Days Before Philadelphia — What You Should Know
What’s up PokeBeach readers? I’m sure you’ve all been busy lately with League Challenges, League Cups, and playtesting as we rapidly approach Philadelphia Regionals this weekend. I myself have been busy playing in League Cups; so far I’ve accumulated 72 Championship Points to start the new season. In this article, I will be going over the results of Santa Catarina Regionals, sharing my personal lists for the new Buzzwole / Shrine of Punishment decks that emerged at that tournament, and discussing some important matchups. I will also provide my list for the Rayquaza-GX / Vikavolt deck that I have been fine-tuning for a while now. There’s quite a bit to cover here, so let’s get started.
Results From Santa Catarina Regionals
This past weekend, our Pokémon-playing friends in South America assembled in Santa Catarina, Brazil for the second major tournament of the 2018-19 season. Most of us North American players were expecting Rayquaza-GX / Vikavolt, Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX, and Ultra Necrozma-GX / Malamar to perform the best, but those decks’ success was limited. Instead, Santa Catarina was overrun by Buzzwole / Shrine of Punishment decks, with partners including Garbodor, Weavile, Magcargo, and more. Below are the results from the Top 8.
- Breno Santos with Buzzwole / Garbodor / Shrine of Punishment
- Samuel Jacques with Buzzwole / Garbodor / Shrine of Punishment
- Bruno Eduardo Benetti with Buzzwole / Garbodor / Shrine of Punishment
- Nicolaz Galaz with Buzzwole / Weavile / Shrine of Punishment
- Damian Ezequiel Anile with Buzzwole / Weavile / Shrine of Punishment
- Alexandre Braga with Buzzwole / Garbodor / Shrine of Punishment
- Rafael Yuiti with Buzzwole / Garbodor / Shrine of Punishment
- Felipe Reyes with Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX
The metagame has been shaken up considerably after this tournament, and these Buzzwole / Shrine of Punishment decks are receiving the bulk of the attention from players testing for Philadelphia. These Shrine of Punishment decks are so successful because they focus entirely on non-GX attackers that can do a large amount of damage quickly but only give up a single Prize when Knocked Out. Given the presence of Zoroark-GX in this format, most players considered Buzzwole the best partner for Shrine of Punishment (although some of the lists in Santa Catarina focused on Malamar instead). As I write this, no reliable counters to Buzzwole / Shrine of Punishment have yet been revealed, unless you count minor hype for Magnezone / Celesteela-GX / Dialga-GX. The argument for that deck is that it has Fighting-type Resistance, few Pokemon with Abilities, and Mt. Coronet as a counter Stadium.
If you are not a fan of Buzzwole / Shrine of Punishment, here are the other decks that made Top 32 at Santa Catarina Regionals:
- Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX
- Rayquaza-GX / Vikavolt
- Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX
- Tapu Koko / Shining Lugia / Tapu Lele / Malamar
- Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX / Malamar
- Buzzwole / Dusk Mane Necrozma / Shrine of Punishment
- Tapu Koko / Buzzwole / Weavile / Shrine of Punishment
- Zoroark-GX / Magcargo
- Hoopa / Weavile / Garbodor
- Zoroark-GX / Magnezone / Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX
- Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Silvally-GX
What’s surprising about this list is how little each of these decks were played in comparison to the Buzzwole / Shrine of Punishment decks, especially since most of these concepts were well-established before Santa Catarina. These decks will likely see even less play in Philadelphia. If the metagame undergoes a last-minute shift to decks that hard-counter Buzzwole / Shrine of Punishment, some of the above decks may have a chance to jump back into the metagame, because they themselves won’t be countered anymore. Personally, I can’t take the risk of running anything other than Buzzwole / Shrine of Punishment. I’ll share my list that I played to a Top 4 finish at the Milton, Ontario League Cup this past Sunday, as well as a similar list that plays Garbodor instead of Weavile.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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