Hey SixPrizes. This is my 4th article in the last couple weeks, so apparently I’m writing at a pace like a Ninjask. In my last deck article, I started out by saying that I wasn’t confident the deck could win a States, and some people weren’t too enthusiastic about that. Well, this time I’m bringing you a deck I think has a real shot at taking a States. I’m going to be busy with school over the next few weeks and I won’t be getting a chance to play this at a tournament until Regionals in April, so I’ll just offer this idea to you and you can take it and run with it if you want.
Unlike my last rogue deck, which I spent a couple weeks working out, this deck was thrown together the night before last Saturday for a friend to run at our Provincials. He wanted to use Chandelure NXD, so Starmetroid and I put together a list really quick. It wasn’t meant to be anything amazing, nor did I think it would do all too well, but it was a fun idea to test out. The deck ran Chandelure NXD, Ninetales HS, and a couple Victini NVI 15.
The night before, I played a few matches against my friend’s ZekEels and we were about even in the five games we played. This really piqued my interest, but it was just too untested and I had already said my friend could be the one running it, so I didn’t spend much time on it after that.
After Provincials, I went back to the deck because I really enjoyed the concept and my few games the night before had been really fun to play. Ninetales HS as a draw engine is just brilliant if you can dedicate two or three bench spots to it. There’s no better feeling than holding 20+ cards in your hand, playing what you want, then N’ing your opponent to one and knowing you can flip for Burned Tower for an energy to recover your hand, if you don’t just get an energy or draw support off the bat.
Essentially, a deck that plays as though it’s your hand can’t be bad. That’s the idea behind this deck’s success. I’m not going to bother posting my initial list, because it’s very similar to my current list, and I feel my current list is a bit better. Here’s the list:
Pokémon – 18
4 Litwick BLW Promo
4 Chandelure NXD
Trainers – 28
1 Junk Arm
Energy – 14
The main differences between my initial list and this one was the addition of Pokémon Communication and the removal of a second Victini NVI 15. I definitely enjoy Victini’s 100 damage output for cheap though. This deck has no energy acceleration, so it’s very important that the attackers can make efficient use of their energy.
Thus why Chandelure works so well. 90 total damage for only one energy? Yes please. On top of that, with Level Ball capable of searching for Ninetales HS and extra Litwicks or Vulpixes or Victini, the deck could at least pull out what it needed after some straight draw. This lead to one of the strangest parts of building this deck for me, but first I’ll do some general card explanations.
Ninetales HS: Ninetales is your draw engine. It’s searchable by Level Ball and can be set up by the second turn very easily with Litwick BW 27’s Call for Family. You’ll enjoy playing with your 10+ card hand thanks to Ninetales.
Lampent NXD: At first I was going to be using Lampent NVI for its Luring Light attack, but I changed my mind about Lampent NXD due to Durant. For the most part, you’ll just be Rare Candying into your Chandelures, so the Lampent line doesn’t see much action.
However, when playing Durant, you can’t Roast Reveal through your deck to set yourself up. Lampent provides an attacker that can 1HKO Durant that is searchable by Level Ball and only takes two Energies to attack. I figured at first that Ninetales would provide me my Durant counter, but Crushing Hammer flips, Pokémon Catcher and rogue Rotom Plasma Arrows convinced me it wasn’t the optimal solution.
Furthermore, Lampent NXD allows you to attack as the game progresses, and you can evolve it into Chandelure later when you get the chance.
Chandelure NXD: A turn 2 Chandelure NXD is threatening. Tynamos and babies have to run in fear, and you get to set up KOs for the next turn. You can also 1HKO Celebi Prime while spreading to the Benched Pokémon. Flame Burst + Inferno also KOs all the genies (Tornadus EPO, Thundurus EPO, Landorus NVI) and can flip for Burn damage to KO any 130 HP Basic.
The Burn damage is especially annoying against high-HP EXs that this deck would otherwise have trouble dealing with. EXs require a lot of resource investment, so it’s often annoying to retreat them manually to heal the Burn. This means they’ll stay in to be Burned and put into KO range of Inferno or Victini.
Victini NVI 15: Victini hits for 100 with V-Create when you have a full Bench. Chandelure spreads 30 damage. 100+30 is a magical combination that is hard to see fault in. And hey, it’s searchable by Level Ball. Furthermore, against EXs, Chandelure Infernos for 80 and burn, and Victini hits for 100 straight. Through those two turns, any EX, Eviolited or not, should be KO’d.
Cheren: With how much you’ll be drawing with Ninetales, you want the option of further straight draw. You don’t want to shuffle your 10-card hand back just to search for a Rare Candy. You also can draw so efficiently that Cheren suffices whereas normally you would look to Sage’s Training for efficient straight draw.
Professor Oak’s New Theory (PONT): Best shuffle-back Supporter in the format. With Ninetales HS, you can burn through your deck very quickly, so it’s good to have shuffle-back to prevent yourself from decking out.
N: N performs the same role as PONT, but with the ability to disrupt your opponent. With Burned Tower and Ninetales, you can recover from your own one-to-three card N pretty easily in the late game. One game, I drew nine cards to finish off what was in my deck looking for an N and a Pokémon Catcher just to shuffle it back afterwards and N my opponent and myself to one card, only to do it again next turn. Ninetales and N have the same sort of synergy that Magnezone Prime and N have, but Ninetales is a bit easier to set up.
Rare Candy: You want your Chandelure as soon as possible. Enough said.
Pokémon Communication: My original list didn’t run any Pokémon Communication, and ran four Level Balls. But sometimes you just need that Chandelure and you can’t draw into it. That’s why Communication is here. With 18 Pokémon in the deck, you can also make good use of it.
Pokémon Catcher: Pokémon Catcher. It’s just too good. Even though this deck spreads its damage, Pokémon Catcher can provide disruption, allow for Celebi kills against CMT, and stick Terrakions or other high-retreat-cost Pokémon in the Active slot as you spread them to death. It also allows for Victini NVI 15 and Chandelure to KO what needs to be KO’d when it needs to be KO’d with their respective higher-base-damage attacks.
Energy Retrieval: With Ninetales, Energy Retrieval is like two Cherens. It also lets you get back the Energy you’ll be discarding so you can attach it that turn. Any deck without Energy acceleration really appreciates being able to attach an Energy per turn, and this deck is no exception.
EXP Share: EXP Share is most useful for charging Victini NVI 15 or a Chandelure for Inferno in one turn, but is also helpful for preserving Energy when you want to draw with the Energy in your hand.
Super Rod: You need to be streaming Chandelures fast. Rescue Energy helps with this, but with Super Rod, you can get back the important parts of your line based on what you have in your hand, and then search for them or just draw into them to keep up the pressure.
If you’ve been unlucky with Burned Tower and have already used your Energy Retrievals, Super Rod provides just one more way of increasing the Fire Energy available to you in your deck. This can mean you can use Ninetales’ Roast Reveal to draw the cards you need, and feel okay that you’ll still be able to draw into Energy later.
1 Junk Arm: This is that strange part of building this deck I mentioned. I know. I know it’s crazy. Junk Arm is a card you run at least three of (often four) to increase consistency. But this deck just doesn’t need more.
The big realization I came to as to why more Junk Arms just weren’t working for me was because of the Supporter line. I ran Cheren, N and Oaks. There are no Junipers, no Sages Training, just straight draw and shuffle. Ninetales provides further straight draw and I only have to discard Energies to do it.
The fact of the matter is, the deck is at my fingertips. Junk Arm is used to access the card you need, when you need it. But with the amount of draw potential in this deck, you can already accomplish that! I nonetheless just feel comfortable having one in the deck. It means that if any of my Trainer lines weren’t enough for me that game, I can get one back.
Rescue Energy: Chandelures. They’re important. Keep ‘em when you can.
Fire Energy: Fire Energy is one of the most important parts of the deck. You get to drop it like it’s hot.
As far as strategy goes, the deck is pretty simple. Promo Litwick is your ideal starter, but you might not always get one. That’s okay as long as you can get another Basic on your bench with a Level Ball or by just drawing into it. On your second turn, you’re going for a Chandelure, and to do that, it’s helpful to have a Ninetales.
From there, just start spreading 30 and reply to threats appropriately. Chandelure NXD’s 120 HP is a bit disappointing, but with the format using Pokémon like Thundurus, Tornadus, Mewtwo EX and Zekrom EX as main attackers, Chandelure doesn’t have to worry about as many 1HKO’s that its NVI counterpart can handle.
Zekrom BLW and Reshiram BLW are of course a big problem, but Zekrom BLW isn’t as annoying. Usually you’ll get a Chandelure attacking before they get Zekrom BLW attacking, meaning you can give it 30 damage.
This means after a Bolt Strike it’s in Inferno range. Even without the extra 30 damage, after a Bolt Strike, Victini can revenge KO it. This is probably the biggest reason I play with Exp. Share in the deck.
The only time you play the deck any differently is against Durant. This deck tries to draw very quickly to be consistent. Without the ability to do this, the matchup turns surprisingly unfavourable. This is why Lampent NXD made it into the deck. As I mentioned earlier, all you need to do to beat Durant is Level Ball for your Lampent and start Embering your way to victory.
And if you get the chance, you can evolve and Flame Burst to spread damage and take multiple prizes per turn (which is hard to recover from for Durant).
2nd Victini NVI 15: If you wanted to increase the damage output to the active, you could use an extra Victini. This guy is your worst starter in the deck though, so keep that in mind.
Tyrogue: With Cleffa and 30 HP Tynamo ever prevalent, and all of your starters having one retreat cost, Tyrogue can earn you the turn 1 donk. Searchable by Level Ball and of course by Pokémon Communication, you shouldn’t have trouble grabbing it. Be wary about why you include Tyrogue though. Chandelure NXD already kills up to three Tynamos by the second turn, so Tyrogue is only useful on the first turn of the game.
Chandelure NVI: This isn’t a tech I used in my testing, but people have seen this hit the field alongside Chandelure NXD. There was even a similar deck apparently run at Texas States, which focused on Chandelure NVI. The big advantage it offers is to place 30 damage as you please before spreading 30 everywhere. This can mean hitting one benched Pokémon for 30, another for 40, and another for 50 by the end of the turn. I was pretty surprised, but there’s more than one way to skin a Purloin. Watch for this card in the future.
Mewtwo EX: Hurp durr I’m a put Mewtwo EX in my deck and it’ll be good! But seriously, if you wanted to run two DCE instead of the Rescue Energies and play around with your Trainer lines a little, Mewtwo can help win you the Mewtwo war. You can also use Mewtwo over Victini and have him charged with Exp. Share.
Pichu HS: A way to fill your bench on the first turn? Yes please! Granted, you let your opponent do the same, but if you went first, that’s a very dangerous move for a ZekEels player to make. I strongly recommend trying Pichu as a tech.
This section of the article was added last-minute, but it was too important to talk about to leave it out of the mix. There were a couple similar lists (Chandelure/Ninetales) run at the Texas States Championships. Now, neither deck made Top 16 (though a ReshiBoar running Chandelure NXD tech did), but one did at least have a fair record (started the day 3-1, I don’t know it’s final placing).
The deck focused on Chandelure NVI to start as your main active Pokémon, and used excess Switch to abuse Chandelure’s ability. Chandelure NXD would then come in and spread 30 three ways for an effective finisher.
I have to say I like my list/playstyle more, as a Cursed Shadow is nowhere near as effective as just going for a Flame Burst, but I can definitely see positives in running an even mix of Chandelures (i.e. HP, efficient snipe). If this deck sees any more play or any success at a States, I may just have to test it more extensively and come up with a proper deck article looking at a general skeleton list and filling it in with different options.
Expect this versatile rogue to see at least some play out there, as I wasn’t the only one who had this idea it seems. Good to know that at least my list hit the scene at the same time as the first lists of others though. I feel like a proud papa.
This deck just plays very quickly and deals high total damage for very little Energy. That’s practically the recipe for any successful deck. It also has good matchups against the top three decks in the current format. From further testing (I didn’t keep track of the games) it plays about on par with ZekEels and has at least an even matchup against CMT (if not better).
Mewtwo becomes ineffective when Chandelure gets to discard its Energy as it attacks. Burn damage also gets through the Eviolite, which was a problem I’ve had with spread decks in the past. Chandelure’s 120 HP is also more than enough to deal with Tornadus.
Durant is practically an auto-win, even moreso than ReshiPhlosion. Mono Terrakion NVI is also a favourable matchup, though the combination of Retaliate and Land Crush can be an annoying 2HKO. However, the ability to spread damage and kill Terrakions with Inferno makes it difficult for Mono Terrakion to come out on top.
ReshiPhlosion is probably the deck that would give you the most grief, since it streams Reshirams and has high-HP Energy accelerators. But it’s not as strong a play at the moment.
There you have it. I’d love to hear feedback on the deck, and if you build it, how you felt playing it. This deck I genuinely feel has a chance to win a tournament. It already has solid matchups against the top tier decks in the metagame, but with rogue factor included, you should hopefully have the advantage. On top of that, it’s named “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” And as I mentioned last time, a deck needs a good name to win a tournament.