pokemon-paradijs.comWhat this article will include has probably already been discussed to death by both your local community as well as players overseas. Next Destinies brings to us what veteran players have been playing with several years ago; ubers in card form with the drawback of letting your opponent take an extra prize, similar to most Legends, or the beloved Expert Belt, everyone’s favorite tool card of yesteryear.
But the Pokémon aside, what has gotten the serious players really excited are the slew of new Items, Supporters and Stadium cards that might be available in time for States, and whether they will break the stagnant engine that is omnipresent in every deck right now.
For the record, let’s list out the decks that have been making the top tiers around the world (at least, according to 6P):
- Donphan & Dragons
- PrimeTime (Magnezone/Yanmega)
Personally, I would drop off the LantEel as I don’t think it is a strong enough deck, considering Lanturn’s HP. Opinions aside, this article is about how ND will affect our metagame, particularly for States.
I am assuming that all the remaining cards from Hail Blizzard and Psycho Drive will be included, plus additions from the Zekrom-EX and Reshiram-EX decks. Pokébeach.com has the scans and pretty accurate translations, check them out.
Let’s begin with the card that has the biggest hype at the moment, no thanks to our friends up North in Japan: Mewtwo EX.
Mewtwo EX variants
Its statistics are quite something. It has a maximum HP of 170, not something you can 1-shot with ease. And it only has a Retreat Cost of two. The lack of Resistance isn’t really surprising though, and like the other Pokémon-EX, gives up 2 Prizes upon KO.
Fortunately, its Psychic Weakness is simply glaring: mirror matches and Mew Prime will have a heyday on this little beast. But the true power of Mewtwo EX is the fact that its main attack, X Ball, effectively makes it a Colorless type. For the cost of two C Energy, it does 20 damage times the amount of Energy attached to BOTH Active Pokémon.
Also, ANY Energy acceleration will work on the beast. The top contenders are Celebi Prime, combined with Skyarrow Bridge (one of the new Stadium cards) for free retreat, and Eelektrik, for amazing mid-game presence. Other engines include Typhlosion Prime, whose strategy with Reshiram speaks for itself, and the new Gardevoir, who can make any P Energy turn into a purple Double Colorless Energy.
The scary thing about it is that, being a Basic Pokémon that is easily charged up, Seeker/Super Scoop Up is the last thing your opponent would want to see. Also, with Pokémon Center soon to be a Stadium card (previously a Trainer card) and Potion now healing for 30 instead of 20, it is going to take a lot to Knock Out this Frieza reincarnate.
What makes Mewtwo EX truly a monster is how it can turn your own strategy against you. Any energy cards on your field becomes a liability, and even if you act conservatively, Mewtwo’s damage cap is already the same as Magnezone Prime and Scizor Prime; that is to say, none. So how do you counter this science freak?
pokemon-paradijs.comApart from playing the same deck yourself, Mew Prime comes to mind first. Able to hit for Weakness, it can send to the Lost Zone any Pokémon that can do a minimum of 90 damage, including Mewtwo EX itself, for a one-on-two hard counter. Remember, both of you are 1HKO-ing each other, but Mew does not have the prize penalty of an EX. However, you would possibly fall against other decks due to its fragility.
Another method is to play a most unexpected attacker: Yanmega Prime. It requires no energy, thus fears only the energy on Mewtwo itself, while the latter needs to pile up six Energy to 1HKO Yanmega. A turn 1 Eviolite, however, forces Yanmega to attack at least four times to KO a Mewtwo, and other Pokémon, namely Reshiram, does this more efficiently.
However, an even better attacker, one that is already making waves today, might be the answer to our problems: Magnezone Prime. As of now, there are no Pokémon-EX that exceeds the 180 HP benchmark, and Eviolite only pushes this up to 200HP.
Mathematicians can see the answer as clear as day: only four Energy Cards need to be burned for 2 Prizes. That’s two Energy Cards per prize, which is lesser on average than Magnezone variants need to LZ in today’s metagame to 1HKO the Opponent’s main attacker. A fast Magneel can dish out this much damage easily, and puts the pressure on the Mewtwo EX player.
In fact, Magnezone variants would probably benefit the most from this next set of cards: the Ball Engine.
Return of the Ball Engine
BulbapediaJuniper is starting to look better than ever. With Item lock on the downward spiral, Trainer engines are making a comeback with some serious backup.
Heavy Ball allows the player to search for any Pokémon with a Retreat Cost of 3-of higher, while Level Ball searches out any Pokémon with 90HP or less. Heavyweights like Magnezone Prime, Donphan Prime, and Ability Boar are now easily searchable, increasing their potential even more, while Eelektrik engines become much easier to set up.
Special mention must be made to Ultra Ball, the only really splashable card we may get. It works similar to Junk Arm, requiring you to discard two cards to search out any Pokémon Card. It works especially well for Typhlosion and Eelektrik engines.
In fact, I can envision the future of Magneel to look something like this:
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 29
2 Pokégear 3.0
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 14
In fact this decklist can probably be tweaked for the return of ReshiBoar, utilising Reshiram-EX and Fliptini.
Personally, the only other Item card I am really excited to see is the return of EXP Share in LostGar decks. It is more effective than the new Gardevoir in charging up Mew/Gengar Prime for hurling Pokémon into the Lost Zone, and is one of the new combos I am trying out.
Big is Better
pokemon-paradijs.comThe dragons return centre stage to wrestle with Mewtwo EX for top spot. Both can Reshiram-EX and Zekrom-EX can deal a maximum of 150, up from 120 of their current counterparts. Their effects have also been reversed, with Zekrom-EX needing to discard two energy (DCE counts) and Reshiram-EX with a 50-50 chance of a 50-damage recoil.
Off the bat, we can already guess their preferred partners: Eelektrik and Fliptini.
The Japanese meta has Zekrom-EX paired with Eelektriks and Switch, and sometimes Shaymin UL, along with maxed-out DCE to power up this, er, powerhouse. The deck works very similar to the current Tyram except for its inability to attach to the active.
One good thing about Strong Volt’s discard effect is that, like the normal Reshiram, it forces Mewtwo EX to power itself up for the kill, or else force a 2HKO, and the latter is usually the preferred route given their resources, especially when you consider how neither dragons, EX or not, can 1HKO Mewtwo EX anyway.
Reshiram-EX decks can still work ala Tyram, but the damage induced is certainly no small matter, unless you decide to fit in Potion or Pokémon Center. Instead, Ability Boar may finally be the better option as Reshiram-EX does not need to discard Energies for Brave Fire.
Fliptini reduces your chances of recoil by a fairly large margin, and Switch/Seeker combo or SSU can help keep it alive for a while, similar to Mewtwo EX’s supposed survival technique, backed up by Inferno Fandango to keep the pressure on.
Shaymin EX’s first attack is reminiscent of Tangela CoL, and can be used, if it starts first, to power up Mewtwo EX using a Celebi Prime engine. But its real value is in its second attack, Revenge Burst.
For one Grass and one C Energy, it has a base damage of 30 that increases by the same amount for every prize your Opponent takes, which means by end game, it can swing up to 180 damage, enough to KO anything without Eviolite. This surprise factor, especially when combined with the supporter N to force a dead hand on your Opponent, can easily turn the game in your favor.
Think of it as Bouffalant’s Revenge attack on steroids for late games. And while we’re at it, throw in a Black Belt for extra measure if you wish.
The first translation of Regigigas-EX to appear had everybody scrambling to find ways to utilise its Giga Power attack for a first-turn KO. After the correction, people then started looking at its other attack.
Raging Hammer is a familiar attack for those playing any variation of the current dragons; in fact, it is an almost exact copy of Outrage. With the same whopping 180 HP, Regigigas can sure take a hit, and Raging Hammer is a guaranteed threat to any of the dragons or Mewtwo EX.
Unfortunately, the attack cost is equally scary, at double the Energy Cost of Outrage, and because of the nature of the attack, fails as a surprise revenge attacker, and instead works as a staller.
How it affects the current meta
Many people are wondering how Next Destinies is going to affect the current meta. Can the big three (Tyram, Magneel, ZPST) still hold its own? Are rogue decks forever dead? Is there any chance of me ever using Durant again?
Thinking back to the Holon era where the original Pokémon-ex reached their peak, it may come as a surprise to know that, while the Pokémon-ex dominated, other decks still stood a pretty damn decent chance. This is because of the way the Pokémon-ex and Pokémon-EX work: they gave up 2 Prizes upon KO. (Or maybe because the speedster of that era, Banette-ex, only had 90 HP.)
So let’s look at some simple math.
All the Pokémon-EX can be equipped with Eviolite, so we will assume they have one on them in a worst-case scenario situation.
- Mewtwo EX: 170 HP (190 with Eviolite)
- Zekrom-EX: 180 HP (200 with Eviolite)
- Reshiram-EX: 180 HP (200 with Eviolite)
- Regigigas-EX: 180 HP (200 with Eviolite)
- Shaymin EX: 110 HP (130 with Eviolite)
This is how much damage you need to do to 1HKO any of them. Shaymin EX is the only exception, although this fact is negated as it is usually used as a late-game sweeper. For the rest, take into account that you get 2 Prizes per KO. The math thus stands as such:
- Mewtwo EX: 90 per prize (110 with Eviolite)
- Zekrom-EX: 90 per prize (110 with Eviolite)
- Reshiram-EX: 90 per prize (110 with Eviolite), assume heads on Brave Fire
- Regigigas-EX: 90 per prize (110 with Eviolite)
Suddenly the matchup looks pretty winnable. Assuming no healing, Any of the current meta decks can deal the required damage every turn, even Tornadus EPO with a PlusPower. The challenge instead becomes recyclability of attackers, or how you to constantly deal as much damage turn after turn. It’s basically a race against the clock: 6 Prizes in six turns.
Tyram probably has the easiest time dealing with new decks not named Mewtwo. It has already proven its ability to recycle Reshirams turn after turn without fail, so long as two Typhlosions are at the ready. Even after two Afterburners, Reshiram still has a relatively healthy HP of 110, forcing Mewtwo EX to load up five energies just to 1HKO Reshiram. And with a PlusPower/Rocky Helmet, a non-Eviolited Reshiram-EX fears an instant revenge KO should the player flip a tails on Brave Fire (120+10+50=180).
Having an easier time is Magnezone Prime. The only prime still standing in the current Tier 1 bracket is also the only prime any of the new Pokémon-EX fears. Not only can Magnezone 1-shot any of them with ease, it does so with better efficiency than against its current Opponents. Two Lost Zoned Energy per prize is efficient indeed, and even more so against Shaymin EX should it have the unfortunate moment of being on the field early game.
One note, however, it’s that it is obviously not an easy job powering up Lost Burn. Four Energy cards can’t come from nowhere. The amount of resources to pull off KO after KO is very straining, unless you run Magneboar, and let’s face it, who still does?
And what about ZPST, that donk machine? Sadly, unless it can pull the donk, I don’t believe it will have much of a future. Its engine only works for early game, and as proven in the current meta, struggles as the game wears on, and this is something that will definitely come to pass as these super tankers stare down at them.
pokemon-paradijs.comRoss decks? Dead. A tanker that can’t tank is just meh, and I can’t see ANY variants who are able to tank out the repeated onslaught. At least Chandelure can inflict status, and has a decent chance against Mewtwo EX due to weakness, and Zekrom-EX by taking out Eelektriks.
CoKE and 6 Corners, now this is a hard one. Rumours are that these two decks are holding out well in Japan against the new decks. I don’t have much experience in them, so unfortunately, I cannot comment.
Word on the street, however, is that the MVP in both decks is Cobalion NVI, although only against Mewtwo EX. 120 HP may seem little, but with Eviolite and Resistance, this skyrockets to 160, and Special Metal jacks it up to a maximum of 200.
DnD is already lagging behind in the race, so I doubt it can catch up when the new set is released, especially since Exoskeleton is made redundant when Zekrom-EX, Reshiram-EX and Mewtwo EX all are able to 1HKO it. Maybe some tweaking can help.
It has a pretty good chance against Zekrom-EX because of Weakness, and Kyurem can make the matchup against Reshiram-EX bearable if it can take an early lead. And because it has a healthy amount of DCE in its build, it can tech in Mewtwo EX as well.
Finally, yes, I will definitely talk about that miserable insect, the destroyer of dreams, the irritant of players. I’m talking about Durant, of course.
pokemon-paradijs.comDurant is the oddball here. It is considered a Tier 2 deck due to its immense reliance on luck (crushing hammer, content of devour, etc), and its only saving grace happens to be the fact that it doesn’t need to take prizes to win, and that most Durant decks play Lost Remover (if you haven’t noticed by now, almost all Pokémon-EX relies on DCE).
Otherwise, Eviolite is close to redundant except against Mewtwo EX where it has a marginal advantage due to resistance, and catcher loses its efficiency with the introduction of Skyarrow Bridge. If Mewtwo EX does become big, adding Defender might help a little.
It can also run counter Stadiums, of course, or include techs like Hypno HS, and this has become the trademark of Durant: its ability to run amazing amounts of tech to deal with any situation. Otherwise, it’s 50/50 as usual, and is why it will forever remain second tier.
The Zekrom-EX matchup should be pretty good though, if the opponent does not run normal Zekroms as backup, as unlike Tyram, it doesn’t hit for Weakness. And personally, I never found the normal Zekrom a threat either, unless it donks.
Overall I feel that, while the new set will have a considerable impact on the metagame, it will not necessarily be as bad as most people envisioned it to be. Current meta decks simply need to be tweaked to deal with the new threats, and that’s something that is easily done.