Everyone who has attended a prerelease, viewed scans, or simply heard the name “Mewtwo EX” knows that Next Destinies is a big deal. The set is full of several strong cards, and even if some of our favorites are not going to appear, it will make a huge impact on our current modified format. Like Noble Victories before it, Next Destinies is going to radically revamp the modified format before it, making for a fresh State Championship experience.
In my last article, I discussed how several of the current archetypes of this format will get impacted by the new set. For this article, I would like to discuss something a bit different: how the brand new cards themselves will impact the format. I will be investigating several different ideas, both popular and not-so popular, as well as in the forms of techs and brand new decks. Hopefully, you will have figured out what works, what doesn’t, and – most importantly – what could potentially win you a major tournament in the next few months.
Tools of the Trade: What Sorts of Decks Should Next Destinies Trainers be Used in?
One point I would like to address before getting into the knee-deep of new rogue decks is just how these new trainers ought to be utilized. I can safely say that each of these cards is at least marginally playable; however, they are not playable in everything, especially when it comes to obvious “cater cards” like Heavy Ball and Level Ball.
– Cilan is a definitive foil to Interviewer’s Questions. While the latter is capable of getting special energy cards en masse, Cilan is a surefire way to charge up your hand with basic energy. The most obvious place for this new supporter is any variant of Emboar BLW 20 or Feraligatr Prime. Regardless of how “archetypical” or “rogue” these decks may be, both can make decent use out of Cilan, and can lead to a sudden, out-of-nowhere charge up of a major attacker.
Unfortunately, Cilan may most likely fall into obscurity the same way that Interviewer’s did. Finding the perfect niche role can be tough for this new energy searcher, especially when they could run a Pokémon Collector or draw card in its place. Still, it’s a reliable card that makes it somewhat better than Interviewer’s Questions when it comes to energy hog builds.
– EXP. Share is presently this format’s only way to run energy manipulation that doesn’t take the form of Double Colorless Energy and other Pokémon. The sorts of lists that can run an engine dedicated entirely to EXP. Share are uncommon, but when neither of the aforementioned cards are practical inclusions, it can be really useful when instantly charging up an energy-less attacker. It also greatly facilitates swarming, as it balances out the effects of Pokémon Catcher slightly.
– Since Ultra Ball is not included in the English equivalent to their Next Destinies, it will not be a mainstay in ball engines like I mentioned in Advancing Archetypes. Nevertheless, cards like Heavy Ball and Level Ball are still decent enough to use for a ball engine, or merely as supplements to the presently-existing orchestration of four Pokémon Collector with four Pokémon Communication.
Heavy Ball may at first glance seem to be like a major inclusion in several decks, as it is able to fetch huge metagame evolutions like Magnezone Prime or Emboar, and can grab powerful Basic attackers along the lines of Terrakion NVI and 4/6 of the new EX cards. With cards like Growlithe NDE 10 and Hippopotas NDE possessing their highest Retreat Costs ever, the makers of this game are practically begging you to run Heavy Ball – even if it means making Basic Pokémon halfway decent attackers.
pokemon-paradijs.comDespite this R&D urging, I don’t recommend that you play this card except in a very specialized and/or supplementary way. Heavy Ball’s range is actually pretty mediocre, and since 80% or more of the cards it can get in HeartGold/SoulSilver-on are evolutions, it often leaves you stuck without a way to grab Basics if it’s the only search card in your opening hand. It is still a great card, however, so if you want to speed up getting your evolutions into play, then a single copy of this card could be really helpful.
Level Ball, on the other hand, has a far greater range than Heavy Ball, thus making it seem to be the more useful card. In this early testing stage, I find being able to crank out Bench-sitters, crutch consistency cards, and other assisters to be extremely invaluable. Two of my decks in today’s article use Level Ball to great effect, and one of them even maxes it out to great effect.
– So far, the two Stadiums are both useful, but are not influential enough to bring back the good old days of “Stadium wars”: when two players would vie for board control by knocking one-another’s cards out of play. The key for a good stadium war is when at least one card produces an outrageous advantage for its initial user, and must be countered by the opposing player; otherwise, it’s just two players enjoying the same nifty effect.
When you take a look at every legal stadium in the format, the only one that ever produces anything that resembles this sort of advantage is Tropical Beach, as it gives its player the option to draw into a huge hand a turn earlier than the opponent. Judging or N’ing this hand alongside a counter to the Tropical Beach can be fruitful, but it is too situational to ever justify cluttering your deck with 2-4-of a card that will in all likelihood just be abused by your opponent anyway.
Even if it does build up a complex combo quickly, Tropical Beach is in itself not detrimental to the opponent, whereas past cards like Desert Ruins (Pokémon-ex hate) and Battle Frontier (Poké-Power/Poké-Body hate) most certainly were.
pokemon-paradijs.comI feel that Skyarrow Bridge and Pokémon Center are just a continuation of this lack of stadiums’ significance, and that only uncommon scenarios will ever lead to them requiring a good old-fashioned “war” (e.g., a stall deck vs. a pure 1HKO deck). In spite of that, they are still useful cards, so if you have a home for them, then by all means include at least a copy or two.
Splashable “Rogue” Cards Without Their Own Decks
One more set of thoughts before I move onto actual decks. I would like to take a relatively brief moment to discuss several interesting card that are most likely incapable of ever having their own decks, but could still provide useful effects. Essentially, these are some tech ideas that I think could help certain matchups, and allow for a little more unpredictability.
– Pinsir NDE seems like yet another terrible card of its species, and in most cases, this assumption would be correct. Against decks without energy manipulation, though, Pinsir can actually be a very scary card, as it can wipe a fully-charged attacker clean. Imagine, if you will, landing double heads with this thing on a Pokémon with several special Metals, or even leaving a card stranded in the Active Spot indefinitely.
– Zebstrika NDE is an interesting card, as it is spiritual successor to the very fast, disruptive Manectric ex of the 2004-2006 era. Like Josh last week, I am afraid to say that it just isn’t capable of much, but at least it could serve as a means to get a setup deck going without running Vileplume. If applicable for the reason above, consider a tech line of this.
The Roguenomicon (Volume II)
As a sequel to the article I wrote a little more than a year ago, I would like to take this point in the season to discuss several interesting rogue decks that could seriously shake up the metagame at States, Regionals, and beyond.
Are you considering “going rogue” for the next stretch of tournaments this season? Do you want to beat the now even more muddled metagame as a result of Mewtwo EX? If so, then consider these four reiterated points from the article I wrote last year:
- Rogue does not necessarily mean “bad.”
- Rogue does not necessarily mean “good,” either.
- Rogue is a high risk/high reward play, thus demanding more testing than an archetype.”
- Rogues are often kept out of the top tiers due to terrible matchups, or a lack of strong ones.
To claim that something is just a pet project (e.g., my Serperior fun deck mentioned a few articles back) requires nothing; staking a claim on the effectiveness of a rogue is a whole other story. Other than one of these five builds, I do not consider any of these to be fun decks, bad decks, or anything less than worthy of consideration. Unlike the original Roguenomicon, several of these lists are actually brand new ideas, so there is definitely a lot on the line when testing them.
Naturally, I am further along in testing these since they’re my lists; however, to expedite your own testing process a little, I will tell you what my first impressions/results have been with these, as well as what they might need to become truly effective. I am particularly interested in tuning you all in to anything that might lead to these decks qualifying under point 4.
With all that said, let’s look at some rogues!
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 34
Energy – 10
pokemon-paradijs.comThis is a very slight reboot on an old “bad deck” concept, only with some extreme edits to the formula for true viability’s sake. The idea is to pull off as early of a See Off as possible, and then spend the majority of the game nabbing 1HKOs via Miasma Winds activated by Amoonguss’s Sporprise and (occasionally) Torkoal’s Hot Snort. Since everything in the deck is 90 HP or less, I run a very Level Ball-centric engine, a couple Communication to balance out consistency, and zero Collector.
I want to nab a 1HKO every turn I am attacking with Miasma Valley, so I use the absolute maximum on everything to reuse Amoonguss: its line, Super Scoop Ups, Junk Arms, and even Seekers. Since the list only runs 1-2 Leafeon due to the Lost Linking, I run a very high count of shuffle draw (six!) in order to improve my chances of not having something strange happen with them between prizes and draws. Finally, I run a high count of Psychic to always assure that I have the right energy for See Off, and four Prism to give me random options in the event that my opponent himself has Lost Zoned an attacker.
With regard to those last two points, why Mew Prime? For starters, it is simply easier to make a basic your main attacker, rather than to have to constantly crank out stage ones over and over again. This may not seem like much of an issue, but when your resources are stretching thin just to get status conditions into play, it can mean a great deal. Plus, there is the more obvious advantage of it being able to slay Mewtwo EX without any trouble at all (there’s no kill like overkill). If you or I find that a list with a greater Leafeon emphasis is warranted, then that shouldn’t be a problem for space’s sake: we could just cut the PlusPowers and Revive to allow for a minimum 3-3 line.
As it stands, Mew/Leafeon/Amoonguss completely obliterates nearly anything with a Mewtwo EX focus. To say nothing of the possibility that you could trail by as many as 3 Prizes and yet still win the game, you also have more “outs” than they do, and can adjust to far more adverse scenarios than just a simple Mewtwo/Celebi build ever could. Even typical problem child cards like Tornadus EPO become more bearable to deal with.
pokemon-paradijs.comThe rest of the format is a big question mark for me, as this honestly needs some more results against the other top decks before I start making conclusions. By inducing power disruption on the likes of Magnezone and Typhlosion, however, I believe that it holds great potential for being able to pick apart and destroy various archetypes.
Sure, dragons may mean a ton of trouble if you don’t hit your statuses/pluspowers when you need them, but if the simple act of a failed confusion check flip can win games, can’t 16 instances of it win you some matchups?
To close out my review of this deck, I would like to turn you all onto what I consider its one major weakness: dead or unavailable Foongus (or Foongi?) make for a painful game. The lack of Collectors is not attributable for this nearly as much as the presence of Pokémon Catcher in this format, constantly leading to KO’d 40 HP buggers.
Your ideal board position on a turn without SSU or Seeker is to actually have as many as three Foongus against any non-spread matchup, so that you 1) can evolve into an Amoonguss, as well as 2) have a spare Foongus for the next turn in case one gets Catchered up. Top that off with the occasional dry spell on Torkoal flips, and you have a deck that is dangerously close to hiccupping one too many times.
Its shortcomings aside, I have high hopes for Miasma Mew.
Beheeyem Hand Disruption
Pokémon – 23
Trainers – 26
Energy – 11
“Beheeyem? Why would anybody play that awful card, especially with Mewtwo EX in the format?”
pokemon-paradijs.comFor two big reasons: its basic from Noble Victories, Elgyem, is arguably one of the stronger starters available for a deck with so many basic needs (multiple Weaviles + Slowking); and because Beheeyem’s Brain Control is one of the strongest hand disruption effects aside from, well, Weavile UD itself.
Unlike Ambipom/Weavile from last season, the idea here is a bit more indirect: wreck your opponent’s hand, use a Slowking to rig the opponent’s top decks, and then sweep in with a bigger, bulkier attacker. I had my share of attackers to choose from for this purpose, but in the end I went with Mewtwo EX itself. When your opponent has next to no resources available on a board, as well as a completely dead hand, Mewtwo EX is easily one of the most attractive cards to have swinging for constant KOs.
The reason why I run a higher Judge count than N in this list is to make my lock more absolute, as a Weavile and a Brain Control are far more likely to devastate a four card hand than a six card one. Only in the later game will N truly become useful as disruption, since by then you very well may have lost a Beheeyem and a Mewtwo or two.
Like the previous list, I also have the presence of several Pokémon grabbers, with two Seeker for the guaranteed reuse of Weavile’s Claw Snag, and one random Super Scoop Up to give you extra mileage out of Junk Arms. I may switch that count around if I begin to like SSU better for its ability to grab Slowkings/Mewtwos up at a moment’s notice, but both are useful to the main strategy at work. Finally, I run a slightly different split of Level Ball and Communication: 3/3, in order to up my odds of being able to fetch Mewtwo directly from the deck.
I might need to throw in PlusPowers, Eviolites, or both to give my Mewtwo mirror a little bit of an edge, as losing that matchup would be pretty devastating for the deck’s long term prospects. Once again, though, its real weakness is the lock breaking, hiccupping, or never getting into play in the first place.
I feel like there is no satisfying answer to Magnezone, even if Mewtwo’s HP typically requires a ton of Lost Burn removals, so a direct counter might be appropriate at some point in the future. Regardless, this deck is proving to be more and more capable, and is almost certainly more viable than Ambipom ever was.
Pokémon – 26
Trainers – 22
Energy – 12
pokemon-paradijs.comOne of the most hyped Gardevoir variants right now is – of course – Gardevoir/Mewtwo EX. Still, there are other less obvious combos with it, which range several sets. For the sake of example, I’d like to talk about one that is comprised of nearly all Next Destinies attackers: Gardevoir/Darmanitan.
The focus of this deck is setting up an unstoppable swarm of DarMAXitan attacks. Initially, you should set up your board with both a Gardevoir and a Vileplume (made easier thanks to both Twins and Darmanitan’s extremely useful Synchrodraw attack). Then, once you’re ready to start attacking, get out a Victini’s Victory Star, and start watching the 1HKOs fly with DarMAXitan. Assuming any attack with three heads or more means an instant 1HKO, a Darmanitan with Victini and three psychic attached should be 1-shotting about 80% of the time.
Why Vileplume? When designing this list, I recognized that its one major weakness would be losing Ralts constantly to Pokémon Catchers. You could theoretically run a list that utilizes a massive Gardevoir line (say, 4-2-3), but that accelerates the game, and can very easily leave you stuck trailing behind in 1HKOs. For that reason, we opt to slow down the game, protect your Gardevoirs, and even give yourself a chance to recover from the rare instance of bad flips with DarMAXitan. But between 12 Psychic and a tech Fisherman, you should likely be fine on the flip front.
BulbapediaI decided to “cheat” the rogue concept a little by including a single copy of Mewtwo EX. X Ball is effective at answering attackers when in between Darmanitans, and is even a nice late game tank attacker. Very rarely are you ever going to want to attack with it early on, and even rarer is when you want to start with it.
As mentioned previously, the deck’s biggest weakness is just failing to setup. Once a Darmanitan has three Psychic attached, nothing short of a Magnzone, EXs, or dragons will be able to take it down. I would actually consider regular dragons, particularly Reshiram, to be Darmanitan’s biggest shortcoming, since you usually need at least three Psychic, a Victini, and a Gardevoir to even hope to keep up with Reshiphlosion’s streams of Blue Flares. EX attacks, like Zekrom-EX’s Strong Volt, also pose a threat to the Darmanitan; however, a two-for-1 Prize ratio coupled with Item lock makes it a far more favorable exchange.
So far, this list has been doing very well for me against the field. Typhlosion and especially Emboar variants are giving me more trouble than I would like, but that now just amounts to a small portion of the field. Its matchups against Mewtwo, Durant, and The Truth variants are good, and it fares decently against Magnezone, as well.
Pokémon – 22
Trainers – 27
Energy – 11
pokemon-paradijs.comThere is no Ability, Poké-Power, or Poké-Body more capable of wracking nerves this format than Shiftry’s Giant Fan. For just a single heads, it can single-handedly change the course of a game, shuffling back in crucial support cards like Vileplume or Typhlosion, as well as main attackers that may have taken several turns to set up. With just one dumb, lucky flip, you can ruin an opponent’s entire game.
Because this Ability can be so effective when successful, we run several ways to attempt it over and over again. Once a major one finally hits, your Cinccino can just Do the Wave to victory, as your opponent should, by then, have no recourse. Better yet, if you can pull off a Giant Fan in the mid game, N will be extremely useful in sealing the deal for you, often netting the opponent only 3-4 cards by this point.
Unlike most Cinccino variants, which often have their lists built entire around it, this version ascends the importance of the Bench-sitter, and actually invests more cards into making it work. Granted, space is really tight, with such unorthodox counts as two Rare Candy; yet, it all works just fine so far, and gives me most of the options I could want out of the list. You don’t have to get out a super fast Shiftry to win – you just need to hit heads a couple of times, so don’t rush in cranking it out.
As for a few other suspect choices, I run two Pichu and three Collector to increase my overall basic Pokémon count, as well as to increase my odds of getting to Playground on the first turn. I don’t run any more of Super Scoop Up or Seeker simply because I have no space; otherwise, I would.
pokemon-paradijs.comFinally, the zero count on special Darkness is nothing more than a metagame play: without Vileplume or some seriously lucky Giant Fan flips, there is simply no way you can beat any deck running Lost Remover and Junk Arms (particularly Durant). Maybe you will want to take the loss to these decks in exchange for the ability to actually swarm with Shiftries for decent damage, but for now, I would advise against it.
Of these five decks, Sin Cinccino is probably the least tested. I also feel like it holds the most potential, as one or two good flips with Giant Fan really can lead to a “blowout” (worst pun ever). The three things that will keep this deck in check are bad Giant Fan flips, inopportune Giant Fan Flips, and an inability to score knockouts with Cinccino. Perhaps a higher count on Shiftry retrieval cards like Super Scoop Up will help with the first two issues, but the third is simply not easy to account for in this list.
Whereas decks like Kingdra/Cinccino have the ability to put large HP things into 1HKO range, and decks like Stage One variations can just rely on type advantage, this has neither. However, the tactical and strategic edges that Giant Fan brings you are too much to ignore in testing.
Pokémon – 24
Trainers – 25
Energy – 11
This last deck is perhaps the least “rogue” among the five, but it still receives a huge facelift in time for States – so much so that it actually looks like a new deck. Your strategy remains the same, but several crucial new components have been added to make it even more lethal than it was before:
– Shaymin EX is not only a useful late game attacker; it’s a lethal See Off target, as well. After enough prizes are drawn by your opponent, this essentially gives you the option to do nothing but revenge kill for the rest of the game. This is especially effective against EX attackers, since you will be doing EX-level damage with a card that only nets 1 Prize.
– Yanmega actually exists, but now in a more limited form. With a 3-2 line, you will always have the option to attack with it at least once or twice a game, but it has now given up list emphasis to Shaymin.
– Jumpluff might see a return in this list, but for now it has been cut for other cards with more offensive potency. Should you want to play it again, the easier cuts could just be the second Zoroark or Shaymin EX.
– Aipom also received the cut simply because more things will be retreating for less by States. Like Jumpluff, you could easily put it back in if you really want, although it’s arguably less useful now.
– Like Alex, I have opted to keep 1-1 Sunflora so that my Vileplume is more reliable to get out. This is especially important now that I run zero Sage’s Training in exchange for maximized hand equalizer options.
– Relicanth’s Prehistoric helps iron out the situations where you cannot See Off, or would otherwise prefer to keep a Mew from being vulnerable. Additionally, allows you to ditch Lost Zone targets that end up stuck in your hand.
pokemon-paradijs.com– I included a single Level Ball, as it allows you to search out anything in the deck sans See Off targets. When used to fetch Sunflora, it practically lets you grab Vileplume, as well, so it is yet another contributor to the speed of your Item lock.
– With the release of Prism Energy, attacking in this deck is far more efficient than it ever was. Not only do you get your share of attack options for Lost Link, but you also assure that you actually have the energy you need for See Off. Like with the first Mew variant in this article, it also allows you to pull some nifty tricks Mew is normally never able to access.
All in all, I see this becoming viable yet again. Whereas the resurgence of decks like The Truth, Magnezone, and Durant made Mew Lock far less capable of competing during Cities, I believe it now has the tools it needs to succeed again. It also helps to have a more favorable, Mewtwo-centric metagame, so don’t be surprised to see something like this at your nearest S/P/T tournament.
Updates to Decklists
Finally, since we have moved away from speculation to outright fact, we can crystallize previous lists from my last article to make them “States-ready.” Unfortunately, Ultra Ball and Random Receiver were not included in Next Destinies, so that requires an update on some of my lists; however, there isn’t much in the way of extreme edits, so if you’ve been testing with these builds much, then it will still have been useful.
pokemon-paradijs.comFortunately, 34/36 of the cards I predicted to be in the set were in fact there, which includes several of the cards featured in my new-age ZPST (a.k.a., ZPSTM) list. These did not include Ultra Ball or Random Receiver, though, so what should we do with those new spaces?
For the Random Receivers, we just go back to Pokégear 3.0 again. You can go whatever direction you are comfortable with between distribution of Supporters and Pokégears (i.e., 10 draw supporters and three Pokégear vs. nine and four), since Pokégear is not a guaranteed card. Still, I would advise no fewer than three so that you are able to comfortably thin out your deck, as well as have multiple outs to N’d hands.
As for the Ultra Balls, I would recommend a mix of Level Balls and Collectors – ideally two and one respectively. Despite the deck consisting of so many high HP basics, playing both Pachirisu and Shaymin on the first turn is critical to your strategy, so a high Level Ball count will do much of the work that Ultra Ball was already doing.
The leftover third spot can be used for a single copy of Pokémon Collector in order to shore up the increased difficulty of fetching big basics. You can also use it to contribute to your Supporter/Pokégear count, your Junk Arms, or even to carve out space for multiple PlusPowers again (remove a Skyarrow or two to do this, perhaps).
My edits to The Truth have not been due to any unforeseen set released; rather, it is because the deck itself warrants some tweaking. First off, the single Metal may soon be replaced by a single Rescue, seeing as how my Pokémon lines are all very precise, thus presently allowing for little flexibility. The presence of Rescue could let me actually remove cards, such as the second Terrakion, and ultimately amount to a looser-fitting build.
pokemon-paradijs.comAdditionally, the Pokémon Center is looking like an increasingly attractive cut for Skyarrow Bridge. While Center is useful to tank over the course of a long game, Bridge is extremely valuable when it comes to conserving energy (another good thing to have for the late game, by the way). I’ve yet to determine which is more important, as well as which will lead to the worse backfiring, but Skyarrow Bridge is looking increasingly hopeful as the designated stadium.
The Other Lists
No changes as of now. Happy testing, everyone!
Feel a little bit more refreshed about the new set? I sure do, and I’m eager to be preparing for my next series of events. I’ll be attending two, maybe three State Championship events, so this is looking to be one of my most active seasons ever.
Thanks for reading, and I look forward to your opinions about the format, decks, and the metagame!
P.S. Forum question of the day: which State, Territorial, or Provincial Championships do you intend to go to, and on what dates?
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