Hey there, Cut or Tap readers! We’ve had League Cups going on for two quarters already and we’re about to be heading into our third and final quarter for the season. Because players are often comfortable playing five different decks in five different League Cups, I’d like to share how to make a risky “Meta Call,” which is just a more extreme way to beat the meta you expect. A meta call is normally just when you pick a deck based on the meta you predict to face, and a good meta call is obviously when you pick the perfect deck for the tournament. An example of this would be all the Mega Gardevoir decks at Dallas Regionals earlier this year. A risky meta call is when you pick a deck that trades autowins for autolosses – for example, I played Vespiquen at last month’s Utah Regionals in hopes of beating M Rayquaza-EX, Yveltal/Garbodor and Quad Lapras decks along with having a close matchup to Turbo Dark, while accepting pretty much an autoloss to Darkrai/Dragons, Decidueye/Vileplume (from here on shortened to “VD”) and Volcanion if they run hot enough.
Risky meta calls are usually just decided based on how badly you want your risk to weigh with your reward. A deck like Turbo Dark will always be a deck that takes 50/50’s against almost the entire format, while something like Passimian/Mew will usually beat Darkrai and M Mewtwo/Garb 100% of the time but will have trouble with VD or Yveltal/Garb. So Turbo Dark’s risk is minimal and its reward is based more on luck and in-game play than matchups, while Passimian will win a tournament if it faces the right things all day but is completely reliant on doing so. If you face two bad matchups, you just simply won’t be able to pull off the Top 8.
This means that we must have a strong understanding of our meta when we make a risky meta call, or else we will have to let fate decide. There are a couple things you can do to judge what your meta will be.
Judging your Meta
The first way to judge your meta is to be more involved in local play. I know plenty of good players who don’t participate in League, and if you don’t do this you have to play a guessing game on what will be popular for your League Cup. If everybody at X League is playing Yveltal/Garb and don’t have the means to build anything else, you’ll have a good time if you can beat that deck. If they are all playing a bunch of random stuff, you may want to go with a consistent 50/50 deck like Turbo Dark in hopes of not losing to something random. You can’t forget that for every strong player in Pokemon there are usually 8-10 mediocre players, who are going to make up the entire Cup. If you can’t get through those players because they’re playing things like Solgaleo/Lurantis or other random decks, then how can you expect to gain CP?
Another helpful way for judging your meta is to simply look at the Day 2 results from the last Regionals. Look for these things:
- Whichever deck had the biggest presence in Day 2,
- Whichever deck had the biggest Day 2 presence from players who haven’t made a name for themselves, and then
- Whichever decks had the best results overall
For example, Utah Regionals this past weekend consisted of 8 VD in Day 2, with plenty of “random” players piloting the deck. It finished in the Top 8 and the Top 4, and I’d assume they were all over the Top 16 as well based on how many there were. This has to mean that the player base is highly favoring VD as a play, so you most likely won’t want to take a loss to it locally. You might even be inclined to counter it locally in order to give yourself a better chance at beating the deck in Top Cut, assuming that it will be represented enough to perform that well.
When you can compile results, figure out the meta share and other important statistics you can enter your local meta with a bit more confidence. Obviously Cups are the kind of tournament where players might omit the results of a past tournament because they want to play a specific deck (literally what we’re trying to accomplish in this article!), but regardless it helps having an idea of the meta.
I guess you can just talk to people too. If you have friends who know what people are playing and you can get some insider info, you can obviously have ample preparation for any given Cup, but it might be kind of scummy trying to get your friends to give up their friends’ decks. Either way, the resource is usually available.
Now that we have that out of the way, I’ll get into some possible metas and what the deck to play would be in such a meta.
If you’re playing in a meta filled with Yveltal/Garbodor, M Rayquaza-EX and Volcanion, but you don’t have much VD, Turbo Dark or Dark/Dragons, you would probably want to play Vespiquen/Zebstrika/Zoroark/Eevees. This deck essentially autowins against Yveltal/Garb and M Ray while taking a 50/50 or better to Volcanion.
The idea of the deck is that Zebstrika hits M Rayquaza and Yveltal for weakness without fearing Garbodor or Hex Maniac. Vespiquen decks that run Jolteon can still lose to Rayquaza if they spam Hex, because Jolteon gets shut off. Yveltal can do the same with Garbodor. Zebstrika also hits through Glaceon, not that something like that would ever be a big deal, especially with a copy of Mew-EX. I’ll share the list I would use for a Cup:
|Pokémon – 28||Trainers – 28||Energy – 4|
|4||Combee AOR9||4||Professor Sycamore||4||VS Seeker||4||Double Colorless|
|4||Vespiquen AOR10||2||N||4||Ultra Ball|
|2||Zorua BKT||2||Lysandre||4||Acro Bike|
|2||Zoroark BKT||2||Float Stone|
|2||Blitzle BKP||2||Special Charge|
|2||Zebstrika BKP||1||Super Rod|
|2||Shaymin EX ROS||2||Forest of Giant Plants|
This Vespiquen list is a strong list for its consistency, but it’s just that – a consistent deck with only one real strategy. You beat what you beat, you lose where you lose, and your 50/50’s aren’t very techable. I recently started messing around with another Vespiquen list after a passing conversation I had with Rahul Reddy, which actually can get around Giratina-EX, has advantage in the Mirror and has an even better time against M Mewtwo-EX than a 1-of Mew-EX does.
This new Vespiquen list actually utilizes something that Vespiquen hasn’t given space to since the release of Special Charge: Basic Energy! Yeah, you heard it here first, folks – two Psychic Energy in Vespiquen. But that’s not all. Let’s just look at the list.