Fulop’s Korner: Thoughts on Battle Roads, Reshiphlosion, and Stage 1s

The 2011-2012 season has officially begun, and despite not playing personally, I am still excited to see it. Nintendo seems to have decided to celebrate my retirement by implementing most of the changes I’ve wanted to see for years now, in an ironic sort of “better for the game’s future” slap in the face goodbye. I’m not actually bitter, I’m just joking, and am really glad to see the changes.

Every year now it seems as if Organized Play has made strides for the better, and this is just another step in a long journey toward Pokémon’s continued success. Let me break down my feelings just a little bit now, since I didn’t really go into much depth about my opinions in my previous articles, even though the “news” has been public for nearly a month now.

Championship Points

The lack of a “downside” to losing games over the course of an event is really quite big. In a game such as Pokémon, which not only has a high degree of luck due to typing, prizes, coin flips, who goes first, and a number of other factors, a player can lose a game undeservingly quite easily. As addressed before, the Elo system was designed to be used in games where luck is an almost non factor. Pokémon is not that game.

The Elo system was effectively removed from Magic’s organized play as well, now to be replaced with “Planeswalker Points,” effectively mirroring Pokémon’s efforts to reduce the downside of losing games, which in turn, negatively hurts attendance at events, something they do not like.

For once, what benefits us as players, also benefits Nintendo as a business.To make the variance even worse, unlike Magic, we do not have matchplay for Swiss. They do, and they STILL ruled that the Elo system was not efficient for encouraging a fun and healthy tournament experience.

I think that alone is proof that Pokémon made the right decision in handling this how they did. I’m not saying that the system is even close to perfect, but it is definitely an improvement which I hope will be ironed out more and more as the years progress to give us the best solution possible.

Sure, the current system basically requires you to hit up a large number of events, but to be honest, so did the previous one. The downside here is that events such as States and Regionals actually hold LESS importance than they did previously. Before, a player could come in, win States, do well at Regionals, and do well at Nats and make Worlds.

Now, you have to rack up some wins at Cities and even maybe some Battle Roads to compensate. We don’t have a ton of info yet on the full invite structure outside of a vague explanation, but I would like to see them revert back to giving out Worlds invites for the top 2-of Regionals, for example.

Jay’s Backyard

Maybe cut into the overall “rating” depth and give spots to those tournaments, especially due to the size of many of them. Sure, it may give players who live in the middle of nowhere (JAY!) an easy invite, but let’s be honest, Hornung gets his invite every year anyway.

I think we will continue to have at least some degree of issue until they realize that, with the current player base, 128 players is simply NOT ENOUGH to invite per age group to Worlds. When you have very strong players, and former World Champions (or in some players cases, two time World Champions) have successful runs and maintain a strong rating all season long and still not make it into Worlds, the cut off is simply too low.

Nintendo doesn’t even PAY for many trips anymore, so it isn’t like the event is suddenly going to cost them far more to put on. The overall attendance will remain about the same, as 90% of the extra invites likely stem from players who try to grind in anyway, and are already there!

I’m sure the hotels which Nintendo books through will appreciate this as well: More players book rooms in advance with their invites. The player base certainly will enjoy it. Logistically, they did it before in 2004, and in the following few years. If it isn’t an issue logistically, and it isn’t an issue financially, what is stopping them from doing it?

As someone who has qualified for every Worlds before, and not having any reason to be “sour” about the current structure, I still feel like it is not appropriate based on the current tournament player base. Due to the fact that the ratings reset EVERY YEAR, and there are a select number of tournaments per year which yield ways to qualify, there is a large degree of fluctuation. The sample size of events is not large enough to justify such a tight cut off. Hopefully, this changes in the future, as I’m sure everyone would be appreciative of it.

Battle Roads

pokemon-paradijs.comWith that out of the way, let’s look at Battle Roads! I got the opportunity to judge one the first week, and I can give a general outlook as to what was played at the event. The top 4 at the North Olmsted, Ohio Battle Roads was:

1st: Evan Baker, Mew Yanmega Cinccino
2nd: Stephen McGaffney, Gothitelle
3rd: Vileplume Mew Yanmega
4th: Reshiphlosion

The rest of the field was actually really diverse. I think a lot of players are not entirely sure what to use, but I saw at least 3 Gothitelle, a good chunk of Reshiphlosion, 2 Emboar Magnezone, a lot of mew toolbox decks, a few Vileplume decks, 3-4 ZPS builds, some Samurott Donphan, and some Yanmega Magnezone.

Pretty much every archetype was represented, and none of them seemed disproportionate. I wish I could say that I discovered a lot about what this format will boil down into by the decks which showed up and won this event, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

That being said, I’ve done some of my own testing (although not as much as I would like, simply because the motherboard on my “good” computer is fried, and my other ones can’t run PTCGO because the Flash overwhelms it quickly) and what I have found is that Mew Prime, as I touched on previously, appears to be an all-star in this format thus far.

I’ve never really been a fan of the card due to the amount of set up it requires to make it work, but it just happens to be a really good counter to a number of the “problem decks” in the current format, namely Gothitelle, and Vileplume decks. Mew adds to the overall consistency of the deck due to being such a great starter, with a high HP count (for a basic!) and free retreat.

It also allows you to make a flexible deck, which is huge for this format. You need to be reactive to be able to content with all of the big decks right now. I said that the format was wide open earlier, and this does not contradict that: I merely mean that there are a LOT of viable decks right now, and until we have a more defined format, we are stuck needing to answer a lot of different threats.


pokemon-paradijs.comA deck like Reshiphlosion has a lot of raw power, and is fairly consistent, but a lot of decks are able to prey upon it because, well, it has its one game plan, and while it does it well, you can try to beat it. Due to the way the deck is built, it unfortunately does not offer you with very many options to splash into it to change this.

Decks like Magneboar, who can score one shots against the deck, while also having huge hit point totals, beat it, and decks like Gothitelle and Vileplume are able to cap you at 120 damage due to cutting you off from Trainers, are hard to beat.

Now, I originally started writing to use Reshiphlosion as an example of a deck that I expect to put up mediocre numbers as the season progresses (and before anyone tells me I have a bias against the deck – which I do, because I STILL do not like it – my reasons for disliking it now, post-Worlds, are very much different than the ones I had disliking it pre-Worlds) but now I get to use it as an excuse to post my new Reshiphlosion list.

It is a bit different than the ones most people are using, but I feel if the deck is to remain viable, it can’t simple stagnate and not evolve with the other decks.

The biggest issues I had with the deck were that it capped at 120 damage against Trainer lock, and that it had far too few Basic Pokémon. Ever since people cut the Ninetales line down to 1-1, or to 0 entirely, the deck has been mulliganning far too often, or getting stuck with compromised starts because you don’t have enough basics (and do not get a Collector).

To make it worse, with a 4-2-4 Typhlosion line, 4 Reshiram, and a Cleffa, you have a suspect 15 Pokémon for your Pokémon Communication, and that issue would pop up from time to time. My solution to this is to run Kingdra Prime. It was addressed in the forums, and it got me thinking.

Kingdra gives me the ability to do 130 damage per attack even against Trainer lock. It lets me “set up” cards like Magnezone for one hit kills as well, giving me a more reasonable Magneboar matchup. It also inflates my basic count, which is nice, because, well, to be honest, the deck had 9-10 basics before, far too few in my eyes. Let me present a list:

Pokémon – 20

4 Cyndaquil HS
2 Quilava HS
4 Typhlosion Prime
2 Horsea UL
1 Seadra UL
2 Kingdra Prime
4 Reshiram BLW
1 Cleffa HS

Trainers – 28

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Professor Juniper
4 Sage’s Training
2 Professor Oak’s New Theory


4 Rare Candy
4 Pokémon Communication
2 Pokémon Catcher
3 Junk Arm
1 Energy Retrieval

Energy – 12

12 R

The more I played the deck, the more I realized Catcher wasn’t that important until mid to late game, at which case it gave this deck a lot of finishing power. Early game, ideally, Reshiram for 120 is usually gonna take you there. 5 potential Catchers total with Junk Arm SHOULD be enough. I went with 3 in favor of Junk Arm because, due to Kingdra, we have an emphasis on needing to bring back Rare Candy.

pokegym.netI don’t even like Seadra in here, but I want a copy to get out when you have to stare down an early Gothitelle or Vileplume. It’s less useful against Gothitelle, because you have to get it up BEFORE they can catcher lock you, but ideally you apply pressure with something leading up to that. Magnezone Emboar is a deck you actually like BOTH Kingdra out against, as is anything with Donphan in it.

The card is also pretty solid against Samurott, allowing you to actually put some real pressure on the card, although I doubt it will be enough to overcome any sort of deck with a dedicated Samurott line, but it can help. Hypothetically though, a 1-0-1 Kingdra line “should” suffice, because you only need a lone copy out most games.

Unfortunately, due to the fact it is primarily used against Trainer lock, Seadra is needed. Against other decks where you need PlusPower normally, you can’t afford NOT to get one out, so you need 2 Horsea to stop Catcher. Once you are trapped into a 2-1-1 line, may as well go all in and add the 2nd Kingdra. You “COULD” get really risky, and run 2 PlusPower over the additional 1-0-1 line, but I’m not sure.

I would consider trying a build that actually runs a way of attacking with Kingdra due to the thicker line, either a W Energy or a few Rainbow perhaps, but I am not sold on the need yet, and space is rather tight in this list. Here are the cards I would like to see added into this deck, if you can fit them:

1 or 2 PlusPower
1 Catcher
1 Switch
1 Quilava

pokegym.netThe extra Quilava is to help against Trainer lock as well, as sometimes you’ll get to apply early pressure and take 3-4 Prizes as they try to establish themselves, and you slow their energy drops down enough that you can actually run the Typhlosion Swarm approach, which requires a 3rd Quilava. It also helps if they get a quick trainer lock too. I’ve advocated the Switch for a long time now, but it is hard to explain its value without trying it out.

It is kind of like Warp Point, where on paper its uses don’t justify its inclusion in decks, but there are just so many small uses for it that it ends up winning you games. I got to finally try it out, and man, it lived up to the hype I convinced myself to believe in, but with the Kingdras, it was unfortunately a card I had to shave off in order to make room.

My last little bit of disorganized rant regarding Kingdra stems from the popularity of Mew: If you can get a Water to attack with it in here, the Kingdra is quite good. Mew decks often run Zoroark, either to get with Mew, or as a supplemental line, and Kingdra is fantastic against Mew, and doesn’t get punished by Zoroark like a Reshiram would.

Also, remember how agonizing Typhlosion mirror match is? Kingdra allows you to get “out of attack step” kills on Cleffa, or any other baby. If you find yourself in a straight up exchange where both players have such a set up that it seems very unlikely one will ever break the KO chain, Spray Splash in 3 turns can kill a Cleffa, letting you leap ahead. It requires a player bench the baby, but a lot of times it is inevitable, so it isn’t a terrible advantage to have.


Now, let’s address Gothitelle. I haven’t been able to test that deck much online because Reuniclus doesn’t function on PTCGO (that really needs fixed somehow, but I don’t know what they can really do about it, but it warps the entire online format, IMO. Decks which can’t beat Goth lock can function, decks don’t have to prepare for it, etc, so it gives a very distorted version of the metagame we’d play at in really tournaments).

I have gotten to use the Electrode build a bit more, but I think a concession needs to be made to add in Reuniclus to the deck as well, perhaps just a 1-0-1 line. As it stands, the deck has been narrowly losing when they are able to 2 shot two of your Gothitelle and you really aren’t able to reliably power a third, despite your best efforts at disrupting them from doing so.

Too many decks are able to attack for low energy that Catcher isn’t enough to lock them out of the game, and Goth goes down. Now, perhaps just regular healing options, something stupid like Potions, which change many of the low cost attacks from 2HKOs to 3, may be good enough…but that just feels dirty.

A card like Serperior may work as well, as you can “stall” using Catcher to buy turns once you need to start healing, but again this is pure theory from my end. I haven’t gotten a chance to test any of that.

Stage 1s

Now, one of the decks/archetypes I wanted to go into a bit of analysis on would be the Stage 1 decks. These are decks that I feel have not really been covered appropriately on this site, but I don’t necessarily blame the writers for this either. The decks are extremely vague, and have so many options that it becomes a challenge to really gather a full understanding of all the tricks you can toss into them.

Wrong Pooka.

The other issue has been that while they are always “on the radar” and acknowledged as tier 1 choices, they have always seemed to be on the low end of tier 1. Some of this could be due to player preference, with many of the top players gravitating away from them, sans Pooka who took 2nd at US Nats last year with one, and some could be because the decks are just somewhat undertested.

If you test Typhlosion Reshiram or Yanmega Magnezone and don’t like the deck, there isn’t a whole ton of tweaking that can be done to “perfect” it. You have some pretty strict guidelines for the deck, and its easily to identify if it works, or does not. Even a deck like ZPS is pigeon-holed into what cards it can and cannot play.

When you have a deck like Stage 1s, you can run SO MANY CARDS that it becomes VERY difficult to really fully explore it, and as such, it is very possible that peak lists are simply not obtained yet, or at the very least, they have certainly not become available to the mainstream players.

Now, I’m not here to say “hey look I’ve solved the equation!” and I’ll even go as far as saying that I have minimal experience with Stage 1 decks. I tested it fairly heavily headed into Worlds, with Pokégear 3.0 giving me tons of consistency, but I never QUITE got the deck to where it needed to be.

The metagame has since changed, and so has the cardpool, so while that testing is helpful, I also need to re-evaluate it all, so just like you, I’m a bit at the drawing board still. Now, I wanted to first start with a bit of the skeleton most lists should be starting at:

4 Pokémon Collector

pokemon-paradijs.comWell, this one seems fairly self explanatory. I don’t think there are very many/any decks that don’t max out on this card. I guess I’ve had some ZPS style decks where I focused primarily on cards like Dual Ball, and only ran a couple Collectors, but I don’t even know if that is correct.

While this deck is aggressive, and cares less about its full-blown set up than a deck such as Magneboar, you still want to get a nice loaded bench, especially since certain matchups you’ll want to be very reactive with what attacker you want, so this stays as a four of.

Plus, I’ll use this as a chance to drive home again that in this format, you simply cannot afford to go 2nd, and NOT play a Collector. In those spots, you have such a handicap. You really want to maximize your chances to open with this.

4 Professor Juniper

Ok, well, 4 isn’t exactly required, and this’ll probably be the case with a lot of the cards I put on this list, but 4 is certainly a number I would like to see in my lists. Some players don’t like to have such a high amount of discard cards in their deck, but the 7 new cards, in this deck, is really strong.

Unlike in a deck like Magneboar, where you really need to keep most of your resources, once you get the basics in play, almost every card in your hand can be played down. So you are rarely stuck holding cards and stockpiling stuff. This makes Juniper’s downside minimized in this deck compared to even other decks which try to abuse it anyway.

4 Professor Oak’s New Theory

pokemon-paradijs.comI still hate this card, but in these decks you really need to have a lot of bulk draw cards. I don’t like to use the term “shuffle draw” because well, Juniper doesn’t shuffle, so bulk draw it is! Now, these cards I dislike in decks like Magneboar (I may as well come up with an acronym or something for every time I mention how a strategy differs from that deck. I swear I’m not trying to be repetitive!) because you are trying to piece things together.

The more complex the evolution lines are, the weaker these cards play. Essentially, these cards are at their weakest in decks which rely on Stage 2s. The more Stage 2s the weaker. Yet in Stage 1 decks, they are strong, because as I touched on with Juniper, most of the cards in your hand can be played down upon drawing, with little complication, so you don’t have to worry so much about the clunking.

Now that I addressed the 2 big draw cards, you’ll want to add approximately 2 more draw cards. I really like Sage’s Training here, because well, I’m me, and you know my stance on that card by now. For those who initially hoped this was merely a phase, nope, my love stays strong.

Now, I’m not “spoiling” too much here, but a lot of Stage 1 decks run Yanmega Prime. When you DO run it, you may want to adjust your Supporter line to incorporate Copycat or Judge into the deck. I’ll be honest though: these cards lack a lot of synergy with the deck in general, and are relatively weak draw cards.

Due to this, I try not to run too many copies. I know that you want them for Yanmega, but you can generally match hand sizes with Juniper or PONT unless they get a huge hand, which is rarer than it used to be. Due to this, I think 3-4 hand matching cards is fine, just be sure to save them and not waste them if unneeded.

3 Pokégear 3.0

pokegym.netI love this card in a lot of decks. I know a lot of people who dislike it, and a lot of people who never got around to trying it. Remember how I said how important a turn 1 Collector is? Since you can’t run more than 4, this does help make sure you open with it.

On top of that, past that turn, it gives you a way to dig deeper toward finding draw cards like Juniper and PONT. It lets you run a more diverse supporter count while still upping the odds of drawing any of them.

While it isn’t a one for one boost, as you need to see the desired card in your top 7, it adds up. It multipurposes as a potential Collector, and draw card.

The BEST perk is that it works with Junk Arm. The deck is weak against Judge, and hypothetically Weavile too, so with a copy of this in your discard pile, it turns all of your Junk Arms into potential draw cards. This adds up over the course of a game, and I found a lot of spots where I had a dead hand, but a Junk Arm, and could dig for a rescue card. Its played rather well for me so far!

4 Pokémon Communication

Ok, if you are expecting me to elaborate on this card, stop reading and sell your cards. Or just re-read what the card does, then ask yourself if you still need an explanation. If the answer is still yes, just keep repeating that process until it clicks.

Or sell your cards.

3 Pokémon Catcher

pokegym.netOk, this count should either be 3 or 4. I’m still not sold on which. Especially with Junk Arm, you don’t really need THAT many copies of the card. This deck is more about taking 6 Prizes quickly, so early on just taking a prize is often enough. At a certain point, you want to be attacking the active anyway, so 4 may not be necessary.

It isn’t BAD, but space adds up quickly, and I found myself reducing the count on this card to 3 rather often. The difference between 3 and 4 has seemed minimal, which usually leads me to believe the lower count is better, but more games may prove otherwise, so if personal preference leads you to 4, certainly go with it, it is far from wrong.

4 PlusPower

Ok, I may get some flack for saying to run 4-of this card, and only 3 Catcher, but I love PlusPower. They also have a very high upside in multiples. One of my favorite plays is a turn one Tyrogue with a number of PlusPowers. I’ve scored a lot of cheap wins off of this, and having 4 PlusPower and 4 Junk Arm really helps increase the odds of this.

Plus well, it has all the standard PlusPower uses! Unlike Catcher, this card is great in multiples, and often increases each of their value. This too is a card that CAN be shaved down to 3 copies, but I personally like 4. You can go 3 Catcher, and 3 PlusPower, but not really lower than this on either of them. 4 and 4 is also a very realistic count.

4 Junk Arm

The card keys off Catcher, Poké Comm, PlusPower, and Pokégear. This card is simply too versatile not to play a large number of copies of. You can get away with 3 of these if you are greedy and need deck space, but I’d trim PlusPower and Catcher down to 3 first, and only go to 3 Junk Arm if you are already min’d on every other possible cut.

That’s roughly 30 cards you’d want to be playing, which leaves room for 12-15 energy, and then 18-15 Pokémon. This can obviously be tweaked, but I’ve found those numbers to be pretty satisfactory. The Energy split depends on what Pokémon you run, but generally DCE makes an appearance. Before I address the Pokémon, I wanted to list off the various Trainers that can sometimes be included but are not close to mandatory.


pokegym.netRetreat Costs suck. This card’s value increased due to Catcher, and is almost mandatory with Donphan if you run it. Even Phanpy has a fat 2 Retreat Cost, so even if you don’t necessarily plan on stranding the guy out there by attacking with it, I’ve seen it get stuck there to buy time a lot. Plus, once Yanmega gets all snipy in response to the stranding, you’ll find yourself wanting Switch pretty quickly.

Energy Exchanger

In decks with a bad energy allocation, this card becomes good. It’s also strong with fetching DCE, and well, also works with Junk Arm, so even a single copy can really get you access to a lot of hard to find energy.


This card is a bit interesting, but having played it in ZPS a bit, I have been really impressed with it. It impacts damage math quite a bit, and you can hold it until a spot opens up where it does matter, so its pretty impactful. It falls under the old “Warp Point” clause of reading very average and situational, but playing a lot stronger than that because so many of those spots open up each game that it ends up performing far better than it reads.

Anyway, let’s get onto the different Pokémon.

Yanmega Prime

This guy has been the backbone of the deck since its inception really. Ok, that isn’t entirely true, as I think the VERY first lists used Cinccino, Zoroark and Donphan, but you get the idea. He has been at the center of every list since it started performing successfully.

pokegym.netYanma TM is one of the best opening basics in the game. 50 HP and a free Retreat Cost, this guy lets your opening be flexible, and helps you conserve energy drops. Yanmega also retreats for free, and ideally attacks for free. It two hits most Pokémon, has a very good fighting resistance, and can hit Pokémon on the bench.

Now, I was pretty spoiled with Yanmega Magnezone because it had far better synergy with Judge, which this card loves, and because it got to use Kingdra, making its snipe attack able to kill a lot of basics, but even with it being weaker in a Stage 1 deck, it is still very strong.

Generally lists just run a 4-3 line. I know some people prefer a thinner line, but I like to max out on the Yanma starts. Some people push for a 4th Yanmega, but I rarely found it mattered. I get the idea that you want it turn 2, BEFORE playing a hand matching supporter, but the 4th didn’t seem to add to the increase at which this happened nearly enough to justify the extra copy.

Yanmega lets you diversify attackers, while not impacting the decks generally fragile energy count. This card has really never blown me away in its performance, even though I still use it in a lot of my decks. The card is just so popular because it fills a lot of roles and niches at the same time and really just smooths a lot of decks out.

It never dominates a game, but it certainly makes a deck gel really well. A lot of popular cards in this deck will be weak to fighting, so Yanmega is almost a necessity in that it offers resistance to this type while also free retreating to live to stonewall fighting types later on if they do switch around.

Donphan Prime

pokemon-paradijs.comDonphan is good because it is able to do a 1 energy 60 damage attack. It comes out of the gates swinging turn 2, like Yanmega, so decks which use both of these almost always have pressure starting on the second turn. It has 120 HP, and a nice Poké-Body which makes it a huge pain to kill.

Its biggest upside is its type. Being Fighting makes it strong against both Magnezone and Zekrom, two cards which not only are very hard kills for these decks normally, but naturally have type advantage against Yanmega.

Unfortunately, now, we have Catcher. The problem with Donphan before was it would strand itself, and was abused by Yanmega. The bench damage was even worse, as it often set up your bench for Yanmega kills, and the Earthquake damage really would add up. Catcher means that even when you don’t bring Donphan up, it’s still able to be stranded.

Donphan also loses power the longer the game goes on, not being as big of an offensive power house as it is in the first few turns. Unfortunately, I feel it is almost a necessity in that you have major issues against Magnezone in particular.

Decks originally started at 4-4 or 3-3 lines of Donphan, but cut down to 2-2 when they realized it is literally almost only a direct counter to Magnezone, and pretty bad beyond that. Even Zekrom is answered by the following attacker:

Zoroark BLW

pokegym.netZoroark is your answer to 1HKO exchanges. The deck, once things get set up, is stuck either Catchering and stealing prizes, or two shotting things. Certain Pokémon you can one shot even when fully evolved due to weakness, but a lot you cannot. And once they start throwing one hit kills at you, you get backed into a corner where you can lose your prize lead pretty easily.

Zoroark is a pretty good catch-all counter to a lot of heavy hitting Pokémon like Bad Emboar, Rayquaza & Deoxys LEGEND, Zekrom/Reshiram, and even Magnezone if you catch them with a bunch of spare energy in play.

Zoroark is also your primary attacker against Reshiphlosion, because otherwise you run into a losing exchange against Reshiram if they get at all established. A 2-2 or 3-3 line of Zoroark is probably a good idea in a lot of builds.

Lanturn Prime

Lanturn is a pretty interesting card. It offers a great attacker against Yanmega, and can kill Donphan and Typhlosion or Reshiram as well. It requires two energy, and Lightning is not a type you would run otherwise. I tried playing this guy before Worlds, and found myself needing Lightning and Double Colorless Energy, but also F Energy to try and beat Magnezone.

I couldn’t quite get the ratio down right, but I know that former World Champion Yamato went undefeated in the Grinder using Yanmega and Lanturn Prime, so the card certainly has a high upside. It is a bit fragile though, as in the matchups you want to use it as a counter in, it is often KO’d in return. While it one shots Donphan and Reshiram, both of those Pokémon can one shot its 110 HP back.

Cinccino BLW

pokegym.netCinccino is a good Colorless attacker that can be put into any list. I hadn’t been a huge fan of it, but I heard rumblings from a few players that they were liking it, and I saw it win North Olmsted’s Battle Roads when Evan Baker from Michigan lead it to a victory. I’m still not really sold on it, but it is low maintenance, providing a cheap, Colorless attacker that can come out of the games on the second turn without needing a lot of set up.

The card is good at killing Zekrom, and with a PlusPower can take out Yanmega. It is good against Vileplume decks, as it can do a lot of damage cheaper and has a low Retreat Cost, so you can certainly abuse it.

Unfortunately, I feel that a lot of Stage 1 decks want to play rock paper scissors and try to abuse type advantage, and being Colorless is both a blessing and a curse, as while it is easy to use, it doesn’t really excel vs much either, and that deters me a bit from wanting to use it.

Weavile UD

I’ve seen Weavile thrown into a number of decks. I’ve tried it in Vileplume Beartic (to atrocious ends) I’ve seen Martin and Aziz run it in Yanmega Magnezone (to undetermined results: They did well enough with it at Nats, but it was undertested, and theory-wise I wasn’t really too into it, but the verdict is still out) and I’ve seen Chuck toss it in alongside Donphan and any number of friends.

I have minimal experience with it myself, but I think that any card which can just steal games is good. Looping it with Super Scoop Up or Seeker is really nice, as it can really cripple some hands. It should be a nail in the coffin for a lot of closer games, and can seal games right out of the gate too if they have a weaker hand.


The issue I have with the card is that it is very strong in close games, and games you are already winning, but does very little to win you games you are behind in. I still think the card is really good, though. Its other “issue” is that it isn’t an attacker.

Now, this shouldn’t normally be an issue, but like I’ve pointed out, Stage 1 decks thrive on a rock paper scissors-esque game plan, so you need to run a slew of different typed attackers, and a 1-1, or 2-2 Weavile line cuts into tight deck space and takes the slot of another type worth of attacker.

I’m not sure if the disruption makes up for this, but I want to say it has the potential to. I think this is a card to watch out for, as it has been underexposed, and undertested. I think it has the highest upside of most of the cards I’ve discussed in this article so far.

Tyrogue HS/CL

I include this card in every list. It sets up a lot of 2 hit kills while potentially saving its own skin, and it lets you build energy will still putting down damage. Elekid is actually an interesting choice now that Tyrogue itself is seeing less and less play, as Tyrogue detered my support for it. Tyrogue’s ability to either win the game on the first turn, or score a crippling turn one Knock Out at least, is just too big not to run.

Cleffa HS/CL

Cleffa I am less sold on, and he has been in and out of lists. It really does depend on how much you fear getting stuck with a bad hand. If you want to be conservative, he is a good inclusion, but when your deck is working, the card is clearly worthless.

I’m usually the paranoid type so he’s been included more often than he probably should be for me. Tyrogue’s presence (and even Yanmega to a degree) has gone down, so Cleffa is far less of a liability then he was at Nationals last year.

Manaphy UL

This card is bad. Its ONLY upside previously was offering Cleffa’s role without being dead to Mischievous Punch (and I guess Yanmega’s snipe) but now the upside is simply not worth how much more inferior it is in every other regard.

Mew Prime

pokebeach.comNow, one of the biggest issues with the Stage 1 decks is that they are really bad against Gothitelle, the deck which has been tearing up Battle Roads here so far, and has been doing very well in testing for me as well. I don’t view Gothitelle as a deck I’ll accept a loss to (which is why I am forcing Kingdra in Typhlosion) so this is definitely an issue.

Now, I guess “Mew toolbox” is a different deck then Stage 1s, but the idea is the same. Run a bunch of basics and different type attackers of any stage to try and counter the biggest threats, and relying on speed to win games. Mew is a bit of a clunky card, and requires quite a bit of set up to really get going.

It has very few Hit Points, and certainly dies quickly. Yet it is a basic that can be built to attack with whatever is best for any given matchup, so it has a lot of value there. Mew may not be quite as versatile as Mew-EX (Google it, you’ll get the joke…by that I mean I’m sure Adam’ll be clever and link the image next to this in the article) it is still very versatile.

Now, Mew is primarily a direct counter to Gothitelle, but it is also strong against Vileplume decks, and in general is a good opener due to its free Retreat Cost and hard to turn one kill 60 Hit Points. Mew can either be paired with the other attackers in the deck, or it can be given an assortment of other tech attackers, like Crobat Prime, Muk UD, and Jumpluff HS.

I kind of dislike running these otherwise worthless cards, but at the same time, outside of the matchups Mew shines in normally, I want a target to See Off that is a bit stronger than the attacks offered by the rest of the deck’s attackers, so perhaps if you run Mew it is worth running a card solely to See Off.

Crobat and Muk both work far better in decks with Vileplume, so I think I’d use Jumpluff, but that then requires you to use G Energy, which is weak too. I’m not really sold on any of the options, as the energy you run somewhat guides you toward what attackers you can splash.

Zekrom BLW and Reshiram BLW

I’ll lump these together. Reshiram stops Kingdra Prime, but Zekrom is better against Yanmega. These guys are not spectacular, but they work with DCE, have pretty hefty Hit Points, and are far from bad. You’d just be running them for Outrage, and this can either just be a lame attempt at attacking and forcing them to hit you, or it can be fueled by Donphan Prime’s attack.

I’ve seen dedicated Donphan Zekrom/Reshi decks before, but I’m not sure how I feel on those. I’m mainly mentioning these cards because you can run them without messing up your energy count, and they offer two types that are otherwise hard to get in the deck.

Tornadus EPO

pokegym.netTornadus is just a fantastic card. He serves the Yanmega role of being Fighting resistant, and his attack is fueled by DCE. One of the other nice perks with him is that despite needing two energy to attack, he can “protect” an energy each turn as he attacks, spreading them out so that if he is killed, you don’t lose all your eggs in one basket.

He also has a benefit over Yanmega: He two shots Donphan Prime without any help. This actually matters quite a bit. He is also a great target to See Off with Mew, as it deals 160 damage to Gothitelle, and saves you an energy. Tornadus is turning out to be one of the best cards in Emerging Powers, and not just because the set is a bit shallow on playables.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure a list exists which can safely “counter” every card in the format. You need to pretty much accept a card you will be weak to, and build accordingly. It’ll be unlikely that Mew and Donphan can fit in the same deck, so beating Gothitelle AND Magnezone at the same time seems unlikely.

The format is pretty wide open now, so you just really need to figure out what archetypes will be least represented locally and kind of gamble on it.

Battle Roads Results and Predictions

Anyway, I was able to get a report of what the results were from the Battle Road in Chardon, Ohio this past weekend, and the finals was a mirror match between two Gothitelle decks. As far as is being reported, the entire tournament seemed to be dominated, numbers wise, by Gothitelle and Reshiphlosion decks, with Gothitelle coming out clearly on top for the event. I cannot vouch 100% for the validity of this report since I wasn’t there personally, but I trust the people reporting to me to be pretty reliable.

I expect to see a backlash against Gothitelle as the local players have seemed to acknowledge Goth as the best deck right now, so this weekend will be telling, to see if more people simply switch to the deck, or if counters start to show up, and if they do, how well Gothitelle handles the pressure. As far as I can tell, the counters to Gothitelle are a bit weak, so I don’t expect Goth to be too poorly off.

pokegym.netRight now, I’m really liking Magnezone’s position in the format. He is becoming more and more “off the radar” and has an advantage over Gothitelle, so if I wanted to build around a card in the near future that can deal with Gothitelle that also is strong vs the rest of the format, Magnezone seems to be where it is at.

The format is AGAIN shifting…it started out as being built around one hit kills, then it got very disruptive, and toward Worlds, it started to shift back to one hit kills against with Ross’ deck, and now Gothitelle. Being able to score those big KOs are important (mainly due to Reuniclus and Trainer Lock) so cards like Magnezone, Emboar, and Rayquaza & Deoxys LEGEND are sure to gain strength.

Another card that may be good now is actually Gengar Prime. All of these defensive decks have very little game against a Lost World strategy, so if you want to test something out of left field, that may be a good place to start.

I’m not sure this format is as “healthy” as it appears to be right now, but the number of played decks is very high right now, and while it may not stay that way, embrace it while it lasts. I’d also like to point out that I feel the release of Catcher has done WONDERS for the format, and is a definitely improvement over Pokémon Reversal.

The format feels a lot more fair now, and I’m glad the card got released. I have been saying that since the card was announced, and I know some people disagreed, and I’m actually curious to see what the general consensus amongst the readers here is.

By the time I write my next article, we will have a lot more Battle Roads reports to wade through, so hopefully those will form a more defined picture of what the current picture of the metagame looks like, and I look forward to breaking it down even further once that happens.

I also have a deck I am really excited about, but haven’t gotten to test it enough to really write about it yet, so look for that in my next article as well (unless it bombs horribly, then I’ll ignore I ever said that and burn the list in shame and stuff). Until then, good luck at Battle Roads, and have fun with an exciting “new” format to explore!

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