Hello again readers. I’m back with you today after another Day 2 finish in Richmond this past weekend. My Beheeyem list ended up falling through and I was uncomfortable with the matchup spread that it had against the meta I predicted. Instead, I decided to play Buzzwole/Garbodor, and I’d say it went better than could be expected after seeing the decks that were in Day 2. My list pretty much took an auto-loss to Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX (EggLet for the sake of my sanity). Instead of talking about Expanded today, I’m going to be talking about Cosmic Eclipse and Standard for the upcoming Latin America International Championships.
I knew EggLet was going to see play, but I didn’t expect it to completely run over the event. Had I known it was that good, I would have built my list to be able to beat it. My only losses throughout the event were to EggLet and Trevenant BREAK. I feel pretty good about the fact that I beat every other deck I went up against. Unfortunately, my first three rounds of Day 2 were against EggLet and Trevenant, and I was forced to win Round 13 and tie Round 14 to even make Top 32. What could have been a very strong run was singlehandedly destroyed by EggLet.
The Impact of Cosmic Eclipse
Cosmic Eclipse is one of the most impactful sets that we’ve seen in a long time. In a format that lacks a lot of consistency cards, and has issues with single-Prize decks gaining any real traction beyond Malamar, Cosmic Eclipse adds so many game-changing cards. For instance, we had no way to recover Pokémon from the discard pile that isn’t a Supporter card. Now, we have an Item that does it (Lana’s Fishing Rod).
The “Best” Cards in the Set
There’s a lot of cards in this set, and quite a few of them are going to see play to some extent in both formats.
Okay. Did somebody seriously think it was a good idea to print a Basic with 270 HP that has a 180-damage Magical Ribbon attack? This card is absolutely insane, and I think it takes the place of Reshiram & Charizard-GX in Green’s ReshiZard. This is definitely one of my favorite cards in the set, and I can’t wait to get to play with it more.
The “healing with a tank Active” archetype hasn’t been around for a while. That might be about to change if someone can figure out the best way to play it. Victini has a few different uses, ranging from healing a tank, to removing Psypower damage from play against Malamar in Bird Control.
I dearly wish this card was better than it is. Unfortunately, the Ability costing a R Energy is a major handicap, as is Power Plant. I do think that the card with be playable somewhere in the future, but Fire already does enough damage to where 20 snipe is basically irrelevant.
At first glance, this card seems really good. Having innate healing in the form of Energy acceleration is very strong. Unfortunately, the best way to run this card is with Quagsire DRM and Silvally-GX CEC, and that means that you need to find Quaqsire and Red & Blue on your second turn, or you basically lose the game. I’m definitely going to be working with this card in the future though.
It’s possible that this card is the best way to power up a PipStoise when you go second. However, it’s likely not enough because there is no great way to get W Energies in your discard pile in the early game.
Okay. We have a way to force our opponent to switch Active Pokémon on a whim, and it also doubles as a way to never deck out. I think Phione will become a staple in a few decks. If Poipole Stall makes a comeback, Phione is pretty much a hard counter.
This is the next iteration of the Powerful Spark attack that seems so common for Lightning types. However, with the Nuzzle engine provided by Emolga and Pachirisu, the deck might finally be functional. Unfortunately, it appears Malamar is still the gatekeeper in the single-Prize deck world, because this deck basically never beats Malamar.
Whoever designed this seemed to have forgotten that Lt. Surge’s Strategy is a card. Now we can search out Supporters and turn on Surge at the same time. I think that quad TAG TEAM decks could potentially abuse this. One place where this could be insane is paired with TrevNoir. I’m sure that this card will eventually find a place in Control decks in both Standard and Expanded.
Psychic ReshiZard that can’t abuse Welder? No thanks. The GX attack is interesting, but needing to play a mediocre Supporter to trigger the plus effect is bad, and the fact that it can only be used once limits it.
Koffing CEC & Weezing CEC w/ Roxie
I’m split on this card. On one hand, the Ability is very good and boosts consistency for a lot of decks. On the other hand, with Great Catcher in format, it’s basically offering up 2 free Prize cards to your opponent, and it is best played in single-Prize decks to get maximum value.
Shadow Box is potentially one of the best Abilities that has been printed in a long time. This card was practically made for Malamar. You can turn off Jirachi-GX, Mewtwo & Mew-GX, and Silvally-GX CEC with a single damage counter. Stealthy Hood will likely see a massive rise in play because of this card.
Ahh yes, a third very good Marshadow card. Someone over at card design seems to like Marshadow. This Marshadow takes the place of Mimikyu GRI in Malamar because it can copy any non-GX attack on your opponent’s Active Pokémon. Now you can copy things like Flare Strike without your opponent being able to play around it. Green’s ReshiZard, if it manages to stick around, becomes very favorable because of this Marshadow.
Okay. This set was tailor-made for Malamar. Blacephalon is absolutely crazy in Malamar. It is incredibly unlikely that your opponent is able to skip the 3-Prize turn, and this means that you basically get to use Cross Division-GX twice in a game. I also believe that some form of Beast Box might eventually pop up again, and when paired with Lusamine p you can use Fireworks Bomb for 12 damage counters at least twice.
This card seems so good on paper, but in reality it likely falls to the Stage 2 issue. Red & Blue might alleviate that issue a little bit, but that probably isn’t enough. I really love this card though because it can deal 270 damage so easily when paired with Diancie p and Martial Arts Dojo.
Oh, this card would be so good if Power Plant didn’t exist. There are so few Pokémon outside of Malamar decks that fit the criteria to even damage this card. Chaotic Swell exists, but likely isn’t enough to deal with heavy Power Plant.
Between this card, Silvally-GX CEC, and Red & Blue, Dark Box might finally have a chance of being good. Having a very powerful single-Prize attacker that takes extra Prize cards is exactly what Dark Box needed.
This card seems so good, but falls to the ultimate flaw of being a Dragon type in the PTCG. It is actually incredibly easy to power up and attack with, but it is ultimately too slow to do anything against decks like Mew Box and Ability ReshiZard.
ReshiRom is such a disgusting card that it’s not even funny anymore. Unfortunately, it too falls to the Dragon trap. It does pretty much destroy all TAG TEAM decks, but literally can do nothing against decks such as Malamar.
This is one of the Dragons that I think will actually be playable at some point. I’m heavily considering playing this card in Malamar over EspeOxys because of how good its GX attack is. Taking 2 Prize cards at once is very strong and it can be dropped out of nowhere, unlike the plus effect EspeOxys.
Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX (LoPuff)
This card is the reason that PikaRom is about to take a major hit. PikaRom relies on benching many Pokémon-GX to function, and LoPuff punishes that play style very hard. It is also extremely effective both in and against Mew Box.
The synergy between this card and Red & Blue is obvious. Decks like QuagNag and Dark Box are now able to accelerate Energy while increasing consistency. I personally believe that if Malamar or Bird Control don’t win LAIC , this card will be in the winning deck.
The TAG TEAM Supporters
I’m not going to go through all of these. They’re all good in their own way. All of them will see play at some point in their lifespan.
Searching out any combination of 2 TAG TEAM Pokémon and Supporters at the same time in the form of Item? Absolutely broken. This card will see play in almost every deck other than Malamar at this point.
Because apparently we needed another Gust effect in the format? It’s good and will see play.
You didn’t think I wasn’t going to be writing about Malamar, did you? I’m really hoping that I’ll be able to play this for LAIC, but I haven’t been able to do enough testing to determine just how bad of a idea that might be.
1 Ditto p
1 Mew UNB
4 Pokémon Communication HS 98
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******
##Pokémon - 20
* 3 Jirachi TEU 99
* 4 Inkay FLI 50
* 4 Malamar FLI 51
* 1 Ditto p LOT 154
* 2 Giratina PR-SM 151
* 1 Naganadel & Guzzlord-GX CEC 158
* 1 Blacephalon PR-SM 221
* 1 Mew UNB 76
* 1 Espurr UNB 79
* 1 Marshadow CEC 103
* 1 Mimikyu CEC 97
##Trainer Cards - 31
* 4 Spell Tag LOT 190
* 1 Lana’s Fishing Rod CEC 195
* 4 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
* 3 Viridian Forest TEU 156
* 2 Escape Board UPR 167
* 3 Acro Bike PRC 122
* 2 Switch SUM 160
* 4 Cynthia UPR 148
* 4 Lillie UPR 151
* 4 Pokémon Communication HS 98
##Energy - 9
Total Cards - 60
****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=75740 ******
Most of this list has been explained at some point in the past, so I’ll just be talking about the newer additions today.
A card that was tailor made for Malamar. No longer do we need to use Cross Division-GX to clean up damaged Pokémon. Blacephalon is easily the most powerful tech card in the list. Placing 12 damage counters wherever you want is incredibly powerful.
This card single-handedly swings the Mew Box matchup in your favor. Ability lock is incredibly powerful in this format, and the only way to counter Mimikyu is to play Stealthy Hood, which makes decks less consistent than they otherwise would be.
At this point, I think this card is the only way for Malamar to beat Bird Control. This will force your opponent to play carefully to the point that you can steal the win easily enough. Even the threat of copying Resource Management will force our opponent to play suboptimally. This is also the easiest way for us to do more damage than Giratina offers in matchup like ReshiZard and GardEon.
EspeOxys took a major hit with the release of Great Catcher. It’s no longer safe for you to Bench it and let it sit for a turn while attaching Energy to it. If Malamar starts to play Great Catcher, then the card is awful. This means that it’s time for a new GX attacker, and NagaGuzz fills that role rather nicely. On top of having a strong GX attack, you can tank multiple hits in the mirror because of its healing Ability. It is also capable of doing higher damage than any other card in the deck.
You can finally play what amounts to 2 Mew and 2 Espurr in the deck. Having access to recovery makes Malamar so much better.
Usually I would go on with the Malamar discussion, but I don’t know enough about the meta and matchups to give accurate opinions yet. I’m very interested to see how this format develops and if anyone manages to counter Bird Control in LAIC. I personally have already written Portland off in my testing, so I’ll be focusing solely on Standard aside from any coaching I may do for Portland.
I think that Malamar is slated to be one of the best decks in the format, and that means that it will have a rather large target on its back. I still need to do a lot of work on the format before I can say anything definitively though.
I’ll be back later this month with what is hopefully a favorable report on Portland and LAIC. As always, good luck in whatever events you’re playing, and maybe you’ll see me around?
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or PM me if interested.
Until the next one.
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