Hey errybody, Kenny Wisdom back again, with a look at our upcoming Autumn Battle Roads metagame! If you’ve never read a Face of Modified article of mine, I break down what I feel are the best decks (and in some cases, lists) to use in whatever tournament series I’m covering in, and in general just give a breakdown of the metagame, what to expect, techs, and the like.
Maybe it’s just because I attended Worlds for the first time this year, but BRs seem to have snuck up on me a little bit. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get right to it…
On Battle Roads
Before we get into discussing the actual decks, lists, and techs you should be using for BRs, I feel it’s important to talk about the information (or lack thereof) we’ve gotten about the tournaments thus far. Here’s a quick breakdown of the what we do know:
– BRs are now 5 weeks long instead of 4
– Victory Cup trophy cards will be given to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each division
We don’t know anything about the K value of these events, how the ratings system is going to work this year, or anything regarding that. However, I think we can safely assume, as we’ve had no announcements whatsoever about the ratings format this year, that at the very least Battle Roads will remain pretty irrelevant as far as points go.
We can also probably make the assumption that all the rumors about a new rating system were untrue and that we’re sticking with pure ELO (in which case BRs would be 4k), but I’m not as comfortable saying that. In the end, Pokémon makes mistakes, but I don’t think they would ever make a big enough mistake as to not announce a major change to an event this late in the game. Although it may not always seem like it, they’ve proven that they know what they’re doing, at least for the most part.
The other huge change that we do know is that the format that we’re playing now is the same that we’ll be playing for Autumn Regionals. Typically BRs are not only irrelevant as far as prizing and points go, but they don’t even provide any relevant testing, as a set comes out in-between BRs and CCs, changing the metagame entirely.
Although this isn’t too important of a detail, it is relevant in the sense that the decks that shine at BRs will be the most played decks at Regionals, and it makes BRs the only actual in-tournament testing sessions before playing for a trip to Nats (and a possible automatic invite, a little birdie tells me).
With that out of the way, let’s move onto the actual content.
This list isn’t going to really be in any order, but I’ll admit I put Gothitelle first for a reason. I think it’s the BDIF, although not by as large of a margin as some others seem to think. It’s the deck I’ve tested the most for BRs, and I can say without a doubt that I’ll play it at some point, probably at multiple events.
The best version of the deck, by far, is the Ross engine (Reuniclus, Pichu, Twins). Getting a Gothitelle active with a Reuniclus on the bench creates a near unwinnable game state for decks that can’t do copious amounts of damage without cheater techs (PlusPower, etc.).
Typhlosion, for instance, essentially auto-loses vs. Gothitelle, as you max at 120 damage, which doesn’t KO a Goth. Regardless of what you think of Gothitelle as a card, or how come from behind decks mesh with your playstyle, the ability to create a gamestate where your main attacker can never die is inherently ridiculous.
I don’t feel like I’m at liberty to reveal an entire Gothitelle list as most of the innovations and counts of cards are mostly due to a team effort of testing, I can address the following points:
– You need 3 Solosis. I’ve seen tons of Gothitelle builds run a 2-1-2 or even worse, a 2-0-2 of Reuniclus and expect to get away with it. This is 100% incorrect. You need both pieces of the combo (Gothitelle and Reuniclus) to survive up until the end point of the game if you ever expect to win. Solosis can be KO’d by both Tyrogue, Yanmega, and pretty much every basic with a semi-decent attack in the game. There’s absolutely no reason to not be running as many basics as possible.
– I don’t like Shaymin. I’ll admit it, I’ve never been a huge fan of this guy in the deck, despite a lot of players much better than myself insisting that it’s a necessary inclusion. I’ve just found it to be good but not great, and have never felt like I’m at a distinct disadvantage without it. It’s in my “sideboard” of cards that I switch in and out of the deck regularly, but until someone proves it’s worthiness to me, I doubt I’ll ever register a single copy of Shaymin in a decklist.
– I do like Jirachi. I wasn’t hip to the technology at first but after sleeving it up, it’s quite nice, particularly for the mirror. If you expect there to be a large percentage of Gothitelle in your area, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not including a copy of Jirachi.
– I’m iffy on Blissey (zing!). There seems to be two schools of thought. You either play 1-1 Blissey and 1-2 Seekers, with the idea being that you spread your damage around your field before activiating Blissey’s Power to heal all of it, OR you use that space for a 1 Reshiram, 1 Zekrom, and 2 Max Potions, with the idea being that you move all of the damage onto Reshi or Zek and then heal it all off with a Max Potion.
I’m not sure which is correct, to be completely honest. I like the idea of Blissey and know that it’s inherently more powerful, but my testing with Zek/Reshi has been better and I feel like that build gives you more options. Like I said, not completely sure.
– Tropical Beach is good, but not great. I’ve seen a lot of players stressing about not being able to obtain copies of Tropical Beach for their Ross or Goth decks, and to that I say “don’t sweat it”. If you can find a copy that’s great as it’s a big help, but if you can’t it’s not going to wreck your chances of ever winning a game.
pokebeach.comAt the beginning of this season I almost completely wrote-off Megazone, for whatever reason. After testing with it, however, it’s become one of my absolute favorite decks. I played it for the LCQ (or as I call it, the dreamcrusher) in San Diego, so naturally I have some experience/confidence with the deck.
I don’t feel like lists change that much from this season to last, but let me address a few issues that other players and writers have been discussing lately:
– I still play Kingdra, and am pretty confident in it. I’ve tried the deck with everything from no Kingdra to 1-0-1 to 2-1-2 and everything in-between, and I feel that having a line (although I’ll admit I’m not sure what line is correct as of now) of it is definitely the play. Having that extra damage to be able to pick off basics is insanely nice, even if it gets a little weaker with the release of Catcher.
– I don’t like Jirachi or Pachi as of now. I’ve tested both fairly extensively and am learning toward Jirachi and don’t think that either would ruin your chances or anything, but I’ve been opting for additional consistency over techs, since Magnezone is naturally clunky and Catcher doesn’t help. In the end I’ll probably end up playing in BRs with lists that include both, so we’ll see which tech reigns in more Victory Cups (and therefore, approval and love :p)
– Rescue Energy is too sick.
Outside of those I feel like everything stays the same. You add the second Switch, you trade Reversal for Catcher, but nothing super innovative happens to the deck.
pokebeach.comDuring our testing sessions I sleeved up an exact copy of David’s worlds list (added a 2nd Switch and played a Catcher obv) just to see what it was like. I figured it wouldn’t be too amazing, but that it at least needed to be tested for the sake of being thorough.
I was wrong.
I really, really like the deck right now. I know that a lot of players wrote it off after (and even before :p) Worlds, saying that people would just copycat Cohen and would fail, that it was too soft to Catcher, etc., etc. and although I can understand why those claims were made and there is certainly some truth to them, I believe that MagneBoar will be one of the stand-out decks for BRs and Regionals.
It’s one of the only decks that can perform well vs. Gothitelle, and the majority of the field in general. Catcher hurts it, but you just mitigate that by running additional copies of Switch, and by playing tighter. Catchering an Emboar with Trainer-lock up is troublesome, but it’s always been troublesome and there’s always been ways to work around it.
The deck certainly has it’s problems vs. certain things, but I think it’s match-ups vs the field and it’s outs far outweigh the bad.
Here’s the current list I’m testing:
Pokémon – 21
3 Magnezone Prime TM
1 Pignite BLW #17
2 Emboar BLW #20
Trainers – 27
Energy – 14
As you can probably tell, this list is 62 cards. That’s because I’m constantly testing two versions of the list right now. They break down as simply as “- RDL + Twins + Flower Shop Lady” or “- Bad Boar + Energy Retrieval”. I’m still not sure which is correct. On one hand, I love the flexibility that RDL gives you, and the ability to essentially play out “4 prize” games.
On the other hand, Bad Boar is a lot less fragile and does essentially the same job. If I had a gun at my head and forced me to make a choice I’d probably say that the Bad Boar version is the best, but I think both are completely legitimate, particularly for a mostly unknown metagame.
pokebeach.comUnfortunately, I feel like MegaZorD (aka the Stage 1 deck) is pretty poor in this meta. At first I thought it would be the best deck as Donphan + Catcher is pretty degenerate, but after many testing games and trying to force it to work, it just wouldn’t. It’s not that it’s not good, it’s a fine deck that will probably win you a few BRs against softer fields and will pretty much always leave with a winning record, but it’s not the best or even close to it.
I’ve seen a lot of lists trade out Weavile for Zoroark, which I think is very good but doesn’t necessarily change all that much about how great the deck is. I would definitely be playing the Weavile version if I were ever to enter a tournament, but I can’t imagine a world in which I would register a Stage 1 decklist at a BR.
On the other end of the spectrum from MegaZorD, Zekrom is a so-so deck that gets exponentially better with the release of EP. I’m not still not sure that it’s the best play in the world, but to me it definitely becomes a real deck, and is probably verging on the edge of Tier 1, probably solidly Tier 1.5, perhaps on the top edge of Tier 2.
How well the deck works really depends on how much Gothitelle is in your meta. Zekrom doesn’t have much of a chance of beating Goth consistently, and I don’t want to see any of my readers get dreamcrushed 4 rounds in a row in a Goth-heavy meta.
Here’s the current list
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 32
4 Junk Arm
2 Plus Power
Energy – 16
pokebeach.comAs you can see, this is pretty standard. The Thundurus/Tornadus line can be messed with to your liking, but other than that and a few other small number changes it’s just like any other list.
The biggest change from HS-BW to HS-EP Zekrom obviously comes from the inclusion of Tornadus and Thundurus, and what they do for the deck. Thundurus allows you to, instead of relying on a risky turn one Zekrom, have the ability to much more consistently pump out a turn two 80. Tornadus allows you to have something to “wall” Donphan with, and can also stall to set-up a benched Zekrom for mid-late game action.
Outside of that there’s not really much to learn about this deck. It’s probably the easiest viable deck to play at the moment. I expect this to make a much bigger splash in BR/Regionals format than it did at all last season.
I’ll be honest and let you all know that I don’t know much about this deck. I’ve played with it very little, and only came to the idea that it could be playable when Isaiah Middleton brought it up during a chat one night. Still not entirely sure how I feel about it, but here’s the list we’ve been testing with:
Pokémon – 27
4 Yanma TM
1 Jirachi UL/CL
1 Gloom UD
Trainers – 22
Energy – 11
I’ve barely worked on this list so I’m sure that it could be better, but it should give you at least some idea of what the deck does.
As with MegaZorD, I feel that this deck takes a pretty big loss in HS-EP. Mostly because it has no viable way to beat Gothitelle once it sets up. It doesn’t lose much of anything, but that weakness to Gothitelle — again, dependent on meta — is pretty huge.
I like the way this deck plays out and have been trying a few more rogue-ish concepts with it, but I’m not comfortable talking about those yet, as I’ll probably re-evaluate it’s viability post-BRs going into a Regionals meta. Don’t worry, if I break the format pre-Regionals, I’ll let you know.
That’s all I’ve got for today. Hopefully this article gives you a bit of an idea about what you should play and expect to play against at BRs. The majority of my articles over the next few weeks are going to be BR tournament reports, so I’ll be putting them out consistently for the next little bit. :D