fbpx

Sword & Shield-On — The Future Standard Format TODAY!

Hello CFB readers and welcome back to another article of mine! The year 2020 is coming to an end and I’m not going to lie, it’s been a tough one overall, both personally and Pokemon wise, it seems like we’ve gone through big changes and adaptations (we evolved?). However, I’m very hopeful that 2021 will be a great year in Pokemon terms, with the 25th anniversary set, the Sword & Shield Battle Styles expansion and the collector-focused Shining Fates collection!

Aside from that, we have online tournaments reaching up to 200 competitors regularly now and if you haven’t heard, I started my own online tournament series featuring what is expected to be the 2021 Standard format: Sword & Shield onwards. It is called the Tablemon Challenge and so far it has been more successful than I envisioned it would be!

The format feels fresh, the participants feedback has shown that they are enjoying playing without the super powerful TAG TEAMs that dominate the Standard metagame and we are seeing a metagame develop that is diverse, even with only five sets available at the moment to play with. Players are incentivized to play with packs for prizes and it’s a very friendly tournament for newer players who might not have a big card pool to choose from since it only allows the latest sets released. Chair Points (because I’m TABLE-mon, get it?) are also on the line and awarded in the exact same structure as League Cups and the Top 16 players with the most Chair Points after the eight Tablemon Challenges will be invited to participate in the Tablemon Invitational.

The inaugural tournament, Tablemon Challenge #1, featured 162 players! For a completely brand-new format, I was extremely satisfied and happy about such a turnout. The metagame for the tournament looked like this:

To nobody’s surprise, Zacian V decks were the most popular due to how obviously powerful they are. The Ability, the attack and the Metal-type support with Metal Saucer and versatile attackers such as Zamazenta V and Aegislash V made it an obvious choice for the first tournament.

Powerful Pokemon VMAX such as Eternatus, Inteleon, Coalossal and Orbeetle also appeared and the single Dragapult deck made it all the way to top cut! Due to the high turnout, we had a Top 16 cut and this is how it played out:

Find all results and players here!

This tournament paved the way for the metagame to develop, providing players with successful lists to build upon for Tablemon Challenge #2 and cementing Decidueye as a very real threat that needs to be considered when deckbuilding and making sure you have enough counters to it.

The next tournament featured 119 players as it was played at the same time as one of the more popular series, however I ran into some people who were playing both at the same time. The metagame was like Challenge #1, however it featured a new contender which seemed like the perfect counter to the top decks (Zacian V and Decidueye) from the previous week: Cinderace.

This is what the metagame looked like for Tablemon Challenge #2:

Pokemon VMAX still remained an important presence in the metagame, Zacian V was the most popular choice by far and Dragapult’s and Decidueye’s success from the previous week gave them a boost in play.

We were short a few players from having a Top 16 this week and this is what the Top 8 looked like:

Find all results and players here!

Mad Party had a breakthrough showing, Cinderace also got Top 8, but ultimately Zacian took down the tournament as it was ready with Aegislash V to counter Decidueye this time around. Eternatus and Dragapult VMAX both also continued to show signs of strength but ultimately the Dauntless Shield Ability of Zamazenta V proved too much for them to handle. Fun fact, the winner of this tournament, dieg0y2, is our 2017 World Champion Diego Cassiraga.

Moving on to Tablemon Challenge #3, we had continued Zacian dominance across the 141 players who took part, but a huge uptick in Cinderace and Mad Party! If a third of a tournament is essentially an auto-win for you with Cinderace, it felt like a good deck to use! Mad Party was also a good option with no true auto-losses, but the lack of Dedenne-GX is very noticeable in the speed of the deck.

The metagame for the third tournament looked like this:

Some decks going up and down in numbers, but a cool metagame developing nonetheless despite the limited card pool.

Due to the high turnout, we had a Top 16 cut and this is how it played out:

Find all results and players here!

Zacian V took down its second tournament but look at the variety in Top 16! Four out of nine Dragapult VMAX decks in top cut, five Cinderace, a Mad Party mirror match and a Lapras VMAX deck too! Top 16 showcases Basic, Stage 1 and Stage 2 decks in full swing, with almost half of the top cut featuring non-V decks. If this isn’t promising for the Standard format, I don’t know what is.

Now that we have tournament results with a pretty good sample size, I think it’s safe to say we can start developing a tier list for the SSHVIV metagame, with a very clear distinction so far between the tier one deck and the tier two decks. I will provide a sample deck list and matchup averages for each deck!

Tier 1

PTCGO Code
##Pokémon - 12
4 Zacian V SSH 195
2 Zamazenta V SSH 139
2 Oranguru SSH 148
2 Crobat V DAA 104
1 Eldegoss V CPA 5
1 Aegislash V VIV 126
##Trainer Cards - 37
4 Marnie SSH 169
4 Boss's Orders RCL 154
3 Professor's Research SSH 201
1 Bird Keeper DAA 159
4 Rotom Phone CPA 64
4 Quick Ball SSH 179
4 Metal Saucer SSH 170
3 Switch CES 147
3 Crushing Hammer SSH 159
3 Cape of Toughness DAA 160
2 Tool Scrapper DRX 116
2 Air Balloon SSH 156
##Energy - 11
11 Metal Energy 8

Zacian V / Zamazenta V’s Matchups:

  • Dragapult VMAX / Clefable – Favorable
  • Eternatus VMAX – Favorable
  • Decidueye – Favorable
  • Mad Party – Even
  • Cinderace – Unfavorable

Tier 2

PTCGO Code
##Pokémon - 17
4 Dragapult V RCL 92
4 Dragapult VMAX RCL 93
4 Clefairy RCL 74
2 Clefable RCL 75
2 Crobat V DAA 104
1 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH 117
##Trainer Cards - 33
4 Professor's Research SSH 201
4 Marnie SSH 169
3 Boss's Orders RCL 154
4 Scoop Up Net RCL 165
4 Quick Ball SSH 179
4 Crushing Hammer SSH 159
3 Switch CES 147
2 Great Ball SSH 164
2 Evolution Incense SSH 163
2 Air Balloon SSH 156
1 Tool Scrapper DRX 116
##Energy - 10
6 Psychic Energy 5
4 Horror Psychic Energy RCL 172

Dragapult VMAX / Clefable’s Matchups:

  • Zacian V / Zamazenta V – Even
  • Eternatus VMAX – Unfavorable
  • Decidueye – Unfavorable
  • Mad Party – Favorable
  • Cinderace – Favorable

PTCGO Code
##Pokémon - 20
4 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH 117
4 Eternatus V DAA 116
4 Eternatus VMAX DAA 117
4 Crobat V DAA 104
2 Sableye V SSH 120
2 Hoopa DAA 111
##Trainer Cards - 30
4 Professor's Research SSH 201
4 Boss's Orders RCL 154
3 Marnie SSH 169
4 Scoop Up Net RCL 165
4 Quick Ball SSH 179
4 Great Ball SSH 164
3 Turbo Patch DAA 172
3 Switch CES 147
1 Evolution Incense SSH 163
##Energy - 10
10 Darkness Energy 7

Eternatus VMAX’s Matchups:

  • Zacian V / Zamazenta V – Even
  • Eternatus VMAX – Favorable
  • Decidueye – Unfavorable
  • Mad Party – Favorable
  • Cinderace – Favorable

PTCGO Code
##Pokémon - 15
4 Rowlet DAA 11
4 Jirachi VIV 119
4 Decidueye DAA 13
3 Dartrix DAA 12
##Trainer Cards - 36
4 Professor's Research SSH 201
4 Marnie SSH 169
4 Bird Keeper DAA 159
2 Sonia RCL 167
2 Boss's Orders RCL 154
4 Rare Candy CES 142
4 Quick Ball SSH 179
4 Great Ball SSH 164
3 Air Balloon SSH 156
2 Ordinary Rod SSH 171
3 Turffield Stadium RCL 170
##Energy - 9
4 Aromatic {G} Energy VIV 162
3 Grass Energy 1
2 Capture Energy RCL 171

Decidueye’s Matchups:

  • Zacian V / Zamazenta V – Unfavorable
  • Dragapult VMAX – Favorable
  • Eternatus VMAX – Favorable
  • Mad Party – Even
  • Cinderace – Unfavorable

PTCGO Code
##Pokémon - 24
4 Sinistea DAA 82
4 Polteageist DAA 83
4 Galarian Mr. Rime DAA 36
4 Dedenne DAA 78
4 Bunnelby DAA 150
2 Crobat V DAA 104
1 Oranguru SSH 148
1 Galarian Meowth RCL 126
##Trainer Cards - 28
4 Professor's Research SSH 201
2 Milo RCL 161
2 Boss's Orders RCL 154
4 Rotom Phone CPA 64
4 Quick Ball SSH 179
4 Great Ball SSH 164
4 Evolution Incense SSH 163
2 Air Balloon SSH 156
1 Tool Scrapper DRX 116
1 Ordinary Rod SSH 171
##Energy - 8
4 Twin Energy RCL 174
4 Capture Energy RCL 171

Mad Party’s Matchups:

  • Zacian V / Zamazenta V – Even
  • Dragapult VMAX – Unfavorable
  • Eternatus VMAX – Unfavorable
  • Decidueye – Even
  • Cinderace – Favorable

PTCGO Code
##Pokémon - 19
4 Scorbunny SSH 31
2 Raboot SSH 32
4 Cinderace SSH 34
3 Minccino SSH 146
3 Cinccino SSH 147
2 Snorlax VIV 131
1 Jirachi VIV 119
##Trainer Cards - 31
4 Sonia RCL 167
4 Marnie SSH 169
3 Boss's Orders RCL 154
1 Professor's Research SSH 201
4 Rare Candy CES 142
4 Quick Ball SSH 179
4 Evolution Incense SSH 163
4 Air Balloon SSH 156
3 Ordinary Rod SSH 171
##Energy - 10
6 Fire Energy 2
4 Capture Energy RCL 171

Cinderace’s Matchups:

  • Zacian V / Zamazenta V – Favorable
  • Dragapult VMAX – Unfavorable
  • Eternatus VMAX – Unfavorable
  • Decidueye – Favorable
  • Mad Party – Unfavorable

Everything else outside of these six decks has failed to make a serious dent over the first three Tablemon Challenges. However, there are still five more to go before the invitational and decks like Lapras VMAX / Frosmoth and Coalossal Box have shown competitive signs but have yet to break through.

Coalossal Box in particular really impressed me when I played against it in Tablemon Challenge #1 . Tar Generator lets you to have a wide array of Fire and Fighting-type attackers, which coincidentally hit for Weakness against two of the top decks in Zacian V and Eternatus VMAX. You can also play tech attackers like Dubwool V and Cramorant V to have even more versatility and Coalossal itself isn’t a bad attacker as a single-Prize Pokemon. The deck made Top 16 at Tablemon Challenge #1 but failed to break through in the other two. I suspect it was mostly because it wasn’t played much and I plan on experimenting with this deck for the next tournament.

PTCGO Code
##Pokémon - 17
4 Rolycoly RCL 105
1 Carkol RCL 106
4 Coalossal RCL 107
2 Sandaconda V RCL 108
2 Dubwool V RCL 153
2 Crobat V DAA 104
1 Ninetales V RCL 26
1 Eldegoss V CPA 5
##Trainer Cards - 31
4 Professor's Research SSH 201
4 Marnie SSH 169
3 Boss's Orders RCL 154
2 Skyla BKT 148
4 Rare Candy CES 142
4 Quick Ball SSH 179
4 Great Ball SSH 164
4 Cape of Toughness DAA 160
2 Tool Scrapper DRX 116
##Energy - 12
7 Fighting Energy 6
5 Fire Energy 2

Sandaconda V and Ninetales V are formidable attackers in this metagame and Dubwool V should be a very good closer in a deck that doesn’t feature any three-Prize Pokemon. I think this is Sword & Shield-On’s hidden gem and I have high hopes for this deck as a middle ground play for players to counter Zacian V decks but also for players to maintain a solid matchup against Eternatus and Dragapult – these are things that Mad Party or Cinderace fail to do.

We have players ranging from the completely new to World Champions actively participating and developing decks for this metagame, so if you’re looking for a different challenge outside of the daily cup grind, this is a great tournament to participate in! Registration for Tablemon Challenge #4 is already open and you can find all the details right here. With more than half the Challenges still to be played, there’s plenty of room to make it through the rankings and into the Top 16!

If you have any questions about the tournaments or series as a whole, feel free to reach out to me on any of the Tablemon social media platforms. I’m very grateful that the interest for this format has been so high and so well received – I’m very excited for 2021 and the direction in which this series looks to be going.

Thank you so much for reading this article, I hope it has piqued your interest in the format enough to encourage you to start building and practicing for the upcoming tournaments. Rest assured that given the success so far I will continue to work as hard as I can on this season and the next, which will feature the brand-new Combat Styles set! Until next time.

Discussion

Scroll to Top