Infestation Pandemic — The Latest Developments for Mew VMAX
Hello PokeBeach readers! Isaiah here, and I am happy to be writing another article for you. Last time, I talked about the Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR / Articuno deck that has been seeing a fair amount of success lately as an anti-Lugia VSTAR strategy. When it comes to beating Mew VMAX, the Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR / Articuno deck has continued to be extremely successful, placing in the Top 8 of the Knoxville Regional Championships in the hands of two-time Regional Champion, Piper Lepine. However, for the first time this season, Piper was finally stopped in the Top 8 of the tournament by Nicholas Moffitt, who was aiming for a his first Regional Championships title. For the third time this season, Nicholas was stopped in Top 4 once again. Just like in Orlando, his tournament run came to an end by the hands of Andrew Hedrick. Throughout the weekend, one of the hot questions in the community was if Andrew would be able to pull off the back-to-back Regional Championships win, and the community certainly was not disappointed. With an incredible 9-0 start in the first day of competition, it was looking extremely likely that Andrew was going to be able to pull off the big win. As Day 2 progressed, a new question entered the minds of many, would Andrew be the game’s first 15-0? Ultimately, Andrew’s dream run was cut short by Brandon Salazar and his Eternatus VMAX / Galarian Weezing deck. Andrew would get his revenge in the Finals though, becoming the Pokemon TCG’s sixth ever back-to-back Regional Champion, once again with Lugia VSTAR.
At this point, the dominance of Lugia VSTAR is very well documented, and Knoxville was no exception to this fact. The deck made up six spots in the Top 16 of the tournament (including yours truly), which is actually lower than it has been, but it is still a higher percentage of the Top 16 than it was in the entire tournament. As always, the question remains — will anything ever come to properly challenge Lugia VSTAR? In all likelihood, the answer to this question is almost definitely a resounding “no,” as Lugia VSTAR is not just the best deck in this format, but it might even be one of the best decks in the history of the game. Unexpectedly, however, there might finally be a deck that is close to the level of Lugia VSTAR, but it is definitely not all the way there, and that is Regigigas.
When Astral Radiance was released, Regis was definitely considered to be a bit of a joke archetype, as it was not very great right out of the (Regi) Gate. Things changed with the release of Lost Origin though, as with that set we got Gift Energy. All of a sudden, the Regis deck was finally able to chain together attacks reasonably efficiently, presenting itself as a much bigger threat in the meta than it was initially perceived to be. Fast forward to the present day, and Regis has started to really make a name for itself as one of the top decks in the format, seeing success in the hands of many top players such as Rahul Reddy, Justin Bokhari, and Sam Chen. This success largely stems from the fact that Lugia VSTAR does not really have good tools to beat it, with no great way to take an advantage in a Prize card exchange that is typically unfavorable. The biggest issue with Regis is that it is not exactly a hyper-consistent deck. In my opinion, Regis is the second best deck in this current Standard format.
Interestingly, Knoxville also had one of the most diverse Top 8s that we have seen since the debut of Lugia VSTAR, with an astounding seven unique decks in Top 8. Notably, one deck was missing from the Top 8, and that was Mew VMAX. Mew VMAX not placing among the Top 8 is extremely bizarre, as the deck is quite far from being bad right now, in fact, I would argue that the deck remains a Top 5 deck in the Standard format, with a strong case for being even Top 3. So, what happened to Mew VMAX? Well, it’s not like the deck did terrible either, with two placed among the Top 16 and two more in the bottom half of Top 32. The question has to simply be was the meta was just not favorable for it? Aside from the deck’s troubling Lugia VSTAR matchup (which is a massive issue, to be fair), the deck did not really have too many atrocious matchups either, and in the case of Andrew Mahone’s build, he played a Flying Pikachu VMAX to help out with the more troubling matches. In all honesty, there really is not a great explanation for why Mew VMAX did not make it into the Top 8, as, again, the deck is far from terrible right now and has done well at other tournaments, so really it was probably not its weekend at Knoxville.
Less than perfect finishes did not stop Mew VMAX from being the talk of the weekend, though, as Xander Pero’s Mew VMAX deck list certainly did not disappoint when it comes to innovation. Since the San Diego Regional Championships, Xander has been putting a lot of effort into innovating the Mew VMAX deck, coming up with techs such as Aerodactyl VSTAR to give it an edge in the Lugia VSTAR matchup or Manaphy to help with a troubling Kyogre Lost Box matchup. In Knoxville, he showed up with what I believe may have been the best innovation so far, and that is Dreepy. Not Dragapult or even Drakloak. Just, Dreepy.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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