Hello everyone, this is Franco and I’ll be writing about a quick recap/analysis about Memphis regional’s result and give my thoughts based on the decks that did well. I’ll also take a look at some of the cards from Lost Thunder to see how some of the cards from the set can impact the meta and even look at what kind of new archetype could potentially come into the meta. So let’s get into this!
Memphis Regionals Recap
Memphis Regionals concluded with a Malamar deck taking 1st and 2nd place. Looking at the results on other decks that did well, most of them were the decks that were expected to do well such as VikaRay and BuzzRoc. Unlike the previous events, the deck wasn’t able to perform as strongly as other decks despite the consistency, deck power and hype ZoroRoc was getting before Memphis Regional. I personally believe that the reason ZoroRoc wasn’t able to perform as well as in previous events is mainly due to the fact that there was a decent representation of decks that had positive matchups against it compared to previous events. Decks like BuzzRoc and VikaRay have an easier time against ZoroRoc due to their ability to one-shot Zoroarks therefore, it becomes a game of one-shot trades. I think because of those reasons many ZoroRocs weren’t able to reach to higher placements. Another deck that had a strong performance at previous events and many expected to do decent yet didn’t perform as well at all was the BuzzGarb Shrine deck. The deck was able to have a strong impact not so long ago, but decks were able to immediately adapt to the Shrine decks and were able to counter with cards like Dhelmise, Shining Lugia, Deoxys and other non-GX attacking Pokemon that allow you to one-shot Buzzwole and Garbodors. Of course, the fact that many of the top-level players decided to opt out of playing BuzzGarb Shrine is one of the reasons that the deck underperformed as well. In the end, there were many decks that were able to have some impact in the tournament such as BuzzRock, Golisopod, ZoroCargo, and Lapras but it seemed like Malamar and VikaRay were the decks that left a strong impression in the recent events. This is especially true since the start of Sun & Moon on so, I’ll quickly run through them.
The famous Memphis Regionals winning deck. Malamar is actually a very strong deck that consists of energy acceleration, a variety of attackers and attacks that allows you to change your strategy based on the board state. As many of you guys know the deck contains attackers like Deoxys and Mimikyu that are single prize attackers which allows you to maintain the prize trade in your favor depending on the matchup. In addition to this, GX attackers like Necrozma GX have the ability to one-shot almost anything based on the amount of psychic energy attached, not to mention that its Black Ray GX attack is a bonus. Dawn Wings Necrozma GX is one of the few attackers in the deck that isn’t weak to Psychic and its attack has a damage output of 120 which is a good number to one-shot things for weakness for 240. Moon’s Eclipse GX attack is the main strength of the card since it forces your opponent to have an immediate Guzma or Escape Rope or else the prize lead can open up even more. Of course, Marshadow GX allows you to copy all those attacks as a fighting type allowing you to hit Zoroark for weakness. Since Zoroark decks are one of the decks that Malamar generally tend to have a hard time against having a fighting type is beneficial. Marshadow can also bypass the psychic resistance of Zoroark as well making it a great tech. Marshadow GX allows you to use different attacks from Pokemon in your discard, this gives you the flexibility to use the proper attacks based on your opponent’s defending Pokemon. Marshadow GX has low HP compared to other basic GX Pokemon, but as long as you can trade prizes constantly, it shouldn’t be much of an issue since we are in a format where most decks can swing for 180+ damage as well.
Another one of the deck’s strengths is Malamar. Malamar only having 90 HP makes it fragile, but you can setup multiple easily and so long as your opponents don’t string together multiple knockouts on Malamar, the energy acceleration won’t stop. This is important because it provides the deck with great stamina to constantly produce attackers. With cards like Ultra Ball, Mysterious Treasure and other searching cards the deck generally shouldn’t have much trouble setting up multiple Inkays and Malamars consistently which leads to consistency for the deck. The deck was able to gain some additional power at Memphis regionals with the addition of Chimecho. Chimecho is a basic Pokemon with 70 HP, which is a nice number, and its attack prevents your opponent from playing Pokemon with abilities from their hand. Since the attack’s damage output is only ten this attack might not seem so strong, but cards like Rayquaza GX, Vikavolt, Malamar, Zoroark GX, Lycanroc GX and other staple Pokemon all have abilities. So, this attack becomes strong because it delays your opponent’s setup while you’re free to set up your board with complete setup or even prize advantage. Another recent addition into the deck was Lunala Prism Star. I personally thought this card was quite underrated since I’ve been using Lunala Prism Star since the release of Forbidden Light. Its attack Full Moon Star is a nice way to accelerate the energies on your board without having to rely on Malamar under emergency circumstances. However, its second attack Psystorm is what makes the card a really powerful attacker. In addition to this, the fact that it is a non-GX Pokemon with 160 HP and resistance to Fighting-type are other major factors. This card allows you to one shot Buzzwoles much more efficiently than with Shining Lugia. Although the damage output varies depending on the energies on board and sometimes it might not hit enough damage to one shot GX Pokemon, due to the fact that it has 160 HP it’s generally very difficult to one-shot it with a non-GX Pokemon. Whereas Lunlala generally can hit enough damage to one shot a non-GX Pokemon, as a result, your opponent is forced into a spot where they need to bring out a GX Pokemon to knockout Lunala Prism star quickly. This makes Lunala Prism Star into a good card that can help you win the prize trade.
VikaRay is another deck that has been putting up strong performances ever since the beginning of the season. Many of you guys may already know but cards like Ultra Ball and Mysterious Treasure help to boost your early setup consistency along with Rayquaza GX’s Tempest GX attack. Cards like Steven’s Decision and Volkner help you setup Vikavolt as soon as possible and just up overall consistency. The deck is straightforward where you just need to attach as many as energy as possible so Rayquaza GX can consistently one-shot any Pokemon every turn. The main strategy of the deck is very simple yet because the deck is still a Stage-two setup deck, sometimes it does require some minor micromanagement. The deck’s first priority is to setup Vikavolt; once that is done the next thing to focus is to constantly maintain the energies on board for the knockout through Strong Charge, Stormy Wind and your attachment for turn from hand. Sometimes the game can get tricky if your opponent starts to one-shot your Pokemon with something with a high HP. This is where the deck requires you to foresee your own energy attachments on board per turn and it also requires you to observe how many and which energies are in your discard pile and deck to be able to plan your future moves one or two turns ahead. Depending on the type of deck you’re facing such as Shrine of Punishment decks etc, you also need to have the knowledge to not overextend your bench by not benching too many GX Pokemon. Knowing to when to utilize your non-GX attackers to take your prize trade in your favor is also important. Throughout the past few events, we saw many personal preferences in the deck as well, such as decks that ran Choice Band, decks that ran no Choice Band, or even running Lysandre Lab. They all have their pros and cons of course, but I personally liked to play Choice Band for the simple fact like I mentioned above where when the game enters into a turn by turn one-shot trade, there are times where you might be short of energy to pull the knockout and Choice Band could be the solution to get that extra 30 for the knockout for you to maintain or gain the board control in your favor; not to mention that it is also searchable with Volkner also. As for the non-GX attackers, I personally came to the conclusion that I like a split of one Dhelmise and one Shining Lugia. Dhelmise seems to be quite tricky to use since you’re forced to retreat or switch it to be able to attack with it constantly, however, generally Dhelmise is used to one-shot Lycanroc GX and pulling knockouts on non-GXs like Buzzwole then you can utilize cards like Guzma or switch to follow up the attacks. Generally, there aren’t many cases where you’re required to attack with Dhelmise constantly as well. On the other hand, the positive thing about Shining Lugia is that it has a very strong matchup against the non-GX Buzzwole since you just need to discard one energy for the attack cost with Aero Force. However, the major downfall of Shining Lugia is that it requires four energies for Aero Force which can’t be pulled off in one turn since you can only put three energies max per turn unless you have 2nd Vikavolt setup on board. Its first attack Argent Wing is a neat attack, but it only deals 60 or 120 damage which there are times where it won’t be enough damage, but nonetheless if you expect to see a fair amount of Buzzwole or non-GX attackers, Shining Lugia is the appropriate attacker so those were my reasons why I thought the 1-1 split was appropriate for the deck. With the release of Lost Thunder, I think VikaRay will receive Zeraora GX as a significant support/attacker Pokemon in the deck and I personally think that VikaRay will maintain its power. However, Lost Thunder is a large set that contains various new archetype and I personally think that VikaRay is a strong deck, but I think it’ll take one step back in the meta in the near future.
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