What's up Some1sPC readers! After a long and grueling season, the 2016-2017 Play Pokémon season has come to an end with champions crowned across the World. This season was amazing for me personally, as I was able to travel across the World and enjoy many new experiences. I'm very grateful for the opportunities that Play Pokémon provided, with improved support in prizes and travel stipends. My tournament experience wasn't all I had hoped for, as I fell just one game away from being “in the money” and potentially ending with a Top 16~Top 32 placing. I put a good amount of time into testing the Worlds format, and it's hard to accept anything but an above average result. I know from my previous experiences at Worlds, and mediocre results at the main event, that it's hard to really expect anything from playing against the best players in the World. It's really difficult to have an edge of more than 50% every round at the World Championships and it feels like every round against the best is nothing more than a coin flip. There are so many factors of luck, draws, and matchups that have an even higher impact when compared to Regionals or Internationals. You don't have the opportunity of outplaying your opponent, as they all see it coming and there's no room to capitalize on a minor misplay that they could give. Every year I seem to improve slightly on my overall record, but this is another Top 64 in Day 2 and a near .500 record for me in the books.

I.World Championship Recap with Gardevoir
II.History of Primal Groudon
III.Card Count Explanations
IV.Tech Options
V.Matchups
VI.Conclusion

World Championship Recap with Gardevoir

I was between quite a few decks a week before the event and was trying to keep my options open while testing the gauntlet. It became fairly obvious to me that Decidueye Ninetales was clearly the best deck for the format, but at the same time, it would be known for just about every great player in the room. I didn't feel like it was good enough to take down the World Championships as so many players would have logged a large amount games against it. This was a significant drawback when preparing to play against the best. I made it my second option as a safe choice if I couldn't get something crazy to work. My third choice was Greninja, I felt like the grass matchups weren't as bad as people made them out to be. You could easily tech energy removal and make the matchups much closer to 50-50. The problem with this deck choice was my recent 5-2-2 performance at the North America International Championship and my overall trust with the deck. I didn't want to put the biggest tournament of the year in the hands of Greninja and not admit that my recent performance might have clouded my overall judgment. The deck I decided to play was Gardevoir, which our very own Mark Garcia was able to get through Day 1 fairly easily. I had been testing Gardevoir from day 1 like everyone else and had gotten in a good amount of reps. I was always working to try to beat and dismantle it with by means necessary, but the closer we got to Worlds I realized that the deck could be fine-tuned to win the big event. A few days before the event while testing the many intricate matchups, Mark brought up the idea and importance of healing in Gardevoir. It was something I had thought about before, but packed it away and ignored it. This concept came into fruition after testing the pesky Decidueye and Garbodor matchups. The concept of healing cards could, in fact, counter the format and make so many matchups better. It also made our mirror matchup favorable. The other main card that had been amazing in testing was Wonder Energy; it impacted so many matchups that were presumably bad for Gardevoir. Shout-out to Kian Amini and Russell LaParre for hyping Wonder Energy. In the end, we made a list that we could call our own, but it was something that didn't look amazingly consistent. It had just enough spice in my eyes to take down the entire tournament and I only questioned the consistency/setting up process. This was ultimately the downfall, as Mark and I weren't able to place as high as we had hoped for. The overall consistency folded and we couldn't win the games we were supposed to win in theory.

 

Gardevoir

Pokemon (17)

  • 4 Ralts
  • 2 Kirlia
  • 3 Gardevoir GX
  • 2 Remoraid
  • 2 Octillery
  • 2 Tapu Lele GX
  • 1 Alolan Vulpix
  • 1 Sudowoodo

Trainers (30)

  • 4 Professor Sycamore
  • 3 N
  • 1 Brigette
  • 1 Acerola
  • 1 Guzma
  • 1 Lysandre
  • 1 Hex Maniac
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 4 Rare Candy
  • 3 VS Seeker
  • 2 Choice Band
  • 2 Field Blower
  • 2 Max Potion
  • 1 Super Rod

Energy (13)

  • 7 Fairy Energy
  • 3 Double Colorless Energy
  • 3 Wonder Energy

 

*Mark played Giratina Promo for Day 1 and we swapped it for Sudowoodo in Day 2

 

Worlds Deck Breakdown, Result, and Analysis

In short, we took a few shortcuts on consistency to fit in our tech healing cards and Wonder Energy. This ended up swinging quite a few matchups into our favor but cost us other matchups as we failed to set up properly. This list has room for improvement and I don't think it's the perfect 60. I would probably start by cutting some of the excess tech cards to focus more on consistently getting Gardevoir out each and every game. The entire idea behind taking shortcuts was our opportunity to abuse Twilight GX. Theoretically, you never really need the 4th copy of a card as you can just use the GX attack for the 4th and more. The game plan was to set up the board and then put everything back when we were ready to attack.

 

Final Record: 4-3-1

Win: Espeon Garbodor, Drampa Garbodor, Sylveon Gardevoir, Sylveon Gardevoir

Loss: Decidueye Vileplume, Golisopod Garbodor, M Ray

Tied: Decidueye Vileplume

 

The deck performed against Garbodor and Gardevoir variants, which ended up making the majority of top cut. Hypothetically if I had made Top Cut it would have been a decent bracket for me. Decidueye Vileplume was a poor matchup, mainly because of the item lock of Vileplume and potential of them getting it out on the very first turn of the game. My Golisopod Garbodor matchup was also rough and I was never able to draw a single Field Blower in the match. I think it's a tough matchup regardless of how my draws went, as they're able to force Gardevoir to play the two shot game which they should have more healing and an easier time pulling off return knockouts. The Mega Rayquaza matchup probably would have been a win under different circumstances, but my deck failed to function properly. I got benched from a “Tapu Lele pass” and prized two of three Gardevoirs after a Magearna EX took down my only Gardevoir. That series was my fault because of the risk I took with my somewhat greedy three count of Gardevoir GX. People often joke about “stage 2 hands” and this was certainly one of those situations.

I felt like this list was the best option that we could come up with based on our knowledge of the Metagame. In hindsight, the list needed to be more consistent to improve the Decidueye. It's easy to look back and think “I should have played this or done that”, but in reality, it was the best I could come up with at the time. I have no regrets with my deck list or deck choice and only look to improve until the next World Championships.

History of Primal Groudon

Primal Groudon has been around since 2015 and has been a dominant force in the competitive scene for as long as it was legal. The deck saw immediate success after the release of Primal Clash for the 2015 United States National Championship, in which Stefan Tabaco was able to earn a Top 8 placing. After that result and exposure to the public, many players tested and refined the list for the 2015 World Championship. Groudon continued to see success at Day 1 of Worlds. Even though the number of players piloting this deck was low a good amount of those Groudon players were able to get through to Day 2. I was able to cruise to a 4-0 start and had some fairly easy games. The deck really takes advantage of opponent's mistakes and gives you complete control in any game as long as you set up correctly. The deck really has a specific engine that can't be replicated in every format and we saw it slowly fade away in Standard. As Groudon took some hits due to Standard rotations it was able to continue its success through the Expanded format and had multiple placings at Expanded Regionals. The deck is still a sleeper and always a threat to take down a tournament. I believe it's a legitimate deck choice for the upcoming season and something people continue to forget to prepare for.

Why is this deck still good in Expanded?

Groudon is a control deck that forces your opponent to manage their resources correctly or they will not have enough to finish the game. It really puts a ton of pressure on your opponent playing correctly every turn or they will be punished for it. This is a huge selling point for me, as a good amount of players won't play perfectly, especially if they don't have the time to playtest the Groudon matchup. I believe the deck is still a great choice in Expanded because it still doesn't have the respect or hype as it should have. It continues to remain under the radar and that's one of its biggest strengths. It would have a lot less appeal to me if people were preparing and playtesting the Groudon matchup, which would probably sway me away from sleeving up the behemoth at my next Expanded event. It also has some nice counters that are appropriate for the speed of the Metagame like energy removal and ability lock. On top of that, it has the natural weakness advantage of an archetype that has been popular in Expanded, which is fighting against Darkness.

 

Primal Groudon

Pokemon (13)

  • 4 Wobbuffett
  • 3 Primal Groudon EX
  • 2 Groudon EX (Tromp)
  • 1 Groudon EX (Rip Claw)
  • 1 Regirock XY49
  • 1 Mr.Mime PLF 47
  • 1 Giratina XY184

Trainers (39)

  • 4 Korrina
  • 3 Professor Sycamore
  • 2 N
  • 1 Pokemon Center Lady
  • 1 Guzma
  • 1 Lysandre
  • 1 Plumeria
  • 4 Puzzle of Time
  • 3 VS Seeker
  • 2 Focus Sash
  • 2 Enhanced Hammer
  • 1 Robo Substitute
  • 1 Escape Rope
  • 1 Wishful Baton
  • 1 Float Stone
  • 1 Max Potion
  • 1 Mega Turbo
  • 1 Nest Ball
  • 1 Professor's Letter
  • 1 Scramble Switch
  • 1 Bent Spoon
  • 4 Tropical Beach

Energy (9)

  • 4 Fighting Energy
  • 4 Strong Energy
  • 1 Psychic Energy

 

Card Count Explanation

4 Wobbuffett

I play four copies of Wobbuffett because it's the ideal starter and you want to maximize the odds of starting it each game. It's a great opening wall as the ability slows down just about every deck in the format. The 110 HP can prove to be a problem, as they don't have the luxury to explode with their abilities and are likely limited to single attachments in the early parts of the game. In general, Wobbuffett is strong in the majority of matchups as Pokémon abilities are relevant for almost every deck. The attack is another option in this deck and the reason we include just a single copy of Psychic Energy. It can help clean up knockouts that we might have already hit in previous turns and provides us a useful one prize attacker.

3 Primal Groudon/2 Tromp Groudon EX/1 Rip Claw Groudon EX

I have been playing a 3-3 split since the deck was initially created. I believe it's the correct amount and better than the greedy route of going 2-2 at the risk of unfortunate prizes. More copies make it less likely of being prized and more likely of seeing it in the opening turns of the game. It provides slightly more consistency and less risk to bad luck. I'm using two copies of the Tromp Groudon EX so that we can have access to the spread effect and an improved mirror match. It's useful to be able to break the Focus Sash on your opponent's Pokémon and can win you the mirror match easily. The one Rip Claw Groudon EX is for its versatility in most matchups and because I don't have another reason except Focus Sash for playing more Tromp.

1 Regirock Promo

Regirock is another Pokémon like Primal Groudon that has the Omega Barrier trait. It adds another dimension to the deck as it's a one prize attacker unlike Groudon and a basic Pokémon that requires less set up. It's quite useful in matchups against faster decks like Night March and Turbo Darkrai. We can slam a Regirock on the very first turn of the game with Korrina and start powering him up to deal with immediate threats. Regirock is sort of a “mini” Primal Groudon and can take advantage of the same tools we use for Groudon. We can abuse Focus Sash, Scramble Switch, and healing cards. The only real downside to Regirock is the low HP and damage output in comparison to Primal Groudon EX. But it's still very effective in the early stages of the game and for matchups that would be rough without it.

1 Mr. Mime

This card initially saw play after Yveltal's success in the Expanded format as it was the best counter to dealing with the pesky Yveltal BKT and its Pitch Black Spear attack. Mr. Mime also saw uses in other matchups, because it naturally prevents one of the best counter plays towards Focus Sash and Primal Groudon. The biggest reason Groudon wins games is that your opponent can't get the return knock out it when it has no damage and a Focus Sash attached. This means that your best play against a Groudon in that situation is to be able to get damage on it before it's ready to attack. The only way to effectively do this is to snipe it with an effect of an attack, as any Supporter or Trainer effect is useless due to Omega Barrier. So as you can see, Mr. Mime prevents one of the best counter plays to our deck.

1 Giratina Promo

Giratina doesn't provide a ton of synergy or make that much sense in here, but it's a measure to improve our matchups against Break decks such as Trevenant and Greninja. It has a tiny bit of synergy as Wobbuffett doesn't shut off Giratina as it's a Psychic type. With Giratina in play, we can get access to items if they choose to use their Silent Fear attack with Trevenant. Against Greninja, they lose their edge of being able to use Giant Water Shuriken to prepare for our incoming Groudon swarm.

4 Korrina

Korrina is the heart of the deck and the engine that allows us to set up multiple Groudon's as efficiently as possible. It's an underrated supporter card that allows us to pick one item and one Fighting Pokémon each turn to eventually set up a fully powered Groudon with a specific tool. Search cards can sometimes be overlooked as people prefer to draw cards and the potential forgetting more than two cards. While getting only two cards may seem a little weak compared to a Sycamore for seven, it's actually great and establishes consistency. Most games we are able to set up around the same turn clock and produce the same end game result.

1 Lysandre / 1 Guzma

I opted for the option of using Lysandre and the versatility to be able to keep my attacker active if I need too. It's not a drawback to be forced to use Lysandre and sometimes Guzma can backfire if we don't have the resources or proper position to retreat. I do think Guzma makes more sense in Groudon, but I want to lower the risk and chances of two potentially costing me the game. Flexibility should not be overlooked when you explore different problematic in game situations.

1 Pokémon Center Lady

Healing is a crucial foundation of most Groudon decks, as it allows you to protect your investment of energy and resources on a Primal Groudon EX. After you have attacked with your Primal Groudon, the most likely response is an attack from your opponent. Having the opportunity to heal your Groudon with a Pokémon Center Lady can seal the game as you're able to keep it alive for another turn. There is a good amount of ways to heal Groudon in the Expanded format and I consider Pokémon Center Lady one of the best. While the heal for 60 may seem a little weak, the fact that it doesn't set back your energy attachments like Acerola or AZ is incredibly useful. The other strength is that it’s a supporter card which means you can recycle it with VS Seekers and have more outs to healing throughout the course of a game. Another use of Pokémon Center Lady is to prevent pesky special conditions that may occur. You will sometimes encounter opponents whose best line of play is a desperation special condition effect to slow down your Groudon and buy time for them to build a proper response.

1 Plumeria

The main strategy behind Groudon is to gain as many turns as possible to set up the big bad 240 hp Primal EX Pokémon. To get to this point you have to use as many methods of stalling or delaying their early game pressure. One of the best options to delay your opponent is through energy removal. This is why I have included the new Burning Shadows card Plumeria. Plumeria gives us more flexibility over cards like Team Flare Grunt and Xerosic, as we are allowed to target any type of energy anywhere on their board (with the exception of opposing Pokémon with the Omega Barrier Ancient Trait). This is important because it means none of their energy is safe, as more strategic players will play around cards like Xerosic/Enhanced Hammer/Team Flare Grunt by attaching them to bench or never allowing a special energy to hit the board. I've encountered situations where my opponent was able to load up a bunch of basic energy on the bench to ensure a proper response for my Groudon. The noticeable downside to Plumeria is the side effect of being forced to discard two cards from your hand. We can easily offset this problem by using our stadium Tropical Beach which will generally refill our hand to seven and allow us to start each turn with a total of eight cards.

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