It’s a bit of an awkward time in the tournament schedule for me, and I would imagine quite a few other players out there. States are over, and Regional Championships are coming, but I won’t be participating in them because it doesn’t make much financial sense to travel to one. I think it’s a bit too early to dive into the Dark Explorers format, so what’s there really to do to kill the dead time between now and Battle Roads? Well, work on some fun rogue decks to pass the time at league and on PTCGO of course.
The deck that I am writing about, Cincinno/Hypno (or Wizard of Oz as dubbed by Adam Bigott, who was probably the first to come up with the deck idea) has quickly become one of my favorites, in large part because it includes two of my favorite Pokémon from the Black and White series: Minccino and Cinccino.
When playing in a non-competitive environment, one of the most fun things in the game is making decks around your favorite Pokémon, and this deck fulfills that objective.
Additionally, in playing this deck, you have loads of coin flips, status effects, amplifying attacks, and Item lock, so what’s not to like… at least on your side of the table. (Warning: You might drive your opponent to the brink of madness in some games.)
Here’s a skeleton list of the deck, so you can get some vision of what the deck actually is and understand what I’m talking about with the deck.
Cinccino/Hypno Skeleton List
Pokémon – 18
4 Cinccino NXD
2 Drowzee HS
2 Hypno HS
1 Shaymin EX
Trainers – 14
Energy – 12
This skeleton list only includes 44 cards, so it gives you quite a bit of freedom with how you want to run your version of the deck as far as the Supporter engine you choose to setup, to any techs you want to include, and even the Energy you would like to run. Regardless of what direction you take the deck away from the skeleton, one thing is true, and that is that you will need to add more Supporters.
Now that you have seen a skeleton list for the deck, I can explain the general strategy by breaking down what the key cards and why they’re important.
This is your main attacker and star of the deck. Cinccino’s attack, Echoed Voice, does 50 damage, and then 100 damage after that for each consecutive turn you use Echoed Voice with that Cinccino. While the damage output of this attack is decent, what makes Cinccino special and a viable main attacker is its ability, Smooth Coat.
This ability allows you to flip a coin any time Cinccino would be damaged by an attack, if heads, prevent all damage of that attack. So in short, you want to hit heads on your Smooth Coat flips, creating an invincible Cinccino hitting for a steady 100 damage every turn.
Hypno’s role in the deck is to help keep your Cinccino’s alive for as long as possible, as well as to stall while you get setup. Hypno has a Poké-Power called Sleep Pendulum, which allows you to flip a coin, and if heads, the defending Pokémon is now Asleep.
If your opponent doesn’t hit their sleep flip going into their turn, you don’t even have to worry about whether or not you’ll hit heads on your Smooth Coat flip, as your opponent will be unable to attack for the turn.
This is a deck that needs Item lock to work, and providing Item lock is Vileplume’s specialty. Vileplume’s Poké-Body, Allergy Flower, prevents any Items from being played in the game. This allows you to setup Hypno on your bench without having to worry about them being Catchered and KO’d. It also prevents your opponent from using Switch to free their sleeping Pokémon from the Active Spot.
pokemon-paradijs.comThis is your finisher, who gets you those last 1-2 Prizes. With Vileplume on the field, you don’t have to worry about having Shaymin EX Catchered and KO’d, so you can safely set it up on your bench. Shaymin EX’s attack, Revenge Blast, does 30 damage plus 30 more damage for each Prize card your opponent has taken.
When your opponent has taken 4 Prize cards, you do 150 damage, and when your opponent’s taken 5 Prize cards, the attack does 180 damage, which is enough to Knock Out any non-Eviolited Pokémon in the format (and it’s unlikely for your opponent to have an Eviolited Pokémon because of the Item lock).
While these are the main players in the deck, it’s important not to forget what the little guys that go under them do.
This is the pre-evolution of Cinccino. The card is nothing too special, but it does have a Call for Family attack, which allows you to search your deck for a basic Pokémon and put it onto your bench. You won’t always be setting up with Call for Family, but it is a nice option to have available.
You will rarely ever attack with Drowzee, but it’s important to know what Drowzee does in case the game state ever calls for you attacking with Drowzee. Drowzee’s first attack, Sleep Inducer, which costs one P Energy, allows you to switch the defending Pokémon with one of your opponent’s benched Pokémon, and the new active Pokémon becomes asleep. This can help you stall if you get off to a slow start.
pokemon-paradijs.comWhen setting up in your average game, you will want a Cinccino active with a bench of one Vileplume, two Hypno, a backup Cinccino being setup. The fifth bench spot can go to a variety of things. Sometimes it will be a stray Oddish that didn’t get Knocked Out at the beginning of the game before you got setup. In most games it will be a third Cinccino getting setup, at least in the early game, and then a Shaymin EX in the late game.
If you’re not going to have access to your Shaymin EX for whatever reason (prizes, started with it and it got Knocked Out), you can setup a third Hypno to increase your chances of putting the defending Pokémon to sleep.
Once you get setup, you enact the general strategy of the deck, which is to be lucky. That is, to hit heads on your Sleep Pendulum and Smooth Coat flips, while your opponent flips tails on their sleep flips, allowing you to get a continuous stream of 100 damage Echoed Voice attacks with Cinccino.
Now, let’s examine some of the math behind the deck. In this example, I will be using the decks normal setup of two Hypno for the calculations. I will also make the assumption that the opponent’s active Pokémon is awake going into your turn. The point of this section of the article is to examine the probability that your Cinccino will last any given turn when your opponent uses an attack that would otherwise Knock Out your Cinccino.
It should be noted that this example looks at a situation where you aren’t going to be able to Knock Out the active Pokémon with your attack during your turn. If you were to Knock it Out, and then your opponent promotes a Pokémon to the Active Spot that has the potential to Knock Out Cinccino, the probability of Cinccino lasting that turn will simply be 50%, as the Smooth Coat flip is the only one that matters.
First, I will look at the individual components that make up the probability of interest.
1. Sleep Pendulum Flips
The first set of flips are your Sleep Pendulum flips to see if you put the defending Pokémon asleep. As it is a simple heads or tails flip, each Sleep Pendulum flip has a probability of 50% for being heads. The probability of hitting at least one heads in our two Sleep Pendulum flips is 75%. So you will be putting the opponent’s active Pokémon to sleep 75% of the time.
2. Sleep Flip
The next flip is the sleep flip that your opponent does to see if their Pokémon is going to wake up going into their turn. The probability that the defending Pokémon will stay asleep is 50%. That means that there is a 37.5% chance that your opponent’s defending Pokémon will be asleep going into their turn, and thus you won’t even have to worry about any attacks from your opponent.
3. Smooth Coat Flip
That means however, that 62.5% of the time your opponent will have the opportunity to attack, and thus it will come down to the results of the Smooth Coat flip, which has a 50% chance of being heads. That means 31.25% of the time, you will avoid having damage done to your Cinccino by hitting heads on your Smooth Coat flip.
Putting It All Together
That means that 68.75% of the time, your Cinccino is going to survive for another turn under this scenario. Putting that together with the 50% chance that Cinccino survives the turn with a fresh attacker, it’s easy to see why this deck can work.
The majority of the time, Cinccino is going to survive your opponent’s turn, allowing you to get at least 150 damage out of most of your Cinccino, which is pretty good for an attacker that only gives up 1 Prize in a format full of 1HKOs.
The following is my most current decklist for this deck. There is still some fine tuning that the list could use, and I should stress that this is just one way to run the deck.
Pokémon – 24
4 Cinccino NXD
3 Drowzee HS
3 Hypno HS
1 Gloom UD
1 Shaymin EX
Trainers – 23
Energy – 13
The way that I choose to run this deck is with a Virizion and Cheren to Twins draw engine. The way this setup engine works, is that you continuously use Virizion’s Dual Draw attack to run through your deck to get all of the components necessary to your setup. Once your opponent Knocks Out your Virizion (or a random Oddish, or something else) they activate your Twins engine, allowing you to finish your setup.
I run a relatively high Cheren count, as Cheren’s effect of drawing three cards has good synergy with Dual Draw. The one Professor Oak’s New Theory might seem a little out of place, but it was included to increase the number of shuffle your hand back into your deck supporters to improve the Durant matchup by a little bit.
N is maxed out as it acts similar to a PONT in the early game, and it is great at the end of the game for Knocking Out two Pokémon with Shaymin EX when the game state calls for it. The Flower Shop Lady is in there to get you some more energy so you don’t run out when you need to charge up your late game attackers, as well as bring back any other Pokémon that you need, that you’re out of other copies in your deck.
Running three Virizion allows me to start Virizion in just under 37% of my games. Minccino is your next best starter, as you can setup your bench with its Call for Family attack. The chances of starting with either Virizion or Minccino is roughly 70%.
As far as energy goes, Double Colorless is maxed out as it is the most crucial to quickly powering up your Cinccino to make use of Echoed Voice, which required three energy to attack. The two rescue energy are to help you stream Cinccino throughout the game.
Running more Rescue Energies is always an option, but I preferred to run fewer of those in favor of more basic energy for the Durant matchup. The P Energy are in there to make use of Drowzee’s Sleep Inducer attack, and the G Energy are in there to make use of Shaymin EX’s Revenge Blast attack.
I’m not going to go through and put out some arbitrary numbers like a matchup being 50/50 for this deck. With this deck, the matchups aren’t quite that simple. To put it simply, if you hit a lot of heads throughout your game, while your opponent hits tails on their sleep flips, you should be in good shape and win your games. If luck isn’t on your side, and the opposite happens, you’re probably going to lose.
The main purpose of these matchups is to cover how these matchups generally play out, and the strengths and weaknesses that this deck has against these other decks.
Your greatest weakness to Celebi/Mewtwo is going to be the donk factor in favor of Celebi/Mewtwo, as well as the possibility that you hit a dead hand at the beginning of the game and get completely stomped by Mewtwo in the early game before you can get anything setup.
Luckily, the donk isn’t too big of a threat. They only have a 50% chance of going first of course, and you have a 60.6% chance of starting two or more starters. In just 19.7% of your games will you start with a single Basic with your opponent going first, so the chances of a donk are relatively low, but when your opponent does go first in this scenario, you could be in a bit of trouble, as Minccino, Drowzee, and Oddish are all easily donked by Mewtwo EX or Tornadus.
In general, you will fall behind 2 Prizes before you get your bare bones setup of an attacking Cinccino, one Hypno, and a Vileplume. Once setup, as long as they don’t get too big of a prize lead, you should be in pretty good shape.
The reason for this, is that Celebi/Mewtwo doesn’t run many attackers other than Mewtwo EX that are able to 1HKO Cinccino, which has 90 HP. Tornadus only does 80 damage and Virizion NV, if they run it, only does 80 damage too. Regigigas-EX can deal the 90 damage needed to Knock Out Cinccino once it has 40 damage on it, but it suffers from the same problem that Mewtwo EX does, and that is that it’s an EX, which gives up 2 Prizes, which allows the Cinccino player to make their comeback faster.
This helps you lull your opponent into your Cinccino trap, as your opponent will be inclined to use Mewtwo EX to take out your Cinccino, as Mewtwo EX only needs two energy to Knock Out a Cinccino that has enough energy to attack. Once Mewtwo EX is in the Active Spot, work on putting it to sleep, and then work on Knocking it Out with Echoed Voice.
As the game gets down to the late game, set up your Shaymin EX. You will generally never take more than your last 2 Prizes with Shaymin EX, but read the board. Sometimes you will be able to play Shaymin EX into your Active Spot, N your opponent down to one card, and then sweep the last 3 Prizes with Shaymin EX. When you start attacking with Shaymin EX is just all about reading the game state properly.
pokemon-paradijs.comThis matchup plays out somewhat similarly to the Celebi/Mewtwo matchup, but there are some differences. The first big difference is that Zekrom/Eelektrik sets up a tad bit slower than Celebi/Mewtwo. The second difference though, is that Zekrom/Eelektrik has a better form of energy acceleration, allowing it to constantly refuel attackers to keep attacking into your Cinccino’s turn after turn.
This deck actually has a lot of things that Cinccino is able to exploit. The first, is a lack of suitable non-EX attackers. The standard Zekrom/Eelektrik list runs around five non-EX attackers, with common inclusions being one Tyrogue, two Zekrom BLW, and two Thundurus.
Tyrogue is going to have a tough time taking down a Cinccino, and will most likely end up being a free Prize card. One strategy the Zeels player can take is to soften up a Cinccino with Tyrogue HS for a Thundurus EPO KO, but that will likely only work on one Cinccino before Tyrogue gets Knocked Out.
Thundurus suffers from the same problem that Tornadus and Virizion do, and that is that Thundurus’ damage output is capped at 80, not enough to Knock Out a Cinccino without any damage on it.
Zekrom BLW is able to 1HKO a Cinccino, but it leaves itself vulnerable for the Knock Out from Cinccino if the Cinccino player hits heads on their Smooth Coat flip. Cinccino Knocks Out a Zekrom after a Bolt Strike if their Echoed Voice is swinging for 100 damage.
After you take out all their non-EX attackers, they will have to start attacking you with a Mewtwo EX or Zekrom-EX. From there, you simply setup Shaymin EX, and play the field for the win.
The weakness of this deck against Cinccino is that it takes quite a bit longer to get setup than Celebi/Mewtwo or Zekrom/Eelektrik do, allowing the Cinccino player to get their field setup better than they do in the two aforementioned matchups. Additionally, Landorus/Terrakion decks struggle with Item lock, as it cuts off their use of Exp. Share, and the deck really is Item heavy.
Additionally, they are most likely going to attack with Landorus in the early game. The Gaia Hammer damage that they put on their bench will setup their own Landorus for 1HKOs with a 100 damage Echoed Voice, adding another thing that makes the matchup easier for you.
In general, the early mid game will decide the matchup. If you fail to hit the necessary coin flips to keep your Cinccino’s alive, they can dominate you fairly badly. If you hit a Smooth Coat flip or two, you will probably easily win the matchup, as their deck will just kind of fizzle out after your Knock Out a couple of their Pokémon as they miss having the requisite energy on their Pokémon, and their hands will become clogged with Items.
Additionally, you have Shaymin EX, which is especially good as a late game sweeper against fighting decks because of its fighting resistance.
fakemaket.deviantart.comThis matchup isn’t all that bad, and there are a few ways to approach it. My preferred method is to get a Virizion going, and Dual Draw and Cheren through my deck to get all the components necessary to setup a Vileplume and a Cinccino with three energy. Then you use an N or PONT to shuffle your hand back into your deck.
Starting with the second Echoed Voice, you 1HKO any Durants, even if they managed to get an Eviolite attached, as well as a Special Metal. You have some protection from being taken out by Rotom UD with Plasma Arrow because of Smooth Coat, but it’s still a threat.
I prefer to go for the full on Item lock, instead of just a Cinccino with energy stacked for a few reasons. The main reason, is that nearly half your energy is special energy that can be Lost Remover’d away. Secondly, once you get the lock setup, you just need five KOs for the win, which shouldn’t be too hard to do without decking out.
Just like any match against Durant though, if they hit their Crushing Hammer Flips and mill the right cards, they can and will beat you.
Status Lock Decks – Lilligant and Vanilluxe
pokemon-paradijs.comWhile Cinccino’s Ability Smooth Coat is great for keeping damage off the little guy, the Ability doesn’t prevent you from being inflicted by status conditions, which is the aim of these two decks. These are probably your two least favorable matchups.
In your approach to this matchup, you can forgo setting up any Vileplumes. Instead, go for some quick Cinccinos and try to gain a prize advantage on these decks. From there, the matchup will become a game of flips. I think the Vanilluxe matchup is a little better for you as it requires them setting up a Stage 2 Pokémon, so you have an opportunity to build more of a prize lead than you do in the Lilligant matchup, which sets up with a Stage 1, with a one energy attack cost.
Lilligant is by far the worse matchup of the two, as Cinccino has no way around the poison damage caused by Bemusing Aroma. With Vanilluxe’s Double Freeze attack, there is always the potential that you flip heads, and all they get out of the turn is paralysis and no damage.
Once these decks have their Vanilluxe/Lilligants up and active and trying to paralyze you, your best bet is to hope you get lucky with your Hypno sleep flips. If they are asleep going into their turns, they won’t have the opportunity to lock you with Paralysis, although in the case of Lilligant, you could still be taking Poison damage from a previous Bemusing Aroma.
I am not sure how much play either of these two decks will see, but I expect the level of Vanilluxe to remain the same as it was in States, but I expect more and more people to be playing Lilligant as Lilligant is a great counter to the Pokémon-EX once setup.
pokemon-paradijs.comIf you know that your meta will have a lot of Lilligant, it might be a wise idea to tech in an Unown CURE and 1-2 Seeker to free yourself of status conditions. Without this tech, the Lilligant matchup at the very least will prove very daunting for you to beat.
This is a deck that started out as just a fun deck, that turned out to be a completely viable deck that is able to take advantage of the EX-rule and some other specific weaknesses of the top meta decks that it is able to exploit.
While this deck can beat all of the top decks in the format, it can also lose to them as well, pretty badly in fact, getting 6-0’d on prizes if you don’t hit any of your Smooth Coat flips. It’s important to remember that it is unlikely for that to happen very often, but it is always a possibility when you’re playing such a flippy deck.
I think the deck is a great deck choice for Regional Championships for those who aren’t able to afford any Mewtwo EXs, and don’t want to run Durant. Assuming you have all the Items, Supporters, and Energies for the deck (which you should, they’re staples), the Pokémon components of the deck will cost you $22 for the cards included in the skeleton list, according to Troll and Toad prices. It will cost you $30 for all of the Pokémon cards in my version of the deck.