Did you know that there are actually people spending over $1,000 USD to go to play Pokemon cards in São Paulo, Brazil tomorrow, and yet they have NO idea what to play?
Well, here at the Blog, we don't judge — we just get you on the footing you need to be on. Today's entry will be QUICK, but I hope it's helpful enough to guide some of you in the right direction in the nick of time.
1. If you're completely clueless about what to play, then use Turbo Darkrai. I've been in many spots where I was clueless about what to use before a big tournament, and I've found that on average, erring to the more consistent, simple deck in those spots has served me much better than erring on the side of a more inconsistent, complex deck. An International Championship is NOT the first time you should be picking up Decidueye/Vileplume, a somewhat inconsistent deck with tons of moving parts!
2. That said, I think the best overall play will be some variation of Decidueye/Vileplume with multiple Jolteon EX. If we expect Decidueye to go down in popularity, and Volcanion as well as Darkrai to go up in popularity, then a Decidueye list less catered to the mirror and more catered towards annihilating all-Basic decks will surely shine. Lapras is not the most confidence-inducing matchup, and neither are the Garbodor variants you might go up against, but Decidueye is not the hot deck on anyone's radar at the moment, and so I'd expect most players' last second deck decisions to involve excluding < a href="http://www.heytrainer.org/blog/posts/Owning_the_Owl:_How_to_Fight_Back_against_Decidueye__Vileplume">anti-Decidueye techs.
(Also, I really like Aaron Tarbell's minor tweak to the deck. Cutting a Trainers' Mail or Level Ball for a 4th N is a very cool idea because it opens up a Hollow Hunt GX target in some games, and because more Supporters are generally helpful in the mirror.)
The local metagame is mostly irrelevant. By its very nature, an "International" Championship is the culmination of several great international players. Except major tournaments held in Japan and the United States, I'm not even sure any other country's player base is large enough to influence what choices traveling players should make. So whatever you do play, don't let what you see on the pickup tables shake you too badly.
Post-publication update: Brazil's player base is massive. Thanks to data released by Carlos Pero and compiled by Tim Crockford, this is the Master Division's breakdown in the TCG:
Given that information, Brazil has tons of math in its favor to win on its home turf, unlike the U.K. or Australia. However, with a field so massive, I doubt that there's a particular quirk brought in by the non-Brazilians that would shift the metagame too much. Similarly, I doubt that Brazilian players have a unique inclination to any one particular deck or strategy.
Summary on this point: Be prepared for the host country if you're not a Brazilian reader, but don't let what you see the night before the event scare you out of your deck choice.
4. If you're playing Volcanion, tech the Salamence EX. I don't have much to add on this point, but in most matchups it will be an extremely helpful backup attacker…including mirror and Darkrai, which I would expect to see a lot of thanks to points one and two.
5. If you have any doubts at all, then run more copies of Hex Maniac than less. That is all.
Q: "But what if my deck shouldn't run Hex Maniac, like Decidueye? Then wouldn't you be wrong abut running more?"
A: Get that kinda smart aleck talk OFF OF MY BLOG!!!
…'Til next time.