Hello again SixPrizes readers, I am back from Dallas and preparing diligently for the Oceania International Championships coming up in less than a month. It’s my favorite part of the season when a new set drops and my passion for the game is at an all-time high, especially when we’re receiving a base set with a ton of new Trainers and mechanics. Before I jump into that, I want to talk about Dallas Regionals and what went wrong for me.
Dallas Recap w/ Shock Lock
Heading to Dallas, I had been joking around with a few friends about playing Shock Lock for the event. As the week progressed, my friends kept getting more and more hyped about the idea. We decided on somewhat of a pact that if all six of us played it we would, but if even one person backed out we would get to play whatever we wanted.
I had mentally prepared myself to play Vespiquen for the umpteenth time in my life because this Shock Lock expedition required me to gather 24 copies of Tropical Beach…in English. I began my quest Wednesday night and by Friday night I managed to have two dozen of the most expensive cards in the game in my hand, and just like that we were locked and loaded. I was excited to play Shock Lock because I had always thought about it but never had the courage to do so, and after reading fellow author Jonathan Croxton’s article to prepare, we were ready to rock and roll.
Here’s how the day broke down for myself:
R1: Turbo Dark w/ SableTar + Escape Rope … WLW
R2: Alex Schemanske w/ Regirock/Sableye w/ Switch + Escape Rope) … LL
R3: Ultra Necrozma/Garbodor/Alolan Muk/Octillery … WLL
R4: Archie’s Blastoise … WW
R5: Honchkrow-GX/Counter Box … LWL
R6: Zoroark-GX/Raticate w/ Zoroark BKT (Stand In) … LWT
Final: 2-3-1, drop
So What Went Wrong?
- The deck had so many polarizing matchups. Being a player who believes he can play himself out of most situations, I was frustrated at the lack of outplay potential that I had given myself with the deck choice. If my opponent played a hard counter or way to break the lock, I effectively lost the game.
- Everyone was prepared for Shock Lock. When I had to gather 24 copies of Tropical Beach, secrecy was the last thing on my mind. When people saw me gathering Tropical Beach they assumed it was for one thing and they were right, and unfortunately this became my undoing.
- My opponents were not happy with me. This wasn’t so much “what went wrong” but a feeling I haven’t experienced playing Pokémon before: having an opponent leave the table with a sour taste in their mouth and be rude to you because of your deck choice. Some of my opponents had choice words for me that dampened my experience playing the deck.
- I was unprepared. Unlike my fellow writer Jonathan Croxton, who has seen monumental success with Shock Lock and knows how to reach the combo like the back of his hand, I did not possess such fluency. I struggled to piece the puzzle together quickly enough and shave time off the clock, which would have helped me calm down and focus more on the game and the techs my opponents were sporting. The lack of preparation affected my mental game more than anything, but that’s what I believe is the most critical in a format with so many cards.
What Looks Good in Expanded Moving Forward?
Now that Dallas is in the books and we saw Hunter Butler take down the entire event with a really cool and innovative RoxieChomp, what can we expect moving into the next Expanded tournament in Collinsville ? Aggression.
With the first turn rules changing and players not being able to use a T1 Supporter, the explosive Turn 1 matters so much more now. Turbo Dark, PikaRom, and ReshiRom decks that rely heavily on Shaymin-EX and Dedenne-GX engines will flourish in a format where Lock decks will struggle to find their pieces on the first turn without a Supporter.
EggRow becomes a Tier 1 archetype with Alolan Exeggutor-GX being able to capitalize heavily with going second and get Vileplume AOR out immediately. EggRow also gains Rillaboom SSH 14, which searches your deck for 2 G Energy and attaches them to one of your Pokémon. Now EggRow can be attacking as soon as Turn 2 if they would like and focus on playing more disruption-oriented cards to slow opponents down. Going first still seems to be the correct decision, but decks will have to respect the power of Turn 1 decks that can explode onto the board.
Archie’s Blastoise and decks that require using Brigette on Turn 1 are severely hurt by the Turn 1 rule, but any deck that requires Brigette can instead use a heavy Ball engine like Quick Ball, Nest Ball, and Ultra Ball to set up. This also makes Garbodor decks much more powerful, so a basic Buzzwole/Garbodor deck with other Ultra Beasts could be a really strong pick into the meta.
The meta comes full circle, however, with EggRow being the bane of Buzzwole’s existence, so the fun of Expanded never ends.
I personally don’t know whether I’ll be at Collinsville Regionals or the Puerto Rico Special Event being held the same weekend. The caveat is that the Special Event is in the same Standard format I’ll be playing Oceania Internationals in (UPR–SSH), so it would be a welcome transition rather than swapping to BLW–SSH/Expanded.
Sword & Shield Top 5 (for UPR–SSH/Standard)
The Sword & Shield set list was leaked late Thursday night and I posted a preliminary buy list on my Twitter. I plan on buying much more than I actually need because I like to err on the side of caution and don’t enjoy scrambling last-minute to figure out what cards I need, if a situation arises like that. Allow me to talk about my Top 5 cards that will make an instant impact in the Standard format.
ebay.comDoes this card look familiar? It should! “Discard your hand and draw 7 cards” has been printed on a Supporter since I began playing, and it has been one of the most powerful effects to ever exist. With our current Supporter pool, this is a welcome introduction to any set-up oriented deck that doesn’t want to use heavy Dedenne-GX. Decks like Malamar and PikaRom are benefited greatly because they can replace Lillie with ease. I think this should be a staple in any deck that aims to do well at Oceania and moving forward. Not having copies of this card in your deck will put you at a disadvantage to whoever you play that has it.
ebay.comThis is the most obvious inclusion here because we have been aching for more non-Supporter search cards. The absence of Nest Ball has made set-up decks feel far worse, but, in turn, set-up decks have lost their Turn 1 Supporter, so skeletons for decks like Pidgey may have to change and include heavier copies of Quick Ball to set up their board.
The real winners are Malamar, PikaRom, and the new archetype Zacian V/Metal Friends. All three of these decks happily play out of their discard and having virtually 8 Mysterious Treasures for Malamar decks, a free search for Tapu Koko p, and an easy way to find your Pokémon V make all three of these decks incredibly potent when thinking about the emerging metagame.
Zacian might be the best card to come out in a long time. This card comes with an insane Ability in checking the top 3 cards of your deck and attaching any M Energy you find there. It does end your turn, but the cards that aren’t M Energy make their way to your hand. Paired with the new Metal Saucer, powering up this Pokémon and swinging in has never been easier. It has natural synergy with decks like ADP and can splash in any Metal attacker of its choice because of Metal Saucer. This is the most fearsome archetype to be prepared for after the success it’s been seeing in Japan.
ebay.comAnother Supporter that gets added to the pool but with a twist. This Supporter acts as draw as well as disruption in any deck. A slightly nerfed Cynthia for the added bonus of setting your opponent to 4 cards in hand means this Supporter will see a high amount of play. It doesn’t serve as a Reset Stamp replacement, but if a deck played more than 1 Stamp, then it naturally takes that slot to do the same thing.
ebay.comNow that we’ve discussed Zacian V already, we can’t forget about one of the cards that gives it so much power. Having a “Metal Patch” in the format adds a lot of variety to the decks and means that any deck can realistically have an ADP and M Energy package. Zacian V and this card fuel each other and create a scary archetype for the format to deal with.
pokeguardian.comI’m going to cheat a little bit here and include an entire Evolution line because of how powerful it is together. Obstagoon is the rebirth of Crobat PHF with a Zigzagoon that also places a damage counter onto the board. This can work really well with TinaChomp or the new Sableye V card. This card creates another new archetype and is a really strong package in the decks I mentioned.
I don’t think this will be a standout card at Oceania, but I expect that with a more defined metagame that it will make its way into a deck.
pokemon.comWe’ve been given Rain Dance back and a powerful attacker to go with it in the form of Lapras VMAX. The last time Rain Dance splashed its way into the format it was a commanding deck, and this time it’s on a Stage 1. With new cards being introduced every set, from here on out it will be interesting to see how much impact this card will have. I don’t think it will be a huge deck moving into Oceania, but it is something to test against and be wary of.
Any card that helps with Retreat Cost is a good card in my book. Float Stone and Escape Board made an instant splashes, and Air Balloon is telling my gut the same thing. It is another card that boosts the power level of Malamar decks as well as just being a consistent card.
PikaRom for OCIC
Here’s a draft of a PikaRom list that I want to begin testing soon. I know this article hasn’t been list-heavy because I haven’t played too much with the new cards yet yet, but I wanted to drop a list to show where my head is at, at the very least. PikaRom is a deck that has brought me a lot of success starting at Oceania last year, so let me show off my draft.
12 L Energy
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******
##Pokémon - 11
##Trainer Cards - 37
* 4 Professor’s Research SSH 178
* 3 Marnie SSH 169
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 4 Pokémon Catcher SSH 175
* 4 Energy Switch CES 129
* 4 Electropower LOT 172
* 4 Electrocharger TEU 139
* 3 Electromagnetic Radar UNB 169
* 2 Vitality Band SSH 185
* 1 Tag Switch UNM 209
* 1 Stadium Nav UNM 208
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 1 Shrine of Punishment CES 143
* 1 Thunder Mountain p LOT 191
##Energy - 12
* 12 L Energy Energy 4
Total Cards - 60
****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=79201 ******
This list is an idea I had for a very turbo and angry PikaRom list. For those of you who are familiar with my play style, you know that I prefer to go with all-out aggression when it comes to a new set being introduced. Allow me to explain my card choices a little bit before I let you all go.
I think that Tapu Koko V provides the exact amount of aggression that the deck needs, and with free retreat, it makes for an incredibly versatile card, especially as an opener. This build focuses on using Electropowers and Electrochargers, so Tapu Koko V can do a lot of damage with its first attack and draw cards at the same time. I’ve been preferring this card over Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX because it only gives up 2 Prizes as well.
This is a funny card that I think can make your hand better by simply replacing the top card and creating a better situation from nothing. I really like how versatile this is in an aggro deck where sometimes discarding the wrong resource can prove sticky.
I’m not entirely sure why this in the deck just yet, but a free 10 damage could be the difference between needing an extra Electropower to take a KO. I threw it in the deck because I have the space for now, but as testing goes on, who knows if it’ll make the final cut.
ebay.comThis logic behind 4 Catcher is similar to my logic of including 3 Great Catcher at LAIC. If I can be the aggressor that takes out my opponent before they do anything, why should I care about their deck? With 4 Pokémon Catcher and 1 Great Catcher, I should be able to eliminate the threats on my opponent’s Bench before they become a problem.
I stated this a couple of times while explaining the card choices in the list, but the idea is to abuse the extra damage that Electropower provides and reuse it often with Electrocharger. Tapu Koko V can swing for massive amounts of damage for only a single Energy card.
The idea behind my PikaRom list is there and that is the base I will be using to test this week once work slows down a little bit and I get over this cold I’ve been having. I’m excited as always to push through and figure out something crazy in this upcoming brand new metagame. I’ll be heading out on February 15th to make OCIC a mini vacation on my end, so follow along on my Twitter for updates to see how things are going.
Whether I’ll be in either Collinsville or Puerto Rico is up in the air currently, but hopefully I’ll know sooner than later. If you’re headed to any of these events and want to say hi to me that would be amazing. In Dallas my heart was warmed when so many of you came up and wished me a Happy Birthday. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading and thank you for supporting me.
Until next time
~ Rahul <3
…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.
After 45 days, we unlock each Underground (UG/★) article for public viewing. New articles are reserved for Underground members.
Underground Members: Thank you for making this article possible!
Other Readers: Check out the FAQ if you are interested in joining Underground and gaining full access to our latest content.