A Calamari Appetizer

On the Daytona Beach Meta, Double-Victory Weekend w/ Malamar @ Cups, Catron’s Psychic Malamar, and Misc. Thoughts for San Diego

Hello 6P! This weekend was an exciting one with Daytona Beach Regionals 🇺🇸 happening and showcasing a very interesting metagame with Mewtwo & Mew-GX being the most popular archetype by far. The most surprising thing to me though was that Blacephalon UNB was the second most popular deck, showing how the 9th place bubble in Brazil from Manuel Jorach heavily influenced the metagame.

Daytona Beach Metagame

I’d be interested to dig deeper into the decklists and see what percentage of the Mew3 decks ended up playing Wobbuffet LOT in order to try and fully counter Ability ReshiZard, as it was the third most popular deck overall. Of the three most popular decks, only Mew3 managed to make Top 8. This tournament was basically the upside-down LAIC 🇧🇷, as we saw ADP and GardEon heavily decline in popularity, yet boast a much better conversion rate for Day 2 and also face off in the finals.

Doll Stall vs. Pidgey Control

Florges Doll Stall ended up being the more successful Mill deck yet again, but it was also heavily teched for and ultimately taken down by cards such as Faba, Cryogonal UNM, heavy Absol TEU, Lugia-GX, and Omastar TEU. Every deck in the Top 8 that wasn’t a Florges deck had hard counters to both Florges and Pidgeotto, and I would expect this trend to continue into San Diego 🇺🇸 given how Florges managed to still do well despite the counters.

Unsung Heroes

The unsung heroes of the weekend were Malamar and Blacephalon-GX decks. Both were underrated, but in particular Blacephalon-GX boasts a good matchup against the top two decks from LAIC, and given how Mew3 was the overwhelmingly most popular deck, I do think the deck was a solid choice, even if it had to accept a less than great ADP matchup.

Malamar does nicely against Ability ReshiZard as long as it can stabilize quickly enough, though it does have a hard-ish time against Mew3. However, Garchomp & Giratina-GX can be included in Malamar as a surprise, and despite not succeeding into Top 8, it changes the dynamic of the Mew3 matchup. After a Spell Tag, you have the potential to KO the Mew3 that is being powered up to use Cross Division-GX to wipe out your board. Even without damage counters on board, it still has the potential to use GG End-GX to discard the energized Mew3. The main use for it is to get a big KO though, and force your opponent to respond with Flare Blitz-GX from Charizard-GX HIF, thus keeping your Malamars safe on the Bench.

Double-Victory Weekend w/ Malamar @ Cups

I don’t know exactly what the decklists look like from Day 2 yet, but I myself played a Malamar with TinaChomp this weekend for 2 Cups and had a lot of success with it, winning both undefeated and only dropping 4 games total in top cut. If you’ve seen the titles of my videos or reactions within them, I’ve been apprehensive about Malamar due to its need to set up multiple Stage 1 Pokémon to get going. This is the weak point of the deck, but as I analyzed the Mexican metagame, it made sense to play the deck and the list I used for the following reasons:

  • 1-Prize decks like Blacephalon UNB and Raichu CEC were becoming popular and doing well consistently, with both of them boasting great matchups vs. the aggressive TAG TEAM decks.
  • I was confident in my Ability to maneuver people who wanted to venture with Pidgeotto or Florges decks.
  • Garchomp & Giratina-GX has not seen play in Malamar since basically Worlds, so I thought it would be a nice surprise factor to have during the weekend, while also making the Mew3 matchup a lot closer.
  • Welder decks are everywhere and ADP is rarely seen, so that bad matchup was something I didn’t expect to face all weekend.
  • Despite Mew3 being arguably the best deck in the format, I was simply not doing well with it lately, and I felt I needed a fresh deck that was different in playstyle than having to high-roll Welder or Dedenne-GX every other turn.

The List

And thus, after being encouraged by my friend Alex Garcia that Brady Guy’s TinaChomp idea was great, I settled on the following deck:

Pokémon (19)

4 Inkay FLI

4 Malamar FLI

4 Jirachi TEU

2 Giratina LOT

1 Garchomp & Giratina-GX

1 Blacephalon CEC

1 Mew UNB

1 Mimikyu CEC 97

1 Ditto p

Trainer (32)

4 Cynthia

4 Lillie

 

4 Mysterious Treasure

4 Pokémon Communication

3 Acro Bike

2 Switch

1 Great Catcher

1 Reset Stamp

4 Spell Tag

2 Escape Board

 

3 Viridian Forest

Energy (9)

7 P

1 F

1 Recycle

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 19

* 4 Inkay FLI 50
* 4 Malamar FLI 51
* 4 Jirachi TEU 99
* 2 Giratina LOT 97
* 1 Garchomp & Giratina-GX UNM 146
* 1 Blacephalon CEC 104
* 1 Mew UNB 76
* 1 Mimikyu CEC 97
* 1 Ditto p LOT 154

##Trainer Cards - 32

* 2 Escape Board UPR 167
* 4 Lillie SUM 147
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 264
* 4 Spell Tag LOT 235
* 2 Switch SUM 160
* 3 Acro Bike CES 178
* 4 Cynthia UPR 148
* 3 Viridian Forest UNM 256
* 4 Pokémon Communication TEU 196
* 4 Mysterious Treasure FLI 145
* 1 Reset Stamp UNM 253

##Energy - 9

* 1 Recycle Energy UNM 257
* 7 P Energy SUM 162
* 1 F Energy GRI 169

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=78494 ******

Key Cards

4 Jirachi TEU

Trying to keep the deck as consistent as possible, I went with 4 Jirachi to make sure I had maximum chances of starting with it as it’s what usually holds the deck together throughout the whole game. Everything else—minus the 1-of Reset Stamp, Great Catcher, and TinaChomp—is what Malamar has looked like since rotation hit.

1 Mimikyu CEC 97

Mimikyu CEC 97 was useless for the most part as all the Mew3 I played against had 2 Stealthy Hood, and since that seems to be the norm, I think it’s better to not run it in favor of Mimikyu GRI or a 2nd Mew UNB. Starting off the pressure since turn 1 with Mew placing damage counters is really good in every matchup, but it is especially important vs. Ability ReshiZard to pressure the Vulpix. Utilizing Ninetales’s Nine Temptations Ability to bypass your Spell Tags and prevent your attackers from being powered up by Malamar by KOing them is their best strategy, so Psypower pressure and Blacephalon’s Fireworks Bomb to eliminate their Ninetales is key to the matchup.

1 Garchomp & Giratina-GX

TinaChomp’s potential to 1HKO any threat after Spell Tag activation is really good, and now that Malamar’s number 1 public enemy, PikaRom, is not popular at all, the chances of Spell Tag activating in every matchup are relatively high as basically no one is playing Lysandre Labs, and that sets up TinaChomp nicely to get a 1HKO out of nowhere.

Other Options

Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX, along with Gengar & Mimikyu-GX, were attackers I considered as well that would’ve also maintained the deck’s integrity by not needing to add the F Energy. However, both are situational and not as overwhelmingly powerful as TinaChomp is, as they rely on opponent’s resources—not your own—in order to achieve those big KOs. Also, their lower HP at 250 and 240 respectively means they are less tankier and that could be costly.

Final Thoughts on Malamar/TinaChomp

I wouldn’t say this is my top contender for San Diego, as I do expect ADP to show up there, especially with the great Florges matchup it boasts with the double Cryogonal. However, if ADP were to continue to go down in usage as it did from LAIC to Daytona, I would put this deck as a front runner, even if TinaChomp is no longer a surprise after this weekend.

On Michael Catron’s 4th Place Psychic Malamar

Malamar did do well overall though, as Michael Catron got Top 4 with a pure Psychic Malamar deck that did include Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX:

Pokémon (21)

4 Inkay FLI

4 Malamar FLI

3 Jirachi TEU

2 Giratina LOT

1 Espeon & Deoxys-GX

1 Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX

1 Blacephalon CEC

1 Espurr UNB

1 Mew UNB

1 Mimikyu GRI

1 Mimikyu CEC 97

1 Ditto p

Trainer (31)

4 Cynthia

4 Lillie

1 Faba

 

4 Mysterious Treasure

4 Pokémon Communication

3 Acro Bike

2 Switch

1 Lana’s Fishing Rod

3 Spell Tag

2 Escape Board

 

3 Viridian Forest

Energy (8)

7 P

1 Recycle

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 21

* 4 Inkay FLI 50
* 4 Malamar FLI 51
* 3 Jirachi TEU 99
* 2 Giratina LOT 97
* 1 Espeon & Deoxys-GX UNM 72
* 1 Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX CEC 165
* 1 Blacephalon CEC 104
* 1 Espurr UNB 79
* 1 Mew UNB 76
* 1 Mimikyu GRI 58
* 1 Mimikyu CEC 97
* 1 Ditto p LOT 154

##Trainer Cards - 31

* 4 Lillie UPR 125
* 4 Cynthia UPR 119
* 1 Faba LOT 173
* 4 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
* 4 Pokémon Communication TEU 152
* 3 Acro Bike CES 123
* 2 Switch CES 147
* 1 Lana’s Fishing Rod CEC 195
* 3 Spell Tag LOT 190
* 2 Escape Board UPR 122
* 3 Viridian Forest TEU 156

##Energy - 8

* 7 P Energy Energy 5
* 1 Recycle Energy UNM 212

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=78494 ******

via Limitless: https://limitlesstcg.com/decks/?list=3221

Key Cards

As I mentioned before, the core of Malamar is basically the same and our lists are only a few cards different. There are 2 cards in this list that stand out to me the most: Faba and Lana’s Fishing Rod.

1 Faba

First off, the Faba is a great answer to the Sky Pillar that Florges decks can get back perpetually thanks to Lusamine, as after you send it to the Lost Zone they can never get it back and thus can’t stop your Mew, Blacephalon, or EspeOxys from continually spreading damage counters to the Bench, completely bypassing the Lillie’s Poké Dolls. This one card turns a tricky matchup into a very good one, and might be the norm going forward.

1 Lana’s Fishing Rod

Lana’s Fishing Rod is not a card I’m a fan of in this deck myself, as you can’t search for it when you need it. Sure, the Pokémon you get back is searchable right after with Pokémon Communication or Mysterious Treasure, but the Tool isn’t. Overall, it has felt like an underwhelming card and most of the time I’ve preferred having the 4th Spell Tag instead.

3 Jirachi TEU

3 Jirachi is something I can’t get behind though, especially with how fragile the deck’s first couple of turns are. It’s hard to argue against the Top 4 list from a Regional, and I’m not going to, but my personal preference when playing Jirachi will always be as a 4-of.

Misc. Thoughts for San Diego

Malamar, Mewtwo

I’m still a big fan of the Mew3 list from my previous article, even if personally I haven’t been doing exceptionally well with it; I think luck has played a major factor in that. Malamar and Mew3 would certainly be my top choices for San Diego, as the natural adaptation on countering the most successful decks would be a shift toward Ability ReshiZard decks, which have a hard time against these two.

ReshiZard

ReshiZard was already decently popular in Daytona Beach and I’d expect it to be even more so in San Diego as it has a natural advantage against GardEon and ADP thanks to the 1HKO potential and variety of attackers, and it can go ahead and tech more harshly against Florges and Pidgeotto decks with the Ditto p and a Luxio UPR. We already saw Luxio show up in Ability ReshiZard in the LAIC Top 16 list of Eder Jarillo Soto, and it could be a great answer to Florges as long as it doesn’t get picked off by their Spiritomb UNB.

A Florges Tech

Another interesting tech for Florges that can go into basically any deck is Druddigon UNM with the Drag Off attack. It can bring up the Florges to the Active spot, thus bypassing things like Sky Pillar that prevent Florges getting damaged while being on the Bench. Granted, hitting 30 four times to KO it might not be quick enough, but if you get Druddigon out on turn 2 it might apply enough pressure to get you there by picking off Floettes, too. You can also Drag Off the Florges and then utilize another attacker to pick it off, but you do need to be aware of your Energy counts to deem if that play would be worth it.

Meta Considerations

Of course, there’s no perfect invincible deck, so when considering what to use for San Diego, you must be aware that even if you make the right pick for the day, pairings might not go your way. There are too many variables to consider and two people playing the exact same 60 cards might have a run to the Champion spot and a 2-4 drop just the same. That said:

  1. You don’t want a weak GardEon or ADP matchup for this upcoming weekend though, seeing how they were the two most successful decks at Daytona Beach.
  2. Another consideration is how countered Mill decks were, with Faba, Girafarig LOT, Omastar TEU, etc. showing up in Top 8, and thus I’d be very hesitant to play a Stall deck. Those sort of the decks are at their best when they’re least expected, such as Zoroark-GX/Seismitoad-EX decks in Expanded when no one is teching Pokémon Ranger into their lists.

The same principle applies to Standard. When Florges and Pidgeotto stop showing up in big numbers and doing well, that is when people will start cutting Faba, Girafarig, and Cryogonal from their decks as they are no longer useful. That is when Stall decks tend to shine, but given their recent popularity and success, I expect the same amount of counters (if not more) being played in order to counteract them.

Conclusion

That will conclude my article for today! I’m looking forward to playing my first Regional of the season (San Diego) and continue the momentum from my double-victory Cup weekend. I’m sure I’ll see a lot of you readers there, so feel free to come up and say hi! As always, any questions you might have, please let me know, and message me on any of the Tablemon social media accounts where I’ll be happy to respond. Thanks so much for reading and until next time!


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Reader Interactions

1 reply

  1. nickseitler

    Pablo, you were dead on man! Nice job by the way. Besides Lysandre labs, what are other effective ways of countering Giratina with Mewbox? Or is it just luck/speed?

    Thanks!
    Nick

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