A Land Down Thunder — Looking at My 1st Place Oceania Internationals Deck

Hey there PokeBeach readers! The Oceanic Internationals in Melbourne, Australia has come to a conclusion. If you did not happen to catch the stream, let me catch you up on the results: I won playing the new Team Up archetype Zapdos / Jirachi! Today, I am going to give you guys a rundown of specifically how the matchups in my tournament went, talk about the general meta of the event, and share my predictions on what changes going into Collinsville Regionals. To start things off, here is the list:

Pokemon (12)

4x Zapdos (TEU #40)4x Jirachi (TEU #99)1x Tapu Koko-GX (GUR #47)1x Tapu Koko Prism Star (TEU #51)1x Absol (TEU #88)1x Oranguru (SM #113)

Trainers (40)

4x Lillie (SM #122)4x Guzma (BUS #115)3x Cynthia (ULP #119)3x Professor Kukui (SM #128)4x Electropower (LOT #172)4x Nest Ball (SM #123)3x Switch (RS #92)3x Escape Rope (BUS #114)3x Escape Board (ULP #122)2x Choice Band (GUR #121)2x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)1x Ultra Ball (SM #135)1x Energy Loto (GUR #122)2x Shrine of Punishment (CES #143)1x Thunder Mountain Prism Star (LOT #191)

Energy (8)

8x Lightning Energy (EVO #94)

This was a powerful deck that had a few unique advantages going into the Oceania Internationals. Primarily, this was the deck’s first opportunity to be played in an official event. This means that the majority of players have minimal experience on how to properly maneuver against its game plan and recognize favorable board states for themselves. Secondly, the Oceania meta was full of favorable matchups for the deck.

Let’s take a detailed look at my matchups:

Tournament Overview

Day 1

  • Round 1 vs. Chuyao Zhou [AU] — Pikachu and Zekrom-GX WW
  • Round 2 vs. Jason Chan [NZ] — Lost March WW
  • Round 3 vs. Pedro Eugenia Torres [ES] — Pikachu & Zekrom-GX WW
  • Round 4 vs. Hafizuddin Mohamad [MY] — Pikachu & Zekrom-GX WLW
  • Round 5 vs. Sam Chen [TW] — Pikachu & Zekrom-GX (on backup stream) WW
  • Round 6 vs. Jon Eng [US] — Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX / Alolan Muk (on stream) LWW
  • Round 7 vs. Preston Ellis [US] — Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX / Alolan Muk LL
  • Round 8 vs. Daniel Altavilla [US] — Zapdos / Jirachi (60 card mirror) ID
  • Round 9 vs. Henry Brand [AU] — Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX / Alolan Muk LL

Day 2

  • Round 10 vs. Bastian Silva [CL] — Pikachu & Zekrom-GX LWW
  • Round 11 vs. Joshua Sparks [AU] — Zapdos / Buzzwole / Nihilego WW
  • Round 12 vs. Karl Peters [DE] — Zapdos / Buzzwole / Lycanroc-GX (on stream) WW
  • Round 13 vs. Darin O’Meara [US] — Malamar / Giratina WW
  • Round 14 vs. Bert Wolters [NL] — Zapdos / Buzzwole / Nihilego L (Intentional Scoop)

Top Cut

  • Top 8 vs. Daniel Altavilla [US] — Zapdos / Jirachi (60 card mirror) WW
  • Top 4 vs. Jose Marrero [US] — Pikachu & Zekrom-GX WW
  • Finals Stephane Ivanoff [FR] — Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX / Lucario-GX WLW

Final record: 13-3-1

The Meta and the Deck

With the release of Team Up, two new archetypes — dare I say tier one archetypes — were born. Before the event, when the gang and I were attempting to predict the meta, we decided to put a strong emphasis on beating Zapdos and Pikachu & Zekrom-GX.

A look at my tournament matches reveals how popular and dominant these archetypes were. Over the course of the event, I played against six Pikachu & Zekrom-GX decks and five Zapdos-based decks. Naturally, my list has a very strong Pikachu & Zekrom-GX matchup and the consistency to give me the edge in the mirror match, allowing me to ultimately take the win.

On the Wednesday I arrived in Melbourne, I went to this great restaurant The Fish & Chippery with Azul Griego and Joey Ruettiger where we discussed the play. At this lunch, we concluded that because of the likely popularity of Pikachu & Zekrom-GX along with its favorable matchup against Zoroark-GX variants, we should expect a lot of Pikachu & Zekrom-GX but little Zoroark-GX. Therefore, our path to victory was to beat every deck in the meta except for Zoroark-GX. What deck can pull this off most effectively? Zapdos / Jirachi.

However, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I was not-so pleasantly surprised to see the popularity of the Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX variant at the tournament, of which I played against four! I have a lot of respect for Zoroark-GX players considering that normally I am one myself. It was cool to see the clever techs these guys included to better their shot against Pikachu & Zekrom-GX and round out their matchup spread. Most notably, fellow PokeBeach writer Stéphane Ivanoff rocked the matchup with his inclusion of Lucario-GX to OHKO the Pikachu & Zekrom-GX with Aura Strike due to its Fighting Weakness. I’m sure Stéphane will be releasing an article on it himself so I won’t go into too much detail — but I know I am excited to read through his thoughts and explanations on the deck.

The Matchups

For this section, I am going to go over the theory behind each of the five different matchups that I played against in the tournament, as well as draw on examples from my matches.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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