With Autumn Battle Roads just around the corner I thought it might be a good idea to give my impressions of where the format is now, what’s good and what isn’t. As always, these are only my opinions but I’d like to think I have enough experience in this format to know a little bit about what I’m talking about.
PokeBeach2009-2010’s reigning king is still here, and still on top of the mountain. Losing virtually nothing through the rotation (Cyrus can tutor energies and Claydol was only a preference play), but gaining new friends in Smeargle UD, Drifblim UD, and Energy Exchanger, LuxChomp is poised to be the BDIF for MD-UD. Unlike other decks out there, it still perfectly fulfills it’s win condition of Dragon Rushing and Bright Looking, and there’s almost nothing that stops it.
Like all SP decks it has it’s problems against Machamp, but with Uxie Lv. X, Drifblim UD, and some lists running Toxicroak G techs, I don’t see Take Out being as big of an issue as some are claiming it will be. It also has a tough match-up vs Vileplume, but there are ways around it, and to be quite honest I don’t see most players using Vileplume correctly anyways.
I see it being the most winningest deck, or at least among the top. It’s easy to hate out of the meta, but the truth is when this deck runs it runs well.
Sablelock is in an interesting position as it loses the least during the rotation. An MD-on Sableye will look nearly identical to a DP-on one.
With that, it retains it’s place in tier one. This deck has been talked about ad nauseum, so I won’t go on much further, except to say that having the donkability and consistent set-up powers of Sableye combined with the SP engine and Garchomp C Lv.X is still nothing to scoff at.
Pokemon ParadijsDialgaChomp has always been a strong deck, but one that’s underused/underplayed/underappreciated because of some of the complexities that come with playing it. I know I’ll probably catch a lot of flack for this next statement, but…
In my mind, DialgaChomp is the BDIF of Autumn Battle Roads 2010.
The argument that it loses Claydol is valid, but it also gains Energy Exchanger, which, when played in heavy numbers makes this deck better than it ever was. It also has two of the beefiest SP Pokémon in the game, as well as the ability to abuse the coveted SP engine, a built in Mewtwo counter, and the ability to counter trainer lock in Vileplume and Spiritomb while dishing out trainer lock of it’s own, something that no other deck can do.
What separates DialgaChomp from the other decks on this list though, is that it has absolutely no bad match-ups. Sure, a lot are even, but those that aren’t are tilted in it’s favor. LuxChomp is probably your hardest match-up with DialgaChomp, and even that’s not all that bad as long as you can avoid a short game 3, and generally know what you’re doing.
If you have experience with the deck and are confident in what it does and your ability to use it, it can’t lead you astray in this format.
Pokemon ParadijsGengPlume, VileGar, whatever you wanna call it, the deck combining Gengar SF, Vileplume UD, and Spiritomb AR is probably the most controversial deck on this list. While some are claiming it’s the death of SP, others are noting testing records and theorymon that reflect quite the opposite.
Throughout my own testing I’ve found that, when opening with a Spritomb, this match-up becomes particularly nasty for SP. No SP Radars to search out guys quickly, and possibly no Poké Turns, Energy Gains, Power Sprays, Communications, Premier Balls or Energy Exchangers for the entire game can cripple the backbone of SP.
Luckily, the Spiritomb start won’t happen every time, and when it doesn’t, a smart SP player will have the ability to outspeed this deck in most situations. Get your counters out early and make sure not to waste a single turn against a non-trainer lock start and you should pull out the win here.
Additionally, not many decks rely on the amount of trainers that SP does, making this deck less viable against non-SP decks. It’s still a very solid choice in most metagames, but I don’t think it’ll be the harbinger of death some are predicting.
Pokemon ParadijsThis is where we’re going to move into the lower rung of decks. Not any that are especially bad, just those that aren’t quite as good as the rest. Feel free to call this section tier 2, and the section directly preceding it tier 1.
Machamp is interesting as, theoretically it should be able to run through most of the decks listed above (save for Gengar). With an automatic KO of any basic Pokémon for one energy, not only is it generally speedy, but also puts a damper on SP decks.
The problem lies in it’s ability to get Machamp out. Gone are the days of 4 Cosmic Powers on turn 1 (yes, it happened to me, the LuxChomp player, giving me my only loss in swiss at WA States 2010), nor the ability to use as many trainers as you’d like.
If Machamp can successfully get several Machamps out and ready it’ll be a force to be reckoned with, but I don’t foresee many builds being stable/consistent enough to do so. As I noted before it also loses to Gengar, meaning that it’ll most likely split it’s wins/losses in most metas.
T-Tar is interesting in that it’s a deck that a lot of more skilled players had been at least looking into, and sometimes even doing well though (Stephen Silvestro and Aaron Curry’s U.S. Nationals top cuts ring a bell), but failed to catch on with the general public. Maybe it’s the fear of Machamp, Donphan, and Promocroak, or maybe it’s the thought that bulky stage 2 decks can’t compete in this SP-ridden meta. Who knows.
All I know is that it’s something we’ve been working on for a while and something that can definitely hold it’s own in todays meta. The aforementioned F type counters can put a damper on it, but it has decent to good match-ups across the board.
I don’t see this winning many BRs as I doubt it’ll be played much, but if you experiment with a list and test it well, I have no doubt you’ll have some degree of success with this deck.
PokeBeachSteelix has a similar story as Tyranitar. Some people recognized it’s playability, but the large majority seemed to dismiss it. That’s changing a bit with Erik Nance’s Top 16 at Worlds 2010, but in general Steelix is still underappreciated.
The unique asset that Steelix brings to the table is it’s ability to speed itself up. Often when playing tank decks you’re forced to let your opponent take a prize or two, or at least get ready to, while you’re still setting up. This isn’t always the case with Steelix, as it has it’s own tricks for generating energy, and the fact that it’s a stage one helps things a bit too.
Scizor, in my mind, is the most interesting deck in tier 2. It’s the newest, most unproven deck, yet in theory it has some of the most compelling arguments for success.
It’s Poké Body hinders almost every deck on this list, as most of them require, or at least can make use of special energy. The fact that it’s a stage one who not only can abuse Steel type energy, but gets a pump for just having steel type attached doesn’t hurt it either.
It’s not exactly the easiest deck to get out and ready, but a Steelix with 4 special metals and an Expert Belt, essentially having 160 HP, making your DCEs, Special Metals and Special Darks useless, and swinging for 110-130 damage per turn can be a frightening thought.
I’ll close this out with a deck that I think is on the fringe of tier 2, looking tier 3 in the eye like the grim reaper itself: Donphan.
Donphan remains the fastest, bulkiest deck in the format, swinging for 60 for a single F and having 120 HP with a body that reduces all damage dealt to it by 20. It doesn’t, however, have the late game presence that a lot of the decks on this list do.
Still, the argument can be made that it doesn’t need it. I mean, essentially having 140 HP and auto-KOing one of the most prevalent Pokémon of the format isn’t too shabby.
That’s all for now. Did I grossly over/underexaggerate a deck? Did I completely miss something? Do you feel your awesome 4-4 Cherrim 4-4 Venasaur 4-4 Meganium rogue isn’t getting the props it deserves? Talk about it in the comments!