[Japan Championships 7-2] Weezing Zebstrika


Please find the original Japanese-language article here. Note my translation is not a perfect translation and I have rearranged and reworded some parts of the original article for clarity and readability. Find also some explanatory comments inside square brackets, italicised.

Greetings, this is yos.

Note: While there is nothing behind the paywall, you may pay for this article if you are feeling generous. [Note: You may give 100 yen to the original author of the article by clicking the link in the disclaimer above].

The PJCS (Pokemon Japan Championships) has finally concluded. Today, I will write about the deck I used at the JCS as well as talk about my matchups on the day.

My result was 7 wins and 2 losses, my losses being early in the tournament, resulting in a 100th place finish. I was not able to continue to the main round [Note: Unfortunately, many 7-2s bubbled from day 2]. I did not end up playing the deck I had been perfecting right up until the tournament. It hadn’t been playing as usual, and on the day before the tournament I suddenly changed decks. However, this has been my best result since picking up the game in October, so I have no regrets.

That’s a lie. I’m very disappointed.

What were you doing until the day before?

I had been using a Dark deck with my testing group. As it was not my deck that I thought up from scratch, I won’t explain all of the details, but the idea behind the deck was this: using Sableye’s Limitation, you would slow down your opponent while setting up your benched Naganadal and Weavile GX. You would also set up Mega Sableye & Tyranitar GX and Umbreon & Darkrai GX to pressure tanky GX Pokemon. When Sableye gets knocked out, its Energy goes to the discard, allowing it to be used for Charging Up. If you are able to halt your opponent’s set up during Limitation turns, I think you can win without much trouble. While I had confidence in this deck, you can be hugely affected by which cards you Prize and the chances of dead drawing are quite high. I decided to stop using the deck because I didn’t have confidence in my playing and deck building skills.

Regarding the metagame, I believed there would be lots of Reshiram & Charizard variants, Zoroark variants and Mewtwo & Mew variants.  I also predicted there to be Dark Box decks created from the cards released in Miracle Twin, Malamar variants (Ultra Necrozma and Garchomp & Giratina) and Aerodactyl Carracosta decks.

In the actual tournament, I only played against one Reshiram & Charizard, and no Zoroark, Mewtwo & Mew or Malamar, which wasn’t as planned. But I think the actual metagame was close to what I had predicted.

If you have the luck to hit conventional decks in the early rounds and you are a person who can play according to their testing, I think you could go deep into the tournament. On the other hand, if you end up hitting good players with unconventional decks, I think there is a chance that even top players could perform badly. This was the type of tournament that I thought the JCS would be.  

I was lucky to hit many opponents that I was somewhat advantaged against, though I didn’t realise it at the time.  

Deck List


Yes, that’s right. I played Weezing.

While I saw other people mentioning this in their articles, the usual reaction to opponents seeing Koffing was, “Damn! I ended up hitting Weezing.” This made me very happy.

I think what sets my deck apart is that it runs a high count of Zebstrika. It is very strong.

Card Explanation

4 Weezing

It is a strong card. I don’t understand why it isn’t a rare.

4 Koffing

I ran the 70HP Koffing. If I had used the 60HP Koffing, I would be able to use Normalium Z, giving the deck more options. In the decks I usually use, I like to run a lot of one ofs, for example Articuno Rainbow Box [Note: I have no idea what this deck is…], where pretty much every card is a one of.

However, for this tournament, I decided that I would run a rounded out deck, with the conviction that if I didn’t hit bad matchups I would be fine. I thought it would be strong to run as many three and four ofs as I could, so I decided upon the 70HP Koffing.

3 Zebstrika

This is the best card for thinning your deck. While you would understand if you played the card for yourself, its retreat of one and its two Energy Head Bolt for 60 damage are both very useful. It is so good I could die. I was able to win some matches in the tournament thanks to this card.

Often I would evolve this from Ditto.

As I thought it would be best to run lots of strong cards, I ran three copies. I considered running four, but decided against it as if you set up too many, you will run through your deck too quickly. There have been some decks using that concept recently, though.

There was no doubt that this card was the MVP. Thank you, Mr. Zebra.

2 Blitzle

As there is no reason for me to use Delivery Dash with Counter Energy and having higher HP would be better, I chose the Blitzle with 70HP.

The card is strong simply due to it being the pre-evolution of Zebstrika. If you are able to set up one you will be comfortable, and if you can set up two that will be more than enough. As I wanted to start Koffing as often as possible, I ran two copies.

1 Mimikyu

Originally, I had two Psychic and one Fairy Mimikyu, but I kept starting it so I reduced my counts. Even if I do start it, I can use Filch so it’s not too bad.

This card is very strong because it can use any attack other than GX attacks.

It is most useful when you are playing against a Reshiram & Charizard player. They might think, “I may as well knock out Weezing with a 230 damage Flare Strike, even if that seems a bit overkill.”

In fact, that deck doesn’t have a lot of ways to knock out Weezing. If too many damage counters pile up, it will become inconvenient for the Weezing player, but up until that point they must use Double Blaze GX or Heatran GX’s Steaming Stomp.

If your opponent attacks you with a strong attack, you can retaliate immediately. Isn’t Mimikyu strong?

Of course, you can also use Riotous Beating and Full Blitz.

By the way, while Fairy Mimikyu can knock out Garchomp & GIratina GX due to weakness, it isn’t useful when they play the recycling Giratina game. So, I chose the Psychic Mimikyu to hit into Mewtwo & Mew GX for weakness.

I had stupidly forgotten that Wondrous Labyrinth existed.

1 Mr Mime

I ran this to prevent Acerola.

Though, I was aware I could also use it against Gourgeist. When my opponent would discard U Turn Board, I would say, “OK, you discarded that. Wait a moment! Please don’t return it to your hand. I have Mr Mime in play, so it has to go to the discard. Yes, goodbye!”

This is also effective against Zoroark Lycanroc. As a result of my aforementioned “rounded out deck”, I did not run Secret Hood. So, let’s be careful of using Mr Mime when Alolan Muk is in play.

1 Marshadow

In the JCS 2019, I played this card on the first turn and won. In this case, you would be called a criminal, but I don’t really understand the problem with playing this card on the first turn and giving your opponent a hopeless hand. What is so wrong about playing a card to win?

I often didn’t search for this card on the first turn, as there aren’t many decks which are bad matchups for Weezing which would be crippled into an easy win by Let Loose. However, I think you should use it on the first turn when you have a dead hand but have Pokemon Communication or Mysterious Treasure.

1 Mew

This card can be used to avoid the worst of attacks like Tag Bolt GX, Sky Legend GX, Dual Blizzard etc. Against evolution decks which go first, Weezing’s Detention Gas is unable to spread much damage, so it is quite common to use Mew’s Psychic Power to spread damage instead.

Sometimes when you feel that you can’t win a match, you can Guzma up a Pokemon with a heavy retreat cost and continually use Psychic Power to try to win.

1 Tapu Lele

While I thought I wouldn’t need this card, it is useful when you have a situation where you want to knock out your opponent’s powered up Pokemon, but they only have one Prize card left. You can use it when you have spread your damage well.

In fact, you can play it down when you don’t want your Weezing to be knocked out. Your opponent may think that you have something up your sleeve, and will go out of their way to use Guzma and knock it out. It is the world’s best decoy.

While I haven’t given a clear reason for this card, as my deck is a spread deck I have included it. I think it would be harder to come up with reasons not to include it.

1 Absol

The dark horse of the tournament. It can mess with your opponent’s calculations just by putting it in play. Basically, this card can slow down the tempo of any deck with Jirachi in it. With two Counter Energy, remember you can knock out Pokemon such as Gengar & Mimikyu GX.

1 Larvitar

Originally, I ran two copies, but after receiving advice from an acquaintance about deck space and the low chances of Zoroark Lycanroc being widely played, I dropped one copy.
Of course, Larvitar can deal great damage thanks to weakness, can take down Tapu Lele GX for the last Prize and can deal with tough non-GX Stage 2 Pokemon. It is great when you attach Choice Band and take down Raichu & Alolan Raichu GX.

1 Ditto Prism 

Rather than becoming my fifth Koffing, more often than not it became my third Blitzle. If you are able to set up Koffing, Blitzle and Ditto Prism on your first turn, you will be in a very strong position.

4 Nest Ball

It is a strong card, so I ran four.

3 Mysterious Treasure

You can search for Psychic types, such as Tapu Lele or Mimikyu, so it is great. Without this card, the deck is not very good.

2 Pokemon Communication

This deck contains twenty-one Pokemon. I will usually have at least one of them in hand, so this card is strong. I was most often using it to find Let Loose Marshadow or Zebstrika.

3 Spell Tag

Everything is strong about this card. I wanted to have four, but due to not being able to attach it to Zebstrika or Larvitar, and wanting to include one Choice Band, I reduced this count by one. If my Zoroark Lycanroc opponent goes first and I am not able to place down Shrine of Punishment, let’s pray that I will be able to use this card.

1 Choice Band

While Spell Tag is the strongest Tool, if Choice Band is Field Blowered, nothing has really happened except that my opponent has used up their Field Blower. So I ran this card.
I think this card makes my deck more aggressive by increasing the damage that is actively dealt.

If you attach Choice Band to Larvitar, you can knock out hefty Tag Teams such as Pikachu & Zekrom GX, Raichu & Alolan Raichu GX and Umbreon & Darkrai GX with four damage counters on them. You can also attach it to Weezing when you need that little bit of extra damage against Tapu Lele GX or Dedenne GX, allowing you to hit for 70 damage.

Further, after your opponent uses Flare Strike, you can get a surprise OHKO on an unscathed Reshiram & Charizard GX from Choice Band + Shrine of Punishment + Copycat with Mimikyu.

Rather than using it for the extra 30 damage, I often used it in conjunction with weakness to hit an extra 60 damage.

1 U Turn Board

This card is great.

In order to successfully pull off the aforementioned Copycat Mimikyu combo or Magical Swap Tapu Lele without this card, the Pokemon must be in play already. Having Zebstrika in play can allow you to get off a surprise attack if you also have U Turn Board.

In order to carry out this surprise attack in the late game, you just need to be able to draw this card once throughout the entire game. With this reasoning, I only included one copy, though I think two copies could also work.

While all Pokemon in this deck have a retreat cost of one except for Weezing, in order to not be stopped by Absol and Mount Lanakila, we should attach this to Zebstrika.

 2 Rescue Stretcher

While strong, sometimes I have to throw it away with Sprint. I want a “Rescue Stretcher” Stretcher…

2 Reset Stamp

When you are in a difficult position, you should Guzma up a Pokemon with high retreat cost, play this card, and continue spreading. While this card is a common card in decks, players often discard them without a second thought. This can cause a player to lose, as this card impacts the late game. These types of misplays are hard to notice, but do use your Reset Stamps carefully.

4 Lillie

It is a strong card, so I ran four.

4 Cynthia

My usual self would run three Cynthia and an Erika’s Hospitality or a Janine, but since I wanted to run a rounded out deck I ran four Cynthia. I think this resulted in a great success.

2 Guzma

If you discard this without thinking, you will lose.

There were times where I had to discard this due to Sprint, so I considered running Pal Pad. However, at key points in the game I would draw Pal Pad instead of Guzma so I don’t think I would run it, though it is strong.

3 Shrine of Punishment

If you discard this without thinking, you will also lose.

In fact, in the second round of the JCS, by playing this down on the first turn, I essentially had already lost at that point. I will explain the reason as to why later on.

All of the Energy cards I chose were strong, so my reasoning for those has been omitted.

Cards that didn’t make it

This will be quite messy, so please forgive me.

Oranguru

This can be stopped by Alolan Muk, so it is not good. If you do decide to run this, you should seriously consider running two Secret Hoods.

Nihilego

While Night Cap is certainly strong, I haven’t used Nihilego except in Jirachi Zapdos, and as Jirachi Zapdos runs Rainbow Energy and I need Counter Energy, I didn’t have confidence in being able to use it well. If you do run it, I think you should also run basic Psychic Energy.

Tapu Koko (Flying Flip)

While this is a strong card for sure, it is stopped by opposing Mews and being able to start Tapu Koko while having Double Colourless Energy in hand is almost unheard of, so I decided against running it.

Frost Rotom

I ran this originally, but the effect of its attack was too dependent on my opponent. Even if I had a very good set up, if my opponent didn’t have a lot of Energy it would be useless.

Jirachi

While it is strong, it is stopped by Alolan Muk and I can get most things once I have set up Zebstrika anyway. If you use this and Escape Board, you will also need to run four 
PokeGear 3.0.

Pokegear 3.0

I had this in originally, but I ran out of space and wanted a few more draw Supporters.

On the day of the JCS I never dead drew.

Counter Catcher

This is honestly a strong card, and I did want to run it, but I was told by a person that I respect that it was a “convenience” card, and I was unable to refute that. In fact, this was true, and if you get your Guzma plays correct at key points in the game, you will win regardless.

Secret Hood

This is a card I could put in to prevent Alolan Muk stopping Mew, but I may as well lose hard to opponents I will lose to, and against a Zoroark Lycanroc that can set up Alolan Muk I can just lock the Alolan Muk in the Active and hope to win from there.

Hapu

When I think about hitting four Double Colourless Energy off this I cannot sleep at night, so I did not include it.

Erika’s Hospitality

Not all decks try to set up large benches, so I did not include it.

Mount Lanakila

It’s fine if you get it in play, but please do not let it get removed immediately.

Powerplant

I should have played this card. I think it’s a pretty good card. Decks which are hurt by Powerplant are also hurt by Shrine of Punishment. It could be very good if your opponent works hard to get rid of your Shrine of Punishments and then you play Reset Stamp and Powerplant together.

Basic Psychic Energy

I kept discarding this with Mysterious Treasure, but then I realised that my deck didn’t have Psychic Recharge so I took it out.

It was strong in the sense that you could take advantage of your opponent’s Viridian Forest.

Tournament Report

I don’t remember everything exactly. It may become rough at times, so please forgive me.

Round 1: Jirachi Zapdos Raichu & Alolan Raichu, Second, Win

I was really nervous. The first round of a major tournament is way too stressful. It was so stressful that I said to my opponent, “I just can’t do this kind of time~~” My opponent was sympathetic towards me and that helped me relax.

Because I was playing against Jirachi Zapdos, if I was able to set up a Weezing, my opponent would need two Electropowers to knock it out with Zapdos, which is unsustainable in the long game. So, Raichu & Alolan Raichu GX appeared. I managed to put four damage counters on it and then I was able to knock it out with a Choice Banded Larvitar.

Round 2: Gardevoir & Sylveon Mismagius, First, Loss

The moment I saw Gardevoir & Sylveon GX, my heart clenched painfully and I thought, “Wait, this wasn’t in my meta prediction!”

Well, that’s fine, but I was going to make a joke of this game.

In particular, I played down Shrine of Punishment without confirming my Prize cards. This was my only accessible Shrine of Punishment (the rest were in my Prizes).

Powerplant came out in seconds. While I was able to take three Prizes and receive one from Misdreavous to take four in total, only one Shrine of Punishment came to hand. The scenario become one so that I had to use Sprint to find an Energy, so I played down the Shrine of Punishment. It was replaced by Wonderous Labyrinth. None of my Pokemon were able to attack, so I resigned.

Round 3: Mareep Mega Sableye & Tyranitar

While I had only lost once, I had become depressed.

They started Mareep. I started Mr Mime.

I perpetually fell victim to Fluffy Pillow without being able to draw Guzma, and my opponent was able to set up Weavile GX and Alolan Ninetales GX. Despite Shrine of Punishment being in play, my opponent placed GX Pokemon on the board, and while I was being stalled by Mareep I was able to set up myself. By this time, my opponent’s board looked like a damage counter festival (in order to slow down my opponent, I had played Let Loose Marshadow).

There were also times where my opponent did not know what Weezing did, and I eventually had 60 damage counters on board and was able to use Magical Swap to take all six Prizes.
Due to Fluffy Pillow, I flipped seven tails in a row, and my Mr Mime was in the Active for about eight turns straight.

Round 4: Aerodactyl Carracosta, Second, Loss

I hit the matchup that I didn’t want to hit the most.

Thanks to Carracosta, my Spell Tags and U Turn Board had no effect, and Rock Smash knocked out Weezing perfectly. Since the Pokemon played down due to Pokemon Research Laboratory are Stage 1 Pokemon, I couldn’t damage them through Detention Gas.

I was too honest.

By the way, my opponent, who had played on stream at the previous Champions League, was a very good person when I talked to them and was a pleasure to play against. I thought that I would like to become such a player.

Round 5: Pikachu & Zekrom, First, Win

Pikachu & Zekrom is a deck which essentially only runs Basic and GX Pokemon. This is not always the case, but if the board is filled with Basic GX Pokemon:
  • At the start of the turn, Detention Gas deals 10 damage to each Pokemon (60 damage total)
  • At the start of the turn, Shrine of Punishment deals 10 damage to each Pokemon (120 damage total)
  • The attack does 40 damage to the Active and 20 damage to the rest (260 damage total)
  • At the end of the turn, Detention Gas deals 10 damage to each Pokemon (320 damage total)
  • At the end of the turn, Shrine of Punishment deals 10 damage to each Pokemon (380 damage total)

I was able to bench Mew, and if I could set up my board I believed that I would be able to win unless I was Let Loosed and unable to draw out of it. On the other hand, I could also win with Let Loose.

Needless to say, I won without any problems.

Round 6: Aerodactyl Rampardos, Second, Win

I thought I was up against Fossils again. My opponent was impossibly honest, and it seemed they had Prized one Craniodos, which put them in a difficult position.

Eventually, my opponent was able to set up Rampardos and I ran out of Weezing, but there was an Aerodactyl with 160 damage on the Bench. I was able to use Zebstrika’s Head Bolt to knock it out and win.

That was a really close game.

Round 7: Hoopa Umbreon, Second, Win

I went second and only had Ditto. My opponent and was able to create an insane set up.
Although Umbreon’s Retaliate is painful because it knocks out Weezing perfectly, it is fine if you don’t knock anything out. If you are attacking with Detention Gas, around the seventh or eighth turn you can knock out four Pokemon at the same time for a stunning victory.

In fact, there was an ant on my Prize cards. I am extremely disgusted by insects, so I wanted to win without needing to touch my Prize cards, which is why I made the above play.

Round 8: Reshiram & Charizard, Second, Win

Finally, I hit a deck which I expected to be a tier 1 deck.

Firstly, I was attacked by Turtonator, but my opponent realised that it was very painful to use three Energy every turn on a non-GX Pokemon, and began to attack with Reshiram & Charizard GX. I was able to take all my Prizes.

As I mentioned, I had not practiced with Weezing, so I was amazed to have won.

While my Prizes were not bad, I actually had the win one turn before, with Larvitar. Instead, I attacked with Weezing, giving my opponent an extra turn. I had lost focus.

Round 9: Pikachu & Zekrom, First, Win

It was the final round, and my deck ran at its best. I did everything I wanted to do from the first turn and set up an insane board.

When I set up this well, it was because I didn’t want to lose to a Pikachu & Zekrom deck. While the game truly starts when you knock out Eelektross with Larvitar, Eelektross has a high Energy cost, and non-GX Pokemon need to be knocked out continually.

Result: 7-2 100th place

Conclusion

The JCS ended in this kind of way.

Losing in the early stages, hitting opponents who were weak and not hitting many easy matchups like Reshiram & Charizard and Giratina Malamar and not hitting any Zoroark variants which I practiced a lot against were things that I regretted. However, I was not disappointed in my deck choice. Weezing was definitely the way to go.

I started playing last October, and I haven’t performed very well: I went 2-3 at the 
Champions League Chiba and 3-3 at the Champions League Kyoto. This 7-2 finish has 
given me some newfound confidence.

The findings I obtained this time were:
-          The metagame isn’t everything
  • A reasonably strong deck which can consistently win match points is a good play
  • A rounded out deck that doesn’t dead draw is the strongest
  • Decks with difficult damage calculation which make your opponent think are effective
  • New cards which are hyped up to be strong are good in major tournaments

As I am still an immature player, I hope to get a little stronger before the beginning of next season.

If anyone has any questions, and they are questions I know the answer to, I will answer them.

Questions and Answers

As I mentioned in the article, I got more responses than I expected and some questions. I will answer them here.

What do you do against Mew?

While decks like Passimian Koko disappeared after Mew hit the scene, this deck is not stopped by Mew. Detention Gas is still able to be used, as well as Spell Tag, and before you know it you will have spread enough damage counters to draw your Prize cards.

If Rescue Stretcher is used repeatedly, and you think you may run out of damage counters, use Magical Swap to pile up damage counters onto your opponent’s support Pokemon. If you can destroy your opponent’s board, you will be in a good position.

Can you beat Zoroark Lycanroc?

Honestly, I think your chances of winning are about fifty percent. If you go first and their deck runs at about fifty per cent, you should be able to win.

When I played this deck before, a lot of people said to not max out your bench. However, Lycanroc GX’s Claw Slash barely misses the KO on Weezing, so a full bench Riotous Beating is needed.

Hence, your opponent will always be filling their bench. If they do not evolve, they will be hit by Detention Gas. If they do evolve, they will be hit by Shrine of Punishment, and you will rack up damage counters in no time. It takes a while for me to begin taking Prizes, and due to Zebstrika cards like Reset Stamp and Judge don’t affect me much.

The only tough thing is that Alolan Muk stops Mr Mime and my opponent can chain Acerolas. Let’s get Larvitar and Rescue Stretcher out quickly, and knock out Persian GX with Guzma.

If you can knock out two GXs with Larvitar, the rest of the Prizes can come from Pokemon which are affected by both Detention Gas and Shrine of Punishment, such a Tapu Lele GX or Dedenne GX, and they will be knocked out without doing much.


Please find the original Japanese-language article here.

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