Pokémon TCG Meta-Snapshot February 2018: Road to Pokémon TCG Oceania Internationals Championship

Here at The Rainbow Wing, we’re counting the days to the Pokémon TCG Oceania Internationals Championship 2018 (it’s happening on 9-11 February 2018).

Not sure of what deck to play or what to expect? With Leipzig Regionals done and dusted over the weekend, we have a better meta-snapshot of the most popular decks that you might be facing come Sydney.

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Golisopod GX/Zoroark GX

SGLC1 7th Golisopod GX + Zoroark GX - Shane Chee
SG League Cup 2 – 7th Golisopod GX/Zoroark GX – Shane Chee


Made popular by the double Internationals Champion Tord Reklev, this deck combines the one-Energy attacker Golisopod GX with the amazing draw engine of Zoroark GX to search for just about any card in your deck.

Like most current decks, there’s a Brigette to help set up on your first turn , but this deck plays three copies for maximum efficiency. Extra copies later in the game can be discarded with Zoroark GX’s Trade Ability.

Being a two-hit Pokémon deck, it uses Acerola to return a damaged Golisopod GX to hand. You can then promote a new Golisopod GX to the Active Pokémon spot and hit the First Impression for 120 damage (150 damage with a Choice Band attached). Or you can promote a Tapu Koko (Promo) or a Pokémon with Float Stone first, evolve a benched Wimpod with the new Golisopod GX in your hand you rescued with Acerola, and hit the First Impression.

This combination is made even more stable with Puzzle of Time, to recover cards you need and keep the cycle going for as long as possible.

Some decks might include Mew EX or Mewtwo (Evolutions) to counter the popular Buzzwole GX threat.

 

Golisopod GX/Garbodor

Memphis 2017 20th Buzzwole GX + Garbodor - Frank Percic.png
Sample Buzzwole GX/Garbodor Build

 

Plays the same way as Golisopod GX/Zoroark GX, using Golisopod GX as a competent two-hit attacker. The biggest difference is the inclusion of Garbodor, which is able to completely nullify every Pokémon Ability.

No more Tapu Lele, Octillery or Garbodor – once you overextend and end up with a single Prize card or two remaining, a single N will mean you’re left on top deck mode while the opponent’s Golisopod GX slowly takes each prize for the win.

Two variants exist, one that fits in one Trashalanche Garbodor (Guardians Rising) with two Garbotoxin Garbodor (Breakpoint) and the other that focuses solely on Garbotoxin Garbodor.

 

Lycanroc GX/Zoroark GX

SGLC1 2nd Lycanroc GX + Zoroark GX - Syamil Sani.png
SG League Cup 2 – 2nd Lycanroc GX/Zoroark GX – Syamil Sani


Breaking into the top tier by record Regional Champion Michael Pramawat, this deck makes use of Lycanroc GX to pick apart your opponent’s setup or take KOs on low HP Pokémon like Tapu Lele GX. Using the ability Bloodthirsty Eyes, Lycanroc GX (Guardians Rising) allows you to choose an opponent’s Pokémon to pull into the Active Pokémon spot. It’s Dangerous Rogue GX attack (50x number of Pokémon on the opponent’s bench) is also devastating in the current meta where it is common to fill up your bench with Pokémon.

Zoroark GX doubles not only as the primary draw support, but also as a main attacker. In Michael’s build, the addition of a Professor Kukui means Zoroark GX is able to one-hit KO an opponent’s Tapu Lele GX for an easy two Prizes.

The rise of Tapu Bulu GX as a formidable deck has seen Lycanroc GX / Zoroark GX add Reverse Valley/Devoured Field for Zoroark to hit the 180 damage (with Professor Kukui) on Tapu Bulu GX. This is possible with three or four Zoroark GX in play, using the Trade Ability every turn to cycle through your deck.

Like the above, there are decks that include Mew EX or Mewtwo (Evolutions) to counter the popular Buzzwole GX threat.

 

Buzzwole GX/Lycanroc GX

SGLC1 6th Buzzwole GX + Lycanroc GX = Muhammad Rauf.png
SG League Cup 2 – 6th Buzzwole GX/Lycanroc GX – Muhammad Rauf


The recent Leipzig Champion Bert Wolters played this deck, made popular by top players Andrew Mahone and Pablo Meza in Memphis Regionals. In this variant, Buzzwole GX is the main attacker, it’s single Energy 30 damage first Attack also able to hit 30 damage to a bench Pokémon of your choosing. Plus, its Knuckle Impact Attack, with one or two Strong Energy (or even a Choice Band) is able to one-hit KO most basic EX and GX Pokémon played currently. To help hit the magic 210HP, one or two Regirock EX is put into to the deck (adds 10 damage for Fighting Pokémon).

Lycanroc GX is able to pull an opponent’s Pokémon into the Active Pokémon spot with the ability Bloodthirsty Eyes, and doubles as a threat with Dangerous Rogue GX. A Zygarde EX may be added as a secondary attacker.

The deck also plays 3 Brooklet Hill instead of Brigette to set up your field at the beginning of the game.

 

Gardevoir GX

SGLC1 1st Gardevoir GX (Brokenvoir) - Eric Si.png
SG League Cup 2 – 1st Gardevoir GX (Brokenvoir) – Eric Si


Don’t count Gardevoir GX out yet – this is still one of the decks to fear before Ultra Prism becomes legal. It’s no wonder – an ability to attach more than one Energy a turn, the Infinite Force attack to punishes opposing Pokémon that require too many Energy cards, and a GX attack recycling 10 cards of your choice from your discard pile. Fighting weak Pokémon like the popular Zoroark GX are also covered by adding Gallade (Breakthrough).

There are two popular variations – one using four Max Potions for a slow and steady victory (also known as “Brokenvoir”) and the other playing with Sylveon GX to search for three cards you need every turn. Depending on your playing field, you can mix the Ralts and Kirlia from both Burning Shadows (Fairy) and Breakthrough (Psychic) expansions.

Most recently, the Sao Paulo Regionals saw Gabriel Pino Semedo become Champion with an interesting build featuring Diancie, Miltank and Evosoda, and zero Rare Candy.

 

Decidueye GX/Zoroark GX

Memphis 2017 18th Decidueye GX + Zoroark GX - Igor Costa.png
Memphis 2017 – 18th Decidueye GX/Zoroark GX – Igor Costa


Zoroark GX is a competent attacker, but hitting only 120 damage (and 150 damage with a Choice Band attached) isn’t enough to match the 190HP and 210HP Pokémon in the top tier decks. That’s where Decidueye GX comes in, each card adding two Damage Counters to hit the numbers you need.

Don’t forget the amazing draw power Zoroark GX has – plowing through your deck for the Evosoda you need to quickly evolve both your Zoroark GX and Decidueye GX evolution lines. Most variations include Espeon EX to devolve your opponent’s Pokémon with sufficient Damage Counters for the KO.

Ideally, you would have one Zoroark GX as the Active Pokémon, with another on the bench alongside three Decidueye GX to one-shot most Pokémon in the current meta.

 

Tapu Bulu GX/Vikavolt

SGLC1 8th Tapu Bulu GX + Vikavolt - Titally Tan.png
SG League Cup 2 – 8th Tapu Bulu GX/Vikavolt – Titally Tan


With many of the current top decks utilising Pokémon with 210HP or less, Tapu Bulu GX is able to reach that magic number with its Nature’s Judgement attack and a Choice Band attached. Unfortunately, the drawback of using the attack’s full power is to discard all of its attached Energy.

To compensate, its preferred partner is Vikavolt. This Pokémon has the ability to search your deck for one Grass Energy and one Lightning Energy, and attach it to any of your Pokémon (Tapu Bulu GX preferred, of course). A Mew (Fates Collide) is usually included to copy Tapu Bulu GX’s attacks as a one-prize attacker, in addition to becoming a problem for Buzzwole GX players.

While it looks like the deck has a straightforward strategy, the key to playing this deck well is deciding when to use Nature’s Judgement, its Tapu Wilderness GX attack, or the best time to charge a Vikavolt to take the decisive Prize card.

Another alternative build by Ryan Turner in a League Cup in Carmichael, CA uses Max Elixir to quickly charge Energy cards, Multi-Switch to pass them to Tapu Bulu GX, Silvally GX and Rayquaza to recycle Energy cards to Tapu Bulu GX, and Zoroark GX for draw support.

 

Volcanion EX

Leipzig 2018 7th Volcanion EX - Patrick Landis.png
Leipzig 2018 – 7th Volcanion EX – Patrick Landis


A classic deck introduced in Steam Siege that won last year’s Pokémon Oceania International Championship. The base of the deck utilises Volcanion (Steam Siege) with its Power Heater Attack able to charge two Pokémon on your bench with one Fire Energy each, combined with Volcanion EX that boosts your Active Pokémon’s attack by 30 damage by discarding a Fire Energy card. If you have more than one Volcanion EX, you can discard one Fire Energy card for each of them.

In Leipzig Regionals, Patrick Landis made Top 8 with a build using Turtanator GX as a secondary attacker. It has the Shell Trap attack that places eight Damage Counters on your opponent’s Pokémon that attacks it, and a Nitro Charge GX attack to recharge your Volcanions with up to five Fire Energy Cards from your Discard Pile.

 

Ho-oh GX/Turtonator GX

SGLC1 4th - Ho-Oh GX + Turtonator GX - Athavan Akilan.png
SG League Cup 2 – 4th – Ho-Oh GX/Turtonator GX – Athavan Akilan


Team Rainbow Wing’s official mascot is frightening to play against, especially if your opponent hits the Turn 1 Kiawe to charge four Fire Energy to Ho-oh GX from the deck. Phoenix Burn hits for 180, and along with one or two Volcanion EX, an extra 30 damage enables it to hit the key 210HP threshold.

Turtonator GX is another bucket of worms on the opposing field. Allow it to use Shell Trap, and your own Pokémon is hit with a whopping eight Damage Counters if you decide to damage Turtonator GX. If you’re running out of Energy Cards, Turtonator also recharges your Pokémon with Nitro Charge GX – but it will need to be well-timed, else you lose a turn without attacking for no significant advantage.

This deck harks back to pre-Sun and Moon’s Big Basics varieties – interchanging between Ho-Oh GX and Turtonator GX to slowly whittle away your opponent’s Pokémon HP and controlling the field.

 

Greninja BREAK

Leipzig 2018 3rd Greninja BREAK - Jonathan Hansen.png
Leipzig 2018 – 3rd Greninja BREAK – Jonathan Hansen


Greninja BREAK showed it is still a force to be reckoned with after finishing Top 4 in Leipzig Regionals. Using Frogadier (BREAKPoint) – and a little bit of luck to Prize any – you can search for up to three other Frogadier and place them on your Bench. Using Splash Energy, you can return any of your Water Pokémon that was KO-ed back to your hand, slowly redeveloping your side of the field.

With overwhelming numbers, you would have at least two Greninja BREAK ready to place six Damage Counters on any opponent Pokémon, as long as you discard one Water Energy. With Shadow Stitching to turn off all your opponent’s Abilities, and free Retreat, Greninja BREAK is a deck if played right, can take six Prizes even when your opponent has already picked up five.

The current popular build adds Tapu Lele GX to search for Supporter cards in a pinch, and Tapu Fini GX for its Tapu Storm GX that shuffles your opponent’s Active Pokémon into their deck. Add a Starmie (Evolutions) with the Space Beacon Ability to return two Water Energy to your hand, and you have an unbeatable combination… provided everything sets up properly.

 

Sylveon GX

Memphis 2017 38th - Sylveon GX - Zander Bennett.png
Memphis 2017 – 38th – Sylveon GX – Zander Bennett


There can’t be any deck more infuriating to sit across the table from than one built around Sylveon GX. Crafted to specifically stall your opponent and slowly chip away his/her cards until there aren’t any cards left in their deck, you would use Sylveon GX’s Magical Ribbon attack to search for three cards, preferably the many disruption cards you managed fit into the deck. Think Crushing Hammer, Enhanced Hammer, Team Flare Grunt, Team Rocket’s Handiwork, Team Skull Grunt, and Delinquent.

There’s a playset of Puzzle of Time to recycle the cards you need, and Max Potion to keep your Sylveon GX alive.

Some players add in Gardevoir GX with Rare Candy for the Twilight GX save, or most recently in the Leipzig Regionals, Max Finch played Hoopa (Shining Legends), which cannot be damaged by an opponent’s GX or EX Pokémon, making Top 8.

 

Wobbuffet/Hoopa

Here’s a different take on stalling and disrupting your opponent. Introduced into Leipzig Regionals by Steffen Eriksen, the focus is using Wobbuffet (Phantom Forces/Generations) to nullify all Abilities, with Wobbuffet BREAK (XY Promo) to give the Pokémon extra HP.

The deck packs a whole bunch of disruption cards like Sylveon GX like Team Rocket’s Handiwork,    Plumeria and both hammers, as well as Lusamine and Puzzle of Time to recycle them back into the deck.

Also in the list is Hoopa (Shining Legends) which cannot be damaged or affected by effects from Pokémon EX and GX, and a Mew (Evolutions), protected in the same way, but from Evolution Pokémon instead.

 


Curious to know what were the most recent top decks in Malaysia? Check out our comprehensive list of Malaysia tournament results for the 2017/2018 season here


It’s time to get some practice games in if you’re making the trip to Sydney for the Pokémon Oceania Internationals Championship. Malaysians, there are two League Challenges to get some games in (and some CP as well).

We will see you there!

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