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State Of The Meta: September 2019 (Tier List)

The world of the Pokemon Trading Card Game has changed drastically since our last State Of The Meta back in March. The rotation hit, giving us a new standard format and taking away many staples of the previous meta game. We've also gotten new tools from sets like Unified Minds and Unbroken Bonds. In our previous articles in the series we've simply talked about all of the current decks and changes we've seen happening. This time we decided to go all in and discuss a tier list of the current meta decks to help players know what to expect at tournaments or even decide what to play themselves. Let's give this list a look!

S+ Tier

Reshiram & Charizard-GX UNB 20 Blacephalon-GX LOT 52 Mewtwo & Mew-GX UNM 71

  • Reshiram & Charizard-GX: This is the deck to beat currently. It's majorly consistent whether you use the Green's Adventure version or go for Jirachi TEU 99, the former ran by many at worlds and the latter getting 4th place in the hands of Tord Reklev. It's seriously consistent with tools like Cerish Ball for Pokemon search alongside things like Welder and Giant Hearth to get those Energy cards out quick. Here is a version of the Green's Aventure deck for you to study and here is a copy of the Jirachi styled deck
  • Blacephalon-GX: Shintaro Ito brought Blacephalon-GX to place second at worlds with a slightly more spicy build with Jonathan Fabrizio Bellucci Lancianno placing 14th with a similar build. There's also the potential for a Green's Blacephalon-GX deck as well! It made day two for Eric Smith at worlds and got Owyn Kamerman fifth at the DC Open Flight 1. The deck is as strong as ever before with maybe even more to it thanks to the new Naganadel-GX UNM 160 in the mix. With so many tools for fire types this deck is going to be strong for a long while.
  • Mewtwo & Mew-GX: Called MewMew by some and MewBox by others, Mewtwo & Mew-GX is a fantastic card. It's also the deck that won worlds piloted by Henry Brand. There's so much potential for this deck as well with several different kinds of GX Pokemon that could be built around. For example Jack Underwood brought a deck based around two different Blastoise cards. With only more GX Pokemon to potentially come there's a wild amount of options going forward using this Pokemon

S Tier

Pikachu & Zekrom-GX PR-SM SM168 Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX UNB 205

  • Pikachu & Zekrom-GX: This deck got the most points at worlds being the highest placing deck overall as so many players brought it to the event. Only one made Top 8 piloted by Kaiwen Cabbabe but several still managed other respectable placements. So why don't we have it in the highest tier? It's mostly damage potential. It's just a little bit lower than the S+ Tier decks though still is phenomenal. We certainly believe it can still win tournaments, it just may have a slightly harder time than the more fire-based decks.
  • Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX: We didn't see this deck in the Top 8 of worlds but it was incredibly close. Both Hideki Sano and Karl Peters just barely missed taking this deck into the final bracket of the event. Let's not forget that Shunpei Hosoya also managed to place 14th with it as well. It was shown this deck has a small problem against Alolan Ninetales TEU 111 but it could certainly be built to have counters to it with a little work, Xerneas Prism Star as an example. This deck showed it could go the distance and certainly can't be forgotten when attending tournaments.


Pidgeotto TEU 123Weavile-GX UNM 132Naganadel-GX UNM 160

  • Pidgeotto Control: This deck was the surprise control variant at worlds and it managed to make one heck of a splash! Not only did Byron Isaiah Williams take this deck and get eight place but Igor Costa won the DC Open Flight 1 with it! The only reason we don't have this deck in the S Tier is simply because control styled decks can sometimes have a hard time in Swiss Tournaments. If you don't manage to win the first game you're best hope is a tie which can make things very difficult. It also can have a slightly harder time setting up than higher tiered decks. It's still obviously a strong deck that can certainly take a big tournament!
  • Dark Box: This deck may have the most raw power in the entire format, but it's lacking a bit in consistency. Still Zakary Krekeler brought the deck to fourteenth place at worlds showing that it does have potential. It lacks the consistency of some of the higher tiered decks which is why we have to put it down here. 
  • Naganadel Box: While we didn't see it at worlds we did see Xander Pero get first place at the DC Open Flight 2 with it! This one hasn't shown itself on a huge stage quite yet but it shows some solid potential and decent consistency. It has the potential to maybe move up the list, but until it has more results we have to put it here in A+ Tier!

A Tier

Malamar FLI 51Unidentified Fossil FLI 116Slowpoke & Psyduck-GX UNM 218

  • Malamar Decks: We have already extensively covered Malamar Decks in a previous article. If you're interested in seeing a full analysis of the archetype go check that out! 
  • Fossil Decks: So this style of deck can vary pretty wildly at the moment. Tobias Thesing brought a Rampardos deck while Shintaro Yamamoto brought one based around Aerodactyl and Carracosta. Both managed to hit day two of worlds and we have to admit this archetype being a bit newer it could be played with to figure out exactly how to make it run the smoothest. We're excited to see where this style of deck may go, but unless it gets more results it has to stay in A Tier.
  • Slowpoke & Psyduck-GX: With so many fire Pokemon running around one might expect a lot of people trying out Slowpoke & Psyduck-GX. It didn't see too much use but Magnus Penderson did make day two at worlds with it while Sam VerNooy placed ninth at the DC Open Flight 1! This deck isn't perfect and certainly lacks some consistency but it's far from a bad deck. As long as strong fire types are running around there's going to be someone running this deck and doing good work.
  • Keldeo & Bronzong Stall: Dylan Gunn was the highest placing player piloting this deck with a twenty-sixth place finish at worlds. It's not that this deck isn't good, it's obvious it can work, it just simply looks like Pidgeotto Control is a much more solid deck if you want to stall and control the opponent's play. Still, there certainly will be others bringing this to events to give it a shot and doing well.
  • Spiritomb: People haven't given up on Spiritomb just yet! Unfortunately it didn't really get too high of placements for those that brought it out to worlds. Martin Janous, Luke Kirkham, and Phong Nguyen placed forty-fifth, one hundred-sixth, and one hundred-sixteeth respectively. The deck can manage in the current format, but it's simply not impressive enough to warrant a higher placement. If anything these lackluster results may end up with fewer people trying to play the deck.

B Tier

Beheeyem UNM 91 Gengar & Mimikyu-GX TEU 53Mareep LOT 75

  • Beheeyem: Everyone was excited when they saw Hampus Eriksson going 6-0 on his first day at worlds with this deck. The final results for him, however, were far less exciting. only managing ninety-forth place. This deck isn't necessarily bad, it's just that in certain matchups not being able to use items just isn't a big enough inconvenience to totally stop the deck from running.
  • Gengar & Mimyku-GX + Omastar: So another deck designed to try and stop the opponent from playing certain cards comes in at the B Tier level. Alex Schemanske managed to place fiftieth with this deck at worlds but this was about as high as it would go. It's another great idea in theory but with cards like Welder running around you're not stalling the opponent enough to build your damage to a point where you can crush them with Poltergiest. It's a solid enough deck, just nothing that will be bringing home crazy placements at major events.
  • Breloom/Mareep/Froslass: So where are the results for this deck? That's the main problem it faces. Theoretically this deck is solidly anti meta, able to reasonably knock out most top tier decks pretty quickly. In reality it just lacks consistency currently to really manage to pull that off. We still have it here as it's great on ladders online and could give some success at some events if given a try. Still without it actually taking some bigger events it simply can't be put higher.

C Tier

Whimsicott-GX UNB 140Quagsire DRM 26Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX UNM 215

  • Whimsicott-GX: The deck that the Pokemon Company thought would be very popular at worlds (so much they made a slide for it) went almost unplayed with only a single player making it to day two. This deck as it stands with trying to use Porygon-Z to power it up simply isn't good enough to do the trick in the current meta, even with the potential life saving coin flip. It's a deck that can see play but just isn't going to be doing all that well.
  • Quagsire + Naganadel: Somehow this deck always seems to pop up at events. Always. Seriously go look to past majors and there always seems to be one placing somewhere on the middle end of day two. Jonathathan Croxton managed to place fifteenth with it at DC Open Flight 1. This deck probably isn't winning majors, but we can't deny it has a place in the current meta. Even if it is just a lower place.
  • Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX: Sander Wojcik did place sixtieth at worlds using this deck but we just don't think it's good in the current meta. There's just too many fire Pokemon running around and seriously huge damage being dealt to try and run a tanky deck meant to survive with just a lot of health points. It's not the worst, it does have Net Ball which is nice, but overall we don't expect this deck to be topping big events. 
  • Other Decks: We've seen other odd rogue builds that are likely just too many to list currently but we have to mention them briefly here. There may be a new deck to come sweep the meta, but this listing is mostly for the weird, the odd, the one off at event kinds of decks that maybe make day two but manage little else. There's plenty of other decks out there that can manage this while being less popular, so keep an eye out. 

We really hope this tier list can help prepare you for the current meta game! We really want to know what you have to think about our placements. Tell us in the comment section below or grill the grill directly over on Twitter @LiteralGrill. Until next time, stay lit trainers!

- Linnea 'LiteralGrill' Capps

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