“Honky-Tonk Hoedown” — A Worlds Analysis

What is going on PokeBeach readers! My name is Jacob Lesage, and I just recently hopped off the commercial plane and landed in my hometown after coming back from the 2018 World Championships! This was a jolly of a good time over in Nashville, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way in terms of enjoying myself as a tourist — it was interesting to see the unique culture, food, and location that is Southern USA.

When I wasn’t enjoying the lovely BBQ treats and country music on Broadway Street, I was trying my absolute best in order to BE the very best (like no one ever was). I learned a lot this trip that is still relatively unconclusive, but I’m going to tie up those loose ends as much as I can as we briskly approach the 2019 season. What’s up with the new faces? What went down? I’ll answer these questions as we dive into one buster of an article, and uncover what happened at the 2019 Pokemon World Championships in the beautiful and sunny Nashville, Tennessee. After that, I try my hand at transitioning the deck I played at Worlds — Rayquaza-GX — from Worlds format to the new Standard format.

Worlds in a Nutshell

Getting into Worlds is always good when you’re at a hometown advantage and get a solid sleep — players who are form foreign continents that are further away from the venue continent are at an immediate disadvantage. For example, an Australian player may have a harder time focusing during day one because they only had a few days to recover from a 16-hour time difference. Vice versa, any American player who lives in Chattanooga, TN, has absolutely no time difference, and will sleep like a baby (and will be more focused).

Japanese players are also at an immediate disadvantage, mostly due to their format structure being more complex than ours. The Japanese format consists of some prior expansions being included, as well as sets that are unreleased in every other region of the world. Japanese players conclude their National Championships, and then have to search the depths of our current format in order to muster up the best deck possible, and give it their all. I’m sure that while Japanese players have excellent playing abilities, they also have difficulties discovering what our metagame forecast is in such a limited window of time. Regardless, their consistent success at the World Championships proves to be resilient; it amazes me every year!

Day One

The Friday of Worlds was amazing! People from over 30 countries competing for the title of World Champion? I’m all about it! As everybody went to sit down in their seats, the metagame soon unfolded. I saw the following decks across the tables:


Notables: Puzzle of Time, lack of Latias Prism Star, Xurkitree-GX, Marshadow

People decided that they didn’t feel comfortable against Buzzwole / Garbodor, so in an effort to combat it they decided to play Xurkitree-GX. Not only does it block off damage from any Pokemon with Special Energy attached, but it can also hand disrupt alongside Marshadow to bring your opponent down to three cards total. Lighting GX is excellent for bricking your opponent in any unfavourable matchup.

Buzzwole / Garbodor

Notables: lack of Buzzwole-GX, lack of Beast Ring, inclusion of Octillery, Shrine of Punishment, lack of Garbodor

This is a rather new deck on the block, which favoured Buzzwole’s Sledgehammer attack in order to lay down consistent attacks at a lower damage output. Since there are no GXs in the deck — not even Tapu Lele-GX — the game will naturally be longer, and Shrine of Punishment will dish out oodles of damage onto the opponent’s field. Some players opted against including Garbotoxin in their lists because they felt it was unnecessary. 


Notables: Regirock, two Buzzwole-GX, multiple Super Rod

Regirock made it into this popular deck because it was able to dish out more damage than Buzzwole at the beginning of the game. Being played as a 1-of, the slight bit of extra damage it was doing provided a major boost for this deck. Multiple Buzzwole-GX and Super Rod were included in an effort to have a better Zoroark-GX / Magcargo matchup: Buzzwole-GX to hit big numbers and Super Rod to recover Energy. 

Zoroark-GX / Magcargo

Notables: Lysandre Prism Star, Eneporter, Articuno-GX

This deck could handle anything that came its way, but most top tier players favoured Zoroark / Garbodor over it. I’m unsure the reason as to why, because this deck was phenomenal in my testing leading up to this event. Lysandre Prism Star was included in order to Lost Zone Puzzle of Time in the mirror, or to send off key cards to the Lost Zone, such as Psychic Energy against Malamar or perhaps a specific attacker in a matchup. Eneporter was also used in mirror to make your opponent burn additional resources to recover the Energy. Lastly, Articuno-GX was used in the BuzzRoc matchup to discard all Energy on a heavyweight attacker, such as a Buzzwole. It’s key to discard Energy instead of just KO’ing the attacker you’re facing so that you don’t trigger your opponent’s Beast Ring. 

Zoroark-GX / Garbodor

Notables: Kartana-GX alongside Psychic Energy

The general consensus is that Stéphane got it right when he took on every challenger at the North American International Championships – however, some players decided to switch out their Unit Energy LPM for Psychic Energy in order to have a better matchup against Zoroark / Magcargo. It makes it more difficult to remove Energy, as ZoroCargo will have to use Team Flare Grunt or Crushing Hammer as opposed to Enhanced Hammer’ing off a Unit Energy. 


Notables: two Marshadow-GX, Acro Bike

Many Malamar decks in day one opted to go for a Fighting-type attacker in the form of Marshadow-GX in order to take out all of the Zoroark they might play. They also included high counts of Acro Bike, a consistency card which helps find Psychic Energy and put them into the discard pile for reuse with Malamar’s Psychic Recharge Ability.

This was basically the metagame in a nutshell — day one was flooded with all sorts of stuff, and seemed to favour those Buzz / Garb / Shrine decks; they’re definitely strong because they can spam attackers until the opponent can no longer keep up, and you can almost always trigger the Sledgehammer turn where you hit for 120+ damage because all of your Pokemon are single-Prize attackers.

Rayquaza-GX was strong without a doubt, and was able to take down many matchups based on its ability to set up quickly, and run the opponent down to four cards using Marshadow. It suffered against the antagonizing Zoroark / Garbodor deck, which eventually took the tournament by storm. The surprise deck of the tournament was Malamar, which was piloted by a few people. This is still such a mystery to me as to why it did well — I’m curious to hear their reasoning as to why they chose it. Fringe decks popped up, such as Magnezone (due to Travis Nunlist’s leak) as well as Zoroark / Lycanroc-GX (which decreased in popularity due to its difficulty with BuzzRoc and ZoroCargo).

BuzzRoc was the most popular deck by far in day one. Many players dubbed it “brown Greninja” due to its unstable consistency levels, however it was still piloted by many top players hoping to draw well enough to win.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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