Sounds to Silence

Dissecting the Unknown Meta (Decks One-by-One), On Picking a Deck, and 6P’s Final Words Before Worlds 2019
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Opening ceremony: T-minus 48 hours…

Hello again readers, I’m back with you for 6P’s final words on the play for Worlds and the DC Open. I’m going to be talking about my top choices as well as what goes into making a choice for this particular event. I have done a lot of testing for this format and I can’t believe that I’m mere days away from playing in Worlds again.

Dissecting the Unknown Meta (Decks One-by-One)

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The meta at Worlds is always a bit weird, but we’ve usually had a general feel for what the format will bring us. However, this year, we have a much different format than in years past. Instead of adding a single set to the card pool, we have rotated the first half of the Sun and Moon block and added a new set with 200+ cards.

So what does that mean for the meta as a whole? Well, I think there is a much higher chance of some off-the-radar deck winning Worlds, similar to Mega Audino a couple years ago. My own meta-breaking deck has fallen through after heavier testing, but I am sure that there is a deck out there that we don’t yet know about.

Now, let’s talk about what the meta for Day 1 (which will evolve as we progress into Day 2) will probably look like.

1. Malamar

I personally believe that is the deck of choice for quite a large number of players who are playing in Day 1. This is because the deck is seen as “the most consistent,” and that appeals to a lot of people who know they only need to go X-2 rather than something better.

The issue with Malamar is that while it doesn’t straight up lose to anything, it doesn’t straight up beat anything. You have three choices when it comes to Malamar: (1) , (2) , and (3) Giratina LOT/Spell Tags. Of these three, /Spell Tags is the most consistent, but it lacks the ability to take the big 1HKOs that the other two decks do. Unfortunately, the other two decks suffer from consistency issues because they play more Pokémon and different types of Energy, which make them inferior choices in my opinion. So, let’s focus on Giratina/Spell Tags for now.

Matchups (Giratina/Spell Tags)

Giratina/Spell Tags has a pretty good matchup spread when you look at it on paper. In reality, those matchups are nearly all 50/50 and depend on whether or not you get the attack off on turn 2. Granted, that’s pretty likely, but even then you’re not always going to win those games.

Matchups that I would say Malamar should win more often than not include , , and random 1-Prize decks. The matchups that I would say are not favored are ReshiZard and . I don’t know where to include the other Malamar variants, but I would say that Giratina/Spell Tags versus Ultra Necrozma/Malamar is likely unfavored because of their ability to Sky-Scorching Light-GX. Espeon & Deoxys-GX (which could be included in your list) can do the same thing to a lesser extent.


Would I personally play Malamar for Worlds Day 1 or the Open? Yes for Day 1, and no for the Open. In the Open, you’re going to need to go 9-0 to actually win the event, and I don’t think Malamar is capable of that. For me, Malamar has always been the deck that you’ll get Points with if you play it, but it will likely not win the event. Since Worlds doesn’t award CP for mediocre placements, Malamar no longer has that appeal. Yes, people will make Day 2 with the deck, but countless more will completely bomb the event. In short, I do not feel confident that Malamar will be able to go X-2 with 8 or 9 rounds.

2. PikaRom

I have seen more and more people call this the best deck in format, and it seems reasonable to think that. I don’t necessarily agree, but it is definitely a top contender. PikaRom is certainly more consistent than most of the format, and it can actually do high amounts of damage, unlike Giratina/Spell Tags. However, while Giratina only gives up a single Prize card, PikaRom and Raichu TAG TEAM both give up 3 Prize cards each. Without high amounts of healing, this can be rather dangerous. There is also a price to the consistency in this deck. Dedenne-GX forces you to discard or prematurely play your valuable resources like Electropowers and Tag Switches.

PikaRom is also the deck that has the ability to play the most different tech cards. To name a few, it can play Hoopa UNM, Tapu Fini UNM, Mewtwo & Mew-GX, Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX, and Absol TEU.

Matchups

That being said, what do PikaRom’s matchups look like? Well, I would say that it takes favorable matchups against Blacephalon, Dark Box, and Shedinja. The deck takes even matchups against the TAG TEAM Malamar decks, and finally it takes slightly unfavorable matchups against Giratina/Spell Tag and Green’s ReshiZard.

Current Decklist

Here’s my current decklist for PikaRom. It is taking a close 2nd to ReshiZard as my number 1 play at the moment. I cut the Absol from my last article, but aside from that, the list is the same, so go check out that piece for an in-depth explanation of the deck. All in all, I could easily see playing PikaRom for the Open as well as Worlds Day 1. Whether it is good in Day 2 or not remains to be seen.

Pokémon (13)

2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX

2 Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX

3 Dedenne-GX

2 Zapdos TEU

2 Zeraora-GX

1 Tapu Koko p

1 Rayquaza-GX

Trainer (36)

4 Lillie

4 Volkner

 

4 Custom Catcher

4 Electromagnetic Radar

4 Electropower

4 Pokémon Communication

3 Energy Switch

2 Switch

2 Tag Switch

1 Reset Stamp

1 Stadium Nav

 

2 Lysandre Labs

1 Thunder Mountain p

Energy (11)

11 Lightning

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 13

* 2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX TEU 184
* 2 Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX UNM 241
* 3 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 2 Zapdos TEU 40
* 2 Zeraora-GX LOT 86
* 1 Tapu Koko p TEU 51
* 1 Rayquaza-GX CES 177

##Trainer Cards - 36

* 1 Thunder Mountain p LOT 191
* 2 Tag Switch UNM 209
* 2 Switch CES 147
* 1 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 3 Energy Switch GEN 61
* 4 Lillie UPR 151
* 4 Electropower LOT 172
* 4 Electromagnetic Radar UNB 169
* 2 Lysandre Labs FLI 111
* 1 Stadium Nav UNM 208
* 4 Custom Catcher LOT 171
* 4 Pokémon Communication HS 98
* 4 Volkner UPR 135

##Energy - 11

* 11 Lightning Energy Energy 4

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=74507 ******

3. ReshiZard

This is my current number 1 pick for Worlds and there’s a reason for that. I have seen many opinions on this one, but I personally believe that the deck’s only bad matchup is to Blacephalon, and if that truly becomes an issue then we could tech a Tapu Fini UNM into the deck.

This deck has the ability to deal with basically whatever is thrown its way. Not many decks are able to 1HKO a ReshiZard and with all of the healing that it plays, ReshiZard can usually manage to outlast any 1-Prize deck. ReshiZard is incredibly linear, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Yes, your opponent knows what your game plan is, but you can easily abuse Reset Stamp + Power Plant to cripple opponents.

ReshiZard’s matchups are pretty solid in my opinion. You beat PikaRom, Malamar, Dark Box, and a bunch of the other less popular decks more than 50% of the time. The deck can struggle with certain builds of Mew Box, but that can be remedied through a higher count of Power Plant and Reset Stamp. The deck can also struggle a bit with decks such as Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX, which is counter-able by playing Choice Helmet in the deck. The final somewhat sketchy matchup is Blacephalon, which can be dealt with by playing a Tapu Fini.

As I said earlier, Reshi is my top pick for Day 2. However, that doesn’t mean I will end up playing it. For Day 1 I expect a lot more Blacephalon and Malamar than in Day 2, which means ReshiZard is a slightly worse play in Day 1 or the Open than it would be in Day 2. Even so, I would still have ReshiZard near the top, if not at the top, of my list of Day 1/Open plays.

Current Decklist

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This is my current ReshiZard list. It certainly isn’t anything especially special or unique, but it gets the job done fairly well. For an in-depth analysis of ReshiZard as an archetype, look to my previous article or Jon’s latest work.

Pokémon (7)

4 Volcanion UNB

3 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

Trainer (42)

4 Green’s Exploration

4 Welder

 

4 Acro Bike

4 Custom Catcher

4 Great Potion

4 Mixed Herbs

3 Fire Crystal

2 Cherish Ball

2 Switch

1 Fiery Flint

1 Reset Stamp

 

2 Power Plant

1 Giant Hearth

1 Heat Factory p

1 Shrine of Punishment

 

4 Pokégear3.0

Energy (11)

11 Fire

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 7

* 4 Volcanion UNB 25
* 3 Reshiram & Charizard-GX UNB 20

##Trainer Cards - 42

* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178
* 2 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 4 Great Potion UNM 198
* 4 Pokégear3.0 HS 96
* 1 Fiery Flint DRM 60
* 1 Giant Hearth UNM 197
* 2 Power Plant UNB 183
* 2 Switch SUM 160
* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 1 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 3 Fire Crystal UNB 173
* 4 Green’s Exploration UNB 175
* 4 Custom Catcher LOT 171
* 1 Shrine of Punishment CES 143
* 4 Acro Bike CES 123
* 4 Mixed Herbs LOT 184

##Energy - 11

* 11 Fire Energy Energy 11

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=74507 ******

4. Dark Box

While I may despise this deck, there are those who like it and will play it. This means that I need to talk about it as part of defining the meta. Funny how that works, isn’t it? As a deck, Dark Box is certainly the most polarizing within the community. Plenty of people have been singing its praises, but more people have been absolutely trashing it, myself included.

So why exactly do I hate the deck so much? Well, aside from being terribly inconsistent, the deck relies on your GX attack being effective. The issue with this is that they all require high amounts of Energy to be impactful, and your other attacks aren’t exactly great and probably don’t do enough to win you the game. You also face two critical weaknesses that a few decks can exploit: Power Plant and Custom Catcher on Weavile-GX. The issue with Power Plant is that it completely shuts you down, especially when coupled with Reset Stamp. The Weavile-GX issue is slightly less obvious. Most lists are either only playing 2 or can’t bench a 2nd Sneasel without making their field terrible.

Matchups

Now that I have explained why I don’t like the deck, let’s talk about the matchups. In the favorable matchup category, it probably has a favorable Malamar matchup, Shedinja matchup, and maybe a decent Blacephalon matchup? It terms of bad matchups, ReshiZard, PikaRom, & Sylveon, and any other Power Plant deck all come to mind.

With weaknesses like that and a matchup spread to match, I cannot ever justify playing this deck to the biggest event of the year. For more info on Dark Box, check out Rahul’s most recent article.

5. Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel

This deck has been around for ages now, and it has never been bad. This deck also seems to have lost the least amount of support out of any preexisting deck. The engine of this deck is almost exactly the same as it used to be except that there is now a greater emphasis on Welder than before. I personally haven’t been able to devote much time to this deck, so it is the one I am most uncertain about right now.

This deck has a surprisingly good matchup spread, but it is all overshadowed by one pesky card: Tapu Fini UNM. The reason I haven’t bothered to test Blacephalon-GX much is because I don’t want to play a deck that is countered by one card. Yes, it is possible to win matches against it, but it completely ruins the Prize trade. You already have a number of sketchy matchups, including PikaRom and Giratina/Spell Tag Malamar. If either of those, or any other deck, decide to include Tapu Fini, then those matchups become extremely unfavored. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel for the deck. It takes favorable matchups against ReshiZard, certain Malamar lists (depending on your own list), and .

I personally probably wouldn’t play Blacephalon this weekend because of my own lack of testing and fear of Tapu Fini in Day 2, but I think that it is actually a very strong choice overall. In Day 1 I don’t expect to see a bunch of Tapu Fini, while in Day 2 and the Open I think there will be much more depending on the results from Day 1.

Check out Jose’s article for a Blacephalon/Naganadel breakdown, and check out Peter’s recent article for a dissection and update on his ReshiBlowns list. I’m not talking about Peter’s deck today because I have zero feel for the deck and doubt I could actually present the deck in a good fashion.

On Picking a Deck

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There are so many factors that go into picking a deck for Worlds that have to be taken into account. Personally, I will not be playing a deck that I am entirely uncomfortable playing, but I will not be playing a deck purely because I feel comfortable with it. Comfort is the biggest influence on a player when picking a deck whether they admit it or not. I have seen some people make so many terrible picks for major events recently, and their best argument for the deck was that it is their “comfort pick.” You could say that was my “comfort pick.” People likely won’t do well if they aren’t a bit comfortable with their deck.

So what does this mean for picking a deck though? Well, we’ve established comfort as an important factor when picking a deck, but I have yet to touch on meta prediction skills. Over the past few weeks, I think we’ve seen a push toward PikaRom, Giratina/Spell Tag Malamar, and ReshiZard. Would I ever be comfortable taking a loss to more than 1-of those decks? Probably not, but in specific situations I could see it happening, especially in Day 2.

Look at what you think the meta will shape up to be in Day 1/the Open and let that influence your pick. Finally, I’m going to talk about the fact that certain decks are seeing enough hype to be countered by the greater population of players. The biggest instance of this could be Shedinja, because it is actually pretty easy to counter for some decks. If Shedinja sees decent amounts of play Day 1, then I am 100% playing a counter to the deck.

Final Thoughts

Well, here we are. The final words from 6P before Worlds will begin. A bit of advice: Don’t get too greedy with your list, and probably limit yourself to 1–2 techs for the matchups that you are most worried about beating. At some point, techs begin to harm your consistency too much and your deck becomes worse because of their inclusion. For instance, think about all the games that ReshiZard would lose if it teched in a Turtonator DRM and a Tapu Fini. You would end up having more bad starter Pokémon than good, which would hurt the deck quite a bit. This is not to say that one or the other isn’t good on its own, but two at once seems terrible at best.

Well, that’s all I have for today. I’m certainly very excited to continue testing this format and then play Worlds. I’ll be back sometime after Worlds to bring you what is hopefully a favorable report on my Worlds experience and thoughts on the format moving forward.

As always, feel free to message me with any questions that you might have about anything related to Pokémon. I also now offer coaching! Either email me (alex.schemanske@gmail.com) or PM me if interested.

Until the next one.


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