Rubbing the Crystal Ball

I once had a manager tell me that his boss just asked him to invent a machine that would predict the future (well, I did work for GE, after all, so trying to invent crazy wild things is part of the SOP).  I’ve been watching videos, reading forum posts, and talking to people in an attempt to get a feel for what’s going to be the meta at Collinsville.  I’ve come up with a couple of tenets that I think will serve as solid foundations for predicting what the most common decks will be, and I’ve identified their common weaknesses as well.  So you can use this as a guide to maybe give you some idea of what the ideal play might be for the next Regionals that is now only ten days away.

So these are the majority of the decks / Pokemon I think will see action at Collinsville.  It’s my guess that these 17 Pokemon will make up well over 90% of the meta.  However, we hold this truth to be self-evident, that NOT all Pokemon are created equally. So which ones will be more prevalent than others?

So here are where my tenets come into play:

  • Zoroark will be the most common feature Pokemon played and will rival only Tapu Lele GX (guess I need to specify GX now I can’t just say Lele any more) for the  most common Pokemon.
  • As long as Zoroark permeates the meta, Buzzwole and Lycanroc are sure to be close by.  Especially since there really aren’t any good Psychic Pokemon out there right now, Buzzwole (who is approaching top nemesis status with Mike) will run roughshod through the meta.
  • Somebody is going to find a list that makes Metalcrozma minimally inconsistent.  Somebody out there has the secret formula, I’m sure of it.  If you don’t have the secret formula, don’t be surprised if it bricks on you as much – if not more than – Greninja.  I’ve watched a ton of videos on this deck, I’m not the only one having trouble with its inconsistency.
  • I think we’ll see a larger than expected amount of Volcanion.  There are going to be Metal and Grass decks at Collinsville.  No Pokemon (well except for Buzzwole and Lycanroc) has the potential for as many favorable matchups as Volcanion.  I could see somebody playing Volc getting lucky and having a straight shot to day 2 via a bunch of Metal and Grass matchups.  I’m not saying that Volcanion is the best play – Glaceon and Greninja destroy it – I’m just saying that somebody is going to get lucky and ride easy matchups through the first nine rounds with it.
  • Speaking of Glaceon, it seems to be very popular and is seeing play with a number of different variants, although its ability does seem to fall a little short of what many of us thought it might be.  When I used it, it seemed to have very little impact as far as disrupting my opponent, but the couple of times I’ve been on the wrong side of Freezing Gaze it’s been very disruptive to me.
  • Stealing attacks could help steal you a game – consider Sudowoodo (BKP 67), Mimikyu (GRI 58), or Zoroark GX’s Trickster GX attack.
  • Cyrus and Parallel City can devastate certain decks.  If you’re having matchup difficulties with some of the above decks that are susceptible to bench clearers, consider teching in Parallel City or Cyrus.  My best potential Cyrus tech ins are Octillery (BKT 33), Staryu (BKP 25) and Magearna (UP 91).
  • Ability lock might see a lot of action in Collinsville.  If you’re running a deck that is ability dependent, you’ll probably want to run four Field Blowers.  If you’re really afraid of Greninja, you can tech in Giratina (XY 184).  If you’re worried about Glaceon, you can tech in a couple of Counter Catchers.
  • I am 0 W 3 L against Garchomp without ability lock decks.  With ability lock decks (Greninja and Golisodor, I am 4 W 0 L).

So I get told frequently that I overanalyze things.  I would guess that this falls into that category.  I would say that I just have one thing to add: I’ve seen a number of people respond to the question, “What should I play at Collinsville?” with the response, “Whatever you like the most” or “Whatever you feel most comfortable with.”  I would definitely say that that’s what I did at NAIC last June, and I ended up going 4 W 5 L.  And I did enjoy the event and had a good time (even though I got caught in that pouring rainstorm in the late afternoon when I went to grab a bite to eat).  However, if you want to really do well, you may need to step out of your comfort zone and think differently.  You may need to try something unusual or something that you might not normally choose.  I’m not saying to go out there and play the deck you’re least comfortable with, but I am saying that you might need to open your mind to different options.  Whatever deck you choose, good luck and I hope you do well … as long as you’re not playing against me, in which case I hope you dead draw and have all your Leles and feature Pokemon prized in each game 🙂

5 comments

  1. Lol Dude, why did I imagine you on the keyboard with voodoo magic in the background as you keep a lucky coffee mug on hand XD

    And well, you’re right about one thing: ultimately you’re gunna want to play what you’re most comfortable with. Sure, you’d be happy with the great deck ever created in the history of forever, but that’s not always the case. Nor is it wise to try to switch gears at the absolute last minute and you don’t feel absolute certainty in your plays. Because yes: I’ve had to get out of my comfort zone when switching from Xerneas and Turbo dark to decks like Greninja that require more setup. I’ve had to adapt to using Houndoom Mill 2 years ago since it was a battle of oppression until they drew the last card. I’ve had to learn to rush my plays in Passimian Mew, and Golisopod was for a time an experience since I had to be able to chain attacks while getting my mon out the active when heavily wounded, and I’ve yet to perfect some forms of play as well.

    And MetalCrozma…maybe it’s just me, but I’ve found that it’s the 3 energy reload for Dusk Mane to be the most awkward part of the deck. I could get Magnezone out, but at times I couldn’t get that extra Metal Energy needed to hit hard. I would have Mt. Coronet, but then I recall missing a key attachment even after a Sycamore or Cynthia. Ignoring that last part, I just don’t find it particularly “fun” to use Meteor Tempest on one prize attackers, but at the same time I’m left with no choice since, well, Dialga only hits 80 HP mons, Dusk Mane hits 70 HP mons with his claw slash, Lele depends on energy attachments…And the most annoying play to encounter that I myself feared when predicting the deck’s counters: Meteor Tempest’ing for a knockout, only to have \Coronet Field Blowered, N’ed, and then I check my discard and what do I find? A good chunk of energy in the discard. Not impossible to get out of that bind since Solgaleo Prism helps, but still. I’m personally considering adding Heatran to the deck just to have out an attacker that won’t have me investing so much, while at least doing something defensive with Guard Press if I have nothing else going for it.

    If anyone were to make a comparison between this deck and BuluVikavolt, I would say that that’s not an equal comparison at all. If anything, the latter is better in terms of setup because the energy acceleration comes straight from the deck and not from the hand like Magnezone. No stadium required. That makes all the difference in that you’re thinning the deck, charging up the front-line and the back-row, and shoot: Energy Recycler in VikaBulu helps keep the engine flowing. Lastly, having more than one Vikavolt is an added bonus. More than one Magnezone? Well, he sits on the bench. Bench sitter. If we had Dual Brains Magnezone in standard, all hell would break loose. But we don’t (thankfully).

    So possible changes to the deck (at least with my build). Well, I’m certainly considering Acerola. Certainly considering Energy Retrieval, and Foregoing the Nest ball/Heavy ball route in favor of a Lele/Brigette play. Glaceon is a mess to take into consideration so maybe not the latter. Vulpix isn’t a bad option…Mawile kinda seems meh. Shaymin, no. Shining Lugia? Hits Hoopa and Alolan Ninetales for a good knockout. But yup, it’s all preliminary thus far.

    Now all that aside…what are the odds of Buzzwole going for a consecutive top 4 finish? Favorable. Garbotoxin is looking more and more appealing and frankly: if Glaceon makes their appearance, Buzzwole and Golisopod could see some action.

    As for one point in particular that you made in your Pojo review on Luxio: “Every expansion has new, more powerful Pokemon that obviate the best cards from previous releases”. That has not looked more truer than in the recent sets. I mean sure we got a couple cards going strong since their releases earlier last year (Lycanroc, Zoroark, and to a lesser extent, Decidueye, being the main ones from the Sun and Moon Era), and then of course Volcanion and Greninja having survived for the longest time since the X and Y era (something which Yveltal once upon a time was able to do). It sucks, definitely. Incineroar and Primarina were almost prototype Gx’s, Kommo-o GX was…painful, Wishiwashi only got some love for being a Wailord substitute, Tauros’s prime was back when we didn’t have Field Blower, which meant you had a raging bull with 220 HP that was capable of destroying you if you did not OHKO him at all. Lurantis/Vileplume, and all other Vileplume variants was degenerate pre-rotation, and then we have multiple Gx’s that have fun gimmicks, but not really anything concrete or viable (case in point: Alolan Muk, Darkrai, Snorlax (Snorlax was fun as can be)…

    And that’s just how all TCG’s operate: You need your money cards in every set to have sellers buy case after case to sell products, boxes, booster packs, and singles. It’s all a complicated, interconnected business model of sorts. These card designers could easily make every card in a set viable. Problem is that you’d have it to where they would run out of ideas sooner, you’d still have to have it to where the rarer cards are more attractive than the lesser rarity ones, and of course you’ll still have the commons and uncommons and so on to stuff the set with (think of a set as having the good kind of meat in there, and then you got the Pink Slime that, well, means well but that people just don’t like since it’s mostly filler (not the good kind of filler like Night Marchers from Phantom Forces).

    Players can’t even fault the company when eBay sellers and the online sites charge obscene amounts for the key cards either: that’s how Supply and Demand works in a nutshell.

    With all my word vomit aside (as I am under the weather at this time): Collinsvile players, whichever deck you end up choosing to take with you to the event, keep in mind the possible matchups. Study up on how your opponents play with their decks prior to the event. And if it’s the deck you feel most at ease with, then you’re time there will be spent with a tad bit more joy than spent. Above all else: rest. Sleep is key to keeping the brain at it’s most optimal (I might not play the game in real life, but as someone that has gone to college and had to type up a hefty amount of essays at the last minute: that all nighter that you pulled will come back to bit you somehow). But that’s just me.

  2. Regarding Tauros. It is starting to be teched into Garbotoxin decks again because so many decks require 2 shots and Tauros makes people do some pretty silly things to avoid hitting it.

    TBH, I was pretty annoyed when I read the pojo review on Luxio because the card is 100% *not* a top 10 card from UP and it never will be regardless of that awesome Shinx. It felt like a pick made by a group remembering item lock and a big fat toad being powerful without regarding how Pokemon has clearly swung the cards away from powerful (read useful) items and toward a slower format with fewer actual tech supporters. Even Toad would be less than stellar in that environment and it is a big basic that only takes up 3-4 slots for a dedicated toad list, doesn’t require a shining celebi to make it big enough to work, and can be Acerola spammed turn after turn after turn.

    I already told 21times this, but here were my predictions prior to OCIC.

    Higest Meta Share
    Zoroark Lycanroc (buzzwole is a tech, so it isn’t part of the name)
    Zoroark Golisopod
    BuzzRoc (both variants)
    Glaceon variants (in order: Zoroark, Quad, Decidueye, baby Ninetales, other)
    Dusk Mane variants (Magnezone primarily, but some people get cute)

    Mid Level Meta Share
    Bulu (Vikavolt, I don’t expect the other variant)
    Garbodor Variants (In order: Golisopod, Drampa, Buzz, other)
    Volcanion (because someone somewhere will think this is a great meta play even though it isn’t)
    Gardevoir
    Zoroark Decidueye

    Low Meta Share
    Silvally variants featuring Fire / Fighting memories (I haven’t seen it, I just assume it is coming)
    Leafeon variants (In order: Decidueye, Lurantis, other)
    Ho-Oh Salazzle / Greninja / Metagross variants / Garchomp / Empoleon / Dugtrio
    Xerneas / Ninetales / Lapras

    Post OCIC, this is what I would change.

    Higest Meta Share
    Garbodor Variants (In order: Golisopod, Drampa, Buzz, other)
    Zoroark Gardevoir (copycats)
    BuzzRoc (both variants)
    Zoroark Lycanroc (buzzwole is a tech, so it isn’t part of the name)
    Zoroark Golisopod
    Glaceon variants (in order: Zoroark, Quad, Decidueye, baby Ninetales, other)
    Dusk Mane variants (Magnezone primarily, but some people get cute)

    Mid Level Meta Share
    Bulu (Vikavolt, I don’t expect the other variant)
    Volcanion (because someone somewhere will think this is a great meta play even though it isn’t)
    Gardevoir
    Zoroark Decidueye

    Low Meta Share
    Silvally variants featuring Fire / Fighting memories (I haven’t seen it, I just assume it is coming)
    Leafeon variants (In order: Decidueye, Lurantis, other)
    Ho-Oh Salazzle / Greninja / Metagross variants / Garchomp / Empoleon / Dugtrio
    Xerneas / Ninetales / Lapras

    1. It’s funny that you say Volcanion isn’t a great meta play in a post where you -also- say nearly half the expected meta will be weak to it and it’ll only be weak to one of the expected meta. It’s also notably a very quick, aggressive deck, which seems a good meta play against slower setup decks revolving around Stage 1s and Stage 2s.

      In light of your own meta predictions, can you explain why you don’t think it’s a good meta play?

      1. Excellent point, I do appear to contradict myself. I believe Glaceon will be the most represented new Pokemon out of UP. Also, Volcanion has some tech cards out there like Araquanid, Vileplume, and the new Spiritomb that could stop it cold.

        But you are correct it’s not a bad play with all of the metal and grass running around. I have a build featuring the new Turtonator that actually is pretty good, I’ll probably post an article on it next week after Collinsville.

        1. That sounds interesting- it’ll be cool to see it. I’ll be very interested to see if people tech for Volcanion- or if Volcanion can tech back. Or if the number of techs folks may end up running damages their consistency, and you see decks that -don’t- tech around coming out better. Zoroark is in so many decks weak to Volcanion, but do you tech Mew EX or against Volcanion or both?

          Tord just won with a dedicated tech, and Giratina has been a dedicated tech running around for ages, but in my admittedly limited experience dedicated techs can overall damage the flow of a deck. Leading that Mew EX against Zoroark/Goli, for instance, nearly automatically puts you down two prizes.

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