Hey everybody! My name is Charlie Lockyer, and this is my second article for this wonderful site. Today, I will be discussing what decks I believe will be most prevalent in Brazil (including what decks I would be considering if I were attending), providing an update on Aerodactyl/Wobbuffet, and sharing my initial testing results for the next Expanded Regional in North America, which is Toronto. I hope you enjoy!
A Quick Look at Aerodactyl/Wobbuffet (Aerowobb)
In my last article, I introduced a new, theoretical Standard archetype that included Aerodactyl and Wobbuffet as its only Pokemon, voicing it as a strong combination that I sadly had no time to test before the article was published. Lately, the deck has caught on a bit, being mentioned by Ahmed Ali in his Pokebeach article, but still remains mostly under the radar. Since then, I have been able to do lots of testing, and have realized that my original list was utter trash. I included way too many Items that did not accomplish what I wanted, which was a consistent stream of Aerodactyl. Below is my updated list, which has actually been tested, unlike the previous list.
|Pokémon – 7||Trainers – 49||Energy – 4|
|4||Aerodactyl FCL||4||Professor Sycamore||4||Acro Bike||4||Double Colorless|
|3||Wobbuffet GEN||3||N||4||Trainers’ Mail|
|2||Lysandre||4||Puzzle of Time|
|2||Team Flare Grunt||4||Old Amber Aerodactyl|
|1||Teammates||4||Fossil Excavation Kit|
|1||Parallel City||2||Poison Barb|
As you can see, this new list is much different from the one I shared with you in March. Cards like Pokemon Catcher and Crushing Hammer proved to be unimportant, simply detracting from the deck’s consistency. New inclusions such as Puzzle of Time, Poison Barb, and Team Flare Grunt help the deck with consistency, specific matchups, and slowing the opponent down (respectively), which all help the deck compete with present-day threats in Standard. Below, I will analyze a few specific card choices that I did not go over in the last article.
I included Maintenance as a means of shuffling Aerodactyls in your hand back into your deck so that they can be found with Fossils. As the card barely provides any consistency, it could be removed if a better mean for recycling Aerodactyls is found, but at the moment it is the best option for the deck.
2 Poison Barb
Poison Barb is really helpful against anything with 130 HP, such as baby Volcanion and baby Yveltal. Without it, those Pokemon would have to be 2HKO’d which would create a very unfavorable trade for you. Overall, the extra 10 damage that it provides is very useful in finishing off Pokemon just out of your damage range, forcing a much more favorable trade.
2 Super Rod
Each Aerodactyl that is in the discard lowers your chances of hitting one off of Old Amber significantly. I included 2 Super Rod to recover discarded/knocked out Aerodactyl, which keeps the chances of hitting one off of Old Amber high enough to warrant play. With only one Super Rod, you would usually find yourself petering out once many of your Aerodactyls were in the discard.
1 Rotom Dex
This card warrants a spot in the deck, as any prized Aerodactyl will lower your chances of hitting them off of Old Amber, so getting them out of the Prizes is important. Town Map could be included instead, but I chose Rotom Dex instead because of its value before any Prizes have been taken.
Aerodactyl’s Place in the Metagame
As of now, Aerodactyl has mostly even matchups throughout the meta, with highly favorable matchups against Deciplume and Mega Rayquaza, but sadly suffers an unfavorable matchup against Volcanion. After Volcanion’s first place finish in Salt Lake, the deck is being hyped heavily for upcoming Standard tournaments, which will likely result in a massive amount of Volcanion decks showing up to upcoming events. Overall, the deck has many quirks that have never been seen in the game before, such as guaranteed turn 1 Ability lock, but still struggles a bit with popular decks that are able to knock out an Aerodactyl every turn.
Decks to watch out for in Brazil
As Standard is now a very diverse format, it is usually difficult to discern what decks will be played at any given tournament. Below, I will share my opinions on what I believe the most played decks in Brazil will be, as well as what decks I would consider if I was attending the event.
Coming off of a win in both Australia and Salt Lake, Volcanion is the deck to beat in the format as of now. The deck’s incredibly consistent setup, high damage output, and impeccable speed allows for Volcanion to easily overcome many decks before they have a chance to fully develop their board. If you are looking to tech against Volcanion, something to add would be either Hex Maniac or Silent Lab. The deck is extremely reliant on using its Steam Ups to increase its damage output, so Ability-lock cards help tremendously in keeping Volcanion’s damage output in check. I expect this deck to dominate the metagame in Brazil, likely being piloted by over 20% of the attending players. Make sure that you are prepared to play against Volcanion, because you will almost certainly run into the deck at least once or twice throughout Day 1.
Even after losing in the finals of Melbourne to Volcanion and also losing much of its dominant prevalence after Salt Lake, I wouldn’t count this deck out at all. The target on Decidueye’s back has become much smaller, resulting in fewer players preparing for the deck by including more Supporters and/or fewer Items, which could be a perfect opening for Decidueye to dominate. However, one of the main reasons why the deck is not dominating as much is because of the consistency problems it has. The deck rarely actually gets out the turn one one Vileplume, which plays a key part in the deck’s success. Expect to see a few of these dominating the top tables, although I expect the deck to account for less than 15% of the metagame.
My personal favorite deck in Standard, Turbo Darkrai, will likely dominate throughout the day because of its sheer consistency. Nothing in Standard is as consistent as Darkrai (Volcanion comes close) and well-tuned builds are able to handle almost every popular deck nowadays. For a long tournament such as an International, consistency is always king, so many smart players will likely flock to Darkrai simply based on consistency. I would definitely watch out for this deck if I were you, as well as likely consider it myself as a potential play.
M Mewtwo EX
Mewtwo is somewhat surprisingly still showing up in high numbers at big events, proving that it is definitely a strong deck. Psychic Infinity is and has always been an incredible attack, Damage Change is very useful in many situations, and new builds have shown that Energy Absorption is strong enough to keep Mewtwo supplied with Energy all game. Some builds decide to also include Wobbuffet and/or Espeon-GX, which help with specific matchups such as Decidueye and the mirror. Lastly, Garbodor is always helpful for shutting down decks that rely on Abilities such as Volcanion, Decidueye, and Darkrai/Dragons. I would make sure you are prepared to play against Mewtwo at least once in Brazil; the deck’s raw damage output has and will still draw players to the deck.
Many players favor this deck over Turbo Dark because of its theoretically higher damage output and backup attackers, but it is still as weak to Enhanced Hammer as it has always been. Darkrai/Dragons does a very good job at handling Mega decks, Special Energy-based decks, and slower decks, but can be outlasted with a bit of Energy denial along with a few high HP attackers. All of the deck’s different options allow it to counter much of the meta directly rather than with raw damage, but 1-2 Enhanced Hammer can put it extremely far behind. Look to include an Enhanced Hammer or two if you want a strong matchup against this deck.
Still a relative newcomer to the metagame, Quad Lapras has been getting fringe play at American events, most notably being piloted by Michael Pramawat in Utah. The deck’s main strength is playing the slow game by utilizing Energy denial cards and Lapras’s attacks to slowly take down an opponent. Although Lapras has plenty of good matchups in the metagame, its weak Turbo Darkrai and Volcanion matchups would likely deter me from playing the deck. In a metagame with much less Turbo Darkrai and Volcanion I would likely consider playing Lapras, but with both of those decks at the forefront of Brazil’s metagame I would not consider playing this.
There are many other decks that account for a small percentage of the metagame, but I don’t expect any particular one to show up in big numbers in Brazil. When dealing with fringe decks, make sure that your deck is able to output consistent damage every turn, allowing you to overpower less consistent decks. Make sure you are prepared for facing the concept of fringe decks rather than any specific ones, as decks that fit into the category are much more likely to show up than any specific one.
What I would play if I was going to Brazil…
|Pokémon – 10||Trainers – 38||Energy – 12|
|3||Darkrai EX||4||Professor Sycamore||4||Max Elixir||12||Darkness|
|2||Yveltal STS||3||N||4||Trainers’ Mail|
|1||Yveltal EX||3||Lysandre||4||Ultra Ball|
|3||Shaymin EX ROS||1||Hex Maniac||3||VS Seeker|
|1||Hoopa EX||1||Professor Kukui||2||Fighting Fury Belt|
If I had the opportunity to attend Internationals in Brazil, I would almost certainly be playing this exact Turbo Darkrai list. The deck’s set up consistency is off the charts, its damage output is high enough to Knock Out any threat in the game currently, and it has no incredibly bad matchups that stick out from the rest. Don’t forget that consistency will be king in Brazil, so a deck like this is a good response to the expected metagame as well as a strong choice for the tournament type.
3 Darkrai-EX, 1 Yveltal-EX
This is what I would call a strong answer to the fringe decks that may or may not show up, as Yveltal resists Fighting, which Darkrai is weak to. Yveltal-EX is also one of the best Exp. Share targets in the deck, as more Energy rarely hurts an Yveltal.
2 Baby Yveltal
I would love to have a third one of these, but sadly just cannot find the space. It is a very useful early game attacker, almost always the best starter, and a good Exp Share target. Against non-EX decks it is also a very useful primary attacker, as Darkness Blade can Knock Out many of the most threatening non-EXs in the game right now (Vespiquen, Zoroark, etc.) in one hit. If you can find the space for a third, I would definitely recommend including it.
3 Shaymin, 1 Hoopa
For a long tournament such as Internationals, a consistent set up is the most important feature a deck can have. Including three Shaymin for draw power and a Hoopa for early game search builds upon this idea, as a single Ultra Ball can set a very strong turn one into motion. If you feel the need, two Shaymin is not that bad in the deck, but I prefer three because of the increased consistency that it offers.
Other than the three VS Seeker (very few Standard decks need four), I don’t feel like any particular Items need explanation. The Item counts have always been very consistent, so I would not try to fix what isn’t broken here.
The high Lysandre count is only present to help with the Decidueye matchup by attempting to stall out a high Retreat Pokemon until you are able to set up. It is also useful in the late game and against decks such as Volcanion, allowing for easy KO’s on attackers that have been charging for a turn or two. This count has been working out really well so far and has single-handedly made the Decidueye matchup a heck of a lot closer than it used to be.
Otherwise, the deck is a pretty normal Turbo Darkrai build that has proven to work very well over time. I have gone undefeated with this build at both of my spring League Cups, further cementing the deck’s strength in my mind. I would definitely recommend that you consider Darkrai for Brazil if you want a deck that won’t fail you halfway through the day when your luck starts running out.
The Sleeper: M Gardevoir EX
|Pokémon – N||Trainers – N||Energy – 7|
|3||Gardevoir EX STS||4||Professor Sycamore||4||VS Seeker||6||Fairy|
|3||M Gardevoir EX STS||2||N||4||Ultra Ball||1||Fire|
|4||Shaymin EX ROS||2||Lysandre||4||Gardevoir Spirit Link|
|2||Hoopa EX||2||Hex Maniac||3||Trainers’ Mail|
|2||Dragonite EX||1||Skyla||3||Mega Turbo|
|1||Rattata EVO||1||Brock’s Grit||2||Switch|
|1||Hawlucha STS||1||Escape Rope|
M Gardevoir-EX has recently fallen back under the radar, which could provide the deck with another opening for success, similarly to its reappearance in Dallas. It boasts strong matchups against Volcanion and Decidueye/Vileplume, an even Darkrai matchup, and impeccable matchups against other meta threats such as M Mewtwo and Darkrai/Dragons. I wouldn’t count Gardevoir out right now, because it certainly has the ability to contend with the meta at hand while still operating consistently.
The Pokemon line-up is pretty standard for a Gardevoir build, nothing special here.
0 Fairy Drop
Nowadays, almost every deck in the metagame is hitting for enough damage that Fairy Drop barely matters unless you can utilize a lot of them at once, so I decided to exclude them from the deck. Fairy Drop may eventually work its way back into the list, but at this point in time I feel like it is not a necessary inclusion.
Ever find yourself just needing that one Mega Turbo or Sky Field to have a perfect turn? Have no fear! With Skyla, you can simply search out that one missing piece and use Shaymin as your draw engine for the turn. I usually find myself using Skyla very often in the mid-game after a Stadium bump so I can find the missing piece to reset my board. Overall, the utility that Skyla provides Gardevoir is not to be overlooked, as it can quickly swing momentum back into your favor after losing a big attacker or strong board state.
1 Fire Energy
Since there is literally no possible way for the single Fire energy to matter, I decided to include it if I ever need to do something like use an opponent’s Scorched Earth. This is more of a “why not?” inclusion that can only really help in a list like this, and would be quickly swapped out for another Fairy if any card that requires Fairies without a Colorless is ever included (Fairy Drop, Life Leap Gardevoir, etc.)
If I was attending Brazil, I would definitely start testing Gardevoir as a possible sleeper pick based on its consistency and strong matchup spread. Gardevoir has a history of falling under the radar only to pop back into relevance, so I would not be surprised if history repeated itself here.
Toronto- My Expanded Pick
Toronto Regionals is the next major Expanded event, coming up in only a few short weeks. Despite how far away the tournament date is, I already know for sure that I will play Trevenant BREAK at the event. Historically, I have made top cut at every single event I have ever played Trevenant at, so I want to attempt to keep the streak alive by playing it again. Although the deck’s place in the metagame may be relatively unfavorable, I have attempted to make some strides in improving its matchup spread. Here is my most recent Trevenant list:
|Pokémon – 16||Trainers – 36||Energy – 8|
|4||Phantump BKP||3||Professor Juniper||4||VS Seeker||5||Psychic|
|4||Trevenant XY||3||N||4||Ultra Ball||3||Mystery|
|3||Trevenant BREAK||2||Wally||4||Bursting Balloon|
|2||Shaymin EX ROS||1||AZ||2||Level Ball|
|1||Jirachi EX||1||Colress||2||Super Rod|
|1||Espeon EX||1||Lysandre||2||Float Stone|
|1||Wobbuffet PHF||1||Team Flare Grunt||1||Enhanced Hammer|
As you can see, I have chosen to revert back to the original Bursting Balloon-based variant, which I have always preferred over the much more luck-based disruption version. With Bursting Balloons, you are able to actually use skill in many of your matchups by planning when and where to drop Balloons, whereas with disruption you usually just have to flip heads and pray that your opponent draws a bad hand off of Red Card.
I have found this card to be incredibly useful when playing against GX-based decks, as a couple of Silent Fears in combination with a Miraculous Shine can take out many threats at the root. Sure, you may only get one Prize, but your opponent probably lost 2-3 of their attackers in the process and is now stuck with a bunch of useless Evolutions in their hand. Espeon has definitely proven to be one of the most powerful new inclusions in the deck, and I would definitely hesitate before taking it out of the deck.
4 Bursting Balloon
I have always felt that Balloons allow you to play an interactive game of Pokemon, no matter if you just got Turn-1 Wally or if you went second. Planning where your damage is going is an integral piece of successfully piloting Trevenant – if you are able to do that well, then the Bursting Balloon variant is for you. Overall, I feel like Balloons just make the deck more skill-intensive and interactive, while actually improving many of your matchups vastly.
Otherwise, the deck is a pretty standard Trevenant deck. The only other card I have been testing was Espeon-GX. Using Energy Evolution straight into a one-Energy Divide GX to finish games seemed very strong, and it still is showing potential. You may want to try out an Espeon GX, as it could end up being a worthwhile inclusion.
Well, I really enjoyed getting the chance to write for Cut Or Tap again! Shout-outs to Joe Hebert, Jon Eng, and Jackson Ford for reviewing some of the lists and testing them with me. Feel free to come say hi and ask me any questions you want to, either on Facebook or in person at an event (I’ll be in Toronto, Virginia, and Wisconsin). I hope you enjoyed the article and I’ll see you guys next time!