Jay’s Gym: Darkness on the Edge of States

pokegym.netWe’re still a few weeks away from the beginning of State Championships and Next Destinies has been on the street since early February. We know exactly what card pool we’re working with going to go into States with and everybody is throwing deck ideas around. As I’m typing this, school has been really stressing me out lately, so I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to get my hands on these new cards and get to some serious testing.

I don’t want to go too far out on limb here, but I’m expecting to see one of the most open metagames we have seen at the States level in a few years. In my last article I touched on some deck and ideas I was hoping to test, but sadly I was off in some of my predictions on what cards would be in Next Destinies. So I’ve had to rebuild, refocus, and retool different decks and ideas which I’ll talk about later in this article.

Starting out, I just wanted to give a quick rundown on some of my “highlights” and “lowlights” of Next Destinies (NDE). When I look the spoilers, I usually decide on what I want to preorder from the set. Or, if I feel the set is going to dramatically make an already existing card/s better, if I should try to buy/trade for them. This is a lot like playing the stock market; over time I’ve had some big wins and some big losses, but I’ve covered this far more in-depth in previous articles so I’ll digress.

Anyway, in this case I’m casting a very narrow net, and really only looking for good deals and great buys (hence why I didn’t purchase $65 Mewtwo EXs). When I’m reviewing a set however, I cast a much wider net while trying to stay realistic at the same time. This really just comes from a lot of experience and something nobody is perfect at. I’ve certainly underestimated really good cards in the past (Chandelure NVI) and wasted plenty of time testing subpar decks (Lostgar).

When it comes to doing this for articles I try and talk about everything that I think has potential, but at the same time being realistic to the readers. If something has potential I’m going to say it, but I won’t overhype or oversell you on the card either. I know most of the other writers have given their views on the set, but we all have some different ideas on what think is going to make an impact.

Next Destinies Set Review

Amoonguss NDE: My first thoughts went right to using it with Leafeon UD, but I quickly realized how Roserade UL was just overall better. Having the option to reuse Roserade’s Ability every turn, combined with its superior, somewhat solid late game attack means that Amoonguss will be lucky to find a spot in your binder rather than a shoebox. It’s actually kind of cool though to see what started out as Pooka’s “bad deck” has almost made it to the competitive level.

The deck has potential (1 Colorless for 100-150 damage) and it really just needs something small to push it into the mainstream, but it certainly wasn’t this set. I don’t ever believe that it’s going to be Tier 1 nor am I trying to tout it as such, but it would be nice for it to occasionally pop up on the tournament scene.

Chandelure NDE 20: This card really brings a lot to the already popular deck and I expect most variations to go with a 3-1 split (3 Psychic, 1 Fire). What the new Chandelure does is essentially spread 90 damage on the board for a single R Energy, and in combination with the Ability of the Psychic Chandelure, it makes setting up KOs relatively easy. It brings a new type to the deck (Fire), which slightly improves your very poor Durant match up.

It also helps you type match as well as cover your weaknesses (though Darkness is hardly popular). Lastly it provides you with a heavy hitter 80 damage (with a coin flip for 100) for 2 energy is really good especially in conjunction with the Psychic one to take down big threats.

Even with all the benefits this Chandelure brings to the table, it also brings some downsides. The biggest one is Rainbow Energy; you just simply can’t get around not playing 3-4 Rainbows in the deck. The damage cap has certainly been raised and while 120 damage is no longer the only “danger zone,” it is still there. While this really doesn’t negatively affect the Fire Chandelure it does drop the Psychic one right back into that danger range.

Looking at Litwick NDE and Lampent NDE, they are all around subpar to the Promo Litwick and Lampent NVI. I’ll share my list and talk about the deck more in depth a little later in the article.

Gardevoir NDE: The Next Destinies Gardevoir might not be same format dominating Gardevoir we had back in Secret Wonders, but I am excited about the numerous possibilities this Gardevoir brings to the table, both now and in the future. Energy acceleration as always been a winning strategy and it just comes down to what to pair it with.

The two biggest partners right now are Gardevoir/Mewtwo EX and Gardevoir/Gothitelle. Later in the article, I’ll talk about a hybrid version of both decks that I’m testing.

Musharna NDE: When my brother and I were talking about the new set, he made the comment “What makes Musharna so good?” We already have Noctowl HS which has a better attack and Retreat Cost and that card see next to no play.” This really made me question whether Musharna is that good, or do I like it because it’s new?

The answer: the difference between 1 card and 2 is simply huge, and in many situations making sure you’re not sticking another dead card in your hand especially big if your trying to setup a good Tropical Beach draw.

The horrible Retreat Cost mean that it’s going to be little more than Pokémon Catcher bait in any deck that doesn’t run Vileplume. This card is by no means a replacement for Tropical Beach, but the draw power this card provides makes it possible to play Vileplume based decks without it.

… then I realized I completely read this card wrong and I thought it had a Uxie LV.XTrade Off” or “Pokédex” ability where one card went into the hand and the other went on the bottom of the deck. I decided to leave the original review just to show how big of a difference there is between the 2nd card going on top and going to the bottom. The card went from an 8/10 in my book to a 5/10 or 6/10.

Just because I’m putting the worse of the 2 cards back on top of my deck doesn’t make the card useless, however, because each turn you are getting to look at 2 new cards. Then depending on your hand you can play a Supporter that let’s you shuffle (like N or Collector) to rearrange my deck to get rid of the “bad” card.

Lucario NDE: Better HP, Ability, and higher damaging attack than it near identical Diamond and Pearl counter-part, Lucario DP (which was in the spotlight for a good 6 months back in 2007/2008)… but it will probably never see competitive play nowadays. I mention it only to show an example of the ominous power creep.

Shiftry NDE: Really cool Ability, but that’s not enough to make up for its bad weakness, low HP, and horrible attack. Shiftry falls perfectly into my category of “I wish a better card had this Ability.”

Cinccino NDE: Even when this card gets swinging, 100 damage a turn just isn’t as impressive as it used to be. To go along with this, despite its great Ability, 90 HP is just too vulnerable and 3 Colorless for 100 is just too low to have this card see any serious play. I would have loved to see this Ability on something a bit more durable like Regigigas-EX.

Cilan: It does a great job doing what it’s supposed to do and is certainly a step up from Interviewer’s Question. The fact that only Emboar BLW 20, Feraligatr Prime, and possibly Celebi Prime based decks can advantage of it means it won’t see a lot of play though.

Skyarrow Bridge: The only real serious combo I see with this card now is Celebi Prime, but it’s definitely a card to keep an eye on as we get new sets, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see other possibilities and combos present themselves in the future. The idea of running 4 Smeargle UD and then 2-3 Bridge to set up early game is going around, but I find this to be just to inconsistent.

Even if your opponent opens with Pokémon Collector, if they go first you won’t have a chance to use it with Portrait. Along with so many other “discard your hand” or “shuffle and draw” Supporters, Smeargle can easily present problems as well as it can solve them.

Prism Energy: Another card that falls into that category of “it’s good at what it does.” Decks that rely heavily on Basics might just find their energy line-up a little less strained. I’ve heard a lot of people asking what makes Prism so good when we already have Rainbow Energy. If 10 damage didn’t mean anything, then nobody would ever play PlusPower. I would definitely expect to see this card at States in decks that can incorporate it like Durant and The Truth.

Heavy Ball/Level Ball: I know a lot of the writers really didn’t like these 2 cards, but I am going to disagree. I don’t see them as cards to replace Pokémon Communication, rather I think of them as additions or added search.

The second thing to keep in mind is that they are very deck specific since both of them will most likely only be able to search out a handful of the Pokémon in your deck and should only be played alongside a full set of Communication. The counts are always going to depend on space and the deck, but I expect to see these pop up in the 0-2 range per deck.

Shaymin EX: I think this card has a lot of potential. For just 2 energy (a Grass and a Colorless), late game you can be hitting for some serious damage. I expect to see this card finish games and steal wins come States. I want to stress though not to build your deck around Shaymin EX, but rather include the card if your deck can support it.

What I mean by this is your deck should already have easy energy acceleration (Celebi Prime) and already (or easily able to) include Grass, Rainbow, or Prism Energy. Leaving this guy on the bench for even a turn is going to be nothing more than 2 easy prizes for your opponent.

Reshiram-EX: I’ve heard a lot of comments about how this is exactly what Typhlosion/Reshiram needed, but to be honest I’m not sure it’s enough to bring the deck back to Tier 1 status. The difference between needing 3 Energy and 4 Energy to do big damage takes most likely an entire turn to accomplish with the deck.

Double Colorless Energy helps this problem, but it doesn’t fully solve it since you still need a DCE in hand. You also become vulnerable to Lost Remover, which could present varying levels of problems based on the game state.

The other problem is that 150 damage just isn’t as impressive as it used to be and the deck doesn’t always have room to run the necessary 3-4 PlusPower required. I also find that Afterburner damage and the “flip for self damage” can really change knock outs and makes a normally vary sturdy 180 HP rather fragile.

The other idea I’m throwing around is that Emboar might be another viable way to play this card. At least that way I can power it up in one turn and have access to RDL as a finisher (possibly stealing 3 Prizes!). This certainly isn’t a deck I’m going to hype or to be honest probably test much, but I like the idea enough to mention it.

Zekrom-EX: I’m running into the same issues with this card and Eelektrik as I am with Reshiram-EX and Typhlosion Prime. The difference between 3 Energy and 4 Energy to do a main attack is huge and begs to be played along side DCE. Losing 2 Energy every time I want to do big damage (which can be paid in full with a DCE) is a huge weakness especially if this is an attack I’m going to rely on over the course of the game.

Mainly what I found in testing is Zekrom-EX is a great addition to certain decks, but you can’t rely on him as your sole main attacker in most cases.

Kyurem EX: It’s attack costs vs. damage output ratio is simply too far apart for this card to be good. Kettler talked about using this card in a Ross style build (which even he was shaky on its usefulness). Outside of that though I would go ahead and stick it in the trade binder.

Mewtwo EX: To put it simply, it’s overhyped, but not completely undeserving of its hype either. The 2 energy (CC) first attack makes the card extremely splashable and its ability to put quick damage on the board makes it a very playable card. I might actually consider him “broken” or a “problem” if it wasn’t for the fact that it perfectly counters itself. If my opponent has 3 energy on Mewtwo EX, all I need is a Mewtwo EX and a DCE to score the 1HKO – even Evolite won’t be enough to save their Mewtwo EX.

Leaving only 2 energy on your Mewtwo EX doesn’t really solve this problem either. In this scenario, you’re maxing out at only 40 damage a turn (plus what energy your opponent has) and your opponent is still only a PlusPower shy of scoring a retaliatory 1HKO with their Mewtwo EX.

A lot of people on the forums have been asking how to approach this “Mewtwo EX vs. Mewtwo EX” war and come out on the winning side. There are a few tricks to keep in mind, but there is no straightforward answer. The first thing to do is do try and determine if your opponent is playing DCE or some form of energy acceleration to power Mewtwo EX up in one turn, which is basically all of the decks in the format.

pokegym.netEven decks that normally don’t run DCE can tech it in along with Mewtwo EX, especially for these Mewtwo EX vs. Mewtwo EX situations. I know the above isn’t exactly a lot of help, but I’m trying to realistic here. The next thing to do is judge the game state. If your opponent has only 2 Prizes left, then pushing up Mewtwo EX might be a bad play.

If it’s earlier in the game, always expect they have the Mewtwo EX to counter yours, and always have a contingency plan. In certain situations you can even bait your opponent using this strategy, perhaps letting them get the KO on your Mewtwo EX before dropping N to control the game.

I know all of this isn’t a definite answer, but to be honest it’s a really tough situation. The take away points are basically you’re never “safe” to drop Mewtwo EX. Just do your best to read the game state and drop it when you feel it’s the “safest.” On top of everything else, always assume they have the return KO and have a plan in case they do.

“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst” is the attitude to have in these situations. Being able to make good reads is important, but you also need to keep in mind making the right decision doesn’t always mean you win either. Sometimes you really just have to weigh the pros and cons and hope for the best.

Regigigas-EX: I’ll be the first to admit I got caught up in its high HP and hard hitting second attack, and overhyped this card when I first saw the set lists. Fighting is just such a bad weakness to have right now, especially for something you have to put effort into to get set up. Take away the weakness and this card might have seen a good amount of play.

Secrets/Full Arts/Alternative Arts: I’ve talked about it in previous articles, but I absolutely love how they are doing Secrets, Full Arts, and Alternative Arts. The pictures look tremendously better for the players that really want to “pimp” out their decks and provide amazing trade bait for those that don’t care. While the regular versions stop the prices from getting out of hand, it really is a win-win all around and smart move by the company.

Buying Cards

family.go.comNext Destinies was released on February 8th, just a little under a month before State Championships begin on March 10th. This 1 month gap honestly does not give players a ton of time to track down the cards they need for their decks, especially if it’s more than 1 or 2 cards. In my opinion this is the best overall set we’ve have had in a long time, and it will be hugely influential on States, which also means the cards will have a nice price tag attached to them, at least for a little while.

Normally when a new set is released I can get just about everything I want from it for just around $40 or so. I’ll probably end up spending a quite a bit more money on this set, mainly because I’ll likely have to break down and buy Mewtwo EXs. But at the same time I’m not just spending money without thinking, and I always try to get the best deals possible.

Just a little bit of time can save you a whole lot of money in the end. I simply don’t understand why people overpay for their cards; it has to be a combination of not caring and not knowing what to do.


Troll and Toad really seems to be wising up when it comes to preorders and the absolute steals I’ve gotten in the past just don’t seem to be there anymore. I’ll always still watch them because you can get some good deals. Just be careful not to fall into the initial hype. When a set is officially released, 95% of cards are going to go down in price. I’ve said it before but I really want to reiterate it: the absolute worse time to buy cards is after prereleases begin and before the set officially hits the streets.

At this time, there is a very small supply in circulation and a very high demand. I saw Mewtwo EX going for $80+ on eBay directly after the prerelease, but in the last few days I’ve caught a few BINs on eBay for under $50. It’s such a competitive market and a lot of people are trying to undercut each other. The choice you need to make is deciding how long you can wait to buy the card you need, but still leave adequate time for them to be mailed to you in time for States. I’ve had a few instances where I was waiting by my mailbox the day before the tournament, and it’s not fun.

In the past I usually have bought most of my singles from Troll and Toad or Professor Oak, but good deals on these sites are getting harder and harder to come by. This time around I’ve actually found the best deals on eBay and actually few complete steals.

Don’t Buy Packs

I almost never buy packs; it simply not worth it. A box of NDE goes for $90-ish on eBay. The average haul for the boxes appears to be 2 EXs and 1-2 FA with the possibility of a secret (averaging 1 in 2 boxes). Unless I pull Mewtwo EX, I’m probably not going to come out ahead in terms of value on that box.

There are other possible outcomes where I could possibly break even on the box, but just because I break even (or even if I actually come out head) it doesn’t mean I’m going to get what I want/need from the set. This often puts me in the situation where I just spent all this money on a box and then I have to spend more money to get what I actually need.

Note to Parents: I know many younger kids love to open packs and often spend their allowance on packs. When I was growing up I bought a pack a week because I loved opening them. If you have a child like this I would suggest saving up and buying a box instead. In my area packs retail right around $4, but if you buy a sealed box the packs come to only about $2.50 a piece, which is huge savings.


The actual best place to buy cards is from independent people/dealers. I have friends that do buy boxes or even cases. Often they’re looking to sell stuff to make back some of the money they shelled out. It works out really well for everybody because you get the card below market value, while they don’t have to pay an arm and a leg on eBay and PayPal fees.

This is all about connections and the area you live in/player base. This might not be a viable option for everybody, but if it’s an option available to you, take advantage of it. On a side note, most gaming stores have policies where you can’t buy/sell on their property, so make sure to abide by these rules. Saving a few dollars isn’t worth getting a bad reputation at your store.


For me eBay is back on top as the best place to buy cards. Sellers always have to be competitive with each other and PayPal makes it safe for the buyer. I’ve only had a few issues with sellers in the past and PayPal has always sided with me; the burden of proof always seems to be on the seller.

Right after a set is released I try and give it a few weeks for the market to “play itself out.” All of sudden a supply is released into a huge demand and there is still quite a bit of fighting over the hot new stuff. After a few weeks though the market starts to stabilize and many of the people with more cash than common sense already have the cards they need, so I’m not bidding against these people.

As I’m writing this, it’s now February 20th and I’m only just starting to buy the cards I need. The market has started to stabilize, but I still have a few weeks before States so I’m not agonizing by my mailbox, waiting for the cards to arrive either.

Note: The people who have the money and are determined to have the cards they want now are your worst nightmare because you’re either not going to win the auctions, or end up paying way to much. It’s hard sometimes, but being patient and waiting a few weeks in many cases will save you a lot of money.

Always check the lowest BIN (buy it now) prices first. Just the last night, I saw 2 Mewtwo EX sell for $65 when there was a BIN for $49.99. Two people just wasted $15 because they didn’t take 30 seconds to check the BIN prices. I actually picked one up on eBay the other day for $46 and all it took me was about an hour of effort (and when I say effort, I mean having eBay open on a second screen to snipe the auction while I was doing my homework). Not a bad trade off for saving $20.

Going along with this, don’t get caught up in the bidding war. If any of you have ever seen the show Storage Wars or the million spin-offs, you know what I’m talking about. Even experienced buyers will really get into it and catch the “I must win this item” mentality when bidding, and after they won it realize they way overpaid for the item. It’s the exact same way with eBay; before you start bidding you need to have a hard number in your head and tell yourself “I will not pay more than X amount.”

If the card goes over that price then let it go, especially because for a new set there will be another auction in a couple of hours. If you’re consistently losing the auctions, than perhaps you need to re-evaluate how much you’re willing to pay. Looking at the completed listings will give you a good idea what you should expect to pay for a given card.

Also always wait until the last possible moment to place your final bid. I try and get it in with about 10 seconds or less left. I know this isn’t always possible with a busy schedule, but it is ideal. Like I discussed earlier, people get caught up in “bidding wars.” If I place my maximum bid early then a competing bidder might sit there and run up their bids a dollar or so at a time, and in many cases they’ll bid higher than they normally would.

My Opinion on the Format

When talking about decks in the format, I’m going to avoid ranking them in tiers. I feel at times tiers can be misleading since the concept implies that a tier 2 deck should never or rarely beat a tier 1 deck. This isn’t always case since this doesn’t take into account things such as matchups and other factors.

Instead I’m going to rank the decks by “playability” and by this I mean how I think the deck overall stacks up in the current meta, taking into account things such as the decks own strengths and weakness, along with how I feel it will compete against other popular decks.

Zekrom BLW/Eelektrik NVI/Tornadus EPO

pokemon-paradijs.comI expect this deck to still see a good amount of play and quite possibly be the most played deck in the format. The deck had great showings at quite a few Cities and it gained a lot from the new set. Zekrom-EX and possibly Regigigas-EX and Mewtwo EX will find their way into this deck, and with the newly added EXs the deck took its worse matchup (Item lock) and turned it fairly even. I also like how easily you can tech the deck to help counter any given meta.

Pros: Easily techable, energy acceleration, weakness coverage, 1HKO ability
Cons: Vulnerable to N, moderately slow
Playability: High

Typhlosion Prime/Reshiram BLW

This deck is a perfect example of “adapt or die” – the versions that were floating around during Cities simply are not going to cut it anymore and the deck really needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. Reshiram-EX is obviously going to be included in new variations, but the 3 vs. 4 energies needed to attack, which I talked about earlier, is going to be an obstacle. The deck also in some cases simply does not have room to run the 3-4 PlusPower necessary to ensure continuous 1HKOs.

Reshiram-EX requires DCE to work, which makes the energy lines a bit more interesting, especially if you run a secondary attacker like Magnezone Prime. New versions that are focused around Reshiram-EX (without Zone) are probably going to go back to the old days of either playing no Ninetales HS or a 1-1/2-2 line for draw power.

Pros: Energy acceleration, Ninetales/Zone versions are less vulnerable to N
Cons: Lists can be tight, no weakness coverage, moderately slow, damage cap is low
Playability: Moderate to High

Magnezone Prime/Eelektrik

I’m going to be straight up and admit I’m biased about this deck as it was my favorite deck coming out of Cities. I actually think the added EXs make this deck stronger since over the course of the game you’re actually Lost Zoning less energy than you were before. Removing 4 energy for 2 Prizes averages out to 2 energy per prize vs. the 2-3 you normally were doing during Cities.

The deck is still moderately slow though, so getting 4 energy on the board takes a few turns. This proves to be problematic against decks that put a lot of early pressure on you, like Mewtwo EX/Tornadus EPO/Celebi Prime. The other major obstacle I see for the deck is that 140 HP really isn’t as “safe” as it was during Cities. Decks like Zekrom/Eel couldn’t 1HKO Magnezone Prime without PlusPower, but now EXs offer them easy outs.

pokemon-paradijs.comI’ve seen lists really grow and adapt with Next Destinies though. A lot of them are putting more emphasis on Zekrom-EX and Double Colorless Energy, and playing smaller Magnezone Prime lines and fewer L Energy. I’ve always played the deck with a huge emphasis on Magnezone Prime, so this is a harder concept for me to grasp, but so far I’m not hating the results I’m getting with the smaller line.

Pros: Energy acceleration, takes advantage of N, built in draw
Cons: List can be tight, no weakness coverage, moderately slow
Playability: High


I’ll cover my list a little bit later in the article, but I didn’t really add any cards from Next Destinies to it outside of Prism Energy. The only Trainer in the set that might makes it way into the deck is Level Ball, but I still think the 4 Pokémon Collector and 4 Pokégear 3.0 version is the strongest and most consistent way to run the deck. Of course you can play those along with 2-4 Level Ball, but in that case you’re either giving up draw Supporters or valuable tech spots, neither of which I find worth the trade off.

The biggest thing about Next Destinies in regard to Durant is nothing really came out that’s going to hurt the deck. In fact, if our meta does start shifting more toward Mewtwo EX and Special Energy heavy decks, we might even see a huge increase in the number of Durant decks being played.

The big thing I will say is the deck is not as auto pilot as a lot of people think. This is not a deck you can pick up the morning of and do well with without a great deal of luck. So make sure to really test your matchups, including the surprisingly very skill-intensive mirror.

Pros: Lots of room for techs, takes advantage of N, puts the opponent on a clock, very fast
Cons: Weakness to Fire, really no good back up plan other than to mill, bad in time
Playability: High


youtube.comI was really surprised at the hate Fulop gave this deck, especially since I feel like it’s his “type of deck.” I certainly don’t agree with the bad Durant matchup; Item lock is just so strong against Durant and you only need 2 Psychics and Gardevoir to start hitting the almost auto 1HKOs.

I won’t say this is a “top deck” in the format, but it’s a deck I wouldn’t underestimate either since it has a lot going for it. Trainers are just so popular right now, taking up 1/4 to 1/3 if not more of most of the decks in the formats. Item lock in general is really strong, but one-sided Trainer Lock is amazing; if only Gotheitelle wasn’t so fragile the deck might have been a real contender come States.

Pros: 1-sided Item lock, Gardevoir offers semi-energy acceleration
Cons: Bad weakness, slow, low HP for investment, not a ton of tech room
Playability: Moderate

Six Corners

I really think that this deck has out-lived its usefulness in our current meta. The once “big Basics” are no longer out of that 1HKO range and their damage output is simply too low, not to mention the lack of energy acceleration. The idea behind the deck is still alive and well though, of running multiple types in an attempt to type match your opponent.

I would expect to see a great deal of Terrakion NVI and Mewtwo EX teched into a wide array of decks in an attempt to get that edge on hard matchups.

Pros: Can type match, some tech room
Cons: No energy acceleration, low damage and HP compared to attack costs
Playability: Low

Magnezone Prime/Typhlosion Prime

pokemon-paradijs.comI was really surprised Kettler had this ranked 2nd on his list of the top decks. I agree with Fulop that Eelektrik is better than Typhlosion in nearly every way. But after I started to realize how much hype Durant was getting, I went back to this deck again and started wondering to myself is the amount of speed the deck gives up worth the near auto-win it has against one of the more hyped decks for States?

The biggest issue I’ve had is coming with a list that didn’t feel like I was leaving something out. All of the lists I have so far keep coming out to 62-63 cards and I’m always making cuts that I really don’t want to.

Pros: Good Durant matchup, Typhlosion provides a solid secondary attacker
Cons: No room, slow, Afterburner damage, two Stage 2s
Playability: Moderate

Celebi Prime/Mewtwo EX/Tornadus

This deck has only been testing with very average results from me, but with the European Cup wrapping up as I’m writing this, it appears the deck ended up winning the event. I’m going to be careful talking about this deck until I really get some concrete information about it.


At Cities I loved how well the deck played; it was fast, consistent and had solid matchups across the board. Now with Next Destinies in play and States on the horizion it has a few more challenges. Namely, the fact that 130 HP simply is not the safe zone it used to be, but Item lock is still a major factor so I’m not ready to write the deck off just yet. In our testing it has a strong matchup against Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus (CMT), breaks even with Magnezone, and then struggles with both Durant and Zekrom/Eels.

Pros: Consistent, Item lock, abuse “N” to a degree
Cons: Slow, low HP
Playability: Moderate

The Decklists

Whenever we get a new set the meta shifts and changes; sometimes this is very subtle shift, while other times it can be very dramatic. How the new set is going to effect the meta is a very important aspect of deck building, regardless if you’re building a new deck from scratch or simply looking to update an already existing deck.

Chandelure is a great example of this since Next Destinies brought us a new Chandelure that we want to try and incorporate in to an already existing deck. So here is my updated Chandelure list completely with the new NDE Chandelure and some other changes based on how I expect the format to shift.

Pokémon – 26

4 Litwick BW27
4 Lampent NVI
3 Chandelure NVI
1 Chandelure NXD 20
3 Oddish UD
1 Gloom UD
2 Vileplume UD
2 Doduo UD
2 Dodrio UD
2 Bouffalant BLW 91
1 Pichu HS
1 Cleffa HS

Trainers – 26

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Twins
4 N
3 Cheren


4 Pokémon Communication

3 Rare Candy
1 Professor Elm’s Training Method


3 Tropical Beach

Energy – 8

4 Rainbow
3 Double Colorless
1 Rescue

pokemon-paradijs.comChandelure and I have had a love hate relationship this season. What I mean by that is I love to play the deck, but it seems to hate letting me do well with it. My list is still very similar to the list I played during City Championships, but I have tweaked and teched it with the States meta in mind.

The first change I made to the deck was bumping up my Chandelure line to a full 4-4-3-1 with the inclusion of the new Fire-type Chandelure. As I talked about earlier in the article, the new Chandelure is simply too good not to play so my original 4-3-3 line was not going to cut it. To make room for this originally I was going to cut the Bouffalant and go with a more “standard” Pokémon lineup, but I feel now more than ever the deck needs an easy alternative way to put mass damage on the board.

What I dropped instead was the 1-1 Blissey Prime. My thinking behind this is during Cities most decks (with the exception of Magnezone) could not 1-shot Chandelure and instead had to settle for the 2-shot. In these scenarios you could realistically set it up where Blissey would be healing 2 damaged Chandelure and you would remove a whole turn of attacking your opponent did sometimes on multiple Chandelures.

Now, 130 HP simply is not the same safe zone it used to be. A lot more decks are going to have the ability to 1HKO a Chandelure. Granted, Blissey did have moderate uses against spread (I still found the matchup to be ridiculously unfavorable regardless of Blissey), but I expect Kyurem NVI to have similar issues in this new format and in turn see a decrease in play.

This is of course is all very meta based depending on what you’re expecting to see, so running some sort of healing might be a necessity depending on what’s popular in your area.. Blissey is still the most popular healing option, but there are some other ones as well. Something that I saw catching on toward the end of Cities was instead of the 1-1 Blissey I saw people running an extra Gloom and a Bellossom UD.

pokemon-paradijs.comFirst it lets you easily remove Rainbow Energy damage, and to go along with this it lets you remove damage in general without losing the energy because of Blissey’s discard, which is huge. Bench space can also be extremely tight for this deck, and it’s not uncommon to have 2 Oddish on the board this allows you to get Bellossom into play without wasting a bench space like you would with Blissey.

I’ll also note the 2nd Gloom adds a marginal amount of extra consistency. The disadvantages of course is you’re only healing 10 damage per turn, it’s a Stage 2, and it’s really not a viable attacker (I have attacked with Blissey numerous times).

The last option to consider would of course be Pokémon Center. At first I quickly dismissed this card because my opponent gets to use it too, which seems very counter productive (and it can be). But I like the fact it’s a Stadium, which allows me to play the “Stadium War” with myself to get normally dead Tropical Beaches out of my hand.

I also get to choose when it goes into play, and one of the biggest reason I consider it viable is that I can drop it to get rid of Tropical Beach and than follow it up with a key N. If timed right this little play could completely knock my opponent out of the game.

I also redid the energy lineup which I’ll get to in a second, but it basically forced me to drop the Jirachi UL. At first this really bothered me, but the Jirachi itself is only useful in a handful of matchups that are less common now days with the new EXs. Right now the Pichu is actually a floating spot until I find something I like for the deck better.

pokemon-paradijs.comI know a lot of players love Pichu in Vileplume based decks. In Dakota’s last article he played a whopping 3 in his Ross build! But I’ve never been a really big fan of the card because I don’t like helping my opponents set up, especially before I get Vileplume on the board. It’s simply too easy for them to start spamming Rare Candy and other shenanigans.

The Trainer lineup is exactly the same as I had before, as I still feel it plays really smoothly and Next Destinies brought nothing to the table for Vileplume decks. The one other floating spot I feel I have is I don’t know if I need the 5 search cards (4 Communication and 1 Elm’s).

Mikey Fouchet says always go 4 Candy or 2 Candy, and I don’t really ever see 2 Candy being the play, but I do wonder if 4 might be. I just don’t want to give up that extra search card, since I haven’t had any real trouble drawing into the Rare Candy. Decks that run fewer Tropical Beach might want to consider the 4th Rare Candy though.

Taking a look at the energy lineup I have to say I don’t feel comfortable with it. The 3 Double Colorless are pretty much a staple with the 2 Bouffalant, and Rainbow is a staple as well with the new Chandelure, but it just doesn’t feel right to me when I’m playing the deck.

Gardevoir/Gothitelle/Mewtwo EX

Pokémon – 20

4 Gothita EPO 43
1 Gothorita EPO 45

1 Gothorita EPO 46
3 Gothitelle EPO 47
3 Ralts NXD
1 Kirlia NXD
2 Gardevoir NXD
2 Mewtwo-EX NXD

1 Cleffa HS
1 Jirachi UL
1 Shaymin UL

Trainers – 30

4 Pokémon Collector
3 Sage’s Training
3 Twins
3 N


4 Rare Candy
4 Pokémon Communication
3 Junk Arm
2 Pokémon Catcher
1 Super Rod


3 Tropical Beach

Energy – 10

10 P

pokemon-paradijs.comStarting with the Pokémon lines, I went with a pretty standard 4-2-3 Gothitelle and 3-1-2 Gardevoir. The thicker Basic line than Stage 2s is used to help deal with early Catchers and bad prizes. With the inclusion of Super Rod I do have a lot more flexibility in these lineups. I went with only 2 Mewtwo EX because he isn’t the focus of the build; it’s Item locking with Gothitelle.

I also included the Jirachi/Shaymin combo for mid and late-game energy acceleration. Gardevoir, Gothitelle, and Mewtwo EX all really take at least 2 energy to be effective and the Jirachi/Shaymin combo is easily searched out by Pokémon Collector and makes it harder for the opponent to catch us in a compromising game state. On top of this, both Jirachi and Shaymin are situationally useful in their own rights.

The Trainer lineup is pretty standard over all when compared with the original Gothitelle/Reuniclus builds. You have your staples in copies of 4 (Collector, Candy, and Communication) along with the 3 Tropical Beach (if this is possible for you).

The rest can be toyed around with a bit more to reflect your meta and personal preference. I’m not really sure of the 3 Twins, 3 N, and 3 Sage’s Training split, but the bottom line is I had 9 spots for these 3 Supporters and this might get modified the more I test with the deck.

pokemon-paradijs.comI like 3 Junk Arm as it sets up nice draws from Tropical Beach, reuses Catcher, and is just a great all around utility card. The deck isn’t super fast or aggressive in the first few turns to warrant playing 3 or 4 Pokémon Catcher and in testing I could never draw into the 1, so I arrived at a very comfortable 2 copies.

I wouldn’t call Super Rod a staple, but it makes constructing your Pokémon lineups so much easier and lets you get by with fewer than normal energy. The 1 card I don’t have in here that I really want to include is a Switch. With Gardevoir in play all of your Pokémon can retreat for only a single energy, but without Gardevoir in play your opponent can put you in some tricky spots. I might just have to bite the bullet and go down to just 2 copies of Junk Arm, but I’m just not ready to do that yet.

Lastly, the energy lineup is very straightforward at a very streamlined 10 P Energy. With Gardevoir, this technically gives the deck 20 energy before factoring in things like Super Rod. Basically we have enough energy to finish a game, and at the same time we don’t miss too many energy drops. Being able to devote spots to your Trainer line up that are normally reserved for your energy lineup is a huge bonus for any deck.

Celebi Prime/Mewtwo EX/Tornadus

David Booij the winner of the ECC actually went ahead and posted his list on Monday. So I’ve decided to take a closer look at his list and really break it down.

Pokémon – 11

4 Celebi Prime
4 Tornadus EPO
2 Mewtwo-EX NXD
1 Shaymin UL

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory
4 N


4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Junk Arm
4 Dual Ball

3 Pokégear 3.0
2 Switch
2 Eviolite
2 PlusPower


3 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 13

9 G

4 Double Colorless

So out of all of the CMT decks played this weekend this is the one that ended up winning. Hopefully by breaking down the deck we can begin to see what lead to all of David’s success this past weekend:

Pokémon – 11

4 Celebi Prime: Celebi Prime is your preferred starter and 4 copies certainly maximizes consistency. You could possibly get away with 3, but I do prefer the full 4.

4 Tornadus: Once again David maxed out at 4 for consistency. I don’t think 3 is a bad play if you’re tight on room, but 4 is the most desirable number.

2 Mewtwo EX: I think 2 Mewtwo EX is about the max that any deck ever really needs to play. The card is just too easily countered by opposing Mewtwo EXs to be the main attacker.

1 Shaymin UL: This is card I expect to see rise in play at States. Moving your energy from your bench to your active or from around the board to your Mewtwo EX is game changing, especially since it’s so easy to search out.

What He Didn’t Play

Smeargle/Cleffa: I still really like some sort of consistency crutch especially in decks that can so easily incorporate them. I’m currently running Smeargle in my build and I really like the results. I enjoy being able to push up Smeargle after my opponents gets a prize to take a look at their hand and find out their options and possibly get a free Supporter.

Shaymin EX: I am honestly shocked he didn’t play a copy of Shaymin EX. It only takes up one spot, you have a very low chance of starting with it, and it solves the biggest problem I’ve found with the deck which is taking those last couple prizes.

Trainers – 36

4 Juniper/4 PONT: Decks without built-in draw power like Magnezone need to run the higher number of “new hand” Supporters.

4 N: I like to play N in near everything, but I was really shocked that he played a full 4 copies of it. I’ll play 3-4 in decks with built in draw power like (Magnezone/Tropical Beach) and then 1-2 in speed based decks. CMT is probably the fastest viable deck we have in the current format it easily sweeps the first 2-4 Prizes while the opponent gets set up.

N is mainly useful in very close games where you’re able to drop it and then secure better board position than your opponent. Putting yourself at 3 cards and your opponent at 5 when they’re struggling to set up is normally a very bad idea.

4 Pokémon Catcher: Pokémon Catcher is just such an all around good card over the course of the entire game for this deck. Early game it disrupts the opponent while they are attempting to set up and late game it steals cheap prizes to solidify wins.

4 Junk Arm: I won’t even say anything here; Junk Arm is the most broken card in the format.

4 Dual Ball: Dual Ball is simply faster in an all Basic deck and doesn’t tie up your Supporter for the turn like Pokémon Collector would. For a deck like Zekrom to go off you needed Zekrom, Pachy, and Shaymin, but for CMT you just need Celebi Prime and then either Tornadus or Mewtwo EX. David ran a full 4 copies, but 3 Dual Ball has been testing really well for me.

3 Pokégear 3.0: I normally like to be running 14-ish Supporters before I play a really high Pokégear count in the deck. I’ve missed way to many times on the card not to be a little bitter toward it, but if they were running pretty consistent for him then it’s a solid play.

3 Skyarrow Bride/2 Switch: The deck basically devotes 4-5 spaces for these 2 cards to help ensure the consistency of your big turn 1. I prefer 2 Skyarrow Bridge and 3 Switch because either one works to go off turn 1 and Switch is more useful over the course of the game. You can Switch to Celebi/Smeargle and then free retreat back to your attacker. Stadium wars are just not as common as they used to be, so once Skyarrow Bridge comes into play it’s probably not leaving.

2 Eviolite/2 PlusPower: I really would have like to have seen a 3-3 split here and I’m guessing David would have as well. I’m guess the 2-2 split was mainly him out of room and felt consistency cards were more valuable for the space (and I agree).

What He Didn’t Play

Revive/Super Rod: On paper 13 energy may seem high, but in the later stages of the game you can really struggle to find one. This is one of those decks I feel you really need an attachment every turn. I can’t really blame him for not playing Super Rod, but it does help this issue.

Energy – 13

9 G Energy: You always want to play the bare minimum amount of energy that you feel you can get by with. This becomes harder in decks like CMT where you want to hit energy in the opening hand and than almost every turn afterward. I like 14-15 personally, but looking over his list I see how he just didn’t have room for this.

4 Double Colorless Energy: Pretty straight forward. It has amazing synergy with both Tornadus and Mewtwo EX.

Basically he played a very streamlined list with a huge aim toward consistency which is what allowed him to do so well in such a major (and long!) tournament. I really like his list, but I do feel he streamlined it a bit too much in some areas such as not playing Shaymin EX and Smeargle. I expect a lot of the variations at States to be close to this, so I’m both testing against this and very similar lists.


Pokémon – 5

4 Durant NVI
1 Rotom UD

Trainers – 44

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Professor Juniper
4 Twins
4 N


4 Pokégear 3.0
4 Revive
4 Junk Arm
4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Crushing Hammer
3 Victory Medal
3 Eviolite
2 Lost Remover

Energy – 11

5 M

4 Special M
2 Prism

pokemon-paradijs.comI’m still absolutely convinced that the best way to play Durant is straight consistency without any techs. I know Cobalion NVI experienced a certain amount of popularity in the deck during Cities, but I really don’t like it. It doesn’t win you mirror; they simply mill faster than you can kill Durants, and in every other matchup if my opponent brought up Cobalion my first thought would be “thank you” for a few turns where I’m not getting milled.

If you are dead set on playing Cobalion in the deck I recommend only 1 copy and simply rely on your Revives to keep getting him back. I also suggest running a copy of Switch to stop him from getting dragged out repeatedly, plus it gives you another out if you start with Cobalion/Rotom.

Ironically, Durant is one of the biggest decks coming out of Next Destinies despite gaining next to nothing from the set. The only real changes I made to my list are I switched Rainbow Energy to Prism Energy, and I added in a second copy of Lost Remover. Durant has a very good match up against slower decks and decks that rely to heavily on Mewtwo EX.

My feelings for the deck really aren’t secret; I like decks that giving me options, and Durant gives me none. It also takes an auto-loss to anything Fire, which is something I can’t stand.

As for my list, it’s very straightforward and very consistent I max out on key consistency cards in an attempt to hit that turn 1 mill for 4. My 4 Pokémon Collector, 4 Pokégear, and 3 Victory Medal all aim to do to this. The rest of the cards in the deck are designed to search out what I need (Twins), get me a new hand (Juniper), disrupt my opponent (Catcher, Hammer, Lost Remover), or both (N).

I know some variations run Level Ball/Dual Ball, but I would rather max my odds at hitting that Turn 1 mill for 4 than Turn 1 mill for 2 or even 3. It’s all about balancing your options. You want to run cards that will increase your odds of getting that strong first turn, but you don’t want to ruin your late game either. I feel Victory Medal is the best middle ground of balancing early game consistency without being dead in the late game.

pokemon-paradijs.comIt also allows for some very interesting Rotom plays. Once I hit my 4 Durant, all of my Level/Dual Balls are dead cards for the rest of the game (alongside my Collectors). Victory Medals are still live cards throughout the game, though I could see them being cut.

Some Other Options

1 Black Belt: A lot of the versions at Cities ran this to help deal with large threats that were running through Durants. But out of all the games I’ve watched and tested, I’ve only seen it used effectively twice. Also 1HKOss are going to be a lot farther out of range with all of our new EXs than we saw at Cities.

3rd Lost Remover: Special Energy are going to be huge at States, and trading a Trainer for an energy attachment is practically broken. Personally I think 2 Lost Remover and 4 Junk Arm are fine, but if you’re expecting a lot of Special Energy in your meta, it might warrant the 3rd spot.

1 Super Rod: Another option is to go with 3 Revive and 1 Super Rod. The idea is if multiple Durants are KO’d you can Super Rod/Collector and fill your bench again. In my opinion it’s not as consistent as 4 Revive, but Jason Klaczynski played the Super Rod throughout Cities, so I wanted to mention it.

1 Flower Shop Lady: If Item lock is big in your meta, this is definitely an option to consider. I don’t run it because even in the Trainer Lock match up it’s only enough to push you over the top about half the time. I prefer not to run a card that is worse in every matchup except for one, and even in that one matchup it only works about half the time. Versions that do play Dual/Level Ball though can more easily incorporate this card in since it’s more “live” in non-Item lock matchups.

In conclusion I would never play Durant in a tournament due to the lack of options the deck offers and the auto-losses it suffers. That being said though, it is one of my Top 5 decks for States and a major threat for players to watch out for.

Whatever I end up playing at States, I promise you will not take an auto-loss to Durant. I said it in my last article, but no matter what you are playing, test against Durant. The matchup gets easier the more and more you play against it.


Pokémon – 14

3 Magnemite TM
1 Magneton TM
3 Magnezone Prime
2 Tynamo NVI 38
1 Tynamo NVI 39
3 Eelektrik NVI
1 Cleffa HS

Trainers – 26

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Sage’s Training
4 N


4 Pokémon Communication
3 Rare Candy
3 Junk Arm
2 Pokémon Catcher
2 Switch

Energy – 14

10 L
4 [Based on Build]

Open Spots – 6

pokemon-paradijs.comNormally I just give a straight 60 card list, but Next Destinies really opened up quite a few options for this deck, so instead I’ve given a 54 card skeleton list for the deck and will discuss some different options on how to fill the open spots.

Looking at the spots I gave we have 6 spots to fill in for the Trainers/Trainers and 4 spots to fill in our Energy line up based on what direction we go with the deck.

4th Magnemite: The 4th Magnemite is going to do several things for the deck: it’s going to increase our odds of starting with Magnemite, make it harder for the opponent to disrupt us at the start of the game, and make Super Rod choices easier (if we decide to play it).

2nd Magneton: Basically the reason to play a second Magneton is for the Item lock matchup, which you basically lose without it. In other matchups I’ve never really missed it too much.

Mewtwo EX: This could take up 1-2 of your tech spots and basically offers the deck a very easy and searchable way to Knock Out opposing Mewtwo EXs.

Zekrom-EX: Basically it’s like the Zekrom BLW except it hits harder at the price of having to discard 2 energy cards. I can’t iterate enough how big of a difference there is between 120 damage and 150 damage. You could devote 1-2 of your tech spots for this card.

Zekrom BLW: The advantage of this card over its EX counterpart is that it only takes 3 energy compared to 4 to hit for a very solid 120 damage. It also has 1 less Retreat Cost and is very useful in the Durant matchup. You could devote 1-2 of your tech spots for this card.

4th Rare Candy: I mentioned it with Magneton, but basically 1 of your tech spots should probably be devoted to either a 4th Rare Candy or a 2nd Magneton. It really comes down to personal preference and the meta you expect to face.

4th Junk Arm: The 4th Junk Arm is one major card I was missing throughout Cities. Basically the deck plays fine with 3, but 4 is certainly the optimal way to play the deck.

15th Energy: I’ve discussed this before, but opponents have this “stock list” in mind when they are going through your discard and trying to figure out how many energy you have left. The standard is 14, so having a 15th energy can really catch opponents by surprise.

Several games at Cities my opponents thought I was in a much worse situation than I was because they were assuming I only played 14 energy instead of 15.

The 4 Energy Spots: I would not go below 14 energy in this deck ever. In his last article Dakota gave a very different 13 energy build that he swears works, but I would never go this low in the deck. The four spots are going to be either L Energy or Double Colorless Energy based on what you choose for your tech spots. Another option is to go 11 Lightning and then 3 DCE, but I just don’t see much point in playing DCE if you don’t play at least 3 of them.

Now that I’ve laid out the options I’ll fill in my current list.

4th Magnemite: In testing I’ve found I always seem to lose one early and I’ve had trouble if ones in my prizes.

2nd Magneton: Because I don’t want to scoop to Item lock and there always seem to be just enough of it that I hit 1 or 2 on the day. But 2nd Magneton vs. 4th Rare Candy will most likely be a final call I make on the tournament day after scouting the meta a bit.

1 Super Rod: It allows the 1-1 split on the EXs to play more smoothly as well as gives me added recover for Magnezone and Eelektrik.

1 Zekrom-EX/1 Mewtwo EX: They both have varying levels of usefulness depending on the match up/situation. I feel the 1-1 split is simply the safest way and most well rounded way to play it.

4 Double Colorless Energy: The 4 DCE have obvious synergy with Mewtwo EX and Zekrom-EX, and since Magnezone Prime requires (LC) it can easily be used to meet attack requirements. They are also really good against decks like Durant that want to try and strand an Eelektrik up in the Active Spot.


I did not hit heavily on the outcomes of the European Championships in this article because I have another one coming out next Thursday and right now I’m getting a lot of conflicting and varying information. By next week we should have some more concrete info and I’ll have had a bit more time to test with the new data. I plan on talking more in-depth about the big decks coming out of last weekend, like Zekrom-EX/Eels and Celebi Prime/Mewtwo EX/Tornadus.

I’ve already started writing my article for next week and right now the plan is I’m going to share a few more lists that I needed to do a bit more testing with, break down a lot of my testing results, and share some useful tips for all ages on how I stay focused for major tournaments and don’t let the pressure get to me even when a lot of money is on the line, and of course talk about the European Championship, along with a few more surprises.

Hopefully it’s something for you to look forward to! As always my email is jay@sixprizes.com and I check it often, so message me with any questions and I always appreciate feedback, whether it be positive and negative.

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