Next Destinies – What You Need to Know

@theMetaQHey everybody, Adam’s given me a shot to write an Underground article (thanks!) and I’ve worked hard to make it the best that I can, so I hope you enjoy it. :)

The hotly anticipated Next Destinies will be legal very soon, in plenty of time for State Championships. Any time a new set is announced, people wonder whether the format will stay the same or if some amazing new cards will be released that will flip the meta on its head. With NDE, it’s looking to be the latter with many players believing it’ll be one of the most influential sets in the history of the game.

Just like when a rotation happens, when a really good new set comes out, the competitive scene, for a short time, becomes a place where the truly skilled and those who have really put in the testing to break the format can shine. After a while, this information becomes more widely known; stronger lists become available online and with sites like Pokégym, you can know what is doing well at tournaments across with just a few clicks.

Before this information is available to the general public, and while the tiers have yet to be defined, a lot of players are going to have trouble. It’s incredibly difficult to choose a deck that’s strong against the rest of the field when you only have a vague idea about your competition. Not knowing the meta will put you at a massive disadvantage to the few who do.

How do you know the meta?
Solving the meta is like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube.

So, you might ask, when a set hasn’t been released yet, how can I possibly know what will do well? The best method to figure out what the meta will be is to test out and develop all of the possible decks that could be played, then test them all against each other, like you’re creating a simulator for the meta. Then, when you’re confident which decks stand above the others, you can precede to selecting your deck and building and teching it accordingly.

But let’s be honest here, who has time to do all that? Unless if you’ve scored the ultimate gig of being paid to play Pokémon (if you have, give me a call!), there’s no way you have time to build such a huge number of decks from the ground up. You know how much time and effort it takes to perfect a single deck. To do this with 20+ decks in a completely unknown format? It can’t be done. Alone, that is.

I’m in a team with about 25 other people, all of which I hold in high regard and consider to be strong players. Whenever a new set comes out, we spend every bit of free time that we have for weeks in advance testing and experimenting with all the new cards, hoping to find the next big tech or deck before everyone else so, come Cities or States or whatever tournament, we have some advantage over “the competition.”

This is a big reason why sites like SixPrizes are so popular. Everyone can share and gather information with the rest of the world, allowing the formats to develop at unprecedented rates. However, there is one issue with this method: everyone else knows what you know. Since thousands of people a day read and participates in Pokémon TCG-related forums/websites, best case scenario is that you know what everyone else does.

Insider Info

For me, the whole point of Underground has been to give its members usable information BEFORE its common knowledge. There are roughly 300 Underground members, which means that any groundbreaking deck or idea that’s in an UG article, less than 0.5% of Pokémon players will know about it.

While writing this article, I’ve tried to keep in mind the fact that you guys are looking for top-quality information that you can’t get anywhere else, which is what I’ve tried to put in this article.

I originally had a bit of trouble trying to decide what I should write about. I’ve written quite a bit for the free portion of the site and 90% of my articles have been one of three things: Card of the Days, Match Up Guides, or Deck Analyses. I was considering going with a deck analysis, but I wasn’t crazy about being able to only talk about 1, maybe 2, different decks.

Like I said, my team and I have spent the majority of the past month testing out new Next Destinies cards as they were confirmed for the set, so at this point, we’re probably among the players who’ve done the most testing with ND. We have made a ton of progress in terms of lists and determining what each deck needs to succeed, if it has that potential at all, so I felt you (the readers) would benefit more by hearing about a number of the decks that performed well for us instead of just one or two.

So basically, I’m dedicating this article to presenting the information my team and I have collected. I’ve included my thoughts on a few popular ND-related topics/controversies, but the primary focus of this article will be how the format is changing and some decks that can succeed in it. We have tested out dozens of decks and of those decks, dozens of different lists. I’d like for this article to be a huge collection of all the information we collected that you guys can use to help you select and build the best decks possible.

Defining the Format

devcentral.f5.comBefore I get into arch types and deck builds, first I’d like to talk a bit about how the fundamentals of the format are changing. Fundamentals are rules that dictate how you do something, so how does this relate to Pokémon, you ask?

The fundamentals of the format are certain rules and conceptions that we must work with when building and playing our decks. In general, most of the player base is accepting that the return of Pokémon-EX is going to have a big impact on our format (i.e. they’re going to affect the fundamentals of the format). The more the fundamentals change, the more the meta can shift, which can cause Tier 1 decks to completely fall of the grid and previously unplayable decks to be the next BDIF.

Whenever fundamentals change, the “tiers” aren’t the only thing that’s affected, but how we construct and play our decks can be drastically altered as well. A great example of fundamentals changing is scale. For Fall Battle Roads earlier this year, we played in an Emerging Powers-on format. Back in the early years of the game, Sneasel from Neo Genesis dominated the format as an incredibly powerful main attacker. It had solid HP (for a Basic), could hit for big damage for a relatively low cost and could use Special Darks. It was so powerful, in fact, that it earned itself one of the few banning to ever be given in the game of Pokémon.

Power is creepin’…

pokemon-paradijs.comAbout a year ago, a very close reprint of Sneasel was released (Sneasel UD), but most people didn’t even consider playing it. Why is this? The fundamentals of the game have changed. What was once considered a very quick and powerful attack (when combined with Special Darks and PlusPower) is far too weak to be a main attacker in this format (commonly referred to as power creep).

When scale changes, the standards of what’s expected in a card changes. A great example is Magnezone Prime, who’s 140 HP was very strong at Cities. Your opponent would need to waste two PlusPowers or a Rocky Helmet to 1HKO it with a dragon, so it’s HP was considered good. But now, with all these new Pokémon-EX, particularly Zekrom-EX and Reshiram-EX, hitting for 150 damage, its HP is rather fragile.

Its HP didn’t change, but the format did and so did our conceptions about what is “high” HP and what is “low”. Now, when creating these standards for cards, we keep in mind the context of the card. A Stage 2 with 140 HP is solid, but a Basic with that much HP is considered very good.

Scale isn’t just for HP either, in general, when the scale of a format changes, the standards for just about everything go up, from attacks to Retreat Cost to the amount of cards a Supporter allows you to draw. Thanks to Next Destinies and these super-charged Pokémon-EX, the standards for Pokémon cards have gone way up.

Of all the different in-game aspects that have changed, one of the most noticeable is the 130 HP “barrier.” It got this name because the two by far most popular cards at the time, Zekrom and Reshiram, can only hit for 120 damage, so under Trainer lock, they can’t score the 1HKO on “fresh” Pokémon with 130 HP or more. Now, we’ve got more like a 170-180 HP barrier in which exceptionally few Pokémon can break when they aren’t hitting for Weakness.

Dispersion of Resources

pokemon-paradijs.comAnother interesting shift in the game is how much resources you need during the game and when. For example, in ReshiBoar, you need to get Abilityboar and Reshiram set up and then have three Energies to attach to it. Now, with most ReshiBoar builds now favoring Reshiram-EX, you need a fourth Energy (assuming no DCE). However, the trade off is that you most likely won’t need a way to recover any Energy the following turn like you would with “Blue Flare.”

As the game goes on, even though you need to four Energy to charge up a new Reshiram-EX, because of its higher HP than the non-EX version, it’s likely that you’ll only be 2HKO’d, meaning you won’t need to use your resources every single turn to get another attacker set up. You also aren’t discarding Energy every turn, so you’re not pressured to keep coming up with Energy Retrievers or Fisherman turn after turn. At the very beginning of the game, it requires a slightly higher amount of resource devotion, but needs far less resources throughout the rest of the game

In general, as you play with Pokémon-EX, you’ll notice that most of them follow this trend, having slightly higher costs to get going, but with the aid of Electrode/Typhlosion/Eelektrik/Emboar/Celebi, it can be done. Then, you will experience the benefits of your attackers needing less “maintenance” for the rest of the game.

One deck that does seem to break this rule, however, is Zekrom-EX/Eelektrik. Zekrom-EX requires a two Energy discard each turn to continue attacking, but “Dynamotor” only attaches Energy to the bench. There are a wide number of ways to get around this, such as Shaymin UL, Switch, DCE, etc. However, you’ll need to drop one of these cards almost every single turn in order to keep attacking, which is why I’m not a huge fan of Zekrom-EX/Eelektrik on its own. It’s a decent deck, but I feel like it’s way too vulnerable to things like N or just a little bad luck, keeping it from reaching the level of some of the other decks.

Because decks like EXBoar (let’s see if the new name for Reshiram-EX and Emboar catches on) will be having their main attacker KO’d far less often, they won’t need to run as much recovery, such as Rescue Energy, Super Rod and Energy Retrieval, as a standard ReshiBoar list would. This allows it to devote this space to other things, allowing the deck builder greater flexibility when it comes to customizing the deck. You can add in that tech for a bad match up or you can just include more consistency cards, which I suspect a large number of players will be doing.

Avoiding the 7th Prize

pokemon-paradijs.comNext I’d like to talk about one card in particular, Pokémon Catcher. Pre-Cities, it seemed like just about every non-Item lock deck ran 3 copies minimum. But since Noble Victories, the number of decks running only one or none at all, has skyrocketed. At States, I feel running such a low number will be far riskier than it was at Cities.

I’m sure by now you’re all familiar with what’s called the 7th prize. It’s a rather simple strategy, during a game, when your opponent only has a 1 Prize left, promote a Pokémon-EX, forcing them to work to collect 2 Prizes when they only need to take one. In most cases, if they don’t have a Pokémon Catcher, any non-Magnezone deck will be forced to take that extra turn to score the 2HKO on your EX. On the other hand, if you had just left up a Yanmega or something, they would have been able to 1HKO for the game.

This extra turn can be just enough for you to take your last one or 2 Prizes for the win. But keep in mind that your opponent can and probably will use this same tactic on you, which is why Pokémon Catcher is so important.

Besides the obvious, there is one other big reason why Catcher will be so good in a ND-on metagame. You can expect a lot of decks that run 1-2 main Pokémon Ex attackers and then an Energy Accelerator, such as Zekrom-EX/Eelektrik and Reshiram-EX/Emboar.

When you approach these kinds of match ups, you have two main ways you can play the match up. The first and most obvious is to simply take part in a battle of knock outs with your main attackers. Get your engine and main attacker(s) set up asap to fight against your opponent’s attackers. The other way you can play it is to try for some disruption by Knocking Out your opponent’s Energy Accelerators, hoping to run your opponent out of resources later in the game. Now, of course there will be many games where you will use a mix of these two strategies, but my point is that, without a few Pokémon Catcher, you won’t even have this option.

Early Pressure

I think one of the EX’s greatest strength is their ability to significant damage on turn 1-2. This can mostly be attributed to Double Colorless, who quickly powers up Zekrom-EX and Reshiram-EX’s “Glinting Claw,” Mewtwo EX’s “X-Ball,” and Kyurem EX’s “Frozen Wings.”

I think this factor is a huge part of why this batch of Pokémon-EX are so strong. They allow you to apply a lot of pressure on your opponent’s early game for a very small amount of resources. If your opponent has also gotten a quick EX attacking, it then becomes a battle of who can get out their support Pokémon the fastest so the EXs can use their bigger attacks. If you can do this just one turn sooner than your opponent, you can get ahead in the prize race. Just be careful about overextending so much that you’re toast if your active EX is KO’d!

Arguably the decks that are hit the hardest by an early attacking EX are decks like EelZone and Chandelure. Most of their Basics have low, easily killable HP and they need a few turns of setting up before they can start firing back.

Cards with Renewed Strength

pokemon-paradijs.comOne other interesting change to the format has to do with the strength of Seeker and Super Scoop Up. They’re most commonly run so you reuse put in play Poké-Powers, such as Pachirisu and Shaymin. The new Pokémon-EX have startling amounts of HP, but in return are worth 2 Prizes when KO’d. The idea is fairly simple, when your Pokémon-EX has taken a hit and your opponent is threatening the KO, scoop it up back to your hand. With the use of Emboar or Feraligatr Prime, you can easily place it back down and get all of the Energies on it again.

If your deck is all non-EX attackers, as long as you can get set up quickly and consistently and keep up a constant string of 2HKOs, your deck IS playable and can win against EX-based decks(but watch out for the SSU play!). If both you and your opponent are running EX attackers that can 1/2HKO each other, it’s pretty much the same thing, it’ll just be a battle of who can get going the fastest and keep going the longest.

Now, to gain the advantage in an EX vs EX battle, the player that can score the “better” KOs wins. When I say better, I mean the fastest; a 1HKO > a 2HKO, a 2HKO > a 3HKO and so on. Assuming no Catchers, a Zekrom-EX vs Zekrom-EX game will be a series of 2HKOs. However, if you can score the better 1HKO just one time, it can be enough to give you the edge.

This is why I think Black Belt has gotten stronger since it allows a Zekrom-EX or Reshiram-EX to 1HKO any non-Eviolited EX (and can even 1HKO Mewtwo EX with an Eviolite). Because of the 2-Prize EX rule, there’s going to be a lot more back and forth of who’s ahead and behind on prizes each game, so Black Belt will be a lot more useful.

To wrap up this section, I’d like to include one final note that pertains to deck building, teching and the meta. We all know that EXs will be big and see a ton of play. Decks like Mewtwo EX/Celebi, ExBoar, etc. will be abundant, but don’t forget about the rest of the non-EX meta. You still have to worry about Durant, TyRam, CoKE, etc. and forgetting about them can have a devastating effect on your performance.

The Meta Effects of Next Destinies

Now I’d like to go into a bit more detail about my testing results relating to the decks that are doing well right now. As soon as we had an idea of which new cards were competitive and which were not, the first thing we did was try them out against all the current Tier 1 and 2 decks, to see how they all react to one another. This allowed us to determine how each deck’s match ups look in a Next Destinies-on format. This is the process that we call “constructing the format.”

I just finished talking about how the fundamentals of the format will change, but now I’d like to go into a bit more detail on how the meta will change. More specifically, with EXs sure to add to the amount of playable decks at States, which ones are helped by this and which ones are hurt.

EelZone – I’ll start out with a simple one. In general, most people agree it’s going to be a strong contender. It’s got a built in consistency engine, able to score 1HKOs on literally any Pokémon and, when set up, has the most offensive power of any deck in the format. I think the biggest thing that will hold it back will be its speed. Even with a Turn 2 Magnezone Prime, it takes a few turns to get everything up and running. All it takes is one slow start for a deck like Mewtwo EX/Celebi Prime to be able to tear you apart.

Right now, I think running Twins is one of the best solutions. To be able to get the missing components for whatever you need to get set up us usually enough to propel you back into the game. Once you do get set up, very few decks will be able to go head to head with you, so, as long as you’re careful about how many Energy you’re Lost Burning, you’ll be able to pull of the win.

Chandelure – The problem with Chandelure heading into Next Destinies is it struggles with all the new EXs, barring Mewtwo EX. A Pokémon that can survive 2+ turns of double “Cursed Shadows” but can consistently 1HKO Chandelure is very hard to handle. At this point, I think a ‘Lure variant that can attack at least some-what regularly is by far the strongest. Being able to Confuse these big Retreat Pokémon is going to be strong, especially with Trainer Lock.

The Truth 2.0 – As far as I’m concerned, the days where Truth builds run 2 Cobalion NVI, a 2-2 Donphan Prime line and a Dragon or SEL are over. I think Truth builds will need to be drastically altered. At least a few of your main attackers should be EXs. They can be run along side things like Cobalion and Terrakion NVI, but for the most part, you’ll need Pokémon that can’t be 1HKO’d by the likes of Zekrom-EX and Reshiram-EX.

The concept of decks running Reuniclus BLW + Vileplume UD has always been to tank. You can keep moving off damage counters with “Damage Swap” and “Allergy Flower” prevents the Pokémon Catcher play. But now, we’ve got two Pokémon, Mewtwo EX and Magnezone Prime, that can 1HKO anything and both are sure to be incredibly popular. The goal is still to tank, but you’ve got to be more prepared to lose Pokémon and have the ability to keep attackers coming, especially against EelZone.

Truth builds can now be a bit more diverse regarding the different kinds of techs they can run. Before, most lists ran 4 Rainbow Energy, 4 DCE, and then 4-5 Basic Energies or Special Metals. Now, thanks to Prism Energy, you’ve got a full 8 Energy that can power up just about any attack you’d want to run in The Truth.

TyRam – Still Tier 1/1.5, depending on who you ask. Its ability to keep one Reshiram after another coming turn after turn is as strong as ever. Having a very self-sustaining field that can easily shake off a late-game N doesn’t hurt either. It can be run with or without Ninetales and has a decent amount of room to tech for particular match ups. Reshiram-EX and Mewtwo EX are solid new tech options as well.

Durant – I had written a 500 word analysis on Durant and how it will be affected by the new Heatmor. Then I find out Heatmor isn’t going to be in the set :/

But alas, it isn’t in Next Destinies, which is actually great news for Durant and Durant is looking to be strong as ever. It has good match ups against a lot of hyped decks like EelZone, Mewtwo/Celebi, Chandelure, and The Truth. Also, its ability to sometimes steal games even against bad match ups by getting a few lucky discards is not to be underestimated.

ZPST – The way I see it, this deck is going to need a massive overhaul and, even then, I just don’t see it staying on the same level it was during Regionals and Cities. Tornadus EPO used to be somewhat strong in the mid-game by 2HKOing things, but now it struggles to do even that. Zekrom BLW has also lost power. Hitting for 120 damage turn 1-2 is still strong, but it isn’t as far ahead of the rest of the format anymore, so I don’t think it’ll be enough to keep ZPST on the top tier.

One interesting idea is to drastically cut back Zekrom to make room for Mewtwo EX, who is compatible with both Pachirisu and DCE. The drawback of this, though, is Mewtwo EX is much easier to counter and tech against than Zekrom for most decks. If TyRam or EelZone wants to run a hard Zekrom counter, they’d need to run something like a Rainbow Energy and Terrakion. To 1HKO Mewtwo, all they have to do is run their Mewtwo EX. If they run another form of Energy Acceleration, or even Shaymin, DCE isn’t even necessary.

I mean, sure, you’ll probably be able to get the revenge revenge KO on their Mewtwo, but a big part of ZPST’s strength is that it’s unopposed in the first few turns of the game. Even if they’ll ultimately lose the Mewtwo EX battle, by just being able to compete in it takes away a bit of your advantage.

6 Corners – Well, I think this deck will maintain a presence in the format, but I don’t see it climbing up any higher like some people do. Part of its strength was its ability to ensure your opponent couldn’t take any “easy” prizes off of you, making them fight for each and every one. But now, with more hard-hitting Pokémon coming into the format, they’re going to be able to score 1HKOs on even your strongest Pokémon easier.

It also doesn’t help that Lost Remover is seeing a boost in popularity, a card that’s strong against 6 Corners because of all the Special Energies it runs. Speaking of which, Prism Energy will be a nice boost to it, though, allowing it to be more flexible than ever.

The old Dragons like Reshiram and Zekrom have lost a bit of their punch. Because the format’s likely to flooded with Pokémon that can 1HKO these dragons, they won’t be able to use “Outrage” as often. Instead, they’ll be stuck manually charging up their second attacks and, at that point, I’m not sure if it’s worth running them anymore. Running one or two as a specific counter to something is okay, but they’re not going to be as effective as main attackers.

But again, running EXs, while more difficult to 1HKO, comes with that 2-Prize drawback. This could be played around with Super Scoop Ups, though, which would fit right in with the prize denial aspect to it.

CoKE – I like Electrode Prime a lot and if Japan’s meta is any indication (will we ever stop talking about Esa’s article?), Cobalion is going to be very promising. I don’t like Kyurem NVI, though. It’s rather awful against most of the new EX attackers and still struggles with Cobalion. It’s not bad against EelZone early game and the Truth, but in most cases, its usefulness is nothing compared to Cobalion’s.

The combination of Prism and Rainbow Energies is good and makes it easier to run other techs like Shaymin EX and Terrakion. The optimal build of CoKE would be something like 4 Cobalion, 2 Kyurem and then a few techs, reducing Kyurem to a smaller supporting role and let Cobalion take over.

The Lowdown – Here’s What Works

blog.rhapsody.comI’ve talked about how the “rules” of the format are changing and how the current top decks are affected. For the second half of this article, like I promised, I’m going to share with you guys the decks that really proved themselves as contenders in my team’s “defining of the format.” This process has been very effective and accurate in the past, so I’m confident that this set will be no different. With such a large group, we must have collectively played thousands of games and having this information is a big leg up on the competition, an advantage I’d like to pass on to you.

These are a few of the decks that performed the best in our testing. The members of my team are pretty spread out across the country, so there’s a very good blend of a lot of different metagames and play-styles in the lists. Some of these are well established, top tier decks that we just put our own spin on, but there are a few rogues to look forward to as well.

Deck #1 – Zekrom-EX/Magnezone/Eelektrik

Pokémon – 19

3 Magnemite TM
1 Magneton TM
3 Magnezone Prime
2 Tynamo NVI 39
2 Tynamo NVI 38
3 Eelektrik NVI
1 Pachirisu CL
1 Shaymin UL
2 Zekrom-EX
1 Zekrom BLW

Trainers – 28

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Sage’s Training

2 Professor Oak’s New Theory
2 Twins
1 N
4 Junk Arm
4 Pokémon Communication
3 Rare Candy
2 Switch

1 Pokémon Catcher

1 Energy Exchanger

Energy – 13

9 L

4 Double Colorless

In most of the EelZone lists that I’ve seen, Zekrom/Thundrus/Zekrom-EX are just their as support to Magnezone. There job is to grab a few easy prizes, easing the Energy demand on Magnezone as it just can’t take all 6 Prizes on its own and maybe give you a bit more early game presence. But in general, Magnezone is the star.

pokemon-paradijs.comIn my list, I wouldn’t go as far as to say Magnezone is a secondary attacker, but it definitely shares the spotlight a lot more with Zekrom-EX. The twist I’ve put on EelZone definitely puts a bigger focus on the non-Zone attackers than the majority of builds do.

I ruled out Thundrus EPO pretty quickly. Unless if you start with it against a set up deck and can get a few easy KOs on Cyndaquil, Tepig, Magnemite, etc. it just isn’t that strong. Even without an Eviolite, it can’t even 2HKO any of the EXs. It also puts pressure on you in the very early game because it forces you to keep needing Energy in your hand to continue attacking.

Zekrom-EX felt like the natural good play for me. Magnezone is strong against any opposing EXs, but isn’t the greatest against the non-EX Dragons due to their high HP and only being worth a single prize. Zekrom-EX shores up this weakness and also gives me the option for doing the “7th Prize” trick, assuming no Pokémon Catcher.

I’ve included one Zekrom BLW in here because it’s a solid attacker early game and easier to set up and maintain than its EX counterpart. I’ve also included one copy of Pachirisu and Shaymin, which are great against Durant. In other match ups, they’re very handy tools as well, so they definitely earn their keep in the deck. Against Durant, a solid tactic is to use Tynamo NVI 38’s “Thunder Wave” to try and slow your opponent down a turn or two, until you can get your attacker set up.

I usually play Magnezone in the standard 4-2-3 line, but since it’s only a part of the focus of this deck, a 3-1-3 has more than sufficed. The only match up it has even affected is Trainer Lock decks. Fortunately, Vileplume does get weaker with Next Destinies. At this point, I feel like most Item lock decks running Vileplume are just too slow if they aren’t running Reuniclus to tank.

The Truth is likely to see some play, but I do think its popularity will decline, mostly due to fear of Magnezone Prime, which is definitely a valid concern.

But again, I think this will be a key point where the “unknown” factor of the meta is going to catch up with players. Most players will just be running general attackers and counters to some of the most hyped cards and decks. If I hadn’t done our meta simulator with my team, there’s no way in a million years that I’d feel comfortable playing the Truth. Basing what you plan to run in a toolbox deck on little more than theory and hype means that any discrepancy between it and reality will have major consequences.

There’s also the problem of EelZone and Mewtwo EX, both of which have an unlimited damage capacity and can 1HKO any Pokémon. I think these issues combined will make it difficult for most Truth builds to really do well at States. But if I do end up across the table from a Trainer Lock deck and Zekrom-EX doesn’t do the job, the goal is to Rare Candy into one Magnezone and use Magneton for the second. If I’m up against EXs, getting 2 1HKOs, combined with any early KOs I was able to get with Zekrom and the always possibility of damage overload, and this deck can put up solid numbers versus Item lock.

With Kyurem and Chandelure both getting weaker and Tyrogue seeing little to no play nowadays, I’ve reverted back to the 2/2 Tynamo split. They’re both KO’d by Mewtwo EX + DCE, but Tynamo NVI 38 does offer the chance of Paralysis with “Thunder Wave.” I like Tynamo NVI 39 because it’s a better starter that lets me bring up whatever I want easier. This is especially noticeable against Durant, so all I need is a Pokémon Collector and the Energy and I can get a Zekrom going without needing a Switch or having to manually Retreat.

I’m very, very happy with this Energy split. There’s enough Lightning in here for Dynamotor, but I’ve also been able to squeeze in those four Double Colorless so I can fire off “Strong Volts” consecutively without needing Shaymin or Switch every time. It also helps against decks running high Catcher counts that try to drag up and stall behind an Eelektrik. Since Magnezone isn’t the primary attacker anymore, the deck is less Energy hungry, so it can comfortably function on 13 Energy. The Energy Exchanger is mostly to fish out those DCEs and I love that it can be easily discarded by Sage’s Training and reused thanks to Junk Arm.

pokemon-paradijs.comRunning only a single N with Magnezone is a bit different from the norm, but I just felt like, unless it was really late in the game, I was helping my opponent out too much. They’d have their hand, use all the good stuff in it and then I’d be stuck using N to give them a brand new hand or forced to sit there with a pretty weak one. It was pretty awful in the mirror match as well. I’ve kept the one copy in there, though, because when you use it late game against anything other than the mirror, boy can it be strong.

Like I said in the match ups section, Twins is a great way to help you stay in games against faster decks that like to take quick, easy prizes. It’s also great in matches that are often close prize exchanges throughout the game, like the mirror match. I can get that lone copy of Pokémon Catcher or that key DCE when I need it. I feel like 2 copies is the absolute perfect number.

High enough so I can get it somewhat consistently against those fast decks (I’ve seen some lists running only one, which kind of defeats the purpose when it’s so uncommon that you’ll get it early), but not clogging the deck when I’m ahead. It can easily be discarded by Sage’s or used as fodder for Junk Arm, too.

Most people will agree that EelZone, primarily because of its ability to take those 1HKOs on Pokémon-EX, as well as being strong and consistent, makes it a very strong contender for States. It’s got a lot of strong match ups and no auto-losses. I love having a ton of options each turn and room to outplay my opponents, which this list definitely offers.

Deck #2 – ReshiCobTrode

Pokémon – 14

3 Cobalion NVI
3 Voltorb TM
3 Electrode Prime
3 Reshiram-EX
2 Victini NVI 14

Trainers – 31

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory

3 Twins
2 N


4 Junk Arm

4 Pokémon Catcher

3 Level Ball

2 Eviolite
2 Pokégear 3.0
1 Super Rod
1 Switch

1 Lost Remover

Energy – 15

4 Double Colorless
4 Prism
4 Rainbow

2 Special M
1 R

ReshiCobTrode aka CoKE 2.0. Your main attackers are Cobalion and Reshiram-EX. I’m actually a huge fan of Reshiram-EX right now; I think it’s one of the more useful EXs in ND. Unlike Reshiram, you don’t need to discard Energies to hit for big damage, which makes it a lot better in decks that run either no Energy acceleration or a less powerful form, such as Electrode or Pachirisu/Jirachi + Shaymin, to name a couple.

pokemon-paradijs.comThe main idea of most Electrode-based decks it to hit early and hard, which is something Reshiram-EX does really well. Hitting for 150 damage consecutively as early as turn 2 puts an enormous amount of pressure on your opponent. If you do whiff on getting the turn 2 Trode, “Glinting Claw” (via a Fire + DCE) + Fliptini isn’t a terrible play either, especially against slower decks. This deck is strong against opposing Cobalion as well, because I can keep up in the Iron Breaker fight, but also have a “trump card” in Reshiram-EX for the 1HKO.

The other attacker I’ve chosen to run is the aforementioned Cobalion. Commonly run in CoKE, Cobalion is strong against a lot of these new EXs because, even though it’s stuck 2-3HKOing most of them, because of their higher Retreat Costs, “Iron Breaker” is incredibly effective. It’s for this reason that Cobalion is really strong against The Truth, arguably the deck that has the toughest time paying high Retreat Costs and you can be sure they can’t play any Switch.

Since Electrode’s “Energymite” gives your opponent a prize for the KO, their ability to use Twins will be blocked for the first 3-4 turns of the game, which is invaluable in a lot of match ups. You can take up to 2 Prizes before decks like The Truth can get everything set up, which has proven itself to be wicked useful. Since one of our main attackers is an Pokémon-EX, we can play around a bit with prizes and everything so the one you give up for self-destructing Electrode isn’t as much of a drawback later in the game.

The Eviolite count is a bit lower than you might expect, but that’s mostly because it isn’t as amazing here as you might think. Apart from the fact that it reduces “Brave Fire” recoil (I’ve got Fliptini in here, too), it doesn’t make much of a difference in most exchanges. Pokémon like Magnezone Prime can still 1HKO you with 4 Energy and most other Pokémon can still 2HKO Reshiram-EX. Cobalion is strong enough against Mewtwo EX and Kyurem without it and still falls victim to Zekrom-EX and Reshirams.

Running only 14 Pokémon is rather low, which really affects the usefulness of Pokémon Communication. If I had just one or two more Pokémon in there, I would probably run Communications, but space is tight and I haven’t been able to justify adding more Pokémon so I can get Communications in here.

pokemon-paradijs.comInstead, I’m running Level Ball, which is able to fish out either Electrode piece or a Victini. Level Ball can’t search out other of my main attackers, but between the two Pokégear 3.0 and 4 Pokémon Collectors, I’m able to get them out very consistently.

I’m so glad I can max out Pokémon Catcher in this deck, it’s something I’ve missed being able to do. Nowadays, so many lists are forced to run only a couple copies because of space issue. Just take a look at my EelZone list above. That build has given me a mind-blowingly good win/loss percentage, but it’s only got the one Catcher in there. It’s strong when you just run 1-2 copies and often more than suffices for your needs, but you’re then forced to conserve them more and only use them when you really need them.

This deck does have the four Catchers and also the maxed out Junk Arm, so I can really spam Pokémon Catchers, which, as good as my EelZone list is, can’t do. In match ups like ReshiBoar and EelZone, being able to, at your discretion, stall behind those big Retreaters if you could use another turn to get an attacker set up or you just want to KO something important on their bench, is really, really good.

Lost Remover has been really great. The main goal of this deck is to apply a lot of pressure early game, so being able to get rid of a key Double Colorless Energy is really strong. With Next Destinies, I can’t think of a single deck that wouldn’t benefit from running a Special Energy and some decks, like 6 Corners, will be running 12+, which makes Lost Remover hardly ever a dead card. Even some TyRam and EelZone builds are running Rescues, DCEs and/or Rainbows.

I’ve very content with the Energy counts. The 4 DCE power up Reshiram-EX very quickly and the Rainbows/Prisms cover all the specific costs very well. I started out with four Special Metals and three Rainbow, but quickly learned that Rainbow is definitely the better play. A rather last minute change I made was taking out an additional Metal for the R Energy, which made charging up Reshiram early a bit easier, as it’s probably strong early game. 150 damage > 80 damage + the Lock in the early game. Later, Cobalion’s attacking lock ability definitely gets 10× more valuable. But early, hitting for 150 damage is definitely preferred.

pokemon-paradijs.comIn general, it’s pretty easy to get the Pokémon you want attacking active (starting with Voltorb is as good as starting with any Basic you can search out), but just to avoid some sticky situations I do run a copy of Switch.

Honestly, I don’t think the Supporter counts could get any better. I run three Twins along with the two Pokégear 3.0, so using Twins consistently after I’ve just blown up an Electrode isn’t a problem. The Pokégears are also really great at giving me a bit more of a rebound possibility from a late-game N, turning any Junk Arm into a possible Supporter.

One of the great things about this deck is it’s really flexible in terms of techs and everything. You can easily add a wide array of attackers to counter just about any deck. A few promising possibilities are Shaymin EX, although I’d probably want to get a Shaymin in here as well then, and Terrakion, to give me a bit more punch against Magnezone-based decks, which are sure to be common.

Easily this decks biggest merit is its ability to hit so fast and so hard. Reshiram-EX and Cobalion are both very powerful attackers and really help to cover the gaps the other leaves. Reshiram is pro against most non-EX decks and is usually your attacker of choice early game, whereas Cobalion is stronger in the mid-game, able to go head-to-head with almost any Pokémon in the format, EX or not.

Both of these attackers are so different, which helps to give me strong match ups against just about every viable ND-on deck and its ability to win games before your opponent even gets started is a big part of why this deck IMO is a great play.

Deck #2.5 – Shaymin Spam

Pokémon – 12

4 Reshiram-EX
4 Shaymin UL
1 Cobalion NVI
1 Terrakion NVI
2 Victini NVI 14

Trainers – 34

4 Professor Oak’s New Theory

3 Pokémon Collector
3 Sage’s Training
2 Seeker


4 Eviolite
4 Junk Arm

4 Super Scoop Up

3 Dual Ball

3 Pokémon Catcher

2 Switch

1 Pokégear 3.0


1 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 14

4 Double Colorless
4 Prism
4 Rainbow
1 R
1 Rescue

I’ve listed Shaymin Spam as deck #2.5. I’ve done this because it’s sort of a pet deck of mine that I wanted to share, but I want to make the distinction that it’s not quite on the level of the decks yet. It hasn’t been tested out as extensively as the others, so there are still some kinks that need to be worked out, but it’s a really fun concept that I haven’t heard any hype about, so I thought I’d still include it

pokemon-paradijs.comThe idea of this deck, in place of an engine, is to keep using Shaymin to “save” your Energies before your Pokémon can get KO’d. Once again I’ve chosen Reshiram-EX as my main attacker, but for different reasons than in ReshiCobTrode (once again, marvel at my deck naming abilities-or lack thereof). I selected this particular Pokémon because it doesn’t discard Energies when it attacks, which would require a real engine, its Weakness virtually never comes into play and in general it’s difficult to 1HKO with anything other than Magnezone.

Once I’ve charged up the initial Reshiram-EX, as soon as it’s damaged the point it could be KO’d, drop a Shaymin to transfer its Energies to another attacker, then use Super Scoop Up or Seeker + Switch to save it and deny your opponent the 2 Prizes. Rinse and repeat as needed.

Because of space issues, the amount of tech attackers I can run is limited to only the necessities. Terrakion works rather well at evening up the MagneZone match up and Cobalion is there to give some speck of a chance against The Truth as well as cover Reshiram-EX’s Weakness to Kyurem EX.

3 Dual Ball + 3 Pokémon Collector suffices at getting out the Basics I need and 4 Super Scoop Ups, 2 Seeker, 2 Switch and 4 Junk Arm generally fulfills all of my Pokémon saving/Shaymin reusing needs.

One option I’ve considered is going for more of a Truth-like route, completely abandon any attempt at an early game presence and focus on having a strong mid- and late-game. In theory, it could work because like The Truth, this deck can do quite a bit of prize denying, so comebacks wouldn’t be impossible.

pokemon-paradijs.comDrop the Energy count to somewhere around 10, get rid of a few things like a copy or two of Pokémon Catcher, the Skyarrow Bridge (which is mostly just there so I can get Shaymin out of the active if I start with it) and stuff like that. I’d replace it with a high Twins count and maybe change a copy or two of PONT to N. This kind of deck would also be perfect for Shaymin EX, since it would run N, Twins and Shaymin.

One other change that could do quite a bit against Durant, which is a tough match up, would be an overhaul of the Energy lines, change it to something like 7 Fire, 4 DCE, 1 Rescue, 4 Prism, making Reshiram-EX not quite as vulnerable to Lost Remover. With Twins in the mix, I could still run most of the techs I’d want to, like Shaymin EX.

This decks match ups are fairly solid, but like I said, there are still bugs that need to be worked out before this deck is tournament ready. Trainer Lock is trouble, but there may be a way to save it with Cobalion and more Rainbows/Prism as well as a second copy of Cobalion or Rescue Energy. Magnezone Prime is trouble because it can get those dreaded 1HKOs on Reshiram-EX, but we do have a much stronger early game than The Truth, which provides a small chance of victory.

The list isn’t perfect and there’s still work to be done, but this concept is rather unexplored territory and a strong and tested list could go far. In the coming weeks, I definitely plan to work on this more and see what progress I can make with the deck (I’ll make sure to put it in a future article as I continue to make more progress with the concept).

Deck #3 – TyRam

Pokémon – 18

4 Cyndaquil HS
2 Quilava HS
3 Typhlosion Prime
4 Reshiram BLW
2 Mewtwo-EX NXD
1 Vulpix UL
1 Ninetales HS
1 Virizion NVI

Trainers – 29

4 Pokémon Collector

4 Sage’s Training
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory


4 Pokémon Communication
4 Rare Candy

3 Junk Arm
2 Pokégear 3.0
2 Pokémon Catcher
2 Rocky Helmet

Energy – 13

11 R
2 Rescue

TyRam is a fast, consistent, easy to set up deck that is rather immune to disruption and offers a nice amount of room for teching. These aspects have helped TyRam maintain its top tier status all throughout Battle Roads, Regionals and Cities and I’m confident when I say that Reshiram BLW/Typhlosion is still a strong competitor with Next Destinies as well.

pokemon-paradijs.comThe decision of whether Reshiram, Reshiram-EX, or some mix of the two is the best way to run TyRam is hotly debated. As suggested by the list, I prefer the BLW Reshiram. Most decks running EXs will be running Eviolites as well, so even with Rocky Helmets & PlusPowers, you’re not going to be able to 1HKO it with Reshiram-EX. Between recoil and “Afterburner” damage, Reshiram-EX is rather easy for opposing EXs to 1HKO while you’ll struggle to do the same to them, which is pretty much the definition of an unfavorable exchange.

On the other hand, with Reshiram, I accept that EXs are going to be 2HKOs and instead focus on ensuring I can keep up a constant Reshiram stream to get those KOs. The two Rocky Helmet are non-EX techs to secure 1HKOs on things like Magnezone and Eviolited Zekroms.

I’ve considered teching in a Reshiram-EX or two, but in general, whatever I’d have to cut is too important considering the fact that it doesn’t add that much to the deck that it doesn’t already have. With Rocky Helmet and Junk Arm, I can usually secure whatever 1HKOs on non-EXs I need.

Instead, I’ve decided to include two copies of Mewtwo EX. The obvious way you can use it is to score 1HKOs on your opponent’s Mewtwo EXs and with Afterburner, I can easily charge it up in a single turn. But Afterburner also puts Mewtwo EX in a position where it can be 1HKO’d by an opposing Mewtwo EX + a DCE, where normally they’d need a third Energy if I only have two on mine.

Mewtwo EX’s other important job is to win the Truth match up. I’ll admit it isn’t the first Truth tech that came to my mind either, but with multiple Afterburner, I can get tons of Energy stacked on it very quickly and they won’t be able to Catcher it up. Most of the main attackers in the Truth, when fully charged, can be 1HKO’d if I get 4-5 Energy on Mewtwo EX, which can be done rather easily in just a couple turns.

I think it’s interesting that, even though TyRam has been “big” for so long, the debate about Ninetales is still wide open. There are strong arguments for all the options, everywhere from a 4-4 line to none at all. My thoughts have varied on this subject as the format has changed. I’ve generally been pro-Ninetales, but I’ve never been to fond of needing to devote ~4 slots in the deck to it.

pokemon-paradijs.comSo, it would seem, that the perfect solution has been to run a 1-1 line. Instead of using it as my go-to set up crutch, I consider it to be just one more option I have access to in my games. Yes, a piece can be prized, but TyRam has no problem setting up without it anyway.

Most TyRam lists can get by on 12 Energy, but Mewtwo EX is a bit Energy hungry and just to ensure I don’t whiff on a key Energy, I’ve added the 13th one in there. 130 HP (minus Afterburner damage) is rather fragile now, so recovery is more important than ever, so having the 13th Energy slot go to a second Rescue Energy is a solid play.

I absolutely love Pokégear 3.0 in here. Not only does it give me another layer of protection from N, especially with Junk Arms, but it just gives me more flexibility in terms of having multiple Supporters to choose from each turn. Each Supporter in this deck does something different and Pokégear helps make sure I have the one I want in hand when I need it.

In general, I favor PONT over Professor Juniper. TyRam has a pretty favorable Durant match up, but you negate a lot of that advantage by running Juniper. PONT can buy you an extra turn by dropping it when you’ve got a large hand, but at the very least it should only help you get what you need out of the deck and not hurt much. Professor Juniper runs down the clock by 1-2 turns, depending on how the numbers line up. Sage’s Training already forces me to make some tough discard choices and throwing Juniper into the mix can really hurt your late game.

The one card that probably sticks out is the lone copy of Virizion. Having originally been a Cleffa, I made this change a few weeks ago and haven’t looked back. In most cases, “Double Draw” isn’t as powerful as Cleffa, but it does have a few distinct advantages.

Probably the biggest merit is Virizion is it’s much more durable than Cleffa. If you put down Cleffa, you’re basically giving your opponent a free prize. Mewtwo EX is pretty similar to Tyrogue in that it can donk a Cleffa, but the trade off is that Mewtwo is looking to be really popular, which makes Cleffa a risky play. You’ll notice how absent Cleffa is in all my lists.

pokemon-paradijs.comThe idea is for Reshiram to trade 1HKOs for 2HKOs with EXs. They generally run dry faster than you do (TyRam can go a long time before running out of steam), which is how you can win the exchange. Cleffa hurts this exchange a bit because they can take a prize early for very little investment which can negatively affect the KO exchange.

Virizion won’t survive a hit from Reshiram-EX, but it does offer a lot more durability early game. Drawing two cards instead of getting a full new hand is kind of like comparing Sage’s Training to PONT. PONT (Cleffa) is technically stronger, but Sage’s (Double Draw) gives you access to more cards at one time, making Rare Candy plays and whatnot easier.

Virizion’s Retreat is easy to manage because you can get that Energy back with Afterburner. The only real drawback to opting for Virizion is it’s harder to use mid-game. A lot of times, if you run out of steam, your best play is to bring up Cleffa, get a new hand and hope to get lucky with the Sleep flips. On the other hand, it is nice not to have to mess with coin flips with Virizion.

Even though it can protect Cleffa a turn, I’m sure you know how aggravating it can be to whiff on a flip. When situations happen that you’re all set up and ready to go and want to capitalize on your opponent’s slow start, and you flip double tails on Cleffa, you just want to bang your head against a wall.

In this build, I had two goals in mind that I tried to balance: speed/consistency and having no auto-losses. Even if my odds of winning are slim, I just want some possibility that, with a little luck, I can pull out the win.

A lot of people that I’ve talked to have said that EXBoar is better than TyRam (both EX and non-EX variants) and at the same time, a lot of people are sticking with TyRam. Reshiram-EX doesn’t discard Energies to attack, so you aren’t forced to run 2-4 cards to get your Energy back. You can also abuse SSUs/Seekers with “Inferno Fandango” because Resh EX is difficult to KO, plus it prevents recoil damage from stacking.

I have not included a list for EXBoar because it hasn’t performed as well as some of the other decks. It doesn’t run as well as TyRam does with no Engine either. Ninetales is an option, but then you’ve got to add a couple Energy Retrievals/Fisherman/Burned Tower back into the list.

You’ve also still got Emboar’s massive Retreat Cost to worry about. In MagneBoar, even though you’ve got Emboar in there, too, at least you’ve got Magnetic Draw in there. At least in MagneBoar, for taking on this liability, you’re rewarded with more offensive power in Lost Burn as well as just having more options in each game. I’m not labeling ReshiBoar as a bad deck by any means, but when you actually look at its match ups, they’re not as strong as some of the other decks in the format either.

Okay, to get back on the topic that is TyRam, this deck focuses on consistency and being strong in a very diverse meta, which thanks to Next Destinies, the format is going to be more spread out than ever.

This build does have a lot of strong match ups. I love having the good Durant match up. I feel that players are still writing off Durant, but it has to taken into account. For example, I’ve accepted that ReshiTrode has weak Durant match up, which is acceptable, but then I focused on making sure my other match ups were as strong as possible. A deck can still win if it has a tough match up against a relatively popular deck, but only if the rest of its match ups are good enough to make up for it.

Reshiram BLW is naturally strong against Mewtwo EX and Durant and can mop the floor with Cobalion, not just because it can 1HKO it, but because it’s easy to Retreat into another Reshiram and just Afterburner those Energy back, making the Attack Lock little more than an inconvenience.

This build can go head-to-head with most EX-based decks and come out on top, mostly because it’s so easy to keep attackers coming, which is an area some other decks will struggle with. Against EelZone, Rocky Helmet is strong, putting their Magnezone into 1HKO range. You want to use your Pokémon Catchers to kill their most important stuff, usually Eels. If you can drag up and kill a few of these early, you’re giving yourself a huge advantage. This is a match up where Ninetales really thrives, so between it, Pokégear/Junk Arm and your Supporters, you don’t have to worry about N crippling you.

The rest of its match ups are pretty positive, even having a solid Truth match up thanks to Mewtwo EX. It’s not a difficult deck to play and by now most everyone has a playset of Typhlosion Prime and Reshiram (seriously, how many times will they reprint this card when it’s still in the format?). It can easily be teched to suit just about any metagame, so it’s a great play going into a meta that hasn’t been completely fleshed out yet.

Deck #4 – The Truth 2.0

Pokémon – 23

3 Oddish UD
1 Gloom UD
2 Vileplume UD

2 Solosis BLW
2 Duosion NVI
2 Reuniclus BLW

3 Pichu HS

2 Kyurem-EX NXD
2 Cobalion NVI
2 Terrakion NVI

1 Reshiram BLW
1 Shaymin-EX NXD

Trainers – 24

4 Twins
3 Sage’s Training

2 Pokémon Collector
2 N
1 Professor Oak’s New Theory


4 Pokémon Communication
3 Rare Candy

1 Pokégear 3.0


3 Tropical Beach

1 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 13

4 Double Colorless
4 Prism
4 Rainbow
1 Rescue

And for my last deck, we have The Truth, although it’s admittedly been revamped slightly. The goal of The Truth has always been to combine Trainer Lock + “Damage Swap” along with a variety of meta-suited techs. Once you’re set up, Reuniclus is THE prize denial card, so even if you’re behind 4-5 Prizes, with enough time, you can come back. The original Truth decks really abused the 130 HP barrier that few Pokémon could break.

pokemon-paradijs.comBut because of Next Destinies (how many times am I going to have to say “because of NDE, X will be different?), this barrier is now more like 170/180, the HP of the Pokémon-EX. At first, this made a lot of people think that Truth.EX would be wicked strong because cards like RDL and BadBoar wouldn’t be able to get 1HKOs, but quickly people realized that not only is Magnezone Prime going to surge in popularity, but Mewtwo EX also has an unlimited damage output. This is the reason why I added two Mewtwo to my TyRam build, with a good Energy accelerator, it can 1HKO just about anything.

So, the first thing I had to do when building this deck was to accept that in a decent portion of my match ups, tanking with a single attacker wasn’t going to be very effective. The concept is still strong, but it will need to be tweaked a bit to thrive in a format where 1HKOs are more common.

I tried not to think of it as The Truth, but as a brand new deck. I added in Vileplume, whose role was to disrupt and slow down my opponent. Then I built a toolbox deck that could play under the lock. So instead of Reuniclus being a shoe-in like it is in Ross.dec, I considered it just like you would any attacker in the Truth and chose it because it’s a good counter to a lot of popular cards in the format, when played with the proper attackers.

Not thinking of it as The Truth helped me to pick it apart and put it back together again in a way that’s strongest for the meta. Kyurem EX is probably the closest thing to a main attacker this deck has. I don’t use its second attack against much else besides Reshiram/Reshiram-EX. Instead, I’ve included it mostly for its first attack, which lets you discard a Special Energy attached to the defending Pokémon. For the same reason Lost Remover is strong, so is “Frozen Wings”; Special Energies are going to be more popular than ever.

My original list ran only 1 Cobalion and 1 Mewtwo EX, to counter other Mewtwo, but eventually cut the Mewtwo EX for a second Cobalion. It just proved to be the better way to counter it and Cobalion is a far less narrow attacker in terms in what it’s good at countering than Mewtwo EX.

Ross builds have been known to experience some difficulty dealing with multiple Cobalion. Because they can’t run Switch and many of its attacking options have rather unmanageable Retreat Costs, especially if you need to Retreat 2-3 turns in a row, which just isn’t feasible. To fight off Cobalion, I’ve included a couple of options. Firstly, we’ve got Cobalion, who can go head-to-head with opposing Cobalion.

Skyarrow Bridge serves a number of handy functions, one of which is helping you to free a Cobalion from an opposing Iron Breaker lock. You could bring up a Pichu and KO it, then Cobalion is free to attack and then they’ll have to deal with being locked out from attacking, but they won’t have Reuniclus to keep their Cobalion alive.

Perhaps the most direct counter this deck runs is Reshiram, who is pretty much there just to fight off Cobalion. I’ve devoted a good amount of space to making sure I can deal with Cobalion and for good reason. After Magnezone and maybe Lost Remover, Cobalion is the card that’s probably going to see the biggest spike in play. It’s a great card, especially with a large portion of the attackers in the format having CC or higher Retreat Costs.

Magnezone is obviously a problem for most Truth builds, but with two Terrakion and a Rescue Energy, you can 1HKO a good number of Magnezone. This means our first priority is to get the Item lock up asap. This will shut them off from Rare Candy and limit the number (as well as how quickly) of Magnezone they can get out.

EelZone’s speed is actually pretty affected by Trainer lock, clogging up Magnetic Draw and shutting off key Trainers. Trying to get Magnezone and Eels once Vileplume is out is rather slow going.

Shaymin EX was made for the Truth. If you and your opponent are trading KOs, which with any luck you will be, if your opponent isn’t running out of steam, when the game is just about over, getting a KO with Shaymin EX is easy. You’re not forced to power it up in a single turn with Vileplume out and the high Twins count and potential for prize denial makes it less of a starting liability.

I really love the addition of Pokégear 3.0. Even though it’s a Trainer card that won’t be useful in the later stages of the game, it’s very strong early. We all know how strong Twins when your Pichu or Oddish was just KO’d, so having a card that’s essentially a fifth Twins is very desirable. On the flip side, if all you’ve got in your hand is a Twins, but your opponent has not taken a prize yet, Pokégear is a great way to avoid missing a Supporter drop.

This list runs three copies of Tropical Beach, which serve as great catalysts for bolstering my set up rate. Copies of TB are difficult to get your hands on, much less three copies, so if you find yourself in the position of not owning any, I suggest replacing them with something like a Pokégear 3.0, another N and maybe a Sage’s Training/another tech/Energy.

pokemon-paradijs.comOnce again, the strategy of this deck is a little different than that of most Truth decks. The idea was to use Reuniclus as a wide-use tech against the majority of the meta. I then used the rest of the tech space to counter the cards that are problematic for Reuniclus, a strategy that has shown to be very effective.

Since there’s so many different tech options that you can run, you have a lot of flexibility in terms of what match ups you want to make sure you win. Technically, The Truth can win just about any match up, but the key is balancing the need to win one match up with all of the others. Because of this, a strong, well-tested list, when built against a specific meta, is one of the strongest decks you can play.

Thanks to a high Terrakion count and Trainer lock, it can handle itself against Magnezone and is rather strong against Zekrom-EX-based decks. I’ve already talked about our plan against Cobalion and we’ve got our own Cobalion in here to handle decks like Mewtwo EX/Celebi. A standard TyRam build poses little threat (same goes for ExBoar), but watch out for things like a high Mewtwo EX count (a single copy isn’t a huge deal) or Magnezone Prime. These cards can stir things up a bit, so be sure to have your counters ready.

CoKE builds, because of Kyurem, can be trouble because of Solosis’ low HP and since this list doesn’t run Blissey Prime, it’ll be overwhelmed by damage eventually. This doesn’t hurt the decks playability too much because, fortunately, even though Kyurem is good against The Truth, it’s pretty weak against most of the EX field, so you should expect its popularity to drop significantly.

If you are up against CoKE/LaKE, your best bet is going to be to go for a quick Cobalion. If they’re using “Glaciate” they’ll need to have three Energy on Kyurem, so you only need two Energy for the 1HKO. As long as you know what to do, you’ve got plenty of options to win the match up.

Against decks like ZPST(M), as long as you can get Vileplume out in a reasonable amount of time, which can be done with Twins, you have little to worry about. In the mirror, you know to ditch Vileplume and go straight for Cobalion and Reuniclus. Shaymin EX is great here, too.


Mark A. HicksOkay guys, this is the end of my Underground article. Once again, I’d like to thank Adam for giving me the opportunity to write an article for UG. I’d also like to give a big thanks (I owe you guys big time!) to my team for helping me build and test these lists as well as giving me your blessing to share our findings. Between all of us, we must have played over 2000 games getting these lists in perfect, tip-top shape, so know that I really appreciate all of your help!

I had a blast writing this article, so I hope you guys all enjoyed it and have gained some useful knowledge about exactly how Next Destinies is going to change things.

Adam has informed me that this month, instead of doing a Writer of the Month Poll for Underground, he’s instead going to decide the winners based on the number of “Likes” an article receives. If you enjoyed this article and would like to read more from me, be sure to click Like!

My team and I tested just about every deck under the sun, so if you’d like to hear my thoughts about a deck/idea that I haven’t talked about in this article, feel free to ask as well as leave any other questions/comments.

Thanks for reading guys (and girls)!
Dakota Streck

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