LAIC Meta Review and Updated Thoughts on ADP
LAIC results are in and Ability Zard took 1st place piloted by former World Champion Robin Schulz. Ability Zard is not a new Archetype and really didn’t gain many possible additions from Cosmic Eclipse, but there are some fairly simple theories behind its success. Mewtwo & Mew Box is another pre-existing archetype that also did very well; unlike Ability Zard, Mewtwo & Mew can benefit from several new cards from Cosmic Eclipse. ADP which was an entirely new archetype was both very popular and very successful at LAIC. I will be looking at these three archetypes and the meta developments that I believe could move these archetypes in and out of the excellent position they were in for the weekend.
Of course I had an article on ADP published last week, but my thoughts that are immediately preceding a major tournament can usually be found on my twitter or in a last-minute YouTube video since articles are a much more prepared and educational medium. In last week’s ADP article I wrote “I think that KADP is a very strong Tier 1 Archetype going into LAIC, but I do not think that this deck has broken the format by any means”. I would later say during a live stream hours before LAIC that I considered ADP a very solid deck and a great choice for the weekend, but I didn’t think it had the potential to win the whole tournament due to its lack of high-roll possibilities and aggression in a meta that I expected to be overwhelmed by unexpected aggression.
The night / morning before LAIC I tweeted “My top 3 decks for LAIC are Ability Zard, Baby Blowns, and Mew3. I'm not going but I think these decks will all do really well”, locking in my last meta prediction and also showing the furthest the meta would be able to develop for the weekend in my opinion. I would have likely played one of these Welder decks due to the unexpected aggression, although I do not really enjoy Welder based decks too much.
Ability Zard is an aggressive archetype that is usually built to have single prize attackers, GX attackers, and Tag Team GX attackers. It placed Top 4 at World Championships 2019 and had several more placements at Special Events and Regional Championships in the World’s format.
So how did Ability Zard find it in such a favorable position that a player like Robin Schulz thought the deck was good for the meta and was able to pilot it to an IC victory? After competing for such a long time, you might start to recognize patterns that occur in response to certain events. Something relevant that I am cognizant of is the fact that decks, especially newer decks, are unrefined and suboptimal upon the release of a new set. This information may seem obvious and irrelevant, but you should use whatever information you have to your advantage. If we assume that a new set will cause players to 1) play new decks that have not been optimized yet and 2) play older decks with new cards added without evidence to back up the changes potentially hindering the function of the deck, then we could look at the new set causing a phenomenon where decks become less consistent, lower functioning, and all-in-all less powerful in a vacuum. For further theory on what a new set’s inclusion in standard might cause, refer to my 2018 article “The Shiny New Thing Phenomenon”.
Aggressive linear decks should theoretically be very strong going into an unknown meta where decks are expected to function at a lower rate than desired being both slow to set up and inconsistent. Ability Zard was a perfect candidate for the aggressive deck to take advantage of the LAIC meta, since it had already been optimized over many tournaments and months and it was under the radar for this specific tournament.
Ability Zard could potentially get countered now that it won LAIC and it is expected to be played again, in which case we would see some meta shifts very similar to what happened after Worlds. Counters for the archetype include Stealthy Hood to prevent Ninetales’ Nine Temptations gusting effect which is a very prominent part of Ability Zard’s aggressive strategy and Wobbuffet LOT which stops Victini Prism from being able to attack.
Mewtwo & Mew
Mewtwo & Mew is in a very interesting position since there are plenty of new cards that can be included in the deck so countering Mewtwo & Mew is less straight forward than it was previously.
Previously, Power Plant could be very strong in the Malamar vs. Mew3 matchup since Power Plant would turn off Jirachi-GX’s ability thus allowing Giratina LOT to hit Mew3 for weakness. Aside from Power plant’s effectiveness as a counter, Jirachi-GX is also being removed from Mew3 decks since extra GXs on the bench makes the opposing Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff do more damage. Now, we are seeing decks use Weakness Guard Energy to remove weakness from Mew3 instead of Jirachi-GX. Guzma & Hala tag team can search out Weakness Guard Energy which makes it a more consistent method of removing weakness than it was prior, and Guzma & Hala can also get Stealthy Hood which is the next important new inclusion for Mewtwo & Mew.
Stealthy Hood is being included in Mewtwo & Mew as a precaution for possible Mimikyu techs especially in Malamar. Mimikyu’s ability reads: “Pokémon-GX that have any damage counters on them (both yours and your opponent's) have no Abilities”. Diverging from the topic of Mewtwo & Mew for a moment, I think that Malamar’s viability is dwindling down the more I look at the LAIC results and the possible meta shifts. I think that Mewtwo & Mew is naturally countering Malamar more now with Weakness Guard Energy, Stealthy Hood, and Mallow & Lana; and decks in general are playing a lot of Mallow & Lana which is very strong against Malamar’s strategy.
This is going to be a bit of stream of consciousness about Baby Blowns, so do your best to follow.
Assuming that the “Shiny new thing phenomenon” would cause people to play GX and Tag Team decks, especially suboptimally built GX decks, a single prize deck sounds great. But, Malamar is not the answer since Mallow & Lana is a powerful card vs two-shot strategies and being included in a variety of archetypes. Baby Blowns is a powerful single prize deck that has one-shot potential and was previously kept away by a horrific matchup versus Malamar. If Malamar should see less play and less success and the top decks should all be GX / Tag Team based, then Baby Blowns makes perfect sense. This was the train of thought that led me to think Baby Blowns should be a good meta call for LAIC.
ADP is the last archetype I will cover today. I wrote about it a lot last week so I am going to focus more on the theory and the changes and less on a specific list.
There were many lists at LAIC without N’s Resolve that saw success. Going forward I think that omitting N’s Resolve is fine if you are accepting a probably loss versus Welder decks that hit their welders on turns one and two. I think it is completely ignorant to go in with a “slow” ADP deck and expect to beat something like Mewtwo that can blow up anything on turns 2 and 3. The slow ADP decks have a turn 1 strategy of attach and not attack, then turn 2 attach and use Altered Creation, and then turn 3 finally attack with Ultimate Ray. This slower and more consistent build is fine vs an undefined field of inconsistent and slow decks, but now that we have real results backing aggressive welder decks I do not think a build without N’s Resolve is a great option for the deck. Of course, you could dodge Ability Zard and hit Mewtwo decks that have slower starts and be fine, but that is a chance you have to be willing to take.
The meta is in a really interesting place and I'm excited to see how it all shakes out. Best of luck in your battles this week!
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