The London Intercontinental Championship was this past weekend, and here are my brief thoughts on what I saw from the live streams that I watched. I didn’t watch every minute of every match, but I spent several hours watching quite a bit of the action.
- The first match I saw was of this new Metal Toolbox deck. It includes Celesteela GX (SM67), Registeel (Crimson Invasion, 68/111), Scizor EX (Breakpoint, 76/122), Cobalion (Steam Siege, 74/114), Kartana GX (Crimson Invasion, 70/111), and some others. It strikes me as not having any synergy, just a bunch of Metal types thrown together to counter Gardevoir GX (Burning Shadows, 93/147). It won in the first match I watched it, and I said to my son, “It’ll do well because it’s an autowin against Gardevoir,” but then I saw a Gardy deck beat it in rounds three and fourteen 2 – 0. However, I did see a Metal Toolbox beat a Gardy deck 2 – 0 in round five, and one of them lost in the finals, so it has to have something going for it.
- Watching Gardy mirror matches in rounds two and three made me think that Gardy is still the best deck in the format. I wonder if like half the field is playing Gardy.
- If people weren’t playing Gardevoir GX, they were probably playing some variant of Zoroark GX (Shining Legends, 53/73). I saw three different Zoroark GX variants: Decidueye GX (Sun & Moon, 12/149), Golisopod GX (Burning Shadows, 17/147), and straight Zoroark GX. I think if Zoroark GX would have been released in Crimson Invasion, it would have been the best card in the set.
- With Bisharp (Steam Siege, 64/114), you apply weakness first and then resistance when it attacks Gardevoir GX. I didn’t know that and just thought it was interesting, like something that would come up in Pokemon Trivial Pursuit.
- Buzzwole GX (Crimson Invasion, 104/111) is a very good attacker. As many of us mentioned in our reviews last Thursday, Psychic weakness is just really, really bad right now. A Buzzwole GX deck did beat a Gardevoir GX deck 2 – 0 though in round thirteen, and two made top eight.
- I always thought Heatmor (Burning Shadows, 24/147) might be able to use enough hammers to knock all the energy off the opponents, but I wasn’t able to get it to work in my limited testing with it. It’s pretty clear, though, that we should all be thinking twice about Raichu’s (Burning Shadows, 41/147) Evoshock. I looked at the list for this rogue deck, and for the life of me, I have no clue as to why he wasn’t running Sea of Nothingness (Crimson Invasion, 99/111). I’m sure he has some reason for not playing it, and I’m sure he tested with it, but it seems like a given four of in this decklist.
- I can’t believe Greninja (Breakpoint, 40/122) did as well as it did with so much Golisopod GX and Sylveon GX (Guardians Rising, 92/145) running around. Not that I’m complaining, I love the blue frog. I just figured we wouldn’t see any of it, and yet it made it to the top four.
- Speaking of not seeing a deck, Tapu Bulu GX (SM32) must have been lost in the Sea of Nothingness because it was nowhere to be found.
- Maybe the most dramatic moment of the weekend was a Volcanion (Steam Siege, 26/114) player (Eemelie Reijonen) faced a Golisopod GX Zoroark GX (Tord Reklev) player in round 11, and they drew. Both players reached the top eight, and, in the rematch, Tord won 2 – 0.
Tord Reklev is becoming living proof that winning at Pokemon is less about the cards than the player. There are three aspects to winning in this game: the cards you’re playing, your skill as a player, and luck. These three aspects are NOT divided equally. Tord is starting to make me think that the skill part is a bigger factor than the luck or the cards parts.
- Top Eight was Metal Toolbox, Gardy, Volcanion, two Zoroark Golisopod, Greninja, and two Buzzwole GX Lycanroc GX. Top Four was Metal Toolbox, Gardy, Greninja, and Zoroark Golisopod. Zoroark Golisopod beat the Metal Toolbox in the final.
- Most popular decks in top 32: Gardy, Zoroark GX Golisopod GX, Metal Toolbox (possibly including Silvally GX), Buzzwole GX Lycanroc GX, Decidueye GX Zoroark GX, Golisopod GX Garbodor. Didn’t get exact percentages, Gardy was more than 25%. Eyeballing it, Zoroark GX Golisopod GX had to be around 20% to 25% – almost half of the top 32 were those two decks, probably 15 out of 32 decks, just estimating from the pie chart I saw, so something like nine Gardy and six Zoropod and maybe four Metal Toolbox.
- Where was GRI Garbodor? People are still using tons of items – tons of Choice Bands and Float Stones, Ultra Balls, and Sycamores to discard those items. Seems to me Grampa would still do fine in this meta.