BulbapediaFirst, I want to thank Adam for giving me this chance to write an article for the SixPrizes front page and for all the help he has been offering for my blog, The Deck Out. I have a longer presentation of myself on there, so I want to cut it short here. My name is Esa Juntunen and I live in Finland. I’ve been playing Pokémon since 2004 and have won the Finnish National Championships 5 times. I have also been in the top cut at World Championships 3 times, with my best placement being top 8 with Glaceon LV.X in Worlds 2008.
So here I am with an article about Autumn Battle Roads metagame. I know a hahn already covered some of the Battle Roads metagame, but hopefully I can give some new point of views about the metagame. So here you have it: the Battle Roads metagame as seen by Esa Juntunen.
Even though new season has only started, Autumn Battle Roads are already coming. This year’s Battle Roads however include a great change compared to previous seasons because winners don’t get any more Victory Medals but the top 3 of each tournament get the new Victory Cup Promo. It’s a great change because now almost anyone can get his hands on this Promo. Giving the prize only to the winner has seemed always a little too harsh to me.
Anyways, let’s get into the Battle Road metagame.
ReshiPhlosion was the most popular deck in the Worlds and its popularity will see no decline in the Autumn Battle Roads. There are several things that make ReshiPhlosion the most popular deck in the format.
1) It’s cheap.
ReshiPhlosion is the cheapest metagame deck there is because every key card in the is released as a Promo (Reshiram and Typhlosion). Their values are about $4-6 each. It’s rare to see a very good metagame deck cost this little. You can get 4-2-4 Typhlosion line and 4 Reshirams at the same prize as 1 Yanmega Prime which is simply ridiculous.
2) It’s easy to play.
ReshiPhlosion’s combo is the most common in the history of Pokémon. Discarding energies with Power/Trainers and taking them back from discard pile with a Poké-Power has been around since Nintendo took over Pokémon TCG. For few examples there was Blaziken/Delcatty in 2004 which is a direct copy of ReshiPhlosion, MetaNite in 2007 which abused Supporters to discard energies and Dragonite d to take back energies.
These both were top tiers in their format so it’s only natural that ReshiPhlosion is a tier 1 deck as well. After you set-up this deck, your only concern is to get a prize every turn. That is even easier because of Catcher but of course it’s easier for your opponent too. ReshiPhlosion is a great deck for a new player who has just started playing.
3) It has no autolosses.
It’s true. Even straight Water decks don’t autowin against ReshiPhlosion because Reshiram’s high damage is able to OHKO almost everything, and if they come attacking with Samurott and DCE, Flare Destroy makes havoc of them. Of course getting everything to 50-50 match-up, you need skills so don’t come expecting that everything is automatically 50-50. If there are hard match-ups, ReshiPhlosion usually finds its way out of it by using tech cards.
4) It benefits from Catcher more than most decks.
PokeBeachIt might seem strange that a deck that uses Stage 2 Pokémons and hits 120 every turn benefits from Catcher, but it’s true. ReshiPhlosion’s biggest problem at Worlds was MagneBoar which could simply ran over it because there was no easy way to KO their Emboar (2 Reversal heads, no thank you). With Catcher, killing Emboars is so much easier that it becomes almost as a favorable match-up for ReshiPhlosion.
Of course ReshiPhlosion is also weak to Catchers, but thankfully if you have 2 Typhlosions in the game you can get Typhlosion hitting if they bring it as an active Position. And with Catcher you can use even Typhlosion to get an easy prize with Flare Destroy.
I will be covering more of ReshiPhlosion this Friday so if you’re up for deeper analysis and teches for ReshiPhlosion be sure to be back to my blog on friday. But if you haven’t yet played ReshiPhlosion in a tournament, you should give it a try. It’s fun to play and has a good match-up against everything so if you want to have some of those precious Victory Cups, ReshiPhlosion is a great option.
Yanmega/Magnezone won U.S. Nats so of course it was also played at Worlds and will still be played. It has decent match-ups across the field but not many “great” match-ups. The reason this deck was played by most of U.S. top players at Worlds was because it’s techable. If you start with a skeleton which has 3-1-3 Magnezone and let’s say 4-3 Yanmega Prime and crucial Trainers like Communication, Candy and Junk Arm, you get so much variability that you can put almost anything there.
PokeBeachThe reason why you can tech Yanmega/Magnezone with things like Kingdra Prime which sounds absurd in today’s metagame (2 different Stage 2 Pokémon) is Magnezone Prime’s power Magnetic Draw. As you have Magnnetic Draw to draw 4-5 cards for you every turn you won’t be having any problems with consistency. Yanmega/Magnezone can also disturb opponent’s game with Judge which is rare in this format.
But the most important question is that does Yanmega/Magnezone benefit from Catcher more than other decks. The answer is – unfortunately for Yanmega/Magnezone lovers – no. Even though Yanmega/Magnezone ran a good amount of Reversal and its success were dependable of key heads you hit with Reversals, Catcher hurts Yanmega/Magnezone more than it benefits Yanmega/Magnezone.
The reason for this is that Magnezone’s main strength is hurt by Catcher. Any deck has nowadays an easy access to hit Yanmega/Magnezone’s Magnezone which makes Judge almost unplayable. Yanmega/Magnezone is no longer able to sit back and enjoy while their opponents draw dead hands from Judge because Magnezones are faster than before eliminated from their own bench.
There is a great possibility that Magnezones don’t even get into play if your opponent goes first in the game. Magnezone’s retreat is also a huge 3 so the only way to retreat is to run at least 2 Switches.
In my opinion the way to play Yanmega/Magnezone after Catcher is to make it as consistent as possible. Thick Kingdra lines will only hurt your set-up’s speed and will lead to inconsistency. If you want to play Yanmega/Magnezone successfully in BRs, I would suggest you to play fat Magnezone lines (4-2-4) with straight Lighting energies and Pachirisu.
There simply is no time for things like Jirachi and Kingdra anymore. I’ll be covering more of Yanmega/Magnezone next week’s Friday so stay tuned if you want to know how to make it fast, consistent and up-to-date tournament playable.
Stage 1 Decks
PokeBeachWith Stage 1 decks I mean anything that combines Zoroark, Yanmega, Donphan and/or Cinccinno. Stage 1 decks differ from the other “old” decks because it gets Max Potion from the new set. This card changes the builds of Stage 1 decks greatly but I don’t know if it makes Stage 1 decks that much better.
Stage 1 decks were popular in the U.S. Nats as well as in the Worlds but in the Worlds they didn’t do a decent showing. That’s because Stage 1 decks have bad match-ups against the most popular deck of the format (ReshiPhlosion). Stage 1 decks have to outspeed ReshiPhlosion by 2-3 prizes if they want to get alive victorious. Of course it’s in theory easier with Catcher but as long as you run only 2-2 Zoroark in your deck you’re screwed.
Stage 1 decks will have to settle to take easy prizes early game and try KOing the Reshirams with Zoroarks late game. However because ReshiPhlosions have Catchers, they will just Catcher your Zoruas/Zoroarks if you don’t come attacking with them ASAP.
Because of Catcher and ReshiPhlosion becoming the most popular deck in the format I would play Cinccino instead of Yanmega or Donphan. Yanmega lost its meaning because of Catcher – now anything can hit the bench and Donphan is just Catcher bait with a retreat of 4. Cinccino’s firepower is needed in this deck to match decks like ReshiPhlosion and Zekrom and it’s also a great Yanmega counter.
I’m pretty sure that Cinccino will see a lot more play in Stage 1 decks than before even if Donphan will get popular.
Max Potion is a card that might make Donphan more popular. There are only few Pokémon that can even OHKO Donphan without PlusPowers so Max Potion combos with Donphan very well. You can keep hitting with Donphan’s Earthquake while keeping your Donphan alive with Max Potion.
Of course this will kill your bench but it may work with right cards like Zekrom and Reshiram. In fact, I have already seen decks that play only 4-4 Donphan and SSUs and Max Potions to keep them alive.
What about Pokémon Catcher? In theory Stage 1 decks benefit greatly from Pokémon Catcher. If Stage 1 decks go first in the game cards like Yanmega, Donphan and Cinccino are able to get easy prizes from unevolved benched basic Pokémons. This will be huge against any stage2 decks. But as stated earlier Stage 1 decks’ “Rock-Paper-Scissor” element is hurt by Pokémon Catcher because your opponent is always able to KO your counter from the bench.
The only way to win games regularly with this deck in the Pokémon Catcher format is to outspeed your opponent with the help of Catchers. This will be difficult if you don’t go first in the game, outspeeding won’t even work so I’m not a big fan of this deck. Nevertheless this deck will see play in BRs and you must be careful when playing against it.
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Note from Adam: Thanks to Esa for this teaser and please visit his site to see the rest of his BR metagame analysis and other good articles! Show him some support so he keeps writing great stuff. :)