Drumroll Please

The Winners and Losers of Sword & Shield (Standard Format), Morpeko V, RowEgg/Rillaboom, and Reflections on Choosing a Deck

Hello everybody and welcome to my first article of UPR–SSH! I’ve been having a ton of fun with the new format; for better or for worse, Sword & Shield will fundamentally change the game for a long time. We can expect the game to feel very fresh with all of the changes that have come.

I’ll start this article with some observations about the Standard format, discuss two of the decks I’ve been working on, and close with some commentary about preparing for events and choosing your deck.

The Winners and Losers of Sword & Shield (Standard Format)

With every set comes changes to the metagame, with some cards and decks getting more powerful, while others fall off or vanish. With SSH bringing many new cards, including new Pokémon V and a rule change, this is more true than ever.

Winner: PikaRom

This one might be fairly obvious—PikaRom’s greatest limitation since the rotation of Nest Ball has been finding Tapu Koko p in a timely manner. So far, PikaRom players have had to use Pokémon Communication, which is not ideal, since they typically had fewer than 15 Pokémon to use with it. Quick Ball not only seamlessly searches Tapu Koko p and the rest of the deck, but provides discard synergy to activate Dance of the Ancients. Quick Ball will make a turn 1 Full Blitz (going second) much more likely, and turn 2 Full Blitz (going first) all but guaranteed. Note that PikaRom is hardly affected by the first turn rule, because they are happy to simply bench a PikaRom and attach to it.

You have no doubt already heard of the apparent resurgence of PikaRom. I bring this up to highlight this: pure consistency cards can help some decks more than others. Looking out for situations like this is key when analyzing seemingly universal cards in a new set. An example in the recent past is Great Catcher. Decks that previously excelled at using Custom Catcher, namely Green’s Exploration decks and PikaRom (with their Volkner), initially fell off in the UPR–CEC format.

Loser: Keldeo-GX

With the addition of Pokémon V in the format, the strength of Pure Heart falls off. This is remarkably different from strong single-Prize Pokémon being released, as Pokémon V have the high HP and damage output of Pokémon-GX. We will probably see Keldeo-GX pop up here and there for a while, but as more Sword & Shield series sets are released, we should see Keldeo-GX exit the format.

As a result, decks that previously struggled with Keldeo-GX (PikaRom, anyone?) should receive a small boon in success.

Winner: Mewtwo & Mew-GX

I initially thought that SSH would be the beginning of the end for Mewtwo, because it has theoretically reached the end of its flexibility, but upon further observation, I think Mewtwo is here to stay. Sure, no longer will new sets bring tools (i.e., GXs and EXs) to the Perfection toolbox, but that doesn’t stop the deck from continuing to innovate with new Trainer cards. In fact, we’ve already seen a brand-new Mewtwo variant coming out of Japan involving Marnie, TrevNoir, and Malamar.

The addition of Pokémon V to the format means Pokémon-GX hate should see a decrease in play, too. Traditional Mewtwo counters like Power Plant, Mimikyu CEC 97, and Keldeo-GX falling off means even more power for the (arguable) BDIF.

Loser: Lillie

Lillie suffers two massive blows out of SSH:

  1. the first turn rule change making Lillie significantly worse in half of opening hands, and
  2. the new Professor’s Research overshadowing it in the rest of the game.

Outside of Malamar decks, Lillie has been losing popularity since the release of Welder, and I believe SSH will all but eradicate her.

Winner: RowEgg

RowEgg-focused decks gain substantially from the first turn rule change. It’s obviously strong to Super Growth out Vileplume AOR before your opponent gets to play a Supporter, and these decks will now choose to go second to abuse this. Unfortunately, this does mean that a Steven’s Resolve engine becomes worse, since you will always want to end your first turn with Super Growth. In Standard, RowEgg gains Rillaboom SSH 14, which shoots it from Meme Tier all the way to a Tier 1 contender, in my opinion.

Losers: Control, GardEon

Thanks to Zacian V and Oranguru SSH, every deck can now be immune to the full hand-lock combo. Pidgey is dead! :)

GardEon should also see the end of its run, as it is simply unable to keep up with Zacian V decks.

Morpeko V

When I first read Morpeko V, I actually read over it as a bulk Pokémon V card. It wasn’t until I heard of some players playing around with the hangry man that I realized: they made a hit-and-run attack that does 150 damage! These types of attacks were traditionally limited by low base damage, or otherwise made on GX attacks. While the Wall Pokémon are fairly weak at the moment, we do have the incredibly strong Lillie’s Poké Doll; 4 Dolls will give us 4 free attacks, or 600 free damage!

Those things said, Morpeko V has some serious problems to address, which builds need to dedicate space to, which in turn makes the deck very linear:

  1. Firstly, Morpeko V is an Energy hog. You might think that Lightning-types have plenty of acceleration via Tapu Koko p and Thunder Mountain p, but these were only enough for PikaRom decks because using Full Blitz onto a 2nd TAG TEAM would power up all the attackers you’d need in the game. Morpeko V is a totally different story—after you get to your magical 3-Energy attack, you get knocked back down to 2, meaning you have to keep committing manual attachments to it, never building up a backup attacker.
  2. Secondly, this is not a format devoid of Gust; opponents can bring Morpeko V back up using Custom Catchers or Ninetales TEU. In fact, SSH adds another strong Gusting option in Pokémon Catcher. And though Great Catcher cannot target Morpeko V, its presence in the format limits our options for partners (e.g., Dedenne-GX, Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX with Air Balloon).
  3. Thirdly, Morpeko V has (what can now be considered) low Hit Points, and sports an awkward 2 Retreat Cost.

Decklist: Morpeko V/Malamar

Pokémon (16)

2 Inkay FLI

2 Malamar FLI

4 Morpeko V

4 Jirachi TEU

1 Mew UNB

1 Oranguru UPR

1 Tapu Koko p

1 Zacian V

Trainer (33)

4 Professor’s Research

3 Marnie

1 Cynthia

 

4 Acro Bike

4 Lillie’s Poké Doll

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Quick Ball

2 Pokémon Communication

2 Switch

1 Ordinary Rod

 

2 Escape Board

 

2 Viridian Forest

Energy (11)

8 L

3 P

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 16

* 2 Inkay FLI 50
* 2 Malamar FLI 41
* 4 Morpeko V SSH 79
* 4 Jirachi TEU 99
* 1 Mew UNB 76
* 1 Oranguru UPR 114
* 1 Tapu Koko p TEU 51
* 1 Zacian V SSH 138

##Trainer Cards - 33

* 4 Professor’s Research SSH 178
* 3 Marnie SSH 169
* 1 Cynthia UPR 119
* 2 Viridian Forest TEU 156
* 4 Lillie’s Poké Doll CEC 197
* 4 Pokémon Catcher SSH 175
* 4 Acro Bike CES 123
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 2 Pokémon Communication TEU 152
* 2 Switch SSH 183
* 1 Ordinary Rod SSH 171
* 2 Escape Board UPR 122

##Energy - 11

* 8 L Energy Energy 4
* 3 P Energy Energy 5

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=79568 ******

This list focuses on getting Electro Wheel rolling as soon as possible, and building up backup Morpeko V’s from there.

2-2 Malamar FLI

Malamar FLI’s Psychic Recharge nicely fulfills the Colorless requirement of Electro Wheel, and replaces the Energy every turn. Your turns should look like this: Electro Wheel sends you to the Bench, your opponent KOs a Doll, you promote Jirachi TEU to pivot, and use Malamar FLI to put the 3rd Energy back on Morpeko V. In the meantime, your manual attachments go toward charging up a different Morpeko V.

This is just a 2-2 line because you never need more than 1 Malamar in play, you don’t need it up by turn 2, and you can recover pieces with Ordinary Rod.

11 Energy, 2 Viridian Forest, 4 Acro Bike

Since both Tapu Koko p and Malamar accelerate Energy from the discard, I’ve dedicated many spots to finding and discarding these Energy quickly. Quick Ball and Professor’s Research also contribute to this task.

4 Pokémon Catcher, 0 Electropower, 0 Morpeko VMAX

Rather than try to hit good numbers with damage modifiers, I’m taking the stance with this list that 150 damage is enough to take 2HKOs, and I can clean things up with Pokémon Catcher when I need to. Without the deck or Bench space for Oranguru SSH, I’ve decided to go with coin-flip Pokémon Catcher instead of Custom Catcher, but this is ultimately a preference choice and could go either way.

4 Lillie’s Poké Doll, 1 Oranguru UPR

4 Dolls, combined with simply sacking Jirachi TEU, is usually enough to get through a game, but against decks that can heal a lot, you will want more. One turn of using Resource Management for 3 Dolls means you are theoretically trading 1 Prize card for 450 damage in Electro Wheel.

0 Latios-GX UNM

Latios-GX isn’t something I’ve pulled the trigger on yet, but in theory, you can turn off Altered Creation-GX. The reason I’m not running it is similar to why Michael Catron refused to play Latios-GX in Malamar: preventing your opponent from taking extra Prize cards is cool, but it isn’t actually worth your time, since you have to skip your turn and give up 2 Prizes from Latios-GX anyway.

Closing Thoughts on Morpeko V

All decks that try to use “cute” methods of trading up, like hit-and-run or single-Prizers, are inherently oppressed by ADP. Additionally, let me reiterate that the format has a plethora of Gusting options—moving to the Bench doesn’t mean safe. This becomes more true with SSH, between the Pokémon Catcher reprint and Oranguru SSH preserving Custom Catchers. Finally, hit-and-run attacks must be heavily built around, which makes the deck linear and easy to exploit.

Those things said, hit-and-run style attacks are dangerous to print, and given they have enough support, they usually find their way into the metagame. For now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Morpeko V had very little success, nor if it ended up as a reasonable Tier 2 deck. If you are attending OCIC 🇦🇺, I would not recommend a Morpeko V deck. It can wait until the format is more defined.

RowEgg/Rillaboom

I’ve wanted a tanking RowEgg deck to work since the card was released. Both for posterity and your amusement, I’ve included an old list of this deck.

Decklist: RowEggs (UPR–UNM)

Pokémon (8)

4 Shaymin LOT

2 Celebi & Venusaur-GX

2 Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX

Trainer (40)

4 Cynthia

3 Judge

2 Gardenia

2 Lillie

1 Sightseer

 

4 Acro Bike

4 Great Potion

4 Judge Whistle

4 Net Ball

3 Switch

1 Adventure Bag

 

2 Choice Helmet

1 U-Turn Board

 

4 Power Plant

1 Life Forest p

Energy (12)

8 G

4 Weakness Guard

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 8

* 4 Shaymin LOT 33
* 2 Celebi & Venusaur-GX TEU 1
* 2 Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX UNM 1

##Trainer Cards - 40

* 4 Cynthia UPR 119
* 3 Judge FLI 108
* 2 Lillie UPR 125
* 2 Gardenia UPR 124
* 1 Sightseer LOT 189
* 1 Life Forest p LOT 180
* 4 Power Plant UNB 183
* 4 Acro Bike CES 123
* 4 Judge Whistle TEU 146
* 4 Net Ball LOT 187
* 4 Great Potion UNM 198
* 3 Switch SSH 183
* 1 Adventure Bag LOT 167
* 2 Choice Helmet LOT 169
* 1 U-Turn Board UNM 211

##Energy - 12

* 8 G Energy Energy 1
* 4 Weakness Guard Energy UNM 213

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=79568 ******

Much to the chagrin of my testing partners, I spent far too much time developing this deck for UPR–UNM. It ultimately had several problems (listed below), most of which are fixed in the updated version:

  • Inconsistent, despite being straightforward
  • Slow, but doesn’t really make up for it in consistency
  • Available draw Supporters are painfully poor
  • Without Energy acceleration, Pokémon that can 1HKO (ReshiZard and Magcargo-GX) set you back several turns
  • Weak against Control
  • No space for Gusting effects or Reset Stamp
  • There was an omnipresence of Welder decks, and therefore Fire Pokémon, while finding Weakness Guard Energy is difficult

Decklist: Jungle King (UPR–SSH)

Pokémon (15)

2 Grookey SSH 11

2 Thwackey SSH 13

2 Rillaboom SSH 14

4 Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX

3 Shaymin LOT

1 Celebi & Venusaur-GX

1 Shaymin p

Trainer (31)

4 Professor’s Research

3 Marnie

2 Cynthia

2 Mallow & Lana

 

4 Net Ball

4 Quick Ball

2 Energy Recycler

2 Hyper Potion

1 Great Catcher

1 Reset Stamp

1 Switch

 

2 Big Charm

1 Air Balloon

 

1 Life Forest p

1 Power Plant

Energy (14)

10 G

4 Weakness Guard

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 15

* 2 Grookey SSH 11
* 2 Thwackey SSH 13
* 2 Rillaboom SSH 14
* 4 Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX UNM 1
* 3 Shaymin LOT 33
* 1 Celebi & Venusaur-GX TEU 1
* 1 Shaymin p TEU 10

##Trainer Cards - 31

* 4 Professor’s Research SSH 178
* 3 Marnie SSH 169
* 2 Cynthia UPR 119
* 2 Mallow & Lana CEC 198
* 1 Life Forest p LOT 180
* 1 Power Plant UNB 183
* 4 Net Ball LOT 187
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 2 Hyper Potion SSH 166
* 2 Energy Recycler GRI 123
* 1 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 1 Switch SSH 183
* 1 Air Balloon SSH 156
* 2 Big Charm SSH 158

##Energy - 14

* 10 G Energy Energy 1
* 4 Weakness Guard Energy UNM 213

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=79568 ******

Key Cards

4 RowEgg-GX, 2-2-2 Rillaboom SSH 14

The bread and butter. Thanks to powerful consistency Trainers, if you go second, you will almost always Super Growth out Rillaboom on your first turn, and start attacking on your second.

Rillaboom SSH 14 provides enormous flexibility throughout the game. Use Voltage Beat to replace attackers, provide Energies to retreat, and grant excess Energy to discard with Hyper Potion. Also, Rillaboom and can self-charge to serve as a backup single-Prize attacker; his Grass typing makes him a built-in counter to both Keldeo-GX and Obstagoon SSH.

One unfortunate design decision you must make with this archetype is between a 2-2-2 or 3-3-3 Rillaboom line. With the 2-2-2 line, you have a ~4% chance of prizing both of one of the pieces, or otherwise finding yourself being unable to Super Growth due to your Thwackeys being in your hand. Without Rillaboom, this deck does not function. Currently, I believe the reduction in win rate is worth the 3 slots you free up.

A 2-2-2 line also makes us vulnerable to the Rillaboom being targeted, most importantly by PikaRom, which attacks quickly and can also KO Rillaboom with Tag Bolt-GX. There is an interesting mind game where your opponent has to guess which amount you play. If your opponent incorrectly guesses that you play a 2-2-2, you can simply Super Growth again, and your opponent wasted resources and made themselves more vulnerable to Reset Stamp; if they incorrectly guess that you play 3-3-3, they have missed an opportunity to cripple your setup.

For the pre-Evolutions, make sure you have the 70 HP Grookey SSH 11. If I were ever stuck attacking with a Thwackey, I’d rather it have the guaranteed 50 damage from Thwackey SSH 13 than the potential to trap with Thwackey SSH 12.

As for the attackers, we are maxing out RowEgg since we need him in the Active Spot right away, preferably as our starter, because Absol TEU can prevent everything else from retreating on your first turn. While I shouldn’t need to convince you how important RowEgg’s first attack is for setting up, Calming Hurricane is actually the best attack available to Grass decks for the rest of the game. It’s cheap, 150 is enough to 2-shot most of the format, and the bonus healing goes a long way when used with other healing. Additionally, thanks to Rillaboom, a boosted Tropical Hour-GX is not only feasible, but quite easy! Shuffling Energy off the board of a PikaRom or ADP deck usually makes for a swift victory.

1 CeleSaur-GX, 0 SnivySaur-GX

CeleSaur is here simply to be almost as good as RowEgg, but provide some extra utility. Evergreen-GX makes the Mill matchup almost unlosable. In certain matchups (like Malamar), the bonus effect of Tropical Hour-GX won’t cause much damage, in which case you should hold off for a big Evergreen-GX to heal and recover healing resources. There are also some situations where keeping Pollen Hazard Special Conditions on your opponent’s attacker strains your opponent’s resources, dealing slow damage and making them miss attacks.

Unfortunately, CeleSaur is an abysmal starter. Even with Air Balloon, he would take 2 attachments to move, in which case you are already behind on when you want Rillaboom in play. I would very much like to play SnivySaur, but having 2 poor starters greatly increases your chances of starting 1 of them. Being stuck behind a big idiot is a very frustrating way to lose, especially with how simple it is for this deck to get going. For now, my Gusting slot is a single Great Catcher, but if I ever removed CeleSaur or could fit more Switching cards, I would definitely put SnivySaur back in.

4 Professor’s Research, 3 Marnie, 2 Cynthia, 0 Tag Call

I am ashamed to admit that, despite playing through Professor Juniper and Professor Sycamore, I initially hesitated to slap 4 Professor’s Research into everything. But, it only took me about two games to remember how truly nuts that card is. Please, play 4-of it in everything. The sheer digging power and deck thinning of Professor’s Research means any accommodations you have to make (to avert discarding risks) are worth it.

The leftover Supporter cards are filled by the next-best options. Note that you usually shouldn’t play max counts of Marnie, because if you brick your opponent with a Marnie, you don’t want to be stuck with another Marnie as your only draw Supporter, since you’d be refreshing your opponent’s hand.

I initially thought it would be good to Tag Call for RowEgg and Guzma & Hala, which gets your Power Plant to start disrupting, Air Balloon to retreat into RowEgg, and Weakness Guard Energy for your first attachment. However, with the introduction of such strong Supporter cards as Professor’s Research and Marnie, as well as more Pokémon search from Quick Ball, the Tag Call engine can hit the bin. There’s just no justification for such a slow engine when draw Supporters do the same thing, faster, and with fewer deck slots.

2 Mallow & Lana, 2 Hyper Potion, 3 Shaymin LOT, 2 Energy Recycler

Thankfully, our healing options have come a long way from subpar Gardenia and Great Potion. Mallow & Lana and Hyper Potion both have their ups and downs, so I’ve gone with a simple 2-2 split. While 4 healing cards is way more than you will use in a game, you badly need healing on certain turns, and 4 means you will usually have access to it.

Part of this deck’s strategy is to force your opponent through 2 TAG TEAM Pokémon, which means we can’t afford to bench any other Pokémon-GX (specifically Dedenne-GX). We can capitalize on the relatively open Bench with Shaymin LOT for supplemental healing.

I’d play 1 Energy Recycler just to keep up the Voltage Beats throughout the game, but with Hyper Potion in, you definitely want a 2nd copy.

1 Switch, 1 Air Balloon, 2 Big Charm, 0 Mew UNB, 0 Ordinary Rod

For those of you who don’t regularly play Expanded, Float Stone is an insanely good card. Instead of just playing your Switch, you get to put it down and decide what to Retreat into later on in the turn—and it sits there and gives you a pivot for the rest of the game! Air Balloon, while slightly nerfed, is fantastic. Except for Jirachi TEU decks and those decks that have to reset effects of attacks (i.e., Zacian V), Air Balloon just outclasses Switch. I even expect Zacian V decks to build around Air Balloon, with only a few copies of Switch, because this Pokémon Tool is just that good. Sadly, Air Balloon is too weak to move CeleSaur, so I’m only playing the 1 copy instead of the 2 that I want. Switch takes that slot, and notably gains some utility with the resurgence of PikaRom, as it can clear Tandem Shock Paralysis.

Everything in this deck has a Retreat Cost of 1 or 3, so you may be wondering why I’m not playing U-Turn Board instead of Air Balloon. The answer is Absol TEU, who nullifies the U-Turn Board and makes us still pay to Retreat.

The choice of combat-related Pokémon Tools will ultimately be a meta call, but for now I’m sticking with Big Charms, making it as hard as possible for Zacian V to 1HKO your attackers.

One good reason to play defensive Pokémon Tools like Big Charm or Choice Helmet is their ability to protect your Rillaboom, again, particularly from opposing PikaRom players. Big Charm bringing Rillaboom out of range of a Tag Bolt-GX snipe is the reason I’m currently not playing Mew UNB or Ordinary Rod.

1 Life Forest p, 1 Power Plant

The Stadium slots are those that I’m most unsure about in this deck. Surely, we want disruption Stadiums like Chaotic Swell or Power Plant to pair with our solid hand disruption (Marnie and Reset Stamp), and even without those, every deck should play ways to bump powerful Stadiums like Thunder Mountain p and Heat Factory p. Unfortunately, Chaotic Swell can slightly impact our own game by eating our own Life Forest p, but just 1 Power Plant is unlikely to brick your opponent. This is the lineup I’m sticking with for now, but I encourage you to play around with these slots, possibly adding a 3rd.

Miscellaneous notes about Stadiums:

  • Power Plant shuts off our SnivySaur’s Shining Vine, if we include it.
  • Life Forest p is good for a one-time use, but is also a win condition against certain decks, if left uncountered.
  • There is nothing fundamentally wrong about playing unconventional-looking lines; there is a chance that 1 Life Forest p, 1 Power Plant, 1 Chaotic Swell is optimal.

1 Shaymin p, 10 G Energy, 4 Weakness Guard Energy

Shaymin p is an ace in the hole for Rillaboom decks. Combined with the singleton Great Catcher, this deck has just enough power to close out games. In addition to just having some strong damage output, Shaymin p is a single-Prize attacker that can force your opponent to play into your Reset Stamp.

I refuse to play this deck without Weakness Guard Energy. It is not that difficult to draw, and turns most of the Fire matchups winnable. I would even go as far as saying Green’s/Blacephalon UNB (which appears to be getting stronger with the addition of Lucky Egg) is a favorable matchup, with all of the hand disruption available to us.

Unfortunately, Weakness Guard Energy does cut into our space a little bit. If I decided to give up on these Fire matchups after further testing or as a meta call, I would look to play things like:

Closing Thoughts on RowEgg/Rillaboom

This deck is very solid. It doesn’t take much to get going, has a strong mid-game presence with its heavy healing and disruption, and has the capacity to close out games with Shaymin p and Tropical Hour-GX. Its simplicity makes it fun, too, and the capacity to Evergreen-GX means you shouldn’t have any frustrating losses against Mill decks.

The only thing holding this deck at the moment is the color red. Soon, we will see how well Welder-based decks respond to the first-turn rule change, and that will determine whether Jungle King falls in Tier 1 or Tier 2.

Self-Reflections, Planning Ahead, and Deck Choice

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In the times leading up to a new expansion being released on PTCGO, I typically take a break from Pokémon to enjoy other games. This time, I played Hearthstone—a digital card game similar to Magic: The Gathering—and had some surprising success by slightly updating my 2+ year old Wild-format (like Expanded) decks.

Of note, I had the most success with combo-oriented decks and ruthlessly aggressive decks. Why is this interesting? When I used to dedicate a lot of time to Hearthstone, I despised these decks and their brainlessness.

I preferred to play Reno Jackson decks, a card that forced you to play no duplicate copies in your deck. Without duplicates, you couldn’t really have a solid strategy of your own, you just had a plethora of options to dismantle your opponent’s game-plan. It made for a very techable archetype, as almost anything could be added or removed. The variety of your own deck made every game different, and your skill was tested in nearly every game.

Just like when I came back to Pokémon and picked up Shock Lock, when I went to play Hearthstone, I gravitated toward solitaire decks—if I execute my strategy, I win; if you stop me, you win. It is easier to learn how your combo can be disrupted than to learn the intricacies of every matchup and teching your deck to the sways of the metagame.

Nobody has the time to learn the ins and outs of every deck. If you want to be prepared for a given tournament, you should decide first how much time you can/will give to preparation, then figure out your deck choice, and finally do the actual grinding. (Exception: in a new format, you need to make sure the deck is competitive before you devote all of your time to it. This is part of the frustration most people have with Expanded, as nearly every Expanded major is played in an unknown metagame.)

If you won’t have that much time to prepare, you shouldn’t try to pick up a new deck that has many close matchups, like Malamar FLI or Zoroark-GX decks. Linear, take-my-Prize-cards decks like ADP, Blowns, or Baby Blowns, or even straightforward Control decks like Doll Stall, are better choices to pick up in these scenarios. Of course, you shouldn’t neglect your meta predictions when picking a deck, but do understand the risks. Perhaps playing a simple deck perfectly is better than the complex deck without mastery of it, even when the latter has a somewhat more favorable meta.

Conclusion

Thank you so much for reading this long article! I’ve had a blast writing it, and I hope you enjoyed experiencing it too. I look forward to competing again starting with Collinsville 🇺🇸, for which I will start my testing tomorrow! You can expect a BLW–SSH article from me a few days before that event. Take care!

-Jonathan


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