ECC – Eelektrik & Celebi Cup

Mekkah lives in a windmill.

Let’s get the most exciting part out of the way first: my ECC report. Even though I live in an extremely small country, I still had to get up at 6 AM and catch the train at 7 AM in order to register in time. I always feel like a jerk for complaining about travel time, when at the same time there are Americans crossing state borders and driving for like 5 hours to get to their tournament, so I don’t do it too loudly. Just a little.

In my bag was my trusty Durant deck, which I was fairly comfortable with. The main reason why I was going to play a deck that is often considered to be the one where you have the least options is because I simply did not have access to any EXs. Most people I knew did not have them, and if they did they’d be using it for their own decks (and I honestly can’t blame them).

For a couple of my previous tournaments I have been extremely lucky in being able to borrow (and this one time, even keep!) piles and piles of cards, and I really didn’t want to ask anyone to part with EXs when they could be playing them themselves.

The only other deck I have enough cards to build a respectable version of is Magnezone, but since it would be a shadow of what it could be without Mewtwo EX or Zekrom-EX, I wanted to go with a more complete deck. I actually still had Rainbow Energy and Dual Balls in there and was prepared to play with them, but thankfully someone had enough extras to where I could enjoy Prism and Level Balls instead. I actually pulled a Level Ball out of the pack I got upon registering, too.

The list I was using:

Pokémon – 5

4 Durant NVI
1 Rotom UD

Trainers – 44

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Twins
4 Professor Juniper
2 N
1 Professor Oak’s New Theory
1 Seeker


4 Revive
4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Pokégear 3.0
4 Junk Arm
4 Crushing Hammer
3 Eviolite
2 Level Ball
2 Lost Remover
1 Switch

Energy – 11

6 M
4 Special M
1 Prism

Durant didn’t really gain any new tricks, it’s just that the environment around it was supposed to be shaped just right for it to do well. One of the main passengers on the hype train was the release of Prism Energy, making your average list more susceptible to Lost Remover. As a result, I saw a lot of lists flying around with as much as three to four Lost Remover.

pokemon-paradijs.comI have been comfortably running one or two Lost Remover whenever I played Durant at Cities and in testing, and have never really wanted more (other than perhaps before Twins is activated). Lost Remover is very hit-or-miss. The matchups where it’s at its best, most notably Electrode variants, tend to be rather favorable already, and you can just emphasize the copies you already have by searching them with Twins and re-using them with Junk Arm.

The ability to remove one of their Energies 100% of the time is strong enough to where a few copies can get you by when it’s useful. This is a rather sharp contrast to the matchups where your opponents don’t rely on Special Energy, especially since awareness of the card had grown tenfold.

Level Ball and its kind-of equivalent Dual Ball have not been in my list for a while, simply because the turn 1 Collector is really a much better way of getting set up. You don’t want to blow Junk Arms just to get Durant in play. Had we gotten Random Receiver, it might have been different, but the way it is I just use these when I need to check my deck after Mischievous Trick, or to see what’s left lategame, or to prevent myself from getting benched early on if I don’t happen to open with a Collector. It’s nice to eliminate one flip card from the deck with Level Ball, but it’s not a card worth writing more about than the amount I just did.

The main thing that sets the deck apart is the lack of offensive options. No Cobalion, only one Rotom, only one Prism Energy, and no Black Belt. I haven’t really had problems using Plasma Arrow when I had to in my testing, and I didn’t want to dedicate more space to Special Energy than needed. The reasons for these cuts are probably fairly obvious, but the main one is that I expected to face at least two mirror matches that day. This is also the reason why I have an above average amount of Energy in there, since that is really your main resource in the mirror match.

So, how did it go?

I’m sorry for not remembering most names completely; it’s been a while.

Round 1 vs Daniel (NL) with Reshiram-EX/Scrafty NDE/Zoroark BLW

I’d seen this guy play before and his decks never seemed too serious. The start was scary because I started a lone Durant with absolutely no way to get more, and he attached a Prism to his Reshiram-EX. He even had a turn 2 Glinting Claw, but I topdecked a second Durant, and next turn a Juniper that got me going. I managed to Lost Remover his Energy and Devour, and won by a comfortable amount. As I said, his deck wasn’t the most competitive one, so I’m not proud of this one in the least.


Round 2 vs David Booij (NL) with Celebi Prime/Mewtwo EX/Tornadus EPO

Apparently this guy won a tournament somewhere, iono.

He had a Mewtwo start and I did not have any way to get more Durant in play, so I spent at least one turn Devouring for 1. However, he played an early N that got me a Collector before I was in danger. I found I had one Durant prized, so I started letting Rotom go to work. Even though Durant resists Mewtwo and can remove its Energy, David managed to find ways to get KOs, usually by Catchering around the Eviolite I had attached.

My 5th Mischievous Trick still hadn’t gotten me my last member of the Ant brigade, and to make matters worse I actually forgot to Mischievous Trick during one turn. When he had 1 Prize left, I used N and mounted some sort of comeback. He had just two Grass on him, all his DCEs were gone, he had one Grass left in his deck, and I had a Rotom on my bench. He needed a Catcher and an Energy to win.

I believe he drew into a Juniper a few turns after the N, got the Junk Arm but not the Energy, and had a ~6 card deck left while I had three Durant in play. I Devoured, did not get the Energy, so he Catchered Rotom and Junipered again to get his last Energy and win.

Definitely the most satisfying game I had that day, if not the only one. It’s always worth being able to brag that you lost to the winner.


Round 3 vs Michael (DK) with Gothitelle EPO 47/Gardevoir NDE

This was a weird and annoying game. I mulliganed at least five or six times before I finally got my Durant start. During his turns one and two, I think he Communicated at least three times, putting stuff back in and out that I just could not understand. Eventually he got out a Gothitelle with one Energy, but I’d Devoured a fairly big portion of his deck by then. He played down a Jirachi (obviously to use with Shaymin), and there comes the plastic coin. Tails, tails, tails.

Frustrated, he plays a Judge and does not draw the Energy he needs to start blasting Durants to nowhere. I get an N off the Judge but don’t play it, and instead just keep Devouring until he scoops. The game was made more frustrating by the fact that he kept moving my cards (discarding my Supporter for that turn, changing the way I attached my Energy, etc). But I just shrugged it off.

A win is a win, but I really lucked out here.


Round 4 vs German Girl with Reshiram BLW/Typhlosion Prime

And here’s when things start to crash down.

pokemon-paradijs.comI get a Durant start, I get to go first, I have the Collector and the Energy. However, I can only find two Durant in my deck, and no Rotom…and she has a Reshiram start, and showed a Quilava when mulliganing. I resign myself to playing with just three Durant, thinking taking a prize and having only a half-chance of getting something that would help would just lose me the game.

She gets a turn 2 Typhlosion out, and turn three or four she gets a second. However, I manage to get her to pick up one of these Typhlosions with a Catcher + Seeker, and she never puts it back down again (both were through Rare Candy). Through some shenanigans I am able to stay in this game, partly because for some reason she insists on attacking with Typhlosion, to the point where even if she has the option to Outrage for a KO with Reshiram, she instead retreats it for a Typhlosion that cannot attack.

What makes the whole game even more “interesting” is that she does not talk. Probably because she didn’t speak English (she had German cards). She nods, points, etc to indicate things. I manage to get her deck real low with a couple of prizes to go, but she has a huge hand. I ask if I can count her deck, but she doesn’t understand. I think I managed to indicate what I wanted to do but she says no.

Now I happen to know what I should be allowed to do this – I even asked PokéPop on Pokégym. I’ve had some annoyances with this exact same problem before, with judges even saying no, but I decide to just take the high road. I count her prizes, her discard, her hand, and every other card in play and deduce that I’m able to win the game.

However, she plays an N to shuffle her huge hand back into her deck, and later also Super Rods. I manage to get to one Devour away from winning, but no dice. To make things worse the last card in my deck was a Junk Arm that I could’ve used for another shot at it…

On the plus side, her boyfriend did speak English and was a nice guy.


I was pretty sure I could not lose anymore, or MAYBE once if I wanted to have a shot at top cut. It would later turn out that even some 6-2 people would miss out, and so far my resistance wasn’t really looking too pretty.

Round 5 vs Some guy from Switzerland with Zekrom/Eelektrik/Zebstrika NDE/Articuno NDE

pokemon-paradijs.comI really don’t remember his name, but he was a sick player. I think it took me two turns to get my four Durant out, and he had a Cleffa start. Everything just went right for him, and he knew how to capitalize on that. He got out an Eelektrik, and he had the cards needed to get it back to where it came from whenever it got Catchered. He got a powered up Zekrom turn 2, and I could not even get my Revives. When I put down my Rotom he just Catchered it up and got rid of it. It was a disaster.


Round 6 vs Someone with Gothitelle/Gardevoir

He got set up and took out my Durants, and I could not get them back. I dropped after this.


So overall, a rather uneventful ECC for me. Now if I were to stop here, I would just have a rather lousy report for show here and nothing else. But from any tournament where anything went wrong, it’s important to be able to go back for a second and analyze where better choices could have been made, from the very beginning. Now this is something you need to do once, and do it well. You can’t just keep dwelling on the same mistakes.


The first choice I made was the deck choice. I think there are two perspectives to look back on for your deck choice?

1. Was it a good choice at the time of choosing it, considering all the information I had available at that point? If not, did I choose it even though I knew better about what I was going to face that day? (In other words, did I basically ignore some little voice inside my head that told me “this might not be a good idea because [good reason here].”)

2. Now that you know roughly what actually was at the event and what did well and made cut, would you still have made the same choice?

Now, I did go to a big event using a deck that has a large control issue, and I was well aware of that. While on one hand it is an extremely consistent deck that needs extremely little set-up compared to for example Typhlosion or Magnezone, it is also a deck that mulligans a lot (which has the nasty side effect of giving your opponent a tour through your deck), essentially puts 6 of your cards in the Lost Zone at the start of the game, and just generally depends on what you and your opponent draw.

pokemon-paradijs.comI like to call it a “no complaints” deck because, even though I could go on and on about how I only ended up with three or four Durant on turn 1 around half the time or less, and lost two games because of my prizes, I could just have taken a deck that did not have this problem. I chose my deck accepting these problems.

The reason I did that was because this is a deck I am very familiar with. Not counting my very first tournament where I had a joke list with Pokémon Circulator due to lack of Catcher, I took Durant to three tournaments compared to Magnezone which I took to two. During those tournaments, I found myself making more misplays and taking longer turns with Magnezone than with Durant. Durant also earned me a second place as my highest finish, whereas Magnezone “only” took me to fifth.

I had done my testing with this in mind, mostly using Durant and getting generally good records against Magnezone and Mewtwo, the two matchups I expected the most besides the mirror. I had a good feeling about Durant, and I did not want to fall into the trap of a last-minute deck switch.

But looking back at what was present at that tournament, was Durant actually a good play? What was so different that day than I’d expected? Well, of course Zekrom/Eelektrik kind of came out of “nowhere” and swarmed the tournament. That is one matchup that kind of makes Durant swallow, but it’s not unwinnable – the games usually end up around the same as against Magnezone/Eelektrik, only they usually run more Zekrom so Rotom’s Plasma Arrow doesn’t get rid of their only threat, and they have less dead cards in their deck (Magnezone line, Rare Candy). I’ve beaten the deck more often than I lost to it with Durant, but it was definitely a threat and it can spin out of control very easily if the opponent gets enough Energy into play.

From what I could see there were also quite a few Typhlosion decks (mostly the traditional ones, but a couple of Magnezone/Typhlosion as well), which were as dangerous as ever. With Kyurem taking a back seat in the presence of Mewtwo, I couldn’t really blame anyone for bringing them. Reshiram-EX is also the best possible ant counter we have at the moment, but he doesn’t change all that much for Durant since he’s only compatible with Emboar and Typhlosion decks (and otherwise very easy to handle with Lost Remover).

pokemon-paradijs.comIf I’m perfectly honest, given a second chance I would have brought the watered down version of Magnezone and just leave my opponent under the impression I have EXs available if I have to. But I really have no regrets not doing this. Even though I was a little bitter that I got thrashed, and haven’t pulled out Durant for more than a couple games since the ECC since it left a bad taste in my mouth, I am not going to fault myself for bringing the deck.

I didn’t mind the choices in my list either, though if I were to do it again knowing what I know now I would have gone for a second Prism Energy and maybe even a second Rotom. This mostly comes from having that Rotom prized once when I needed it, but I also like the option of being able to bench two Rotom at once, protecting myself from Pokémon Catcher. One of both is perfectly fine, though.

As for my actual playing, the only part I really regret was that one missed Mischievous Trick in Round 2. These little things really shouldn’t happen, but sometimes they do and all you can really do about it is “just don’t let it happen again.”

Overall, I don’t think the ECC was too friendly of a metagame to Durant. Reshiram and Zekrom-based decks have actually always scared Durant ever since it first popped up, and Next Destinies brought the focus back to these two, Zekrom moreso. While I feel Durant has a fairly good matchup versus most Celebi variants, there is always that scare of getting donked by Tornadus.

Since the States metagame will for a significant part be a continuation of ECC, and since the most successful parts of ECC were well-equipped against Durant, you need to consider carefully whether to play this one for your first week. If you are like me, and you feel most comfortable with this deck while it also aligns best with your card pool options, go for it. But right now, I think Durant is in a slightly disadvantageous position in the format. The decks it was generally doing well against (such as The Truth) have shrunk more and more, and for now it might be best for the ant colony to retreat and come back later, when people are less prepared for it. Not too long (Heatmor is likely coming for it in May, after all), but just not week 1-of States.

What it Means for States

So, enough about what the ECC meant to me. What is it going to mean for the rest of the world, most importantly the United States?

From what I can tell, most players are in agreement that the “true winner” of ECC is Zekrom/Eelektrik, since it showed up in such huge numbers in top cut. So that and EXTC (my favorite new name for Celebi/Mewtwo) will definitely the decks to prepare for and test against.

pokemon-paradijs.comThere will be a lot of people trying to emulate the success of these decks by simply copying them. I can’t be the only one who fell in love with David Booij’s list as soon as he published it: despite the flippiness of Dual Ball, the enormous consistency and early game pressure are so extremely appealing. The deck can refresh its hand pretty much every turn if it wants to, but I’ve found that you can sometimes build up a board strong enough to where it’s better to hold on to your Supporters in preparation of N.

N is often cited as the deck’s main weakness, but I think that if there’s any rush deck that can escape an N trap, it’s this one. The deck simply needs so few pieces at once, gets ahead so far and runs so many outs that you can fairly reliably (but not always) draw your way out before it’s too late.

While it’s important and very satisfying to have a winning list to toy with, as a competitive player you need to realize in time that you don’t want to just keep up, you want to get ahead of the game. You could play this deck at States, but there might be quite a few others who plan to do just the same. How do you gain an edge on them, and keep it?

Unless you have been living under a Geodude for the past months, you’ll know that Mewtwo already had a wave of hype dangling around its intimidating figure for a while. And with any hyped cards, there were people trying to figure out how to beat it (mostly those who did not feel like burning a hole in their wallets for Mewtwo). But of these Mewtwo counters, how many succeeded?

Cobalion NVI was one suggestion I saw a lot. It is not bad in theory, since it can build up a pretty enormous buffer against X Ball with Eviolite, Resistance, Special Metals, and Iron Breaker’s effect. However, the main deck Cobalion was played in (CoKE) kind of fell off the surface of the earth, along with the older card Cobalion was built to counter (Kyurem).

I was a huge fan of Cobalion in Chandelure/Vileplume, but to be honest I think this Pokémon was just hurt too badly by Skyarrow Bridge. You can Iron Breaker a Mewtwo for 60 or 80, but then it can just retreat/Switch and attack with Tornadus or something else.

pokemon-paradijs.comMagnezone Prime seemed to be up to the task. It was already established (meaning people had access to generally strong lists), gained pretty good bang for its buck for Lost Burning EXs into oblivion, and would still be able to do everything a Magnezone list does, right? I will definitely talk more about Magnezone later.

Durant was also often mentioned as one way to beat Mewtwo, but for each of the three Durant in Top Cut there was probably a dozen lying outside of it with burn marks on them.

Mew Prime was another candidate, trying to set up one for 2 Prize trades versus its clone. Sceptics of this method always insisted that Mew would be able to beat Mewtwo, but have huge issues with other big basics accompanying the card, such as Tornadus, Terrakion, Zekrom, etc. As we all know, only one Mew deck managed to breach the Top 32 at ECC: MeesieMew. I honestly would have preferred Mewsie…

I hate to sound like a hipster at the record store, but I managed to lay eyes on this deck before it was cool! I met Mees at my first City Championship, and I have him to thank for quite a few generous card borrows/gifts. In addition, the guy comes up with pretty incredible deck ideas and seems to have gotten into the habit of bouncing them off me over MSN.

This was one of them, and I liked it the first moment I saw it. Allow me to take you through the development of this deck up to ECC. It should not only contain some lessons in deck building in general, but also in metagaming.

One of the first lists looked something like this:

Pokémon – 17

4 Mew Prime
4 Yanma TM
3 Yanmega Prime
3 Terrakion NVI
1 Relicanth CL
1 Chandelure NXD 20
1 Jumpluff HS

Trainers – 30

4 Copycat
4 Professor Juniper
3 Pokémon Collector
2 Professor Oak’s New Theory


4 Junk Arm
3 PlusPower
3 Pokémon Catcher
3 Switch
2 Pokégear 3.0
2 Pokémon Communication

Energy – 13

5 F
4 Prism
4 Rainbow

Even though this is a few very crucial steps removed from the final list, the idea of the deck is already very clear.

The focus of the deck is to have an answer to every piece of the expected metagame. Mew and its three different Lost Zoning targets each already do a great job of that, and then the other Pokémon fulfill their jobs where Mew cannot.

pokemon-paradijs.comThe most dominant part of the metagame would be Lightning decks. Mew does not respond particularly well to any offensive Lightning Pokémon (Zekrom, Thundurus, and I guess you could see Tornadus as one in a way), however it can completely destruct their acceleration engine, Eelektrik. It was predicted that many people would make the switch back to the 30 HP Tynamo, what with Chandelure and Kyurem both being much less common and Tyrogue being nowhere to see.

Against any deck featuring the Eel, the ideal Lost Zone target is the red Chandelure. Any 30 HP Tynamo is barred from play, and 40 HP ones are forced to evolve a turn after they’re played. Even if they manage to do that, Eelektrik’s 90 HP is still very susceptible to a Flame Burst.

While it may seem rather foolish to expect Mew to live long enough to Flame Burst an Eelektrik army three times, you need to remember that losing prizes and Mews is a very fine price to pay if you manage to take away your opponent’s ability to recycle Energy. This strategy is mostly intended for Magnezone decks, which need a constant stream of them to keep going.

Yanmega compliments this strategy excellently, even though it is just as brittle as Mew against any Lightning attacker. Linear Attack gets rid of even 40 HP Tynamo. It might seem like a strange choice of an attacker in today’s metagame, considering its relatively low damage output, but its versatility and low maintenance earned it its spot and we’ve never really looked back when testing. A double Flame Burst or Flame Burst + Linear Attack also gets rid of most evolving Basics: Magnemite, Tepig, Cyndaquil, etc.

Even if your opponent benches three at once, you can Catcher one and put 30 on each of them, putting them in a pretty huge pickle. It should also be noted that you have an emergency button to deal with the token one Mewtwo EX in every set-up deck even with Chandelure in the Lost Zone. Its second attack does 160 damage and burns it, giving you a 50% chance of KOing it outright and a 100% chance of having it die eventually.

Terrakion rounds out the attacking group. Since Yanmega attacks for free and Mew can use the Rainbow/Prism for both See Off and Flame Burst, you are free to continue attaching to a Terrakion. The very first list actually featured Exp. Share, a very interesting card that I will definitely talk about a little more later in the article. The idea was to allow you to stream Terrakions more easily when the opponent managed to get attacks going through disruption, but since the deck has so many incompatible Rainbows and Prisms they were eventually cut out.

pokemon-paradijs.comAnother big part of the metagame was obviously Mewtwo, which is the whole reason Mew was called upon to begin with. Several Lost Zone targets passed the review, but most of them required two Energy to 1HKO Mewtwo, so Jumpluff ended up taking the spot. I’ve never really liked it, since the opponent can control its damage output, and EXTC decks are notorious for requiring few Pokémon in play, but apparently it got the job done.

You need a total of nine Pokémon in play for Mass Attack to 1HKO a Mewtwo without Eviolite, which is generally just about the reasonable maximum you can expect during a match (Celebi, Mewtwo, Mewtwo #2/Tornadus vs 6 Pokémon). Eviolite is a possibility, but then again so is PlusPower.

The last Pokémon is Relicanth CL, which allows you to throw the Pokémon from your hand instead of from your deck. Besides the utility of not needing to shuffle it back in if it ends up in your deck, it also gives you a bit of extra drawpower, and it saves you a Mew.

I also recall that one of the first lists had a few copies of Judge, which has always been a good card with Yanmega, but like Exp. Share it was taken out fairly early in the process.

I was very intrigued by the deck idea, so I soft-tested it a few times in Redshark, with him changing the list as I threw him problems I was facing. One of these problems was, believe it or not, Durant. Durant resists Mew no matter what it Lost Zones. The reasonable expectation of the total field is four Pokémon for Durant (guess which) and six total for Mew, which is enough for a 1HKO taking resistance into account.

But while Mew has PlusPower, Durant has Eviolite and Special Metals. In addition, the Energy that Mew needs can be Lost Removered and Devoured, but this is less of a concern since you only need one to attack and you can attach them in advance to benched Mews.

Yanmega isn’t too great of an answer either for the same reason, as well as the fact that Durant can pull off tricks to evade Insight. My favorite one is to play my hand down to just one Juniper, watch Yanmega get that low, and then Juniper for seven to leave them between a rock and a hard place.

pokemon-paradijs.comWe also agreed that the third Terrakion was generally unneeded. The deck’s main strength is its amazing amount of strong starts: Yanma and Mew give a combination of eight free retreat Pokémon, and while Relicanth is a lot fatter it is definitely a fine way to start the game with. The two Terrakion in there were just doing fine on applying pressure to big Electrics, and the deck already has a pretty good game plan against them by denying Tynamos.

A deck like Six Corners might have some issues with Magnezone Catchering out Terrakion before you can Retaliate, but in this deck’s case they would be ignoring the Mew that is slowly taking out their precious Eelektrik.

Something we mulled over tossing in but ended up scrapping is Shaymin EX, for roughly the same reason: it’s a horrible starter. However, it did bring something that didn’t leave the deck when it was scrapped: N. Copycat was being fairly unreliable (as it’s always been), and N often suffices for matching hand sizes since the deck usually goes up in prizes.

The non-EX version of Shaymin was also discussed and added along the line. It helps the fact that the deck has no real Energy acceleration (though it has a soft form of it with Yanmega), setting up unexpected Terrakion KOs.

Mees’s final list is public and has been posted before, but since it’s best to have a reference for my final notes on the deck:

Pokémon – 17

4 Mew Prime
4 Yanma TM
3 Yanmega Prime
2 Terrakion NVI
1 Crobat Prime
1 Chandelure NXD 20
1 Jumpluff HS
1 Shaymin UL

Trainers – 31

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Professor Juniper
2 Professor Oak’s New Theory
2 Copycat
2 N


3 Junk Arm
3 Pokémon Catcher
3 Switch
2 Pokémon Communication
2 Lost Remover
2 Pokégear 3.0
1 Level Ball
1 Super Rod

Energy – 12

4 Prism
4 Rainbow
2 P
2 F

The removal of of Terrakion also brought a huge reduction in the number of F Energy in favor of more “See Off” Energy. The key to a Mew deck is and has always been that turn 1 See Off, because after that you are going to be under a lot of pressure. The Basic Psychic are also to assist the new Lost Zoning target Crobat Prime, which I semi-jokingly suggested when we were first discussing the Durant matchup.

pokemon-paradijs.comTurns out it wasn’t all that bad: a poisoned Durant is forced to retreat or die at the end of its turn. Since this list has two Lost Remover, you can potentially clear Durant’s field of Energy early, putting them in a very tight spot if they don’t have Switch on hand (giving up either a Durant going into your turn, or giving up their Devour for the turn).

Lost Remover was something I insisted on, because I also found that previous versions of the deck had huge, huge problems against Tornadus. None of the Pokémon can do any better than 2HKO vs Tornadus, it can actually score 1HKOs against Yanma and Mew, and even get itself out of 2HKO range with Eviolite. Thankfully, Hurricane leaves Tornadus very susceptible to Lost Remover, and this solution is much more elegant than teching in some weird Lightning attacker.

This is actually a common problem I have with this deck: it has issues with Eviolite. The deck can do some very smart configurations to set up 2HKOs, but once Eviolite turns those into 3HKOs or even 4HKOs, you are in a losing trade. While Flame Burst and Linear Attack are amazing weapons against set-up decks, they are completely worthless even against now somewhat subpar plays in Cobalion, Virizion, and Kyurem.

Junk Arm was cut down from four to three, not just because space needed to come from somewhere, but also because Yanmega often demands you keep your hand intact, which conflicts greatly with a card that essentially reduces your hand size by three. This is especially relevant because the deck only has two traditional hand size matchers in Copycat, and no Judge.

Relicanth has been taken out, since the times where you have the option to use him AND still put on pressure afterward are just too rare. You need to have or get him out, have the correct Lost Zone target in your hand, and then get a Switch to start attacking as soon as possible. It is tempting to just keep drawing cards with Prehistoric Wisdom, but sacrificing this deck’s set-up speed will not do you any good, especially if they have an N waiting for you.

pokemon-paradijs.comSuper Rod and Level Ball both function as extra Mew copies, and the former also gets you more Terrakion should you need them. You’ll actually rarely want to Junk Arm for them, but that option is there.

I really enjoyed testing this deck out, and while two of Mees’s testing partners ended up missing Top Cut playing this, Mees ended up climbing all the way to top 8 only to lose to the eventual tournament winner. Now, the deck is out there, and I would recommend against putting this high on your list of decks to try and test against.

For one, because it was very metagame specific, and got a huge boost out of the surprise factor. For second, because while the deck is built with EXTC in mind, it is a very, very risky matchup that can easily be taken out of your control. You can expect to be able to exchange Mew for Mewtwo favorably most of the time, but when going second is combined with missing the turn 1 See Off and having Mewtwo get the first KO on you…

Definitely give this deck a try in your States testing if you have the time, but the majority of your time should go toward the more common decks. What you should do, however, is let yourself be inspired by how this deck managed to exploit the Achilles heels in the expected metagame, and perhaps build a follow-up that can keep up. Do not make the mistake of copying the list or even just these Pokémon: just like the illustrious Troll deck from a bit ago, this deck is more of an education in deck building and metagaming than an archetype by itself, and should be treated as such.


With Mew out of the way, let’s take a look at Magnezone. The expectations for Magnezone were high. It was not going to run out of Energy with those EXs around, it’d be highly consistent, and able to incorporate the two best EXs: Mewtwo EX and Zekrom-EX. However, when testing it (both before and after ECC), I ran into three issues:

1. The metagame’s speed ante was upped a little more, increasing the amounts of games stolen from Magnezone where it could just not get a Magnezone out. In addition, it became harder to snag a prize with Thundurus EPO and Zekrom BLW in the prescence of Mewtwo. The slots used for Rare Candy and Magnezone take away from your normal consistency count, increasing your early-game weakness.

pokegym.net2. It is pretty hard to get four Energy in play at once to 1HKO a Pokémon-EX. In addition, it’s very hard to do it in successive turns. Catchering for a cheaper prize doesn’t help a whole lot versus EX-based decks because if your opponent just keeps forcing EXs on you, you’re just making yourself take 7 Prizes.

3. Magnezone gets 1HKO’d by Zekrom-EX (and Reshiram-EX).

The theory of needing less Energy total is sound, but this fails to take into account that Magnezone also has to work twice as hard and fast to keep up. Magnezone is not slow by any means when speaking in a vacuum, but the speed of Zekrom/Eels and especially EXTC is almost blinding.

When thinking about this problem, I thought back of the last few times Magnezone was supposed to be on top of his game: first Emboar/Magnezone, and later Yanmega/Magnezone. Both of these decks have been improved in the past by a particular card that kept Magnezone in the games it should have been out of, and that card is Twins.

I made a rather ridiculously-different version of Magnezone/Eelektrik a while ago that I have been testing out. I am not perfectly happy with it, but the concept has been working well enough to the point where I want to show it to you, and let you know where it can probably best stand to be tweaked should you be interested. It is still under constant revision: if you ask me about this in a few days there’s a chance it’s already changed again.

Pokémon – 18

4 Magnemite TM
1 Magneton TM
3 Magnezone Prime
2 Tynamo NVI 38
1 Tynamo NVI 39
3 Eelektrik NVI
2 Pichu HS
1 Zekrom BLW
1 Mewtwo-EX NXD

Trainers – 28

3 Sage’s Training
3 N
3 Twins


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

Energy – 14

13 L
1 Double Colorless

Let’s make one thing quite clear here: this is an alternate version of how the deck is usually played. It is aimed to get back at EXTC and Zekrom/Eels focused around EXs. Sadly, this comes with some sacrifices in other matchups, but not unrepairable ones, I believe.

pokemon-paradijs.comThe center-point of the deck is that the traditional setup of your deck with Pokémon Collector is too slow and unreliable. The games where you don’t get Collector, you get completely blown out of the water, but your setup is too complex to get away with Dual Ball and you don’t have room for four Pokégear. However, the games where you do get a good set-up, you will usually be the favorite, since you have no damage cap.

So instead of hoping to get a better start than your opponent, you simply get on even ground with them using Pichu. Between two Pichu, three Level Ball and three Pokémon Communication, you have eight outs to it, and also other ways to draw into it. And with Pichu, you can get two Magnemite and two Tynamo in play, in addition to whatever you started with.

The obvious downside is that your opponent will get every Basic they could possibly want into play as well. Preferably you use Playground on turn 1 going first, which allows you to evolve before your opponent does, but you can definitely still get away with a later Playground versus EXTC or an opponent that already Collectored for several Tynamo (for example) regardless.

Once Pichu has done its job, all you have to do is get your first Rare Candy Magnezone, and everything else just pretty much flows from there. Your Eelektrik are very much in reach thanks to Level Ball, and in addition they also double as the Pokémon you need to shuffle in for Communication. Level Ball is also a good way to get fresh Tynamo/Magnemite into play during midgame.

Once you get that first Magnezone out, your opponent will have to make some difficult decisions on whether to try and KO the Magnezone you have, or prevent you from getting more, or focusing on your Eelektrik instead.

Between all this, they will likely leave Pichu alone, which is actually quite convenient as you can park it active after a KO or Switch, use Dynamotor and Magnetic Draw as you please, and then retreat to the appropriate attacker. The three Twins obviously work well in tandem with Pichu, as your opponent will likely take a Catcher KO around it.

pokemon-paradijs.comDespite the favorable Energy trade-off for Lost Burn on EXs, I still find that attacking with an alternative Pokémon helps sealing victory more than anything. These come in several flavors, and they have been switched around quite a bit. Zekrom BLW is not as sturdy and impressive as he was before, but without him we run into a lot of trouble against Durant.

This deck is absolutely not built for Mewtwo EX wars, having only Super Rod to re-use the singleton copy, but it discourages your opponent from building a big Mewtwo and it gets the cheapest 2 Prizes you will ever find with this deck. The fact that your opponent takes 2 Prizes in return is fine as long as you are able to take consecutive KOs from there on out, as it’s very difficult to match Lost Burn’s output.

I know people who still swear by Thundurus, but Charge is not as good as it was. Against decks featuring Tornadus, it gets the job done though. Zekrom-EX is solid play, but I think he requires the deck to run more Double Colorless, and since this deck needs to hit Lightning more than ever I only have one copy of that in this build.

Note that you don’t necessarily need to grab a 1HKO with these. Unless your opponent plays a healing card (Max Potion, Seeker, Super Scoop Up), you can hit a Mewtwo for 80 with Thundurus, and then Lost Burn for 100 to KO it.

The rest of the deck is fairly self-explanatory. I only have one Magneton because, while it is searchable by Level Ball, a Magnemite basically needs to Rare Candy ASAP in order to survive. It can be a nice lure to have the option, but with Item lock on the backburner using one Magneton was the best way to find room in my opinion.

Pichu and Level Ball have taken the place of the clunky Pokémon Collector, freeing up our Supporter for the turn for the usual suspects Sage and N. I am usually a fan of running only two N, but I’ve found myself dangerously close to decking out before, and this deck is also more comeback reliant than ever, so I went with three N. I know a lot of others swear by three to four, but since you run so few Supporters with this deck because of Magnetic Draw, often you’re forced to use it early and help your opponent out.

pokegym.netCompared to the regular versions of Magnezone, you should be better off versus EXTC, slightly better off versus Zekrom/Eelektrik (or Eelektrik/Big Basics really), around the same vs Durant, and worse versus Typhlosion, Chandelure/Vileplume, Six Corners, Coke, and The Truth. While Pichu and Level Ball are overall more consistent than Collector, they will sometimes force you to choose between giving your opponent a set-up or giving yourself no proper set-up.

I’ve found that the deck does better if you build up Energy in the discard (in play would be nice, but Catcher + Mewtwo makes that really difficult) and make a comeback than if you explode turn 2 and take a bunch of prizes, only to struggle to get the last few because you can’t Dynamotor. EXs put a large toll on the amount of Energy you can have in play at once, and the higher tempo of the game makes it harder to properly discard Energy with Sage and Junk Arm, since you are going through your deck extremely fast looking for Magnemite, Tynamo, Super Rod, etc.

I don’t think the Trainer line can really be tweaked effectively from here without losing the idea of the deck. Sometimes I want to go back to three Rare Candy, but since this version of the deck runs no Cleffa, one Magneton, and only six straight-draw Supporters, you really want to draw into that ASAP. I’ve found Super Rod preferable to the fourth Tynamo, since it can be used for other purposes such as the Durant matchup. It’s a bit of a pain if you can’t find it early enough, but it’s also more versatile and works well with Level Ball.

The moment you use Pichu, you’ve kind of signed a pact though. You’re going to throw everything you have against your opponent from that moment on, and so will he, so you need to make your turns count more than ever. Manage your Energy properly, know how many you have where at any time, and don’t get an Eelektrik stuck active with no way to get it out of there with two cards left in your deck.

If you don’t have a likely Magnezone following up your Playground, sometimes it’s better to hang back and do things the traditional way. For that reason you may want to play one Pichu/one Cleffa instead of the two Pichu I have right now.

Both the traditional Thunderdome and this version take risks. It is up to you as the player to choose which kind of risk you’d rather take: the risk of giving your opponent a set-up, or the risk of you not getting a set-up at all. I recommend you try this one before you knock it. It is definitely not for everyone, and I don’t expect it to be widely played. But when trying it, I really had the feeling I was on to something, and for that reason alone I think you should be giving it a spin at least once just to see if it’s for you.


I was totally not stoked for this deck, with the traditional Reuniclus variant being completely ruined and Mewtwo about to kill this thing to heck and back. But then I was shown a very interesting list by the very same Mees and have been toying around with it as my feel good deck. It has a pretty unique twist that hasn’t been posted anywhere as far as I’ve seen which I really enjoyed.

I remember not being very impressed by Gothitelle at first when Emerging Powers came out, and then really enjoying the versions with four Tropical Beach, getting amazing set-ups pretty much every game. So this is partly nostalgia, and partly winning.

Here’s what I last used. It’s been a while since I toyed with it since I was pretty satisfied with how it worked.

Pokémon – 18

4 Gothita EPO 43
1 Gothorita EPO 45
1 Gothorita EPO 46
4 Gothitelle EPO 47
3 Ralts NXD
1 Kirlia NXD
2 Gardevoir NXD
1 Pichu HS
1 Cleffa HS

Trainers – 32

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Twins
4 Sage’s Training


4 Pokémon Communication
4 Rare Candy
4 Junk Arm
4 Exp. Share
1 Pokémon Catcher


3 Tropical Beach

Energy – 10

10 P

Before I explain the more unusual parts of the list, I should probably explain what the idea is. Basically, you want to overwhelm your opponent with Gothitelle’s Madkinesis, which will generally take around three Energy to do. You set up an active Gothitelle first to slow your opponent down and protect your bench from Catcher, and focus on building another on your bench at the same time as Gardevoir. Gardevoir doesn’t have to be ready until you start attacking, so you can build that through Kirlia and use your Rare Candy for Gothitelles.

youtube.comThe moment your opponent gets over your first Gothitelle, your Twins activates. If you haven’t drawn into one of your three copies of Tropical Beach by then, you’ll want to get that into play, but hopefully that isn’t necessary. From now on you can draw through your deck at light speed, but you obviously don’t want to wait longer than necessary until you attack.

The moment you start using Madkinesis, it is very plausible that your opponent just gets overwhelmed, depending on what deck he plays. They can’t use Dual Ball, Pokémon Communication or Rare Candy to get more attackers into play, and every turn where your Gothitelle isn’t responded to, you get to attach another Energy to do 40 extra damage, which piles up extremely quickly.

However, Gothitelle is not invincible anymore, and because of that we have Exp. Share. Exp. Share under a one-sided Item lock is essentially an extra Energy attachment at times. It allows you to stream hard-hitting Gothitelle, instead of painfully having to start over from scratch. As long as you keep the Gothitas coming, you can keep a large part of your pretty large Energy supply alive with your four EXP Share and four Junk Arm. I like this a lot better than Shaymin/Jirachi.

And then we get to the more sour part of the story where Mewtwo is so problematic. You need a very, very quick attacking Gothitelle in order to be able to stop Mewtwo from just going through your deck. In addition, it donks every Basic in the deck for just a Double Colorless. This is another reason I haven’t really touched the deck since ECC. You can beat decks that tech Mewtwo fairly well, but a deck that focuses on Mewtwo will generally get the best of you.

Many Gardevoir lists I’ve seen include Mewtwo itself, but I don’t really believe that works well. This deck isn’t built to do a Mewtwo war, and sending up a Mewtwo breaks the Item lock, which lets your opponent flush their Trainers and attack your bench if you want to. It can work, but at that point you have a completely different kind of deck.“Aside from EXTC” (which is a pretty big aside), the deck should flow very well. The way it takes care of Durant reminds me of the way Kamehameha takes care of a Dragon Ball Z villain, wiping it away completely with no way to return. Zekrom-EX and Reshiram-EX can break your 130 HP “barrier,” but with Twins and Catcher, as well as your ability to stream Gothitelle, you can actually overcome that.

If you are not comfortable with one Catcher, I recommend trying three Junk Arm and two Catcher instead. Junk Arm is marvelous for Tropical Beach, but it can be tough deciding what to discard with Junk Arm early. Your main disposables are Sage’s, extra Tropical Beaches, and superfluous parts of your Gardevoir line.

If you’re courageous enough to give this a try in what is probably going to be an EXTC heavy metagame, I would recommend making the cuts for 2-0-1 or 1-0-1 Leavanny NVI. Since these will mostly serve to conserve your Gothitelle, you can cut into that line a little, replacing one Gothorita and one Gothitelle with a Super Rod, and possibly an EXP Share. It will also make the Mew matchup a lot easier, of course.

I think this deck is strong enough to make a slight splash at States, though not enough to get everyone wet. It will have quite a few decks snagged out of its humanlike hands unless you can get Leavanny out fast enough. The very concept of an early Trainer Lock is actually in a very convenient position right now, since almost no one takes it into account anymore for their deck building.

What this deck mostly taught me is how underrated Exp. Share is. It creates an extra bullseye on your bench, that makes it more difficult to get rid of the Energy you brought into play. Unfortunately it competes for a place with Eviolite, but I definitely think it has its place in the format.

Winning the Mewtwo War

I’ve talked about most of the dancing around Mewtwo EX, but an article about this format really can’t be done without discussing this Lord Voldemort himself. Every basic thing about this card has been said, but what has largely been left out is: how do you win a Mewtwo war? If you’ve neglected the methods of trying to make a deck to fight the beast, how can you at least improve your chances of winning when you’ve joined the dark side?

As has been said before, a large part of winning a Mewtwo exchange is simply having more of them. 3 Mewtwo is obviously the most you should be running, with Revives taking the place of any prized copies. Once you have entered a Mewtwo exchange, you really can’t back out of it unless the cards align just right for it, so if your deck is prepared for one you might as well go the full 100 yards.

These are the other cards that can determine the winner of a Mewtwo war.


pokemon-paradijs.comSince Mewtwo is weak to itself, PlusPower is worth double, though a lot of the time it will simply act as the 5th Energy between the two. Being able to kill a Mewtwo while only having two Energy attached can be pretty big, as it forces your opponent to either have three Energy on his, or add his own PlusPowers, etc.

While the decks most geared toward a Mewtwo exchange will run many, many copies of each of these cards, forcing them to have them is the very least you should do when just one whiff can just completely cost them the game.


Each of these is worth half a Basic Energy, or a single PlusPower. I haven’t seen Defender suggested much, but I have had quite some good experiences with the card in more traditional Zekrom/Eel builds, and these are the second best decks for facilitating Mewtwo exchanges. A Mewtwo with Eviolite and Defender has effectively 210 HP, so your opponent will likely need three Energy and a PlusPower to KO you.

Pokémon Catcher

A fully pledged Mewtwo battle consists of roughly five KOs total: three for the player that wins, and two for the player that loses. Because of that, theoretically you have a very small leeway where you can sacrifice something like a Tornadus, Celebi, Zekrom etc to a Mewtwo to buy yourself some time to build up a Mewtwo on your bench. That’s where Catcher comes in to prevent that. Praying your opponent whiffs on Catcher is a very tall order though, considering how many every deck with Mewtwo in it should run.

Pokégear, Professor Oak’s New Theory, Professor Juniper, Bianca, N, Copycat

Mewtwo doesn’t need a whole lot of cards to get going, but it does need some. In addition, since you should be constantly forcing your opponent to have something, every time you play one of these you are basically hoping to get that thing you need. Usually you have multiple outs though, e.g. I need either Skyarrow Bridge or Switch this turn, or either PlusPower or another G Energy, etc etc. Don’t play these unless you are looking for something in particular, because they are precious for lategame, when that green-haired guy hits the table.

pokemon-paradijs.comI consider N both a weakness and a strength of Mewtwo EX-based decks, and it’s up to the player to make sure to play to its strength. Your board’s power level is usually enormous during your turn, and then your Mewtwo is KO’d and it falls to rock bottom. Besides keeping as many draw Supporters in your deck as you can and trying to keep multiple Mewtwo in play while you can still attack every turn is about all you can do to protect yourself from N.

The odd one out in this little row is Bianca. While normally very mediocre, it is one of the best ways to come back from being N’d, but I wouldn’t play it unless I’m full on the Professors. Copycat doesn’t do much in this regard, but whenever your opponent grabs a KO on Mewtwo EX their hand generally gets pretty big.

Pokégear is the reason why you should not take that cheap Celebi prize unless the situation really calls for it. If you get N’d to 2 cards, and you draw into a Junk Arm in your now 3-card hand into your turn, you can get Pokégear back and refresh your hand. You obviously can’t do that if you have been N’d to 1.


The decks best suited for winning a Mewtwo war have Energy acceleration. Celebi and Eelektrik are obviously top candidates because they are the fasest. If your acceleration is too slow, your opponent can potentially take it out before it works, while if it’s fast they can’t afford to go after it since they have a Mewtwo to take care of. Double Colorless Energy is obviously a no-brainer. Energy Retrieval is a pretty niche card to have, increasing the versatility of your Junk Arms. It also improves your Durant matchup.

More often than not, it will be a lot less complicated than I’m making it out to be here. It will simply be you and your opponent announcing X Ball over and over until one of you runs out of prizes. But those 2 games out of 10 or even 20 all day where you can get ahead of your opponent by some kind of “forced miracle” can be the crucial ones.


pokemon.wikia.comLast but not at least, I’d like to draw some attention to The Top Cut. I don’t think anyone here is unfamiliar with them, but if you check their site as religiously as I do, you’ll notice that there’s been quite a slow down in uploads lately. Part of the reason is that several of their members have been busy with work, school, and all that other unimportant stuff. Part of the reason is that PTCGO has been so glitchy that it’s become a huge pain for them to stream games, with login errors, deck builder errors, and of course the glitches within the gameplay.

They have mentioned before that they were disappointed that it was so hard to excite the TCG crowd nowadays. They uploaded the World Championship Videos in amazing quality on their YouTube channel, and hardly got any views out of it. [Editor’s Note: 21,000 views seems pretty good to me.]

For this reason, I believe we, as fellow fans, should do everything imaginable to support them in their mission to make the game bigger. One of the ways to do this is, well, donating to them. Right now, they do have a tiny little fundraiser-ish thing somewhere on their page. I have looked around a bit and actually haven’t found it anywhere else. It kind of seems to be hidden away.

Either way, I figured it could do with a little more exposure, since they’ve collected a grand total of $15 so far. I plan on donating some, and I think you should too, if only because they promised to upload more content for every $25/$50 that gets donated. Thanks a lot if you are generous enough to chip in to them!

And thanks for reading this whole thing if you did just that. If you enjoyed reading it, please do click that green checkmark button and/or comment on the forums thread. As always I’ll answer any questions to the best of my ability. Take care everyone, and good luck at States!

[P.S. Editor’s Note: I recommend everyone check out this article on DotDeck for some more ECC coverage and player decklists.]

…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.

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