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State of the Meta — March 2019

Many major changes have taken place since our last State of the Meta back in December; Team Up has been released, new decks are seeing success, and some decks have been left behind.  Three major events have taken place for the Standard Format, The Melbourne International, the Collinsville Regionals, and SPE Cannes. Here at PokeGoldfish we've taken the time to break down the decks used to see what's popular, what rogue decks found success, and trends for the future. Buckle down trainers, there's a LOT to cover!

Fond Farewells

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Several decks that were very common in the previous meta are currently seeing no play. Many of these decks had either consistency issues, or are currently just speedy enough to keep up with current decks. Here's some of the major decks and some basic reasons why they are seeing less play.

  • Granbull: Hard to keep consistent damage, easy to knock out currently. Can't utilize Jirachi as well.
  • Gardevoir-GX: Would do well with large Energy counts on some meta Pokemon, but too slow.
  • Decidueye-GX: There's better decks that can work with Zoroark-GX in the current meta, and they are much faster.
  • White Kyrum: Not enough Blacephelon decks to work as well as it used to
  • Rayquaza/Vikavolt: Also a deck that can get outsped in Standard, and there's just better Lightning decks currently to use

It doesn't mean these decks will be gone forever, they just seem to be outclassed. They may still find use at locals however, so don't forget they're out there! They just don't hold up currently in tournament play.

Blacephalon-GX: On The Decline

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While many decks got new tools and new decks showed themselves to be incredibly powerful, Blacephelon-GX gained nothing from Team Up's release. In contrast to previous usage in day two being at least 27% or higher, it is seeing only 3-6% now in day two. Most decks are also not placing very high. We say most, as Zach Lesage did manage to get 1st place with the deck at the Collinsville Regionals and Joel Nyugen managed 6th place at SPE Cannes. 

While the deck isn't as strong as it used to be, it's certainly still getting play and isn't a dead deck by any means. Not being ready to see some in pools and at locals is being unprepared. The interesting thing here is, many of the variants that used things like Shedinja have all but stopped being played as they don't have to face other Blacephelon decks as often. This allows the deck to keep up its full consistency build, which it needs to stay relevant. Blacephelon is also set to gain a lot of tools upon the release of Unbroken Bonds so be ready as it may make a serious comeback! 

Wall & Stall

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Hoopa SLG 55A lot of people previous had worries about Wall and Stall decks taking a serious hold in the meta. They never became crazy top contenders, but this current meta is seeing them getting substantial use, with one deck in particular hard countering several top meta decks. That deck revolves around Vileplume! Its ability Disgusting Pollen stops any Basic Pokemon from attacking, and there are a LOT of Basic Pokemon being used as main attackers currently. Riley Hubert was able to place 3rd at the Collinsville Regional with a Vileplume deck and Athavan Balendran placed 11th showing this deck can have a lot of success. Of course, decks may start building with more counters against this, so think if the deck you want to play has a way around. Once people play proper counters, it may not be as strong.

Other decks are making a comeback in the Wall & Stall department too. Sylveon-GX decks made a solid showing at the Collinsville Regionals with three day two placements showing this deck can still work. Some decks are keeping it simple as well using classic Wall & Stall staples like Hoopa and Regigigas to hold down the fort, while others include the new bulky Magikarp & Wailord-GX for even more stalling potential. Almost all run Unown LOT 91 for the extra win condition as well.

The one deck made to put up a wall and keep attacking however is Celebi & Venusaur-GX. Many people expected this deck to be a bit more popular with all of the powerful healing tools it can use and its ability to recycle cards with its GX attack. However, it's only seen a single day two placement from Ryne Morgan and only at 69th place. Unfortunately, this deck is decimated by Vileplume decks which are now becoming popular, and even without Vileplume Hoopa, Unit Energy, and Comfey can even take it down. It may see some play, but sadly this wall is going to need to include Unown LOT 91 or work with some other ideas to see success. 

Tag Team Titans

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With anywhere from 9% to a whopping 29% in day two placings so far, this is the Tag Team-GX that has made the biggest impact on the meta so far. With Tapu Koko Prism Star to get it powered up fast and its massive damage output, it's got a lot of potential going into the future. It has numerous top placements as well to back it up. With a few Zapdos included as well as all the new cards to boost it like Electropower and Lightning Mountain Prism Star this deck isn't going anywhere! The only problem it may face is Vileplume decks as currently it only has basic attackers. Expect there to be some adjustments to help the deck out with likely a Stage 1 Pokemon of some kind. 

Spread's Not Dead

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A lot of players didn't think with the extremely high HP Tag Team-GX Pokemon had that spread and Passimian would have a future in the format, but there's just enough variety and a lot of Pokemon weak against Fighting Types that this deck can still shine! It can be quite a cheap deck to build as well which does nothing but help its popularity. It hasn't been getting high placements at events, but as a deck that can get to day two and rack up points. It is currently hard stopped by Vileplume decks however, so it may need adjustments to stay relevant if Vileplume maintains popularity. 

Flying Over The Rainbow

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This was another deck that people were unsure should keep up in damage output but were quickly proven wrong. With anywhere from 18% to 28% usage in day two decks, Zapdos decks are currently one of the most popular in the format. With the use of Rainbow Energy they are able to include cards like Buzzwole and Nihilego LOT 106 in the deck as well which can help it swing hard against opposing decks. It too does suffer from issues with only having Basic Pokemon as attackers against Vileplume however, so it may have adjustments made. Still, this is currently a strong deck that is a great choice for any event. Expect it to continue seeing high use! 

Where's Buzzwole-GX?

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With so many Pikachu & Zekrom-GX decks running around and Zoroark remaining just as popular, where are the classic Buzzole-GX decks? Truth be told only two have been seen at tournaments. Colin Tang was only able to get 45th at the Melbourne International, but Peter Kica was able to get 6th place at the Collinsville Regional. This shows there's serious potential for the deck currently, so it's odd that it's not seeing much use. Several of these decks do also include Lucario-GX as it works well and can get around Vileplume if needed as well, though it has had changes. There's a good chance this will see more play once folks become less enamored with new decks, so keep and eye out for it!

Malamar Stays Strong

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If you thought Zapdos was popular, Malamar Variants are giving it a run for their money with 14% to 31% usage in day two thus far. The deck maintains the same consistency as ever and just does well. It's had hard times getting to the highest cuts just scraping below top 6, but the results it's showing is nothing to snuff at. Some are adding in new tools like Gengar & Mimikyu-GX to have even more of a punch to pack. It also has potential tools to deal with the current meta of Lightning Types like Toxicroak FLI 64 as well. It may need to find ways to deal with Vileplume as well as many of its attackers are also Basic Pokemon, but its popularity is likely to stay strong so be prepared for it! 

Lost March Gets Nuzzly

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Lost March has gained a new tool in Emolga! The newly dubbed Nuzzle March allows for Lost Blender to have a lot more consistency and make the deck stronger than ever before. However it has only seen one placement so far, 42nd at the Melbourne International piloted by Joshua Bradley. Even weirder is that instead of using Nuzzle March, they went for a variant that used Weavile BUS 86 instead. Could Lost March have potential in the format? With so many Lightning Types around to sap it hard this may be difficult, but there may still be adjustments that can be made to make it work. Until then however, it may see play at tournaments but isn't likely to go very far. 

Zoroark Stays Strong But Sees Changes

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Let's face it, Zoroark-GX is not only one of the best cards in the format, but one of the best cards of all time. Is it any wonder that decks with it are still finding success? Many are going the route of using Lycanroc-GX GRI 74 currently, but the main new toy for the deck comes in Lucario-GX. When it evolves, it only takes a single Energy to take down Pikachu & Zekrom-GX! With this tool as well as all of its attackers being Stage 1 Pokemon thus avoiding Vileplume's ability, there's no way these decks will be getting any less popular. 

Don't Forget These Decks!

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There are of course other decks that are either just seeing some popularity at the moment and maybe not placing well. On the other side of the coin, some unexpected decks have also been able to make day two! Let's take a quick look at some of these decks.

  • Lycanroc-GX TEU 82Charizard - At SPE Cannes, Anthony Cognard was able to place 28th with a Charizard deck. If Vileplume stays popular, maybe it will find its way into the current meta?
  • Nuzzle Raichu - With the release of Pikachu PR-SM SM162 and other Nuzzle Pokemon, the potential for Raichu-GX to come back is now possible! This deck is fun and uses many of the other great Lightning Tools currently available to stay strong. Will it have a place in the meta? Maybe not, but for local and online play it can do very well!
  • Quagsire Variants - A classic Lapras deck was able to place 65th at the Collinsville Regional being piloted by Kyle Kigar. It's not a super high placement, but it shows that maybe a Water deck with Quarsire at the front may have potential still with the right tweeks.
  • Tool Drop - Tool Drop decks have the potential to put out some incredible damage. Genesect-GX can take two tools to boost damage, and with Shining Celebi, Doublade TEU 108 can evolve into Aegislash TEU 109 and have the potential to resist a lot of damage while dishing it out. This deck is going to have some popularity around, so keep an eye out for it!
  • Garbodor - With the new Alolan Muk, there's a real chance that Garbodor could be primed to make a comeback. It's seen a little use in tournaments, but hasn't been given a pure focus as of yet. With a lot of items being used be it Electropower or others, there's always a chance it could manage some serious damage. Consider trying Garbodor in the current format! 
  • Lycanrock-GX & Alolan Persian - While not seeing popularity yet outside of Japan, it did see plenty of results there. Taking Energy off the opponent's Pokemon so Alolan Persian can do its maximum damage is a cool concept that may have potential. 

With this in mind, there is also still plenty of room to go rogue in the current meta. In a future article we'll be showing how an Umbreon and Guzzlord-GX deck was able to break day two! With these possibilities, there has to be other interesting decks that could shine so take time to explore! 

That's all for this State of the Meta! Did we miss any important decks? What do you think should be getting played at tournaments? Tell us in the comments below or let me know directly on Twitter @LiteralGrill. Until next time, stay lit trainers!

- Linnea 'LiteralGrill' Capps

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