamar FLI 51
* 2 Giratina LOT 97
* 1 Espurr UNB 79
* 2 Garchomp & Giratina-GX UNM 228
* 1 Marshadow & Machamp-GX UNB 198
* 2 Jirachi TEU 99
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 195
* 1 Mew UNB 76

##Trainer Cards - 33

* 2 Escape Board UPR 167
* 4 Lillie SUM 147
* 3 Spell Tag LOT 235
* 3 Switch SUM 160
* 3 Acro Bike CES 178
* 1 Erika’s Hospitality TEU 174
* 4 Cynthia UPR 148
* 3 Viridian Forest UNM 256
* 4 Pokémon Communication TEU 196
* 4 Mysterious Treasure FLI 145
* 2 Reset Stamp UNM 253

##Energy - 9

* 6 P Energy SUM 162
* 3 F Energy GRI 169

Total Cards - 60

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There’s been a lot of discussion about Malamar (see “Ear Kitty Kitty,” “1 Month Later…,” and “Starting with Squid”), especially on whether TAG TEAMs are necessary, if Custom Catchers can be fit, whether Espurr is worth it, etc. It’s hard to pinpoint the best Malamar list, as it seems like all of them have to make a cut somewhere in order to accomplish their goal. All try to maximize consistency with a mix of Jirachi, Dedenne-GX, Lillie, Cynthia, and Acro Bike.

Outside of that, some builds are favoring a more single-Prize attacker approach, with Giratina LOT, Espurr, and techy cards like Mimikyu SM99 to combat TAG TEAMs. However, my build focuses on TAG TEAMs, namely Garchomp & Giratina-GX and Marshadow & Machamp-GX. The latter is a Pikachu & Zekrom-GX counter, as for only 2 Energy it can punish a quick Full Blitz from an opponent, making them trade 3 for 1 Prizes. However, Garchomp & Giratina-GX’s Calamitous Slash is the main reason why the deck is good; it doesn’t need Weakness in order to dish out big, cheap damage, and GG End-GX is powerful to get rid of potential threats before they escalate.

The deck wants to play as a single-Prize attacking deck until it has to switch into full aggressive mode with either TAG TEAM. Espurr UNB’s Ear Kinesis is here as a way to prevent your opponent from retreating a Pokémon previously damaged by Giratina and nesting it safely on the Bench.

The deck uses Spell Tags in order to place the correct damage counters on various Pokémon, along with Distortion Door, to establish 2HKOs and 1HKOs for other Giratinas or Garchomp & Giratina-GXs.

In order to fit Custom Catchers, you’d have to cut the TAG TEAMs and an Energy or two, but in this new Standard format where HPs are so high and TAG TEAM decks are playing a bunch of healing, I don’t foresee that being effective. In my opinion, the deck needs a way to dish out 1HKOs, otherwise the match starts escaping from your grasp, and it’s especially unforgiving if you are off to a slow start which the deck is prone to.

One final consideration for this list, in terms of techyness, is Power Plant. Having 2 Power Plant would be potentially powerful; however, I’m not sure the deck can get away with only 2 Viridian Forest. The deck treads a thin line early on, and that instability is why it’s my number 2 deck rather than my number 1.

3. Fire M&M’s

Pokémon (12)

3 Mewtwo & Mew-GX

2 Dedenne-GX

1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

1 Dragonite-GX UNM

1 Solgaleo-GX SM104

1 Jirachi-GX

1 Latios-GX UNM

1 Naganadel-GX UNM

1 Greninja-GX SM197

Trainer (36)

4 Coach Trainer

4 Welder

 

4 Cherish Ball

4 Custom Catcher

4 Mysterious Treasure

4 Pokégear 3.0

3 Switch

2 Fire Crystal

2 Great Potion

1 Reset Stamp

 

3 Giant Hearth

1 Heat Factory p

Energy (12)

8 R

4 Rainbow

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 12

* 3 Mewtwo & Mew-GX UNM 222
* 2 Dedenne-GX UNB 195
* 1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX UNB 194
* 1 Dragonite-GX UNM 229
* 1 Solgaleo-GX PR-SM 104
* 1 Jirachi-GX UNM 79
* 1 Latios-GX UNM 223
* 1 Naganadel-GX UNM 230
* 1 Greninja-GX PR-SM 197

##Trainer Cards - 36

* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178
* 4 Custom Catcher LOT 231
* 4 Welder UNB 214
* 4 Coach Trainer UNM 233
* 3 Switch SUM 160
* 3 Giant Hearth UNM 197
* 2 Fire Crystal UNB 231
* 2 Great Potion UNM 198
* 4 Pokégear 3.0 UNB 233
* 4 Cherish Ball UNM 250
* 4 Mysterious Treasure FLI 145
* 1 Reset Stamp UNM 253

##Energy - 12

* 8 R Energy BUS 167
* 4 Rainbow Energy CES 183

Total Cards - 60

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I went over this deck last time in a lot of detail. I recommend checking out my previous article on Fire M&M’s if you missed it. The deck is versatile, can adapt to any situation, and has access to a combination of attacks that is unmatched by any other deck. However, the deck’s Psychic typing means Dark Box can trample over it, along with Blacephalon-GX. That latter matchup in particular is so bad that I’ve considered adding 2 Tapu Fini UNM to try and deal with it, but I’m not sure that would be enough. That’s a bad matchup spread to have, even if PikaRom and Malamar are slightly favorable.

Another issue with the deck is consistency. Finding an early Welder is key to unlocking the deck’s various attacks, thus you need to find a 2nd one early on too, in case the first Mewtwo & Mew-GX goes down early. Whiffing that can sometimes make the deck start off slow, but it is always impressive to see MewMew score a clean 1HKO by copying Dragonite-GX UNM’s Sky Judgment after it only had 2 Energy on it.

An alternative to this deck that I’ve been mulling over is dropping the Custom Catchers in order to add a 2nd Reset Stamp, 2 Choice Helmet, and 3rd Great Potion. You give up on the gust effects (which with Naganadel-GX’s Venom Shock is not a big deal) in order to make each Mewtwo & Mew-GX more resilient.

That’s my next pet project, as this is the deck that I enjoy playing the most, and since the release of Team Up, I’ve been doing quite well with the latest TAG TEAM in town, so I’m not ready to give up on Mewtwo & Mew-GX just yet. However, I think that the deck has glaring issues that PikaRom and Malamar do not have, and it’s slightly less powerful than those two for now in the more general sense.

Final Thoughts

I have a big advantage in having a Day 2 invite to watch what happens on Day 1, so I’ll be doing scouting while I’m also supporting the people that I coach who will be there. I’m looking forward to Worlds this year with this whole new concept of Standard and rotation happening for it. Adapting to both a new set and a new format has been refreshing and exciting, and I’m putting in a lot of work into preparing and grinding to have the best possible chance at becoming the 2019 World Champion.

What will happen next season for me I don’t know yet. The BFL8 for Cups and Challenges has me confused and disappointed at this point, as the yearly BFL for those along with the decrease in NA CP required for Worlds were two positive changes that the community wanted/needed. But then to have a BFL8 for each stipend is a slap in the face to those of us who dedicate the most time and energy into this beautiful game.

That will be all from me in today’s article. What deck will I pick for Worlds I won’t know until Friday night, but I’m ready to play and battle it out against the best of the best yet again. Thanks so much for reading, and I’ll catch you guys in my next article after Worlds!


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