The Face of Modified: Autumn Battle Roads 2010

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.


pokebeach.com2009-2010’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 matchup vs Vileplume, but there are ways around it, and to be quite honest I don’t see most players using Vileplume correctly anyway.

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-paradijs.comDialgaChomp 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 Pokémon SP 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 matchups. Sure, a lot are even, but those that aren’t are tilted in it’s favor. LuxChomp is probably your hardest matchup 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-paradijs.comGengPlume, 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 matchup 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-paradijs.comThis 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.

Tyranitar Prime

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 matchups 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.


pokebeach.comSteelix 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!

Reader Interactions

44 replies

  1. Kenny Wisdom

    Uugh, didn’t mean to post this without images and all. Meant to submit it for review, but hit the wrong button. Please disregard

  2. Shi-ke Villanueva

    um.. What about Charizard? I heard someone got 2nd with that deck. And it’s not impossible to someone playing that kind of deck at Battle Roads. It can also have a same level with Tyranitar Prime Decks but I can say that Czard is a bit faster to set up and faster to deal ridiculous damage…. Im not sure but Blastgatr and Combee Decks are competitive too but i can rate them on tier 3. Anyways, its a really good article and I completely forgot about Energy Exchanger on multiple decks….. GOOD ARTICLE for short

    • Brittany  → Shi-ke

      I once created a LuxChomp, that was really, really good. I tested it for months, won dozens of duels, but it lost to a Charizard. If only Charizard went weakness free once, I think it’d easily be tier 2.

      • chrataxe  → Travis

        That’s really not an impressive feat. I’m not trying to belittle your accomplishment, I’m just saying that is not a standard to judge any deck by. I know one of the Nance’s did really well with Charizard at NC state last year, that is impressive, but just because one of th Nance’s does that, doesn’t mean anyone can. I think that is more of a kudos to his skill, not the deck.

        • Travis Yeary  → chrataxe

          Lol, I’ll take that as a compliment. I agree, sometimes my deck will run into a dry energy spot, and the deck shuts down at that point(still bitter about the loss of Roseanne’s). Certainly not as consistent as the above decks, but if played with the right tech a charizard deck is a really tough deck to beat.

        • Garrett Williamson  → Travis

          Rapidash AR. There’s an SP counter. Dialga G X isn’t much of a threat because it’s weak to fire.

        • Travis Yeary  → Garrett

          hmm… wouldn’t put the rapidash in there cause I would never attack with it, and a good sp deck would attack around it (snipe other guys, or bright look up someone else, crobat etc.) so he’d just kinda sit there. I actually am very worried about the dialga g x cause if it’s on the bench, it’d be hard to knock guys out to get to him. I perfer the standard typho nintails with some trainer tech and a couple guys for powers.

    • matthew green  → Shi-ke

      Yea I would like to see a Tier 3 article. I have been trying to put together a good Gatr deck switching between Lanturn, Blastoise and Palkia G. Just can’t make it consistent enough to be a top tier deck.

    • chrataxe  → Cam

      Really? A second stage 2 tech is “easy” to tech into a deck that doesn’t allow for Rare Candy? And already has a stage 2 tech?

  3. Profile Deleted

    Pretty cool article. A nice overview and a lot of good points. However, I cannot agree with DialgaChomp being BDIF.

  4. Martin Garcia

    Nice article, i agree with almost everything here. dialgachomp is going to make a huge comeback in this season, since rosseane and claydol are now gone, a trainer lock hurts a lot more, and dialga G Lv X can keep his ground against gengar/plume.
    Still it has bad match ups, those being blazeray or blazechomp, but none of them are really played anymore, so i guess it doesnt really matter.
    Also, im not too sure about luxchomp being the bdif, i think it will be either dialgachomp or gengarplume.

  5. Perry Going

    I think that Dialga/Chomp will have the most potential to running this format until Gengar Prime comes out… I has the above standard speed, trainer locking ability, and a built in Gengar, Scizor, and Donphan tech… However i think BLG will see more light with the increase of Dialga/Chomp

      • Perry Going  → chrataxe

        Gengar Prime was and if not doing amazing in Japan. Its fast, Trainer lock cant do crap to it, powerlocking doesnt stop it, and the only real thing to counter it is Absol G.

        • chrataxe  → Perry

          I don’t keep up with the Japanese meta game any at all but from what I’ve heard, its not even seeing play competitively…but, like I said, I honestly have no clue, that’s just what I’ve picked up in the forums. I’ve also picked up that it is pretty expensive in Japan (where cards are usually cheap)…that seems to contradict it not getting play…but whatever, I don’t know.

          But, trainer lock does affect it. How is a Stage 2 supposed to get into play? Gengar’s power is great but Gengar doesn’t do any damage. yeah, it will see play, but I don’t forsee it running the format (not this one anyway) ever, even if for a minute. I think it may peak as a T2 (and that is being generous) deck but won’t see any big wins. Especially as long as Sablelock is around.

        • Perry Going  → Martin

          yes and you can use mew prime to also lost zone stuff… and Palkia G X is a nice tech too

        • Perry Going  → chrataxe

          it doesnt need to do damage and who says you need gengar prime… thats why they run mew prime… T1 you lost zone a gengar prime then use mew to use its attack without having to get that S2 out.

        • chrataxe  → Perry

          This assumes you can get cards in the lost zone. Since you can’t damage them, Gengar’s probably won’t be forcing many to the lost zone because he can’t do any damage…that was my point. Yeah, his body might can, but how much energy do you think will be on him? Never more than 2 before it is KO’ed since it can’t return the KO. While hold Pokemon in you hand may be a common practice, I can honestly say it is pretty rare that I am holding more than 1 or 2 pokemon. But, this becomes a moot point since Dialga G is about to be in EVERY SP deck.

        • Perry Going  → chrataxe

          yo dont need to damage… theres a new supporter coming out call “hunter” guaranteed pokemon in hand…

        • chrataxe  → Perry

          Ah yes, hadn’t thought of that. But, even with that, I just don’t think it will be all that competitive. Dialga G is just going to be too popular to make Gengar Prime competitive.

  6. matthew green

    Is Jumpluff not a top tier or 2nd tier deck anymore? What about Gyarados and Kingdra, where would they fall?

  7. Garrett Williamson

    Dude I built a steel/scizor tanks deck that I’m going to run for battle roads. I through it together friday night because I wanted to try something new. As a result I took apart Luxchomp, SP is just way to dull now and I’m tired of hearing about it EVERYWHERE! Like when someone comes up with a new deck and people’s first reactions are “Luxchomp will beat it” It’s like no sh**! But back to Steelix/Scizor. I through it together not even thinking it would work…I WAS SO WRONG! it’s incredible!

  8. connor mcculloch

    your really underestimating donphan. donphan is a really nasty. and really fast deck. playing against and playing with donphan its one of my favorite decks and it can beat alot of decks. especially with kingdra and garydos not really being ran anymore.

    • Brian Jessing  → connor

      Donphan is a monster for sps to deal with, espicially if teched right, it can be a harder match than machamp. Also gengar is tier 2, no doubt about it. I’d place steelix>gengar, as well as tangrowth (best deck that doesn’t recieve any criteria but isn’t exactly rouge).

    • Tonu Taitto  → connor

      Totally agree on that. IMO, Donphan is one of the best decks atm. After new set gets released, Donphan doesn’t get so much new good cards on it and quite many other decks gets quite a lot new good cards. This will make Donphan a bit less playable deck.

      I’ve been playing Donphan on Worlds 5-2 on swiss losing only two GG/Nidoqueens (won Gyarados, LuxChompDialga, LuxChompApe, DialgaChomp, LuxChompPalkiaDialga). At the top-32, I lost to LuxChompFrosslass. I got one semigood start that got ruined by Honchkrow Snipe and the second match were terrible start. I practiced with Donphan deck about month before Worlds and won maybe like 80% of the matches.

      Donphan were great deck on last Modified and it didn’t lose very much good cards. Losing the Claydol is the biggest thing it lost. Uxie and a few extra supporters can replace the lost Claydol lines quite well on this MD-on format.

    • chrataxe  → connor

      I think Donphan is right on. If it doesn’t donk, its not great. It has some great matchups, but those it isn’t great against just means its pretty bad against.

    • Patrick Jeffries  → connor

      I agree. I think Donphan is very underrated. I have played a flyphan deck and Donqueen deck with success in testing. I wonder how it would do with vileplume?

  9. chrataxe

    I must say Kenny, that is a very fine article. I agree pretty much with you synopsis 100%. I don’t think Luxchomp will completely dominate the format all season, but I do think it will do well at BR mostly due to the amount of people running it. Another factor people aren’t really taking into account is that Dialga G will become very popular in Luxchomp, thus making VileTomb/Gengar/Spiritomb not as powerful as people are thinking. Yes, it is good, not saying its not, I’m just saying there will be a lot of teching against it.

    I think you are spot on with Gengar being the bottom of T1. Spring BR was my last tourny, so I’ve been looking into the next format for a while now and I’ve been saying for the better part of a month that Ttar and Steelix are sleepers. They are mean, both of them, watch out!

  10. Tony

    Great article Kenny! I always enjoy reading your because you have such a thorough understanding of the game and keep your finger on the pulse of how things are changing.

    Even though I am on the Viletomb bandwagon, I have to concede that DialgaChomp is BDIF right now. I’ve done some play testing against it in the past few weeks and can see why it is such a monster that can regularly break the trainer lock. In fact, I’ve been tempted to even play DialgaChomp even though I have an aversion for SP. I’ve been running it with a little heavier supporter build (more Bebes, less SP radar), and this seems to be working well (too well against my trainer lock builds). I’ve been thinking a few metagame counter becks would be VileTomb/Blaziken FB or perhaps Mightyena/Viletomb.

    Well, should be an interesting Battle Roads to say the least. Thanks again for the great article!

  11. Michael Randolph

    Well done Kenny I believe most of your analysis for the decks was pretty spot on.
    Anyways what about KING-GAR it’s the greatest deck since…well….IDK but it’s pretty good, and Im going to dominate with it so it has to be at least tier 4 or so lmao.

  12. Anonymous

    luxchomp, luxchomp, luxchomp. not sure why but I just refuse to play it lol

  13. Anonymous

    palkia lock no rulz? or shuppet with tech, rampardos cuersegar and more decks?

    • Garrett Williamson  → John

      You want to start with sableye getting the turn 1 donk but If that doesnt happen then impersonate for a turn 1 Cyrus Initiative and through out the game constantly disrupt your opponent and take prizes by sniping with garchomp C X and Honchcrow G.

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