Hey everyone and welcome to my first article here on the site!
As a start I’d like to recap my 2017/18 season in two words: Frustration and Happiness.
In this article I will focus on my start to the 2018/19 season.
Start of season thoughts
I started this season from scratch basically like everyone else did. Due to implications in my own health during the summer my worlds performance wasn’t great and that is of course something I’m taking into account this season in terms of what decks I’m playing. Even though fatigue has been a big part of my everyday life this season, I’ve chosen to put a lot of my focus in testing on a good friend of Limitless: Zoroark GX. During last season myself and Pedro Torres had great success with Zoroark Lycanroc and therefore I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to pay my old man a visit.
Even though I thought a lot about Zoroark, I ended up playing Lugia / Malamar at the Philadelphia Regional Championships in the beginning of the season. I felt like the deck could handle most matchups without a lot of testing and was a strong contender in a field filled to the brink with Shrine decks, a week after the first LATAM regionals, where Shrine of Punishment featured in 7 out of 8 top cut decks. In this article I won’t focus too much on the Philadelphia regionals where even though I delivered a mediocre performance, scraped together a nice 52 CP via the regionals and a League Challenge for the Oceania Internationals stipend race.
The week after Philadelphia I was confused as the meta there had begun to be more diverse. Zoroark decks came into the format with 3 or 4 Judge to disrupt the opponent, while you can just sit and use Trade, gaining momentum while your opponent would struggle to set up.
The list I played at the cups:
I played this exact list at both of the cups I had that weekend, got a total of 82 CP with winning one of them and getting top 4 in the other.
My matchups through both the days where I in total went 10-1-4, counted up to:
2 Buzz / Garb / Shrine
1 Banette / Espeon
1 Zoroark / Counters
1 Zoroark / Lycanroc (Lost)
1 Beast Box (Tied)
1 Zoroark / Golisopod
So I would describe this as a diverse meta, where I could beat it all, and I did at least one of the days.
Looking at my list, it looks a lot like a mix between Jimmy Pendarvis’ and Poet Larsen’s lists from Philadelphia, where Poet played the Weakness Policy and Jimmy didn’t. I decided to include them due to the expected amount of Buzzwole / Shine decks, and ended up beating both of the decks I played against 2-0.
As I described before, the strength of the deck is to set up while making your opponent struggle with the use of Judge, and after that being able to OHKO your opponent’s Pokemon with Dangerous Rouge, or being able to use Zoroark GX to set tempo in the match, effectively running over your opponent before they even get to play the game.
Offenbach Regionals (Frankfurt)
Going into this regionals I decided to stick with Zoroark / Lycanroc. The League Cup performances I had the week before were simply too strong to suggest otherwise and Zoroark in any form is always a strong call at a bigger event, if you want to consistently make it deep into the tournament.
Going into the tournament I cut one of my Devoured Fields for a Field Blower, thinking that it would remove the stadium anyways, and against Buzz Shrine you would only need two OHKOs on Buzzwole with a Zoroark. My matchups throughout the tournament were:
R1 Gardevoir W
R2 Lugia Malamar T
R3 GASKAN (Malamar) W
R4 Buzz / Shrine T
R5 Ultra Necrozma / Malamar L
R6 Zoroark / Mismagius W (Best series the whole weekend)
R7 Vikaray L
R8 Lugia Malamar W
R9 Buzz Shrine L
I ended the tournament with a disappointing 4-3-2 score and that means I likely will be stuck at 155CP until LAIC, since I won’t be playing in the Lille Special Event.
My brother, Steffen Eriksen played 59 cards of my list and made it into the top 32 after starting 7-1-1 after day 1. The feeling I sat with after the tournament is weird. I tried to make a consistent deck that could set up most of the time, but instead got a pile of clump cards when I sat down and played the tournament. In my eyes, the format is unfortunately currently a lot about getting a good turn 1 setup and hitting matchups. Even though sequencing in the game still is hard, this format just unfortunately isn’t as punishing towards misplays as others would have been.
I’m really looking forward to see if the next set can switch up the format and make me like the meta again, currently I don’t see it as a healthy thing.
So for me to grap the stipend for a trip to Australia, I would need to get my last quarterly league cup win and do really good in the LAIC. At this point I won’t give up yet. I really think that the meta will shape up in a good way with new cards like Professor Elm entering the format, helping Zoroark back towards its throne.
I hope that everyone liked this article and for more updates, follow me on twitter @JesperKEriksen and contact me there for coaching as well!
Until next time 🙂