Hey PokeBeach readers! I hope you all enjoyed the format this last season. Staples such as Professor Sycamore, which is a reprint of Professor Juniper before it, as well as N and Float Stone are gone for the time being. These cards have existed for almost the entire time I’ve been playing competitively since 2011! This has forced me, as well as everyone else, to be much more creative with decks.
Worlds 2018 was unreal for me. I never would’ve imagined I’d do so well! I tested little, which is uncharacteristic of me, but I picked what I felt was the right play, as well as a deck that relied on solid fundamentals over strictly matchup knowledge. Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX was a perfect play in the field full of Zoroark-GX decks, and that reflected in my record. I finished 6-1-0 day one, then 4-2-1 day two placing 30th overall for a Top 32 finish.
I know the 2019 format and season is on all of your minds. My testing partners and I have got a few decks that have tested well for us so far. Today, I will go over the three of them that have tested the best for us in one of the wildest post-rotation formats I’ve ever seen. Before that though, to help you construct your own decks, I’ll go over my thoughts on the format and what consistency truly is in the SUM-CES format.
Consistency Without Sycamore
Cynthia is the only standout draw Supporter to me. Nothing else compares to the powerful draw that it provides with zero drawback. This means that decks either need Pokemon that draw you cards, or they need to be able to function without playing many cards from your hand each turn.
What do I mean by that second point? Let’s think of Vikavolt / Tapu Bulu-GX as an example. This deck needs little from your hand to keep going. Vikavolt keeps the engine running, and you can take a OHKO every turn as long as you have a basic Energy in your hand to complete the Energy cost of Nature’s Judgment or Tapu Wilderness GX. Additionally, Tapu Bulu-GX is hard to OHKO with no Weakness, so if you don’t play a draw Supporter one turn, you will likely still be able to attack. The deck runs itself with its board rather than its hand.
Contrast this with a deck like Night March, where the attacker and its Energy will be removed from the board every turn. It needs to blow through its deck to respond every time. Most decks that only consist of Pokemon that don’t need any setup fall into this category. Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX falls into this category as well, even though it doesn’t necessarily get Knocked Out every turn.
Decks that needs to hit a lot of cards every turn to respond to Knock Outs are going to be weak this format. Until they print more consistency Pokemon like Octillery or stronger draw Supporters, these decks will suffer against decks that can set up one or two Stage 2’s with a ton of HP that can sustain themselves.
This makes Zoroark-GX worth a premium. It draws you cards, and hits hard turn two in a format that got a lot slower. It can also stay alive with its 210 HP, and its Weakness is less relevant since Fighting as an archetype lost many important cards in the form of Strong Energy and Max Elixir. Zoroark-GX is weakened by the loss of Puzzle of Time, however it still is one of the strongest cards in the game because it can draw through a deck quickly in a format that lost a lot of powerful consistency cards.
Making a Deck Concept
This format is going to be broad. At the time of this article’s publishing, you can’t be sure of what you’re going to be playing against in a particular tournament. Everyone has their own cool deck ideas that are viable! So how do you make your own deck that will work well this format?
Since you might play against a different deck every round at a particular League Challenge or League Cup, due to there being no established meta, your deck must have a strong fundamental strategy. You can’t counter a meta that hasn’t established itself. Take NAIC this last year for instance: Zoroark-GX, Malamar box, and Buzzwole-GX were the three decks, and everyone knew them well. You knew you had to have some counters or a strategy against the counters. Right now, you aren’t sure what you’re going to face. Metagross-GX is the only deck I can think of that you are almost guaranteed to play against; it’s the BDIF in my opinion. So if you’ve got a deck concept, build it to be consistent first. Also, make it have attackers that synergize together, and be fundamentally strong. It needs to have a solid game plan that doesn’t necessarily care what it’s playing against.
Plenty of Stage 2 attackers became viable as well. Paired with Zororark-GX, Ludicolo gets powerful for example. The whole format got slower, so about anything is worth trying out.
Setting the Stage
I’ll preface this with saying that I believe Metagross, Ultra Necrozma-GX / Malamar, and Rayquaza-GX / Vikavolt are the strongest three decks. These are top tier decks, but they aren’t always the most consistent, and they aren’t always going to exist in every area’s metagame. They are on top, but they’re not standing on firm ground.
Honorable mention to Zoroark-GX variants. Their ridiculous consistency allows them to stay near the top of any format. I think Zoroark-GX decks may end up being the best if the former three decks end up being too inconsistent.
I’ll start off with what I believe has a strong case for BDIF of the format: Metagross-GX / Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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