Battle of Wittz: I want to play something new!

wizards.comHey everybody, and welcome to my first article in over a month! A lot has happened in the meantime, including the completion of our Autumn Regional Championships and the final release of Noble Victories! At Adam’s request (based on your commentary), and my own digression, I’m going to put much more of an emphasis on that second point.

While today’s article is mainly geared toward developing an eye for the top decks available from our new set, it’s still important to understand what won Regionals and its importance on deck decision in the aftermath. Let’s take a quick look!

PS — While I’d normally go through a tournament report and explain in-depth games, I actually bombed Regionals at 2-4 drop! I played a variant of Magnezone/Yanmega/Zoroark very similar to Chris Fulop’s build two articles ago, and it played great in testing.

When it came to the actual tournament, I only got to play out one real game vs. Reshiphlosion round 1, where I lost pretty quickly to a turn 2 Ninetales/Typhlosion/Reshiram/Catcher/Blue Flare taking a huge advantage. In my 2 wins I beat 2 structure decks. In my 3 additional losses I got donked by Zekrom, started with 6 basics and one Rare Candy to lose to another Zekrom in 6 turns of draw-passing, and I also lost to Gothitelle in 3 turns. It was quite the amazing day.

While I hate people that chalk up their day to something as simple as “bad hands,” I don’t know what else to say for all of my losses except the first. I ran 13 Supporters in total, a pretty high count, but probably played 2-4 total in my last 3 losses. While I think the idea of fitting Zoroark into ZoneMega is a strong option to give you more game vs. Reshiram and Zekrom, I just can’t say much that Fulop hasn’t said already.

My practice games vs. both decks went great except for when Zekrom played heavy Defender (Eviolite will become a problem), and I can’t say too much more than that.

It’s pretty souring to lose the first big tournament of the year so badly, but there isn’t much else to do put keep my head up and play hard through the rest of the season. After I dropped and hung out with friends I had a MUCH better time, and I remembered that the experience and people you meet playing the game are more important than the sake of winning the game itself. Lame fortune-cookie advice, but not a tip you should ignore!

And let’s get back to something of importance:

Regionals Results TheTopCut)

Winning Decks:
2 Yanmega/Magnezone
1 Reshiphlosion (w/Kingdra)
1 Zekrom/Tornadus
1 Typhlosion/Magnezone/Reshiram
1 “Ross” (Vileplume/Reuniclus/Donphan/Zekrom/SEL)
1 Donphan/Yanmega

Top 4:
Typhlosion/Reshiram: 7
Yanmega/Magnezone: 7
Donphan/Yanmega: 2
Vileplume/Reuniclus/Donphan/Zekrom/Suicune & Entei LEGEND: 2
Donphan/Zoroark/Zekrom (1 w/ Tornadus): 2
Donphan/Machamp/Vileplume: 1
Emboar/Magnezone: 1
Typhlosion/Magnezone: 1

Unfortunately, as far as a metagame analysis goes, there isn’t too much to say that hasn’t been said already (we did after all play in the same format that we’ve already gone through for Battle Roads). Instead of rehashing many points that I’ve already hit over and over again about our current format (rock-paper-scissors mentality, same decks since Worlds, etc.), I’ve decided to bring up a few key points that I took from each tournament. Here goes:

Trainer Lock Decks Struggle in Big Tournaments

While this is something we kind of already knew, Trainer Lock hasn’t really been considered a dominant factor of the HGSS-On metagame until the recent Battle Roads results. While the two main (and essentially the only viable) trainer lock/damage lock decks (Gothitelle + Reuniclus and Vileplume + Reuniclus + Attackers) saw a pretty great showing at Battle Roads by its completion, in the end only 2 Ross variants and one Machamp/Vileplume found their way into the 28 top 4 decks. Even more surprising is that not a single Gothitelle was able to scratch its way into the top 4, despite it earning the 4th most wins in Masters during Battle Roads.

While there are definitely some outlying factors in the deck’s poor performance, such as many players feeling they need access to Tropical Beach to play them ideally, I personally think that the builds are ill-suited for a long tournament. Gothitelle and Ross are by far the slowest decks in the format, giving them a much weaker game in time for Swiss.

Neither deck runs very stellar draw compared to Magnezone, Ninetales, or a heavy draw Supporter count, which can lead to games where your deck will fizzle out vs. even your strong matchups like Zekrom and Reshiram. The decks also have a less-than-positive matchup vs. MegaZone.

Wrap all that together, and you need to be able to escape an 8-round day without grabbing more than 2 losses, which can be pretty hard to accomplish!

Combine that with your time problem becoming much more of an obstacle in a best 2/3 in 60 minutes for multiple top cut, and most of the Trainer Lock decks were phased out by the end of the tournament. While I’m sure that Trainer Lock decks will return to a more dominant spot in our metagame with smaller City Championships, it’s still worth noting their inevitable weakness in big events before we see three weekends of State Championships afterward.

Stronger Donphan Presence than Expected

pokemon-paradijs.comWhile most decks with Donphan in them were seemingly written off by most top players coming in for Regionals, it had a stronger than expected finish with one win and 4 top 4 finishes (split evenly between Stage 1s and Donphan/Dragons variants). Both of these decks struggle with Trainer Lock and have been known to suffer a little against Reshiphlosion from time to time, so why did they see some Regionals success?

Simply put, Donphan-based decks have a decent game against two other very popular decks, Zekrom and MegaZone. Fighting is a strong type against Lightning-based attackers, and attackers like Yanmega, Zekrom, and the Dragons have decent damage output for little energy.

While I still personally prefer two other metagame decks to Donphan based ones (Zekrom — slightly faster, Reshiphlosion — slightly slower but more power), it still doesn’t make Stage 1s or Donphan/Dragons a poor choice for the upcoming City Championships.

Honestly, aside from that I don’t have many beacons of advice to gather from Regionals. All decks that performed well were the same standard decks we’ve already known from tournaments so far. The one interesting deviation — the slightly different Magnezone/Typhlosion/Reshiram deck — isn’t an innovation that breaks the format or changes the way games are approached. I simply swapped out my 3-1-3 Emboar line from Magneboar for a Typhlosion line, added a 3rd Reshiram and removed the Twins to get a fairly decent grasp of how the deck works.

The one piece of advice I can give you though is this: if you’re interested in building a solid Championship Point hoard for a chance at Worlds this season, City Championships is going to be your place to rake up the points. Kettler put it pretty nicely in his Autumn Leaves article, but with Cities just a few weeks away it’s an important fact to remember!

Keeping in mind that most City Championships are only a small deal bigger than local Battle Roads (with an in-general attendance fluctuating from a 15 minimum attendance to a rare 80+ maximum attendance to average at around 30 competitors each event), here are some point comparisons to be made:

(You can go here to learn about Champ points.)

  • 2 City Championship wins is worth 2 points MORE than a Regional win.
  • 3 top 4 City Championship finishes are worth 2 points MORE than a Regional win.
  • 3 Top 8 City Championship finishes (awarded with 32 attendance) are worth just 1 point less than a Regional win.
  • 1 Top 8 finish with 32 attendance is worth 1 point more than a Battle Road Win. Top 4 is worth 2 Battle Road wins. A Cities win is equivalent to 3 Battle Road Wins.

Bottom line is, City Championship Points are your most realistic way to really rack up the points. Their weight in realistic chances to earn championships is unparalleled. If you were deciding between one weekend of States/Regionals or one weekend where you hit 2 Cities using Championship Points/Prizes as your sole motivating factor, I’d take the Cities weekend immediately.

While this isn’t the best way to compare two very different events, the bottom line is that it’s worth dividing much more of your season’s attention to Cities this year.

And because of this, exploring Noble Victories will be a huge key toward succeeding this year. While I’ve only had a few weeks of testing so far with new Noble Victories decks, I’ve been able to delve into a great deal of concepts so far that should help inspire a starting point for you guys to test. Let’s check out how Noble Victories is changing the game for Cities!

Changes to the Current Metagame Decks

Here’s a brief recap of two things I’ve seen change in two of the stronger decks in the format. With only 4 relevant trainers and many strong Pokémon from types that haven’t seen much play, there isn’t much in Noble Victories to change the way current decks are played.


pokegym.netEvery deck will have at least a few Eviolite now, and many decks will opt for a heavier 4-5 slot devotion to an Eviolite/Defender split. Being able to wall 20 to 40 damage from attacks (including the damage you do to yourself) will give you ridiculous advantage in most games. Zekrom in particular benefits from Eviolite more than anything else in the format, and it’s really going to become a hard deck to deal with, even in the late game now.

It might be a little early to call it, but if you had to ask me to put money down on the deck that will win the most Cities, my money is on Zekrom.

Some people have tried fitting in Eelektrik NVI into the deck to form a pseudo lightning Reshiphlosion deck, but I couldn’t get it to work real miracles in the deck so far. I have it as part of its own build that I’ll talk about later, but I don’t see it shaping Zekrom the way we play it now.

Magnezone-based Decks

I replaced all my spare non-Judge draw Supporters (Copycat and Sage’s Training) for 4 copies of N in my deck for kicks. I love the results so far. Early game N is basically an Oak’s New Theory for new cards, and each step toward the late game gives you a huge arsenal of disruption. I’ve gotten into stings with Magnezone where I’ve been able to consistently give my opponent a hand of 4 or less cards through N or Judge for 4 or more turns in a row.

The reason Zone works over anything else is because you can ignore a low N hand by Magnetic Drawing right afterward. The deck is still decent as ever, and adding one more disruptive tool should keep it at decent numbers for cities.

Other than that, I haven’t really made many changes to my standard metagame builds, other than fitting a few N here or there in each deck. That might sound pretty boring, but it’s the exact opposite! It means we get plenty more new potential decks from the new set, and we can finally spend some time moving away from the same decks we’ve seen over and over for the entire season.

While it might not be the very best deck in the new format, but let’s start is off by what so far has been by far the most fun for me to play with: turbo Durant mill!

The List

Pokémon – 10

4 Durant NVI
2 Pichu HS
1 Rotom UD
1 Cleffa HS
2 Mime Jr. CL

Trainers – 39

3 Professor Juniper
3 N
3 Twins
3 Sage’s Training
4 Pokémon Collector


4 Dual Ball
4 Junk Arm
4 Revive
3 Pokégear 3.0
3 Pokémon Catcher
3 Crushing Hammer
1 Lost Remover
1 Alph Lithograph FOUR

Energy – 11

7 M

4 Special M

pokegym.netThe concept is pretty simple — get 4 Durant out as fast as possible and mill to your heart’s content. This list is based off a lot of testing with me and my friends, and it makes a few changes from the standard discussed build on the public forums.

We opt to not run any Eviolite or Defender because honestly, it’s wasted space. While Durant + Eviolite + Special M Energy requires 100 damage to KO, that’s not really a magic number that most deck’s can’t obtain. Factor in that your opponent can still catcher around your tanked Durant to kill your less-armored ants, and we just felt like there are better things you can devote slots to in the deck.

Rotom/Alph is for fishing out a prized ant if one is in there. One Twins nets you the combo and allows you to get that 4th ant back into your deck (and on top of your deck) as quickly as possible. It’s also not a bad combo to setting yourself up for important topdecks toward the end of the game, since you won’t be taking a single prize.

Crushing Hammer/Lost Remover apply active defensive pressure instead of the passive pressure that Defender gives you. Every heads you hit on the Hammer puts your opponent one turn behind on what they were planning — giving you a potential additional mill. These cards have been huge so far, and I wouldn’t mind sacrificing consistency to fit one more in down the line.

The idea is that if your opponent starts with 47 cards in their deck (6 Prizes and 7 drawn first), at the very MOST you could mill your opponent with an ideal 4 Durant discard a turn in almost 9 turns providing they don’t play a single card every single turn after their topdeck (9×4=36 cards milled by ants, plus 9 cards drawn over each turn brings you to a very close 45 cards).

However, it’s more realistic to assume that your opponent is going to play cards to thin their own deck. Pokémon Collector mills up to 3. Sage’s Training mills 5. Juniper mills 7!

Combined with all your opponent’s search and draw, you can usually assume your opponent will be burning at LEAST 10-15 cards out of their own deck by themselves, leaving you with a very realistic 37-32 cards to mill — accomplishable in 7-8 turns including each topdeck. Not bad!

pokemon-paradijs.comTrainer Lock might seem like a big problem, but it hasn’t gone too badly so far. Because you don’t take prizes, they’re especially slowed without access to Twins. Most of the time, enough damage is done by Durant mills that even when they cut off your Durant supply by Trainer-Locking your Revive, a small handful of Mime Jr. mills should push you through for the game.

One weak matchup is Zekrom — all they need to do is set up a Bolt Strike twice and they have enough self-damage to Outrage for KOs for the rest of the game. Your defensive cards — the energy removal and Catcher on any Pokémon that needs to retreat, are a huge help in this one.

So far I’ve won around 3-4 games per every 10 played, which isn’t a horrible start considering it’s such a new deck. I’m sure there are better ways to pad the matchup, but for now it’s at least winnable.

Kyurem can also wipe your entire field in a few turns if they get setup. Defensive cards help, but this is definitely still an issue with the current build, and one of the few times where I can see a card like Eviolite helping a little bit.

And lastly, you face the problem of time. You don’t take prizes, so you can’t win on time whatsoever. Luckily, because milling takes anywhere from 7 to 10 turns to finish off a game, you’ll likely finish full games fairly quickly. At most turns on your part should take from 30 seconds to a minute each, which barely eats up at your clock and gives you ample time to finish even a best 2/3 series.

pokegym.netBut finally on the plus side, Durant wrecks most setup decks. It can really trash your opponent with a good discard at any time — and the longer your opponent takes to draw more cards and set up evolutions, the closer they come to losing by adding to your mill. Durant’s best advantage so far is that most players aren’t going to be testing against it.

It’s seen very lightly by most players in favor of the big decks emerging, and people are going to misplay. They’ll overextend on Supporters without knowing it and give you games that you wouldn’t normally be taking had they tested against you.

Granted, Durant can be easy to tech against with multiple copies of Super Rod, but I still think it can escape with some surprise wins before people have any time to test or tech against you.

Durant is really easy to set up, really simple to play, and a lot of fun. It’s a fresh concept that is actually pretty effective at winning games vs. lots of viable decks in the format, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it took a few cities.

Moving on to something a little more serious, here’s my concept with Eelektrik that I was talking about earlier:

The List

Pokémon – 18

4 Magnemite TM
1 Magneton TM
3 Magnezone Prime
2 Zekrom BLW
3 Tynamo NVI 39
2 Eelektrik NVI
1 Cleffa HS
1 Pachirisu CL
1 Shaymin UL

Trainers – 27

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Sage’s Training
2 Engineer’s Adjustments
2 N


4 Pokémon Communication
4 Junk Arm
3 Rare Candy
2 Switch
1 Pokémon Catcher
1 Super Rod

Energy – 15

13 L
2 Rescue

I’ve been testing this deck since the first Noble Victories prerelease that I went to, and I kind of like it! It works surprisingly similar to the recently winning Magnezone/Reshiram/Typhlosion deck, except the Reshiram and Typhlosion have been swapped out for their Lightning type counterparts.

pokegym.netThe idea behind the deck is basically a “best of all lightning has to offer” deck. Eelektrik, one of the best uncommon Pokémon cards in recent memory, gives Lightning types ANOTHER option that they really didn’t need. While a card like the Eel could have really benefitted another neglected Pokémon type to balance them a little better, we’ve got what we’ve got, so why not try and abuse it?

Magnezone provides the role of heavy hitter mid to late game via Lost Zoning energy, while Zekrom provides the role of early attacker that will eventually go down and put energy back into the discard. Pachirisu accelerates energy from the hand, Eelektrik provides acceleration from the bench, and the rest is pretty standard.

Eelektrik is arguably better than Typhlosion because it’s a full stage faster to get out and doesn’t place damage when you attach with his ability. He’s also arguably worse for not being able to attach to the active Pokémon with said ability.

After working with him for a while, I can honestly say I stand closer to this second camp. He’s a great card and a great option, but that limitation of having to attach to the bench only can leave you in some frustrating spots on your first few games of testing. Here’s a few scenarios to keep in mind:

– You can’t attach a Dynamotor energy to your active Pokémon. This means you’ll often have to set up on the bench first with your first attacker before you actually bring them up to fight, providing you want the Eel’s acceleration right away. Thank god there’s a 30 HP eel with free retreat! The only awkward thing is that I’ll usually be grabbing 2-3 basic eels on my bench early on so that I can have a free retreater option as I accelerate — leaving one of my eel’s up front never to evolve (and also a pretty easy prize).

Cleffa can provide this role too, but still has most of the same problems. For a type that used to be known for its low Retreat Cost (Raichu, Electrode, etc), the best Lightning cards are pretty heavy!

– You have to be careful of potential Catcher threats. The eel itself can be a pretty big liability at times because of his 2 Retreat Cost. With Typhlosion you can dig yourself out of a lot of spots because you can throw one Energy on yourself, along with a second from your hand and you’re good to go. Worst case scenario, Typhlosion has a strong enough attack and HP to brave the cruel and terrible world of active Pokémonship on his own. Eeelektrik has none of these things, and can bog you down because of it.

pokemon-paradijs.comSometimes your best play is to attach one of your 2-3 Lightnings a turn to the Eel in advance so that you can have him ready for manual retreat by the next turn. Shaymin and Switch can also both help you out of spots where heavy Lightning Pokémon are stuck active, but I haven’t been able to cram a heavy enough count of either to really feel completely secure about the benched eel yet. It’s just something you need to take account for as you play for sure.

Aside from that, the deck has been pretty strong in testing. Higher Energy and stronger acceleration allow you to be a little more reckless with Lost Burn on Magnezone (at least more reckless than I’m used to in ZoneMega!), and Zekrom is still a pretty decent opener even when you don’t have an entire deck dedicated to him.

The deck’s biggest issue is likely the Fighting Weakness. If Donphan keeps getting more attention, you could likely find yourself hitting more and more auto-loss rounds during City Swiss rounds. Luckily, the deck’s strong acceleration and similar options to TZPS allow you to fit in a few Tornadus pretty easily into the deck if you can find space for it. Converting some of the Rescue or Lightning into Double Colorless Energy shouldn’t hurt the design of the deck too much (it might actually help giving you a better out to retreat the Eel).

Right now, I’m still trying to find the best balance of attackers, energy, draw, and retreat aid, but the concept of mashing all the best Lightning Pokémon together has been pretty strong so far, and this list should be a great starting point for testing.

Next up is everyone’s favorite ice cream flavor: Vanilluxe. This card has had me scratching my head for a while — everyone has hyped it for its ability to hit a very high probability Paralysis with its attack when paired with the Victini that lets you reflip your attack flips (hence to be called “Fliptini”), but beyond that I just didn’t see much in the deck other than a slightly more competent Beartic.

pokegym.netMany people argue that being able to Paralyze your opponent stops one of Beartic EP 30’s greatest weaknesses in locking your opponent from retreating, but I never saw this as too much of an incredible issue. Yanmega is likely the only free-retreat threat in the entire metagame right now, and most decks don’t have enough acceleration to afford paying a Retreat Cost and still formulating an active game plan before being hit with another “Sheer Cold” on their next turn. I just don’t see how now being able to prevent retreat makes the concept MUCH more viable than Beartic.

My biggest gripe about these attack lock decks are that you play a pretty predictable game that allows your opponent room to set up while you’re hitting for a low range of damage. Your deck is going to be slower as it is and give up prizes early on before you gather enough steam, and by then your lock isn’t really powerful enough to prevent your opponent from grabbing a small handful of prizes after each knockout you take, where they’re free to deal all the damage that they can.

Beartic can kind of work in a Ross-type deck where he can sponge damage before it gets moved, but even then he still isn’t an ideal attacker there. So what can help these kind of decks get a little bit more of an advantage?

I worked together a concept that tries to take advantage of Victini, giving you the option of a slightly earlier KO before setting up your ice cream, while also giving you the ability to slow your opponent to your level with a 75% chance of Trainer Lock for one energy. You guessed it, I think Ursaring is a decent partner for the deck. Here’s what I’ve got:

Pokémon – 24

4 Teddiursa CL
3 Ursaring Prime
3 Vanillite NVI
2 Vanillish NVI
3 Vanilluxe NVI
2 Victini NVI 14

3 Oddish UD
1 Gloom UD
2 Vileplume UD
1 Cleffa HS

Trainers – 24

4 Pokémon Collector
4 N
4 Sage’s Training
2 Professor Oak’s New Theory
2 Twins*


4 Rare Candy
4 Pokémon Communication

Energy – 12

4 Rainbow
4 Double Colorless
4 W

*Haven’t decided if these are needed or not. I feel like I like reinvesting these 2 cards into 2 more PONT slightly better because your Trainer Lock slows down the time it takes for you to fall behind in prizes.

pokegym.netWith Teddiursa as a starter, you have the option to make use of your Victini right away and put you ahead of the Prize trade by mid game instead of behind — making Vaniluxe a much stronger option.

Hitting Trainer Lock at 75% of the time can mean that there will be games where you could Trainer Lock your opponent for the entire game without them getting a single option (this even happened to me a few times vs. Carlos Pero’s “Bearhug” variant in testing before Nationals, and it was brutal!). Once Vileplume hits the field, Vaniluxe’s 130 HP is pretty safe from 1HKO, and grabbing lock prizes becomes a bit stronger.

I never thought I’d end up liking this deck so much, but it’s actually a pretty fun and strong deck so far. The option to Trainer Lock from turn 1 with a single Collector played is a really strong option that makes an attack locking deck a little more feasible.

Yeah, you’re going to have problems being a little slower in timed games, but at the advantage of an earlier Trainer Lock than this format has ever seen, it might not be so bad this time around.

Next up is a fun concept that I’ve heard bounced around plenty of forums and word of mouth — Chandelure.

I talked about this card and its synergy with Dodrio UD and Switch in my Noble Victories preview article, but I was highly unsure if it could really find its way into a competitive deck. Dropping ideally 6 damage counters every turn isn’t the strongest option available to you in the game, but it does open you up to 2 fairly strong combos:

  1. If you only deal damage through abilities each turn, Tropical Beach can be abused in this deck more than any before it.
  2. Running a deck with little to no energy (just one possible way to approach the deck that has worked best for me so far).

I’ve tested a few variations of lists based on the suggestions of friends, and have found that the deck is fun and semi-competitive. Here’s what I’ve got (highly based off of a list posted by Justin Sanchez on

Pokémon – 18

4 Litwick NVI
2 Lampent NVI
4 Chandelure NVI
3 Doduo UD
3 Dodrio UD
1 Chansey HS
1 Blissey Prime

Trainers – 40

4 Pokémon Collector
4 N
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory
3 Tropical Beach

3 Switch
4 Pokémon Communication
4 Rare Candy
4 Defender
4 Junk Arm
3 Max Potion
1 Pokémon Catcher
2 Super Rod

Energy – 2

2 Rescue

The deck plays out pretty simply — get multiple Chandelure in play, apply 3 damage counters twice after retreating for free with Dodrio, and tank. I know it seems strange, but with 130 hp, no energy, and lots of free space for trainers, being able to tank with defender and max potion actually seems to make up pretty well for the fact that you only deal 60, maybe 90 damage per turn if you have 3 Chandelure in play. Being able to draw your hand to 7 at the end of every turn is also really sick, even if it does mean that a majority of players won’t be able to afford the multiple beaches.

I’ve only been able to play around 10 games with this list so far, but it’s worked out better than a few of my other attempts. Because the deck has a mediocre attack for psychic energy, I’ve tried variants that include spreading and devolving via Jirachi, and also a variant that relied more on trainer lock. Both options felt pretty clunky though, and only the energyless build has the consistency and speed that made me feel like I was playing with an actual competitive concept.

This list in general plays an okay game against most of the metagame with the tanking options, with a pretty poor result vs. trainer lock builds when your huge trainer engine dies out. It’s by far not my favorite concept to explore in Noble Victories, but this list should at least give you a starting point for how to explore the deck’s concept. It’s getting a lot of hype, and while I don’t necessarily buy it all, I feel it’s at least worth sleeving up and testing out before it’s too late.

Last but not least is Kyurem, the by far most hyped card from Noble Victories, and in my opinion rightfully so. Kyurem’s spread 30 attack is one that the many players (including myself) aren’t prepared for, and the first decks to learn how to abuse it will see a good amount of success this cities season.

There isn’t much to say about Kyurem other than that decks that can find a way to abuse his three energy attack are strong. 30 damage spread puts your opponent on a fast clock to death if they run a deck with any kind of evolutions, and smartly managing your spread vs. the higher HP decks like Zekrom is pretty easy when you have access to high HP and an outrage attack of your own.

Like Chandeulre, there are multiple ways to approach this, but so far in my testing I at least have found one route that I like best: Electrode Prime. By sacrificing an Electrode Prime, you scan the top 7 cards of your deck and attach any energy you find there. Even if you only hit 1-2 energy, I’ve found that just getting Kyurem going as quickly as possible is worth the risk (as opposed to the slightly more obvious Feraligatr combo, which is slower to setup and prone to Catcher).

Beyond just using Kyurem Electrode, I’ve built two different lists that aim to abuse Kyurem’s spread attack in different ways. The first is a turbo build:

Pokémon – 19

4 Kyurem NVI

4 Voltorb TM
3 Electrode Prime

4 Yanma TM
3 Yanmega Prime
1 Cleffa HS

Trainers – 27

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Professor Juniper
3 N
2 Copycat


4 Pokémon Communication
3 Junk Arm
3 Eviolite
2 Research Record
2 Pokémon Catcher

Energy – 14

6 W

4 Rainbow
4 Rescue

The concept of the deck is straightforward — apply fast spread pressure across the board with an early Kyurem, and then use the free attacker Yanmega to clean up prizes while you regroup another Kyurem after the first one falls. While many builds aim to capitalize on Electrode’s prize fallback with Twins, this one just aims to set up as consistently as possible and shift the lead in your favor as soon as possible.

You don’t really suffer many bad matchups. You set up pretty well while still under Trainer Lock, and you deal a lot of pretty simple, straightforward damage really quickly. It succeeds really well in applying pressure within the first turns of the game, which in itself fits the currently established pace of a quick, cutthroat metagame.

It’s a fast stock list that has room for a ton of improvements and techs, but for now it should serve as a good way to get a feel for Kyurem’s spread attack in conjunction with Electrode.

The second list that I’ve been working on aims to use Kyurem more tactically:

Pokémon – 22

4 Kyurem NVI
4 Voltorb TM
3 Electrode Prime
3 Oddish UD
2 Gloom UD
2 Vileplume UD
1-1 Darkrai & Cresselia LEGEND

1 Cleffa HS
1 Jirachi UL

Trainers – 24

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Twins
4 Sage’s Training
4 N
4 Pokémon Communication
4 Rare Candy

Energy – 14

7 W

4 Rainbow
2 P
1 Double Colorless

This deck, based on concepts from several different lists played at Regionals after the event was over (this list uses a lot of suggestions made by Michael Weldon) aims to abuse Kyurem’s spread capabilities more than simply overwhelming with damage. Jirachi and DCL aim to take your spread damage into prizes in a more efficient manner — by either distributing your spread damage to big targets to grab 1HKOs in important places, or by devolving any evolutions and saving multiple turns of spread damage.

Vileplume provides a nice lock from 1HKOing Kyurem from most decks in the format, while also locking your opponent out from access to evolutions before you spread them to death.

This deck also aims to abuse the Electrode and Twins for setup to get the early Rare Candy + Vileplume as soon as possible. Not only does this make an early Vileplume on turn 2 more common than ever, but it also lets you deny other Trainer Lock decks of using their own Twins to set up!

The nature of the deck — spreading before taking multiple prizes in a row, also plays perfectly with the two come-from-behind Supporters out there — Twins and N. With spread damage, you can be effectively “winning” a game despite being down in prizes, allowing you to disrupt harder with N than the board position really shows.

So far both lists have performed well for me. The turbo list sets up more consistently, but the lock list has stronger options. I recommend you try both and see how you like it. So far in my testing, spreading 30 to your opponent’s entire field so quickly is strong against every deck in the format.

I know that my analysis isn’t as in depth on these lists as I usually like to go into, but like most of you, I haven’t had too much time to play new lists! I do a majority of my free-time testing on PTCGO, and the new cards have only been available for distribution online for less than a full week. Combined with my testing with proxied decks with friends, I feel like these are some of the most interesting and viable decks to come from Noble Victories.

Until my next article (one week from now — any suggestions on a deck you’d really like done in depth, or a concept explored that hasn’t been touched yet?), I’ll be testing hard this Thanksgiving break in my free time. While our format still isn’t perfect, playing with new decks is the most fun I’ve had playing in this format for a long time.

If any of my lists update over the week, or if I just try a new concept involving these Pokémon, I’ll post it promptly in the comments section to let you know how things are playing out.

That’s all for today — good luck getting the edge in testing for Noble Victories decks before the all-important City Championships season!


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