Without Warning — Two Plays for Two Formats

Ello, ello, ello PokeBeach readers! Memphis Regionals just recently concluded, and we have a whole new set of oncoming tournaments to worry about: Oceania Internationals as well as Dallas Regionals. With both of these tournaments coming up, there is a massive rend between the two of them — their format. While Dallas is in the Expanded format, Oceania takes place in the Standard format. Within this article, I’ll be detailing one hot play for each, and a brief explanation as to why they will each make a splash!

Wishiwashi-GX / Walls

Let’s go into one of my favourite Standard decks, Wishiwashi-GX! Here is my rendition of the deck, a few cards off from the base list floating around:

Pokemon (9)

3x Hoopa (SHL #55)2x Wishiwashi-GX (GUR #38)2x Celesteela-GX (PRSM #SM67 )1x Xurkitree-GX (PRSM #SM68 )1x Giratina (PRXY #XY184)

Trainers (50)

4x N (NVI #92)4x Team Flare Grunt (GEN #73)4x Acerola (BUS #112)3x Team Rocket's Handiwork (FAC #112)3x Lusamine (CRI #96)3x Skyla (BKT #148)2x Brigette (BKT #134)2x Plumeria (BUS #120)2x Guzma (BUS #115)2x Team Skull Grunt (SM #133)1x Delinquent (BKP #98)1x Gladion (CRI #95)4x Puzzle of Time (BKP #109)4x Max Potion (EPO #94)2x Nest Ball (SM #123)2x Enhanced Hammer (DEX #94)2x Crushing Hammer (EPO #92)2x Counter Catcher (CRI #91)1x Field Blower (GUR #125)2x Parallel City (BKT #145)

Energy (1)

1x Lightning Energy (RS #109)

This deck is absolutely wild — Yoshi Tate piloted this deck to an eleventh-place finish at Memphis Regionals. The deck’s concept derives from Enrique Avila’s Wailord-EX deck from US Nationals in 2015; the deck’s strategy is to wall with high HP Pokemon and deny KO’s from the opponent’s side as much as possible. All the while, it becomes a war of attrition where both players are trying to conserve resources and play minimal cards.

The main difference between Wailord-EX and this Wishiwashi-GX deck is the exclusion of Hugh due to it being legal only in the Expanded format. Instead of Hugh being able to discard cards from the opponent’s hand, we instead play many copies of cards that aid in regaining resources.

In this case, I’ll be primarily discussing N and Lusamine as key ways of regenerating what I’ll be referring to as your “card count.” The card count is the entire count of cards in your hand as well as the contents of the deck. For example, if there is 30 cards in your deck and 7 in your hand, your card count is 37. Knowing both player’s card counts is vital, considering the main strategy of this deck is to exhaust your opponent out of resources, forcing them to lower their card count until they eventually have zero cards left in their deck. Let’s talk about how this goal is achieved:

Our Walls

Since our deck revolves around “walls” (Pokemon with high HP counts and different Weaknesses designed to deny KO’s), we’ll talk about the purpose of each individual card. They each hold their own purpose within the deck and play specific roles in certain matchups. It is key to exclusively use some walls in certain matchups, otherwise your walls will crumble. Each wall has a “hole” in it — its own weakness. None of our walls attack with the exception of Xurkitree-GX.

Wishiwashi-GX

The beast itself! Wishiwashi-GX is one of my favourite cards released, and I’m glad it finally got its own deck. Now, the main thing about this Pokemon is the fact that it has an uncommon Weakness in the form of Lightning, and it has 210 HP — this is very hard to Knock Out with ease. If an opponent has to two-shot a Wishiwashi, you’ve most likely won the game already because you can disrupt them with Energy denial cards (ex. Enhanced Hammer) while healing with a card like Acerola.

Hole: Wishiwashi-GX is weak to Lightning and can struggle against random Pokemon in the early rounds of a large event. 210 HP makes it a perfect target for a Gardevoir-GX with seven Energy attached or a Tapu Bulu-GX with a Choice Band. In both scenarios, I’d opt to use Hoopa instead of Wishiwashi-GX. This blue fish Pokemon is just a “general” wall and is just used for “general” scenarios.

Celesteela-GX

Celesteela-GX is similar to Wishiwashi-GX in that it is a big wall of a Pokemon, but with Resistance to Fighting and 10 less HP; throughout the course of the game, this -20 damage will add up against decks such as Buzzwole-GX and Lycanroc-GX variants.

Hole: it has the same weaknesses as Wishiwashi-GX.

Hoopa

Sounds like a lot of…

Hoopa is the most crippling of all the walls because it introduces a dynamic that most people don’t think about — since it has the Scoundrel Guard Ability, Pokemon-GX and Pokemon-EX can’t lay a finger on Hoopa, either through damage or effects. This cripples many decks, namely ones that don’t have strong non-GX/non-EX attackers. For example, Golisopod-GX is a deck that may struggle to compete against this deck because attackers such as Wimpod tend to have inefficient attacks.

Hole: Hoopa suffers against Pokemon that are able to OHKO it — they have to be a regular Pokemon, though. A Pokemon such as Gallade would run right through an army of Hoopa because of how susceptible they are to Sensitive Blade. Hoopa is one of the Pokemon with the lowest HP in the deck, so it’s important to use this wall only when the opponent’s pre-evolutions are weak. If they are strong and able to KO Hoopa with ease, then I’d consider using another wall.

Xurkitree-GX

This is the most unique of all of the walls and the most situational. This wall is only effective if our opponent plays a high amount of Special Energy cards. Many of the new Lycanroc-GX / Zoroark-GX builds that were sported at Memphis opted to play strictly Strong Energy as well as Double Colorless Energy; any deck that plays full Special Energy cards will automatically lose to this card. If they only play a few Basic Energy cards, you can target those by discarding them with Team Flare Grunt or Crushing Hammer.

Due to the inclusion of one Basic Lightning Energy, Xurkitree-GX is the only Pokemon that can actually attack in this deck! Lighting GX is an interesting attack that is multi-fold:

  • It can add an extra Prize card for your opponent, prolonging the game.
  • It makes your opponent draw an additional card off of N, which aids you in having a bigger deck.
  • It can lock a valuable card within your opponent’s Prize cards (ex. Guzma).
  • It can leave your opponent stranded without a Supporter.

Hole: Rockruff tends to be a menace against this Pokemon when equipped with a Choice Band and a Fighting Energy. Volcanion-EX decks are also a strong force against Xurkitree-GX because of their heavy reliance on Basic Energy.


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