Decklist Statistical Analysis May 19 – June 23

Hello readers, I’ve finally managed to compile all data from between when FLI first became Standard legal and this past weekend.  Here’s the data from all available top finishing decks from Tours through Mexico City.  There were a total of 160 decklists available.  I’m just laying out the stats themselves this time, I’m not putting them into context with any prior stats.

The thing that really shocks me: 53% of decks ran Strong energy.  More than half of these decks were Fighting types… and only 48% ran Basic Fighting energy, meaning 5% of Fighting decks didn’t even run any Basic Fighting energy!

So besides the fact that we live in the golden era of Fighting decks, what are the big takeaways here?

  • N may be played in more decks, but Guzma has supplanted it as the Supporter with the largest number of  actual cards.
  • Sycamore (3.04), N (2.61), and Cynthia (2.33) combine to total 7.98 draw cards per deck.
  • Here’s your meta:
    • Zoroark GX
    • Malamar
    • Buzzwole GX / Baby Buzzwole
  • Fighting and Psychic energy combine for 81% of the meta.
  • Two thirds of decks are running Field Blower, but they’re averaging 2.39 Field Blowers per deck.  That means your third or fourth Wishful Baton or Frying Pan might actually not get knocked off.
  • Only 11% of decks are running Garbotoxin Garbodor.  That’s actually a lot more than the 4% (10 times in 273 matches) that I’ve seen BKP Garb this month on PTCGO.

In the next day or two, I’m going to put out a list of the most common cards that are rotating out of Standard as well.


  1. For whoever reads this comment: I had match after match tonight, back to back, for almost 2 hrs straight….had the worst losing streak in a good while. My draws were bad….Malamar was prolific as (Explicit). So if you’re playing online, you might want to play a counter to that deck, one that is also strong against other matchups as well.

    In other news: Zebstrika. Wait for the set after Celestial Storm, because for Budget players, he will be a godsend. “Ability: Fast Break. Once during your turn (before your attack), you may discard your hand and then draw 4 cards”. No more shuffle/draw: Zebstrika takes Octillery’s place.

  2. Yeah I was playing Greninja Break the other night and faced Malamar in four consecutive games. Won 3 out of 4, turn 2 donk in the one loss.
    And there are times when you have bad streaks. I’ll have streaks every once in a while where I win like 6 or 7 games out of 20 matches. Sometimes I’ll even go 1 or 2 wins in like 10 matches. You just have to realize that it balances out and you’ll have stretches where you win 75% or 80% of the time.
    Zebstrika sounds interesting but not sure I like the idea of discarding my hand. I’ve been running a lot of non discard cards lately, avoiding wasting resources. But it could be really good in decks that require energy in discard pile.

    1. You’re probably right on that note. If nothing else, I think I can take a bit of pride from all those loses knowing that at the end of it all…my hidden ranking in the game was so high that I faced what was arguably the best deck in the format numerous times. So I won’t complain there. Thought getting donked when I had out no other Pokemon out was a pain…played Naganadel Metal toolbox, Dawn wings was out…I didn’t get any other basic from a shuffle draw, annnnnd it was a Pyroar/Alolan Raticate deck…admittingly, Alolan Raticate can take out Dawn wings with Choice Band. If Fighting wasn’t so prolific, that would be a neat trick.

      On the topic of Zebstrika, I’d like to argue that yes: there will be times you want to keep resources around. However, being able to thin through your deck for what you absolutely need is what made Sycamore so good for many years (if Yveltal was X and Y’s most beloved EX, Professor Sycamore was the most beloved Supporter of the era as well, receiving reprint after reprint until the Sun and Moon era). The discard effect is a necessary evil and you can be certain that whichever decks ran Octillery will run Zebstrika instead: Oranguru will not be enough once things like Judge become more relevant and of course: clutter begins to fill the deck when you aren’t needing of certain cards later in the game. Zoroark’s trade and perhaps Swampert’s draw power will see more play next format for that reason as well, regardless of things like Puzzles rotating out.

      On a random note: Parallel City rotating means that Empoleon now has a chance. Not a favorable chance, but no true bench restriction means that even with a Sudowoodo out, you will be hitting good numbers nonetheless. Really gets me anxious seeing August just so close, yet so far.

      1. Quick update to share with ya. So I decided to throw away my hipster-esc attitude and salt over malamar losses and took up Malamar/Necrozma, given the fact that there were Psychic challenges I had to complete for the game….I’m at a 9 win streak. Maybe this is just me being biased, but I will be shocked if the deck does not make it to top 4 at the championships. Best deck in format, and quite possibly for the next format to come: it’s none other than Malamar. The diabolical squid succeeded in making the once mediocre Psychic GX’s viable…even Marshadow GX ain’t so bad here because it’ll probably get OHKO’ed either way like a base Necrozma, so shoot. I’m not even mad anymore: it’s solid, it’s strong, and it can win tournaments so long as you don’t face the one Garb deck out of nowhere, something that your Yveltal deck would smile with sinister glee.

        In case you’re wondering which Malamar deck I used: it was Sam Chen’s variant. Ultra Necrozma’s nice, but the Psychic-energy only variant is incredibly consistent, given that Necrozma alone hits solid numbers against everyone within 3-4 attachments, Dawn Wings OHKO’s with the GX attack and grants an immunity that will hurt many opponents, and shoot: even slapping the Mewtwo Promo means that a 1 Prize attacker will bring the pain and so on and so forth.

        And in an unlikely turn of events: the deck narrowly won against a Dusk Mane Necrozma/Magnezone deck. And yes he did get it setup so it became the kind of battle where it was nothing but exchanging blows. Almost lost too: at the last stretch of the game I had to rely on N to stall the game out, and I will say this: for all the times Tapu Lele appeared out in front like a mischievous omen of defeat, for the first time in a long time…she truly carried me.

        N to Lele and a psychic energy. Lele had 5 attachments on her, just needed to pray that my opponent did not have a Guzma for game. He did not. After attaching 3 energies with my squad of Malamar and the last energy to make it 9, I brought up the Lion that had one attachment on him and took the game with her. That was truly a good game: what more can I say.

        Don’t even know if the next Solgaleo GX coming later this year will have an impact in the meta: with powerful attackers literally OHKOing all with a single attack, all the combos I had with the two Solgaleo, Solgaleo with Lunala, and so on and so forth…it looks like we might be heading into a format reminiscent of the one from X and Y, where basics essentially decide the outcome of the game, save for a few stage 1’s. Stage 2’s…it will come down to what support they will get as time passes. For example, Primarina GX might have gotten a non-gx variant that allows you to attach energy twice, but without Double Dragon Energy in the foreseeable future, she might not have enough to work with even after the threat that is Parallel city passes. Had DDE gotten a reprint…oh my goodness. Being able to attach two Double dragon energies means that White Kyurem GX would demolish in the format, while Primarina GX would get what amounts to 80 extra damage in a single turn, and that’s not counting the Aqua Patches that could pop as well.

        Sadly, that scenario above is the dream that remains just a dream. Just as Incineroar GX remains ghost in the format. Symbolic ain’t it: the first Generation of GX’s were mearly blueprints for the ones to follow, some of which have superior potential, yet hindered by the format they’re in now (case in point: Tauros GX. Who would ever have imagined recklessly attacking a permanent 220 Tauros GX last format before Field blower was a thing)? Last format was the deadliest one for many. Going into the this one…the format has now become stagnant once more, with Ultra Beasts dominating, and Zoroark prolific as ever. Come this September, everything will change, but not before Celestial Storm shakes up the month of August.

  3. Hey Juan… funny I faced an Incineroar GX deck tonight. Lost but only because the game misclicked (not the player was definitely the game’s fault) and dropped my energy attachment early onto one of my benched Pokemon not the active…. Do you want to share that Psychic decklist? I am hearing that the tri (or even quad) Baby Buzzwole decks are still beating the Squids. I know that Squids are really good though I went 27 W 12 L with them in June (a couple of different versions, mostly Ultra Necrozma based though).

    1. Here’s the link Harvey, and here’s the link to Tablemon’s youtube channel where Sam Chen himself explains his deck:

      I honestly don’t think I’ve made a single, if any, changes to his list since playing it, and maybe it’s a reverse of fortune for me at this time: I went on a heavy losing streak, and now it’s a 12 game streak. Baby Buzzwole….I understand that it smacks things for 100 damage flat with Choice Band, Strong Energy, and Diancie, but that’s cuz of all the damage modifiers (a Hitmonchan could do the same thing, yet it’s a base 90 HP. Zygarde dog could do the same thing as well, while hitting for 130 against Ultra Beasts himself, but I’ve come to accept that that pokemon’s flaw was in his Hp being so low. Now if Zygarde 50 percent had Peacemaker instead of Glare…oh you would so use him a whole lot more).

      Rambling aside, if the opponent focuses more so on quad Buzz than the GX, my advice while having a look at the deck would be to consider adding the Mewtwo Promo: having a non-GX attacker stomach Baby Buzz’s attacks while delivering knockouts in return is too good to pass up. And with the pressure ability the most damage he can do with strong energy and diancie is 50 (or 60 with Beast energy). So he will be taking hits once Mewtwo is loaded up. Now the biggest thing here is the prize cards: you might want to snipe down a Lele the moment you take out the first baby buzz, because if anyone takes out baby buzz after baby buzz, then they’ll be able to sledgehammer for max damage against your GX mons in play. Even then, the Buzzwole player might be smart and NOT bench down Lele so that you have no choice but to take out Baby buzz one by one, leading to Sledgehammer’s fulfillment, beast ring’s fulfillment, and from there it spirals out of control. And I think that’s where people slip up against the deck: they have their GX’s in a vunerable state of getting demolished by a 2HKO, the Rockruffs wind up devastating your boards too since Lycanroc drags up anything it wants….it’s a dangerous deck. Don’t get me wrong. I can see why it could defeat Malamar and Zoroark decks as well. I’ve just been getting lucky then.

      That and Parallel City helps to disrupt opposing boards: goes a long way against many decks too.

      But yeah: check out the link for the list, link to Sam Chen trying out the deck, and see what you could do to make the deck work to your liking. At the end of the day, anyone can pilot any deck, but how effectively the deck works depends solely on the pilot himself: I can honestly say I’m better with decks like Malamar and whatnot that build up little by little through setup, as well as turbo decks, whereas me piloting a spread deck or even a disruption deck would be uncomfortable with me, since that’s not a style I’m happy with. If you know your deck and love to play with it, it yields more results than playing a deck with a style that isn’t for you. Shoot: even I recall having to learn to play Volcanion right (and I bet people think that it’s an auto-pilot deck).

      Best of luck!

      1. You know I heard Omnipoke saying that a lot of players were disparaging Squids, but I agree I think they’re great and there are a number of good builds you can put together with them at the heart of the archetype. I really wonder how many of the people turning their noses up at Squids are actually Buzzwole players hoping to dissuade people from running Malamar builds because they view it as the biggest threat to their decks?
        BTW Juan check your yahoo email, I sent you a question asking about what sets you think we’re getting over the second half of 2018.

        1. I’ll have a look real quick, but even I might not know everything in detail. Speaking of which I found this deck while scouring instagram, and I believe it topped a league cup this weekend (I think). Might want to have a go at this list when you can, but the one card I’m not too sure of was the one of psychic mon. I threw in Dawn wings thinking that it might be it? But there was like a yellow wing like edge to the left of the card so it might not even be it, whatever card that may be, I shall leave to your interpretation.

          ****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

          ##Pokémon – 15

          * 1 Buzzwole FLI 77
          * 4 Exeggcute CIN 4
          * 3 Alolan Exeggutor FLI 2
          * 1 Kartana-GX CIN 106
          * 1 Dawn Wings Necrozma PR-SM SM106
          * 1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 137
          * 2 Remoraid BKT 32
          * 2 Octillery BKT 33

          ##Trainer Cards – 35

          * 3 Professor Sycamore STS 114
          * 1 Professor Sycamore BKP 107
          * 2 Sophocles BUS 146
          * 4 N FCO 105
          * 1 Brigette BKT 161
          * 3 Guzma BUS 115
          * 1 Acerola BUS 142
          * 1 Mysterious Treasure FLI 145
          * 1 Nest Ball SUM 158
          * 1 Pal Pad UPR 132
          * 4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
          * 3 Max Potion BKP 103
          * 2 Super Rod DRV 20
          * 3 Choice Band GRI 121
          * 2 Float Stone BKT 137
          * 3 Professor’s Letter BKT 146

          ##Energy – 10

          * 1 Fighting Energy BLW 110
          * 5 Grass Energy BLW 105
          * 1 Psychic Energy BLW 109
          * 1 Metal Energy BLW 112
          * 1 Water Energy EVO 93
          * 1 Lightning Energy BLW 108

          Total Cards – 60

          ****** Deck List Generated by the Pokémon TCG Online ******

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