The Bible On Luxchomp

Surgeon General’s Warning: This is possibly the longest article you’ve ever read. If you have somewhere to be in the next half hour, you might not want to start reading. You might need to print the article out so that you can put a bookmark on the page you left off. If you’re hungry, you might want to prepare a snack and set aside some time for this one. Have ! :)

Preface:

luxray-gl-lv.x-rising-rivals-rr-109pokemon-paradijs.comWhile this is a Luxchomp article, it contains a ton of information that can be applied to any player when they prepare to build a deck. Even if you never intend on playing SP in your life, there is a ton to be learned. I hope you enjoy the article and learn something new from it.

Luxchomp wins the most. Luxchomp top cuts the most. Last year, decks playing Luxray GL LV.X and Garchomp C LV.X won the most Battle Roads, Cities, States, Regionals, and Nationals. Luxchomp won Worlds, too. If you make a deck, it better have some way to answer to Luxchomp. Luxchomp, Luxchomp, Luxchomp. If you aren’t getting tired, or at least bored of Luxchomp, then I envy you.

For the longest time, I tried simply ignoring Luxchomp. I never played the deck once last year, and did all I could to ignore it. I played FlyChamp at MO States last year and ended up losing to Cursegars and Gardevoirs. I ran Cursegar at IL states and I ended up losing to Luxchomp. Come Regionals I mastered Sablock and ran it for the majority of the season – and I never lost to a single SP deck again.

And even then, I still thought Luxchomp was a better deck. I owned 2 Luxray GL Level Xs at the time, and they were going for 60$ each (they go for 75$+ now). So, if Luxchomp was so good, why didn’t I ever play it?

It’s a really, really hard deck to use correctly. You have to play every single matchup differently, and the mirror match is a nightmare. I tested Luxchomp night after night before Nationals and I couldn’t get my list right. I lacked the experience that many SP players had gathered over the years, and because I kept trying to avoid SP, I couldn’t ever wrap my head around deck building and complicated situations.

garchomp-c-lv.x-supreme-victors-sv-145pokemon-paradijs.comI ended up opting for a hybrid-SP deck with Sablock, which relied heavier on luck with disruption to replace the skill that traditional SP lists need. It ended up working out for me at the end of the season, but with a new season coming up, I learned something important:

Even if you never intend on playing SP once until it is rotated, you need to understand how an SP player thinks and plays to stand a chance.

I feel that the only way to gain this knowledge is to play the deck for yourself, even for a short period of time. I’m going to use this article not only to share the knowledge I’ve learned in building the best Luxchomp, but I’m also hoping in that learning how a good SP player counters the field, I’ll help you understand the mindset of a great Luxchomp player as well.

(I wrote this article assuming you know what Luxchomp is, and that you know the basic strategy behind the deck with what each card can do. I’m sure that if you’re unfamiliar with any of the terms I’m talking about that SixPrizes has a plethora of information for you on the main site.)

Myth: Luxchomp lists are tight for space.

When I originally built my Luxchomp lists, I found myself struggling to fit that 1-1 tech into my deck. I felt like the deck was as cookie-cutter as they come, and I could rattle off the 55-56 cards that were in every Luxchomp list off the top of my head. These preconceptions were shattered when I heard about what won worlds.

3 Professor Oak’s New Theory? Dragonite FB? 3 Warp energy? 1-1 Dialga and 2 Basic Metal? No Toxicroak G Promo + Psychic Energy? Yuta Komatsuda’s list ran about a dozen cards that I didn’t expect in any SP list, and it cut 2 that I thought were a definite staple. Everybody gets lucky, but 12-0 at Worlds is a big deal.

Here is the list, if you’re unfamiliar with it.

Any deck list that can be 12 cards separate from another is not tight for space. Luxchomp lists have a lot of freedom. My goal today is to disassemble all of the previous cards that I deemed were necessary and give you the most basic Luxchomp list at its core. I took a lot of time debating how to fit everything, but here’s what I came up with:

Luxchomp: The Skeleton

Pokémon: 14
4× Combination of Luxray GL and Luxray GL Level X
4× Combination of Garchomp C and Garchomp C Level X
( I recommend 2-2 lines for both of these pokemon, but 3-1 plays are still acceptable if that is your playstyle)
Bronzong G
Uxie LA
1× Uxie Level X LA
Crobat G
Azelf LA

Trainer/Supporter/Stadium: 18
Cyrus’s Conspiracy
Pokémon Collector
Bebe’s Search
Aaron’s Collection
4× TGI Pokéturn
3× TGI Energy Gain
2× TGI SP Radar
1× TGI Power Spray

Energy: 11
2× Lightning Energy
Double Colorless Energy
5× Your choice

Total Cards: 42
Free Space: 17 Cards!

Myth: All Luxchomp lists need Toxicroak G Promo, Ambipom G, 4 Call energy, at least 3 Power Spray, etc.

toxicroak-g-diamond-pearl-promos-dp41pokemon-paradijs.comI’m not saying that these cards aren’t fantastic – they are. However, at the core of the list, you can find that there is a lot more freedom for you than you would think. You could even argue that the 2nd SP Radar isn’t a 100% needed staple, or that a minimum of 10 energies is better suited than 11, but the fact stands. You have a lot of room to work with. And this entire article is going to be all about working with this extra space, as well as utilizing it against a plethora of decks.

By the end of this article, you should have the knowledge to create your own unique Luxchomp list, and even create some innovations that you might not have conceived before. So, without further ado, let’s talk about creating techs and counters.

Myth: The Luxchomp mirror match and Dialgiachomp win the most tournaments – teching for these decks is your first priority.

This isn’t 100% true. In fact, in every tournament you play in until Nationals, you need to take National statistics with a grain of salt.

Check out the Battle Roads statistics so far. Luxchomp is popular and winning practically everywhere – but the “practically” is important. Take, for example, the Ozark, AL Battle Roads Masters Top 4:

1st- Kathryn C. (Vilegar+)
2nd- Tyler (Donphan)
3rd- Chris C. (VileGar)
4th- Amber M. (Exeggutor/Espeon)

I’m not saying that Ozark, AL is the strongest area with the best players, but in a metagame like this, teching against the SP mirror is a low priority. Running maximum power spray, Dragonite FB, and other strategies in this vein will only lead you to dead draws. In fact, it’s possible that the reason any SP players in this area lost is because they were overteched for the mirror. Until Nationals, teching for the area you play in and that area alone is your priority. This is a HUGE misconception that many players, including myself make, and it can lead to decklists that aren’t optimized for their area’s potential.

I even made this mistake at the Battle Roads in Champaign, Urbana. I ran a 1-1 Dialgia Tech with 1 basic Metal Energy in order to deal with Vilegar and Mewtwo LV.X. The problem? There was only 1 Vilegar player in the 25 player Masters tournament, and 0 Mewtwo Level X’s. I never played the one Vilegar, and thus had dead draws every time I found the Dialgas in my hand. The Metal Energy could have been a lightning instead. Even smaller mistakes like these can prove to be really costly.

How To Avoid Making Poor Metagame Decisions And Understanding Your Local Metagame

So, now that you know you should avoid teching a deck without prior knowledge, I’m sure you want to know how to obtain that prior knowledge. Here are 3 huge steps to learning which decks are played in your area:

1. Actually play games in your area.
Whether it be your local league or even a Battle Roads, you can learn a great deal from being active in an area. Most players like to stick to a deck they feel most comfortable with over a season. Other players will only play the decks that just won the day before. Others like to inspire their own builds.

I can tell you right now from my area that 95% of the time if the tournament is the value of a City Championships or higher, Kyle “Pooka” Sucevich is taking DialgaChomp. Quin Downs, Rob Downs, and Colin Peterik will take something rogue (you can’t prepare for most rogue decks unless the same player keeps playing the same list.

For example, Colin has taken Tyranitar variants to at least 3 tournaments, so I can prepare for that in the back of my mind). Richard Lucas will always run a deck with Ampharos PT in it without fail. Vince Blasko will always bring an SP Variant – usually Luxchomp. James Flint is going to take a . Just by playing the regulars in your area, you can get a huge understanding on which decks you’re going to see.

2. Use online resources.

Asking someone to go to every tournament in their area is a little absurd. About 90+% of Masters players are in school of some kind, and I’m sure 9% of those players who aren’t in school have a job. If you have a friend who went to a tournament you couldn’t make, ask them what kind of decks they played/saw, and ask them what made top cut/won. Beyond this, I highly suggest using Pokégym’s information. Normally I wouldn’t suggest using another website over the one I’m writing for, but I’m sure Adam will understand.

On Pokégym, go to the forum Pokémon TCG > Tournaments and Organized Play > (most recent tournament series – at the time of this article you’d go to Battle Roads). At the top, you’ll see a stickied thread titled “What won (insert tournament name here)”. Don’t let the world-wide statistics fool you, though. Just study the results for the top decks in your state and maybe some states that boarder it. By knowing which decks are winning, you can either A) Run the deck that is winning, or B) prepare for the popular deck and tech appropriately against it.

3. Scouting.

Some people might deem scouting as morally questionable, but I’ll outline some steps for how to scout with respect.

Scouting Do’s And Don’t’s

Do’s:

  • Arrive early to your tournament. For smaller events, try to make it half an hour before registration starts. This will give you at least an hour to scout, since most tournaments begin an hour after registration.
  • Come with either multiple decks made, or one deck you’re sure you’ll take along with some of your extra cards.
  • Either play some games or watch any game that is played before the tournament. Most of the time if somebody is playing a game before a tournament, it will be the deck they are using. Be careful, though! If somebody’s deck has proxies in it, then it might just be a fun deck or a practice deck.
  • If someone is assembling a deck at the tournament and laying their cards face up across the table, you aren’t a bad person if you pass by to see their core list.
  • Ask your friends or buddies what they’re playing for the day. If they like you they’ll probably just tell you, and if they don’t want to tell you that doesn’t mean they don’t like you. If they ask you the same question, just tell them the truth—“I’m running X but I’m still figuring out the techs”, or “I have X and X built but can’t decide”.
  • Once you’ve decided the appropriate techs you want to try, assemble your deck and complete your decklist with 15 minutes before the tournament starts.
  • In between rounds, check up on games to see how they’re doing, while giving ample space to the player.

Don’t’s:

  • Don’t build your deck at the tournament after scouting. You’ll be scrambling for cards, you’ll make errors, and depending on your organizer you might miss the first round.
  • Don’t creep. If somebody is sitting in the corner writing a deck list, respect their privacy. Don’t look over shoulders if somebody has a deck list in hand.
  • Don’t play the “I’ll tell you what I’m running if you tell me what you’re running” game. It’s childish, and a little weird. Don’t be “that guy”. Just ask, “Hey, what are you running today?” If they don’t want to say, respect their privacy.
  • Don’t decide that the tech you need is a card you don’t own. That’s just a mess. If you have close friends with a lot of cards you can usually get a card or two that you need – just don’t decide that the tech you need last minute is the $75 Luxray GL Level X.
  • Don’t run vicious circles around the field between rounds to get a look at decks, or look over a player’s shoulder to see what cards are in their hand. If someone is uncomfortable with how close you are to their game, their discomfort will show. Give everybody space to concentrate and play their games.

With each successive tournament, you should broaden the information that you gather. For Cities, you probably just need to know the metagame in your state and maybe the closest border state. For IL States, I need to take into consideration my own state as well as states that don’t have a tournament the same weekend as mine. For IL states I have to know what Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, and sometimes Indiana are playing, too. For MO Regionals I need to know what some players in Kansas are playing, too. And by Nationals you need to start looking at those compiled statistics.

Playing against your worst matchup

This is something I’d like to discuss because there truly is no right answer. Sometimes, when you play a deck, there is another deck that you will probably lose to. “The Autoloss”. The best modern example of this is SP vs. Machamp. If left unteched, Machamp will probably beat you 9 out of 10 games (assuming players of equal skill). So, if there’s a deck that you’re going to lose to no matter what without a tech, shouldn’t you prepare? Not necessarily. Ask yourself 3 things:

1. Is this deck popular in my area?
2. Can the techs used to counter this matchup also be used to counter a popular deck in my meta?
3. Will teching against this deck damage my consistency vs. other decks?
4. How big is the tournament that I’m going to?

There is no right answer, but these questions can help you decide what the right thing to do is. In most areas, Machamp sees little to no play – making it nearly useless to tech against in my opinion. However, some players decide to run a Machamp counter in every tournament they play. “I refuse to take an autoloss to Machamp,” said Pooka at one point. Granted, the size of your tournament is a big deal as well.

As you get closer and closer to Nationals, the more you’ll want your deck to be prepared for everything. Factors like testing, luck, and understanding of larger metagames can help you come to a decision. Here’s an interesting comparison:

  • I took an SP deck to a Battle Road with no Machamp counter and never faced Machamp. Good.
  • Pooka took Dialgachomp to Nationals with a Machamp counter and still lost to a Machamp. Not Good or Bad. I didn’t watch every one of Pooka’s games, so I can’t tell you if he ended up using Unown G/Lucario GL in any of his other matchups. Even if those cards ended up being dead draws, he still ended up getting 3rd at Nationals, an impressive feat.
  • I took Sablock with no Machamp counter to Nationals. I never faced a single Machamp until Top 128, and I lost immediately. Bad.
  • Con Le took a Machamp counter to Nationals and still lost to Machamp. But he also won Nationals. Good or Bad?

honchkrow-g-platinum-pl-77pokemon-paradijs.comHere’s my opinion: Con Le’s famous Machamp counter (Honchcrow SV) was also his Mewtwo LV.X counter, Dialga G LV.X counter, and a generally great tool versus a lot of other decks. He made a good play because he covered as many bases as he could with one tech, and was still able to use it to his advantage to win.

The best players will use their techs to cover as many bases as possible in order to remain consistent. Ask yourself each of the 4 questions I posted and use those to decide if countering your “autoloss” is a good or bad idea.

…Okay, can we get back to talking about Luxchomp now?

Oh yeah, Luxchomp! Now that you have your skeleton list, and have taken the steps needed to understand your metagame, it’s finally time to fill those 17 extra spaces. I’m going to take some time to talk about suggested techs to deal with a ton of popular decks, as well as simple consistency boosters. Let’s get to it!

Techs for Consistency:

– Consistency techs are for those of you who are having trouble getting your main Pokémon out, or for when you’re having general issues with the speed of your deck. Consistency issues are easily solved, usually by running more copies of search cards.

– There is a delicate balance between consistency and tech. You don’t want to over-tech, but you also don’t want to sacrifice your consistency with too many techs. As a rule of thumb (and this is by no means perfect) try dedicating 10 of your extra cards to consistency and 7 of them to techs.

More (insert card here). It goes without saying that some of these cards are not at an optimum level in the skeleton. Personally I always run 3 Collector, but that’s a playstyle choice. More Radar, Gain, Turn, Bebe, or Aaron’s are all common additions.

pokemon-communication-heartgold-soulsilver-hs-98Pokémon Communication. This card is probably the most important trainer search you can run, with the exception of SP Radar, which is searchable by Cyrus. Pokémon Communication lets you shuffle a Pokémon from your hand into your deck in exchange for any other Pokémon, including your Uxies and consistency Pokémon (I’ll talk about those soon).

The requirement of first having to have a Pokémon card in your hand is rarely a serious limiter, but the rise of trainer lock decks like Vilegar should be enough for you to not go overboard on trainer-based search. I rarely see lists run more than 2 Communication.

Premier Ball. This card has an advantage over the other search trainers because you don’t have to shuffle anything into your deck in order to play it. The disadvantage is it’s the most limited search of the 3 – by only being able to grab Level X Pokémon. If that was all Premier Ball could do, I wouldn’t suggest playing it all, but additionally you have the option of pulling your Level X Pokémon from the discard pile as well.

Because of this I highly recommend Premier Ball – running it could save you from having to make difficult decisions with your Aaron’s Collection, and instant recovery is also a huge bonus. Besides, you’re already running 5 level X’s with 2-2 Chomp/ lines and Uxie X. Again, I don’t suggest more than 2 of these – but the inclusion of them in general will help.

Luxury Ball. This card is the anti-Premier Ball. Instead of Level X cards, it can fetch any pokemon EXCEPT Level X’s. The other downside is you can’t play it if it’s in the discard – which means if you play it at all, you should only play 1. Personally I’ve replaced my Luxury Ball with Pokémon Communication, but don’t let that stop you from trying 1 Luxury Ball for yourself.

vs-seeker-supreme-victors-sv-140VS Seeker. I’ll be honest, this is the one card I have 0 experience with. It allows you to grab any Supporter from the discard – which can be particularly useful in netting you a 5th Cyrus’s Conspiracy. It’s a dead draw in a trainer-lock metagame, but otherwise I could see it being great against the mirror.

Draw Supporters. Everyone and their grandmother now knows about the fact that Yuta Komatsuda ran 3 Professor Oak’s New Theory. With it, you shuffle your hand into your deck and draw 6. But here’s what blows my mind – why did he choose New Theory over Looker’s Investigation? Looker’s gives 3 advantages to New Theory:

First, it lets you look at your opponent’s hand. This gives you insight into what to expect in your game, and can help you foil your opponent’s plan in advance.

Second – it gives you the option to shuffle your hand OR your opponent’s hand. If your opponent has a good hand, Looker-ing their hand away can win you the game. SP hands are traditionally huge—cutting their huge hand down to 5 can be all the disruption it takes to win the game.

And third – it lets you decide how many cards you want to draw. I’ll explain why this is important when I talk about Cursegar. These three bonuses, in my mind, outweigh the one extra card that PONT nets you. Either way, both cards are great considerations to add to your deck.

cynthias-feelings-legends-awakened-la-131Cynthia’s Feelings. This card has a lot of similarities to the two draw supporters I just mentioned, but it’s more of a “recovery” supporter than one used just for draw. Under normal circumstances, you shuffle and draw 4, which is low compared to Lookers’ 5 and PONT’s 6. However, if you just took a knockout the last turn, you draw 8 cards instead. This can be a huge turnaround—rarely will you draw 8 cards without seeing the Team Galactic’s Invention you’re looking for or finding another supporter. Cynthia’s Feelings is an often overlooked supporter, but don’t mock it until you’ve tried it.

Consistency Pokémon. Chatot MD and Smeargle UD + Unown Q. These two Pokémon are useful for saving bad hands and turning around games that you would have normally lost. Plain and simple, they both increase your chance of saving a bad hand. Here are the pros that each have other each other:

Chatot MD Pros:
– Free retreat (no need to use Unown Q)
– Can still work under power lock, can’t be stopped by Power Spray
– Attack can be used to keep opponent’s Pokémon stuck active (especially Spiritomb from Arceus, who will be indefinitely stuck until your opponent plays a Warp Energy to break the Chatter Lock)

Smeargle UD Pros:
– Uses a Poké-Power, doesn’t waste your attack for the turn
– Combined with Unown Q and Poké Turns/Warp Energy, you can use his power every turn
– Extremely useful in the mirror – where grabbing a Cyrus can create a Cyrus chain of your own

Ultimately, I recommend Smeargle UD over Chatot, but feel free to experiment with either, or both. Unown Q will also help your ability to retreat Uxie X and get a consistent “Trade Off” each turn.

call-energy-majestic-dawn-md-92pokemon-paradijs.comAnd last, but not least: Call Energy. Call Energy lets you grab 2 basic Pokémon and put them on your bench instead of your attack. Because of the importance of attacking, you’re almost always going to use Call Energy for your first turn exclusively.

In order to maximize your odds for consistency, you’ll want to run 4 Call Energy, with 3 as your absolute minimum. Call Energy is a playstyle preference. You’ll either find that you love it or that you’d rather run other energy in its place. Try a few games with it and without it and see how you like it.

Jeez, that’s a ton of options! Experiment with them all – finding your playstyle with consistency is a huge part of becoming a good Luxchomp player. The other part to becoming great with the deck is making the right plays against other top decks. In my next section, we’re going to go over just that.

Versus The Garchomp C Mirror

For anybody who plays SP, this is the single handed most important part to the outcome of any SP mirror match. Whoever gains the longest Garchomp C LV.X snipe control is usually the winner. When you play Luxchomp against other SP, I’d say that 65-75% of the prizes you take will be with Garchomp C LV.X over your Luxray GL LV.X. Gaining Garchomp C LV.X control might feel like it’s often up to the coin flip at the start of the game or mere luck, but there are a lot of things you can do to sway the odds in your favor.

Techs:

ambipom-g-rising-rivals-rr-56Ambipom G: This choice is a classic. Snap attack, for one Double Colorless Energy or an Energy with an Energy Gain can Knock Out any Garchomp C or Garchomp C LV.X with no energy on it. The “no energy on it” catch can hurt, though. Luckily, because Garchomp C LV.X discards 2 energy with “Dragon Rush,” about half the time he’ll be left with no energy and just an Energy Gain attatched.

In the right scenario, though, Ambipom is the easiest counter to Garchomp possible. It’s so easy to fill the 2 colorless energy cost in SP decks with 4 Double Colorless and multiple Energy Gain. Unfortunately, if your opponent knows you play Ambipom, or is just smart with their resources, they’ll make sure to leave Garchomp with at least 1 energy on him after each Dragon Rush – making your Ambipom tech dead weight.

The added bonus to Ambipom is he also gives you the opportunity to win on the first turn if your opponent has an energy-less lone active Pokémon in play. Just Snap Attack for 60 plus any Crobats that you might have and he can win you the game before it begins. Pros and cons weighed out, I still run Ambipom, but he’s another card you’re going to have to test to determine if he’s a solid counter for you.

Dragonite FB: This tech was just about never used until popularized by players like Con Le and Yuta Komatsuda at last year’s worlds. He saw small waves of hype on message boards every now and then, but for unknown reasons never really caught on. He’s an extremely good counter to Garchomp C, Garchomp C LV.X, and basic SP Pokémon in general.

Dragonite FB has two downsides, though. First is that he required an extra energy to perform Giant Tail, his SP-killing attack. The other problem is his colorless weakness – which means that one Earthquake from your opponent’s Garchomp C could counter you right back. Generally that still isn’t the biggest problem, because it still means you can attack with Dragonite FB instead of exposing a Garchomp C LV.X to attack.

energy-exchanger-undaunted-ud-73Energy Exchanger: This card from Undaunted is the first in our format that lets you search out special energies. There’s something common in the three biggest Garchomp C LV.X counters (Garchomp himself, Ambipom, and Dragonite FB), and that is Double Colorless Energy. By running Energy Exchanger, you increase your odds of hitting more DCE than your opponent, giving you the edge in speed.

Call Energy: If a player goes first with a Garchomp C (preferably on the bench so that he’s safe) they have a huge advantage in the SP mirror because they’ll be able to level up to Garchomp C LV.X first. By running Call Energy, you drastically increase your odds of starting with a benched Chomp. Since Garchomp is most likely going to be a threat no matter where you play, I highly recommend this addition.

More Aarons/Premier Ball: By having a stronger recovery, you increase the amount of Garchomps and Garchomp counters that you are able to use after they are Knocked Out. Having the greater Garchomp recovery can be the key in swinging the mirror match in your favor.

Playstyle:
Advantage in the Garchomp war is a huge priority. If you run out of counters/Garchomps to Knock Out an opposing Garchomp C LV.X out, your opponent will have an easy time picking off prizes and Poké Turning after your attack doesn’t knock them out. If any SP decks with Garchomp in them (isn’t that all of them?) are popular in your area, teching for the Garchomp advantage should be at the top of your list of additions. As long as you have reasonable assurance that you won’t get Knocked Out in return or give up an advantage, Knocking Out your opponent’s Garchomp C or Garchomp C LV.X is the right move.

One big : Don’t drop your DCE unless you plan on using it that turn! Too many times I see someone drop a DCE on their benched Garchomp C in a situation where their opponent can just level up and snipe them back. Even if it’s the only energy in your hand, I advise that you hold on to it (unless the opponent has no ability to snipe back/grab a knockout on the Pokémon you put DCE on). You only get 4, and even if they do end up sniping your Garchomp, you can use the DCE that you saved on a Garchomp C LV.X counter or your own Garchomp.

Versus Luxray GL X

Luxray GL doesn’t grab knockouts as easily as Garchomp does, but he’s still a nuisance that you should prepare to deal with in the mirror.

Techs:

Toxicroak G Promo + Psychic Energy: This is the combo that I once thought was needed in every deck, but I’ve since changed my mind. Even so, Toxicroak G Promo guarantees a knockout on Luxray GL LV.X as long as they got a knockout their last turn. The appropriately-named Poison Revenge only costs one Psychic Energy and an Energy Gain. Oftentimes that Psychic Energy can be used on many other Pokémon besides Croak, so you don’t have to worry much about fitting one purple energy in your deck, either.

Toxicroak G can be a bad Pokémon to open with, but his Poké-Power “Leap Away” acts as a built-in Super Scoop Up – half the time you can use this power to jump him from the active without wasting any resources. Because Luxray GL isn’t as big a threat as Garchomp C LV.X, Toxicroak G isn’t always needed (Yuta Komatsuda didn’t run it and still beat the mirror), but if you’re going to be running Psychic Energy anyway, he’s an easy fit.

power-spray-platinum-pl-117More Power Sprays: By increasing the number of Sprays that you run, you can decrease the Bright Looks that your opponent is able to use on you. This leaves them with a fully leveled-up Luxray GL LV.X that maxes at 70 damage. Without being able to use Bright look again, your opponent will usually be forced into wasting one of their valuable Poké Turns to reset and try to use the power again.

Playstyle:
There are a few things that you can do to really limit Luxray GL LV.X’s strength. The first is limit the amount of 70 or less HP Pokémon and Crobat Gs that you play to the field. Both are easily Knocked Out by Bright Look + Flash Impact/Trash Bolt, and could net your opponent that one cheap prize they need to take the prize lead for good.

As long as you hold on to your Power Sprays, Luxray GL LV.X can’t do anything special against you in the mirror. Power Spray is the reason Luxray GL LV.X and Garchomp C LV.X aren’t equally matched. They both deal close damage (60-70 vs. 80), but Luxray GL LV.X relies on getting that power to work in order to net a prize, while nothing stops Garchomp from sniping.

My last bit of advice is be weary of leaving high retreat pokemon on your bench (I’m looking at you, Bronzong G) when you’re low/out of Poké Turns. Bright Looking a Pokémon that has no way to retreat can leave you stuck active while they take prizes around you with Garchomp. And, even if they do get the power off and take that cheap prize, you can always revenge kill with Toxicroak G for one energy.

Versus Dialgachomp:

Because your priority is going to be sniping Garchomps, you won’t often even touch Dialga. However, if your opponent can set him up quick enough (with Special Metal Energy/Expert Belt) he can become a problem.

Techs:

blaziken-fb-lv.x-supreme-victors-sv-142Blaziken FB + Blaziken FB LV.X + Fire Energy: Blaziken FB Level X is the fastest way to net a knockout on Dialga G LV.X. Dealing 80 damage for 1 energy with Jet Shoot, shot up to 160 by Dialga G’s x2 fire weakness, Blaziken 1HKO’s Dialga in every instance except for one specific scenario – if he has Expert Belt and at least 3 Special Metals attached. And if this is the scenario, you’re going to want to extend your Crobat G’s and Poké Turn resources out to get that double prize.

If you ignore Dialga too long while fighting the Garchomp C LV.X battle, he can take you for surprise and start dealing more damage than you’d like. Typically this damage is weak enough to ignore, but if they load Dialga G with Expert Belt and Special Metals, 100 damage is just a Crobat drop away from Knocking Out your Garchomp C LV.Xs.

So when’s the right time to drop the Blaziken FB? As soon as your opponent has no more Garchomp C LV.X threats on the field. It’ll force your opponent to either let Dialga get KO’d or they’ll waste energy/Poké Turns to get him out of the way.

More Power Spray: Dialga’s favorite trick is accumulating damage, and then switching/Warp Energy-ing to a Garchomp C LV.X to heal it all off. Denying them the heal puts your opponent in a sticky situation – either they risk staying on the bench and getting KOd, or they bring Dialga back active for an almost definite return KO. Generally you should be doing all you can to remove the Garchomp threat first before attacking Dialga, but if you get caught in the problem of Dialga healing, just run a few more Sprays.

Drifblim UD: (See versus Mewtwo LV.X.)

Playstyle:
As I said, make Garchomp your priority and you can gain a fast advantage. You’ll also want to attack more with Luxray GL after you’ve cleared the Chomp threat, because his resistance to Dialga prevents a next-turn knockout with “Remove Lost”. Only with Expert Belt does Dialga pose a real attacking threat.

The biggest problem that I have against Dialga is managing the Deafen open. If they start by Deafening you, they can build up with trainers while limiting you from yours – posing the threat of getting an advantage with Garchomp C LV.X. Your best answer to this is strong supporter-based draw and search along with Luxray GL LV.X’s Bright Look. Even if it means Bright Looking their Bronzong G to force your opponent to use resources to continue Deafen locking.

All in all, if you’re still having trouble with the DialgaChomp matchup, adding Blaziken can really help swing the game in your favor.

Versus Blaziken FB Variants

This one should be short and sweet, it’s very similar (and even easier) than the Luxray GL matchup.

Techs:

toxicroak-g-diamond-pearl-promos-dp41Toxicroak G Promo: After Blaziken FB uses “Jet Shoot,” attacks that hit him during your turn do 40 more damage. Hitting for 60 + 10 from poison, Poison Revenge does that perfect amount of damage to ensure a return knockout.

Playstyle:
Other than Toxicroak, there’s nothing that you really need to do other than play smart to beat Blazechomp. As always, deal with Garchomp C LV.X first. As an additional precaution, be weary of dropping your high retreat pokemon without a Poké TurnBlaziken FB’s Luring Flame can pull you up and burn you. Luring Flame can’t be denied by Power Spray like Luxray GL’s Bright Look, so keep that in mind.

As long as you can deal 70 damage the turn after he Jet Shoots, you’ll be able to get a return KO – so Blaziken FB himself is not a threat to Luxchomp at all. As long as you keep the Garchomp swing in your favor, you probably won’t even need to tech to beat this one.

Versus Sablock (Sableye SF + Garchomp C LV.X)

Being part of probably the top 10 people with the most Sablock experience, I know what it takes to beat Sablock. Sablock will try to use Judge and Cyrus’s Initiative to cut off your resources before you can formulate attacks, so the highest consistency is needed to beat it.

Techs:
You don’t really need any specific techs to counter Sablock’s attackers. The only thing you need is maximum consistency and search cards. The more search cards you run, the better hands you’ll get, and the lower chances Sablock will have of disrupting your hand.

Playstyle:
smeargle-undaunted-ud-8If you start with a bad hand, Sablock can end your game pretty quickly with one Chatot G drop. His power lets them rearrange your top 4 draws – if you have no cards left to shuffle your deck, the turns where they’ve forced you to draw useless cards will be the end of you.

The best way to avoid bad hands is to run as many consistency cards as you can. Call Energy, search trainers and supporters, and either Smeargle UD or Chatot MD are your best helpers. As long as you keep all of this in mind and (ugh he’s gonna say it again!) stay ahead in the Garchomp C LV.X race, you can win the game. If the Garchomp threat is over or non-existent at the moment, do what you can do knockout Sableye. He’s an easy prize at 60 HP, and every turn he stays alive he can net your opponent consistency with his supporter searching “Impersonate.”

One last word of advice is be conservative of your resources. As long as you’re not scrambling for the Garchomp lead, don’t use your Cyrus’ if you don’t have to. Eric Nance’s Luxchomp lost to Con Le’s Sablock in game 3 because he was out of Cyrus and dropped to a bad hand with a late game “Judge” by Con Le. Sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw – but with a consistent list you can increase your luck.

Versus Vilegar

If this is a popular play in your metagame, it could very well hold priority over Garchomp C LV.X as your main focus for techs. The deck aims to prevent you from trainers the entire game, which can seriously cripple you if you have no answer.

Techs:

dialga-g-lv.x-platinum-pl-122Dialga G / Dialga G LV.X / Basic Metal Energy / Warp Energy: Dialga G LV.X is the best counter there is to Vilegar. His Body shuts off Vileplume’s Body, and he has resistance to Gengar as well. However, if you don’t plan on using Dialga to attack, be sure to run Warp Energy to allow yourself a quick escape to the bench once you level up. While Gengar Level X can level you down, having Dialga out is the one time when you can counter their trainer lock and use Power Spray to prevent it.

Looker’s Investigation: Near the end of the game, if you weren’t able to find a way to negate to Vileplume, your hand will have a TON of trainers – almost guaranteeing a Poltergeist KO from Gengar. Looker’s Investigation allows you to shuffle your hand back into the deck and declare how many cards you want to draw (the ruling is you must declare first, you cannot look at each individual card).

Let’s say that in order to win the game you need to keep a Garchomp C alive. You have Garchomp C LV.X active with no damage on him. You know that Poltergeist will deal 30 damage for each trainer that you have in your hand. You also know that their Gengar LV.X will level you down to 80 HP.

If you plan on taking a Prize card this turn and have not yet looked at your Prize cards with Azelf or don’t know what your prizes are, only take 1 card. If you do know what and where your prizes are, or you don’t plan on taking a knockout, take 2 cards with Looker’s. This way, you’re guaranteed a turn free from being Knocked Out by Poltergeist.

blaziken-fb-supreme-victors-sv-2Blaziken FB + Fire: While you can use Luxray GL’s Bright Look Poké-Power to pull up a benched Vileplume, Blaziken and one Fire might be easier to obtain while under a trainer lock (I’m not saying that Blaziken is optimal, it’s just a possible option). Providing that your opponent has no Warp Energy in their hand, a Luring Flame to Vileplume will net you a turn of safety from damage.

Also, if they remain active and burned, it’ll be pretty easy to knock Vileplume out, either through Uxie LV.X’s “Zen Blade,” Blaziken FB LV.X’s “Jet Shoot,” or whatever method you can. Knocking Out Vileplume and relieving yourself of the trainer lock can be a huge way to keep an advantage in prizes.

Decrease Trainers, Increase Supporters: If a Vilegar meta is one that you’re going to have to deal with, don’t be afraid to cut the number of SP Radar, Pokémon Communication, Power Spray, and other Trainers that you run in your deck. Instead, up your Bebe’s Search count, along with Looker’s. Both cards increase your consistency under the lock AND help you rid your hand of trainers that boost Vilegar’s power.

Playstyle:
This can be one of the hardest matchups you play. Be sure to utilize your Dialga tech early if you run it, allowing yourself trainers as quickly as possible. Limit your hand of trainers whenever you have the opportunity, and play them as frequently as you can when you’re not under the lock to limit the damage done by Poltergeist.

In addition to limiting their Poltergeist damage, be careful of the amount of Pokémon you drop with Poké-Powers. Shadow Room allows an unblockable 6 damage counters to be placed on a Pokémon with Powers for one energy, and you should limit Vilegar’s options to deal damage whenever you can.

Another thing to do if possible is avoid Fainting Spell by Knocking Out your opponent’s Gengar through means other than damage. This can wither be done by Crobat’s “Flash Bite” or by using Uxie LA’s “Psychic Restore” to return it to the bottom of the deck as you knockout Gengar SF – which denies them from flipping to knockout your Uxie which is no longer active.

If you have the resources, knockout Vileplume/Gloom/Oddish as quickly as you can. Because spiritomb has low HP and damages itself with its setup, he can be an easy target for knockout, too. Ultimately, Cursegar wins versus SP in the lategame when you’re out of resources and locked.

As long as you take the steps needed to prevent the lock, prevent Gengar’s damage and remain ahead in prizes, it can be hard for Vilegar to beat you in 30+3.

Versus Donphan

Now we’re starting to get into the troublemakers for Luxchomp. Donphan has resistance to Luxray and also has Luxray’s weakness -almost nullifying your usage of Luxray GL LV.X completely. He also has instant 20 damage protection with its Poké-Body. He hits heavy very quickly, dealing 60 damage for 1 energy. Donphan isn’t an autoloss (really nothing is an autoloss providing you have the right techs), but he definitely takes careful planning if your metagame is Donphan heavy.

Techs:

psychic-energy-emerald-em-105Psychic Energy: Yup, believe it or not, if you’re running the skeleton list that I’ve provided, all you need is a Psychic Energy to drastically help you in your matchup. Why? The answer is in Crobat G. Because of Crobat’s fighting resistance, he’ll almost never be one-shotted by Donphan. His attack, Toxic Fang, allows you to double poison your opponent’s active pokemon.

So, while you stall with Crobats to build Garchomps to attack, Donphan takes 20 damage between each turn. Even if they play a Super Scoop Up or a Warp Point to get rid of the poison, forcing them to burn through resources is never a bad thing.

Here’s the math:

You Toxic Fang once, dealing 20 between turns. If they stay active, they’ll take 20 more damage leaving them at 40. If you Dragon Rush the next turn, you’ll deal 80 damage minus 20 because of Donphan’s body, leaving you at 100 damage on Donphan. And in between turns, poison will kick in one last time, bringing Donphan to 120 for the knockout.

Quagsire GL + Water Energy + (Expert Belt optional): Quagsire GL was probably the most popular suggested Donphan counter last year. The strategy? Get a Double Colorless Energy + Water Energy and use “Punch and Run” to hit for double weakness while you promote a Crobat G to wall. Unfortunately, Punch and Run’s 40 damage is a little on the low side, so some people suggest Expert Belt as well.

An un-Belted “Punch an Run” will net you 60 damage on Donphan after weakness and his Body is calculated, which should be enough for a two hit Knock Out on Donphan. With Expert Belt, you’re dealing 100 damage, which puts you close in range for a knockout if you can drop 2 Crobat G’s with the attack.

Overall, I’m not crazy about Quagsire, but he gets the job done, and fleeing to the bench is a great way to keep him alive the whole game.

empoleon-fb-supreme-victors-sv-27Empoleon FB + Water + (Expert Belt optional): Empoleon FB is personally my favorite Donphan counter. You use the same amount of cards as you would with Quagsire, but your chances for a knockout right away are much higher. Escort deals 40 damage for a Water and a Double Colorless, and 60 damage if you played a Supporter in the same turn that you attacked.

Since you should be running around 12 supporters, it isn’t too hard to fulfill this requirement. So, by playing a Supporter and using Escort, you hit for (60 x 2) – 20 = 100 damage, 20 short of a knockout on an un-Belted Donphan. With Expert Belt, you hit for (80 x 2) – 20 = 140 damage, enough to Knock Out even a Donphan with Expert Belt.

You also get the benefit of the situational attack “Rushing Water”, which is the same as Ambipom’s Tail Code but it deals 20 damage. Rushing Water at least helps empoleon become less of a dead draw when you’re playing against non-Donphan decks. At 90 HP, Empoleon FB will be hard to KO back as well.

Froslass GL + Psychic: This tech is a little more obscure than the others, but it’s one that really challenges whether I like Empoleon FB the best or not. First off, before we even talk about the Donphan matchup, “Sleep Inducer” is a solid attack – very similar to Blaziken FB’s “Luring Flame,” but without the ability to deal damage. “Sleep Inducer” alone makes Frosslass a non-dead draw in your deck if you decide to run him.

froslass-gl-rising-rivals-rr-6pokemon-paradijs.comThe other advantage is that unlike his other SP Water-type brethren, he runs on Psychic energy – a type you would already be running if you plan on using the Crobat G strategy. For one energy and an Energy Gain, here’s what “Wake up Slap” does: if the opponent is effected by a special condition, it does 50 damage instead of 30.

What does this mean? Well, let’s say you’ve already poisoned Donphan with “Toxic Fang” and he stayed active. He now has 40 damage on him. Now, by either Poké Turning Crobat to give Froslass the Psychic, or attatching a 2nd Psychic if you run one, you can hit Donphan for (50 x 2) – 20 PLUS 20 from the poison for 100 total damage, KO-ing even a Belted Donphan in 2 turns.

The downside to Froslass is the low 70 HP, which means that you could be open to a quck return KO from a newly-promoted Donphan. All in all, give Froslass a try if you’re having trouble with your Donphan matchup.

Dialga G / Dialga G LV.X / Warp Energy: There’s not much to say about this tech other than if you can pull it off early, you won’t have to worry about Donphan’s 20 damage-reducing Poké-Body. The earlier you can get Dialga out, the earlier you’ll get the payoff of being able to deal more damage with each attack than you normally would. I’d only suggest Dialga if you’re already running it to counter something else – but if you do run it, he can be a big help.

Playstyle:
Donphan can be a trickier matchup than most people give credit to – especially against a good list/player. Donphan hits fast, and matches you in speed in terms of quick damage. On top of that, they tank better than you do, and can pose a real threat there as well.

donphan-prime-heartgold-soulsilver-hs-107-ptcgo-1The key to winning the matchup is to stay ahead in the prize trade and taking out Donphan once they’ve hit maximum damage potential. Donphan’s 1 for 60 attack isn’t a huge threat as long as you can keep retreating or using Poké Turns to prevent him from knocking you out.

However, wait too long and Donphan will have 3 energy and an Expert Belt – dealing 110 damage with each attack, Knocking Out every SP Pokémon that you run in one hit. You have to play your resources carefully to win – be sure to use Crobat G’s Toxic Fang early if you suspect that they’re going to get 3 energy attatched, or if they’ve already dropped an Expert Belt (taking 2 prizes and eliminating an attacker at the same time is a huge reward).

Hit Donphan with your counter as early as you can set it up and you should be able to sacrifice a Garchomp C LV.X or two to take the winning prizes. Another note — (most of the time) DON’T USE Luxray GL unless you’re using it to Bright Look and take a prize with someone else – he’s a free knockout for one energy with Donphan.

During late game this isn’t as big of a problem, but don’t be surprised to lose your Luxray GL right away if you try to use him. Cards like Pokémon Reversal and Super Scoop Up can really tilt your game back in their favor — but because both cards rely on card flips, there’s always the chance that they can fail.

Versus Machamp

Machamp is probably your deck’s number one weakness, thanks to the rotation of Unown G. For one energy, Machamp’s “Take Out” will take one prize per turn if left unteched. Keep in mind, if Machamp isn’t in your metagame at all, there’s no reason to tech against him. But if there are a few Machamp decks floating around, you should take precautions.

Techs:

toxicroak-g-platinum-pl-40Toxicroak G (non-promo) + Psychic Energy + Skuntank G + Stadiums + Lucario GL: You can already tell why this combo is a problem. Your traditional Toxicroak G combo will require 6 total cards (Toxicroak G, a Stadium, Skuntank G, 2 Energy/1 Energy,1 Energy Gain, and Lucario GL.) The stadium card is also unsearchable — and if you tell me that Honchcrow G can search Stadium cards, all I have to say to you is that your combo now takes 7 cards to complete.

Granted, if you DO get it off, you turn the matchup on its head. Toxicroak G’s body prevents all effects of attacks, meaning that Take Out (an effect of an attack) will do nothing to you, forcing Machamp to rely on the flippy “Hurricane Punch”. With a Stadium in play, Skuntank G inflicts poison. When the opponent’s Pokémon is Poisoned, Toxicroak G’s “Deep Poison” hits for 60 damage. With Lucario GL in play, you hit for x2 Weakness, meaning that all together, you hit for 60 x 2 + 10 from poison for a perfect 130 damage KO on Machamp.

Sound complicated? That’s because it is. Remember my general guideline for filling out your skeleton? I said around 10 cards for consistency and 7 to your tech. If you go this route to counter Machamp, that’s your entire tech line right there. While this option looks promising, there’s just too much that can go wrong.

What if your Psychic Energy or Stadium is prized? Then you’re going to have to use your resources elsewhere to take a prize, and you’ll probably have to use Azelf LA to determine where your prize is located first. Machamp can still get lucky and knock you out with three heads on Hurricane Punch, forcing you to either run more than 1 copy of toxicroak, or forcing you to run recovery cards to bring him back. In my opinion, it’s too much work.

On a side note, if you have to pick a Stadium, I say go Team Galactic’s HQ. It makes your opponent put 2 damage counters on their Pokémon when they evolve, which could possibly soften Machamp up enough for you to get knockouts via means other than Toxicroak as well.

lucario-gl-rising-rivals-rr-8Non-basic Psychic Pokémon that hit for at least 60 damage + Lucario GL + Energy (if needed): I’m wording it like this because all of these Pokémon are also Mewtwo LV.X counters, which I’ll talk about next. By running a non-basic Pokémon, you have counters that can resist the threat of Take Out, while still being able to one-shot Machamp. There are a TON of Pokémon that fit this category, so look around and see if there’s one you like best.

Just Lucario GL + Uxie LV.X: This is your most practical counter because of how little extra you need to add to your deck to use it. All Uxie LV.X needs is a Double Colorless and a Crobat drop with Lucario GL to one-shot Machamp. Granted, this might only guarantee you one knockout because a backup Machamp can just “Take Out” to return a KO on you, but being able to grab that one knockout could win you the game.

More Power Spray: With Claydol out of the rotation, Machamp’s only draw power is limited to trainer draw and Uxie LA. If you’re able to stop the Uxie, you have an opportunity of preventing Machamp from ever coming out. Simple as that.

Playstyle:
This matchup is a nightmare if you have no counter. While Machamp might not see any play at all in your metagame because of how poorly it performs versus decks like Vilegar, the few times you do run into can be unpleasant, to say the least. You can either spend a lot of space in your deck and counter Machamp, but hurt consistency, or you can take the easy route and just add Lucario and play smart.

Most Machamp lists will run 3 Machamp SF, 1 Machamp LV.X, and a minor amount of recovery with Palmer’s Contribution. If you run a higher amount of Power Sprays, you might be able to limit the amount of Machamps your opponent can search out. The magic number to shoot for is 2. With only 2 Machamps hitting the field, you can one-shot one of them with Uxie LV.X, and 2-shot the other with a combination of attacks from Luxray GL and Garchomp CX.

With smart Power Sprays on your opponent’s Poké-Powers, you can outplay Machamp and prevent them from setting up again. If you run a counter in the form of a stage 1 that deals 60 damage or more for low energy, you can still win the game pretty easily even if they get 3 Machamps out.

And, as I’ve mentioned before, taking the autoloss to Machamp isn’t always a bad thing. Machamp is seeing little play, and If they get a fast enough start you could still lose to Machamp anyway (both Pooka and Con Le lost to machamp with counters, as explained above).

Versus Mewtwo LV.X

Mewtwo is another matchup that will become an autoloss if unteched. The presense of Mewtwo in decks is extremely random, but he’s been splashed into anything from Gengar to . His Body will prevent all damage and effects done by unevolved Pokémon.

Because your entire deck is unevolved before adding techs, Mewtwo LV.X can shut your whole deck down. Oftentimes the strategy of your opponent will be to limit their field to JUST Mewtwo LV.X, so that you won’t be able to snipe anything on the bench.

Techs:

Evolved Psychic Pokémon that can deal 60 damage. There are a few Pokémon that fit in this category, but I’m only going to talk about 2 of them.

mismagius-stormfront-sf-7Mismagius SF: This is the original tech to beat Mewtwo LV.X. His attack “Crash Chant” lets you discard any combination of Pokémon Tools and Technical Machine cards from play (yours or your opponent’s) to deal 20 damage for the amount that you discarded. The attack costs 0 energy, so you don’t even have to worry about adding anything other than Mismagius yourself.

However, getting 3 Pokémon Tools can be a problem. You’ll probably want to max out your Energy Gain to 4 (which isn’t a bad play, Komatsuda’s Worlds winning list ran 4), and possibly include 1 Expert Belt. As long as you can get the 3 Tools on the field, Mismagius is your fastest option.

He’s also one of your best anti-SP counters as well, because he can be used to discard your opponent’s Tools. While there’s a lot more focus on other Pokémon than Mismagius, he’s still a very viable option.

Drifblim UD: This card is all the rage because he’s new, he has free retreat, and he can do some crazy things. First things first, he does 2 for 60, which is a reasonable cost to knockout Mewtwo. 20 damage to yourself kindof sucks, but if you’re Knocking Out Mewtwo it’s well worth the cost.

The big deal about Drifblim that many people are seeing is “Take Away.” This attack, for an Energy and a Double Colorless lets you shuffle Drifblim and the defending Pokémon back into their respective player’s decks.

drifblim-undaunted-ud-12What does this mean? Well, it means that you can use Drifblim to counter any deck that runs a high energy cost. By shuffling them back in, you waste the time that your opponent took building up an attacker very quickly. This means that he functions as a nice Dialga G, Tyranitar, Scizor Prime, and Steelix Prime counter as well. In my opinion, Drifblim outmatches Mismagious with these bonuses, and should be your go-to Mewtwo counter.

Dialga G LV.X: Dialga not only shuts down Mewtwo’s Body altogether, but he also has resistance to Mewtwo’s attack. If you plan on running Dialga to help your Vilegar matchup, you don’t even need an additional tech against Mewtwo.

Playstyle:
Mewtwo Level X is not as hard to deal with as Machamp SF. Even if you run no counter at all, the Mewtwo player needs a lot to go their way in order for them to succeed in blocking you. The first advantage is that they need to place down their basic Mewtwo one turn before leveling him up (less than 1% of decks run Level Max). In this turn, all you need is a Garchomp C LV.X snipe and a Crobat drop to knockout the basic Mewtwo.

If your opponent does get Mewtwo LV.X out and you do not run a counter, knockout everything else that you can, with Uxie LA and SP Pokémon being your first priority. You want to deny your opponent the opportunity to “Psychic Restore” to the bottom or Poké Turn their bench away as much as you can. After all this, if they still have Mewtwo LV.X out, all you can do is hope to win on time from all the prizes you took. Mewtwo LV.X is simple enough to counter, and he really isn’t much of a threat.

Another nice bonus is, both of your big Mewtwo LV.X counters double as counters to other decks as well. Dialga helps you with Scizor Prime, Vilegar, AND Mewtwo. Drifblim can also be a Machamp counter with Lucario. Maximizing the amount of decks you counter with one card is huge.

Versus Kingdra

still remains a popular deck choice — and honestly, it probably doesn’t even need a counter. However, I’ll outline the best moves you can make on the one card you can add to make the matchup even easier.

Techs:

luxray-gl-rising-rivals-rr-9Lucario GL: And you’re only going to want Lucario against Kingdra LA (the non-Prime version). Because Kingdra Prime already has 2× Weakness to Lightning, Lucario isn’t even needed half the time, anyway.

Playstyle:
You should be able to beat Kingdra with your list as-is. You just need to play smart and everything should go smoothly. For the first time so far, you’ll be attacking more with Luxray than Garchomp. The x2 Weakness to Lightning should give you an easy access to one hit knockouts, whether it be with Trash Bolt or Flash Impact + Crobat G’s “Flash Bite”. Without Claydol, Kingdra loses a lot of speed, giving you even more of an edge than before.

Because this matchup is so hard for Kingdra, most lists will run Donphan or Machamp as well to make things easier. Just play the matchup smart according to the strategies I’ve outlined earlier and you won’t even break a sweat. If they ever leave a Machop/Phanphy on the bench, just Dragon Rush/Bright Look them for an easy knockout.

One thing to avoid is letting Kingdra take multiple prizes at once. Limit the amount of non-SP Pokémon you leave on the bench because these are easy targets for Kingdra Prime’s Power and Kingdra LA’s attack to build on. Otherwise, just use Garchomp C LV.X’s “Healing Breath” to remove any extra damage they try to accumulate. You don’t need a counter — just outplay them.

Versus Gyarados

Gyarados loses some key cards that made it consistent, like Felicity’s Drawing, and this makes the matchup that much easier.

Techs:
Lucario GL: This will make the game a cinch. By being able to hit Gyarados for X2 weakness, you can KO it with Luxray in all the ways that you could against Kingdra. Simple.

More Power Spray: Because Gyarados no longer has Felicity’s Drawing for their Magikarp discarding needs, they’re pretty much limited to the Regice LA option. For each turn you Power Spray Regice, you set the Gyarados player a turn back in getting consistent Magikarps in the discard. And if you KO their Regice, it makes things that much harder for them to come back.

lookers-investigation-platinum-pl-109Looker’s Investigation: Because most Sableye decks will use Sableye for a consistent search into Regice and Magikarp, you can just use Looker’s to shuffle their good hands back in. It can bide you time to grab the Power Sprays you need, or just force your opponent to burn more resources. If you’re able to KO Sableye AND Looker’s your opponent’s hand away the same turn, you can really take a big lead.

Playstyle:
Until Triumphant hits the scene, Gyarados is missing a lot of the power it used to have. Even if they do get Gyarados out and you have no option to one-shot them, they usually have a bench full of prizes for the taking, such as Crobat G, Sableye, Regice, Combee, etc.

How did I beat the undefeated Gyarados in top cut at MO regionals with Sablock? I never attacked Gyarados once and I disrupted. You should be able to take plenty of prizes off the bench, and because you CAN attack Gyarados with Luxray, disrupting isn’t too big of a deal. Another easier matchup.

Versus Scizor Prime

This is one of the most unexpected decks that can beat you if you aren’t prepared for it. Granted, if it’s not in your metagame there’s no need to bother, but if it is, you need to have an idea of how to play against it.

 

scizor-prime-undaunted-ud-84Techs:

Blaziken FB / Blaziken FB LV.X / Fire Energy: This is an easy tech to get rid of what can become a huge problem. Even with 4 Special Metal and Expert Belt, Scizor Prime can’t defend a Jet Shoot. Simply Jet shooting your opponent’s first heavily loaded Scizor can win you the game.

Drifblim UD (see Versus Mewtwo LV.X): Shuffle your opponent’s hard-earned 4+ energy Scizor away and take the lead. Scizor’s Body doesn’t prevent effects of attacks, so you can still use Double Colorless Energy for the attack cost.

Dialga G LV.X: Shuts off Scizor’s Body and allows you to attack with Special Metals again, meaning that you can start dealing decent damage with Garchomp C LV.X again. If you run 2 or more Metal Energy, using “Remove Lost” to Lost Zone their Special Metal Energies can be a big hurt, too.

Playstyle:
The reason Scizor Prime can be such a problem is because once it sets up, you can’t really stop it. Most builds use Skarmory from Undaunted to search your deck for a Special Metal and attach it to Scizor Prime. After 2-3 turns, a Scizor Prime with 4-5 energy isn’t farfetched.

At 5 energies, Scizor Prime hits for 130 damage — enough to even one shot Luxray GL Level X after resistance. The same result is achieved with 4 Metal Energies and one Expert Belt. Because Scizor’s Body prevents damage from Pokémon with Special Energies attached to them, you can’t use your Garchomp as an attack option as quickly as you could, and DCE / Warp Energy / Call Energy become a dead draws.

In order to take as big of a marginal lead as you can, KO Skarmory as fast as possible, and pick prizes around Scizor until you can find your counter. If you don’t run a counter, just pray that your opponent gives you enough fodder on the bench, because you’ll likely never KO a fully loaded Scizor with just Luxray. Scizor isn’t all that popular, but if he’s a part of your metagame, I’d suggest running a counter.

And, believe it or not, you’ve reached the end of the article! There are more matchups that I could cover with Luxchomp, but these dozen or so should be the biggest ones you’ll run into. I hope that even if you don’t touch Luxchomp ever again that you can use some of the processes I’ve outlines for proper metagaming and teching.

As an added plus, you now know the core of all advanced Luxchomp strategy, and can use that to your advantage when playing with OR against it. After all, knowing is half the battle!

– J-Wittz


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