Eternal Flame — The Return of Volcanion

Welcome back to PokeBeach, fans and subscribers! For this article I’m going start by talking about the London International Championships and what decks did well, plus the interesting new decks that came from Crimson Invasion. Then I’m going to talk about my recent League Cup experience and what I played against. Lastly, I’m going to talk about a deck that I think could be a great play for Memphis Regionals or any Standard tournament if the meta continues to have these newer decks.

London Internationals

The London Internationals happened recently, and it was the first big Standard Event with Shining Legends and Crimson Invasion legal. It was clearly going to be an interesting event with new decks and strategies brought to the table.

What New Standard Decks Came from Crimson Invasion and Shining Legends?

The three most notable decks that came from these sets are Golisopod-GX / Zoroark-GX, Metal / Silvally-GX / Zoroark-GX, and Decidueye-GX / Zoroark-GX. Zoroark-GX is being paired with a multitude of different partners because of the strength of its Abillity, Trade. I would expect it to remain a big part of the meta for a long time.

What Decks Did Well?

Broken

Aside from all the Zoroark decks doing well, the single deck that had the most placements in Top 32 was Gardevoir-GX. This comes as no surprise to me considering the deck has been incredibly powerful since it came out and will remain a force until it rotates. For London, most people seemed to shy away from the Sylveon-GX version of Gardevoir and switched to a version with four Max Potion. Due to the increasing amount of decks that struggle to OHKO a Gardevoir, this version was the most logical and will continue to be moving forward. Many other decks made Top 32 or better, such as Golisopod / Garbodor, Drampa-GX  Garbodor, Silvally / Buzzwole-GX, Decidueye / Zoroark, Decidueye / Zoroark / Buzzwole, Heatmor  Raichu, Volcanion-EX, Buzzwole / Lycanroc-GX, and Greninja BREAK. As you can see, the field was very diverse and plenty of new combinations arose from the new sets. The winning deck of the tournament was Golisopod / Zoroark, so I used that information along with what other decks that were popular to determine what I played for my recent League Cup.

League Cup First Place Report

Why Volcanion?

I chose to play Volcanion because I saw that many Metal and Grass decks did well at Internationals, as well as some Fighting decks that struggle to beat Volcanion. I figured since those were the decks that did well and were new archetypes, people would be dying to try them out at their next event, and I was not wrong. The field was full of Grass, Metal, Fighting, and quite a bit of Fire as well. There was still a fair amount of Gardevoir but luckily, I managed to avoid it. Here are the matchups I faced throughout the tournament.

Matchups

  • Round 1 – Golisopod-GX / Zoroark-GX / Kartana-GX – W – (2-0)
  • Round 2 – Drampa-GX / Garbodor – W – (2-0)
  • Round 3 – Lycanroc-GX / Buzzwole-GX – W – (3-0)
  • Round 4 – Volcanon-EX – W – (4-0)
  • Round 5 – ID – (4-0-1)
  • Round 6 – ID – (4-0-2)
  • Top 8 – Golisopod-GX / Zoroark-GX – WLW – (5-0-2)
  • Top 4 – Lycanroc-GX / Buzzwole-GX – LWW – (6-0-2)
  • Finals – Lycanroc-GX / Buzzwole-GX / Zygarde-EX – WLW – (7-0-2)

As you can see, I faced matchups that were all even to positive. I found out that Golisopod / Zoroark is a tougher matchup than I realized, and the same goes for Fighting, but in the end, they are still positive matchups because you have the ability to OHKO them easier and more often than they do.

The List

Pokemon (13)

4x Volcanion-EX (STS #26)3x Volcanion (STS #25)2x Turtonator-GX (GUR #18)2x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Ho-Oh-GX (BUS #21)1x Oranguru (SM #113)

Trainers (32)

4x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)4x N (FAC #105)4x Guzma (BUS #115)1x Kiawe (BUS #116)4x Fighting Fury Belt (BKP #99)4x Ultra Ball (SM #135)3x Max Elixir (BKP #102)2x Enhanced Hammer (GUR #124)2x Field Blower (GUR #125)2x Float Stone (BKT #137)1x Super Rod (BKT #149)1x Switch (SM #132)

Energy (15)

15x Fire Energy (HS #116)

The list I played was the same list that Emeli Reijonen used to make Top 8 at London Internationals. There wasn’t any card I wanted to change, aside from considering a fourth Max Elixir over the second Field Blower I realized though that three Elixir was was fine with Kiawe and that Field Blower is important for against Garbotoxin and Parallel City. If you think you will not see a lot of Garb or Gardy, then going down to one Field Blower is fine. You can add a fourth Max Elixir, second Super Rod, 16th Energy, Lillie, second Kiawe, or third Lele. Another thing you could cut for any of those cards mentioned would be a Baby Volcanion if you expect less Gardy.


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