Metal Rayquaza Deck Analysis and Interview with Geoffrey Sauk!

Day1 Nats StandingsHey guys! It’s been about a month since my last article, and a lot has happened for me. U.S. Nationals took place a little over a week ago, and I was pleasantly surprised with my performance, as well as my brother’s. I always feel like I struggle at Nationals, either because of bad luck, or because I end up making an incorrect prediction about what decks will be the most popular at the event. I had spent almost an entire month playtesting for Nationals, but still was at a complete loss over what deck to play until a week before the event. My brother, Geoffrey Sauk, who currently goes to school at Penn State University, was talking to me about potential decks to play and he mentioned how Metal Rayquaza was doing incredibly well in his testing. The basic idea of Metal Rayquaza is to use Bronzong to power up M Rayquaza-EX and other Metal attackers to destroy anything you run into. From his advice, I decided to test the deck for a week, and came to the same conclusion as him that the deck was incredibly strong against what we expected to see in the format, and it was extremely consistent. Using Metal Rayquaza, I was able to go 7-0-2 on the first day of Swiss, finishing first seed in the Sapphire flight, and my brother playing almost the same list went 6-1-2, also placing him in the top 64. On Day Two of Swiss, I ended up having a bad day, hitting some rough matchups to end up in 21st place, but my brother who hit some pretty favorable matchups throughout the six rounds of Swiss placed seventh overall!

After playing the deck for a week before Nationals, and piloting it through over 15 best-of-three’s, I am going to go over the deck, and some of its matchups, because it is still a strong contender for the upcoming World Championships in Boston this year. One of the matchups I will cover is Wailord-EX, which I had the pleasure of playing against in round six of Nationals against Michael Lux. But first, I am going to share with you guys an interview I had with my brother, explaining how he felt after getting top 8 at U.S. Nationals, losing to fellow PokeBeach writer Grant Manley, who will be putting out his own report in the coming weeks.

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Nationals Deck List

Before I interview my brother, I wanted to show you guys the list I used to get 21st at U.S. Nationals. If you compare it to the list Geoffrey Sauk used, it is one card off. He decided that a third copy of Colress was more important than one copy of AZ, which I still disagree with, but I guess the results speak for themselves.

Pokemon (20)

2x M Rayquaza-EX (RSK #105)

2x Rayquaza-EX (RSK #75)

1x Rayquaza-EX (RSK #60)

3x Bronzong (PHF #61)

3x Bronzor (PHF #60)

3x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)

2x Aegislash-EX (PHF #65)

1x Cobalion-EX (PLS #93)

1x Kecleon (PLF #94)

1x Heatran (PHF #63)

1x Keldeo-EX (BCR #142)

Trainers (30)

3x Professor Juniper (PLF #116)

2x Colress (PLS #118)

2x Lysandre (FLF #90)

1x N (NVI #101)

1x CARD NOT FOUND

1x AZ (PHF #117)

 

4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)

4x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)

2x Battle Compressor (PHF #92)

2x Rayquaza Spirit Link (RSK #87)

2x Float Stone (PLF #99)

1x Sacred Ash (FLF #96)

1x Computer Search (BCR #137)

 

4x Sky Field (RSK #89)

Energy (10)

6x Metal Energy (CL #95)

4x Double Colorless Energy (XY #130)

 

As a background to this deck, I had heard about it from my friend, Connor Finton, before it had seen any major tournament play. Initially, I was not a huge believer in the deck, but after seeing Josh Marking do well with the deck at Georgia Regionals and tweaking the list a little bit, I thought the list above was solid and chose to run it at U.S. Nationals.

Interview

Geoff Nats
Picture courtesy of Doug Morisoli, after Geoff got top 8.

Now I am going to share with you guys an interview I had with my brother, someone who did even better than I did with this deck! Geoff has been much more involved with his school work at Penn State, so he has not had much of a chance to practice for tournaments throughout the year. However, he practiced and got a little lucky when it counted most and was able to get top 8 at U.S. Nationals! If you guys have any questions you want me to ask Geoff, feel free to post them below. Luckily it’s not too difficult for me to force him to answer some questions!

Geoff mentions it a little bit in his interview, but some background on him is that he has been playing Pokemon since he was three years old, and destroyed the Junior and Senior divisions almost 10 years ago. Without further ado, I will start my interview with him.

Who are you for those unfamiliar with you?

Geoff Worlds 2005

Hello, my name is Geoffrey Sauk. I’ve been playing Pokemon for about 16 years, and I got 2nd place in the World Championships in 2005, 4th place at Nationals 2005, and top 8 at Worlds 2007. I have also competed in about eight Pokemon World Championships. I am currently attending Penn State University to earn my degree in Actuarial Science.

How were you doing this year in Pokemon, before U.S. Nationals?

Not too great. I had earned 97 Championship Points from League Challenges, Regionals, and a City Championship. I was spending a lot of my time on my school work and did not have a chance to test a lot for tournaments. I was able to get a top 16 VGC finish at Georgia Regionals though!

What made you decide to play Metal Rayquaza?

Through my testing, it was the most consistent deck, and I felt like it had the most positive matchups out of all of the decks that I was testing. I also went into the tournament assuming there would not be that many Manectric-EX decks because of all of the hype around Landorus-EXCrobat I also assumed that the Landy / Bats decks would probably beat the Manectric decks, that was the main reason why I decided not to tech Altaria into my deck.

What other decks did you consider?

I was considering all of the Bat variants that I could think of, but my other choice for Nationals was Seismitoad-EXCrobat. I felt it was a very safe play, and had positive matchups against all of the other bat variants, such as Landorus-EXCrobat or Raichu / Crobat, and close to even matchups against almost every deck in the format.

What happened during Swiss at Nationals?

All of the matches that I won were pretty straightforward. I lost to a Landy / Bats deck in the third round that was a pretty close match, against one of the people in my testing circle, Isaiah Rufus, and then I tied to a Donphan player. My other tie during Day One came from a Landorus-EXGarbodorRaichu deck. I think I had a pretty bad matchup against the last deck, but my opponent played pretty slow, and took a while shuffling throughout the match so I was able to make it a draw.

Considering you made the top 8, I assume Day Two went well?

Going into Day Two with 20 match points was a little scary, but I fortunately got paired against four Seismitoad-EX decks, including top 8 finisher Kristy Britton’s Seismitoad-EX / Manectric-EXCrobat deck. Not having seen many Seismitoad-EX decks on Day One, I was a little upset because I thought the Toad matchup was very favorable, but seeing four in a row on Day Two more than made up for that. I thought the matchup against Kristy’s deck was positive, but the match was very close and I was able to win off of a decisive game three. In my last two rounds on Day Two, I chose to ID with Enrique Avila, and Ben Moskow in order to make top 8, because I was hoping that both of them would also make top 8 so that I could play against them. I figured that I could beat both of their decks so I wanted to stack the top 8 with as many favorable matchups as I could to give myself the best chance of winning.

Well, I see you ran into Grant’s Manectric / Garb deck in top 8, so I guess that didn’t work?

Yeah… Even though I tried to have a favorable matchup, I ended up with the one opponent who I could not really beat, even though every other matchup in top 8 was at worst even. Even though it was a bad matchup, the match was still winnable, but I drew really poorly both games and Prized two Sky Fields one game causing me to lose 0-2.

Were you expecting to earn your World’s invite this year before you played at Nationals?

No, I knew going into Nationals that I had to top 8 in order to earn my invite and I was not very optimistic. Nationals is usually the one tournament a year where I draw really poorly and usually do awful at. However, this year I got surprisingly lucky with my matchups and was able to dodge my bad matchups, allowing me to earn my Worlds invite!

How did it feel earning your World’s Invite this year?

It feels really good, most of my previous invites I kind of expected I would earn them, but this one was unexpected and felt awesome. I also am excited because it means that my Pokemon season is not over yet! Initially, I was planning on testing with Ben but not being happy about it because I would not be able to play in Worlds while he could, but now we can playtest together and both learn from it.

Are there any changes you would have made to your list, looking back?

I either would have added a 1-1 Altaria, or found room for a Startling Megaphone or a Xerosic, because the amount of Garbodor and Manectric-EX was much greater than I anticipated. I also would have tried to fit in an AZ.

Oh, so I see you think I was correct with the inclusion of the AZ in the list?

Yes, AZ is a good card, but I still disagree with cutting a third Colress for it.

Is Metal Ray a good deck choice for Worlds?

I am not sure yet. It really depends on what the metagame looks like as Worlds approaches. The deck has a lot of favorable matches, but also some really difficult ones so if I expect a lot of decks that I can beat I’ll probably play it. It is also a really fun deck that I am considering for Worlds, and I hope I can play Cassio Support again!

Emerald Cassio
Emerald Cassiopeia

For everyone who is not me, can you elaborate what Cassio Support is?

Well for the real answer you’ll have to ask Ben, but it’s a joke name for the deck that my brother and his friend came up with. Shout out to Yuhan who inspired the name with his Cassiopeia Support in League of Legends. Basically, Rayquaza is like a snake, and in this deck we played it as a “support” Pokemon thus the name, Cassio Support.

Do you have any plans for the future?

For the next month, I am going to spend a lot of it working on decks for Worlds now that I know I get to play in it. I am a little upset that it is basically a glorified grinder that I qualified for, but it is better than nothing so I can’t complain.

Penn State

Thanks for taking the time to interview with me, do you have any shout outs?

Shout out to everyone who helped test with me, and worked on decks with me, especially everyone in Team Wreckface and everyone at Penn State. Also if you go to Penn State check out the Pokemon League!

Deck Analysis

Now that I have interviewed my brother, Geoffrey Sauk, I am going to look at the deck he used to get top 8 and I used to get 21st at U.S. Nationals, M Rayquaza-EX / Bronzong. After seeing how we performed, this deck was clearly a great play for Nationals, and it has the potential to be a good deck for Worlds as well. I will go over some of the card choices we decided to play, the strategy of the deck, and how to play against some popular matchups. If you are going to the World Championships, you will definitely want to know how to use this deck and play against it to stay ahead of other players. This deck will even be around after rotation, so if you are not going to Worlds, you can still learn a lot about a solid deck for next format.


This concludes the public portion of this article.

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