Hello 6P! I’m back with another article for you after a bittersweet Collinsville experience. After having made Top 8 at Dallas Regionals with TrevNoir, people caught on to how strong the deck was. So much so, that it was the most played deck in the tournament as per RK9 Labs data.
Expanded, TrevNoir in Dallas
Granted, I expected the deck to be played more than in Dallas of course, which is why I had a specific tech for mirror in my list: Wobbuffet PHF. The deck ended up being the overall winner, but unfortunately not in my own hands. I did make Day 2, barely, after a 4-0 start, but I performed very poorly in Day 2 due to a combination of poor luck and poor play on my part due to me feeling terrible with the flu and a nonstop cough. 67th place meant reaching Day 2 meant nothing, as I could’ve just played out Round 9 the day before, lost, and still ended up with the same amount of CP. I had not experienced such a bad Day 2 yet, and it really is brutal to play another day and walk away with absolutely nothing.
This is the list I ran, which I felt pretty confident in and, for the most part, did its job very very well:
2 Milotic FLF
1 Ditto p
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******
##Pokémon - 19
* 2 Feebas DRM 28
* 2 Milotic FLF 23
* 1 Alolan Grimer UNM 127
* 1 Alolan Muk SUM 58
* 1 Garbodor BKP 57
* 4 Shaymin-EX ROS 77
* 2 Gengar & Mimikyu-GX TEU 53
* 2 Trevenant & Dusknoir-GX PR-SM 217
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Ditto p LOT 154
* 1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60
* 1 Wobbuffet PHF 36
##Trainer Cards - 35
* 1 Computer Search BCR 137
* 1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 2 Ace Trainer AOR 69
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 4 VS Seeker PHF 109
* 4 Battle Compressor Team Flare Gear PHF 92
* 1 Guzma BUS 115
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
* 3 Float Stone BKT 137
* 1 Gladion CIN 95
* 3 Trainers’ Mail ROS 92
* 4 Sky Field ROS 89
* 2 Weakness Policy BUS 126
* 1 N DEX 96
##Energy - 6
* 6 P Energy SUM 162
Total Cards - 60
****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=79927 ******
The main difference between this and my Top 8 Dallas list was the replacement of Pokémon Communication for the new Quick Balls. The increase in consistency thanks to these is unmeasurable, as having a Pokémon in hand is no longer a requirement to continue to search for Shaymin-EXs and dig through your deck to get the combo set up.
The inclusion of Wobbuffet PHF was for the mirror as mentioned earlier, as you can have an explosive turn one and promote the Wobb, making it very difficult for them to get going at all. If they choose to go second instead, they are susceptible to Horror House-GX, so it’s a lose/lose for your opponent no matter who is going first or second.
Finally, Garbodor BKP was included in the list in the final phases of testing with my friend Alex Garcia, as we were having a losing record versus the new Snorlax VMAX/Cinccino SSH decks. They had so many possible topdecks after we pulled off the combo, and we can only 3HKO the Snorlax VMAX, giving them quite a few turns to try and get out of the lock.
As can be seen from the RK9 Labs data, Snorlax VMAX was actually the second most played deck—basically on par with TrevNoir—so it was important to have the full Ability lock for that matchup, Zoroark-GX, and also to have a fighting chance versus RowEgg if they didn’t get to play a Stealthy Hood on their Vileplume BUS.
Gladion came in very handy throughout the tournament, as sometimes you could guarantee a missing piece of a combo by knowing your Prize cards, or simply access your Guzma or last VS Seeker guaranteed, rather than hope to hit it in the late stages of the game. It was one of the best cards I played for sure, and made setting up Alolan Muk or Garbodor much easier.
Final Thoughts on TrevNoir
This deck is definitely oppressive but in a more aggressive way than oppressive decks of the past, such as Zoroark Control. I do expect some sort of ban incoming if we see the deck dominate Charlotte Regionals in a few weeks. If I were going to Charlotte, I would definitely be playing the deck again.
Other Expanded Contenders
Other strong contenders in Expanded are RowEgg and Snorlax VMAX. As we saw this past weekend, both had a lot of success and are decks you should be actively testing against if you’re going to Charlotte. RowEgg feels especially powerful as it would be a great counter to all the Mill decks and many decks in general as most are not well equipped to deal with Item lock anymore. (That is if Turbo Dark sees a decline in play, since it wasn’t too successful at the past two Expanded Regionals.) Stealthy Hood on Vileplume AOR, allowing you to maintain Item lock despite Garbotoxin, is a big deal as well and it is no surprise that it has done well at both of the latest Expanded events.
It seems like on paper Turbo Dark is very good, but when it comes to actually performing, the deck can clunk itself out of a game by drawing the wrong combination of resources (Dark Patches plus Sycamores) or simply failing to hit Max Elixirs.
Was RowEgg the true BDIF before TrevNoir, and was Turbo Dark was simply overhyped? I think so.
Moving on to Standard, our next immediate event in North America is Toronto Regionals , which is sure to be heavily influenced by Malmö Regionals which just took place this weekend. The Top 8 consisted of 3 ADP/Zacian V, 2 Baby Blacephalon, 2 PikaRom, and 1 Cinccino Control deck. I was genuinely surprised at PikaRom doing that well, and no Malamar or Mew3/Welder decks in sight. In terms of raw power, I feel like PikaRom is a bit more average than Malamar for example, but I can see why Mew3 probably didn’t do well, since it won OCIC and was likely more targeted with cards included in people’s lists such as Power Plant and Mimikyu CEC 97 + Lysandre Labs.
Won Malmø regionals with "Spinn to win"
The Oranguru brother was just in here for emotional support pic.twitter.com/POtuET4IFb
Tord Reklev managed to win his second Regional of this season, and has so far Top 4’d Worlds 2019, won 2 Regionals, and Top 8’d OCIC. Not too shabby of a season for him. His ADP/Zacian V list was a bit different from what we have seen recently, as it ran basic W Energy and Energy Spinner to search them out. This obviously has a few advantages and disadvantages over the Tag Call/Guzma & Hala engine, as you use an Item to search for the elusive Water and when going second, you can even get Metals into your hand to guarantee the turn two Altered Creation-GX+. This gives you freedom to use Professor’s Research instead of Guzma & Hala as your Supporter for the turn, which in turn leads to more card advantage. The downside of course is that you don’t get a guaranteed Escape Board to retreat your Jirachi.
So far the Tag Call engine was the predominant one and I believe the most popular at the Malmö event as well. However, Tord came out on top in the mirror match in the finals, so it is sure to catch other people’s attention going into Toronto next weekend.
With OCIC and now Malmö results, I think we can make a very clear tier list as follows:
- Tier 1: ADP/Zacian V, Cinccino Control
- Tier 1.5: Mew3/Welder
- Tier 2: PikaRom, Baby Blacephalon, Obstagoon, Fire Box
- Tier 3: Mew3/Malamar, Giratina/Malamar, Magcargo
As far as Tier 1 goes, ADP/Zacian V has great Prize tradeoffs versus any TAG TEAM or 1-Prizer decks thanks to ADP’s Altered Creation-GX+, and the deck has room for tech Basics like Phione CEC, Absol TEU, Mimikyu CEC 97, and Oranguru UPR to help with matchups, while also fitting damage modifiers to hit the right numbers with Shrine of Punishment and Vitality Band. If the deck was perceived as very strong before Sword & Shield got released, I think OCIC and Malmö have made me realize it’s actually stronger than I originally thought.
Cinccino Control is another deck which has a solid game plan and is very difficult to stop if not respected, but even if you are prepared, it is still a deck you can lose to if you don’t apply enough pressure quickly enough. The limited gust effects, along with Lillie’s Poké Dolls, make this a force to be reckoned with for sure.
Tier 1.5 exists solely because I couldn’t decide whether Mew3/Welder was a Tier 1 or Tier 2 deck. Of course, winning OCIC is a huge merit, but what happened in Malmö? Perhaps the deck was heavily countered as I previously mentioned, but if it is actually that susceptible to being hated out of a metagame, can you really say it’s an absolute Tier 1 deck? Hence my conundrum and the existence of Tier 1.5. The deck can also fit a wide variety of options that have seen success in the past, including Espeon & Deoxys-GX, Charizard & Braixen-GX, along with a new option in Muk & Alolan Muk-GX, a very neat way to try and counter Obstagoon by bypassing Obstruct through the placement of damage counters and Poison.
For Tier 2, PikaRom didn’t do very well at OCIC other than Jon Eng’s Top 16 placement, but it did very well in Malmö and the inherent power and synergy of the Lightning cards is too strong to ignore. Electromagnetic Radar and Quick Ball combine very neatly to give the deck the resources it needs for the coveted turn one Full Blitz. It also doesn’t mind too much going first as it can take advantage of Guzma & Hala searching out Thunder Mountain p and a Special Energy. Combined with a turn one attachment on a PikaRom, that usually equates to an early Full Blitz, which is what you’re aiming for most of the time.
Top 8 at Malmö Regionals with Blacephalon!
I'm convinced this is the best way to play the deck. Everything unusual (except Kartenvoy) should be credited to @ToineLay and @shirasefukiko who made the deck for Japanese City Leagues, big shout out to them! pic.twitter.com/87B423rU1×
Baby Blacephalon is extremely cost-efficient in this metagame which lacks strong single-Prize attackers, so 2- (or 3-) for-1 Prize trades allows it to close out games very easily. The tools it gained in Lucky Egg, Cramorant V, and even Victini V seem to be enough to continue to position itself as an extremely powerful deck in the format.
I think Obstagoon being touted as a top deck after its Top 4 at OCIC and Puerto Rico SPE win is a little overreaction in terms of its strength. I think the deck is good, but also predictable and easily teched for. Mawile-GX is the best counter to the deck, as its Captivating Wink Ability completely nullifies the single Obstagoon win condition that people try to play for. Mawile-GX was nowhere in OCIC, but after Obstagoon gets hype, you can expect direct counters to be played for it, so it will go through the same cycle of play the deck only when people expect it the least. Extra gust effects go a long way into countering the deck of course, and the fragile early game can be its own demise a lot of the time. The fact that it can steal games against underprepared players is what places it in Tier 2, but it can easily be Tier 3 or worse for any given tournament where it is heavily tech for.
Fire Box has been a mainstay in the format since Worlds 2019, and the engine in which it runs hasn’t changed. What has changed, however, are the Pokémon available and the options to find them. Quick Ball is stronger than Cherish Ball in this deck due to the ease of searching out non-GX Basics which are key to the decks success, namely Vulpix TEU and Victini p. This consistency boost, along with favorable Fire typing in a Zacian V metagame, and the 1HKO options it has in most of its attackers, make it a formidable deck. It’s only set behind by its immense reliance on Welder, which even Victini V is of great help to compensate for that and accelerate Energy in a different way.
The Tier 3 decks, the Malamars and Magcargo, seemed to be touted as strong options but so far have yet to really show glimpses of their potential. I do, however, think that any of these decks (or above decks) could come out with a Regional or SPE win simply because the adaptation to the rule changes, and the continuous evolution of the metagame and format, which means with a little luck on your side, any of these decks could win on any given day. They are powerful, and they are threats to be considered. They just haven’t shown up in a big way yet.
Due to EUIC being canceled I actually might not be going to Toronto, as now Regional/SPE Points are more important than ever and there are SPEs happening in Central America (Chile , Guatemala ) at the same time, which might be easier to attain significant Points at. The cancelation definitely impacts many people’s plans and was the right move in my opinion, but that just means I need to reevaluate what I want to do for Q3. I finished Q2 pretty fed up and tired of Cups and the system as a whole, but I still need to work to get my Day 2 invite, especially with only NAIC available for me to make up for in terms of not doing well at LAIC and not going to OCIC.
Anyway, I’m rambling now. I hope you enjoyed this thorough analysis of the current Standard and my opinion on the current top decks available. Maybe you’ll see me in Toronto, maybe you won’t. At the time of writing this I actually haven’t made a final decision yet. Thanks so much for reading though, and as always I’m available for any comments or feedback over on my Tablemon social media!
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