Richmond Top 32 Preparation Insight and Report

Luke Morsa
November 08, 2019

Reading my past two articles and watching my expanded videos on Youtube could give you insight to what was going on in the weeks leading up to Richmond Regionals, but this is a behind the scenes look that includes what I believe were the most instrumental points in my preparation that led to my Top 32 placement. Those pieces are more of my thoughts at various check points, where this is more about the journey through the format. 


About three weeks away from Richmond Regionals I was aware that Zoroark Control and Sablegarb were very strong, but it hadn’t been made incredibly public yet. My friend (and fellow Flipside writer!) Alec Geissler and I tested and built and theorized a lot about Zoroark Seismitoad and Zoroark Control early in our Richmond / Portland testing. We decided that Seismitoad was being overlooked and that Quaking Punch could still be strong in the expanded metagame regardless of the power creep with Tag Team Pokemon. 

I experimented with Seismitoad-EX’s Quaking Punch as a main strategy using Zoroark-GX as the draw engine. The main version of the Zoro Toad archetype utilizes Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City to disrupt with sleep and put out extra damage with poison. I tried a more control focused version of Toad with more disruptive supporters and energy removal as well as Silent Labs in place of the laser / bank combo. I tested and theoried this second variant with my friends Alec Geissler and Alex Garcia and we all concluded that the control version of Zoro Toad was too underwhelming without the laser / bank combo to supplement Seismitoad-EX’s low damage output. 

About two weeks away from the event I believed that Zoroark Seismitoad was outclassed by Zoroark Control. The one reason I had to consider Zoro Toad over Zoro Control was because Zoro Toad’s favorable matchups can be fairly easy whereas Zoro Control really doesn’t have many easy matchups; Zoro Control takes precise and knowledgeable play throughout most matchups. I was practicing a lot of Sablegarb and Zoro Control since these seemed like the best decks in the format and I wanted to have a lot of experience with them in case they were the best plays when it got closer to the tournament. I had been playing a bit of Buzzwole Garbodor Power Plant since I thought it was a solid deck and Marshadow SGL / Power Plant is very strong, but Buzz Garb isn’t too hard to play so I didn’t want to use valuable testing time on a deck I could just pick up and play if I decided it was a good play for the tournament. 

My friend WIll Jenkins told me that Night March was good and something that the community was sleeping on and that he would be playing it to a League Cup the upcoming weekend (the weekend before Richmond). As soon as he said this I started talking about Trevenant and preparing Trevenant in case everyone found out that Night March was good. 

The weekend before Richmond, I was not going to any cups and I stayed home to test with 3 people and a bunch of decks. I prepared 10 decks to play with and against just to at least dabble with a myriad of archetypes. I had built Zoroark Garbodor, Turbo Dark, Archie’s, Trevenant, Night March, Buzz Garb Plant, Egg Row, Zoroark Control, Sablegarb, and Mewtwo M Gardy. Just to give you some special insight as to how I prepare for a major tournament, this is what I was thinking about the decks at this point:

  • Zoroark Garbodor: It is highly likely I play this deck since I am comfortable with it and I think it has outs to beat just about anything. I wouldn’t suggest a player that is unfamiliar with the deck picking it up.
  • Turbo Dark: I will not be playing this deck under any circumstances because the tournament will be riddled with counter meta decks prepared to beat Turbo Dark
  • Archie’s: I will not be playing this deck under any circumstances because it is too volatile for me and I feel like the games are out of my control, much like Turbo Dark. 
  • Trevenant: I want to play this deck if the counter meta becomes popularized, Night March and Buzz Garb are very good matchups. 
  • Night March: If Night March does not become very widespread then I will consider playing it. 
  • I think Buzz Garb is the very best play to secure points for the tournament since Let Loose/Plant is strong and Buzz Garb is strong versus Turbo Dark which will be popular
  • Egg Row: Aaron Friedman shared with me his list and he and I have been going back and forth on changes. I probably played 6-8 games total with the deck but was uneasy about playing it into a field of Archie’s and Zoroark Control. I think the deck had a ton of potential but cannot see myself playing it. 
  • Zoroark Control: Unless I am told that the deck is literally unbeatable, I will not be playing this deck. My focus is not at its best in the past week due to mental exhaustion and anxiety and I would not be confident in myself piloting a very difficult deck this weekend. 
  • Sablegarb: If I play a control deck it would likely be Zoroark Control instead. 
  • Mewtwo M Gardy: There is no way I am playing this deck. Mewtwo & Mew Tag Team is being countered with Power Plant, Silent Lab, Alolan Muk, and Garbotoxin. 

I tested Trevenant a bit with Geissler and I told Jenkins that I thought the meta would shape up to be very favored for it so he and I sent back and forth lists and tested both together and individually. I made a flowchart on how Toronto 2018-2019’s meta was indicative of what would happen in Richmond last week and included it in my flipside article. Looking back at that, I think I was very close to correct and that the box with question marks for Richmond should be filled in with Egg Row. 


As the week leading up to Richmond progressed it became more clear that the counter meta of Night March and Buzz Garb was becoming a reality. Trevenant was looking like it could end up having the favorable field that I hypothesized, and the only issue was beating Turbo Dark. Looking back to Toronto, many trevenant players used Pyroar to beat Pikarom since Pyroar cannot be damaged by Basic Pokemon. This does not work against Turbo Dark since they have Hypnotoxic Lasers and Dead End GX. My personal contribution to the Trevenant deck myself and Jenkins were working on was Sparkling Robe on a Pyroar to stop it from being poisoned so that you could essentially autowin Turbo Dark once you get a robed Pyroar active. So, for a solid couple days we thought we were playing a 1-1 Pyroar with a Sparkling Robe to autowin Turbo Dark since that was going to be a very popular deck. At 3:30 AM, the morning of the tournament I messaged Will that I was taking out Pyroar and Robe for cards that are actually good in every matchup other than Turbo Dark and I wanted to just take the loss to turbo Dark. He had felt the same way and already had a list prepared, which was 59/60 cards of the list I played for the tournament. 

I ended up locking in my deck a little after 4 PM. You can find my list here.

My Tournament Run

Round 1 - Vs Trevenant (Trey) 1-0

Round 2 - Vs Zoroark-GX / Seviper (Jeremiah Schmutz) 2-0

Round 3 - Vs Zoroark Control (Joey Ruttiger) 2-0-1

Round 4 - Vs Egg Row (Ryan Antonucci) 2-1-1

Round 5 - Vs Zoroark Control (Jun) 3-1-1

Round 6 - Vs Buzz Garb (Joan Morsa) 4-1-1

Round 7 - Vs Buzz Garb (Zac Cooper) 5-1-1

Round 8 - Vs Zoroark Control (Caleb Gedemer) 6-1-1

Round 9 - Vs Egg Row (Ian Robb) 6-1-2

I went into Day 2 as 17th seed with 20 points. I played against 3 players in the running for Top 16 NA and actually knew 7/9 of my opponents, so I was feeling good about my day 1 knowing that I played against strong opponents who were of similar skill to players in Day 2. 

Round 10 - Vs Pikarom (Harris Noor) 6-2-2

I knew I was losing this one as Harris was one of the 6 people I did not want to face, the others being Steven with Pikarom, Drew with Gardeon, and the three Turbo Darks in day 2. 

Round 11 - Vs Vespiquen (Connor Finton) 6-2-3

Game 1 Connor popped off on his first turn and thinned his deck out a lot. He also got turn 1 Bronzong established which meant my damage spread was going to be prolonged. He ended up running through my board fairly consistently this game. Game 2 went swimmingly for me and I spread damage until everything was knocked out. In game 3 I needed one more turn to win but we ended up tying. 

Round 12 - Vs Buzz Garb (Alex Schemanske) 7-2-3

Games 1 and 3 went as they normally do for Trevenant vs Buzz Garb since my Pokemon are resistant to Buzzwole and I don’t play a lot of items to amplify trashalanche damage. Game 2 I mismanaged energy and thought I had one more in the deck when in reality it was prized. This was my own fault and Alex capitalized on it by leaving a Trevenant stuck in the active so I scooped Game 2 since I could only prolong my deck out. 

Round 13 - Vs Egg Row (Andrew Mahone) 7-3-3

I lost 0-2 pretty quickly here as Andrew played perfectly game 1 and game 2 I prized Tapu Lele GX. Trevenant vs Egg Row relies on either trapping something active and spreading damage which requires the Egg Row player to misplay usually, or damaging with Lele’s Energy drive and cleaning up with Wobbuffet’s Psychic Assualt. I scooped game 2 when I saw that Lele was prized since Andrew had a single GX Pokemon on the board and there was no way for me to establish damage on an Egg Row that was attacking every turn. 

Round 14 - vs James Langley ID 7-3-4

I ID’d round 14 and took the Top 32. 



I hope you enjoyed my tournament report and insight into my tournament preparation. I will be starting Cosmic Eclipse coverage soon and I am currently doing preliminary Cosmic Eclipse testing.