Good morrow, fellow followers of the stream, contestants, and other Pokefans alike! (Were there any forums members playing? Please post if you did!) As many of you know, North American International Championships were last weekend. And don't worry! Tord Reklev didn't win another one- come on, that'd be ridiculous. His fourth? That'd be what, exactly 50% of all International Championships ever? Craziness. Why would you even think that? Naw, he didn't win.
He just got second.
Anyways. I don't claim to be an expert at analyzing TCG matches, but I do claim to have wasted my entire weekend watching the Twitch stream, so I feel qualified to write this. Let's deal with the Top Cut (A.K.A. the top eight) first. You can see their decklists here: https://www.pokemon.com/us/play-pokemon/internationals/2018/north-america/tcg-masters/"]https://www.pokemon.com/us/play-pokemon/internationals/2018/north-america/tcg-masters/
The first and most obvious thing is that five of the decks are Zoroak variants. However, they aren't exclusively Lycanroc ones we might have expected. They were definately on most players radar, though- not shockers, just a little interesting to see Golisopod and Garbodor as equally successful partners to the wolfstone. Tord's version, however, is a shocker. As some others have said, people have been pairing Zoroark with, well, everything. It's been partners with just about every other meta card at some point, but people keep thinking of new ones. "Maybe I should pair it with this. Maybe I should pair it with that." A small number of players, Tord included, went a step further. "How about if I pair Zoroark with... More zoroark?"
It's a nice control strategy, using hammers and disruptive supporters to destroy your opponent's resources; Oranguru's Resource Management to keep yours alive and prevent decking out; and max potion to prevent KOs. Balanced out by simple attacks from Zoroark-GX, and you can will by stall or prizes, your choice. And by "nice," of course, I mean "completely evil."
It's interesting to note that no Buzzwole decks made it. I don't think this means the deck is less good, though- it just means people over-prepared for it. After all, in Seniors, it pretty much swept. But the Masters division had so many people bring techs and meta-counters explicitly designed to fight the mosquito that it didn't stand much chance. Still watch out for it at worlds. It will be there.
Malamar also saw good results, 2 in the cut. Both had a large variety of psychic attackers, plus Marshadow. Because of their rapid recharge power, they can afford to just throw a pokemon down, knowing it will be able to attack next turn. This raw power is enough to overcome bad weaknesses and slow starts, if you let it set up. So snipe those little Inkay while you can!
Special Section: The Ross Report
Ross was using a deck that centered around Malamar and… Hoopa. No, no; not the good one with the abilty. The theme deck one. Yeah, from Steam Seige. Go figs. He does run a few of the GXs that normally go with the squid, but just one and one of Dawn Wings and Necrozma. The deck really focuses on only giving one prize at a time. Unfortunately, his 5/2/2 record, while good, did not make Day 2.
So, here’s what I saw the most this weekend. Knowing the meta, as always, is key. However, you also have to be able to predict what people will do to counter your meta decks, if you use them. Buzzwole players didn’t do so well at that, and got beat up by Latios, the Mewtwo promo, Hoopa, etc. Also, knocking out zorua, inkay, and other key pokemon before they evolve is a huge advantage. If your deck can’t do 60 damage on its second turn, it may have trouble keeping pace. Max potion has been much more relevant lately than ever before (except for Metagross and stall decks, OFC), especially since most attackers now either just need one energy or can charge quickly. If you find your pokemon often fall to 2-hit HOs, consider this blue spray. Totally not a PED! And finally: don’t count less popular decks out. If you have a bad matchup against a minor deck, tech against it anyway. That won Tord multiple games via Oranguru, and Sam Liggett capitalized on other people not doing that by making top 32 (I think) with Volcanion. Classic Volcanion, not Ho-oh Kiawe.
That’s my probably overlong take. Train on, friends.
Edited by SuperStone, 10 July 2018 - 02:28 PM.
The rest of the world must act as they see fit. If TPCi insists on keeping the Chat canned, that is their decision.
But that does not stop me from opposing it.
And I will oppose it forever.