Hey errybody, Kenny Wisdom back again with another Underground article. Firstly, thanks to everyone for the massive amount of support you’ve shown me. Without you, I wouldn’t even be given the chance to write Underground articles in the first place, so never forget how important you are to the vitality of the writers, and SixPrizes in general.
Getting into my actual article, I don’t really have a super-focused topic for today. I’ve been racking my brain over what to write about as I really wanted to give you guys a solid few thousand words on a specific topic, but at the end of the day I just couldn’t pin point it. I think it’s because we’re at a weird stage right now — Cities are almost over, but still relevant enough that they need to be written about, and on the other hands, States and Regionals seem so close, but are actually several months away.
Because of this, I’m going to be touching on a lot of different topics today. I’ll do my best to go in-depth into each of them to give the level of quality that Underground articles are known for.
As I said up top, even though a lot of us are thinking ahead to the release of Next Destinies and to the eventual States and Regional tournaments that will take place in an HS-ND format, it’s important to remember that there are still two weekends of Cities left. For most players this means that there are four events to attend and that’s a whole lot of points to be earned, so you absolutely have to stay on focus during these times.
For those who have been following my non-Underground articles, you’ll know that I haven’t had too much success during Cities. I’ve yet to make a single top cut or earn a single Championship Point from the event series, even though I’ve attended multiple (I do have one point from Regionals for making the top 64 though, so yay for me). I’ve delved into why this is in past articles so I’m not going to rehash it here, but I thought it would be important to look back at the events I’ve entered, how I did, and what ended up winning.
(As a sidenote, I find it pretty awesome that the Pokémon website now has the complete standings for each tournament listed on your player profile. The site certainly has more than it’s share of problems, but laying out a table like this is something I never would’ve been able to do before the upgrade. Big ups to TPCi!)
Winning deck: David Cohen’s Zekrom
pokemon-paradijs.comI can’t exactly remember all that happened in this tournament, but I do know that I played a decent but unrefined list, and went 2-3 losing to Tyler Ninomura’s Chandelure, Jerin Head’s Stage Ones, and Jeffrey Barasona’s Truth.
The Chandelure loss was to be expected as the matchup is pretty awful, and the Stage Ones match was very close, but my ultimate downfall was very quick Donphans out of my opponent. The Truth match was kind of silly, as the game got to a point where I believe I could’ve won on time, but my Cleffa just wouldn’t wake up in time. Again, I don’t remember all of the events of this tournament, so I apologize if I got any of the details wrong.
As an aside, the finals of this tournament were the most hilarious in recent memory. It was a match between David Cohen vs. Tyler Ninomura, and between misregistered lists, missed donks, missed Tropical Beaches, and dreamcrushes, it was quite the sight to be seen.
Aaaand it can be seen here, thanks to Green Star Gaming on YouTube:
(That’s me in the red jacket :D)
Place: 13th/44 (4-2)
Winning deck: Tyler Ninomura’s Chandelure
pokemon-paradijs.comThis tournament, like many of the others on this list, ended with me wiffing the cut with a cut-worthy record. I don’t remember all of the details, except one…
I was playing against a local player named Dario in what I thought was my win-and-in (apparently I calculated wrong. Math is hard). He’s playing Tyranitar Prime, and the match goes pretty well for me, mainly because he runs cold throughout. He manages to bring the game down to 2-1 Prizes in my favor. My board is an active Magnezone with another Magnezone and a Thundurus on the bench. His is a lone Darkrai & Cresellia LEGEND without enough energy to attack.
I have 2 Energy on Zone with another in hand, so I’m pretty certain no matter what he does it’s game over for him. Until that is, he attaches an Eviolite, bringing his DCL to 170 HP. Long story short, I draw and pass until I hit the fourth Energy to KO his DCL for game, and then realize one thing…
Eviolite doesn’t work on LEGENDS!
I had just been jedi mind tricked, and even though I walked away with the win, it felt pretty terrible. I’m a Professor and sort of pride myself on having a fairly deep understanding of the rules, so I’ve no idea why that one slipped by. Ugh.
Anyway, I separate my deck, excited to play in a cut that I believe contained mostly favorable matchups, until it’s announced that my calculations were way off, and I was at the end of the bubble at 13th. Feels bad man.
Winning deck: David Cohen’s Zekrom
All apologies, but I really can’t remember anything from this tournament. I know that I didn’t do well, but unfortunately all of the rounds are escaping me. I’ve even done a little digging around on various sites that might have this information and I still can’t bring up anything, all apologies.
I decided to play Chandelure after seeing Tyler win with it last week and deciding that it was well-positioned in our meta. I can’t remember the exact list I played for that event, but if I played Chandelure today it would look something like this…
Pokémon – 27
2 Gloom UD
Trainers – 25
Energy – 8
A quick explanation of the list…
pokemon-paradijs.com– All of the Pokémon lines are correct, in my opinion. The only thing I would consider adding is a Jirachi UL/CL, in which case I would probably cut the Pichu, or a Gloom if you’d like. The decision to add Jirachi almost entirely depends on what percentage of your metagame is evolution decks vs. which percentage is basic decks. For me, Zekrom, Durant, and Cake are all pretty popular, so it’s not worth the inclusion.
– The Supporter lines all make sense, I think, but one thing I would note is that I think you absolutely have to play Cheren’s over Sage’s Training in this deck. I’ve found that there are too many important pieces (at any given time you have to have multiple Chandelure, Vileplume, Tropical Beach, and Dodrio in play) to risk playing a Sage. Plus, if Durant is heavy in your meta you don’t want to be discarding things all willy nilly.
– I haven’t tested the Cobalion NVI version, but it’s definitely good and worth the alterations to the deck if your meta accounts for it. Because I haven’t tested I don’t have a good list on me, but there’s quite the discussion about it (and the Chandelure deck in general) on HeyTrainer’s strategy forum.
Winning deck: Ian Griffith’s Chandelure
Ian Griffith and I were playing in the last round, and the situation was as such:
I had a Zekrom with 120 damage on it that was burned and confused, and he had an active Chandelure, with no other Chandelures on the board. Because of this, I have to attempt to Outrage for the win, where if I hit the heads and the Outrage is successful, I win an am onto the top cut, and if I flip tails, Zekrom dies and he wins. Seeing as he won the tournament and I did not, I think you guys can see where things went wrong. QQ
No bitter berries though, it was a good tournament all around and it feels better to lose my win and in than to completely scrub out on the day. Plus I lost to the eventual winner, so that always takes a bit of the sting away.
Winning deck: Zane Nelson’s Cake
Similar story as above, I’m playing my last round, and a win puts me in the top 8. It’s down to 1-1 Prizes against Chandelure, and I need to hit a Dual Ball to stay in the game. I flip double tails, he hits the Seeker + attack to wipe my board. I think I’m starting to sense a pattern here. ;)
For those wondering, here’s the ZPST list I played for this event and is one that I think is as close to perfect as you can get…
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 32
3 Junk Arm
Energy – 16
An explanation of the list…
pokemon-paradijs.com– Firstly, by “best list” I mean “best list that doesn’t include Eels”. I tend to like the ZPST version of the deck more, but the Eel variant is obviously a fine play, and I don’t think it’s really fair to compare the two side-by-side.
– Sage is something that David Cohen hipped me to, and I’ve really liked thus far. It’s not as aggressive as the deck normally wants to be, but it’s a lifesaver for those situations where you almost have the donk so you don’t wanna ship the hand back via Oak. It also helps in those times where you just have a generally manageable hand and don’t quite want to get rid of the whole thing, even if you don’t have the donk.
– I think the Energy is perfect. You absolutely need 4 DCE, no question, and I’ve found 12 to be just the right number. 10 felt too low and with anything higher than 12 I start to feel flooded. The only possible alterations I would ever consider would be the possible inclusion of Rainbow Energy to throw off combat math (thanks for leaving me at 110 HP Chandelure/Gothitelle/etc.), but even then I’ve never been able to justify it.
Winning deck: Amelia Bottemiller’s ZPST
This is my worst tournament by far. I had a general case of the run bads all tournament, unfortunately. Not trying to make excuses, but there was literally not one game where I was fully set-up and felt like my deck played out like it was intended to, heh. The worst part is it wasn’t a case of the list, and after reviewing my matches I don’t believe I made any obvious misplays, I just couldn’t get things set-up.
Speaking of the list…
Pokémon – 20
Trainers – 26
Energy – 14
Explanation of the list…
pokemon-paradijs.com– I always wanted a fourth Tynamo (or Tiny Mo, as we refer to him) and a 2nd Zekrom, but could never find the room. I also feel like it would’ve been possible to cut to 2 Thundurus, but I never really wanted anything more than I wanted the 3rd one, particularly because — with all of the Chandelure in my meta — I can’t afford to run the 30 HP Tynamo.
– Trainers are pretty self explanatory, although at times I wanted additional Switch.
The most interesting thing about this tournament was the top 4 at the end of the event, that looked like this…
1st – Amelia Bottemiller w/ ZPST
2nd – Nestor Garcia w/ Victini/Tyrogue
3rd – Tyler Ninomura w/ Durant
4th – Ross Cawthon w/ Gothitelle
I didn’t get to see the Victini/Tyrogue deck in action, but from speaking with Ross and Amelia, apparently it ran all of the Victini’s known to man, as well as a playset of Tyrogue HS, Poké Ball, Dual Ball, and PlusPower. The idea being to just go for the donk every single time. Apparently it was successful enough to get him into the finals, beating world champion David Cohen and world’s runner-up Ross Cawthon in the process. Did I mention it was played sleeveless?
Winning deck: Stephen Lowe’s ZPST
pokemon-paradijs.comLong story short I ended up being X-1 going into my final round vs. Amelia, wherein we figured out that if she conceded a lone X-1 would miss the cut, and seeing how she had been downpaired twice, it would most likely be her. Regrettably, we were forced to play it out.
I get absolutely wrecked. The ZPST matchup isn’t very good, probably something like 65/35, but it gets increasingly bad when you don’t play PlusPowers (probably turning into a 70/30 match), and gets even worse when you run colder than cold! She takes 6 Prizes very easily, and I go home to sulk and NYE it up.
And with that, I end my Cities history up until this point. I still have four more events to attend, and with any luck I’ll be able to spike them all and end CCs with 24 Championship Points! Ooor maybe not, we’ll see.
Looking into the future a bit while still staying in the realm of Cities, I wanted to talk about the deck that I’ll most likely be playing this upcoming weekend. Although I haven’t 100% decided as I still want to work out the kinks in my list, I think, given how my local metagame has shifted, that I’ll be playing Gothitelle. For those interested, here is a rough list.
Pokémon – 24
Trainers – 27
Energy – 9
As I said before, the list is rough and is likely to change before I register it for the tournament, but here are a few brief explanations…
youtube.com– I’ve never found the need for the 4th Gothitelle, and have been playing it as 4-2-3 for quite a while. List is pretty tight and I’ve found that if you’re needing to use all 4 Gothitelle, your deck isn’t functioning how it’s supposed to anyway. The prizing/drawing issue become less relevant when you remember that you have Twins and Tropical Beach at your disposal.
– I think at this point in the season you absolutely have to be playing Serperior over Blissey. The first benefit is that it saves you slots in the deck, as 1-1-1 (or even 1-0-1 if you’re a gambler) is better than 1-1 Blissey, 1-2 Seeker and 1 Dragon. It also provides a more consistent healing, as given that you don’t mess up you’ll heal up to 110 damage per turn, every turn. My Trainer-lock heavy meta requires that I run a 1-1-1, otherwise a 1-0-1 line is perfectly acceptable.
– The Dodrio is necessary in my meta because of prevalence of Cobalion. Getting a Gothitelle stuck active while they build stuff up is a pretty awful feeling, and is part of what allowed Zane Nelson’s Cake to beat Ross Cawthon’s Gothitelle in the finals of one of the aforementioned Cities. It’s also nice because it makes Bellsprout TM techs almost a non-threat, and cures bad starts without having to resort to losing energy.
– The Victini is an idea I stole from Ross Cawthon, who has piloted the deck throughout every Cities event that he’s attended. It deals with the aforementioned Cobalion threat, and also gives you an out to Durant (Durant is notoriously difficult to beat with Gothitelle). It’s also just an all-around good surprise card that can often steal you the last prize or two, as your bench is almost always going to be full.
pokemon-paradijs.com– The Trainers aren’t perfect. I’m still not sure whether or not I want Cheren or Sage, and I’m not sure if Oak should be a 4-of or if I should split it with another Supporter, or even just swap it out entirely for N. One thing that I am certain of is that I want at least a copy of Super Rod (and I sure wish I had some Junk Arms to go with it) to deal with any stray Durants that may still be crawling around.
– Not sold on the Energy either; I know that I want the Rainbows in that quantity, but I’m not sure where I should have the Psychics at. Like I said, it’s a work in progress.
I think I did a good enough job outlining why I believe Gothitelle is a good play for my meta, but in case it wasn’t clear enough: I feel like with the success of Zekrom, players are going to shift toward playing a “superior” version of Zekrom (which Gothitelle will still beat) or they’re going to try and play something that beats Zekrom handidly (most of which Gothitelle should be able to handle, with the possible exception being Chandelure, if they play Psychic energies).
Tune into my next non-UG article to see if my suspicions were correct.
Looking Forward: Next Destinies and State Championships
For the next half of this article I thought I would highlight some of the cards that already exist in our current format that will get either a boost or a downgrade in both playability and cost when Next Destinies is released. I decided against previewing and discussing Next Destinies cards as I’ll save that for the set review that I do whenever a new expansion is released. That article will be up either the week before or the week after Next Destinies comes out, and will most likely be a non-UG article.
pokemon-paradijs.comIn my mind, Magnezone is the card that gains the most from the release of Next Destinies. Mainly because it’s one of the only Pokémon that can 1HKO EXs, and it’s already proven that it’s one of the best cards in the format, and can obviously compete (it won Worlds!). I haven’t tested for the next format at all so I couldn’t tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that a Magnezone deck will be top tier, but I’ve spent a good portion of my life theorymoning, so I’d like to think I know what I’m talking about.
The argument I’ve heard from most players is that “EXs have too many Hit Points, no other Pokémon can keep up!” and while this is somewhat true in the fact that EXs do have ridiculously high HP, they’re also worth 2 Prizes each, something that a lot of players seem to forget about. To break this down further, let me give you an example…
When MagneBoar won Worlds, Magnezone consistently had to ko multiple Reshirams, Zekroms, Donphans, and other 120+ HP Pokémon. Granted, Magnezone wasn’t scoring every single KO, but for the most part it was doing the majority of the work. The same can be said (although to a lesser degree) about the Magnezone/Eel decks now, Thundurus will pick up the first few prizes if you’re lucky, but Magnezone will do the bulk of the job. Even if you think that Magnezone only has to KO 3-4 Pokémon per game, the math works out like this…
KOing Reshiram, Zekrom, Chandelure, Gothitelle, Kyurem, Cobalion, Terakion, etc. = 3 Energy x 4 Prizes = 12 energy.
KOing all of the EXs that have currently been spoiled = 4 Energy x 3 (due to EXs being worth 2 Prizes each) = 12
So you’ll see that the math is exactly the same. Magnezone can do even more work than he did before for the exact same Energy cost. And we’re not even considering the possibility of a starter Pokémon like Reshiram/Thundurus getting cheap KOs off of the EXs decks starters (Smeargle UD, Celebi Prime, Cleffa HS, etc.) to tilt the odds in our favor even more.
Now, I’m not saying that Magnezone is going to dominate the format and that EXs are going to be garbage. All I’m saying is that Magnezone is probably the most obvious answer to EXs, and is where a lot of players will start when trying to break the format for States/Regionals. There’s a very good chance that he’s too slow or that the stuff that combines with him is just too soft vs. EXs to compete, but until the entire set-list is spoiled and teams actually get to grinding out games, we can’t be sure.
Overall, I would recommend picking up Magnezones now if you don’t have your playset. They’re currently at $20 on TrollandToad.com, and although I don’t see them going up by terribly too much, I could see them hitting a $25 or $30 ceiling very easily.
Cards to Stock Up on
pokemon-paradijs.comEmboar is a card that I don’t want to focus too much on, as I’m not entirely sure that it will be good enough (after all, MagneBoar is deemed too slow by the majority as it is, much less when we have insanely fast EXs on the scene), and it’s been reprinted more times than basic energy, so I’m pretty sure it’s price won’t rise either.
At the end of the day, just look out for MagneBoar to perhaps make a comeback, but don’t rush out and buy playsets unless you know something I don’t.
The hype about Mew is that it can essentially be a Mewtwo EX that your opponent doesn’t get 2 Prizes for KOing. Although that logic is sound, I’m not exactly sure how it’ll play out in the real world. On one hand you have an incredibly fast, incredibly versatile card that looks to be an obvious counter, but as always with Mew, the HP may be it’s downfall.
Although your opponent does only get 1 Prize, there’s a strong chance that they’ll just be able to KO Mews with their support Pokémon, therefore not even opening up the opportunity for you to take 2 Prizes off of them, AND they’ll be taking prizes so often that it will completely kill the idea that Mew will win the prize exchange.
Again, this is all theorymon, and at the end of the day, all of this needs to be tested. I’m not trying to ride the fence on any of these and sound like I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I also don’t want to persuade people into making a poor decision, or write in such a way that people think I’m being pompous about my opinions. I’m just trying to formulate a hypothesis using my skill at the game an the information we’ve been given thus far.
Hopefully this section of the article will spark a lively discussion in the forums, where I’ll be very active this time around (I apologize for neglecting the forum posts in my last UG article, things got mixed up, excuses excuses etc.).
pokemon-paradijs.comThis guy is probably the most interesting card on the list. What was once regarded as “the worst Prime ever”, is now the subject of a long-running debate all across the various Pokémon internet communities. Before I get started, note that this card has been reprinted once and is only at $3 now, so I seriously doubt we’re going to see a huge price increase anytime soon.
There’s probably a decent chance of buying TrollandToad out of their stock and then re-selling for $5 or so, but with 30 in stock at the time of this writing, that’s $90 I’m not willing to risk.
For those who don’t know, the general idea of this card is that it’ll be energy acceleration, probably paired with Mewtwo EX, but really it has applications across the board. Especially now that we have both a card where attaching even an extra energy per turn can be absolutely huge (Mewtwo EX) and a card that makes Celebi’s Retreat Cost zero (Skyarrow Bridge) it’s easy to see why people are all over this card.
Overall I’m going to be less passionate about this card than some others on the list. I’m not entirely sure the ramifications of Celebi and Metwo existing in the same modified format, but I will say that at $3 you may as well pick up your playsets now, better safe than sorry, etc.
Cobalion is a guy whose value/usefulness I’m not exactly sure will rise by a whole lot, but he’ll continue seeing just as much play as he does now, so if you’ve been putting off picking him up, now would probably be the time to do so. He’s effective against a lot of things and is overall just a pretty fantastic card. Hurting players for being sloppy with their energy attachments is going to be great in the near future (and is already pretty darn good now), and denying your opponent the ability to attack is obviously amazing.
The only reasoning I could see against picking up this guy is if Reshiram-EX, or to a lesser extent MagneBoar get big again (which is a distinct possibility) but even then, unless the meta was heavily fire dominated I still think he’d be a very useful card.
pokemon-paradijs.comI’m finally going to be able to justify running one of my favorite cards in the format! Seeing as how almost every other Pokémon we’ve talked about on this list thus far (and many still to come) focus on Energy acceleration, it’s easy to see why Lost Remover will be a much more valuable resource than it is now.
Because Lost Remover isn’t a card I’ve seen talked about as much as some others lately, let’s take a look at all the Special Energy cards that will exist post-ND, and how they’ll be used…
- Double Colorless (Mewtwo EX, Zekrom-EX, Regigigas-EX, probably obvious stuff that I’m missing)
- Prism (Mew Prime, probably an assortment of EX decks, Six Corners and any other decks that currently have Rainbow)
- Rainbow (Will still be around although it’s value will drop significantly)
- Rescue Energy (A lot of EX decks, particularly those that attack for C or are running Trainer lock, MagneBoar)
- Special Metal (Cobalion)
And I’m sure there are fringe uses for other special energies as well, but those are the ones I see being played the most. The important thing to note is that, while most of these energies are already played, Prism is going to have a huge effect on our meta and is not even released yet, and decks will start relying more heavily on the special energy that they do run.
pokemon-paradijs.comLike Cobalion, this one is kind of a no brainer, and something that you should probably already have. I’m not sure it’s value is going to rice all that much just because it’s already super high, but I think Shaymin is going to go from a “staple in one deck in the format and has fringe uses in the others” to “a staple in the majority of decks in the format and an all around good utility card.”
I also think this is a card that’s highly likely to get reprinted as a promo of some sort, though. After all, it’s a rare card that has never been reprinted from a set that will most likely rotate in the near future, and it would make players very happy. This is all just speculation on my part though, unfortunately I don’t have access to that kind of information.
Along with Lost Remover, I’m excited that this guy will be playable again with the release of Skyarrow Bridge! (Although if you ask David Cohen, he’s always been playable and we were all just too bad to see it).
Yes, the same problems that exist now will still exist when Skyarrow Bridge comes out, namely the fact that if you play loose with Smeargle you’ll run into an unfavorable Judge, N, Professor Juniper, etc. But as long as you know what you’re doing, I can’t see not at least giving considering playing this guy in any deck that will run the Bridge.
Because he’s been reprinted once already I can’t see him rising in price majorly, but I can see a bump of a few dollars, particualrly for reverse foils.
pokemon-paradijs.comThis is one that I didn’t think of myself (props to Politoed666 on HT) but I definitely see it’s usefulness. Like Cobalion, it’s already a pretty fantastic card that’s seeing play, and that usefulness will rise exponentially when Zekrom/Mewtwo is a thing, Zekrom-EX gets big in general, and of course the return of Magnezone Prime as a front runner in our format.
If you’re looking to profit off of these, the FAs are the place to go. They’re currently listed at $9 on Troll & Toad, and I don’t think there’s anyway they’re less than $12 a few months from now. I could even see them hitting a ceiling of $20 or so.
I thought I would close on a card that I haven’t really seen talked about too much, and that is Dual Ball.
It’s already a fine enough card in the decks that need quick access to lots of basics (read: Zekrom), but when almost every deck needs quick access to a lot of basics, it becomes obvious how good this card is going to be soon. Obviously Collector is better for consistency and will still get played heavily, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a majority of lists playing Dual Balls, many playing it in higher counts than Collector (a 4/2 split of Ball/Collector is what’s been seeing playing in Zekrom lately, and is probably where I would start if I were testing EX format).
I would actually argue that you could profit fairly heavily off of Dual Ball by what I call “Cleffaing” it. That is, to spend a decent amount of dollars buying out TrollandToad or another online retailer of their foil copies, and then selling them while the hype is up at a $.50 profit or so.
pokemon-paradijs.comWe call it Cleffaing because upon the announcement that HS-on was being considered, Amelia Bottemiller and I bought Troll&Toad out of their reverse Cleffas at something like $.40 each (50 or so total), and were able to re-sell them at $4.00+ once the rotation was officially announced.
Of course, the problem with doing the same with Dual Ball is that it has less utility than Cleffa and has been reprinted a metric poopton of times, but I’m sure if you picked up foils of whatever players think is the most “pimp” version, there’s a small profit to be made.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for today folks, I hope you enjoyed the early article, and I look forward to having great discussions with all of you in the UG forums.
As always, if you want to see more UG articles by yours truly, let your voice be heard and e-mail myself at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (I’d recommend spamming Adam, he loves that stuff).
Until next time!
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