Making Do w/ the Sauce

A New and Improved Way to Play Cinccino Control
Cinccino Control now comes equipped with a “shell game” (and more).

Hey there readers, I’ve been invited back to write again following my first article and I’m beyond excited to do so! I’m particularly enthusiastic because I get to share with you all a currently unknown variant of Cinccino Control, which has quickly become one of my favorite decks of the current Standard format.

Following the Limitless Series, after just barely whiffing the invitational, I was burned out. I had no motivation to play Standard, Expanded, or really engage in any competitive play. I’d join the occasional online tournament, wanting to keep myself sharp, but I was mostly motivated by the prize support. Like many people, I gravitated toward the Legacy format on PTCGO. I had fun creating some funny Stall and Mill decks, most of which were not great but I was enjoying myself. However, I was quickly thrown back into the Standard mindset when my friend Joel Stroeve introduced to me the idea of a Cinccino Control variant that focused heavily on Energy denial. I, of course, implored him to try Cinccino Mill. However, he said he wanted to try the idea out. The deck quickly became a focus within our friend group. Within a few days it went from an interesting pet deck to something we thought could become a high-tier archetype.

Previously, I’ve had my issues with Cinccino Control. Until now, it has been attempting to accomplish a similar goal to Pidgeotto Control’s, where you attempt to hand lock the opponent late game. However, I found multiple issues with the archetype.

Firstly, hand lock often wants to pull off what is sometimes referred to as the “Exodia” turn, where the hand Control player typically wants to: (1) use Reset Stamp late game, then (2) Chip-Chip Ice Axe, followed by (3) removing the cards the opponent got from the Reset Stamp with either Mars or Jessie & James, and (4) finish it off by using Articuno-GX’s Cold Crush-GX attack in order to remove any Energy off an Active attacker. The exact line of play obviously varies on the situation, but the objective is to leave your opponent with no hand, a bad topdeck, and something useless stuck in the Active position. From there, the Control player could use Oranguru’s Resource Management attack to continuously retrieve and play Chip-Chip Ice Axe to infinitely lock their opponent for the rest of the game.

However, this “Exodia” turn has been harder and harder to completely pull off with such a strong presence of Marnie and Reset Stamp in the meta. A well-timed hand disruption from the opponent can quickly ruin Control’s chances of securing a lock, and it can prove difficult to recover from such a situation.

From there, the Control player has to decide whether they want to (A) wait until they have a complete lock available to them at the risk of getting their hand disrupted or (B) attempt a lock earlier at the risk of the opponent getting lucky and drawing out of it. That level of uncertainty never made me happy when playing the deck.

Secondly, until now, Cinccino’s lock hasn’t been as infinite. Because the Control player needs to discard a card every turn with Cinccino’s Make Do Ability to get what they retrieved with Resource Management, they eventually run out of cards that they want to discard. This limits the Control player’s options toward the end of the game, and, if the Control player isn’t careful, their opponent might land an opportunistic Reset Stamp and deck them out. Unlike Mill, Control is playing for a longer game, recycling many more resources, and appreciates an infinite loop. Eventually the Control player is limited to 2 cards per Resource Management, as they need to discard the first to draw the other two.

Lastly, and this has been my biggest concern, consistency was always a problem for me when playing Cinccino Control. Until now, Cinccino Control lists have reduced their Pokémon search options, reduced their Supporter counts, and pared their Cinccino line. Individually, I don’t have a massive issue with these changes. However, all together, they’re very concerning. I continuously bricked and with fewer Cinccinos it was harder to set them up and that made Marnie all the more intimidating. I found the deck to be more fragile than Mill, and so I stuck with Cinccino’s more aggressive and consistent archetype.

I’m glad to say that most of these issues have been resolved with this new deck. It still has its flaws, but it is less susceptible to hand disruption, has the ability to infinitely loop its resources, and it’s surprisingly consistent, as all Cinccino lists should be. This deck has answers to most things in the meta, with multiple overwhelmingly favorable matchups and very few unfavorables.

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