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META – Guy Bennette
We’re a day away from rotation!! So this article should greet you at exactly the right moment! I’m going to take a look at how I expect the meta to play out and a draw engine to consider. Let’s begin!
3. Turtonator Volcanion Fury Belt – I love this concept because of the ability to OHKO anything in the format. Worst case scenario the other top decks have max 230 HP (Gardy), 220 HP (Bulu with a Fury Belt), or 250 HP with a fire weakness (Metagross) and this deck can feasibly ohko all of them with anywhere from 2 to 0 steam ups. I say 2, because I’m attacking with a Fury Belted Turtonator more than any reasonable person should. 170 + 60 = OHKO on everything listed above, which when timed right, WILL swing games. Aside from those swings, enjoy attacking with Volcanion like normal and combining it with some combo of Guzma, Acerola, Switch, Olympia, and Float Stone to allow yourself to attack as often as you’d like. I think Volcanion is one of Guzma’s favorite Pokemon and he just doesn’t know it yet. This is an intentionally different build than the Ho-Oh Salazzle deck (which I also like) but I just feel that at this point in the meta a Turtonator focused traditional Volcanion is a much more prepared approach to handle the upcoming post-rotation field.
4. Metagross – This deck would be ranked much higher if Volcanion/Turtonator and Ho-Oh weren’t as good as they are. This may even be the BDIF in a non-fire meta. But alas, we can’t dream of alternate realities for more than two lines, so let’s snap back to reality (does anyone else instantly think “oops there goes gravity” when they hear this? … hello 2002). With 2 of the 5 non-Metagross decks in the top 6 being weak to Metagross (Gardy and Ninetales), with Flareon rotating, and with Greninja losing a bit of viability (one of Metagross’ worst non-fire matchups) this deck is poised to steel (ugh) some tournaments. It’s slow, but it’s hard to ko, and it’s consistent. You can toy around with this concept with trying to include Necrozma if you’d like.
5. Garbodor Necrozma Tapu Koko – The best thing about Trashalance Garbodor is the way it puts pressure on opponents and forces difficult decisions. Add to this concept the ability to spread 100 damage to all ex/gx once per game and 20 to everything as much as one likes and the pressure gets turned up really quick. Once Tapu Lele promo is released (rearrange damage any way you like for 1 psychic 1 colorless), this deck will be even more difficult to handle. Deck space is pretty great in here too. You can add Drampa and Rainbow energy to this and play it as a traditional Garbodor Drampa with a spread flavor, or you can add in Espeon EX and focus on the spread/devolve strategy while punishing item play and turning off abilities. This deck is the future of Garbodor Drampa in my opinion.
----- At this point I will controversially say that I believe tier 1 ends here -----
6. Ninetales – Ninetales just won the world championships for the seniors division and pairs extremely well with Guzma and Aqua Patch. The deck can snipe, heal itself, tank hits, dish out 190+ damage, and accelerate energy, not to mention block attacks from all ex/gx Pokemon with the new Alolan Ninetales, if you choose to run a copy of that card. I’ve always favored running Ninetales with a non-ex attacker, and I still feel that Tapu Koko and/or Zoroark (to stand in and swing for DCE, which the deck already runs) make powerful partners with Ninetales. I also would be very keen on adding in a Tapu Fini GX or two to buff the snipe and shuffle away a troublesome opposing Pokemon. The issues with Bulu and Metagross make this deck fall to tier 2 for me. I know you’re probably thinking, “well what about the new Ninetales to help in those matchups?” and I think you may find it surprising at how easy it is for Baby Koko with a Belt, Vikavolt, and Metang to achieve a knock out on “baby” Alolan Ninetales.
7. Golisopod Garbodor – This deck got 2nd at worlds, why in the world would it be placed in the low-ish tier 2 section? Well, I believe people are going to realize how easy it is for Bulu, Gardy, and Ninetales to get OHKOs on Golisopod, and that doesn’t even mention the KOs vs fire based decks, which should be extremely strong. Also, losing VS Seeker means more difficult access to crucial cards like Guzma and Acerola. The deck can still thrive, but it will need to find something to help it tank the 210 damage, which is a real threat from the cards I mentioned above, as well as access the ability to heal/switch consistently.
----- Is it controversial to draw a line here and say this is tier 3? Because that’s what I’m doing. -----
I’m not going to do any analysis on the tier 3 decks, but just list them out for you so you can consider them in your testing. The great thing about the Pokemon trading card game is that a card here and there can swing almost any deck to a top performance with the right player, right matchups, and right draws. So don’t count any of these out.
Ok section 2 time! Woo!!
Consider the following draw engine:
Yes, that’s 11 spots….but cut your rotated VS Seeker and run 2 Sycamore 2 N and you’ve got 7-8 spots already freed up for the engine. The concept here is to play your hand down to 3 (after the Mallow and whatever cards needed to access Mallow) and place any 2 cards you need on the top of your deck and draw them with Octillery. Consider the ability to search your deck for any two things and pit that against a random 7 and hoping you hit what you need. Also, how dumb is it to put double Puzzle on top of your deck and draw them with Octillery? Mallow = double Junk Arm (do you kids even remember Junk Arm? It was the worst…and by worst, I mean best). This engine allows you to draw any TWO cards from EITHER the deck OR discard pile. Also, sadly, this engine is very easy to fit in Gardevoir (you can even….Twilight GX…..the 4 puzzles…….after you’ve….used them…….*bitter weeping*)