Control Issues — Looking at My Denver Regionals Run

Hey everyone! I’m excited to announce that I was able to win my second Regionals of the season, and second ever, this past weekend in Denver, Colorado!

Normally I would review the entirety of the Day 2 metagame and the state of the event, but since I won I want to use my own unique perspective to talk about my event and how things looked.

Going into the tournament I expected a lot of Pikachu and Zekrom-GX decks, along with Zapdos. I thought Zoroark-GX builds would die down a little, as would Malamar. Blacephalon-GX was looking like it might see a little play, as well as stall decks based around Lusamine. With these decks in mind, Zoroark-GX / Control was reborn and prepped for the event. I played only a handful of games with the new list in the days prior, but I knew I could play it well with past experience using other control variants, especially with Zoroark-GX.

Final Standings

  • 1. Caleb Gedemer with Zoroark-GX / Control
  • 2. Hale Obernolte with Lusamine / Control
  • 3. Ronald Gonzalez with Celebi and Venusaur-GX
  • 4. Nic Stewart with Pikachu and Zekrom-GX / Zapdos
  • 5. Andrew Mahone with Turbo Pikachu and Zekrom-GX
  • 6. Zakary Krekeler with Zapdos / Jolteon-GX
  • 7. Adler Pierce with Zapdos / Lycanroc-GX
  • 8. Liam Alon with Lusamine / Control

These standings are somewhat representative of the overall Day 2 metagame, but exclude some popular decks like Blacephalon-GX and Zapdos / Ultra Beast. These two decks alongside the Pikachu and Zekrom-GX / Zapdos archetype were among the most played builds in Day 2, with splashes of other rogue decks like Naganadel-GX / Stakataka-GX. Malamar was not well represented in Day 2 with only a few qualifying to the next day. You’ll see how many Pikachu and Zekrom-GX decks I played — my rounds were as follows:

  • R1 versus Pikachu and Zekrom-GX / Zapdos WW 1-0-0
  • R2 versus Pikachu and Zekrom-GX / Zapdos WLW 2-0-0
  • R3 versus Pikachu and Zekrom-GX / Zapdos WW 3-0-0
  • R4 versus Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX WLT 3-0-1
  • R5 versus Blacephalon-GX LWT 3-0-2
  • R6 versus Zapdos / Buzzwole WLT 3-0-3
  • R7 versus Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX WW 4-0-3
  • R8 versus Pikachu and Zekrom-GX / Zapdos WW 5-0-3
  • R9 versus Intentional Draw T 5-0-4
  • R10 versus Zapdos / Ultra Beast WW 6-0-4
  • R11 versus Blacephalon-GX W 7-0-4
  • R12 versus Pikachu and Zekrom-GX / Zapdos WW 8-0-4
  • R13 versus Zapdos / Ultra Beast WLW 9-0-4
  • R14 versus Intentional Draw T 9-0-5
  • T8 versus Zapdos / Lycanroc-GX WW 10-0-5
  • T4 versus Pikachu and Zekrom-GX / Zapdos WLW 11-0-5
  • T2 versus Lusamine / Control WLW 12-0-5

I never lost a single match over the course of the event so I have no complaints. My deck functioned beautifully and it was the perfect metagame choice for the tournament. I beat a lot of great players and won some super tough rounds. I’m thankful for my success at the Regionals. Here is the list:

Pokemon (18)

4x Zoroark-GX (SHL #53)4x Zorua (SHL #52)2x Oranguru (ULP #114)2x Alolan Muk (SM #58)2x Alolan Grimer (SM #57)2x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Ditto Prism Star (LOT #154)1x Girafarig (LOT #94)

Trainers (38)

4x Lillie (ULP #125)2x Judge (FOL #108)2x Guzma (BUS #115)2x Acerola (BUS #112)4x Crushing Hammer (SM #115)4x Ultra Ball (SHL #68)4x Nest Ball (SM #123)3x Pokémon Communication (TEU #152)3x Bodybuilding Dumbbells (BUS #113)2x Mysterious Treasure (FOL #113)2x Enhanced Hammer (GUR #124)1x Switch (CES #147)1x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)1x Pal Pad (ULP #132)1x Field Blower (GUR #125)1x Lavender Town (TEU #147)1x Champions Festival (PRSM #SM148 )

Energy (4)

4x Double Colorless Energy (SHL #69)

Explanations

Two Alolan Muk and Two Alolan Grimer

One of the best things about this list is its ability to crush Zapdos decks to a pulp. A larger Alolan Muk line than usual is instrumental in pushing the matchup greater in your favor. It helps you find it sooner and survive an early Alolan Muk Knock Out that your opponent may be lucky enough to take. The two Alolan Grimer almost ensures that you can get the turn two Alolan Muk down since Zapdos players will be targeting Alolan Grimer or Ditto Prism Star on their first turn. One of my favorite openings was to find Alolan Grimer, Ditto Prism Star, and two Zorua on the first turn to prevent my opponent from being able to eliminate the threat of Alolan Muk altogether. If Ditto Prism Star is in your Prize cards, you can find two Alolan Grimer instead for the same effect.

Alolan Muk’s Power of Alchemy is one of the most degenerate Abilities in the game right now and is downright dirty against Zapdos decks that rely so heavily on Jirachi.

It was great against Lusamine / Control decks that have a variety of ways to stop you from dealing damage with attacks, to which you can turn off those opposing Abilities and be able to damage opposing Pokemon once more.


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