Xander’s Players Cup IV Pick and Rapid Strike Touch-Up

Xander’s Players Cup IV Pick and Rapid Strike Touch-Up

Hello, readers! I hope you’ve been well this summer, and enjoying some of the recent Pokemon content, whether that be in preparation for Players Cup IV or the release of Chilling Reign. Today, I’ll be going over my pick for Players Cup IV: Rapid Strike Urshifu, and some other musings about picking a deck for this format.

My last article was also about Rapid Strike, so I’ll be talking about points that I didn’t already go over in my last article. I suggest skimming that over, or at least a different article about Rapid Strike, because I focus on the specific changes to my list and the meta since April.

Picking a Deck for Players Cup IV

The format for this will be similar to last, except there is no longer double-elimination. Players will play nine Swiss rounds, with the Top 16 moving on. Mike Fouchet pointed out that this means some 7-2s will miss on tiebreakers. There are no ties. However, there is an even more important rule: the winning player must win two matches to be awarded a win. What this means is that you cannot win a match 1-0; you have to win 2-0 or 2-1. If the match is inconclusive, both players are awarded with a loss.

I won’t turn this into a debate about whether this is right or wrong. Simply, players must adapt to this and choose their deck accordingly. Fast decks are at an inherent advantage, whereas slow decks may struggle to win two games, let alone three within the allotted time. Playing stall is certainly a death sentence; and other slow decks will also struggle to finish three solid games.

For that reason, I suggest picking a deck you are comfortable with and would be characterized as a fast deck. I’d categorize LMZ as a moderately paced deck, and Decidueye, Altaria and Orbeetle VMAX as slow decks. With LMZ, you run the risk of timing out against your favorable matchups, let alone your close matchups.

You might be thinking, “Wow, no one will play a counter to these decks, and I can swoop in and beat them all!” That logic is alright, until it breaks down when you consider that many decks in the format (Fire, Pikarom, ADPZ, M3w variants) are inherently alright against these decks, and can potentially steal a game.

Assuming that you have a 70% win rate against an opposing deck, but won’t be able to finish all three games, you only have a 49% chance of winning the match, and a 51% chance of losing.

Compare this to a deck that has a 55% win rate against an opposing deck and finishes all three games. That deck will win the match 57.5% of the time.

Supporting math:
Chance of winning two in a row w/ 70% slow deck
0.7*0.7 = 0.49
Chance of winning w/ 55% fast deck
0.55*0.55 + 2*(0.45*0.55)*0.55 = 0.575

You can do some more math by assuming you finish three games X% of the time, then multiply it by the second term to incorporate that percentage. Nonetheless, being unconfident in your deck’s ability to finish three games will be a major downside in a nine-round event. Assuming six of your games go to game three, you must finish five of them to safely make Top 16.

Of the above decks listed, LMZ is the only one I’d even think about playing this weekend. It can finish its games, but I’d be worried about games running long against Pikarom or M3w variants.

Why I’m Still Playing Rapid Strike

I’ve chosen to still play Rapid Strike because it follows my number one rule in deck-list choice: comfort. Besides the time constraint and needing to play fast, I know Rapid Strike so much more than other decks. That factor is a major help in reducing nerves and mistakes during a long event.

I also think that Rapid Strike has always been a good deck and will be a good deck going into this weekend. Sure, it has its hard matchups. M3w variants – specifically Psychic M3w and Grass M3w – are unfavorable matchups. ADPZ can be hard, too. However, Rapid Strike has the greatest potential to outplay opponents, at least out of the fast decks.

Lastly, I have twice as much fun playing Rapid Strike than any other decks. Why not have a little fun along the way? Here’s my latest list:

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