For the first time since 2011 (and that was a unique case of mid-season rotation), Worlds this year is held in the post-rotation format. One consequence of that is that, for once, Japanese and non-Japanese players are in the same situation. As you may know, I like to pay attention to what the Japanese are playing, since it’s often a source of inspiration. Both of the decks I won International Championships with: Zoroark-GX / Garbodor and Zoroark-GX / Dewgong were inspired by the Japanese metagame. This is true even when though our formats differ. For example, the first Zoroark-GX / Garbodor list I saw last season, came from the finalist of a Champions League in the XY-on format. At the time, we were playing in Breakthrough-on. This list played Sky Field and Shaymin-EX, so there was a lot of changes to make. It was the basis for the list Fabien Pujol played to a Top 8 finish in the Latin America International Championships that year; a list that eventually morphed to the one we played at NAIC. Some ideas, like Kartana-GX and Unit Energy LPM and playing Float Stone instead of Bursting Balloon, which carried through to Robin Schulz’s Worlds-winning decklist, which can be traced back to that Japanese list.
This year, there’s no point in looking at what’s been doing well at Champions Leagues or the Japan National Championship, since the rotation completely changes things. The loss of Nest Ball, Ultra Ball, and Guzma, not to mention complete archetypes such as Zoroark-GX, makes everything unique. Japanese players are as lost as us, and can’t look at what’s working in our parts of the world either, since we haven’t played the format in official competitions either. Communication between Japan and the rest of the world is difficult, but from the echoes I’ve had, they seem to value the same kind of decks as we do: Malamar, Pikachu and Zekrom-GX, Reshiram and Charizard-GX, etc. Interestingly, Japanese players are organizing local, non-official Worlds-format tournament, where they get to play best of three matches, unlike in their regular tournaments.
The reason I mention it is that I’ve been in contact with Antoine Boulay, a French player living in Japan, who recently got second place at one such tournament. For reference, there were 42 players, and he went 3-0-1. He played a unique deck based on Spiritomb, and there are several ideas in his list that I like. My goal in this article is to show what ideas we can take from a new concept like this and how to apply them to other decks. It will include more appearances of Bill's Analysis than you’ve probably seen during the entirety of last season.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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