State Championships Recap – When Night March Ruled the World
To check out the full State Championship results, check out this link here. It includes overall results, week by week results, as well as results by state.
In this article I will be giving a closer look at the results. It’s one thing to collect all the data, but once we have all the data it’s important to give it a closer examination so we can learn more about the state of the game and the format moving forward into the release of Fates Collide and US Nationals.
There are results from 47 State and Provincial Championships in the United States and Canada to analyze, with 372 individual person results giving us a lot of data to look at.
Winning Deck by State
First, to start our adventure into the State Championship results we will simply look at a map of the United States showing the winning deck for each state.
As we can see from the map there is a lot of purple, both from Night March and Trevenant BREAK. Night March clearly carried the most State Championships having won a total of 19 State Championships, all in the United States.
The Best Decks of State Championships
In this section I will be looking at the best decks based on two different metrics. First I will look at the best decks by their raw meta share, that is the percentage of Championship Points each deck has earned during the tournament series. Then I will look at what the best performing decks were each week and then score the decks based on how they did in each of the four weeks of State Championships.
Here are the top 10 decks of State Championships based on their raw meta share.
|Seismitoad EX (Hammers)||10.04%|
|M Manectric EX||6.39%|
|M Rayquaza EX||2.55%|
Based on this metric, Night March is clearly the best deck of the format and there is a close race between Yveltal variants, Trevenant BREAK decks, and Seismitoad EX disruption variants for the second best deck of the format.
Night March made ~30% of the format, making it one of the clearest BDIF’s that we have seen in awhile.
In total there were actually 33 different decks that made it into Top 8 at State Championships, however these are the only 10 decks to receive over a 1% share of the meta game.
Week by Week
Another way we can look at the results is how they performed week by week. By looking at the results on a week by week basis we can see trends of a format better, being able to see things such as when a deck entered into the meta game, when other decks left, and how consistently a given deck performed in the format.
Asterisks are used to denote ties among decks in a given week.
With these results, I am going to rank the decks based on how they performed in the week by week Top 10 rankings based on their raw meta share. When a deck is in first, it will receive 10 points, in second 9, and down to 1 point for 10th. When a deck ties with another deck, all decks will receive the point total for their highest possible ranking.
When we look at the decks in this regard, here is the new rankings:
|Rank||Deck||Total Points||Average||High||Low||Weeks in Top 10|
|3||Seismitoad EX (Hammers)||27||6.75||3||8||4|
|8||M Manectric EX||16||4.00||4||Out||3|
|9||M Rayquaza EX||11||2.75||6||Out||3|
|13||M Sceptile EX||3||0.75||8||Out||1|
|14||M Mewtwo EX (Y)||1||0.25||10||Out||1|
When looking at the format in this regard, Night March once again is our best deck in the format, with Yveltal variants in second with a close race following them.
In total there were 7 decks (Night March, Yveltal, Seismitoad EX, Trevenant BREAK, Vileplume/Vespiquen, Greninja BREAK, and Vespiquen) that managed to make it into the top 10 rankings in all four weeks of State Championships.
Both M Manectric EX and M Rayquaza EX made it into the top 10 rankings in 3/4 weeks.
This shows that players correctly figured out what the best decks in the format were during the first weekend of the tournament series and those decks kept on performing best as the tournament series went forward.
Trevenant BREAK is the primary deck that saw more success as the tournament series went on, starting out as the #10 deck, moving up to #4 in week two, and then holding onto the #2 spot in the last two weeks. Most likely this is a result of players not knowing optimal builds or how to play certain matchups early and then figuring it out as the series went on as well as playing it more in response to Night March.
Seismitoad EX was consistently the third best deck in the format, having finished #3 in 3/4 weeks, with the only week it not finishing in that spot being the week with the fewest State Championships.
These results are actually somewhat similar to the City Championship week by week results. Night March finished top in those rankings, never finishing lower than second. Yveltal was also the #2 deck in that format, and it’s success in the format varied more from week to week, similar to how its performance varied during State Championships.
Defining the Meta Game
Without a doubt the meta game for State Championships was entirely based around Night March. It was by far the best deck in the meta game, and a lot of the other high performing decks were what were supposed to be hard counters to the decks.
For example, hard counter Item Lock decks like Trevenant BREAK, Seismitoad EX/Hammers, and Vileplume/Vespiquen finished in the Top 5 decks for the tournament series.
Most of the other top performing decks were decks that were largely based on non-EX’s allowing them to have a chance in the prize trade, such as Greninja BREAK and Vespiquen variants. Even Yveltal variants became largely non-EX decks by the end of the tournament series.
Some of the more fringe decks, such as our #10 and #11 decks focused on locking Night March decks from attaching Special Energy, these decks are Reshiram/Giratina EX and Dragons/Bronzong. The most popular Seismitoad EX variant, Seismitoad EX/Giratina EX also used this strategy to try to counter Night March.
Week by Week Success of Decks
Here I want to look at the trends of a deck’s success as the meta game evolved from week to week. From here we can see trends with how much Night March’s success was effected by all of the hate as well as what decks were on the rise as the meta game was becoming more mature.
The following graph looks at the meta share of each of our Top 10 decks by each week.
It is difficult to tell exactly what this chart is telling us without even more data than that of which we already have. There are two ways that we can read Night March’s decline and Trevenant’s climb at the end of states:
The first way is that Night March’s stranglehold on the meta game wasn’t as strong as we thought, and that it could successfully have its success limited with enough hate. Of course it is worth noting, even with all the hate, Night March was still the top deck in Week 4.
The other is that there was so much hate being inserted into the format that less players played Night March, causing it to lose meta share in Week 4 as there were less players playing it to try to gain points for it.
Another way to look at the meta game in regards to Night March is Night March vs. its counters. Decks that we would expect people to be playing as hard counters to Night March would be Trevenant decks, Seismitoad EX/Hammer variants, Vileplume variants, Giratina EX variants, and Wailord EX variants. There are other decks that were thought to counter Night March (such as Greninja BREAK), but these are the hardest counters actually trying to limit Night March’s strategies, so I will leave the counters to just these variants.
This next chart looks at the meta share of Night March itself, as well as the decks meant to hard counter it.
This chart shows a clear reason for Night March’s decline in week 4. The meta game had become nearly 50% anti-Night March decks, making for a much more harsh world for Night March to live in. Even with all the Night March hate, it’s important to remember that Night March was still the singular best performing deck of Week 4.
A common phrase used to describe the counters to Night March is decks that are “supposed to beat Night March”. The reason this became a common phrase is because at least in the early weeks of State Championships, the counter decks faltered a fair amount of the time against opposing Night March decks.
In this section I will look at the matchup data from the Top 8’s of State Championships to see how well Night March did against the decks that it faced, as well as look at matchup data for the other decks with more than ten Top 8 results from State Championships.
Night March’s Matchups
The following table shows Night March’s win percentages from State Championships.
|M Rayquaza EX||3||0||100.00%|
|M Mewtwo EX||3||0||100.00%|
|M Latios EX||1||0||100.00%|
|M Rayquaza EX (Dragon)||1||0||100.00%|
|M Manectric EX||11||1||91.67%|
|Seismitoad EX (Hammers)||7||17||29.17%|
|M Sceptile EX||0||1||0.00%|
A lot has been said in this format about how certain decks counter Night March, but counter seems to be a bit of a stretch for most of the decks. A lot of the decks that are said to counter Night March are more so decks that go 50/50 with Night March.
Against the counter decks we mentioned earlier, Night March posted favorable numbers against Trevenant BREAK, even numbers against Vileplume/Vespiquen and Reshiram/Giratina EX, and only negative numbers against Dragons/Bronzong and Seismitoad EX/Hammers.
In total, Night March went 25-35 against the decks that were built to counter it, which gives it a 41.7% win percentage against it’s counters, which means it wins roughly 2 out of every 5 matches against its counter decks.
With all of the data we have, the conclusions we must draw is that Trevenant BREAK and Vileplume/Vespiquen don’t actually counter Night March, they’re just decks that don’t have bad Night March matchups. Seismitoad EX/Hammers is the only variants we can conclusively say actually counterd Night March successfully as there isn’t enough matchup data to draw conclusions about the Reshiram/Giratina EX and the Dragons/Bronzong decks matchups against Night March.
In its matchups against decks not meant to counter it, Night March went 54-30, giving it a 64.3% win percentage against non-counter decks.
Interestingly enough, what made Night March good wasn’t by being amazing against the other top decks. Against decks 2-6, Night March only posted a 42-53 record for a 44.2% win percentage. Instead what made Night March so good was how it eviscerated the lower tier decks and non-meta decks that it came across.
Against low tier and non-meta decks not meant to counter it (so removing Dragons/Bronzong and Reshiram/Giratina EX), Night March went 38-8 for an 82.6% win percentage.
This should of course surprise no one, Night March changed the meta game by eliminating a vast number of decks from being competitive and then what was left was essentially the decks that were okay and good against Night March.
The following table shows Yveltal’s win percentages from State Championships.
|M Manectric EX||2||2||50.00%|
|M Sceptile EX||1||1||50.00%|
|Seismitoad EX (Hammers)||5||6||45.45%|
Yveltal has long been known as a 50/50 deck, posting 50/50 or better matchups against most things. This seems to be where Yveltal fell during State Championships, as it drew even with the best deck in the format, Night March, while keeping most of its other matchups close.
In 8/10 matchups, Yveltal was within the range of +1/-1 as far as its wins versus losses went. It went 7-2 against Trevenant BREAK decks on the power of hitting it for weakness, while going 2-5 against Vileplume/Vespiquen, most likely struggling with the turn 1 Item Lock.
Trevenant BREAK’s Matchups
The following table shows Trevenant BREAK’s matchups from State Championships.
|M Manectric EX||1||0||100.00%|
|M Mewtwo EX (Y)||1||0||100.00%|
|Seismitoad EX (Hammers)||6||1||85.71%|
|M Rayquaza EX||0||3||0.00%|
When first seeing Trevenant BREAK’s success during the later portion of State Championships, most people would write it off as Trevenant being a strong counter to Night March. In truth, Trevenant actually went negative against both of the top two decks, Night March and Yveltal.
However, Trevenant built its strength by countering most of the other top decks in the meta game that wasn’t part of the top 2 with very polarizing matchups. Of the main 6, Trevenant essentially had three 50/50 matchups (itself, Night March, and Vileplume/Vespiquen), one very unfavorable matchup (Yveltal), and two super favorable matchups (Seismitoad EX and Greninja BREAK).
Seismitoad EX’s Matchups
The following table shows Seismitoad EX/Hammer variants’ win percentages at State Championships.
|Seismitoad EX (Hammers)||3||3||50.00%|
|M Manectric EX||0||3||0.00%|
|M Rayquaza EX||0||1||0.00%|
A simple reading of this chart tells us that Seismitoad EX/Hammer variants are for the most part not very good decks, but Seismitoad EX was able to power itself to success during State Championships by being the best Night March counter in the format.
The Seismitoad EX versus Night March matchup actually started out being fairly close as many Night March variants also included Vespiquen AOR in their lists, but as players began to drop Vespiquen from their Night March lists the gap between the two decks in the matchups became very wide.
The following table shows Vileplume/Vespiquen’s win percentages from State Championships.
|Primal Groudon EX||1||0||100.00%|
|Turbo Darkrai EX||1||0||100.00%|
|Seismitoad EX (Hammers)||3||1||75.00%|
|M Manectric EX||0||3||0.00%|
|M Rayquaza EX||0||1||0.00%|
Vileplume/Vespiquen enters itself as a 50/50 or better deck for the most part. It goes 50/50 or better against all of the main six decks in the format. Among its three matchups with sub 50 win percentages, one of them, Metal/Bronzong is a hard counter, and the other two are Mega decks, which the dck could struggle to hit the damage numbers needed for KO’s against.
Similar to Night March, the deck was simply dominant against most non-meta decks.
Greninja BREAK’s Matchups
The following table shows Greninja BREAK’s win percentages from State Championships.
|Seismitoad EX (Hammers)||3||1||75.00%|
|M Rayquaza EX||1||2||33.33%|
|M Manectric EX||0||2||0.00%|
Greninja BREAK was for the most part a very strong deck but its performance was limited because of a horrendous matchup against the Trevenant BREAK decks that people were playing.
M Manectric EX’s Matchups
The following table shows M Manectric EX’s win percentages from State Championships.
|Seismitoad EX (Hammers)||3||0||100.00%|
|M Manectric EX||4||4||50.00%|
M Manectric EX did okay against most of the main meta decks, but a win percentage of less than 10% against the best deck in the format really limited its potential during State Championships.
The following table shows Vespiquen’s matchups from State Championships.
|M Manectric EX||1||0||100.00%|
|M Sceptile EX||1||0||100.00%|
|Seismitoad EX (Hammers)||2||1||66.67%|
|M Rayquaza EX||0||2||0.00%|
There isn’t a lot of data to draw too many conclusions about this deck’s matchups, but a poor Night March matchup likely played a big role in dooming this deck to mediocrity during State Championships.
When looking at results from State Championships it is important to remember that sometimes the only reason a deck finishes in 2nd place, or 5th place opposed to 1st place is because it had to play in the mirror match and loss.
The following table shows the cannibalization rates for each of the Top 8 decks in the format. That is the rate at which a variant of the archetype was knocked out by another variant in the mirror match.
|Deck||Cannibalization||Mirrors Lost||Total of Archetype|
|M Manectric EX||16.00%||4||25|
|Seismitoad EX (Hammers)||7.89%||3||38|
Not surprisingly our most popular deck, Night March, had the highest cannibalization rate of any deck. More than 1/5 of all Night March decks were eliminated from cut at the hands of other Night March decks.
Non-Mirror Win Percentages
Finally, one way we can look at what the best decks in the format were is by looking at their win percentages outside of the mirror match. This gives us a look at how often a deck won in general against anything that wasn’t itself.
|Seismitoad EX (Hammers)||47.54%||29||32|
|M Manectric EX||43.75%||14||18|
Again, it’s important to point out that while this shows us a picture of the top cut meta game was, it doesn’t show us the whole meta game like the overall results do. The decks that compose the top cut meta game is a subset of the overall meta game, which is impacted by the most popular decks. A deck like M Mewtwo EX (Y), which can give many of these decks trouble isn’t a very big part of the top cut meta game because of its struggles with Night March, the most popular deck.
What’s In a Seed?
One interesting thing that we can take a look at from our State Championship data is to take a look at what impact seeding has on the results of a tournament. In most endeavors, it would be expected that the higher seed would be the most favored to win, however in Pokemon, we tend to treat all seeds with equal likelihood of winning? Are we wrong to treat the seeds in such a way?
The following is the % of State Championships won by each seed.
Already our notion that the higher seed is going to win the most is blown out with this simple chart. In total, the high seeds won 45.65% of State Championships while the lower seeds won 54.35% of the tournaments.
Taking this one step further, we can look at the individual matchups among seeds:
First Round Matchups:
The following table shows the outcomes of matchups that occur in the first round of top cut.
|Matchup||Favorite||Underdog||Favorite Win %|
In the first round, the favorites won 52.72% of the matchups. This is barely a significant win percentage over the underdogs that it would generally show that seeding for the most part doesn’t matter.
The only significant win percentage is that at which the 2nd seed exerts over the 7th seed. I think the reason why the 2nd seed shows dominance over the 7th seed, while the 1st doesn’t show dominance over the 8th seed is a result of two factors which I will cover below.
- The 2nd seed is on average the better player from the first day of the tournament. In about a quarter of tournaments, the first seed has an X-1 record, which means they ran into an issue at some point in the tournament, while the second seed was able to win or intentionally draw all of their games. In most other tournaments where this isn’t the case, the 1st and 2nd seed are both X-0-2, and showing no reasonable difference.
- The 1st seed is more susceptible of hitting a counter rogue deck. Rogue decks by nature have a shakier set of matchups compared to meta decks, so they typically struggle to get the records needed to make cut compared to meta decks. However, they can fall at a record such as X-2, which typically doesn’t make cut, but sometimes bubbles in at 8th, which could lead to the first seed playing a deck that typically wouldn’t make cut that also happens to counter them.
The other pecuiliar outcome is the dominance of the sixth seed. Not only does it have the most State Championship wins of any seed, but it also has its first round matchup heavily tilted into its favor. The best explanation I can come up with for why the sixth seed does so well is because it is powering itself up with evil devil power, as for the sixth seed to win a tournament 6-6-6 would be written across the bracket in times it wins.
Second Round Matchups:
|Matchup||Favorite||Underdog||Favorite Win %|
In the second round we see a completely even split, with the favorite and underdog winning exactly 50% of the time.
|Matchup||Favorite||Underdog||Favorite Win %|
In the finals, the favorite only beats the underdog 45.65% of the time.
In total, the favorite beats the underdog across top cut matched 50.93% of the time. So if you make it into the top cut as a lower seed, don’t sweat it, seeding doesn’t seem to have much impact on how a top cut plays out.
Trends in the Game
Finally, I would like to wrap up this look at State Championships results by looking at some of the trends with the format to tell us where the game is right now, just as I did with City Championships. The following tables will show you what percentage of decks have a certain trait to them. These tables will add up to more than 100% since decks can have multiple traits to them.
One caveat of these tables is that they aren’t 100% accurate because of a player’s personal preference. For example, the majority of Seismitoad EX/Hammer decks were Seismitoad EX/Giratina EX variants, but a few of them were not.
The following table shows what percentage of decks used the following types as their main attackers or main type attribute (for example Wailord EX doesn’t attack, but it’s a Water deck). Decks with more than one make attacker were attributed to multiple categories.
If all types were to hold equal amounts of the meta game, they would have 9.09% of the meta game be their type.
The type parity in the game right now isn’t looking very good in the Standard format. Five types (Colorless, Metal, Fighting, Fire, and Fairy) compose 45.45% of the available types but only make up 7.02% of the decks in the current Standard meta game.
The core of the meta game is based around only 6 of the 11 types in the game. This is down from 8/11 types being dominant forces in the Standard City Championship meta game.
Standard Deck Trends
The following table shows some of the trends with what is being included in decks in the Standard format.
|Double Colorless Energy||66.65%|
|Puzzle of Time||47.14%|
|Damage from Discard||41.88%|
|Stage 1 Attacker||28.65%|
|Stage 2 Attacker||18.86%|
|Energy Acceleration – Attack||18.08%|
|Double Dragon Energy||13.31%|
|Energy Acceleration Item||11.97%|
|Item Lock – Seismitoad EX||10.65%|
|Item Lock – Trevenant||10.04%|
|Forest of Giant Plants||9.18%|
|Item Lock – Vileplume||8.61%|
|Energy Acceleration – Ability||3.07%|
|Energy Acceleration – Supporter||0.56%|
Interestingly enough, both the amount of Double Colorless Energy and the amount of Battle Compressor in the format declined from City Championships. However, the amount of Battle Compressor decks is only down 1% from City Championship, and the number of Mega Pokemon, Maxie’s/Archie’s decks, and Bronzong decks that used Battle Compressor are down, meaning that decks using Battle Compressor primarily did so to power the damage of an attack (Night March/Vespiquen).
Item Lock was immensely more popular during State Championships than it was during City Championships. Item Lock jumped from 8.31% of all decks during City Championships to 29.30% of all decks during State Championships. The amount of Seismitoad EX decks nearly doubled, and both Vileplume and Trevenant, which were insignificant parts of the City Championship meta, both gained solid shares of the State Championship meta.
The decks based on doing damage from the number of Pokemon in their discard pile make up an astounding 41.88% of the meta game. This type of deck is clearly unbalanced compared to other traits in the game and the game makers need to seriously consider printing proper counters to these decks, as they clearly haven’t included reasonable counters after banning Lysandre’s Trump Card, which was meant to counter these decks.
If one thing has been made clear from State Championships it is that the decks that power their attacks by ditching Pokemon into the discard pile combine to make the most powerful set of decks in the game. Of these variants Night March was the most successful deck, Vileplume/Vespiquen the fifth most successful, and Vespiquen the eighth most successful deck.
Night March and Vespiquen were already among the best decks during City Championships, but Puzzle of Time managed to kick their power levels up another level.
In response to the “Battle Compressor decks” we saw a rise in Item Lock, Trevenant BREAK and Seismitoad EX (tied for 3rd) and Vileplume/Vespiquen (5th) taking prominent roles in the meta game. Two of these variants, Trevenant and Vileplume were aimed at getting their Item Lock online during the first turn of the game to shutdown the powerful Item engines utilized by these decks.
This will conclude the look at the State Championship meta game. This should provide the framework for the Standard meta game as we march forward towards the release of Fates Collide and then onto the National and World Championships.