Hey guys, Phinn again. Madison Regionals just wrapped up and we saw a complete change in the meta. Seattle Regionals was dominated almost entirely by Garbodor variants, while Madison had a very diverse meta, and only eight Garbodor decks. This is still a very significant number, but what is more significant is the number of decks that people have found to either counter or go 50/50 with Garbodor.
In this article I’m going to cover some of the options that I believe are best at doing well against Garbodor as well as some of the other options that are becoming popular. Vespiquen has turned into the number one deck to beat in this meta. Metagross should see an influx in play simply because the deck is very unique and was not expected to make it all the way to finals. Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu is another deck that did well, at five top 32 placements. A couple other spots were filled by Zoroark, Volcanion, and Lurantis/Tapu Bulu.
These decks are what I kept in mind when forming the lists. There certainly are options that can take 50/50 to favorable matchups across the board. We are in a format where almost any deck can be built to beat anything else. The number of counters floating around to popular archetypes are far higher than I can remember them ever being. Seems like there is at least one effective splashable tech for every archetype.
The first deck I want to cover is Zoroark. Daniel Altavilla is going to write an article that will be posted later this week covering the deck more fully, so I won’t give this one too much coverage. However I do have a list that is very different from Danny’s. While he focused on Drampa and some Pokemon techs, my list leaves Drampa as an option while making use of Umbreon.
|Pokémon – 18||Trainers – 32||Energy – 10|
|4||Zorua BKT89||4||Professor Sycamore||4||Ultra Ball||6||Darkness|
|4||Zoroark BKT||3||N||4||VS Seeker||4||Double Colorless|
|1||Zoroark BREAK||2||Lysandre||3||Choice Band|
|2||Eevee SUM||1||Professor Kukui||3||Float Stone|
|1||Flareon AOR||1||Hex Maniac||2||Rescue Stretcher|
|1||Umbreon GX||1||Brigette||1||Special Charge|
|2||Tapu Lele GX||1||Teammates|
|1||Shaymin EX ROS|
I played a list that was one card off of this for a League Cup this past Sunday. For this one I only received a Top 8 placement, but I did face Kian Amini in a super close series that ended in sudden death where he went first. Throughout the Cup, the deck worked wonders. League Cups really are not much of an indicator, but going 5-0 should mean something. The deck has options against basically everything out there.
I faced a Greninja deck and used my Kukui with Drampa to hit 170. When I played against Decidueye I used Drampa and Zoroark Break to hit big numbers and deny energy. When I faced Drampa/Garb, the psychic resistance and big HP on Umbreon made it very hard for my opponent to hit any significant numbers. The deck has options to give the user a route to take against any deck.
This deck also fares pretty well against the options that did well at Seattle. Danny made it to Top 4, with the deck losing to a matchup that is very easy with this new list. The Flareon inclusion turns an iffy matchup into a near auto-win. With the two Rescue Stretcher, Flareon is easily recovered if it ever is knocked out. The Flareon tech is helpful in other matchups like Decidueye and Vespiquen. If the Vespiquen player can sit at two benched Pokemon, normally Mind Jack would not be enough to take the knock out. This list brings the damage to where it needs to be.
Vespiquen is a favorable matchup for this list. It can be close because both decks trade one prize attackers, but this list comes out on top more of the time because of its mobility and Umbreon. Anytime a Zoroark player goes first, they should be winning. A Turn-2 Shadow Bullet should be too much for bees to keep up with. The 30 snipe will also force the Vespiquen player to evolve pokemon or give up another prize. They’re forced to dig further and therefore drop more resources than they would like.
Zoroark is also favored because there is less set up needed to take one-shots. The option to Shadow Bullet, or set up a Zoroark with a DCE is a lot better than needing to discard Pokemon AND set up a Stage 1 with a DCE. Zoroark Break can also make a big difference. The 140 number is actually pretty significant, especially if Hex can be played for a turn or two in the early game.
I cannot say for sure just yet, but this list does seem to have a positive mirror in theory. The Umbreon plus Reverse Valley should make it very hard for opposing Zoroark decks to do enough damage. There really is no need to bench anything with Umbreon because it can do 100 and two shot Zorua on the bench with the snipe. If they go for Drampa, you’re still in a good place because it means they have to bench one more Pokemon and Zoroark Break can copy Berserk to one-shot fairly easily.
Volcanion is easy because the deck benches a bunch of Pokemon. Mind Jack will one-shot Volcanion EX with not much effort with the use of Professor Kukui, Reverse Valley, and Choice Band. Frankly, Volcanion seems like the worst option out of popular decks so I am not too concerned about it. If it does come up, Zoroark won’t struggle. Hex is there as well.
The Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu matchup is, in the words of Charlie Lockyer “God awful, you can’t win. I lost [when I played against it] in 10 minutes.” Zoroark Break can use Foul Play to copy Nature’s Judgement, and then do 180 discarding just one Dark. The Hex in the list can do a number when combined with this play. In general, Zoroark will be able to one-shot Tapu Bulus at times and take two-shots at others. If they always one-shot and you can two-shot, or one-shot once or twice, the trade is won.
This deck is my number one choice right now. I think this deck, and this list in particular is a perfect counter to our current meta. But that does not mean I don’t have other options that I think fit that criteria.
The next option is a deck that I considered extremely dead when this set was released. Recently, I have realized that an an adjusted list to fit this new meta makes the deck totally viable again. Darkrai definitely has potential in this meta, but not the way I think some people are playing it. There is a list that gained some popularity recently playing 15 Dark, 4 Lysandre, 4 Exp. Share, and 4 Altar of the Moone. I liked the idea here, but I felt the strategy could be executed a little bit better in a different way. Here’s my approach: