Hello again everyone. Hopefully you’ve all been able to have some success at Cities so far, and haven’t gotten too aggravated over the sometimes very annoying variance this format seems to throw at players. I know way too many good players who have gone 4-2, 3-3, or even worse at a number of events this year, despite playing the same decks that either they have won with previously, or players at that same event succeeded with.
I know it is common place for people to complain when they lose that they got unlucky, and I know it is equally popular for other players to say that you can overcome luck with preparation and skill, and I am usually in the latter camp. Unfortunately, the more I play this format, the less I feel like I am really in full control. To be fair, this sentiment is always in place for most trading card game formats.
You can do your best, and you can certainly do a lot to influence the results of a performance, but there are legitimately a number of games which are foregone conclusions, regardless of who is on either end of the game, and that can provide a very frustrating experience. Even the games I win, I seldom get the sensation that I played such a great game that I really outplayed my opponent. I merely get the sense of relief that my deck drew better than theirs and I won.
I don’t find myself in many situations where I have to play super tight Pokémon in order to pull out a close game. The tough game states still somewhat offer up their own solutions. I’m not sure what I’d suggest as a solution to this format’s issues, but for every time I miss sleeving up a deck and throwing down at my local card shop, I certainly feel like I picked a good time to step away from the grind of competitive Pokémon.
- No Grind, Take it Easy
- What gives Nintendo?
- Oh where, oh where is my Tropical Beach?
- Reprint, or not to reprint? That is the question.
- Price Flux
- Shut Up Already!
- Feraligatr Kyurem
- Emboar Reshiram
- Typhlosion Reshiram
- Yanmega Magnezone
- The Truth
- Six Corners
- Kyurem Cobalion Electrode
- Vanilluxe Vileplume Victini
Pokemon ParadijsThe stress of having to push for as many points as possible is something I am glad to not have crushing down on my shoulders anymore, no matter how much I enjoy the experience of playing the game itself.
Now, that being said, I still remain active in the game, not only so I can provide the readers and members of the Underground with good content, but for other reasons as well. First, I can’t ever just really step away. This game is a huge part of my life. I’ve been playing it for literally half of my life, more when you consider that most of the stuff up to about age 8 doesn’t really count.
Even though it took me a few years to decide that it was best for me not to continue the grind, I still do, and always will, have a deep seeded love of this game, and not only do I know I’d never be able step away entirely, but I know I’d never want to. I have too many friends, and memories with this game, and even not being as actively involved in it, I still enjoy following what happens with it.
I guess after 12 years straight of doing this, I finally managed to burn myself out. In addition to this, I’m not sure I COULD step away entirely, simply because all of my friends force me to help them with their decks anyways, and apparently linking them to various tier 1 Magic deck lists when they ask me “what the best deck in the format is” only deters them a little bit before I get hit with “No seriously, what should I play?” so rather than fight it, I cave in and suggest things. In addition to that, I really do enjoy playing on Pokémon Online…
Pokemon Paradijs… Which requires I branch off on a slight tangent I guess. Nintendo REALLY needs to get their things together and work out the kinks for it. Not only has it been months of play without any improvements being implemented, we have very little information regarding what type of structure we can expect for the improved non-beta version.
I wish we had a more clear idea of their vision regarding this game, especially considering the amount of time and money some of us are putting into the game. While I use it quite a bit, I still log nothing compared to the number of hours players like Pooka and Jason Klaczynski put on it.
More importantly, I wish they would fix the glitches. Eviolite is one of the most game changing cards to be released out of the new set, and warps the metagame. Well, unfortunately, it doesn’t WORK on PTCGO, so all of that impact is negated, which makes playtesting on the program near worthless because a major factor is simply gone.
I’ve been using Kyurem Feraligatr Prime on there a lot, and the deck has been crushing everything because one of the primary “answers” to Glaciate spread is Eviolite, especially in ZPS, and well, that counter measure can’t be played, so instead I get skewed results. Now, I’m not going to stop Glaciating since its winning, but it would certainly be nice to have the real format line up with the online one.
It shouldn’t even be that hard from a programming perspective! It literally replicates an effect already programmed into Defender…they got the “stays attached” part right, and the “only works on a Basic” part down, but the already available coding they screwed up? That is just annoying.
Even if it was a mere oversight, look how long its been since the set went live. There is no excuse from a company this large for fixes not to be implemented yet. As I’ve said in previous rants, we aren’t talking about some smaller company trying to break into video games… this is a game owned by NINTENDO, one of the leading video game companies from the past 3 decades. Stupid programming blunders like this are less excusable.
pokemon-paradijs.comNow, we have another major issue to address as well. We need access to Tropical Beach online. I understand that the card is hard to obtain in real life even, but the card is being played in a pretty hefty number of decks now, and a lot of them suffer pretty substantially if they do not have access to it, so again we are stuck with an inaccurate representation of how decks perform online.
Now, that being said, I’m less angry about this than I am about all the glitches, simply because I’m not really sure how I would go about introducing the card online. It could either be available at a fairly high cost in booster credits, or perhaps when the non-beta goes live, it could be offered as a prize for tournaments. Win one of the online tournaments, and get X booster credits and a Tropical Beach?
This keeps it exclusive and keeps with the spirit of its worlds release, but also means that the players who are competitive enough to really demand the card are able to earn it. Another idea would be to include it “randomly” as a chase card in packs, perhaps one in every few boxes of any set, which would certainly provide incentive to getting people to open more packs.
If they do decide to offer the card as prize support for the online tournaments, they could even “stamp” the card with what place the player finished in what type of respective tournament, similar to how they were stamped at Worlds. I know they desired to compensate players from the closed beta for however much time they logged in the game, so with open beta they could even give out Tropical Beach “Staff” cards to those who put in a set period of time in beta as a reward.
pokemon-paradijs.comSadly, while those solutions are all valid and I have faith that the issue will eventually be addressed, the issue of what to do with Tropical Beach in terms of actual printed cards is a far more difficult task to address. I know I’ve ranted before on my dislike of Yanmega Prime getting reprinted (even though Yanmega is a far worse card now than it was months ago, so the impact is even lessened as I’m sure the price of the card would have come down quite a bit by now already) and my stance is somewhat similar to mine on Tropical Beach.
This game is not only a game, but something to collect. People who do choose to invest in rarer items do so with the knowledge that a card is available in certain ways, and thus it has a stagnant rarity, which offers a comparable value. If you trade for a rare card at a higher value, the next print run isn’t going to feature it as a common, for example.
I object to the reprinting of valuable cards because it really screws with the secondary market, and betrays consumer trust when you do “suck it up” and drop a lot of money on a more expensive card. With the economy as it is, disposable income is already low, and with the demographic of players who play this game, most do not have a lot of it.
Buying Pokémon cards is often excused because, worst case scenario, they can be sold off for a good percentage of the price they were bought at, generally. This “safety net” inspires consumer confidence, especially when they aren’t sure if they should be spending money on cards.
Now, I understand, especially with the Tropical Beach scenario, that there really is a need for the card to have increased circulation. But they really need to do this SOON. My biggest issue with the Yanmega re-release was with how long it was done after the initial printing. I didn’t mind the various tin-ing of cards from sets because they happen roughly about the same time that they sets were released, so players had a general knowledge that the cards would be tinned when the set came out.
Pokemon ParadijsPlus, the prices of the cards were already volatile due to the initial “new set” hype so nothing was close to set in stone yet. Releasing specific valuable cards from a set over a year after the fact is a suspect decision, as it then casts doubt over ANY valuable card. It would be like having the U.S. Treasury release an additional “held back” print run of “limited edition” coins from 1960 after the collectible had 50 years to establish their worth.
While I know there is no requirement for Nintendo to behave any certain way with the release of its product, the game is marketed as a collectible and I think it is a bit irresponsible to the games collectors to do this. I don’t collect, I’m primarily a player, and I’m sure most of the people on this site are too, but people buy this game for a number of different reasons, and the challenge for Nintendo is to offer things to all demographics without alienating others, and I think the Yanmega decision was a poor one.
Now how am I going to relate this to Tropical Beach? Well, acknowledging it needs a reprint, I’d like to see at least an announcement regarding what, if anything, is going to be done about it. The longer they wait, the more people assume it is safe to invest in the card, and pay huge prices for the limited supply. The longer they wait, the more people they burn with the release.
I know some people suggested including a copy in with the World Championships decks, which would have been an awesome idea. I think they could have been included as a tournament prize, either for Cities or Regionals. The idea of it being a random “chase card” in boosters would be fine even. OR! More importantly? Change the policy regarding foreign printed cards. Allow the use of other language cards and suddenly we have a vast influx of available Tropical Beach cards which can be used.
There are a lot of different solutions, but of course, what we are given instead is silence and no answer at all. You’ll see how much use Tropical Beach gets in the deck lists I’m going to include, so I really do think we need to know what’s going to happen. If there will not be a re-release, at least say so, that way people can buy their copies now.
Anyways, let’s get to the actual content, shall we, and leave the ranting behind. I had a blast of a time judging Regionals, and I wanted to congratulate all of the players who did well at Great Lakes, and around the country. The Championship Points earned there will be huge towards qualifying for Worlds. I wanted to give a great shout out and thanks to Derek Farber, AJ Schumacher, and all of the others who helped out at Great Lakes for an awesome tournament. It is always great to watch a large tournament go so smoothly.
Anyways, I’ve said this countless times, but a player’s season is often determined by their performance at Cities. It was always the biggest point in the year for me, and required me to hit up 2 Cities pretty much every weekend just to stay competitive. Unless you plan on expecting yourself to just run super hot for a small number of tournaments, you really need to aim for volume.
Especially with the “take the best 5 performances” effect, you really need to aim for 5 wins. I know one player, who through attending marathons, will be playing in over 20 Cities.
I know in the past years, it determined how you approached States and Regionals. If you had a really high rating, you had the option of merely aiming for points over a high place finish, so it changed how you approached events. Now, thanks to the much needed fix in the invite structure, that’s not an issue, but getting a bulk of CPs from Cities is still huge. Cities also comes at a beautiful time: Right after a new set release.
This means that a majority of players will likely be “behind” in the first few events, their decks not quite ideal yet as players struggle to grasp the new format. This is when top players who put in a lot of effort have a real edge until players start to copy whats winning and the deck choice edge you could experience starts to drift away. The first few Cities are the easiest to snipe wins at if you really are on top of the format.
Unfortunately, we are past that point by the time this gets printed. Things will likely be quite cutthroat by this point, as individual little metagames have already developed. So enough talk, let’s hit up some of the decks.
Pokemon ParadijsYes, I know its “ZPST” by now, as Tornadus plays a pretty major role in the deck, but it’ll always be a simple ZPS to me, especially now that the focus is back on Zekrom due to Eviolite. Let me be the first to say that the format is still rather wide open at the moment, and debate over what the “best deck” is is still raging. It doesn’t appear that we have a clear-cut front-runner, but to me, I think if I had to play anything, I’m liking ZPS.
It is the fastest deck, it can steal games, it has a great match play advantage, and it is now durable due to Eviolite. I also feel that a lot of people underestimate the deck, and take for granted that most of the top players seem hesitant to play the deck. I’ve had a ton of conversations with good players who propose new deck ideas to me, and I ask them how its ZPS game is, and they tell me “Eh, pretty bad, but it’s great vs the rest of the field!” and that just seems to be a concession people are willing to make.
It seems that they either assume weaker players will lose with the deck anyways, or other players will play stuff to knock the deck out? The format is pretty wide open, so a loss to any specific deck is a legitimate write off, but it seems this deck is a popular one to have. I think people really underestimate just how good the archetype has gotten since it received in the initial stigma of being a flukely donk deck at the start of this format. Even now, I see a plethora of different approaches which can be taken towards building this deck.
First and foremost, we have the “traditional” build, which pretty much uses the “old” list with Pachirisu and Shaymin to aim to get a fast, aggressive Zekrom or Tornadus going as soon as the first turn. The deck always had a speed edge, but now it doesn’t taper off due to Eviolite, so the deck has some underestimated longevity.
Pokemon ParadijsNext up, we have to address what has turned out to be the rising star of Noble Victories: Eelektrik. The card is insane. It has Typhlosion Prime’s Power on a Stage 1, without dealing damage (ok, so it can’t attach to the Active, it matters but it’s still an insane Ability) and just so happens to be Energy acceleration in the best type available right now, Lightning. Eelektrik offers the deck energy acceleration above and beyond Pachirisu that continues over the course of the whole game.
Eelektrik’s biggest issue is that it is frail and easily taken out with Catcher and such, but this is very hard to do when Zekrom is applying so much early pressure. I’ve seen a few builds involving Eelektrik. I’ve seen one build using a full 4-4 line, and I’ve seen some using thinner lines ranging from 1-1 to 2-2. Now, I’m not sure which approach I like.
The 4-4 line seems to accept that it isn’t going to be using Pachirisu and Shaymin so much to get a fast start, and just aims for a more powerful mid and late game, which well, swarming Zekroms admittedly do offer. The thinner line ones seem to offer a hybrid approach, trying for a quick start while also keeping a good late game. I’m not really too sure which build I like best, but I’ll offer lists for all of them here.
Also, I will not be including a list for it, but some builds have tried to add in Lanturn Prime as another late game attacker. It helps with type coverage, and Lanturn can really overpower a game too. It just goes to show how many great, splashable attackers Lightning has available to it at the moment. Now, let’s get to lists!
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 32
Energy – 15
The last Supporter, and theoretically the Pokégear, are a bit expendable. I’d make sure to use them for consistency cards, to give the deck some reach, as it definitely matters that the deck can handle some late game disruption such as N, especially as the card gets more and more popular. 15 Energy has proven perfect for me.
Pokemon ParadijsYou want to optimize the number of non Shaymin/Pachi starts you get, which is why you not only get the full 4-4 Zekron Torny line, but the one Tyrogue. Tyrogue gives you a free retreating basic who also can be a good turn one attacker. He is very strong with PlusPower, and can definitely get some cheap turn one kills. Beyond that, he is great at putting free damage on Pokémon during turns you cannot attack otherwise, so I like him.
The other option is to go with Cleffa, as an “anti N “ precaution, and another consistency booster, which isn’t bad. I used to run both, but now that I have to fit in Eviolite, I had to make some cuts somewhere, and one of the spots had to go. I really like 4 PlusPower too, as the cards get better the more copies of them you run. They also make Tyrogue better for the cheap turn one kill, so perhaps without the four PlusPower, Cleffa is just a better inclusion than Tyrogue, but I think it is certainly debatable.
3 Eviolite and 2 Defender definitely give the deck some late game power, and work great in conjunction with each other, giving Zekrom the inflated 170 HP, and 0 self-damage from Bolt Strike. The last thing the deck does need is an answer to “Trainer Lock” decks, although I’m a fan of just winning off of stolen games, and time, and then just winning in match play, but if you expect a lot of Trainer Lock decks, there are options you can run to help there.
Be glad Gothitelle is pretty much out of the format now though. Vileplume decks are still pretty popular though. You can run Bellsprout TM to bring up Vileplume or Reuniclus repeatedly. You can run Rocky Helmet or Druddigon NVI, but those don’t really answer threats like Donphan. One of the better options is actually Lanturn, as being able to turn Water lets him score OHKOs on Donphan, and against other various tanks, can theoretically do 230 damage. :P
Pokemon ParadijsOne of the issues Vileplume decks have is that they may “lock down” games, but they can’t really interfere in your game, so you can actually orchestrate stupid, clunky, absurd plays to beat their game plan. If you really want to beat Donphan and Cobalion, for example, you COULD run Suicune & Entei LEGEND with a Fire Energy to deal with both, as you often have all the time in the world to set up your counter plan.
Now, this of course means you have to devote a lot of spots in the deck towards the end, so it’s probably not worth it, especially when this particular build does care about getting aggressive starts.
I do want to address a fun little gimmick I had tried prior to the new set with ZPS. I had tried the Mew Prime build to beat Gothitelle, and I actually, at one point, ran 1 Gengar Prime, and a Lost World as a way to beat Vileplume decks, and well, it actually worked really well. Start with Mew, See Off Gengar, and I actually would win a lot of games off of Lost World vs them.
Now, I don’t recommend actually doing this, but sometimes you can still learn things from just being overly adventurous in testing. I think some variations with Bellsprout may be the safest route here.
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 31
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 14
Pokemon ParadijsI’m not sure on which Tynamo to play. Traditionally I like the 40 HP guy to avoid Tyrogue, and Kyurem kills, and its tougher to donk by a little, but the 30 HP one has free retreat, so it helps you get better starts, and it also lets you “float” something active for when you want to use Dynamotor to power your guys, so I actually may be leaning towards the 30 HP one for this deck.
You get less Tornadus in this build, as you are able to keep pumping out Zekrom, so the ability to “conserve” energy with its attack matters less. Zekrom hits harder, so he gets the focus, and while I think I’d still like a 3rd or 4th Tornadus even, there simply isn’t room for him. I go with Sage’s Training in this deck because you benefit from discarding your Energy and its an additional means by which to dump Lightning outside of Junk Arm and Juniper in the first few turns so a 2nd turn Dynamotor can enable an attack.
Perhaps with Eel, N is better, because you get the Typhlosion benefit of being self-sufficient once you set up, but with only a 2-2 line, and wanting to be really aggressive still, I think I prefer Sage, but that may be incorrect.
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 31
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 12
Pokemon ParadijsN replaces PONT here because you eventually get a bunch of Eels out, and you don’t really need the cards if the disruptive upside is high enough. Again, both of these lists are without real answers to beating Vileplume, so you can try and add some cards to help there, but N actually is alright against them, if you can disrupt them and cut off their healing cards.
Unfortunately it doesn’t give you a large window because they get to use Tropical Beach, so you have to catch them being greedy with their healing and hope you can overload them for a prize.
NEXT UP? MORE LIGHTNING! AND MORE EELS! I really, REALLY like Magnezone at the moment. I mean, ask anyone who knows me, and I guess it is fair to say I ALWAYS really like Magnezone, which is true. Its consistency and a huge attack all in one Pokémon, so what isn’t to like? Anyways, the deck uses Magnezone and Eelektrik to power out a ton of energy and score a ton of kills.
This is the deck I have built in real life, and to be fair, I don’t own a ton of cards anymore, but I kept my playset of Magnezone Prime for sure! I also learned the hard way that you want more than 2-2 Eels, because uh, they die a lot, and then I’m stuck.
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 28
Energy – 15
Thundurus is a good opener with Eelektrik, as it lets you have a turn 2 attacker (think Yanmega in Megazone) and also accelerates getting energy into the discard pile for Eel to start getting Magnezone going. With this list, the cards I want more of are N, Switch, Junk Arm and Pokémon Catcher, adding 1 to each of their counts is probably ideal. I may want a Super Rod too, in case even 3-3 Eel gets hunted, but it may be safe.
I don’t worry about having a deck entirely weak to Fighting, because, well, no one runs Fighting at the moment, and if they do, a pretty good tech card against that would be Magnezone Prime, which we run 3 of, as well, 150-200 damage is pretty darn good! The deck has a ton of raw power, and plays very much like Magneboar, only with needing a few Stage 1s in play instead of a Stage 2.
Now, I’m not sure which I like better, as I actually have a pretty good new list for Magneboar as well, which I’ll share next. The issue with Eel Magnezone is that you rely almost exclusively on Lost Burn for kills (and is one of the reasons I like Thundurus in here as a backup attacker, at least stealing a few cheap kills with Catcher) so you CAN just run out of Energy.
I played against the “Six Corners” deck, which pretty much only runs 130 HP basics, and well, I went 1-1, and the one win I decked them, and the other game I got smashed, because I simply didn’t RUN enough Energy to actually KO 6 Pokémon with 130 HP. The big thing with this deck is you need to kind of map out, in your head, how you plan on taking your 6 prizes, because sometimes you can back yourself into a corner.
Make sure you have all of the needed Junk Arms and the Catcher for cheap kills if the game state evolves into one where you may be pressured on Energy allocations for Lost Burn. The deck is fairly straight forward, but you can lose some close games due to mismanagement, so make sure you get really familiar with the deck.
Magneboar does have some good back up plans which make it valid.
Pokémon – 18
Trainers – 27
Energy – 15
Pokemon ParadijsMagnezone Prime loves N, and in this deck, late game N plus any number of powerful attackers should be enough to win a game. Twins and Tropical Beach give you some awesome plays, and help you work towards simply getting Magnezone out early. I’d love a 3rd Beach, as it is better than a Supporter in here. A Pokémon Catcher would be great too, as would a 2nd Switch, and a 4th Junk Arm.
I used to have 2 Reshiram, but I actually dislike it quite a bit right now, as “120” doesn’t pack the same punch it used to. It’s bad vs Trainer Lock decks, and Yanmega has dropped off the face of the format. In addition, ZPS, and other Reshiram decks have Eviolite now, so the 120 becoming 100 just makes it pretty weak in most matchups. It’s still worth keeping a copy, but overall it’s not worth running 2 any more.
On a side note, I know Typhlosion Magnezone has done well at a few Cities so far, and I was unaware of the deck, so I actually do NOT have a list for that yet, but I get the idea. I don’t know if I like the self-damaging part, but it does give you a slightly more resilient game plan.
While on the Fire/Magnezone train, I’m not sure what I think of RDL anymore. The card may be in a good spot for a comeback, actually, even though I wasn’t a fan of it before. The card suffered against Gothitelle pretty badly, and it didn’t really shine in a lot of other matchups and I do still kinda regard it as a “win more” card, but there are definitely some decks which can’t really answer it, and it just preys on them.
I still won’t run it, but its a card worth looking at. Kyurem, for example, is a pretty rough matchup for a lot of Stage 2 complex set up decks, and RDL chews through Kyurem pretty well.
SPEAKING OF KYUREM!
I love this deck, but am a little bit biased. It lets you continually pump out Glaciation, and Gatr Prime is a great secondary attacker. I found it having issues against two decks, being Durant, and uh, most stuff with Cobalion. I found a solution to this with Suicune & Entei LEGEND, as it provides a reliable Fire type attacker that Feraligatr can power. It also allows you to snipe Reuniclus, which is a pain to deal with when spreading damage.
After Glaciate, it can snipe for enough to kill most benched Pokémon, and it allows lets you KO Chansey, to stop Blissey Prime from just hosing you. I really feel like it was the final piece of the puzzle towards making this deck tier 1, and it has plenty of just free wins available to it.
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 29
Energy – 14
Ok, I really hate this deck at the moment. I see no reason to continue playing it as strictly better alternatives are out there now. Reshiram is weak at the moment, and the deck is actually clunkier without Magnezone, which is funny since the original idea is to make it “streamlined” by cutting the Magnezone.
The deck is also weak to N, and can’t abuse it, so I’d rather use Magneboar. Some decks here I’ll address because they exist, and people want to hear about them, but I don’t update lists to decks I deem no longer in contention for a tier 1 position.
Pokemon ParadijsAlright, I always considered Durant to be a bit of a joke deck, or one that was able to score cheap wins, but the more I thought about it, the more people told me it was legitimate, and the more I watched it play, the more I actually think the deck is somewhat legitimate. It does admittedly grow weaker the more people prepare for and expect it since they can tech for it, and make sure to have strategies lined up to beat it, but at the moment it is pretty well off!
I know it has won a few Cities so far, and it has a pile of really favorable matchups. Anything that cannot do 100 damage every turn once set up will really struggle against it. Stage 1s will have issues, and decks like Yanmega Magnezone have issues too because while Magnezone can do it, the discard requirements are challenging, and the deck is very weak to having its resources milled away.
Lost Remover, Crushing Hammer, and Pokémon Catcher make it very disruptive, and every turn it buys is crucial towards winning a game. The deck always just abuses the Trainer Lock decks, and if Gothitelle were popular, it would be almost impossible for it to beat the ants.
The challenge is also not getting all of your Durants prized, so you get stuck running Alph Lithograph and Rotom UD. These ideally get you some liberated ants as quickly as possible. Anyways, here is a fairly basic list for the deck, and its one which I feel I want to test more as I just recently began to respect it as a viable choice. It still has time troubles in match play though, but like Lost World there isn’t really much you can do about this.
Supporter-wise, we get Collector (with its non-Supporter friend Dual Ball!) and Professor Oak’s New Theory, Juniper, Cheren, and the easy to abuse Twins and N in the deck. Both of the last two abuse the fact that you don’t ever take prizes. N seems counterintuitive at times, but there are turns where it actually can force them to draw cards early, and late game, it can be used to about break even, but refill your hand and mess with their potential stockpiling.
It’s best when used with Catcher and or one of the Energy Removals, as it can buy extra turns and net more milling than the number of cards you may have shuffled in. It’s a bit of a finesse card in this deck, but its strong.
Pokémon – 8
Trainers – 43
Energy – 9
Pokemon ParadijsChandelure is one of those decks which is really just starting to gain popularity, and also one of those decks in the front of my mind when I mentioned the need to do something about Tropical Beach. There are two different approaches for this deck, one which uses 40-ish Trainers, and abuses Switch, Rocky Helmet, Defender, and a quicker Chandelure presence. The other uses Vileplume for Trainer Lock, and a slower clock, but more disruption, and a higher ability to abuse Lampent’s Lure attack.
I know a lot of people are pretty into the Vileplume build, and I may be wrong, but the deck has always struck me as being slow and clunky, and a lot of games I found it get somewhat overwhelmed before it could really re-take the game. Poor healing options comparatively (no access to Max Potion primarily) and a slower clock (max 2 Ability uses per turn opposed to 3, and if you are lucky, 4, due to Switches).
For those entirely unfamiliar with the deck, it swarms 130 HP Chandelures, using Dodrio UD to reduce the card’s retreat cost by 2, thus making it free. You alternate between the high hit point Pokémon, spreading a ton of damage counters without using attacks ever.
You can spread the damage without taking prizes, so Twins and N net you full value. Also, since attacks rarely if ever get used (some builds don’t even run the sufficient number of Energy to attack with Chandelure at all) you can abuse Tropical Beach, making sure you fill your hand to 7 every turn, while also “effectively” attacking each turn.
Pokemon ParadijsI’ve seen people try to run Yanmega to reinforce the bench damaging presence, while also requiring no Energy in the deck, but its clunky and unnecessary in my opinion, and it pretty much just could be replaced by a 3rd Chandelure.
Now, a card that I haven’t seen used in these decks yet, and one I think is perfect for it, is actually Smeargle UD, a card that hasn’t really seen any play in quite some time, despite at one point being a highly sought after card. I don’t think you want to/can afford to run a full play set to use as a “starter,” but at least 1 inclusion seems too good not to include.
Without Unown Q, Smeargle’s value had dropped off, but we run 2 Dodrio, and a bunch of switches, so the card is easy to fit in. The “downside” of Smeargle sometimes would be hitting Judge or N and shuffling away your hand, but with Beach, that isn’t really much of a trap anymore. Plus, if you can catch them with a Twins stuck in hand, you can really go crazy.
With a deck aiming to get out 2+ Stage 2 Pokémon as soon as possible, having the ability to use multiple Supporters in the first turns of the game really allows the deck to kick into overdrive and set up faster. Anyways, here are my two lists for the deck, being turbo trainer, and then Vileplume.
Pokémon – 18
Trainers – 37
Energy – 5
Pokémon – 26
Trainers – 29
Energy – 5
Pokemon ParadijsThis is a deck I feel like I wouldn’t really want to be using now either, even though I guess I could always say that about the deck. The main problem is, I don’t like Reshiram much in this format. The cards 120 damage no longer preys on the Stage 1 Pokémon which are seeing less and less play. You either run into Basic Pokémon with Eviolite which the card now two hits, or into huge Stage 2s which it doesn’t one hit on its own.
Reshiram used to be one of the best attackers available, but now it winds up two shotting a lot of things. It is weak against the Trainer Lock decks as well, so I just don’t see the incentive to use a deck whose game plan is to primarily Reshiram swarm. At least Emboar builds gain access to a bigger attacker. I also feel like the perks of Typhlosion are offset a bit when Eelektrik offers them as a Stage 1, and oddly now has access to better attackers than Reshiram.
Nonetheless, I guess I’ll include my latest list, but I do not support using this deck, and the results from Cities thus far seem to agree with me as the deck has really taken a performance hit, offering its worst results in a long time.
Pokémon – 18
Trainers – 30
Energy – 12
The deck does benefit from getting N, as its biggest strength, the ability to be entirely self-sufficient once set up, is synergistic with N’s doubly disruptive mid and late game presence, and its a fairly natural inclusion.
This is another deck that went from being, in my eyes, a top tier competitor to being barely viable anymore. The deck doesn’t handle Eviolite very well at all, and all of the new huge HP basics really overwhelm it pretty quickly. I loved the deck as much as anyone else, but it just is outdated now, and primarily because Yanmega has really taken a dive in terms of viability as the power creep begins to overtake it. This deck suffers from all of the bench damage and spread effects, such as Chandelure and Kyurem too.
On top of this, Eelektrik variants of Magnezone are just more powerful, and seem to pretty much replace this deck as it isn’t really cutting edge any more. Nonetheless, here’s a list for it, if you really are feeling masochistic and want to use it anyways.
Pokémon – 18
Trainers – 30
Energy – 12
Well this is an interesting deck still, and I feel like it is simply the best Vileplume deck available at the moment, as decks like Vanilluxe and Chandelure seem like they try to do the same thing (tank a 130+ HP Pokémon and deny prizes while using stall tactics – be it healing or status – to overtake the game) only in a less definitive way. Reuniclus makes getting KOs near impossible, and with the proper attackers, the deck establishes a HARD lock opposed to the soft locks the other decks end up providing generally.
The Truth is also able to tech a ton of different attackers, so it is very difficult to tech against because it has such a flexible suite of attackers that it can mix things up enough. None the less, lets take a look at some of the attackers the deck has at its disposal:
Those seem to be the most popular ones, and I certainly could be overlooking things simply because there are so many potential choices. The original build opted to use SEL, Zekrom, and Donphan based on the metagame, but I think the Metal Pokémon are a bit better situated right now, so a Cobalion, and a Steelix seems ideal.
I like the Dragon Pokémon, and I actually think I prefer Reshiram to Zekrom at the moment, as Zekrom was originally used to deal with Yanmega, a card which is less used now by a large margin.
Kyurem is amazing as always, and provides the same role SEL does as the impossible KO for Typhlosion, and can take over many games in almost no time, so it gets the nod for sure as well. Let’s look at my most recent list…
Pokémon – 23
Trainers – 26
Energy – 11
Cobalion offers additional disruption to them attacking you, Kyurem can take over a game in short notice, while also doing so much damage against other Reuniclus decks that it can take over a game in short notice. Having cut SEL, Kyurem is now your primary plan in mirror match/Gothitelle (although both Cobalion and Steelix are huge there too) as you can no longer snipe the Reuniclus with SEL, but doing a likely 180 damage a turn should overload them.
The deck can adapt pretty well, being able to add whatever Pokémon it wants within reason, and all you have to do is tweak the energy count a little bit. This is my favorite choice for a “slower” deck, but even then it has issues against time and in match play, so I’m not entirely sold on the deck yet either.
I know different areas of the country (and in different countries!) that time limits for match play differ, so make sure to take your time limit into account when deciding if this is the deck you want to use.
A play on the old “Four Corners” deck of yesteryear, which ran a bunch of types to optimize its ability to play rock-paper-scissors, this deck was dubbed “Fat Fat Fatties” by local Magic player and part-time Pokémon casual Mike Williams, after being appalled by the fact that a local player was simply running 6 random huge Basics with no apparent theme outside of them being “fat.”
The newest set has offered us so many different huge HP beaters that it was only a matter of time before they all got shoved into a deck. Now, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this is probably not an optimal deck. The Pokémon are all good, but it seems to me that the deck could be streamlined, and have some cards added to enhance the synergy of the cards that it kept, rather than a fairly unfocused collection of cards.
That being said, the raw power of all the cards make it a strong deck that has won multiple Cities so far, even if I think that the best approach towards this deck isn’t even close to having been discovered. Let’s look at a list:
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 32
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 14
A lot of the lists I’ve seen only run 1 Shaymin, and if it is prized, or dies, the deck really struggles, so I sucked it up and added the 2nd, plus a Super Scoop Up as I feel the card is crucial to the deck.
The popular “base list” also runs 6 Grass!?!?! That seems really awful, as outside of the initial few turns, Virizion is rarely your go to attacker, and it is easy to disrupt, so I certainly don’t want to rely on that. I cut it down to 2, and added Water and Metal Energy as I seem to be using Kyurem and Cobalion the most, so their types got the nod.
I’d like to add in an Energy Search or two even to smooth out the fixing here a bit. Having played against the build with almost all Grass and Rainbows, I would go “Rainbow Hunting” and win games as a result of that. Now, with a more diversified Energy count, and the energy being retrievable with Super Rod, this game plan is thrown out the window.
The deck suffers a bit in that I feel its Trainer Lock game may be a bit iffy due to the inability of it to deal enough damage in one hit to break past the healing. Kyurem seems like your best bet, or to use Cobalion to pick on high retreat costs, but it seems that The Truth could be a very challenging matchup for this (and I will admit I have not tested the matchup directly, and this is primarily theory, but it seems rough).
The deck is great against Magnezone decks, as it overloads their Energy supply. If they run a good secondary attacker (like Bad Boar in Magneboar) they could beat you because they can score OHKOs easily against you and you don’t have energy acceleration.
Magnezone Eelektrik actually ran out of energy to kill things with for me, which was really embarrassing. I won a game of the matchup with the “Rainbow Hunter” plan and actually decked him, but the matchup felt bad simply because I ran out of gas in the long run.
Pokemon ParadijsOn a side note, this deck is actually pretty bad against Durant of all things. I haven’t heard too much about it, but I’d imagine the deck is pretty bad against Typhlosion too actually, especially the old 4 Rainbow build, because Typhlosion swarms should keep you fairly well in check, although Kyurem is admittedly insane against Fire decks, so maybe it’s enough?
This deck just goes to show you how insane Eviolite actually is. It takes a deck which would otherwise likely be a joke, but instead single-handedly turns it into what seems to be a tier 1 deck.
Alright, this seems to be similar to Six Corners, in that it just aims to abuse Kyurem and Cobalion, only it isn’t content being as slow, and is willing to blow up to try and gain speed and Energy presence. I actually think something like this may be a better approach in the long run, but I’m also not sure this deck is really fully developed yet. I’d much rather see all these basics have some form of energy manipulation, even if it isn’t used that much.
Even a think 2-2 Trode line may work as a mid-game recharge for the deck, making it harder for the deck to get exploited. I’d like to see a hybrid of this deck and Six Corners tested, where you get the type coverage of Six Corners, but the threat of Energy acceleration from this deck. Anyways, let’s actually get to the Kyurem Cobalion Electrode list.
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 29
Energy – 15
The deck can attack as early as turn two with big attacks, and has some longevity too. Cards like Super Rod, PlusPower, or Super Scoop Up seem interesting in here too, and can be tested out, but I’d also like to see a 2nd Switch, and maybe even a 4th Pokémon Communication (which I normally do not care for in primarily Basic decks, especially ones with only 16 total Pokémon, but a turn 2 Trode Prime is really powerful and perhaps worth the concession there).
I’m personally just impressed by how well Terrakion has worked in every deck I’ve seen it used in. The card reads extremely subpar, but ends up pulling its weight quite well. With Lightning being the new Fire (default best type in the format) it really preys on a lot of the best cards out there.
Pokemon ParadijsOk, now, I’m going to be blunt and say that I am very unfamiliar with this deck, but that is mainly because I really don’t like the deck. I see little reason to use it over The Truth ever, unless you have an unnatural NEED to make Victini useful, or really like ice cream (the 2nd one being a far more acceptable flaw). For all of the “locking” it does, The Truth seems to do it better.
I’ve seen players try to rely primarily on the Ice Cream Cones themselves, but I’ve also seen builds run Mew Prime in them, as a way to avoid having to use a swarm of stage 2 Pokémon all the time. I’ve even so far as to have seen Mew builds also include Pokémon with Agility type attacks to See Off as well… the plan being to “lock” them with Paralysis, and on the turn they go “vulnerable” with the KO, take the KO with Agility to give yourself a 75% chance of being invulnerable.
I actually don’t mind that play, and it validates the inclusion of Mew a bit more than just using a far more frail version of Vanilluxe since you have all the time in the world while locking them to set up more of the ice Pokémon.
I don’t have a list I consider to be any better (or even a respectable alternative) to the ones that are already available and likely covered by strong players who know the deck better than I do, so while I could simply cut and paste a list from one of those sources, I don’t like to do that.
This is another deck that has really taken a hit in popularity, and I think its likely going to stay in obscurity for a while now as this format doesn’t seem overly friendly towards it. Nonetheless, if this is the deck you want to play, I’ll show off my newest list for the deck.
The deck isn’t too well positioned because it has issues with Cobalion, Kyurem, Magnezone Prime, Vileplume decks, Durant, and time issues, but at the very least stands to gain some offensive power in the upcoming sets with the Gardevoir which makes all Psychic Energy provide 2 energy.
Gothitelle doing 110 damage for 2 Psychic is awesome, but not as awesome as being able to call a new deck involving Gardevoir “GG.”
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 33
Energy – 11
Now, the main changes… N is awesome in here. Super Rod is a great inclusion to get lines and energy back. I like the 2-1-2 Reuniclus line despite most people being paranoid and feeling 3-1-2 is necessary, and with this build it is especially true. If you fear the killing of Solosis when you bench it, wait until you get a Gothitelle active and then bench it, and after they hit Gothitelle, Rare Candy and you are good to go.
One of the common ways for decks to “beat” Gothitelle is to use Rocky Helmet or Druddigon to force it to take 20 damage before you can then attack it for 120 and the KO. Defender reduces that damage to 100, and still denies them that KO, so it completely negates that tech approach. It also screws with cards like Kingdra Prime, or even burn flips from say, Magby. So one Defender is just an awesome play in Gothitelle that many players won’t expect either.
Lastly, the Tornadus is a counter to Mew Prime, even if it is kinda a bad one. It may warrant a second DCE so you can do the “DCE Psychic on Tornadus, KO Mew, move Psychic to Gothitelle” and then play a DCE on Gothitelle to KO the 2nd Mew, but I dislike going below 10 Psychic Energy overall.
Anyways, those are pretty much all of the decks making splashes at Cities so far, so that should give you plenty of options as to what to play. I think ZPS is a great choice, as is The Truth, and various Magnezone decks. I think if you can tweak some hybrid Six Corners Electrode deck that it could also be huge. A lot of the decks from pre-NVI are simply outclassed now, so “sticking to what you know” is unlikely to pay off in this format.
Anyways, good luck with Cities this year, and with my next article, I hope that this new rogue deck I am working on turns out to have as much promise as it currently seems to be showing, so PERHAPS I’ll have something extra special next time, but don’t crucify me if I am wrong. O:)
Happy testing, and good luck!
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