Hey everyone! The new season has started and I am already back to the grind. I recently returned from Fort Wayne Regionals, some League Cups, and I’ve already racked up 130 CP. This last month has been pretty hectic. With so many events that I’ve rarely had weekends to myself! I also finished 16th at the World Championships which I was very satisfied with. Overall it was a blast and I’m glad to see the accomplishments of Israel and Mark advancing through to day two.

Recently, I’ve attended three League Cups and did pretty well. I earned a 1st Place finish with Golisopod/Garbodor and a 2nd Place finish with Ho-Oh/Salazzle. The lists I played are very similar to the ones in Kenny’s recent article. I feel like both decks are definitely Tier One and will continue to see success as this format continues.

Overall, I’ve been enjoying Standard a lot. It feels a little bit slow, but that is how I like it. The format does not feel like it is dominated by one deck like how Decidueye/Vileplume did last Spring. There are a lot of viable decks from Gardevoir, Golisopod, Ho-Oh/Salazzle, Volcanion, Drampa/Garb, Ninetales, VikaBulu, Metagross, and some newer/rogue archetypes. There are a lot of options and I am glad to see the format continuing to evolve.

Table of Contents

I.Fort Wayne Recap
II.Updated Garbodor (Expanded)
III.Metagross
IV.Necrozoma Metagross
V.Matchups
VI.Conclusion

Fort Wayne Recap

For Fort Wayne, I played the Garbodor list I posted earlier with a couple of card changes. I finished with a 6-3 record (Top 128) netting me a solid 40 CP. Fellow Some1sPC member Bradley Curcio piloted the deck with a two card difference to a top 32 finish. Looking back, I felt like the deck was very good but it has some troubling matchups. There were a huge number of Golisopod variants which was very scary. I played against decks that I expected like Night March and Turbo Dark. I pretty much discounted Golisopod GX and Gardevoir GX variants. Both decks did pretty well at the tournament showing us that they can easily transition from Standard to Expanded. I really wanted to try Golisopod the night before because I did not really have time to do so but I was already set on my deck. Here is how my matchups went.

R1 Night March LWW

R2 Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu WLL

R3 Turbo Dark WW

R4 Turtonator/Volcanion WW

R5 Espeon/Garbodor LWW

R6 Golisopod/Zoroark/Garbodor LL

R7 Gardevoir WLL

R8 Turbo Dark WLW

R9 Golisopod/Garbodor WW

I started pretty well with a 4-1 record but took steep decline to a 4-3 record by losing to Golisopod and losing a very close set to a Gardevoir GX deck. My three loses are suppose be to matchups that are extremely unfavored. I lost to Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu because I prized my Garbotoxin game two and dead drew game three. It was unfortunate but luck is a part of the game and everything won’t always go your way. Night March and Turbo Dark were present and I hit my fair share of them. My matchup for the Garbodor mirror was fine because I played two Muscle Bands so that my Tool Drop Trubbish can attack for knockouts. One thing I did not like about my list is that I teched a Giratina Promo in fear of Trevenant. Once again, Trevenant failed to perform. This is the third tournament this past year that I teched one card to try to beat something, but the one card did not do anything. I included tech cards like Karen in Primal Groudon, Oricorio in Espeon/Garbodor and Giratina for this event. I would rather have that one spot to be a more impactful card or something for more consistency.

The lesson here is that it is not worth adding a tech for one deck. You are better off playing a more impactful card. There is a solid chance that you will not even play the matchup you are scared of. Daytona Regionals is still a month away but I still want to improve the list for any of you interested in it for that tournament

This is how I would play the deck going forward.

 

Garbodor

Pokemon (15)

  • 1 Drampa GX
  • 1 Necrozma GX
  • 1 Oricorio GRI 56
  • 1 Wobbuffet GEN
  • 3 Tapu Lele GX
  • 4 Trubbish PLS (Tool Drop)
  • 3 Garbodor GRI
  • 1 Garbodor BKP

Trainers (34)

  • 3 Professor Sycamore
  • 3 N
  • 2 Guzma
  • 1 Brigette
  • 1 Acerola
  • 1 Colress
  • 1 Teammates
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 4 VS Seeker
  • 3 Float Stone
  • 2 Muscle Band
  • 2 Choice Band
  • 2 Rescue Stretcher
  • 1 Field BLower
  • 1 Computer Search
  • 3 Dimension Valley

Energy (11)

  • 4 Double Colorless Energy
  • 5 Psychic Energy
  • 2 Mystery Energy

 

New Additions –  Wobbuffet, Mystery Energy

I added Wobbuffet because it synergizes very well with Necrozma GX. I was testing with it before the tournament and it was really good. I decided to cut it last minute for the 2nd Muscle Band and when looking back I would cut a Garbodor. This card improves our Gardevoir GX matchup because it can clean up a Gardevoir after a Black Ray GX attack. It also helps a lot versus Fire variants and Turbo Dark because it knocks out Pokémon without using a Garbodor.

Mystery Energy is another inclusion that is very interesting. It gives us an extra pivot if we do not have Float Stone on board. It is also nice if we start Necrozma or Wobbuffet so we do not have to waste a Guzma or Float Stone to switch it out. One play that I do like a lot is attaching a Mystery Energy to our active Psychic Pokémon and switch into a Wobbuffet to start ability locking right from the beginning. The only downside to this is that we cannot attach this card to Drampa GX. I feel like five Psychic Energy is fine to power up Drampa anyways.

Another cool tech option is Life Dew. My friend Isaiah Williams piloted the deck to a Top 32 finish with the same idea but a different list. Life Dew can completely swing any matchup, particularly Night March and the mirror. Most decks I played against in the tournament usually played one form of tool removal. If you can wait out the 1 copy of Field Blower, a Life Dew can stick.

Another card that can potentially be added is Turtonator GX. This is to help bring the Golisopod matchup closer to even. The problem is that Turtonator does not deal enough damage to get knockouts. You can do 100 with a Choice Banded Shell Trap and have them take 80, but it doesn’t get the knockout. They still have Acerola to get around it. I think a card also worth testing is Reshiram from Black and White. This card has A 130 HP so a Golisopod GX would be forced to use their GX to knock it out. The problem I was seeing with this card is that Tapu Koko can be used to soften it up. I feel like both cards are worth testing and if I were to cut a card to make room for a counter, it would be a Trashlanche Garbodor.

As I said before, if the Tapu Lele Promo comes out anytime soon, I would add it in a heartbeat. That card would take this deck to another level. I would just cut the Drampa GX for it. I am not expecting this card to come out until San Jose Regionals or later.

Thoughts on Expanded Going Forward

The format felt healthier with the ban of Archeops and Forest of Giant Plants. Guardians Rising and Burning Shadows definitely shook up the metagame. Tapu Lele GX expectedly made its impact. There were some new archetypes that transitioned from Standard. Looking at the results, there were six different decks. We did not see one deck just dominating and taking most of Top 8 spots like recent Regionals (Ex Yveltal/Garbodor).

Another aspect of the format that felt better was that games didn’t come down to the first turn. There was not nearly as much turn one Ghetsis or turn one item lock as before. I feel like decks were more inclined to use a Brigette turn one or another supporter to build up their board state. Toad focused decks also saw next to no play because of the popularity of Golisopod and Garbodor variants. However, Toad was teched back into Dark decks and added to Golisopod.

Trevenant also flopped pretty hard too. I was sort of surprised that it only took 31st and 33rd Place at the tournament. It was pretty hyped before the event, but everyone had an answer for it. I also feel like the deck is super fragile. If it goes second or fails to get the turn one Wally, its board can crumble and fail to retain item lock. This was common during testing and shifted me away from playing it. There also was a ton of Turbo Dark played which also played a factor in its mediocre performance. This mediocre performance also explains why Night March did so well and won the tournament. With the decline of Seismitoad and Trevenant, Night March did not have to deal with as much item lock which led to its strong showing.

Overall, I’m very content with the Expanded Format. I do not think we’ll see any ban in the foreseeable future. The format seems pretty healthy at the moment and I applaud TCPI for improving the game.

Metagross

Now it’s time to talk about the Big Steel Machine, Metagross! This deck was first played at Wisconsin Regionals where Chris Schemanske took it to a 2nd Place finish. The deck was played early on because it had a strong matchup against Drampa/Garbodor. It slowly faded out of the Meta towards the North American Internationals because of Decidueye variants, Flareon’s inclusion within Garbodor, and the popularity of Volcanion. With the new rotation, Metagross has lost some enemies. With Forest of Giant Plants rotated, Decidueye will see next to no play. Decidueye variants always gave Metagross some trouble because of how hard they pressured its set up with Tapu Koko/Feather Arrow or item locking you out the game with Vileplume. The loss of Flareon AOR is very good for Metagross because decks cannot tech an Eevee line to take advantage of Metagross’s fire weakness.

The main selling point of playing Metagross is that it can handily beat Gardevoir and Garbodor decks. Both of those two decks have been dominant since their release. As long as those two decks are around, I feel like Metagross will always have a place in the metagame. All three cards were printed within two sets of each other which indicate that they will most likely stay together until they are rotated.

The typical game plan with Metagross is to try to set up with two to three Metagross. It has 250 HP which is extremely difficult to kill without hitting for weakness. Max Potion is what makes this deck very strong and stable. The deck basically tries to rotate between attackers while healing and using Geotech System to get accelerate back energies.

Below is the straight version. I made the list as consistent as possible while adding necessary cards for the metagame.

Metagross

Pokemon (16)

  • 4 Beldum
  • 3 Metang
  • 4 Metagross GX
  • 2 Vulpix GRI
  • 3 Tapu Lele GX

Trainers (34)

  • 4 Professor Sycamore
  • 4 N
  • 3 Guzma
  • 2 Skyla
  • 1 Brigette
  • 1 Sophocles
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 4 Rare Candy
  • 4 Choice Band
  • 3 Max Potion
  • 3 Field Blower
  • 1 Rescue Stretcher

Energy (10)

  • 1 Psychic Energy
  • 9 Metal Energy

 

Card Explanations

3 Metang/4 Rare Candy

This is just pure consistency to set up Metagross. I’ve seen lists with three Rare Candy/three Metang and others with four Rare Candy/two Metang. I’d rather dedicate the seventh spot to ensure the best chance of setting up.

3 Tapu Lele GX/2 Alolan Vulpix

Three to Four Tapu Lele is the norm in the new format. No doubt the best Pokémon in the game. Four would be nice but we can’t fit everything.  The card is a great attacker and we can use its GX attack, Tapu Cure.

Alolan Vulpix is what makes this deck set up early in the game. Your desired turn one should be using a Brigette to search for two Beldum and Vulpix to follow it up with a Beacon. I feel like this deck relies on Vulpix a lot early game so I included the second copy. It also gives us a higher chance of starting with it.

3 Field Blower

Garbotoxin is extremely pesky for this deck. Our deck relies on Geotech System to function and we cannot afford to get locked out of our abilities. With three copies, you’ll see it more often throughout the game and potentially run your opponent out of tools. Field Blower is just good in general, in other matchups, you can really disrupt your opponent’s board because you will most likely always have access to a Field Blower.

2 Skyla 1 Sophocles

Skyla is very useful to grab any trainer card we need to set up a Metagross. Normally we’ll grab a Rare Candy or an Ultra Ball to set up a Metagross. We can also grab a Field Blower or Max Potion instead of trying to draw into it

Sophocles has just added consistency and another way to discard energies. I feel like this deck needs more supporters than most decks because it needs a lot of cards to set up. You will also have some hands where you cannot afford to use Sycamore. You may have one piece of the Metagross line and then use Sophocles to draw the other.

4 N 4 Sycamore 3 Guzma

4 Sycamore and N are pretty much standard in most decks and this deck constantly needs to draw cards to set up. Three Guzma is the perfect count in my opinion. This deck is not very aggressive and you cannot play Guzma effectively until turn three.

4 Choice Band 3 Max Potion

This deck needs the maximum amount of damage it can get. Four Choice Bands is necessary to hit achieve one hit knockouts. Three Max Potion is the count I have been enjoying the most. Four would be nice but could potentially clunk out the deck a little more in the beginning.

9 Metal 1 Psychic

You really just want to attack with Metagross in this version. One Psychic does not hurt us at all and gives us the option to use Tapu Cure

 

The other version I tested with is more of an offensive version. Necrozma becomes the main attacker and to support it we run more Psychic Energy. Necrozma’s Prismatic Burst allows us to easily hit up to 190 (220 with Choice Band) and get knockouts where Metagross cannot. For example, we can one shot a Golisopod GX. Golisopod is impossible to one shot with the straight version but we can with this version. This version of the deck is very similar to the classic Ray-Eels deck back in the day, one shotting everything with Necrozma while recharging it with Metagross.

 

Necrozoma Metagross

Pokemon (17)

  • 4 Beldum
  • 2 Metang
  • 4 Metagross GX
  • 1 Vulpix GRI
  • 2 Necrozoma GX
  • 1 Mimikyu GRI
  • 3 Tapu Lele GX

Trainers (32)

  • 4 Professor Sycamore
  • 4 N
  • 3 Guzma
  • 1 Skyla
  • 1 Brigette
  • 1 Sophocles
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 4 Rare Candy
  • 3 Choice Band
  • 3 Max Potion
  • 3 Field Blower
  • 1 Rescue Stretcher

Energy (11)

  • 6 Psychic Energy
  • 5 Metal Energy

 

This core is very similar to the straight version so I’ll just explain the differences.

Card Explanations

2 Necrozma GX

This becomes the main attacker against matchups like Golisopod, Fire decks, and the mirror. Prismatic Burst becomes the primary attack because it can one shot Pokémon that Metagross could not.

Mimikyu

This card can be a very strong one prize attacker. You can use it as a 7th prize. It can also copy attacks like Turtonator GX’s Bright Flame, Ho-Oh GX’s Phoenix Burn, and Tapu Bulu GX’s Nature’s Judgement.

5 Metal 6 Psychic

This was the most optimal count in my testing. We only ever need two Metal in the discard to attack with Metagross. The damage cap with Prismatic Burst is only limited to the count of Psychic Energy we use to power it up. 

Techs/Possible Additions

Ninetales BU

Maybe this can help you win the Fire matchup, but probably not all the time. This card can wall Ho-Oh/Salazzle and Volcanion decks but they usually have an answer with baby Volcanion or Oranguru. This is just a fringe tech in my opinion since you would have to also include a Rainbow/Water energy.

Spiritomb STS

This card does the exact same thing as the Tapu Lele Promo that I mentioned earlier, but for a Darkness and a Colorless energy. Metagross is a deck that sometimes struggles with finishing off Pokémon and this also combos well with Necrozma GX. Spiritomb fixes this issue by rearranging damage for knockouts. Just like the inclusion of Ninetales, you have to include a Rainbow or a Darkness energy.

Espeon EX

At a League Cup, I played against a Metagross with this card included and wondered why it was in there. I realized that it combos well with Necrozma GX because you deal 100 to each Evolution GX and can then devolve all of them to completely wipe off your opponent’s board. It is a game swinging card in the mirror since one shot knockouts rarely occur.

Fourth Field Blower/Max Potion/Guzma    

Max copies would be very strong but like I said, they are all pretty much dead cards early on. I feel like as long you conserve any of these resources, you won’t need the fourth copies.

Second Brigette

It is very devastating when the one copy is prized. A second copy will most likely ensure that you will find it when searching for it with Wonder Tag. A second copy also gives you a higher chance of starting with one.

Giratina XY184

The Greninja matchup is pretty bad and this is a tech that can aid the matchup. The downside is that it is a terrible starter because of its two retreat cost. Like I said earlier, I’d rather have this slot be a more impactful card than a dead card against everything else. I’d rather take the bad matchup to Greninja and hope they do Greninja things and dead draw

The cards you can potentially cut to make room for these techs are probably the Skyla/Sophocles count

 

Matchups

Gardevoir 70/30

Metal weakness! Honestly the matchup you always want to hit. Gardevoir is one of the most popular decks and you will probably see it a couple of times throughout a tournament. However, this matchup can be very losable because of Gardevoir’s one shot potential. They need six energies or five with a Choice Band to one shot a Metagross with three energy. It is actually very doable for them. As long you set up, this matchup is a breeze.

Volcanion or Ho-Oh Salazzle 20/80 35/65 with Necrozma Version

Fire Weakness is your enemy. The straight version has a very hard time since Metagross is your main attacker. The matchup is winnable with the Necrozma version. I would try to use Black Ray followed up with Energy Drive’s from Tapu Lele. Even attacking a with a Metagross GX at the right time can be very effective. For example, if I OHKO their Volcanion EX and they have no backup attacker with energy that is a good time to attack with it. But in most situations, you want to avoid using Metagross GX. Mimikyu is also a great attacker in this matchup. Equipped with a Choice Band, it can copy Ho-Oh GX’s Phoenix Burn or Turtonator’s GX’s Bright Flame for one hit KO’s.

Espeon/Garb or Drampa/Garb 70/30

As I stated earlier, Three Field Blower is enough to destroy them. You should readily have access to them with Skyla. Psychic resistance is also very nice. Espeon’s Psybeam is mostly harmless because you have to switch into another attacker anyways. Necromza GX is a poor attacker in this matchup because of its Psychic weakness. They only need three items in your discard and a Choice Band to one shot it. If you face a Drampa/Garb variant with the Po Town/Espeon EX Combo, you have to use Max Potion at the proper time to avoid a Miraculous Shine sweep. With the three Field Blower Po Town shouldn’t stick all of the time.

Golisopod/Garbodor 40/60

Even though we play three Field Blower this matchup is still tough. The problem here is that it is very hard for us to one shot a Golisopod GX. With the Necrozma focused version, it is a lot easier to one shot a Golisopod because of Prismatic Burst. They use the same healing strategy but with Acerola, they also have ability lock. The way I would I play this matchup is to try to use N and Field Blower together as many times as possible. Golisopod is a deck that is vulnerable to N and it is common for them to whiff a tool after a one to four card N.

Mirror 50/50 55/45 with Necrozma Version

The mirror basically comes down to whoever has more Metagross in play and can timely use Max Potion/Guzma. Necrozma GX also makes a huge difference in the matchup. If you can spread 100 damage to three different Metagross then they will not have enough Max Potions to heal everything.

Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu 70/30

Tapu Bulu can only max out at 210 damage with a Choice Banded Nature’s Judgement. Metagross can easily one shot a Bulu with its own Choice Band. Based on the design of both decks, Bulu has a hard time winning. The only thing that can be problematic is if Tapu Koko can start spreading damage to set up Nature’s Judgement knockouts.

Ninetales 70/30

Like Gardevoir, this matchup is pretty easy. We have an answer to their Safeguard Ninetales with Metang’s Core Beam attack. A common mistake I see players do is to evolve all their Beldum into Metagross and then get walled by the Safeguard Ninetales. I’ve been seeing Ninetales run multiple Tapu Koko and an Espeon EX. That combo can be very annoying but as long you can use your Max Potions at the right time, it should not be that bad.

Greninja 30/70

Yikes, Shadow Stitching really shuts down our deck. An additional annoyance is that we can’t one shot Greninja Break efficiently. We use Necrozma to do so but then we lose all of our energy and get shut down by Shadow Stitching. Greninja is a deck that is prone to bad starts, it is common to win this match because of their own inconsistencies.

Which GX Attack should I use?

This deck has three options of GX attacks between Tapu Cure GX, Algorithm GX, and Black Ray GX. All three can be very impactful. A lot of the time I favor Algorithm GX so I can set up my board. The attack is countered by N which is a problem. Timing it correctly can get you the most use out of it. For example, if my opponent has two to three Ns in the discard, it would be a good time to use it. It is less likely that they will have one in their hand. If your opponent does not N your hand away, then you’ll most likely have everything you need for the following turn.

Black Ray GX is very good in lots of matchups. Metagross struggles to one shot certain Pokémon. Black Ray can set up the KO for Metagross or dish out the clean-up knockouts. Tapu Cure GX is an often overlooked attack, we forget that Lele even has a GX Attack because of how broken Wonder Tag and Energy Drive are. Half of the main strategy of this deck is healing our damaged Metagross. If we have two heavily damaged Metagross and use Tapu Cure, it is basically using two Max Potions for an attack.

Conclusion

Overall I feel like Metagross is a solid deck that has some up and down matchups. This is how the deck is. As you see from the matchup spread, it does not have a lot of close ones. You might hit two Fire decks and you’re out or you’ll hit Gardevoir, Garbodor, Ninetales and Tapu Bulu/Vikavolt and have a good result.

I feel like both formats are pretty solid and I’m very glad for the recent changes. I believe this year is going to be a lot more enjoyable than years past because we have more balanced cards and regulated changes. Good luck to everybody on their season. I hope to back to be back soon with more content once Shining Legends/Crimson Invasion comes out.

-Kian