Thought Waves Part 1: Gedemer’s Worlds Testing Journal

It’s been a long journey!

I played my first game in preparation for Worlds on the ninth of July. It’s been an arduous road of testing — a barrage of thought experiments and goals set for myself to determine the best deck for the World Championship. I will not be giving a definitive answer to the common question of “what’s the play?”, but rather I will go over my time testing in somewhat of a refined journal form: this piece will serve as a synopsis of my testing with some key points highlighted to help guide you to your own decision. Ultimately, your deck choice is up to you.

First Wave — Finding the Best Decks

I started by playing a quick set of games with Zoroark-GX with disruption cards against an Yveltal BREAK brew I cooked up with a friend. The Yveltal deck utilized Shrine of Punishment to activate Baleful Night. Some thought this deck would struggle against healing, but even the disruption style of the Zoroark-GX deck could not handle it. With that, I set my sets primarily on that deck.

  • Yveltal BREAK with Shrine of Punishment is strong and can easily handle Zoroark-GX decks

Next, I began to try out Rayquaza-GX, a fan favorite and a powerful menace. It proved to be incredibly strong and gave Zoroark-GX a wild ride, absolutely thrashing it. Buzzwole decks played a close game with Rayquaza-GX themselves, but could fall behind if the Rayquaza-GX deck hit hard enough right away.

I had an epiphany somewhere in here, realizing that Malamar could at long last find the rejuvenation it needs to beat Zoroark-GX decks. Necrozma-GX, Tapu Lele, and Shrine of Punishment seemed to finally be the answer… but not quite. The games where it won were scarily close, and it got dominated in every other game. While Malamar may have found a slightly better matchup against Zoroark-GX, it wouldn’t be enough to propel it to continued success.

  • Malamar, while slightly improved, doesn’t beat Zoroark-GX consistently even with the additions of Tapu Lele and Shrine of Punishment

So in this moment, it looked like Rayquaza-GX and Yveltal BREAK were the two best decks I tested so far. Of the two, Yveltal BREAK was looking like the better of the two, boasting strong matchups against Buzzwole, Rayquaza-GX, and Zoroark-GX; I had yet to find a blemish on the deck’s matchup spread.

Now it was time to test Rayquaza-GX against its “new counter” of Sylveon-EX. I’ve been a big hater of Sylveon-EX unfortunately, and I think rightfully so. It needs a three-card combination against Rayquaza-GX just to get a one-hit Knock Out. You’ll need Sylveon-EX, Choice Band, and a Double Colorless Energy every time. The biggest issue for me is first and foremost just finding that, and from there being able to still keep up with Rayquaza-GX once the Sylveon-EX gets Knocked Out, which it likely will immediately. I tested Sylveon-EX in a variety of Zoroark-GX decks only to confirm my suspicions.

  • Zoroark-GX needs far too much to consistently chain use of Sylveon-EX, especially in the early game; it’s nearly impossible when you’re trying to Brigette and set up Zoroark-GX to Trade

From here I moved a little bit away from Zoroark-GX. I love Zoroark-GX — it’s always clicked with me — but I shy away from playing it in formats where it’s faced against a variety of poor matchups, and Rayquaza-GX was turning out to be a major thorn in its side.

Now it was time to focus on improving the Rayquaza-GX deck, hoping it would pan out to be something that could beat even the toughest matchups, and right now that was looking like Yveltal BREAK. Mr. Mime was tossed around as an option, but Shrine of Punishment still allowed Yveltal BREAK to dominate the game.

  • Rayquaza-GX has a bad matchup to Yveltal BREAK, but not much else (at this point)

Zoroark-GX / Garbodor won the North American International Championship, and while it was unexpected, I expect it to be popular moving forward into the World Championship. Many players like to pick up successful decks in new formats and test those first to have a fallback in case their new ideas don’t pan out. I had to test the dominate Rayquaza-GX against this deck; I had been thinking that Rayquaza-GX quite literally could not beat decks with Trashalanche. I learned this the hard way, and couldn’t win a game.

  • Trashalanche beats Rayquaza-GX decks with a focus on speed

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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