Seeing Double (Blaze)

Recapping LAIC 2020 w/ Exploratory Looks into Robin’s ReshiZard, DDG’s GuzzNag, and Green’s ADP
A familiar sight…

Hello 6P! What a weekend we just had over in São Paulo with the first International Championship of the season. Over 1,000 players participated between the three age divisions, and in the end Robin Schulz took down the field in Masters with an Ability ReshiZard deck that featured a grand total of one card from Cosmic Eclipse. Does that mean the set is a flop? Probably not, but it’s definitely the least impactful of the TAG TEAM sets, given the results of its debut tournament.

My São Paulo Report

My tournament run with Mewtwo & Mew-GX felt like a roller coaster of emotions. I was extremely excited to play in my first big tournament of the season, only to lose Round 1 in a disappointing fashion as my Great Catcher decided to live in the bottom 2 cards of my deck. I managed to recover to a 4-1 record, where once again whiffed a card in the bottom 2, which made me tie (instead of win) against , putting me at a 4-1-1 record rather than 5-1 (and in a prime position to make Day 2). After that, my deck decided to stop cooperating, giving me two dead-draws + a prized Charizard-GX vs. and only one Stadium vs. a Power Plant-focused deck. At 4-3-1 I was eliminated from any CP or anything to show for my efforts. After being so close, it was a disappointing finish.

Top 8

Other than ReshiZard, the decks comprising the rest of the Top 8, which can be found on Limitless, included 2 Mewtwo & Mew-GX, 2 ADP (though the variants were very different), 1 Blacephalon-GX, 1 Florges Doll , and 1 Garchomp & Giratina-GX. Six of these decks were not surprising, but Florges Doll Stall and Garchomp & Giratina-GX I wouldn’t have put my money on top make Top 8. The latter is still a mystery, as Gusatvo Wada’s list has yet to be made public.

1st: ReshiZard (Ability)

What made Robin’s deck come out on top? Well, first off, let’s take a look at his list as there’s a little more to it than just plopping in a Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX and calling it a day.

The List

Pokémon (18)

4 Jirachi TEU

3 Dedenne-GX

1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

1 Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX

1 Heatran-GX

1 Victini p

1 Turtonator DRM

2 Vulpix TEU

2 Ninetales TEU

1 Ditto p

1 Zebstrika LOT

Trainer (24)

4 Welder

 

4 Cherish Ball

4 Pokémon Communication

4 Switch

1 Fiery Flint

1 Pal Pad

2 Escape Board

 

3 Giant Hearth

1 Heat Factory p

Energy (18)

18 Fire

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 18

* 4 Jirachi TEU 99
* 3 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX UNB 20
* 1 Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX CEC 165
* 1 Heatran-GX UNM 25
* 1 Victini p DRM 7
* 1 Turtonator DRM 50
* 2 Vulpix TEU 15
* 2 Ninetales TEU 16
* 1 Ditto p LOT 154
* 1 Zebstrika LOT 82

##Trainer Cards - 24

* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 4 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 4 Pokémon Communication BLW 99
* 4 Switch SUM 132
* 1 Pal Pad FLF 92
* 1 Fiery Flint DRM 60
* 2 Escape Board UPR 122
* 3 Giant Hearth UNM 197
* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178

##Energy - 18

* 18 Fire Energy Energy 1

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=78302 ******

via Limitless: https://limitlesstcg.com/decks/?list=3122

Key Cards

1 Ditto p, 1 Zebstrika LOT

Other than 4 Jirachi and 3 Dedenne-GX for consistency, Robin included a 1-1 line of Ditto p and Zebstrika LOT. The Ditto doubled up as a 3rd Vulpix and Zebstrika’s Sprint Ability gave the deck another option to find the necessary cards at the right time. The main reason for it, though, was the fact that Pidgeotto Control decks were hyped up going into the tournament, and Zebstrika makes sure that they can’t put you in a full lock. Usually your strategy against those decks is to apply pressure early and overwhelm them before they can fully lock you, and if you manage your resources well, a Switch in the late game is enough to close it out. However, without Zebstrika, this can be difficult to do.

1 Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX

The Mega LoPuff-GX replaced 1 copy of ReshiZard-GX, giving the deck even more flexibility by having 2 TAG TEAM attackers, 2 non-GX attackers, and 1 GX attacker. This breadth of options is what makes the deck capable of dealing with any situation that presents itself. Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX helps keep Mewtwo & Mew-GX decks in check by punishing an overextension in benching or resources, while the Turtonator and Victini p help deal with the new heavy presence of Keldeo-GX and its Pure Heart Ability.

1 Fiery Flint

As far as Trainers go, the main standout card is Fiery Flint. Everything else has pretty much been in there since Worlds, but Fiery Flint is an adaptation to Chaotic Swell’s presence, which has the potential to ruin an early-game plan of utilizing Giant Hearth to power up through Welder. Even though as a 1-of it won’t necessarily be easy to find, it’s still better than having a 4th Giant Hearth. There might also be some niche situations where being able to get 4 Energy into your hand will help power up Victini’s Infinity attack for 1HKOs on opposing TAG TEAMs.

Moving Forward

Moving forward, I don’t think much can/should be changed from the deck, but Pidgeotto Control and Doll Stall shouldn’t be major players for League Cups and League Challenges with a Best-of-1 format. Therefore, you could play around with your extra Stage 1 spot. Over Zebstrika, you could play Volcarona-GX, to have a little extra damage output, or Luxio UPR, which provides a more decisive answer to stopping lock and stall decks in their tracks.

14th, 22nd: GuzzNag

The biggest surprise of this weekend was Naganadel & Guzzlord-GX being featured in a deck as the star player, with a very novel albeit unreliable engine. I’m sure many of you caught it on stream as it was featured quite a few times over the course of the weekend. However, here’s a more detailed explanation of Igor and Jimmy’s (i.e., DDG’s) deck.

The List

Pokémon (11)

4 Misdreavus UNB

4 Mismagius UNB

3 Naganadel & Guzzlord-GX

Trainer (41)

3 Bill’s Analysis

3 Cynthia & Caitlin

2 Lt. Surge’s Strategy

2 Mallow & Lana

1 Ultra Forest Kartenvoy

 

4 Beast Ring

4 Mysterious Treasure

4 Order Pad

4 Tag Call

3 Great Catcher

2 Acro Bike

2 Reset Stamp

1 Energy Recycler

4 Dusk Stone

2 Beast Bringer

Energy (8)

4 Psychic

3 Darkness

1 Beast p

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 11

* 4 Misdreavus UNB 77
* 4 Mismagius UNB 78
* 3 Naganadel & Guzzlord-GX CEC 158

##Trainer Cards - 41

* 3 Cynthia & Caitlin CEC 189
* 3 Bill’s Analysis TEU 133
* 2 Lt. Surge’s Strategy UNB 178
* 2 Mallow & Lana CEC 198
* 1 Ultra Forest Kartenvoy UNB 188
* 4 Order Pad UPR 131
* 4 Dusk Stone UNB 167
* 4 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
* 4 Tag Call CEC 206
* 4 Beast Ring FLI 102
* 3 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 2 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 2 Acro Bike PRC 122
* 1 Energy Recycler GRI 123
* 2 Beast Bringer UNB 164

##Energy - 8

* 4 Psychic Energy Energy 5
* 3 Darkness Energy Energy 7
* 1 Beast Energy p FLI 117

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=78302 ******

via Limitless: https://limitlesstcg.com/decks/?list=3133

The Strategy

The deck has one game plan early on no matter what it is facing, which is to utilize 2 Mismagius’s Mysterious Message in order to force Beast Ring activation and thus power up Naganadel & Guzzlord-GX’s Jet Pierce and Chaotic Order-GX attacks.

The way to do this is to dig through the deck with Bill’s Analysis, Cynthia & Caitlin, Acro Bike, and Order Pads in order to find Misdreavus and Dusk Stones, which allow you to evolve on your first turn. With the draw power from Mysterious Message, you’re hoping to find Beast Rings in order to power up your attackers and start utilizing Jet Pierce.

vs. TAG TEAM Decks

Against TAG TEAM decks, your game plan is simple: 2HKO a TAG TEAM and make sure you’re KOing it with a Beast Bringer attached. This means you get 4 Prizes for the KO, rather than 3, allowing you to simply win immediately next turn no matter what with Chaotic Order-GX, allowing you to pick up your remaining 2 Prizes. This strategy works against all TAG TEAM decks, and while Mallow & Lana makes it harder to accomplish, pulling that off after being Reset stamped down to 4 isn’t exactly easy. Keldeo-GX on paper might seem troublesome, but it is either (A) too slow if ADP is not used and can be KOed with Ultra Forest Kartenvoy or (B) if ADP is used to power up Keldeo-GX, it’s simply a matter of hunting down ADP and nabbing 4 Prizes by KOing it then using Chaotic Order-GX for game.

vs. Non-TAG TEAM Decks

Against non-TAG TEAM decks, the matchups go a bit differently and your game plan is to try and rush them just like with any other deck. However, Chaotic Order-GX allows you to take 4 KOs rather than 6, allowing the deck to win in 5 turns rather than 6. This applies mostly to Pidgeotto Control and Malamar decks, as Florges Stall decks put up an infinite amount of Clefairy and there’s no way around that.

Shortcomings

The double Mismagius on turn 1 is easier said than done, and that is what makes this deck so volatile and unpredictable: You basically live or die by the Order Pad flips. When it sets up though, the deck boasts a very high win percentage against most TAG TEAM decks except for (1) GardEon due to Weakness and (2) Ability Zard as they can choose not to use a TAG TEAM at all.

Going Forward

Is this a good deck going forward? Despite not making Top 8, it did have a few good showings in Day 2, but it is important to realize that it is more of a high-roll deck, which means you need more things going right than wrong for you and an exceptionally good turn 1. However, with Doll Stall not being a great deck for Best-of-1 League Cups and Challenges, along with GardEon’s major flop this weekend, is poised to have a very good matchup spread following what happened at LAIC, with Ability ReshiZard as its arguably worst matchup.

I don’t think you can change much of this deck. As great as it would be to have extra Acro Bikes, the 50% chance at any Item (from Order Pad) is simply too powerful when setting up.

7th: ADP (Green’s)

Another surprising deck to come out of LAIC is Green’s ADP. Victor Vieira made Top 8 with this under-the-radar deck as we were all too busy ogling at the power of Keldeo-GX behind Chaotic Swell.

The List

Pokémon (8)

4 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX

2 Cryogonal UNM

1 Lucario & Melmetal-GX

1 Drampa CEC

Trainer (40)

4 Cynthia & Caitlin

4 Green’s Exploration

2 Mallow & Lana

1 Channeler

1 Guzma & Hala

 

4 Custom Catcher

4 Pokégear 3.0

4 Tag Call

3 Reset Stamp

2 Energy Spinner

2 Great Potion

2 Switch

1 Great Catcher

1 Pokémon Communication

1 Choice Helmet

 

2 Chaotic Swell

2 Power Plant

Energy (12)

5 Metal

5 Water

1 Unit GRW

1 Unit LPM

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 8

* 4 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX CEC 156
* 2 Cryogonal UNM 46
* 1 Lucario & Melmetal-GX UNB 120
* 1 Drampa CEC 159

##Trainer Cards - 40

* 4 Green’s Exploration UNB 175
* 4 Cynthia & Caitlin CEC 189
* 2 Mallow & Lana CEC 198
* 1 Guzma & Hala CEC 193
* 1 Channeler UNM 190
* 4 Pokégear 3.0 UNB 182
* 4 Tag Call CEC 206
* 4 Custom Catcher LOT 171
* 3 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 2 Switch SUM 132
* 2 Great Potion UNM 198
* 2 Energy Spinner UNB 170
* 1 Pokémon Communication BLW 99
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 1 Choice Helmet LOT 169
* 2 Chaotic Swell CEC 187
* 2 Power Plant UNB 183

##Energy - 12

* 5 Water Energy Energy 3
* 5 Metal Energy Energy 8
* 1 Unit Energy GRW UPR 137
* 1 Unit Energy LPM UPR 138

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=78302 ******

via Limitless: https://limitlesstcg.com/decks/?list=3126

Key Cards

4 Custom Catcher

Thanks to Green’s Exploration, the deck can confidently utilize Custom Catchers instead of Great Catchers, meaning it has an easier time closing out games by KOing a Jirachi, Malamar, or any other non-GX for 2 Prizes.

2 Cryogonal UNM

The double is a great way to battle Control and Stall decks, and it was a card that made its way into many ADP decks due to the pre-event hype for Control and Stall.

1 Lucario & Melmetal-GX

Lucario & Melmetal-GX is there to cover the glaring Fairy Weakness in order to change the GardEon matchup from an auto-loss to almost an auto-win.

1 Drampa CEC

Finally, Drampa CEC is a powerful non-GX attacker that can clean up nicely and mess up the Prize trade into a 7- or even 8-Prize game, while hitting for a solid 170 damage and coincidentally being the best answer to an opposing Keldeo-GX.

Tag Call Engine

The deck makes great use of Tag Call and the TAG TEAM Supporters by being able to search out ADP along with (A) draw in Cynthia & Caitlin, (B) Energy in Guzma & Hala, or (C) healing in Mallow & Lana. It’s similar to the GardEon Tag Call engine from my previous article, but with the specific Energy requirements of Altered Creation-GX+, it’s important to be able to search for the right pieces.

Drawbacks

The biggest drawback of Green’s ADP is its vulnerability to a turn 2 300-damage attack, which would undo your 2 Energy drops onto ADP. Choice Helmet can mitigate the Flare Blitz-GX from a Mewtwo & Mew-GX, but there’s no way to stop a turn 2 Double Blaze-GX+, which shows why Ability ReshiZard ended up coming out on top (it had an answer to everything pretty much). Against anything else though, the combination of Great Potion, Choice Helmet, and Mallow & Lana proved to be effective with the durability they provide.

Final Thoughts

pokemonkorea.co.kr

In the end, the most versatile and well-established deck came out on top, but just as before, I would not be surprised to see an anti-Ability metagame in Daytona. Absol TEU, Power Plant, and Lysandre Labs could be included in high enough counts in decks to try and ruin Jirachi’s and Dedenne’s days, as they are the main reason why most of the top decks from LAIC can function properly.

As for me, I think I’m gonna stick with Mewtwo & Mew-GX for my upcoming League Cups. It’s the most versatile deck that can include any attack to adapt to different situations and the metagame, and without the game loss or the epically bad start for Bryan de Vries in the final, I would not have been surprised to see the match play out differently, with a potentially different winner, too.

That will be all for my LAIC recap and analysis. I’ll be back next week to talk more about LAIC and what to expect in Daytona as we close out 2019 with back-to-back Standard Regionals! Thanks so much for reading, and as always feel free to reach out on my Tablemon social media with any questions you might have. Until next time!


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