Inside and Out

Five Final Tips, GG Malamar’s Matchups, and An Attempt at Stabilizing Dark Box
Players are beginning to pack their bags and converge on DC.

Hello again SixPrizes readers, and welcome to the final countdown! We’re five days away from the biggest tournament of the year—Worlds—and I’m going to make sure you have all the tools in your belt (and bag) to safely embark on this journey that lies ahead of you. The biggest thing to remember is to have fun, like I’ve said before; enjoy the World Championships whether they go well for you or not.

Green’s ReshiZard has still been my favorite deck from testing. The list I wrote about in my last article has been holding up to great success. There are two other decks that I have playtested significantly to understand why they are contenders, and I’ll be providing what I think are the best versions of those two decks—GG Malamar and Dark Box—to test against and prepare for yourself.

Let’s jump into five tips to keep in mind during your final five days of testing!

Five Final Tips

1. Test everything. In your mind you may have deemed that Malamar is bad after listening to what I have to say, or you’ve decided that Blacephalon-GX cannot be a real deck because Tapu Fini UNM auto-wins the matchup, but you have to actually play out those matchups to understand the game plans from both sides of the table. I try to test every Tier 1 and Tier 2 deck to understand how they function and what their win conditions are at separate points of the game. Doing this will help you play around certain cards and anticipate plays your opponent can make as the game progresses.

2. Do research. With little time left, there’s no way you can fully understand or test every single deck that exists in the format. This is where YouTube, Twitch, and articles come in handy. There’s so much content out there created by top players with strong opinions, and it is valuable to absorb that information. I do this because there’s a reason these players consistently perform at the highest level, and what they’re saying might give me an idea in my own testing or approach to the game.

pokemon-paradijs.com
The only vendors at Worlds will look something like this.

3. Get your cards and sleeves in advance. Far too often I see people scrambling last minute at events like ICs and Regionals to get the cards that they need to complete their deck, and that is a recipe for disaster at Worlds. There aren’t any single-card vendors at the World Championships and, besides the Pokémon Center, there aren’t any sleeves vendors either. With little time left, you will need to order cards online with expedited shipping to ensure you can get them in time. I personally ordered my cards well in advance and I ordered extra cards that I may not ever play, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I know this sounds like something obvious, but I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve seen get stressed over lacking cards, and it affects their mental state heading into the tournament.

4. Ask for help. The theme of today’s tips is that you might not be able to do it all on your own, and that’s okay. Ask your teammates, testing partners, or players that you look up to for help and ask them the questions that you might not understand completely. “Why is this deck (or tech) better than another?” “Why do you believe that Lillie might not have a place in PikaRom?” Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness but of humility. As important as confidence is heading into the World Championships, arrogance can be a player’s downfall. There isn’t a game that goes by in testing where I don’t ask my testing partners for their take on a situation to understand what my options could be in a tournament setting. Sometimes unorthodox strategies can help you out of unfortunate situations.

5. Remember to have fun. I’ve said before, and I’m going to say it again because I believe it’s the most important tip to follow heading into the tournament. Whether this is your first World Championships or tenth, remember to have the same energy you did the first time you watched the opening ceremony. You worked hard all year to be here and the stakes will never be higher, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. The atmosphere is tense because everyone wants to win, but remember that friendships are often forged by the hottest fires. Check out the Worlds store, pick up some merchandise to take home, and demo Sword and Shield. Enjoy your childlike joy of cracking open your competitor’s kit to see what goodies await you. This is our adult Christmas. Remember to make it an experience you’ll never forget; this is the stage that you strive to compete on year after year.

GG Malamar

Malamar is underwhelming, but when it hits all of its pieces, it can be one of the scariest decks to face. I’ve been putting time into the deck after reading fellow author Pablo Meza’s article on GG Malamar, and I threw some flair into my version that’s slightly different from his. I took a quick glance at Jose Marrero’s article with Dragon Talon as his tech inclusion, but I haven’t had a chance to test it yet. It could have potential, but I feel like you attack with Giratina LOT too much to make it work.

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

 

4 Acro Bike

4 Mysterious Treasure

4 Pokémon Communication

3 Switch

1 Reset Stamp

3 Spell Tag

2 Escape Board

 

4 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 146
* 1 Marshadow & Machamp-GX UNB 82
* 2 Jirachi TEU 99
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Mew UNB 76

##Trainer Cards - 33

* 3 Spell Tag LOT 190
* 4 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
* 4 Viridian Forest TEU 156
* 4 Pokémon Communication TEU 152
* 3 Switch ROS 91
* 1 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 4 Cynthia UPR 119
* 2 Escape Board UPR 122
* 4 Lillie UPR 125
* 4 Acro Bike CES 123

##Energy - 9

* 6 P Energy Energy 5
* 3 F Energy Energy 6

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=74441 ******

The list isn’t much different from Pablo’s list because his is really good. The only thing that I felt was necessary to include is the 4th Stadium. There are many games were you initiate the Stadium war because Viridian Forest is vital to the deck’s strategy (of getting Energy into the discard for Psychic Recharge), so you want the 4th Stadium to bump whatever counter Stadium your opponent may be playing. This holds especially true in the PikaRom matchup where they may be playing a Thunder Mountain p and 2 copies of Lysandre Labs.

I believe the deck has been properly explained by my fellow authors (Gabriel, Xander, Pablo, and Jose) so I’m going to talk about its matchups and why this specific Malamar variant has the best matchups across the board.

Matchups

PikaRom: Very Favorable

With Mew UNB and Marshadow & Machamp-GX, the matchup becomes easy if you hit all of your pieces. PikaRom lists sport either Viridian Forest or Lysandre Labs. If they play the Viridian Forest, then your Stadium will never be removed. Giratina does a lot of damage, and with a good Spell Tag pop or two you’re setting up for a Calamitous Slash or Revenge to swing the game in your favor. Late-game Reset Stamp is something that scares me, but Mew UNB ensures that Tag Bolt-GX can’t steal the game.

Having the TAG TEAMs makes the matchup favorable because PikaRom needs to expend extra resources to take them down.

ReshiZard: Favorable

You can pepper damage onto their Bench and 1HKO their Volcanion. Calamitous Slash gives you the ability to 1HKO a ReshiZard if Spell Tag damage sticks. ReshiZard has only one way to 1HKO your TAG TEAMs, which is Double Blaze-GX. ReshiZard is the more consistent deck and has a plethora of healing, so the matchup is close. The amount of healing ReshiZard can find will tell the tale of the series.

Mew Box (Welder): Very Favorable

Mew Box is inherently weak Malamar because of its typing. Malamar can afford to give up a few Prizes before you get the Giratina chain rolling and sweep their board. If you cannot 1HKO their Active Mewtwo & Mew-GX, a strategy to use is Mew UNB to spread damage to set up 1HKOs. They’re going to be forced into using Miraculous Duo-GX to heal their board, and even then there’s not much they can do. The inherent weakness is too detrimental for them. This is your best matchup in the field.

Psychic Malamar: Slightly Unfavorable–Even

I think the matchup is even, but you have worse potential starters than they do. The pure Psychic build typically has less GX attackers and an easier time setting up their Giratinas because they can find their P Energy more easily than you can. Opening a TinaChomp-GX or MarshChamp-GX can spell instant lights out.

Dark Box: Favorable

If Dark Box sets up perfectly you will probably lose the game. The reality is that Dark Box doesn’t set up well and a majority of their attackers are Weak to your Marshadow & Machamp-GX. TinaChomp-GX can also 1HKO their GX attackers and wipe their Energies off of their board. You also have the luxury of feeding Giratinas to your opponent until you’re ready to rumble.


Why is Malamar not the BDIF with all of its favorable matchups? Because Malamar is often underwhelming in its setup. Its mid game is awkward, and Reset Stamp can cripple you more often than not. I’ve liked this deck for what it is, but it hasn’t wowed me enough to rise to the top.

Dark Box

With Dark Box, it’s often feast or famine.

This is a deck that I initially loved, but after a lot of testing I feel like Dark Box is incredibly high-roll. If you set up perfectly, it is the best deck in the game. But it doesn’t always set up perfectly. It can catch your opponents off guard if they haven’t practiced against it because the matchup can be tricky to navigate. This is what I believe to be the best version of the deck and what you should be practicing against yourself:

Pokémon – 21

3 Sneasel UPR

3 Weavile-GX

3 Poipole LOT

3 Naganadel LOT

2 Umbreon & Darkrai-GX

1 Mega Sableye & Tyranitar-GX

1 Mewtwo & Mew-GX

1 Dragonite-GX UNM

1 Rayquaza-GX

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Ditto p

1 Darkrai p

Trainers – 28

4 Lillie

3 Hapu

2 Cynthia

 

3 Acro Bike

3 Cherish Ball

3 Mysterious Treasure

3 Pokémon Communication

3 Super Scoop Up

2 Switch

 

2 Viridian Forest

Energy – 11

11 D

Card Choices

3-3 Weavile-GX, 3-3 Naganadel FLI, 1 Ditto p

You need to set up, and what better way to do so than playing thicker lines of your supporting cast? The easiest way to beat this deck is to take out Weavile-GX, and if you don’t have a way to get another one out, you could just lose. Usually the Bench gets cluttered, so Ditto p is valuable for transforming into whatever you need based on the situation.

2 Umbreon & Darkrai-GX, 1 Mega Sableye & Tyranitar-GX

This is the perfect number of attackers because Umbreon & Darkrai-GX is so powerful with Black Lance. SableTar-GX cleans up the GXs damaged by Black Lance and snags you an extra Prize with Greedy Crush. Dark Moon-GX is one of the best attacks in the game, being able to secure a free turn and take out one of your opponent’s threats on the spot.

1 Mewtwo & Mew-GX, 1 Dragonite-GX UNM

Mewtwo & Mew-GX gives you options in case you have to discard any of your crucial attackers as the game progresses. The card also gives you a different Weakness against decks that play Fighting attackers. Dragonite-GX is a flex attacker that Mewtwo & Mew-GX can copy to 1HKO almost anything in the game out of nowhere. It’s a surprise attacker that can steal a game if your opponent doesn’t expect it.

1 Rayquaza-GX

When Darkrai p is Prized, it can get tough to accelerate Energy onto the board, but Rayquaza-GX also adds potential Energy into the fray. Plus it’s searchable with Mysterious Treasure and Cherish Ball.

3 Super Scoop Up

This card adds an additional aspect of high-rolling to an already high-rolley deck. The Super Scoop Ups can help you get a tremendous amount of Energy onto the board in one turn or reset your attackers, forcing your opponent waste additional resources to take them down. All you need is typically 1 heads to swing the game against most decks, and with 3 SSU, it’s not unreasonable to ask for that.

Conclusion

That wraps up my final thoughts and parting words heading into this year’s World Championships. Remember to enjoy yourself and absorb everything.

Five years ago in DC, it was the first time I decided that the following year I would go for my Worlds invite. I didn’t get it, but I knew what I was working toward. Last year, I began 0-2 at the World Championships and ended at 5-2, earning a 13th place finish. Remember that goal, and even when things get rough or look bleak, remember that it isn’t over.

Thanks for reading and GOOD LUCK! I hope to be back after Worlds with good news on my end, and if I happen to fall, I’m going to get right back up and try again next year.


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