Hello Some1pcs readers! This is Israel, and I am back with another article to share with you guys. In my last article, I talked about Lycanroc and the viability it has in this meta. I will provide a more updated list later in the article, but today I will be talking about the meta for Virginia and my top 3 choices for the tournament.
II.Brazil Results leading to VA
Now before I talk about this dreadful format we have going into Virginia, I want to backtrack to Utah Regionals and give a couple lessons that I learned from this tournament that may be useful for others.
A couple nights before Utah Regionals I was set in stone about not going to this event, due to work and the fact I was really burnt out from playing the weekend before at Portland Regionals. That Thursday night in my paralegal computers class, I asked my boss if I had gotten the Saturday off that I requested, for League Cups. He never got back to me throughout the week, and I wanted to make sure before assuming that I had it off. He texted me “Yea you have it off, don’t worry about it.” So, I was at least going to try to get some points this weekend. About 5 minutes later, I get another text from him saying that if I wanted the weekend off go ahead because there are only a couple jobs that can be done by one person. When I read that, I didn’t know how to react. So I posted on Facebook to see if I could get a last minute ride to Utah, and eventually I found one. I departed from Anaheim to Utah on Friday at Noon, stopping in Las Vegas along the way to get some much needed food, and to do some not-so-needed gambling. As a result, we didn’t arrive in Salt Lake until Saturday at three in the morning. After only four hours of sleep, we woke up at 7 in order to make the last-minute registration, and so I had time to throw together a Yveltal/Garb deck to play with. Here is a brief rundown of how my tourney went:
Round 1 vs Turbo Dark WLL
Round 2 vs MegaRay LWL
Round 3 vs Houndoom Mill (got repaired and got a bye)
Round 4 vs Mega Mewtwo LWL
Round 5 vs Passimian/Carbink WW
Round 6 vs Volcanion WW
Round 7 vs Turbo Dark WLT (scooped then drop, I’ll explain)
So, the outcome of my run was expected and I learned a lot of lessons on this trip:
1.Don’t try to make a Regionals last minute if you’re not prepared.
I learned this the hard way. There are many players that can do this, just show up and play well with anything. For myself, in a format that I am not comfortable in, I have to test and feel somewhat prepared, to make sure I avoid pointless trips.
2.Try your best to rest before a tourney.
This was never a problem for me in the past. Usually, I would playtest until 5 in the morning or throughout the night to feel prepared, and build some confidence for the tournament ahead. However, my round 7 against Turbo Dark taught me this lesson. In game 2, I was in full control and all I had to do was keep applying pressure to win. So, a situation occurs where I needed a Float Stone to switch my damaged Yveltal with a fresh one, which would put him in a situation where if he doesn’t back up I win. However, after I Sycamore, I get that Float Stone…then I proceeded to attach it to a benched Trubbish that didn’t need a tool in the first place. As a result, I ended up losing 2 turns later after watching my active Yveltal die, followed by a Shaymin the following turn. In my first turn of game 3, I had probably the best start I ever have…then I proceeded to shuffle my prizes into the deck, then Sycamore. I receive a 3 prize penalty, which my opponent takes, then time was called. So, I scooped to him so he could keep his shot to make top 64, and I just called it a day. When you make that kind of mistake, that’s when you know you’re done for the day and you need rest.
3.Don’t waste your luck too early.
Alright, this one isn’t really a lesson, but I am kind of a superstitious player that believes in this kind of stuff. On the car ride to Salt Lake, we stopped in Vegas to gamble a bit. I never win in Vegas, I always run hot then lose what I started with. This time, however, I won 70 bucks. I was telling everyone that I cursed myself, that I had used all my luck and now Utah could only be either a good run or horrible decision.
After this tournament, I took a break and just waited to see the results of Brazil, to see how it would impact the meta in Virginia.
Brazil Leading to VA
Brazil just finished this past weekend and I was watching on stream what decks were popping up, and I noticed a lot of Decidueye/Plume decks popping up in almost every round. In the top 32, there were 12 Decidueye/Plume decks that made day 2, with 4 of them making it into Top 8. While Utah was filled with Turbo Dark, this deck came back with a vengeance and ended up winning the whole thing. Now there were other decks in there, like Volcanion and Mega Ray, that made a good appearance, but they weren’t strong enough to handle the high number of Plume decks. What does this mean for Virginia? Well, if the same thing that happens as it did in Australia, where it made a big appearance there and not many showed up at Utah, then I believe the same thing will happen again. It WILL make an appearance, now that everyone knows how strong the deck is, seeing how it had a big showing for 2 Internationals. With that though, I feel like that deck is going to have a big target on its back for this upcoming Regionals. What do I think is going to be the Top 3 decks for VA?
It has a weakness advantage over what is possibly BDIF, as well as the speed to beat most decks in the format. I feel the deck would have to up their counts on Float Stone to avoid issues against Plume. That way they can have the movement to do back-to-back attacks without getting Lysandre stalled and then have to watch everything get knocked out, without being able to do anything. Also, it just won Utah, so it clearly has the capabilities to win in this format, if it gets the right matchups.
Now this deck has its moments as far as consistency goes, but once it gets going it’s hard to beat and it hits like a truck. Having good matchups against Plume and Volcanion decks is another thing to remember when considering this deck for Virginia. Playing a higher count of Wobbuffet can help us set up under item lock, and can work to slow down our opponents from doing anything.
This deck is by far the most popular in the United States and has made great results with a couple wins and finalist finishes in recent Regionals. It’s a basic deck, and it is hard to beat if it gets going. Also, we have to consider it’s the most consistent out of the 3 I mentioned, and it has great matchups across the board. I wouldn’t doubt it if it makes a big appearance in Virginia.
If there was a 4th choice I would have said it belongs to Mega Ray, seeing as Mega Ray had some appearance in Brazil, even taking a couple spots in top 32. Also, Russell has mentioned before that the Virginia area has a decent number of players that always play Mega Ray. Even though it hits like a truck, it has a couple flaws, lacking a great way to deal with a counter stadium, as well as the ability locking from cards like Garbodor. I wouldn’t be surprised if it makes an appearance, but I wouldn’t put it above these guys.
Now that I listed my prediction of the “Top 3”, I would like to tell you my personal top 3 choices that I feel can make a run, assuming this prediction is correct. Also, some of the ones I feel most comfortable with and feel people could take into consideration if they are as lost in this format as I am.
My top 3 choices
Before I start talking about my choices, I want to sidetrack just a bit about where I am in the format and how I faced this before. In 2015, I played most of my season with just Yveltal, and made some decent showings with Yveltal/Hard Charm and Yveltal/Dusknoir. But, after Roaring Skies came out, the meta had completely changed, becoming too fast for Yveltal to handle without Dark Patch. I had a terrible showing at that year’s Nationals, and while testing for Worlds with Yveltal, I was struggling. All my games were either kind of close or me getting completely destroyed. So, Kenny and Kristy Britton asked me to finally try something different, they didn’t want me to have another bad showing. So I took their words into consideration and decided to try different decks. For that worlds, I played Landy Bats, and it was the best choice I could have made for that Worlds. I made it through day 1 and finished 34th overall with the deck, and I realized that I did something without Yveltal. There’s one thing that’s different between me and the rest of the top 16. It’s that I got all my points with one variant, while others played different decks. My problem is that I take quite a bit of time to learn different decks. While most players can just pick up a deck and play it, I like to only pilot lists I fully understand in and out. I think I have reached that point once again, but it’s not that bad of a meta compared to the first time I had this problem. So for the last 2 weeks I have played a different deck for each League Cup, and I really like what they bring to the table, so much so that I am actually considering them over Yveltal. Now that I got that story out of the way, and probably bored you to death, here’s my top 3 choices:
- 4 Rockruff
- 3 Lycanroc GX
- 3 Carbink FCO 50
- 3 Carbink BREAK
- 3 Shaymin EX
- 4 Professor Sycamore
- 3 N
- 2 Lysandre
- 2 Team Flare Grunt
- 1 Delinquent
- 1 Ace Trainer
- 4 VS Seeker
- 4 Ultra Ball
- 4 Float Stone
- 3 Crushing Hammer
- 2 Enhanced Hammer
- 2 Max Potion
- 2 Chaos Tower
- 6 Fighting Energy
- 4 Strong Energy
Now, I won’t go into too much detail on the deck, since I mentioned it in my last article. I will, however, give what I changed from the original list, a league cup report, and why it’s my top choice.
6th Fighting Energy
This card was in my recommended list, and after trying it for the last week, I felt it was very needed for the Quad Lapras matchup. Now, Quad Lapras is starting to pop up here and there, so I felt I needed that extra energy. It has also helped with getting a turn 2 hit with Carbink Break, and not whiffing as often.
This card has been useful for not only Quad Lapras, but for Espeon matchups as well, to take away their option of Confusing me while trying to set up a board.
This card has been ok in testing, as I wanted to take advantage of my low HP basics and punish my opponents for their early aggression. This card can easily take games away from people in this inconsistent format. Also, outside of Turbo Dark matchups, I feel I’m always playing from behind and have to try to beat them mid to late game.
4 Float Stone
I had Weakness Policy in the deck but took it out since I realize that most Plume decks play Beedrill and would remove the Policy whenever they had a chance. Also, I had some issues where I kept getting stalled and needed to waste an attachment, rather than a Float Stone, to get them out.
If Plume is still getting talked about, then I would consider adding the Hex to slow them down, as well as to be able to hammer away their energy, to avoid giving up easy prize cards.
This is a tech that I’m really considering since Decidueye/Plume gives me a hard time if they set up the right board. Also, I want the flexibility of using my hammers through item lock which could give me some opportunities to slow down my opponent while I work on building my own board back up.
League Cup w/Lycanroc
I wanted to play something besides Yveltal for this cup because I was still bummed about Utah and needed to build confidence in some other ideas. So I thought, “Why not run the deck I talked about?” It was testing fine when I was playing it, especially after fixing a couple kinks in the original build.
Round 1 vs Quad Lapras (Puzzle of Time) W
Round 2 Dark/Dragons W
Round 3 M Mewtwo W
Round 4 M Mewtwo L (Misplayed)
Round 5 Decidueye/Plume T
Round 6 Espeon/Wobbuffet L (Dead drew in the beginning)
I really liked the deck, even though I lost the win-and-in, but that’s best of 1 for you. You either run hot, or just play cold in some rounds, and that’s what happened. After this League Cup I made a couple changes to the list, and it has a much better flow as a result and has been playing well, boasting a great Turbo Dark matchup, provided you can avoid being donked. The matchups that I noted in my last article haven’t changed, but for the Mega Mewtwo matchup I found that if you play aggressive and use the GX attack on the first M Mewtwo, then the 2nd one you can slow down with energy disruption and hide behind Carbink, assuming they don’t get a Garb out, otherwise that’s still priority.
- 3 Yveltal EX
- 3 Yveltal BKT
- 2 Trubbish
- 2 Garbodor
- 2 Shaymin EX
- 4 Professor Sycamore
- 4 N
- 2 Lysandre
- 1 Steven
- 1 Delinquent
- 1 Olympia
- 4 VS Seeker
- 4 Ultra Ball
- 4 Float Stone
- 4 Max Elixir
- 2 Fighting Fury Belt
- 1 Super Rod
- 2 Parallel City
- 1 Silent Lab
- 9 Dark Energy
- 4 Double Colorless Energy
Same thing as I did with the Lycanroc description, I won’t go too much into detail because Azul mentioned it in his article not too long ago.
2-1 Parallel City/Silent Lab
I wanted to go back to this Stadium count again, because in Utah I played only 2 Stadiums, and felt that it wasn’t enough in some matchups. Against Mega Ray I was constantly prizing a piece I needed to keep up with my opponent. In the 3 games, I prized the one Parallel and it kept driving me crazy that I couldn’t slow them down, even with Garbodor on the board.
3 Yveltal BKT
I saw Chip played 3 BKT in one of his Cups, and I was always interested in that list. I really like the idea of 3 BKT, not only to slow down megas from evolving, but to also help the Turbo Dark matchup. With 3 BKT, you can finish off a Darkrai with Fighting Fury Belt, ignoring their 40 extra HP, as well as cutting off their option of Exp. Share. That was mostly the problem in this matchup, you would kill one Darkrai and they would come back hitting you even harder because you couldn’t prevent them from losing energy. BKT is a universal attacker that can make surprising plays happen and makes your Evil Ball numbers much easier to reach. If there was one thing I regretted from my Utah list, it would be that I was only playing one. If I played at least 2, then I feel I would have had a better chance in some of my matchups.
2-2 Garbodor line
People started to play the 2-1 line and I didn’t like it for a couple reasons. One, the fear of prizing the one Garbodor when you need it most, leaving you without a means to turn off abilities at critical times; Two, I was constantly getting a hand consisting of Super Rod and Garbodor, with Sycamore being my only Supporter, which I have to play it to keep up.
This card has been bouncing back and forth in my list over the last couple of months and I feel it deserves a spot now after my shaky run in Utah, combined with the fact that Decidueye/Plume could make an appearance In VA. I feel like it helps out that matchup a ton should you put them at a low hand count.
The reason why this deck is not my top choice is that I feel the meta is moving too fast for it to keep up, and you cannot afford to whiff in some moments, which can either make or break the game. Some games I feel like even if I felt I have full control, I would lose it at the end and get the game taken out of my hands. Also, it has a shaky Turbo Dark matchup, which pushes me back, and has me wanting to try a different idea for this Regionals. However, this is my fallback deck, even though I gave a lot of negative comments and lost trust in this variant after Utah. Even though the flops of this variant are apparent, it’s still the most comfortable deck that I can play if nothing pops up. It’s harder to outplay people in Standard since it is less consistent than Expanded, but if the matchups are there I know I can make a run with this variant. We will have to see in a week if I will make another appearance with the big bad bird.
I played the deck once, however, my friend Fernando Hernandez gave me the inside scoop I needed for some of the matchups I was questioning him about it since he has been playing the deck for a bit now. I didn’t use his list though, luckily, Jimmy Pendarvis was nice enough to give me the list he ran in Brazil. He said this list was from Michael Pramawat and what most U.S. players played during Brazil. I had a League Cup coming up and didn’t want to buy Carbink Breaks to play Lycanroc (only thing I was missing), but I still wanted to try something new, so Jimmy told me to play Quad Lapras, and he sent me this list:
- 1 Wobbuffet PHF
- 4 Lapras GX
- 4 N
- 3 Team Flare Grunt
- 2 Lysandre
- 2 Team Skull Grunt
- 1 Professor Sycamore
- 1 Team Rocket’s Handiwork
- 1 Judge
- 1 Delinquent
- 1 Olympia
- 4 VS Seeker
- 4 Crushing Hammer
- 4 Max Elixir
- 3 Fighting Fury Belt
- 3 Nest Ball
- 2 Enhanced Hammer
- 1 Float Stone
- 1 Switch
- 1 Escape Rope
- 1 Super Rod
- 4 Rough Seas
- 11 Water Energy
So instead of Puzzle of Time, this list is more of an aggressive type of disruption deck that can run over decks once it gets going. However, if there is anything about this list that annoys me, it’s that Crushing Hammer is very unreliable. I know I run it in Lycanroc, but Lycanroc can get going and not rely on the energy disruption. Lapras, on the other hand, needs some disruption to build up to start hitting for some big numbers. Now to some card details:
You mostly want to hold the things in your hand, so constantly refreshing your hand without discarding necessary items for the late game, like Enhanced Hammer or Max Elixir, is almost a necessity.
2 Team Skull Grunts
Very necessary against Decidueye, if you can knock away energies from their hands then you can just sit behind Wobbuffet and plan out your next couple turns, while also forcing them to use their GX attack just to bring back those energies, then you do it again. This was also helpful against Mega Ray where, if you can hit some Double Colorless out of their hands, then you can sweep away.
4 Crushing Hammer
This is one count I wasn’t really a fan of, I know the whole point is to remove energies and to attack with ease, but I don’t like having 4 flipping cards in a deck, unless it was Hypnotoxic Laser, because I don’t want some of my games to come down to simply a coin flip. In my League Cup that I played this in, I flipped over 25 hammers and hit about 7 of them. This was also what led Jimmy to lose to Rainbow Road, as he flipped 0 out of 7 hammers.
1 Manaphy EX
There has been some list that has been popping up that has included Manaphy, in order to give your Lapras GX mobility. There were times where I wish I had one so I could Blizzard Burn one turn, then save my energies to do another Blizzard Burn. This would save a lot of resources and would utilize Rough Seas to its full potential, by switching from one attacker to another.
1 Carbink (Energy Keeper)
This is one I thought would be a good inclusion into the deck if I decided not to play Manaphy EX. This would help the mirror match, and make it to where it becomes a Lapras war, but you’re able to use hammers and they can’t. Also, Turbo Dark has Team Flare Grunt, which could annoy the Lapras player if they are set back. It’s not the top choice, but if the meta goes to a Lapras meta then I would add this 100%.
4th Team Flare Grunt
Even though I flipped horribly, the Team Flare Grunts is what made some of my games winnable. I would rather have a consistent card that would remove an energy 100% over the 50% chance of Crushing Hammer. I’m not saying take out the entire line, but 3 would feel like the better count.
This has popped up on a players list in Europe that I found could be useful in this deck. It gives Lapras more flexibility to retreat, without having to regret it in the late game. It also gives Max Elixir a boost, should you have some Elixirs prized for the late game.
League Cup Results
R1 Decidueye/Alakazam W
R2 Volcanion W
R3 Solgaleo/Lurantis W
R4 Turbo Dark W
R5 Mega Ray ID
R6 Turbo Dark ID
T8 Turbo Dark WW
T4 Mega Ray LWL
Outside of this Cup, I played some more practice games and I would seriously consider this as my top choice. However, there are a couple reasons why I feel sketch about playing Quad Lapras for Virginia. One, you have the fear of getting benched if you don’t Collect into things that are immediately useful. Two, relying on Crushing Hammer when you need it most. I ran into this problem in my first Worlds in D.C., where some of my games that I lost would have been wins if I hit heads on a crucial flip. It’s one of those risky decks that can just lose if you don’t hit heads on Crushing at the right time. Three, there is a serious risk of never collecting into what you need. Since there is only 1 Sycamore, reaching for some items like Fighting Fury Belt, Nest Ball, or VS Seeker becomes a lot harder, and you would need to Collect into the right things to be successful. Even though these are the biggest problems, it still has good matchups to the “Top 3” predictions that I listed, and it has a decent matchup to Decidueye/Plume, assuming you don’t prize Wobbuffet.
Turbo Dark 55-45
I found this matchup to be not that bad. Of course it’s Turbo Dark, if they get going it’s hard to stop. But when you face this matchup, you have to kill the Yveltal EX as soon as they hit the board. If you get rid of their energy acceleration, then dealing with the Darkrai won’t be too bad seeing as you would have access to energy disruption, and it will actually count. Don’t waste hammers or Grunts on a baby Yveltal, save them for the Darkrai that come after baby bird is dealt with. What makes this matchup a little hard on the Lapras player is that Darkrai is 180 hp. This makes it awkward for the Lapras player, since they can never one shot it. However, if you get a Blizzard Burn on a Darkrai player, this forces them to back up, because they are most likely not going to one shot a Lapras with a Fighting Fury Belt.
Wobbuffet is very key for this matchup, as it will give you access to all your energy disruption, even through their item lock. If you can prevent Decidueye from having energies on board, then they can never hurt you. This is where Team Skull Grunts will come in handy. If they use their GX attack and grab energies, then you can send them right back into the discard pile. If you do not start Wobbuffet, or it’s in the prizes, then you have to constantly hit Rough Seas, while trying to Lysandre one Decidueye to land an Ice Beam GX on, so they only get one more Feather Arrow on you before you KO it the following turn with Blizzard Burn. This all depends on setup and how the board starts for both players, but Lapras should be able to top over Decidueye/Plume thanks the energy disruption Lapras contains.
Mega Ray 40/60
This matchup I found to be very difficult, because of how explosive Mega Ray is. This matchup really relies on getting them late game. Lysandre stalling and hitting hammers to force them to Mega Turbo to keep up their pressure. When you switch the Stadium, your active Lapras must have the Fighting Fury Belt on, to make it hard on the Mega Ray player to knock out Lapras. A Wobbuffet start can make it a little bit easier, but even then, they can KO it on turn one with the right hand. I lost to this deck in a recent League Cup and never got a turn 1 Wobbuffet. Hammers must hit in order to keep it close. Also, it was more annoying since he was playing the metal variant with Magearna EX, which prevents my Ice Beam GX from paralyzing it. Side note, always keep track of deck size from the Mega Ray player. If hammers are hitting and they are low on Mega Turbos, start using Team Rocket’s Handiwork to deck them out, or to possibly take out their last resort before they have a chance to find it.
This matchup is great for the Lapras player, not really having to rely on hammers as all you have to do is hit some Max Elixirs and get Fighting Fury Belt on Lapras, then just swing away. They need 4 Volcanion EX on the board in order to one shot a Lapras (not considering Kukui). Easier enough, if you want to slow the game down to build a board on the back, then just send Wobbuffet out there. A baby Volcanion would 4 shot it if the Volcanion has a Fighting Fury Belt. The difference between this and Turbo Dark when it comes to the baby legendaries is that Volcanion ex can be one shotted, Darkrai can’t. So, you don’t have to kill the baby Volcanion immediately like baby bird in Turbo Dark.
Mega Mewtwo ?????
This is a matchup I have yet to experience with Lapras, but I assume if you can KO a Mewtwo EX, then you take the opportunity. Hammers will be important in this matchup because of how hard M Mewtwo can hit if there’s a lot of energies on board. You have to keep in mind that it takes just 6 energies will one shot a Lapras, and 8 would one shot a Lapras with a Fury Belt, so you have to disrupt. Use Ice Beam GX only once it becomes a Mega, never before, otherwise you will get punished. Also, Team Skull Grunts will be useful in this matchup because they play a decent amount of energy and heavily rely on Double Colorless to reliably hit big numbers.
This matchup will probably be the easiest matchup, even coming from a Yveltal player. The problem Yveltal has in this matchup is that Lapras is hard to one shot and they’re ability to heal, even after taking a couple hits, makes it near impossible to kill. Also, Yveltal is already on a clock to get their Fury Belts on the board, because Lapras has the chance to one shot Yveltal EX. Yveltal decks are usually not playing baby birds nowadays, so hammers will stick and make the matchup even easier. So, if you get a Yveltal matchup with Lapras, then you are in good shape. I would use Ice Beam GX only on Yveltal EX, but if they have techs like Tauros GX, then I would save it to use on that buffalo.
The biggest problem for this deck is decks like Solgaleo/Lurantis and Vespiquen. These are your auto losses, but since they are not very popular decks in the meta, it’s safe to take that risk going into Virginia.
So, Virginia is one week away and stress is falling to a lot of players that are trying to finish out their invites. For some, they are trying to keep their place in the top 16. I am feeling a little stress for this event with choosing which one of the three decks I mentioned in the beginning to pilot. If you are planning to go to Virginia, make sure the deck you decide to play can beat the 3 I describe as the “Top 3”, and can still have a fighting chance against Decidueye/Plume. Right now, there is no full counter to this deck, but if you approach it correctly and not over bench too many Pokémon, then you will have a chance to beat it. That’s it for today, and I hope what I described in this article gives you some insight, and possibly some inspiration, to try things outside of the box. I usually play weird decks or weird techs because I feel they have an edge in the right meta. So hopefully, I will see everyone in Virginia and if you’re not going and want to know how I’m doing in the tournament, add me on twitter @Drdy_Sosapc and I will do updates during the tournament. See ya!