Our experts make their predictions on the upcoming Pokémon action in São Paulo.
The Latin America Pokémon TCG International Championships event is shaping up to be among the more interesting tournaments of the year. Not only is it the first Internationals of the season, but it's also the first time players will be able to use cards from the massive new Sun & Moon—Cosmic Eclipse expansion.
Our Power Rankings panelists were pretty divided on what deck will come out on top, but they all agree that Sun & Moon—Cosmic Eclipse is going to leave a huge impression on the tournament. Read on to see how they expect the matches to go down in Brazil.
As you watch the matches on Pokemon.com/Live on Friday, November 15, through Sunday, November 17, keep these Power Rankings nearby as a handy guide to the action!
Mewtwo & Mew-GX has seen remarkable success since its release, and that's not a surprise—being able to easily leverage the attacks of every Pokémon-GX is a pretty good way to win games. With the introduction of Sun & Moon—Cosmic Eclipse, there's a new group of twists altering the deck's outlook. Charizard & Braixen-GX and Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX are two of the new attackers that slot right into the typical Welder engine we've seen the deck employ, while Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX and even Naganadel & Guzzlord-GX could be worth exploring.
This deck will have to continue to evolve, as a major problem is on its way: Mimikyu's Shadow Box Ability is an existential threat to Mewtwo & Mew-GX, providing a way to upend the entire strategy that's difficult to counter. Given Shrine of Punishment and other easy ways to place damage counters, Mewtwo & Mew-GX will need to adapt to remain effective—we'll see if it's up to the task.
Control decks have been part of the Pokémon TCG landscape for a very long time, and they have become more relevant than ever over the last few years. The most successful players in the world have made it clear that one of the best ways to win a match in the Pokémon TCG is to deny your opponent the ability to execute their own strategy, and I expect that to be especially true at the Latin America International Championships.
Pidgeotto Control looks to disrupt your opponent in multiple ways, with cards like Crushing Hammer to prevent them from attacking, and Mars to whittle away at the cards in their hand. After eliminating your opponent's resources, Trainer cards like Power Plant and Chip-Chip Ice Axe will ensure that you maintain complete control over the game. Put these cards back into your deck with Oranguru, find them again using Pidgeotto's Air Mail Ability, rinse, and repeat. Pidgeotto Control plays unlike any other deck in the current Standard format, and I think that's exactly what gives it a huge edge going into our first International Championships of the season.
Prepare for the flame of Reshiram & Charizard-GX to burn brighter than ever at the Latin America International Championships. This well-established and highly decorated archetype gains powerful Pokémon and Trainer cards from the Pokémon TCG: Sun & Moon—Cosmic Eclipse expansion, many of which provide it with winning options against previously challenging matchups.
Despite being a Colorless type, Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX adds some extra firepower to the deck. Using its Jumping Balloon attack, this card can Knock Out popular TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX like Mewtwo & Mew-GX, Reshiram & Charizard-GX, and Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX in one hit...without using its GX attack!
In combination with the new Volcarona-GX's Flaming Shot Ability and the Great Catcher Item card, even Reshiram & Charizard-GX can now threaten to Knock Out TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX on consecutive turns. Flaming Shot and Great Catcher can also be used to quickly power up Victini Prism Star's Infinity attack for some surprise damage.
Decks relying on single-Prize attackers may prove to be an obstacle for players who bring Reshiram & Charizard-GX to the Latin America Internationals. However, for the rest of their opponents, it will be a trial by fire.
After an unexpectedly strong run at the World Championships, Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX settled in as a powerful contender in the metagame. I believe Sun & Moon—Cosmic Eclipse might be the expansion to push it over the top, as it's the archetype that gains the most from the new cards. Tag Call is an amazing card, as it can easily grab a pair of Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX. Plus, new TAG TEAM Supporters are useful, such as Mallow & Lana and Cynthia & Caitlin, which can get back Green's Exploration, the core Supporter of the deck. Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX also gives the deck more punch against other TAG TEAM decks.
But that's not all. Sun & Moon—Cosmic Eclipse introduces Reshiram & Zekrom-GX and Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX—two powerful TAG TEAMs that happen to have a Fairy-type Weakness. If these cards are popular at the Latin America International Championships, then Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX could be the perfect counter to them!
Malamar has been a consistent part of the metagame for more than a year now, but it has yet to reach the finals of an International Championships. This could change soon, thanks to some new cards from Sun & Moon—Cosmic Eclipse.
One of the biggest additions to Malamar decks is Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX, which gains the power to easily Knock Out many of the biggest Pokémon-GX in one attack. Blacephalon, Mimikyu, and the promo card Trevenant & Dusknoir-GX are further options that may be included in lists going forward. The release of Great Catcher benefits this deck a lot, as well.
All that coupled with the best single-Prize attacker in the format, Giratina, makes for a scary combination! Malamar may be the strongest it's ever been, so look out for it in São Paulo.
Stéphane Ivanoff: You might think that since we don't feature any new archetype-defining Pokémon in these Power Rankings, Sun & Moon—Cosmic Eclipse won't have any significant impact on the metagame. However, there are several new cards with unique effects, like Chaotic Swell and Island Challenge Amulet, which will surely change the way some matchups go, resulting in unpredictable effects on the metagame. For example, Chaotic Swell protects Keldeo-GX from Power Plant, so it gets stronger against decks like Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX. That may lead to a Keldeo-GX deck finding a good place in the metagame.
Of all the archetypes that get improved by niche cards from Sun & Moon—Cosmic Eclipse, the one I'm the most curious about is Beheeyem. Keep an eye on it!
Ellis Longhurst: We have placed our confidence in these five archetypes, but there are a plethora of other potentially winning combinations to explore with the cards from the new Sun & Moon—Cosmic Eclipse expansion. Previous results at international tournaments have demonstrated that innovation in the form of a new archetype or simply the inclusion of an unusual tech card can surprise opponents and lead to success. Pairing Welder with Mewtwo & Mew-GX was unheard of before Henry Brand won the 2019 Pokémon World Championships with this combination! Players should not shy away from piloting an original concept at the Latin America International Championships. As long as they have confidence in their choice, the title of Champion is within reach.
Christopher Schemanske: We've seen Reshiram & Charizard-GX do quite well in Latin America so far this season, in contrast to less successful performances throughout the rest of the world, which could create an interesting distribution of decks in the tournament. With the largest expansion ever becoming legal the day of the event, I'm excited to compete in what figures to be an eventful first Internationals in the 2020 Championship Series!
Robin Schulz: TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX, after dominating the game recently, get another significant boost with the release of Tag Call. I believe an engine based around this card and the new TAG TEAM Supporters may replace the popular Dedenne-GX in many decks. Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX, Reshiram & Zekrom-GX, and Great Catcher are all among cards that make Dedenne-GX even more of a liability than it has been before, so players should take a good look at the alternatives.
I'm excited to see what decks come out on top in Brazil. Just like at Worlds, the format is completely fresh, and the biggest expansion of all time leaves a lot of room for creativity...ideal conditions for a fun and exciting tournament!
Kenny Wisdom: The Latin America International Championships will be the first major event using cards from the Sun & Moon—Cosmic Eclipse expansion. The full impact the new cards will have on the Standard format remains to be seen, but there are a few cards that I believe are going to end up becoming an important part of the metagame. Among them, Great Catcher stands out in a serious way. These sort of “pull” effects have always been among the most powerful things you can do, and with the majority of the top decks including so many copies of crucial Pokémon-GX and TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX, Great Catcher is a card that should be on everyone's radar.
About the Panel
Stéphane Ivanoff is a contributing writer for Pokemon.com. A longtime Pokémon fan, he has played the Pokémon TCG competitively since 2010 and is a former National Champion, seven-time Worlds competitor, and the 2018 and 2019 North America International Champion in the Masters Division. He studied mathematics and has a degree in probability and statistics, but he says that doesn't help his game as much as you'd think! You can follow him on Twitter @lubyllule.
Ellis Longhurst is a contributing writer for Pokemon.com. She has been competing in high-level Pokémon TCG tournaments since 2006 and creating written content for the Pokémon community since 2011. Now she brings some Australian flavor to the Play! Pokémon commentary teams at the International and World Championships.
Christopher Schemanske is a contributing writer for Pokemon.com. After seven consecutive seasons of invitations to the Pokémon TCG World Championships, culminating in a Top 16 finish at the 2018 event, he's switched most of his involvement in Pokémon to serving as tournament staff. You can find him playing or judging at Pokémon TCG events, as well as on Twitter @cschemanske.
Robin Schulz is a contributing writer for Pokemon.com. He has been competing in Pokémon tournaments for 10 years and was the Pokémon TCG Masters Division World Champion in 2018. He spends a lot of time traveling and competing, and he rarely misses a big event. Aside from playing Pokémon, he attends university, where he is studying mathematics.
Kenny Wisdom is a contributing writer for Pokemon.com. A longtime player of the Pokémon TCG, he claims to be the most prolific writer in the history of the game. These days you can find him on the desk as part of the commentary team covering Play! Pokémon events as well as on Twitter @kwisdumb.