Metagame Monopoly — Conquering the Worlds Format

The World Championship is almost upon us. Yeah, no joke! On August 18th, trainers from around the world will gather to duke it out on the mat for advancement to the second day of play, on the 19th, we’ll see a Top 8 form and play down to the finals. The final day, the 20th, will conclude with an epic finals battle between the tournament’s top two players, streamed for all to see. Do you have what it takes to go deep in the tournament? Are you looking to take your Worlds run this year to the next level?

I’ve qualified for the World Championship five years in a row now, with four invitations coming from the Masters division. While I’ve never had a deep Worlds run before, I’m hoping this year’s the year. Last year, my friends Cody Walinski, Enrique Avila, and I played the same Greninja BREAK deck list, all with varying results. I was one win off of making it out of the first day, and my losses are to blame on really bad luck (a lot of first turn wins were had on my poor Froakie). Cody ended up placing second, and while I wished it was me, I was still very happy for him.

I know I can make accurate deck choice calls based upon the projected field of decks, and I’m always extremely confident in my ability to play the most optimal deck list for any tournament. Today, I’ll be sharing with you my thoughts on the World Championship field this year! Hopefully you’ll have a lot to take away from it when it’s all said and done. My hope is that you’ll be able to make a more informed deck choice after reading this piece. Without further ado, enjoy!

Metagame Musings

Let me start this section with a complete list of the viable decks I see competing for the title at the World Championship, and how popular I expect each of them to be, play-wise (first being the most popular):

Woah, that’s a lot of decks! Sure is, but a little more than half of them likely won’t matter, since so few players will actually use them. First and foremost, Gardevoir-GX is the biggest card coming out of Burning Shadows, and deserves to be treated that way. It’s received the most hype by players, and I would expect nothing less than it being the most popular deck at the tournament. I see Volcanion being the second most popular deck right now, since the new Kiawe card really gives it a huge boost, especially against any Garbodor variant.

Golispod-GX is another deck that is getting some big hype, and I even covered it here in my last article! It has many good things going for it, so I would expect masses of it in the tournament, as well. Next we have the good ‘ol Garbodor / Drampa-GX, that most recently won the North American International Championship. A lot of players are discounting Garbodor going forward, but I don’t think much will change with the card; I’ll talk a bit more about this later.

While M Rayquaza-EX has taken a back seat for a while now in the Standard format, I think it might be in a good position for a big comeback, since it has some pretty good matchups against most of the top decks out there. It’s always been a fan favorite, so I expect it a fair bit going forward. Alolan Ninetales-GX is always a curious deck. It saw a lot of hype going into one tournament this year, Wisconsin Regionals, but then flopped in a massive way, and hasn’t seen much play since. After a Top 8 finish at the North American International Championship, though, I see it getting some more attention, and it does have solid matchups against most decks, including the most popular ones. So we’ll see if it actually gets played this time around!

Vileplume / Decidueye-GX has gone back and forth this season, as has Greninja. These have both been extremely popular decks at various points this season, and for good reason! Sometimes, the two can be seen as glass cannon decks, so their popularity has waxed and waned as a result. Going into Worlds, both lack the flashiness to be ranked high on this list, as well as the hype to boost them a bit closer to the top.

The deck that took the biggest hit from the release of Burning Shadows has to be Garbodor / Espeon-GX, from the new Guzma card. While I don’t think Guzma “kills” the deck by any means, it’s going to be a big deterrent for players considering the deck going forward. Lastly, while I think Vespiquen still has endless potential, I think it’s far too risky of a play anymore, since almost every deck can either beat it already, or include a counter.

As for the rest of the decks on my list, most have not been too popular before the new set’s release, with the exception of Vikavolt decks, and Zoroark BREAK variants. I think Gardevoir-GX easily beats both of them, which is a huge problem in the new metagame, and those two decks already had inherited problems, so Gardevoir’s release could be the nail in the coffin.

The first 10 decks are the ones you could expect anywhere from one, to three times in a tournament, on average, and the rest of the pack will be either a no-show entirely, or maybe you’ll face one of them just a single time. The sheer number of decks out there right now is massive, so it can be reassuring at the least to know that you don’t really have to worry about all of them, especially if one doesn’t figure to be as popular as the rest!

Targeted Tactics

I just went over a huge list of decks, ranked in order of each’s expected popularity. Now, where do you go from here? Well, breaking down the top decks you expect and pinpointing their weaknesses seems like a good place to start. So sure, let’s do that…

  1. Gardevoir-GX

  2. Volcanion / Starmie

  3. Golispod-GX / Variants

  4. Garbodor / Drampa-GX

  5. M Rayquaza-EX

  6. Alolan Ninetales-GX

  7. Vileplume / Decidueye-GX

  8. Greninja BREAK

  9. Decidueye-GX / Alolan Ninetales-GX

  10. Garbodor / Espeon-GX

  11. Vespiquen / Zoroark

  12. Zoroark BREAK / Variants

    • Weaknesses
      • Devolving (Espeon-EX)
      • Fighting types (Marshadow-GX, Zygarde-EX)
      • Limiting Bench Pokemon
  13. Vikavolt / Tapu Bulu-GX

  14. Metagross-GX

  15. Darkrai-EX / Darkrai-GX

  16. M Gardevoir-EX

  17. Volcanion / Max Elixir

  18. Lapras-GX / Manaphy-EX

  19. Gyarados

  20. Raichu / Lycanroc-GX

  21. Sylveon-GX

  22. Xerneas

  23. Rayquaza / Solgaleo-GX


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