Hey SixPrizes! Time for another Battle Roads report! How did our intrepid young crustacean fair in this new metagame? Keep reading to find out! And learn about the fanciful wonder of a relatively unexplored deck below!
First off, heading into this, I really lacked testing. Because of that, I was wondering what I should be running. In Provincials and Regionals I ran CMT and went X-1 to take Top 16 in both, but lost in the first round of top cut. I was feeling pretty confident with CMT, but in the new metagame things aren’t really as friendly toward the deck.
I don’t think it got any worse, but Tornadus EX makes the deck such a fine, double-edged sword against ZekEels that it makes the matchup an auto-win or auto-loss off the first turn. But you’ve gotta love the Tornadus EX in every other matchup. So I was really considering CMT again, but decided I didn’t want my matches to be decided by whether or not I whiffed on the T1 Blow Through/Power Blast.
I still consider CMT to be a tier 1 deck, but the metagame has diversified now and like I said, CMT is sitting in such a precarious balance and can now backfire so hard against ZekEels, that I just didn’t feel like running that chance.
Beyond that, my playstyle has really been more of a control feel. In HS-BLW I started out playing Truth variants, then when EPO came out I switched over briefly to Gothitelle. In HS-NVI I had a brief stint with Durant and then moved on to Chandelure NVI, which was probably one of my favorite decks to run. So my move to CMT in HS-NXD was really antithetical to my whole philosophy. It’s not that prize-racing decks are less strategic or anything, it’s just that they do end up relying more on trying to fish resources out of the deck.
If I’m going to base my games on coin flips, I’d prefer to do it where I know the fixed probability and try to play with that knowledge, rather than the unknown probabilities of trying to get a Catcher at the right time, or losing because I failed to get card X. Playing N relieved that to some extent, making games more highly controlled environments, but as I said, I wasn’t going to play CMT.
So my deck choice for Battle Roads was down to two decks for me. I was going to run “Drop It” (Chandelure NXD/Ninetales HS), but the deck was lost at our Regionals, and I haven’t gotten replacement cards yet (probably came today as I write this article on the ferry back home). But since I couldn’t, I was either going to try and win, or try to rep a different “rogue” deck I’d been working on.
If I went with the “gun for 1st” approach, I was going to play ZekEels for the first time in a major tournament. Since the deck gained Raikou-EX, I now feel it’s tolerable in terms of my playstyle, and not a simple prize race. It would also make good experience for Nationals if I chose to run the deck.
My other option was “Deck and Cover.” I had been trying out multiple variants of this deck by myself in the week prior to Battle Roads, trying to make a build that could go the distance. If you’re not interested in reading a scrubby tournament report filled with hilarious matchups and Christmas cheer, then you can skip the section below and head straight to the Deck and Cover section of the article. But I did end up choosing Deck and Cover as my deck for Battle Roads.
It’s not because I didn’t want to win, despite saying that running ZekEels was my “gun for 1st” approach. I managed to come up with a build I was pretty satisfied with after a lot of self testing, and felt that the rogue factor could really help me in my matchups. That said, I wouldn’t be too choked if I lost, or if I didn’t even make top cut. But when I got to the tournament, despite 40 Masters and 6 rounds of Swiss, as per requirement our Battle Roads was only getting a Top 4. Oof… Wasn’t so confident in going 5-1, but was ready to try for it.
Let’s cut the chit chat and get to the report shall we? Starting off, let’s see my list:
Pokémon – 24
1 Groudon EX
1 Pichu HS
Trainers – 28
1 Flower Shop lady
Energy – 8
This is gonna take some explaining, but I’ll save that for the deck article below. Tyrogue is my MVP for being able to KO an EX after 2 Deck and Covers, and give me a 50% chance to trade prizes favorably. The reason for including Darkrai EX and Groudon EX was to tank a hit in between Deck and Covers, when I couldn’t manipulate damage for them to die coming back to my turn.
Beyond that, I wanted Groudon EX for Tromp’s ability to do 20 to the active and hit the bench for 10 all around. If I could get Tromps off, I could stack damage to some extent, providing minor damage manipulation.
I apologize in advance if I mess up what happened in any of the games ^_^;
Steelix Prime/Fliptini/Primeape UL/Bisharp NVI 79Round 1 –
Wow… this was hilarious. My first round of the day and I had to face a deck that both sniped (Primeape UL) and could be immune to status (Steelix Prime). Luckily, he never managed to get Steelix Prime out, but the Primeape was surprisingly troublesome. My build’s biggest weakness is definitely Raikou-EX being able to snipe my set up, making it very difficult to maintain momentum. Primeape does something similar, except using Fliptini and without discarding the energy.
This game was made all the more troublesome for me by a full 4 turns of energy starvation, where I was quickly falling behind due to not getting the baby flips I needed, resulting in my babies dropping like flies. Finally I got an energy and managed to pull my butt out of the fire and back into the frying pan.
Due to my Item lock, he had trouble getting more Basics out after the initial rush, and I managed to win by killing his last Pokémon with a Deck and Cover, despite him having 1 Prize left to my 2. Shortly after our game was finished, time was called. This match was far more stressful than it should have been. Haha. Loved the deck though!
Round 2 – Durant
This game wasn’t as interesting… I went first, started Tyrogue and Collector’d for an Oddish, Shelmet and Sunkern (wasn’t worried about a catcher kill, so only went for one Oddish), attached a DCE to Shelmet and Mischevious Punched. He Pokégear’ed for a Collector and didn’t get it, and then flipped double tails on a Dual Ball, and to add insult to injury, flipped a tails on Crushing Hammer and Devour’d for 1.
I had the Accelgor and another DCE in hand though, and took the game on turn 2. I gotta say though, this deck has a godly Durant matchup, so I don’t feel too too bad… still a shame to win by T2 KO though.
Round 3 – ZekEels
Haha, this was a great game. Julian had what must have been a very interesting hand, because he didn’t want to take advantage of my Pichu, and he played around with Smeargle for a while using Seeker shenanigans (I had the Seeker in hand). I had Tyrogue Mischevious Punch his Tornadus EX and he Seeker’d it up during this, which really hurt to be honest. I don’t know if at the time he realized how big that was, but it denied me the ability to Deck and Cover lock his Tornadus for 2 turns to KO.
After that we had a pretty interesting affair, and he was sure to try and only use Basic attackers if he could. I brought out Groudon EX to tank a hit, but then couldn’t grab my Darkrai EX (after an N) and Groudon went down giving up 2 Prizes. After that, he had a Raikou-EX set up and could snipe for the game, so it was pretty done. He played the matchup pretty well for facing it for the first time (I think he said it was his first time facing it).
Round 4 – ZekEels
Urgh. I knew that since we only had top cut of 4, you needed to go X-1 minimum to make the cut. And to top it off, it was very possible that one of the X-1’s would get cut, though we did play Swiss + 1 round, to help eliminate that possibility. Either way, I sat down across from my opponent and started Shelmet to his Mewtwo EX.
He went first, but I was decently confident we would be playing a real game, since he didn’t seem to have any of the elements for a T1 donk (DCE and 2 PlusPowers) in his starting hand. He says he only runs 2 PlusPowers and then Junipers and proceeds to draw 1 of them, a Junk Arm and a DCE.
That was GG. We played a fun game afterward and I won that one, and I feel that it was sort of a shame that our first game was a donk win. I never saw a Raikou-EX either. Oh well, such is the pokeymans. It’s just Battle Roads after all. Haha.
Kyurem NVI, Cobalion, Shaymin EX, Regigigas-EX, Scizor PrimeRound 5 –
Well this game was pretty interesting… Once again, the random fringe deck of the format served to be a direct counter to my own! I got up the Vileplume quickly and such, but then came the Scizor Primes. Before the tournament I had even looked at my Scizor Primes and made the conscious decision to run only special energies, because I didn’t think I’d have to face a Scizor. Well la dee da, way to prove me wrong tough guy!
This game was insane though. I managed to kill 2 Scizor Primes through poison damage alone, and it should come as no surprise that it went to time. At the end of turn 3 though, we were tied in prizes (3-3) so it went to next prize winning. He had a Regigigas-EX building up slow poison damage, but I managed to pull off the Night Spear with Darkrai EX (had been prepping it some turns prior) for the win.
Here’s a matchup I hadn’t had the opportunity to test as much. I built a variant to test against, but didn’t have time to test my current build of D&C against it more than a few times the night before. In theory, my Item lock should absolutely destroy Dark.dec, but testing is always better.
Either way, I got up a quick Vileplume (T2 or T3) and then had the option of setting up a Groudon EX on a Tyrogue turn. After that, I used a Tromp to lower his two Weaviles down to 70 HP, and KO a Zoroark I had Deck and Covered the last turn. After that, I just swept with Groudon, and he couldn’t answer it. Item lock worked like a charm. I knew I included Groudon EX for a reason!
So in the end, I wound up going 4-2, which is not too shabby. None of our X-1’s got cut, so I really wonder who/what I would have faced had I won my 4th round, and whether I could have joined the X-1’s. I know that ¾ of our Top 4 were great matchups for Deck and Cover, so if I could have faced any of those instead of the random Scizor Primes, I’m pretty sure I’d have won those matches.
But there is a fatal flaw in my current build that I couldn’t help much, so if I had faced a ZekEels player who knew the way to play the matchup, then I probably would have ended up 4-2 anyway. Once again, it’s just Battle Roads, so no big deal. But I would have loved to add Deck and Cover to the list of Top 4 decks this Battle Roads. ^_^;
Speaking of our top 4, here is what took top 4 up here in BC. I’m just listing the swiss records since you can probably figure out the top cut for yourself, and it’s more interesting to know how a deck faired in Swiss sometimes.
- 5-1 Empoleon/Terrakion
- 5-1 Darkrai EX (/Tornadus EX)
- 6-0 ZekEels
- 5-1 Initial D.EX (?????)
That’s right, 4 different decks placed. I think that’s a sign of a healthier metagame than the HS-NXD format, where despite the random Fighting.dec, Reshiphlosion, Durant or Troll taking a tournament here or there, it was pretty obvious that if you were looking to win, you were probably playing either ZekEels or CMT.
Sure, it’s only the first week of Battle Roads, but the format is showing promise of diversity, which is nice. Now if only they could balance the format and make evolutions playable again, we’d have a truly amazing metagame. Oh well… binder fodder for now I guess.
On an interesting note, the Empoleon/Terrakion deck Knocked Out my friend running his ZekEels. He later told me he just draw-passed until he lost Game 1, but he lost his Game 2 as well. Very interesting indeed. I was kind of of the opinion that Empoleon would get a lot better after the rotation since the new dragon cards would be out, reducing the lightning of the format. But hey, it looks like the shnazzily dressed penguin can bring his A game.
Crawdaunt’s note: I’ve been asked not to talk about Initial D.EX. Sorry guys. ;)
Deck and Cover
On to the next part of this article. Prepare to be deck’d because I’m going to cover a topic which hasn’t been receiving as much attention as some of the bigger decks out there.
I’ve been playing around with the Accelgor DEX concept since it first surfaced, and I’ve experimented with a few different builds now. If you’re wondering about the card choices in my tournament list, here you’ll get a full explanation of everything. First things first though, I’ll introduce you to the basic principles of Accelgor DEX, because every list below has been made with these principles in mind (either trying to compensate for their shortcomings, or work around them).
Accelgor’s Deck and Cover attack costs CC and does 50 damage, Poisons and Paralyzes. Afterward, Accelgor and all cards attached are shuffled back into the deck. Now, almost any auto-Paralysis attack is pretty tantalizing in any format, but to really shine, you need to set up a lock. With Accelgor, you try to ensure your opponent’s Pokémon dies coming back to your turn via poison damage to help overcome the slower start you’ll be having.
Now, you probably could already gather that much, but unless you’ve tested the deck, you probably haven’t realized just how hard that is to do in the current format. Think about it this way, with poison damage, Accelgor deals 70 damage total as it comes back to your turn. Now try and think of Pokémon with 70 or 140 HP in the current format, and get back to me with your list. Done?
Yeah… it’s pretty frickin’ short isn’t it?
In a format dominated by 170-180 HP EX’s, and 130 HP basics, the math just doesn’t add up right for Accelgor to shine. What’s more is that neither of these benchmarks are a simple PlusPower or 2 away from the target. The format simply isn’t right for Deck and Cover right now in it’s prime form. But that doesn’t mean it’s unplayable!
Remember what I said about how the following lists were made with Accelgor’s shortcomings in mind? Well let’s look at them and I’ll give a quick rundown of each.
Deck and Cover with King/Plume
Pokémon – 26
1 Pichu HS
1 Cleffa HS/CL
1 Tyrogue HS/CL
Trainers – 26
1 Flower Shop lady
Energy – 8
This list was probably one of the more obvious combos you could pull off in the current format. Here we chose Vileplume UD for our Item locker, which offers the ability to Item lock without the need to bring Gothitelle out in-between every turn. With this strategy comes many strengths, but also some weaknesses.
The biggest strength of Vileplume is that things have less of a chance of going awry. With Gothitelle, when damage doesn’t stack up right you may leave a Gothitelle out front without protection, or if you don’t then you won’t have the lock up and they can catcher you and it’s the same thing. Vileplume is Item lock regardless of where it is on the board.
The biggest weakness of Vileplume is the lack of control you have over your opponent. Gothitelle offers you the ability to Catcher and PlusPower to help manipulate damage and what you are going to Deck and Cover. Simply put, without the ability to bring your opponent’s Pokémon down to the appropriate HP, or bring out the right Pokémon to attack that turn, Deck and Cover flounders.
So this list opts to use Kingdra as a method of manipulating damage. Now, I’m not going to outright say Kingdra can’t work, but remember how I mentioned that none of the Pokémon in the format are only a PlusPower or two away from a KO with Deck and Cover? Well… guess how many times you get to use Kingdra while you bring down something like a 130 HP basic or 180 HP EX? One time too little…
Simply put, Kingdra falls short of setting up a perfect lock for you, but there are many ways you can use Kingdra to your advantage. The first is to be pre-emptive. If you start Spray Splashing your opponent’s Pokémon before you’re set to KO them, you can build up enough damage for a perfect lock. Even if this will only happen once or twice a game, it’s still enough to tip the scale in your favor. The Pokémon to make this happen are the babies. All 3 of them can help you mid-game in various ways.
Cleffa refreshes your hand, and is thus the most obvious and least interesting to talk about. But by going to sleep between turns without attacking an opponent’s 170 HP EX, Cleffa puts the opposing EX at 160 damage after two Deck and Covers accompanied by two Spray Splashs. If you stay asleep, even if they retreat, you’ll still just Spray Splash them next turn and Deck and Cover if you can going back to your turn.
And if you don’t stay asleep, you’ve lost a Cleffa, refreshed your hand, and will still take the 2 Prizes off of poison damage. It’s kind of a win-tie scenario (you fall behind early, so trading prizes at 2:1 isn’t optimal, but it’s viable).
Pichu at the beginning of the game obviously helps you set up for a lock. But mid-game, it serves the same purpose as Cleffa without the hand refresh. This can be key because often-times you’ll be stocking up on DCE’s with Twins, to help stream your Accelgors more smoothly.
Not only that, but Pichu can get you a Shelmet on the bench which frees up a Sunflora Sunshine Grace to let you get an Accelgor the turn prior to evolving it. That sort of thing seems inconsequential, but any time you can shore up your ability to stream a Deck and Cover loop, you need to. All it takes is whiffing it once to completely mess up your game.
Finally, Tyrogue is your additional damage. Tyrogue allows your Kingdra to focus its efforts on spreading to your opponent’s other attackers to give you a break. Not only that, Tyrogue also finishes off 170-180 HP EX’s with Mischevious Punch, and you can flip to stay alive. This gives you a break from your Deck and Cover loop to help re-establish the loop, which is also key to maintaining your flow in games.
In practice, I found myself wanting a second Tyrogue because having 1 Prized was just that much of a blow to the overall game plan. That is how important Tyrogue is in this deck.
Finally, I don’t think I need to explain this but one Sunflora and a Pokémon Collector will let you stream Accelgors fairly comfortably. Sunflora also gives Accelgor some of the best consistency the deck could ask for in setting up a quick Vileplume. Essentially, it’s almost like you’re running 3-0-4 Vileplume, meaning you can draw into a Rare Candy + Vileplume that much easier.
If you were looking for room to get an additional Rare Candy, Tyrogue and maybe Sunkern into your list, you could easily drop the Kingdra line to 1-1-1 without changing the way the deck runs too much. You’ll just be relying on your extra Tyrogue more often, and you can lose an early Sunkern without worrying if the second one is prized.
The W Energies are included to give you the option of using a Kingdra as a splash 60 damage. It’s also nice to have more energies in the deck so you can attach them in off-turns when you’re baby stalling or something similar. Finally, you can Flower Shop Lady basic energies back into the deck, which means you can afford to discard them off of a Sage’s Training.
This list gave me some decent games and I certainly don’t discredit it. But your opponent just has too much control if you’re trying to manipulate damage with Kingdra. You might feel as though you just misplayed and just weren’t clairvoyant enough to win the game, but it’s really the fact that your opponent will play around your damage manipulation since you can’t finish them that very turn. Try it out, it’s really not a bad deck or concept for the deck, but by taking out the Kingdra line, you get a lot of room to try and make your strategy more consistent.
Let’s look at my tournament list and we’ll see what adjustments I made which I felt were more competitive.
Deck and Cover with Dark Godzilla
Pokémon – 24
1 Groudon EX
1 Pichu HS
1 Cleffa HS/CL
2 Tyrogue HS/CL
Trainers – 28
1 Flower Shop lady
Energy – 8
Some big changes here, let’s take a look shall we?
The extra Sunkern, Tyrogue, Groudon EX and Darkrai EX stand out the most. Well, Sunkern and Tyrogue were already explained above, but Groudon EX and Darkrai EX probably make little to no sense (unless you’ve read the tournament report). Groudon EX is the main reason. I was looking for something that could add damage to the bench with Kingdra still in the deck, getting around the inability to Spray Splash as much as you’d like to.
After all, if they retreated to the bench before you could Spray Splash the right amount, you can finish it off that same turn by getting the extra “Spray Splash” in via Tromp. The only problem was that meant bringing out a 4 Retreat Cost Pokémon that gave up 2 Prizes… ugh.
I considered Minun DEX to do the same job, but liked the idea of a Pokémon that could tank a hit between Deck and Covers. And all it took was 1 Prism energy to give it both free retreat, and allow it to threaten a Tromp. I’m of course speaking about running Darkrai EX alongside Groudon.
Darkrai EX also served as an additional splash attacker. And what’s more, Night Spear hit for 30 damage to a benched Pokémon, which is exactly what Tyrogue was trying to do. Both these EX’s of course, carried with them a huge burden. I’m not just talking about giving up 2 Prizes (which is something you need to be aware of), but also the fact that this deck’s bench gets clogged very easily.
The key to running this deck successfully is not benching ANY unnecessary Pokémon. After all, sitting on your bench is 1 Sunflora, 1 Vileplume, and you’ll be streaming 2 Accelgors continuously. That means you have 2 extra bench spaces to play around with, and Darkrai and Groudon take up both of them without giving you any options in between. Luckily, the deck also has a built in method of clearing the bench space, by shuffling back Accelgors after they attack.
But you’re going to need to free up the space sometimes, and what’s more is you’re going to need to heal your EX’s in order to re-use them to tank hits if you ever need to (and though specific situations weren’t mentioned in my tournament report, this was a common theme of my matches). So the deck started out running 1 Seeker, and quickly I realized that a second Seeker was pretty beneficial.
Beyond that, if you ever had an Oddish clogging up your bench that an opponent wasn’t kind enough to KO for you, that 2nd Seeker became your out to freeing up your bench without giving up a prize. You could also use 1 Seeker and still retain the option of healing an EX, or switching up your strategy and using something like Tyrogue mid-game, after you’ve already dedicated spots to the EX’s.
I’ll add that using the EXs requires a lot of insight into how the game will progress many turns in advance. You’ll need to plan the turns you can dedicate attachments to your EXs, and also know when to dedicate a Prism Energy to Accelgor and when to an EX.
Luckily, when choosing between attaching it to Accelgor to increase the odds of a Deck and Cover next turn, or to an EX, the better option is often the EX. Every time you attach a DCE to Accelgor after the Prism attachment the turn before, the prism was a wasted attachment, which is something this deck can’t afford. You also have Twins to grab you DCE’s when you need them, so this can make the choice a little easier.
The other addition was Copycat. Even though it was only 1, that Copycat was awesome. When you Item lock an opponent, their hand can build up pretty well. With 1 Copycat in the deck, mid-game when you need to shuffle-back in an attempt to pull the DCE, Copycat can give you a better shot than any other draw supporter.
Obviously you can’t use Juniper in a deck like this, and before you Sage’s Training you always Sunshine Grace with Sunflora first to reduce the chance of having to throw away part of the Accelgor line. Copycat shuffling back for 7-10 cards is just pretty nice all around.
The third list I have for you is one that I’ve only experimented with a little bit. Obviously Gothitelle is another option for Deck and Cover builds, which comes with it’s own strengths and weaknesses. I’ll talk about those after I bring up the decklist.
Deck and Cover with GothiVoir
Pokémon – 18
Trainers – 32
3 Junk Arm
1 Pokégear 3.0
Energy – 10
Consider this list more of a starting point than a refined list like the other two. Originally I was running 3 DCE’s in the deck to give you the CC cost when you didn’t have Gardevoir up, but soon realized that the space in the deck would be greatly appreciated. However, I don’t feel like Gothitelle has the stuff right now, and that maybe in the BW-on format with Mew-EX available, Gothitelle Deck and Cover gains a lot of consistency. The reason for this is subtle, but noticeable in playtesting. First, let’s talk about this list.
Because we’re using Mew Prime, we’re trying to get a first turn See Off. It’s ok if we don’t though, because unlike the aggressive Mew build we’ve recently seen in the metagame here and there (MeesieMew), this deck is aiming to set up a lock and come from behind. Still, a first turn See Off is nice, and you have a decent shot at getting it with 4 Mews, 8 “psychic” energies and 2 Switches in the deck.
I really want a 3rd Switch, but just feel like the only place it could come from is the energy lines being DCE’s, and that’s too important to not mess around with since you’ll really want the ability to Deck and Cover without Gardevoir available (use Twins to grab a DCE)!
The big thing about this deck is that it’s really trying it’s hardest to make up for the off-HP’s of the format, and is going for the strategic damage manipulation. Your manipulating cards are PlusPower alone, but you can also Catcher more desirable targets, which really adds a whole new dimension of effectiveness for the deck.
The problem is the ability to stream attackers is disrupted easily since matching up HP’s is difficult, which can often leave Gothitelle vulnerable at SOME point in the game. And as soon as your Item lock goes down, you’ll have difficulty setting it up again, while also continuing to stream attackers.
The deck uses Darkrai EX to provide free retreat for Gothitelle. This is simple, effective, and takes up less space than Dodrio UD (and can’t be disrupted as easily by Raikou-EX snipe). I originally really wanted to include a few Basic D Energies, Dark Patches and Shaymin UL to try and make Darkrai EX a more viable splash attacker.
The problem is that you dilute the low Psychic count already, and because we need to See Off at some point, Psychic energies are required. Absol Prime could suffice in a Dark Patch build, but the space would probably come from removing Gardevoir, and with such low energy counts in the deck, it would never be consistent.
The Supporter line is fairly experimental right now, but the roles of each Supporter should be familiar to you now based on their roles in the other two builds. The big difference is that you can now run Professor Juniper as a draw Supporter, since you will be using up most of your hand some turns. As unfocused as it seems, I’ve had decent results with this Supporter line, but it’s difficult to tease apart the optimality of the line and the optimality of the strategy, which this deck employs, and the fashion in which it goes about doing so.
Finally, we’ve gone heavier on the PlusPowers and obviously the Candies, but I still just want more trainers overall. To ensure Mew Prime’s cost to See Off, the deck is forced to play with a lot of room taken up to support this strategy. You’re using a 2-0-2 Gardevoir line, 4 P Energy and 4 Rainbows to help ensure the See Off. All of this instead of just streaming DCE’s and only using 2-3 Rainbows.
I also run 3 Pokémon Communication to ensure you can both search, and return an Accelgor you may have unwillingly drawn to the deck. See Off is at fault here.
This is why I feel this deck picks up steam in BW-on. Not only will HP’s of some top tier decks shift (Hydreigon from Dragon Blast is only 1 PP away from the loop, not to mention Darkrai EX is only 2 PP away from the loop and you get more turns to perform it due to the Psychic resistance, Garchomp/Altaria is easy pickings, and Empoleon is loopable etc… etc…), but the deck picks up bench space for some consistency lines.
First, Mew-EX can be set up without seeing off an Accelgor, and you will always have a backup Accelgor in case you can’t get the Mew-EX back that very turn. But because of this, you can focus on streaming DCE’s only (or at least focus less on Gardevoir), and add a draw engine like Musharna to assist your streaming. Something as simple as Musharna can really aid in helping reduce your deck size to make streaming much easier overall. So look for lists running lines like these in the future when we rotate, because Accelgor becomes far better suited to the format.
Techs for Vileplume Builds
For anyone interested in running Deck and Cover now, here’s a few cards I was thinking about that could be very useful in the right build.
Carnivine DEX: This was a card I was strongly considering to bolster my ZekEels matchup. The idea here is that you can Lure Poison up an Eelektrik and then Deck and Cover it to complete a loop. Rinse, lather and repeat. This is definitely a card to consider and I almost wish I had run it instead of Groudon EX.
The problem is that it becomes more of a dead card in other matchups, since the only thing it really brings to the game is being able to loop Eels. That is an incredibly strong reason to include the card on its own though, and it is even searchable using Sunflora’s Sunshine Grace.
However, it just takes 1 DCE to retreat the Eel and give your opponent a free prize, so you have to play with Carnivine very conservatively. You’d still use Prism energy to ensure Carnivine could retreat for free via Darkrai EX.
Spinarak HS: Another card that was kind of a silly idea. Spinarak is a way to ensure your opponent can’t retreat a poisoned Pokémon in-between Deck and Cover loops when the loop breaks down. Spinarak was a tech I was more considering against Raikou-EX. Since Raikou broke the loop up a bit, as long as you could Deck and Cover once against Raikou, you could move a Spinarak in in-between turns and then finish it off with another Deck and Cover. It also has some more nichey uses but will probably just become a free Prize card.
Chandelure NVI: Chandelure is your Kingdra on steroids. You’d have to run Rainbow energies and Darkrai to fit in Chandelure, but proper damage manipulation definitely becomes more than possible with my old favorite. Essentially, you could just try the Kingdra list but a 1-1-1 line of Chandelure instead, and use the 3 spaces for a Darkrai EX and 2 other cards of your choice.
Vespiquen UD: Good luck finding space for more than a 1-1 line of Vespiquen in the deck! And what’s more is good luck working around 3 dedicated Bench-sitters while dedicating an extra 2 of your slots to Accelgors.
But it’s obvious why we would tech Vespiquen. Raikou-EX can no longer snipe you and destroy your setup, which really evens out the ZekEels matchup a bit. Unfortunately the space dedicated to Vespiquen both in your deck and on your bench will give you a less consistent deck overall. Still something worth considering though, especially for all the rogue Primeapes out there.
Finally, I feel comfortable talking a bit about matchups here for the Vileplume builds. I haven’t kept track of testing games, but just know these matchups are approximate estimates, not strenuously playtested results (though there has been a good bit of testing into a good few of the matchups).
ZekEels: Highly Unfavourable
Let’s start off with the worst matchup possible. ZekEels is almost auto-lossy it’s just that bad. That is of course, if they run Raikou-EX, and know what they’re doing. If either of those two conditions are not the case, the matchup evens out to about 40-60 (still in favor of ZekEels).
It also depends on what attackers the ZekEels player runs. Some lists run more non-EX attackers than others, which are better for forcing tough prize exchanges for Deck and Cover. Despite the Item lock, ZekEels has usually gotten its Basics out before the lock can go up.
Finally, Raikou-EX can swoop in and disrupt your bench as you’re setting up your loop, which just destroys any chance you had of maintaining the loop. If they aren’t running Raikou-EX, it’s a lot closer of a matchup, but still unfavourable.
Carnivine DEX can rob them of their Eels, but a smart player can attach pre-emptively to their Eels destroying Carnivine’s effectiveness.
Darkrai EX: Slightly Favorable
Darkrai decks like Darkrai EX/Tornadus EX or DarkArk (Darkrai EX/Zoroark DEX/Weavile UD) both rely so heavily on items that they run out of steam quick if you can get a lock up. And with Sunflora and Twins in the deck, it’s pretty easy to do just that. The pure Darkrai EX/Tornadus EX builds are also kind enough to give you only EXs as prizes, meaning you can come back fairly effectively.
BulbapediaDarkArk runs out of steam just the same, but can be utterly destroyed by both Deck and Cover, and Groudon EX. One Tromp puts the Weaviles in the perfect HP range, and can finish off a Zoroark or Darkrai EX that’s been Deck’d and Covered. Follow up with Giant Claw until you win.
I’d be tempted to even label this matchup as “favorable,” but Darkrai EX could go off as early as turn 1 and donk, or could get an effective turn 2 with a Darkrai and Weavile Claw Snag to foil your plans. Still… you’ll rarely have too much trouble.
Empoleon is one of the only cards in the perfect HP range. What’s more is that it dies by poison damage, meaning they don’t get to stream their energies using Exp. Shares they set up before the lock. Terrakion is also weak to grass and will die from just one Deck and Cover, again from poison. And because you don’t need to attack the following turn, you can use the turn to baby stall with a Pichu or Cleffa to help refresh your board or hand.
Follow this up with their lack of ability to Rare Candy into new Empoleons and they should run out of steam well before you do. It’s just a really good matchup for Deck and Cover. What can I say?
CMT is a tougher matchup but certainly playable. The reasons being that CMT can donk (though you have so many basics, rarely do you get donked first turn) more consistently than the other decks listed above. However its heavy reliance on trainers and its high EX counts without the easy ability to search for additional basics in Item lock really helps counter-balance the matchup.
They’ll even be so kind as to provide you with a Skyarrow Bridge so your Oddishes and Sunkerns can become viable free retreaters on the turn you need to Twins. Darkrai EX is your tank of choice in this matchup, and becomes all the more important when Deck and Cover’ing Celebis.
Smeargle is in that perfect 70 HP range, but Mewtwo EX, Tornadus EX and Regigigas-EX all will fall to 2 Deck and Covers and a Tyrogue. An early eviolite can ruin your math a bit though, so it’s something to watch out for.
Mono Terrakion: auto-win
Mono Terrakion is slow and will therefore never donk you. Terrakion dies from one Deck and Cover, doesn’t get to use Exp Share for its energy acceleration, doesn’t get to activate Retaliate for the revenge kills, doesn’t get to revive, and doesn’t get to disrupt with stuff like Lost Remover. Ouch.
Durant is still a deck guys! And Deck and Cover couldn’t be happier to face the ants. With 70 HP, provided they don’t have a Special Metal nor an Eviolite (which is blocked by Item lock), they’ll be locked down pretty easily. Most Durant lists don’t even run high numbers of switch, so you can prioritize Deck and Cover a bit more over the Vileplume.
Beyond that, you get to paralyze them between turns meaning you get time to set yourself up. Once you have a Vileplume up, Durant can’t revive, and once you Deck and Cover, it can’t devour. Again, ouch.
So there you have it. I hope I’ve given you an interesting insight into a deck that not many people have been talking about much. If you’re thinking about playing it, don’t let the poor ZekEels matchup scare you off completely. The format right now is just ripe for Item lock to absolutely destroy it, and Deck and Cover is one of the only decks around that can abuse it effectively enough to rise to the top.
If our Battle Roads top cut is any indication, the format has certainly diversified a bit, and ZekEels can definitely have a somewhat hard time against pure Darkrai EX/ Tornadus EX decks. Fighting decks are still running around to counter the metagame, and Deck and Cover couldn’t be happier about it.
P.S. If you’re interested in your own Pokémon Plushes, my friend made my Vileplume for me. :D She also makes hats etc… Check her out!