TLDR Australian Regionals 2015
TLDR Australian Regionals: A brief look at some of the more interesting and prevalent cards of the Brisbane and Adelaide Regional events of 2015
You could read countless articles about the American meta (and I would encourage you to do so – there are some pearls of wisdom hidden amongst the masses of content) but given that the Australian meta plays to a different tune, an analysis of the American ‘Eggsplosion’ might not be the most efficient use of the few days left before the Sydney/ Canberra regional double. So here is some bedtime reading for the time poor – a snack size analysis (based primarily on the past two regional tournaments – Brisbane and Adelaide) of some of the more interesting core cards and techs that I perceive to be relevant in the current Australian meta.
The Rated (Highly played at Regionals)
Seismitoad – We can liken the card Seismitoad EX to the supersuit crisis that rocked the world of competitive swimming back in 2008. Just as almost any competitor was able to don the suit and swim a world record time, any scrub can splash Seismitoad EX in their deck and scrounge some wins at a tournament (see: Ellis Longhurst). The interesting thing about the Australian meta though, is not the prevalence of Seismitoad EX, it’s the diversity of the partners that people have chosen to couple it with. In Perth we saw Garbodor; In Brisbane we had Manectric EX, Yveltal, Suicune and Bats; In Adelaide we added Slurpuff to this list.
What’s the moral of this story? You will definitely face at least one Seismitoad EX during your tournament experience (I faced 4 decks that used Seismitoad EX in some way during the 6 rounds of swiss in Adelaide, then another completely different one in the top 4 match!). So be prepared!
Leafeon – How to prepare for Seismitoad EX? Many decks now run a counter which exploit the grass weakness. Leafeon seems to be the card of choice in this respect as (in theory) the energy evolution Eevee allows for a quick and unexpected OHKO or near- OHKO. However, any Seismitoad player worth their salt (and intending to cause some saltiness) will limit their number of energy on their board (often with just a DCE in play) making Leafeon hit for 80 each turn (assuming Quaking Punch has prevented a tool card) which is s 3HKO and thus makes it a poor counter. You could argue that Toad only does 10 to Leafeon due to resistance and thus the prize trade is very favourable but a Toad player will couple their toad with some form of disruption e.g. bats/lasers/energy denial and attach a muscle band so the odds are typically in their favour.
There are ways to increase Leafeon’s damage output – conventional ways like Muscle Band/ Silver Bangle and unconventional ways like Frozen City and the abilities of some support Pokemon, but that requires investment in the Leafeon line of your deck which may throw out consistency.
A potentially better counter? Short of joining the Seismitoad EX community and entering the Quaking Punch wars, you could try out Red Genesect (credit to Alexander Bray and Daniel Collins) or Volbeat (credit to Jordan Palmer). Both are DCE compatible and hit Toad for weakness. Both are also good against the next card I am about to mention.
Suicune – This card saw a fair bit of play at Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide Regionals, gaining in popularity as the weeks went on. Why? Suicune has the ability ‘Safeguard’ which prevents all damage and effects of attacks done to Suicune by your opponent’s EX pokemon. In a format rife with EX pokemon, this can prove to be an excellent wall. Often the opponent’s only response is to use Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym or power up an undesired attacker like Baby Yveltal, which throws out their game plan, and gives you an edge.
How to make Suicune even better? Rough Seas negates laser damage if that is the only way they are intending to KO your Suicune. Facing a Non-EX deck like Flareon? Silver Mirror blocks Leafeon and Flareon from dealing damage- in a format where many Flareon players have been forgoing Startling Megaphone.
The Underrated (Underplayed at Regionals)
Silent Lab – Silent Lab is receiving some recognition but often as a 60th spot one-of, last minute inclusion. NO. WRONG. Silent Lab is great. It blocks the walling ability of Suicune and Aegislash EX and the utility abilities of Mew EX, Keldeo EX, Darkrai EX, the Flareon engine (Energy evolution, Eggs, Audino) and VirGen. While this doesn’t guarantee you a win, it is an incredible annoyance for your opponent and in match-ups where the effect of Silent Lab is irrelevant, it at least acts as a counter stadium. What is interesting about this card is that many people rely on being able to use Jirachi EX’s Stellar Guidance at least once during a game, and this can be negated with Silent Lab – leaving them with a dead hand.
Ninetales (Catcher effect) – My old Hexed Flame buddy. This card resurfaced when I was thinking about ways to promote Primal Groudon and change the pace of that match-up. In general though, on the drop it can act as your non-supporter Lysandre for the turn AND be sought out through an ultra ball which makes it an interesting utility card. I was glad to see James Goering use this card to seal game 1 of his top 2 match in Adelaide. You could play this card in combination with the following…
Ninetales (Stadium lock effect) – This is the way to win the stadium wars. What does that mean? Consider that Night March thrives off of having Dimension Valley in play, Fairies is pretty keen on Fairy Garden, Water/Lightning decks like Rough Seas, Primal Groudon needs a stadium in play to be able to hit for 200, Toad decks like their Virbank City Gym to deal any relevant damage, Flareon uses Training Centre to boost it’s HP a little, and LandBats/ Fighting use Fighting Stadium to help the math work in their favour. Now consider that this Ninetales can lock any of those stadiums in or out of play for the entire game (unless they target down Ninetales, at which point they’ve spent a catcher effect and an attack for the turn not on your attacking pokemon).
In my opinion, locking in Silent Lab for a whole game (in most match-ups) would be pretty cool and disruptive.
This was by no means meant to be an in-depth analysis of the past few regionals, just a look at a few cards that I think are interesting inclusions in the Australian metagame. Hopefully you can use this information to inform your deck decisions for the coming weekend, or use it as evidence to justify the question, ‘How does she have her invite?’
~ Ellis Longhurst