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.

I dominated!
  • 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:

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.

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