What!? Durant is evolving?

Hey everyone. Adam pretty much summarized what I was going to be talking about in the last UG poll (vote if you haven’t yet!), and I’ve never been a fan of long-winded fancy introductions when they’re unneeded, so…Magnezone/Eel, It’s Eelektrik.dek, Thunderdome, etc etc

BDIF, no real question about it. Stock versions of this can hold up against pretty much every popular archetype, thanks to lack of a damage cap and the ability to do an N recovery. This is the list I am currently working with.

Pokémon – 19

4 Magnemite TM
2 Magneton TM
3 Magnezone Prime
2 Tynamo NVI 39
2 Tynamo NVI 38
3 Eelektrik NVI
1 Zekrom BLW
1 Thundurus EPO
1 Cleffa HS (important cause it’s the cutest Cleffa)

Trainers – 27

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Sage’s Training
2 N


4 Pokémon Communication
4 Junk Arm
3 Rare Candy
2 Pokémon Catcher

2 Switch
1 Pokégear 3.0
1 Super Rod

Energy – 14

14 L


As you can see, I took the conformist route and have no DCEs or Tornadus left in here, even though my list started like that in the last article. I stand by the fact that that version of the deck worked, but only because back when I was testing that, the game hadn’t really shifted toward “proper” NVI yet. People were still trying things out, and didn’t know how to deal with the deck.

When I found out one of the major things to do against it (getting rid of Tynamo, since those are usually benched in smaller numbers than Magnemites early on, and have less HP), I had to make space to thicken the Eel line I had. Only 2-2 with Super Rod and Revive was just peachy there, but with Chandelure/Vileplume taking a stance, that wasn’t safe anymore either.

I’ve also put in Thundurus. I’ve always scratched my head at the “Zekrom vs Thundurus” debate. I’ve had games where both, neither or only one of them was useful, and it depends so much on matchups and opening hands. I think you should pretty much always run both. Thundurus is great for when you don’t have to Eek in the set-up phase, or you have a gap turn midgame where you can get more Energy into play, while Zekrom is important to have for the Durant matchup.

I cut down to 2 N. Way too often, I am forced to choose between helping both my opponent and myself get more cards, or keep both of us in topdeck mode. I only need to play one or two of these at most during the game, and as long as you know how many you have prized with your first search, you can make the right decisions on whether to sack, play or conserve them.

This deck is so incredibly tight. Whenever we’re discussing what could be cut for something else, it’s always like “no no no, I don’t want to cut that, that’s exactly what I want MORE of!”. There are only 2 cards I would ever feel comfortable cutting in my list at the moment.

Super Rod

pokemon-paradijs.comThis is easily the most useless card in the list. I only ever use it against Durant, when I have a bad start and someone destroys a lot of my Tynamo or Magnemite, or when I end up discarding pieces with Sage/Junk Arm (which doesn’t happen much since you have over 20 cards you can usually get rid of just fine when set up).

However, when it comes in handy, it can really save the day. Sadly, this is not all that often, but you should always include it if you’re running thin lines (3-3 Eelektrik, 3-2-3 Magnezone).

Pokégear 3.0

This deck really only has two stages to go through: when you don’t have a Magnezone out, and when you do. In the first stage, Pokégear is an extra chance at finding either your turn 1 Collector or turn 2 Sage’s Training (the best way to get Rare Candy + Magnezone). Once Magnezone out, I generally burn this card in some way or another as there’s nothing you want until much much later in the game. In a close game where your deck and your opponent’s prize counts are low, you can use it to find that N you have been conserving if it somehow doesn’t show up for you when you need it.

What makes this deck so great is that if the opposing deck leaves it alone and lets it set up even moderately, it just steamrolls almost everything. You have access to nearly everything in your deck, and you can win a direct exchange with almost anything because of your 140 HP.

The last time we had a deck like this was Magnezone/Emboar, and I think it’s necessary to draw a parallel here. While Magnezone/Eelektrik is not nearly as clunky, it’s still a deck that struggles if the opponent is actively disrupting it in some way. Look at its matchups. The sheer force decks like ZPST are not that much of an issue. Even if they get a couple of good Catcher kills early on, you are in good shape once you are set up and you can N them once your board outdoes theirs. That first Magnezone generally opens the door to an explosion of your board within the next turn or so.

pokemon-paradijs.comBut we’re already seeing that decks are adapting. It’s not always 100% because of people wanting to counter this deck, but it’s a big factor in people’s deck decisions. In a format like this, where no deck is flexible enough to adapt to literally everything, it is hard to stay at the top for long. I have no doubt that Magnezone/Eelektrik is a good deck, and it may very well be the best deck, but there will be a point where you need to switch away from it while you’re ahead. And that point may very well be before your next tournament.

I’m not telling you to stop playing it, of course. I plan to play it for several more tournaments, and even if I end up dropping it, I will pick it back up for Next Destinies. But right now, the metagame seems to be forming around it, and you are risking a day full of Magnezone/Eelektrik, and things that can beat it.

To illustrate my point, let’s take an in depth look at the Magnezone/Eelektrik matchups, starting from the top of the decks winning City Championships right now and going down. I’ll skip over ZPST, since as I said, that deck is not an issue for Magnezone as long as you can set up, but I think it’s the odd one out.


Vs Chandelure

pokemon-paradijs.com75% of the Chandelure decks that won had Vileplume UD. Vileplume isn’t as critical to Magnezone/Eelektrik as it is to Magnezone/Emboar, since it relies less or not at all on Rare Candy and Energy Retrieval, but it slows down things. The ways Chandelure can work around Magnezone remind me a lot of the ways Magnezone/Emboar was threatened around Nationals: spread damage, status conditions, devolution, and dragging up high retreat Pokémon.

The Magnezone player is put under a lot of pressure. Tynamo (especially 30 HP Tynamo) needs to evolve quickly to escape Cursed Shadow, but it can’t be left with no Energy or it becomes a target for Luring Light. The same goes for Magnezones, but to a lesser extent. You want to evolve with Rare Candy while you can to have as many Magnezones as possible, but that makes you more vulnerable to Jirachi UL/CL. In addition you don’t want to leave an empty Magnezone on your bench.

In addition, conservation of your Energy becomes harder than ever. With Blissey around, you have to either 2HKO the Chandelure, buying them more time, or 1HKO with Lost Burn, wasting Energy. Sometimes not even Thundurus and Zekrom are sufficient to keep your Energy in play, since you may very well end up having your Eels denied.

What you can do to help this matchup is bring back the catch-all Double Colorless Energy. It allows you to retreat Eelektrik or even Magnezone if you absolutely have to, doubling as a switch, but it can also fuel Lost Burn (in fact you should Burn it when you can because it can’t be recycled with the Eel anyway). It does add a slight inconvenience with your discarding decisions because when you find it with Sage, you kind of have to take it.

A hilarious tech you should definitely consider testing is Eelektross NVI, especially if you already have DCE. For CC, it can do 30 to a Chandelure, stopping it from retreating, setting it up for a KO with a 2 Energy Lost Burn or a Bolt Strike. I won’t pretend I’ve tested this, but if you’re banging your head against the wall looking for a tech for this matchup, you should give it one or two tries. It does have a 3 Retreat Cost, sadly, so you have to get your bench ready for this maneuver well in advance.

Vs Vileplume/Reuniclus

pokemon-paradijs.comI don’t care what anyone says, this is still The Truth.

As the Truth player, you have three ways to win this matchup. Either you can run them out of Energy and then roll through unopposed, or you can run them out of Magnezone by cleverly trading, or you can just win a Prize trade-off. They don’t all happen equally often, and a good Eelzone player will make sure the first way is not the way it goes.

Obviously the route that is taken depends on the way the Truth is built, but you can count on most people running at least 2-2 Donphan Prime, 2 Terrakion NVI, or some kind of mix of it. Generally Magnezone builds have 14-15 Energy to work with, which is not enough to Lost Burn an entire army of 110+ HP Pokémon, but due to almost requiring Twins to set up at all you will probably be suffering at least one or two KOs for 2 or less.

Because of this, this matchup becomes a slugfest sooner than The Truth player might want, but The Truth still has a huge degree of control over it, especially with an early Vileplume. The Truth wants to try and force Magnezone to Lost Burn three Energy as often as possible, and follow up a KO on any of its Pokémon with a revenge 1HKO from Terrakion or Donphan.

The usual way to do this is to use any of the three Dragons to Outrage for 40 damage (leaving it at 110 HP), although if they have bench space and 2 Energy in the discard (or you suspect they have a way to get them there, like Sage), you will want to stick to 130 HP or you may find yourself at the mercy of a Zekrom drop.

The Magnezone player should obviously be trying to take prizes with Thundurus and Zekrom when possible. Even if they can’t get a 1HKO, it’s worth attacking into their high HP Pokémon sometimes as it forces them to use resources to get Reuniclus out. If they get out Vileplume before Duosion/Reuniclus, they can actually be put in a bad spot where even with Twins, they can’t Swap the damage off in time.

pokemon-paradijs.comIf The Truth gets the early Vileplume, there’s only going to be two Magnezone at most, barring Rescue Energy (or Flower Shop Lady, but that’s rather rare). If that’s the case, running them out of Magnezones is a simple matter of being able to have back-to-back 1HKOs with Terrakion or Heavy Impact Donphan. As long as you have enough cushion and Blissey saved up, you can afford to go down quite a bit, as without Magnezone they are capped at 120 damage.

More often than not, however, these two decks have to do a straight prize race, and unless the Truth player has teched really heavily (more than 2 combined Donphan/Terrakion), this can be won by Magnezone. The worst thing that can happen to Magnezone/Eel is being caught without a Magnezone in play while there’s still a Fighting attacker up front, so it may be prudent to hold back.

Keep in mind that unlike most matchups, Magnezone is definitely not stuck in the Active Spot once it gets there and is left alive. If you let it Lost Burn one of your attackers without having a follow-up, and instead you start using Outrage or something like that, it can actually attach enough Energy from the hand to retreat and re-use that with Eelektrik. This also makes Iron Breakering with Cobalion slightly more tricky than it would seem at first glance, but if you do it when they have 0 or 1 Lightning attached they will be fine.

As you can probably imagine, running more Energy, no matter what kind (Rescue and Lightning more so than DCE) makes The Truth matchup better. A fourth Magnezone would theoretically work, but overall have less utility than Rescue Energy. Tornadus can’t 1HKO in The Truth, but it can be a roadblock for Fighting Pokémon for moments when you end up Magnezoneless but have the means to get one back up in a short time frame.

Vs Durant

pokemon-paradijs.comThis thing is taking Cities by storm, and Magnezone is a big reason why. Josh covered this matchup fairly in-depth in his article (and for good reason). Durant is the main reason why you shouldn’t be leaving Zekrom out of your deck, as Magnezone and Thundurus simply cannot handle it. What’s even worse is that Durant has evolved quite a bit since its initial hype.

People are now aware that they can actually attack with Durant, Rotom and/or Cobalion, as well as run Black Belt to KO the usually only attacker people set up. Durant can easily give up on a turn of milling 3-4 cards if it sets you back for so much that you can’t threaten a KO on it anymore. This effect is amplified with a lategame N, even if it puts cards back in your deck.

I would recommend trying to put two free retreaters on your bench, to guard yourself completely against Catcher + Seeker shenanigans. Don’t put up an Eelektrik unless you have the means to bring it back to the bench consistently. However, even with Crushing Hammer in mind, it will hinder you quite a lot, and I’ve found the better bet is to just keep 3 Energy on Zekrom and stockpile as much as possible in the hand. Overloading Zekrom with Lightning risks getting hit by Plasma Arrow or Energy Press.

With that in mind, Eviolite can actually help this matchup – I’ve actually had my KO plan blocked before because of that. Second Zekrom, Super Rod, and obviously a more conservative draw engine (PONT and N over Sage and to a lesser extent Juniper) would help as well, but I think the last one of these compromises your other matchups too much as it hinders your ability to get Lightning in the discard.

Vs Kyurem/Cobalion/Electrode Prime (AKA Trode & Bros, CKE, CoKE, CaKE, etc)

pokemon-paradijs.comThe primary threat of this matchup is the early Glaciate. Magnezone spends quite a few turns with low HP Basics on the bench, throughout the entire game, and if they manage to Glaciate turn 2 and turn 3 before you develop your board, you are in a lot of trouble. If you can’t evolve quickly enough, you may just have to go all-in to get at least one Magnezone and Lost Burn away all your Energy just to stop the Glaciate.

With that in mind, you have additional worries. Iron Breaker forces you to dig for a Switch or even manual retreat, and they can Catcher your Eelektrik, while Eviolite stops you from 1HKOing them with anything but Lost Burn.

On the plus side, they are very reliant on Electrode, which pretty much conserves your Energy because it gives you a free prize. The game pretty much comes down to how convenient and consistent their Energymites are. If you do get out an early Magnezone, you will probably be in good shape as you can target their Energy and run them out. Also, their Ns aren’t all that effective while you have Magnezone out, and they are very vulnerable to it themselves if you got rid of most of their Energy.

The only somewhat complex part of the matchup is if they play Jirachi. Like against Chandelure, it kind of twists the urgency of evolving through Rare Candy, and it means you have to pay attention which Tynamo is under your fielded Eelektrik. Usually, Jirachi is given away through the early attachment or discarding of a P Energy, so make sure to check your opponent’s Sage dump if you are unsure.

This is definitely a matchup you want 2 Catcher and 2 Switch for, at the very least, but that’s my personal minimum anyway. I’m too greedy for a good Charge start to restrict myself to only playing 40 HP Tynamo, but this matchup alone justifies at least a 2-2 split, or even 1-3 in favor of 40 HP.

Vs Six Thousand Corners (AKA Big Basics)

pokemon-paradijs.comSix Corners has been reminding me of The Truth lately, except with aggression over damage control. Magnezone/Eelektrik is exactly the deck it prays on, as it walks almost perfectly into its game plan. Virizion NVI can KO Tynamo/Cleffa turn 2, and then a Magnet turn 3 if left unchecked. Zekrom and Thundurus are once again just out of range, with the exception of a Virizion without Eviolite.

The big problem when fighting Six Corners is obviously not Virizion, but Terrakion. It puts the Magnezone player in a very awkward dilemma. You can take an easy KO on that Shaymin or weakened Virizion, but then Terrakion comes in and Retaliates. You can also Catcher Terrakion and Lost Burn it, but then you use a lot of resources. Either way, it just feels as if you are doing exactly what they want.

I personally tend to go for the Catcher Terrakion route, since while it is expensive, I will generally be able to keep Magnezone. Six Corners is very lacking in out of the gate damage output, and setting them back in this regard allows you to develop your board further.

You need to be extremely careful with Energy management here, as there are so many ways you can run out. The deck has the means to Catcher up to 8 times, which can actually leave you with an Eelektrik stranded and decked out if you are careless. That is if they don’t KO your Eels, which means that regardless of whether you Lost Burn, Bolt Strike or Disaster Volt for your KOs, you will run out eventually.

Don’t fall for the Terrakion/Shaymin trap (where they can Retaliate out of nowhere, even without a Terrakion in play the previous turn). You can generally assume they will have access to Shaymin and even a Switch. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do but walk into it, but forcing them to have as many cards as they need is always a good option, e.g. taking a KO with a non-Magnezone attacker so they have to Catcher as well as Shaymin. You don’t have as many utility resources as they do, but it would be a waste not to make them use them.

Like with the Truth, they may try to invite you to come out to play with Magnezone by using Kyurem’s Glaciate, and you’ll usually have to accept this invitation unless they foolishly left Kyurem in Bolt Strike range.

This is pretty much the matchup to have 15 Energy for, as it means you know at the start that you only need one non-Magnezone prize in order to take the other five with Lost Burn (this does not take into account triggered Rescue Energy though). It doesn’t always work out perfectly this way if you have Energy prized, so make sure to keep track.

Hopefully this illustrates my point about how Magnezone/Eelektrik may be on the verge of being slightly mismatched against today’s metagame. It does take more than an unfavorable matchup to discourage playing this amazing deck, especially if they’re all very winnable (they are).


Haters gonna hate.

However, one more aspect that is creeping up on Magnezone is that it is exploitable, and easy to tech against. It is a versatile and powerful card, but it also has aspects that can be turned against it so easily. One of them has been talked about in detail already: everything Magnezone does costs Energy, whether it is attacking or retreating, and it is fairly easy to force it to overextend to do this, or deny them from doing it with any kind of control deck.

The second is that the entire Thunderdome is filled with Fighting weaknesses, which leaves it wide open to teched Donphans, Terrakion, and even Landorus NVI. Yes, Landorus, a card that I declared kind of a failure in my last article, actually deserves a mention now. It is easy to incorporate into decks that are already running a bunch of Basics and Energy types, since it is very self dependent.

While Six Corners and CoKE are primary examples of decks that can easily slide Landorus to improve their Magnezone matchup tenfold, I’d like to use this opportunity to draw attention to what a certain man has deemed Troll. Clicky: http://www.heytrainer.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4872

It might seem like an outrageus deck at first. 4 Tornadus in a Lightning heavy metagame? Landorus? Ditto? Sigilyph? Bianca? Swap back to the What Won Cities thread, and you will notice it has won three already. Not everyone of them necessarily had these strange techs, of course.

The general idea of this deck is getting cheap prizes, and being able to take them against any deck. Four Tornadus gets ahead of the curve a little, causing issues for the D&D decks out there (another hatedeck that has won 7 Cities, quite probably because of Magnezone), and generally being a good conservative but fast attacker. It gets its Lightning-weak butt covered by 2 Terrakion and a Landorus as well as a Super Rod.


A single copy of these already requires Magnezone to tread carefully – having all of these, and making them re-usable makes even the Catcher-Lost Burn play a waste of resources.

Landorus in particular is interesting. Despite Tornadus’ best efforts, you may end up not having enough F Energy to keep going. This is when you can simply Abudant Harvest one back in play, and continue threatening 80 damage every turn from there, while also spreading damage. Landorus is also a patch-up for your Durant matchup, since if Crushing Hammer locks it out of getting a KO, it can at least get the Energy back.

The spread damage from Gaia Hammer adds up on the benched Durant, where every 10 they take effectively removes a layer of protection from Special Metal and Eviolite (eg 60 HP Eviolite Durant gets 1HKO’d by Gaia Hammer).

Ditto TM takes full advantage of Yanmega’s leave of absence. With Ditobolic, you can heavily hinder set-up decks (Magnezone and Trainer Lock alike). Like with the good old Dusclops DP, you can actually force them to lose 2 Pokémon in one turn by benching it and grabbing a KO on the same turn. It is a clever play, especially since taking a cheap prize off it is an invitation for a Retaliate.

Sigilyph EPO 41 and Jirachi UL/CL are your other two attempts at trying to have an acceptable Trainer lock matchup. Sigilyph is very strange, but it does knock Rare Candied Reuniclus and Vileplume into KO range, as well as Doduo.

This deck is a perfect example of an anti metagame deck. The proportions show very well what it is trying to tech against, and how customizable your Magnezone/Eelektrik matchup actually is. The key of a Magnezone deck is that you are able to 1HKO anything that goes up against you, winning you every straight-up prize race.

pokemon-paradijs.comIt is this element that allows it to defeat a deck like Reshiram/Typhlosion or Lanturn/Eelektrik (with quite a bit of help from Catcher and N). But when you are staring down a loaded Kyurem with a Landorus on the bench, for example, or a Magnezone/Eelektrik with Terrakion tech, you have multiple threats to eliminate.

A little more about Landorus before I move on. It has been thrown into CKE with more than just a little success by several people, their testaments can be found here. Landorus has minor synergy with Kyurem and Jirachi, since it spreads, and it definitely helps keeping Energy in play. But do realize that the main reason you’re playing it is because it just so happens to have the right type, and if it’s not hitting for double damage you should probably be Glaciating instead if you can.

Six Corners

This deck hasn’t been covered an awful lot by UG, but by now the deck has a lot less mystery and scepticism surrounding it than at first, so a basic explanation of how it works is probably not necessary. You can’t theorymon this deck into the garbage can – you need to see it in action. Even if you read how it’s supposed to be played, the devastation Virizion can cause is only really visible in a game. Right after I posted a comment about not really “seeing it” somewhere on this website, I bumped into it on PlayTCG, and that was really all I needed to be convinced.

As others have said before me, this is a bit of a metagame deck. You can use almost anything you want. As I mostly test online versus an open field, I’ve tuned my own list to what I thought were the biggest and most prolific threats in the worldwide metagame.

Pokémon – 13

4 Virizion NVI
2 Kyurem NVI
2 Reshiram BLW
1 Zekrom BLW
2 Terrakion NVI
2 Shaymin UL

Trainers – 32

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory
3 Professor Juniper


4 Junk Arm

4 Switch

4 Pokémon Catcher
3 Pokégear 3.0
3 Eviolite
1 PlusPower
1 Super Rod
1 Super Scoop Up

Energy – 15

6 G
4 Rainbow
4 Double Colorless
1 F

pokemon-paradijs.comIf you haven’t been playing with the deck much, this is a great start, but in the end you really need to make it “your” deck. While the game starts with Virizion, you really get the most out of this deck by abusing its ability to hit for weakness.

The way this list works is as the following. Lightning variants take up a huge part of the field, so with two Terrakion and a Basic Fighting, we have that covered for the most part, being able to revenge Magnezone, Thundurus, Zekrom, or Catcher for an Eelektrik to KO that. The Zekrom allows me to deal with Tornadus, forcing it to Catcher around me or face an Outrage. Tornadus isn’t the most threatening Pokémon against this deck, but it’s definitely not something I’m comfortable taking on with just Virizion.

Trainer lock is a big big problem for this deck once it gets going, whether it’s Chandelure or The Truth. Six Corners definitely has the option to make that easier in several ways, which I will discuss below, but my own fix to that is Kyurem. No matter what Trainer lock you face, Glaciate is extremely threatening, especially to Solosis, and will force them to come up with a response quickly.

This response is often in the shape of Cobalion, who is generally troublesome to deal with since every Iron Breaker requires me to scramble to get my active out, so Reshiram is here to respond to that. At the same time, the CKE Cobalions are covered here as well.

Now, this list is rather focused on Outrage, and can definitely take a very different shape toward its matchups. Right now, its Trainer lock matchup is still very iffy, especially since Kyurem has no basic Water to work with. In addition, the Cobalion plan is very reactive, even more than this deck usually is. Unlike with The Truth, they get to decide when there’s going to be enough damage on that Reshiram for you to be able to KO that Cobalion. And if that Cobalion is already active, you need to retreat it and come back later.

So for a more active approach for these matchups, consider these slightly unusual techs:

Victini NVI 15 (V-Create) takes care of Cobalion without having to get hit first, and it’s also somewhat better against Durant (still not amazing considering the tools Durant has at its disposal, but better than the 2HKOs you have on your hands right now). Preferably only field it when you have a kill on your hands using Shaymin, because it’s one of the few things in your deck that can be killed easily, and at least if they go for Shaymin you can re-use it with Super Rod.

Absol Prime is what a lot of people initially turn to for the Chandelure matchup (and for good reason), but you should definitely take a look at the more splashable Druddigon NVI. Trapping Chandelure in the Active essentially reduces its spread damage for a turn by 30, or stops them from actually attacking for a turn if you trap a Chandelure with little to no Energy. There are a ton of possible situations where Rough Skin saves your day – a slight amount of extra damage is something Six Corners can work with better than almost any other deck.

– Carnivine TM and Bellsprout TM help your Truth matchup tremendously, but you’ll probably want to work in Rescue Energy (which is not a bad card to have anyway, since most of your matchups, you want as much of the same Pokémon as possible). Carnivine normally doesn’t get a lot of attention for his huge Retreat Cost, but with 4 Switch and 1 Super Scoop Up in the deck, we’ve got that covered, and in return for that we get double the HP Bellsprout has.

Landorus NVI makes for a good additional attacker that can stand on its own two legs (I don’t know if it actually has legs or ever needs to stand…I want to be a genie!), and can easily take the place of a Terrakion. Energy conservation is a major issue for Six Corners if the opponent can apply pressure to it, and its only way of “acceleration” is Shaymin which you don’t want to use if you can avoid it.

– Speaking of genies, Tornadus has been offered before as an alternative early attacker as well. Unlike Virizion he doesn’t give you a huge hand at the start of the game though, and you don’t gain a significant edge in typing (either offensively or defensively). I’ve never found myself in a spot where I wanted a Tornadus.

With this deck, I often find myself drawing, thinking a long time, and passing, even if I do have options. But with the way the deck is built, you generally need to make trades. For example, I recently had a game where I had a damaged Terrakion with no Energy locked active versus a Tornadus (in a Lanturn deck). I had the option to Catcher and kill something like a Chinchou or a Tynamo. However, in doing this I would use Shaymin, my Energy, and my Terrakion in the upcoming turn, and my opponent’s board would overwhelm me.

So instead I waited it out for my opponent to take out Terrakion, despite it being important for this matchup, and after they did that I sent in Zekrom with DCE to gently nudge the Tornadus, but give my opponent the initiative.

Your opponent is usually given the choice between two situations, neither of which have a pretty outcome. You have to put yourself in a spot where if things keep going the way they are, you win slowly but surely. This generally forces them to overextend and/or take some kind of risk, even when there’s relatively little to gain.

I still recommend against playing this in a heavy Trainer lock metagame though, as the techs for those kind of decks are of a very different flavor than the ones you usually use, and will generally lose you a little more ground than you gain overall.



As I said earlier, Durant has evolved (though thankfully not in an even bigger ant that mills 8 cards per turn), and so have people playing with and against Durant. At first, people did not know how to deal with it, then they did, and now the Durant players know how to deal with people who know how to deal with Durant!

I actually expected Durant to become techier than ever to stay ahead, but surprisingly, a lot of people have been playing and winning with the most simple Durant builds, including Ness. I paid a lot of attention to this in my last article, and my stance hasn’t changed that much: I don’t want to take away focus from the milling too much by adding other things, but at the same time, I am not willing to open myself up to getting donked by running 4-5 Basics.

This is the list I am toying with at the moment.

Pokémon – 7

4 Durant NVI
1 Rotom UD
1 Smoochum HS
1 Cobalion NVI

Trainers – 41

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Professor Juniper
4 Twins
3 N
1 Seeker

4 Crushing Hammer
4 Pokégear 3.0
4 Revive
4 Junk Arm
3 Eviolite
2 Pokémon Catcher
2 Dual Ball
1 Switch
1 Lost Remover

Energy – 12

6 M

4 Special M
2 Rainbow

Just the key points here:

– Rainbow for Rotom and Cobalion are there for setting people back by killing their only attacker, perhaps even winning the game. Not too many people will fall for it, but half of your strength is to be able to threaten to do that just so people have to play around it, and for the few who will. They also stop people from stockpiling Energy onto a Pokémon to protect themselves against your 4 Crushing Hammer. If you’re not fond of Cobalion for its heavy retreat, Black Belted Vicegrips can replace it to an extent.

– Kyurem ended up pretty damn big, so I caved in and put Eviolite in for a pretty high count. Thundurus and Virizion being around makes this even more legit.

– The single Seeker is so good, again if only because it allows you to Catcher their only benched ‘mon and then use Seeker to bounce back some loaded Zekrom or something to their hand. To play around this they need 2 free retreat Pokémon, and some decks don’t even have that.

– Catcher and Lost Remover are in fairly small numbers just because you can Twins and Junk Arm for them. But taking out 1 Crushing Hammer for any of these is fine, since they generally accomplish the same goal. It’s just that it’s easier to prepare for Catcher than for Crushing Hammer (and most people know how to), so they expect you to play a lot of them and don’t bench anything spectacular.

– Smoochum is great in conjunction with Energy removal cards, and has free retreat while upping the basic count. If people don’t bench anything you have some other interesting options to take them out. If they drop a Shaymin to put the Energy back on where it comes from, you just gained a Catcher target. Smoochum does halt your milling while it’s at work, but it can potentially buy you infinite turns simply because they run out of Energy.

– A funny addition some people I’ve seen trying out is Ditto TM, which stops V-Create Victini completely. I think Durant has enough universal tools at its disposal to make Victini’s life sour, especially since it rarely carries basic Fire around, but it was worth mentioning for completion’s sake.

Durant is pretty much everywhere, top cuts at least once wherever you go, and is not going to go away until we get that Heatmor (and even then…). It isn’t the most interactive deck out there, and because of that it’s one of the best “skill gap closing decks” we’ve had since Machamp SF or maybe even ZPS. Now that even great players have gotten their hands dirty with it, it is going to overrun tournaments for a long time to come. Because of this, it may be a good idea to take out a Revive for a Super Rod just for the mirror match.

I’m actually quite bothered by Durant as a deck, as not even Reshiphlosion does as well against it as you might think it does, and Reshiphlosion has other issues to deal with as well. The fact that Durant has sharpened its weapons makes it more dangerous than ever. Thankfully the deck mulligans all the time, so you’ll often know a thing or two about your opponent’s build before the game even begins.

While more complex than before, there still isn’t much to add to Durant, so I’ll be rounding this one out.

Closing Thoughts

A few minor details that did not fit anywhere else:

– With the rise of Eelektrik, Tyrogue HS/CL becomes a very interesting play in decks in general. People seem to be fearlessly popping out Babies (heh) as well as Solosis for free prizes. I’ve personally wanted to fit it in my Eelzone, but simply have no room for what I consider to be a fairly fancy play. It’s also really risky vs Chandelure and CKE, both of which I know are gonna be present in my metagame.

– Speaking of which, I’m gonna go ahead and postpone the comparison between the meta in the US and my own until my next article (which isn’t necessarily UG). For one, because I need to scout my own meta a little more before I can say a lot more about it. For two, because I think the release of Next Destinies will cause a great leap in deck building and general, and it will be more interesting to draw conclusions from. And for three, because I’m tired and I think Adam kinds of wants this article now.

– Speculation on the rotation is running wild on some forums (well, Pokégym) and the new year has hardly started! Personally, I think anyone saying “they do four sets so it will be CL-On” is rather mistaken since that would just split up the HGSS block and leave them with the inconsistent rulings of printed trainers/supporters (discarding them/leaving them in play). Plus Call of Legends can hardly be considered a set anyway, I think even the makers agree.

So if you prepare for a rotation somewhere down the line, make it BW-On. Hoard big Basics, Catchers, etc, and start unloading your HGSS cards somewhere in March/April/May.

Good luck at the remaining Cities if you’ve got any left, and feel free to leave feedback!

…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.

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