Fulop’s Korner: Article X

laffy4kWe have a few things to discuss headed into the final stretch before Nationals this year. Battle Roads are upon us, and we are left with a format that few people enjoy and have thoroughly tested. Attendance across the country has dropped off drastically for these events, even more so than is standard for Spring Battle Roads.

The meager prizes, low K value, and the fact that people generally do not want to show off what they hope to bring to Nationals has always hurt Spring Battle Road attendance.

(Fall Battle Roads benefit from players being excited to play again after the post Worlds break. They also benefit from the fact that players like the low stakes as a good warm up for Cities. By now, players know if they have a legitimate shot at getting a ratings invite at Worlds or not, so a lot of players will simply sit the events out.)

Now, we have players not even wanting to take the time to travel to the events in what is generally accepted as an absolutely miserable format. With gas prices high, and the prize pay out being 4 packs (plus a Victory Medal) for first place, the only real incentive to make it to a Battle Roads this season is to have fun.

Unfortunately, the format manages to take THAT away, so really, unless the event is really close, or you are a closet masochist, I don’t expect you to take the time to travel to one.


This image came up when I typed “North Olmsted” on Flickr. I assume it is fairly representative of the town.

I got the opportunity to judge at the North Olmsted Battle Road about 10 minutes from my house up at Great Northern Mall, hosted by Recess Games, and run by John Lathem. My girlfriend Emily (now SunshineandSwadloon on the forums!) drove out to my place and we headed up the mall, where, due to store space constraints, we played the event in the food court.

While some people weren’t the most pleased about “maybe being seen”, it was nice that we managed a shorter than usual lunch break after round 2 due to the fact we were literally surrounded by restaurants.

I got to try “Chop It” which is a salad place in the mall that pretty much lets you pick any salad ingredient you can imagine (and nearly 30 dressings!) and they make you your custom salad.

Seeing how I’m on a diet, this was a great choice, and it was really delicious. It’s a bit on the pricy side, but I plan on going back there again in the future to eat.

Anyway, we had 20 Masters, and Juniors and Seniors were mixed, with probably 12 or so total? I wish I had the exact count on those, but I was eyeballing it. I do know they had enough for 4 rounds, with Seniors getting a top 2 and Juniors being complete at the end of that 4th round. Masters had 5 rounds, with a Top 4.

Depending on how Swiss went, we would either end with 5 4-1s, or a 5-0 and 3 4-1s, allowing all of them to make cut.

pokemon-paradijs.comI helped Emily make a few last minute changes to her Gyarados deck, which she wanted to get to play before a possible rotation due to her love of all things atrocious (and by that I mean Gyarados).

After that, I headed over to do deck checks with our larger than necessary staff, consisting of myself, Evan, and David Davies (Head Judge), alongside Carl who was acting as a runner, and assistant when necessary. Thanks again to all of those who helped out.

Deck checks got taken care of pretty quickly, and for once, due to the low attendance, we were ready to start well ahead of the end of registration, so we didn’t have any last minute scrambling to do. The field appeared to be made up of a pile of Gyarados decks, a couple Magnezone decks, and then a mixture of things.

The one thing in common? Nearly every deck ran 4 copies of Sableye.

Emily wound up going 3-2, beating a Jumpluff deck round one, and donking a Magnezone Regirock deck round 2. That would catch up to her round 3, where she got paired against her round 2 opponent’s sister, also wielding the Lightning-type saucer, and wasn’t able to overcome the matchup disadvantage.

She beat a Leafeon deck the next round, and wound up losing in round 5 to a Gyarados mirror match after being taken out on the third turn to a Seeker play, leaving her benched before the game could really develop. The finals standings for Masters wound up being…

1. Ryan K with Gyarados
2. Nick B with Gyarados
3. Kim A with Magnezone
4. Shawn K with Gyarados

5. Nick M with Cincinno
6. Emily R with Gyarados

Nick managed to beat Kim’s Magnezone deck 2-0 in top 4, outspeeding it Game 1, and then winning off of a Blackbelt in the second game in a game I thought he’d lost. It goes to show how a matchup that was previously extremely difficult for Gyarados could be changed around because of how much faster the format was made with the rules change.

When the best Lightning deck in the format can’t beat Gyarados, what can?

On that note, I got to judge the Seniors finals between Alec and Michael, who used Vilegar and Gyarados respectively. Michael got fasters starts, and Vilegar was put on the defensive both games very early, and Gyarados took that one 2-0. In Juniors, first place also went to Gyarados.

pokegym.netThe finals for Masters saw a Gyarados mirror match where Ryan’s start was better and the deck flowed much smoother for him throughout the course of the game, and despite an attempted comeback using Black Belts at the end, Nick couldn’t keep healing his Belted Gyarados and playing Black Belt to overcome the prize disadvantage. Game 2 ended on the first turn, as Ryan donked him.

As a judge, I was astounded by how many games over the course of the day were finished within the first turn, or shortly thereafter. During round 3-of Masters, only 3 games proceeded to last longer than the first ten minutes. Seems like quite the healthy format to me!

I should discuss a few of the fringe decks I did see while at the tournament. We had a huge amount of Gyarados decks being played, probably 6-8 in Masters, which, out of 20 players, is pretty disproportionate. We actually only saw a couple of SP decks, one of which was a “dedicated” Sabledonk.

Nick M used an interesting build for the event, which was focused around an aggressive start using Cinccino, whose awkward spelling I’ve finally come to terms with getting correct. He ran at least a Zekrom to help with Gyarados, which otherwise Cinccino is extremely weak to.

Andrew S used an interesting creation using Reuniclus and Zekrom. Reuniclus would make Zekrom harder to kill, and allowed it to use Outrage as seen fit. It didn’t do very well, but at the very least it was a fairly innovative idea.

The problem I see is that while people are showing up to these events, everyone seemed fairly apathetic. The general consensus from the event I got was that players just kinda threw things together at the last minute because they had been testing for HGSS onward.

While I do feel that it will be the official Nats format, I think it would be a beautifully cruel joke if we did indeed get MD on, and everyone had already dumped off all of their good cards for it prematurely. That being said, the general apathy toward the format has left most of the players with a poorly optimized decklist, so these results are still a bit skewed.

I didn’t see very many of these decks even properly equipped to abuse the new rules, and games were still extremely lopsided and often ended on the first turn. Had players actually taken the time to further refine their lists, I imagine it would only be worse. I’ll throw together a Gyarados list that I would use if I was playing in the event:

Pokémon – 24

4 Magikarp SF
3 Gyarados SF
4 Sableye SF
1 Unown Q MD
3 Uxie LA
1 Giratina PL 9
1 Azelf LA
1 Mesprit LA
1 Crobat G
4 Unown R LA
1 Regice LA

Trainers – 33

3 Pokémon Collector
4 Pokédex HANDY910is
4 Poké Drawer +
2 Expert Belt
1 Cyrus’s Initiative
4 Junk Arm
1 VS Seeker
2 Seeker
1 Warp Point
3 Broken Time-Space
3 Pokémon Communication
2 Luxury Ball
3 Pokémon Rescue

Energy – 3

2 Warp
1 Rescue

That’s the fastest approach, but extra consistency cards (Unown R, a Pokémon Rescue, 3rd Uxie, etc, ) can be cut to add Super Scoop Ups, Poké Turns, or Black Belt. If Gyarados is big, you can add a Ditto LA as well. If you expect a ton of trainer lock, despite it being bad right now, you can always add more Supporters, but I think it can safely be done without.

I think if I wanted to fit any cards, Super Scoop Ups would be the best bet as they let you re-use your Mesprits and Giratinas. A 2nd Mesprit isn’t a bad idea either.

pokegym.netMagnezone did well here due to its possibly good Gyarados game (although most builds here did not incorportate disurption appropriately, so it’s likely much worse) and high damage output which is strong against any decks using large hit pointed threats in order to prevent being “donked”.


Cinccino seems to be the other good card to get showcased at the tournament, as it’s another great attacker who can abuse BTS, which really is the next best card besides Sableye in this format. Rare Candy is nerfed, and most of the basic decks all abuse Level X cards.

That leaves fast, aggressive stage 1 decks as the new standard bearers for speed in this format, and both Cinccino and Gyarados fit that bill perfectly. Cinccino unfortunately comes up short against Gyarados and Gengar, but also doesn’t really take up a lot of space, so it can definitely get the support it needs.

Cinccino supported by an SP deck could be interesting. I’ll be the first to say this deck is primarily theory, but with the amount of SP experience I’ve gathered over the past few formats, I’d like to say it’s at least a pretty good starting point.

Pokémon – 26

3 Minccino BLW
3 Cinccino BLW
1 Garchomp C
1 Garchomp C LV.X
2 Luxray GL
1 Luxray GL LV.X
4 Sableye SF
2 Uxie LA
1 Uxie LV.X
1 Azelf LA
1 Unown Q MD
2 Crobat G
1 Bronzong G
1 Unown UD
1 Lucario GL
1 Ambipom G

Trainers – 25

3 Pokémon Collector
1 Bebe’s Search
4 Cyrus’s Conspiracy
1 Cyrus’s Initiative
1 Aaron’s Collection
2 SP Radar
3 Poké Turn
1 Power Spray
2 Energy Gain
2 Pokémon Communication
2 Expert Belt
3 Broken Time-Space

Energy – 9

4 Double Colorless
3 L
1 D
1 Special D

Might be a bit too low on energy, but I’m not sure either. Power Spray is actually weaker here, because you are trying to be faster than that. Toss in the fact that EVERYONE is running 4 Sableye, and Power Spray simply isn’t able to really nerf an opponent’s start as well as it used to.

The card is still good, and I’d still advise using it, it’s just that by needing to fit in Cinccino, you really don’t have a lot of room for funny business, and cuts have to be made. You lose a bit of disruption, but gain back power and speed, so concessions must be made.

This likely has a huge edge in SP mirror, and the 2-1 Luxray line with Expert Belts (also great with Cinccino!) and Lucario GL give you an added edge against Gyarados. I’m not sure its enough, but it’s a start.

Anyway, those are two lists I’d consider taking with you if you wanted to consider going to a Battle Roads and don’t really have a list prepared. I won’t claim those are thoroughly tested lists. It isn’t necessarily that I’m “too lazy to test them” as much as it is a combination of other factors which have kept me from really delving into that format.


“Did Fulop just use the phrase ‘lame duck’ again?”

First, I’ve been focusing on HGSS on. There is no personal motivation to play in a lame duck format, especially one which would require a ton of games to weed out the extraneous factors caused by the huge degrees of variance.

The second, and more important problem is, NO ONE ELSE is testing this format either. It is hard to find quality opponents to test against, and I don’t feel like I get accurate results if I just bust out a Gyarados list and beat on some player at league. Very little is gained from that.

The problem is so bad that when I asked around my standard network of players (and without trying to sound like an egotistical jerk, I usually have access to whatever lists I want) and no one had any actually tested builds for this format.

It’s hard to get real testing in when no one else has any desire to even play the format. I got plenty of “Nah, haven’t bothered. Wanna play some HGSS-on on Apprentice though?” responses. Maybe not verbatim, but fairly synonymous.


Now, on that topic, I wanted to address something else. The “leak” of my Emboar Magnezone list, and the leak of Josh’s list as well. Now, I will be blunt when I call out who is behind this leak as being immature, and irresponsible.

I understand that they may not like the idea of having to spend money to get decklists. They might think that they are doing everyone a “favor” by bringing about “equality”. That isn’t exactly the case.

Prior to Underground, I dare you to find examples of consistently good articles anywhere online. If you look at the quality of decks posted anywhere on the PokéGym, PokéBeach, Pojo, anywhere, you’ll notice a HUGE difference in quality.

SixPrizes Underground isn’t merely charging for services you can get elsewhere for free. Between the time it takes to write up 10,000 word articles, to the time that it takes to actually put in quality testing and effort behind the information shared, the writers on this site put in a lot of their time to bring the readers on this site the information that we do.

On top of that, it is at our own handicapping that we do it. In this game, information, and remaining on the cutting edge, is hugely important in successfully performing in tournaments. By sharing what we know to with readers here, we are taking away that edge that we do have.


Even if the readers don’t actively share the information, it gets out quicker as those players use the decks at league, or tournaments local to them. If you think we have no right to try to charge for thought out and cutting edge content, then you don’t honestly understand the effort put behind our work.

The major issue I have is that by leaking this information, you aren’t hurting me, but you are hurting the other readers. By writing for this site, I have already come to terms with the fact that whatever I write about is effectively “public”.

I expected the information to spread, either formally or informally, and took that into account when I signed up for this. Leaking this information doesn’t hurt us, the writers, as we all have come to terms with the fact that we are SHARING this information to enough people that whatever edge it would have given us is hindered a bit.

On the other hand, it is a direct slap in the face to those who DO pay for this site, and if you have an issue with the writers, or the website, or even merely the idea of paid content, that’s FINE, but don’t do something stupid, selfish and immature that really only hurts people who have done nothing wrong.

The readers on this site are the ones hurt, not us. If you have a problem with me, or any of the writers/staff, confront us at Nationals. I already know who you are, so please, I would love to have a discussion with you the next time we get the opportunity.

I’ve read the direct “criticism” of me posted by “Underground Informant” on Pokébeach, and I laughed. I understand you think I am a “jerk”. That doesn’t bother me. I’m not the type of person who really cares what people think of me. If you don’t like how I carry myself, or anything like that, I could care less.

I have plenty of friends in this game, and plenty of people over the years who simply do not/ did not like me. I don’t particularly lose much sleep over it.

Let me show you the comments from Pokébeach… local player Matt Louden, under the screen name MLouden03, comments first then is followed up by bourgeois hero “Underground Informant”:

Now, let me go into a bit of detail as to how funny these posts are to me. First and foremost, the idea that I do not “test” my lists. This is generally not true. There are some lists which are undertested, or even theoretical. Yet what I think he failed to mention is that a disclaimed stating EXACTLY THAT is always included with that deck.

I have included numerous “fun” decks, and interesting ideas for players to experiment with because let’s be honest, for the past year, there have been roughly 4 real decks in this format. I’ve posted lists for my Shaymin deck, a Kingdra deck, and plenty of other “tier 2” rogue attempts that players could fool around with.

Most are far from refined, but I don’t go into the articles claiming “this is the best deck in the format!”, I post that I have some new fun decks to fool around with. I also have enough faith, after having played this previous format for as long as I did (I put more hours into that format than I have in years) that I have a pretty sound theoretical grasp for the format.

Not putting in 30+ games with a deck doesn’t mean that a list I come up with is “bad”. I’ve got news for you “Underground Informant”: Did you ever think that perhaps Turbo Shaymin wasn’t winning because its Turbo Shaymin, not because I made a “sabotage” list for it?

flickr.comIt was a new, fun, rogue deck that was good enough to do well if that is what you are looking for. If you expected any list I post to automatically take you to X-0 at your next tournament, well, I can’t help you much.

Not every reader on this site is looking for the same thing. I’m aware that players get tired of stale formats, and using the same deck over and over again. Theres no crime in posting various rogue decks for the players who do want to mix it up.

If you aren’t interested in anything but the most cutthroat “best deck in format” that’s fine, I wrote more than my fair share on LuxChomp as well. It isn’t as if I am trying to pass any of those lists off as anything they are not.

Now let’s get to “LostGar”. If you do not think I tested LostGar, you are wrong. I WISH I hadn’t put in nearly as many hours as I did with the deck. I knew quickly that the deck likely was not going to be very good, yet everyone was clamoring for an article addressing its builds.

I put in the time anyway, and at the end of the day, nothing actually worked. I posted the best lists that I was able to come up with. I even asked around to other top players on input, and big surprise, no one else got it to work. States and Regionals went by, and, big surprise, LostGar wasn’t successful.

At the time of writing, every deck went overboard hating against LostGar, and it performed even worse. By week 2-of States, and certainly by Regionals, the focus to beat LostGar was gone, and the deck STILL didn’t win. I apologize that I was unable to make an unviable deck into a tier 1 deck. No one else did either.

I think that the funniest part is that I “intentionally give out bad deck ideas to help myself win”. Let’s look at that one for a moment. Seeing how plenty of my articles are primarily tournament reports, including the lists I’d used within the past two weeks of their posting, I must have really intentionally given myself some PRETTY BAD DECKS.

pokegym.netNow, not only do I give out the lists that I’m using, but I also continue to use lists very similar to that…as documented by the fact that if you looked at the articles I wrote throughout Cities, you can even track the progression of the changes I made.

Now, that covers Cities, right? Well, I included my States lists as well…I went into week 2 not even planning to play it out. I didn’t even PLAY Regionals, and I’m not playing Battle Roads OR Nationals. I’m failing to see where this self-interest in allowing myself to have such an “easier field” comes in.

I also don’t expect people to blindly pick up a deck, play no games with it, and head into a tournament. If someone picks up a list online and plays with it and isn’t winning I highly doubt they’d decide to use it anyway. Not every player can play every deck, and people know to use something they can win with.

If they are losing in playtesting, they won’t magically go on a win streak at a tournament usually. The whole concept of “sabotaging the opposition” doesn’t even make theoretical sense.

In closing, I hope this clears the air a bit with the rest of the Underground subscribers and reinforces the fact that without you guys, there wouldn’t be a SixPrizes Underground, and that I want to let everyone know that not only myself, but the rest of the staff here, have your best interest at heart.

We have every incentive to keep you, the reader, happy with the content we provide, as it directly benefits us as writers, and as the site as a whole. I’d like to apologize to everyone personally for the breach of privacy regarding those lists, as, like I said before, you as readers are the ones who are hurt.


Now that I got that little tidbit off of my chest, I wanted to go back to addressing the HGSS on format. I’ve continued to test my Emboar Magnezone list, and I have a couple of friends also testing the deck, to uniform fantastic results.

Here is my most recent list, which isn’t too far off from where I started:

Pokémon – 21

4 Cleffa CL
3 Tepig BW07
1 Pignite BLW 17
2 Emboar BLW 20
1 Emboar BLW 19
1 Reshiram BLW
1-1 Rayquaza & Deoxys LEGEND
3 Magnemite TM
1 Magneton TM
3 Magnezone Prime

Trainers – 24

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Sage’s Training
4 Rare Candy
4 Junk Arm
4 Pokémon Communication
1 Flower Shop Lady
2 Energy Retrieval
1 Switch

Energy – 15

10 R
5 L

4 Junk Arm, 2 Energy Retrieval, and 1 Flower Shop Lady allow us to get away with only running 15 energy. With access to Rayquaza Deoxys Legend, Reshiram, and now Bad Emboar as well, we can continue to score 1HKOs without having to Lost Zone all of that energy.

pokegym.netI originally did not have Flower Shop Lady in the list, but realized the only games I was losing were due to having bad prizes in my lines (not having access to enough Magnezones, for example) or running out of energy due to having to aggressively Sage.

This card is never something you want to have to use, but it covers so many “worst case scenarios” that the one spot you use up for it is well worth it.

On that note, Sage’s Training has been my favorite card in this format. Its aggressive and high risk, but it allows the deck to be faster than it could even hope to be without it. The deck has routinely set up fantastically, and Sage has been a primary reason for that.

On that note, both Judge and Twins have been cut from the potential list. They never did enough. As “cute” as Judge was, in its disruption, and synergy with Magnetic Draw, it just wasn’t pulling its weight, where as we needed more and more space to add other cards.

Twins was fine, and I’d rather see it over Judge, but I prefer cards that actively help me set up, not leave me at the mercy of the speed of my opponent. I don’t want cards that only work if my opponent’s deck is working. If I get set up quickly, this deck simply doesn’t lose to anything.

It is already pulling a remarkable win rate against Donphan and Zekrom speed decks, so my initial fear that they are necessary to set up past that speed was unfounded.

Twins may still be worth including at some point, as they do let you get RDL, and the lone Switch and Flower Shop Lady, but at the moment they are out. Much like FSL, I tried to do without Switch for a while. I unfortunately, due to the fact I was running low on energy near the end game, was unable to handle the high Retreat Costs as well as I thought I could.

pokemon-paradijs.comThat isn’t to say that it was a MAJOR issue, it is just that when I only look at the games I lost, or came close to losing, Switch would have been huge toward changing that. Getting stuck Lost Zoning energy every turn when you have access to KOs otherwise because you can’t afford to retreat the fat saucer isn’t the best feeling in the world.

With the removal of Judges, Junk Arm becomes much more critical in maximizing your Magnetic Draws. It allows you to get Rare Candy, Pokémon Communication, Energy Retrieval, and now Switch, so this card is an absolute all-star in the deck.

To think that I originally didn’t even run any was such an oversight. It’s since become one of the best cards in the deck entirely.

Now, I also removed Shuckle from the deck. Shuckle isn’t necessarily staying out of the deck. It never really excited me, but it never really performed poorly, Since I had to add cards, it had to get cut in the end. Other cards may come out to put it back in, but for the moment he’s on the sidelines.


Now, I said before that the deck has been performing extremely well. There really haven’t been many decks that have shown to even compete against the deck. There have been some tactics and cards which have shown flashes of brilliance toward overcoming the overpowered behemoth, so lets look into those.

Pokémon Reversal

pokemon-paradijs.comThe basic idea behind the deck is that it brings the absolute best A Game in the format. If both players set up at the same speed, Emboar Magnezone should have the highest raw power and consistency once it gets going.

As a result, aiming to beat the deck requires you to be faster than it, and also, hopefully prevent them from getting their full set up as quickly as they’d like. Pokémon Reversal has caused more losses than any other card.

If Magneboar gets a slower start, and you can keep them off of either Tepigs or Magnemites, you can get ahead by multiple prizes while they try to build past that. The fact it is a flip, and the fact that once they get their Pokémon evolved they are generally hard to one shot, makes this a bit harder to reliably abuse.

The 3rd Tepig and the Flower Shop Lady help to offset the “weakness” to Reversal. I’m not saying the deck is BAD against Reversal, just that Reversal has helped push closer games into the “hard” category. This is certainly a card to look at when trying to beat the Big Bad Boar.

Donphan Prime

Donphan isn’t good against the deck…it is, on the other hand, good against Magnezone Prime, the deck’s primary attacker, as long as you have PlusPower. As such, it’s a great counter to it, meaning if you stack the deck with cards that can handle the other threats, you are well on your way to combating them.

Donphan is extremely bad against Bad Emboar, and Rayquaza Deoxys Legend, so let’s see what we can do about that…


pokegym.netZoroark is a great counter to any attacker who does huge damage without any prerequisites that Foul Play can’t ignore. Both RDL and Emboar’s attacks are open targets for Zoroark. Even Lost Burn is abusable if you manage to keep up on energy drops. The fact that with a PlusPower it 1HKOs Reshiram and Zekrom is good too.

Now, those are some of the cards that I found to be major pains. As a result, I started thinking of what I could build to try to counter Magneboar. Since none of the other “real” decks were beating it, I figured I’d just go all out and build a direct counter to see how that performed.

The core of that deck was going to be Zoroark and Donphan Prime, obviously. Now, the thing I needed to look at before building this deck and putting time behind it, was whether it could beat other decks int he format.

Unfortunately, Donphan Zoroark isn’t exactly good against Donphan, or other various decks that play more “fairly” than Magneboar. The deck still needed its raw power to back up its direct counters.

The card I turned to was Machamp Prime, one of the most powerful cards in the format. When the prospect of rotation occurred, Machamp was one of the first cards I looked at as a frontrunner to being tier 1. It should be able to punch past any deck that isn’t able to 1HKO it, due to its abusive Seeker loop, and any deck that CAN 1HKO it is going to get a rude awakening from Zoroark.

“Why do we need Donphan?” is a question even I asked myself initially, and its pretty simple. Donphan lets us be aggressive early, and also gives us an answer to Magnezone. All of our kills require us to use either a DCE with Zoroark, or multiple energy with Machamp Prime.

This makes it hard for us to keep up with the energy attachments which Emboar ignores. As a result, the “exchange” in the Emboar Magnezone deck should involve Donphan (with F Energy) killing Magnezones, and Zoroarks (using DCE) killing Emboars, Reshirams, and RDL. Machamp only plays a role in that matchup once you are able to get a good amount of energy in play.

Here is the list for the deck:

Pokémon – 25

4 Cleffa CL
3 Phanpy CL
3 Donphan Prime
3 Zorua BLW
3 Zoroark BLW
3 Machop TM
3 Machoke TM
3 Machamp Prime

Trainers – 23

4 Sage’s Training
3 Professor Juniper
3 Pokémon Collector
1 Professor Elm’s Training Method
4 Pokémon Communication
2 Rare Candy
3 PlusPower
2 Seeker
1 Flower Shop Lady

Energy – 12

8 F
4 Double Colorless

The hardest part of this deck is trying to get it to remain consistent. Unlike Magneboar, you don’t have a built-in draw engine once you get a Magnezone Prime up. Despite being a “speed” deck, you aren’t attacking on the first turn.

pokegym.netThus, Cleffa is still great here. Coupled with the fact that the deck is going to be a bit pressed for draw (maybe I’m just spoiled, as I feel anything without Magnezone is “pressed for draw”) having a bunch of Cleffa certainly helps.

You don’t need a ton of Rare Candy because Machamp is rarely your initial attacker. You build up your Machamp lines as the game goes, hoping to take over once you get them all into play. Zoroark and Donphan are your openers, depending on what they attack with.

While on the topic of Machamp, we have to realize a few things. First, we don’t have Broken Time-Space anymore. The “Seeker Loop” is harder to pull off. We also can’t simply Seeker, then Rare Candy it back either. Thus, we need to try and keep a bunch of Machops benched, so that we can “stagger” their evolution if we do get to abusing Seeker.

It’s not as simple as it was before, and is primarily the reason we run 2 Rare Candy in here. I tried to abuse the “hard lock” on Seeker looping, but I realize that generally, one of two scenarios occur.

Either they can one shot Machamp, and the Seeker loop isn’t very good, or they can’t one shot it, at which point, even just one Fighting Tag is a disaster, because its pretty much killing three things before they get one Machamp kill.

You really only need 1-2 Seeker plays to beat decks that can’t one shot you, so my initial count on Seeker and Rare Candy and the like has been cut down to compensate.

The other card I wanted to try and add would be Switch. Donphan is fat, and so is Machamp, and I’m afraid of situations where people will strand either of them and it’ll let them set up past me.

The old situation where SP would lure up a Donphan then start Dragon Rushing around it comes to mind, especially since we don’t have access to Expert Belt, and aren’t really too well equipped to be doing 90 damage anyway.

pokegym.netJunk Arm would be nice as well, letting us re-use PlusPower, the hypothetical Switch, and Pokémon Communication, but it’s harder to justify adding due to space, and the fact that unlike Magneboar, it doesn’t help our draw engine out by thinning our hand of clunky cards.

The favorable exchange in this deck is certainly there. The issue with this deck is trying to figure out exactly what supporters are best for getting it set up as well as possible. There aren’t really established engines for this format yet, but I’ve still been impressed by Sage, even in this deck.

If the deck “falls behind” to a better start by Magneboar, sometimes it can have an issue in that matchup. What ends up happening, because you don’t have access to BTS or the “instant” Rare Candy, is that they can start to “force” the kills with whatever attacker you don’t have the basic for.

If I’m Magneboar, and I see my opponent doesn’t have a back up Phanpy, or a Zoroa, I’ll wind up attacking with Magnezone or RDL respectively. That’s how they are able to hope to “break” the even exchange, and sometimes it works. Once set up, they DO have the better draw power, and somehow, despite using primarily Stage 2s, and needing piles of energy, they are still better suited to keeping up with that exchange.

Depending on how the matchup continues to test (this deck has been a slight favorite in the matchup so far, and is by far doing better than any other deck trying to beat Magneboar) Magneboar could re-add Judges, as this decks fickle draw engine (well, the format’s in general) can certainly be attacked by the card.



Overall, this format is looking to be a lot better than the previous one. I’m not entirely sure it is that well-balanced, as Emboar seems to be REALLY good compared to the other decks in the format, but its a nice change of pace and at least the games I lose I feel like they were hard fought games. It’s a refreshing feeling.

Hopefully more and more ways to combat Emboar pop up as viable, and we’ll have a really good format for Nationals. I really feel like Donphan Zoroark is a great starting point for how to attack this format, and I’m not as sure that Machamp is the best card to pair with it. It eats up a lot of space, and those spots could better go to other cards that are faster and more aggressive.

I’m just concerned with trying to make sure the deck can still compete with random “power strategies” such as, say, Feraligatr Prime / Samurott. Those two don’t really have any possible answer to a Samurott, as it 1HKOs Donphan, and Zoroark is hitting it for an impressive 50 damage past it’s ability.

The pair functions quite well against Magnezone, Emboar, Zekrom, and other frontrunners in the format, but seems to do far worse against the tier 2, and with the “big decks” NOT being well saturated amongst the player base going into Nationals, I don’t feel this is a good point to run out a purely metagame deck choice.

In closing, enjoy the two lists for both formats, and try and hit up as many Battle Roads as you can, unless, you know, you don’t like being miserable, or they require much of a drive or something, in which case, just stay home and be better off for it.

Any requests for what you want out of my next article coming into the home stretch for Nationals? Let me know by PM, and I’ll see what I can do.

And as always (especially for Battle Roads) Good Luck, and Happy Testing!

(Started off as a joke, now an established tagline. Deal with it.)

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