Downloading Dallas — Review and Eye Towards Sword and Shield

Last weekend, my teammates and I ran Turbo Dark for Dallas. I played a whopping 229 games of Expanded outside of events themselves in preparation for this tournament and could not convince myself or anyone else to play anything other than the best deck itself. This is the most I’ve tested for an event in a while, I wanted to make Top 8 or better. Ultimately, I went 6/3/0 for Top 128, missing Day 2 altogether. I won the TCG Cup the next day, so the weekend wasn’t a complete wash. I’m motivated more than ever to keep grinding for events and I will continue to push out my unabridged thoughts in article form for PokeBeach readers. Without further ado, let’s inspect the results from Texas, starting with the Day 2 makeup:

Day 2 Dallas Regionals Metagame

Sheesh, that’s 25 unique archetypes! Although a few are similar to each other, the point stands. This is the biggest Day 2 we’ve seen population-wise for a while with 84 starting players (reduced to 81 after three disqualifications) so lots of variety comes as no surprise. My main predictions were largely accurate: Lots of Mewtwo and Mew-GX Toolbox, Turbo Dark, and Ultra Necrozma (to a lesser degree of accuracy). I underestimated Shock Lock, perhaps to my own demise; I ran into one in the sixth round and without a counter to give me a chance, I was quickly rolled two to zero games. This Day 2 culminated into:

Dallas Regionals Top 8 Final Standings

1. Hunter Butler with Garchomp and Giratina-GX / Roxie / Tapu Koko Prism Star
2. Luis Duran with Gardevoir and Sylveon-GX / Aromatisse
3. Gibson Archer-Tang with Rowlet and Alolan Exeggutor-GX / Vileplume
4. Jon Eng with Zoroark-GX / Garbodor
5. Pablo Meza with Trevenant and Dusknoir-GX / Milotic
6. Alex Schemanske with Doll Stall / Regirock
7. Grant Hays with Rowlet and Alolan Exeggutor-GX / Vileplume / Sceptile-GX
8. Brandin Tucker with Gardevoir and Sylveon-GX / Aromatisse

General Takeaways

  • Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX was a tech in a variety of underrated decks and Pokémon Ranger wasn’t very common to disrupt it
  • Garchomp and Giratina-GX / Roxie / Tapu Koko Prism Star as a deck is a broken archetype and I am personally disappointed that I didn’t think of it; it was the best play for this event and absolutely rocked the competition
  • Gardevoir and Sylveon-GX was underrated for this event and proved itself once again with two spots in the Top 8
  • Mewtwo and Mew-GX was a top pick by many skilled players, adapting the Standard format archetype to Expanded by adding techs to counter the competition; Incineroar-GX was an underused tech and better than the likes of Lucario-GX and Tauros-GX
  • Reshiram and Zekrom-GX decks with Ho-Oh-EX were underrepresented but performed well, mostly preying on Pokemon-EX / Pokemon-GX based decks and folding to anything outside of those
  • Rowlet and Alolan Exeggutor-GX / Vileplume was underplayed and took two of the Top 8 spots, largely avoiding Turbo Dark decks in the process
  • Shock Lock warrants a dedicated tech in most decks moving forward, I see no reason for those playing it to stop when it’s so strong against most of the format naturally
  • The only viable control build are the Doll Stall variants that did well, most featuring Regirock as an attacker to counter Turbo Dark decks; Sudowoodo and Counter Energy were used in many cases to one-shot a Darkrai-EX that was using Night Spear to eliminate Lillie’s Poke Doll, or a Guzzlord tearing it up for multiple Prizes
  • Trevenant and Dusknoir-GX / Milotic is a real threat, it’s a legitimate way to reduce an opponent’s hand to zero cards
  • Turbo Dark will continue to be the centerpiece of the format and while it may not have made Top 8, it wasn’t far behind and all of the decks that made it almost had to get through multiple matches against the deck
  • We used Guzzlord-GX in our Turbo Dark deck, which was very strong and won us many games as a group; the best way to play Turbo Dark for this event was with a thicker Weavile-GX line and tech attackers such as this:

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