Winning the (Char)lottery — A Pre-Charlotte Metagame Rundown

Hey there PokeBeach! Today, I’m going to be doing something a little different compared to my last few articles. While I’ve recently been focusing each article on one specific deck and breaking it down, today I will be taking a look at the format as a whole going into Charlotte Regionals. Although I won’t be going into detail on every deck I talk about, I will be giving you an overview of what each deck does, as well as sample lists for all of the decks I have tested to give you an idea of what to expect come Charlotte.

Meta Breakdown

Before we talk about each deck, it’s important to establish what the metagame is shaping up to be headed into Charlotte. After talking to a bunch of high level players and testing a bunch, this is my breakdown of the metagame and what decks I consider to be the best of the best:

Tier One

Tier Two

Tier Three

While you won’t hit every single ones of these decks at Charlotte, this is a pretty exhaustive list of what you should expect. As for the individual tiers, I don’t think you’ll find much debate about the top four decks in the format. While some people might consider Gardevoir or Buzzwole / Garbodor to be tier one, the first four decks are generally accepted as the four best decks of the current format. ZoroPod, “Paw Patrol”, Weavile, and Buzzwole / Lycanroc have been dominating this format recently. Three of the four decks took up 18 of the top 46 decks at Collinsville; while the last one, Weavile, just won Malmo Regionals in Europe. As such, I’d expect to play all four of these decks at least once at Charlotte, and I would not take a bad matchup against more than one of the four decks.

Looking at the tier two decks, we see a lot of old decks which don’t run Zoroark (Gardevoir, Volcanion, and Greninja) as well as lots of Garbodor decks aimed to counter Zoroark. One common theme that can be drawn from this tier is that all of these are powerful decks that struggle due to their inconsistency and lack of Zoroark draw.

Finally, we have tier three decks. While some may disagree with my placement of Ho-Oh / Kiawe in this tier, I think the rest of the decks are pretty self explanatory. Almost all of these decks take strong matchups versus some of the tier one-and-two decks but struggle against the rest of the format and/or have consistency issues. As such, I have a hard time placing any of these decks higher up in my tier list.

As for why I placed Ho-Oh / Kiawe this low even after it just placed ninth at Collinsville, I personally believe that Volcanion is the superior Fire-type deck, and as such have placed it higher on my tier list. I also don’t think Fire decks are in a great spot in the format, which led me to place both Volcanion and Ho-Oh / Kiawe in lower tiers.

Now that I’ve given you an overview of the format headed into Charlotte, let’s take a look at all of these decks individually.

Tier One

Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX

I think I can safely say that ZoroPod is the best deck in the format currently. With 50-50 matchups across the board, lots of ways to express player skill, and an extremely flexible core that can be teched in many different ways to suit your playstyle, ZoroPod should be the number-one deck you prepare for heading into Charlotte. For a few examples of how to tech out the deck, Igor Costa played Sudowoodo and Counter Energy in his Collinsville list, while Russell LaParre and Benjamin Pham both played two copies of Parallel City. These are both great ways to run the deck, and they aren’t the only ways either, showing this deck’s flexibility.

The other major reason ZoroPod is so strong right now is that not many decks in the format are equipped to one-shot Golisopod-GX, which is otherwise one of the deck’s biggest weaknesses. As such, it’s able to trade efficiently with many decks in the format as it has so many ways to reset its board and put itself in a favorable position to win the two-shot war. Here’s my current list for the deck that has been heavily influenced by Russell LaParre’s and Benjamin Pham’s successful lists.

Pokemon (18)

4x Zoroark-GX (PRSM #SM84)4x Zorua (PRSM #SM83)2x Golisopod-GX (BUS #129)3x Wimpod (BUS #16)3x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #137)1x Tapu Koko (PRSM #SM30)1x Mew-EX (DRX #120)

Trainers (35)

4x N (NVI #101)4x Guzma (BUS #143)3x Acerola (BUS #142)3x Brigette (BKT #161)2x Cynthia (ULP #148)4x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)4x Puzzle of Time (BKP #109)2x Evosoda (GEN #62)2x Choice Band (GUR #121)2x Field Blower (GUR #125)1x Enhanced Hammer (DEX #94)1x Max Potion (EPO #94)1x Float Stone (BKT #137)2x Parallel City (BKT #145)

Energy (7)

4x Double Colorless Energy (HS #103)3x Grass Energy (RS #104)

As you can see, my list is only a few cards off Russell’s Collinsville list. I’ve taken out the Oranguru and the third Field Blower in Russ’s list in favor of a Max Potion and a third Acerola to help deal with the mirror matchup. If you’re looking for some cards to cut in order to try to tech your list to your playstyle, here are the following cards I’d consider cuttable: the third Acerola, two Parallel City, one Enhanced Hammer, and one Max Potion.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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