Thursday, February 7, 2013

Metagaming the ECC

Did the U.S. players get the most out
of Garbodor?

Hello everyone!

Tomorrow morning I’ll leave for the Netherlands, to my 3rd most important tournament of the year – the European Challenge Cup (ECC). For those who don’t know what ECC, it’s practically European Championships for the Pokémon TCG. It gathers over 300 players all around the Europe for the title. Last two years, I have attended the tournament, and reached top16 both times. I hope, I’ll continue that streak once again!

Anyways, I know there are some European readers on my blog, so I decided to do a quick metagame analysis of what I expect the ECC metagame to be like. This is also to clear my head before the tournament, because I like writing my thoughts on paper. If you want to follow my ECC run in real-time, remember to follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

This will be quick, but interesting, so let’s get going.

Landorus EX/Mewtwo EX

This deck is interesting, but doesn’t fit my playstyle. It has an awesome match-up against Eelektrik and Darkrai EX variants and also Garbodor variants, but it has big difficulties against Blastoise. The amount of Landorus EX/Mewtwo EXs is completely depedant on how much people expect to see Blastoise variants. I don’t believe this deck will make a big showing even though it’s tier1 quality. Just because of the Blastoise match-ups. I assume that 10% of the field will be these decks and that one of them will make it all the way to the top4!

Eelektrik/Rayquaza EX

To be honest, I have never liked Eelektrik variants. In fact, I have NEVER played them in a tournament. Low HP Basics combined to low HP and “big” retreat stage1 Pokémon is something that doesn’t really tempt me. Tynamos are easily OHKOed by Mewtwo EX and Landorus EX (as I experienced in my last tournament) and when not going first, Eelektrik variants have trouble against almost every deck. Not to mention that Darkrai EX hits for 90 and 30, which are pretty magical numbers for KOing Eelektriks and Tynamos.

Eelekrik/Rayquaza EX’s best match-up is Blastoise. Blastoise on the other hand doesn’t really have any other bad match-ups other than Eelektrik (and Garbodor). This may justify playing Eelektrik as I expect Blastoise being easily the most popular deck of the ECC. Eelektrik decks will also be about 10-15% of the metagame, but I don’t’ expect any of them making the top4. Only if they are able to hit Blastoise decks from T32 onwards.

Blastoise/Keldeo EX

First of all, in one of the past tournament in the Netherlands, the whole top4 of a local CC was filled with Blastoise. Yes, there were 4 Blastoise/Keldeo EXs in the top4. So, expect Blastoise/Keldeo EX being the most popular deck of the ECC as well. It has great match-ups against everything but Eelektrik and Garbodor variants, which on the other hand struggle with many other decks. Blastoise is easy to play and even though it’s quite expensive at the moment, it really isn’t an issue anyone attending ECC.

I expect Blastoise to cover at least 40% of the metagame. Yes, 40%! The reason for this is that it’s easy to play, easy to build and once you get the set-up with it, it’s very difficult to stop Blastoise from rolling over you. There will be at least one Blastoise/Keldeo EX in the top4 of the ECC. When looking at the amount of Blastoises played in the tournament, I wouldn’t be surprised to see 2 Blastoises in the top4.

Darkrai EX variants

Hammertime, Hydreigon and Darkrai/Mewtwo EX will be the three most popular Darkrai EX variants in the tournament. Hydreigon is on the rise thanks to Blastoises popularity and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hydreigons getting some top32 spots in the tournament if they are able to face the correct match ups in the swiss. Hitting 140 is just devastating to any Blastoise player.

On the other hand, Hammertime and Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX are both decreasing in popularity and it may very well be that not a single Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX will get to top32. Not to mention placing into the top4. Hammertime on the other hand is the more potential, the more random and surprise decks pop up in the tournament. Hammertime struggles with the main decks of this format, because of their energy acceleration Ability, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hammertime get into the top4.


Garbodor is on the rise. But do people tech Tool Scrapper to their decks, once it did well in the U.S. Regionals? If they do, Garbodors will be destroyed in the Swiss, but if ability-playing decks get cocky and don’t care about the possible Garbodors, Garbodor players will have an easy way to defeat all the Eelektriks, Hydreigons and Blastoises in their way to the top32.

It’s very difficult to determine how many Garbodors there will be and how they will affect the overall metagame. It may be that no one has the guts to play Garbodor now that it’s discussed once again, but it may also be that there are a lot of players that take the chance and found out that the risk was worth taking. I don’t expect the tournament have a lot of Garbodor decks, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Garbodor went all the way to the finals of the tournament. Anything can happen, as long as the opponent’s aren’t prepared for Garbodor.

Random and Surprise decks?

In the last ECC, we saw a lot of interesting new ideas since a new set was released. However, now the metagame has been analyzed and played to death, so I don’t expect the ECC to have ANY new decks. Yes, the metagame will be dull, boring and familiar to all of us. The only “surprising” decks may be some less known Garbodor variants like Accelgor/Garbodor, but I don’t expect to do that well.

The tournament will be very big, so of course there will be some weird decks as well that are non-metagame decks, but I don’t expect them to do well either. The power of Darkrai EX, Mewtwo EX, Landorus EX and Keldeo EX is just too much to handle for random cards and decks. The top4 of the tournament will be formed by the top tier decks that we all are already familiar with.


My plane will leave early tomorrow morning, so I better stop here and go get some rest. Feel free to comment on anything or ask anything. Wish me luck for the weekend’s tournament and don’t forget to follow my run on Twitter and Facebook!

Thanks for reading and good luck to everyone attending the ECC!


  1. What is the preffered # on twitter you'll be using?
    #PokeECC #PokemonECC #ECCPokemon
    or something else,

    so everybody could use the same # to tweet so I could follow the whole tournament

  2. Tomasz Chmura here. Well the meta wasn't as boring as you predicted. Blastoises and Keldeos weren't that many there and 2 little bit different decks made it to top8 ;).

    Mine and Igor's. He played Tornadus Ex + Mewtwo Ex with acceleration from Eels and I've played Darkrai with Garbodors + Terrakions/Landorus+Mewtwo ex. So It was obviously made of mainstream cards but definately NOT boring :).

    PS. I havn't faced ANY Blastoise/Keldeo with my Garbodors ;).

    PS2. Nice seeing your comment here Bauke :)

  3. The metagame was pretty much all anti-keldeo decks and a few keldeo. So 3 different darkrai dekcs and rayeels got in top 4 :)


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