Hello everyone! I’m so thankful to have the chance to share my 2019 Worlds experience here on PokeBeach. Before this accomplishment, you may know me by my Top 4 Regionals finish at Dallas, as well as a few sprinkled Day 2 placements this season. What you may not know is that I am the youngest of a Pokemon family. Every single one of my siblings have played competitive Pokemon, most notably my brother, Curran Hill, who took 1st place at the 2005 World Championships. Being surrounded by such well-respected players as siblings lead to my interest and eventual obsession with all things Pokemon. Though I’ve been playing since I was about 5 years old, I didn’t count myself as a top player until I started changing my attitude towards testing to more effective methods, as shown by my results. I’m excited to share my knowledge and experiences from my upbringing as well as what lessons I’ve learned along the way.
In this article, I’ll be diving into how I ended up selecting the Green's Exploration / Reshiram and Charizard-GX variant as my Worlds pick, how the tournament went, and the UPR-UNM format matchups for the deck. For clarity, I’ll refer to the lengthy title of my deck as simply Green’s Reshizard and other popular meta decks by their common name (e.g. Pikachu and Zekrom-GX is Pikarom).
Deciding for Worlds
As soon as the official set list for Unified Minds was released, I started seriously mulling what could be both powerful and consistent enough to take down the crown jewel of the Pokemon circuit. Along with fellow PokeBeach writer Grant Manley, we tried out everything from Whimsicott-GX with Welder and Triple Acceleration Energy to Gengar and Mimikyu-GX / Omastar, similar to the list that finished 50th at Worlds. Everything eventually had some sort of issue: Pikarom lacked a way to consistently beat Green’s Reshizard, an Ability version Reshiram and Charizard-GX had a weak consistency engine, Mewtwo Box lost to Power Plant and Reset Stamp as well as Raichu and Alolan Raichu-GX’s Tandem Shock, Dark Box was a bit too slow and clunky, Shedinja had uncertain matchups along with requiring near perfect play, and Green’s Reshizard struggled with Reset Stamp and turbo aggressive decks. After trying and failing to get Blacephalon-GX to consistently hit Beast Ring while also dealing with no gust effects in the deck, I was at wit’s end on what to play.
After playing with the rough draft Grant Manley handed me, I knew Green’s Reshizard was going to be a top pick thanks to the skill ceiling the deck had, the power level it contained, and the consistency engine it maintained game after game. The deck had its quirks, but being able to consistently gust with a Green’s into Custom Catcher or utilize Volcanion’s Flare Starter while going second made almost every scenario into a winnable one. One caveat the deck retained (along with a large amount of other decks) was the fact that if one opened with a dead hand, there was no coming back, barring a miracle. This style of deck rewarded thinking multiple turns ahead, planning your Knock Outs/Prize cards, and prioritizing setting up your board over blitzing your opponent.
Now let’s get into the tournament report! I had reached my 550 Championship Points off of a League Cup in Quarter 4, so I was excited to even be playing in the World Championships, though I was confident I had the ability to perform well. Here are my rounds along with what decks I played against:
Round 1: 1-0-0 Chris Sikala (US) with Pikarom (2-0)
Game 1, I open with an average hand. Chris manages to Reset Stamp a few times and establish a Raichu and Alolan Raichu-GX to paralyze me. Unfortunately, my Shrine of Punishment was prized, so I took risky Knockouts on small Pokemon such as Oranguru, Zapdos, and Zeraora-GX. I managed to use Lusamine to pick up two Green’s Exploration while my opponent used Resource Management. It was scary when I was Reset Stamped to two, but paid off tremendously with a Green’s Exploration topdeck. Game 2 finished with a Dedenne-GX open from my opponent and pass while I sat on a Welder plus Fiery Flint combo for a turn 1 Double Blaze GX for 200.
Round 2: 2-0-0 Andrew Scott (US) with Pikarom (2-0)
This round took a much more standard route when it comes to the Pikarom matchup. This time in Game 1, I utilized Shrine of Punishment for a non-GX attack OHKO on a Pikarom, and conserved my Mixed Herbs for the eventual Tandem Shock paralysis. The second game was almost a repeat, with my opponent discarding key resources such as Electropower, Energy Switch, and more Dedenne-GX through desperate Dedechanges.
Round 3: 3-0-0 Grant Manley (US) with 60 card mirror Reshizard (2-0)
Man, when pairings went up, I knew it was going to be a good match. Since we had tested almost all of our decks together, I knew exactly which cards Grant could use. Due to this unique knowledge, I won the flip, chose to go second, and was rewarded with a turn 1 Flare Starter on Volcanion for its full effect. Game 2, Grant selected to go second, and started Reshizard, effectively putting him on the back foot. Both games, Grant drew well, but just a bit less than was requiring to keep up with my big Reshizards. I made sure to play around Reset Stamp as well, and conserved mine to prevent a big healing turn to remove Outrage damage.
Round 4: 4-0-0 Shunpei Hosoya (JP) with Gardevoir and Sylveon-GX (2-0)
As I will explain later in the matchup section, quad Gardevoir and Sylveon-GX is an amazing matchup for Reshizard. The damage output of Kaldieostorm and Magical Miracle GX is nothing compared to Flare Strike and Double Blaze GX. I simply built up a six Energy Reshizard, and used High-Heat Blast to put 110 on the active Gardevoir. I then went in with my Reshizard and cleaned up the game. Game 2 follow suit.
Round 5 (on stream): 4-1-0 Jason Annichiarico (US) with Pikarom (0-2)
As all good things must come to an end, I believed my Cinderella run would end here as well. Game 1 was atrocious; I started with no Supporter and a Reshizard. I managed to topdeck a Pokegear 3.0 and find a Green’s Exploration, but it was not enough for the insane speed my opponent had with a triple Electropower Tag Bolt GX for 290 on my lone Reshizard. Game 2 was not better by any stretch. Here, I started with two Volcanion and some Fire Energy, but no Supporter once again. I was soon benched out, and had my first stream match on a TCPi stream recorded as a loss.
Round 6: 4-2-0 Sander Wojcik (NL) with Rowlet and Alolan Exeggutor-GX Stall with 3-2 Araquanid (0-2)
Although I was dejected from the last round, I was determined to rally back and make it through. My heart sunk as my opponent flipped over a Shaymin from Lost Thunder and proceeds to bench double Dewpider. At this point, I had actually forgotten if there was a Standard legal Araquanid that had the Water Bubble Ability. I asked a Judge, and he informed me that he was unable to tell me. I decided to assume the worst, and targeted down the Dewpider with my Custom Catcher and Volcanion, yet that was unable to keep me from the demise of Araquanids that were immune to my attacks as well as Munchlax.
Round 7: 5-2-0 Kosuke Uogishi (JP) with Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX (2-0)
This matchup was almost an exact repeat of Round 4, yet my opponent used Xerneas-GX to poke my Reshizard before trying to go in with a Gardeon. This game plan did not work, as I simply played 3 Great Potion and watched my opponent sigh in disbelief.
Round 8: 6-2-0 Joel Suryadi (ID) with Pikarom (2-0)
This matchup was again, almost a repeat of Round 2. My opponent had rough Dedechanges, and had few options left at the end of each game to deal with a fresh Reshizard. Shrine of Punishment put in work, allowing me to Flare Strike a Raichu and Alolan Raichu-GX for a KO. My opponent prized Reset Stamp both games, preventing any comeback too.
Round 1: 1-0-0 Kohei Kurita (JP) with Pikarom with Judge and Power Plant (2-1)
This matchup was scary, since I knew Pikarom had the power and speed to go toe to toe with Reshizard. Usually I can rely on being able to slowly build up multiple Reshizards with Welder for the full two Fire Energy. However, with the inclusion of ~3 copies of Judge, I couldn’t deal with the opposing Raichu and Alolan Raichu-GX late game. Game 2, I was the one punishing my opponent off of his Judge. He drew poorly, resulting in multiple turns of missed attacks. Game 3, we both set up properly, and I was able to draw Green’s Exploration off of the hand disruption for my Shrine of Punishment and Custom Catchers.
Round 2: 1-0-1 Robin Shultz (DE) with Mewtwo Box (1-1-1)
As I alluded to above, I managed to take a tie with the 2018 World Champion. Mewtwo Box, with Latios-GX is a horrid matchup despite having access to Custom Catcher. I took Game 1 through a misplay of Robin: he decided to use Marshadow’s Resetting Hole to discard his own Giant Hearth to prevent options for me from his incoming Reset Stamp to three cards. I had hid my Power Plant and Reset Stamp techs carefully, and used Green’s Exploration to grab both of them off of the Reset Stamp. I used a Fire Crystal, attached, dropped both of the cards I had just grabbed, and used Outrage for 30. This resulted in Robin bricking off a Reset Stamp to one, snatching the game from the wolves’ teeth. Game 2 was winnable for me, as Robin had left the door open for me to take six Prize cards with a big Double Blaze GX coming in clutch to keep Robin’s Reshizard in check. I managed to place 230 damage on Robin’s Reshizard with my Flare Strike on the following turn, but I couldn’t find a Energy card off of his Reset Stamp to clean up with my Volcanion using High-Heat Blast.
Round 3: 2-0-1 Octavio Gouveia (BR) with Green’s Reshizard (2-0)
This matchup is a bit fuzzy in my memory, but thanks to the countless hours of testing, I remember taking the victory by having the superior deck list. Since I chose to run much more healing than the average Reshizard, this let me poke continuously with Outrage for 30 onto his Reshizard (after he used Double Blaze) and eventually Flare Strike for 240 with a Shrine tick. Game 2, Octavio lacked a strong setup as he started Reshizard going second. I managed to sweep his major threats from there, taking a clean 2-0 victory.
Round 4: 3-0-1 Lucas Henrique de Araujo Pereira (BR) with Pikarom (2-0)
The more I play against Pikarom, the more I’m convinced its not as consistent as it is made out to be. My opponent bricked off Dedechange in the first game, and had no answers to multiple Reshizards. The exact same thing happened in Game 2.
Round 5: 4-0-1 Bert Wolters (NL) with Mewtwo Box (2-1)
I was scared of this matchup after squeaking out a tie versus Robin. Bert had a powerful turn 1 during the first game, setting up a Mewtwo and Mew-GX for an immediate Tag Purge chain starting turn 2. Game 2, I decided to go second in order to maximize Volcanion. My disappointment was most likely apparent when I opened Reshizard instead. However, Bert had a weak turn 1; he started Latios-GX, benched a Dedenne-GX, used Dedechange, and passed. The rest of my hand was golden: I had a Welder, Fiery Flint, Green’s Exploration, and more. I decided to pressure Bert, and went for the turn 1 Double Blaze for 200 to Knock Out the Latios-GX. This lead me to Flare Strike two Dedenne-GX later in the game. Game 3, Power Plant put in work, making Bert miss a Tag Purge turn. After taking 3 Prize cards from this Mewtwo and Mew-GX, I simply targeted down two more Dedenne-GX to take the set.
Round 6: 5-0-1 Pacco Saurus (ES) with Green’s Reshizard (2-1)
Let me start off with saying Pacco Saurus is genuinely once of the best opponents I had the pleasure of facing at the World Championships. We had a pre-round deck check, during which we made small talk and talked about our seasons. Game 1, I was able to outplay him by preserving my Double Blaze GX and poking with Volcanion. Game 2, he was able to take advantage of my weak board and Custom Catcher plus a fully powered Double Blaze GX to eliminate my only Reshizard. I quickly scooped up my cards to leave time for a Game 3. In this game, I chose to go second and high rolled into starting a Volcanion. I used Flare Starter and a Green’s Exploration to setup my board while Pacco was stuck retreating his tech Hoopa from Unified Minds into a Volcanion of his own. Again, I conserved Double Blaze GX while pressuring to take the first three Prize cards. Near the end of the game, Pacco decided to retreat into his Reshizard to take out my damaged first Reshizard. Due to mental strain or what have you, he must have forgotten I had not used my GX attack. I look over to the judge, ask “Have I used my GX attack this game?” “No.” “Well, I’ll attach and use Double Blaze GX for game.” With those words, I was locked with a tie into the World Championship top 8!
Round 7: 5-0-2 Henry Brand (AU) with Mewtwo Box (Intentional Draw)
I was nervous on who I was going to be paired against, but I was relieved when Henry accepted an intentional draw. We both filled out some paperwork (release forms for media, and so forth), had our photos taken, and celebrated.
Top 8: Ryota Ishiyama (JP) with Mewtwo Box
Once the final standings were posted, I was again worried about the matchup, despite my 1 AM Power Plant tech. I was lucky to take a set and a tie off of two of the world’s best players, and doubted if I could do it once more. Turns out, my opponent chose to not play the Latios-GX, making his deck much worse against mine. I was able to poke with Volcanion, utilize Flare Strike, and close with Double Blaze GX in both games.
Top 4: Henry Brand (AU) with Mewtwo Box
At this point, I was ecstatic. On the outside though, I was calm. I was in the semi-finals of the World freakin Championship! I had all my friends and family cheering me on both in person and at home. Again, Henry was the fourth Mewtwo Box player I had run across in Day 2, making me doubt how much more I could take. Game 1 started off perfectly. Henry stumbled, and allowed me to use Double Blaze GX to take three Prize cards. I quickly followed suit with two double Custom Catcher combos to take the game.
My nerves at this point were shaken from all the adrenaline pumping through me the entire day, yet I managed to soldier on and focus once more for Game 2.
You can imagine my disappointment when I opened with Volcanion going second with an almost unplayable hand. On my turn 1, I was forced to reveal Power Plant through playing it, and then passing. Henry bumped it, set up more of his board, and used Clear Vision GX. I was forced to Lusamine for Power Plant (revealing both of my techs) and thin my hand for Custom Catcher. I drew into a Reshizard and a Green’s Exploration, but it was too late. Henry had established his Tag Purge lock, preventing me from taking 6 Prizes.
I tried to push the Game 2 from my mind and focus on the final one. I could feel all the blood rushing through me as I shuffled, and tried to take deep breaths to give my body the oxygen it so desperately wanted. “It all comes down to this,” I thought to myself. I chose to go second, deciding that it was more important to get a Flare Starter than it was to try to pressure, drew my hand, and flipped over my cards.
I started with a perfect hand. I had Volcanion active, a Cherish Ball, a Green’s Exploration, and I believe a Welder all in hand. Henry prioritized the Clear Vision GX, and I knew I was in trouble. Later in the game, he benched the Resetting Hole Marshadow, giving me a window of opportunity to Reset Stamp, Power Plant, Custom Catcher, and remove the option of Resetting Hole to try and stick Henry with a dead hand. At a point in the game, I tried Knocking Out the Marshadow and playing Power Plant, but Henry had the immediate bump with a Giant Hearth of his own. After this, Henry received a double prize penalty for drawing seven cards off of Dedechange. I almost didn’t even notice, as I was looking at his discard to see what he had to dump, but thankfully a judge was able to catch it. This meant I only needed to take a Tag Team Knock Out to advance to the finals! I built up my hand again using Lusamine for Power Plant and more Green’s Exploration, and with two Prize cards remaining, decided to Reset Stamp, holding the Power Plant in case Henry had to discard his last Stadium to dig himself out of the Reset Stamp. When this didn’t happen, I tried to Custom Catcher stick his benched, clean Mewtwo and Mew-GX since he needed his last Welder to retreat as well as a Stadium to win the game. He unfortunately had all the pieces he needed, and was able to close it out. I could have waited a turn to Reset Stamp Henry to one, but feared a Reset Stamp of his to effectively lose me the game. I had seen a good portion of his deck during Game 1, yet the option for a 1-of tech was within the realm of possibility. I also did not want him to have a turn to make a manual attachment to his benched Mewtwo, as that would drastically reduce the combo of cards he needed that exact following turn. (He would have needed just an Energy and a Stadium, instead of a Welder, a Fire Energy, another Energy, and a Stadium.)
We shook hands, and I was finished at the 2019 World Championships.
Final Placement: 3rd Place
In the semi-finals, it came down to a heart-breaking Reset Stamp draw, while in many of the other rounds, the deck was able to checkmate multiple turns in advance. In retrospect, there are minute decisions that could have affected the semi-finals, such as going second Game 3, deciding to KO the Marshadow, or the final turns with the Reset Stamp and Power Plant drop.
Although I feel like I could/should have taken the deck to the finals and beyond, I am still extremely blessed to make it to that point. The entire culmination of my season ended with a Pikachu trophy, so who can be mad about that?
List and Card Counts
My decklist for the tournament was:
As you can see, this deck is very similar to how it was built pre-rotation thanks to the small number of cards being removed. Guzma, Nest Ball, Choice Band, and Field Blower were all key pieces in building up checkmate positions in the previous format. One can see how they were replaced through Custom Catcher, Cherish Ball, Shrine of Punishment, and Lysandre Labs, respectively.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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