Hello! I’m back from Australia. Although I can’t say that I’m satisfied with my performance at the Oceania International Championships (I lost my win-and-in for Day 2 and got Top 128, earning points but nothing else), it was a fantastic experience in a lovely city. There’s a lot of take away from the first major event in the new format and with the new first turn rule.
Decks using Welder proved they could handle the power creep (although Blacephalon‘s showing was weaker than expected). Galarian Obstagoon made a surprise appearance in Top 4 and Cinccino Mill took spots at the top tables. However, let’s not forget what was arguably the most notable story — Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX / Zacian V proving it could live up to its hype by making up of almost half of Day 2. There have been more dominant performances from decks in the past (Drampa-GX / Garbodor shortly after Guardians Rising‘s release comes to mind), but never this many.
Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX / Zacian V happens to be the deck I played in Melbourne. For several reasons, I wanted a safe choice for this weekend. The International Championships give so many points that I would rather not take unnecessary risks and I knew that if I could get any amount of points this weekend I would most likely secure my Top 4 travel award for the Europe International Championships. I tried some original ideas but in the end, I could not see myself playing anything else than Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX / Zacian V or Blacephalon. Since I was running out of time and didn’t have a solid list for Blacephalon, I chose to play Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX / Zacian V. It was the deck my testing group had spent the most time with. That testing group included players from all over the world including Bert Wolters, who was the first seed going into Top 8 (like last year!) where he lost to Cinccino Mill. Bert’s list and mine only differed by one card.
We expected Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX / Zacian V to be very popular this weekend so we put a lot of time into the mirror match. We haven’t found any miracle tech or strategy to win it confidently, but we did end up with a good understanding of the matchup and that proved very useful. To put it another way, past a certain threshold there’s nothing you can do to make the matchup significantly favored; however, there are mistakes you can make that will definitely make you unfavored. In this article, I will talk about how we built our list to have answers to everything and I will explain how not to make these mistakes I mention.
Maybe the perspective of a mirror match doesn’t excite you terribly, since it’s a match where both players have theoretical answers to what the opponent does. It comes down to who actually draws the right cards so I’m not a big fan of it either! For this reason, I’ll include two variants of the deck that are each played slightly differently and have unique plans for the mirror match. I think that having different options from the standard list can make a difference, especially ones that your opponent might not expect.
The Oceania International Championships List
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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