Time to write another CotD, as I finally have information again to give back to 6P. This is on Terrakion NVI, whom as you may know, won VA States Championship. There is a lot to be said about the big guy, but first let me clarify: this States victory is not the sole purpose I am writing this CotD.
In fact, I have been testing a TrodeBox for some time that focuses primarily on Terrakion, and thus have been planning to write a CotD on him for a while – the fact he is doing well/plowing through our current meta and taking this win (and maybe others?) only makes him more relevant (not to mention I have tested with mono Terrakion as well and enjoyed it – more on that below).
Anywho, as a fellow 130 HP Basic, there are a few things to said. One issue I found myself in with TrodeBox – using Terrakion and Kyurem – was that, although I could blow an Electrode Prime to power them up in one turn, they only lasted that one turn. In our format, when a Mewtwo EX can 1HKO you so easily if you have three Energy on your Active, this simply was not working.
In mono Terrakion, however, you avoid this HP/Energy issue with the help of Exp. Share (which, honestly, I never thought I would find myself using until this deck came along). I will go into Terrakion’s attacks more below.
Beyond that, 130 HP on a Basic is still a nice touch, and obviously it is enough to pull you through games in which you are relying entirely on this Pokémon. With only giving up 1 Prize, you often will find yourself happy to see a Terrakion (or any non-Pokémon-EX) get KO’d to abuse Retaliate and Twins and keep you well on pace with the prize race.
First, we have Retaliate. As mentioned before, with the help of Exp. Share, the two-Energy cost of this attack becomes essentially just your normal Energy attachment per turn, in a mono Terrakion deck running four Exp. Share.
In other decks, it is still a low-cost attack that can make or break a situation, due to it being a potential 180 damage for two Energy against a huge chunk of our meta right now (Eelektrik line, Zekrom, Magnezone Prime line, Thundurus EPO, Zebstrika NDE line, Zapdos, Zekrom-EX, Regigigas-EX, even Zoroark if anyone still plays him).
In essence, this attack is either a hard or soft counter to most everything, sort of like an insurance policy you take out on your Active Pokémon when you have a Terrakion on the Bench with one to three Energy or just an Exp. Share, as now your opponent cannot just blindly take prizes. Even with Catcher and Switch running rampant, it is hard to avoid this attack in any deck that runs two or more Terrakion.
Next is Land Crush. With the 90 damage, this beautiful attack will 2-shot any non-Eviolited Pokémon in the format right now (correct me if I am wrong here). The three-Energy cost is beautiful in that a Terrakion that Retaliated last turn now just requires the normal Energy attachment (assuming it survives – this format is crazy how fast and high damage it is becoming) to continue the 90-damage pace and ensure the damage, regardless of whether or not you lose another Pokémon.
The issue with Land Crush, however, is also the Energy cost as well. Requiring two Fighting energy makes using this attack much more difficult in decks that are splashing in a Terrakion with Rainbow Energy/Prism Energy (Electrode Prime being not so bad, but still a gamble).
Rainbow alone is sort of like suicide as it brings you down to the unmagical 120 HP easier-1HKO-range, and, unless you run F Energy, getting two Prism on this guy can be quite tricky. Hence the fluidity of mono Terrakion in running basic F Energy to streamline the attack.
There are only two big names out there currently that resist Fighting type, and those are Shaymin EX and Tornadus. I delve into them specifically in the Matchups section below.
As far as weaknesses go in our format, this is one of the very strongest. The only Grass Pokémon that really see play right now are Celebi Prime (who will not be attacking), Shaymin EX (causes trouble, but would probably be 1HKOing you anyway due to usually coming out late game, and thankfully has a workable HP), and Virizion NVI who simply stomps you unless you 1HKO it. Virizion is not seeing as much play, but I have seen it starting to be teched into CMT decks (it fits so easily in) to counter Terrakion decks. More on these specific matchups below.
The four retreat is a blessing in that it is Heavy Ball compatible, but beyond that, there is nothing enjoyable about it. Catcher is a nuisance to this guy (particularly in a non-mono Terrakion deck) and requires heavy lines of Switch. Sometimes, you cannot always get the Switches out, thus needing Twins to snag one, and you fall behind.
Manual retreat is pretty much ridiculous (although I have played a game where I manually retreated the same Terrakion twice…). This means combining Terrakion for the Retaliate aspect in a slow deck like Vileplume UD can be pretty sketchy – nothing is worse than having one stuck as your active and knowing that if you attach Energy to it, it will be KO’d.
Thus, you inadvertently allow your opponent to set up, even though you got out a Vileplume by T2 or T3 (not the same lone Energy argument as we saw in Donphan Prime for Truth decks ages ago).
A FEW TERRAKION MATCHUPS
As I briefly mentioned earlier, due to the nature of Terrakion’s attacks, Mewtwo EX is not as scary here as he is to most other Pokémon. Because Retaliate only takes two Energy, you can have a Terrakion on the bench with either one or no Energy on him (as long as it has an Exp. Share), and still be able to do 90 the next turn if you lose a Pokémon. This means Terrakion is not easy Catcher fodder for Mewtwo while still being a threat – it will take five to seven Energies on Mewtwo to 1HKO you.
On top of that, your next turn you attach to your Terrakion with one Energy and you now 2HKO that same Mewtwo. Obviously things can go wrong here, and of course Eviolite exists, which is why I stress the importance of Lost Remover and Crushing Hammer in a mono Terrakion deck, to slow down that Mewtwo and make the 2HKO very probable.
Ah, yes. One of the few popular names in the format right now that resists poor Terrakion. The resistance is not that crucial except in the beginning of the game, due to the non-revenge Retaliate only doing 30, which translates to ten on this guy. This makes 2-shotting him more difficult (as can easily be done with Thundurus without losing a Pokémon), requiring either two Land Crushes or a sacrificed prize.
In addition, Tornadus is often paired with Celebi Prime and thus 2-shots you as well, often do 80 damage by turn one with the help of DCE. On top of that, with Skyarrow Bridge out, the Tornadus can simply fall back to another (or a Mewtwo EX/Virizion NVI) and put you in a million miles of trouble. Thus, we begin to see some the flaws in mono Terrakion that require teching to fix consistently.
Same argument as Tornadus as far as 2-shotting; Shaymin hits for weakness while resisting you. Ultimately the 2-Prize reward for a 110 HP makes Shaymin more appetizing than Tornadus or Virizion; however, this dude will one shot you (which can be set up in one turn with Celebi Prime) with either 1 Prize taken and a PlusPower, or 2 Prizes onward – meaning he can sometimes take two Terrakion off ya before you wipe ‘em out in a mono Terrakion deck (with the probable help of Catcher), evening out the prize field.
While this may not seem so bad, the tables turn pretty quickly if you have trouble reviving those Terrakion, or do not recover quite as fast as they do.
Same argument as Tornadus as far as 2-shotting with the abuse of retreat goes, Virizion hits for weakness. Again, this guy can be hitting you for 80 as early as turn one as well, and then it will only be 1HKO after that. While you will, of course, kill him off with a Retaliate, eventually, no matter what, they stay ahead in the prize race due to the non-EX factor.
This makes Virizion a formidable foe. Double PlusPower is your ally here for the 1HKO revenge Retaliate or Land Crush, and one pulled off with a hand disruption beforehand, like N or Judge, to avoid the quick recovery next turn can seal the deal for a little while, if indeed they only tech one or two to counter you.
The only other card I have heard of giving mono Terrakion real trouble; while the above scenarios I have actually encountered in testing, due to TyRam being not that popular anymore, I have not encountered this myself. This issue is that Flare Destroy will consistently defeat your manual Energy attachment for the turn, leaving you always one Energy behind, even with Exp. Share, until at least one or two Terrakion are KO’d. All in all, I would not worry too much about this – the same argument is applied for Crushing Hammer after all.
As I mentioned in the forums, unless the Typhlosion is active and hitting by T2 or T3 with Flare Destroy, you should be able to see it coming and use Catcher/Crushing Hammer to disrupt the flow early enough before they are entirely set up with the big momma. I cannot speak entirely confidently on the matter, however, so I thought I would note him as a threat nonetheless.
MONO TERRAKION DECK CONCLUSION
In a totally stale Electric meta, this deck can really shine. Otherwise, it is too simple and limited to be able to handle a wide variety of matchups. In other words, as time goes on, either this deck will have to find suitable techs that fit without ruining consistency (it is a very flexible deck after all), or fade away.
The likes of Tornadus and Virizion with free retreat is hard to stomach when you only have Terrakion to help and you find yourself relying on Crushing Hammer/hand disruption to stand a chance in the prize race (and both being so easy to tech to counter your whole deck).
On a personal side note, mirror matchup against mono Terrakion is perhaps the most boring game of all time.
FUTURE OF TERRAKION
If indeed in the next set we see a rise in play of Dark type due to a built-in Trainer Energy acceleration of Dark Patch and auto free retreat of Darkrai EX, this is only good news for Terrakion.
We can also add Raikou-EX on the list of our 1HKOers, while Tornadus EX is just terrifying – I mean, let’s be honest – with a Skyarrow Bridge out, he is a Basic with 170 HP, free retreat, can do 60 for a lone DCE, and 100 for a DCE and a G Energy from Celebi Prime – in other words, 100 damage first turn instead of the 80 we are seeing now from CMT. My goodness.