sunyshore.comHopefully, you guys in the SizPrizes Underground had an opportunity to read my last article, All the Eels!, and know how I construct my articles.
In my second installment as a guest writer for SixPrizes, I’ll be talking about Regionals 2012 — analyzing the results and seeing what we can learn from this information that can help you make a great deck decision for Spring Battle Roads — as well as give a quick overview of Dark Explorers and how it affects our current format, and finally I’ll be covering some promising lists I’ve been working on!
If you guys like what I’m writing, leave a comment or tell Adam what you think. I’d love to come back and write for you guys!
Anyway, before Regionals started, I had two specific lists that I thought were pretty close to perfection. My Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus list, which I had been perfecting since States, and my Zekrom/Eelektrik deck, which I had been building to test against my CMT.
Rokman’s CMT List (Pre-Regionals)
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 35
4 Junk Arm
2 Pokégear 3.0
Energy – 13
I felt that this list had the most potential out of my two choices, with the other being my Zekeels. This list had a ton of shenanigans potential with Shaymin, Gigas, and Seeker. Myself and a friend, Curran H., played the exact same deck for Regionals and we both reached Top 8 in our respective tournaments.
I ended up losing in Top 8 to Robert E. from Florida with his Lilligant EPO deck. In a grueling third match, where time was called almost as it started, he turn two’d a Vileplume UD and Lilligant to lock my Smeargle and take the win!
The main reason I chose CMT over Zekeels was that CMT literally has no bad matchups and can comeback, in a flash, in a struggling situation. Whereas Zekeels has to dodge Fighting decks, because either way you look at it, it’s an extremely uphill battle, plus the deck has to avoid Tynamos getting donked!
I felt like that in a CMT vs. Zekeels situation, Zekeels has a tiny advantage in the matchup, and going first with a strong start is usually indicative of the deck that wins.
Rokman’s Zekeels List (Pre-Regionals)
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 33
4 Junk Arm
2 Pokégear 3.0
Energy – 13
pokemon-paradijs.comA friend of mine, Adam G. of Houston, TX, did borrow my Zekeels list the night before the tournament. By chance, he wasn’t able to get his hands on the 3rd Mewtwo, so him and a few other people decided it would be best to play 1 Shaymin UL instead.
Adam G. ended up taking home the gold from Southern Plains. He tells me the Shaymin won him a lot of his games, so that’s something to take into consideration when putting together a Zekeels list for Battle Roads.
Shaymin can offer you a lot of options throughout the game, though I always felt that having 3 Mewtwo EX would give you more options early game. With only two Mewtwo EX, you run the risk of 1 being prized and it is never a good option to go aggro Mewtwo EX early if you only run two. Three allows you to be flexible and have more answers to CMT, as well as give you a huge advantage vs. Fighting decks.
Either way, the Shaymin must have been the right play… he did win after all!
Anyway, here’s my quick tournament report from Southern Plains Regionals 2012!
Round 1 – Tracy H. (Quad Terrakion)
– I open Celebi Active with Gigas on the bench. She flips over a Terrakion NVI and my heart sinks! She goes first, PONTs into no Basics, plays a Fighting Energy down, and passes.
– My first turn I Forest Breath a Grass Energy down, N into Mewtwo, DCE, and Eviolite, then hit her Terrakion for 60.
– She Lost Removers the DCE and passes. It looks like the N completely shut her down.
– I Juniper into another DCE and a PlusPower to finish off her lone Terrakion.
Round 2 – Brit P./Mune (CMT)
pokemon-paradijs.com– I go first and I find out my second Tornadus and Regigigas-EX are prized. This means I only have 1 Tornadus and 3 Mewtwo EX as attackers. I certainly don’t want to start the Mewtwo war early, so I have to get as much mileage out of 1 Tornadus as possible.
– I get a turn 1 Hurricane on his active Gigas. We go back and forth for awhile, and thankfully he is Catchering around my only Tornadus, so I’m able to take a lot of prizes with it.
– Eventually his Gigas goes down, putting us both at 3 Prizes.
– He N’s us both to 3. I rip a Double Colorless and Grass to get a KO on a Celebi, leaving me at 2 Prizes remaining.
– Since I have 2 Prizes left, I’m able to safely start the Mewtwo war, only needing 1 response KO on his Mewtwo to win the game.
– Time is called and I notice Brit has played 3 Ns, so once the Mewtwo war starts, I won’t have to worry about N. My hand is stellar: Switch, Grass, Junk Arm, Dual Ball, and 2 Skyarrow. He pretty much has to N here or it’s game. He only runs 3, so it’s GG.
Round 3 – Jorel K./jkwarrior (Zekeels)
– I go second; he has an active Mewtwo vs my Celebi. He starts off really sick, Dual Balling for 2 Tynamo, Junking away 2 Lightning for another Dual Ball, getting a 3rd Tynamo, and then PONTs for a new hand of 6.
– I had everything in hand for a Hurricane turn 1, but he started off so hot, I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up. I PONT, trying to get Catcher to kill a Tynamo, but have to settle for 80 on Mewtwo.
– He gets Eel, PlusPower, and PONTs for a new hand. I think he rips a Switch and DCE plus the Dynamotor, and he’s able to do 110 to KO my DCE’d Tornadus.
– I have everything in my 8 card hand for a big return KO in the Mewtwo war. But I whiff both tails on Dual Ball. Since I whiffed that, I have to try and Smeargle something to stay in this. I hit a Juniper and lose my incredible hand (2 DCE, Shaymin, Eviolite).
– The game never gets better from there. Even Jorel apologizes for how bad this game was.
Round 4 – Pierre F./Thefrenchsnake (Reshiphlosion)
pokemon-paradijs.com– I have never tested vs. Reshiphlosion and for the most part have written off the deck in my mind. Well, I was in for a serious beating.
– I go second after he opens Vulpix UL and Collectors for 3 Cyndaquil HS. I open Regigigas and try to draw into a Switch to get the KO on Vulpix, but never see it.
– For the next 4-5 turns, I’m trying to draw into Catcher to start picking off Cyndaquils with either my Gigas or Tornadus. I literally PONT into nothing, followed up with Portrait into a Supporter, drawing nothing. By turn 6, my discard pile is 1 Dual Ball, 3 PONT, and 2 N; nothing else.
– During this time, Pierre has 1 Typhlosion up, and gets a Catcher-Blue Flare KO on my Tornadus, as well as an Outrage KO on a Celebi.
– I somehow get the game down to 2-2 in prizes. He has 3 Typhlosion out and about 40 cards in his discard pile, and only 3 energy in play/in the discard. Out of all the Portraits and everything in his discard, there is no sign of Mewtwo. At all. I figure I can win the game if I N him to 2 and start sweeping with a Mewtwo.
– I draw a prize (1 remaining). He topdecks the 1 Mewtwo EX in his deck and wins the game. Either way, he was a really cool guy.
Round 5 – Katie J. (CMT)
– She has Gigas active and Tornadus benched vs my Smeargle active and Gigas, Tornadus, and Celebi benched. I go first and Portrait into nothing.
– She topdecks a PONT and gets everything she needs for a turn 2 Eviolited Gigas KO on my Smeargle. I’m in an incredibly sticky spot here.
– The only response I have is to power up my own Gigas and get into a Gigas fight. Thankfully I’ve playtested this and know how it works; whoever misses the Catcher-KO first is in trouble.
– Eventually she has 3 N in the discard and like 130 damage on my Mewtwo (she Hammered it with her Gigas). I’m not worried about N and eventually Gear into my Seeker, doing a sick Switch-Seeker trick on my Mewtwo, really setting her back, especially after I get the KO on her Gigas.
– She Junipers, throwing away a second Gigas. I didn’t think she ran a second one and if she played it earlier, I’d be in a seriously bad spot. She draws nothing off the Juniper and I end up taking this one, barely.
Round 6 – Juanita M. (Zekeels)
pokemon-paradijs.com– My opening hand has 4 Celebi in it. Anyone have the percentage on that happening? It has to be astronomically low… Either way, I draw into an N and am able to get a turn 1 X Ball KO on a Cleffa HS.
– After I kill her Cleffa, she is never able to set up. She was a newer player and would make really awful mistakes like playing down a Tynamo and then Level Balling for the Eelektrik, only to see that I gobble up Tynamos like it’s my job.
– Eventually it looks like she doesn’t even run Mewtwo and I run a complete train on her whole board. She wasn’t even able to ATTACK the entire game. 6-0’d.
[Editor’s note: You are ruthless, Mr. Weldon.]
Kyurem NVI Swarm)Round 7 – Harrison K. (
– He mulligans like 4 times and I see pretty much his whole deck. He’s got Crushing Hammer, tons of Revive, Lost Remover, Water Energy, and I suspect it’s Kyurem EX swarm, but once he finally gets a Basic I see it’s just Glaciate swarm.
– Even with all those mulligans, he goes first and N’s it all away. I draw complete trash and am really worried because if he sets up a Glaciate before I can get attackers, I’ll be done for.
– After draw-passing for 3 turns in a row, he gets a Kyurem up with 1 DCE and 2 Water, doing his first Glaciate. He has no other Pokémon out. My field and hand is so pathetic, but I thankfully topdeck a Juniper, leading into Mewtwo, DCE, and Grass Energy, allowing me to do 140 with one X Ball.
– This guy’s beard was awesome!
Round 8 – Conrad F. (Cobalion/Terrakion)
– I mulligan twice and go first, I have to Forest Breath and attach a DCE to a Celebi, before PONTing.
– He has Cobalion NVI and Terrakion NVI out with Exp. Shares on both. He Dual Balls for 2 Tyrogue HS and plays Switch, before Punching my Celebi. Tyrogue wakes up.
– I get a Hurricane for the first prize. He tries to Punch and stay asleep again, failing. I Catcher and Hurricane his Cobalion.
– He hits me for 80 with Cobalion, prompting me to Switch-Seeker it up and Hurricane the Cobalion right back for my second prize.
– With the prizes 4-6, I feel safe starting the Mewtwo war. With Shaymin, I load up two Mewtwos with like 12 energy between them. Eventually, he is never able to get a Cobalion powered up before I 1-shot it with X Balls.
Round 9 – Brent S. (CMT)
– Brent goes first, facing my lone Celebi. He whiffs on the stuff needed for a turn 1 donk and we end up having a real game.
– I have a bunch of Energy and useless Trainers in my hand and am prepared to lose, but I get the top deck of the century (Dual Ball) and I’m able to get a Gigas out swinging for 80, eventually netting me 2 really quick prizes.
– He has to swing into my Gigas to try and take it down. It’s got like 150 on it before I play a Switch, sending up my Smeargle, and N’ing us both to 4. After the N, I Portrait, and see HE DREW HIS ONLY SEEKER IN THE DECK, allowing me to pick up my Gigas, pretty much sealing the game.
– He’s out of N and can’t keep up with my Gigas.
– Thankfully, Brent and I are bros and it sucks we had to face each other in the round that decides top cut. Believe it or not, we both made it (he squeaked in at 31st!).
Dana L. (Tornadus/Terrakion)Top 32 –
Game 1 – Dana goes first with a lone Shaymin active. He plays 2 Dual Balls and only hits 1 heads, playing down a Tornadus with Fighting before passing. I go and immediately play Seeker, essentially undoing his first turn and setting him back for the rest of the game.
– I basically counter every single move he makes with Eviolited Tornadus, Switch-Seeker shenanigans, and even Shaymin to 2 Mewtwo, and had one incredible turn to win it for me.
Game 2 – We have a pretty decent back and forth game, only I have 1 Tornadus prized, can’t play Gigas, and don’t want to start the Mewtwo war early, so I have to get as much out of my 1 Tornadus as I can.
– He gets a really great setup with early Exp. Shares everywhere, and off of a PONT gets one amazing turn that seals the game.
Game 3 – I finally get to go first, and time is called pretty much immediately. I have no other option but to go Mewtwo. I put a Grass/DCE on it and hit his Terrakion for 60. I figure he needs a decent draw to win the game (Mewtwo, DCE, and Switch). He PONTs into nothing.
– I get the KO on Terrakion for the win.
Top 16 – Jon V. (Zebstrika)
pokemon-paradijs.comGame 1 – He goes first, but I’m able to get 2 consecutive X Ball KOs on Tynamos before he is able to set up. From there he is completely shut down for the whole game, eventually scooping.
– From this game I learn a very valuable lesson. Starting the Mewtwo war early means you will win. Because if he has to return KO your Mewtwos, he isn’t Disconnecting. If he isn’t Disconnecting, he is losing.
Game 2 – I was so incredibly fatigued at this point that I misplayed so many times I’d like to imagine this game never happened. Not to undermine Jon’s play, he played everything perfectly, I just did awful and we were both half-asleep.
Game 3 – I still didn’t get to go first until Game 3. I whiff the Catcher I needed for a KO on benched Tynamo. He goes for an Agility and hits tails.
– Once I’m able to kill his Blitzle, he has to PONT/N for the next few turns, never drawing into Level Ball or his Pokémon.
Top 8 – Robert E. (Loligant)
Game 1 – Just like my other top cut matches, I’m going second in Game 1. I have played this matchup before on PlayTCG and know how it plays out. Obviously it all comes down to flips. I play it really slow at first, using my Portrait to scout out his hands, seeing when he has Twins or the cards for the Plume. Whenever he doesn’t have it, I have to take the risk he won’t top deck and take a KO.
– Eventually we get down to 1-1 Prizes. He has a Shaymin EX on the bench ready to demolish anybody. I can’t do anything and lose. This game was incredibly long, probably 45 minutes alone.
Game 2 – He opens Mewtwo EX, and since I was going first he had to try and avoid the donk. He never gets an Oddish out and spent a lot of time in this game trying to get setup. Once the game ended, we had about 2 minutes left of our time for Game 3.
Game 3 – He goes first and lays out 2 Petilil EPO and 2 Oddish UD. Once my turn starts, time is called. Turn 0. I burn through a ton of cards trying to draw into a DCE for Hurricane knockout, because I really need it since we’re in +3. I don’t get it and have to send up Smeargle to try and Portrait something. I use his N.
– Off the 6 card N, he gets Rare Candy, Plume, Lilligant, and Energy. He hits the Bemusing Aroma flip and my Smeargle is locked up there. I’m totally screwed and there’s absolutely no way for me to get out of this.
So, at the end of the day, I was really happy with how I performed and that at least my Zekeels list won the tournament for Adam!
destination360.com1. Murat Gursoz (Durant)
2. Zachary Mirman (Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus)
3. Ruben Cisca (Celebi/Mewtwo/Virizion)
4. Ricky Garcia (Celebi/Mewtwo/Virizion)
1. Tom Filbey (Zekrom/Eelektrik)
2. John Turner (Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus)
3. Roberto Lozada (Zekrom/Eelektrik)
4. Andrew Murray (Celebi/Mewtwo)
1. Ryan Sabelhaus (Zekrom/Eelektrik)
2. Ashon Haswell (Zekrom/Eelektrik)
3. Robert Shipp (Zekrom/Eelektrik)
4. Zach Bivens (Zekrom/Eelektrik)
ams-net.org1. Michael Skoran (Zekrom/Eelektrik)
2. Dylan Bryan (Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus)
3. Zach Bowers (Celebi/Mewtwo)
4. Nick Capobianco (Kyurem EX/Mewtwo/Terrakion)
1. Adam Garcia (Zekrom/Eelektrik)
2. Andrew Parmely (Zekrom/Eelektrik)
3. Robert Ector (Lilligant/Vileplume)
4. Isaiah Middleton (Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus)
1. Kyle Sucevich (Zekrom/Eelektrik)
2. Nikolas Campbell (Zekrom/Eelektrik)
3. Adam Keibler (Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus)
4. John Roberts II (Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus/Kyurem)
British Columbia (Canada)
1. Khen Luu (Zekrom/Eelektrik)
2. Charlie Nguyen (Zekrom/Eelektrik)
3. Andrew Vinze (Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus)
4. Chen Jiang (Zekrom/Eelektrik)
1. Simon Luong (Zekrom/Eelektrik)
2. Alaric McKenzie-Boone (Zekrom/Pachirisu/Shaymin/Tornadus/Mewtwo)
3. Michael Bergerac (Durant)
4. Zachary Lesage (Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus)
1. Pablo Meza (Zekrom/Eelektrik)
2. Miguel Lopez (Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus)
3. Manuel Valdez (Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus)
4. ??? (Magnezone/Eelektrik)
1st Place Totals
pokemon-paradijs.comThese results really surprised me. I couldn’t believe Zekeels took 8 Regionals and CMT didn’t win a single one. I understand Zekeels has a slight edge over CMT, but I don’t think it just outright wins, not by a long shot, especially with Regigigas! Either way, Zekrom dodged enough Fighting decks and hogged all the gold to himself!
What does this mean going into Battle Roads? Well, it looks like with the success of Zekeels this might influence a lot of people to pick up the deck, and with the added firepower of Raikou-EX, the deck is far from losing its spark. Zekeels is still an incredible deck with a lot of potential, and I’ll give you a list later.
As for Durant, I really don’t think Heatmor DEX is going to pester it as much as people think it will. Teching a Heatmor into any deck is overall a terrible decision. The only players that are going to do this are the lower skill level players and bottom table players.
A great player, for example Jason K., can still run Durant and do fine. He won’t be playing against many low skill-level players in a tournament (aside from potentially the first few rounds), and the majority of players that will top cut won’t have Heatmor in their decks, just because it isn’t a very good card.
Heatmor might actually scare off some people from playing Durant, but I personally feel it shouldn’t even be in the equation if Durant is a deck you are considering playing. There are far too many great decks that are legitimate and have great potential over Durant.
To me, the only reason a person should consider Durant is money. It’s an incredibly inexpensive deck that has tournament viability. If you having to choose your deck based on monetary reason, Durant is probably your best bet.
A Look at Dark Explorers!
1. Darkrai EX
Not only is Darkrai EX “the next Mewtwo,” but I personally feel he is much better. Mewtwo was so popular because the only counter to Mewtwo was itself, so if you are stuck fighting an army of Mewtwos without one on your field, you are done! Darkrai is not like that at all. Only two Pokémon actually counter Darkrai EX: Terrakion NVI and to an extent Groudon EX, but other than that, any good Pokémon can 2-shot the dark terror.
But here is where it gets a little crazy: Darkrai EX has a few Trainers to back him up. Dark Patch works like an Eelektrik NVI for Darkness Energy, and Dark Claw boosts Dark Pokémon’s attacks by 20. With the addition of Ultra Ball, a card that searches your deck for a Pokémon after you discard two cards from your hand, it’ll be easy as cake getting Darks in the discard pile!
Night Spear on turn two (or even turn one if your hand is right) has to be one of the most devastating attacks in recent history, immediately putting pressure not only on the Defending Pokémon, but the entire bench of your opponent.
2. Tornadus EX
Remember how I was talking about how Darkrai EX can have problems against Terrakion and Groudon EX? Yeah, well Tornadus EX is the genie Darkrai rubbed out of his lamp, wishing for a way to defeat the Fighting decks. Tornadus EX can wreak havock, with an Eviolite attatched, against the two behemoth Fighting Pokémon.
With Eviolite and Resistance, both Fighting Pokémon will have to 3-shot the genie of the wind, while he is capable of 2-shotting both of them. Some people of brought up the possibility of decks using Ruins of Alph, but what they don’t realize is that actually powers up Tornadus EX’s first attack, requiring only a DCE to deal 60 damage a turn. With just one PlusPower, that’s two-hitting Terrakions without having to attach three energy!
But of course, like the non-EX version of Tornadus, Lightning is still a problem. Even moreso now, because the EX version is worth 2 Prizes! That brings me to Lightning and Darkrai’s worst nightmare, the earthen Godzilla, just rolling out of his lava hammock…
3. Groudon EX
I have never really liked Fighting pokemon, well, at least not since Medicham ex, but Groudon is just menacing. Just look at his artwork; he looks like he is ready to decapitate every pokemon that crosses his path! Groudon EX has a great first attack, being able to spread ten to the whole bench for only two energy. So, with a full bench, that’s seventy total damage turn two!
After that, his second attack allows for a hundred and twenty damage if they have at least twenty on them. Well, that’s no problem for Groudon EX, since he’ll have been spreading damage for a good while before he has to start 1-shotting every pokemon that dares to go up active against him!
Groudon’s obvious problem is his massive Retreat Cost. It’s going to be very difficult to splash Groudon into any deck, much like it has been Terrakion’s main problem up until now. The great thing about Groudon is you can turn two Tromp for a solid amount of spread, which is superior to just Retaliating for 30 with Terrakion.
The last card to really make a splash out of Dark Explorers is Raikou-EX, which looks promising in a hearty Zekeels build, giving the deck a quick answer to the mirror, sniping Eelektrik’s straight to the discard pile.
So, what exactly has come from Dark Explorers beside a whole new deck (Darkrai)? Well, Groudon EX is practically a whole deck in one card, combo’d with the obvious stuff like Terrakions, Landorus, and Exp. Share, Fighting has a few solid deck choices for itself, as well as a nifty little rogue deck, which I’ll cover later.
Raikou-EX will pop up in a few Zekeels lists, which is still a very strong deck, clearly from the performance at Regionals, almost sweeping every one of them!
Something people will often overlook is Raikou-EX’s first attack, Thunder Fang. Sure, it’s a measly 30 and a flip for Paralysis, but it’s not always the optimal attack to Volt Bolt, just to Volt Bolt. (Does anyone else think that’s a terrible attack name?)
This card is being heavily overlooked by most of the playerbase, in my opinion. Empoleon is essentially a Jumpluff HS, on steriods, with a glint in its eye for killing everything in sight. Empoleon has incredible draw power in its Poké-Power, as well as enough HP to withstand almost every attack in the game, beside Lightning attacks. With Terrakion as back up, Empoleon is a great deck that will certainly stir up a lot of the format right now.
Personally, I think Empoleon is a phenomenal card and has great potential, even with the Lightning weakness. I think it has to have a weakness to Lightning to be balanced. Could you imagine if it was weak to something like Grass? That might actually make Empoleon a very strong tier one deck. Thankfully, that isn’t the case and this card needs backup from Terrakion.
Rokman’s Darkrai/Weavile “Dark Side”
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 35
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 13
Clearly, the deck’s objective is to get a Night Spear as early as possible. From there, you will Shaymin and Super Scoop Up damaged Darkrais until your opponent’s bench is in shambles and you have drawn a good number of prizes. Once that’s done, you can setup a Weavile to snipe for your last couple Prize cards.
Usually, you’ll want to turn one a Smeargle and get two Supporters with Portrait your first two turns, as this enables the fast Night Spears like nothing else will do in the deck. I’ll give you a rundown of the most common steps you’ll take in the early game…
BulbapediaYour goal is to get darks in the discard. Ultra Ball Darkness Energies away to grab Smeargle, or Darkrai EX if you already have Smeargle. You can even do nifty stuff like Junk Arming away a Trainer and a Dark Energy to get the Trainer you just discarded.
Once you play out your hand, play a Supporter card, draw some new stuff and then Portrait. By the time your first turn ends, you should hopefully have Smeargle, Darkrai EX, and maybe a Sneasel in play. Manually attach a Dark to Darkrai and a hopefully have a few Darks in the discard.
Here, you need to work on getting Smeargle out of the Active Spot, playing some Dark Patches, and ending this turn with a Night Spear. A nifty trick you can do if you aren’t able to get Smeargle out, is manually attach a Dark or Special Dark to Smeargle, free retreat to your two Energy Darkrai (thanks to his Ability) and then use Shaymin UL to move the one energy on Smeargle up to Darkrai, empowering the dark demon to use Night Spear, straight to your opponent’s heart!
[Editor’s note: LOLing at all these cheesy lines, but loving every last one of them!]
pokemon-paradijs.comOf course, every opening is different, and it all comes down to your opening hands. I suggest you build the deck and just play through the first three turns, over and over, eventually you will recognize the optimal routes to getting fast Night Spears!
Something you should never forget is that this deck thrives on Claw Snags. Weavile is the one thing that can halt your opponent in their tracks and completely shut them down. If you can snag that early Juniper, Random Receiver, or PONT, you can cripple your opponent for a few turns. Even Snagging a Smeargle can shut a lot of decks down right now.
The great thing about Weavile is that your own Smeargle partners really well with him. If you can Portrait and see their hand has just trash in it, but one Juniper, you can Portrait that and if you can and Claw Snag the Juniper, ruining their draw!
Against the format, this deck has very little tough matchups. The only decks that stand a chance are Fighting decks, but even then, with 2 Tornadus EX, 2 Eviolite, and 3 Super Scoop Up, it’ll be near impossible for them to take prizes! Combo’d with a couple sick Claw Snags, they’ll have a very difficult time against you.
Obviously, the deck’s optimal start is at least a turn two Night Spear with a Claw Snag on the opponent’s only Supporter. This, believe it or not, happens pretty frequently, and usually cuts down any chance your opponent has at recovering the game, beside Portraits into you and topdecking a Supporter.
Pokémon Catcher is obviously one of the most devastating cards in the current format. It can act as a defensive card, pulling up a heavy retreater and stalling, or it can become a very aggressive card, pulling up the opponent’s set-up Pokémon or their only threats on the board. But, in a deck like Dark Side, it can be used in many other interesting ways.
First, with Catcher, you can get 2 Prizes in one attack with Night Spear. No other Pokémon in the game can get multiple prizes other than Kyurem NVI, Chandelure NXD, and Rayquaza & Deoxys LEGEND. All three of those are pretty difficult to get running, unlike Darkrai EX.
First, let me lay out a scenario for you. Your opponent is running Magnezone Prime/Yanmega Prime. On their field they have 3 Magnemite TM and 2 Yanma TM. You went first and are turn two-ing a Night Spear. You KO the active Magnemite and lay 30 on a benched Magnemite.
They go and Candy into a Zone, Magnetic Draw, and then pass. Once you go, you will be able to Catcher the 2nd Magnemite and Night Spear it, then drop another 30 on the benched, damaged Magnemite, securing a second prize that turn. Catcher can work as a way to get multiple prizes from one attack.
Another interesting way to use Catcher is late game. Let’s say you are playing against Zekeels and your opponent only has 2 Prizes remaining, meaning it would be a good idea to avoid attacking with a Darkrai EX. So, you can Catcher up an Eelektrik, Claw Snag something out of their hand (hopefully locking them up), and snipe with Weavile on the bench. This is a very situational use of these cards, but never forget the potential for a move like this!
Super Scoop Up
SSU is one of the most controversial cards in the list. It’s actually a card I have a very long and grueling history with, and for the most part, loathe. Unfortunately, it’s a card that will see a lot of play in the current format (much like Pokémon Reversal of last year’s Nationals) and can do so much for you in terms of staying in a game, or just flat out steam-rolling somebody.
First, the most obvious use of Super Scoop Up is to pick up a Smeargle, after a Portrait, and send up Darkrai EX for a Night Spear. This will happen a bit frequently and can be the thing that separates a turn one Night Spear (which is nicknamed Night Bazooka) and a turn two Night Spear.
Super Scoop Up can also work in tandem with Shaymin. If you have a damaged Darkrai EX active, you can play down a second Darkrai EX, Shaymin the energy to it, and then Super Scoop Up the active, essentially getting a fresh Darkrai, ready to obliterate your opponent. The best thing about this little “trick” is that if you hit tails, you are okay. You can still attach a Dark to the active and just retreat. Of course, that isn’t optimal, but a potential out.
You can also use Super Scoop Up to get multiple Claw Snags in one turn, with just one Weavile in-hand. If you have two Sneasels on the board, you can lay down your first Claw Snag, and then SSU and play Weavile on your second Sneasel.
This can be absolutely devastating for your opponent because if you scouted their hand earlier with Portrait, you might have noticed they have 2 Supporters in their hand. That means if you land the SSU, you will really damage their draw for the next turn!
cheezburger.comContrary to popular belief, Claw Snag is one of the thing that takes this deck from being really good, to being stupid good. What a lot of people are doing is just using Claw Snag, willy-nilly, whenever they have the cards in their hands, but this isn’t the best way to use it. You only have 2 Weaviles in the deck, and having 1 Prized can be pretty painful.
Something I have trained myself to do, over the years, is to go through your deck and do a mental check of the good cards in your deck, to see if they are prized. With this deck, usually I check in this order: Smeargle, Shaymin, Weavile, Eviolite, Super Scoop Up. That’s my general check I do to see what is prized, keep this in mind.
The best times to use Claw Snag are of course earliest as possible, before your opponent has a chance to set-up. Sometimes you can nab something important like a Smeargle, Dual Ball, Junk Arm, Dark Patch, Eelektrik, Exp. Share, or even the very supporters they have to draw with. Almost any of those can be devastating on turn two!
It’s also always a good idea to try and use Portrait prior to Claw Snag. Blind Claw Snags can sometimes work, but if you can Portrait without jeopardizing your potential to Night Spear that turn, I’d recommend in almost every situation doing it. There is always a very hard decision to make, do I Claw Snag and then Portrait, or Portrait before I claw Snag? If you Portrait into a PONT for example, the Weavile will be sent back into your deck. If you do it after, you might have to Claw Snag the Supporter and won’t be able to Portrait into something.
Which decision to make comes down to you and the specific situation you are in. I always prefer to Portrait first because a wasted Claw Snag will never be as good as being able to Claw Snag something necessary later!
vs. Zekeels – Slightly Favorable
Zekeels will probably be the one deck that can compete with Darkrai as the best deck in the format. Darkrai has a slight edge against Zekeels though, being able to Catcher-snipe Eels and/or drop 30 on Tynamos all day makes it very problematic getting setup. Darkrai will also love Claw Snagging Eelektriks from your hand as well as Level Balls and other means to getting the Eels out.
Zekeels doesn’t have an immediate response to anything in your deck, and most lists will have to switch over to 40 HP Tynamos, meaning it’s almost pointless to run Thundurus EPO, which hurts the early game a tad bit.
vs. CMT – Slightly Favorable
A lot of people think Mewtwo EX is still a big deal. But this is why you run 2 Eviolite and Special Darks in your deck. Against CMT, if you front a Darkrai EX with Eviolite and a couple Special Darks, you’ll be able to two shot Mewtwos and at the same time, drop 30 turn after turn on Smeargles and Celebis, effectively shutting down their energy acceleration.
I’d say this matchup is slightly favorable in Darkrai’s favor against lists from Regionals. I assume most lists will start running Super Scoop Ups and focusing more on Tornadus EPO and Regigigas-EX.
vs. Fighting – Even
This is the only deck that will really give Darkrai a run for it’s money. It basically comes down to a couple of things:
- How quickly can Darkrai get out a Tornadus with Eviolite?
- How many, if any, Tornadus are prized?
- Can Darkrai draw into Super Scoop Ups and hit heads?
In the end, it all comes down to chance. I’d probably say this is even matchup, after it’s all said and done.
vs. Durant – Very Favorable
pokemon-paradijs.comDarkrai beats Durant almost as badly as Reshiphlosion does. Taking a prize every turn, essentially making Crushing Hammer worthless with Dark Patch, and eventually, Darkrai will have a turn where it Knocks Out 2 Ants in one (with enough bench damage from Spears)!
vs. Reshiphlosion – Very Favorable
I actually haven’t tested this, but I have a feeling I know how it’ll go. Darkrai will Catcher up a Cyndaquil, Night Spearing it to death, as well as putting 30 on another Cyndaquil, right after it Claw Snags the only good card in Reshi’s hand.
Next turn, it’ll Catcher up something else, KOing it and the Cyndaquil it hit for earlier, taking the first 3 Prizes before the deck even gets set up.
vs. Vileplume Decks – Slightly Favorable
Believe it or not, I’ve been testing this a lot (scroll down and check out my rogue deck!) and I have to say Darkrai, if it goes first and gets a turn one or turn two Night Spear, can still beat this. Vileplume can sometimes get it’s plume out turn three or even turn four and still do fine against most decks.
Not against Darkrai though; the deck HAS to turn two Plume or it will lose, period. If they haven’t turn two’d Plume, Darkrai will probably have taken 3 Prizes already and you are done for.
Terrakion NVIGroudon EX/
Pokémon – 7
Trainers – 41
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 12
pokemon-paradijs.comGroudon EX is one of the cards I talked about earlier that can just break up the entire format as we know it, right now. Groudon has type advantage on the two best decks at this time, Darkrai and Zekeels. If you are able to get a decent setup, with Exp. Shares everywhere, you will be in great shape for those matchups.
Basically this deck works similar to Quad Terrakion, except it has slightly more options, with Groudon EX and Super Scoop Up. I think this deck has a lot of potential, especially if piloted by a top tier player. It’s definitely a deck to think about for Battle Roads.
The first thing I’d like to talk about with this list is the Super Scoop Ups. I’m sure it looks like I am just tossing SSU into every list in this article, but I will be perfectly honest with you: denying your opponent one EX Knock Out will, a lot of the time, seal a game in your favor.
Pokémon-EX are worth 2 whole prizes. 1/3 of the game is over when an Pokémon-EX is KO’d, which means if you can deny that and still be in a position to use an optimal attack, you just undid a ton of your opponent’s turn. This is usually the only way to tilt the game in your favor when you go second.
Playing this deck is pretty simple. Turn one your goal is to get out as many Groudon and Terrakions as you can and load them up with Exp. Shares. Crushing Hammer/Lost Remover whenever you can and use Rescue Energy cautiously. Shaymin is in here for those surprise moments where you have Exp. Share guys just loading up energy and you can drop a Shaymin and move it all to a fresh Groudon EX without the Exp. Share to start doing serious damage.
The 4 Catcher is for being able to keep spreading damage with Groudon EX, doing 20 + 10 to the bench to multiple Pokémon, as well as when you use Terrakion for a Retaliate, being able to Catcher whoever you want for a fat 90 is really nice. On turn two, you can either Retaliate for 30 or spread with Groudon, having Catcher will give you more options and optimize your turn two attack.
vs. Decks Weak to Fighting – Even
The game will almost always come down to if they get out Tornadus EX, how soon it’s powered up, if they have an Eviolite on it, and if you have the energy denial cards to shut it down before it sweeps you. It’s really hard to say how this matchup turns out. I would say a lot of it comes down to who goes first and how strong their start is (which is pretty much how every matchup turns out for any deck!).
When it all comes together, after the matches I’ve played, I’d say this is still an even matchup. Even with the type advantage, players should know to play Tornadus EX to deal with Groudon, or else they are just asking to lose.
vs. Everything Else – Decent
If you are playing against a deck that doesn’t have Tornadus EX and is not weak to Fighting, it’s probably going to be a decent matchup in your favor. As long as there isn’t a Vileplume denying your Exp. Shares, you should be in great shape to do some real damage.
Empoleon DEX/Terrakion NVI
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 33
3 Junk Arm
1 Pokégear 3.0
Energy – 12
This is a whole new deck archetype that has come from Dark Explorers! Empoleon has a lot of things going for it, draw power thanks to it’s ability, awesome damage potential for just one measly energy, and with the backup of Terrakion, the deck doesn’t have any bad matchups really. It’s only problem is whether it can setup or not, needing to draw into Rare Candy and the Empoleon makes it really difficult for the deck to get rolling.
Virizion and Cleffa!
pokemon-paradijs.comVirizion works with the deck in a lot of ways. Firstly, it’s a great starter Pokémon. Its first attack, Dual Draw, allows you to draw into Supporters, Candies, Empoleons, etc. so that you can set up. Its second benefit is, with Prism Energy, being able to Leaf Whallop turn two, on Tynamos or whatever else.
And Lastly, Virizion is just another Basic Pokémon to power up Empoleon’s attack, which is the very reason you can’t just run straight Empoleon and Terrakion.
[Editor’s note: Also, I’m guessing its high HP is another draw to using the card.]
Cleffa acts the same way as Virizion, except when your hand is just atrocious and drawing 2 won’t make it better, you can nab a Cleffa and Eek! Cleffa’s great because since this is a setup deck, and falling asleep can save you as it will stall for a turn, allowing you to hopefully get a beefy attacker up.
Of course, the deck is very tight and fitting everything is difficult. I think the list I have posted is pretty solid and with the right player can do some serious damage in this format. The greatest asset the deck has is that it doesn’t use any Pokémon-EX, so that forces your opponent to Knock Out the full SIX Pokémon required to win. That can be a challenge for a lot of EX-heavy decks out there!
Exp. Share is one of the things that really gets this deck going. If you can lay down a Terrakion and slap one of these on it, you’ll be in great shape to get return KOs against whatever deck you are playing.
One of the most upsetting things about this deck is it’s so hard to fit everything in the list. There are only 2 Exp. Share, 2 Communication, and 3 Junk Arm. It’s really hard to fit all the things you want to have. The list isn’t 100% and I recommend if you have interest in playing it, to fine tune the list to your playstyle. This is one of those decks where there really isn’t a “standard list” and finding the right counts of certain things, for you, is imperative to the decks success.
One thing you will need to pay close attention to is what you discard for Empoleon’s Ability. Something can turn around and bite you right in the butt a few turns later if you discard the wrong stuff. Since the list is so tight, it is very easy to make mistakes like this.
vs. Darkrai – Unfavorable
Against Darkrai, your best bet is to setup an Empoleon or two, for the draw because more often than not, their bench count is going to be pretty low. Once this is accomplished, you need to use Empoleon to knockout Tornadus EX and save your Terrakions for Darkrai EX. It’s a pretty rough matchup, either way you look at it, because they’ll be Claw Snagging all your essential cards like Empoleons and Rare Candies, making it difficult for you to get setup.
This is probably an unfavorable matchup, just because Darkrai doesn’t need any bench Pokémon to be successful, limiting your Empoleon’s effectiveness. Plus, Tornadus EX can run rampant against you.
vs. Zekeels – Slightly Unfavorable
Much like Darkrai, Zekeels is also an unfavorable matchup, even though they will probably have a full bench and Empoleon can swing for a lot of damage, you are weak to lightning. So again, you’ll be forced to use Empoleons sparingly and focus on Terrakions. This matchup comes down to how fast you can get out an Empoleon, and if you do, how many knockouts you can get with it before you have to shift your game plan to Terrakion.
Again, this is a slightly unfavorable matchup. Purely because of the weakness, otherwise this could be in your favor!
vs. Fighting Decks – Very Favorable
Depending on what Pokémon are being used, this is going to be heavily in your favor. Virizion has type on Terrakion, while Empoleon has type on Donphan and Groudon EX. I think this is probably your best matchup, it all comes down to how many Crushing Hammers they hit as well as who goes first.
The optimal route against this deck is to always Catcher and knockout whoever they have Exp. Shares attached to. If you can deny them the ability to keep re-using energy through Exp. Share, they will certainly fizzle out.
vs. Everything Else – Favorable
Against anything not mentioned here, if you are able to setup, you will probably have a really good chance at winning. If you can get two Empoleon up quickly, you’ll be able to draw into whatever you need from your deck, whether it be energy or more basic Pokémon.
The main thing to avoid in matchups is getting shut down while you try to setup. If your Piplups are getting blown to smithereens before you can even get out an Empoleon, you’ll be in trouble!
Post-DEX Zekeels (with a Twist!)
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 34
4 Professor Juniper
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 12
pokemon-paradijs.comI personally feel like this deck is the only one that can go toe-to-toe with Darkrai. If this can get setup, it can wreak havoc on almost any deck out there. It has an answer to everything. Terrakion for Darkrai/mirror, Tornadus EX for Fighting decks, Raikou-EX for situational uses, and the classic 2 Zekrom BLW/1 Thundurus EPO for the rest!
With 40 HP Tynamos, Darkrai won’t be able to get free KOs with every single Night Spear. This is the reason you run 2 Skyarrow Bridge in addition to the switch. The 2 Eviolite is a necessity because it enables all your EXs to become beefier and withstand more attacks from your opponent.
As you can see, the deck has completely lost Mewtwo EX. Whether or not this is a good thing is very debatable. Your only Pokémon-EX now are Raikou-EX and Tornadus EX, both situational cards that won’t hit the board against most decks. I think this is a very overlooked advantage to a deck, forcing your opponent to exhaust maximum resources to take out 6 Pokémon. And Zekeels is the most formidable of all the decks capable of not using Pokémon-EX.
The addition of Terrakion is a very interesting one, because without the need for Mewtwo EX, Terrakion allows you to have instant responses to Darkrai EX, as well as a huge advantage in the mirror match! Drop a Terrakion, attach a Fighting, Dynamotor, and you’ve got a Retaliate ready with only 2 cards needed (one which is searchable with Dual Ball!).
Zekeels has grown into an entirely different and in my opinion, a stronger deck, without the necessary use of Mewtwo EX. I think Zekeels and Darkrai will be the decks sweeping Spring Battle Roads.
vs. Darkrai – Even
Against Darkrai, you will want to start off with a quick Charge, getting Lightning into play. If you are able to, try and Disaster Volt Smeargle or Sneasels straight away; avoiding the Claw Snag can be essential. Once that’s done, they’ll probably be Night Spearing you straight to the throat, at which time, you need to focus on getting Terrakion out immediately.
Once you get a Terrakion out and kill their Darkrai EX, they’ll be in rough shape. They don’t have a fast response to Terrakion because if they use Tornadus EX, you can use a Zekrom to blow them to pieces.
I think this matchup is pretty much even. If you can get the cards for a dangerous Terrakion drop early, as a response to Darkrai, it might be in your favor, but it’s really tough to say.
vs. Fighting Decks – Favorable
pokemon-paradijs.comAgainst Fighting decks, you’ll want to get as much mileage out of your own Tornadus EX as you can, before it goes down. Once that happens, you’ll need to use your own Terrakions to fight back. If you handle it right and kill the guys they attach Exp. Shares to, you’ll do fine.
I’d say this is slightly in your favor, just because you can recover from a devastating turn much quicker than a fighting deck can.
vs. CMT – Favorable
Against CMT, if you can get setup, you’ll be in great shape. Regigigas-EX and a swarm of Mewtwo EX won’t be much of a problem if you get multiple Eelektrik out. If you have a Terrakion ready for Gigas, you’ll be in great shape.
Raikou-EX can also be devastating in this matchup because they won’t be able to 1-shot you with Mewtwo EX after you do Volt Bolt, because it’ll have 0 energy on it.
So, you can go aggro Raikou-EX and snipe Celebi, Tornadus, and Smeargles like it’s your job! This matchup is definitely in your favor.
Pokémon – 11
4 Celebi Prime
Trainers – 36
4 Professor Juniper
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 13
CMT has definitely lost a ton of its initial strength. When Mewtwo EX was a necessary card to run, this deck shined because it could re-up Mewtwo EX better than almost any deck out there. It’s certainly time for the deck to step down as number one (even though it didn’t accomplish anything from Regionals!).
Still, people will be wanting to play the deck. I’ve seen a few variants where people are using something like Esa’s original list, heavy Mewtwo EX, but now they are running it with a ton of Super Scoop Up, much like Austin B.’s list from Oklahoma.
Mewtwo EX isn’t going anywhere though. It’s still a great card that can do a lot of damage to decks that don’t have an answer for it. Unfortunately, Darkrai EX is a serious problem, especially if they have Eviolite attached. Whereas they can 2-shot you (with Special Darks – if you have Eviolite) and you will probably only be able to 3-shot them back.
vs. Darkrai – Unfavorable
Almost any way you run the deck, this is not a good matchup. Regigigas-EX is kind of your only chance at winning this match, because he can withstand Night Spears and is able to 1-shot a Darkrai EX if there is enough damage on him.
The Darkrai Player is likely going to burn everything to get a quick Night Spear, so this means your Celebis are a liability. Putting them on the bench can essentially give your opponent free prizes. This will be something you need to pay extra close attention to.
vs. Zekeels – Slightly Favorable
pokemon-paradijs.comThis is actually a surprising matchup that has changed after Dark Explorers. Most Zekeels lists won’t be running Mewtwo EX anymore, this means if you aggro Mewtwo, they’ll be in a tough position to be able to respond. If you keep the pressure up with Mewtwo EX and Catchers, you’ll be in great shape!
Standard Zekeels lists will have no Terrakion and if they even run Mewtwo EX at all, it will be in low numbers. If you use Regigigas early and aggresively, with a Revive to bring him back later, you’ll be able to gain board control quickly. With their small, if any, numbers in Mewto EX, you will always have a response with your own.
Believe it or not, post Dark Explorers, this matchup is very slightly in your favor, mostly because people will stop running high numbers of Mewtwo EX!
vs. Fighting Decks – Very Favorable
Fighting decks will be in a hard position to deal with you seeing as you run Mewtwo EX and Tornadus EX, making them unable to 1-shot any of your main attackers. With Eviolite and Super Scoop Up, they’ll be put in a lot of sub-optimal situations, which you can capitalize on.
This matchup is very much in your favor, and this should be one of the main reasons you would consider playing CMT!
As for that special rogue I was talking about? I present to you, Plumezilla!
Rokman’s Groudon EX/Vileplume/Yanmega “Plumezilla”
Pokémon – 23
2 Gloom UD
4 Yanma TM
2 Pichu HS
Trainers – 27
Energy – 10
pokemon-paradijs.comSo, I’m sure your first question is what the heck is this deck? Basically, it’s a Plume deck that uses Yanmega Prime to snipe and Groudon EX to spread plus lay the smackdown on Darkrai and Lightning Pokémon.
A friend of mine, Ryan V., said the format will shift after Dark Explorers into four decks. Decks that use one of the following: Eelektrik, Dark Patch, Exp. Share, or Celebi. This deck I’ve built, “Plumezilla” hard counters 3 out of those 4, and soft counters Celebi because it relies heavily on Trainers.
Vileplume is a force to reckon with in this format. People are running so few Supporters, using Random Reciever and Smeargle to get their way, while running something like twenty Trainer cards! Vileplume will shut off more than a third of their entire deck!
Groudon will then have type coverage on Darkrai and Zekrom, which makes this deck a rogue to seriously consider come Battle Roads. Essentially, this deck has tons of options, fast Yanmega, with a Plume behind it, spreading everywhere, setting up Groudon EX to have a ton of 1-shots.
Against Celebi/Mewtwo Decks, Plume and a slew of Yanmega should take this down, Mewtwo will almost never be able to 1-shot a Yanmega Prime! From the games I’ve tested, the deck has done wonders against most of the current format and the projected Battle Roads format. I hope you all gives this deck a chance, and remember, you got it from Rokman on SixPrizes Underground!
– Michael “Rokman” Weldon
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