Hello and welcome to the 2nd to last Battle of Wittz article of the 2011 year (the last one will be on New Years Day!). Today’s article is about the archetype that contains our most-successful deck of the 2011-2012 City Championships season: Eelektrik.
My Status Right Now
pokemon-paradijs.comRight now we’re about exactly halfway through the start of the City Championships season, with most of the largest marathons kicking up soon (including my own in Illinois). The metagame has had enough time to reach a near-complete development, and the bar for entry into Worlds this year has been raised considerably (my last check in the rankings for Masters showed a point split of around 20 to 35 points held by the top 40 points earners — very likely the standards for qualifying in North America this year). Things are starting to get intense!
And strangely enough, I am not quite there yet. Like I was explaining in a late post asking for any article suggestions, I’m a little behind the curve as far as experience (both in and out of tournament). Finals preparation for school was especially hard for me because of all the changes I’ve been going through in changing my major this year, and the amount of free time I had to do the things I like has diminished considerably (anybody who watches Prof-It! has probably noticed this).
The little free time I have been given has been split between slowly getting back into strong Pokémon shape for the City Championship season, and preparing for an eventual career. There’s a lot of exciting stuff I’m working on for my future that I’m happy to tell you guys when the time is right, but for now let’s get back to Pokémon business.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to attend a single City Championship so far, which is really odd. It’s about 80 percent because of the impending Illinois marathon, but it still feels weird. What’s most upsetting is two of the easiest City Championship events (Champaign and Rantoul — both 15 minutes from school) were out of my reach because of the way my finals schedule lined up. Aside from that, there just haven’t been any events in my area to attend.
This past week, I’ve been playing like crazy on any form of testing that I can to get back into shape (online, in person, etc.), and I’m slowly feeling like City Championships will be successful as soon as I actually get to attend some! Even before the deck had even performed at all at events, I was a big fan of Magnezone/Eelektrik; Now that I’ve had some decent testing with it, it’s likely going to be my go-to deck for the rest of the CC Season.
Bigger isn’t always Better
pokemon-paradijs.comOne thing I’ve noticed so far in observation of City Championships is that our new ratings system is still far from perfect. I’m not going to dwell on it all day, but it is important to know — smaller events reward you more. I know that seems counter-intuitive because larger events award kicker points, but smaller events offer a much higher chance of receiving points.
Because City Championships are without a doubt the most rewarding tournament series — people with access to multiple small City Championships are going to have a huge advantage in this year’s race for Worlds. In the past, more rounds meant more time to grind out high scores with multiple wins.
Now, with top cut as your only entry into points, tiny events with attendances below 20 are your best bet. If you’re familiar with areas that are sparsely populated, you might be better off hitting a small event rather than a large one if they take place on the same day.
For example, an event with only 15 Masters will give points to the top 4 players still, or just over 25%. However, at a 50 player City Championship, just 16% would get the points extended through the top 8. While these percentages change based on the number of participants, it’s generally more rewarding to play in a small tournament if possible.
However, with only the Illinois marathon and a small handful of other City Championships, I won’t be having this luxury. I’m going to have to perform well in multiple high-attendance events, and it’s going to be a pain. If I’m still alive by the 31st to tell the tale I will for my next article (I should still actually be mid-marathon at this point), but until then I have a lot of work to do.
I’m not going to pretend like I’ve ever been to a “marathon” style week of tournaments before, and Kettler already covered that topic pretty well. Instead, I want to take you guys through the one deck archetype that I’ve been working with recently.
The City Championships Metagame
pokemon-paradijs.comFor starters, I’ve been spending almost all of my free time learning the ins and outs of our established metagame, and how different decks are reacting to each other. To my surprise, there have been a ton of shifts in our metagame so far, with much heavier involvement of new Noble Victories decks. Typically, the first week or two we’ll see new decks being played out as an experiment. Anything that survives and continues to succeed over the first month, however, is likely here to stay as a frontrunner for each tournament.
While I can’t say I’m a “master of the metagame” right now, I still have the same urge to at least make some decent sense of the statistics. Below is my modified “What Won City Championships” list. As I’m sure you know by now, I can never seem to stand how the results threads on PokéGym ends up being compiled, and I try my best to de-complicate things. For the following list, I did the following:
- Only included decks with more than 2 wins and more than 4 “top 4” placements.
- Grouped all “high HP Basic Pokémon” combinations together.
- Grouped all Vileplume/Reuniclus decks as “Truth/Ross” variants.
Hopefully this clean list will give you what a “what won” list is supposed to — a nice picture of how the metagame has shaped as a whole, rather than what exact combinations of cards happened to win here or there. Here’s what I ended up with:
What Won City Championships (as of the December 18th Weekend)
9 Truth Variants (Vileplume + Reuniclus + high HP attackers)
8 Chandelure (Mostly w/ Vileplume)
5 Kyurem/Coballion/Electrode (aka CaKE/CoKE)
5 Six Corners/Dragons/”High HP Basics” Decks
3 Durant Variants
Top 4 appearances
25 Six Corners/Dragons/Big Basics decks
22 Durant Variants
21 Truth Variants
What can we make of these results? A lot of things, actually!
Noble Victories has a lasting impact
Like I said earlier, most “what won” lists are inflated with new decks at first before eventually falling back in favor of the old ones. It’s extremely satisfying to see a mix of more than half of the top six decks with the most wins be either heavily or partially involved with Noble Victories.
Does it solve all the format’s problems? No, but a little bit of diversity never hurts, especially after dealing with the same decks over and over again at the front end of the season. It’s also satisfying to see that almost all of the concepts I brought up in my pre-Cities article have performed really well — except Vanilluxe :(.
The Eel is the Real Deal
I’m going to be completely honest, I think I just wrote that because of how cheesy it sounded. Completely honestly though, Eelektrik NVI is an amazing Pokémon, and arguably the strongest in the entire Noble Victories set. I’ll get more to him when I get to my full analysis, but I thought I’d throw it in here now just to make that awful rhyme.
Speed has taken a step back
Yeah, Zekrom is still performing extremely well as the number 2 in wins and top 4 finishes, but in general the game has at least progressed to more complete games. Most of the top decks right now revolve around a simple combo to execute a game strategy that lasts for a full game, rather than just baking everything on a solid early game start.
Less and less decks are running 4 Pokémon Catcher, and I think it’s really interesting that we’re slowly getting to a more balanced metagame.
The 130 HP barrier is bigger than ever
pokemon-paradijs.comWhile when somebody mentioned the “130 HP barrier” they were often referring to Truth/Ross variants, it was still somewhat true as a representation of the damage you need to do to KO both Zekrom and Reshiram. Now, the metagame has this magic number inscribed more than ever. At the very least, Chandelure, Kyurem, Terrakion, and Tornadus + Eviolite all carry the number. This increases the value of PlusPower in decks that deal 120 damage.
More importantly, however, it also increases the value of my favorite Pokémon in this format — Magnezone. Being able to cross that barrier (and especially hitting for 150 damage to escape Eviolite as well) seems really strong right now.
Where is Vanilluxe?
Vanilluxe has seen less than fantastic results when compared to the fact that I wrote an entire article about it. Why is this?
I’m actually not 100% sure. In my testing it’s still fairly solid, especially compared to other slower decks added to the format. I think honestly, most players are avoiding it because they haven’t played with it much. It’s a slow deck that relies a little on luck — neither of which are outstanding qualities. It’s also very similar to Beartic EPO 30, a card that we’ve already used as a poster child for something that was overhyped. These things combined, I just don’t think it’s seeing much play at all.
It also isn’t going to help that Pooka took it to 0-3 at the second day of the Florida Marathon. Him playing it definitely adds to the deck’s credential as an underrated deck, but (in his words) “attacking only 20% of the time off flips” definitely won’t help the deck’s popularity at all. I still stand by it being a solid deck, and I wouldn’t be surprised if my brother takes it far on any of the days during the marathon.
Chandelure has real potential
pokemon-paradijs.comChandelure, a deck that fundamentally doesn’t attack, has more of a use for Tropical Beach than any other deck we’ve seen so far. It’s practically built for the card. With only what is likely close to 1,000 English Tropical Beaches in the world at any given time, and an over $100 price tag, you’d expect that Chandelure just wouldn’t see much play. Placing 4th in both wins and top 4 appearances is an extremely impressive feat, given the circumstances.
We saw a similar connection with Gothitelle over our previous format, but I feel like many players still played Gothitelle without Tropical Beach. The same goes for Ross/Truth, where Ross himself said that the Beach was more of a luxury than a necessity. However, in a deck that is clearly stronger with Tropical Beach in it, you’d expect players wouldn’t play it if they don’t have the expensive beaches to add.
This either means that a) The small group of people with Tropical Beaches are performing very well with the deck, or b) the deck is still performing well even without the clearly helpful copies of Tropical Beach. Either way, I’d sleeve up a version of the list posted in articles by Mikey, Fulop, or Kettler in the past and at least work with it. I’ll be completely honest and say I don’t quite understand the success yet, but I still can’t ignore the numbers and stop trying it quite yet.
The Two Biggest Decks at Worlds have fallen
Maybe this is a little sensationalist, but the two biggest decks played at Worlds 2011 have definitely fallen way under the radar compared to their previous high status. Magnezone/Yanmega and Reshiphlosion are currently in the 9th and 10th spots for most wins at Cities so far, something I really didn’t expect. Reshiphlosion is still in the respectable 3rd place for top 4 finishes, but Magnezone/Yanmega has dropped to 10th in that race as well. Why is this?
There are a ton of factors, actually. One of them is that people are still going to like new decks more than the “old boring ones”, which is going to skew the board against them at least a little.
Another reason is likely that some of the new decks released are strong against them. Kyurem is at least a decent water showing against Reshiram and spreads really well against the evolution-based ZoneMega.
pokemon-paradijs.comBut the biggest reason, at least in my mind, is the presence of Eelektrik. In Reshiphlosion’s case, Eelektrik is slowly becoming a better all-around way to accelerate Energy than Typhlosion. I know how skeptical I’ve been about saying that it is better than Typhlosion without the proper evidence, but I think simply being a Stage 1 over a Stage 2 Pokémon offers so many new options (especially considering how many Colorless and Lightning-type Pokémon that are compatible with the eel). The eel-based decks are so similar to Reshiphlosion in style that I’m sure many players are at least trying the switch.
As far as Zone/Mega, I think the Eel version of the deck is simply stronger and better. I don’t know if anyone ever had time to play games with Magnezone/Regirock (it died before it really had time to shine with the mid-season rotation), but the deck really was amazing. Magnezone/Yanmega seemed to say “Magnezone is still so good, you can manually attach to it once a turn and it’s still good”.
Now that we no longer need a complicated way to accelerate energy onto Magnezone, we also no longer really need Yanmega. Magnezone is plenty fast enough now with the Eel to hold his own, and with so many strong basic Pokémon that pair well with the Eel (Tornadus, Thundurus, Zekrom, etc.) it’s stronger in almost every way (just not vs. Fighting types : P).
All this talk about Eel makes for a perfect time to segue into the main purpose of my article, decks based around the impact of Eelektrik. I’m sure you’ve already noticed by now, I’m a huge believer by this card. There are so many reasons to love it, but the most important are the following:
Eelektrik is a Stage 1
This means a lot more than “it’s fast,” but being fast is a big part of the impact that it has. Being able to accelerate Energy at no cost other than having to be on the bench by turn 2 is extremely good. Being this fast and this simple to use also makes him accessible to Colorless Pokémon — something that was barely considered with Typhlosion over the past format.
Granted, our pool of playable Colorless Pokémon is extremely weak right now in the format, but the fact that he can provide Energy easily to Pokémon like Tornadus and Druddigon NVI just adds to his versatility.
Eelektrik is Lightning
I’m starting to believe that the god of Pokémon cards isn’t Arceus, but most likely Thor. Pokémon loves Lightning types like no other. They have the fastest instant Energy acceleration (Pachirisu CL), one of the strongest basic Pokémon (Zekrom BLW), the strongest internal draw power (Magnezone Prime), and the only ability to change types (Lanturn Prime).
These Pokémon were all ranged from broken to at least playable before, but now giving them the fastest consistent energy acceleration in the game. It just makes already established great cards even better.
Eelektrik is an Uncommon
On top of all of that, Eelektrik is likely one of the best cost-efficient cards of all time. You can buy it pretty much consistently for 50 cents, which makes it accessible to anyone. Why on earth Pokémon decided to make the middle line of an evolution a hundred times more powerful than its fully evolved form I’ll never know, but I wish Pokémon would make powerful cards that aren’t rare more often. If it was a rare, I’m sure it’d be at around $10 per copy, so it’s really nice to not have to deal with a price barrier as well.
As I’m sure you guys know by now, being such a versatile card gives you a lot of options for attackers, and has developed into the basis of three different kinds of decks: Magnezone/Eel (1st place wins, 1st place top 4 finishes), Lanturn/Eel (Tied for 5th wins, 12th top 4 finishes), and Zekrom/Eel (9th top 4 finishes).
I know you guys obviously know all of the attackers in these decks, but I want to go over a short recap of what Eelektrik does for all of its possible attackers, and what options you generally have when constructing an Eel-based deck.
pokemon-paradijs.comOne thing that many people have been talking about lately is which Tynamo you should use in the deck. Tynamo #39 was the original one I recommended because of its free retreat. Despite having 30 HP, I argued that free retreat is instrumental in a deck that can only Energy accelerate to the bench. Having extra unevolved Tynamos meant that you could bring up a Tynamo after any knockout or switch and safely Dynamotor to the attacker of your choice on the bench, then free retreat to said attacker.
However, the game has changed a little, and since then both Kyurem and Chandelure decks have grown tremendously. Both decks deal a perfect 30 damage specifically to the entire field, and have a party with any Tynamo you leave unevolved. Unless you are for some reason sure you’ll never see either of these decks at a tournament, I can’t recommend playing all of your copies as Tynamo #39 anymore.
I’m slowly learning to love Tynamo #38 a little more. The 40 HP is nice in that he won’t die as easily to the two methods I just mentioned. The 1 retreat isn’t perfect, but it’s breathable. People argue that running Tynamo #38 to purposely retreat and get Energy into the discard pile is a good idea, but I don’t really believe it.
Most of the time, I’d be using that energy I retreated with to attach to an attacker, and then by turn 2 I’d either Junk Arm, Engineer’s Adjustments, or Sage’s Training an Energy into the discard to attach, giving me 3 total Energy on turn 2 if I had an Eel out. By using one Energy to retreat, that gives you a maximum of 2 Energy on the second turn, which isn’t quite as great.
The one Energy Thunder Wave isn’t so bad, either. I can’t count how many actual tournament games I’ve been able to win due to a fluke incident where a Magnemite TM with 2 Energy was able to Paralyze my opponent — it’s more useful than you’d think if you just need to buy yourself one turn. Being able to do this attack for one Energy instead of two, especially on the first turn could at least make up for the fact that you’ll have to burn that Energy to retreat him.
Currently I’ve been running one copy of the free retreat eel to grab as a go-to vs. decks that can’t snipe me for easy prizes, and the rest copies of #38. It seems like such a small decision, but it cost me a lot of practice games against Chandelure and Kyurem that I shouldn’t have had to lose.
Here are all of the logical attackers used with Eelektrik right now:
Magnezone Prime: The most obvious. In the closest emulation that we’ll have to MagneRock again, Eelekrik allows Magnezone to function as a primary attacker again. Like I said earlier, Magnezone was already amazing when all you had to do was manually attach Energy to him and Lost Burn midway through the game. Heck, he’s amazing on his own for being able to draw cards as a Pokémon.
Being able to lost burn on turn 3, or even turn 2 fairly consistently is something else. In a format where all 6 of the top 6 decks use attackers with 130 HP or greater, being able to consistently deal 150 damage for a few turns completely changes how useful Magnezone is. I don’t hesitate to call him the best Pokémon in the format right now with Eelektrik.
Zekrom: Another strong option. Being a 130 HP Basic Pokémon with both a rage-based attack and the ability to deal 120 damage on 3 energy already made him a strong Pokémon (and near-broken when combined with the instant acceleration that Pachirisu adds). However, having the ability to build Zekrom mid to late game with 1 or 2 eels in play completely changes his usefulness.
To me, the biggest problem with Zekrom is that unlike Reshiram, he had no late game if you ran out of Energy. Now that he has an identical, and arguably stronger acceleration tool similar to Typhlosion, Zekrom gets the best of both worlds.
Lanturn: A Pokémon that has been just short of playability for the longest time, Lanturn is finally a viable deck with Eelektrik. For a Lightning and a Double Colorless, being able to deal 70 damage in two strong types (Lightning and Water) is a pretty big deal. Alone, this lets you deal with Tornadus, Yanmega Prime, Donphan Prime, and Reshiram. However, the 2 Energy thing always kept Lanturn just barely beyond the cusp of what was required to be fast enough in the HGSS format.
Eelekrik not only removes that, but also adds the opportunity to really abuse his attack. Powerful Spark deals 40 damage plus 10 more for each Energy attached to all your Pokémon, meaning that with enough acceleration you can deal decent damage fairly reasonably when combined with Double Colorless Energy.
I’m not saying you’ll break the 130 damage barrier or anything (you likely won’t without PlusPowers and Junk Arms and luck), but being able to deal a decent amount of damage at least means you can 2-shot anything you don’t already 1-shot due to Weakness. While Reshiphlosion is currently receding a little, Donphan is growing, and Lanturn takes care of both pretty well when you can power it in one turn.
Thundurus: This was a card I had a lot of trouble understanding, but I’m slowly starting to get why you might choose to play it. The idea behind Thundurus is that you attach turn 1 and Charge for a second L Energy from the deck. Turn 2 you can attach a second Energy from the hand to fully power Disaster Bolt turn 2, while also potentially attaching more energy on the bench if you got an Eel. Essentially it’s a turn 2 80 damage, which I think is best compared to the option that MegaZone had with Yanmega.
My personal problem was that in a format where I’m constantly comparing everything to Zekrom, Thundurus looks a hundred times worse. However, with Eelektrik as a tool, he’s a nice low-maintenance opener in the deck. He gets a lot of L Energy in play by turn 2 and can potentially grab a knockout. Even if he doesn’t take the knockout, he 2-shots about everything and softens any target considerably for Magnezone. Unlike Zekrom in an Eel-based deck where you need to accelerate to the bench, Thundurus makes for a better starter and opener in the Active Spot.
Tornadus: Doesn’t really “gain” much from Eelektrik, just because there are better options for most of everything you want to do. You can power him in one turn with a DCE and an Eel, but by the time you have an Eel out, Zekrom and Magnezone are stronger options. Thundurus powers himself in the Active Spot which helps you get more energy into play and attack turn 2 more consistently.
Tornadus resists Donphan, but he’s still a slightly worse option when compared to Lanturn, who can 1HKO Donphan. Nothing makes Tornadus bad with Lanturn, he’s a nice option, but I wouldn’t play him as more of a 1 or 2 copy in a Fighting-heavy metagame, and even then that’s a stretch.
Druddigon: I’m definitely warming up to him. The built in Rocky Helmet is cool, but my real draw to him of all things is the attack Clutch. Being able to hold Chandelure in the Active Spot for a turn can be really useful — you limit your opponent to 30 damage for the turn, and you likely can retreat and KO with any attacker that deals 70 or more damage on the next turn. More of a single copy thing, but it messes with Chandelure enough to give your games a small boost.
Altogether this list doesn’t seem like a very large list of potential attackers, but in the grand scheme of things it’s actually a great mix of options. Think about it this way, Typhlosion is a great card, but you still won’t see it combined with many more than one, maybe 2 possible attackers (Reshiram and Magnezone).
Of those three decks, I’m going to go over the 2 most popular (Magnezone and Lanturn). While the third deck has some merit (Zekrom/Eel), I think that for the most part it functions better when described as a TZPS with an Eel tech. When you have the options of Magnezone and Lanturn, I feel like there’s little excuse not to run one or the other when combined with Eel as your main acceleration.
However, as a consistency tech it’s not a bad concept at all. The biggest reason I feel like this is the way to go is that Eelekrik is not a magic card that makes every concept involving lightning Pokémon better than it already was. Zekrom and Tornadus combined with the Pachirisu/Shaymin combo is still the fastest way to take advantage of the first turn rule and take over a game completely. If you’re running just Zekrom and a friend as an attacker, I see no reason to ignore your winning strategy.
Kettler pitched a very similar concept a month ago here, and here’s my version of the deck:
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 30
Energy – 14
pokemon-paradijs.comI didn’t change too much to his original concept, but I decided to put more emphasis into the Eel as a mid-late game card by cutting it from a 3-3 line to a 2-2, and rearranging some of the supporters to still give it more turn 1 potential with Dual Ball and Pokégear. Is it perfect? No, but it’s a good start if you’re looking to create a Zekrom that lasts in the early game as well as the late.
Next up is Lanturn/Eel. Because the deck is so simple, I won’t delve into a complete analysis, but I’ll still talk a bit more about it. Ever since I built my first version of Zone/Eel, my brother kept constantly suggesting for me to put Lanturn into the deck. Actually, I rephrase that, he continually tells me my deck would be infinitely “better” with Lanturn, to the point where he has named Zone/Eel “It’s better with Lanturn.”
If I hear him call it that one more time I swear I’ll punch him.
While I don’t know if I can agree that Lanturn/Eel is indefinitely better than Zone/Eel, it does have its merits. And as soon as I heard that Jason Klaczynski won a City Championship with the deck (also featuring Thundurus), I was instantly more interested.
Kettler’s list was literally one card off from mine (I had 3 Thundurus and 2 Zekrom instead of 4 and 1), that posting his list just seems to make sense. I’m liking the Thundurus starter more and more often that it likely belongs as a 4-of copy anyway, so here’s what he/I had as a recap:
Pokémon – 20
Trainers – 26
Energy – 14
pokemon-paradijs.comThe concept is pretty simple — hit early for 80 damage with Thundurus, build energy with Eel, and hit for decent damage as a water-type with Lanturn. The deck has had solid results vs. Reshiphlosion and Donphan solely because of the Weakness factor, which is pretty cool.
Beyond that, though, it still struggles in some spots. Despite having a Zekrom and the potential to hit heavy with Lanturn Prime, you likely aren’t going to climb the 130 HP wall too often, leaving you in trouble vs. Six Corners, Regular Zekrom, and Ross/Truth. These kinds of sacrifices make this deck one that isn’t really my go-to choice for a tournament, but more of a metagame play.
There are still plenty of metagames out there crawling with Reshiram, and as long as Zone/Eel is number 1 Donphan will continue to rise. If you know your area is one of these two, it’s a fantastic and simple play.
And finally, we have the number 1:
Pokémon – 19
Trainers – 27
Energy – 14
This list, once again, is a lot like another one of our writer’s (Mikey). Then again, it’s also very similar to my own last list, too — there’s not much room for techs in here! I took my old list and decided to momentarily axe the 1/1 Pachi/Shaymin line for a 2nd Magneton and 4th Rare Candy — both for better starts and sake of consistency. Aside from that, I decided to settle for 3 Junk Arm and 14 Energy in order to hold on to my 2nd Switch and 12th Supporter (the Engineer’s).
pokemon-paradijs.comIt’s really standard, and while I’d love to discover some awesome innovation for the deck to let it be my own, I’ve since decided that consistency is much more important in most of the matchups (see below). While it was awesome to see my “fun deck” built the day I got Noble Victories cards actually do well, I’ve since learned that it was too good to be unique.
Use Eelektrick’s Dynamotor to constantly provide L Energy to Magnezone for Lost Burn. Abuse Magnetic Draw to get set up more quickly, and use Zekrom for early energy abuse with Dynamotor to work with one of the most versatile and consistent decks in the format.
– Extremely consistent due to Magnetic Draw.
– Ability to hit over the 130 HP barrier vs. Truth, Chandelure, ZPST, and Six Corners.
– Amazing recovery and speed with Dynamotor.
– Poor Retreat Cost around the board. Zekrom has 2, Eel has 2, and Zone has 3. With a format where Catcher exists, this is never great. 2 Switch is likely needed.
– With a deck so focused on Lightning Pokémon, you have a huge Weakness to Fighting Pokémon (Terakion NVI, Landorus NVI, Donphan Prime). I’ve tested the Fighting matchup a couple times, and it’s really just too bad to even consider “teching” for. You kind of have to take the loss or play the Lanturn version, and the middle ground is an absolute mess to try.
Matchups and Techs
pokemon-paradijs.comThis matchup is usually slightly favorable for Zone/Eel. They might go up a few prizes early in like ZPST always does, but having the ability to hit for a constant 150 damage with Magnezone Prime was the one thing Magnezone-based decks finally needed to turn the matchup in their favor. Eviolite gives them almost no advantage like it does vs. other decks, and once they run out of energy acceleration vs. your constant acceleration, the game tips heavily in your favor.
Vs. Truth Variants
This matchup is fairly even, but isn’t hard to learn. The main goal should be to take 1-2 early prizes with your Zekrom/Thundurus, and then roll through the 130 HP barrier with Magnezone. If they get an early Trainer Lock you’ll be hindered from getting all this out reasonably, though, so I recommend teching anything that gives you access to more Magnezone.
A second Magneton is huge in the matchup, and 1-2 Rescue Energy can go a long way in combination with that—giving you access to more complete Magnezone lines.
This is a weird matchup, but having access to a way to deal 130 hp of damage instantly puts you at the higher end of the matchup. One thing I learned really quickly, however, is to run a list with 1 or less of the 30 HP Tynamos — without those you at least force them to waste a second Chandelure “attack” if they want to prevent you from accessing an Eel.
Once again, because most variants run multiple copies of Vileplume as well, multiple Magneton can be helpful. If they’re able to get the perfect double Chandelure setup + Vileplume UD + Dodrio UD, you’ll lose if you haven’t set up at least one Magnezone with energy acceleration, because they’ll wipe your magnemites with 50 damage counters of spread before you can evolve anything.
pokemon-paradijs.comStarting your early game with multiple Magnemites and Eel is usually a good plan — it gives you enough Basics to evolve before the chaos starts, and turns the matchup into a fairly easy one once you have the ability to Lost Burn.
Like I mentioned earlier, Druddigon NVI is a fun way to be mean to a Chandelure early in, but I see it as more useful in the decks that can’t already 1HKO him, like the Zekrom or Lanturn variant (both of those also run DCE already).
Another matchup where the 30 HP Tynamo will be the death of you because of all the quick prizes it allows. This matchup is really dependent on their setup, but once again minimizing techs and maximizing consistency cards like Magneton, Rescue Energy, and Rare Candy help you more than anything else. I
f they get a turn 2 Kyurem spreading, you’re going to be in huge trouble right off the bat, and you’ll be forced to either evolve or have all your basics wiped the next turn. There’s not much you can do to prevent this other than by making sure your deck can consistently get out magnezone and eelektrik as quickly as possible.
Once you do set up, things get much easier, much like the Zekrom matchup. They both (“CaKE” and Zekrom) rely on early Energy acceleration over consistent Energy acceleration, and they fall apart once you pick apart their attackers by being able to deal the 130+ damage. The upside is that you also get a free prize as they set up quickly — something ZPST doesn’t give you.
Typically you won’t face Coballion too often because they aren’t nearly as strong as Kyurem is against you. However, if you do find yourself in a Coballion bind, a simple switch is usually all it takes to dismantle them.
Vs. “Six Corners”
pokemon-paradijs.comThis matchup depends a lot on their build, but I’ve found that playing against the variant with 4 Virizion NVI as a starter is easiest for you because they can allow you to take a few Zekrom prizes first. Vs. most other decks, running out of energy isn’t too big of a problem.
However, vs. a deck where having 120+ HP on ALL of your pokemon is standard, you can run out of Lost Burn fuel pretty easily if you mismanage things. Taking any prizes at all with Zekrom not only pushes you closer to victory early in, but also gives you plenty of extra Energy in the discard to accelerate once he falls, instead of just throwing your Energy away into the Lost Zone.
The average build for this deck doesn’t run any Energy acceleration at all, which makes them really easy to deal with if you have enough Energy packing with Magnezone. Their strategy is normally extremely defensive, relying on heavy outrage damage with eviolite, but having the option to 1HKO them is huge.
Another matchup where taking key prizes with Zekrom is important. Luckily this time, because they constantly apply damage counters to Reshiram through Afterburner, and also run Basic Pokémon that need to evolve first, you have a few openings. Past that, it’s the usual strategy — Lost Burn away their Reshiram and Typhlosion. Both decks function very similarly, and it can often be a battle of who sets up first. If you set up more than one eel early in, you’ll have a pretty solid advantage.
I know that it might seem like none of these matchups sound that bad for Zone/Eel, but that’s exactly why the deck is performing so well. Having minimal exploitable weaknesses other than the Fighting type (which is why Donphan/Dragons has way more wins than it would have otherwise) make it a decent deck vs. most of the field.
With so many decks relying on high-hp Pokémon, being able to clear that 130hp barrier consistently now makes it one of the most reliable decks of the format. It’s not this magic cure-all that will win you every game (even Luxchomp wasn’t in its format), but it gives you a pretty great fighting chance in every game you play.
You know how I said the god of Pokémon is Thor? If the future holds any indication, I’d say I’m right. Future sets that pair well with Eelektrik include the following:
Basically, a giant Zekrom (like he wasn’t already too big). Eviolite compatible, 40 more HP than Magnezone as a Basic, and can hit for 150 damage consistently with eels or Double Colorless Energy. Because he’s a Basic, he fits in any eel-based deck, even as just a 1-of. He actually reminds me more of a giant Reshiram more than Zekrom because he discards Energy, and he’ll likely replace Reshiphlosion with Eel/Zekrom-EX if 150 damage ends up being enough to deal with the format (it might not though, considering how big these EXs are).
Also funny and worth noting is that like Zekrom, Reshiram-EX damages itself with its big attack—it’s like the roles reversed!
Mewtwo EX, likely the most hyped card of all time due to The Deck Out, Troll and Toad’s massive $40 starting pre-order price, and just generally looking like a really good card, is also Eel compatible. He deals 20 damage times the amount of Energy attached to you AND the Defending Pokémon.
Let’s assume they have 2 energy attached to them, which is a nice conservative estimate. With those 2 Energy, plus a Double Colorless, plus 2 Dynamotors, you’re already dealing 120 damage with zero drawbacks, straight up. More eels and more Energy in play just mean a more ridiculous attack from Mewtwo. Eviolite compatable, easily splashable basic, etc. Mewtwo will be huge (I’m probably just adding to the hype, but oh well).
Raikou-EX (not in our next set)
Raikou-EX – Lightning – 170 HP
LC Thunder Fang: 30 damage. Flip a coin, if heads the opponent’s Active Pokémon is now Paralyzed.
LLC Voltage Arrow: Discard all L Energy attached to this Pokémon, then do 100 damage to 1 of your opponent’s Pokémon. (Don’t apply Weakness and Resistance when damaging the Bench.)
Pokémon-EX Rule: When Pokémon-EX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.
Weakness: Fighting (x2)
Same story as the other EXs. Eviolite compatible, huge HP, eel compatible. For 3 Energy you can snipe for 100 wherever you want (essentially a Lightning and Basic version of Suicune & Entei LEGEND). While 100 damage isn’t going to win you a huge EX war, it’s still a pretty sick option to have for such an easy snipe ability. It essentially nullifies any effect an opponent would hope to have with Reuniclus, who I’m sure could still remain popular with how much HP these huge basics have.
While I’m just taking a nice ride on the hype train right now, it goes to show that Eelektrik is likely going to be an important staple in our format for a while. It’s already part of the number one deck in our format, and it’ll likely have a place in top decks for the rest of its life in the game.
cartoonstock.comThanks for reading today’s article, and stay tuned at the end of the year for my analysis of the shifting metagame across the Chicago marathon. Maybe I’ll see you there! Good luck at Cities, and ask feel free to ask any questions in the comments section of the forums. While I am really busy these days, I try and answer every question asked on my articles as soon as they’re out — don’t miss your chance!
Good luck at Cities and finish strong!
…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.
After 45 days, we unlock each Underground (UG/★) article for public viewing. New articles are reserved for Underground members.
Underground Members: Thank you for making this article possible!
Other Readers: Check out the FAQ if you are interested in joining Underground and gaining full access to our latest content.