A Comprehensive Guide to Deck Building Featuring Water Box in the New Standard Format

Hello everyone! Worlds has come and gone, and now it’s time to set our sights on the 2016 – 2017 season. I had a blast in San Francisco with sight seeing, being with friends, meeting players from all over the world, and, of course, competing.

My Worlds Recap

I ended up settling with Quad Zoroark deck that I thought had a good chance against most of the meta I was expecting to show up at the event. I felt confident against decks like Night March, Trevenant, Water Box, and Vespiquen / Vileplume. I went into the event expecting a meta similar to U.S. Nationals, and I was kind of right. From what I saw at the event, all of those decks were represented with the addition of Greninja decks. I didn’t expect to see Greninja at all, but I never played against it in my time in the event. I felt comfortable with the deck, and I never had a bad set up the entire event. The deck ran smoothly with a few kinks here and there, but overall worked as planned almost every game.

Here’s the list I used.

Pokemon (18)

1x Zoroark BREAK (BKT #92)4x Zoroark (BKT #91)4x Zorua (BKT #90)2x Octillery (BKT #33)2x Remoraid (BKT #31)2x Yveltal (XY #78)1x Yveltal (BKT #94)1x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)1x Druddigon (FLF #70)

Trainers (32)

4x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)3x N (NVI #92)3x Lysandre (FLF #90)1x Xerosic (PHF #110)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Ultra Ball (FLF #99)3x Muscle Band (XY #121)2x Level Ball (AOR #76)2x Target Whistle (PHF #106)2x Captivating Poké Puff (STS #99)2x Float Stone (BKT #137)1x Startling Megaphone (FLF #97)1x Super Rod (BKT #149)

Energy (10)

6x Darkness Energy (XY #138)4x Double Colorless Energy (FAC #114)

With Zoroark as the main attacker, I needed as many ways to keep my opponent’s Bench as full as I could. Multiple copies of Captivating Poké Puff and Target Whistle really helped keep my opponent’s Bench full at all times, and the three copies of Lysandre made it easy to get consistent KOs on Shaymin-EX and other threats being built up on my opponent’s Bench. Ideally I would be able to take a KO on a Shaymin-EX three turns in a row for a quick game. The reality was that I often had to settle for two Shaymin-EX Knock Outs and take my last two Prizes some other way.

The MVP of the deck was definitely Octillery every game. Octillery allowed me to take a lot of Prizes quickly while also being able to recover from an N to two or three thanks to Abyssal Hand. It also let me aggressively N my opponent to a small hand size without much repercussion. Whenever I was able to get two Octillery out at once, there was no way for my opponent to stop me from getting the Energy, Lysandre, or anything else I needed at the end of the game. I was able to burn through my deck over the course of the game to where I had only a few cards in deck that I could Abyssal Hand for when needed. With a high N count, I also never had to worry about decking out.

I felt confident going into day one of Worlds because my list was consistent and had neutral to positive matchups against every deck I expected to be at the event. With that being said, I ended up with a 2-2-1 record before dropping from the event. I left feeling unsatisfied, but I wasn’t discouraged. This is a rundown of what I played against during my five rounds of play.

My two wins came against my best matchup, Night March, which I expected to see a lot more of than I did. My two losses and my tie came against high HP Pokemon-EX that could easily OHKO my main attacker. To add insult to injury, each of the three decks played multiple copies of Parallel City, which made it impossible to take big KOs when I needed to. All these factors added up to a bad position for me to be in and a mediocre tournament performance. Where I went wrong was in my deckbuiding. I chose to play it extremely safe and forgo including any Stadiums despite knowing that Parallel City was a real threat. At the time, I figured that most people wouldn’t be playing it for the most part, but I was proved wrong consistently throughout the event.

Thoughts from Worlds

It’s been a few weeks since Worlds, and I’ve had some time to reflect and think about my performance and the tournament as a whole. With classes starting up again and my job having me work almost everyday, I won’t have a lot of time to dedicate to deck building and testing for the events that are about to come up, which means that any time that I do have to focus on Pokemon has to be meaningful. I kept thinking about the deck I used at Worlds, and where I could have improved on the list. I remember at one point I included several copies of Reverse Valley, but cut them for a boost in consistency.

After spending some time mulling over my oversight, I figured that the bulk of my time needs to spent on deck building and trying to get in games when I can. My mistake at Worlds got me thinking a lot about deck building and how I can improve how I create lists. Having a solid deck list and a general knowledge of its matchups is the first step in having a good tournament experience. The second step is learning the ins and outs of each matchup and understanding the intricacies of what to do in certain scenarios.

However, I’ll be focusing on mostly deck building in this article. I’m going to walk you all through my process of deck building as well as try to explain how to consider cards, decks and matchups when crafting your deck. To help illustrate my points a little bit better, I’ll be using a deck from Standard that I have a lot of fun playing and think could be a solid choice for any upcoming Standard events: Water Box!

Hopefully this will be a good starting point for you as we all buckle down for the 2016 – 2017 season, so let’s get started.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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