Hello SixPrizes UG! U.S. Regionals will take place in only 4 days, and once again, I received a very good spot for an article. Personally, as I said in my last article, my next tournament will be Nationals since Finland doesn’t have Regionals. There’s a slight possibility I’ll attend Battle Roads, but I probably won’t have time for them due my entrance examination for Finland’s top university.
Anyway, I’m really excited about this article since in today I’ll discuss my favorite topic of Pokémon TCG – consistency. However, I’ll not only talk about consistency, but I’ll connect it to teching. You see, teching and consistency go hand in hand in when it comes to deck building. If you didn’t already know, I’m a huge fan of super-consistent decks with just the right amount of techs, and after reading this article, I hope that you’ll share – or at least understand – my point of view for deck building.
Even though, I’ll be discussing teching, consistency and deck building mostly in general, I won’t forget that the Regionals is taking place in four days. The top three decks of this format easily are Eelektrik variants, Celebi variants, and Durant. In 4th place are all kinds of Fighting decks, which I reviewed in my last article.
Since I reviewed the Fighting decks already, I’ll focus the discussion of teching and consistency in the top 3 decks of this format. I’ll base the discussion for these decks on already proven-to-be-good decklists, which include:
- John Kettler’s States winning CMT (Result 10-1)
- Benjamin Behrens’ ECC 2nd placing Zekrom/Eelektrik (Result 10-3)
- Jouni Lehtinen’s States winning Durant (Result 9-0)
As you can see, you are already familiar with most of these decklistsk but that’s why they are such a good lists to analyze. Teching is something that can’t be theorymoned. You must find the right techs for each deck by playtesting. All these decklists have been proved to do extremely well in extremely competitive tournaments, thus proving their value as great examples of deck building.
As Fulop discussed in his 2nd article of March, each player feels comfortable with different kinds of lists and that’s why straight net-decking of already proven lists will take you nowhere (unless you are an extremely experienced player). Net-decked lists are the perfect place to begin your own deck building, but to win the tournament with a deck, you must make it as your own. These changes can be anything from changing one card to another, to changing 10 cards for another 10 cards.
Along the way, I’ll also give good examples of bad teching that hurts consistency or the deck’s strategy too much, and will try to draw a clear line between good and bad teching. There will be an example of bad teching for each deck, as well as an example of good teching. I’ll also judge the lists with my own criteria. This is the first time for me doing this kind of article, so I hope you enjoy the ride!
Teching and Consistency – Living in a Perfect Harmony
As I said, teching and consistency are very closely bound to together. It’s a historically proven fact that in order to win a big Pokémon TCG tournament, you require techs. The more surprising the tech or techs have been, the better the results. I’ve been to every World Championship since 2004 and have experienced the power of techs in full scale.
I know that many of you aren’t familiar with the past formats, but I can’t help myself by taking an example from as far back as 2005. In fact, this deck was built by our very own Adam and other players. Jeremy Maron piloted it to Worlds victory in Masters age division in 2005. The winning list looked like this:
Pokémon – 21
4 Nidoran + RG
Trainers – 24
4 Celio’s Network
Energy – 15
ohinternet.comOk, my nostalgia counter is over 9000 at the moment, but I’ll try to get not too excited. If you aren’t familiar with the cards, I suggest you look them up before reading any further because I’ll discuss the list a little bit.
The deck was a so-called “secret deck” for the 2005 World Championships, but the more you look at the deck, the more obvious it becomes. The deck is very similar to Flygon RR/Claydol GE, which was played during the 2009 season. Nidoqueen hits for more damage the more you have Evolved Pokémon in play.
Pidgeot’s unbelievably broken “Quick Search” Power lets you to search for any one card from your deck per turn. Pidgeot was a staple in most of this format’s decks, but the consistency of this deck was on the whole other level than the rest of the metagame.
First of all, the metagame wasn’t as quick as it is nowadays, so the attacks of your Basics and Stage 1s really mattered. Here is where we get to the first part of consistency – Nidoran + is basically a starter. It has Call for Friends, which helps you to get more Basic Pokémon on the Bench to evolve.
If we take a look at Nidorina, we notice that it’s a consistency booster AS WELL! Practically the whole evolution line of Nidoqueen (the only real attacker of the deck), helps with consistency and setting up. I think that this Nidoqueen line is pretty unique in the history of Pokémon TCG because of that.
The Trainer setup of this deck was pretty normal for this time period. I think that the meaning of each card will become clear to you, once you take a look at them. You may also notice that there’s a card that is very familiar to you. Rocket’s Admin. – nowadays known as N – was in this deck as well because it wasn’t the fastest deck of the format.
pokemon-paradijs.comFinally, into techs of this deck. There are 3 cards that can be considered as techs in this deck: Milotic, Mr. Briney’s Compassion, and Heal Energy. As you can see, all these techs have something in common – they all are healing cards. In 2005, spreading damage was a very common way to win games due the deck called “Rock Lock” and the maximum output of damage was somewhere around 100 in the format. Nidoqueen was never 1HKO’d.
Thanks to the addition of these techs, one Nidoqueen could stand as many as 3 attacks, before being 1HKO’d! This was huge of course because Nidoqueen wasn’t an ex Pokémon, so using 3 attacks to KO a non-ex Pokémon is very inefficient.
Heal Energy was a great card that could be put into the deck (thanks to DRE fulfilling energy costs), and the one damage that Heal Energy could heal off from Nidoqueen could’ve been the 10 damage to save Nidoqueen from the next turn KO.
The format didn’t have cards like PlusPower, so the healing of 10 damage was huge in some points of the game. It was like having a reverese Crobat G in your deck. Not to mention that 60 damage was the maximum damage output of one of the most played cards of the format – Medicham ex.
Heal could also save Nidoqueen from Special Conditions, allowing it to keep attacking turn after turn. Paralysis, Sleep, and Confusion were ineffective stalling tactics against it, thanks to Heal.
Mr. Briney’s Compassion was a tech that could save the day at any point of the game. You know how annoying it is whenever your opponent flips a SSU heads to save a Pokémon, Zekrom-EX? Well, imagine the same thing happening without flipping. Mr. Briney’s Compassion could also be used to recycle Milotic’s Power. Milotic, which power heals the whole field of damage. Here is a great short example video of how to use Milotic’s Healing Shower:
1-1 Milotic line was the tech many players were very surprised about, and it helped the deck to win against any decks whose main strategy was to spread the damage. Milotic was a before unthought-of tech in Worlds as well.
The combination of the staple Pidgeot, a sick Nidoqueen evolution line, and just the correct techs against the metagame formed a harmony, where super-consistency met just the right techs, which led to incredible success. This deck took 1st and 3rd place in the Worlds that year, and the only reason they weren’t in the Finals, was that they faced each other in top 4.
I suggest you take a very good look at the deck because it’s probably the one of the two decks that has affected my personal deck building the most. I was so impressed by this deck, when I was only 14-years old. Even though the cards change in every format, the fact that consistency combined to right techs is the most important thing in deck building, never changes.
Back to reality. Zekrom/Eelektrik is the most played deck at the moment, and even though the hatred in the metagame is geared toward it, I expect it to still be the most played deck in the Regionals. It’s still the most consistent deck of the format and has no auto-losses (no, even the Fighting decks aren’t auto-losses, even though they are bad matchups).
Mark A. HicksYou may remember the 2nd placing Zekrom list from my first article of March, but as promised, I’ll get back to it and why it’s such a good deck. I analyzed the techs one by one in the March article, so I’ll only concentrate on the points that I didn’t concentrate on that article. Here is the list, if you aren’t familiar with it already.
I must point out that, I made some modifications to this list from the previous article based on my own testing. In the end, this deck’s Pokémon lines are nothing but techs. I also must warn you that this deck is very close to the line of over-techness in my opinion. The line between over-teching and good teching is a very thin one, so be careful not to cross it.
Pokémon – 16
3 Tynamo NVI 39
Trainers – 31
4 Pokémon Collector
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 13
pokemon-paradijs.comAs I said in the March article, I’m surprised that a list this teched went all the way to the finals. Usually the perfect balance is found somewhere between super-consistent and super-techy, as I pointed out earlier in this article. However, when we look at the numbers of draw and search cards in this deck more closely, we notice that the deck isn’t teched at the expense of consistency.
But if we look closer at the Pokémon lines, we see something that looks very alarming to the mainstream deck builders – a 3-3 Eelektrik line. One Tynamo prized and a T1 KO to another Tynamo can ruin the whole game. Or at least it looks like that. Is it the truth? To get an answer for that question, we must take a closer look at the Pokémon lines of this deck.
First, we have the Eelektrik line. It’s 3-3 as stated earlier and for most people, it doesn’t seem to be enough because an Eelektrik this thin can ruin your whole game. However, we must not take out the deck from its context. ECC was the very first tournament of HS-NXD format, so the format was different to the current one. One thing that wasn’t common (and is nowadays) is Tyrogye HS, which takes care of Tynamos very easily. If the metagame was full of Tyrogues, I’m sure that this deck would have been in problems.
So, the lack of Tyrogues is one factor in the success of this Pokémon line. The next question is: “What cards WERE there, which were able to 1HKO Tynamo T1?” After Tyrogue, this leaves us only 1 Pokémon that can regularly do it – Mewtwo EX. Just a DCE attachment to Mewtwo EX and we have a 1HKO on Tynamo. Then, was the deck prepared for an early Mewtwo EX 1HKO? It sure was.
Next in the Pokémon line, we have Mewtwo EX. In fact, 3 of them. This is overkill in most people’s opinion in Zekrom/Eelektrik, but there were 3 of them for a good reason for this. The reason is simple – winning the Mewtwo EX war in every situation. If your opponent’s takes an aggressive 1HKO off a Tynamo with DCE Mewtwo EX, you’re almost always ready to counter-1HKO it.
This way, it really doesn’t even matter that you have a Tynamo prized because in a quick Mewtwo EX war, you only need 1 Eelektrik on the bench. In some cases you don’t even need 1 Eelektrik on the bench, if you’re able to get the DCEs from the deck in a quick pace!
pokemon-paradijs.comIt’s also good to remember that the T1 Tynamo 1HKO scenarios often require a Catcher + Mewtwo EX + DCE hand, which is possible but rare, so in the end the 3-3 line doesn’t seem that bad. The 3-3 line also means that there is space for more techs and draw cards in the deck, so in fact this decision may have been done to increase the consistency, not to decrease it.
There are also 2 Zekrom-EXs in the deck. Zekrom-EX can be another way to gain the advantage in a Mewtwo EX –war. With a good amount of PlusPowers in the deck, Zekrom-EX can quickly become a Mewtwo EX killing machine and since Mewtwo EX can’t 1HKO Zekrom-EX back, it can be just the card to win you many games. Not to mention its multi-purposefulness against anything from Magnezone Prime to Typhlosion Prime.
As I said in my last article, Terrakion is probably only to gain advantage in mirrors, where your opponent tries to gain the advantage in a Mewtwo war with Zekrom-EX. Terrakion can be considered as counter’s counter.
Next, there is my favorite tech of this deck – Absol Prime. I don’t want to go repeating myself, so I will only state the facts on why it’s so good:
- As an active Pokémon, its ability lowers Mewtwo EX’s HP to the 1HKO range of Zekrom-EX
- It 1HKOs Chandelure NVI (which didn’t see almost any play in the ECC or in the States)
Thundurus can be used against the other possible T1 Tynamo killer. It’s a very rare situation that CMT has Celebi, Tornadus, DCE, Grass, Switch and Catcher in their hand but of course it’s possible sometimes. Thundurus is Tornadus’ worst enemy. Thundurus Charges itself so it can be used to deny the early aggression from your opponent, but it can also be used as an early aggression against your opponent. It’s also the best and safest way to get enough L Energy to the discard pile in early game for Dynamotor.
Shaymin is the MVP tech of any deck that has some kind of energy acceleration and attackers that need a lot of energy to attack with. There probably isn’t a deck in the current, where Shaymin doesn’t fit in. It searchable with any Pokémon search and since it’s a life-saver in many points of the game, it fits this deck perfectly.
One thing that must be mentioned about Shaymin, is that, the more teched the deck is, the better Shaymin usually is. This deck is a good example of a deck that is full of surprises. Shaymin helps to make the surprise factor of all the techs to pay off since you can get any Pokémon of the deck, ready to attack in just one turn thanks to Celebration Wind.
This deck reminds me of my own school essays. Sometimes I get so excited about some things that I forget the topic of my essay and I’m in the verge of going off-topic and getting a 4 (F – Failed) from the essay. However, at the same time, the things I’ve written in my essays have been very mature and intelligent (since I’ve been so excited about writing) that teacher thinks that the essay is really a worth of a 10 (A – Excellent). However, the teacher must make the decision – was the essay off-topic or wasn’t it?
I would say that this deck stays on-topic. It’s an extreme show of a deck building skill that is very hard to match. Even the top deck builders of the world have difficult time matching with this decks creativity and functionality. To build a deck like this must’ve taken tens of hours of play testing time – the balance between techs and consistency is so perfect. The techs that should decrease consistency, are actually increasing it. This list is a masterpiece.
Ok, I didn’t want to come up with just a bad list out of my head so I had to do some digging. And, when searching PokéGym.net forums, I found this. I hope that if the person, who’s list this is, sees this, doesn’t take this offensively, but only as a constructive criticism.
Pokémon – 19
4 Tynamo NVI 39
Trainers – 28
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 13
pokemon-paradijs.comAs you can see, the deck is not bad by any means. The Pokémon and energy lines are very solid and only require a bit of perfecting. However, the consistency, which comes mainly from the trainers, is the real issue here. Let’s take a look at what and how many draw and search cards this deck has:
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory
4 Professor Juniper
3 Pokémon Collector
2 Sage’s Training
2 Level Ball
The amount of the draw and search cards is already a low one, but when we look closer at the Trainers, we can see that there is a real consistency problem. Zekrom/Eelektrik isn’t the fastest deck in the format. That means it has slower setup than CMT and needs T1 a lot of Basics to evolve in the following turns. This deck has more than enough draw cards, but it lacks the early game setting-up cards.
I think this is more than a great example as a bad example because technically there is nothing wrong about the deck. The lack of early game set-upping cards is too big, making the deck unable to deliver the setup in the first few turns. However, what’s the reason for low draw and search cards? Usually, we can find the culprits from techs.
Problems and Solutions
Just like all Zekrom/Eelektriks (including the good example), the deck has a lot of optional attackers. However, in this deck the problem that brings the inconsistency isn’t the amount of different attackers, but the amount of attackers:
- 3 Thundurus EPO – A very reasonable play as well if you want to take an aggro point of view into Zekrom/Eelektrik.
- 3 Zekrom BLW – This is also a pretty standard play for an Eelektrik variant. Where’s the problem?
- 2 Mewtwo EX – A standard play for any Eelektrik variant. Still no problems in sight.
- 1 Zekrom-EX – That’s good. Some play 2, others play 0. There is nothing wrong about that.
- 1 Tornadus EPO – A good tech if you are afraid of Fighting Pokémon decks. STILL nothing wrong.
- 1 Tyrogue HS – A great card in the early turns of the mirror match.
pokemon-paradijs.comHmh? It seems that all the cards are justified in the deck, and then what’s wrong? The problem of this deck is, as I said, is the amount of attackers – not the amount of different attackers. All the previously mentioned Pokémon can be played in Eelektrik variant at the same time, but you must decide your focus while building any deck – is it a fast deck or a slower one. This deck tries to be everything at the same at the expense of consistency. The result? Well, obviously bad.
The deck builder should decide, whether he/she focuses on Thundurus approach or Zekrom approach – not both. Both approaches have their pros and cons, and there’s no correct answer, but one thing is for sure – you have to choose one or the other. The decision must be made by cutting either one of the lines completely off or to 1. This way the deck can get the precious +2 draw and search cards. I would prefer adding a 4th Pokémon Collector and 1 Pokégear 3.0 to the deck.
One minor thing that is also “wrong” about the approach to this deck is Skyarrow Bridge. I understand that the point of Skyarrow Bridge is to work as a permanent Switch as well as a helping hand to T1 Charge, but that just isn’t the reality. Eelektrik variants require desperately at least one Switch (preferably 2) to the deck to work well.
After all, Switch is almost as permanent solution as Skyarrow Bridge thanks to Junk Arm. Also, it’s good to remember that Skyarrow Bridge will probably benefit decks like Durant and CMT more than you.
One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is that teching can also be a way to increase consistency a lot. This can be done through techs such as Cleffa or Smeargle. It’s unbelievable how much one of these cards can affect the decks consistency in a good way. Teching is usually considered as an inconsistency factor, but that doesn’t have to be the case every time.
My Top 3 Techs for Eelektrik/Zekrom
Well, what are MY favorite techs for Zekrom/Eelektrik? Probably the best question before answering that one is: what in Eelektrik/Zekrom isn’t considered as a tech. Well, I’ll give you my skeleton list of Eelektrik/Zekrom and will discuss about the top 3 techs of the deck, based on this skeleton.
Pokémon – 12
3 Tynamo NVI 39
Trainers – 28
4 Pokémon Collector
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 13
Open Slots – 7
#3 – Smeargle UD/CL
pokemon-paradijs.comIn the beginning of the HS-NXD season, I thought that Cleffa HS was better than Smeargle. However, as the metagame has shifted more and more toward CMT and Zekrom/Eelektrik based metagame, I think Smeargle deserves the number three spot instead of Cleffa.
Smeargle is a great tech because it allows Zekrom/Eelektrik to setup faster. It’s especially good in decks that take the Thundurus approach to the game. You can get aggro with Thundurus even if you have a bad opening hand because you can later setup with Portrait, copying, for example, an opponent’s Professor Juniper.
If you want to take a gamble, you can drop the amount of Supporter cards in your deck if you add Smeargle. But as I said, it’s a risky decision. The most skillful players know how to play around Smeargle. In fact, it’s easier than ever in the current format thanks to Pokégear and Junk Arm.
I gave Tom Hall a very difficult time in the top 16 of ECC since I noticed that he was very reliant on Smeargle. I just kept discarding all the Supporters with Junk Arm, and had always at least one Pokégear in my hand to guarantee a Supporter whenever I needed one. Smeargle is a good card because it’s so much easier to play than to play against.
#2 – Zekrom-EX
Zekrom-EX could be considered as staple, but I still wanted to put it in the techs since not all lists play it. Zekrom-EX is good due its versatility. Probably its most valuable work in Zekrom/Eelektrik is in random situations. Zekrom-EX doesn’t really have a game plan like Mewtwo EX has (countering another Mewtwo EX) – you just play it in places, when you feel like it’s a good time to use it.
It’s good against random decks of the format, which may include Typhlosion Prime and Magnezone Prime. Ironically, Zekrom-EX may also come in handy when facing a straight Fighting decks because it’s one of the rare Pokémon in your deck which can 1HKO Terrakion or Landorus with Eviolite.
If I were to play Zekrom/Eelektrik, I would definitely play Zekrom-EX in it. It can also turn the tide in Mewtwo EX war if you run enough PlusPowers in your deck because dealing 170 damage isn’t difficult at all with Zekrom-EX and the correct build.
#1 – Tyrogue HS/CL
pokemon-paradijs.comI really can’t emphasis how important Tyrogue is in Zekrom/Eelektrik in my opinion. Even though the amount of Babies has decreased radically compared to the HS-NVI format, Tyrogue is stronger than ever. It’s also good to realize that the more you play PlusPowers in your Eelektrik variant, the better Tyrogue becomes.
Tyrogue can win you games with donks and as I’ve said before – even though donking isn’t a fun way to win games – someone else will use donking possibility to their advantage anyway. I suggest that you’re one of them in your next tournament!
It’s a very common scenario. You begin the game with Tynamo active and your opponent has Tynamo actice as well. All you need is a card that can search for a Tyrogue and you immediately have enormous pressure on your opponent. The T1 KO on Tynamo may be enough for you to win the game even if you don’t have a god hand. Your opponent MUST respond to your T1 KO or otherwise, they are doomed. Tyrogue can easily get you a 2-Prize lead in two turns, if your opponent doesn’t deal with Tyrogue in his/her turn.
There are three possible solutions for agro-Tyrogue opening when playing with Zekrom/Eelektrik:
- Trying to Paralyze Tyrogue with Tynamo NVI 38 (if the deck even plays 40 HP Tynamos)
- Answer with Mewtwo EX and DCE (starting a Mewtwo EX war is always risky)
- Answer with your own Tyrogue (in my opinion the best opinion)
As we all can see, this leads us to the conclusion that Tyrogue is a VERY good play in Eelektrik variants. Your opponent will probably play it and the best solution to answer it, is to use your own Tyrogue. I’m sure that you’ll see these “Tyrogue wars” at Regionals.
Next up we have my favorite deck of the format – Celebi variants. Celebi variants are on the same level as Zekrom/Eelektrik variants. I think you already know what deck I would play if I were to play in the Regionals. Let’s take a look at the good example.
Pokémon – 13
4 Celebi Prime
Trainers – 33
4 Professor Juniper
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 13
pokemon-paradijs.comAs I said, this list belongs to our very own John Kettler. You may have read his article, so I will talk as little as I can about the topics he already discussed in his article.
When speaking of consistency, I always look at the Trainer lines but in this deck the Pokémon lines caught my attention. When I look at them, they scream at me “I’M INCONSISTENT!” since there are so many techs. But John won the tournament, so how can this list be inconsistent? Well, once again, it may look like it, but in the reality it isn’t::
4 Professor Juniper
3 Professor Oak’s New Theory
1 Pokémon Collector
3 Dual Ball
3 Pokégear 3.0
As we can see, we reach a pretty decent number. However, that isn’t the whole truth about consistency in this deck. The real deal of consistency can be found from Pokémon lines of this deck:
Here we have it once again. However, Smeargle is even better in CMT than it is in Eelektrik variants because CMT already runs a lot of Switch and Skyarrow Bridge. Smeargle’s Power can be used every time your Pokémon is KO’d, or sometime even when you just need that one extra Supporter. Smeargle is one of the MVPs of this deck as well.
John explained very in-detail about his techs and the choices, so I’ll just take a look at things I found very imporant and that I disagree with.
pokemon-paradijs.comI’ve never liked this card in Celebi variants and still don’t. John described it as an “elastic” attacker, but I would prefer the word “clumsy.” I understand that Regigigas could be good against Durant, but Regigigas-EX still has too many cons in my opinion. The cons being:
- A HORRIBLE opener
- No use in Mewtwo EX wars, if your opponent knows what he/she is doing
- Dead card 95% of time
Thus leading to the conclusion that it’s more of an inconsistency factor in the deck than a helper. However, when reading John’s report, you’ll notice that it seems that he won 2 games thanks to Regigigas-EX. Regigigas-EX is one of those cards that just fit in one’s game mentality and doesn’t in others. There really is no right or wrong opinion in this case.
I wasn’t surprised to see Tyrogue in John’s CMT list. CMT should be aggressive in the early game and Tyrogue is probably the only way to be really aggressive in the early game for this list. This CMT-build is so teched that it simple isn’t as fast as the fastest CMT variants are. However, thanks to Tyrogue, this deck can get very quick prizes especially against the most important matchup of the format – Zekrom/Eelektrik.
This list runs only 2 PlusPowers, so I think that Tyrogue’s full potential isn’t utilized. That’s because the deck has other very strong and fast attackers as well. Tyrogue isn’t required in every game, but it can be useful in every game.
N Count + Shaymin EX
This is something, I find highly important for CMT variants. Shaymin EX is a great come back card almost against any deck (mostly against Celebi and Fighting variants), but once again it becomes even better with 4 Ns. 4 Ns is also a very standard count for CMTs in general.
High N count is also a huge thing in Durant matchups because anti-decking is more than welcome in that matchup and with only 3 N, you risk getting them discarded before you are able to use them in late game.
This deck is once again a very good example of masterful deck building and testing skills. It’s also a great showcase of personal deck building. There’s a highlight signature of “John Kettler.” When you look at the list, you’ll first wonder how all the cards fitted in the list. Then you think that the list looks very inconsistent because it has so much different techs.
However, the more you look at the list, the more it makes sense to you – the deck builder has found his perfect harmony. I think John’s own words can describe this decklist and his game philosophy the best.
I prefer all of my cards playing some sort of role to the end goal of “be violent to the Defending Pokémon, and leave no prisoners.”
A Different Point of View into the Depths of Deck Building
You probably know that I’m a fan of straight Celebi/Mewtwo – not fully teched CMT, so I won’t be repeating the same pattern as with Zekrom/Eelektrik. Here, I’ll first take a look at my current Celebi/Mewtwo EX list and then discuss about its problems.
Then, I’ll show you how I theorymonically solved all the problems the deck had, but completely forget the core-idea of deck thus destroying the deck’s game plan. I think this is a very good way of showing you how solving one problem may create even more problems.
Pokémon – 7
Trainers – 39
4 Professor Juniper
4 Junk Arm
3 Pokégear 3.0
Energy – 14
pokemon-paradijs.comThe game plan of this deck is simple: during the game, you must play down only 1 Celebi and as many Mewtwos as you want. This forces your opponent to take down 3 Mewtwo EXs in order to win the game. It’s more than crucial, not-to-play any more than 1 Celebi on the bench because forcing them to Mewtwo EX-war is the way this deck works.
If you give your opponent 2 non-Pokémon-EX, they will have very easy time Catchering 2 Prizes from the non-Pokémon-EX and killing your 2 Mewtwo EXs with their 2 Mewtwo EXs. The difference between 2 and 3 Mewtwo EXs is huge when it comes to the strategy of this deck.
I’ve been having problems with late game Ns and with decks that have 3 Mewtwo EXs. Late game Ns will destroy me if the opponent is still in the game and I don’t draw anything quickly. Also, I need a non-EX attacker to the deck if my opponent is prepared for a Mewtwo EX war with 3 Mewtwo EXs.
Solution – A Bad List
Pokémon – 9
Trainers – 37
4 Professor Juniper
4 Junk Arm
3 Pokégear 3.0
Energy – 14
What’s so bad about this?
pokemon-paradijs.comI wanted to show you this example of a bad list because part of the problem of this deck is that it has been built to be consistent. This is a very rare scenario, but since it’s a relevant one in the current meta, it’s food for thought.
The problem with this is that it’s a theorymonical answer to the issues the deck had:
- Smeargle is a counter against late game Ns. You will get the Supporters from your opponent’s hand so you aren’t lacking late game anymore.
- Tornadus is a counter against Mewtwo EX wars. You can take a break from the Mewtwo EX war with Tornadus by Catchering something weak from the bench and KO it.
Still remember the core strategy of this deck? Both techs destroy the core strategy of the deck – the very reason why the deck is so good. This is a good example of how solutions can create bigger problems than they bring answer to.
The fact is that if you play with Celebi/Mewtwo and want to find the solutions to these problems, you must search for the solution from elsewhere (from Trainers). Another solution can be a complete change to CMT, which the bad solution already reminds me of very closely.
Seeking the solutions to your deck’s problems may lead you astray, so be careful when trying to come up with solutions. Playtest them before announcing that “This is the solution!” It may very well be that you have just created more problems while looking for a solution.
My Top 3 Techs for Celebi/Mewtwo
maximumpc.comYou know me… I would love to answer “none.” I’m a huge fan of straight Celebi/Mewtwo EX with no techs and just simple beat down with careful resource management, but because I know that most people are more into the more traditional way of building Celebi – CMT – I’ll analyze my top 3 techs for it.
#3 – Smeargle
Smeargle is the consistency itself for CMT. You can play so much more carefree when you have Smeargle in your deck that it’s unbelievable. Even if your opponent Ns to 1 or 2 cards, they can’t use their Supporters from their hand thus giving them for your next turn’s Portrait. Even if you Portrait and they don’t have any Supporters in their hand, there is no panic, which only means that they’re in at least as bad shape as you.
As said previously, combined with the huge amount of Switch and retreat cards CMT already runs, Smeargle is the perfect fit for the deck. In the late game, you might want to be careful not to N yourself but that can be avoided by not-too-greedy Portraits. Remember, you don’t have to Portrait every time; you can Portrait any time.
#2 – Shaymin EX
It was a very close race between the first and second place, but in the end, Shaymin EX placed second in my list. It doesn’t mean that Shaymin EX is a bad card; quite the opposite in fact. Shaymin EX is very good in CMT. Here are the most usual scenarios, when you’ll notice that Shaymin EX is almost too good not to be in your deck.
– You’re in the middle of a Mewtwo EX war and your opponent has taken 4 Prizes. All you need is a Shaymin EX and 2 PlusPowers to 1HKO your opponent’s Mewtwo EX.
– You N your opponent to 1 card and start hitting for 180 with Shaymin EX. You can make comeback even from a 5 Prize deficit with this combo!
– In the early game against solo-Terrakion. Terrakion is weak to Shaymin EX and Shaymin EX has resistance to Terrakion. Could anything be better?
– Using Synthesis to energy accelerate your Mewtwo EXs in the early game against Durant, while they are wasting their Crushing Hammer flips in vain.
– In the late game it can 1HKO any random EX cards that are used in decks as walls (i.e. Regigigas-EX).
There are also random situations in the game, where you’ll notice that Shaymin EX would be more than useful. It is that good.
#1 – Shaymin UL
Shaymin is the number one choice for one reason – it’s the most versatile tech of the whole format. I’ve said it many times and will repeat it even more times – the more different attackers you have in your deck, the better Shaymin becomes. There’s no point of listing the scenarios, when Shaymin is useful. It can be useful from T1 donking to last turn surprises. The limit of Shaymin’s versatility is the imagination of the player using it.
romeert.deviantart.comLast and least, we have Durant. I’m not fan of Durant because as consistent as you want to build it, it still won’t be consistent. Anyway, it belongs to the top 3 decks of Regionals, so here we go.
So this is my fellow Finnish players’ Jouni Lehtinen’s list, which he was kind enough to give me for this UG article. Jouni is a clear CP leader of Finland at the moment and he also finished 3rd in the ECC with Zekrom/Eelektrik, so he’s a very good player even though he has played in the Worlds only two times. He went 9-0 in our States with this list and I was one of the players, he defeated along the way.
Pokémon – 7
4 Durant NVI
Trainers – 41
4 Pokémon Collector
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 12
pokemon-paradijs.comThis deck is as consistent as Durant can prudently be. It has 4-3 Collector-Gear line and enough draw cards (11 in total) + 1 Level Ball, which leads the draw card amount all the way to the 20. It would be too much in any other deck, but it’s just the right amount for Durant.
However, Durant isn’t always consistent even though the list may be. Whenever Durant prizes Durant or Rotom (or both!), it’s in big problems. I think Jouni prized a Durant two times during the whole tournament and was able to get them pretty quickly from the prizes with Rotom.
I think the best way to describe how inconsistent Durant can be is not by discussing its pros and cons, but just stating that in the State Jouni won, he went 9-0. In the next State, he played the exactly same deck and guess what? He went 2-3.
I’m sure that you can’t blame the player and you can’t blame the list either since they managed to go 9-0 in the previous tournament. Sometimes Durant just is inconsistent – it prizes everything, flips everything tails and draws into nothing.
This Durant list is as teched as a Durant list can in my opinion be. Any more techs would make the deck too inconsistent. This deck has it all:
I don’t know if you can call Rotom even as a tech in Durant. It’s more of a staple. You use it to take the prized Durants from the prizes and combined with Black Belt, you can do some serious damage to your opponent’s only attacker.
pokemon-paradijs.comI already discussed Mewtwo EX in Durant, in my last article so I’ll keep this bried. Mewtwo EX is great in Durant because it works just like Rotom + Black Belt but Mewtwo EX can also 1HKO Mewtwo EX, which Rotom can’t. This is a great asset in CMT matchup. It also works wonders in Sudden Deaths.
When I talked with Jouni about this tech, he said that “In before you write in the article that it’s used only for donking.” Well, of course Tyrogue can also be used for donking things like Tynamo and Babies, but it has some other purposes in the deck as well.
The free retreat of Tyrogue is a huge asset because it makes Tyrogue such a good starter. Tyrogue can also work as a disruptor in the deck. The best way to fight against Durant is to play down free retreat Pokémon. In Zekrom, the only free retreat Pokémon are 30 HP Pokémon like Tynamo and Cleffa. By KOing these Pokémon, Eelektrik variants have to find a new strategy against Durant and it doesn’t usually end well.
In fact, Jouni won 2-of his games on PRIZES in the tournament he won. The combination between Rotom, Tyrogue, and Mewtwo EX was so lethal that when the opponent plays with as low resources as possible, Durant can surprise them with its firepower, which leads to prize race.
In the end, there is nothing better in Sudden death than Tyrogue – especially against the previously mentioned Eelektrik variants.
Black Belt And Seeker
pokemon-paradijs.comThese techs are so old and well-known that they need almost no analyzing. One can also call them as staples in Durant as well. Black Belt is even bigger in this version of Durant because it has a lot of optional attackers, thus making Black Belt more versatile.
Seeker, on the other hand, isn’t as good as it once was. When your opponent wasn’t expecting it, a simple Catcher + Seeker trick could ruin their game. The truth is that every player knows how they should play against Durant and that makes Seeker less useful than before. It can still be valuable against Item lock decks since you can heal one of your Durants with it if damaged.
Durant isn’t a consistent deck, but this list is. It’s a great example of great deck building because it takes Durant to a whole new level. It gives Durant more possibilities to win games and by taking prizes, it also adds disruption to Durant. Durant is all about disruption and you really need to be very innovative if you find any more new ways of disruption for Durant in this format. In my opinion, this is very close to the ultimate Durant list.
When I dug deep enough to the Pokégym, I found a perfect example of a bad Durant list. Let’s see what the problems of this list are.
Pokémon – 7
4 Durant NVI
Trainers – 43
4 Pokémon Collector
4 Crushing Hammer
2 Pokégear 3.0
Energy – 10
pokemon-paradijs.comFirst of all, there are two big issues with this deck. First, we have the Trainer engine. Remember what a goodSsupporter engine looked like? Here’s what this list has to offer:
4 Pokémon Collector
4 Professor Juniper
3 Level Ball
2 Pokégear 3.0
The numbers talk for themselves but behind the numbers, the real problem is yet to surface. The deck has only 4 draw cards. However, it has 4-2 Collector – Pokégear line and 3 Level Balls. The list seems to be very Durant orientated and as we look closer to the list in just a moment, we’ll notice that it’s over Durant-orientated. The deck might be consistent when it comes in getting T1 4 Durants, but the consistency pretty much ends there.
After T1, the deck will be dying to its inconsistency. It only runs 4 Juniper and 3 Twins. This is nowhere near enough to keep the game flowing for Durant. Something in the list must be way off because there are so few draw cards.
The problems can be found from the game-plan and tech part of the deck:
1 Black Belt
1 Flower Shop Lady
4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Crushing Hammer
4 Lost Remover
3 Junk Arm
2 Super Rod
1 Alph Lithograph Four
The deck’s real problem is that it’s too over-concentrated on getting Durants from deck and from discard pile. This can be seen from the counts of Revive (3), Flower Shop Lady (1), and Super Rod (2).You don’t win games with Durant by Devouring for 4 the whole game through, but through board-control. Board control is gained with cards like Lost Remover, Crushing Hammer, and Pokémon Catcher.
If we look at the list, we’ll notice that there are 4 copies of each of these cards. That isn’t enough though – you must have a consistent-enough deck to draw into these cards.
Another thing I would like to touch is the tech Pokémon part of this deck. It has the same amount of techs as the “good example” of Durant, but in reality, the tech lines are worse. And by worse, I don’t mean that Cobalion is worse than Mewtwo EX (even though it is), but the tech lines in whole.
A free retreat on one of the three tech Pokémon makes a huge difference because Durant wants to Devour in T1. None of this deck’s techs have free retreat, and in the end the difference between 1 and free retreat is more than big in Durant.
My Top 3 Techs for Durant
#3 – Seeker
I just can’t stop lovin’ Seeker in Durant. The fact that if your opponent forgets at any point of the game that Seeker exists, you win the game with it, is undeniable. Seeker is one of those techs in Durant that is probably in most games useless but it forces your opponent to focus on the game with 100%.
#2 – Tyrogue
Tyrogue is good in Durant because it’s still a pretty new and unexpected tech. Of course you can get the easy donk wins with Tyrogue, but with Tyrogue you can also find a whole new dimension for playing with Durant – winning on prizes.
#1 – Mewtwo EX + Double Colorless Energy
It may not be unexpected, it may not be surprising, but it sure is deadly. Mewtwo EX gives Durant the versatility it needs to deal with the top decks of the format – especially CMT. If you’re playing with Durant and you aren’t using Mewtwo EX, you’re doing something wrong.
Tech Overview for Regionals
How does all these techs affect Regionals deck builds since they’re now all in broad day light? In my opinion, this is a very interesting question and important question, when you’re doing the last adjustments to your Regionals decks.
1. Tyrogue in Everything
This will probably affect mostly the Eelektrik variant builds. Playing 30 HP Tynamos becomes very risky if the metagame is filled with decks that have Tyrogue. There has already been a slight change back to 40 HP Tynamos due the fact that Durants have DCEs and MeesieMew is still around (Chandelure NXD 20 is the doom of 30 HP Tynamos).
I expect the amount of 40 HP Tynamos played to be even bigger in Regionals than it was in States Championships. The 10 HP difference can be a life-saver in many games’ T1 if every deck has Tyrogue. However, there are cons in playing 40 HP Tynamo. First of all, it will take mobility off Eelektrik variants. The days of free retreat are over. Also, Tyrogue-playing decks can answer the increase of 40 HP Tynamos by running 4 PlusPowers. This way Tyrogue can still relatively often KO a Tynamo in T1 – have it 30 or 40 HP.
2. Mewtwo EX in Durant
This affects mainly Durant vs. Celebi variants matchup. Celebi based decks can’t go playing with a single Mewtwo EX and try to tear through 6 Durants with manual energy attachments (like I for example did in the ECC). Quickly, the Mewtwo EX in Durant will 1HKO CMT’s only Pokémon and the game is over. Tornadus is an even worse way to go in the matchup, so what’s the correct strategy to approach the matchup?
The best way to approach the Durant matchup is probably with one attacker in play and 2 Celebis on the bench. The attacker can be either Mewtwo EX or Regigigas-EX – whichever you prefer the most. And then, all you need is a Skyarrow Bridge in play.
Durant can’t stall you by Catchering Celebis to the Active Spot due Skyarrow Bridge, so they must deal with Mewtwo EX. And if they KO your Mewtwo EX with their Mewtwo EX, you have your energy accelerators on your bench ready to load another Mewtwo EX and 1HKO them back. This way, Durant will only be giving you two free prizes and they achieved nothing.
The best way to answer Smeargle’s increasing popularity is to play wisely. As I said earlier in this article, the best way to counter Smeargle, is to carefully manage your Supporters and play around Portrait with Pokégears. If your opponent has a big hand, you can also outplay them by leaving a Juniper to your hand because if you force them discard a lot of important cards with Portrait, you’re in very good position in the late game.
If you want to play hardcore against Smeargle, lower your Supporter count of the deck and maximize your Pokégear count. This can lead to whiffing Pokégears, so it’s a very bold move, but against decks that count on your Supporters, you will have a huge advantage. This strategy will become even better in the future thanks to Random Receiver, but more about that in the future.
wchfh.orgAll in all, I hope that this article made you understand how difficult the deck building can really be and many things you have to consider while building a tournament deck. I also hope that you got new aspects to the deck building and that you found this article useful for your Regional preparations. I believe that the lifespan of this article can be longer than just pre-Regionals since the things in this article can be applied to any deck. I hope you can and will come back to this article from time to time to look for an inspiration to your deck building.
I really enjoyed writing this article and I would go as far as saying that this is probably my best article so far! However, you are the real jury, who decide if the article really was good so let me hear your opinion about this article on the forums, and remember to like it as well if you think that you would like to see same kind of articles in the future by me!
As I mentioned earlier, this is the first time I’ve written something like this, so I want to get as much feedback from you guys as possible about this. I’ll be trying new things in my articles in the future as well, so let me know, if you think that direction I’m going to is the right one!
Finally, thanks for reading and good luck for the Regionals!
– Esa Juntunen
P.S. For more great playing videos like the Milotic’s “Healing Shower Play,” be sure to check these videos out as well!
- Know and Follow All Rules: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9O0X1inxnw
- Develop a Positive Relationship with the Staff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eung7TVN5RU
- Importance of Teamwork: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sejmU09vbjo
- Angle Shooting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nomw-0-r-ss (My personal favorite)
- Follow Proper Pre-game Procedure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdZ7p_DKO6k
…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.
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