What’s up PokeBeach readers? Today I’ll be dropping some information on new deck concepts from our August set, Celestial Storm! You heard that right: I want to make sure that all of you reading this article are able to start testing as soon as possible for the Nashville Open and the 2018 World Championships. In this article I will be going over the metagame changes that come from Celestial Storm, as well as discussing my Zoroark-GX / Banette-GX list and how that deck is positioned in the new meta.
What Did Celestial Storm Change?
There are a few cards in the set that stand out from the rest. Namely, these are Shiftry-GX, Banette-GX, Rayquaza-GX, Articuno-GX, Stakataka-GX, Scizor-GX, Deoxys (Attack), Magcargo, Dunsparce, and Celesteela. I believe most of the Trainer cards in the set are playable; reprints from past years, including Copycat and TV Reporter, are the cream of the crop.
Looking at these new cards, I don’t think too many new archetypes will appear at Worlds, but current decks will evolve considerably with this set. If you were to ask me what decks we may see at Worlds this year, this would be my tentative list based on what I know right now:
- Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
- Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor
- Zoroark-GX / Magcargo / Oranguru
- Zoroark-GX / Garbodor / Garbodor
- Zoroark-GX /Golisopod-GX
- Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX
- Zoroark-GX / Banette-GX
- Zoroark-GX / Shiftry-GX
- Gardevoir-GX / Gallade
- Rayquaza-GX / Garbodor
- Turbo Rayquaza-GX
- Naganadel-GX / Stakataka-GX
Buzzwole decks will always rise to the top when the meta is full of Zoroark-GX decks. Malamar based decks seem to have fallen somewhat out of favor because they are unable to compete with the flood Zoroark-GX variants, but they are a potentially strong under-the-radar play. The other decks in the list are new concepts that need to be proven in testing before the masses are willing to bring them to Worlds. One new deck that particularly struck me as interesting, due mostly to its combination of Pokemon types, is Zoroark-GX / Banette-GX. This deck has, at least on paper, a good matchup against both Malamar decks and and Buzzwole decks! Let’s check out my current list, and then I’ll explain the strategy of the deck.
Zoroark-GX / Banette-GX
The strategy of Zoroark-GX decks should be familiar to every experienced player at this point, but for any newer players reading this article, let me go over the basic concepts. These decks revolve around heavy draw power from Zoroark-GX’s Ability, Trade. With Trade, you want to either discard cards that you don’t need in a particular game, or discard cards that you may want to retrieve with Puzzle of Time later in the game. Zoroark-GX is a strong attacker as well: Riotous Beating does 120 damage when you have a full Bench, and this damage can be further increased with Choice Band and Professor Kukui.
Zoroark-GX is typically played with a “partner” Pokemon, usually a secondary attacker. For this build of the deck, I included Banette-GX to add a Pokemon type that is helpful in the Buzzwole matchup (Zoroark-GX has Weakness to Buzzwole’s Fighting type). In any matchup, Banette-GX can do a decent amount of damage with its Shadow Chant attack; I included a heavy count of Supporters in this list to fuel Shadow Chant’s damage output.
Let’s look a little closer at some of the cards in the list.
Shady Move is a strong Ability that can make use of the Rainbow Energy included in the deck. Attaching a Rainbow Energy to one of our Pokemon basically lets us place a free damage counter on our opponent’s board. The Shadow Chant attack is really what makes Banette-GX so good: it can deal a maximum of 130 damage without modifiers, but a Choice Band and a Professor Kukui will boost that to 180, which will OHKO many Pokemon-EX and Pokemon-GX. Shady Move can effectively boost this to 190 damage, enough to OHKO Pokemon like Ultra Necrozma-GX or Lapras-GX.
This card has found its way in and out of Zoroark-GX variants throughout the 2017 – 2018 season, but its inclusion is warranted now more than ever! This is because 2018 North American International finalist Tord Reklev played a Zoroark-GX deck that focused on using Oranguru to recover resources from the discard pile. (Sound familiar? I wrote an article here about that concept months ago…) Considering the success of that deck, it is wise to include an Oranguru of our own in this list, to stand a chance against players using Tord’s deck and to boost our recovery options in other matchups.
What once was a Mewtwo is now a Deoxys! Both Mewtwo and Deoxys serve the same purpose in Zoroark-GX decks; Deoxys has 10 fewer HP, but it has a Retreat Cost of one instead of two. Whichever card you choose, its function is to prevent Buzzwole players from attaching a lot of Energy to a Buzzwole or Buzzwole-GX while you set up your board. I am debating using this slot for a different tech Pokemon, possibly a Tapu Lele to help out in the Rayquaza-GX matchup.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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