I’m going to be covering a topic most people tend to skip over when talking about a deck: teching for the mirror matchup. Today’s focus will be on Chrome Dome, also known as Thunderdome, the deck based around Magnezone Prime, Eelektrik NVI, and Thundurus EPO. Regarded as a tier one deck with a crazy high amount of Cities wins, this deck won’t be going anywhere come the HS-NDE format. It might change a bit, but the core will remain.
The mirror matchup for any Magnezone variant has typically been a war of who uses Magnezone last. Generally, pulling up one’s Magnezone to nab a 1HKO is met by an opposing Magnezone’s 1HKO. Such was the case for Magnezone/Yanmega. Such was the case for Magnerock. And of course, such was the case for Magneboar.
Of course, a win can also come from removing your opponent’s Eels from the board, but every Eel you Knock Out is a Magnezone with energy you leave alive. Sometimes, shutting down their ability to get Magnezone is more important, as a common win scenario might be simply removing their ability to Magnetic Draw, and then hitting an N to put them at a deadly one card hand.
There are a few trick plays and cards you can slot into your deck, however, that can turn the game around in your favour. Most of these rely upon an element of surprise, so do your best to hide these until the time is right.
Hitting for Type Weakness
This is the most obvious way to turn the match in your favor: A “hard” counter. This can include one of a few cards, and I’ve tested each of these with a varying degree of success.
Stunfisk NVI 68
Better known as “groundfisk” this guy is a Fighting type with 90 HP, a Lightning resistance, and a Water weakness. His resistance means that an opponent will have to either Bolt Strike him, or Lost Burn three energy to 1HKO him. (Most Magnezone decks do not run PlusPower, but PlusPower and two Energy would also do the job.)
His biggest advantage, though, is that he runs on L Energy and has a singleton Retreat Cost. We use him for his second attack, Thundershock. For the inflated cost of LLC it does 50 with a coin flip for Paralysis. This seems way too costly to use, but to us, that’s 100 damage for the same cost. Compare to Bolt Strike: 20 less damage, no self-damage, and a chance to Paralyze. Not too shabby.
Drop him, double Dynamotor, attach, then proceed to 1HKO any Eels left on your opponent’s board. He also does incredibly well against a Zekrom that has just used Bolt Strike, or against decks like Raichu/Eels, etc. His 50% chance of inflicting Paralysis also means he makes an okay hitter vs. the likes of Thundurus, Magnezone, and an undamaged Zekrom. He’ll get free retreat with Skyarrow Bridge, too, something to keep in mind.
This guy was probably the first thing you thought of when I said hitting for Fighting weakness. He’s a Fighting type with a nice 130 HP that can hit for some nasty revenge kills thanks to his first attack. Retaliate, for the easy cost of FC, does 30 damage, but 90 if any of your Pokémon were Knocked Out last turn. This leads to a situation for your opponent where you can answer a Magnezone kill with a 1HKO right back, without using one of your own Magnezones.
Of course, this guy does have some major drawbacks. First, you have to either run a second Energy type, or run Rainbow, both of which hurt the core of your deck, and can kill other matchups. Secondly, starting with him is killer with his four Retreat Cost. If you start with him against Durant, you had better pray to Arceus you have a Switch handy, and some way to get him off the field, or he’ll be sitting Active each and every turn.
If you do decide to run F Energy, running two would enable you to use his second attack and sweep for several prizes, assuming your opponent is out of Magnezones to use.
Landorus NVI 74
This guy is a mix between Stunfisk and Terrakion. He has an easily-paid one Retreat Cost. His 110 HP and Lightning resistance put him out of 1HKO range of a Bolt Strike. However, his attack cost is FFC. Also, the 10 damage you do to your own bench can come back later to bite you. Either way, he makes a decent card, and certainly cannot be overlooked as an option. He’ll get even better once we get Prism Energy and Skyarrow Bridge in a few weeks.
Donphan Prime 107
This bad boy has dropped off the surface of the Pokè-Earth lately, it seems. Never the less, he’s a viable option to swing the mirror in your favour. Weighing in at 120 HP with Lightning resistance and a beastly Pokè-Body, this guy means business. He only needs one Energy to start going to town. However, his four Retreat Cost means that you had better be packing a Switch or two. Sadly, since Donphan is a Stage 1, you will be giving him away to your opponent the second you drop Phanpy. I recommend running the HGSS Phanpy.
Since Prism Energy will not work here, run Rainbow, or if afraid of Lost Remover (you should be), run a Fighting or two. Running Fighting also means that your opponent will need to Lost Zone four Energy to 1HKO.
Marowak TM 44
His stats read identical to Stunfisk, except the fact that he’s a Stage 1. Marowak boasts a flippy attack with a Colorless cost. You get two coins, and 60 damage per heads. Not horrible, and he’ll survive a hit from Thundurus, and take three Energy to Lost Burn for KO. The extra ten damage over Stunfisk allows him to 1HKO Thundurus on a single heads, and if you hit both heads, you’ll 1HKO just about anything Fighting-weak, even Zekrom-EX. Of course, hitting dual tails will hurt. “Bone Impact” will never be used, but who knows; in the future, it may be vital to kill Stadium cards.
Lunatone TM 25
Pair this guy with Eviolite or Defender, and sit back and laugh as he does 120 in the face of your opponent, and spreads some bench damage. Not nearly as effective as the others on this list, but he’s a budget option and funny to watch.
Gliscor UD 4
This guy is a Stage 1, which is bad, but he does have a unique ability. Namely, his first attack, for a single F Energy, can shut down Magnezone entirely for a turn. Hitting for 60 damage and causing Paralysis is enough to soften him up for another hit. His second attack does 110 after weakness and Poison, so powering him up with two Dynamotors isn’t horrible, either, giving you the ability to 1HKO Thundurus.
Exploiting the Endgame
Type weakness isn’t the only way to win the mirror. Magnezone decks have several other weaknesses, and by taking advantage of them, you can win the game in unconventional ways.
pokemon-paradijs.com“Wait, what the heck is this doing here?” Good question. This guy is the ultimate in surprise wins from nowhere. Paired with a Rainbow Energy or Prism Energy drop in the end game, you can steal the win by decking your opponent. Most Magnezone players, when close to decking out, will build up their hand, holding onto a copy or two of N, and then shuffle the maximum amount of cards in, drawing one or two off of N.
You can take advantage of this by dropping this guy and using “Dual Draw” when your opponent has three or less cards in their deck. Even if you deck yourself out as well, their deck is checked as soon as your attack phase ends, giving you the win.
In the end of the match, attach a single Energy, pull up an Eel without Energy, and laugh. If you have a bigger deck, you win. If not, you’ll need some ability to snipe. Such ability is covered later in the article, don’t worry.
Crushing Hammer EPO 92
“But don’t they just get it back with an Eel?” Why yes, yes they do. However, Eel’s fatal flaw is the inability to attach to the Active Pokémon. In the late game, you can catcher up an Eel, and use this card to hammer away all of their Energy on the active. Chances are, by the endgame, all of their Junk Arms and Switches are gone. If you have a larger deck than them, sit back and relax. If not, pair it with the next card on this list.
Once you’ve locked your opponent with something useless Active, without the ability to retreat, in comes this guy. For the cost of LCC, you get to do 50 damage anywhere. The ability to snipe is once again a great bonus for decks such as this. This allows you to take prizes uncontested while your opponent is forced to draw-pass. He is weak to Lightning, so be careful. Having a Fighting resistance and the ability to use Eviolite is pretty nice, however.
He’ll probably be replaced by Raikou-EX come the set after Next Destinies. Zebstrika NDE does 80, but forces a discard of Energy. It does come with free retreat, so it is another viable option.
Playing Outside the Norm
Sometimes, games are won by doing what your opponent believes you never would. Mind games are powerful things. We have entire articles dedicated to mind games in general, but here are a few that are specific to the Magnezone mirror match.
Eelektross NVI 41
The often-ignored older brother of the Eel line, this guy can do some serious damage in the right hands. His 90 damage attack is quite good at surprising an opposing Zekrom that just used Bolt Strike. His 140 HP means that your opponent might find themselves unable to 1HKO him in the late stages of the game due to lack of energy.
A surprise Yanmega tech can come from nowhere, and give you a few more options. Perhaps it is taking the last prize on a cheap baby kill. Perhaps it is dragging up an Energyless Eel and getting in a quick 40 damage. Or perhaps it is using him to conserve energy to Lost Burn. Whatever the case, this little guy will always have a surprise use. A 1-1 line serves as a crutch to players more familiar with Primetime, as well.
Remember what I said in all of the above about Magnezone decks never running PlusPower? Your opponent is thinking the same. A surprise PlusPower can turn a game in your favour. Paired with Junk Arm, it can lead to a surprise Bolt Strike 1HKO on Magnezone, etc.
Dodrio UD 11
If you know your opponent is Catcher-happy, play mindgames on him with this bad boy. This guy also serves as a great anti-Chandelure tech, as he makes Lampent’s attach useless against just about everything. Giving everybody free retreat except Magnezone (who will retreat for one Energy) means trying to pull Eels up and snipe them is useless. And if your opponent catchers up Dodrio and Knocks it Out? Congrats, they just ignored all of your attackers and you get a nice free revenge KO on whatever was used.
A surprise clutch Defender attached to your Magnezone forces your opponent to either burn four Energy to 1HKO you, or to burn a Catcher to hit around you. Either way, they have lost resources they could have been saving.
Wrapping it Up
Of course, we don’t have unlimited deck space, and sometimes, the best tech for the field is just being more consistent, but in metagames flooded with nothing but mirror, or lots of decks similar to mirror, these cards serve as great tricks. Remember, these tricks work on most Magnezone decks, and most other Eel variants as well.
These articles will be done as a series, one for each major deck as we exit the HS-NVI format, and move on to the HS-NDE one. Until next time,
~Zackary “Cabd” Ayello