The Hawk’s Nest: City Midterms

Hey all. So, I got through my first semester of finals. Now I have about a month to chill and get back to having some fun. Hopefully, I will have played in my first City Championship by the time this gets put up; as of the writing of this article I have not. It is the week of the 12th and I want to go over some numbers with y’all. I will also be talking a little bit about the results and the decks. Let’s get going.

City Results (so far)

As I did with the Battle Road results, I have been compiling the City Top 4 results in a spreadsheet. Hopefully, at the end of the City Championship season this will give us more data about certain matchups, but for now we will stay on the aggregate level. Here is a list of decks that have scored multiple top four finishes along with the total number of top four finishes for each.

Top 4 Finishes

  1. Magnezone/Eelektrik – 48
  2. ZPST – 44
  3. TyRam – 34
  4. Cobalion, Kyurem, Electrode (aka CaKE/CoKE) – 23
  5. Chandelure (w/ and w/o Vileplume) – 23
  6. The Truth (basically anything with Vileplume/Reuniclus) – 19
  7. Durant – 16
  8. Zekrom/Eelektrik – 15
  9. 6C (Virizion, Cobalion, Terrakion, Zekrom, Reshiram, Kyurem) – 11
  10. Donphan and Dragons – 10
  11. Magnezone/Yanmega – 9
  12. Lanturn/Eelektrik – 9
  13. Gothitelle – 6
  14. VVV (Vanilluxe, Vileplume, Victini – some w/ Mew) – 6
  15. Mew/Vileplume – 4
  16. Kyurem/Feraligatr – 4
  17. Stage 1s – 4
  18. Donphan/Machamp/Vileplume – 4
  19. Terrakion/Yanmega/Zoroark/Tornadus – 4
  20. ReshiBoar – 3
  21. Donphan/Machamp – 2
  22. Yanmega/Mew/Cinccino/Stuff – 2

If you were to stop and do a quick analysis here, this is how we would break it down.

Tier 1

Magnezone/Eelektrik
ZPST

Tier 1.5

TyRam

Tier 2

Cobalion, Kyurem, Electrode (aka CaKE/CoKE)
Chandelure (w/ and w/o Vileplume)
The Truth (basically anything w/ Vileplume/Reuniclus)
Durant
Zekrom/Eelektrik
6C (Virzion, Cobalion, Terrakion, Zekrom, Reshiram, Kyurem)
Donphan and Dragons

Tier 3

Magnezone/Yanmega
Lanturn/Eelektrik
Gothitelle
VVV (Vanilluxe, Vileplume, Victini – some with Mew)
Mew/Vileplume
Kyurem/Feraligatr
Stage 1
Donphan/Machamp/Vileplume
ReshiBoar
Yanmega/Mew/Cinccino/Stuff
Terrakion/Yanmega/Zoroark/Tornadus
Donphan/Machamp

However, this does not tell the whole story. So, let’s take a look at top two finishes:

Top 2 Finishes

  1. Magnezone/Eelektrik – 31
  2. ZPST – 25
  3. TyRam – 12
  4. Chandelure (w/ and w/o Vileplume) – 12
  5. Cobalion, Kyurem, Electrode (aka CaKE/CoKE) – 10
  6. The Truth (basically anything w/ Vileplume/Reuniclus) – 10
  7. 6C (Virzion, Cobalion, Terrakion, Zekrom, Reshiram, Kyurem) – 8
  8. Donphan and Dragons – 7
  9. Zekrom/Eelektrik – 6
  10. Durant – 6
  11. Lanturn/Eelektrik – 6
  12. Magnezone/Yanmega – 5
  13. Gothitelle – 4
  14. Mew/Vileplume – 2
  15. ReshiBoar – 2
  16. VVV (Vanilluxe, Vileplume, Victini – some w/ Mew) – 2
  17. Kyurem/Feraligatr – 2
  18. Stage 1s – 2
  19. Terrakion/Yanmega/Zoroak/Tornadus – 2

It is safe to say that if you stopped and did your analysis here there would still be two very clear Tier 1 decks: Magnezone/Eelektrik and ZPST. However, tyRam is caught by the rest of the previously established Tier 2 pack. I would just move tyRam into the Tier 2 set with all the other decks that have 10 or more top 2 finishes. Then everything else would be Tier 3. But, let’s move on and look at outright championship victories. Here is everything with at least two first place finishes.

First Place Finishes

  1. Magnezone/Eelektrik – 18
  2. ZPST – 14
  3. The Truth (basically anything w/ Vileplume/Reuniclus) – 8
  4. Chandelure (w/ and w/o Vileplume) – 6
  5. 6C (Virizion, Cobalion, Terrakion, Zekrom, Reshiram, Kyurem) – 6
  6. Cobalion, Kyurem, Electrode (aka CaKE/CoKE) – 4
  7. Donphan and Dragons – 4
  8. Durant – 3
  9. Magnezone/Yanmega – 3
  10. Lanturn/Eelektrike – 3
  11. TyRam – 2
  12. Zekrom/Eelektrik – 2

Now when I do an analysis everything with at least two victories is at least a Tier 2 deck. So based on that assumption and the results, there are still two Tier 1 decks: Magnezone/Eelektrik and ZPST. However, the Truth, Chandellure, and 6C look to be the Tier 1.5 decks, with everything else being Tier 2.

So, viewing all of these breakdowns together I would personally rank the decks in the following manner.

Tier 1

Magnezone/Eelektrik
ZPST

Tier 1.5
TyRam
The Truth (basically anything w/ Vileplume/Reuniclus)
Chandelure (w/ and w/o Vileplume)
6C (Virizion, Cobalion, Terrakion, Zekrom, Reshiram, Kyurem)

Tier 2
Durant
Cobalion, Kyurem, Electrode (aka CaKE/CoKE)
Donphan and Dragons
Magnezone/Yanmega
Lanturn/Eelektrik
Zekrom/Eelektrik

So, let’s talk about some of these decks.

Magnezone/Eelektrik

This deck should be a surprise to anyone. We might as well just call it MagneRock 2.0. What is even more crazy is that this deck runs MUCH smoother than MagneRock. It is all contained within a single Energy type and just really works well. Also, between Professor Juniper, Junk Arm, retreating, Engineer’s Adjustments, Sage’s Training, and Thundurus EPO, there are plenty of options for getting Lightning in the discard.

Speaking of Thundurus, there are two big Basics that this deck needs to choose between. Some variations of the deck run Zekrom BLW as a backup attack, while others run Thundurus. Personally, I feel this is not even a close comparison. I know that everyone loves the fact that Thundurus discards Energy and is guaranteed to attack turn two, but I feel that Zekrom is just the outright superior choice.

pokemon-paradijs.comThe HP difference and attack strength is just too much. Also, most of the time I can get the turn two Bolt Strike anyway. With all the previously listed options for discard, and a Switch or two in the deck, getting the turn two Bolt Strike is not as hard as some would have you believe. That is merely my opinion though.

The other thing to mention is that this deck can abuse N about as well as any deck in the format. That is not to be underestimated. I have won more than one game with this deck after being down 4 Prizes to open the game. That one N can really devastate your opponent. If they do not draw well it is normally just a matter of hunting their energy off the field and you win.

If I get more time, I might go into a more in-depth look at this deck but for now, this will have to do. If you have any questions about this deck or any of the decks, feel free to ask. I will gladly give you my two cents (if I have any thoughts about your questions). I really like to discuss this game and to help other people out.

ZPST

Well, a new set came out and we still have this bad boy staring us down. There is not a whole lot to say about this, but it just got even better with Eviolite. I will point out that many people were claiming that Zekrom/Eelektrik was a better version of this deck; those people appeared to have missed the mark a bit. Zekrom/Eelektrik is a great deck, but we will talk about that one a bit later.

ZPST’s greatest strength is pure, raw speed. The ability to turn one you for 120 (or at least 80) is just too good to pass up. The deck’s pure speed is not worth sacrificing to cure all the end-game struggles. Just let this baby do what it does best: put pressure on your opponent, starting on turn one.

Obviously, this deck got help from Eviolite. Eviolite is just a great little tool that helps with that nasty recoil damage and turns Zekrom into a tank. It also allows the deck to play the Outrage game a bit better.

I do think that Rocky Helmet’s value is overlooked here, but I will make my case for Rocky Helmet in general later on.

TyRam

pokemon-paradijs.comSo, the Noble Victories set has finally given most players what they wanted, a reason to leave TyRam. It’s cool. Well all know (myself included) that this deck is very linear and is a little bit of a one trick pony. However, in the past, that one trick was good enough for it to be the clear-cut BDIF. Now, it is the oddity deck.

The deck reached Top 2 twelve times, but only won twice. That does not seem like a good percentage to me. Furthermore, the deck is clearly sitting in the third spot as far as overall Top 4 appearances. So, why is it the third most consistent deck to a) Top Cut, b) Top 4, and c) Top 2, but then it is only tied for the 11th most wins? This seems to be a curious phenomenon to me.

Because of that (and that fact that I think it should be doing better at the final table), I dug a bit deeper into the numbers to see what it was losing to at the final tables.

This deck lost to 3 ZPST decks, 2 Magnezone/Eelektrik decks, 2 The Truth decks, and 1 Lanturn/Eelektrik deck at the final table. So, I built up some of those lists and went to town testing. Here was my personal results:

  • Lanturn is just too hard to deal with. It is an unfavorable match up. Period.
  • ZPST should still be about 50/50.
  • TyRam won six of the ten games I tested it against Magnezone/Eelektrik.
  • TyRam went 50/50 against The Truth.

So basically, the deck has a bunch of 50/50 matchups that can go either way. So I kind of just left it at that. The deck has 50/50 matchups against 7 of the decks it lost to at the top tables. If it wins 3 or 4-of those, then it is still sitting comfortably right in the middle of the pack, if it wins 5 or 6 it would be the clear third best deck according to first place finishes (which would put it in line with the other two compilations). That was enough to satisfy my curiosity.

I will say one thing, I think Rocky Helmet is very good here, but I will cover that a bit more later on.

The Truth

pokemon-paradijs.comWell, I said all along that The Truth’s viability would hinge on the ability of Kyurem players to hit a turn two Glaciate. Even with CoKE in the meta it would seem that this is not happening enough for The Truth to be squashed out.

The Truth did get a lot of fun new toys from the last set. Terrakion, Cobalion, and Kyurem can all be added to The Truth’s toolbox of attackers. Also some old friends such as Steelix Prime have seen some rise in action. Basically, the deck is extremely customizable to any meta and can find great success.

However, this deck may still be one of the trickiest decks out there to play. First, you need to read your local meta correctly. Second, you need to be able to execute the game plan flawlessly.

Also, this deck is good without Tropical Beach, but it is very good with it. I would say that you can run the deck without Tropical Beach, but it will likely be sub-optimal.

Chandelure

Here’s an interesting deck. This is a deck that started out with people saying, “oh look that’s an interesting power.” Then people built the deck but most were thinking, “this should be a fun league deck” or “I don’t know how competitive this deck is, but it makes me want to play the game again.” Then there was a 50+ page thread explosion on HeyTrainer. The deck got covered by Esa. The rest is history.

Basically this deck can be run with or without Vileplume. I personally like the Vileplume version better. You pair this with Dodrio and you get to use the power twice for 60 damage and then attack for 50. Then if the flips go your way your opponent will take burn and confusion damage. Then they are in a world of hurt.

Without Vileplume the deck focuses more on using three or four Cursed Shadows per turn for 90-120 spread damage.

pokemon-paradijs.comThe problem with this deck is that it get substantially worse without Tropical Beach. No deck abuses not attacking like this deck does. Tropical Beach is the perfect fit here for consistency. Yes, I know some people have run this deck to success without Tropical Beach, but it is truly an inferior build without it.

I would almost recommend to look for something else to play if you do not have the beaches. (I know that is no fun to hear, but I really think it can be that big of a difference maker over the course of a tournament.)

If you want to know more, go look around the web. There are some great articles across a lot of the Pokémon sites.

6C (Virzion, Cobalion, Terrakion, Zekrom, Reshiram, Kyurem)

We all know that Esa brought this deck to the Western World in his Eye on Japan article. Then like most things, we collectively said… meh. It’s too unfocused. It must be inconsistent. Blah, Blah, Blah.

Well, guess what? It works. However, there is a big caveat. It is very difficult to play correctly. That is always the case with reactive decks like this. When a deck is reactive by nature, the margin for error is razor thin. Here you need to recognize the proper strategy very quickly and then execute it to perfection.

This is because most of the time you only have 1 or 2 copies of your main attacker for any given match up and you have next to nothing in the Energy acceleration department. So, developing your board and keeping things moving is a difficult task.

Durant

pokemon-paradijs.comThe ants have invaded and things are looking like they might stay for a while. This deck is the least fun deck to play against, in my opinion. If your opponent has a good list and is a skilled player, nothing else puts you on a “win now” clock like Durant does. It is scary the way people thought that LostGar was going to be scary. However, Durant has actually achieved the whole “I need to take 6 Prizes in 6 turns or lose” thing.

This is the one deck that everyone knows is good, but they hate losing to. That being said, it is refreshing to have a deck that can legitimately win games in a different manner than taking 6 Prizes first. It is also very cheap, which is always a bonus.

Cobalion/Kyurem/Electrode (aka CaKE/CoKE)

Here we have the most hyped card of Noble Victories. In my opinion, the hype was a little bit more than it deserved. Do not get me wrong, this is still a great deck. It is just not on the level that we thought it was going to be and here’s why:

Consistency.

This deck just fails a little too often to be a true Tier 1 deck. There are just too many times (even if it’s once per tournament) where you use Energymite and get… Nothing. Then you are really behind in the match. Also, this deck is missing mid to end game consistency. Yes, if might work on turn two. You might take 3 Prizes on turn three, but if you lose the energy on your board, you might be in big trouble.

This is a very good deck, just not a great deck. I’m sure others will disagree with me, but hey, it is what it is.

Donphan and Dragons

pokemon-paradijs.comHere’s a nice little surprise (and one I got right from my last article, OK enough braggin). Most people thought that D&D would fall off the face of the earth because of Kyurem (they also said that about tyRam). The problem though is that Kyurem actually helps D&D more it hurts it.

First, Kyurem allows D&D to cover more type advantages. Second, Kyurem cannot 1HKO Donphan. I think that people underestimated that second point. Unless you can 1HKO Donphan you are not a great counter. Third, Glaciate just works into D&D’s favor. It powers up the Outrage attack all the more quickly.

Toss in the fact that Donphan can really abuse Rocky Helmet and we still have a very solid deck. It also doesn’t hurt that the two best decks in the format currently are pure Lightning types.

Lanturn/Eelektrik

Overall, this is just a lesser version of Magnezone/Eelektrik. I know that it hits for two types of Weakness. I also know that it is a Stage 1 and is a bit faster. I also know that it does not struggle with Energy conservation as much. However, it is way more fragile and less consistent. Those two things wipe out its advantage in my book.

Zekrom/Eelektrik

Back to this deck. I had plenty of arguments with friends about why this deck was just OK. They swore to me that it was at least every bit as good as TyRam and better that ZPST. Well, it seems that both of those are untrue.

In my opinion, this deck is kind of stuck between TyRam and ZPST. It is not as fast as ZPST and it does not manipulate energy, is as consistent, or as sturdy as TyRam. It is a “jack of all trades, master of none” type of deck. I still think it is a good deck, but I think that it is inferior to those two.

So, there you have it. A few thoughts about the decks of the current meta. Now, I want to talk specifically about one card. I honestly feel that this is the most undervalued card in the format. I know that some of you will say, “I like that card” or “that card sees play” or “it’s not undervalued.” I will stand up and disagree with all of those.

Rocky Helmet

pokemon-paradijs.comI cannot stress enough how great this card can be and how it is just untapped potential staring us in the face. I honestly feel that this card is so good that every deck aside from ZPST and Magnezone/Eelektrk and Vileplume decks should be running AT LEAST two copies.

Let’s start with the decks that don’t need to be running it. First, Vileplume decks establish an Item lock. So, it would be useless in there. Second, Magnezone doesn’t play by the same rules as everything else. It’s attack scales by 50. So it takes just as many resources to KO something with 110 HP as something with 150 HP. Very rarely do you desperately wish that 110 HP thing was only at 90 HP.

However, starting with ZPST I think there is potential. I know everyone loves his or her Eviolites in ZPST. I get it. Eviolite is getting to be a staple in that deck to where if you play ZPST without Eviolite people look at your funny. Well, let me tell you, this is no laughing matter. Here’s why. You still take 20 damage recoil. Yes, I know you might be able to pull off an Eviolite + Defender once or twice and take 0 recoil.

However, you are still in a simple PlusPower + Bolt Strike/Blue Flare range. Last time I check most ZPST and TyRam builds played at least 3 PlusPower and 4 Junk Arm. So, they could (theoretically) use a PlusPower for every one of their prizes. Eviolite just does not do enough.

On the other hand, look at Rocky Helmet. You can put Rocky Helmet on your energized Pokémon or on the easy prizes like Pachirisu (depending on the game state). Then your opponent has a difficult decision to make.

Furthermore, I think that Rocky Helmet is the missing piece to most TyRam players build. Here, you are going to damage Reshiram with Afterburner anyway. So, there is no real reason to use Eviolite. However, if you can force your opponent into attacking a Rocky Helmet (not that hard to do if you have multiple in play, which is also not hard to do because TyRam remains one of the fastest drawing decks out there), virtually everything in the game is 1HKO able on your next turn. That Zekrom with Eviolite, easy pickins. That Magnezone, send it to the scrap heap.

pokemon-paradijs.comThis card also gives you a pseudo-Vileplume counter. It is deadly if you can drop it on the field before Vileplume gets there. This is true for TyRam and ZPST.

When I was testing the TyRam v. MagneEel/The Truth/ZPST matchups, Rocky Helmet was the MVP. It really brings all of those games back to at least 50/50.

Furthermore, this is a great counter to Kyurem for both ZPST and tyRam. Even a Kyurem with Eviolite is just a single PlusPower drop away from being 1HKOd by Reshiram or Zekrom when Rocky Helmet just damaged Kyurem. This is a great option to have.

As for every other deck, Rocky Helmet just helps get that little extra punch needed. It is essentially a double PlusPower drop every time you get your opponent to attack into it.

Basically, I think that if more people used Rocky Helmet in TyRam it would be knocking on the door step of Tier 1 placement. Also, if more people used Rocky Helmet in ZPST, it would close the (minor) gap between ZPST and Magnezone/Eelektrik.

I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this one. That’s OK. Mainly, I just wanted to give everyone an update on the City Championship national meta. I tossed in the Rocky Helmet part for free.

Reader Interactions

46 replies

  1. Dave Wilson

    I think you’ll find that Lanturn is much better than tier 2, my friend. The amount of finishes is not a clear indication of what tier a deck belongs to, particularly because we have no information on how many masters were at any given event or how many people ran which decks.

    • Anonymous  → Dave

      That’s cool.

      I just went off of the results when formulating a rough Tier structure. Keep in mind that everything in Tier 2 or better has a legit shot at winning a tournament. So, I’m not saying that it is bad.

      That’s really the only data that I went off when slotting Lanturn/Eelektrik where I did.

  2. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    Tier analysis seems very sound. I like how it highlights the way 6 Corners is underrated.

    I think players are more conditioned to being agressive and controlling in games and the way that 6C plays out is hard for them to get their heads around. Yes it is a deck that you can’t afford to misplay, but it is also a deck that people misplay against all the time.

    • Anonymous  → Jak

      Yeah, last night on The Top Cut’s live steam episode I think Pram put it best. 6C looks to be bad. He doesn’t understand how it works. But the first time he played it, he won a Cities with it… It just does it’s business and roles along.

  3. gdubley31

    Some discussion on Tyram…
    Rocky helmet is great against things like Zone and random stuff like Terrakion. It can help against Trainer lock decks like the Truth and Goth but is by no means fullproof. People are still able to easily catcher around helment until they can effectively handle it.
    Ive been playing Tyram since the beginning now and although 50/50 against most everything is good it can also be bad (3-3 aint making any top cuts obviously). Also Tyrams trainer lock matchup, especially Chandelure, is awful. And unless you are willing to significantly tech for those matchups (significant Bellsprout/Carnivine with Rescues, multiple blackbelt), which will drastically lower your 50/50 matchups and are by no means full proof to beat the trainer lock, you wont be winning those matchups unless luck is on your side or your opponent is bad. I have found the best course of action is to pray you dont play against trainer lock.
    Reshiram Ex will help Tyram comeback, simply because it can do over the magical 130 without Plus Power or the crappy Blackbelt.

    • Anonymous  → gdubley31

      To be honest, this might be the last hoorah for tyRam (and it pains me to say it).

      The thing with Rocky Helmet is that you need to get multiple in play at the same time. Each game decides where they need to go. However, if you can get one on the active and then one or two of your valuable bench sitters with it, your opponent has a difficult situation. They can take and easy prize (Ninetales, Cleffa, etc.) but then you are still in business. If they take a valuable piece (the attacker or Typhlosion on the bench) they will be return KOd.

      Now, I get that 50/50 against everything is not a good thing. However, tyRam is over 50/50 against most everything except Magnezone and Vileplume (maybe a turn 2 Kyurem). So, if you hit two of those in Swiss and go 1-1 and you win the match ups you should, you will be in the Top Cut. Then you take your chances in the 50/50 match ups. So, as long as you are positive against everything else, a couple 50/50 match ups is not that bad.

      Now, the Vileplume match ups are interesting. The non-chandy ones are at worst 50/50 if you play smart. So, those are winnable.

      The Chandy one is very interesting. If they are playing Chandy with Vileplume they will be attacking with Chandy most of the time (otherwise it just does not do enough damage to win). So, Rocky Helmet is still helpful. If they are playing speed Chandy you should win that match up hands down.

      The problem with Reshiram EX is that Zekrom EX is just better. So, I can see a few things happening.
      -tyRam plays Mewtwo EX as a tech.
      -tyRam plays Zekrom EX as a tech.
      -People leave tyRam and go to Zekrom EX/ Eelektrik.

      I think that the last option is going to be the more common one (for people who don’t want to play a pure Mewtwo EX deck).

      I can also see an RDL, Emboar, Reshiram EX, Fliptini deck working well.

  4. Martin Garcia

    Its hard to play agaisnt a deck you know nothing about. The attacker lines, the energy, catchers/switch/evioite numebrs, etc. Also, its quite different from other decks, and has so many types people just doesnt know where its weak spot is, and how to attack it.

    Not to mention its really hard to one shot anything, so it makes you waste quite a lot of resources, i really like it a lot.

  5. Mekkah

    I agree with most of this, so that makes me like this article.

    • I will never be sold when it comes to six corners until I’ve actually seen it in action. It seems like it gives the opponent way too much room to execute their own game plan and is always forced on the defensive. Esa keeps saying “run them out of resources”, but then what? Not every deck requires resources to keep giong… I’ve really only used the deck a few times then got sick of it, and one of the games I just won by decking the opponent out.

    • Definitely liking Rocky Helmet.

    • I personally don’t really care for tier divisions. Sometimes decks are really only as good as the people playing it, sometimes decks can get lucky or unlucky…so tournament finishes might not be the most accurate way to do it, but neither is theorymon. But making a list based on just tournaments is a good idea as long as it’s meant to reflect just these results.

    • Magnezone is the best.

    • Reshiram EX and Zekrom EX sound great for lifting the damage ceiling, but don’t forget that the main reason their damage ceiling was so troublesome is The Truth (no one really cares about Gothitelle), and The Truth is increasing its HP cap to around 180.

    • Anonymous  → Mekkah

      I know, I was in the same boat as you about 6C. It just wins for some reason now. I think that a lot of people fall into the trap of attacking an Eviolited dragon and then get Outraged back.

      Glad others like Rocky Helmet right now.

      Tier Divisions are almost a necessary evil. It is just the most convenient way to talk about a deck’s relative position in relation to the field though. This is especially true during BR and Cities because the sample size is large. For Regionals and States it is a little bit more difficult to get a good reading. However, it is quite astonishing how almost every time you look solely at the data the divisions just fall into place. Like now there are obviously two decks above the rest. Then there is a gap in either Top 4 appearances, Top 2, or Wins to the next set of decks. Then there is a break to the final set. It is a curious thing.

      Magnezone is the best card in the format and is a beast.

      Meh, The Truth is already on life support when playing against Kyurem. A T2 Glaciate is all but GG for The Truth. So, I’m curious as to how it will be played next format. Furthermore, all of the EXs can be taken down relatively easily. Mewtwo EX counters itself. Fighting types (Terrakion) counters Zekrom EX and water types counter Reshiram EX. So, I’m not too sure how viable sitting behind a walled Pokemon is going to be.

      Thanks for the comment :)

        • Martin Garcia  → Dave

          Nobody can.

          Nut i dont think its something as simple as people falling for the outrage trap. Its definitly fast, and with the right build its really consistent.

          But the real reason i think it wins is because it has the most options out of all decks right now.
          Many people seem to think that the deck is alla bout outraging, and a few retaliates, but they seem to forget that, with 4 rainbows, and a few basic energies, you can actually power up the attacks of ALL you pokemon.

          Eviolited Bolt strike? sure, why not. A cobalion has eviolite and a few sp metals, and is pissing you off? Blue flare it. Magnezone annoys you? retaliate or land crush. The tuth has an edge? Glaciate begs to differ. Have problems with and opposing kyurem? Energy press. Donphan is a pain? Iron breaker.
          Heck, even virizion is useful to score KOs on the little eels, and oddish.

          Still, as airhawk said, you still need to know what you are playing against, identify the most efficient attack against it, and execute it to perfection, since you probably wont get a second chance to do it.

    • Anonymous  → Anonymous

      It has the third most Top 4s and Third most Top 2s. I know it has failed to win a ton of those Top 2s, but that evidence has to be weighed in.

      The deck is on the down swing, but based on the evidence, it is still solidly in the 1.5 range.

  6. Anonymous

    Thank for giving Rocky Helmet some support. May Arceus bless you.

  7. David Wiken

    Magnezone/Eelektrik is a strong deck and all, but I cant help but think that its deck-concept would’ve been a lot better in 65-card deck format. I always find my self having to cut vital consistency whenever I want to tech in something in order to beat say Donphan. I absolutely hate the fact that the deck has an autoloss like that, but understand that its overall strenght makes up for its one glaring weakness. After all, Donphan isn’t that popular of a card anymore.

    As for your thoughts on Lanturn/Eelektrik being a lesser deck than Magnezone/Eeletrik I’ll have to say that I disagree. Relative to the number of people actually playing Lanturn, I’m almost positive that it boasts more wins than Magnezone, considering how many that play that deck. Lanturn grants you an autowin against Ross, a matchup that severely hurts Magnezone/Eelektrik. Factor in the fact that Lanturn doesn’t rely on any stage 2 to get rolling, thus preventing completely horrendous starts, and I’d definitely say that Lanturn is an overall better choice. It also absolutely wrecks Typhlosion/Reshiram, regardless of how many Rocky Helmet you manage to find room for ;)

    But all in all – a great article :) Your logic is clear, and your insight good

  8. Anonymous

    Really? In my testing, Magnezone/Eel won pretty much every game versus TyRam.

    • Anonymous  → Anonymous

      Against most normal tyRam builds I would agree. Try three rocky helmet in there. It can make a big difference. TyRam streams attackers more easily. So if you can force it into a straight prize trade, the match up becomes very close. Without rocky helmet, tyRam whiffs on taking a knockout normally once or twice a game against Magnezone. That is normally the difference in the matchup.

  9. Rick de Wijn

    Nice article, but where did you get the info of the 1st place finishes?
    Because the gym thread says that CKE has 5 finishes, 6 corners has 5 and the truth 2

    • Anonymous  → Rick

      Well right now 5 wins have been reported for each of those.

      Furthermore, I counted every deck with a Vileplume/Reuniclus engine as The Truth. The thread organizer on the Gym has three other decks featuring Kyurem, Steelix, and Cobalion paired with Vileplume/Reuniclus as their own decks. So my condensing there brings the 1stthe place count for The Truth to 8. I feel that anything with Vileplume/Reuniclus is essentially the same and should be paired together.

  10. José Yago De Alberto

    First, great article. I totally agree with you about Rocky Helmet but it is difficult to make room for it in my opinion.
    Second,I still think Reshiboar is a solid deck ( if built correctly) , and just because people are falling under the charm of newer decks, which makes that there are fewer people playing Reshiboar, doesn´t make it Tier 3.

    For example if in a tournament of 40 people there are 20 that are playing Eleektrik decks,10 playing Typhlosion decks, 5 playing traditional ZPST, 3 playing new decks like CoKE, Durant, 6 Corners,etc…and only 2 playing Reshiboar,chances are:
    a) Out of two decks there is a high chance of one of them not being well built.
    b) the remaining deck can get donked or have bad luck, thus missing top cut.However, this may not happen with an Eleektrik deck beacuse there are 20 people playing it.

    To finish, why isn´t any mention to Typhlosion/Magnezone deck? If its an Underground thing it is public now, there are games of that deck on youtube.

    • Anonymous  → José

      The answer to both parta it data.

      1) with regards to ReshiBoar the data is just not there to zupport it being better than Tier 2. I get that it can test well and ever work for you. However, I only based these on reported resulta from the Gym. So sorry, but ReshiBoar just does not have the stats to back up a higher placement. Also, in general large groups of people are “smarter” than insividuals. So, if a deck like ReshiBoar was really better than that more people qould play it. Very rarely is a deck that has been fully explored truely undervalued.

      2) I couldn’t care less if tyRamZone was an UG deck (which it was not anyway). It just does not have the reported data. It just does not have the numbers (more than 1 reported Top 4) to be included in any of these lists.

      So the data guided my choices here. Plain and simple.

  11. Anonymous

    I disagree. cake has been my boss deck. research records solves the consistency problem(normally i get 2-4 energy) and sometimes more! its conbats everything in the meta ATM. terrakion is a great tech to counter magneone. i just love cake. i definitely say its tier 1(or at least 1.5)

    • Anonymous  → Anonymous

      Awesome. I’m glad that it is working well for you.

      From a theorymon standpoint, RR can still be unreliable. Not only that, but to assume that most people do not run RR seems to be a mistake (not saying you are, that is just the logical interpretation of your statement). I would almost guarantee that most run it, and it can still have issues. It only takes one Energymite for 1 or 0 to kill the deck during some games (which over the long run, is unavoidable). It only takes Terrakion being prized for that to fall through. It only takes your one or two Pokemon with energy to get KOd. It is certainly a good deck, but there are things holding it back.

      My only response is that I just looked at data for the Tier. CaKE has been good but not great. Definitely not on the same level as ZPST and Magnezone/Eelektrik. And it’s total body of work has not been on the same level as the other Tier 1.5 decks. It might be great. It might move up. But just based on our reported results, and not individual testing/playing, CaKE is not quite there, yet.

  12. Pooka Pookerson

    I think the recent lack of TyRam success has more to do with the meta moving on. For my part, I won a City Championship with TyRam just yesterday, and I was clearly the only competitor – in any age bracket – running TyRam.

    I took down ZPST and Magnezone/Eelektrik to do it, as well. So I think the reports of TyRam’s death are greatly exaggerated.

      • Pooka Pookerson  → Anonymous

        Nope. It’s a pretty linear TyRam with a 2-2 Ninetales line. Nothing special. It was also my first ever tournament, and I absolutely did not expect to win – I went in with the explicit goal of winning one of my five rounds. As you might imagine, I was pleased.

  13. Steven Nilsen

    Awesome compilation! Thanks for posting this info. Now here’s my analysis.

    First, I’m just going to comment on how to counter this meta: I’m sure that when people figure out how to use fighting Pokemon they’ll take a tier 1 position. That probably won’t happen while everybody plays Donphan – there are stronger plays ton consider like Landorus with Machamp Prime. I suppose 6C is a sort of fighting deck too, and it’s tweak-able to match up well against lightning heavy decks. Fighting Electrode deck should also emerge….

    Now here’s the problem with straight numbers as many of you analyze this data. Unpopular decks do get slighted in this analysis. For instance, Donphan/dragions was probably not played too heavily, so its top placing is certainly better than it looks. Same can be said for Lanturn/Eels.

    Here’s a more rigorous and sensible analysis:
    If you could list the frequency of different decks being entered into the tournament or top 16 then I could do this better but instead the best we can do is just analyze the chance of a top4 finish ending in a first place (top 1) finish:

    By this analysis the clear BDIF is 6 Corners
    6/11 that made the top 4 also won.

    The next best decks around the 40% mark:
    Donphan Dragons 4/10
    Truth 8/19

    What do these best three all have in common? Fighting Pokemon. Why do they do so well because of this:

    At the repsctiable 33% mark (which is better than 25% random chance):
    Magnezone/Eels 18/48
    Lanturn Eels 3/9
    Megajudge 3/9
    ZPST 14/44

    Around 25% success:
    Chadelure 6/23

    Popular decks that don’t get you there:
    Durant. 2/16 16 top4 but only 2 1st place finishes..
    CAKE 4/24
    Tyram 2/34
    Zekrom/Eel 2/15

    The following had no first place finishes but were under-represented and had this frequency of going from top4 to top2 and did this fairly well:

    4/6 Gothetille
    2/4 Mew/Plume
    2/4 Kyurem/Gartr
    2/3 Reshiboar
    2/4 Stage 1s
    2/6 VVV

    Any of these decks may have been good plays, but the data is too scant to know. Seeing their entry frequency or the top16 data would really reveal their potential.

    Ranking is kind of silly unless you have all the data, but using this analysis, the best play was clearly 6 Corners, followed but Truth variants and Donphan and Dragons.

    Following these decks the electric decks did very well, as expected, except for straight Zek/eels.

    Lastly Chadelure was a solid play. Durant, CAKE, Tyram, Zek/eels just don’t make the top slow very effectively, especially Tyram – it really isn’t any good now.

    BTW, one semi-hyped fighting deck that crashed at top4: 0/4 Donchamp/Plume – guess that one may not be the formula.

    • Anonymous  → Steven

      Great comment. It is well taken. However, I want to talk about some stuff:

      I completely realize that my method of setting Tiers is inaccurate, or unscientific at best. However, there are some underlying assumptions to it:

      1) The community as a whole is relatively intelligent. I’m going to expound upon this a little bit:

      In 2004, The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations (a book) was published. It outlined the argument for why, in general, groups are smarter than individuals. Basically, groups make better decisions than individuals. It included both case studies and anecdotes as support.

      He claims that there are four traits required for this phenomenon to occur: 1) diversity of opinion, 2) independence, 3) decentralization (no bureaucracy mandating choices), and 4) aggregation (so why for the individuals’ choices to be jointly demonstrated).

      I would argue that Pokemon (or any card game) meets the first three criteria easily. Then the fourth one is arguable, but I would assume that it is sufficiently met in terms of tournament results.

      2) Based on that theory, plus pure economics, there are two reasons why decks are popular (based on numbers played): it is cheap and the deck is good, or at least better than others.

      So, according to those two assumptions I will gladly take my method over your method. Because:

      1) The best decks will be played more than the slightly inferior decks. So, the fact that decks like ZPST and Magnezone/Eelektrik are played more than decks like The Truth, CaKE, and 6 Corners supports the conclusion that they are better.

      2) Because of those decks’ “over representation” in the field, they will naturally Top Cut more, and even Top 4 more. However, I do not find this to be a problem to Tier analysis (many people use the argument that deck X makes so many Top 4s because it is played more than decks A, B, and B). This proportionality “issue” is not problematic because of the previous point. The reason why deck X is played more is because it is, on average, the superior deck (see above for the rationale as to why I generally trust this to be true). Therefore, a decks popularity is an integral portion to Tier analysis, as reflected by intuition and the raw number of Top Cut appearances.

      3) Because of that, simply evaluating percentages = (Top 2 / Top 4) can be extremely misleading for several reasons:
      i) It does not take into account local meta. Deck X could have a great percentage because, through happenstance, the few times it did make the Top 4 it had favorable matchups to reach the Top 2. However, by using The Wisdom of Crowds and raw, aggregate data those problems as mostly removed because the community as a whole will eliminate much of the pure autoloss, bad match up variance that could be artificially propping up a decks percentage.
      ii) It also completely ignores possible reasons as to why a deck is popular in the first place. Again, the Wisdom of Crowds approach does not make that mistake. Last year virtually everyone agreed that LuxChomp was the BDIF. However, I guarantee you that under your method something like MagneRock, G-dos, or VileGar would have had as good if not better percentages. This is just more anecdotal evidence lending credibility to the Wisdom of Crowds approach. In my book, this is one of the most important points. It almost single handily reduces the credibility of your percentage approach.
      iii) Also, your percentage approach is completely vulnerable to the game’s natural variance. We have no idea how those games for 6 Corners went that took it from Top 4 to Top 2. There could have been “luck” out the wazoo in those games. The sample size is way too small for it to be reliable. However, looking at the bigger picture offers up more data to work with, making the results more stable.
      iv) Using the Wisdom of Crowds approach also spreads the variance of skill level per player out. It is very possible that every time 6 Corners has won a tournament it was piloted by someone like Pooka, Pram, Ness, etc. This is important because they will likely play flawless games. Their flawless execution may easily “steal” wins against lesser players who misplay their way to losses against those decks.
      v) Furthermore, we are relying on non-empircal evidence to show that decks like 6 Corners, The Truth, etc are actually played less than decks like tyRam, ZPST, and Magnezone/Eelektrik. We are not privy to the raw registration data of how many each of those decks were played at each tourney. It’s been my experience that tyRam has experienced a huge decline in play, but somehow one of the two or three at each event (of 30-45ish players) seems to make Top 8. So, we cannot properly conclude on the, logical, first step of your analysis. What makes Top Cut at a disproportionally high rate?

      So, I loved your points. They were well taken. However, ultimately, I will side with the community as a whole, and I am just fine with factoring in the amount a deck is played into my analysis. I think that there is room for improvement, maybe the best approach would be to combine the two methods. However, then each method would simply be a factor to be weighed against each other. This would open up the door for more personal bias and preference to enter into the mix.

      However, as of right now, I feel that it is the best way to come up with a quick and dirty Tier List for people to use as a reference guide.

      • Steven Nilsen  → Anonymous

        Thanks for taking on my analysis! As a counter argument – that was excellent. Good read, I’m even curious to read Wisdom of Crowds. I heard of it but missed my opp to snag it when it was a hot read (or at least when I read a review of it).

        So, you’ve effectively argued that popularity = tier. Later you argue that in interpreting top4 outcomes 6C may have been played more exclusively by pros, thus making it play really great while the opponent did not play as great.

        This points out a weak link to your basic premise. Not all players are created equal and the in honest truth the BDIF would be better decided by the pros who chose their decks, not the masses. Since you can’t parse that data, you make the assumption that the masses know more than the few. Since I haven’t read the book Wisdom of Crowds I can’t cite where the author would point out that a expert minority group would be have a wiser response than the uneducated majority on a topic. I’m quite confident that level of education, expertise and life experience factor heavily into a groups opinion. If I’m right about the book, it was about marketing and business, not for instance medical advise.

        I’ll say that somewhere in your book it says something about taking the opinion of a few doctors over the average opinion of the masses.

        Another reason why I don’t think the basic premise is that strong. We fail the four criteria: a large portion of the pokemon player community is indeed centralized. If you took a poll at any US tournament you would find, almost certainly that nearly all, if not all, of the masters players read these discussion lists. Therefore, and perhaps for this reason alone, the theory fails. Why are we centralized? Because we post lists, we listen to eachother, we drive market values for certain cards thus making them seem like better plays… we are centralized. We are not divided into several groups. A good list goes viral when its discovered and plenty of players read more than 1 discussion, thus making it all even more centralized.

        I contend that the best decks are chosen by the best players. Those players are the best because they win more often. They aren’t winning with theme decks either. They pick the best decks. So, I think that if you look at which decks win most often when they are played, you get some indication of which are best without being clouded by this supposed wisdom of the masses. That was my analysis, and now you know why I make it.

        NOW, if you want an argue a different point, that 6C and DnD and other decks that are actually just countering the most popular deck are just that: counters. Then you could just list tier 1 and solid “tier 1 counters” that are tier 1 as well. 6C however, is strategically built on playing off EVERY decks weakness, so you really can’t call it a counter.

        6C is still the BDIF, IMO and Eelzone is probably the most popular deck that wrecks everything but what counters it. Eelzone is however, pretty easy to counter (at least I figured one out), and that is what makes it less than 6C. The BDIF should not be so weak to a huge assortment of decks that just need to operate well behind a fighting attacker, for which we have many decks to chose from (my fave is Landchamp).

        Personally I don’t like playing 6C too much (yet) but I’ll give it its due: it’s the BDIF, based on how well it was played, not how popular it was.

        Awesome response Airhawk, but I’ll stick to my opinions too.

        • Anonymous  → Steven

          Nice counter.

          I would still argue that we meet the first criteria. We are decentralized. Talk to any person from anywhere around the country and you’ll realize that we have individualized metas. Yes, many people have access to lists online. However, metas play out differently (at times) across the country and internationally, even with lists posted online. This is because decentralization is interlinked with the first elment: diversity of opinion. Diversity of opinion means that you have private, specialized knowledge. This comes from individual play-testing, pre-knowlegde of the local meta, etc. People in this game always act on their own knoweldge/beliefs. This is exactly why the metas are different from location to location. This demonstrates sufficient decentralization.

          I will simply point to this concerning the pro players. They are not in agreement with what the BDIF is. For example Pram has taken both 6C and Magnezone/Eelektrik to a win. He claimed he thinks Magnezone/Eelektrik is better. Yet, he still chose to play 6 Corners at least once. If you listened to TTC episode when he talked about this, he basically said he played 6C just because. He actually had never played the deck before in his life.

          Furthermore, I believe the general skill level of the community is closing the gap on the Pro Players. This is evidenced by how many relatively new people have won.

          Anyway, I only listed Pro Player skill over non-Pro Player skill as a single factor that can discredit the percentage method. The other reasons are still very much alive.

          Anyway, 6C is in great position as being a great counter to the two best decks in the format, IMO. I also fully agree with your first post point that Fighting decks are in a great position to see an increase in play because of the current reign of Lightning Decks.

          Nice back and forth we have here. :)

        • Martin Garcia  → Anonymous

          This argument was informative respectul, and really interesting, so congrats to both of you.

          I still think i will side with DadsWhoopass, but airhawk´s argument is solid, and left more than just a doubt on me, making me curious about the topic, and interested in reading and investigating on my own.
          Again, props to you.

        • Anonymous  → Martin

          Thanks. Ultimately, I don’t think it is that big of an issue. Tier lists are just quick and easy ways to note a deck’s place and facilitate discussion. So, any method will do exactly that. I would not down vote an article with Tiers based on Dad’s method at all.

  14. stephen shirley

    i like this article except how you talk about eviolite you are always one pluspower away from a ohko with zekrom from reshiram but eviolite stops a ohko without a pluspower well kyremn and reshiram don’t get ko’d by another dragon if you have an eviolite attached but what you said about rocky helmet was fine

  15. Tyler McCutchan

    One thing about this Article annoyed me. Defender doesn’t reduce Self-Damage. That is all.

    • Lynx Meche  → Tyler

      No, it DOES reduce self-damage. It was errata’d a good while ago, otherwise ZPST and Donphan players wouldn’t use it. From Pokegym compendium: “The wording of Defender is now as follows, “Attach Defender to 1 of your Pokémon. Discard this card at the end of your opponent’s next turn. Any damage done to the Pokémon Defender is attached to by attacks is reduced by 20 (after applying Weakness and Resistance).” Defender now protects against all attacks, even ones not made by the opponent. (Apr 11, 2011 TPCi Announcements; May 5, 2011 PUI Rules Team)”

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