Beyond the Hype: A Closer Look at Celebi Prime

Hey SixPrizes. I figured that since this is my first article on the site I should introduce myself. My name is Adam Bigott, but I also go by adamisclassy on most Pokémon forums. I’m twenty years old and I have been playing competitively for a little over a year now.

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Currently the number one card on my want list. Take that Mewtwo!

In my first full season I have seen a good amount of success including my first tournament victory during the Fall Battle Roads series. I mostly play in Arkansas and the surrounding area, but I also play a bit in my home state of Illinois. Be sure to look for me at the tables in those areas and say hi.

Recently, I started a YouTube channel. I mostly do battle videos, some of which are in alternate formats like 60 HP and under or goofy stuff like that. I also do analysis and openings as well. You can check me out here.

Most important of all, my favorite Pokémon is Caterpie. Now that you know a little bit about me, let’s get into the meat of this article.

Big Basics

Noble Victories brought a fresh breath of air to an otherwise stale metagame by completely overturning the top tier decks. Some of these new competitive decks, specifically CoKE/Electrode variants and Six Corners, created a new, broader archetype known as “Big Basics.”

Now, with that format in its 11th hour, Next Destinies stands to once again redefine the format by introducing a class of even bigger basic Pokémon: the EX cards. Not only that, but with the addition of even more cards that benefits only basic Pokémon, the “Big Basics” archetype is destined to, ironically, evolve.

Rather than setting up, the pitfall of these big basic decks has always been energy. CoKE and Six Corners answered this problem in very different ways.

While the use of Electrode Prime in CoKE could be a devastatingly effective means of energy attachment, Electrode often failed as well. By giving up both precious resources and a Prize card, the deck fell short of being tier 1.

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I take forever to walk across

Six Corners, rather than “blowing up” to attach large amounts of energy, revolved around Virizion’s double draw, the precise use of energy attachments, and energy manipulation provided by Shaymin UL’s Celebration Wind. However, giants like Magnezone Prime were able to Knock Out the big basics and left the energy depleted board in the late game, causing it to fall short of tier one as well.

This proposes the question: How can “Big Basics” keep energy on the field effectively? The answer, if you haven’t already guessed it, comes in the form of one of the most anticipated combinations to come out of Next Destinies: Celebi Prime and Skyarrow Bridge.

Celebi Prime’s Poké-Power Forest Breath allows you to attach an extra grass energy during your turn, so long as he is your active. By combining this with Skyarrow Bridge, the deck has an effective means of energy acceleration with very little setup.

Because of the amount of flexibility this deck has, it is most effectively played as an anti-meta deck. That being said, there isn’t really a definitive metagame at the local or national level at this point in time. I figure it would be best for me to give you a bare bones skeleton first.

The Skeleton

Pokémon – 11-13

3-4 Celebi Prime TR

2 Tornadus EPO

2 Mewtwo-EX NXD

4-5 “Other” Attackers

Trainers – 27-30

9-10 “Draw” Supporters

2-4 “Search” Cards

 

3 Pokémon Catcher

3 Junk Arm

2 Switch

2 Eviolite

2 Pokégear 3.0

1 Super Rod

1 PlusPower

 

2 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 15

7 G

4 Double Colorless

4 Prism

Open Slots – 2-7

I know this doesn’t look like a lot of space, but when you consider the fact that I’ve already accounted for the slots that “other attackers” take up, we actually have a lot of room to work with. So let’s go through our choices and options in a bit more detail.

Pokémon

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Blaine, you've created a monster...

Celebi: This green onion head is half of the engine that propels this deck. I’ve seen lists play as few as two. However, low counts of Celebi are vulnerable to unfortunate prizes and easy Pokémon Catcher KOs. This is especially concerning when you consider the fact that Forest Breath attachments are most critical the first three and last three or so turns of the game. I’d suggest at least playing three, but try testing with four. This gives you a better chance to attack turn 1.

Tornadus: The flying Genie works well in this deck for a lot of the same reasons he has been effective in the past. He works on any type of energy, he can abuse Double Colorless Energy, and most importantly Hurricane moves and conserves your energy. Equally important, Tornadus is only worth a single Prize card, which, given his damage output, makes him a very efficient attacker.

Mewtwo EX: Mewtwo is one of the hardest hitters in the game. For that reason a lot of people will ask: “Why are you only running two of it?” Because Mewtwo can run on any type of energy, is so easy to tech, and an opponents Mewtwo EX can easily return KO your own Mewtwo EX, it is not the safest card to place on your bench or open with. You will see lists maxing out Mewtwo, but the aforementioned reasons, as well as his huge price tag, make two-three a more reasonable count.

Other Pokémon

Virizion NVI: This Leaf Walloping monster would potentially replace Tornadus’ role in the deck. Both are worth a single Prize card, have 110 HP, a resistance (though Tornadus’ is more meta relevant), and cap off dealing 80 damage. Virizion can also boost consistency by using dual draw and is more likely to hit the 40 with a turn 1 Leaf Wallop than Tornadus is to hit the 80 with a turn 1 Hurricane. However Virizion does not move energy around like Tornadus. A combination of these two attackers could also be effective.

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Magnewho?

Terrakion NVI: The hulk counters two of the biggest metagame threats that Tornadus and Mewtwo can’tcover: Magnezone Prime and Zekrom-EX. Both of these can hit Tornadus for weakness and discard or Lost Zone energy to reduce the damage potential of Mewtwo’s X-Ball. For just a fighting and a C energy, Terrakion can 1-shot with Revenge Zekrom-EX with a plus power, not to mention Regigigas-EX.

Cobalion NVI: The third musketeer has seen some hype on the forums as being a good play in this deck. Iron Breaker can be an incredibly disruptive attack, especially against the Truth. Not only this, but Cobalion can hit Kyurem EX, a hyped attacker in Truth EX, for weakness and potentially 1-shot it with Energy Press. Cobalion alone can significantly improve this generally unfavorable matchup.

Regigigas-EX NDE: Regi has some of the best one-on-one matchups against its fellow EXs. He has a beastly amount of HP and after taking a big enough hit, Raging Hammer can potentially take out just about anything in the game. Not only this, but Giga Crush has the same potential to hit for 80 turn one as Tornadus. He sounds perfect, but don’t forget the 2 Prize card cost.

Shaymin EX NDE: This guy is a late game force. Revenge Burst can hit for a walloping 180 for just 2 energy. That’s almost unheard of. Granted your opponent needs to have taken 5 Prizes it to do that much damage. I really like this card as a 1-of. You already use G Energy so he takes up almost no space at all. However, starting games with him can be dangerous. It could be worth testing Seeker or Super Scoop Up in your build if you decide to run him.

Shaymin UL: Shaymin has a one of the best coming-into-play powers in the game. Being able to rearrange your energy can allow you to do things like move a large amount of energy onto a Mewtwo EX if and when it is safe to do so. It’s also great to conserve special energies, especially Prism Energy. I definitely recommend this guy if you are playing Cobalion and want to get off the Iron Breaker.

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Getting a second chance

Absol Prime: This one is pretty simple and straightforward. If you are expecting to play against a lot of Chandelure NVI, this guy is a solid answer. The two damage counters your opponent has to put down on any Pokémon they bench is also pretty handy. Probably not the best tech but at least worth mentioning. Just be sure you can Lost Zone a Pokémon every turn.

Victini 15 NVI: This card could have some serious potential if you are worried about Durant. Playing him would mean that you would have to run fire energy in order to be safe from lost remover. But, if you fill your bench and can keep sky arrow bridge in play, you should be able to take 6 Prizes fairly quickly.

Smeargle CL: I feel like I would get at least a few comments if I didn’t mention Smeargle. Portrait is a strong Poké-Power, but it can also force you to Juniper away a perfectly good hand. I’m not the biggest fan of this one, but he is worth trying out if you haven’t already.

The Trainers

“Draw Supporters”

I used the Umbrella term draw supporters just to account for space in the skeleton. Here are my opinions on various Supporters.

Professor Juniper: This is probably my favorite Supporter in this deck. A lot of the cards in your deck can be played down instantly so you’ll often find yourself with a low hand size. Because of this, you won’t be forced to discard huge portions of your late game resources in order to play it. Being the most aggressive Supporter in the game, it also helps with getting off the turn 1 attack.

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If N is this nasty, think how dirty a Ghetsis card would be.

Professor Oak’s New Theory: PONT is probably the safest Supporter in the game. It’s consistent and reliable with virtually no downside. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone call it a bad card. It’s certainly worth at least a few spots, but don’t let shuffle-draw be too much of a crutch. Sometimes thinning your deck is a good thing.

N: Probably the best example of a “dynamic Supporter.” This card nets the same number of Professor Oak’s New Theory in the early game but it can be deadly in the late game, limiting your opponent to just a single card. N also pairs really well with Shaymin EX and can help you turn entire games around.

Cheren: I consider this and Oak to be good examples of “static Supporters.” They stay the same. They rarely backfire, but they are not as likely to turn games around as dynamic Supporters are. It’s a decent card in here, but I’d probably skip it.

Sage’s Training: Some people will think this is a good idea because of how much play this card is seeing. I love Sage’s, but not in this deck.

“Search Cards”

There are two schools of thought on the issue.

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The joys of double heads; the sorrows of double tails.

Pokémon Collector: Hopefully you know what this card does. This is the safer play between the two. You do, however, give up your supporter for the turn. It is important to note that you don’t need the turn 1 collector in this deck and it is actually more useful as a midgame card to search out techs. Another benefit is that you only need a few Collector.

Dual Ball: The riskier of the two options. It helps hit the turn 1 attack more often, but it can also fall flat on its face. It also needs to be ran in higher counts than collector, but you can junk arm for it. It really all comes down to one question: Do you want to flip coins?

Rounding out the Deck

Here are just a few more cards to consider for those last few spots in the deck.

A 4th Catcher: Helps to slow down your opponents setup in the early game and let you take the easy prize in the late game.

A 4th Junk Arm: Let’s be honest – you always wish you had another Junk Arm in the late game.

A 3rd Pokégear: Makes for a more consistent deck overall.

A 3rd Eviolite: Makes your big basics even beefier.

A 3rd Switch: More consistent turn 1 attack. Switch also helps you get things like Terrakion out of the active and allow for double Forest Breaths.

A 3rd Skyarrow Bridge: Helps with the turn 1 attack. Skyarrow can also be Knocked Out by other stadiums. This way you have a better chance of getting Bridge back into play.

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I guess Call of Legends wasn't a total waste after all.

A 2nd Super Rod: I find myself not hitting this card in the late game when I need it. It also lets you play your Junipers more liberally knowing you have two of this in your deck and that energy and Pokémon can be recovered more easily.

A 2nd PlusPower: I end up wanting to Junk Arm for this a lot. It also makes the double PlusPower more feasible.

Lost Remover: This format is going to see a ton of special energy played. This card is just dirty.

Seeker/Super Scoop Up: Lets you pick up cards like Shaymin EX when you don’t want them on the field. It can also let you reuse things like Shaymin ULs Celebration Wind.

An 8th G Energy: The more grass energy you play the more energy you have to accelerate onto the field using Celebi.

Rocky Helmet: This card has proven to at least be interesting. 2 damage counters can help setup the KO on an EX.

Full Lists

This is the list that I have worked with quite a bit. It is built for an area with high amounts of Magnezone Prime and Zekrom-EX.

Pokémon – 12

4 Celebi Prime

3 Tornadus EPO

2 Mewtwo-EX NXD

2 Terrakion NVI

1 Shaymin EX

Trainers – 32

4 Professor Juniper

4 Professor Oak’s New Theory

2 N

2 Pokémon Collector

 

4 Junk Arm

3 Pokémon Catcher

3 Switch

2 Eviolite

2 Pokégear 3.0

1 PlusPower

1 Lost Remover

1 Super Rod

 

3 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 16

8 G

4 Double Colorless

4 F

This list is my current work in progress. Rather than trying to combat a specific metagame threat, this list uses a split of Virizion and Tornadus for a very strong and consistent early game, Mewtwo and Terrakion for the late game, and Shaymin EX for the late game.

Pokémon – 11

3 Celebi Prime

2 Virizion NVI

2 Tornadus EPO

2 Mewtwo-EX NXD

1 Terrakion NVI

1 Shaymin EX

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Juniper

4 Professor Oak’s New Theory

2 N

2 Pokémon Collector

 

4 Junk Arm

3 Pokémon Catcher

3 Switch

2 Pokégear 3.0

2 Eviolite

2 Super Rod

1 Lost Remover

1 PlusPower

 

3 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 16

9 G

4 Double Colorless

3 F

The Match Ups

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This article wouldn't be complete without a picture of me!

There are several reasons I’m not going into the match ups for this deck. The first is simply that the shape of the metagame is still not completely clear at this juncture. If you look on the forums you will see good players with opposite opinions on a given card or deck. While this is not new, it has been more prevalent since brainstorming for the new format began.

The second for me not giving match ups is that this deck is meant to be versatile. There are so many options for techs that almost any match up could become favorable or unfavorable depending on what you decide to put in here. The deck is really what you want it to be rather than So rather than guessing, I will hold off on giving any match ups for now, but you are free to speculate.

Closing Thoughts

I’ve already explained the reasoning for pretty much every card in my deck. The only other thing that I’d like to point out is that if you are only running Prism Energy for one Pokémon, switch to that type of energy to avoid Lost Remover.

Hopefully you’ve got a feel for what this deck is like. Be sure to go out and test it or at least test against it because it will see play come States.

Reader Interactions

42 replies

  1. Dave Enzo

    Nice article for sure.. i like what you did with the match ups there ive been seeing so much arguing over articles in the comments lately its kinda funny.. but anyhow i am a fan of celebi prime i dont believe im going to play it myself but its nice to see some builds on it considering at least a few people will be rocking it for states and ive yet to see a build with terrakion so that was nice to see

    awesome first article man

    and oh yea i got first again

  2. José Yago De Alberto

    I dont think you could consider to run lost remover in a Mewtwo deck, otherwise good article. +1

    • Adam Bigott  → José

      While I agree that Mewtwo EX and Lost Remover don’t mix, you have to remember that you are using your other attackers more than and at different times than Mewtwo. Mewtwo EX is primarily a mid-late game attacker. A lost remover in the early game can really slow down your opponent from taking that first prize and lets you extend your early game attackers longevity. For example, if your opponent uses Zekrom EXs Strong Volt and discards your two lightning, you can Lost Remove the DCE and force them to either waste a switch or leave an EX active with no energy. The lost remover in the late game can also do dirty nasty things in combination with N and Shaymin EX.

      • José Yago De Alberto  → Adam

        I would better X ball it and take two prizes instead but that option is also viable.

  3. jimmy chen

    Ive been playtesting this deck for roughly 2-3 weeks including real life and on playtcg, it had its moments but ultimately, you can do better. my list had mewtwo/celebi/smeargle/regigigas and the plan was to start celebi bench regigigas and retreat and start to giga hammer as a tank, but it was too costly. super scoop up works very well in this deck abeit flippy for my taste and at times i thought of using seeker. in conclusion its a great deck but i almost always lost to zek/eel/mewtwo. im currently trying out zpst w/ mewtwo and zekrom EX

    • Adam Bigott  → jimmy

      I feel like adding either Tornadus or Virizion to your deck would have helped you a lot. If you are using straight EX attackers the prize exchange inevitably go sour against decks that can one-shot you. Playing conservative and calculated EX drops is the way this deck wins games.

  4. x

    MewtwoCelebi will no doubt see a lot of attempted play and it does cause problems for all meta decks. Especially when it gets a fast start. However, the big problem is that its very easy deck to tech against and most players will quickly learn how to play around it. Celebi does have a nice power, buts its just not as good or versatile as Electrik is.

      • x  → Adam

        Lost Remover and of course Mewtwo himself. Ironically he’ll also struggle against Durant of all decks.

        • Adam Bigott  → x

          Yeah Durant is a bad matchup for this deck. V-create victini is the best answer I have come up with so far and even that has problems.

        • Chase Nieman  → Franco

          How often does Durant actually have both? Certainly not enough. So you have to two shot a few of them. Not that big of a deal.

        • Franco L III  → Chase

          with all the draw power and with twins it is very possible… I play durant so I have experience. plus that is 10 cards from your deck if you 2 shot durant. also, durant has lost remover AND durant expects to lose a prize every turn… so 5×5= most likely 25 cards milled. even more if you 2 shot it.

        • Chase Nieman  → Franco

          Ok guys, you’re right. Durant always has 4 Durants all with Eviolite and Sp. Metal.
          Theorymonatit’sfinest.

        • Franco L III  → Chase

          but still, have you even tried the matchup? I have. dunno about you. :/

        • Chase Nieman  → Franco

          I’ve been testing this deck a lot in preparation for provincials. Have you played against a competent player who was playing this deck?

        • Chase Nieman  → Franco

          Of course otherwise I wouldn’t ask you. I suggest you test more and upgrade the list you are testing and/or the player running it because I’m something like 13-3 against good players with good Durant lists.

        • Anonymous  → Chase

          I’m not going to get into too much of a shouting match.

          That being said, go read almost any forum (‘Gym, here, HT, Beach, etc.). Almost universally, people say that Durant is a REALLY bad match up for CMT. Mewtwo EX doesn’t do enough in the match up. Virizon takes THREE turns to get to the point where it can swing for enough damage to OHKO a Durant. That would be a Durant without a SP Metal or Eviolite. That is way too much time. If they have either, it will be a 2HKO which will kill you against Durant.

          Tornadus is a more solid option, but with Lost Remover and Crushing Hammers coming almost every turn from Durant, getting three energy onto Tornadus can be really rough. Also, once the first Eviolite hits play, Tornadus starts cranking out 2HKOs in stead of OHKOs.

          People used the same “my personal testing” and “they will never get three Eviolites into play” arguments as to why Kyurem did not struggle against Durant. Guess what, Kyurem gets owned by Durant.

          Aside from that, nothing, I REPEAT NOTHING, has a consistent 13-3 ratio against any other deck in this format. Period. Not even tyRam (one of the best decks against Durant) can boast a win percentage that good against the ants. So, to say “I’m 13-3,” thus I prove CMT is better, is a little bit off. 13-3 records only happen with a crap ton of luck right now.

          Now, when I say that Durant is a bad match up for CMT, I am talking Durant wins 6 or 7 out of 10 against the deck. That is a relatively small margin, but in this meta it is a huge advantage.

          I’m really sorry, but CMT is not favorable against a good Durant player/list. It’s just not. You may be able to get close to 50/50, but not over.

        • theo Seeds  → Anonymous

          @Everyone: Don’t you wish that Heatmor had come out? :P

          But seriously, instead of moaning about the bad Durant matchup, try to come up with a counter. Since you should be running Prism, try Moltres ND. for a Prism and a DCE it KOs a Durant 6 Straight turns.

          Problem solved.

        • Grant  → theo

          dont run prism… just more lost remover bait and cant be recycled with the Super Rod. Basic energy (other then DCE) is the play in here

        • Ron Routhier  → Chase

          I actually use Gigas in the Durant Matchup. Giga Crush for 80 damage 3 turns, and then you’re doing 110 damage with Raging Hammer and OHKO Durant every turn after that. I like Gigas over Tornadus in this deck.

        • Anonymous  → Chase

          Durant actually gets both pretty easily. Also, OHKOs versus 2HKOs is actually a huge difference in the Durant game.

        • Martin Garcia  → Anonymous

          But there is no need to attack the active durant, either. Im fairly sure that they cant have 4 eviolites AND four sp metals on their durants, so catchering a defenselss durant still works.

  5. Anonymous

    Very well written article.

    Loved the analysis of the cards.

    I’m not sold on either list, but I will go test them out.

    Overall, I just honestly do not feel this deck is that good. In my testing it loses to Magnezone/Eel/EX, Durant, and tyRam EX pretty hard. That is a rough trio to lose to…

  6. Chase Nieman

    Good article overall, I especially liked your picture captions. Anyone who is writing this deck off already will be greatly surprised.

    +1

  7. Malcolm

    In Your Full List – You run 5x Switch?? or is one of the switches meant to be Super Rod.

  8. Ross Gilbert

    Loved the article man, definite +1 from me!

    I liked the structure, the fact that you gave skeletons and then the list of tech-ing options you provided which was incredibly comprehensive (and representative of my own struggles to narrow down a list to just 60 cards!!)

    The only thing i will point out is that you dismissed smeargle because “Portrait is a strong Poke-Power, but it can also force you to Juniper away a perfectly good hand” but then when you got to Juniper as a draw card in the deck you said “This is probably my favorite Supporter in this deck”.

    Maybe i’m a pedant, maybe i’m too big a fan of Smeargle. Either way, i wouldn’t listen to me much! Good article :D

    • Joe Lewis  → Ross

      here’s my reasoning why I agree with that logic. With smeargle, you are blindly hoping they don’t have a juniper. When you have a juniper, you don’t have to use it if you have a good hand. You are able to use your junipers whenever you want, so it is less risky.

  9. Joe Lewis

    +1 I really liked the 6 corners list. I was thinking of one with Celebi, and now I have something to work off of! Awesome article, keep it up.

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