Hello UG readers. I think so far between deck analysis and tournament reports, SixPrizes UG probably has the best and most up-to-date lists for the alleged Top 5 decks in the metagame:
You have now probably attended a few City Championships yourself and have seen all of the above decks in action, and the several tech options and metagame choices have been discussed at length in other articles. With this in mind, and the end of the 2010-2011 City Championships series on the horizon, I figured the UG readers might enjoy reading about something different.
I don’t want to get into defining what is or isn’t a rogue deck, as everyone has their own opinion, including myself, so I will simply refer to this deck as a new and upcoming idea.
The two main Pokémon for the deck are Magnezone Prime and Feraligatr Prime. We all know how frustrating it is to only be limited to one energy attachment per turn but it has been that way since day 1. Most good decks try to work around this limitation by either using effects, such as Feraligatr’s Poké-Power, “Rain Dance” (or in the past: Typhlosion’s “Fire Recharge”, Blastoise ex’s “Energy Rain”, or Blaziken’s “Firestarter”), or abusing good attacks that require low energy costs, which is the current trend with cards like Gengar SF’s “Shadow Room” or Machamp’s “Take Out”.
With this in mind, I believe Feraligatr’s Prime potential to be untapped as of yet. Be it with Magnezone Prime or in another combination with other Pokémon (or even solo!), bypassing the one energy attachment per turn has always been metagame changing, and I am keen on finding a way to abuse this Pokémon.
Pairing these two only seems obvious to me. Even though you cannot attach energy to Magnezone through Feraligatr, the energy only has to be in play and not on Magnezone itself, and a 2 energy cost for “Lost Burn” is definitely manageable for this kind of set up deck.
What I like the most about this is that you are able to sit behind Spiritomb to set up, and Magnezone’s Poké-Power, “Magnetic Draw”, keeps your hand healthy throughout the game. This asset is something I find myself missing A LOT since the loss of Claydol and Roseanne’s Research; drawing into energy is just more difficult in this format if you aren’t an SP deck running Cyrus’s Conspiracy.
Now onto the decklist. First off is the main skeleton from which I started, which contained all the things I thought essential to have the deck at least ‘work’ and be consistent enough to set up, no matter which of the current popular decks it is facing, and it stands as follows:
Pokémon – 22
Trainers – 15
Energy – 10
With this I believe the deck is consistent enough for my liking and I will go into more detail now:
3-3-3 Magnezone: Of course, the main Pokémon of the deck. I figured 4-4-4 would clump the deck a little bit. Even though pretty much every Magnezone legal up to this point has an amazing attack or Poké-Power to be abused, I think I would only consider adding 1 Magnezone LV.X on top of the current line, if only to alleviate the Fighting weakness. However, I do not think it is quite necessary, and since the deck’s main goal should be to set up and win in the next 6 turns by taking a Prize card each turn, it is unlikely (and as my limited testing has shown) that people can go through 3 of these in time.
2-2-2 Feraligatr: Following the concept behind VileGar, you only need 1 in play, so 3-3-3 seems excessive for a Pokémon whose main role will be spectating from the bench. While anything less than 2-2-2 without Rare Candy in the deck is just begging for trouble, 2-2-2 Seems to be the ideal happy medium.
4 Spiritomb: The initial backbone of the deck. It aids you in setting up and also slows down the opponent to buy you even more time. If I could play 8 Spiritomb to guarantee I start with one every game, I would do so.
1 Uxie: Only 1 seems odd, but this is the bare minimum of course. Two would be highly recommended, and this is addressed in a section later on when I show my personal preference for my current decklist. But keep in mind this deck is incredibly tight for space due to the high energy count it needs to function well, so that is why only 1 is listed for the skeleton.
1 Unown Q: An obvious choice for every deck now, it seems, helping to retreat Spiritomb, and especially for this deck where every energy counts (literally!).
1 Smeargle: Since I can’t play 5 Spiritomb, Smeargle is the next best thing, giving you intel on the opponent’s hand and thus his next few turns and plan, as well as helping you out in tight spots early game.
10 Water/5 Lightning: 15 energy is a lot in today’s metagame, and this is the minimum you should be playing. I personally think 16 or 17 is optimal as, assuming a game drags on for all 6 Prizes for each side, you will most likely be going through every high HP Pokémon from your opponent’s deck. The current energy count allows you to deal 750 damage total, which translates to roughly five 100 to 150 HP Pokémon. I will go more into detail on the importance on managing your energy correctly, but this, I believe, is the biggest limiting factor that might not let this deck succeed as much as I would like it to.
4 Pokémon Collector: Obvious and same logic for Spiritomb, you want this card early every time, and if you could play more than 4 you should in this deck.
3 Pokémon Communication & 3 Bebe’s Search: Balancing Pokémon Communication and Bebe’s Search can be a tough dilemma, especially when you factor in Bebe’s ‘Supporter’ limit, but the fact is that VileGar is a big presence in the metagame. I chose 3-of each as searching out for Magnezone as soon as possible aids you in getting access to other cards, so a lot of search to set up your initial Magnezone Prime is ideal.
2 Twins: You are almost always playing from behind in this deck, and even in rare situations where you could score an early KO, I actually don’t recommend it. You should always get the maximum juice out of your first Spiritomb, which works hand-in-hand with this card.
1 Luxury Ball: A no-brainer in almost every deck, this card is a free search for anything in the deck in its current state. There is not a single reason not to use this card.
2 Broken Time-Space: 2 may seem low, but, given Spiritomb’s usefulness in the early game, this card actually takes a back seat and becomes more of a mid-game necessity rather than early, which makes playing only 2 of these justifiable.
Now that every card so far has been explained, I will go into detail on what the deck actually tries to accomplish.
Firstly, aside from the obvious combination and synergy these two cards have, I believe there is a very important factor concerning current deck tendencies, which is the lack of accessible and reliable recovery. Sure, there is Pokémon Rescue, Palmer’s Contribution, and Rescue Energy. All of these are great, but I ask you: is there a way to reliably get these?
Energy Exchanger is the only way to guarantee Rescue Energy, and most decks have dropped it off their lists by now. Pokémon Rescue is only seen in Gyarados. Palmer’s Contribution shuffles the cards back in the deck, and you have to wait another turn to actually be able to manipulate the deck and get them back most likely. So, even though there are options, they’re not exactly the most reliable. What prompted me to put this deck together is the fact that back-to-back 1HKOs are very hard to come back from.
Seeing how only Machamp (which is declining in popularity) and Toxicroak G Promo actually get to 1HKO Magnezone, exchanging an easy prize to set up Magnezone for 2 Prizes seems like a good exchange, and a lot of decks simply run out of steam if they have to deal with back-to-back 1HKOs every single turn.
This brings me to why it is important to not rush into an early KO and try to abuse Spiritomb and Twins the most in the early game. If your opponent sets up, he will most likely be able to get 2HKOs on your Magnezone, but, if you manage to set up, you will be putting your opponent on a 6 turn timer where you will be drawing a prize every single turn, regardless of the Pokémon that is currently active on your opponent’s side of the field.
Knowing exactly how many energy are prized, left in the deck, and have been used is extremely important while playing. You must be aware of this at all times so you can plan ahead for future scenarios and make sure you will have enough to keep the constant 1HKOs on your opponent’s Pokémon.
15 energy is the bare minimum and, as I mentioned above, it allows you to 1HKO five 100 to 150 HP Pokémon, but the odds of you having to go through 5 such Pokémon are slim. Considering the current metagame and the predominant sacrifical Pokémon on any player’s bench, I’d say you will most likely have to 1HKO 3 or 4 of these, along with 2 or 3 in any combiation of Smeargle, Uxie, Azelf, and Spiritomb. On ‘average’, you’d have just enough for a 4- and 2-split of these.
However, since you won’t always be able to get every energy card out of the deck and attach it and considering you might have to use one to retreat or other unexpected situations, I definitely recommend adding at least 1 more and a way to get the discarded ones back.
Now, with all things considered, I will show you my first list after the initial skeleton, and, after a dozen games or so, what worked, what didn’t, and the new proposed changes with which I’m working on.
Pokémon – 23
Trainers – 20
Energy – 17
1 Skuntank G: This card probably stood out for you when reviewing this complete decklist. Some of the most important Pokémon in the metagame right now have 110 HP, just enough to make it so that you need to remove a 3rd energy card to do a measly 10 damage. This, of course, becomes a big deal as the energy count is extremely tight, so I wanted a way to reliably do 10 extra damage to avoid removing another energy card and, most importantly, bypassing Gengar’s annoying “Fainting Spell”, which can definitely ruin your day if your opponent flips heads.
I think poisoning my own Magnezone in order to avoid the “Fainting Spell” flip or to discard an extra energy is a good enough trade off for me.
2 Warp Energy: I like Warp Energy a lot, ever since its release back in EX: Aquapolis about 7 years ago. This cards lets you bring Feraligatr back to the bench in case it gets Bright Looked, as well as random scenarios where you need to keep the poison off or simply retreat the active Pokémon to start attacking, as well as keep an energy in play to be removed later on and keep the damage output healthy with a total of 17 energy. Also, it combines nicely with Seeker to prevent KOs and heal your own Pokémon; it won’t matter what your opponent decides to pick up as it’s going to get KO’d sooner or later anyway.
2 Sunyshore City Gym: This Stadium actually would be a favorite over BTS if only BTS wasn’t incredibly broken. Removing your Magnezone’s weakness plays an even bigger role to allow 2 for 1 Prize exchanges, which definitely doesn’t favor your opponent at all. It also helps to be able to poison opponents’ Gengar as those decks usually run BTs themselves and, if they lay it down first, you wouldn’t be able to use Skuntank G effectively, like I proposed.
2 Seeker: Like mentioned in the Warp Energy section, it allows for some nice tricks involving retreating, removing your self-induced poison, and recovery in general with no real drawbacks as your opponent will most likely never have any damage counters on his own Pokémon.
Now, I gave this list a test run of 3 or 4 games, with mixed results, against the top 5 that I mentioned at the start.
vs LuxChomp: This matchup was a heart breaker. I got a perfect set up in one of the games and I still didn’t pull through. The deck fizzled out in the end every time. Mikey (Magnechu) always managed to put me in tough situations where I couldn’t afford to keep the active Magnezone unpowered as I wouldn’t be able to attack the next turn; if I did, he could just snipe my bench comfortably without a big threat of a KO next turn as I had no way to attach 2 energy at once to Magnezone to attack again.
It made me realize how much I need every single energy card in the deck, and also that I needed to find a way to power up a Magnezone out of the blue, or else this deck would never even stand a remote chance against LuxChomp. All of this without even Toxicroak G, as he wasn’t running it. That’s how bad it was. The cards that came to mind after testing against LuxChomp and to fix some issues were Energy Switch, Fisherman, Palmer’s Contribution, and Switch.
vs Gyarados: Spiritomb does wonders to slow them down a bit, as they can only depend on Regice for the early game Magikarp discards. This gives you time to set up, and they have almost no way to 1HKO Magnezone, so a 2 for 1 exchange is the norm here. You only need to remove 2 energy to 1HKO a normal Gyarados, or 3 to 1HKO one that has an Expert Belt attached, which makes the Prize trade off 3 to 1 in your favor (making it even better). All 3 games were blowouts and, on regular game situations and scenarios, you should always win confidently.
vs DialgaChomp: This deck was quite tricky to play against, but, given the fact that it is a less resourceful LuxChomp with Dialga G as dead weight in the matchup, “Deafen” doesn’t really affect you in a relevant way; the standard lists do not use Toxicroak G either, which was actually a lot better than I first thought.
I’d say this matchup is definitely favorable because DialgaChomp’s strength fizzles down as the turns go by, and, since the only main attacker for the deck in this matchup is Garchomp, they (surprisingly) will probably run out of energy much, much quicker than you will. You must be very aware of the time during a timed match, however, as DialgaChomp will probably get ahead by a prize or 2 in the beginning while you set up for the constant stream of 1HKOs.
vs VileGar: Here is where Skuntank truly shined. Both decks are slow in setting up, and Gengar requires a lot more resources to really pressure your side of the field. Good T/S/S management on your hand (Twins are a double-edged sword here) and patience made me win 3 of the 4 outings against this deck. It’s a close matchup and mistakes cost you, but based on this limited amount of games I can tell it is at least favorable with the inclusion of Skuntank G to avoid “Fainting Spell” every single time.
It’ll be rare when Gengar manages to “Poltergeist” for a 1HKO on Magnezone, and would be better off directing its attention to Feraligatr or other Pokémon; Seekers also help you out to play around the damage spread from “Shadow Room”.
vs Machamp: In this matchup, you actually want to set up Feraligatr first instead of Magnezone, and try to score a 2HKO on the first Machamp, and then follow up with Magnezone, or else you are left very vulnerable. I tried this approach after losing the first game and it won me the next 2. Machamp SF’s single energy attack can only 2HKO Magnezone, flipping 3 heads is unlikely from “Hurrican Punch”, and powering up “Rage” is useless as you will most likely never leave an injured Machamp.
The matchup is better than it looks on paper solely based on weakness, and Sunyshore City Gym is a huge aid in slowing down Machamp (which relies 100% on BTS); this makes Magnezone safe, which is why I suggest a lead with Feraligatr as it will be more likely that you draw into Sunyshore City Gym if you make Magnezone wait a few turns to start attacking.
Improving the Deck
The LuxChomp matchup is of course what is holding this deck back for now. As good as Skuntank was, I’m going to try a more damage output-oriented approach with my next list (detailed below), which will sacrifice the benefits of both Skuntank G and Sunyshore City Gym. The latter was not extremely important for the Machamp matchup; I believe I can get by without using it, or at least that’s what I intend to find out. With this, my list is now the following, hoping to improve the LuxChomp matchup:
Pokémon – 24
Trainers – 20
Energy – 16
+1 Crobat G: Combined with Seeker, this guy should allow me to put less pressure on my energy count and be able to score 1HKOs much more easily on 110 HP Pokémon, like Luxray GL LV.X and Garchomp C LV.X, which could not be poisoned before with Skuntank G. This doesn’t help the VileGar matchup, but we’ll see how it goes. Given the trend during CC’s and LuxChomp’s incredible success (Chris Fulop anyone?), if you can’t deal with everything at once, having a better LuxChomp matchup seems key if you are to go into an unknown metagame. You must also, of course, consider that “Flash Bite” can be Power Sprayed, so you must always take that into consideration when using Crobat G.
+1 Uxie LA: This was a complete necessity, especially against SP decks where one is more than likely to be Power Sprayed. I thought I could get away with just one given Magnezone’s Poké-Power, but the early game is too fragile to risk using only one.
+1 W Energy: Even though Warp Energy are nice, I barely ever used them. I’m not sure if they will be needed in the LuxChomp matchup but for now I want to keep my energy count healthy and have just the right amount and balance of Lightning and W Energy.
+1 Broken Time-Space: More important than I first thought, which is why I am allowing for an extra one as of now, but I could definitely be talked into going back to 2 since Spiritomb is so reliable.
+2 Energy Switch: This is the key card I think can help me break the LuxChomp matchup effectively. I always had pressure on my side as every single energy card counted, and, given LuxChomp’s ability to snipe around the active Pokémon, you can’t risk both not having your active Magnezone be an active threat, but also having one ready to back the active one in case it falls.
Energy Switch will give me (I think) more room to maneuver when deciding which energy to remove to deal damage, as, out of nowhere, I can Energy Switch an energy from Feraligatr to the Active Magnezone and use my regular energy attachment on a Lightning to power it up and start dealing damage. These 2 cards combined with Crobat G should help make the matchup more even and not the one-sided game it was with the previous list.
Now, this list is what I will be testing during the holidays, making changes here and there that I will report on in the respective thread for this article (if people are interested). But I wanted to mention the main things I am considering right now before I even start to test the deck again.
Fisherman, which will help in getting back any energy that was discarded through retreating to reuse and getting surprise KOs on powered Pokémon.
And that’s it for now. I hope you enjoyed reading something different this time around, and I am eager to read your opinions on this deck, the decklist, the concept, and anything else you want to comment on in its respective thread. I will also be posting any advancements, breakthroughs, or disappointments with the deck in the thread, so be sure to keep checking it out to see the latest developments. Thanks for reading!
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