Everything You Need to Know Right Now (and then some)

So here we are at the end of the year and with the City Championship season in mid-swing. I’ve managed to get my rating up to 1792 already, with my Cities goal being 1800. With two more events in sight, I think it is likely that I will obtain that goal, but wish me luck anyway. I’ve had a few weeks to contemplate what to write this article on, and the more and more I thought about it, the more I realized there wasn’t any one great topic I wanted to write about.

I could sit here and produce more redundant information on LuxChomp, or try to cover a topic that other writers on the site have already gone over in-depth, such as Vilegar or Gyarados. I could try to write 10 pages about some new rogue deck that I doubt will end up being much of a factor in the grand scheme of things at all, but I don’t think that is fair to you as the paying reader.

That isn’t to say there is NOTHING to write about. More that there are no large topics worth going hugely in-depth over. Instead, I’d rather use this opportunity to touch on a bunch of different things which are happening right now, and hopefully enlighten you to some of the thoughts going through my head as of late.

City Championships: What is the play?

garchomp-c-lv.x-supreme-victors-sv-145pokemon-paradijs.comAlright, I have attended 8 events so far, and for all 8 events I have used LuxChomp. I still feel LuxChomp is far and away the best deck. It is fast, disruptive, and has almost no inherently bad matchups. When a deck that, for one energy, can Knock Out any Pokémon in your deck, is an underdog against you, you know the deck is good.

Now, that said, I am looking for an alternative for the next two Cities I go to. With the success of LuxChomp here in Ohio, everyone has been gunning for it.

Players are using decks that they at least feel are going to have tolerable, if not favorable matchups against the SP menace. Now, admittedly, most of the time that isn’t even true, and LuxChomp is still a notable favorite. But lately, players have been running Mewtwo LV.X, Gengar builds, Machamps, Donphans, Gyarados teched to beat SP, and even a devastaing Regigigas Donphan deck, all aiming to beat LuxChomp.

So while I feel I am at least 50-50 against all of these decks, a simple question is being asked: Is there a deck I can play that will give me better matchups than a sea of 50-50 coin flips? LuxChomp can beat all of those decks, but it is forced to devote a lot of card space to do so. As a result, I’m really looking to use a different deck for my last weekend of tournaments.

This brings up the point I’ve made many times before: The deck that is the best deck in the format is not necessary the best deck for a metagame. LuxChomp is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best deck in the format. Yet if everyone is gunning to beat LuxChomp, the metagame is swayed drastically, so why not use something that is great vs all the anti-LuxChomp decks?

This format is very diverse and difficult to read, so no, I don’t really have an answer yet, but I have a few weeks to look into it, with the default fallback plan being “use LuxChomp again” if nothing really pops up.

luxray-gl-lv.x-rising-rivals-rr-109pokemon-paradijs.comThe three best decks, still, are LuxChomp, Gyarados and Vilegar, and in my opinion, in that order. I have a hard time justifying using anything but those. It will be very interesting to see how the big “Marathon” events this week will turn out, as there’s the Georgia Marathon, and a Canadian Marathon being run. I’d love to watch the coverage from those events, as they will likely be the largest source of metagame information on a National scale headed into States.

A number of the top players in the country as making the trip out to Georgia for this week plus worth of events, so I doubt we’ll see any metagame this difficult until at least Regionals, if not Nationals. Any player who makes a large run during this week will be well positioned to make Worlds on that alone. Last year, Dylan Bryan went on a huge run and coasted the rest of the season as a result. It’ll be interesting to see if any player does that again this year.

A quick aside when discussing Cities though. More and more PTOs are looking at chaining multiple events in the same area over a short period of time. This is great for us as players, and seems to be the future of Cities. If the number of players making the trip to Georgia is any indication, the demand for this type of series of events is high.

It also unbalances the system, a bit. With these events being so close together, attendence is going to be higher than at your average CC. As a result, anyone who is able to make it to those will have more rounds to earn points from. If you attend your own Cities, plus those, you could hit upwards of 20 CCs in one season! A player who is unwilling or unable to make it to these Marathon events will have a very difficult time making the same amount of points.

This puts pressure on other PTOs to try to arrange the same type of events. So in the short-term, it is bad for other regions who don’t have that same advantage, but in the long-term, it is great for the structure of Cities in the hope that more states follow suit in the future.

A Quick Recap of The Last 2 Cities I Went To

Alright, I don’t have enough information to really write an article based on these tournaments, but I do plan to at least touch on what happened during them. The Sunday before Christmas, I went to the City Championships in Clintonville, Ohio, on the outskirts of Columbus. Of course, I wound up using LuxChomp. A number of great players showed up to this event, including Drew Holton and Andrew Mondak, who don’t do a ton of traveling to events outside of the Columbus area since they go to school at OSU there.

dialga-g-lv.x-platinum-pl-122pokemon-paradijs.comI end up running a 1-1 Dialga G LV.X line because I see a lot of Vileplume Gengar decks in the room. Attendance sat at near 80, so we had 6 rounds, and a top 8 cut. Unfortunately, I knew going in that I wasn’t able to stay the entire event because my ride had to leave by 6, and cut would last until around 10 at the earliest. I figured I would try to get in as many rounds as I realistically could.

Round 1, I get paired against Kim Allen, who was using Machamp. I would have put her on running SP, but I saw her place her deck down face up, with a Machamp Prime on top. Now, this was bad because it influenced how I opened my game, and let me know she ran Machamp Prime, which, believe it or not, a lot of the local Machamp decks did not do. That was a ton of free information that she did not have to give me.

She winds up going first, and opening with a lone Unown Q. I of course get the turn one kill, ending the matchup before it really got started. We play a game for fun, and she gets a turn one Machamp, and uses Mesprit’s Psychic Bind for 3 straight turns after looping Seeker. She took a huge prize lead as I was stunted in my development, but in getting her strong start she’d filled her bench.

As a result, when I got my Uxie LV.X active to kill her Machamp, she was unable to get a second Machamp out after all that, as she overextended to get the turn one Machamp, and I actually make the comeback to win after I deal with her second Machamp near the very end of the game. I felt a bit better about my cheap win since I pulled out the second game after she had a far better start than I did.

Round 2 I get paired vs Tyler using Gyarados. I get a solid start, but my prizes are atrocious. Crobat G is prized, and I am unable to get to Azelf, so I can’t get the kill on Gyarados, so I’m forced to try to take cheap prizes while he just chews through my field. I keep the prizes tied up most of the game but by the time I get to Crobat G, the game is slipping away.

I’m down to 2 Prizes to his one, making a “Last Stand” with a Luxray and backing Power Sprays, but he has the needed Belt for the win, as he benches Magikarp, evolves into Gyarados and… wait a second, he doesn’t have a Broken Time-Space in play! He had been playing the entire game as if he had one, but he didn’t. I immediately call a judge over, but before anyone arrives, he offers to scoop.

I find out afterward that he didn’t have one in his hand either, that despite drawing over half his deck, he hadn’t seen one at all. I’d have felt really bad if he just forgot to play it down, but I guess it is a different story entirely since he never had access to it to begin with. So I score a second cheap win in a row this game.

Round 3 I get paired against a kid who plays Yu Gi Oh and was loaned a Vileplume Gengar deck. As a result, he didn’t really know what he was doing. Between his making bad plays, and me being able to have access to Dialga G LV.X, this game wasn’t really that close at all and I get to go 3-0.


Round 4 I get paired down to a guy who was 2-1. His deck wasn’t competitive at all. He was running Politoed, Latios, Latias, Gyarados, Wailord and others. There were a lot of local league players, and newer players and I assumed he played vs a few of them to reach his 2-1 record, and I randomly got the lucky pair down. I wind up turn one-ing his Magikarp.

It was almost 5 at this point, so I end up dropping to get ready to leave with a very illegitimate 4-0 record. This Sunday, me and my girlfriend Emily made the drive down to Mansfield for their City Championships. I wound up arriving “late” and receiving a round one loss, putting me directly into the losers bracket. I had no intention of playing the tournament out, as I was tired, and wasn’t too comfortable with the metagame.

At a certain point, when playing for Rating points, you need to know when you want to make your move, and when you want to pick a better spot. I knew I’d be facing a lot of coin flip matchups, and with so many points on the line at the moment, I wanted to feel more confident about my odds.

Round 2 I get paired against Jumpluff Yanmega Prime. I get a really strong set up, besides the fact that I prized all of my LuxRays. I was able to do well enough with Garchomp, and eventually got my Azelf to get Luxray out. I ended up having a good shot regardless as I sprayed his only Uxie and left him with a 3 card hand on the first turn, preventing him from getting too good of set up. He eventually did hit a Copycat but by that point it was too late and I was up by way too many prizes.

Round 3, of course, I get paired against Emily who was 1-1 with Gyarados. This was her first tournament using the deck, and we didn’t get a chance to really have her test it, so it was pretty much a “throw her to the wolves” approach here and hope she picked it up as we went along. She opens with Azelf, and to top this off, prizes 2 Magikarp. I won’t get into the details, but the match was unfortunately very one-sided.

She wound up finishing 2-4, but had some of the most absurd pairings I’ve ever seen in a tournament. At 1-1 she plays me, and at 1-2 she plays Austin Reed, who top 4ed and top 8ed Worlds and is a fantastic player who just had a bad run that day. At 2-3 she got paired against Matt Nawal, another really good player using Magnezone of all decks, so that one didn’t end too well either, although she made that last round really close. Huge shameless props to her for her performance at the event none the less!

I drop at this point because I was tired and there were a lot of suspect matchups at 2-1. I wind up buying 55 boosters at 2 dollars a piece, and open a bunch of great cards to inflate my collection. For the first time in my life I’ve actually bothered to try to stockpile a real collection, so we’ll see how long I can go before I have to try to liquidate it for gas money again.

Lost World and the State of Post Call of Legends Pokémon

Lost World (Stadium card): Each player may, during his or her turn, end the game and declare himself or herself the winner if the opponent has 6 or more Pokémon cards in his or her Lost Zone.

So the debate has been whether Lost World will or will not end up coming out in the U.S. All signs seem to be pointing to the fact that it will indeed be getting printed, which I feel is a mistake. The card is inherently too good.

Having tested it so far, it is almost impossible to beat. As a result, the price of Mew Prime and Gengar Prime has skyrocketed. Trying to get these cards has been a huge chore, although I’ve gotten my playsets more by luck than anything else.

So while I think this is bad for the game, something was brought to my attention the other day that made a bunch of things click. The change to matchplay very likely was a direct reaction to the decision to print Lost World. I am struggling to see how the Lost World decks win in 2/3 under the current rules.

Even if the Lost World deck is able to win Game 1, Game 2, unless also complete, is decided by prizes, which the deck simply doesn’t take. And it automatically loses any form of Game 3 sudden death. An hour very well may be too short for Lost World to complete two full games, which it would need to do!

So while I do feel that, in un-timed games, Lost World is easily the best deck in the format if it gets printed, the time structure for matchplay may render the deck as not viable. I think it’ll be interesting to see if the deck catches on in spite of this, but I really am still quite upset that the matchplay rules have had to be changed at all.

Now, under the assumption that I am incorrect and the time issue isn’t as bad as I think it is, there are a few good tactics that can be done to help fight the deck. In SP decks, any form of hand disruption coupled with a dark attacker is strong.

Absol G LV.X and Honchkrow SV both gain a ton of strength for this matchup. Tyranitar Prime is also a great option, and is good against Vilegar if it maintains any sort of presence. If you build the rest of the deck to beat SP, you may be able to have some sort of successful deck on your hands.

Now, the other card that I like out of Call of Legends that has been spoiled is the new Lucario! For a Double Colorless, it can deal nearly unlimited damage! The card naturally combos with Palkia G LV.X. It finally gives that deck a potent attacker.

If Lost World does not come out, I see little to no reason as to why that deck is not simply the best deck in the format. Lost World could be an obnoxious counter to the deck, as it can punish them for getting too damage happy.

I liked the idea behind Power Keepers, and I’m excited for Call of Legends as well. It will be interesting to see what cards get included and to see what that does to the format. As a player and not a collector, the “threat” of reprints doesn’t bother me so much as long as they impact the format interestingly.

Black and White Cards Spoiled!

pokebeach.comSo the translations for the new Black and White set are up online, and my general reaction has been extremely lackluster. The cards look great, and I’m a big fan of the new Pokémon in general (the Polar Bear stands to be my favorite Pokémon ever, so if you want to get on my good side, donating them to me is a good way to start!) but the strength of the Pokémon is so regressive that I can’t help but feel that they are just not good enough.

Initially this was the same feeling Diamond and Pearl gave us, minus Infernape. The cards were just not good enough to really be used in decks, but that turned out to be somewhat incorrect. They were mainly handicapped by the poor draw power in the format.

If a deck didn’t feed off of Holon’s Castform, it was at such a disadvantage that it had a hard time competing. As a result, all of the non-Delta Pokémon in DP really didn’t have homes.

BW, unfortunately, just seems to be drastically underpowered. There is a distinct lack of strong “Pokémon Powers,” or whatever the new lump term for them is. A few of the cards are alright but most are bad. Most of the Pokémon are pigeonholed into attacking, and all of the attacks are just so much worse than the standard set by the Platinum block of sets, and even by the HGSS block. These cards will likely be overlooked in the metagame when they come out.

On the other hand, the trainers look to be amazing! We get a new Gust of Wind, a card I never expected to see reprinted! I think it’ll be interesting to see how it impacts the game, but I don’t think it’s “too” good anymore, so I’m a bit excited by that.

I understand what they are trying to accomplish with BW. The game as we know it has degenerated into a pretty bad state. Decks are TOO fast, and they have to scale back from that. When the pre HGSS cards rotate, the power level drops off a lot. When Uxie, BTS and the Pokémon SP go away, the format slows down a lot. It seems like they want to push that drop off in speed even harder with BW. Now, I really feel this is a good thing for the future of the game.

On the other hand, I think it is bad for the short-term, where the new cards will effectively be lame ducks waiting for the next rotation. This isn’t good for the sales of the new set, although I’m sure the excitement over BW Pokémon will more than offset that. I guess that actually makes this a great set to make underwhelming from a game standpoint.

Black and White Rules Issue

While on the subject of Black and White being released, we face a fairly interesting issue. I know that it has been discussed on the Gym some already, but no real solution has been reached. Black and White heralds with it a new set of Rules. They allow trainers on the first turn, and restrict Rare Candy to the old rules for Pokémon Breeder.

The rules are a big shift, but in the context of the Japanese format, which is HGSS onward, makes a lot of sense, and seems to be quite good for the game. The first turn trainer issue isn’t so bad with no Pokémon SP, and no BTS, and a restricted Rare Candy.

Unfortunately, BW is scheduled to come out in the U.S. into a format with all of those cards. Imagine LuxChomp if it could play its trainers on the first turn! First turn kills would be out of control. Toss in the fact that Sableye becomes an immediate 4-of in every deck, and this could lead to a huge disaster.

So with BW likely to be released before Nationals, how do we handle the rules change? The set was intended, with its card design, to function under the new BW rules. But the BW rules simply are broken with our current format. Do you simply bring them into effect, or keep the current ones?

What about at Worlds, where Japan will have been using the new rules for a while now? Even worse, PUI offered up a “four sets a year” rotation guideline this format, insinuating that next year we only rotate out MD, LA, SF and Platinum, which leaves us with a clumping of very awkward straggler sets in RR SV and Arceus.

I personally think next year should simply just to a HGSS on format, and I think the best idea for Worlds would be to simply “rotate early” and make it a HGSS on event as well. That will “even us out” with Japan, and keep everything in sync.

I don’t mind having a different format than Japan generally, or even having a different release schedule, until the set designs started to take into account specific formats that they are using. If card functionality varies that greatly depending on card pool, then I really do feel that a “hotfix” toward standardization needs to happen sooner rather than later.

Of course, this really makes things awkward for U.S. Nationals, which, even if that World’s “compromise” occurred, would still have the BW complication looming over its head. I don’t really have a good solution for this, as I don’t think there is one so much, so I’m curious to see how it winds up being handled.

LuxChomp Innovations

drifblim-fb-supreme-victors-sv-3While I don’t want to dwell too much on LuxChomp, I do want to address a few of the changes I’ve been messing around with lately. First and foremost is a card I’ve fallen in love with this format, and that is Drifblim FB. Decks are running huge Uxie counts, and run Azelf and Mesprit as well. Drifblim is a fantastic card in SP mirror, against Gyarados, and against Vilegar.

In SP mirror, most of the threatening attackers are not entirely recurring. For example, Garchomp eats through energy, and has to get benched. It is a very high maintenance attacker despite its raw strength. Luxray is really only good in mirror when it is using Bright Look, and after that is not that good.

As a result, as the game goes on, both sides will be depleting resources every turn to try and take prizes. It has always been a major issue facing the deck. No matter how much of a lead it takes, it never really has a maintained presence. It still relies on being able to replenish its threats with more cards in its hand. Drifblim FB is a threatening prize taker that, once powered, is able to take prizes entirely on its own, without really having any support.

In addition to this, it is impossible for a rival SP deck to one hit unless they run a Dark type tech. This means it can easily swing up and take the last prize or two without getting killed. With LuxChomp forced to run Lucario for Gyarados and Machamp, Drifblim becomes a great weapon against all of the Faeries.

Against Gyarados, it does the same thing. They are stuck benching a ton of the Faeries, and they sit there like sitting ducks waiting to be killed late game. Backed by Power Sprays, Drifblim becomes a very difficult KO.

Some Gyarados decks have taken to adding Bubble Coat, to be looped with Junk Arm, while relying on Warp Point and Regimove to take prizes while not getting 1HKO’d, and Drifblim is a great counter measure against that tactic as it is easy to promote to “take a hit” and also can snipe for prizes “around” the Gyarados they are taking weakness away from.

It is very possible for this card to take 2 Prizes in a row end game without giving up any. I’m a huge fan of any card which “swings” the prize exchange race in this format as most decks can accomplish a kill every turn.

Against Gengar, Drifblim also shines. It can put pressure on Vileplume, but also kills Faeries, and Spiritombs if they get a bit of damage on them. One of the main weapons LuxChomp has in this matchup has always been Luxray, because unlike Garchomp, it deals damage without having to discard energy, which becomes even more vital when you get cut off of Energy Gain.

Unfortunately, Luxray is two hit killed by a Gengar, and can be Level’d Down. Drifblim is another great attacker that doesn’t fall victim to Level Down, and also doesn’t discard any energy, so it barely eats any resources. It has no Pokémon Power, and isn’t weak to Psychic either! If you can regulate your trainer count, the card is an extreme pain for Gengar to actually deal with.

Late game, once you burn through a lot of your cheap kills and are on your last legs, Drifblim FB is a great way to shore up the last couple of prizes in this matchup.

expert-belt-arceus-ar-87pokemon-paradijs.comNow, another “innovation” I’ve been toying with is the addition of Expert Belt. This card helps the Gyarados matchup tremendously, and also is an answer for the Donphan Regigigas deck I’ve been complaining about so much. (Drifblim FB is also an all-star in that matchup, for what it is worth.)

By allowing you to have a Luxray with 130 Hit Points, and able to do 160 damage for 2 energy, Gyarados players will be extremely hard pressed to score KOs against it. Then you can always use Garchomp C LV.X to heal it, and put them in a really bad spot. The challenge, on the other hand, is trying to figure out how to reliably get the Expert Belt.

The card I’ve added is a single copy of Twins, which can be Cyrus’s for. That means you have 2 copies of Belt, being the actual Belt, and Twins, plus 4 cards which can set the play up. That is more than consistent enough for me, so it should work. I don’t like falling behind either, but sometimes it can’t be helped.

Twins can also be very useful in mirror where it can fetch you two Double Colorless in a matchup where that card almost single handedly dictates who wins each game.

So those are the major additions I’ve been messing around with. Now to address one of the major SUBTRACTIONS. I’ve been running 3 Pokéturn. With Junk Arms, Poké Turn doesn’t NEED to be a 4-of. Look at the state of the format. PokéTurn is bad against Gengar as it gets locked out anyway.

In mirror, the Garchomp exchange which dominates the matchup is a series of one hit kills. Against Gyarados, and Machamp, if they are not one hitting you, you are already going to win. The format has boiled down to a state where either LuxChomp’s attackers are being one hit, or LuxChomp is winning anyway.

Poké Turns value as a “war of attrition” card has dropped off as the power of other attackers increases. Clearly 4 is a GREAT number to run, but as you want to add more and more cards, it is far from the “sacred number” it once was.

I’ve even debated turning the 4th copy into a Seeker. Seeker offers a few cute uses. It can be played past Vileplume, which is very good, while accomplishing generally the same purpose. It can reset Uxie, and bounce non Pokémon SP if you really want to free up your bench.

Another cute option it allows is the teching of a Mesprit to lock them out of Powers entirely. That play can easily steal games. It also gives a “soft” answer to Mewtwo LV.X. If you kill all of their benched Pokémon but one, you can Bright Lock it active, and Seeker Mewtwo X away and kill their other Pokémon.

It can be “avoided” by a well timed Seeker of their own, but it is still an out to Mewtwo if you otherwise don’t run any. It works even better when they don’t expect Seeker out of an SP deck.

I Know You Want Decklists, So Here Are Some Decklists

I know that this article wouldn’t really be complete without some decklists! I guess I’ll start with the Regigigas Donphan deck that I’ve complained about so much.

I want to give full credit to Justin Phillips, and Austin Reed, for creating the deck. Justin has switched away from using the deck, and Cities are almost at an end, so I hope they do not mind me sharing the deck so much, and I mean it more an attempt for them to get the recognition they deserve on the innovation more so than any motive of malice.

Pokémon – 18

2 Regigigas LA 37
2 Regigigas LV.X
2 Phanpy HS
2 Donphan Prime
1 Azelf LA
2 Uxie LA
1 Uxie LV.X
1 Unown Q MD
2 Mesprit LA
2 Crobat G
1 Regice LA

Trainers – 30

4 Pokémon Collector
2 Bebe’s Search
2 Judge
2 Energy Exchanger
2 Expert Belt
3 Junk Arm
1 Premier Ball
4 Pokémon Communication
1 Luxury Ball
2 Seeker
4 Super Scoop Up
2 Warp Point
1 Pokémon Rescue

Energy – 12

6 F
4 Double Colorless
1 W
1 M

This isn’t the exact list used, but it is the one I’ve built and been testing. It opts not to use the Drag Off Regigigas instead aiming to try and swing with Giga Punch on the second turn. As a result, it doesn’t try to pull off Giga Blaster right off the bat, and therefore isn’t reliant on Sacrifice.

regigigas-legends-awakened-la-37pokemon-paradijs.comThe basic idea of the deck is to play like Gyarados, with a less complex set up, and with a better type. Regigigas is a huge hit point colorless attacker who isn’t killed by Garchomp in return. That alone makes him a huge threat in this format. Between that and Donphan, the deck is extremely strong against LuxChomp. It is able to loop Mesprit continually which can lock some decks out of the game entirely.

The Gyarados matchup is interesting because both sides are effectively two hitting each other. The key there is that Regigigas Donphan can often be faster, and has a much stronger Mesprit game. If Gyarados gets the first prize and has one of its amazing starts, the matchup is a bit rough, but otherwise Regigigas is actually able to swing evenly with it.

The disruption and Judge help here a lot. “Giga Blaster” plays a part here, as with a Belt, it can actually kill a Gyarados with some Crobat games. “Giga Punch” is actually useful here too, as you can Warp Point to get kills off the bench, and if you do, and hit heads you put Gyarados into 1HKO range.

Gengar is interesting, and the decks worst matchup, but it isn’t unwinnable either. It is another matchup where it really depends on how well they flip on Fainting Spell. The two Crobat are mainly for this matchup, in an attempt to get around Fainting Spell, but it doesn’t always work, obviously.

A quick Donphan is actually not bad in this matchup, as long as you play around leaving too many Faeries on the bench to get into Shadowroom range off of Earthquake.

Next up is a sample Magnezone list I’ve been fooling around with.

Pokémon – 23

4 Sableye SF
1 Spiritomb AR
3 Magnemite SF 66
2 Magneton TM
2 Magnezone SF 6
1 Magnezone Prime
1 Magnezone LV.X
1 Dialga G
1 Dialga G LV.X
2 Scyther PL
2 Scizor Prime
2 Uxie LA
1 Azelf LA

Trainers – 23

4 Pokémon Collector
2 Bebe’s Search
3 Twins
2 Judge
1 Seeker
1 VS Seeker
3 Junk Arm
2 Broken Time-Space
1 Rare Candy
1 Expert Belt
1 Switch
1 Warp Point
1 Pokémon Rescue

Energy – 14

4 Special M
4 M
5 L
1 Double Colorless

I originally tested the deck using Spiritomb, and I realized that Spiritomb wasn’t very good in this deck. Spiritomb occasionally slows down their starts, but by running it as a primary starter, you build your deck under the confines of ALWAYS slowing down its start.

magnezone-lv.x-legends-awakened-la-142Unless you are using Gengar Vileplume where the synergy is so strong that its worth it, I don’t like Spiritomb at the moment. It also requires you to run Call Energy, as it isn’t “entirely” a stand alone starter. It requires you to have some form of bench, and 4 Pokémon Collector isn’t a high enough number for my liking.

As a result, the switch to Sableye was made, as it is much healthier for the decks set ups. It also gets your good Supporters in the discard to later VS Seeker, which can later be Junk Armed, etc. You still run one copy of Spiritomb to hide behind if you need to force Powers through, and you can use it as a good fall back plan.

You also can hide behind Spiritomb after attacking with Magnezone, but the deck is so focused on tanking high hit point Pokémon that it seems almost counterintuitive. Theoretically, you could run a 2nd Spiritomb and only 3 Sableye, but it really is up to you.

The deck’s major “engine” revolves around Twins, and Junk Arm. The deck will always fall behind on prizes, allowing you access to Twins. As a result, not only are you a bit more consistent, but you also get to run a ton of lone cards. These, of course, get duplicated by Junk Arm, or Junk Arm plus VS Seeker for the Supporters. This makes the deck very adaptive.

Magnezone’s biggest strength is how many different roles it fulfills as an evolution line. Magnezone Prime is consistency, and also a huge sweeper at the end of the game. It can easily take the last 2 Prizes of any game. SF Magnezone gives you energy manipulation, and a great attacker.

scizor-prime-undaunted-ud-84The Level X’s Pokémon Power is downright abusive, and it’s attack is great as well! It can be used every turn as well, so it can definitely take over games. Judging an opponent and paralyzing their attacker can “steal” games that may otherwise be much rougher on you.

But not only is the Magnezone line full of attackers, but they enable other attackers. The synergy with Scizor Prime is very high, and you can run a 1-1 Dialga G LV.X line to guarantee you beat Vileplume Gengar and other decks.

Dialga shores up that matchup, and you already have a very good Gyarados game. Against SP, Scizor is a huge threat once you start to pile on the Metals and get some one hit kills.

Oddly, the deck has a lot of good starters. Scyther has 70 HP and a free retreat, and Magnemite effectively has a free retreat as well. With 5 actual starter Pokémon, and 5 free retreaters, the deck can open strong quite often.

Next up, an interesting approach with Kingdra Prime!

Pokémon – 21

4 Horsea UL
2 Seadra UL
4 Kingdra Prime
1 Regice LA
1 Chansey PL
1 Blissey Prime
3 Uxie LA
1 Uxie LV.X
1 Unown Q MD
1 Smeargle UD
1 Spiritomb AR
1 Mesprit LA

Trainers – 33

4 Pokémon Collector
2 Bebe’s Search
3 Broken Time-Space
4 Super Scoop Up
4 Seeker
4 Junk Arm
2 Expert Belt
1 Palmer’s Contribution
4 Pokémon Communication
2 Luxury Ball
3 Rare Candy

Energy – 6

6 W

The goal of the deck is to just swarm Kingdras. Over, and over, and over. You actually have an exceptional Gyarados game. They have no way of stopping a Kingdra Swarm. You eventually swap between them, and then Blissey the damage off of them. The potential 40 damage for free every turn adds up.

kingdra-prime-unleashed-ul-85Against Gengar Plume, you add so much damage as a result of Kingdra Prime that they really have issues keeping up. Regice regulates the damage, and all of the Seekers really make it hard for them to take prizes. Shadow Room is 3 hitting your Kingdras, and you can Blissey them, and use Seeker.

DialgaChomp can’t keep up with the random damage spread, especially since they can’t kill your Kingdras in one shot. LuxChomp is interesting but not even that bad. You do threaten one hit kills on them once you eat past all of their Sprays, and Seeker alongside Super Scoop Up allows you to really power out a lot of extra damage from the Powers.

A Belted Kingdra can now safely be Seekered, so as long as it isn’t one hit, the extra damage is safe to gamble with.

The energy count may need to be increased, or maybe have a 2nd Palmer, or a VS Seeker get added. Against SP decks as well, you can use Regice to bench their “hard to kill ” Pokémon, and then kill whatever their sacrifice, while adding the free damage to their “bigger threat” to get the next turn.

This is the kind of deck that should do extremely well after rotation as well, as it loses very little.

Last but not least is a fun little invention abusing Celebi Prime, and Shaymin LV.X.

Pokémon – 19

3 Shaymin PL 15*
1 Shaymin LV.X PL 126
4 Celebi Prime
3 Uxie LA
2 Mesprit LA
1 Azelf LA
1 Spiritomb AR
2 Unown Q MD
2 Crobat G

Trainers – 23

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Premier Ball
1 Luxury Ball
4 Pokémon Communication
2 Expert Belt
1 Palmer’s Contribution
4 Seeker
1 Bebe’s Search
2 Copycat

Energy – 18

15 G
3 Rescue

*Note from the editor: It might be Shaymin UL instead of PL #15, but I’m not certain. Chris listed it as Shaymin (Sky Form).

shaymin-lv.x-platinum-pl-126This is a deck that isn’t too well tested, but something that looks like it should be rather fun, with the potential to be extremely good. The very basic idea of the deck is to “loop” Shaymins, benching one, and using the LV.X’s attack to do huge damage, while dumping some energy on the next Shaymin, and the rest on whatever will be your Seeker target.

Next turn, Seeker the Pokémon with all of the Grass on it, and dump it back down for the next kill.

Once it gets going, you should be one shotting anything in the format. Mesprit is a great target to dump energy to, as it will re-use Psychic Bind. If you can accomplish that “lock” it will be very difficult for any deck in the format to really keep up with it.

Celebi Prime is used to accelerate the deck’s energy attachments, and if things go very awry you can rebuild quickly on it’s back. Rescue Energy is amazing in the deck, fulfilling the Colorless cost on Shaymin’s attack while looping your next Shaymin, play the LV.X back.

I haven’t really explored its matchups that well, but this is a very good starting point. It should be fun, at the very least, and be sure to turn a few heads!

Also, a few last minute comments, some of which are useful to you as a reader, and some of which are to entertain myself by including. First, in regard to Pablo’s Gatr Magnezone Prime deck. I was thinking you should add a Magnezone SF to give you energy manipulation.

That way, midgame, you can try to power a Lightning directly onto the Magnezone without having to Energy Switch it. Also, if you do this, you can try adding ERL to the deck to help against LuxChomp. If you catch them overextending at all, you can take 2-3 Prizes off of it, while your bench is generally fairly low on self-kills.

I’m not sure how well it’ll fit, but its an interesting inclusion.

Also, Call Energy are worth more than 4 dollars. If anyone ever tries to trade for yours and values them at 4 dollars, they are mean, and thieving, and should apologize immediately the next time they see you. Not that I am addressing anyone in particular with this statement. ( YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! )

animemate.comThe best type of Pokémon are Wails. A Wail would be either a Wailmer, or a Wailord. They should not be confused with a Whale, which is not nearly as cute, albeit a bit more real. You should not use them though, as they are already claimed by my girlfriend Emily. She has dibs on them. She also got me an adorable Snorlax blanket for Christmas, which I’d love to eventually upload a picture of so everyone can be jealous.

Alright, now that my random babbling has concluded, I hope that I’ve included some interesting opinions, and some intriguing decklists that at the very least will be worth sleeving up and playing a few games with. I’m curious how they do for you guys, as they are tested, but far from perfected.

So good luck at the rest of Cities, and hopefully everyone does well before the long break until States! Happy testing, and a Happy Holidays as well!

…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.

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