Singapore Meta-Snapshot February/Early-March 2019: Team Up Meta Shift

by Kashvinder Singh

Kash started collecting and playing Pokémon TCG since the original Base Set days and stopped right around the point of EX Sandstorm in 2003 due to school. The release of Evolutions in 2011 reignited his interest in the game. 

Since then he has started playing the game more competitively with more shops hosting weekly events. He collates results from Singapore’s local tournament scene (and streamed games) through Team Silv in the hopes it will help all players. He’s also part of PokéStats.

Hey guys, Kash here and today I’ll share with you some stats and findings on what Team Up has done in the first month of play in the local scene here in Singapore. Even though Team Up was legal for official play on the 15th, our Singapore Pro- Circuit league games allowed it on the day it was released, giving players more time to get used to the upcoming format.

The Singapore Pro-Circuit is a seasonal tournament aimed at promoting the Pokémon TCG in Singapore. Players earn Pro-Circuit points through tournaments held in local TCG stores across the country. This culminates in an invitational tournament where the Top 32 players with the highest accumulated Pro-Circuit points compete for top prizes.

Week 1

Feb 1 – Project EXT (11 Players)
1) Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX (3/0/0)
2) Buzzwole/Garbodor (3/0/0)
3) Marshadow-GX/Malamar (2/1/0)
4) Passimian/Tapu Koko (2/1/0)

First game of Team Up and it’s the old master Klive Aw taking the first league win with Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX, a deck he used to pilot before Buzzwole-GX showed up. Zapdos/Jirachi was the only new archetype to show up, played by Titally, as most players still hadn’t gotten the cards for the newer decks, opting to go with Ultra Necrozma-GX and Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX, easily the two most popular decks. Malamar decks gained the new stadium Viridian Forest while the ZoroRoc players all added Nanu to help bring out Weavile (Ultra Prism) or Alolan Muk (Sun & Moon) when the time was right.

Feb 3 – Bricks Play (12 Players)
1) Pikachu & Zekrom (3/0/0)
2) Zoroark-GX/Gardevoir-GX (3/0/0)
3) Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt (2/1/0)
4) Zoroark-GX/Golisopod-GX (2/1/0)

The first real Tag Team-GX deck made their first appearance with Pkachu & Zekrom-GX. Two guys went with it in two very different versions of the deck. The turbo version proved to be more successful, taking three wins while the tool box version only took one win. The other new deck to show up was a Jolteon-GX/Decidueye-GX deck while an old favourite, Zoroark GX/Golisopod-GX made up the rest of the Top 4.

Popular decks scores after Week 1

Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar 5/10/0 5 players 33.33%
Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX 4/2/0 2 players 66.67%
Pikachu & Zekrom-GX 4/2/0 2 players 66.67%
Zapdos/Jirachi 2/1/0 1 player 66.67%
Passimian/Tapu Koko 2/1/0 1 player 66.67%
Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel 0/3/0 1 player 0%

Two games in and so far Ultra Necrozma-GX was the choice for the players here but only one had moderate success with it. Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX and Pikachu & Zekrom-GX had been two of the more hyped decks going into the format and their early success were somewhat expected.

Week 2

Feb 7 – Sanctuary Gaming (21 players)
1) Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX (3/0/0)
2) Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX (3/0/0)
3) Charizard (3/0/0)
4) Pikachu & Zekrom-GX (2/1/0)

Four new decks debuted, Latias & Latios-GX, Gengar & Mimkyu-GX, Tool Drop (Doublade from Team Up) and Hitmonlee/Hitmonchan, the latter having the best placing at 6th (2/1/0) and played by yours truly. But once again ZoroRoc took over while the first sighting of a Charizard deck saw it get three wins in its first attempt. 

Feb 8 – Project EXT (16 players)
1) Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX (3/0/0)
2) Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX (3/0/0)
3) Passimian/Tapu Koko (2/1/0)
4) Marshadow-GX/Malamar (2/1/0)

Three Lost March decks finally appeared, but all ended the day 1-2. Nidoqueen (Team Up) saw play for the first time in a Meganium (Lost Thunder) deck, as did Beedrill (Team Up) in a Zoroark-GX deck. Once again ZoroRoc was the play, taking the top two spots in the standings with both guys unbeaten for the second league game in a row. Charizard showed up strongly again with another Top 5 finish. 

Feb 9 – Sanctuary Gaming (21 players)
1) Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel (3/0/0)
2) Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar (3/0/0)
3) Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar (2/0/1)
4) Charizard (2/1/0)

The only new deck to show up was Incineroar-GX (Team Up). Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX made its return to a tournament, finishing 5th with a 2/1 score. This time it was an old favourite for the last format, Blacephalon-GX, taking all three wins and with it having a good matchup against ZoroRoc, surely there was a chance this archetype might still come back (spoiler alert, it’s still trying).

Popular decks scores after Week 2:

Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX 20/7/0 9 players 74.07%
Pikachu & Zekrom-GX 17/10/0 9 players 62.96%
Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar 16/16/1 11 players 48.48%
Charizard 7/2/0 3 players 77.78%
Zapdos/Jirachi 6/5/1 4 players 50%
Passimian/Tapu Koko 6/3/0 3 players 66.67%
Lost March 4/8/0 4 players 33.33%
Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel 3/3/0 2 players 50%
Tool Drop 3/9/0 4 players 25%

Week 3

Feb 12 – Project EXT (10 players)
1) Charizard (3/0/0)
2) Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar (3/0/0)
3) Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar (2/1/0)
4) Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar (2/1/0)

Aerodactyl (Team Up) and Granbull (Lost Thunder) made their first appearances this month, but both did badly. Ultra Necrozma-GX in 2nd, 3rd and 4th were played by three guys who went on to play it at the Oceania Internationals later on in the week in Melbourne (Che Yu, Bertrand and Wei Kit). Charizard took yet another win at a league!

Feb 13 – Sanctuary Gaming (12 players)
1) Charizard (3/0/0)
2) Pikachu & Zekrom-GX (3/0/0)
3) Nidoqueen/Meganium (2/1/0)
4) Tapu Koko/Zapdos (2/1/0)

Yup, Charizard at the top for the second day running! There was a low attendance due to the Oceania International Championships, with most heading to Melbourne while the rest took the week off. No popular decks around apart from two Pikachu & Zekrom-GX and one Blacephalon-GX.

Feb 15 – Project EXT (9 players)
1) Tapu Koko/Zapdos (3/0/0)
2) Celebi & Venusaur-GX (2/1/0)
3) Passimian/Tapu Koko (2/1/0)
4) Lost March (2/1/0)

Three popular decks showed up this time but they all did badly. We did see the first good result for Lost March and Celebi & Venusaur-GX. Tapu Koko/Zapdos took the surprise win this time around, trying to take advantage of the mirror matches of which there weren’t many as Zapdos still wasn’t popular with the players here apart from four guys (Titally, Aidyl, Kash and Qi Wen).

Feb 17 – Bricks Play (13 players)
1) Passimian/Tapu Koko (3/0/0)
2) Zapdos/Jirachi (3/0/0)
3) Charizard (2/1/0)
4) Hoopa/Regigigas (2/1/0)

Finally the first big result for Zapdos/Jirachi, which still was not as popular as many expected, but with the deck also winning the Oceania International Championships on the same day, that would soon change. Passimian took the top spot this time around, it was still seeing play as it had a favourable match up against the Top 4 decks of the current format (ZoroRoc, Malamar, PikaZek and Zapdos).

Popular decks scores after Week 3:

Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar 25/19/1 15 players 55.56%
Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX 23/10/0 11 players 69.69%
Pikachu & Zekrom-GX 23/16/0 13 players 58.97%
Charizard 16/5/0 7 players 76.19%
Zapdos/Jirachi 12/8/1 7 players 57.14%
Passimian/Tapu Koko 12/6/0 6 players 66.67%
Lost March 10/14/0 8 players 41.67%
Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel 5/7/0 4 players 41.67%

More players were starting to lean towards Ultra Necrozma-GX (and gaining more success after a poor first few weeks) in the week of the Oceania International Championships while ZoroRoc and PikaZek saw little to no play during this week. Charizard and Passimian was seeing more success as the meta was still taking shape. Zapdos got its first league win, and it would not be the last as we will see. Tool Drop saw no play whatsoever as most players finally realised that it was not as good as it was initially hyped up to be. 

Week 4

Feb 19 – Project EXT (8 players)
1) Zapdos/Jirachi (3/0/0)
2) Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel (2/1/0)
3) Celebi & Venusaur-GX (2/1/0)
4) Zapdos/Jirachi (2/1/0)

Zapdos and Blacephalon-GX saw more play than it had been and Zapdos finally had two placings in the Top 4. There was still a low attendance due to the Oceania International Championships.

Feb 20 – Sanctuary Gaming (24 players)
1) Passimian/Tapu Koko (3/0/0)
2) Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX (3/0/0)
3) Hoopa/Stall (3/0/0)
4) Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar (2/1/0)

A few more players were back from Oceania with two of them making Top 4 right away (Rauf 2nd and Eujun 3rd). In a field of 24 players, Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX was the most popular deck choice, while Ultra Necrozma-GX and Pikachu & Zekrom-GX were the next two most popular choices. Zapdos/Jirachi still were only seeing play by guys who had played it before. Most players were preparing for the Singapore League Cup in the coming weekend.

Feb 22 – Project EXT (15 players)
1) Pikachu & Zekrom-GX (3/0/0)
2) Tapu Koko/Weavile (3/0/0)
3) Celebi & Venusaur-GX (2/1/0)
4) Zapdos/Jirachi (2/1/0)

ZoroRoc and PikaZek were still the most popular choices for decks amongst the players but a few more were starting to jump on the Zapdos bandwagon. ZoroRoc had the strongest showing despite not having one person in the Top 4, all three players did get a 2-1 record just off the Top 4 (Bertrand, Rauf and Harry). 

Popular decks scores after Week 4: 

Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX 37/17/0 18 players 68.51%
Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar 32/23/2 19 players 56.14%
Pikachu & Zekrom-GX 30/27/0 19 players 52.63%
Zapdos/Jirachi 23/18/1 14 players 54.76%
Charizard 17/7/0 8 players 70.83%
Passimian/Tapu Koko 16/8/0 8 players 66.67%
Lost March 13/16/1 10 players 43.33%
Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel 12/15/0 9 players 44.44%

Also during this week there was a League Cup held at EXT:

Feb 23 – League Cup
1) Jolteon-GX/Decidueye-GX
2) Zapdos/Jirachi
3) Zapdos/Jirachi
4) Zapdos/Jirachi
5) Vileplume/Shuckle
6) Zapdos/Jirachi
7) Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
8) Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX

While Zapdos may not have seen much play in the local scene, it did see a lot of play at the League Cup, with 11 players going with that deck choice. The next most popular decks were ZoroRoc and PikaZek. Malamar decks (the Ultra Necrozma-GX version, as well as Aerodactyl, Marshadow and Giratina builds) didn’t see as much play as some suspected with only two Malamar decks in the Top 16 placings.

Week 5

Feb 27 – Sanctuary Gaming (20 players)
1) Charizard (3/0/0)
2) Ampharos-GX (3/0/0)
3) Giratina/Malamar (2/1/0)
4) Zapdos/Jirachi (2/1/0)

A few more different decks were seeing success this time around with the likes of Ampharos-GX, Tapu Koko/Weavile, Luxray and a Malamar deck with Spell Tag all looking to be the answer to stop Zapdos (of which there were five, the most it’s seen in our local leagues here). Of the five Zapdos players, four of them did get two wins so it wasn’t countered as badly as expected. 

Mar 1 – Project EXT (12 players)
1) Giratina/Malamar (3/0/0)
2) Zapdos/Jirachi (2/1/0)
3) Zapdos/Jirachi (2/1/0)
4) Zapdos/Jirachi (2/1/0)

Yup, three Zapdos decks in the Top 4. Of the 12 player field, nine of them were playing a Lighting deck, in case we needed more evidence that we were now in a Lighting format (to the delight of good friend Aidyl). 

Mar 2 – Next Gen (13 players)
1) Vileplume/Hoopa (3/0/0)
2) Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX (2/1/0)
3) Pikachu & Zekrom-GX (2/1/0)
4) Zapdos/Jirachi (2/1/0)

The first Singapore Pro-Circuit game at Next Gen saw a stall deck take the top spot. Once again Zapdos was the most popular deck choice but unlike the previous two games, they didn’t see much success, three of them taking just the one win. Ultra Necrozma-GX finally saw play after an absence of a week after League Cup. 

Mar 3 – Bricks Play (12 players)
1) Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX (3/0/0)
2) Jolteon-GX/Decidueye-GX (2/1/0)
3) Charizard (2/1/0)
4) Charizard (2/1/0)

And we end this first month of Team Up games with the same deck that took 1st place in the first game of Team Up, ZoroRoc. A mix of decks showed up this time with the likes of a Glaceon-GX/Vaporeon-GX, Gyarados (Team Up) and Gengar & Mimikyu-GX/Omastar. Yet again Charizard saw some success with both players taking 2 wins each. 

Popular decks scores after Week 5:  

Zapdos/Jirachi 49/40/1 30 players 54.44%
Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX 42/18/0 20 players 70%
Pikachu & Zekrom-GX 38/37/0 25 players 50.67%
Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar 36/25/2 21 players 57.14%
Charizard 28/14/0 14 players 66.67%
Passimian/Tapu Koko 16/8/0 8 players 66.67%
Lost March 13/16/1 10 players 43.33%
Blacephalon-GX/Naganadel 13/17/0 10 players 43.33%

And just like that, Zapdos (Team Up) went from having the 4th most wins in league games here in Singapore to the 1st in that particular ranking, all in the space of one week. The amount of players playing the deck had also doubled from the 14 the week prior to 30 after week 5. Even with that in mind, it’s win percentage did not change much. 

Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX might have slipped to 2nd in the win list but has a far superior win record against the other popular decks. Its 70% win rate being the best of any deck, with the rogue choices of Charizard and Passimian the only one close to it. 

Pikachu & Zekrom-GX may be the next most popular deck amongst players in Singapore but its record speaks for itself. 38 wins and 37 losses does prove that it was the hit-or-miss deck many thought it might be at the start of the month. 

Ultra Necrozma-GX went from being the popular deck with the worst win rate to being the one with the next best win % of the Top 4 after ZoroRoc. While other decks had their win rate jump up and down at times, Ultra Necrozma-GX was the only one to keep improving on its record week by week. 

Popular decks of the past format, Blacephalon-GX and Lost March both saw little success and little play time. Even with an unlimited damage cap, the decks still aren’t enough to entice players to go with it. Having a bad matchup against Zapdos didn’t help in this area too.

There were some popular rogue choices in the likes of Charizard and Passimian, both with a 67% win rate, although it only saw play with pretty much the same two to three guys the whole month. Passimian has a great matchup against the big four but does tend to lose to the odd Stall and Wall decks that have been showing up at locals. As for Charizard, the fact that a stage 2 deck is even doing well in this format should say how underrated the deck really is with the potential to beat any deck, as long as it can set up. 

I hope this round up of what the Team Up format has done in the local scene here in Singapore was of any help to you guys and to anyone still deciding on what to play in the next two months. We have seen the metagame shift quite rapidly in the space of one month, from the ZoroRoc being the play to PikaZek the next week and then to Ultra Necrozma-GX the following week and finally Zapdos. 

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