2019 NAIC: Day 1 Recap

June 21, 2019 // Tate Whitesell (@twhitesell42)

The first day of competition at the 2019 North American International Championship has concluded. Out of 1120 Masters at the beginning of Swiss round 1, 112 have advanced to Day 2 to continue to fight for a chance at Top 8 and the first-place trophy.

Reshiram & Charizard-GX was expected
to define the NAIC metagame, but it is
not one of the better-represented decks
in Day 2. 
Last season's champion, Stéphane Ivanoff, is alive and well with a 7-1-1 record, but 2017 champion and 2018 finalist Tord Reklev tied his final round to finish 5-2-2 and will not be able to make a third NAIC finals appearance. European team Limitless is keeping Reklev's deckbuilding skills alive at least, with several of their members taking the group's Zoroark-GX/Persian/Naganadel-GX concoction into Day 2. Dead Draw Gaming, the American team that won nine of the 14 NA Regionals this season, has not fared quite as well as usual with their Pikachu & Zekrom-GX deck choice; while Daniel AltavillaAzul Garcia Griego, and Isaiah Williams managed to reach Day 2, Caleb Gedemer and Jimmy Pendarvis did not.

In terms of the metagame, the format leading up to this NAIC was largely defined by Reshiram & Charizard-GX, but that deck did not show up quite as strongly as expected. While Limitless went with Zoroark-GX and DDG picked Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, other top players chose Malamar/Ultra Necrozma-GX, Zapdos/Ultra Beasts, Stall, and Blacephalon UNB. Plenty of less-expected decks made it in as well: the Day 2 field will feature Stunfisk, Blissey, Meganium, and more. Some other interesting decks--Sam Hough's Quagsire Toolbox (5-2-2) and Takuya Yoneda's Zoroark-GX/Silvally-GX/Pheromosa & Buzzwole-GX (6-3-0)--fell just short.

Stream match recaps

Round 1: Pedro Eugenio Torres (0-0-0, Zoroark-GX/Persian/Naganadel-GX) 2-0 Rahul Reddy (0-0-0, Blacephalon UNB)
After cryptic tweets of chess pieces from Tord Reklev's testing group, their deck was revealed to us during the very first stream match of the day, as 2018 Worlds Semifinalist Pedro Torres rolled through what Rahul Reddy called "Red Greninja." While Blacephalon UNB is typically unfavorable against Zoroark-GX decks, Torres's Persian TEU added an extra wrinkle. Reddy also Prized three of his Green's Exploration in game 2. 

"ZoroChess" was finally revealed: a
Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX deck with some
control options in Persian TEU and
Round 2: Daniel Altavilla (1-0-0, Pikachu & Zekrom-GX) 2-0 Emily Sherrard (1-0-0, Pikachu & Zekrom-GX)
In DDG's first stream appearance of the day, Altavilla, who has won a Regional, an International, and an SPE this season, quickly dismantled up-and-coming player Sherrard in a mirror match. His Wobbuffet tech helped provide an advantage. 

Round 3: Takuya Yoneda (2-0-0, Zoroark-GX/Silvally-GX/Pheromosa & Buzzwole-GX) 0-1 Kevin Tran (Stall)
Japanese legend Takuya brought another of his unorthodox creations to a North American tournament, and while he was able to take five Prizes in the only game of this series, his deck was not equipped to deal with Stall and he couldn't close out the win. Kevin Tran's list was a bit heavier on attacking options than typical Stall builds, with cards like Counter Energy and Counter Gain letting him go on the offensive after slowing down his opponent. 

Round 4: Ian Robb (3-0-0, Pikachu & Zekrom-GX) 2-0 Ryne Morgan (3-0-0, Pikachu & Zekrom-GX)
In a match similar to the one showcased in Round 2, some explosive plays from Robb and unfortunate draws from Morgan led to a quick 2-0. 

Round 5: Le Bui (4-0-0, Vikavolt UNB) 1-2 Christian Pappas (4-0-0, Zapdos/Ultra Beasts)
The rogue Vikavolt deck that PokéStats's Carl Barone and Chris Hoag made a name for at Madison Regionals showed up here in the hands of new player Le Bui, who already has a Regional Top 4 in his first season. Unfortunately, Zapdos proved to be a difficult matchup, and after an explosive game 1, Bui faltered in games 2 and 3.  

Round 6: Luis Duran (5-0-0, Zoroark-GX/Persian-GXDewgong) 1-2 Azul Garcia Griego (Pikachu & Zekrom-GX)
Fan-favorite Griego ran through game 1 fairly quickly, but Luis Duran made some intelligent plays to swing game 2 in his favor. Game 3 was a nailbiter: Griego went up five Prizes to zero, but Duran was finally able to take down Griego's only Pikachu & Zekrom-GX and leave him with almost nothing to work with. A tie seemed imminent, but Griego was eventually able to find a way to claim that last Prize. 

Round 7 - main stream: Noah Sawyer (6-0-0, Malamar/Ultra Necrozma-GX) 1-1 Magnus Pedersen (6-0-0, Zapdos/Ultra Beasts)
Malamar was an under-the-radar deck heading into NAIC, but Noah Sawyer has done well with the deck at several tournaments this season and decided to stick with it here. He found an unfavorable matchup in 2018 Senior Division World Champion Magnus Pedersen's Zapdos deck, but was able to win game 1 due to Pedersen's poor draws. Pedersen won a much more typical game 2 and the series ended in a tie. 

Round 7 - TCG stream: Bert Wolters (5-0-1, Reshiram & Charizard-GX) 2-1 Noel Steslicki (5-0-1, Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel)
One of the few high-profile players to stick with Reshiram & Charizard-GX, Bert Wolters must have been a bit nervous to see Blacephalon-GX across from him--at Madison Regionals earlier this month, Ian Robb's Blacephalon-GX deck demolished three consecutive Reshiram & Charizard-GX in Top 8. Wolters was playing the Green's Exploration-focused build of the deck as opposed to the more common Jirachi-based version; this allowed him to run cards such as Custom Catcher and Mixed Herbs. Wolters won game 1 fairly convincingly, but after a turn 1 Let Loose from Steslicki in game 2, Wolters looked at his new hand and immediately scooped up his cards. Steslicki was given an ample opportunity to lock up game 3 as Wolters struggled to set up multiple attackers, but she made a crucial mistake in discarding Energy from her Benched (not Active) Blacephalon-GX with Mind Blown, significantly diminishing her chance to use Mind Blown again on the next turn after Wolters KOd the Active. Steslicki had to resort to Bursting Burn's Confusion to stall--but those Mixed Herbs saved the day for Wolters, healing the Confusion and letting him take the final KO. 

Round 8 - main stream: Chris Siakala (5-1-1, Spiritomb/Umbreon/Honchkrow-GX) 1-2 Stéphane Ivanoff (5-1-1, Zoroark-GX/Dewgong)
Another under-the-radar pick for NAIC, the Spiritomb/Umbreon deck featuring a heavy line of Honchkrow-GX was pioneered by Grant Manley during Origins the previous week. Although Honchkrow-GX is strong against Zoroark-GX decks, it can be hard to use effectively, and reigning NAIC Champion Ivanoff had plenty of tricks up his sleeve. Siakala put up a fight, but Ivanoff was able to win the series in three games, lock up a Day 2 berth, and prove that--contrary to the opinions of many--Dewgong is actually good. 
Is Stunfisk the most-unexpected--and
best-positioned--deck moving on to
Day 2?

Round 8 - TCG stream: Sam Hough (5-0-2, Quagsire Toolbox) 0-2 Hunter Butler (5-0-2, Stunfisk/Spiritomb)
Possibly the two most unique decks seen on stream all day faced off in a completely unpredictable matchup. A fan of "toolbox" style decks such as the Vileplume Toolbox he took to Top 4 at Worlds 2016, Sam Hough crafted a build that used Quagsire, Unit Energy GRW, and Rainbow Energy to charge up big Basic attackers such as Pheromosa & Buzzwole-GX, Marshadow & Machamp-GX, and Reshiram & Charizard-GX. However, this type of deck seems naturally somewhat inconsistent, and with some poor draws from Hough, Hunter Butler's fast-paced, heavy-hitting single-Prizer deck was able to run him over in two games. 

Round 9 - main stream: Aden Cunningham (5-2-1, Pikachu & Zekrom-GX) 1-1 Tord Reklev (5-2-1, Zoroark-GX/Persian/Naganadel-GX)
You'd expect three-time International Champion Tord Reklev, considered by many to be the best player in the world right now, to find his way on stream at some point during this weekend. After all those chess-piece tweets, Reklev's new Zoroark-GX build still needed one more win to advance to Day 2. However, Aden Cunningham's Pikachu & Zekrom-GX got off to a blazing start in game 1, running through Reklev's board. Although Reklev made some smart plays to nearly swing a comeback, he was unable to do so fast enough. Game 2 went more in Reklev's favor, as Cunningham did not set up quite as explosively and Reklev was able to establish his board more. However, the game still dragged on for some time, and while Reklev took it in the end, there was almost nothing he could do to win the third game--he simply had to play to not lose during the extra turns. While Reklev was undoubtedly sad to not have a chance to reach his third straight NAIC finals, and Cunningham likely felt the disappointment of coming so close to beating such a legendary player, both players seemed to take it in good spirits--it had been a close and exciting match. 

Round 9 - TCG stream: Zach Zamora (5-1-2, Shedinja Control) 1-1 Colin Tang (5-1-2, Zapdos/Ultra Beasts)
In a slightly less exciting match than the one on the main stream, notable rogue-deck fan Zach Zamora attempted to establish the Shedinja lock against one of the decks best equipped to beat it: Zapdos. Colin Tang is one of the most accomplished Zapdos players in the world, having earned over 500 CP with the deck in this quarter alone, but he could not beat the lock in game 1. Zamora struggled in game 2 and Tang was able to win that one, but with both decks naturally needing a long time to win games, game 3 proved impossible to finish. 

The Day 2 picture
Team DDG's pick for the event, and the
deck to eliminate Tord Reklev from Day 2
contention, Pikachu & Zekrom-GX seems
like the deck to beat this weekend.
With Reshiram & Charizard-GX taking a bit of a backseat (though still certainly present), Day 2 will revolve around Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, Zoroark-GX variants, Zapdos/Ultra Beasts, and perhaps the handful of Malamar decks. As John Kettler pointed out, though, this may be the year that an anti-meta deck finally takes down the tournament. There are several rogue decks positioned to perform well against the majority of the metagame.

Some of the more unusual decks in Day 2 include:

Kevin Tran, Attacking Stall
As seen on stream in Round 3 against Japanese legend Takuya Yoneda, this deck uses typical "stall" attackers like Hoopa and Regigigas, but also packs Counter Energy and Counter Gain to take a more aggressive approach. A large number of decks in the Day 2 field seem unprepared for Stall, so Tran (as well as the other Stall players, most notably Peter Kica) has a good chance to pick up some more easy wins.

Hunter Butler, Stunfisk/Spiritomb
The Stunfisk/Spiritomb combo was somewhat hyped when the cards were released, but never saw any success at a major event. Butler saw their powerful potential and we saw him run through Sam Hough's big Basics deck on stream. If Butler's deck is consistent and can prey on the many Tag Team-GX-based decks in Day 2, he could go a long way.

Charlie Lockyer, Tool Drop
Several readers discussing our Day 2 Players & Decks post thought this was a meme, but it's real: another known rogue-deck creator, Charlie Lockyer, decided Tool Drop (Doublade/Genesect-GX) had what it takes to do well this weekend. His list can even beat Fire decks, using cards like Metal Frying Pan.

Jit Min Lim, Nidoqueen/Meganium/Swampert
The man who took Vespiquen/Excadrill for a spin at Worlds 2016 is no stranger to unusual decks, and his Meganium/Nidoqueen list is already proven at Oceania tournaments. This deck can be surprisingly fast and difficult to stop.

Chris Siakala, Spiritomb/Umbreon/Honchkrow-GX
Siakala saw potential in this deck that Grant Manley used at last week's Origins event, splashing the disruptive Honchkrow-GX into the single-Prize-attacker-based Spiritomb/Umbreon. Honchkrow-GX can be very disruptive against Zoroark-GX decks (although Siakala did lose to Stéphane Ivanoff's on stream), while Black Market ♢ can provide an advantage against other single-Prize-attacker decks.

Drew Kennett, Blissey/Welder
Some1'sPC team member Drew Kennett found success with the Blissey deck Russell LaParre had been hyping. Blissey had a Day 2 appearance at Madison Regionals as well, proving that it can actually perform quite well with a little luck, and is not simply a meme deck.

Kendon Kula, Zoroark-GX/Marshadow & Machamp-GX
While Zoroark-GX is usually paired with Lycanroc-GX if it wants a Fighting attacker, Kula thought Marshadow & Machamp-GX, paired with Counter Gain, was a stronger choice for this tournament. We'll see if it outperforms the other Zoroark-GX lists in Day 2.

Paden Richard, Granbull
After PokéStats's Alec Geissler took Granbull to Day 2 in Madison with a Phinn Lynch-designed list, there was some hype for the deck, but it had mostly died down by NAIC. Paden Richard will hope to hit some big-Basic matchups (while dodging Zoroark-GX, Zapdos, and Malamar) and prove that Granbull can still be a strong pick in the right meta. 

2019 NAIC: Day 2 Players & Decks

Below are the players who achieved 19 or more match points to advance to Day 2 of the 2019 North American International Championship. Decks are being added as we continue to receive information, so refresh the page periodically to see updates. 

Blue flight
  1. Emery Taylor (8-0-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  2. Ryan Antonucci (7-0-2), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  3. Martin Janouš (7-0-2), Malamar/Ultra Necrozma-GX
  4. Kevin Tran (7-1-1), Attacking Stall
  5. Jon Eng (7-1-1), Blacephalon UNB
  6. Phong Nguyen Hai (7-1-1)
  7. Hunter Butler (7-1-1), Stunfisk/Spiritomb
  8. Otavio Gouveia (7-1-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  9. Grant Manley (7-1-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX with Super Scoop Up
  10. Shawn Chauvin (7-1-1), Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX/Dewgong
  11. Ricky Gao (7-1-1)
  12. Stéphane Ivanoff (7-1-1), Zoroark-GX/Persian/Dewgong/Naganadel-GX
  13. Phinn Lynch (6-0-3), Gardevoir-GX/Swampert
  14. Bohdan Pelekh (7-2-0), Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX
  15. Aneil S (6-1-2)
  16. Philipp Leciejewski (6-1-2), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  17. Adam Reinhardt (6-1-2)
  18. Tristen Pence (6-1-2), Shedinja Control
  19. Slade Robertson (6-1-2)
  20. Nathan Arcienega (6-1-2)
  21. Josh Alvarez (6-1-2), Stall
  22. Stephen Palombo (6-1-2), Reshiram & Charizard-GX with Slowking
  23. Justin Kim (6-1-2)
  24. Lucas Henrique de Araujo Pereira (6-2-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  25. Pedro Eugenio Torres (6-2-1), Zoroark-GX/Persian/Naganadel-GX
  26. Hampus Eriksson (6-2-1), Stall
  27. Victor Legorreta (6-2-1)
  28. Ryan D'Silva (6-2-1), Zoroark-GX/Silvally-GX/Persian-GX
  29. Steven Singer (5-0-4), Weezing
  30. Daniel Altavilla (6-2-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  31. Brendan Dixon (6-2-1)
  32. Ahmad Akhrass (6-2-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  33. Andrew Martin (6-2-1)
  34. Tom Weiner (6-2-1), Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel
  35. Charlie Lockyer (6-2-1), Tool Drop
  36. Darin O'Meara (6-2-1)
  37. Jit Min Lim (6-2-1), Nidoqueen/Meganium/Swampert
  38. Mike Laundrie (6-2-1)
  39. Benjamin Sauk (6-2-1)
  40. George Holman (6-2-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  41. Edwin Lopez (6-2-1), Malamar
  42. Peter Kica (6-2-1), Stall
  43. Dean Nezam (6-2-1)
  44. Chris Siakala (6-2-1), Spiritomb/Umbreon/Honchkrow-GX
  45. Brent Tonisson (6-2-1), Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX/Dewgong
  46. Kyle Madison (6-2-1)
  47. Justin Bokhari (6-2-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  48. Benjamin Telfor (6-2-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  49. Nico Alabas (6-2-1), Zoroark-GX/Persian/Naganadel-GX
  50. Francis O'Brien (6-2-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  51. Charles Collier (6-2-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  52. Drew Kennett (6-2-1), Blissey/Welder
  53. Cameron Shenoy (6-2-1)
  54. Andrew Mondak (6-2-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  55. Matthew Reenalda (6-2-1)

Orange flight
  1. Magnus Pedersen (8-0-1), Zapdos/Ultra Beasts
  2. Diego Cassiraga (8-1-0), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  3. Noah Sawyer (7-0-2), Malamar/Ultra Necrozma-GX
  4. Nathaniel Kaplan (7-0-2), Blacephalon UNB
  5. Steven Mao (7-1-1)
  6. Gregory Playter (7-1-1)
  7. Justin Kulas (7-1-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  8. Ondrej Skubal (7-1-1), Spiritomb/Umbreon
  9. Vance Kelley (7-1-1)
  10. Alex Bunker (7-1-1)
  11. Bert Wolters (7-1-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX/Green's Exploration
  12. David Roodhof (7-1-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  13. Isaac Milaski (7-1-1)
  14. Gustavo Wada (7-2-0), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  15. Aaron Tarbell (7-2-0)
  16. Azul Garcia Griego (7-2-0), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  17. Scott Denham (7-2-0)
  18. Preston Ellis (6-1-2), Stall
  19. Nathan Brower (6-1-2)
  20. Cory Dickman (6-1-2)
  21. Isaiah Williams (6-1-2), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  22. William Courcy (6-2-1)
  23. Christian Pappas (6-2-1), Zapdos/Ultra Beasts
  24. Robin Schulz (6-2-1), Zoroark-GX/Persian/Naganadel-GX
  25. Dustin Cooper (6-2-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  26. Dennis Peroff (6-2-1), Zapdos/Ultra Beasts
  27. Mike Newey (6-2-1), Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel
  28. Adam Hawkins (6-2-1), Malamar/Ultra Necrozma-GX
  29. Tommy Desjardins Pettinicchio (6-2-1)
  30. João Pedro Medeiros Zambrano (6-2-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  31. Athavan Akilan (6-2-1)
  32. Bradley Ireland (6-2-1)
  33. James Simmerman (6-2-1), Malamar/Ultra Necrozma-GX
  34. Jose Marrero (6-2-1), Zoroark-GX/Silvally-GX/Persian-GX
  35. Beckett Pierce (6-2-1)
  36. Hector Ibarra (6-2-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  37. Jonathan Croxton (6-2-1), Zapdos/Ultra Beasts
  38. Jack Millar (6-2-1), Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX/Dewgong
  39. Joshua Frink (6-2-1)
  40. Luke Cunningham (6-2-1)
  41. Zachary Paullet (6-2-1)
  42. Ryan Simons (6-2-1), Stall
  43. Ty Starr (6-2-1), Spiritomb/Umbreon/Honchkrow-GX
  44. Kendon Kula (6-2-1), Zoroark-GX/Marshadow & Machamp-GX/Slowking
  45. Andrea Ceolin (6-2-1)
  46. Diego Carrilo (6-2-1)
  47. Cameron Kawasaki (6-2-1)
  48. James Hart (6-2-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  49. Alessandro Cremascoli (6-2-1), Stall
  50. Rosa Klint (6-2-1)
  51. Kevin Krueger (6-2-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  52. Ben Wilson (6-2-1)
  53. Hayden Palmer (6-2-1)
  54. Mark Dizon (6-2-1), Zoroark-GX/Persian/Dewgong/Naganadel-GX
  55. Zachery Stover (6-2-1)
  56. Zane Nelson (6-2-1)
  57. Paden Richard (6-2-1), Granbull

2019 Origins Game Fair Tournament Coverage

This week, the 2019 Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio is playing host to a series of Pokémon TCG League Cups and League Challenges, as well as a Special Event on Friday. These tournaments include both Standard and Expanded format events, and offer a good chance for players from around North America to finish off their Worlds invites or rack up some more CP before next weekend's North American International Championship. Most of NA's Top 16 players will be in attendance for the Special Event. 

PokéStats will be posting day-by-day coverage of the Top 8 standings from each event and providing other notes, including decklists and player commentary, when available. Below is the full tournament schedule for Origins. 

Wednesday, June 12

Expanded League Cup
28 Masters
  1. Frank Percic, Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX/Aromatisse
  2. Jared Zander, Archie's Blastoise
  3. Scott Denham, Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  4. Connor Finton, Archie's Blastoise
  5. Joe Ruettiger, Sableye/Garbodor
  6. Alex Schemanske, Spiritomb/Ultra Beasts
  7. Zac Cooper, Trevenant BREAK
  8. Trey Reese, Seismitoad-EX/Garbodor
  • Winner Frank Percic intended to play Alolan Exeggutor TEU 115 for this event, but left most of his Expanded cards at home and was forced to borrow cards from Connor Finton, who he beat in Top 4. Percic says the list he used is sub-optimal and "you don't want it." 
  • Joe Ruettiger stuck with Sableye/Garbodor for Thursday's Expanded Cup as well, and reached Top 4 there. 

Thursday, June 13

Expanded League Cup
  1. Joshua Sutherland, Trevenant BREAK
  2. Grant Manley, Vespiquen
  3. Joe Ruettiger, Sableye/Garbodor
  4. Alec Geissler, Sceptile/Vileplume/Cradily
  5. Wesley Hollenberg, Spiritomb/Ultra Beasts
  6. Frank Percic, Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX/Aromatisse
  7. Sean Lyden, Shock Lock
  8. Alex Schemanske, Spiritomb/Ultra Beasts (notes)
  • Alex Schemanske also made Top 8 at Wednesday's Cup with the new Spiritomb/Ultra Beasts archetype, which Schemanske says is 50% his creation, 40% Wesley Hollenberg's (who also reached Top 8 here), and 10% Alex Krekeler's. Click notes above to see the list and read more of Schemanske's insights. 
  • Finalist Grant Manley decided to play this event about five minutes before registration ended. Consequently, his list was sub-optimal (for example, 2 Unown and 2 Klefki instead of 4 Unown), but Manley's play was good enough to pull him through until he hit (in his words) an "autoloss" in the finals. 

Friday, June 14

Standard Special Event

This event is currently ongoing. 126 Masters are in attendance, according to PokéStats's Loc Nguyen, so there will be seven Swiss rounds. 

Rahul Reddy has provided us with information on most of the top players' decks:
  • Athavan Akilan - Silvally-GX/Lapras-GX
  • Danny Altavilla - Zapdos/Ultra Beasts
  • Justin Bokhari - Zoroark-GX/Silvally-GX
  • Michael Catron - Silvally-GX/Lapras-GX
  • Jon Eng - Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  • Azul Garcia Griego - Weezing
  • Caleb Gedemer - Weezing
  • Wes Hollenberg - Zoroark-GX/Silvally-GX
  • Will Jenkins - Zapdos/Ultra Beasts
  • Alex Krekeler - Zoroark-GX/Silvally-GX
  • Zach Lesage - Blacephalon UNB with Salazzle UNB
  • Jit Min Lim - Nidoqueen/Meganium
  • Jose Marrero - Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  • Jimmy Pendarvis - Weezing
  • Xander Pero - Zapdos/Ultra Beasts
  • Michael Pramawat - Weezing
  • Rahul Reddy - Zoroark-GX/Silvally-GX
  • Alex Schemanske - Zoroark-GX/Silvally-GX

2019 Madison Regionals Recap and Matchup Data

June 3, 2019 // Tate Whitesell and Rukan Shao

"ReshiZard" had more than double the
Day 2 appearances of its next closest
This past weekend, the final Regional Championship in North America for the 2018-19 season took place in Madison, Wisconsin (see our event data page). Now that the PokéStats team has collected all of the Day 2 decks (with help from ARG Europe's Jack Old--much appreciated!), we can bring you the complete Day 2 metagame breakdown and some preliminary matchup data. 

Day 2 deck breakdown
23 Reshiram & Charizard-GX
11 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
5 Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel
5 Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX/Slowking
4 Blacephalon UNB
3 Quagsire/Naganadel
3 Weezing
3 Zapdos/Ultra Beasts
2 Granbull
1 Blissey/Welder
1 Malamar/Ultra Necrozma-GX
1 Vikavolt
1 Zoroark-GX/Glaceon-GX
1 Zoroark-GX/Gyarados
1 Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX
1 Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX/Silvally-GX/Lycanroc-GX

Top 8 breakdown and meta analysis
When Day 2 Swiss concluded, four different archetypes advanced to Top 8: four Reshiram & Charizard-GX, two Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX/Slowking, one Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel, and one Pikachu & Zekrom-GX. In the finals, Ian Robb's Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel defeated Azul Garcia Griego's Reshiram & Charizard-GX in a close three-game series.

We can compare this to the Top 8 from last month's Santa Clara Regionals, the first (and currently only other) NA event in SUM-TEU. That top cut had two Reshiram & Charizard-GX, two Shedinja Stall, two Zapdos, one Lucario & Melmetal-GX/Vileplume stall, and one Pikachu & Zekrom-GX.

Thus, Reshiram & Charizard-GX, Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, and Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX/Slowking apparently increased in strength from Santa Clara, and Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel proved to be able to come back into the meta and hold its own against those three archetypes. Meanwhile, stall decks and Zapdos variants decreased in strength between Santa Clara and Madison. With stall performing very well in Santa Clara, more players were prepared to counter it in Madison; notably, according to RK9 Labs data, only a single Master in Madison played the Shedinja Stall deck that had two Top 8 appearances in Santa Clara.

While Kian Amini's winning Reshiram & Charizard-GX list from Santa Clara featured a Green's Expedition engine and four Volcanion UNB, only one of the four Reshiram & Charizard-GX lists in Madison's Top 8--Cody Walinski's--used this build. The other three used a Jirachi/Dedenne-GX engine. 

Day 2 AMPS
Here are the decks sorted by average match points per series (AMPS). Remember that lots of players by definition means lots of losers. That's why Reshiram & Charizard-GX ranks so low in terms of this metric, even if it's clearly very good.

Let me give some examples. You should interpret Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX/Slowking as having an impressive performance, due to its high ranking and high player count. Meanwhile, Zapdos shouldn't seem as impressive, because while its AMPS is similar to those of Pikachu & Zekrom-GX and Reshiram & Charizard-GX, Zapdos had a much smaller player count.

AMPS | Deck | Overall Day 2 record
2.000 | Malamar/Ultra Necrozma-GX | 3-1-1
1.844 | Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX/Slowking | 19-11-2
1.786 | Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel | 15-8-5
1.544 | Pikachu & Zekrom-GX | 28-25-4
1.533 | Zapdos/Ultra Beasts | 7-6-2
1.426 | Reshiram & Charizard-GX | 51-50-21
1.400 | Zoroark-GX/Gyarados | 2-2-1
1.267 | Quagsire/Naganadel | 6-8-1
1.200 | Blissey/Welder | 2-3-0
1.200 | Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX | 2-3-0
1.100 | Blacephalon UNB | 6-10-4
1.100 | Granbull | 3-5-2
0.800 | Vikavolt UNB | 1-3-1
0.733 | Weezing | 2-8-5
0.200 | Zoroark-GX/Glaceon-GX | 0-4-1

Matchup details
I wouldn't read too far into exact matchup details due to sample size, but we do have decent sample sizes for both Reshiram & Charizard-GX and Pikachu & Zekrom-GX:

R&C Favored vs P&Z (11-4-2)
R&C Favored vs Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX/Slowking (6-4-0)
R&C Neutral vs Zapdos (2-2-1)
R&C Unfavored vs Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel (3-8-1)
R&C Unfavored vs Blacephalon UNB (0-5-3)
R&C Unfavored vs Quagsire/Naganadel (2-5-0)
R&C Neutral vs Weezing (2-1-3)

P&Z Favored vs Weezing (3-0-1)
P&Z Favored vs Quagsire/Naganadel (3-0-0)
P&Z Unfavored vs Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX/Slowking (2-4-0)
P&Z Unfavored vs Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel (1-2-1)
P&Z Favored vs Blacephalon UNB (4-0-0)
P&Z Favored vs Zapdos (2-0-0)

Some conclusions
  • Weezing did very poorly in Day 2. Healing cards such as Acerola and Max Potion were seen in many decks including Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, Reshiram & Charizard-GX, and Zoroark-GX variants; all of these make things difficult for Weezing. The copy of Miltank in Team DDG's Reshiram & Charizard-GX list would also have crippled Weezing. Many decks on stream over the weekend were also running one or two Field Blower, which removes Weezing's Shrine of Punishment and Spell Tag (and also helped limit the success of Shedinja Stall). 
  • Zapdos wasn't that impressive in Day 2 either, falling from two Top 8 placements in Santa Clara to zero in Madison. The same healing techs that stopped Weezing also probably curbed Zapdos. 
  • Reshiram & Charizard ran into a lot of counter decks. Most notably, there were three Quagsire/Naganadel players in Day 2 as well as one Zoroark-GX/Gyarados; these decks could hit Reshiram & Charizard-GX's fire attackers for Weakness. 
    • In an interesting deck-building choice, Team DDG's Reshiram & Charizard-GX list did not run Choice Band; this meant it could only OHKO a Pikachu & Zekrom-GX once, by using Double Blaze GX (and this required attaching six Energy to one Pokémon). Rahul Reddy, who got 15th with Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, said he felt his deck had a favorable matchup against DDG's. 
    • Although not all of the Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel decks in Day 2 performed well, it seems the deck served adequately as another counter to Reshiram & Charizard-GX, with Ian Robb taking out three Reshiram & Charizard-GX in a row in Top 8. 

2019 Madison Regionals: Day 2 Players & Decks

Below are the players who achieved 19 or more match points to advance to Day 2 of the 2019 Santa Clara Regional Championship. Decks are being added as we continue to receive updates.

  1. Will Jenkins (8-0-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  2. Azul Garcia Griego (8-0-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  3. Cody Walinski (8-1-0), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  4. Jimmy Pendarvis (7-0-2), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  5. Ian Robb (7-1-1), Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel
  6. Zack Taylor (7-1-1), Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX/Slowking
  7. Daniel Altavilla (7-1-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  8. Xander Pero (7-1-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  9. Danny Chalet (7-1-1), Blacephalon UNB
  10. Patrick Littleson (7-1-1), Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX/Slowking
  11. Caleb Gedemer (7-2-0), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  12. Tristan Lackey (7-2-0), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  13. Drew Cate (6-0-3), Zapdos/Ultra Beasts
  14. Rahul Reddy (7-2-0), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  15. Arlo Neel (6-1-2), Granbull
  16. Nick Morin (6-1-2), Zoroark-GX/Gyarados
  17. Braiden Elfert (6-1-2), Blissey
  18. Jared Zander (6-1-2), Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX
  19. Michael Pramawat (6-1-2), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  20. Isaiah Williams (6-1-2), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  21. Dalten Cross (6-1-2), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  22. Noah Sawyer (6-2-1), Ultra Malamar
  23. Justin Bokhari (6-2-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  24. Adam Keibler (6-2-1), Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel
  25. Zakary Krekeler (6-2-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  26. Allen Schneider (6-2-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  27. Hector Ibarra (6-2-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  28. Sam Elliot (6-2-1), Weezing
  29. Christian Billings (6-2-1)
  30. Kevin Baxter (6-2-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX with Jolteon-GX and Alolan Muk SUM
  31. Caleb Patton (6-2-1), Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX/Slowking
  32. Tyler Renfro (6-2-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  33. Abe Morales (6-2-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  34. Brad Brown (6-2-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  35. Zach Lesage (5-0-4), Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel/Persian-GX
  36. Nick D'Angelo (6-2-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  37. Benjamin Dobberstein (5-0-4), Zapdos/Ultra Beasts
  38. Emery Taylor (6-2-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  39. Frank Percic (6-2-1), Quagsire/Naganadel with Articuno and Buzzwole & Pheromosa-GX/Unit Energy GRW
  40. Alec Geissler (6-2-1), Granbull
  41. Adler Pierce (6-2-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  42. Cody Graham (6-2-1), Blacephalon UNB with Flareon-GX
  43. Daniel Velez (6-2-1)
  44. Joseph Horth (6-2-1)
  45. Gregory Minklei (6-2-1), Quagsire/Naganadel
  46. Marcus Shannon (5-0-4)
  47. Addison Miller (6-2-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  48. Johnathan Thompson (6-2-1)
  49. Dallas Schmidt (6-2-1), Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX/Slowking
  50. Joshua Parks (6-2-1)
  51. Benjamin Telfor (6-2-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  52. Lucas Sokolik (6-2-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  53. John Bennett (6-2-1)
  54. Alex Krekeler (6-2-1), Zoroark-GX/Persian-GX/Slowking with Marshadow-GX/Koga's Trap
  55. Aren Ashlock (6-2-1), Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  56. Shane Bliss (6-2-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  57. Trisha Gilbert (6-2-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  58. Chris Hoag (6-2-1), Vikavolt UNB
  59. Ben Osborn (6-2-1), Blacephalon UNB
  60. Mike Gibbs (6-2-1), Quagsire/Naganadel
  61. Zack Grantzinger (6-2-1), Zapdos/Fighting
  62. Peter Benson (6-2-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  63. Tyler Keller (6-2-1), Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel
  64. Dan Irish (6-2-1), Blacephalon UNB
  65. Maxwell Pribyl (6-2-1), Reshiram & Charizard-GX
  66. Harrison Zipp (6-2-1), Blacephalon UNB