Taking Initiative with Chiofalock

One of the cards that I have been a fan of ever since it was released has been Cyrus’s Initiative. The ability to take key cards out of an opponent’s hand, albeit at a few coin flips, can be absolutely devastating. After failed attempts to use Porygon2 and friends to do a complete hand lock, I set the card on the sidelines and resorted to using more proven strategies, hoping to one day return to the Initiative when the format was better suited to making use of it.

The problem I had with the Porygon build was dealing with Claydol’s ability to get hands rebuilt so quickly. I had experimented with all sorts of different approaches, including running a heavy SP line, complete with Power Sprays, and in order to bring up Claydol and kill it. Unfortunate, I was also cluttering the deck with TMs in order to allow Porygon to hit for any worthwhile degree of damage. While it was working alright, it just seemed like too much work for a relatively fragile lock: A good topdeck could neuter an otherwise great board position.

Sablelock popped up around States last year, and won a good number of events, including U.S. Nationals, piloted by Con Le. With the release of after States, I tested the deck and was unimpressed by its performance. I simply did not like it compared to a more traditional LuxChomp. You had less options, but a higher ability to outright steal games early. I was always the kind of player to prefer options. The use of Judge, and without access to Claydol in the builds also left a sour taste in my mouth, as the Judge would often hinder me as much as it did them.

The deck was clearly good, and Con’s build at Nationals, making use of the stage 1 from SV was a significant improvement, but I wasn’t about to use the deck when Claydol was in the format. Your ability to compete against Jumpluff, or ( with or without Machamp ) was almost non-existant. You either won the game off of crippling them very early, or you got steamrolled. Usually it was the latter.

Heading into Worlds, Gallade spiked back up in popularity, and that matchup was also very bad for the deck. The inability to really use Judge or Cyrus’s Initiative due to Telepass really hindered the decks game plan severely.

Now, with the new format’s rotation, Claydol is gone. The ability to have an easy to obtain stage 1 source of draw power is gone. This means that Cyrus’s Initiative’s ability to steal Supporters or Uxies out of a players hand can be downright crippling. Anyone who has played the SP mirror match knows that turns are so methodically planned out that the loss of even one crucial card can cost a player the game. Cyrus’s Initiative exploits a huge weakness in the format as a whole.

So we know that Cyrus’s Initiative is a card worth building a deck around. The question is, how do we go about doing that? The key enabler to such a strategy is Sableye. The ability to go first, and grab an Initiative is too strong to ignore. The number of hands which are effectively cut off entirely by the loss of one card is quite high.

If you get two heads, more than likely they are put into topdeck mode right at the beginning of the game. Sableye also enables another key combo: Judge, followed by Cyrus’s Initiative. By playing Judge, you give both players a small 4 card hand. Sableye then Impersonates for Cyrus’s Initiative, leaving them with a 2-3 card hand. ( Or, you get two tails, and hope those are 4 pretty weak cards. )

Now, if you are going to be disrupting their hand so heavily, you want to have a way to stop them from drawing cards. The most popular card for refilling handsize is clearly Uxie. Other Pokémon Power based draw effects get used as well. As a result, SP Pokémon, backed by Power Spray, seem to be the obvious choice to pay with Sableye. I know this is a bit redundant due to the existance of Sablelock, but it deserves to be explained none the less. The tight synergy between these cards in a Claydol-less format cannot be overlooked. If you are going with SP Pokémon, the clear starting point is the best card in the format: Garchomp C Lvl X.

The card is too good not to play if you are running SP Pokémon. The question is, what do you support it with? The popular choice before was to use Honchkrow from SV, and Honchkrow G, using Dark Energy. I’m not entirely sure I like that choice in the present metagame. Let me break down what I have to prepare for.

LuxChomp
DialgaChomp
Sablelock
Plume
Machamp

Those are really the big decks. The two top are the most played, and deserve the most attention. Gengar had been performing subparly, and Machamp was strictly a counter to the SP decks, and most of the top players are hesitant to use a deck which packs it in against anything but SP. So the key decks to beat are the top two.

Honchkrow ( Both of them ) is subpar against both LuxChomp and DialgaChomp. The Lightning type Luxray wrecks havoc on them. Dialga is a very bad matchup for Sablelock in general, with Deafen and the eventual tanked Dialga being a legitimate tactic in that matchup. I expected a pretty good amount of Dialga as it had been winning in Ohio quite a bit.

Honchkrow is pretty good against Gengar, but Gengar had been showing up in decreasing amounts each Battle Road, and players were souring on it’s viability. I felt confident that if I had to have a weakened matchup against any of the topdecks, I could take the hit against Gengar. Machamp, on the other hand, was spiking in play. So I wanted to make sure that I had answers to that.

I felt that LuxChomp was a close enough matchup with the disruption that I could outplay people consistently enough to view that as a favorable matchup. Sablelock was roughly the same. Machamp I would address with a thick Uxie X line with Premier Balls, hoping that the swarm of them, coupled with disruption, would be enough to allow me to push past them. Dialga on the other hand, was a major issue.

I also felt that Scizor, or Steelix, or any large hit point metal type would provide major issues for me. As a result, I wanted to run a Blaziken FB Level X line to cover those weaknesses. It would also allow me to bring up Vileplume with Luring Flame, to hopefully give me some additional game against Gengar Plume decks. It wouldn’t be as useful as Honchkrow, but it certainly would still help out. Even being able to swing for 80 a turn without discarding energy is useful. It also would cripple Kingdra Prime’s attacking potential.

I would up receiving a list from Rosalba Chiofalo from Italy ( Chiofalock! ) as a starting point for testing the deck out. The list played very well, and once I got used to playing it, my matchups continued to improve across the board. I also made a few changes to her list as time went on. I ended up cutting the 2-1 Blaziken line down to a 1-1 line. It worked fine that way.

Heading into the event, I knew I had to decide whether I wanted to focus on beating Gengar, or Machamp. I felt that Gengar would be weeded out by the other SP decks, so I wanted to hedge my bets against Machamp. This led me to adding a 2nd Premier Ball, a 3rd Uxie, and a Lucario GL. Here is the list I wound up using:

Chiofalock 2.o

Pokémon – 20

3 Uxie LA
1 Uxie LV.X
1 Blaziken FB
1 Blaziken FB LV.X
3 Garchomp C
1 Garchomp C LV.X
1 Crobat G
4 Sableye SF
1 Unown Q MD
1 Azelf LA
1 Ambipom G
1 Lucario GL
1 Toxicroak G DP41

Trainers – 29

4 Cyrus’s Conspiracy
3 Pokémon Collector

2 Judge

2 Cyrus’s Initiative
1 Bebe’s Search
1 Aaron’s Collection

 

4 Poké Turn
3 Power Spray
3 Energy Gain

2 Premier Ball
2 SP Radar
1 Energy Exchanger

1 VS Seeker

Energy – 11

4 Double Colorless
2 Fire
2 Psychic
2 Warp
1 Darkness [Basic]

The original list was running 10 energy and 2 Energy Exchanger, but I found myself missing too many energy drops, and switched out an Exchanger for the 11th energy. I really wanted 2 Exchanger ( and if I wasn’t so worried about Machamp, it would have made it in. ) but the extra energy was needed. Without Roseanne’s Research, the ability to search up the basic energy you needed throughout the game was a bit handicapped. This is the first deck to really highlight that. I almost wanted a 12th energy still!

I had to make the choice between and Ambipom. I felt that Tail Code gained strength with my disruption, in all matchups, so I wanted him in for sure. The inclusion of Toxicroak G also gave me better game against opposing Ambipoms, a trait I really liked about Dragonite in the first place. As much as I like Dragonite, the deck cannot fit it AND Ambipom. Of the two, Ambipom is more versitile.

The tournament was held at an Arby’s in Cuyahoga Falls. They hold league there every Thursday, and managed to also put the Battle Road there. The restaurant was large, and actually fit everyone really comfortably. I was surprised. I end up picking up my friend Mike, and driving out to the tournament.

Anyway, the tournament gets a really large turn out, and we wind up having 6 rounds of swiss with a cut to a top 4. I believe we had about 40 players in Masters. Of course, I look at the pairings, and of the 40 players that do show up, I get paired against Mike, the guy I drove with. This is even more ironic seeing how at the previous Battle Road, I got paired against Tracy round one, who I also drove to the tournament with. I call conspiracy!

Round 1 vs Mike O’Donnell ( Dialga Chomp )

I get a bit of a shaky start, but due to Blaziken, I feel like I like my odds this game. His start is also a bit suspect, but I know his list is very similar to mine, except it also runs Staraptor and Smeargle, two cards which really give me trouble because they allow him to set up despite my disruption. Early into the game, I end up using a Cyrus’s Initiative to rip a card out of his hand, leaving him with what was basically an unplayable hand.

He draws for the turn, and rips an SP Radar, which allows him to get Staraptor up, and allows him to really take the lead and put me in a pretty awkward position. I continue to draw a little bit weak, as his draws improve, but he makes a few mistakes which lets me stay in the game. He has a pretty solid prize lead on me, as time is winding down. I end up getting Garchomp C X up and take control of the field, and start to make the desperate comeback.

He draws poorly at this point, and I tie up the prizes on turn 3 of the Turn Extension. He has Uxie Lvl X up, and a Dragonite FB on the bench. I have two options. I have to wait a turn before taking the last prize I need to win. ( Dragon Rush was used the prior turn, so I had to wait. ) I could either leave Garchomp C X active, forcing him to need a DCE and his last Energy Gain, or bring up a Crobat, forcing him to need a 2nd energy and 2 Poké Turn to do 80 with his Uxie X.

I leave up Crobat, and he uses Trade Off…and doesn’t realize he had access to two Poké Turns for the Zen Blade kill. He misplays the turn, and allows me to get the win next turn. He had the game if he had handled that play correctly, but I managed to sneak out an undeserved win.

1-0

Round 2 vs Kim Allen ( Lux Chomp )

I get paired against Kim, who will later turn out to be my enemy the next day due to Mini-Golf after the Chardon Battle Road. She is using LuxChomp, but she does not get set up very well at all. Her start is slow and clunky and I focus on getting Sprays to keep her locked out of the game. I wish I could say this game was more exciting, but it is another example of the occasional ( frequent ) lopsided SP games, where one players superior start simply gives them the early lead that simply locks the opponent out of contention.

For as difficult and enjoyable as a good, close SP mirror game can be, it is games like these that reinforce how stupid they can be as well.

2-0

Round 3 vs ??? ( Charizard Typhlosion )

I apologize for not remembering my opponent’s name, but it was the first time I remembered seeing him at a tournament, where as everyone else I played I’ve seen so many times that it is difficult not to remember names. I open with a very strong hand, featuring Ambipom G and a Double Colorless Energy. He has two basics, unfortunately, but I get to go first.

He opens with a Charmander, and has a Vulpix benched. I attach my DCE, and kill Charmander. He promotes Vulpix, and uses Uxie to draw some cards, retreating Vulpix for that Uxie after getting a few more Pokémon on his bench. I end up Knocking Out Uxie with a Crobat and Ambipom for the quick 2 Prize lead, but he gets a Charizard up and running and gets Ninetales out, and starts to get a fully developed board.

My field was alright, but not that strong as I overextended somewhat to be able to take prizes. Next turn, I end up Poké Turning Crobat in order to get a kill on his Ninetales on his bench as he had a two card hand. I was hoping this would allow me to get him off balance and slow his set up down. Of course, in his 2 card hand, he has a Copycat, giving him a 7 card hand, which explodes into a full set up. He uses Charizard’s second attack to kill my Garchomp, and I am left off balance with 3 Prizes left.

Unfortunately, my Aaron’s Collection is prized, and I cannot seem to find any of my Premier Balls. So I am stuck trying to kill Charizards without Garchomp. I use Crobat G to Toxic Fang it, after using Cyrus’s Initiative to rid his hand of further draw power. He had uses 2 Super Scoop Ups previously, and hit heads on both, and his hand had no ways to get Charizard to the bench. He draws a Super Scoop Up of course, and hits another Heads, saving Charizard.

He doesn’t have enough energy in the discard to power it back up for its big attack, and he winds up ten damage short of killing Crobat. As a result, I end up Toxic Fanging again, and lose Crobat. I set up a turn where he will be unable to kill my Toxicroak G because I spray both of his Typhlosions, while I let Poison tick up on Charizard.

He is stuck hitting Toxicroak for 70, and I freed Aaron’s Collection off of my prizes, and win I get Garchomp C back, I am able to take my last 2 Prizes for the win. If I had not gotten those early prizes, I am not sure if I would have won that game or not.

3-0

Round 4 vs Andrew Spencer ( Lux Chomp )

By this point in the tournament I was well aware of what everyone was playing, and I therefore knew that Andrew was using Lux Chomp. I’d fared pretty well against other SP decks so far, so I didn’t feel too bad about this matchup.

We both get alright starts, but I end up with more disruption which really sets me ahead of the game while he struggles to keep up with the exchanges. I played so many SP mirror matches throughout the course of the day that they begin to blur together. This game was competitive, but I never really felt all that threatened as I was in the lead the whole time. It was definitely losable the entire time, but I felt good throughout. I believe he had some rough prizes, and had the crippling handicap of drawing very few Double Colorless against me. That card seems to single handedly determine who wins close SP games.

4-0

Round 5 vs Jacob Rebescher ( Gengar Vileplume Machamp )

I wasn’t too thrilled to be playing against Jacob. Jacob has improved expontentially in the past 2 years since moving into the Master’s division, including win at Kentucky States last year. He was also using Gengar Vileplume, a matchup I had both undertested, and previously admitted to running a bad list against.

I only had one Bebe’s Search, so midgame, once he got “online” I was going to struggle to keep getting my level X cards into my hand. I had loaded my deck with a lot of trainer cards which would stay trapped. I was concerned with how many Unown Q and Warp Energy he ran, as I really wanted to be able to use Blaziken’s Luring Flame to try and trap Vileplume and the like active.

Anyway, I get a fairly fast start and get aggressive and start to set up my field. Unfortunately, in doing so, I wind up using both of my Judges. I also see him play down a Machop. This concerns me, but I feel like I have the tools to beat Machamp. I was unsure whether he ran a 1-1-1 line, or 2-2-2, but I was concerned none the less. I get up a few prizes, and he is very timid regarding attacking. He keeps a active for far too long as I try to build up my field as I miss a few energy drops.

I make a misplay early on, where I could have killed his first Spiritomb by Cyrus’ing for a Dark to use Overconfident, but instead I end up retreating for another attacker. I was cursing myself after making the blunder, but I was much like my Sableye, Overconfident, due to my fast start and his struggling along. We hit the midgame stalemate and he won’t bring an attacker up, and I eventually decide to make a move on the Spiritomb. I wasn’t sure I wanted to kill it because his bench was extremely cluttered and I liked it taking up the bench spot.

Unfortunately, I felt board position slowly slipping away, and I really felt my best chance was to win on time. He had left Spiritomb active the past 2 turns, but I wasn’t sure if he’d make that same call a third turn, so I take that chance to kill it. This leads to a serious of exchanges where I wind up taking another prize, putting myself at two, only for myself to run out of gas. I was ahead on prizes at the end, and if I was able to draw a Double Colorless on my last turn, I could have theoretically taken a prize, but my hand was stacked with Trainers.

Had I not used up both of my Judges in the beginning, I could have Judged myself near the end and almost certainly kept myself out of Poltergeist range to win on time, but instead I had no way of reducing the ridiculous amount of damage he was able to do, and he wins after tying it up in sudden death. I was a bit aggrivated at myself for that game. The early misplay, and sloppy waste of Judges should have been plays I didn’t make, and I knew the matchup was bad for me, but I felt that particular game I had in my hands and managed to play myself out of.

4-1

At this point, pairings went up. I was paired against another 4-1 player, Connor. There was an interesting scenario going on, as the other 4-0 player who was paired down had lost. Jacob would be playing the 4-1 Matt Nawal, who had lost round 1, and won 4 straight. Scotty Doolittle, the other 4-0, who was now 4-1, got paired down to a 3-2, so if he lost, he’d be 3-2 as well, with worse breakers than me. As a result, if Scotty and Matt both lost, I would make it in 4th seed on breakers even if I lost to Connor in the last round. While I don’t like to take a defeatest attitude, I was glad to have such a potential safety net.

Round 6 vs Connor Nealer ( Lux Chomp )

I get a strong start, with a Garchomp C and a Double Colorless on the bench while opening Sableye. Connor starts off alright, but a Cyrus’s Initiative really slows his game down while my energy count and board position starts to develop a lot faster than his. One of the edges that Sablelock does have in this matchup is that I am able to use Sableye to disrupt their game, and further my own set up, without devoting any energy attachments to it.

Therefore, I can apply pressure without using nearly as many resources, which is really a huge deal. The fact I have access to ” draw power ” that isn’t Power Sprayable is key too. Assuming I have any sort of SP Pokémon in hand as well, going first in SP mirror with Sableye is very strong. I have less viable attackers ( LuxChomp gives them an edge ) but I have more utility and disruption. I feel that the LuxChomps with Staraptor and Smeargle have too much draw power and over power Sablelock fairly readily, but the more traditional LuxChomp builds really struggle.

I hate not having more in depth play by plays of these games, but very little stands out in SP mirrors at times. I usually map my games in my head on key plays and interesting turns of events, but sadly, I don’t really have many of those sticking out for this game.

5-1

Top 4

Jacon ends up losing to Matt’s Dialga Chomp, and Andrew ends up winning his game to sneak in at 1st seed, actually. So the top 4 ends up looking like this:

Andrew Spencer ( Lux Chomp )
Jacob Rebescher ( Gengar Vileplume )
Me ( Chiofalock! )
Matt Nawal ( Dialga Chomp )

I was really disappointed to be playing against Jacob again. He was aggrivated after his last round loss, and was debating forfeiting to me because he didn’t want to play, but that never wound up happening, much to my dismay. After our round 5 adventure, and the information he ran Machamp, I wasn’t very optimistic about the matchup. I had assumed that Jacob would take 1st seed, starting 5-0, and that I would sneak in at 2nd. I thought Andrew would sneak in at 3rd, to play me, and Matt, with his round 1 loss, would be paired against Jacob. That theory left me feeling good against Andrew’s LuxChomp, and I trusted Matt’s ability to beat Gengar with Dialga again. That was a realistic way for me to avoid Gengar altogether, but that didn’t end up happening.

Top 4 vs Jacob Rebescher

Game 1

I get an alright start, and I end up killing Spiritomb with Earthquake…a very bad mistake, as it allows him to take easy prizes off of my Uxies, which I benched to try and combat Machamp. At this point, I try to figure out how many fighting energy he even runs to power the thing. I offer up 2 as the answer, and I can tell by his reaction I was wrong, so I suggest one, and can tell right away that he only ran one fighting energy.

This makes me feel much less scared of Machamp, and even makes the card a powerful Luring Flame target if he ever gets it out. If he does get it attacking, one use of Ambipom will render it useless. Unfortunately, I take a few prizes, and am forced to take a Fainting Spell flip. He nails it, killing Garchomp, and I am in really bad shape. I handled holding back Judges much better this game, but it didn’t matter. I had no development, regardless of whether he could do a lot of damage with Poltergeist.

I knew I was beat, and pretty demoralized, but I knew how I would have to win the match. It seemed very easy for me to both take 4 Prizes, and be ahead on prizes. I wanted to win Game 2 on time, and then win a sudden death Game 3 because it favored me pretty heavily. As a result, I gave up playing to WIN Game 1, I merely continued to stay in it, using all of my Supporters I could, playing methodically, so that I could eat up as much time as possible.

I needed to give myself 20-25 minutes of Game 2, maybe less due to the time extension, to put myself in a position to win Game 3 illegitimately. This tactic is another reason why I love SP. You do not need to win 2 games. You need to win 1, even if it is Game 2 on time, and then just be the fastest deck Game 3. He finishes me off Game 1, and its on to Game 2…

0-1

Game 2

This game goes much better for me. I wind up getting ahead on prizes early, and I end up ignoring Machamp and not littering my bench with cards to combat it, knowing it wasn’t nearly the threat I had envisioned it to be. I get ahead by 3 Prizes, and he starts to fight back and misses a Fainting Spell flip. I take another prize, and he ends up scooping shortly afterward. By my guess, we had about 5-10 minutes left in the round.

1-1

Game 3

I’m able to get set up and fighting pretty quickly, and I kill a Spiritomb early. He is unable to muster a very aggressive start, so I end up being able to stay up on prizes by the time turn 3 is over, and as a result, manage to illegitimately win the match as planned.

2-1

Let me use this point as an aside to address exactly what I have discussed on other message boards for some time. There is a big difference between time management, and stalling. A number of Judges seem unable to differentiate the two, but this is a great example. Being aware of how match play works alongside the complete game clause. If you are able to map out a game plan like the one I used above, you can win bad matchups consistently in 2/3.

Going into Worlds last year, I did not like my Kingdra Machamp matchup against Gallade Gardevoir. But after logging dozens of games of the matchup, I knew I was losing the game slowly, and being ahead up to the last 2 Prizes almost every time. I knew if I could take game one to 35-40 minutes, I could win games 2 and 3 on time, and felt comfortable with that matchup in top cut as a result. It is another reason why SP decks are so strong. They can steal games off of first turn kills, cripple starts as a result of Power Spray and Cyrus’s Initiative, and have an inherent advantage in matchplay. Sablelock varients really capitalize on all of those intangibles.

Top 2 vs Andrew Spencer

Andrew had beaten Matt in top 4, due to LuxChomps inherent advantage over Dialga. Game 2 was looking alright for Matt, but he was down so many prizes he couldn’t have won it on time despite his tanked Dialga.

Game 1

I get an alright hand, and he struggles again. I really don’t remember too much of this matchup either. I remember it was close in the beginning, but I slowly began to pull ahead. His prizes were atrocious this game, and I spray Azelf preventing him from gaining access to them. Two of his Cyrus were stuck in there, alongside a Double Colorless and his Luxray GL Level X.

1-0

Game 2

This game, I see the best opening hand I have ever seen in my life. I have a Sableye, a Garchomp C, a Double Colorless, a Cyrus’s Conspiracy, and a Pokémon Collector. I use Sableye to go first, drop a Double Colorless on Garchomp, and get set up. He is actually able to keep up with the exchanges at first, despite drawing no double colorless energy the entire game, having none of them prized. I stay ahead on prizes the whole game, but my midgame was weak.

I may have overextended early game, risking and discarding too many of my energy so early rather than just stabilizing and winning off of my fantastic start. Had he drawn more double colorless energy he could have been able to steal that game. I’m sure I mishandled the game by being greedy at some point, as based on my start, and him drawing no DCE, it should have been a blowout, not a fairly close game. Oddly, it was the closest of our 3 we played.

There are valuable lessons to be learned even in victory. You may pull out a win, but by analyzing difficult points in the game, you can see how you would have been able to handle the situation even better. I mishandled that game, and despite it working out, had draws gone slightly differently, we very well could have been moving onto Game 3.

That brings up a very good point about how to handle SP mirror games. If an opponent does get the first kill, and has a solid board position, the best answer to dealing with that advantage is making them overextend to keep up. Eventually you will widdle away their resources, and force them to miss something important, such as a Level X card, a DCE, an Energy Gain, or the like, and hopefully trade roles. It isn’t a position I want to be in, as you are the underdog, but I’ve made that comeback many times. SP games are so complex that it is nearly impossible to address every possible scenario.

7-1, 1st Place.

So I end up taking down another Battle Road and earning my 2nd Victory Medal. Now it is time to go and analyze the list, and see what worked, and what didn’t work, and as a result, what can be changed.

While I never ended up using the and heavy Uxie line, I liked having the extra chance at using Set Up early, and the Premier Balls played extremely well. Lucario is clutch against Machamp, and since this tournament, even more Machamp decks have popped up. I stand by that anti Machamp tactic as being successful. Drifblim is an interesting idea for the deck, as it is a powerful Psychic type non-basic, but it also can shuffle away major threats, including a Gengar Lvl X with a pile of energy on it, which will set that deck back drastically.

I found that the 1-1 Blaziken Lvl X was the perfect count. 2-1 would be alright, but the matchups you want him in, one use of it to kill the tanked metal type is usually all you need. 3-1 Garchomp again played beautifully, especially with the 2 Premier Ball.

I loved Ambipom, and didn’t miss Dragonite. Toxicroak G actually played far better in this deck than in any other in quite some time. The 2-2 split on Judge and Initiative was perfect. I really liked the trainer count. I guess I should address the cards I would really like to see.

I want a Bronzong G. I had numerous people tell me that Bronzong isn’t necessary in Sablelock. This is a bold faced lie. I wanted this card in almost every single game throughout the day. I’m not sure what to cut for it, but I am fitting it back into the list. I was so many energy drops as a result of this absence.

A 2nd Energy Exchanger would be fantastic. I mentioned previously that energy types were a bit difficult to gain access to due to the lack of Roseanne’s Research, and that bothered me throughout the day as well. A second Exchanger, and even a 12th energy ( I missed too many drops on the day ) would have been fantastic.

Last but not least, the deck could use some help against Gengar. The main card that I’d want to include would be a 2nd Bebe’s Search. Without being willing to cut the cards used to beat Machamp, I’m not sure this matchup can be made “favorable” but it can certainly be kept somewhat close, especially on time.

The deck as a whole played very well, and it was one of the most fun decks to play, by far. It gives you a lot of options, and some great comeback ability. I’d suggest at least trying it out. The more you play it, the better it performs for you, as there really is a stiff learning curve even if you may not think there is at first. I felt I was playing it very well when I first picked it up, and the more I played it, the more little things I picked up.

The challenge comes from knowing when to switch gears from being purely aggressive, to being disruptive. As you learn the key cards and interactions with each matchup, you become far better able to manipulate the game state into favoring you. So pick up the deck, add a Bronzong, and go have some fun. Good luck, and happy testing!


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