Post Thunder — An Early Archetype Review for Roanoke

Hello everyone, Rukan here, hot off of Memphis Regionals and already preparing for Lost Thunder in earnest. Lost Thunder introduces the largest set in history. With so many new archetypes and cards, where does one even begin? Usually, I expect three to four major archetypes to stand out and vie for domination, but Lost Thunder blows that expectation out of the water. While I cannot reasonably predict a BDIF this early on, I can quickly sift through the numerous archetypes and identify the strengths and weaknesses of each. By the end of the article, I hope to build an early framework for the Roanoke metagame, and identify no more than three archetypes to focus my playtesting around.

This article’s archetype review begins with the notable decks from the recent Tokyo Champions League. It follows up with any archetypes missing from the aforementioned Champions League, then closes with my top four picks and reasoning behind why.

Tokyo Champions League Archetypes

Lost March

Sharing a namesake with the infamous Night March deck, I expect Lost March to receive significant attention from the entire community. But can it live up to such lofty expectations? I don’t think it can, but allow me to provide a deck list before I go into why.

Pokemon (21)

4x Jumpluff (Lost Thunder) 4x Skiploom (Lost Thunder) 4x Hoppip (Lost Thunder) 4x Trumbeak (Lost Thunder) 2x Natu (Lost Thunder) 1x Alolan Meowth (Lost Thunder)1x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Marshadow (PRSM #SM85)

Trainers (32)

4x Professor Elm’s Lecture (Lost Thunder)4x Cynthia (ULP #119)3x Lillie (SM #122)3x Guzma (BUS #115)4x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)4x Net Ball (Lost Thunder)3x Great Ball (SM #119)3x Choice Band (GUR #121)2x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)

Energy (7)

3x Grass Energy (RS #104)3x Double Colorless Energy (EVO #90)1x Super Boost Energy Prism Star (ULP #136)

The deck performed quite poorly at the Tokyo Champions League, with only a single placement in Top 32. After playing just a few games with the list I posted above, I could see why the deck struggled. Lost March needs to draw a lot of cards in the right order to apply early pressure. You need to bench numerous Hoppip and Skiploom early on, not prize them, and find a way to shuffle all Jumpluff in your hand back into your deck. All the while, you need to do this quickly before your opponent can dismantle your board.

In terms of matchups, the deck struggles against both spread cards like Ultra Necrozma-GX, Fairy Alolan Ninetales-GX and Spell Tag; as well as disruptive archetypes like Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX that pick apart Lost March’s board state.

So, for better or worse, I think the current iterations of Lost March struggle against too many matchups to see top tier success, and struggles with its setup and draw engine on top of all that.

Spell Tag Malamar

Speaking of spread, let’s move on to the first-place list from Tokyo:

Pokemon (17)

4x Malamar (FOL #51)4x Inkay (FOL #50)2x Tapu Koko (PRSM #SM30)2x Giratina (Lost Thunder)1x Onix (Lost Thunder)1x Necrozma-GX (BUS #63)1x Shining Arceus (SHL #57)1x Lunala Prism Star (ULP #62)1x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)

Trainers (31)

4x Cynthia (ULP #119)3x Lillie (SM #122)3x Guzma (BUS #115)2x CARD NOT FOUND2x TV Reporter (CES #149)1x Judge (BKT #143)4x Mysterious Treasure (FOL #113)4x Spell Tag (Lost Thunder)3x Nest Ball (SM #123)2x Ultra Ball (SM #135)2x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)1x Shrine of Punishment (CES #143)

Energy (12)

10x Psychic Energy (RS #107)2x Double Colorless Energy (SHL #69)

This Malamar deck runs quite a few spread options alongside Spell Tag. Spell Tag itself provides tremendous value against other single-Prize decks, such as the Malamar mirror. Eventually, your opponent triggers two Spell Tags, which in turn puts enough counters on a Malamar to knock it out with Giratina‘s Ability.

I like the Japanese list a lot, but after playing the list a bit against Sceptile-GX / Decidueye-GX, I liked it more after adding a second Necrozma-GX to stabilize matchups where you would rather take big one-hit Knock Outs over some of the spreading techs.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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