This is a new article series that I am writing called “Weekend Report”, which will most likely end up being an every week column that looks at the happenings within the competitive Pokemon TCG community. I may not write these during dead periods when nothing is happening in the community, but the plan is for there to be a new one every Monday whenever a tournament series is in progress.
This article series’ primary purpose will be to look at the happenings of the competitive Pokemon TCG community to keep players up to date with who has been winning tournaments and what they have been using to win those tournaments. Additionally, this will in a more minor role cover news that will affect competitive Pokemon TCG play or be of great interest to players.
This past weekend was a busy one for Pokemon players as the first week of 2016 Spring Regional Championships started in North America and National Championships have begun in Europe. Additionally dual type Pokemon will be re-introduced into the Pokemon TCG.
Spring Regional Championships Begin
The 2016 Spring Regional Championships series in North America has begun with Week 1 being completed this past weekend. Here is a list of all of the Spring Regional Championships:
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Salt Lake City, Utah
Overland Park, Kansas
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
You can find more information on Spring Regional Championships at Pokemon.com’s Spring Regional Championship page.
Spring Regional Championship Results
A new tournament series means that there are new tournament results. You can find the results for Spring Regional Championships on our Spring Regional results page.
Dark Dominated Expanded (Again)
Dark decks started right where they left off at the last set of Regional Championships as being the top decks. Yveltal EX variants were the most successful decks of Week 1 of Spring Regionals and Turbo Darkrai EX followed them in second place.
TJ Traquair took his Yveltal EX/Maxie’s deck to a first place finish at the Seattle Regional Championship. In the Top 8 he won a mirror match against Calvin Nordberg, then beat Travis Nunlist and his Trevenant BREAK deck in Top 4, and then took a shocking win over Eli Covitz and his Rainbow Road (Xerneas BKT) deck in the finals. This Maxie’s version of Yveltal EX really was the best deck from the Winter Regional Expanded format and it has continued to do well, even with the release of BREAKpoint.
This is actually the second Regional Championship that TJ has won this season. He won the Boston Open in August at the World Championship for his first Regional win of the season.
Here is the list that TJ played at Seattle Regional Championships:
Pokemon – 11
2 Yveltal EX
Trainers – 38
3 Professor Juniper
4 VS Seeker
2 Silent Lab
Energy – 11
via TJ Traquair on Virbank City Gym
For this weekend we tracked Top 16 results for both the Seattle and Ontario Regional Championships, not doing the entire Top 32 because these tournaments were smaller and did not feature Top 32, Day 2 Swiss. Of the 32 placements we tracked this weekend, Yveltal EX decks took 7 and Turbo Darkrai EX decks took 5.
In terms of Championship Points, Yveltal EX decks took a 20.78% share of them and Turbo Darkrai EX decks took a 14.94% share, with Mia Violet piloting her trusted Darkrai EX/Dusknoir BCR deck to a Top 16 finish as well for 1.95% of the Championship Points. This means that in total, dark decks took 37.67% of the Championship Points, constituting more than 1/3 of the meta game.
This is actually an improvement from Winter Regional Championships, where they constituted 34.41% of the meta game in the one week that was played in the Black and White through BREAKpoint format. The majority of the difference is made up from the Dark/Dusknoir deck also taking a placement. Yveltal EX decks saw a slight decrease in play while Turbo Darkrai EX decks saw an increase in play. This makes sense as the Turbo Darkrai EX variant of dark was new during Week 3 of Winter Regional Championships so most players didn’t know about it yet to even consider playing it.
The primary difference between Yveltal EX variants and Turbo Darkrai EX is the focus on primary attackers in the decks, although there is a lot of crossover in Pokemon between the two decks. Yveltal EX decks of course focus on using Yveltal EX as a main attacker. Turbo Darkrai EX are very aggressive variants that heavily use the Darkrai EX’s from both Dark Explorers and BREAKpoint and typically play 4 each of both Dark Patch and Max Elixir to flood their field with Energy. Because Turbo Dark decks play Max Elixir, it’s very common to see them only play Basic Darkness Energy, while Yveltal EX builds tend to play 4 Double Colorless Energy in addition to Basic Darkness Energy.
Does Trevenant Have Problems?
The answer seems to be that Trevenant decks are on the decline. At week 3 of Winter Regional Championships, Trevenant BREAK was the second most successful archetype finishing with a 15.05% meta share. During week 1 of Spring Regional Championships, Trevenant was only the fifth most successful deck with a 7.79% meta share.
Now this is not to say that the deck is dead by any means. It still took a Top 4 finish in the hands of Travis Nunlist in Seattle, who is credited as one of the creators of modern Trevenant decks , while Jerry Xue took it to a Top 8 finish in Ontario. Travis was knocked out of Top 4 by the eventual winner, TJ Traquair with his Yveltal EX/Maxie’s deck.
The Dark matchup is generally much poorer in the Expanded format than it is in Standard format because Dark decks have access to Dark Patch in Expanded allowing them to quickly power up new and strong attackers in one turn when they play a Lysandre or Hex Maniac to break the Item lock. Additionally Archeops NVI can be disruptive if it hits the field as it prevents the Trevenant from evolving from their hand unless they have Wobbuffet active.
Trevenant still has some good matchups but life will always be tough for a deck when more than 1/3 of the meta game is hitting it for weakness. Unless you can build and play Trevenant at an elite level you may be better off finding a new deck for next weekend.
Taking the Rainbow Road to Success
Rainbow Road isn’t exactly a new deck as it has seen some play at City Championships, State Championships, and some previous Regional Championships, but it’s always been on the fringe of the meta game and has never had a top finish like it got this past weekend. The build that Eli used in Expanded is far different from the Standard version of the deck that I saw built for State Championships, which used primarily non-EX’s. Eli’s Expanded build of the deck instead was very EX heavy.
The deck’s nickname is based around the attack Rainbow Force, the primary attack on Xerneas BKT, the deck’s main attacker. Rainbow Force does 10 damage plus 30 more damage for each different type of Pokemon on your bench. Xerneas can get up to 160 base damage with a standard bench filled with five different Pokemon types and it can get up to 250 base damage with a Sky Field bench filled with eight different Pokemon types.
Rainbow Force costs [Y][C][C] which means that the deck needs some form of energy acceleration to stream attackers. In the Standard format, players typically use Max Elixir. However, Eli used an old concept that debuted all the way back in 2012 for energy acceleration, and that is pairing Ho-Oh EX from Dragons Exalted with Energy Switch. Ho-Oh EX has the Rebirth Ability which lets you flip a coin when Ho-Oh EX is in the discard pile and if heads you can put Ho-Oh EX onto your bench and attach three different types of Basic Energy to it.
His deck used the Battle Compressor engine to put Ho-Oh EX and Energy into the discard pile quickly. One of the neat things that Battle Compressor engine allowed the deck to do was also put Exeggcute PLF into the discard pile and then Propogate it into his hand and place it onto his bench for another type of Pokemon to power up Rainbow Force.
Both Ho-Oh EX and Exeggcute interact very well with Sky Field. When your opponent counters your Sky Field with another Stadium Card, you can discard them from your bench and then bring them back onto your bench with their Abilities when you get another Sky Field into play.
Eli also used Hoopa EX to quickly grab multiple EX’s to put onto his bench to boost Rainbow Force’s damage output as well as to serve as utility Pokemon or backup attackers.
From what I saw on the stream of the tournament, he ran the following types:
- Grass – Exeggcute PLF
- Fire – Ho-Oh EX
- Water – Keldeo EX
- Psychic – Hoopa EX
- Metal – Jirachi EX
- Dark – Yveltal EX
- Fairy – Xerneas BKT
- Colorless – Shaymin EX
There may have been more, but those were the ones I saw.
It will be interesting to see if this deck gains any traction headed into Week 2. The deck seems as if it has a pretty solid Dark matchup. Eli did end up losing to TJ’s Yveltal/Maxie’s deck in the finals, but he took out two Dark decks on his path to the finals prior to that.
Night March Makes Its Way to Expanded
A striking difference between the Standard and Expanded formats has been Night March being mostly missing from the Expanded format. The deck saw some moderate success in Expanded at Fall Regional Championships, but it only managed to take a pair of Top 32 finishes during Winter Regional Championships. Conversely, in the Standard format, Night March has been the most dominant deck.
This may be soon to change as Night March has found some footing in Expanded again during Week 1. Franco Llamas used Night March to finish the first day of the Ontario Regional Championship as the first seed with a 7-1-0 record. As far as I’ve seen, his version of the deck didn’t play Mew EX and Basic Energy as many are used to playing in Expanded and instead he opted for a build more similar to Standard versions of the deck.
He would ultimately finish in third place, losing to Seismitoad EX/Crobat PHF in Top 4, a harsh reminder that there are some good decks in Expanded with much stronger Night March matchups than the decks that see play in the Standard format.
Night March also took another Top 16 finish at Ontario.
Other Decks from Week 1
Here is a list of some of the other top performing or interesting decks from the first weekend of Spring Regional Championships:
- Primal Groudon EX was originally a deck brought into consideration for Week 3 of Winter Regional Championships to counter the much hyped Sableye DEX/Garbodor DRX/Puzzle of Time deck. Sableye has yet to see any success at Regional Championships since the release of BREAKpoint, but even without it around, Groudon has still seen success. This past weekend it was the fourth most successful deck and was used by Jason Lum to win the Ontario Regional Championship.
- Seismitoad EX continues to be a successful deck in the Expanded format. Ciaran Farrah took a 2nd place finish with the deck at the Ontario Regional Championship, losing to Primal Groudon EX in the finals. It also took a Top 8 and two Top 16 finishes at that tournament.
- Seth Covitz took a rebooted version of the Vileplume AOR/Regice AOR deck that saw some success at Fall Regional Championships to a Top 8 finish at Seattle Regionals. Seth expanded on the concept by adding Jolteon EX to the deck and using WLFM Blend Energy to cover the attack costs for both attackers.
- Vespiquen AOR/Flareon PLF made an appearance in the Top 16 of Ontario Regional Championships, piloted by Fred Hoban, who also made a pair of Top 16’s at Winter Regional Championships with the deck. The archetype was the second most successful archetype of the BLW-BKT Expanded format but dropped off the map during week 3 of Winter Regional Championships where it failed to get a single placement. A top 16 placement isn’t amazing, but it’s something for a deck that has mostly been written off at this point.
Week 1 No Shows
Of the decks that had some success at week 3 of Winter Regional Championships there were two notable no shows to Week 1 of Spring Regional Championships.
The first no show was Virizion EX/Genesect EX. This deck hasn’t been much of a part of the Expanded meta for most of the season, but it has a resurgence of week 3 of Winter Regional Championships with the release of Max Elixir in BREAKpoint allowing it to more quickly power up its attackers. This paired with the decline of Vespiquen/Flareon, which has been one of the top Expanded decks for most of the season, created an opening for Virgen to return to the competitive scene.
The other no show was Eelektrik NVI/Raikou BKT decks. The deck wasn’t a dominant deck during Winter Regional Championships by any mean, but the deck only improved since the winter months as it got Jolteon EX in the Generations set, so it’s disapperance is somewhat surprising.
For the second weekend since BREAKpoint was released, Sableye once again saw zero success. This deck appeared if it was going to be broken, but so far it hasn’t been able to find success. If Sableye doesn’t find success soon, it will probably be safe to call Sableye/Puzzle of Time one of the biggest busts in Pokemon TCG history.
Pokemon Championship Streams
If you haven’t seen it yet, Pokemon has released a new website for their streamed content, PokemonChampionships.com
The website acts as a hub for all of Pokemon’s streamed content allowing them to easily stream multiple events and games at the same time and gives players an easy place to find information on their streamed content.
Here is a list of content that is currently on their schedule to be streamed:
- May 21-22 – German National Championship
- May 21-22 – US Regional Championship
It appears that we will be seeing a lot more streamed content from Pokemon headed forward.
European Tournament Result Website
Before we get into looking at what went on in Europe this past weekend, I would like to introduce a new Pokemon TCG website, Mudkip Shore, which David Hochmann created to track European tournament results and deck lists. This should be the go to place for coverage on the European Pokemon scene.
European National Championships
This past weekend there were three National Championships played in Europe. These tournaments were held in the United Kingdom, France, and Belgium. All of these tournaments were played in the XY-BPT format. Here are the results from these tournaments:
1. Tamao Cameron – Vileplume AOR/Vespiquen AOR
2. Scott Burgess – Yveltal/Zoroark BKT/Gallade BKT
3. Oliver Barnett – Yveltal/Zoroark BREAK/Druddigon FLF
4. Daniel Melrose – Trevenant BREAK/Wobbuffet PHF
5. Charles Barton – Night March/Vespiquen AOR
6. Richard Cherry – Greninja BREAK
7. Joseph Phillip – Night March/Vespiquen AOR
8. Thomas S. – Trevenant BREAK
1. Stéphane Ruffe – Night March
2. Sylvain de la Crompe – Trevenant BREAK
3. Alexis Peiffer – Night March
4. Frédéric Lesage – Greninja BREAK
5. Fabien Pujol – Seismitoad EX/Giratina EX
6. Joël Nguyen – Night March
7. Julien Dallé – M Mewtwo EX (Y)
8. Cédric Gouin – M Manectric EX
1. Sen Caubergh – Night March
2. Daphne Vanden Broek – Night March/Vespiquen AOR
3. Arne Van Braekel – Yveltal
4. Jimmy Wuyts – M Sceptile EX
5. Kevin Breens – Greninja BREAK
6. William de Piancke – M Manectric EX/Jolteon EX/Garbodor BPT
7. Samuel Schaillee – Greninja BREAK
8. Pedro Medina – Greninja BREAK
While there are a few offbeat decks mixed in there, the format looks to be very similar to the State Championship format in the United States. The dominant Night March deck ended up winning two of the National Championships, and a Night March counter deck, Vileplume/Vespiquen won in the UK.
The UK National Championship received an official Pokemon Company stream. There were a few interesting inclusions that UK players made in their decks that are worth mentioning. Tamao Cameron played Misty’s Determination in his Vileplume/Vespiquen deck, allowing him to discard Pokemon from his hand after the Item lock was in place while also allowing him to search 8 cards deep into his deck for Double Colorless Energy under the lock while avoiding potential deck out situations that could be caused by a discard and draw Supporter such as Professor Sycamore.
Daniel Melrose included a Trevenant BPT in his deck in addition to three XY Trevenant. However, the most interesting inclusion into the deck was a heavy Battle Compressor count, increasing the consistency of a turn 1 Wally into Trevenant for his deck.
Dual Type Pokemon Return and XY Reprints!
The new game mechanic that Pokemon had hinted at with the next set, XY11 Steam Siege is the reintroduction of Dual Type Pokemon into the game. These are Pokemon with two types instead of the normal one type.
This is a very welcome addition to the game as it adds more complexity to the game, allowing you to hit for multiple weaknesses with a single Pokemon and lets you combine different type specific support cards in ways that previously weren’t possible.
For example, the Volcanion EX pictured to the right could make use of the Fire type support Blacksmith as well as Water type support with Dive Ball and Rough Seas.
Pokebeach.com has gathered all of these images you will see and have written a number of news articles on these cards which you can find below, so shout out to them for doing a great job gathering news on new Japanese cards for us.
- Dual-Type Volcanion EX from XY11
- Dual-Type M Gardevoir EX, Azumarill from XY11!
- Dual-Type Shiftry, Nuzleaf, Seedot from XY11!
- Several XY11 Cards Revealed, Including Gardevoir EX!
It also appears that Pokebeach is very excited about putting exclamation points in the titles of their articles for new cards!
Something funny also happened with the Dual Type M Gardevoir EX card that will be released in the set.
M Gardevoir EX went from the new oppressive ruler of the format to an okay Mega Pokemon over the course of a day. The original translation that was given for the card said that it did 110 damage plus 30 more damage for each Pokemon that you discard from your bench. This would have allowed M Gardevoir EX to hit for OHKO’s every turn for a single Energy, as its Psychic typing allows it to use Dimension Valley.
However, the correct translation for the card is 110 damage plus 10 more damage for each Pokemon you discard from your bench, making M Gardevoir EX a more balanced card.
Finally, we will be receiving a pair of reprints of Yveltal and Xerneas from the XY Base Set.
The Xerneas is the big reprint of these two as it will allow Xerneas to stay legal for longer. Yvelal isn’t that big of a reprint since we already got a reprint of Yveltal XY in the Generations set. It is nice to see another art available for the card though, allowing players to find an artwork that best suits their personality.
Additionally, Xerneas EX and Yveltal EX were recently reprinted as tin promos in the United States, which means the core for Yveltal EX decks will be legal in the Standard format for a couple more years.
Generations Elite Trainer Box
As reported by Pokebeach, there will be a Generations set Elite Trainer Box being released this summer in the United States. It will release first exclusively on the Pokemon Center website on July 1st, and then will receive a full retail release on September 14th.
The Generations set has been a bit hard to collect so far, as it is only available in special collections. This Elite Trainer Box will give players an easy way to buy lots of Generations packs for what will hopefully be a price comparable to previous Elite Trainer boxes with a slight increase to account for the extra packs.
Increased card access may also lead to the expensive Jolteon EX seeing a price decrease as a result of increased supply of the card.
I also love that they are including a promo Shaymin EX in the box. I think it would be great if they made promo cards a permanent inclusion in future Elite Trainer Box releases.
And this will conclude the first every Weekend Report. Check back next week for a new report on the matters that are important to competitive Pokemon card players.