Hello again everybody. The new season is upon us and the first round of tournaments is quickly approaching, with play beginning on Saturday, September 17th.
Normally, I would not put a ton of time into testing decks and then sharing my findings with you all for Battle Roads. This is simply because I do not normally put much stock into Battle Roads. They are normally insignificant tournaments with such a random showing of decks that it is not worth the time. However, this year is very different.
We all have heard about the change to the tournament structure by now. Regionals are now split into two parts with half of them being the next tournament after Battle Roads. This has now put more emphasis on Autumn Battle Roads as the main competitive testing grounds for arguably one of the most important tournaments of the season, so I think that the deck choices will be a little bit more mainstream and the attendance might be up.
(Also, they slightly increased the prize support for BRs. Go win some Victory Cups!)
Because of the added importance of the Battle Roads season, I am going to do a deck rundown and overview for you all (similar to my pre-Nats article). So, people just simply do not have the time to put in hours of testing. So, I am glad to share the little bit of information that I have with you all. The decks are in no particular order in the body of the article.
(Warning: Again, I am not the most knowledgeable person in the game. I am merely trying to help how I can. I’m sure smarter players will disagree with me on some of this stuff. Normally, I would say to take their advice.)
pokebeach.comTo be honest I am going to start off with the decks that are very familiar at this point in time and tyRam certainly fits this bill. The deck is very consistent. It draws extremely well. It can hit for a ton of damage against anything other than Trainer Lock. I have written so much about this deck I will not bore you all again. You can find my previous thoughts on the deck here, here, and here.
How to run it: The new set brings some interesting questions to this deck. The first question is whether Cheren or Sage’s Training is the correct play. I have found that if you are taking out Ninetales, you need Sage’s Training. If you are leaving in Ninetales, you can play Cheren.
Next, so what about that Ninetales? Many people are advocating the removal of Ninetales from the deck due to the release of Catcher. The counter argument is that Ninetales is really not essential to the deck’s core strategy. So, if your opponent wants to pick off Ninetales, so be it. You can just keep rolling along with the Typholosion that was spared. Another area of decision is the Typhlosion line.
I personally think that a 4-2-4 is the best play. It allows you to lose one or two and keep ticking. With the deck being a bit slower than Zekrom and Stage 1s, you might want to look into a couple Twins. Finally, I am on the record saying that a single Zekrom is a good play for this deck. You can use outrage to score so many 1HKOs in the format it is not even funny. You can wall off SEL or Samurott with it and get the 1HKO.
How to run against it: Well, the deck can be out sped a little by both Zekrom and Stage 1 rush. So, those are good options. You can also play a hard counter such as SEL or Samurott. When deciding what to go after in the early game, you should aim to take out Cyndaqui/Quilave/Typhlosion over Vulpix/Ninetales. You can also play a Vileplume/Reuncilus type deck to avoid 1HKOs from Reshiram.
How to run it: The biggest question this deck faces, in my opinion, is whether or not it can afford to keep the Kingdra Prime line in. It would seem to me that the deck really needs to be a consistent as possible to keep pace in the new format. So, I think the Kingdra is an iffy play.
I would probably go 4-4 Yanmega and 4-2-4 Magnezone. The next biggest question is what to do with Magnezone’s Retreat Cost and Catcher. It would seem that the best play for that is running two Switch. You also need to burn one of the Switches as soon as it hits your hand so that it is available with Junk Arm at any time.
How to run against it: Pull up those unpowered Magenzones. Make them drop energy where they do not want to drop and then burn it to retreat. If not, you get to pick off a Magnezone. Also, Donphan and Dragons can really play against this deck well. tyRam also has a good to decent match up against this deck, especially if people drop the Kindgra for consistency.
3. The Truth
This is Ross Cawthorn’s deck (he called it this over on the ‘Gym). This deck is very slow but once set up it really runs through a lot of stuff. The main key is setting up Vileplume to lock players of out of Catcher, PlusPower, and Rare Candy.
How to run it: The first key to this deck is playtesting. It is a very meticulous deck that requires you to be run it without mistake nearly every game. The second key is to know your local meta. This deck can splash in several different attackers to allow you to hit for weakness and sweep a game once you are set up.
If you are tyRam heavy, you need SEL, Beartic, Samurott, etc to counter. If you are Yanmega heavy, run some Zekrom. I honestly believe that you need to run Dodrio in this deck. People will come up with ways to drag Vileplume and Reuniclus active and you need to be able to retreat without wasting energy.
How to run against it: Well, you really need to jump out ahead in prizes early. If you do that you can possibly win on time as the deck can be very slow. You also need to tech in something that is easily set up to counter your weakness. For example, in tyRam you should run a Zekrom to counter SEL.
You also need to be damage conscious. Do not give the Ross.dec player to build a ton of damage on their side of the field. You will give up prizes to outrage. This deck can fall to big attackers such as RDL, Emboar w/o ability, and Magnezone.
The other option is to tech in a “dragger.” By this I mean that you can tech in Bellsprout, Muk, Liepard to drag that Vileplume active and KO it next turn. Also, if played right you can drain this deck of energy.
This is the most common incarnation of the Stage 1 rush idea. The deck runs Donhpan and Yanmega to provide a quick set up with great disruption powers. Often this deck will also run Zoroark. Here is an article that runs through several lists that can serve as a starting point for your deck building.
How to run it: Obviously you want to have Donphan and Yanmega in the deck. You will need to max Catcher, run a hight PlusPower count, and a high count of Junk Arm. You will also need 10ish draw Supporters. It would seem that Juniper, Cheren, or PONT are the best choices to fit this slot. This deck did not really change much other than swapping Reversal with Catcher.
How to run against it: Really you just make it to the late game and over power the deck. YanPhan struggles late because the damage is soft capped at 90. Twins is a great card to allow your deck to come back against it. If you are playing Zekrom you should look into Ruins of Alph or Tornadus.
Other than that, just make sure to build for consistency. tyRam matches up really well against this deck.
This deck has been getting a lot of hype lately. It is similar to The Truth except that it need Gothitelle to be active for the lock to work. This seems to be a great deck because the one way lock is invaluable. You can have access to all the power Items like Rare Candy, Pokémon Catcher, Communication, etc. while your opponent is locked out.
How to run it: Well, it would seem that you need to play a thick Gothitelle line. I think this needs to be at least a 4-2-3 if not a 4-2-4. You also need a thick Reuncilus line with at least a 3-2-2. These two Pokémon are key to the deck working.
I would also advise a Jirachi tech for both cheap KOs and just general de-evolution of your opponent’s field. A Shaymin is also a good play in this deck to move around energy to prepare for Blissey Prime drops.
How to run against it: You can try the energy denial route with something like Typhlosion. You can also try flooding their side of the field with damage. Just pour as much as you possibly can. If you can force an early Blissey drop you can really put pressure on them. You can also run a Psychic tech like Xatu. A high powered Gothitelle will likely be 1HKOd by Xatu. Also, you can run a Mew Prime deck. It really beats Gothitelle into the ground.
6. Donphan and Dragons
This is another rush deck that sets up multiple attackers turn two that can hit for large amounts of damage. The core pieces are Donphan Prime, Zekrom, and Reshiram.
How to run it: The idea here is that you are looking to set up a quick Donphan to abuse Catcher to score knock outs on the low hp basics. Then you are focusing on amassing that Earthquake damage on Reshiram and Zekrom to power up Outrage. In theory this deck should be nearly as disruptive as YanPhan, but it could have a higher end game damage output.
How to run against it: Power up some of the big guns. tyRam has a good match up. You can also, in general, Catcher up the Dragons when they move into 1HKO range for you. Then you will not have to face a 140 damage outrage.
Well this list would not be a good one without mentioning the World Champion deck. Mr. Fulop was correct in sticking to his guns that this was in fact a good deck in this format. Funny thing is, I’m not so sure that Catcher does much damage to it.
The reason being is that what this deck lacks in speed, it makes up in raw end game power. Josh has the World Championship list in this video.
How to run it: For the sake of consistency, you need to beef up the evolution lines to something like a 4-2-4 Magnezone and a 4-2-3 Emboar (with one non-Ability). Then, as David Cohen showed, this deck needs Twins in a bad way. So, max the Twins. Then you need a secondary attacker like Reshiram.
How to run against it: This deck relies so heavily on Emboar that you can simply spam Catchers to take out the Emboar. You can also use a locking deck to slow this baby way down. Not a lot else to say except that you should try to out speed it.
This deck is like the little brother to MagneBoar. It focuses on Reshiram to do most of the attacking.
How to run it: Well you need a thick and consistent Emboar line. I would go with a 4-2-4 (2/2 Ability/non split). The Bad Boar allows you to 1HKO most of those pesky tank Pokémon in the locking decks. It really lays the hurt on Gothitelle and Vileplume decks. You should run probably two Switch to get Emboar out of the active slot.
You should also run at least two Double Colorless Energy to utilize Bar Boar’s attack in a more efficient way. I think this is a deck that can fall behind early and come roaring back. So, a good Twins count would also be a wise choice. For draw you can tech in Magnezone, use Ninetales, or just Supporter based draw.
How to run against it: The obvious answer is to Catcher up Emboar. It is also the correct answer. Without Emboar, the deck falls apart. You can also run SEL or Samurott to destroy this deck.
The deck as at times experienced the hype train. The deck consists of Zekrom, Shaymin, Pachirisu, and Tornadus. Here is an article from pre-Emerging Powers to give you a starting point.
How to run it: The deck was originally designed to be a donk deck. However, it has morphed into a deck that can hit for at least 80 turn two and continue for the rest of the game. You run Tornadus to counter Donhpan. This deck is possibly the biggest benefactor from Catcher. So, abuse that.
How to run against it: This is the only deck that can secure a turn one KO against any basic in the format on a remotely consistent basis. That is just a difficult thing to deal with. So, hope that they do not get the turn one Bolt Strike. Then just play into the late game, where the deck becomes bogged down. The bench gets full and there are easy prizes (Shaymin/Pachirisu) to take with Catcher.
This deck features Beartic and Vileplume. The idea is that you lock the opponent from attacking the next turn with Beartic. Then you have Vileplume to eliminate Switch, and force them to either take more punishment the next turn, or to manually retreat.
Right now there are just too many low Retreat Cost attackers to go against this deck. Also, a 1-1 Dodrio can put a dent in this deck’s plans. I really do not think this is a great deck. I think many people are starting to realize that already. So, I’m not going to go into as much detail.
The Dark Horse Decks
Mew Box: In my opinion this deck lives to beat Goth.dec. Yes, it has Vileplume to lock. Yes, it can use Sludge Drag and something like Mass Attack to deal big damage. Yet, having a 60 HP main attacker that is 1HKOd by so many things.
Cinccino/Zoroark: I still do not hear this deck getting enough love. It can hit for 100 on turn two reliably. It can tech in Tornadus to counter Donphan. You could also play Kingdra Prime in here to give it a bit more power. It can take Reshiram/Zekrom to the wood shed with Zoroark. It is not a top tier deck, but I could see it doing well in the right meta.
Samurott/Electrode: There was a very good forum post on this a while ago. This deck is actually surprisingly solid. It is not a huge threat, but when played correctly it is a solid choice. The deck uses Electrode to power up Samurott and to activate Twins. You can get set up and sweep with Samurott.
Magnezone/Floatzel/Vileplume: In know people are going to think I’m crazy, but just wait. It has a great attacker. It has great internal draw power. It initiates a lock. What is not to like there? This deck needs a lot of Twins and Sage’s, but it can be a solid deck.
Blastoize/Floatzel: This deck got a lot of play right around the rotation. I still think it might be a bit undervalued. Is it a great deck? No. It is a solid choice? Yes. This deck will likely have the type advantage over two of the top decks (tyRam and Donphan), and it also can run through The Truth and Gothitelle/Reuncilus.
The strategy of those two decks are defeated by a Pokémon that can 1HKO Reuncilus on the bench. You can tech in a Zoroark line to help with Zekrom and Magnezone. I would start with a 4-2-3 Blastoise, 3-3 Floatzel, 1 Jirachi, 2-2 Zoroark when building this deck.
Key Cards not many People are Talking About
Bellsprout: This card is a long shot, but it could prove to be useful. The idea is to drop this and then drag up a Vileplume or Reuncilus to cripple those decks. Then on the second turn you KO that Pokémon to break the game back open. The only down side is that it easily becomes a free prize due to only 40 hp.
Jirachi: This little guy has been quite the revelation the last couple weeks. I looked at the problems facing tyRam with locking decks and thought about ways to get around the lock. The Yanmega/Kingdra/Magnezone/Jirachi deck is where I went for inspiration. I tried the Jirachi and it was working some. So then I continued down this testing path.
You can tech in a Jirachi and two Rainbow Energy into about any deck. However, this is especially good in energy acceleration decks like tyRam, Emboar/anything/ BlastZel, etc. Because in a single turn you can drop Jirachi, attach a Rainbow Energy, move some energy to Jirachi, and BOOM you can devolve almost their entire field.
Often times you will take one or two cheap prizes because those lock + Reuncilus players will not see it coming and will have an evolution acting as a punching bag to hold damage waiting to be Blissey’d off. However, the most important aspect of Jirachi is the resetting of the field. So many people are running Rare Candy to get into the Stage 2 on turn two or three which lets you can devolve them to the basic.
Then, if they don’t have immediate access to Rare Candy, they will be in trouble for a turn or two. If you devolved a lot of the field they will be forced to choose what to rebuild first.
You could pair Jirachi with Judge to make a mean combination to recover from. I really like this card right now, and I think it could play an important role in a lot of decks. Breaking the lock is a big deal.
BulbapediaWell, I hope that you enjoyed the Battle Roads metagame overview. I hope that there was something for most people in this article.
As always, do not take my word as gospel truth. I’m sure there is some one out there working on a secret deck that will shock many people.
Anyway, good luck at Battle Roads! You might not hear back from me until the whole Battle Roads season is over. Go win a Victory Cup.
(Warning: I have not extensively tested ALL of the lists in here. This article is not designed to be an in-depth look at any given deck, but rather a starting point for people to prepare for Battle Roads. Take it as such)