PokeGymSo guys, the deck that took both Canadian and US Nationals by storm. By now, the cat’s out of the bag and we saw a lot of different lists running around.
I’ll be honest, I was playing this deck for a while before the general public found out, but since it was not my idea and I was being fed lists and testing with others that were pioneering the deck much more than myself, I didn’t feel it respectful to them to share it here. However, now I can!
You’re going to see a lot of lists in this article, as there are a lot of different techs and ideas that were thrown around. From the winner’s list, to my list, to the Aziz/Martin list, almost no two lists were identical, each attempting to capitalize on the weak points of the deck and turn them into strengths. To start off, though, we have a skeleton list:
- Round 1 vs Tyranitar/Mandibuzz/other Dark Pokémon
- Round 2 vs Emboar/Ninetales/Reshiram
- Round 3 vs Mirror
- Round 4 vs Michael Pramawat w/ Typhlosion/Ninetales/Reshiram
- Round 5 vs Karl Kitchin w/ Mirror
- Round 6 vs Tyrogue
- Round 7 vs Emboar/Ninetales/Reshiram
- Round 8 vs Emboar/Ninetales/Reshiram
- Round 9 vs Samurott/Donphan
- Top 128 vs Kevin Nance w/ Donphan/Yanmega
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 20
Energy – 10
14 spots left to work with. We saw a lot of variety in these 14 cards. Let’s explore some of the options, but first, I’ll give what I consider to be a pretty “standard” list, and then go on with my exploration of the deck:
Pokémon – 22
Trainers – 27
Energy – 11
PokeGymThis is kind of where I “started” with the deck, about a month before Nationals, and where a lot of people were right at the time of Nationals. This is probably what lists like Alex Frezza, Con Le, Jayson Harry, and other lists looked like: basic, consistent, but still very strong. My friends Gordon (SlimeyGrimey) and Sebastian (GrandmaJoner) played very similar lists to this at Canadian Nationals.
Though this is obviously a very good list, looks clean and nice, it just wasn’t completely doing it for me, and a lot of other players as well. Donphan was still a hard matchup, the mirror was rough in that it seemed like whoever went first won over 75% of the games.
So after playing a lot, my good friend Spencer (SuperWooper) mentioned that we should try a Kingdra tech to help with both of those. I go to my bud Aziz and ask him what he thinks and he starts tweaking, saying Martin had thought of it and how I found out blah blah blah…but anyway, when it comes down to it, Kingdra was a good addition to the deck, and it’s not a surprise that different good players came to the same conclusion.
One other change that was made to the list at this point was going to 1 Cleffa/1 Manaphy, as Manaphy is just as useful as Cleffa when you start with Yanma, but can’t be Tyrogue’d, and is generally a better card to play vs any deck with Yanmega, as Cleffa is a free prize at any point.
So, in went 1-1 Kingdra and Manaphy, Pachirisu was dropped for room and because I didn’t run so many Lightnings anymore, and here’s what we came up with:
Pokémon – 22
Trainers – 27
Energy – 11
Pokemon ParadijsI had actually tried a 3-2-4 Magnezone line with 1 Revive as an alternative way to get back Horsea and Magnemite if they were Reversaled early, but it seemed like FPS (fancy play syndrome) to me, and I just reverted back to the 4 Magnemite.
This list ran really well and was a favorite against pretty much everything we threw at it. Donphan had a hard time dealing with Kingdra, as it turned Yanmega from 3HKOing it to into 2HKOing, as well as the obvious fact that it essentially OHKOs Donphan itself.
The mirror was also tipped, as you could now KO Yanmegas with Magnezones by only Lost Burning one Energy instead of two, plus the fact that you could essentially “come from behind” now, by triple Spray Splashing a Baby Pokémon and catching up in the prize exchange.
Though it wasn’t perfect, I thought the Kingdra tech improved the deck’s matchups as much as anything could, so I was pretty set on this list going into the last week or two before Nationals. I even had it written out on the plane on the way there!
So we got to Nationals, and I played a bunch of games against various decks. The Typhlosion matchup worried me the most; it was no better than 50/50, and Kingdra didn’t really help all that much. Myself and Michael Chin played the mirror match about eight times, and whoever got out a Magnezone and Kingdra out first won every single game.
At this point we considered upping the Kingdra line as it proved to be such a big deal in the mirror. So I finally conceded and dropped the Magnezone line a bit to what other people were playing and filled the space with my boy Kingdra. I played four games with the list before heading to bed the night before Nationals. Woke up, filled out my list, looked like this, and went on my way:
Pokémon – 23
Trainers – 27
Energy – 10
I dropped to one Rainbow as it was pretty bad to play in the early game, as Yanmega would just snipe your basic that you played it on. The drop to 10 Energy was questionable, but it didn’t negatively affect any of my games, and there was only one game where I even used all 10 Energy. Here’s my report of how my games went down:
PokeGymI got a pretty decent start but had to manually evolve both the Magnezones I got out during the game through Magneton, as I didn’t see a Rare Candy till much later in the game. I also had a Horsea out since like turn 3 looking to Candy into Kingdra to make the OHKOs on Tyranitar a lot easier, but I was forced to Lost Burn 4 Energy to OHKO the first Tyranitar because I couldn’t hit the Candy in like 10-12 cards that turn.
Regardless, I was able to take some cheap prizes Yanmega but the game was pretty close. I ended up hitting the Candy/Kingdra at some point when there was about 20 cards left in my deck and all 4 Rare Candy, where if I didn’t I would have actually probably lost this game, which would have been absurd haha. I think he took 4 prizes in this game. I went first.
This game was pretty good, but again I didn’t see a Rare Candy till much later in the game, forcing myself to set up slower and evolve through Magneton. I was able to KO his Ninetales at one point and Judge him to 4, where he was forced to Eeek and I Judged him again, and KOed his Cleffa. This left his board and hand pretty limited.
I also Reversaled an Emboar at some point during the game and KOed it, though he had attached 6 Energy to 2 Reshiram the turn before, so I’m not sure if that was even the correct play. He had Rescues on at least two of his Reshirams throughout the game, which made the match harder as well.
This came down to the wire, but I was able to squeak out the win. I went first.
This game was phenomenal. My list has a distinct advantage in mirror with the 2-1-2 Kingdra line, and the reason I upped it was to make sure I didn’t prize any of the pieces for this game. When he flipped over Yanma/Magnemite to my Yanma/Magnemite, and I had a pretty decent hand, I was ready to rock.
Of course, though, both my Horseas are prized. Ugh. So we go the traditional route and I try to spread some damage around and set up my board. I get one of his Yanmegas with a Rescue Energy up to 100 damage, just waiting to draw a Horsea off prizes later.
By the time I take a prize, though, he has taken 3 and I’m in a pretty bad situation. However, he has burned a lot of resources and just Lost Zoned all the Energy on his field except for the Rescue on the Yanmega, leaving both his Magnezones with no Energy on them. I bring up Yanmega, hit a baby for a prize. No Horsea. He attaches to the active Magnezone, looks for Switch, whiffs.
I’m able to Reversal up his bare Magnezone and take another easy prize with Yanmega. No Horsea. He attaches to the now active Magnezone, and wiffs Switch again. I come up with my Magnezone and swing for 150, tying the game up at 3-3, and finally hit one of my two Horsea.
I don’t remember what he did, but I’m able to play Horsea the next turn, followed by a Candy + Kingdra the turn after and Spray Splash his Yanmega to tie prizes up at 2-2. My other Magnezone on bench has 2 Energy and I’m able to deny him prizes while I triple Splay Splash in two turns (hit the 2nd Horsea on the next prize) his Cleffa and Lost Burn on some turn to win the game, with him having 1 prize left.
What a comeback game; rare in this format. I went first.
Pokemon ParadijsI knew going into this match that it was probably my hardest matchup, and obviously Pram is one of the better players in the game. He goes first, opening Cyndaquil/Reshiram and Collectors. Looks through his deck once. Twice. Three times.
Takes Cyndaquil/Cyndaquil/Reshiram and I point to God, knowing both his Vulpix are prized. I have a relatively slow start but am able to set up, and even though he draws both Vulpix in his first 3 prizes, I’m able to Reversal them up as he plays them and he’s forced to draw pass.
Typhlosion didn’t hit the field once during the game, so the 3 prizes he took were from manually powered up Reshirams on my Yanmegas, which just wasn’t enough to win this game. I went second.
I go first with an absolutely phenomenal hand of Yanma/Magnemite/Candy/Magnezone/Yanmega/Energy/Collector else. Ironically he has almost the identical set up, but I went first so I’m a huge favorite now.
I turn two Sonicboom his Yanma, get out Kingdra by turn three and we proceed to trade KOs, but me going first plus Kingdra just puts my way over the top and there was no way to come back from that. Karl ended up going all the way to Top 8, so congratulations to him on that! I went first.
Pokemon ParadijsI start lone Yanma with Judge in hand, and am forced to play Judge on my first turn. I hit a fantastic draw of Yanmega/Magnemite/Candy/Magnezone. He starts off strong but then fizzles out and ends up draw/passing for like 5 turns after taking a prize or two, which allows my slower start to set up and come back.
I end up Linear Attacking Ninetales twice + Spray Splash and Judged in one turn after he started getting back set up, and the game was essentially over from then on. Don’t remember too many details from this game though. I went second.
He went first with a fantastic start, getting T2 two Ninetales and Emboar soon after, swinging with Reshiram. I was too slow to really stand up to that, and he had a Switch the turn I Reversaled up Emboar to try and stall and bring myself back into the game. I went second.
I had an okay start to his okay start, but I Tyrogue’d his Cleffa on the first turn and the no internal draw of his deck really caught up with him. He took 2 prizes on my Tyrogue and Cleffa with Phanpy, but then I was set up and just proceeded to run through all his basics. I went second.
So, 7-2, pretty solid, going into Top 128 I liked my chances a lot. All I needed to do was avoid one of the handful of good players and I felt like I could do really well. And I get paired up against…Kevin Nance. Sigh.
pokemon-paradijs.comHe went first (huge in 2/3!); once I saw Phanpy I thought I had a really good shot though. I get a really slow set up, though, and I don’t remember all the details, but I got it back pretty good with Kingdra. I think it came down to 1-1 and I tried to empty my hand so he couldn’t Yanmega me for the last kill, but he was able to match my hand size, and he won.
I went first, obviously, and got set up slow again. Again, I don’t remember all the details, but Kingdra was enough to push me over the top. It came down to 1-1 again, this time with him trying to empty his hand on the last turn to prevent me from taking a Yanmega KO, but I was able to and took the game.
Obviously he went first :P and I started bad once again. I get in a weird position with Magnemite active and topdeck into Candy/Magnezone and have Switch/Tyrogue in hand or something like that, and pretty much have to play Tyrogue down to Switch to it, otherwise Magnezone would be stuck active.
This ends up killing me later, but we go back and forth, with him jumping out in the lead, and me clawing my way back. Time gets called on his turn with him up, having two prizes left to my four. He doesn’t take a prize, and I’m able to set up my second Kingdra on my turn (after Judging myself into Candy/Kingdra!) and double Spray Splash a Cleffa for the KO, and take a KO myself, tying it at 2-2.
He’s left with a Donphan and a Yanmega (I attempted to Reversal Donphan to KO it that turn but failed), while I have Magnezone active with 40 damage, 2 Kingdras, Tyrogue and a Yanmega benched. He debates for a while, and then Earthquakes me Magnezone to get down to his last prize.
I return the KO with Kingdra and attempt to get my hand as low as possible, as he had a 5-6 card hand. He’s able to get his hand down once again, and Linear Attack the Tyrogue for the game.
PokeGymSorry I don’t remember all the details on the first two games, they were all just so similar, as they all came down to 1-1 and each of us trying to manipulate our hand size so the other couldn’t match it (to no avail). Kingdra was an all-star in all three games and I certainly wouldn’t have had even a chance without him.
I started slowly all three games, so it kept me in the game. Going first was huge I think, as you can see whoever got the last turn in each game won (obviously, but you get my point :P).
So, one of the greatest matches I’ve played in Pokémon to this date gives me an early exit at US Nationals, but I can’t be too disappointed; they were all so close, and Kevin was a great opponent and a fantastic person. I’m glad I was finally able to meet him after hearing so much about him.
Real quick, the only change I would have made to my list for US Nationals, would have been -1 Lightning +1 Rescue. I’ll talk more about what I would do for Grinder/Worlds with the deck later.
Nowwwww, let’s take a look at what some other players ran in their Mag/Mega. I already mentioned the “standard” list that a lot of people ran. Jay talked about Justin’s winning list. I guess I should mention Karl Kitchen ran Pokémon Circulators against me (over Reversals, I believe).
The last real other “variant” that remains is the list that Martin Moreno used to get himself into the Top 32, the list that Aziz played as well. Aziz posted it on Heytrainer, so here it is:
Pokémon – 22
Trainers – 27
Energy – 11
PokeGymThis is not too different from the list that Chris Fulop just posted in his previous article; the obvious difference being the Weavile. While I still don’t think Weavile fits in this deck very well, I can’t ignore its strength in this format and the success that Martin and Aziz had with it (though it’s possible that could be attributed mostly to the fact that Mag/Mega/King is a very strong deck in its own right).
Weavile has a chance to end a game directly after a Judge. If you can play the Weavile following a Judge and discard a lone draw Supporter (or a Fire Energy if they run Ninetales) there and they do not run Magnezone, then you are in a really good position and the game could be essentially ended right there.
You have to time it right, as well as hope they don’t get lucky on their Judge draw, but it can be lethal. I read over Aziz’s report but don’t recall exactly how many times he said it helped him “lock out” a game. To a lesser extent, with Rainbows, Weavile can be a pseudo-sniper if Yanmega is unavailable or you can’t match hand sizes.
As for Jirachi, Fulop talked about it a bit in his last article, but I do feel like it’s a good fit in here. I messed around with it a bit in here before dropping it in favor of the bigger Kingdra line, but I could see running it. The Energy is well suited here for it, and it provides both Energy acceleration for Magnezone as well as devolving ability for Yanmega/Kingdra. I wonder how much use it actually gets, though.
I’m not sure if I like Sage’s Training in here; I do feel Copycat is a bit better, as you get a bunch of weird situations where you need to match their hand size and it’s over six cards, which means you can’t simply Magnetic Draw into it.
The prime case would be against Typhlosion, as Ninetales can just keep drawing and easily keep a 7-10 card hand. With only four Judge it becomes hard to consistently match that hand size. Typhlosion is probably the hardest matchup already, so I don’t think I would want to make it even harder. Two Switch is really good and I wish I could have fit the second in my list as well.
Besides these points, the list is essentially the same as others, so no more explanation really needed.
Let’s talk about the basics of the deck now.
4-3 Yanmega is what many of the top players I’ve talked to has settled on as standard in here. Yanma is arguably the best starter in the game right, and although it isn’t un-donkable (contrary to what you say Fulop in your last article, it’s quite donkable, see my Round 6 :P), it’s as good as we have, with free retreat and 50 HP.
No real need to max Yanmega: it saves a spot, and you generally don’t go through more than three Yanmegas in a game. With the inclusion of Rescue Energy, as I think is quite good now, it becomes even less necessary.
4-2-4 Magnezone is what I think the best way to run Magnezone is, in this as well as in Emboar/Magnezone. I was quite vexed when I decided to cut it for the bigger Kingdra line, but I do think it was the best play for Nationals, expecting a lot of mirror that wasn’t prepared for Kingdra in the mirror. It worked well for me, but I still do think the thick Magnezone line is best.
I will never ever ever ever EVER play less than 2 Magneton in this deck, as there are just SO many times where if it was prized, I would have been screwed. When I played Gardy three years ago, I made a similar decision to include an extra Kirlia over most of the standard lists, and it proved to be invaluable, so I learned my lesson back then. 3-2-3 was a good compromise. I would consider 4-2-3 and 3-2-4 lines as well.
1/1/1 Cleffa/Manaphy/Tyrogue is probably perfect for this deck. I think I only used Cleffa twice during Nationals, but Manaphy a great deal more, as I was able to. There was one instance where I wanted Cleffa over Manaphy, but it was prized.
I think Pachirisu is largely unnecessary, as you can usually only play it down for one extra Energy, and that seems like a waste to me. Kingdra, at least as a 1-1, seems necessary now to combat the mirror match, as you’re at a significant disadvantage without it.
pokemon-paradijs.comI doubt that 2-1-2 is still a good play, as it was mostly a meta play and now that people know about Kingdra in Mega/Zone it becomes marginally less useful; if everyone has it, the bigger line doesn’t provide as much of an advantage as more consistency does.
Trainers are pretty standard IMO, nothing too surprising about them. Judge has obvious synergy with both Magnezone and Yanmega, so it is an automatic maxed inclusion. I prefer Copycat as talked about above, but Sage’s is fine as well.
Max Candy seems necessary to get your Magnezone out ASAP, regardless of your Magnezone line. Reversal is a pretty standard play and is really strong in here, allowing you to either take easy prizes on basics early game or OHKO big threats as the game gets longer.
The Energy really depends on what you’re running in the Pokémon lineup, but I wouldn’t recommend running more than a single copy of Rainbow, as it’s very weak in the early game and I found myself often simply not attaching if I was playing against another Yanmega deck, as it was such a liability.
One Rescue seems great especially with the Yanma heavy Yanmega line; makes you less reliant on using Communications and draw to fish them out.
I’m not sure my feeling for Megazone in these last two tournaments. Its matchups vs the other two top decks, Typhlosion/Reshiram and Donphan/Yanmega/Zoroark, are just around 50/50, so if you’re going to run Megazone, you’re going to need something to tilt both those matchups, as well as the mirror match. Kingdra was pretty solid, but not perfect, and does very little vs Typhlosion, as I talked about earlier.
PokeGymI’ve been toying with the idea of running Samurott in the list, which could prove to be awesome vs Donphan/Mega/Zoro and Typhlosion, but mediocre in the mirror. There may not be anything that swings all three matchups, so you might have to pick your poison and just hope for the best in one of those matchups.
Its Zekrom matchup is pretty strong if you get past the first two turns. You simply need to set up Magnezones to KO their Zekroms and just continually Judge them until they run out of resources (which doesn’t take too long usually).
Emboar/Magnezone is a pretty easy matchup; you’re just far too fast and disruptive for them to keep up most of the time. Of course, if they God start to your weak start, it can get really rough and you’ll often lose, but that doesn’t happen very often. A simple Reversal on their Emboar and an OHKO with Magnezone can really end the game.
Vileplume decks are largely winnable, with Yanmega being a very good attacker against them. This is another reason why I think Copycat is better than Sage’s: more chances to match their hand size with ease in this matchup.
You can even go the route of 3HKOing the Vileplume with Yanmega and then hopefully getting a turn of Trainers. If they get their T2 Plume going first, the game can get rough, but what deck doesn’t get pushed into a corner by that?
LostGar hasn’t been much of a trouble for me, especially if they rely on Mew. Yanmega just runs through Mews and Magnezone can OHKO the rare Gengar that comes out. If they focus just on Gengar the matchup can be tough as you can’t really OHKO Gengar after Gengar.
If you’re playing in the LCQ, though, I wouldn’t worry about this deck too much, as it has such a poor sudden death game that I can’t see many, if any, people running it.
Kingdra/Yanmega is a pretty good matchup I would say too. I really don’t think it’s a very good deck, so the consistency Magnezone brings to the table plus the weakness of both of their main guys gives you a big advantage.
Again, them going first with a great start of Yanmega+Kingdra can spell doom, but it will against a lot of decks as well. Try to bench multiple Yanmas and Magnemites at the same time so they can’t lock you out of either of them.
All right, I think that about wraps it up guys! I hope this gives you some insight into the mysteriously popular Magnezone/Yanmega. Leave questions and comments as always!
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