Next Destinies is coming up soon, and I can safely say that this is the most hype for a Pokémon expansion I have seen in years. Everything from Mewtwo down is getting a ton of love, and for good reason: we have the return of Pokémon-EX, a new Stadium to ogle over, and even a new engine for decks.
There is a lot of “new,” sure, but how does it impact the “old”?
Well, that’s what we’ll be dealing with. Even though Mewtwo EX is capable of shifting the format upside-down on its own merits, there is still a whole set of cards left to sift through. In the coming days, the remaining authors for this month (myself included) will undoubtedly have a few things to say about the “new” decks; for now, though, we will discuss how Next Destinies impacts present-day archetypes, and perhaps create some State/Territorial/Provincial champions in the process.
Set Predictions, and Ruling Out Cards
…Of course, there isn’t that much we can do without having some idea of what will be in the set.
Based on the above list, we can also make some strong assumptions about what else should be in the set: what pre-evolutions should appear, as well as which pieces to trios should show up.
Additionally, we can assume some less certain, but probable inclusions, based on cards that are crucial to the set’s “character” (i.e., what it does to the metagame):
…And finally, since we have a fancy press release that all but confirms we will only receive twelve total EX cards (the six same Pokémon in both normal and full art versions), we can assume that these two cards will NOT appear:
Clearing out the trash: Cards that are virtually unplayable
Before figuring out how our pre-existing archetypes will change, or even what new decks may appear, we should exclude some items from almost any consideration. I typically hate to do this, but with a limited amount of time before the first State tournaments, we need to expedite the deck building process somewhat.
*Beartic really doesn’t do anything to further your odds of winning against much in the present metagame, especially compared to its Sheer Cold brother.
*Scrafty is virtually unplayable at this point in time, and might not even be a good See Off target for Mew Prime.
*Lucario is “interesting,” especially with Rocky Helmet and/or Vileplume; however, I’m afraid that “interesting” does not necessarily equate to “good.” Perhaps a very inspired deck will come to use it as a way to set up reactive KOs, but for the sake of this article’s topic (archetypes), it does not really do much in the way of progress.
*Cinccino’s Ability is also very interesting, but I have two big issues with the card: it’s an Energy hog in the Active Spot that will inevitably just get Catchered out of the way; and the Ability is too flippy. For those reasons, it arguably does not even have a place in pre-existing Cinccino decks.
Rogue deck builders; please do not take this list as an absolute claim that these will never find their place in the metagame. I’ve seen crazier, worse cards go deep in tournaments, so it would not be unheard of at all to see, say, Lucario do something neat.
“Archetypin’ it Up”
So in essence, we more or less “know” over a third of the set already, and will find out the next two-thirds in less than two weeks. Fortunately, that won’t stop us from planning ahead! How are decks going to change due to these 36 cards? (Or 28 when you take out the eight aforementioned “unplayables.”)
Essentially, these are my miscellaneous musings on how the above cards will impact the game at large, and what our States metagame will look like.
Several years ago, there were alternative search engines to the usual makeup of “4 mass Basic search Supporter with three or six search-for-anything.” These were known as ball engines, featuring cards like Quick Ball, Dusk Ball, and Great Ball (pre-Emerging Powers) to allow for a quicker setup, as it freed up your Supporter for the turn to be used on raw draw.
With the (presumptive) releases of Level Ball, Heavy Ball, and Ultra Ball, we should now have the option to use a more effective modern-day version of the ball engine. In a deck like ZPST, for instance, we could have a line that looks something like this:
Additionally, your “Supporter” line could now look like…
Fast, consistent, and full of deck-thin. This may not be everyone’s preferred way to run a deck, and it will certainly not be the best option in all lists, but this is definitely going to show up more often in the future in a variety of builds – including archetypes.
Simply put, Musharna deserves a place in some decks. It might be a good Pokémon Catcher target, and it might not have much in the way of attack power, but it’s one of the only decent draw cards in the format not called Magnezone or Ninetales.
One card a turn is not much to begin with, but over the course of a long game, having that draw power on your side is going to make a massive difference. This is something that Luxchomp players from last year can attest to, as the person who saw an Uxie LV.X stick on the board often maintained more momentum for the rest of the game.
So where will Musharna find its home? I already see some decks making good use of the card as a 1-1 (Vileplume variants), but I also could envision this card as the full-fledged draw crutch for others (Stage One variations). The sky is the limit with it right now, so I would keep a close watch on it, and test it in a variety of ways.
The Ultimate Revenge Killer: Shaymin EX
All of the hype right now may be circulating around Mewtwo EX, and it is – for the most part – justified. However, I think that anyone who ignores the other EX cards is doing themselves a serious disservice, and that includes Shaymin EX. Synthesis certainly adds something to the grass deck equation that makes it a bit more playable than it was in the past, but the card’s true strength lays in Revenge Seed, which does a whopping 180 when your opponent has only 1 Prize card left. Combine that same board position of prizes left with N, and you could easily draw 3-4 Prizes in a row to win from behind.
To qualify, 110 HP is mercilessly low for an EX in this day and age, especially when every other card of its kind has 170 HP or more. Yet when you account for the raw firepower of this card, does it even matter if you don’t get Knocked Out? This gets even better when you run Mew Prime with Shaymin, use See Off on it, and enjoy absurd revenge kill damage without the disadvantage of giving up 2 Prizes.
In any deck running Mew Prime and/or Prism Energy, Shaymin EX could be one of the best plays you could possibly make for the late game. It certainly adds an extra layer of depth to the format that did not exist previously, and will be a force in March.
Stadiums Matter Again!
BulbapediaUp until this set, the closest thing that resembled a “Stadium war” was the battle a Tropical Beach player fought against himself, determining how quickly he could get out his pricy $60-$100 cardboard. Burned Tower and Ruins of Alph have their uses, sure, but I guarantee you that most games this season did not involve both players using Stadiums.
While Next Destinies does not necessarily lead to Stadiums being mandatory, it does make them relevant in time for the biggest tournaments these next six months. Skyarrow Bridge will be useful in many basic decks, but ought to be most prominent in Mewtwo/Celebi. Even in older decks it has its place, seeing as how a great number of decks rely heavily on basic attackers in order to win.
Meanwhile, Pokémon Center is a fantastic inclusion in any “tank” deck that has some 1HKO option, as well as some means by which to heal or move damage around.
Things are looking up again for these cards!
How Pokémon-EX Fit into a Typical Game
Before proceeding into actual decklists/explanation, I would like to share one final thought: how the average progression of a game featuring Pokémon-EX on at least one side of the board works. Although the card pool, metagame, and rules differ greatly from those of 5-9 years ago, “Mewtwo and pals” are so far much like their Ruby Sapphire-Power Keepers counterparts
To explain how it works, let’s consider the following matchups…
EX focus VS non-EX (e.g., Mewtwo EX/Celebi against Mew/Cinccino)
The EX player generally has to Knock Out two Pokémon for every one of his/hers that gets taken out. Quite often the EX focus player will run some non-EX support card, but that is rarely enough to produce a board position that actually grants some new window of opening – especially in this Pokémon Catcher format! So unless you pull off some very tricky, situational Time Circle play, you might just be stuck having to Knock Out six before they Knock Out three.
EX focus VS EX focus (Mewtwo EX/Celebi mirror)
The simplest exchange, all that happens here is a fast and furious prize race. This is going to be a very luck-filled match in its purest form, so I suggest either finding some amazing tech, or running a decent non-EX attacker to occasionally supplement. Of course, at that point it no longer becomes a matchup of EX focus mirrors, but rather…
EX focus VS Hybrid (Mewtwo EX/Celebi against ZPST/Mewtwo EX)
A matchup like this one puts a ton of pressure on the hybrid user to play very well; that is, you have to time your moves well, and set it up so that you either pull off a well-timed 2HKO, or bait them into getting Knocked Out by your own EX attacker. Disruption cards and supporters do a fantastic job of forcing one player or the other to “blink” in this exchange, but it especially makes hybrid players have to work harder for a win. These people usually need to orchestrate a good “7 Prize scenario”: if they do not, then the superior consistency of the pure EX list will overrun them.
Hybrid VS Hybrid (ZPST/Mewtwo EX)
A weird matchup. Unlike any of the above, or any of the below, conditions are fairly optimal for a board situation that was not necessarily intended by either player. What happens here is that both try to not yield to the other, avoiding having to bring up an EX prematurely. Naturally, one will have to yield eventually, leading to an EX rearing its ugly head against some weaker target (say, a Tornadus).
Then, the non-yielding player will have to respond based on the amount of progress he or she made: if progress was great and is still going great, then the barrage continues with non-EX guys; but if resources are low, and he/she needs a quick KO, then in comes the EX attacker.
This is a pretty sizable resource war, so try to conserve as much as you can within reason.
Hybrid VS non-EX (ZPST/Mewtwo EX against Mew/Cinccino)
These tend to not have any absolute, surefire flow to them, as they change drastically by matchup. So in the above example of ZPST vs Mew/Cinccino, Tornaduses will be ripping through the field, and only when your non-EX attackers go down will you let Mewtwo rear its ugly head.
Other matchups can require a more active presence of the offensive EX cards, thereby demanding a different knockout rate ranging from three to five.
The Lists: How They Change, and Where They Stand
Now that I had a chance to go over some general thoughts about the new set’s most important cards, I would like to take a look at how many of our most important archetypes will be specifically impacted by Next Destinies. I feel like all of the decks get better in at least some way, shape or form, but some obviously won’t keep up pace in this new metagame.
pokemon-paradijs.comSince Josh covered this deck quite extensively in an article from just a few days ago, I feel like covering this deck in gory detail just isn’t worth it. In addition, I agree with almost all of what he has to say, so I really just want to share my diverging views on the decklist:
*There still needs to be some non-EX, non-Magnezone attacker in this deck that can pick up a fast, guaranteed prize or two. I think Zekrom BLW still fills this spot quite nicely.
*Super Rod might be useful here, especially if you take the aforementioned idea and go 1/1 Mewtwo/Zekrom. However, I’m way less convinced of this, since the EX metagame means you probably won’t have time to be dropping Super Rods.
Because Magnezone is the most powerful attacker in the game right now, I feel like this deck is bound to remain playable.
Pokémon – 26
Trainers – 25
Energy – 9
By and large, I do not foresee Chandelure lists changing much: Collector is as good as ever here, Communication is hands-down the superior non-supporter search card, and Twins is an essential play.
However, there is great value in running the newer version as a tech, as for just one Energy, you do a combined 90 damage – efficiency that rivals even Mewtwo. Additionally, it gives you strength in several matchups you otherwise would be dead on arrival against, such as Durant.
I would not consider making it the focus over “purple” Chandelure, though, because the latter’s flexibility in spread is still the superior strategy. Furthermore, its ability to Burn and Confuse are very good against the new era of EX cards, with special attention paid to Mewtwo.
Nevertheless if you would like to mix things up a bit, an alternative approach could be to place the emphasis on Red Chandelure, and include a 1-1 Darkrai & Cresselia LEGEND. The list would probably not look much different from this one: perhaps it would be a 3/1 split on the red and purple Chandelures, and the Jirachi/one more card would be cut for the DCL.
Ultimately, Chandelure’s changes may be just enough to keep it afloat against the field. Having the option to hit Mewtwo EX for 100 weakness is always nice, and now that there is a Fire type Chandelure to work with, this deck just suddenly saw its tactics multiply. It also works as a Durant counter, so this deck is moving up a little.
Pokémon – 11
Trainers – 37
9 in your preferred combination of Professor Oak’s New Theory, Sage’s Training,
Energy – 12
Or should I say, “ZPSTM”?
Anyway, this list utilizes the very same ball engine I was discussing previously, and so far it works very, very well. You may notice a drop-off on power cards like PlusPower, but that is for the sake of a faster start: Ultra Balls are nice, surefire ways to fetch anything, and Level Balls are useful at getting me more Shaymins or Pachirisus when I need them.
Furthermore, I no longer run Pokégear in here; instead, I run Random Receiver to give me a 100% chance of grabbing one of my crucial draw cards, yet thinning the deck in the process.
At this point, I am not even sure how much I need Zekrom anymore. On one hand, it makes for a good, more balanced alternative to attacking with either Tornadus or Mewtwo; on the other hand, it lacks much strength against the Next Destinies threats, and has been lackluster in testing. Zekrom-EX is not bad in its spot, though: the LCC typing on its first attack makes a first turn KO that much easier to pull off, and the sheer power of the second attack gives me a way to charge through many of the non-Mewtwo decks that will appear at States.
If all of the missing cards listed appear in time, I feel like this deck definitely has room to move up. A truly reliable first turn knockout has been elusive for even ZPST, but now it should be truly capable of pulling off big hits in most games. This is sorely needed to keep up with the strong EX cards, and is what may give this deck some State momentum.
Pokémon – 6
Trainers – 42
Energy – 12
Durant honestly hasn’t changed much in the past month or so. Maybe the unrevealed portions of Next Destinies will give us some interesting early inclusions from Dark Rush, but it seems pretty unlikely that there will be much else to change the way Durant plays.
By and large, this is just a classic Durant list. The only new thing I do is include three Level Ball, so that hands where you do not have a Pokémon Collector become stronger, allowing for a higher chance of getting three or more Durant out on the first. I also run more disruption cards than the average version of the list, as I feel the importance of N, Catcher, and Lost Remover all shoot up with the next set.
Finally, I am beginning to believe that Cobalion is necessary to combat the changing competitive environment: Zekrom and other cards like it were reasonable concerns during Cities, but now we have a swarm of EX cards that could possibly overrun Durant if allowed to set up. Therefore, we need an Iron Breaker effect to keep that from happening.
This deck receives very little in the way of improvements, but I believe its usage will still go up. As far as actual metagame quality goes, it may actually help that Mewtwo EX is becoming so popular, since the card will typically require four or even five energy to 1HKO a Durant with its first attack – not easy to pull off when Durant runs ten Energy removal effects. Even lists that are able to use Psydrive will typically stall out for the turn after, as they will likely get hit by a Crushing Hammer in the interim.
Mainly, Durant’s rise in prominence should be attributed to its great showing during City Championships, but don’t discount the fact that it is an inexpensive archetype to build. These two factors combined will make for a highly-played deck, so you probably should not consider taking it out of your play-testing lineup.
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 30
Energy – 16
For me, the list does not change much, more or less remaining the same in a lot of ways. However, Prism Energy makes a lot of options accessible, meaning that you can much more easily pull out that Terrakion, Mewtwo, Reshiram, Zekrom, or whatever tech attacker you’d be running.
Of these types of cards, I decided to choose Shaymin EX for my early testing. Like I said earlier, Shaymin’s Revenge Seed is an extraordinarily powerful come-from-behind attack, and in this list it is abused to the fullest extent. Often, the reason why this deck loses games to begin with is because its late game fizzles out after some major attackers have been dealt with. This usually means that their board is somewhat spent in its own right, which allows for Shaymin and N to smash through your opponent’s defenses, drawing 2-3 Prizes very quickly.
Despite the changes for the better this deck undergoes, I am concerned that it is not improved enough to take on the field. Right now, this list is an even split between Cobalion and Kyurem, but I am beginning to believe that – in order to counter the changing metagame – you will need to make Cobalion the focus again, or perhaps just downgrade Kyurem’s presence to allow for more fighting responses to Magnezone.
Pokémon – 23
Trainers – 24
Energy – 13
Ah, yes…My pet deck. Come the next couple months of tournaments, this deck will radically change into something much less recognizable. For the most part, the Trainers remain the same: only Skyarrow Bridge and Pokémon Center could add much in the way of new strategic maneuvers, and as this list shows you, I have opted for a choice that will allow me to keep the healing going for a long time.
It’s the Pokémon that look completely different, though, and as you can see, I run a whopping four different EX attackers. You don’t have to use all four in a single game, but they each serve their own unique purposes:
*Kyurem acts as an all-powerful sweeper against miscellaneous decks. Discarding Special Energy cards is really good right now, too, and this attacker can go toe-to-toe with a Mewtwo EX if it does not have an Eviolite attached.
I like this card for the added type advantage it gives me, but right now I’m not so sure if it’s worth the space. For now, I am choosing to leave it in due to the sheer strength it gives me against the old metagame, but I feel like its usefulness will drop off comes weeks two and three of SPTs.
*Mewtwo EX is nice for mirror games and the Mewtwo match, but since your ideal scenario is to fall behind with this deck, you typically don’t want to be too aggressive with it. In some games, it may become a key mid-game player, but in others, it could prove to be a solid late-game sweeper (alongside Shaymin). Just be sure to not be reckless with this card, and it should be a huge gain for The Truth.
*Regigigas is our new Outrage dragon, and does a fine job of it. Giga Power gives this deck a much-needed way to do good “vanilla” damage that it did not have previously, and with Raging Hammer, you can do up to 220 damage. However, your usual, non-Mewtwo strategy will be to shift all but 1-5 counters every turn, and just hit for a very plain 100.
BulbapediaBecause of this card, I’m beginning to seriously consider running Eviolite in The Truth. I’m not all the way there yet, but if I do get to that point, then Kyurem will likely be the first card to go or it.
*Shaymin serves the same purpose discussed earlier, but here it has the added advantage of being able to manipulate N draws better. Additionally, you don’t have to fear your Shaymin being Catchered up with an Allergy Flower in place, so you can just quietly dismantle their setup, go down all the way to 1-3 Prizes left, and just sweep the board with an N/Revenge Seed play. Even if this isn’t feasible, it’s a near-guaranteed way to end the game.
Not much needs to be said about energy: Prism is the obvious addition, making your total number of Rainbow effects a total of eight. The list as it stands is horribly vulnerable to something like Scizor Prime, but for the sake of testing, I wouldn’t go out of my way to worry about a very specific metagame threat that will likely now show up much due to Mewtwo.
I am going to make the call that this deck will see a sizable boost in tournament success come States and Regionals. The various versions of this deck are made and broken on good metagame calls: thanks to Mewtwo EX, that metagame will become a bit more predictable, meaning that the users of The Truth are going to have an easier time making precise lists for their playing areas.
Early Mewtwo EX donks may easily happen to a deck running six Psychic weak Basics and two babies, but if you survive past the first two turns, then you should possess the options to comfortably play around many Mewtwo lists, and perhaps bring home a win.
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 30
Energy – 14
pokemon-paradijs.comThe two major additions to the list with Next Destinies are Ultra Ball and Mewtwo EX. While not the end-all search card for Typhlosion, Ultra Ball eases the pressure to Communication away a good card (as well as to have something to Communication away in the first place). Still, the discards can be rough on you for the early game, so I run a 2/2 split between Ultra Ball and Communication. It is working very well right now, and I’m even considering adding a fifth search card between the two. Is a 3-2 on Ultra/Comm superior to 2-3?
Next, we have a single Mewtwo EX. The main purpose behind the card in this list is not to trade blows with other Mewtwos the whole game; rather, it should usually function as a sort of catch-all sweeper near the end of a game, when Reshiram’s 130 HP isn’t enough to buffer you. It can trade blows wither other Mewtwos if absolutely necessary, but keep in mind that you are usually going to be Knocked Out in one hit during the next turn. My bigger anti-EX player is to actually run a high N count, which helps slow them down immensely in the event that there is no energy on their side of the board.
Even though Rescue Energy is not a necessity, the versatility it offers you makes recycling the same attacks much easier, especially under Item lock. Additionally, Flare destroy swarm becomes a more likely prospect, and even reusing Mewtwo is a possibility. All in all, it remains a good play, and is good against nearly all decks in the field.
Like Durant, Typhlosion/Reshiram is a strong deck that costs little to build, so you will be well-served to test with and against it. Magnezone becoming a better deck does not help this deck’s playability, but the reliability of Reshiram makes it a worthy opponent for the field of EX attackers coming out, and lends you an out to keep up on the prize exchange.
Whether it is playability of simply an increase in use, I believe that these seven archetypes will all see varying degrees of improvement in the State, Provincial, Territorial, and Regional Championships. While I may not have covered “all” of this format’s archetypes, I hope that I’ve given you a strong foundation to work from for testing. I have enjoyed considerable success in testing with some of these ideas, and hope that you do, too!
Unless something comes up with the scheduling of topics, my next article should be all about the brand new ideas that come out of Next Destinies. Seeing as how we ought to have complete set information by then, it should be pretty lengthy.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. Forum question of the day: What is your favorite new card out of Next Destinies, and why?
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