I finished Illinois Regionals 5/3/1 after starting 5/1/1; I’ve been having a lot of downward spirals lately. My failures aside, I was at the event and three of my teammates donning the same list made day two. For some, Collinsville was a continuation of a blurry red-eyed-week starting before Australia’s International Championship. For others, it was the culmination of testing for weeks in a new format while garnering information from an event they didn’t’ have to play in — perhaps for an advantage. Either way, a little over a thousand players made the trek to the event, including some foreigners, and duked it out. This Regionals showcased the largest day two of players we’ve ever seen and didn’t come without its share of surprises.
Blacephalon-GX was dubbed as dead by its “master” Zach Lesage himself before the event. It did poorly in Australia and just didn’t stack up to the rest of the metagame even after. However, with the metagame evolving quickly, Zoroark-GX decks gained popularity extremely quickly and all of a sudden Blacephalon-GX was seen winning a Regionals for the first time this season. It’s crazy the way this worked out, Lesage played the deck even still as he felt comfortable with it and thought the metagame might shape up for it; it did exactly that, and more. Personally, I still considered Blacephalon-GX a deck to worry about heading into the event, but I decided it would be okay to take a loss to it after further deliberation. In the case of Zoroark-GX decks, it’s extremely hard to counter Blacephalon-GX without devoting nearly four slots in your deck to beating it, hence another reason why it’s such a lopsided matchup.
This weekend didn’t come without some other crazy action, Vileplume decks popped up to counter Basic Pokemon-based decks. A few notable players used some variant of the deck ranging from stall decks where you would deck an opponent out to just attacking with Vileplume using Counter Energy in some cases. Peter Kica also developed a new-age Buzzwole-GX deck, one featuring Lucario-GX that also performed very well against Zoroark-GX decks. He took it to a Top 8 after seemingly avoiding Blacephalon-GX and Malamar decks (two matchups he deemed unfavorable).
Aside from the new, Zoroark-GX / Lucario-GX / Lycanroc-GX performed well once again, as did Pikachu and Zekrom-GX decks, Malamar / Ultra Necrozma-GX, and even a hybrid Zapdos counter deck featuring Buzzwole to help out against Zoroark-GX. So a few decks were held constant, others adjusted a bit (namely Zapdos in adding Buzzwole), and some newcomers popped up altogether.
The final Top 8 standings are as follows:
- 1. Zach Lesage with Blacephalon-GX / Naganadel
- 2. Daniel Altavilla with Zoroark-GX / Lucario-GX / Lycanroc-GX
- 3. Riley Hulbert with Vileplume / Control
- 4. Pablo Meza with Pikachu and Zekrom-GX
- 5. Francis O’Brien with Pikachu and Zekrom-GX
- 6. Peter Kica with Buzzwole-GX / Lucario-GX
- 7. Tommy Souramasing with Malamar / Ultra Necrozma-GX
- 8. Drew Cate with Zapdos / Buzzwole / Jirachi
Aside from that, in rough estimation based on my observations at the event, there were at least this many of each deck in day two:
- 1 Buzzwole-GX / Lucario-GX at ~1%
- 1 Celebi and Venusaur-GX / Control at ~1%
- 1 Tapu Koko / Spread at ~1%
- 2 Guzzlord-GX Variants at ~2%
- 2 Sylveon-GX / Control at ~2%
- 4 Blacephalon-GX / Naganadel at ~4%
- 5 Malamar Variants at ~5%
- 6 Vileplume Variants at ~6%
- 7 Pikachu and Zekrom-GX Variants at ~7%
- 10 Zapdos Variants at ~10%
- 15 Zoroark-GX Variants at ~15%
This is pretty lacking, but with so many players in day two it will be difficult to find everything quickly. This is only 54 entries out of the day two, so I predict a few decks may be understated, namely Pikachu & Zekrom-GX builds; they had more pilots that just seven, I believe. Nonetheless, this is a rough picture of what the day two metagame looked like and as you can see, the most popular deck by the numbers was Zoroark-GX. This said, it becomes easier to understand why Blacephalon-GX did so well when you can see on paper how many great matchups it truly had. Hit a lot of them and you’re golden; that’s what happened.
Moving forward the first few weeks of League Cup events are going to be very scattered I think. With Expanded taking over for the next two Regional Championships in the United States it will be hard for many players to test as much Standard as they had been up to this point and until we start to see some League Cup results I predict things will be all over the place. It’s extremely hard to gauge what to play in a format with so many decks, especially some that are dominating against others. I would try to stave away from a deck with a clear auto loss, and maybe even opt for something like Pikachu and Zekrom-GX with a Jolteon-GX for the possibility of a Vileplume deck.
I want to share my thoughts quickly about Marshadow, I think the card is unbalanced in Standard and something should be done about it; losing games before you get to do anything is super lame. That aside, the format is super fun and there’s a lot of decks which is always nice to see. I don’t mind seeing a stall deck creep up again when it forces players to counter it and plan accordingly. With so many intriguing lists and even something so written off like Blacephalon-GX winning a tournament, there’s a lot to be excited about moving forward in Standard. We’ve got time, so let’s take a look at each of the Top 8 lists from Collinsville and talk about anything out of the ordinary, interesting, or just downright cool. Let’s go!
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