Weekend Report #10 – Vespiquen/Zoroark at Fort Wayne

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It’s been a busy week for me and I haven’t had much time to write so I’m going to make this one of the shorter Weekend Reports that I have done and just go over my tournament at Fort Wayne and then post some of the best performing lists for the weekends along with links to content that you can watch/read for more information about the decks.

This article will be mostly a list dump. We will have a normal Weekend Report after the European International Championship next weekend.

Vespiquen/Zoroark Tournament Report

vespiquen_aoAs the meta game progressed throughout the early parts of the season, the meta was granting a much more solid position for Vespiquen than it had appeared would exist earlier in the season.

There was a lot of hype around Karen as an option in decks like M Rayquaza EX, M Gardevoir EX, and Rainbow Road as a recovery card, but in practice the card was never a very good fit in these decks. Super Rod being able to played alongside some other Supporter for your turn works much better than Karen as it doesn’t cost the Supporter for turn.

Darkrai EX/Giratina EX, one of Vespiquen/Zoroark’s worst matchups, also became less popular as time went on after having a big showing at Orlando to start the season. By the time Fort Wayne happened, you were more likely to have a tournament that didn’t include playing this than you were to have one where you played it.

Knowing the meta game was moving away from stuff the deck is bad against made me confident the deck was a good choice for Fort Wayne.

Decklist

Pokemon – 26

4 Combee AOR
4 Vespiquen AOR
Zorua BKT
2 Zoroark BKT
1 Trubbish BPT
1 Garbodor BPT
4 Unown AOR
4 Klefki STS
4 Shaymin EX

Trainers – 30

4 Professor Sycamore
2 N
2 Lysandre
1 Pokemon Ranger

4 Ultra Ball
4 Acro Bike
4 VS Seeker
2 Trainers’ Mail
2 Revitalizer
2 Special Charge
2 Float Stone

1 Forest of Giant Plants

Energy – 4

4 Double Colorless

I actually already wrote about this deck in my article The Buzz on Vespiquen Without Battle Compressor. Make sure to check that out for more of my thoughts on the deck. This list above that I played is almost the same thing, except I switched up the Zoroark line and cut it down to 2-2 to fit in a 1-1 Garbodor line to shore up my Greninja matchup.

Tournament

Here’s how my tournament played out:

Round 1 – Christopher Wagner – Rainbow Road – WW (1-0-0)
Round 2 – Robert McKinney – Volcanion EX – LWL (1-1-0)
Round 3 – Michael Slutsky – Greninja BREAK – LWW (2-1-0)
Round 4 – Gregory Playter – M Scizor EX/Raticate EVO – WW (3-1-0)
Round 5 – Cody England – Darkrai EX/Giratina EX/Garbodor BPT – LWL (3-2-0)
Round 6 – Jakob Oroark – M Rayquaza EX – WW (4-2-0)
Round 7 – Carson Goins – Yveltal EX/Garbodor BPT – WLL (4-3-0)
Round 8 – Jalen Jones – Raichu XY/Golbat PHF – WW (5-3-0)
Round 9 – Nathan Potter – M Mewtwo EX (Y)/Garbodor BPT – WW (6-3-0)

In the end I finished with a 6-3-0 record which placed me 72nd in the tournament out of 635 players.

klefki-steam-siege-sts-80The first loss of the day I had was most likely one that could have been avoided. I ended up losing the first game in the series because I forgot to use Wonder Lock on Klefki and then the next turn I fell 10 damage short from knocking out a Fury Belted Volcanion EX. With that 10 extra damage, it would have been an easy to close out the game. I didn’t have any intention to leave a Klefki on my bench, but I wasn’t playing focused enough and forgot it was on my bench.  The rest of the series and tournament would have played out differently with past events altered, but this is a mistake that may have been the difference between a Top 128 and a Top 32 tournament.

The loss against Darkrai EX/Giratina EX was expected. I was hoping to avoid it at the tournament, but only having to play against it once was still solid. I actually could have won the series if I had drew Professor Sycamore instead of N as my opening Supporter in the two games I lost. My opponent ended up with Supporter-less hands early in those games, but I had to bail him out as N was the only Supporter I had available to VS Seeker and not Professor Sycamore. In addition to not being able to discard Pokemon without Battle Compressor, being less precise with the Supporters you play every turn also makes the deck much weaker than Battle Compressor variants.

yveltal-ex-xy-promos-xy150The loss against Yveltal EX was disappointing as it’s typically a matchup that I win with the deck. The first game I drew very well, but then in the next two games I couldn’t chain Supporters and early Garbodor’s shutoff stuff like my Unown. In the third game I missed on being able to Sky Return a Shaymin EX off my bench and it got snipe KO’d by Fright Night which pretty much sealed the series. I think this is just the natural consistency advantage that Yveltal decks have from the simplicity of their setup over every other decks which plays a large role in it being the best deck in format.

The two closest games I had out of my wins were against Greninja and M Scizor EX. The series against Greninja was very sloppy to say the least. In the first game I couldn’t draw into what was needed to get Vespiquen’s setup and lost despite a turn 2 Garbodor. In the second game I drew well and won with a turn 2 Garbodor. In the third game, he never drew into a Pokemon other than a Froakie so I was able to turn 2 donk him. I had prized my Garbodor in the third game and would have been at risk of losing if he could get any type of setup and if I didn’t pull Garbodor out of my early prizes.

The M Scizor EX matchup was very close, but because I could use Special Charge I could limit his ability to use Raticate as an attacker and force him to have to attack with his EX Pokemon for the most of the game, allowing me to create maintain a favorable prize trade. Both games were very close though.

The only deck that I played against with Karen was the Raichu/Golbat deck and it had no impact on the matchup whatsoever. If they’re using Karen they’re not N’ing you, which usually means you have the resources for a quick Professor Sycamore and then you can get some damage ramped up fairly quickly with Unown and Klefki.

zoroark-breakthrough-bkt-91-312x441Additionally, the decks that typically play Karen are Sky Field decks – Raichu/Golbat, Rainbow Road, M Rayquaza EX, and M Gardevoir EX STS. Two of those decks are Mega decks, which means they put back Klefki STS which you can use to prevent their damage. 3 of the 4 play with large benches, which makes Zoroark a great attacker against them, so you’re able to use Zoroark more against them if they are to Karen. Zoroark helps a lot in helping to negate an opponent’s Karen.

If I were to play the deck again I would cut the Pokemon Ranger from the deck. You don’t need it to beat Vileplume Toolbox as you can Shaymin loop their Glaceon EX, and I don’t think it does enough to beat Giratina EX decks.

There are actually quite a few cards that can go into this slot that could make the deck better. An additional Zorua could be added, which would give you another Pokemon that can be discarded. Rattata to get rid of Fighting Fury Belt could be solid. Teammates and Shauna are Supporter options to make the deck more consistent. Reverse Valley could let Zoroark hit for 170. Parallel City could give you an option to bump Shaymin EX from your bench, but is risky because so many other decks are playing it. A second Forest of Giant Plants could be played. A single Pokemon Catcher could be good allowing you to further setup with a Supporter like Sycamore while still getting a gust effect off.

Even though my result was disappointing, the deck still felt very good. I felt that the deck was even to favorable against everything I played except the Darkrai EX/Giratina EX deck, and I think this tournament was a missed opportunity for larger success with the Klefki misplay.

For London, I would expect this deck to have larger presence than it’s had thus far in the season, but I still wouldn’t expect it to break a 5% meta share. While the deck is very good, most of its matchups are still very close, even when favorable, which will make people shy away from the deck. I think the deck’s damage scales 1 turn too slow to be an elite deck, but I think the deck is strong enough to be a permanent Tier 2 fixture throughout the season.

Fort Wayne Deck Lists

The following are some of the deck lists from the Fort Wayne Regional Championship with links to additional media for you to watch when applicable.

You can find the full Top 32 results from Fort Wayne here.

Chris Derocher’s Greninja BREAK (3rd Place)

Pokemon – 16

4 Froakie BPT
4 Frogadier BPT
4 Greninja BPT
3 Greninja BREAK
1 Jirachi XY67

Trainers – 34

4 Professor Sycamore
3 N
1 Ace Trainer
1 Lysandre
1 Fisherman

3 Trainers’ Mail
4 VS Seeker
4 Dive Ball
2 Ultra Ball
2 Super Rod
1 Professors’ Letter
4 Bursting Balloon

4 Faded Town

Energy – 10

4 Splash
6 Water

Interview with Chris on Team Fish Knuckles

Caleb Gedemer’s Rainbow Road (4th Place)

Pokemon – 15

4 Xerneas BKT
1 Xerneas BREAK
2 Joltik STS
2 Galvantula STS
1 Hoopa EX
2 Shaymin EX
1 Flygon EX
1 Genesect EX
1 Volcanion EX

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Sycamore
3 N
2 Lysandre
1 Olympia

2 Trainers’ Mail
4 Ultra Ball
4 Max Elixir
4 VS Seeker
2 Super Rod
1 Exp. Share
2 Float Stone

3 Sky Field
1 Parallel City

Energy – 12

8 Fairy
4 Double Colorless

Colorful Critters in Ft. Wayne by Caleb Gedemer on Dead Draw Gaming

Clinton Kirkwood’s Volcanion EX (5th Place)

Pokemon – 10

3 Volcanion STS
4 Volcanion EX
1 Hoopa EX
2 Shaymin EX

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Sycamore
2 N
2 Lysandre
1 Olympia
1 Delinquent

4 VS Seeker
4 Ultra Ball
4 Trainers’ Mail
4 Max Elixir
4 Energy Retrieval
2 Escape Rope
2 Fighting Fury Belt
2 Float Stone

2 Parallel City

Energy – 12

12 Fire

Ahmed Ali’s Volcanion EX (6th Place)

Pokemon – 12

3 Volcanion STS
4 Volcanion EX
1 Entei AOR14
2 Shaymin EX
1 Hoopa EX
1 Dragonite EX

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Sycamore
2 N
2 Lysandre
1 Olympia
1 Pokemon Ranger

4 VS Seeker
3 Trainers’ Mail
4 Ultra Ball
3 Max Elixir
3 Energy Retrieval
2 Escape Rope
2 Fighting Fury Belt
2 Float Stone

2 Sky Field
1 Scorched Earth

Energy – 11

11 Fire

Interview with Ahmed on Team Fish Knuckles

Devon Tilson’s M Scizor EX/Garbodor BPT (7th Place)

Pokemon – 14

3 M Scizor EX
4 Scizor EX
1 Hoopa EX
2 Shaymin EX
2 Trubbish BPT
2 Garbodor BPT

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Sycamore
3 N
2 Lysandre
1 Giovanni’s Scheme

4 VS Seeker
4 Ultra Ball
3 Trainers’ Mail
2 Mega Turbo
2 Enhanced Hammer
1 Escape Rope
1 Super Rod
4 Scizor Spirit Link
3 Float Stone

2 Parallel City

Energy – 10 

6 Metal
4 Shield

Interview with Devon on Team Fish Knuckles

Darin O’Meara’s Vespiquen/Zoroark (11th Place)

Pokemon – 26

4 Combee AOR
4 Vespiquen AOR
3 Zorua BKT
3 Zoroark BKT
4 Unown AOR
4 Klefki STS
4 Shaymin EX

Trainers – 30

4 Professor Sycamore
2 N
1 Teammates
2 Lysandre
1 Pokemon Ranger

4 VS Seeker
3 Acro Bike
2 Trainers’ Mail
4 Ultra Ball
2 Revitalizer
2 Special Charge
2 Float Stone

1 Parallel City

Energy – 4

4 Double Colorless

Travis Nunlist’s M Scizor EX/Raticate EVO (12th Place)

Pokemon – 14

3 M Scizor EX
3 Scizor EX
2 Rattata EVO
2 Raticate EVO
1 Magearna XY165
1 Hoopa EX
2 Shaymin EX

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Sycamore
2 N
2 Lysandre
1 Hex Maniac
1 Olympia
1 Team Flare Grunt
1 Delinquent

4 VS Seeker
4 Ultra Ball
3 Trainers’ Mail
2 Enhanced Hammer
2 Mega Turbo
2 Escape Rope
1 Super Rod
4 Scizor Spirit Link

3 Silent Lab
1 Parallel City

Energy – 8

8 Metal

Iron Bugs and Mischievous Rats – A Complete Guide to M Scizor EX/Raticate by Eric Gansman on Pokebeach

Conclusion

Fort Wayne does a good job of setting the stage for London as a tournament that is going to largely be about players either playing Yveltal EX decks or trying to find ways to counter it well. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more hard counters come out to play in London.

Congrats to friends of The Charizard Lounge, Jimmy Pendarvis, Andrew Mahone, and Chris Derocher for finishing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd at the tournament. Jimmy’s 11-0-3 to 14-0-3 overall run at the tournament with Yveltal EX/Garbodor BPT is easily one of the most impressive tournament performances in the history of the Pokemon TCG.

Next up on my schedule is the Dallas, Texas Regional Championship to start the new year, and possibly Athens, Georgia right after that.

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