New Cards, New Format, New Season: This Title is Catchy

Hey everyone! I’m glad to be back writing for SixPrizes with my second Underground article. I received a lot of great feedback from you all on my last article, which I appreciate a lot. Without your input I wouldn’t be here writing again, so your votes and comments really help me to know how I’m doing. I hope I can make this and each article from here on to be just as good, if not better than my last one!


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SO ANXIOUS for the new format.

Since we last spoke I’ve competed in both Nationals and Worlds. If you guys and gals would like tournament reports in the future please let me know, but I feel that tournament reports are usually much less useful than simply talking about decks or strategy. You aren’t paying to hear how someone else did; you’re paying to put yourself in that person’s place the next time a big tournament rolls around (providing they performed well, of course).

I know many of you are anxious for our exciting new format, so that’s what I’m here to talk about today. I started testing NXD-on right after Worlds ended, using some of the lists I posted in “Step Right Up and Win a Prize!” as well as other decks not included in that article.

This format has a huge variety of very viable decks which makes it hard to choose what deck to play and which cards to include in your list. That’s why I will provide some lists with a few open spots and explain possible additional cards that help for certain matchups or generally with consistency.

The next major tournament, the Klaczynski Open, is only a week away so I hope I’ll be able to help you make up your mind on your deck choice for the event, or perfect your list if you already have your nose to the grindstone with a deck you’ve already chosen to play.

If you aren’t attending the Klaczynski Open you should still be testing for Battle Roads and Fall Regionals. With up to 3 possible Fall Regionals you can attend (provided you have some frequent flyer miles stockpiled) and a revamped tournament structure, I’m sure many of you will want to keep up with the competitive scene even more!

Now that we have our 2013-2014 season updates announced I will also go into how each deck will fare in our new 50 minute best-of-three rounds that will debut at Fall Regionals. I hope this article helps prepare you for these tournaments and makes you feel more confident going into them.

Table of Contents

Team Plasma

silver bangle plasma blast plb 88
Lose the Lasers.

Team Plasma decks performed very well last season, first with Ryan Sabelhaus placing 2nd at US Nationals and then Simon Narode placing 2nd at Worlds. It’s a very consistent deck with high damage output and many options. Although we have a new set and a rotation, most lists won’t change too much.

The only important change that people are making so far is taking out Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym for Silver Bangle. This allows for an easier time OHKOing EXs with Kyurem while freeing up deck space. Another big reason for taking out Lasers is that Virizion EX makes it a fruitless card with its “Verdant Wind” Ability.

Here is a very basic Plasma list to get you started. I left 5 open spots for you to add anything you’d like, including extra Supporters, more attackers, more useful Trainers, etc.

Pokémon – 10

4 Deoxys-EX

3 Kyurem PLF

2 Thundurus-EX PLF

1 Absol PLF

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

4 Skyla

2 Colress

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Colress Machine

3 Team Plasma Ball

3 Silver Bangle

3 Switch

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Dowsing Machine

Energy – 12

4 Prism

4 Plasma

4 Blend WLFM

Open Spots – 5

Next is the same list I included in my Battle Carnival article, as well as the one that I have been testing the most. I haven’t made any changes yet because it has worked very well for me so far. This is a great place to start if you have nothing to work with right now.

Pokémon – 10

4 Deoxys-EX

3 Kyurem PLF

2 Thundurus-EX PLF

1 Absol PLF

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

4 Skyla

3 Colress

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Colress Machine

3 Team Plasma Ball

3 Silver Bangle

3 Switch

2 Tool Scrapper

1 Float Stone

1 Energy Search

1 Dowsing Machine

Energy – 13

4 Prism

4 Plasma

2 Water

2 Lightning

1 Blend WLFM

Although there are a few things that you may not like, specifically the basic Energy and Energy Search, you should try them out before passing judgement. I promise you won’t be disappointed! The basic Energies are surprisingly good when you want to Skyla for the Energy Search, and especially now that many decks have been adding more Enhanced Hammer.

I feel that Team Plasma decks will be the best suited for the new 50 minute best-of-three Swiss rounds. Being fast and consistent will allow Plasma to usually finish all 2 or 3 games within the time limit, which is a huge advantage, especially when it’s already considered one of the best decks in format to begin with. I expect a good amount of the top 8 at each Fall Regional Championship to be Plasma.

Blastoise

Blastoise has been a tier 1 deck since it was released last November in Boundaries Crossed, first with the Keldeo/Mewtwo variant which was soon replaced by the much more consistent Keldeo/Black Kyurem version. This new format hasn’t done too much to hurt it and I’m sure it will still be able to perform consistently well.

Although we now have Genesect/Virizion, which has been considered a counter to Blastoise, I still feel that the matchup is much better than people give it credit for. With the focus being more on using Black Kyurem EX and both decks being able to attack turn 2 at earliest, the Prize trade makes for a more even matchup. Keldeo EX shouldn’t even have to hit the field, which is huge when a Genesect EX can OHKO a fresh Keldeo without the use of G Booster.

The other matchups play out very similarly to last format.

Pokémon – 12

4 Squirtle BCR

3 Blastoise BCR

3 Black Kyurem-EX PLS

2 Keldeo-EX

Trainers – 32

4 Professor Juniper

2 N

4 Skyla

3 Colress

 

4 Ultra Ball

1 Level Ball

4 Rare Candy

4 Superior Energy Retrieval

2 Pokémon Catcher

1 Dowsing Machine

 

3 Tropical Beach

Energy – 13

10 Water

3 Lightning

Open Spots – 3

I don’t think I have to go too much into this deck. I’m sure you’ve all read about, played against, or played this deck countless times. Let’s face it: It’s not a very complicated deck. Some cards to consider for those 3 extra spots could be Exeggcute PLF, a 3rd Pokémon Catcher, a 3rd N, an Energy Search, or even another Water Energy. Most slight variations in Blastoise lists come down to personal preference and shouldn’t affect your performance too much.

Although many lists for Blastoise are very cookie cutter, the Blastoise list that I posted in my Battle Carnival article features a few interesting card choices that could be very useful to test, those cards being Scoop Up Cyclone and Jirachi EX. Both have very different uses but also work together to make each other viable in the deck.

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Stellar for consistency in Stoise.

While adding Scoop Up Cyclone can be very useful, it does take the spot of one of your other 2 ACE SPEC options (Computer Search and Dowsing Machine), both of which provide added consistency, which is very crucial when it comes to a setup deck.

This is where Jirachi EX comes in. Being able to have essentially 6 more Supporters (4 Ultra Ball, 1 Level Ball, and 1 Jirachi EX) before you discard or use Jirachi EX is huge. This puts the list at a total of 19 Supporters to start out the game with, and if you include Tropical Beach as another equally useful consistency card that’s a grand total of 22, or more a third of your deck!

Now I’m sure many of you are skeptical of Jirachi EX being a 90 HP Basic that is useless after it hits the bench and gives up 2 Prizes, but it works surprisingly well with the tempo of Blastoise. If your opponent opts to Catcher up your Jirachi EX and KO it they are usually wasting other crucial opportunities like KOing a Blastoise, KOing a threat like a Keldeo EX with 6-7 Energies, or even a Black Kyurem EX that you may have stuck a few extra Energy on, not to mention using up a Catcher.

Most decks now have the ability to 1-shot your 170 or 180 HP EXs to begin with, so your Jirachi EX isn’t as much of a liability as you would think. For those of you who didn’t read the article or don’t remember the list, here it is again:

Pokémon – 13

4 Squirtle BCR

3 Blastoise BCR

3 Black Kyurem-EX PLS

2 Keldeo-EX

1 Jirachi-EX

Trainers – 34

3 Professor Juniper

3 N

4 Skyla

3 Colress

 

4 Ultra Ball

1 Level Ball

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Rare Candy

4 Superior Energy Retrieval

1 Scoop Up Cyclone

 

3 Tropical Beach

Energy – 13

10 Water

3 Lightning

Blastoise will have big advantages in 50 minute best-of-three Swiss. One of Blastoise’s issues is not setting up, but a best-of-three setting is much more forgiving. Even if you get one bad game and nothing goes your way, you still have 2 more chances for the deck to perform how it was meant to.

Blastoise usually also keeps a good tempo with a very 1-shot based Prize trade, which makes for quicker games. This should allow you to finish your games in a timely fashion, even if you’re playing against a slower deck.

Genesect/Virizion

genesect-ex-plasma-blast-plb-11
Balloons and bugs.

This deck, being one of the only decks to run primarily on Pokémon from the new set, has a lot of variety in how it can be run. There have been a lot of variations that I’ve heard people testing, from Plasma Badge and/or Ether to get off a turn 1 Virizion EX to Double Colorless and Bouffalant DRX. Both of these variations seemed to have different focuses and feel to me like different decks all together.

The version that I’ve been testing with a good amount of success has been Virizion EX + Genesect EX + Drifblim DRX + Drifblim PLB. This variation adds low Energy attackers to the mix, which can be very useful in keeping resources on the field. It also has a much better Plasma matchup, as both Drifblim DRX and Drifblim PLB are great counters to Plasma decks. Discarding Energy, a no Energy attacker, and the possibility to do 200+ damage for 1 Energy are all amazing and shouldn’t be overlooked.

I’ve been changing up my list a lot recently and there are a lot of tough decisions when it comes to which cards you really need and the amount of room you have to fit so crucial cards in. Here’s a very basic sample list to get you started:

Pokémon – 14

3 Genesect-EX

3 Virizion-EX

4 Drifloon PLB

2 Drifblim DRX

2 Drifblim PLB

Trainers – 32

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

4 Skyla

2 Colress

1 Shadow Triad

 

4 Colress Machine

4 Ultra Ball

3 Pokémon Catcher

3 Float Stone

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Super Rod

1 G Booster

Energy – 14

10 Grass

4 Plasma

This list is very consistent and straightforward. I’ve fit most of the cards you need in here while keeping it fairly basic. Something that might be worth adding is Mr. Mime PLF, but other than that there isn’t too much else you would need.

As for best-of-three Swiss, this deck won’t do as well well as the previous two decks in my opinion. It’s slower and in testing most of the games have taken longer which could turn out badly. Although I enjoy this deck, I don’t think it’s as safe a play for Fall Regionals, at least until I put more testing in, especially with timed matches.

Toolbox

Toolbox is an entirely new deck that was born with the release of Plasma Blast. I feel like it’s a “synergy gimmick” deck, or a deck that needs a lot to go right but has a very obvious synergy, as if the cards were made for each other. The deck utilizes Trubbish PLF 65 + Sigilyph PLB + Masquerain PLB to deal huge amounts of damage with a large array of Tools. Masquerain is very useful to make sure you have the correct Tools where you want them to be.

I haven’t done too much testing with the deck, as I feel that it isn’t as good as most of the other decks and isn’t hard to play around, but here is the list I have right now. Most of the lists I’ve seen have been very close to this one, and for a very good reason; you don’t have very many options. The deck is so straightforward and you have so many spots already locked up in your Pokémon, Tools, and consistency cards.

Pokémon – 10

4 Trubbish PLF 65

4 Sigilyph PLB

1 Surskit PLB

1 Masquerain PLB

Trainers – 42

3 Professor Juniper

4 N

2 Colress

4 Bicycle

3 Random Receiver

 

4 Exp. Share

3 Silver Bangle

3 Silver Mirror

3 Float Stone

3 Eviolite

 

4 Level Ball

3 Pokémon Catcher

1 Super Rod

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Dowsing Machine

Energy – 8

8 Psychic

sigilyph plasma blast plb 41
How does it hold all the Tools?

This deck has been easy to play around in my testing. Needing 2 Energy to attack with your 70 HP Basic is such a huge disadvantage. First of all, if you don’t hit your Exp. Shares or your opponent Tool Scrappers them they can stop you from attacking for the rest of the game if you can knock out the Trubbish with Energy turn 1 or 2.

There’s also a hard counter to this deck: Chatot PLB. Chatot can ruin your field if you don’t have a Silver Mirror on all of your Sigilyphs or if they Tool Scrapper the Silver Mirrors beforehand. Finally, you have to keep up with other decks which are usually more consistent, which means you can’t whiff on a wide variety of needed cards.

Much like Blastoise, Toolbox gets the consistency advantage of best-of-three matches. Both are setup decks that are based around dominating the game after you can get your side of the board set up. There will always be games where things just don’t go your way, but when you have two more games to make up for that one you can usually come out on top.

I’m excited to see how Toolbox performs this format and if it survives the whole tournament year with the release of new cards.

Vileplume

Vileplume has been one of the most interesting decks that has been given a boost in viability with the release of Plasma Blast. When Vileplume was first revealed last summer I thought it was a very interesting concept, but it was too hard to find attackers that were able to 1-shot EXs and wasn’t worth being a Stage 2.

Now with the release of Silver Bangle attackers only need to have a base damage of 20 and a Silver Bangle attached to 1-shot an EX! Here is a list of possible attackers and the Pokémon-EX they counter:

Fire: Reshiram NXD, Chimchar PLS // Virizion EX, Genesect EX
Grass: Oddish BCR // Keldeo EX
Psychic: Trubbish DRX, Meloetta BCR // Deoxys EX, Mewtwo EX
Fighting: Riolu PLS 76 // Thundurus EX, Darkrai EX
Lightning: Zekrom NXD // Lugia EX
Dragon: Rayquaza DRV // Black Kyurem EX

Here’s a sample deck list, but keep in mind that the attackers you chose are based on your metagame, so they will usually be different for each player.

Pokémon – 13

4 Oddish BCR

3 Vileplume BCR

1 Reshiram NXD

1 Chimchar PLS

1 Zekrom NXD

1 Rayquaza DRV

1 Riolu PLS 76

1 Trubbish DRX

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper

3 N

4 Skyla

3 Colress

 

4 Ultra Ball

2 Level Ball

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Rare Candy

4 Silver Bangle

1 Super Rod

1 Dowsing Machine

 

2 Tropical Beach

Energy – 11

4 Double Colrless

4 Prism

2 Fire

1 Lightning

As you can see the engine is similar to Blastoise, with attackers to be added as you please. I haven’t done much testing with this deck yet at all, but I feel like there’s a good amount of potential and worth trying out on your own or testing against with your deck of choice. It’s also a lot of fun to play and very interesting to play against. Knowing how this deck works could be very useful depending on how many people choose to play it.

As for the deck in best-of-three I’m not sure how it would do, but I assume it would gain a similar advantage as Blastoise or Toolbox, being another setup deck.

Conclusion

Goldenrod_Gym_BattlefieldBulbapedia
With a clean slate, make sure to put extra time into testing.

Overall I feel that this format is a fresh new start, even with such a small rotation we gain a lot of crucial changes to the format, which is usually good for the game. Although the changes aren’t as serious as last year’s rotation, the metagame has definitely shifted enough to change the game. As always with a new format you should be putting more testing in than usual to get used to the changed format and the loss of cards and decks that did well last year.

I hope this article helps you in your testing and preparation for NXD-on and I hope all of you have success at our upcoming tournaments. If you haven’t already made plans to attend the Klaczynski Open, I would encourage you to! Jason has taken a lot of time and effort to organize such a groundbreaking event and without the support and attendance of the community he won’t be able to continue these tournaments, which I feel are a step in the right direction for the game.

Speaking of steps in the right direction, I’m sure most of you have seen or heard of the announcement outlining our new tournament structure and other changes to the tournament year. These changes are moving the game to something more similar to Magic: The Gathering which is great in my opinion. It makes the game more competitive and allows for more growth in the community and in the size of tournaments. We also get many more tournaments to attend this year which is always fun for everyone.

I hope everyone liked the article and I hope to see most of you at the Klaczynski Open and other tournaments throughout the year. Some of you have come up to me and talked to me about my articles or recognized me for them, which feels awesome! It really reassures me on my decision to write for SixPrizes. Thanks everyone!


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