Hey, readers! It’s been an eventful last few weeks for me, as I recently completed some stressful final exams before winning Santa Clara Regionals with ReshiZard/Volcanion! It was definitely one my favorite moments from all my time playing Pokémon. Heading into the weekend, I only needed a Top 128 finish to cap off my invite but I ended up winning the whole thing, qualifying for Worlds for the seventh time, which has been a great feeling all over again. I am very excited to share this report from the tournament, my thoughts on the deck, and other builds of Fire for future tournaments.

 

I.Preparation
II.Counts
III. Regional Report
IV.Updating the list
V.Matchups
VI.ReshiZard (Non-Green’s build)
VII. Conclusion

 

Preparation

I tested an extraordinary amount going into this tournament. Everything was on the table from Zapdos, Zoroark/Persian, Vileplume/Walls, Weezing, and ReshiZard. In my early testing, I loved Zapdos since it destroyed PikaRom with the addition of “Bench Barrier” Mew. Zapdos was also beating ReshiZard as well, since the one-prize Pokémon were too much for the deck to handle.

I started testing this ReshiZard/Volcanion list that was inspired by a Japanese build from their Champions League. My friend, Cameron Shenoy was testing the deck right after EUIC and showed me the first build of it. It was a weird build with four Volcanion, two ReshiZard, twelve Fire and a consistent Trainer line. He tested the deck extensively for about a month and made significant changes before the tournament. As testing went on, we put in a Stretcher so we could essentially use five Volcanion in the Zapdos matchup, and an Eevee & Snorlax-GX to cover ReshiZard’s weakness.

Here’s the list:

 

 

We were still contemplating many of the counts in this deck the night before: I really wanted to play three Acro Bike but I didn’t have the guts to do it. The deck ended up running fine without them.

The whole point of this deck is to be defensive. It does not run any small-HP Pokémon or Dedenne/Tapu Lele-GX because you do not want give your opponent an easy path to taking prizes. Instead, you want to force your opponent to take eight prize cards. It does sound a little weird, but this is what this deck does. Honestly, that is one of best strategies when using Tag Teams. You pretty much use two Tag Teams and two Volcanion, or five Volcanion and one Tag Team GX. It is a lot easier to force the 8-prize game because of the lack of disabilities.


Counts

It is a thin Pokémon line but that is all you really need. We ran four Volcanion to have the highest chances of starting it; it’s so important to get a turn two “Flare Starter” so the maximum count was warranted. Volcanion is also a very solid attacker, since it can two-shot most Tag Teams with Choice Band, and trade efficiently with other one-prized Pokémon.

4 Volcanion

This is just the main Pokémon in this deck. It’s a great starter that sets up your board.

2 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

Here we have the main powerhouse of the deck. A 270-HP monster dealing 230 damage–even the ability to hit 300 damage with its GX attack–makes this card so powerful. Even “Outrage” is an excellent attack, since this card likely survives most of your opponent’s attacks.

1 Eevee & Snorlax-GX

This card gives you more type coverage against certain Water Pokémon that were popular last weekend, namely Quagsire, Slowking and Dewgong. Eevee & Snorlax-GX tanks hits against those decks and swings for knockouts.

4 Green’s Exploration

This deck does not run any Pokémon with abilities so it can abuse this card as part of its consistency engine. This deck runs a lot one-offs and this can give you easy access to those essential pieces.

2 Professor Kukui

This deck wants to reach high numbers to knockout certain Pokémon, and Kukui helps us get there. A “Flare Strike” with Kukui and Choice Band can knockout other high-HP cards, while Volcanion can knockout Pokémon with more than 110-HP such as Blacephalon, Quagsire, Naganadel, Buzzwole and opposing Volcanion with “High Heat Blast” when boosted by Kukui. The card is just so good in here to reach those particular knockouts.

2 Guzma/ 4 Custom Catcher

This deck builds its hand size a lot between Heat Factory and Welder, so Custom Catcher is excellent in here because it allows you to play Welder while still being able to gust something into the Active. Otherwise, you cannot accomplish this effect using Guzma and Welder in the same turn unless you use Lt. Surge’s Strategy first. Green’s Exploration can also search out Custom Catcher. Overall, this card just makes your combos better and more efficient.

1 Judge

I always like playing hand disruption in any deck I play. This card was very good this weekend for matchups like Stall and baby Blacephalon, while Power Plant and Judge are excellent against Zoroark decks. This card is just too good not to play.

1 Lt. Surge’s Strategy

This card opens up some ridiculous plays by using two Welder or any other combination of powerful Supporter effects in the same turn. Lt. Surge just gives the deck an explosive comeback potential.

1 Acerola/1 Max Potion

Like I said before, this deck is very defensive. Acerola allow you to pick up a Tag Team that was heavily damaged and reset the board. This card shines in matchups such as Zapdos and Weezing, where they cannot one-shot a Tag Team. Max Potion is great as well, since you are not using a Supporter to heal your Pokémon. One of my favorite plays is using Max Potion on a heavily damaged ReshiZard followed by using Welder to attack with “Double Blaze GX.”

2 Power Plant

The same reason this deck is able to run Green’s Exploration is because there are no Pokémon with Abilities. Power Plant is an excellent disruption card against decks such as Zoroark and PikaRom, and if you can make your opponent dead draw for a couple turns in these matchups that might be all you need to steal a game.

2 Fiery Flint/3 Fire Crystal/ 4 Welder

I don’t think these cards need much explanation. Flint is excellent to combo with Welder and easy to find with Green’s Exploration. Fire Crystal is excellent Energy recovery. Welder is one the best cards in this deck because it accelerates Energy while also drawing cards.

4 Pokégear 3.0/ 4 Nest Ball

These are just the consistency cards the deck needs since it does not run support Pokémon that draw cards, and Pokégear helps find a Supporter to play every turn. Ultra Ball is not needed in this deck, which means Nest Ball is strictly better. There are only Basic Pokémon in here, and discarding is often a steep cost with Ultra Ball.

1 Stealthy Hood

I knew Vileplume decks were going to show up and we teched this card in for that matchup. This card single handedly turns Vileplume from auto-loss to very favorable. The card was very vital in my run since I played against Vileplume three times.

1 Field Blower

This card was an excellent tech card for the weekend. The utility this card provides was just too good. It’s good against Spell Tags, Wishful Baton, Escape Board and Shrine of Punishment, and I would definitely keep this card moving forward. It swings games in matchups such as Weezing, Quagsire and Blacephalon.


Regional Report

 

R1 Zoroark/Slowking/Persian (WW)

R2 Shedinja (LWT)

R3 PikaRom (LWL)

R4 Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX (WW)

R5 Blacephalon/Jirachi (LL)

R6 Zoroark/Slowking/Persian (WW)

R7 Umbreon/Hoopa (WW)

R8 Zoroark/Slowking/Persian (WW)

R9 PikaRom (WW)

R10 ZoroControl/ Slowking (WW)

R11 Plume Stall (WW)

R12 Blacephalon/Jirachi (WLW)

R13 Plume Stall (WW)

R14 ID

T8 Plume Stall (LWW)

T4 Zapdos (WW)

Final ReshiZard (WLW)

 

My Day 1 started off pretty scary with a 2-2-1 start. I was honestly pretty distraught at that point.

 

Round 3. (1-0-1)

This round I was playing Kevin Baxter, who is very good player. He was playing a PikaRom list that was very teched out, with Jolteon-GX and Alolan Muk. Game one was pretty uneventful since he used a turn one “Let Loose” and I didn’t have a good enough start to keep up. I got blown out pretty quickly.

Game two, I won very easily by setting up two Charizard. As long you can get set up, this matchup should be pretty easy.

Game three, I got hit with another “Let Loose” but I ended up surviving it and set up my board. The main problem however, was that I could not find Welder to set up my attackers. I used Heat Factory for a couple turns and kept whiffing Supporters. I still was in a good position until he made a clinching play where he used Acerola on his Active Grimer, then played two Electropower, used Dedenne-GX’s Ability, then found the third Electropower to use “Tag Bolt” for 290 to knockout my Active Charizard. I could not find Welder and Choice Band to respond and just ended losing.

After this set, I was kind of frustrated since that matchup is favorable, but I didn’t really let it get to me since it’s just Pokémon, where stuff won’t always go your way.

Round 5 (2-2-1)

I hit a Blacephalon/Jirachi deck, which was honestly my worst matchup next to Naganadel/Quagsire. “Fireball Circus” having the potential to one-shot my ReshiZard is just a pain to deal with. I ended up getting 2-0ed pretty quickly. I prized Lt. Surge’s Strategy both games, which just killed my comeback potential. My plan was to use Surge into Green’s Exploration into Judge and Field Blower to mount a comeback.

After this round, I was 2-2-1 and pretty disappointed. I was questioning my own deck choice, and was even wondering if the deck was that good of a play at all. Despite this, I kept at it. I knew I needed to stay mentally tough to achieve my invite, and/or even to have a chance at Day 2. At this point, I needed to go 3-1 or better to earn my invite, or win four straight to make Day 2.

Rounds 6-9

This is where everything turned around. I hit Zoroark decks in rounds six and eight and I 2-0ed each player very easily since the matchup is favorable. I beat an Umbreon/Hoopa/Spiritomb deck in round seven, 2-0ing that deck easily since my deck was out-trading his with single-prized attackers. I even got my revenge on a PikaRom deck in round nine, getting to set up my board and taking the series pretty easily.

At this point, I was 6-2-1, and I considered pretty fortunate to make Day 2. I had achieved my goal by guaranteeing points and earning my Worlds invite, and it cleared my mind now that I was over that hurdle.

Day 2

Going into Day 2, I just wanted to do well as I could knowing that I had nothing to lose.

R10 (6-2-1)

I played against my fourth Zoroark deck and I easily 2-0ed this one, like the others I played. My opponent was playing a control version of the deck, but the problem for him was that he did not run Choice Band to two-shot my Eevee & Snorlax-GX.

R11 (7-2-1)

I played against a Vileplume/Stall deck. In game one, he went to the lone Vileplume strategy, so I waited for a turn where I found a Green’s Exploration to find my Stealthy Hood. His hand was dead after he set up his Plume, so I eventually found the Stealthy Hood and took out his only Pokémon in play. Game two was pretty uneventful for Aaron. He started Lucario & Melmetal-GX and pretty much dead drew through the entire game.

R12 (8-2-1)

I was playing against my toughest matchup again in Blacephalon/Jirachi. It was against a perennial Worlds competitor Roberto Lozada, so I knew it was going to be extremely tough to beat him. In game one, I pretty much got destroyed. He didn’t miss a single beat. In game two, I got to use five Volcanion and I pulled ahead to win the game. Game three, he did not start Jirachi and this made his start pretty slow. I ended up using a ReshiZard, two Volcanion and an Eevee & Snorlax-GX this game. He ran out of steam at the end and could not close out the game.

R13  (9-2-1)

I hit another very good player in Preston Ellis, who was playing Plume with Green’s Exploration. I had my Stealthy Hood for this matchup so I knew I had the advantage. Game one, I ran through him pretty easily. In game two, he had a great start by setting up two Vileplume. His win condition was using Field Blower/Faba to remove my Stealthy Hood while having the second Vileplume. I knew he had the Tool removal in his hand, so I had to wait until I had Judge and Stealthy Hood in my hand to counter that strategy. I judged him and took out his Active Vileplume and he did not draw into the Tool removal. The funny thing is that he prized his Field Blower. He had two Gladion in his deck, so prizing the Blower actually increased his odds of hitting Tool removal. Once I knocked out both Vileplume, I pretty much sealed the game since his walls couldn’t survive ReshiZard’s power.

I intentionally drew my final round to ensure my spot in Top 8. I was super ecstatic to be able to make Top 8 at a Regional for the first since March of 2018, which felt like such a long time ago.

Top 8 (10-2-2)

Before, the match I was informed that some of my sleeves were damaged and that I would be receiving a game loss. This flustered me and I tried to argue my case, but I had to keep my mental psyche tough enough not to get thrown off by it.

I was paired against Preston Ellis with Plume/Stall. Playing in the prior rounds gave me the confidence to know that I could win this series and that it’s not that bad of a matchup. Game two was pretty much the same as when we played game two of round thirteen. He got up two Plumes but then I used Judge and he didn’t get his Tool removal. Game three, he started his worst starter in Lucario & Melmetal-GX, which meant that I could take out two Oddish, one Vileplume and the Lucario & Melmetal-GX for my six prizes. I also knew that he did not run Rainbow Energy, which meant that he could not pick up the Lucario & Melmetal with Acerola. Because of this, I also knew not to damage the Lucario & Melmetal unless it was for a knockout.

His strategy of setting up two Vileplume was a lot harder to accomplish since I could take five prizes on non-Vileplume Pokémon. He mulliganed three times this game, which gave me a massive hand. I was able get an early knockout on an Oddish and pressure his board, while taking out another Oddish via Guzma. My third knockout was on a Plume with Stealthy Hood on my Volcanion. I knew I was in the clear after knocking out his Plume. Lucario & Melmetal was on-board, which gave me game when I took it out. He had a Metal Frying Pan attached and used the GX attack to strip my Energy off my Volcanion, but I eventually found Welder and Field Blower to take out his Lucario & Melmetal for game.

I felt very fortunate that I did not end up prizing Stealthy Hood or Judge either game, and that he was unable to hit Tool removal off my Judge. I had a game-loss to start the series, so basically, one loss meant I was out, but playing with my back against the wall didn’t end up costing me.

 

Top 4 (11-2-2)

I was playing against my fellow writer, Michael Catron in this match with him playing Zapdos. I had tested the Zapdos matchup and was heavily prepared for it, so I was very confident heading into the series.

 

Game one was uneventful, as Michael started very poorly by not finding Zapdos through the first two turns. He used Lillie, “Let Loose,” and “Stellar Wish,” but he just could not find a Nest Ball or Zapdos. Due to his poor start, I was able to grab a big lead. He could not come back at all since he had already used his only copy of “Let Loose” Marshadow, which meant that I could keep adding to my hand.

Game two was a lot closer than the first, where we both got solid setups in our first turns. He used Lillie and two “Stellar Wish,” while I got out three Volcanion and use “Flare Starter” to power up my board. He got a second turn knockout with Zapdos by using Professor Kukui plus Electropower, which let him conserve a pair of Electropower. I responded by getting another Volcanion via Green’s Exploration for Rescue Stretcher, and used the Volcanion to take another knockout. We go back and forth like this, each responding with prizes for a time. Catron makes a very good play by using “Let Loose” and “Sledgehammer” from a Buzzwole in the same turn, which forces me to either draw Kukui to knockout his Buzzwole, or to find a gust effect to be out of the “Sledgehammer” turn. I drew pretty well off the “Let Loose” by drawing Guzma, Heat Factory, Pokégear and Nest Ball. I used the Pokégear and found a Kukui. My board already had two powered up Volcanion in play, so I debated using Kukui to take out his Active Buzzwole or using Guzma on his benched Jirachi with an Escape Board. I eventually decided that it was better to remove his Active to build my hand some more, and since he had already used “Let Loose,” trying to build a big hand was the correct move. I knew Catron could only respond by either using Tapu Koko-GX and/or Machamp & Marshadow-GX since he was down three Electropower already. He ended up using Machamp & Marshadow-GX and knocked out my Volcanion for his fourth prize. I was fine with this because his Machamp & Marshadow-GX gave me an easier route to win the game since I only had three prizes left. The following turn, I used Green’s Exploration to find my last Nest Ball to Bench a ReshiZard. I then attached to the ReshiZard and hit the Machamp & Marshadow for 50 damage. He retreated into “Let Loose” because letting Machamp & Marshadow-GX stay in the Active would just lose him the game. He also did not have any more Fighting Energy to use the GX attack. In the end, I had Welder plus Custom Catcher to seal up the game.

Finals (12-2-2)

I was ecstatic at this point, having not played in the Finals of a Regional for about three years. I was playing the ReshiZard mirror against a great player in Alex Schemanske. He was playing the version with support Pokémon like Jirachi, Dedenne-GX and Tapu Lele-GX. This was my first mirror of the tournament, and having no prior experience with the matchup would definitely hurt me.

Game one, I don’t really remember much other than Alex having a poor start. He kept using “Stellar Wish” and just found nothing. Simply as that, I took the game pretty easily.

Game two, Alex started his turn one with a Kiawe onto Turtonator. I opened really well by using Welder to attach two Fire to my active Volcanion, and then I benched two ReshiZard and powered them up via “Flare Starter.” In hindsight, it was a huge mistake putting the ReshiZard on the Bench. I should have just gone with a one-prize route in this game since he powered up his Turtonator; if I had just set up a board with three or four Volcanion he would not have gotten much value out of Turtonator. Alex followed up on his next turn by using Guzma and blowing up one of the ReshiZard. I responded to his Turtonator with Volcanion, so Alex attached to a ReshiZard and used Kiawe to prepare it for a “Double Blaze GX.” I used Green’s Exploration for a second Custom Catcher piece and a Field Blower; I did this play to remove a pivot for Guzma and brought up his ReshiZard with five Energy. I hit the ReshiZard for 110 with Volcanion, so Alex attached to another ReshiZard and used Kiawe. He had two ReshiZard with five Energy each at this point, so I knew I was in huge trouble since he just needed a Guzma and Energy for game. I did not have anything stellar in hand so I just hit his ReshiZard again. Alex used “Let Loose” and found another Guzma from his very thinned out deck. I knew I took the wrong approach in this game just by benching two ReshiZard early, which gave an easy path to six prize cards. By benching two ReshiZard, I allowed him to completely ignore my Volcanion and made my own strategy of forcing the 8-prize game useless.

In game three, Alex opened Tapu Lele-GX. I went first and searched my deck for a Fiery Flint and Power Plant. My reasoning for grabbing a Power Plant was so that Alex would have a lower chance of using Dedenne-GX or Tapu Lele, though I did not know if Alex ran one or two copies of Lele. I passed with a Volcanion Active and a ReshiZard with a Fire on the Bench. Alex’s first turn was very bad. He used a Kiawe on his lone Lele, meanwhile I used Fiery Flint, and then used Welder to power up my ReshiZard. I whiffed Switch off the Welder for game, so I ended up using Flare Starter. Alex did the same action, using Kiawe to his Active, so I just retreated and took out his lone Pokémon for game. There were some terrible starts for Alex games one and three, but that’s going to happen.

I was so happy at this point: I had just won my fourth Regional Championship. This one felt a lot better because I had won one in the modern era where you win 5k. I felt like I got a little lucky throughout the tournament; barely beating Blacephalon in round twelve, Preston whiffing a Tool removal off my Judge, and Alex bricking games one and three, but hey, sometimes you need some luck to win these big tournaments with so many good players.

Updating the list

 

 

Even though I won with the deck, I did not feel like the list was perfect. It felt rather inconsistent, and I really wanted Acro Bikes in there to give me more consistency to burn through the deck quicker. In this version of the list, I just added Acro Bikes, by cutting Acerola and Lt. Surge because I didn’t really get to use those cards a whole lot. I do not think you need both cards in there. One of the two probably makes more sense. I also cut a third Pokégear since the card is not all that reliable. It does help with consistency, but three has been fine with my testing.

Stealthy Hood was super good for me this tournament, but I would not expect Vileplume decks to show up for now. I cut it (for now) for an Escape Rope, since I really think this deck should have played multiple Switch cards. I would have loved an Escape Rope in the Regional run. If you want Stealthy Hood in the deck, you can just cut an Acro Bike for it if you expect Vileplume.

I thought about adding cards such as Shrine of Punishment and Wishful Baton, but those cards were not good in testing for me. We thought about adding cards like Shining Lugia, Shining Ho-oh and the regular Reshiram, but those cards were just inferior to Volcanion since they’re just bad starters. Running four Volcanion and maximizing the amount of times you start it is huge in a deck that does not have the best consistency.

1-1 Arcanine, 2 Ultra Ball

Bryan Hunter incorporated an Arcanine line in his build of deck.  He got second at a League Cup, losing in the Finals to Mill because he prized Growlithe. He ended up cutting one Nest Ball, Rescue Stretcher, one Volcanion, Stealthy Hood, Lt. Surge, Acerola, and one Pokégear for three Acro Bike, a 1-1 Arcanine and two Ultra Ball.

Arcanine is a really neat idea since it can act as a Vileplume counter, but the card is also very good since it can hit for big damage and can accelerate Energy. Bryan was telling me that Max Potion into “Grand Flame” was super good. I haven’t tried this build of the deck but it does sound good in theory, though I was actually thinking of trying a different build of this deck. I would maybe make the Arcanine line thicker and run a second healing card in Max Potion or Acerola.


Matchups

Zapdos

You want to start a Volcanion in this matchup. Your goal here is just to use five Volcanion in this matchup by using Rescue Stretcher to bring them back. They struggle to knockout Volcanion with its 120-HP. “Let Loose” is the biggest hurdle you’ll face in this matchup since it can potentially make you whiff a knockout. Buzzwole with “Sledgehammer” can knockout a Volcanion and it’s harder for this deck to knockout an opposing Buzzwole. Your best response is using Professor Kukui or just knocking something else out.

Stall

Depending on their Vileplume line, this matchup is somewhere close to favorable. If they run a 3-0-2 Plume line, it’s very hard for them to establish two of them, but if they’re running four Oddish and three Rare Candy, they can more realistically set up Plumes and have more time to find the Blower/Faba to remove the Stealthy Hood. If they ever get out two Vileplume, they will likely have the Tool removal in hand, so what you want to do is use Judge plus Stealthy Hood in the same turn. They need to hit Tool removal off four cards, which is very unlikely. Next, you want to gust out the second Vileplume so that you can prevent the Tool removal play. I also I found an early Heat Factory to be very good in this matchup. These Stall lists do not run hand disruption, so with Heat Factory you can find a lot your deck and have gust effects in hand to hunt down those Oddish and Vileplume.

PikaRom

I think this matchup is favorable since it is very hard for PikaRom to knockout two ReshiZard, while ReshiZard can easily knockout PikaRom with Choice Band. PikaRom can knockout one ReshiZard with “Tag Bolt” and three damage modifiers, but knocking out the second one is a pain for them. The good thing for this deck is that a single Charizard can knockout two PikaRom. You just want to set up in this matchup: simple as that. I also go for a turn one Power Plant if my hand can afford it. Power Plant is great against them if they do not find a way to replace it.

ReshiZard Mirror (Green’s)

I think it’s better to go second in the mirror matchup, since your first “Flare Starter” gives you a better board. Kukui is great in the mirror because it allows Volcanion to take out an opposing Volcanion, and it also hits numbers with “Flare Strike” going to 280 with a Choice Band attached. This matchup is basically just setting up those one-hit plays with Kukui.

Zoroark Variants

This matchup is all about setting Eevee & Snorlax-GX. Zoroark decks are running Fighting Pokémon right now and are favoring towards Water Pokémon such as Slowking and Dewgong, but they struggle to deal with Eevee & Snorlax since they cannot one-shot it. Eevee & Snorlax can easily knockout multiple GX Pokémon with “Dumptruck Press” and with its GX attack. You also want to use Rescue Stretcher for Eevee & Snorlax if it ever gets knocked out. It is way too hard for Zoroark to knockout that Pokémon twice in one game.

Weezing

What you want to do this matchup is just limit your Bench. Weezing is a lot weaker when it’s not racking damage on multiple Pokémon. The best strategy you can employ in this matchup is using “Outrage.” When you use “Outrage,” their Mimikyu and Rotom Frost cannot respond to a ReshiZard. Max Potion and Acerola are also excellent against Weezing, and since it takes them multiple turns to knockout a ReshiZard these healing cards just set them back so far. I also Bench two Volcanion in this matchup just to sacrifice them. You manipulate your prizes so that you deactivate their Counter Energy by letting them take five prize cards.

ReshiZard (Non Green’s build)

I tested some more deck this weekend. I’ve been toying around with the other ReshiZard build as well. I have liked it a lot as well as the greens build.

I used Alex Schemankse’s second place, Jose Marrero’s ninth place from Santa Clara, and Pablo Meza’s first place list from Sao Paulo. I was noticing all the differences and the cards I liked and did not like. From my testing with all three lists, I came to the conclusion that Turtonator and Fiery Flints were suboptimal, Acro Bikes are great, Eevee & Snorlax-GX is too good not to play, and that Shining Lugia is a great answer to Hoopa and Zapdos decks.

 

 

Explanations

 

This is list I have liked the best. I love the two, one-prize attackers in this deck. Shining Lugia is great against Zapdos since they need two Electropower to take it out. Buzzwole also cannot knockout Lugia, unlike Volcanion. I also dig the one Volcanion in this list since it gives you an option to “Flare Starter” in case you whiff Kiawe.

I’m not sure about the four Switch opposed to the two Switch and two Escape Rope; I’ve liked Escape Rope more in certain spots. I also realized you can go Escape Rope into Miltank to heal, then use Guzma to bring back that Pokémon back Active.

Conclusion

This format has definitely been shaken up with the inclusion of Unbroken Bonds. Lightning decks with Team Up bolted onto the scene with the release of that set, but now Fire decks have taken over the format with a blaze. I definitely think this format will keep evolving (did you see Jit Min Lim get Top 4 at a Regional with Nidoqueen/Meganium/Swampert?).

Reflecting on the past month, playtesting with multiple decks gave me great knowledge throughout the tournament. I extensively tested Zapdos, Zoroark and Mill decks, and this interior knowledge helped me navigate my matchups with Volcanion/ReshiZard.

I also want to give advice by trying to be mentally tough for any tournament. I started pretty poorly with a 2-2-1 record and fought through it. I got a game loss in Top 8 and I fought through it. You always want to have great confidence and take it one game at a time. Don’t overthink the game and avoid thinking about the past or future. Your mental psyche is essential for success in this game.

As always, thanks for supporting our site and me. I’m glad I got to write this article on my tournament and thoughts on other builds of the deck. I hope to come back with another article before Internationals and go from there. Hope any players can finish off your invite before season’s end!

Follow me on twitter @KianNakano for progress and lists!