Surprise, Surprise — Reflecting on Peoria and the Future of Standard

Hello PokeBeach readers! It’s been a while, but I’m happy to be back writing another article for you all. Last time, I took a look at the future of single-Prize attackers in the Lost Origin format, focusing on Radiant Charizard / Inteleon, a deck which fell off much harder than I anticipated, and a Lost Zone toolbox deck featuring a heavier Cramorant count with a few Articuno. Reflecting on that article after the Peoria Regional Championship, neither of these specific decks did as well as I expected, but I think it was absolutely true that this format was very good for single-Prize Pokemon. Lost Zone Toolbox took down the entire tournament in the hands of Tord Reklev, one of the greatest players to ever play the game, and multiple Regigigas decks did extremely well, with eight in the event’s Top 32. However, there was more that happened at the Peoria Regional Championship, so how about we take an in-depth dive into it?

A Peoria Regionals Recap

The Lost Origin format is by far one of the strangest formats that the game has ever had because there are exactly two official events for it in the entire world: the Peoria Regional Championship and the Salt Lake City Regional Championship. With Salt Lake City already coming up this weekend, understanding the Week One metagame will be critical for any player hoping to succeed. First, a brief look at the top five most popular decks at Peoria:

Popular Decks

  1. Kyurem VMAX / Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR (173)
  2. Giratina VSTAR (129)
  3. Mew VMAX (113)
  4. Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR / Inteleon (100)
  5. Lost Zone Toolbox / Radiant Charizard (69)

Leading up to the event, if you had asked me what the five most popular decks would be, I would have said more or less the same five decks, but nowhere near the same order. Personally, I expected Mew VMAX to be the most played deck by far, largely because it seemed like it was one of the best plays for the event, and it tends to be a generally popular deck anyway. I definitely did not expect it to be as low as third most played.

On the flip side, I expected Lost Zone Toolbox to be the second most played deck, but it ended up being much lower than that — barely one-third as popular as the most played deck. And speaking of that deck, I was blown away by Kyurem VMAX’s popularity. I definitely expected the deck to get a decent amount of play, but it being far and away the most popular deck was mind-blowing. I have been racking my brain trying to figure out how the deck ended up being the most popular deck, but I still have not been able to make sense of it.

I personally found myself as one of the 129 Giratina VSTAR players. The deck ended up being a bit more popular than I anticipated, but not unreasonably so. Giratina VSTAR also joined the 9-0 club this weekend in the hands of Jon Eng, who ended up being the only Giratina VSTAR player in Top 8.

Top 8 Standings

Initial Standings

  1. Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR / Inteleon
  2. Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR / Inteleon
  3. Giratina VSTAR
  4. Hisuian Zoroark VSTAR
  5. Kyurem VMAX / Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR
  6. Lost Zone Toolbox / Radiant Charizard
  7. Kyurem VMAX / Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR
  8. Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR / Inteleon

To many players’ surprise, there were three Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR / Inteleon in Top 8. While I, like others, expected the deck to continue to do well in the new format, I think few expected it to be the most popular deck in Top 8, beating out every single one of the new decks.

In addition, despite not being one of the most popular decks (it was eighth most played, to be exact), Hisuian Zoroark VSTAR was able to produce a Top 8 finish at the Peoria Regional Championship. I am especially confident that this result surprised some people, as most of the people that I talked to about the Hisuian Zoroark VSTAR archetype seemed to think that the deck was completely unplayable. Unfortunately for both Hisuian Zoroark VSTAR and Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR / Inteleon, playing out the Top 8 bracket was not too kind to either of these decks, as the final standings ended up like this.

Final Standings (Initial Seed in Parentheses)

  1. Lost Zone Toolbox / Radiant Charizard (6)
  2. Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR / Inteleon (8)
  3. Kyurem VMAX / Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR (5)
  4. Kyurem VMAX / Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR (7)
  5. Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR / Inteleon (1)
  6. Orgin Forme Palkia VSTAR / Inteleon (2)
  7. Giratina VSTAR (3)
  8. Hisuian Zorark VSTAR (4)

As I already mentioned, Lost Zone Toolbox ended up taking down the entire tournament, which was what many people expected leading up to the event. In the online tournament space, Lost Zone Toolbox was by far one of the most popular decks leading up to the Peoria Regional Championship, so it was certainly a deck on everyone’s mind, but it was still a bit surprising to see one of the only two in Top 32 take down the entire event.

Another note that I made previously is that Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR / Inteleon did not do great in Top 8 itself, but how could that be true if it still made it to finals? Well, the deck only had a 33% win rate against non-mirrors in Top 8, winning exactly one set against Kyurem VMAX in Top 4. Other than that set, the deck got rolled by Kyurem VMAX in the quarterfinals and by Lost Zone Toolbox in the finals. Top 8 was also not kind to Giratina VSTAR and Hisuian Zoroark VSTAR, both of which lost their first match.

What can we learn from Peoria?

The Peoria Regional Championship ended up leaving many confused. A lot of the information that we gained from the event was knowledge that we already had, there were no massive game-breaking rogue decks, and the top-placing decks were pretty much what we expected. Annoyingly, the combination of Kyurem VMAX and Lost Zone Toolbox doing well produces a frustrating metagame because of the the best ways to beat a Pokemon VMAX is with single-Prize Pokemon, but single-Prize Pokemon struggle against Sableye and Cramorant. On the flip side, somewhat bulky multi-Prize Pokemon such as Hisuian Goodra VSTAR are strong against Sableye and Cramorant, but these bulky Pokemon get blown up by Kyurem VMAX. In reality, there is no real way to be super favored against both of these archetypes because of them naturally covering the other’s weaknesses. As such, preparing a deck for the Salt Lake City Regional Championship (or for any other purpose that you may have in mind) can be pretty difficult because there is no great way to do everything you need to.

Fortunately, this frustration is shared by many players that are preparing for the event, and when this happens, the meta actually ends up being surprisingly predictable if we take a step back and look at the bigger picture. When people feel clueless about what to play, they naturally gravitate toward decks that have brought them success in the past or are otherwise comfortable to play. This means that, most likely, players will just play their comfort picks or a deck similar to what they played for the Peoria Regional Championship if they attended it. As such, the metagame will likely look very similar to the metagame we saw in Peoria, meaning that many of the same decks that did well in Peoria will do well in Salt Lake City.

Through this though process, I would be guided to three top picks for the Salt Lake City Regional Championship. These decks are, in no particular order, Giratina VSTAR, Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR / Inteleon, and Regigigas. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the first of these decks: Giratina VSTAR.

Choice 1: Giratina VSTAR

The first of my recommended choices for the Salt Lake City Regional Championship is also the deck that I played for the Peoria Regional Championship, Giratina VSTAR. This deck is certainly my safe play, so to speak, as it is both the deck I am most comfortable with in Standard as well as a deck that I believe is capable of winning any matchup assuming you are willing to tailor the list a little. This reasoning is exactly why I played the deck in Peoria, and it served me pretty well. In Peoria, I was fortunate enough to start off the tournament 3-0, but a series of unfortunate events and some of the most abysmal draws that I have ever seen, starting with my match on stream Round 4, sent me down to 3-3-1. I was fortunately able to get some better luck in Rounds 8 and 9, resulting in a 5-3-1 finish, which awarded me some Championship Points. In my opinion, and based on the results of many other Giratina VSTAR players, I think this run could have gone much deeper, as I went 5-0-1 in matches where my deck actually functioned.

A lot of Giratina VSTAR’s strength comes from the fact that Star Requiem is one of the most incredible VSTAR Powers in the game, as well as its natural pairing with Mirage Gate opening up other plays, including Radiant Greninja-based game plans. With the same engine as any other Lost Zone deck, the deck also can play games with exclusively single-Prize Pokemon like Cramorant and Sableye if needed. With all of these game plan options, Giratina VSTAR is almost an inappropriate label for this deck, as it has so many different game plans that it can follow based on the situation and matchup. Giratina VSTAR is also a great home for the newly released Drapion V as a counter for Mew VMAX, as the deck is pretty easily capable of taking three Prize cards against Mew VMAX, but Drapion V is sometimes needed to clear the last three-Prize hurdle. Overall, this deck’s versatility is nearly unmatched in the Standard format, which easily makes it one of the strongest decks in the game currently.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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