The first deck that should be on all of our minds when preparing for 2019 Worlds is PikaRom. The deck has a track record that outperformed any of the other archetype throughout this last season, it adapts to the coming format very well, and gains some new tricks. In practice the deck has only confirmed what my colleges and I had theorized: PikaRom sweeps close to everything we pit against it. Our initial reaction might be to try to find a counter to the deck seeing as any other archetype we consider should at least go 50/50 against it, but it’s too early. Right now, the first priority is understanding the decks that we know will be strong. Instead of jumping straight into meta counters, we need to know what the meta will be. I am starting with PikaRom because it is the first threat I believe should be understood. At this point, you might disagree with me focusing on PikaRom, probably because you think Malamar is a bigger concern. I will be getting to Malamar in the next piece, but I have a hunch that as a community we will quickly find that PikaRom is the bigger threat. There isn’t a single bit of doubt in my mind that PikaRom is a better deck.
Comments on initial Worlds preparation
My first estimation of what we will see in bigger numbers at Worlds is something like:
2. Malamar Variants
4. Some sort of Fire deck that plays Ninetales (TEU)
Building PikaRom should be done with some an acknowledgement to these decks. Archetypes are never in a vacuum; a build is always relative to what we expect it will face. With that being said, my primary concern going into Worlds (or any new format) is creating a deck that is consistent and has plenty of raw power. I am concerned about beating specific decks, but those archetypes are more of a consideration in the back of my head than the forefront of my thoughts. I have this mentality because people will play plenty of different crazy decks meaning it is harder to predict what will be played than in a defined format. Worlds exaggerates this effect because the fact that we have players coming from all parts of the World means we have many pockets of testing groups who invest in several concepts all with unique approaches. Knowing that, we also may want to play cards that we know generally do a good job of countering several types of decks. Oranguru is my favorite example of this because it is a card that seems to always have great use against stall, denial, defensive, and lock decks.
Picking a deck based on raw power is a strategy that tends to work well in general as we saw at NAIC and many tournaments in the past. PikaRom and ReshiZard saw a huge amount of play because those were the two archetypes which had that sort of power. PikaRom, the better pick out of those two, was the only archetype which had more than one slot in top 8 (in Masters) and made it’s way to finals. Looking at Stephane’s winning list, you can see he crafted Zoroark perfectly for the specific meta and it worked wonders. I would argue this approach is not as well suited for a Worlds that is held in a completely new format. Emery is the player I would rather be in this scenario if it was Worlds because his deck is almost completely non-match up based. We cannot judge Worlds the way we have in the past as essentially a hard-mode version of NAIC. This year Worlds is a completely different beast.
PikaRom is both an important deck to prepare for and a great choice for Worlds. This piece covers different ways you can build PikaRom including my current build, the new general strategy for the deck, and other important info related to Worlds that I have picked up in testing. I focus on the cards you should not include in the deck as a route to finding the ones you should include. There is a pretty big section in here on teching to beat Shedinja as well, so even if you do not want to play PikaRom you probably want to take a look at that section. Later in the piece I have the list I am currently using, but I think it’s important to start with the pure consistency list. This is that version:
PikaRom (just consistency)