No Lightning without Fighting

pokemon-paradijs.comHello SixPrizes Underground!

Adam was kind enough to offer me 2 article spots this month instead of the usual one. I, of course, couldn’t decline since this is a very good time to write an article. The U.S. States are finished and the U.S. Regionals are on their way, not to mention that international States/Provincials/Territory Championships are also still ongoing.

I haven’t been doing so hot in my own States, getting only to top 8 two times, but thankfully they were great experiences and I saw a lot of interesting decks in the tournaments.

The UG staff has done great job covering the metagame of States Championships every week. That’s why I’ll only take a quick look the States results and analyze how it will affect the metagame of next tournament series – Regionals. In the results analysis, I’ll concentrate on results and decks that are unusual or unexpected in my opinion.

After the analysis of States metagame and Regionals predictions, I’ll take a look on 4 decks that surprised me in the States Championships. These decks are Terrakion variants, Donphan Prime/Mewtwo EX, and surprisingly Durant.

I hope that you’ll find this article informative as usual and that it helps you to widen your prospect to the metagame from ZekEel and CMT only. There are still other decks out there that can be competitive and surprising at the same time.

A Good Time to Rock the Rogue

The thing that is often forgotten in a very stale and straightforward metagame, is that counter decks and rogues are easier to come up with, than in a versatile metagame. That’s because of the simple fact, that one or two decks can be easily countered with 2 different Pokémon, even though they would have zero synergy between them.

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Probably the best example of this was the 2008 season when Gardevoir SW/Gallade SW was all over the metagame. After the U.S. Nationals, the metagame was set to look like nothing but Empoleon/Bronzong and Gardevoir/Gallade. Even though GG ended up winning the whole thing in two age divisions, there were still a good amount of rogue decks that did well.

One of them – Toxicroak MD/Scizor MD – ended up winning one age group. The other rogue – straight Blissey – took 2nd place in Masters and even my weirdest rogue ever – Glaceon LV.X/Absol SW – nabbed me a top 8 finish at the Worlds… only the most horrible possible prizes prevented me to get into 4.

As I said in my last article, there were still room for surprising decks in the metagame and the players didn’t disappoint my expectations. The only rogue I listed in my last article that wasn’t played was Chandelure NVI/Gengar Prime, and this was due the fact that the deck is probably just too slow for the current format.

To be honest, I’m planning to go to Worlds with a rogue deck this year because the metagame seems to favor them at the moment. The surprise factor of new decks is an advantage that shouldn’t be underestimated when it comes to big tournaments like Regionals, Nationals, and Worlds.

States Results and Their Impact on the Regionals Metagame

The U.S. States Championships are now over and we have the results. Surprisingly, there isn’t anything too surprising to report. Let’s look at the breakdown of top 2 decks in Masters age Division.

(Sources: Pokégym.net + TheTopCut.net)

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Wins

19× Zekrom/Eelektrik
18× Celebi Mewtwo (x1 w/ Terrakion)
4× Durant
3× Landorus/Terrakion
2× Reshiphlosion
1× Straight Terrakion
Donphan Prime/Mewtwo EX

Top 2

40× Celebi Mewtwo
34× Zekrom/Eelektrik
6× Durant
5× Landorus Terrakion
3× Terrakion
2× Donphan/Mewtwo EX
2× Reshiphlosion
Electrode Prime/Terrakion/Mewtwo/Reshiram
1× Meesie Mew (AKA Mew Prime, Yanmega Prime, Terrakion NVI, Lost Zone targets)

I think the numbers speak for themselves. The tier 1 decks are Zekrom/Eelektrik variants and Celebi/Mewtwo EX/Tornadus variants. This was expected and I think there isn’t much to analyze in their results. These decks have been analyzed completely in the previous UG articles and there weren’t even surprising techs in the decks that are worth mentioning. It’s far more interesting to look at the next best decks in the format because I think that few of them are pretty interesting.

First, there is Durant. In my last article, I predicted that Durant wouldn’t win any States. I was wrong about that. Durant managed to win 3rd most States and that was a huge surprise for me. When it comes to big tournaments, it takes a great player and list to win with Durant. The deck is still too inconsistent and flip-reliant in my opinion.

pokemon-paradijs.comHowever, I’m pretty sure that players who managed to win with this deck didn’t win on Crushing Hammer heads, but thanks to their skills. Later on in this article, I will analyze reasons for Durant’s success more deeply.

Second, not too surprisingly, there are Fighting decks, which are the main topic of this article. In my opinion, they are do or die decks – if you face a lot of good matchups during the tournament (mainly Eelektrik variants), you can do very well in the tournament. However, if you face a lot of Reshiphlosions and CMTs in the tournament, you’ll have very hard time getting through the Swiss rounds.

Fighting decks aren’t the best decks in the format, but as long as they have good matchups against the most played decks of the format, they won’t be disappearing anywhere. And if one looks at the next set – Dark Explorers – one quickly understands that Fighting decks won’t be disappearing anywhere for a while.

Rest of the metagame is a mix of all kinds of decks. If we look at the top 2 decks, there are Reshiphlosion, MeesieMew, and Electrode/Terrakion/Mewtwo EX/Reshiram-EX that have been getting random top 2 places. If we look at the top 4 placements, there are even more random decks, but the same decks are still highly dominating.

The most interesting part of States Championships results isn’t the results, but what they mean for Regionals and its metagame. To figure this out, we must look back in time. How did the results of last year’s States affect last year’s Regionals’ metagame? One may say that looking back in time isn’t wise because every year is different, but that isn’t the complete truth. The metagame of Pokémon TCG is usually very predictable.

The best example of this is probably the correlation in the Masters age group of the U.S. Nationals and World Championships. Let’s take a look at what the results have looked like in the Nintendo-era and if there is any pattern we can notice.

2004 – Gardevoir/Delcatty won Nationals – didn’t make top 4-of Worlds
2005 – Medicham EX won Nationals – didn’t make top 4-of Worlds
2006 – RaiEggs won Nationals – didn’t make top 4-of Worlds
2007 – Absolutions won Nationals – Absolutions won Worlds
2008 – GG won Nationals – GG won Worlds
2009 – Luxray/Infernape won Nationals – didn’t make top 4-of Worlds
2010 – Sablelock won Nationals – didn’t make top 4-of Worlds
2011 – Yanmega/Magnezone won Nationals – didn’t make top 4-of Worlds

pokemon-paradijs.comAs you can see, the Nationals winning decks have rarely been able to re-prove themselves in the World Championships. This is due one simple fact – the metagame has become so hostile against them that they couldn’t do well. The fear of hostility also decreased the amount of players playing the Nats winning decks in the World Championships, which was one reason, the decks couldn’t do well – no one believed in the deck anymore.

There are 2 exceptions for this rule – years 2007 and 2008. In 2007, Chris Fulop won Nationals with his Absolutions deck and my friend Tom Roos won Worlds with the very same deck. Absolutions probably wasn’t the best deck of the format back then, but it was the most consistent one. The metagame of 2007 Worlds was the craziest one I’ve ever seen, and in the end, consistency won over techs.

In 2008, GG was dominating as soon as Gardevoir and Gallade were released. There were some secret decks and other metagame decks that could put up with GG, but in the end GG won both Nationals and Worlds. It was the most played deck during the whole season.

As we can see, there is a clear pattern between at least Nationals and Worlds. Can we find a similar pattern when it comes to States and Regionals? Let’s take a look.

So when we look at last year’s States, the 1st place results looked like this.

16× Luxchomp (1 w/ Honchkrow)
5× Sablelock (1 w/ Luxray SP) (2 Chenlock)
Vileplume UD/Gengar SF
Gyarados SF
3× DialgaChomp
2× Lostgar w/ Vileplume
2× Machamp (1 w/ Vileplume)
1× Arceus
Steelix Prime
Scizor Prime
1× Vilegar / Dusknoir
1× Magnezone

The is a first time for everythingpokegym.netAs we all remember, the last format was all about Pokémon SP and Luxchomp was the dominating deck. It seems that the previous format was more versatile than the current format, if we look at the winning decks. The real question is: did Luxchomp’s domination decrease in the Regionals since it was the dominating deck in the States? You might remember the answer, but let’s still take a look at the winning decks of last year’s Regionals:

8× Luxchomp variants (1 Loxchomp)
2× Vilegar
1× Sableye variant(s)
1× Machamp/Vileplume
1× MagneRock

Luxchomp was even more dominating during Regionals. There are few reasons for that. First, the level of players is very high in Regionals. There are only 13 Regionals Championships in the U.S., while there are over 40 States Championships in the U.S. There won’t be any Regionals where a mediocre player can win with a rogue because there will be a lot of high-level players playing the BDIF of the format (in this case Luxchomp).

Second reason is that people know what’s good, so the tier 1 decks will be even MORE popular than they were during States Championships. Players didn’t necessarily have all the cards they needed for the top decks in States, but they will surely have them in Regionals. The relative amount of tier 1 decks will be higher than in States.

Third, the surprise decks aren’t surprise decks anymore. The Championship Point value for States Championships and Regionals is the same, and since winning States is easier than winning Regionals, players go all out in States and reveal their secret decks in States. Since the format doesn’t change between States and Regionals, all the secret decks are usually revealed when Regionals take place. The tier 1 decks’ players adjust their decks against the rogues of the format and when that happens, rogues don’t have a chance to succeed like they did, when no one expected them.

Looking at these facts, what will the upcoming Regionals metagame look like? Well, if the pattern will be the same as last year, the results of Regionals will look like this:

3× Eelektrik/Zekrom variants
3× Celebi/Mewtwo variants

And that’s about it. Simple and boring. Since there will be only 6 Regionals in the spring, there won’t be that much to analyze. Also, these two decks are so clear tier 1 decks that, I expect them to win all the tournaments. The numbers might be slightly off – it could be 4 Eelektriks and 2 Celebis or the other way around, but nevertheless, this is the reality of the current metagame.

I must say that I’ll be very surprised if Durant wins any Regionals. I was already surprised that it won States, but a Regionals victory would be an even greater surprise for me. Over 50% of players will be playing either Eelektrik variant or a Celebi variant. The metagame will stay this stale until Dark Explorers is released because Eelektrik and Celebi variants help each other in this metagame.

They’re pretty much like Empoleon variants and Gardevoir/Gallade variants in 2008 season. It was almost impossible to find a counter deck against both of them because their weak points were so different.

The same goes with Eelektrik and Celebi variants – Lightning is weak to Fighting, but Tornadus has resistance to Fighting. Celebi variants are fast; Eelektrik variants are slower, but more powerful. N hurts Celebi variants a lot, but Eelektrik variants couldn’t care less about N etc.

The only common enemy of these both decks is Durant, but even though Durant’s matchup against Celebi is good, its matchup against Zekrom is at its best 50-50. Not to mention that random decks like Landorus/Terrakion or Reshiphlosion have an upper hand against Durant. Even though these random decks don’t have good matchups against every deck, they will still be played because when facing only the right matchups, they can reach high placements in the tournaments.

Terrakion and Landorus/Terrakion

Terrakion was all the rage when the results of first weekend came up. Everyone was asking about it and the UG staff did very good work in analyzing it as soon as possible. You must be bored with straight Terrakion lists already, but I just want to show you my build just in case you’ve missed the previous lists, or you’ve found the lists already released non-successful.

Pokémon – 4

4 Terrakion NVI

Trainers – 43

4 N

4 Professor Oak’s New Theory

3 Professor Juniper
2 Copycat
2 Pokégear 3.0

 

4 Junk Arm
4 Exp. Share
4 PlusPower
4 Pokémon Catcher
3 Heavy Ball
3 Crushing Hammer

2 Lost Remover
2 Switch
1 Revive
1 Super Rod

Energy – 13

12 F
1 Rescue

It’s funny to see how different the decklists of this deck are. I’ll take a quick look on the list and the key parts of it in my opinion. This will be just a fast run through the deck because this version of the deck has already been analyzed so many times.

pokemon-paradijs.comAnyway, first there is Copycat. You might think that it’s just my habit of putting Copycats everywhere, in here, in my Celebi/Mewtwo etc., but that isn’t the truth. Whenever I build a deck, I need to find a purpose for every single card of the deck. It’s no use playing with standard builds, if you don’t think that it’s the best way to things. Settling with what’s already found to be good shouldn’t be good enough; to win games and big tournaments, you need to gain every advantage you can get with deck building.

Copycat is here for same reason as it was in my Celebi/Mewtwo EX variant – mulligans. However, Terrakion mulligans even more often than Celebi, which makes Copycat even better. You can’t let your opponent be the only one that takes the advantage of your mulligans.

If you are able to take advantage of your own mulligans, why wouldn’t you do that? That’s right, there is no reason not to. Also, there are so many cards in this deck that you don’t want to discard that shuffle & draw is just the better way to go than discard & draw.

Second, there is Exp. Share. It’s the main reason why this deck even works. There is no reason to run less than 4 of them. You need them on every single Terrakion you play down, and there are no exceptions. One would think that Eviolite would be good in this deck, but in the end it isn’t.

After all, you don’t have any energy accelerators in this deck and the question is, do you have time to attach 2-3 energy from your hand to a single Terrakion during the game? No, you don’t. Exp. Share is the card that keeps this deck and its energy flowing throughout the game.

Third, there is Pokémon Catcher. It’s essential to play this card because it guarantees the almost auto-win matchup against Zekrom/Eelektrik decks. You can revenge anything on the field, thus destroying their Eelektriks and Tynamos from their bench. After they have lost all their energy accelerators, the game is over. Catcher also helps in taking easy prizes in the late game against the most difficult matchups, like CMT.

pokemon-paradijs.comLast but not least, there are Crushing Hammers and Lost Removers. I would like to add 1 more Crushing Hammer to the list to get the maximum disruption out of it, but I didn’t find space for it in my testing. Crushing Hammers and Lost Removers are more than important against Celebi variants. One heads on Crushing Hammer alongside with well-timed Lost Remover can turn the game around in just one turn.

Tornadus is this deck’s worst enemy and Tornadus with DCE doesn’t necessarily have to be killed as soon as possible – you just have to make sure that it doesn’t hit and that is manageable with these disrupting cards. These cards are also surprisingly effective against Zekrom/Eelektrik after you have finished off their energy accelerators. After that, they’re reliant to manual attachments and you can take an advantage of it with your energy discarding ability.

Another strategy that is very good against Tornadus variants, is using Black Belt. Black Belt is huge in this deck because it helps Terrakion to 1HKO a Tornadus. Also, solo-Terrakion is very often behind prizes so it can be useful against any random decks. You can get a revenge kill on Typhlosion Prime, or if you have a sick hand, you might be able to kill a Mewtwo EX with Retaliate, Black Belt and 4 PlusPowers (I’ve seen that happen once).

So, those were the key points of my solo-Terrakion, but as I promised, there is more. I think that combining both big Fighting Basic Pokémon of the format (Terrakion and Landorus), you can get some very good results. Here’s my take on Landorus/Terrakion, which is – in my opinion – the better play than a solo Terrakion due its versatility.

Pokémon – 9

4 Landorus NVI
2 Terrakion NVI
2 Mewtwo-EX NXD
1 Shaymin UL

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Juniper
3 Sage’s Training
3 N
3 Professor Oak’s New Theory

 

4 Junk Arm

4 Pokémon Catcher

3 Dual Ball

3 Switch

2 Pokégear 3.0
2 Exp. Share
2 PlusPower
2 Eviolite
1 Revive
1 Super Rod

Energy – 14

14 F

This deck has some more mobility and versatility than the solo-Terrakion. Let’s look at the Pokémon of this deck and what’s their purpose.

Landorus

pokemon-paradijs.comLandorus is the starter of the deck and the optimal opener. The Trainer lines of this deck has been adjusted to discard cards in the first turn, so Landorus can attach energy from the discard pile with its first energy every time in T1. It’s a huge part of this deck’s strategy and the first few turns often decide how the game goes on.

If you open with Landorus, start the game and are playing against Lightning deck, the one Landorus can bring you the victory. Landorus 1HKOs everything Zekrom/Eelektrik can put into your way, except for Mewtwo EX. However, as you can see from the list, this deck also runs Mewtwo EX, so counter 1HKOing a Mewtwo EX isn’t a too difficult task.

Landorus has the resistance to Lightning and when combined to Eviolite, it’s very hard to kill no matter which Lightning Pokémon you’re facing. Thanks to Eviolite, even a Mewtwo EX needs 4 energy attached to in order to kill fully loaded Landorus with 3 energy. Gaia Hammer also hits on the bench of each players so you might just get an easy prize off a Baby or a Tynamo that doesn’t have time to evolve before it takes 30 damage.

With Catchers, you should try to control the damage output of yours in a way that’s the most prudent. The less resources you use taking prizes in the early game, the more resources you have left to get the last prizes, which are usually more difficult to get.

Landorus is especially effective against Durant, which can be difficult for the normal solo-Terrakion. When it comes to solo-Terrakion vs. Durant matchup, it’s all about Durant’s Crushing Hammers flips. However, with Abundant Harvest, you can easily load enough energy to Landorus to kill all Durants with a single Landorus.

Of course, you shouldn’t rely on a single Landorus during the game because otherwise you’ll be killed with Rotom or Mewtwo EX in Durant. Gaia Hammer spreads just enough damage on the benched Durants that they’re in Gaia Hammer’s reach even though they have Eviolite attached to them when active.

Even though one Landorus is killed, you can easily get second up with the help of Abundant Harvest and Exp. Share. This is probably one of the only decks of the format that has an auto-win matchup against Durant.

Terrakion

pokemon-paradijs.comTerrakion doesn’t play such a big role in this deck as in the solo-Terrakion, but it’s still a very strong attacker which can hit for 90 with only 2 energy. It’s a considerable amount of damage with only 2 energy and since it’s a Fighting type Pokémon, there is no reason not to play it. Terrakion also works wonders as your energy bank, which you attach Exp. Share to.

While you’re bashing your way with Landorus, Terrakion can either work as a secondary attacker if you don’t have energy on any other Pokémon or as an energy bank. This energy bank can be accessed any time with Shaymin, this deck has in it. Shaymin can move the energy from Terrakion that it has gained with Exp. Share, to your other Pokémon and can make Mewtwo EX a very hard attacker with just one Celebration Wind.

Mewtwo EX

Mewtwo EXs only purpose here is to counter other Mewtwo EXs. This deck doesn’t have space for Lost Removers and Crushing Hammers, so you have to kill the active Mewtwos ASAP until they become too big of a threat. Mewtwo EX is easily accelerated with Shaymin or Exp. Share, so this deck doesn’t need to run Double Colorless Energy.

Shaymin

Shaymin is the heart of this deck. In fact, it might be a good idea to run 2 of them in the deck, if opening with it won’t hurt your game plan too much. Shaymin can be used with Abudant Harvest to energy accelerate any Pokémon of your deck very quickly.

Thanks to Shaymin and Abundant Harvest, you can even have Mewtwo EX attacking for 3 energy in T2. Just like 6 Corners, this deck would probably want to use Celebration Wind more than one time during the game, so playing 1 SSU, Seeker, or a 2nd Shaymin could be a great idea.

Trainers and Energy

pokemon-paradijs.comIf we look at the Trainer and Energy lines of this deck, there isn’t anything that stands out too much. Compared to solo-Terrakion, there are obviously more discard & draw cards because of Abundant Harvest. Also, the amount of Exp. Shares has been decreased. Eviolite is one card that is very versatile in this deck. It can help Landorus to survive one crucial turn in any point of the game as it can win you a Mewtwo EX war as well.

It might be worthwhile trying to run this deck with 4 Exp. Shares as well, but I believe in Eviolite because Gaia Hammer damages the bench of both players and with Eviolite, you don’t have to damage the most important Pokémon of yours.

As for energy, the total amount of energy is increased by one and they’re all Fighting energy. T1 Abundant Harvest is what you should be aiming with this deck, and that’s what the whole build of this deck is aiming at as well. More energy and more discard & draw Supporter cards to discard the increased energy amount of the deck.

Donphan/Mewtwo/Zekrom

As the metagame is filled with Lightning type decks that are all weak to Fighting, there one more Fighting attacker based deck that has risen to the top spots in the tournaments. That is Donphan/Mewtwo, but in fact is just an updated version of the old tier 2-3 deck Donphans & Dragons. Here is the skeleton list for the deck, which has quite a big amount of versatility.

Pokémon – 8

4 Phanpy HS
4 Donphan Prime

Trainers – 32

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

 

4 Junk Arm

4 Pokémon Catcher

3 Heavy Ball

3 Dual Ball
3 PlusPower

2 Pokégear 3.0
2 Switch
1 Super Rod

Energy – 11

11 F

That’s 51 cards in total, meaning 9 open slots to put in whatever you think fits the best against your metagame. Here are the best choices to fill in the slots.

Max Potion

pokegym.netIn the early days of my blog, I made an entry about solo-Donphan. You can find it here. It explains very in-depth how a solo-Donphan works with Max Potion and to-date, there isn’t much of a change in Max Potion’s or Donphan’s functionality. One can say, I was ahead of my time – big time, haha.

Max Potion is probably one of the most underused Trainers in the whole format. You can build this deck just like the deck in my blog- solo Donphan, max disruption and maxed out Max Potions, and maybe even Super Scoop Ups/Seekers.

The reasons why Donphan is good in this format are that Lightning types are now very popular and that Mewtwo EX is the best card in the format. Donphan tears down every single Lightning Pokémon thanks to its cheap attack that hits hard, and its resistance combined with its Body. Even a Zekrom-EX doesn’t 1HKO Donphan Prime, and that’s something very unsual for a non-Pokémon-EX in this format.

The reason why Donphan is so good against Mewtwo EX is Donphan’s low energy cost. Mewtwo EX feasts on high energy costs of this format, but while Donphan hits only with 1 energy, it’s almost impossible to 1HKO in one hit. Donphan 3HKOs Mewtwo EX, and Mewtwo EX only 2HKOs Donphan, so it’s a very good trade for Donphan player.

Add some disruption like Lost Removers/Crushing Hammers to the mix, and Mewtwo EX will have huge problems even with KOing Donphan Prime before Donphan KOs Mewtwo EX.

Mewtwo EX

If you aren’t comfortable with killing Mewtwo EXs with Donphan, you can always use Mewtwo EX in your deck as well. This will force you to put Double Colorless energy into your deck, so it decreases the consistency of the deck, but makes it more versatile. On the other hand, Double Colorless may also help you to get other secondary attackers to the deck as I’ll know explain.

Dragons

pokemon-paradijs.comEveryone should be familiar with the concept of Donphans and Dragons, where you Earthquake damage to your benched Digimons (Reshiram BLW, Kyurem NVI, and Zekrom BLW) and use Outrage after that. As I said, if you add DCE to your deck because you want to use Mewtwo EX, there is no reason not to add Dragons to your deck as well.

To be more accurate, there is no reason not to add ZEKROM into your deck. In the current format, there really isn’t that much Fire or Water weak Pokémon, so Reshi and Kyurem are useless. However, since Fighting type Pokémon are becoming increasingly popular, Lightning decks have to adjust to that. The best way to counter Fighting types is using Tornadus as a secondary attacker because it has resistance to Fighting.

However, Tornadus has a weakness to Lightning – meaning Zekrom. Zekrom is the best Dragon to use in this deck because it not only is the only Dragon that hits to weakness of this metagame, but also works as a counter’s counter.

Ruins of Alph

Playing Ruins of Alph is a more of traditional way of getting rid of Tornadus problem. Lightning decks rarely play any Stadiums, so running 2 Ruins of Alph should be enough. You will end up in Stadium war with CMT, but not having their Stadium in play, will hurt them more than it hurts you. After that, Tornaduses will be easily 2HKO’d with Earthquake and they aren’t much of a threat.

The decision between Ruins of Alph and Zekrom isn’t easy because they both have their pros and cons. If you play Ruins of Alph, you can keep the list more straightforward, but when you run Zekrom, you have a more versatile game plan.

The Future of Fighting Decks

It’s always wise to look more far-away in the future than just to the next tournament series. So, it seems like there are lot of different variations and approaches to Fighting-type decks, but is it just because Zekrom/Eelektrik is so popular?

Yes and no. These pure Fighting deck variants were found by players because Lightning type was so dominating, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they work only against Lightning decks. In the end, these decks have won tournaments, and you can’t win a tournament just by winning one matchup – you have to win against all the decks in the tournament.

If we look at the next set – Dark Explorers – and what it brings with it, one thing is for certain: these Fighting decks aren’t going anywhere. Dark Explorers’ best cards are Fighting weak: Raikou-EX, Darkrai EX etc. This will give Lightning decks a boost for efficiency thus making solo-Fighting decks even more popular.

So you should be wise and start stockpiling the best Fighting type Pokémon of the format while they are still relatively cheap. There is no guarantee that the prices will stay as low as they are at the moment, but it’s guaranteed that Fighting types will see a lot of play, even in the future.

Durant

I was pretty certain that I would never write about Durant again in any of my articles, but I had to swallow my pride after looking at the results of the States Championships. Durant is still going strong and it’s the only deck I was completely wrong about in my last article. It won States in every age division and it has changed a little. Of course, the skeleton of Durant can’t be changed too much, but the techs in it can change.

In the ECC, it learnt one new trick – Shaymin EX. It seems that Shaymin EX didn’t catch enough attention in the U.S. to be a staple in the Durant decks. However, there was still one ace, Durant hadn’t used. It was something, I was afraid of during one of my ECC games and it seems, I wasn’t the only one thinking about it. Can you guess, what card I am talking about? Let’s look at the list to found it out.

Pokémon – 6

4 Durant NVI
1 Mewtwo-EX NXD
1 Rotom UD

Trainers – 43

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

1 Seeker

 

4 Pokégear 3.0

4 Junk Arm
4 Crushing Hammer
4 Revive
3 Pokémon Catcher
2 Lost Remover
2 Dual Ball
2 Eviolite
1 Super Rod

1 Battle City

Energy – 11

5 M
3 Special M
2 Double Colorless

1 Prism

Mewtwo EX – surprised? I believe you aren’t. The rest of the list pretty traditional, the only difference being that there are 2 Dual Balls to search for the Mewtwo EX whenever you need it. Battle City is a great card in Durant because it makes life of CMT very difficult since they need Skyarrow Bridge to do anything against you – at least after the addition of Mewtwo EX. I think Mewtwo EX is a brilliant addition to every Durant list and there are a few reasons for that.

1. It’s a surprise.

There is nothing better in Pokémon TCG than a surprise factor. And what is more surprising than Mewtwo EX in a Durant deck? The usual misconception is that if you see a player playing Durant, it means that he/she doesn’t own any Mewtwo EXs. However, that assumption may cost you the game.

To get Mewtwo EX attacking in Durant is too easy; one Twins and you grab yourself a Mewtwo EX and a DCE. Thanks to Twins, Durant can play anything in their deck. That’s why you must never assume that the deck doesn’t have this or that in it. You should always be prepared for worst – and that advice is very important, especially when playing against Durant.

2. Double Colorless Energy is versatile.

This should come by no surprise. I don’t, which is it – funny or ridiculous – that Durant can win games by donking with Vicegrip. The amount of 30 HP basics is very high in the current format, even though Babies are played less than ever. However, the huge amount of 30 HP Tynamos fills the hole of 30 HP Babies. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Durant donking games in the Regionals as well since people are never prepared for it.

The main reason for DCE still is Mewtwo EX. It’s easily accessible with Twins and it’s all that is needed to get Mewtwo EX attacking. Your opponent is probably also attaching all his/her energy to one of his/her Pokémon because of Crushing Hammers and Lost Remover.

However, they do count what Rotom + Black Belt would do to them. Fortunately for Durant players, they don’t count what Mewtwo EX would do to them and this difference is huge whenever you’re playing against a Mewtwo EX deck.

3. There are two tier 1 decks in the format – ZekEel and CMT.

Considering the metagame as a whole is very important when thinking of which techs to use in your deck. Mewtwo EX is very good because it’s good against both of the top tier decks. What’s even more important is that it’s deadly against CMT variants. CMT has only 1 approach to the game – use Mewtwo EX to kill Durants.

That is difficult enough even with Crushing Hammers, Lost Removers, Special M Energy, Eviolite and Durant’s resistance everywhere but add one Mewtwo EX to the mix for Durant and you have an almost auto-win matchup for Durant.

en.wikipedia.org
Sudden Death. Get it? (Shut up, Adam)

You can win CMT with the traditional strategy because of the previous things I mentioned, but Mewtwo EX just seals the deal. And which other deck in the format can say that it has a very good matchup against CMT?

Answer: None.

4. Sudden Death

This is a very important aspect of tournament playing. Normally, Durant wouldn’t stand a chance if the Game 3 went to a sudden death for some reason. However, thanks to DCE and Mewtwo EX, Durant just might have a chance of taking the first prize. Durant isn’t that bad in the Sudden Death, even if you don’t get T1 Mewtwo EX with DCE because it has a lot of disrupt cards that slows down the game of your opponent as well. Mewtwo EX is Durant’s best bet to win Sudden Deaths.

Even though Durant’s CMT matchup with this list is very strong, I am still very surprised by its good results throughout the U.S. Even the big amount of Durants doesn’t explain the success of Durant because CMT and Zekrom/Eelektrik are both more played decks than Durant at the moment.

I don’t like Durant because of its prizing factor, its flipping factor, and its very low Basic amount, but it seems like there are players who disagree with my feelings. The great success of Durant is still a partial mystery for me and I’m pretty sure that I won’t have time to found out why Durant really does so well.

Durant still has its swan song to do at the Regionals, and be prepared for it because Durant will probably go out of the format with style. Regionals are the last tournament Durant can do well because of Heatmor coming in Dark Explorers. Those, who love Durant – play it while you can. Those hating Durant – be prepared for it while you still have to.

Conclusion

Bruce Lee

All in all, States are over and Regionals are on their way. Regionals will be very interesting tournaments for all the U.S. players but unfortunately they give nothing for international players since the next big tournament – Nationals – will be with Dark Explorers (at least in most countries). There won’t probably be anything too surprising in the Regionals metagame and I’m pretty sure, my predictions for the Regionals metagame and results will be pretty accurate.

I’m always trying to find different kind of approaches in the Underground articles and I hope you enjoyed this one as much as you enjoyed the last one. I’m happy that my predictions of the future metagame have been pretty accurate so far and that you have found my lists worthwhile of testing. I also love the fact that so many of you contacted me about my articles and lists to my e-mail, asking for advice because I love to help everyone as long as I have the time.

To conclude, the metagame has gotten interesting additions thanks to the pure-Fighting decks. I’m hopeful about the future, especially about the future after Regionals but that’s another story. Once again, if you enjoyed my article, remember to give this article a Like, so everyone knows your opinion and I know what you think about my articles!

I‘ll probably have two article slots in April as well. In the first article of April, I’ll discuss the art of teching, but if you have any requests about my second April article, feel free to let me know by e-mail, FB, in the forums etc.

I’m very excited about May because thanks to the new set; there is almost too much to analyze in May! If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to leave to the forums and I’ll answer them the best I can.

Thanks for reading!

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