espn.go.comHello, and welcome to Carl’s Cache. For the unenlightened, the title is a reference to the previous college football weekend. This is going to be an article on Battle Roads (surprise!), what to play, what’s hot, and what’s not.
I’ll start by doing a general “intro” to Battle Roads. Usually, the most popular BR deck is the one that won Worlds the previous year, if it is still in format. Team Magma got hype and crashed. QueenDom, after being chiefly played by three players, went on to become a widely played deck, and then got top four the next year.
G&G, although it lost a fair amount of weapons, still had a decent year. LuxDrill didn’t necessarily do well, but it led to the invention of decks like Jumpluff and popularized the Luxray GL LV.X tech. And, of course, LuxChomp was basically robbed of having a shot to go back to back.
What I’m saying is that this year’s BRs look to be different. The top deck this year was MagneBoar, but with the release of Pokémon Catcher, the deck and its overall play should be hindered, at least in theory. However, our metagame is being affected a lot by the runner-up deck, Ross.dec (aka The Truth). Basically, it’s a Trainer lock deck that relies on moving and healing damage.
This hurts a lot of decks in the current format, and has already shifted the metagame to more people considering Trainer lock decks in general. TyRam and MegaJudge also did very well at Worlds. While I expect both to continue to do so, some are questioning Magnezone decks in general right now. TyRam, on the other hand, remains a consistent powerhouse deck.
Rounding it out we also have Stage Ones and Mewpile (Mew Box) decks to take into account for Battle Roads. Stage Ones, at least in my area, has just not really been hyped, but Mewpile could be a very good play. I’ll explain the reason for that later in the article.
This was all before we even get into the new set, Emerging Powers. Initially, the most hyped card (other than Pokémon Catcher) was Beartic EP 30. Beartic paired with Vileplume was thought to be a potentially great deck, but after some testing locally by Chris Fulop he concluded it was tier two at best.
pokebeach.comThat narrowed our options down to two Pokémon that will influence the metagame significantly. First is the resurgence of Zekrom decks thanks to Tornadus EP (in addition to Pokémon Catcher), as it now has a more efficient Donphan counter that fits into the concept of the deck better. Since there have been two CotD on Tornadus already, I’ll skip over him and move on to the other major Pokémon that comes out of this set.
The other big Pokémon in the set is the Trainer-locking Gothitelle EP 47. It was initially doubted going into BRs, but now most feel it will see more and more play as the BR season proceeds as well as at Fall Regionals. Basically, it uses it’s high Hit Points combined with Reuniclus BLW to move damage around.
It then heals the damage via Max Potion or Blissey Prime and slowly whittles down the opposing deck. The deck is somewhat similar to VileGar, in that when it gets set up in time, it wins. Time is the deck’s worst enemy, though. Actually, second worst – Mew Prime is the worst.
A Mew Prime based deck, right now, is looking like an excellent play. The deck usually has Trainer lock with Vileplume, is generally faster than Gothitelle, doesn’t waste spots for Trainers, and easily gets 1HKOs on Goth, either with Jumpluff HS being Seen Off or Muk UD because of weakness. The free retreat also helps. Gothitelle also struggles against Magnezone-based decks because it can get the 1HKO easily, while Mew can exploit Magnezone with Muk’s Sludge Drag.
Another potential enemy for Gothitelle is Kingdra Prime as a tech. Many have noted that TyRam has a big issue dealing 130 without the use of PlusPower. Because of this some people are now finding space for a Kingdra line to get a 1HKO on Gothitelle with Blue Flare. Basically if an opposing deck can’t get a 1HKO on a Gothitelle, it will eventually win. I love the deck a lot, and for that reason it is one of two decks I’ve been testing a fair amount with, the other being MegaJudge.
A. Don’t care as much as others if they go first. They both have the capacity to run a heavy Twins line, which increases their comeback ability.
B. They eliminate a fair amount of the luck involved. MegaJudge can go through the deck quickly. While Goithitelle can stop their opponents from doing the same.
C. Both of these decks are somewhat tough to play against. But, for different reasons. MegaJudge’s general claim to fame is that it has a lot of options every single turn, and thus make it difficult for your opponent to adjust on the fly against the strategies it can use. It also has several variants, adding to the difficulty of playing against the deck.
Then, Gothitelle is tricky to play against because your deck essentially has less cards, usually at about turn three you can’t use trainer cards anymore, and you have to do one hundred and thirty damage to take a prize, assuming they have ideal setup. This type of deck is very frustrating to play against, and like MegaJudge can cause your opponent to make misplays.
Here is current list for MegaJudge:
Pokémon – 19
4 Yanma TM
1 Cleffa HS/CL
1 Tyrogue HS/CL
Trainers – 30
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 11
4-2-3 Magnezone Prime: The four Magnemite are to insure you can get two out quickly, preferably three. With all the sniping you want to make sure you have the maximum possible. The two Magneton are strictly for Trainer locking decks, everything else you can just use Rare Candy to get into Magnezone. The three Magnezone are because you will never get four Zones in play anyway, due to Pokémon Catcher among other things.
4-3 Yanmega Prime: Again, with sniping you want to max out the Yanma number. Having three Yanmega is tied in with the three Zone; while in most games I wouldn’t get four out anyway, I can afford to play three of each by playing Rescue Energy, essentially killing two birds with one stone.
1 Cleffa: The hand refresher of choice, pretty standard right now, chosen over Manaphy because I hate wasting energies in this deck.
1 Tyrogue: To get cheap KOs, and actually so far has proven to be useful mid-to late game as a just in case guy, where I can get a guaranteed 30 to 70(if using Black Belt) and not waste energy or resources. I love him in this deck, and so far he’s making the cut.
1 Pachirisu: I chose to run Pachi as my accelerator for a couple of reasons-
A. It is more consistent than Jirachi, especially since I don’t like messing with energy lines much.
B. No Kingdra. This really limits the effectiveness of Jirachi in taking prizes. In addition, to run Kingdra effectively I’d really want a 2-0-1 line at the bare minimum, but I have found other cards that do the same thing without the risks.
3 Rare Candy: Normally I would run four, but the fourth candy was cut for the second Magneton, plus I’m only running 3 Magnezone, so I didn’t need four.
4 Judge: I want to get early game disruption, and be able to match hand sizes for Yanmega. I’d say four is pretty standard at this point.
1 Copycat: My just-in-case hand size matcher card. It’s tough to match hand sizes over six. This card does not only that, but can provide access to potentially many more cards than Judge.
3 Twins: These let me not worry as much about starts and just worry about outplaying my opponent, which is great. I also tend to get slow starts unless I run Sage’s Training, which I don’t like in this deck as much as others do. This list is designed to not care as much about going first or second as other decks do, and Twins helps accomplish that goal.
1 Black Belt: This card is my answer to everything. It gets me 1HKOs easier, it helps a ton in mirror if you fall behind on the Yanmega war, and it solves so many problems. I wrote about it extensively in my 61 cards article, so you check that out here.
1 PlusPower: My second Kingdra replacement card, with Black Belt being the first. A reusable plus 10 damage is key, especially in saving energies and getting closer to 1HKO numbers. We all know how big 10 damage is and this card is just that.
10 Lightning: I want to be able to use Pachi consistently in games and in my opinion 10 is that magic number.
1 Rescue Energy: My only recovery card. It’s in there so I don’t have to run thicker lines of Pokémon. I really do love this card with Yanmega.
Sadly, I can’t say much about how these decks have fared in tourneys for me, as I haven’t gone to any BRs yet. I can say that MegaJudge is a deck that takes time to learn the ins and outs of. Every match is usually based on who plays better and that makes the deck appealing to me. The only exception is possibly TyRam, where they just have a really good matchup against you unless you fit in Kingdra and Jirachi.
What’s the play?
I also haven’t seen any “What won BRs” threads, so it’s hard to say what the overall metagame is. However, in my area I do know that a somewhat unconventional Gothitelle got top two. It ran 3 Gothitelle, 4 DCE and a Reshiram, both of which haven’t been popularized yet. Then Mewpile won, but I don’t really know all the specifics for that. Here are my guesses at what the metagame will look like at the end of BRs:
Tier One and a Half
- Mew Pile
- Stage Ones (I do think it should be tier one, but it seems to be under the radar)
- Other decks…
I’ll finish up with a quick update to my top 30 cards and then my thoughts on the Championship Points.
30 Hottest Cards – UPDATE
Honorable Mention – Pichu – Thank you Ross for making me cute and good again! Look who’s ahead now Jumpluff!
30. Rare Candy. Yep, still locked in.
28. Beartic EP 30. Hyped a lot, but is being bashed. Maybe he’ll be better when it’s freezing time for Cities?
27. Judge. Still really good, Yanmega is hot.
26. Vileplume UD. Thank you Ross, again! If not for Ross, Gothitelle would’ve had a chance to kill him off.
24. Sage’s Training. Replacing Juniper as the better dig card, Juniper’s popularity seems to have dropped a bit, while Sage has stayed steady.
22. Seeker. Avoids falling off the map because of Blissey, eventually someone is going to make this card great again.
21. Kingdra Prime. You’ve been unlisted, then top 10, now people are avoiding you a bit.
20. Typhlosion Prime. TyRam did great at worlds, and should be a contender for BRs.
19. Emboar BLW 20. Still slightly ahead just because it’s not in a tin, yet. Reshiboar, depending on how the metagame shakes out, could still make an impact. Basically, if the metagame turns into a heavy trainer lock environment, which it seems like it could, Emboar becomes better than Typho. Proving that in the initial posts about Japan’s metagame may not have been as far off as we thought.
18. Zoroark BLW. His hype has gone down a bit, hard to explain why. We’ll have to wait and see.
17. Tornadus EP. Zekrom’s answer to Donphan may have just come in the form of this Hurricane.
16. Max Potion. Helping with Yanmega mirror and the BDIF from the new set is always a plus.
15. Junk Arm. Still a three or four in almost every deck.
14. Twins. Its popularity continues to rise.
13. Shaymin UL. ZPS getting better means he’s better, even though the price has gone down.
12. Reshiram BLW. Still holding strong. Can’t wait for the new promo artwork!
11. Cleffa HS/CL. Best starter, period. Manaphy is second best, but no one aims for second.
10. Mew Prime. Cracks the top 10, thanks to Gothitelle being good. That makes Mew better.
9. Zekrom BLW. I don’t care if I’m being biased, the new promo artwork is amazing.
8. Pokémon Collector. Everyone still runs four of it and no League Promo in sight.
7. Rayquaza & Deoxys LEGEND. A fall from grace, now is it temporary?
6. Donphan Prime. Being as hyped as I thought it would be.
5. Pachirisu CL. Yay! The cutey blue Pikachu continues it climb. ZPS is better, but its price is down.
4. Magnezone Prime. Catcher or not, it’s still great and will continue to be.
3. Gothitelle EP 47. Best EP Pokémon. Trainer lock is great and its price has been rising.
2. Yanmega Prime. Yes, it’s number two. Sorry, get over it.
1. Pokémon Catcher. The most hyped card ever. Anyone disagree?
0. Tropical Beach. Well, it is two to three times more expensive than anything else…
The biggest change to the game is the new ratings system, with the introduction of Championship Points.
Instead of getting ELO ratings points as the primary way to get an invite to Worlds, you now get points for good placement at a tournament. There are also “kickers” that give more points when there are more people at an event.
ELO ratings are still used as tiebreakers for Championship Points, so having a good ELO rating is a good thing. Especially since there are caps on how many tournaments you can get points for. For example, City Championships; you could get Championship Points for winning five at most and then just go to more to get a higher ELO rating to have an advantage in a tiebreak situation, which I think will come in to play.
I definitely think using Championship Points is better than ELO, but I do disagree with some aspects.
1. The Kickers – When they come into effect they don’t change the value of the “original” ones that get guaranteed points. Most relevant right now is the 32 person kicker for BRs. 1st gets 2, and 2nd gets 1, no matter what. But, if there are 32 people, 3rd and 4th also get 1 each making them equal to finishing 2nd. 2nd place is clearly better, so I don’t like how some of them operate.
2. I definitely see this leading to more invites for less densely populated areas. ELO ratings took into account how many games you played at tournament. More people generated more points overall, therefore you could lose a game and still have a higher rating. However, with this new system all that matters is coming in 1st or 2nd regardless of the number of people there. Not sure how much I like that.
3. Having to qualify for Nationals. I doubt it will be hard, but it is at the very least annoying.
4. I’m pretty sure Juniors and Seniors will have more concentrated Championship Points than Masters.
The logic behind this is simple, less competition. No matter how good you are, if you are in a competitive area, you aren’t going win 8 BRs easily in Masters. Whereas in Juniors, there is less competition all around making it easier for the best of them to rack up wins. I don’t know for sure, but that would be my guess.
I do like this system because it should put and end to dropping to preserve your rating while making it better overall for the players, so I think it will turn out good for everyone.
Last note – This is my first article in a while (thank you school and XC) so hopefully it was still good. I’m hoping to get another done when I have a day off. So, until then, enjoy Carl’s Cache and good luck in BRs. I’m only able to attend 2, but my little sister already got me a Victory Cup. :)