Hello 6P readers! Not sure if any of you remember me, as I’ve neglected to write an article for almost 5 months now. Between being busy with school and being lazy during my downtime (not to mention also trying to write a book), I haven’t had time to work on any articles.
However, now that I’m finally made my return, I think now’s a perfect time to take a look at our upcoming set, Dark Explorers. I’ll also be covering the topic of countering (read: trolling) the top metagame decks. Are you excited as I am? I hope so, because we’re in for a whole lot of Dark Explorers goodness!
Like Next Destinies before it, Dark Explorers promises to once again give our metagame a good shaking up. I’m saving the EX Pokémon for an in-depth look at end, so don’t worry if they aren’t talked about much at first. So, without further ado, let’s get on to the review!
BulbapediaVenusaur weighs in at 140 HP, which is pretty average these days for Stage 2, and has a 4 retreat cost. It can only deal 70 damage for the cost of [GGCC]. Not to flattering so far, but Venusaur’s Ability is where it shines. With Venusaur, you can search out any Pokémon and put it into your hand. This is a great ability that can really help when you need to get set up quick.
However, there are a couple a major problems that Venusaur has to face. First off, being a Stage 2 slows down Venusaur, and so it tends to slow down whatever deck it is in as well. Venusaur is also a prime Catcher target, and its retreat cost makes it a pain to get out of the active spot without switch.
And with a format dominated by big Basics and fast decks, it almost seems like all the effort it takes to set up Venusaur might not pay off in the long run.
I personally don’t think Venusaur is cut out for this format, but it is an interesting card that could still see some play.
Accelgor is quite an interesting card. Free retreat is nice and 90 HP is okay for a Stage 1, but Accelgor’s second attack is why he deserves attention. The awesomely-named “Deck and Cover” attack deals 50 damage, as well as both Paralyzing and Poisoning the Defending Pokémon, all for [CC]. The drawback is that you have to shuffle Accelgor and all cards attached to it back into your deck after attacking.
When paired with Sunflora HS and Vileplume UD, Accelgor could keep your opponent on lockdown, and Sunflora could pull Accelgors back out of your deck. While it most likely won’t be Tier 1, this could make for an extremely annoying and fun lock deck.
BulbapediaAnother Stage 2 with 140 HP, Blaziken has a retreat cost of 2. Its first attack, for the cost of [RC], deals 40 damage with each 30 additional damage or a Burn, depending on a coin flip (heads for extra damage, tails for Burn). Nothing amazing there. Blaziken’s second attack deals a great 130 damage for [RRC], and you have to discard a single Energy from Blaziken.
As you can see, Blaziken is pretty much an upgraded Reshiram BLW, boasting 10 more HP, 10 extra damage on its main attack, and discarding 1 Energy instead of 2. Sounds great, right? Well, it’s not all great for Blaziken, because being a Stage 2 pretty much makes it harder to use. It can’t pair with Typhlosion Prime very effectively, because setting up two Stage 2 lines really slows down the deck.
However, Blaziken is still a pretty nice card that can OHKO the likes of 130HP Pokémon such as Zekrom and Terrakion, so I feel that he deserves a mention in this review.
Hailed as the Chosen One who is destined to kill Durant forever, Heatmor is a Basic with 90HP and a single retreat. Heatmor’s first attack, which usually only does 10 damage for [C], states that the attack deals 50 more damage if the Defending Pokémon is a Durant. The fact that this is so specific to Durant makes this card rather hilarious, and also deems him one of the biggest trolls in the entire metagame.
The fact that this guy is splashable into any deck means that decks that struggle with Durant (or anyone that just hates Durant, which is a lot of people) can now run the best Durant killer in the game.
While many people have said that this spells the end of Durant, I think that the annoying ant will be hanging around. Durant is a very versatile deck, and I’m sure that Durant players will find a way to get around Heatmor.
And of course there is the fact that Heatmor is useless in every matchup that isn’t Durant, which can be especially annoying if you start with him. However, if your deck has Durant problems, Heatmor can really help you out.
BulbapediaVolcarona is a Stage 1 with 110 HP and a 3 retreat cost. Volcarona’s Ability states that whenever one of your opponent’s Pokémon takes damage from a Burn, place 4 damage counts on that Pokémon instead of the usual 2 as long as Volcarona is in play. This makes the Burn condition go from annoying to scary pretty quick, as 40 damage done by a condition can really cause some problems.
Volcarona’s attack, for [RRC], deals 70 damage and the option to cause a Burn at the price of discarding an energy. When paired with another, stronger Pokémon that inflicts burn, Volcarona can be pretty handy. For me, Volcarona paired with Typhlosion Prime and Arcanine NXD 12 seems like it would be quite fun.
However, Volcarona suffers from problems similar to Venusaur’s; it makes for great Catcher-bait and has a fairly hefty retreat cost. Volcarona won’t be the next BCIF or anything, but it could see some play and is at least a card to keep in mind.
Allow me to introduce one of my favorite cards in the set, Empoleon. Our penguin friend is a Stage 2 sitting at 140 HP and carrying a retreat cost of 2. Weakness to Lightning hurts a lot, since Zeels is currently the BDIF and is looking to only get stronger after Dark Explorers. However, there are a couple of traits that Empoleon has that could allow it to see some play.
First off, it carries a nice Ability that allows you to discard 1 card from your hand in order to draw 2 cards. This is like a more universal version of Ninetales HS/CL, which has proved to be a great card in almost any deck running fire Energy. Empoleon’s attack costs only [W], and deals 10 damage for every Pokémon in play. This attack is almost identical to Jumpluff HS’s Mass Attack, which pretty much operates the exact same way.
With a built-in draw engine and a swarm attack, Empoleon could very well see play in its own deck – possibly paired with the likes of Cincinno BLW, which also focuses in swarm tactics and uses Colorless Energy. While weakness and being a Stage 2 do weaken and slow down Empoleon, I feel in this case that it is still a great card and could very well see some competitive play.
BulbapediaPlusle is a 60 HP Basic with a single retreat and a Fighting weakness. The weakness doesn’t matter too much, since most the Fighting types being used right now OHKO Plusle anyway. The only thing that matters is Terrakion NVI’s unboosted Retaliate. Plusle gets some attention because of its first attack, which lets you shuffle your hand into your deck and draw 4 new cards for C.
At first this seems like a mediocre Cleffa HS/CL wannabe, but if you have a Minun on your bench then you get to draw 8 cards instead! A fresh 8-card hand is pretty huge; we all know how good PONT and Cleffa are, so drawing 2 extra cards is even more helpful.
However, having to also fit in Minun and get it onto your bench can be a pain. There’s a Minun DEX, but I think that Minun UL is a better choice if you want to use Plusle. Both of them share Plusle’s stats, but Minun UL can also draw 2 cards for a Colorless Energy. I don’t think Plusle will outclass Cleffa, but it is a good alternative and should be kept in mind.
Espeon is a Stage 1 with 90 HP and a single retreat cost. Although Espeon is already fragile, weakness to Psychic stinks with Mewtwo EX still running rampant and showing no signs of slowing down. Espeon’s attack is pretty bad, but its Ability is why it deserves some attention. Espeon’s Ability states: “As long as Espeon is in play, prevent all effects (excluding damage) of your opponent’s Pokémon’s attacks done to any of your Pokémon with Energy attached to them.”
While this is interesting and helpful versus special conditions and things like Cobalion NVI’s Iron Breaker attack, ultimately it doesn’t do a whole lot in our current metagame. Nevertheless, this Ability is quite interesting and could make an impact in the future.
BulbapediaAerodactyl is a Restored Pokémon with 90 HP and a single retreat. Its attack doesn’t even matter; but its Ability does. As long as Aerodactyl is in play, it grants you what is essentially a free PlusPower every turn. And with the new Twist Mountain Stadium (more on that later) it’s not terribly difficult to play.
We all know how much a single PlusPower can matter, so having Aerodactyl can really help you snatch those KO’s that would usually be just out of reach.
The infamous Sableye, who singlehandedly forced an early rotation last year, has returned… Well, not really. Sableye is back, but not in its nasty Stormfront form. This Sableye has 70 HP and 1 retreat, and is nothing like its predecessor. The only reason to use Sableye would be for its attack called Junk Hunt. For just [D], Sableye can fish out 2 Item cards out of the discard pile and put them back into your hand.
This is simply a double Junk Arm in attack form, and could be a nice option for Dark decks. While Sableye is technically just a free prize for your opponent, sometimes 1 prize lost isn’t such a big deal if the reward is big enough. My opinion on Sableye is not fully developed yet, but I think it could be a nice addition to Dark.dec once Dark Explorers is released.
Krookadile is a Stage 2 with 150 HP and a retreat cost of 3. Its first attack isn’t too special; for [DCC], Krookadile can deal 60 damage and prevent the Defending Pokémon from retreating. This can be helpful, but it isn’t anything super awesome. The attack that drew me to Krookadile was Bombast, which deals 40 damage times the amount of prizes that you’ve already taken.
This attack is pretty expensive, costing DDCC, and is similar to Shaymin EX’s Revenge Blast. The difference is that it hits for more damage and works off your prizes instead of the opponents, which in my opinion is a little easier to work with because you have more control over the damage output.
It should also be noted that with Dark Claw or a couple of Special Dark energies, Krookadile can OHKO any EX after you’ve taken 4 prizes.
The downsides of Krookadile are the facts that it is a Stage 2 and its attack costs a pretty hefty amount of energy. Its retreat cost isn’t that big of a deal, since it would almost always be played with Darkrai EX. I think Krookadile is quite a viable card in Dark.dec, but only time will tell if it sees any play.
BulbapediaZoroark is a Stage 1 with 100 HP and a 2 retreat cost. Its first attack, for [CC], deals 20 damage times the amount of Darkness-type Pokémon you have in play. This attack is Zoroark’s big selling point, since it can swing for 120 with a full bench of Dark types with just a Double Colorless. Not to mention access to Special Darkness Energy and the new perks of Dark Patch, Dark Claw, and Darkrai EX’s ability.
Zoroark’s other attack does 20 damage times the number of damage counters on Zoroark for [DD]. While Zoroark can technically OHKO EXs if it only has 10 HP remaining, this is not at all common and therefore this attack is really just a bonus. Zoroark is a very good card and will definitely see play as a main attacker in Dark.dec, so watch out for this card once Dark Explorers is released!
So, that’s all for the non-EX Pokémon of Dark Explorers. Now’s the moment you’ve all be waiting for, folks: it’s time to review the Dark Explorers EX cards!
Kyogre is probably the worst EX in the set, and possibly the worst EX card yet. That doesn’t mean he’s a terrible card by any means, but it does mean he’s just not that great compared to the other EXs. Kyogre sits at 170 HP and has a 4 retreat cost, as well as a terrible lightning weakness. Lightning weakness is bad enough for a normal Pokémon in this format, but Kyogre is worth 2 prizes and therefore weakness is an even bigger deal.
Kyogre’s first attack deals 30 damage and allows you to switch it with a Pokémon on your bench for [WC]. This isn’t terrible, considering that it gives Kyogre a way to get around its big retreat cost and possibly score a KO on a baby Pokémon. Kyogre’s second attack allows you to snipe two of your opponent’s Pokémon for 50 damage at the cost of WWC. This also isn’t too bad, but with so many high-HP Pokés out there right now, 50 damage often isn’t enough.
I personally do really like Kyogre, and plan to use him in a fun deck with Feraligatr Prime and Kyurem NVI. Overall, however, Kyogre just can’t stand up to many of the meta’s top threats, and doesn’t really hit for enough damage to get the job done.
BulbapediaUnlike his rival Kyogre, Groudon EX is quite a good card – especially in this metagame filled with Zeels, and most likely Dark decks once Dark Explorers is released. At 180 HP and a 4 retreat cost, Groudon is a major heavyweight, and he also boasts a nice resistance to Lightning which makes it pretty much Zeels’ worst nightmare already.
Its first attack deals only 20 damage and spreads 10 damage around your opponent’s board, for the cost of FC. But that’s just a warm-up. Groundon’s main attack, Giant Claw, deals 80 damage for FFC. The real kicker, however, is that the attack deals an extra 40 damage as long as the Defending Pokémon has 2 or more damage counters already on it.
That means that Groundon can OHKO every Lightning or Darkness-type Pokémon in the entire format with a boosted Giant Claw. Combined with Groundon’s massive HP and resistance, Groudon is the ultimate weapon against Zeels and Dark.dec. It is also pretty solid even without hitting for weakness, and can hold its own against the likes of most other decks.
I’ll be covering Groudon even more in the Trolling section, but for now I’m just going to tell you to watch out; Groudon will undoubtedly be seeing some play.
When the Dark Explorers cards were first released in the Japanese set Dark Rush, many people seemed to overlook Entei EX and instead hopped on the hype trains driven by Darkrai and Raikou. I’ll be honest – I was kind of one of those people. But now with the English versions coming, I’ve taken another look at Entei and decided that it is actually a pretty nice card.
180 HP is really nice, and is fast becoming the standard for EXs (did I really just call 180 HP “standard?”), and while 3 retreat isn’t that great, high retreats are also fairly common on EX cards. Entei’s first attack deals 30 damage and Burns the Defending Pokémon for the cost of RC. Not exactly great, but it’s a useful attack for taking out baby Pokémon or annoying your opponent with a burn.
Entei’s other attack is Grand Flame, which deals 90 damage and allows you to attach a basic energy from the discard pile to one of your benched Pokémon for the cost of [RRC]. This attack is actually really nice; 90 damage 2HKO’s any Pokémon that isn’t an EX packing Eviolite, and it has built in energy acceleration to boot.
He’s not the best EX on the block, but I really like Entei and think that he is definitely a viable card.
BulbapediaAlong with Darkrai, Raikou EX was hyped as the best EX since Mewtwo. It’s fairly easy to see why, after you take a look at Raikou. With 170 HP and a single retreat, Raikou is pretty lightweight compared to most EXs. This also lets him abuse Skyarrow Bridge. Raikou’s first attack for [LC] deals only 30 damage, and can Paralyze your opponent if you land heads on a coin flip. Not too great, but like Entei this attack can be used to get an easy KO on baby Pokémon and also try to stall with paralysis while you get set up.
Raikou’s second attack, however, is where all the hype comes from. For [LLC], Volt Bolt (love the name) allows you to choose any of your opponent’s Pokémon and deal 100 damage to it, with the price of having to discard all lightning Energy attached to Raikou. A snipe attack with this much power is great, it only gets better when you add Eelektrik and Skyarrow Bridge to the picture.
The idea is to use Eels to power up a pair of Raikous, with one on the bench and one attacking. Once the attacking Raikou uses Volt Bolt, you can retreat for free with Bridge and use the other Raikou to attack. Rinse and repeat. Not to mention that you can use tech him into Zeels for an advantage in the mirror match, as Raikou can snipe out Eels like nobody’s business.
However, there are ways to beat Raikou that I will talk more about later in this article, and we haven’t even seen the card in action yet. Raikou EX is a great card, so expect to see it at your tournaments after Dark Explorers is released.
Tornadus EX also carries 170 HP and a single retreat, which gives it the same ability to abuse Skyarrow Bridge as Raikou. Weakness to Lightning is terrible right now, but a resistance to Fighting is pretty nifty with all the Troll decks running around. Its first attack costs [CC] and deals 30 damage plus 30 more damage if there is a Stadium in play. 60 for a DCE is pretty nice already, but it gets better.
For [CCC], the second attack deals 100 damage with the only downside being that you have to flip a coin and discard a single energy attached to Tornadus if you hit tails. This is pretty much Tornadus EPO on steroids. The only things that Tornadus can claim over Tornadus EX are 1: Tornadus only gives up 1 prize, and 2: Tornadus can use Hurricane to help set up other Pokémon.
Other than that, Tornadus EX is the new Tornadus. CMT in particular gets a power boost, and is now able to hit a T1 100 damage instead of 80. That’s some scary stuff. He is also a great tech in Zeels, as he can take on Fighting types with ease. Tornadus EX is another great EX card, and I would expect it to see a lot of play.
BulbapediaAh, Darkrai. The poster-Poké of Dark Explorers has been hyped since it’s reveal in Japan, and it is set to make as big an impact as predicted now. Darkrai EX has 180 HP and a retreat cost of 2, which is fairly average considering. Weakness to Fighting gives Terrakion and friends even more targets, but a resistance to Psychic is a resistance to Mewtwo, which is also really nice. Darkrai’s ability is the main reason that he is so hyped.
The Ability, Dark Cloak, grants every Pokémon on your field with a Darkness Energy attached gains free retreat as long as Darkrai is in play. This Ability is awesome, and when you combine it with the new Darkness Trainers and the fairly large range of viable darkness-type Pokémon, Darkrai is already very viable.
But that’s not all Darkrai is capable of. Its attack deals 90 damage and snipes a benched Pokémon for 30 at the cost of [DDC]. Keeping in mind that this attack can be powered up with Special Darkness Energies and Dark Claw, Darkrai is actually quite threatening offensively as well as being a support Pokémon. Darkrai is, in my opinion, the best EX card since Mewtwo, and is almost guaranteed to see play in the new Dark.dec after this set is released.
Now that we’ve covered all the Pokémon, let’s move on to the Trainer cards. I’ll run through each Trainer card in the set, with the exception of Old Amber Aerodactyl (which should be fairly obvious). Let’s get to it!
A long-awaited card by many, Ultra Ball is the first Item card to really be any competition to Pokémon Communication. Yes, Heavy Ball and Level Ball exist, but both are niche cards that only work with certain Pokémon. Ultra Ball is different. The card lets you search your deck for any Pokémon at the price of discarding 2 cards from your hand.
Now, there are pros and cons to Ultra Ball. The biggest advantage that Ultra Balls has over Pokémon Communication is that you don’t have to have another Pokémon in your hand to put back into your deck. Discarding cards to use Ultra Ball can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your deck and/or your situation.
In decks like Zeels that want Energy in the discard pile, this card is much better than Pokémon Communication. But if your deck doesn’t want to be throwing resources into the discard, then Ultra Ball might not be your first choice. There are other factors as well, but the bottom line is that Ultra Ball and Pokémon Communication both have good points and bad points.
It really comes down to what deck you’re running, and your personal preference for your deck. I personally love the card, and can’t wait for Ultra Ball to be released.
BulbapediaDark Patch is one of the two Item cards that are made to support Darkness Pokémon. It states that when you use Dark Patch, you may attach one Basic Darkness Energy from your discard pile to one of your benched Darkness Pokémon.
This is pretty crazy not only because it provides Darkness decks with Energy acceleration, but also because it is the first Item card that has ever acted as an accelerator. Along with Darkrai EX and Dark Claw, Dark Patch gives Darkness-type Pokémon are getting a huge boost and ultimately makes Dark.dec possible.
Speaking of Dark Claw, here it is! This tool card grants Darkness-type Pokémon an additional 20 damage on their attacks as long as it is attached to them. A double PlusPower every turn? And I can still abuse Special Dark Energy and reap the benefits of Darkrai and Dark Patch? Yes, please. I don’t really feel like I need to say more; this is just icing on the cake for Dark.dec.
This card is similar to Pokégear 3.0, but it has some key differences that make it worth checking out. This Item allows you to reveal the top cards of your deck until you find a Supporter, which you get to add to your hand. The major difference here between Pokégear and Random Receiver is that Random Receiver guarantees you a Supporter, but you don’t get to choose which Supporter you get. With Pokégear, you only get to look at the top 7 cards, but you can choose any Supporter you find.
Like with Pokémon Communication and Ultra Ball, both cards have pros and cons. Between these cards, however, it is more of a matter of personal preference (at least that’s what it seems like right now). I prefer Random Receiver because you get a guaranteed Supporter, but only time will tell if this card will overtake Pokégear 3.0.
BulbapediaThis card is pretty much a Lost Remover; Enhanced Hammer simply lets you choose 1 Special Energy attached to one of your opponent’s Pokémon, with the only difference being that the energy goes to the discard pile instead of the Lost Zone. There is almost no way to get Special Energies back out of the discard pile once they get put there, so there really isn’t much of a difference between Lost Remover and Enhanced Hammer at all.
I personally will probably use Enhanced Hammer simply because it will undoubtedly be legal next format. There is a lot of Special Energy floating around right now, so I think that Enhanced Hammer will be a useful card to have.
Yes, I know we all know what Rare Candy does. However, having it is this set is great because it gives us Rare Candy next format. I’m also happy just because I haven’t pulled a single Rare Candy since getting back into the TCG last year, so maybe I’ll actually get a few instead of having to buy them as single cards.
This is the only new Supporter card we get in the set, and it’s definitely an interesting one. When you play Hooligans you flip and coin, and if heads you get to shuffle 3 random cards from your opponent’s hand back into their deck. While this effect is pretty nice for disruption, the coin flip weakens this card immensely.
Coin flips are already annoying on Item cards, but on a Supporter they take on a whole new level of suckiness. Since you can only use one Supporter each turn, getting tails on Hooligans is a wasted turn when you could have used Juniper, PONT, or another draw Supporter. Not to mention that you can’t use Junk Arm to reuse Hooligans, giving you only a single chance to hit heads.
While this card has a nice effect and may see some play in disruption decks, the coin flip ultimately makes Hooligans Jim and Cas only mediocre.
BulbapediaAnd so we come to our final Trainer card, and the final card that I’ll be covering in this review. Twist Mountain is a Stadium card that reads: “Once during each player’s turn, that player may flip a coin. If heads, the player may put a Restored Pokémon from his or her hand onto their bench.”
This may not seem too great at first with a coin flip involved. But if you are familiar with the other way to use Restored Pokémon, then you’ll know that this is a far superior way to use them. First of all, you don’t have to constantly try to keep them out of our hand, and you don’t need to run 4 Fossils and 4 Restored Pokémon to even have a chance of getting it out.
Now Pokémon such as Aerodactyl and possibly Archeops NVI have an opportunity to see some play. This gives Restored Pokémon much more viability, and while they are still harder to use than most Pokémon, it is certainly worth giving Twist Mountain a try.
So, this concludes my review of the Dark Explorers set. This is most likely my favorite set out right now, and I am very excited to play in an HS-DEX format. But wait, there’s more! Now that we know all the cards that deserve mention or might see play in Dark Explorers, we can use this knowledge to prepare for the release of the next set; and more importantly, how to counter the metagame once Dark Explorers hits the format.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present my little guide on how to Troll the Meta!
First, you need to have a grasp of what the top decks are, and what threats you want to counter. If you want to beat Zeels, for example, you should probably include Terrakion or another powerful fighting Pokémon in your deck. I know that this point can be fairly obvious, but it’s extremely important and is the basis of all counter-meta decks; a.k.a Troll decks.
Because Dark Explorers isn’t actually released yet, I can’t guarantee that certain cards or decks will be as prevalent as most people think they will be. However, I do think that this will be the most likely and accurate list of the top threats that you would want to counter with a Troll deck:
Zeels will obviously still be huge, and you can see why. The deck only gets more powerful with the additions of Raikou EX (sniping) and Tornadus EX (hard counter to fighting decks). CMT will also still be going strong with Tornadus EX increasing its damage and donking power. Dark.dec (based around Zoroark DEX, Darkrai EX, and the new Darkness Trainers) will be the new kid on the block, but it has so many things going for it that it is bound to see play.
Also, I want to note that the same Pokémon that counter Zeels decks also counter Dark.dec, so even if the deck doesn’t see as much play your will not really have to alter any Troll deck greatly. Finally you have fighting decks that will be spearheaded by the likes of Terrakion, Groudon EX, and Landorus NVI, which are played to beat Zeels and Dark.dec. These are the big decks and cards that you will want to be able to have answers to if you want to beat the meta.
Countering Zeels + Dark.dec
Pokemon ParadijsSo let’s take a look at cards that can help you against these decks. We’ll start countering Zeels and Dark.dec, which are both made up of Pokémon that are weak to Fighting types. The premier Fighting types to use are Terrakion, Landorus, and Groudon EX.
Terrakion will start us off, as he is the current king of Fighting decks. Terrakion can revenge KO any Lightning or Darkness-type Pokémon that isn’t Eviolited Zekrom EX or Darkrai EX, and 130 HP can still take a hit or two. Terrakion can also keep pumping out a steady 90 as long as he survives and you have another energy.
Landorus has less HP, but has a Lightning resistance which helps out against Zeels. Landorus hits for 80, which is just shy of OHKOing Zekrom EX and Darkrai EX, but he also deals 10 damage to everything else in play. As a bonus, Landorus has only 1 retreat (Terrakion and Groudon both have 4) and can set himself up by using his first attack to attach a discarded energy to himself.
Groudon EX is the newest Fighting beatstick, but is the heaviest one as well. I’ve already discussed Groudon’s stats in the set review, but I still want to mention a couple more things in this section. One is that Groudon can work very well with Landorus, who can spread damage for Groudon to power up his Giant Claw.
That way, you get a combination of a lighter attacker with Landorus and a big heavy hitter in Groudon. The only downside is that Groudon loses you 2 prizes when he goes down, so you need to be a little more careful with your Groudons.
Next we’ll cover CMT, or more accurately two Pokémon that you will run into a lot when playing CMT: Tornadus EX and Mewtwo EX. Both of these Pokémon can also be used in other decks because they are colorless attackers, but I’m covering them as the CMT matchup because the deck is based around them. Tornadus EX walls Fighting types like it’s his job (in many decks, it probably will be), but has a weakness to Lightning that you can exploit.
This is no problem if you’re a Zeels player, but if you are playing a Fighting-based Troll deck you will want an answer for Tornadus EX badly. What is probably the easiest way to beat him is to run a Tornadus EX or Mewtwo EX yourself that can easily 2HKO the opposing Tornadus without worrying about being resisted. You can also run a Lightning attacker such as Thundurus EPO or Zekrom BLW with prism Energies.
However, Zekrom can actually be used to abuse Outrage in a Landorus build, which is nice because you don’t need any Lightning or Prism Energy. While running Prism is usually the better option, it is sometimes nice when you can just rely on Basic Energy that can be recycled, recovered, and is not effected by cards like Enhanced Hammer or Lost Remover.
As for Mewtwo EX, well… you already know that Mewtwo’s best counter is another Mewtwo, and since Mewtwo is such a great card anyway, it’s advisable to run Mewtwo EX if you have any. There’s also Mew Prime, but he’s usually inferior to running Mewtwo EX yourself and doesn’t really work in this situation.
Countering Other Fighting Decks
Pokemon ParadijsFinally we’ll cover the possibility of running into another Fighting deck, which are pretty much all Troll decks at this point. Honestly, I don’t think Terrakion would have gained nearly as much popularity if Zeels wasn’t the king of the format; if Fire-type decks ran the format, Water types would be the new Trolls. But I’m getting off topic. Fighting decks are there, and you will face them.
So, how do you beat them? Well, to start of Tornadus EX and his little brother Tornadus EPO both perform well against Fighting types because they resist their attacks. Tornadus EX will almost always be the better option, but if you’re scared about losing 2 prizes than Tornadus is a fine choice as well.
It should also be mentioned that Tornadus can really help set up your other Pokémon, because unless you use Exp. Share than you have nothing even close to Energy acceleration. Those genies are usually the primary choices because they are splashable into every deck.
However, you can also look at the weaknesses of the Fighting types. Groudon EX and Landorus are both weak to water types, while Terrrakion is weak to grass. Shaymin EX makes for a good grass-type attacker, while Kyurem EX is probably the best water attacker.
Assuming you are still running a Fighting-based deck, these attackers can be teched in with Prisms, but Tornadus and Tornadus EX are usually better options.
Now that we’ve established what Pokémon we should counter, and what Pokémon we can use to counter them, I’ve put together a sample Troll deck for post-DEX. It uses most of the cards we’ve talked about in this section, and should be a pretty good example of what a Troll deck could look like:
Pokémon – 12
2 Groudon EX
2 Mewtwo EX
1 Tornadus EX
1 Cleffa HS/CL
Trainers – 34
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 14
pokemon-paradijs.comThis is a fairly standard list, or at least what I think could qualify for a standard list post-DEX. I chose to use the Landorus/Groudon EX combo with Tornadus EPO acting as my accelerator. I also included a single copy of Tornadus EX to seal the deal versus pure fighting decks. Shaymin is extremely useful in this deck; a Shaymin drop can transform a hopeless situation into a perfectly winnable game. And honestly, do I need to explain Mewtwo EX and Cleffa?
The only type of attackers that I did not include are any Lightning attackers to beat Tornadus EX with, but I feel that your own Tornadus/ Mewtwo lineup is enough to face Tornadus EX without a huge amount of trouble. Other than that, there’s not much else to discuss, since the Trainer and Energy lines are pretty standard fare. Just please keep in mind that this list has not been tested yet, and it is just meant to give you an idea of what one Troll variant would look like in the new HS-DEX format.
So there you have it. These decks are mostly likely going to be the ones that you see everywhere, other than possibly a Durant here or there (you can tech Heatmor if you still have an infestation) and random rogue decks which you usually can’t prepare for. There will obviously be other decks, but because Dark Explorers hasn’t hit the tournament scene yet this is really all we can predict.
Thank you so much for reading this very long article, and I hope that I helped to prepare you for when Dark Explorers hits the competitive scene.