Post Rotation Update — Updating Dark Box

Hey guys, Rukan here. A few weeks passed since my last article, and I finally got to see the community discuss their thoughts of various archetypes on social media. More importantly, players finally started testing for Worlds and I got to try some of my deck ideas in action against living breathing opponents. Today’s article discusses how I’ve seen the post rotation meta develop in the two weeks since NAIC and how I’ve updated Dark Box since I started playtesting. I’ve also tossed in a quick Lost March list towards the end because I found that it might have some potential in the upcoming format!

Social Media Meta

Without any significant tournaments in the Worlds format, any meta knowledge comes predominantly from social media and a bit from the Fight Club group I organize online, where players meet up to play out games every weekday night.

The top dog to beat

During the first week after NAIC, players focused most of their attention on Pikachu and Zekrom-GX, Malamar, and Blacephalon-GX. These three archetypes retained a lot of consistency cards and offer straightforward aggressive strategies, so players naturally gravitated towards them. As players got to playtest more, many started expressing doubts over whether they could truly build Malamar consistently enough. Malamar requires more setup than the other two archetypes, and thus suffers more from the loss of consistency as well. Blacephalon-GX also struggles much more against Malamar variants now that Let Loose Marshadow rotated as well. The threat of Tapu Fini also scared many members of the community even though I saw literally zero decks playing it. So in my opinion, this left Pikachu & Zekrom-GX as the top performing archetype of the three. Results from both my Fight Club group, private playtesting, and general word of mouth seemingly confirmed this.

The second week of playtesting saw more interesting builds crop up. Players got more comfortable with the consistency engines of the format and started branching out. In particular, I saw a large influx of Choice Helmet variants with lots of healing cards. This consisted primarily of Reshiram and Charizard-GX and some Gardevoir and Sylveon-GX builds. These tanky builds tend to survive early pressure much more reliably now that Pikachu & Zekrom-GX lost Choice Band with rotation. It also performs quite well against Giratina spam from Malamar variants. These healing decks seem like a natural reaction to the fact that Pikarom and Malamar received more hype than Blacephalon-GX in the first week. Leading into the next week, I somewhat expect Blacephalon-GX to see a resurgence as an answer to the tanky archetypes I saw from the second week.

Dark Box – First Build – Sharknadel with Elms

In my last article, I presented a list with four Professor Elm's Lecture and four Pokégear 3.0. At the time I just wanted to try out the engine. But it failed to set up a few too many times and I dropped it for a more traditional Lillie engine. From this experience, I would probably advise against playing similar engines in other archetypes as well.

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