Testing Updates and Findings before Worlds 2019
Worlds is 10 days away and Unified Minds has brought us plenty of new tools to work with outside of a huge rotation. I have been testing as much as my currently busy schedule allows me to. Today I will be sharing a lot of information that I have gathered during my testing. Enjoy!
Individual Good Cards
Ninetales is the best gust effect we have in the game now being that Lycanroc-GX GRI and Guzma have rotated. Custom Catcher is obviously more universal since it is a splashable item card, but it is not able to impact games as easily and consistently as Ninetales’ ability can. Ninetales can provide a stream of gusting turns with the help of cards like Giant Hearth, Fire Crystal, and Fiery Flint. In a format where players are preparing their decks for 1 gust a game or maybe 2 at the very most, multiple gusts that are courtesy of a single prize Pokémon that stays on the bench is very aggressive.
Ninetales needs Fire energy for its ability, so fire decks like Blacephalon-GX variants and Reshizard variants come to mind as where to include Ninetales. Since Fire is a strong type for its energy acceleration as well, maybe Ninetales can find its way into non-traditional Fire decks that are utilizing Welder.
This card isn’t as intrinsically good as Ninetales is, but Lysandre Labs can potentially be very valuable in the worlds meta. Some potentially important tools in our upcoming meta include Spell Tag, Escape Board, Fairy Charms, and Shedinja which makes itself into a tool. (Don't be a Shedinja!)
Very similar to Labs, Power Plant can stop and hurt many Pokémon and decks entirely. Early Power Plants can hinder decks that want to use Dedenne-GX to set up and mid to late Power Plants can completely stop decks that need abilities like Mewtwo Mew Tag Team decks and Darkrai Umbreon / Weavile GX Decks.
Switch? Yes switch is a good card and it should not be overlooked. Guzma and Acerola are gone, so options for switching are at a low and special conditions that are trying to stick are at a high. Raichu tag team is an amazing card that will certainly hurt you if you can’t move out of paralysis and confusion from Blacephalon-GX is more annoying than ever.
The Decks I Have Been Testing
Pikarom is being widely revered as one of the best decks for worlds format. Looking at it on paper it should be a top deck - it’s fast, powerful, has multiple attackers to choose from, and has very good search in Electromagnetic Radar and Volkner. One of my current issues when physically playing the deck has been my chances to win dwindle down with every turn I am not being obnoxiously fast and aggressive. Example: turn 1 Full Blitz into turn 2 Tag Bolt or turn 1 Full Blitz into turn 2 Custom Catcher an important Pokémon and hit it with 160 paralyze via Raichu Tag Team are really good starts and can be hard to match for a lot of decks in the format, especially decks that need to set up like Darkrai Umbreon and Malamar variants. There can be a lot of unsatisfactory starts for the deck - prizing Tapu Koko Prism Star hurts a lot, and overextending when you have favorable odds of getting a turn 1 attack and then missing it will often put you in a poor position with resources wasted and slack to pick up on the following turn.
Pikarom is not worth its volatility and expectedness in my opinion because it does not have an incredible matchup spread. It does have good matchups, don’t get me wrong, but there are little to no matchups that I feel are above 60/40 in the decks favor. Pikarom is very strong and is rightfully a top deck, but it is not something I am scared of due to its volatility. Pikarom is not one of my top picks at the moment due to its volatility and unimpressive matchup spread.
Malamar variants are currently predicted to be very popular in day 1 of worlds, but unlike Pikarom it is not considered a top archetype by a large percentage of the community. With gust effects presumably less frequent with Guzma rotating, benched Malamars are expected to be safer from aggressive play. With this and the fact that Malamar keeps Mysterious Treasure it should still be a top deck on paper. In my opinion it has consistent turn 1s and has a long list of tech attackers to choose from, but suffers to decks that can heal the poke and spread damage from Giratina LOT, Spell Tag, and the occasional Shrine of Punishments in some single prize focused variants.
Some will argue that the deck may have consistent turn 1 set ups but then struggles to get the Malamars and attacker(s) on the following turn, but I do not think that this happens a high enough percentage of the time to consider the deck bad because of it.
Psychic Malamar is currently one of my top picks for worlds at the moment due to my list’s consistency to stream single prize attackers with a few different cards that people may not prepare to play around.
1 Sigilyph-GX has been included because I need potential to one-shot a large threat like a Raichu Tag Team, Pikarom, or Reshizard. Intercept GX can deal massive damage to these high energy threats, so I think that it is a versatile and easy inclusion. Giratina & Garchomp Tag Team can also one-shot things, but it needs fighting energy and needs to attack into an already damaged Pokemon due to the stipulation of its main attack. Let us not forget that Sigilyph-GX also has the ability Mirror Counter which reads “If this Pokemon is your active Pokemon and is damaged by an attack from your opponent’s GX or EX, put damage counters on the attacking Pokemon equal to the damage dealt to this Pokemon”. Since the only decks that are typically including Power Plant at the moment are Green’s based decks, this ability will usually have to be dealt with by gusting around, attacking with a single prize Pokemon, or not dealt with at all at which point it will usually give you massive value.
Espurr can hit a damaged benched Pokemon for double the damage counters already on the Pokemon; so a Pokemon with 8 damage counters would be dealt 160 damage, 9 damage counters 180 damage, and so on. Espurr is super good to clean up a damaged Pokemon that has been retreated onto the bench and should not be overlooked as a very strong attacker in any Malamar variant.
Gust effects are always really strong, and going into post-rotation meta where people are expecting less gust effects can make it even stronger. I was originally opposed to Custom Catcher in Malamar variants, but I was losing too many games because my opponent retreated a damaged Pokemon that I couldn’t clean up with Espurr or Espeon & Deoxys Tag Team in time. 4 Custom Catcher is not needed in my opinion since I only expect to require one gust at most, so I am playing 3 Custom Catcher to have 2 for the gust and then 1 extra for prizing, discarding off of acro bike, and giving better odds to hit 2 at the same time.
I really like the Dark box deck since both Darkrai & Umbreon and Sableye & Tyranitar have absolutely absurd attacks. The attacks aren’t easy to pull off, but they are realistic and quite game changing in many situations. Weavile GX lets you move Energy around ad nauseam and will allow you to switch between the two heavy hitting tag teams without even needing them to be on the board at the beginning of the turn. Darkrai Umbreon’s GX attack instantly knocks out the defending Pokemon and restricts your opponent from playing any trainer cards next turn for the cost of 6 darkness energy. Sableye Tyranitar actually has two busted attacks, the first being Greedy Crush which deals 220 damage and awards you an extra prize card if the attacks damage knocked out the defending GX Pokemon. Sabletar’s GX attack mills 15 cards off your opponent’s deck, which is insane versus Malamar variants which thin their deck aggressively.
I think this deck caps at Tier 2 at the highest since its early set up is crucial and you cannot skill your way into optimal set ups every game. The volatility of the deck will definitely come into play over a long tournament because not every start will be great and this deck has a hard time coming back into the game after a poor start since it needs to set up multiple stage 1s to function.
I wrote about Green Reshizard two weeks ago and have still been testing it but I have not changed my list up too much. Green Reshi is the only deck that I am 100% confident in saying is Tier 1. Its ability to hinder the opponent with Power Plant, Lysandre Labs, and Reset Stamp while also healing your Reshizard is just very good. In addition to that of course is its very high damage output of 230 and 300 from the Reshis. I would be surprised if this was omitted from anyone’s Tier 1.
Gardeon was being overshadowed by the other Green builds like Green Reshi and Green Blacephalon, but it has recently gained recognition as a viable archetype that can hold its own with the other big Green decks.
I have been very happy with my testing results with this deck, but it can be hurt by Reset Stamp the same way that Gardeon itself thrives off of using Reset Stamp and Power Plant to put the opponent into bad hands while it chips away 150 damage at a time. I think that most decks can be reasonably hurt by Reset stamp though, and Gardeon can play from behind and leave a Mismagius on the bench before taking a knock out to effectively reset stamp proof itself.
The question that everyone will ask themselves and testing partners is “what will we play against in day 1”. My answer to this question is to prepare for a varied field of decks, but I absolutely expect there to be enough Pikarom and Malamar in day 1 for many players to hit multiple of each over the course of their rounds. Following those two archetypes I think that Blacephalon-GX and Green’s Reshi will also be quite popular.
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