Deck and Cover – A Report and Analysis
I’m a real life Crawdaunt!

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.

Oh look, it’s the CMT stock photo again.

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

4 Shelmet NVI

4 Accelgor DEX

3 Oddish UD

2 Vileplume UD

3 Sunkern HS

2 Sunflora HS

1 Groudon EX

1 Darkrai-EX DEX

1 Pichu HS

1 Cleffa HS

2 Tyrogue CL

Trainers – 28

4 Twins

4 Pokémon Collector

4 Sage’s Training

3 Professor Oak’s New Theory

3 N

1 Copycat

2 Seeker

1 Flower Shop lady


4 Rare Candy

2 Pokémon Communication

Energy – 8

4 Double Colorless

4 Prism
Such a gangsta.

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 ^_^;

Round 1 – Steelix Prime/Fliptini/Primeape UL/Bisharp NVI 79

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.
HA! Can’t believe that this caused me so much trouble.

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!

Win, 1-0

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.

Win, 2-0

Round 3 – ZekEels
I call shenanigans!

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).

Loss, 2-1

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.
I stand corrected, tier 2 at best.

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.

Loss, 2-2

Round 5 – Kyurem NVI, Cobalion, Shaymin EX, Regigigas-EX, Scizor Prime
That glint in his eye is mocking me.

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.

Win, 3-2

Round 6 – Darkrai EX, Weavile UD, Zoroark DEX

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.
This guy Feint Attacked my Cleffa this game. Jerk.

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!

Win, 4-2

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.

Top 4

  1. 5-1 Empoleon/Terrakion
  2. 5-1 Darkrai EX (/Tornadus EX)
  3. 6-0 ZekEels
  4. 5-1 Initial D.EX (?????)
It’s Gunter!

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. ;)

I just couldn’t resist running a deck with ninjas in it.

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.

170 HP for a Basic. That still boggles my mind a bit.

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

4 Shelmet NVI

4 Accelgor DEX

3 Oddish UD

2 Vileplume UD

2 Horsea UL

2 Seadra UL

2 Kingdra Prime

2 Sunkern HS

2 Sunflora HS

1 Pichu HS

1 Cleffa HS/CL

1 Tyrogue HS/CL

Trainers – 26

4 Twins

4 Pokémon Collector

4 Sage’s Training

4 Professor Oak’s New Theory

3 N

1 Copycat

1 Flower Shop lady


3 Rare Candy

2 Pokémon Communication

Energy – 8

4 Double Colorless

4 W
This is my Vileplume plush. It is very cute. That is all.

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…
Ironically, the deck can just run out of steam when you run Kingdra.

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.
I envision slides and tire swings when I use Pichu.

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.
Venusaur got nuttin’ on dis…

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

4 Shelmet NVI

4 Accelgor DEX

3 Oddish UD

2 Vileplume UD

3 Sunkern HS

2 Sunflora HS

1 Groudon EX

1 Darkrai-EX DEX

1 Pichu HS

1 Cleffa HS/CL

2 Tyrogue HS/CL

Trainers – 28

4 Twins

4 Pokémon Collector

4 Sage’s Training

3 Professor Oak’s New Theory

3 N

1 Copycat

2 Seeker

1 Flower Shop lady


4 Rare Candy

2 Pokémon Communication

Energy – 8

4 Double Colorless

4 Prism

Darkrai looks kinda like a pirate, so now the deck has both pirates AND ninjas. That is, in itself, a win condition.

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.

Taking up space and tromping through Tokyo.

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

4 Mew Prime

2 Accelgor DEX

3 Gothita EPO 43

1 Gothorita EPO 45

2 Gothitelle EPO 47

2 Ralts NXD

2 Gardevoir NXD

2 Darkrai-EX DEX

Trainers – 32

3 Professor Oak’s New Theory

3 Pokémon Collector

3 Twins

3 Professor Juniper

1 Copycat


4 Rare Candy

3 Junk Arm

3 Pokémon Communication

3 PlusPower

2 Pokémon Catcher

2 Switch

1 Pokégear 3.0

1 Super Rod

Energy – 10

4 Rainbow

4 P

2 Double Colorless
Something about Pokémon with lipstick perturbs me…

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.
Is it just time to finally See Off Mew?

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.

Goodbye old Mew, hello new Mew.

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.

He’s totally got swagger.

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
Last format’s BDIF for a reason.

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/Terrakion: Favorable

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: Even
A trollish 60 HP.

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.
I didn’t see a single Heatmor at our Battle Roads.

Durant: auto-win

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.

In Closing

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.


Crawdaunt out

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!

Reader Interactions

58 replies

  1. Deplan

    Nice article, some things I don’t agree on though like Durant being an auto-win. Durants strongest match-up is in fact slow, set-up decks like Vileplume variants. Even though you run Sunflora to speed things up, Durant can still devour all your Vileplume , or a couple Rare Candy. Good luck finding a Rare Candy when you’re Twins blocked and 2 RC are already gone (say one was devoured and one was prized). I would say the match-up is probably 60-40 in favor of Durant. Durant is very dead at this point so this isn’t all too relevant, but if you go to a BR with Accelgor, you might wanna tech Heatmor, just in case…

    • Mark Hanson  → Deplan

      You note sunflora which is great, but in response I have three words for you.

      Deck and Cover.

      Good luck devouring :)

      • Micah Tate  → Mark

        Special metal (or eviolite before lock) keeps deck and cover from a perpetual lock. with a single special metal the durant dies going into the durant player’s turn, meaning they can use devour. With 2 special metal or an eviolite it’s even worse, because if you don’t attack a 2nd time you don’t take a prize, but either way your deck get’s devoured. Trying to get attackers going while searching for a rarecandy-plume hand is incredibly hard, even with sunflora, and with or without lock you will eventually you run out of accelgor, shelmet, or energy. When you main attacker is constantly in your deck, he will get milled, piece by piece; I’d say the matchup is highly in durant’s favor.

        • Mark Hanson  → Micah

          I could have written more on durant but I didn’t think the topic would be this controversial. From my testing of about 10 games, durant only won 1.

          Here’s why:

          1. Lack of switch. You don’t need lock up fast, you just want to D&C by T2, which gives you an uninterrupted turn to get your sunflora and maybe vileplume. This happens pretty frequently.
          2. Sunflora. Without this card durant would be as you say, but the advantage of sunflora is that you can play it then PONT if you didn’t have candy in hand, or sages works too. With 4 candy in deck, it takes some really bad luck to not draw into one eventually.

          3. Cleffa. You get yourself a Pretty big hand most games, and cleffa becomes a built-in durant counter, bring able to return up to 10-15 cards to deck before you deck out.

          The fact is, most of the time you can get up lock because of sunflora and being able to paralyze the durant quickly, and from there it’s gg. The game I lost in testing was when the first turn devour got two of my dce’s off the bat. It’s not vileplume that secures this matchup, it’s accelgor. That’s what separates it from other slow setup decks.

        • Deplan  → Mark

          Theorymon can only get us so far. I want to battle you. I have placed 2nd at a Cities and a BR with Durant, so I would consider myself a very qualified Durant player. Are you up for it?

        • Mark Hanson  → Deplan

          Absolutely :) Though as I said, I’m not just theorymon’ing. It’s true that 10 games is on the low side, but it’s certainly at least indicative. I consider myself and my friend with whom I tested pretty solid Durant players (He’s taken a 4th at cities and won a local champs with Durant) but as we all say, testing is better than not.

          I’m not gonna be back on for another 9 hours or so though (heading to work), so if you’re on later tonight we could maybe set up a game on playtcg or something.

        • Micah Tate  → Mark

          My list is very different from yours, so I can’t argue too much, but I still think durant has more of an advantage or at least a better matchup then you’re giving it.

        • Eli Norris  → Micah

          If Durant Lost Removers/Devours 2+ DCEs before Vileplume gets in play, then it’s probably a good matchup for Durant. Otherwise…

        • Micah Tate  → Eli

          don’t forget that the accelgor player will be forced to play sage’s.

        • Micah Tate  → Eli

          don’t forget that the accelgor player will be forced to play sage’s.

        • Mark Hanson  → Micah

          Forced is a bit much… There are 3 PONT, 1 copycat and 3 N, as well as collectors to play and cleffa.

        • Micah Tate  → Mark

          when you actually need cards out of your deck, N and collector will be dead cards, unless you are just amazing at topdecks and only need one shelmet or a single energy to keep going.

        • Mark Hanson  → Micah

          You really only need one shelmet or Accelgor and a single energy to keep going :P And Shelmet is from Collector, while Accelgor is from Sunflora.

        • Mark Hanson  → Micah

          From topdeck and/or Draw supporter. And I get to try and stockpile DCE’s while Durant just gets to try and mill randomly.

          The odds are stacked in favour of the house.

        • Micah Tate  → Mark

          You can’t use a draw supporter if you just used collector, and you’ll be “stock-piling” just as randomly as durant is milling. Did you and Deplan ever have a game? =T

        • Mark Hanson  → Micah

          We haven’t yet. He hasn’t contacted me :| I’m on the forums every day.

          And you only use Collector once… then play your Shelmets…
          And your stock-piling isn’t near as random as durant milling. If you have a hand with DCE, you don’t shuffle back. If you don’t, you shuffle back and go for the DCE. My odds are much better of having DCE in hand at the end of my turn than Durant is of milling a DCE.

          Do you play Durant? I’ll be honest, I don’t feel a huge rush to play. I have* played this matchup. I’m not* theorymon’ing, I’m explaining because questions were asked. If you or Deplan would like to test me, I’m game, but the long conversation going on about how Durant isn’t an autoloss is… becoming superfluous.

        • Micah Tate  → Mark

          In all honesty I’m probably the least biased person to talk about this matchup as Accelgor and Durant are my 2 main decks I’ve been testing for BR’s. I’d be happy to play you with durant sometime, but since Darkrai’s release I’m currently changing up a lot of cards and don’t have anywhere near a complete list =/

        • Micah Tate  → Micah

          well I guess that’s an understatement, I’m finalyzing thelist and have about 2 cards leniency that may be subject to change. Also, we should start replying on a different post or something… ’tis getting small

        • Mark Hanson  → Eli

          Lost Remover is kind of a dead card though, because if you’re actually worried, your energy will only be played before it just gets shuffled back, or you’ll start putting energy on the bench only after you’ve set up the lock.

        • Mark Hanson  → Micah

          How did your list go? The nice thing about mine is that there are so many basics, you can usually either start with a shelmet or a baby, to try and get a T2 D&C. Without the babies, my durant matchup would be way worse since I wouldn’t be able to do that near as often.

        • Mark Hanson  → Micah

          That would make for an INCREDIBLY different matchup against Durant. I mean… seriously! Are you using Mew Prime or something? How can that even work! What if one of your Accelgors are prized? XD

        • Micah Tate  → Mark

          you only need 2 shelmet and 1 accelgor the whole game, so that’s how it works, 1 accelgor active and a benched shelmet. I never found myself wishing for a larger line and even saged away the 2nd accelgor or 3rd shelmet quite a few times with no problems later on in testing. As long as you have a 2/1 line going, you’re set for the game.

        • Mark Hanson  → Micah

          I agree :)
          Though having a smaller accelgor line also means you can’t draw into them naturally, freeing up search options. You also can’t buff your loopability as much, which can be trouble if it ever breaks for any reason.

          In changing my list though, I have removed the 4th Accelgor and am going to see about removing the 3rd Accelgor. I like the Shelmet count though, because it gives you more of a chance to start with it. This is to look for space for a Chandelure/Darkrai/Vileplume/Accelgor build to work, since Chandelure can set up your perfect lock without trouble.

        • Micah Tate  → Mark

          I didn’t like relying on topdecks, so my original 4/3 line got moved down and I added more draw supporters. Basically 1/3rd of my deck was draw supporters XD

        • Deplan  → Mark

          Cool! I won’t be on in 8 hours because that would be early morning for me. If you’re on this time tomorrow then we can set-up a game?

        • theo Seeds  → Micah

          He will get milled, piece by piece, while Durant is paralyzed and remotely played?

        • Micah Tate  → theo

          I honestly don’t understand how Durant’s popularity affects the matchup at all…

  2. coolstarrybra

    there may be something i’m missing here but wouldn’t deck and cover only do 120 to terrakion and not kill him until after your next turn?

    • Mark Hanson  → coolstarrybra

      Nope! That’s correct. But rea the wording on Exp Share and retaliate. They only activate if the pokemon died from damage by an attack. So even though terrakion gets to swing back at you, it’s often a paltry 30 damage.

  3. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    Very good article which gets many bonus points because of

    1. Cheesy puns
    2. Ironic captions
    3. Vileplume plushie
    4. Absence of building site pic and Win 95 clip art
  4. Joshua Pikka

    Good article, thanks for writing it.

    Even though your deck is cool, all I want to do is find out what “Inital D.E.X.” is.

    • M C  → Joshua

      I’ll let you know that it’s Klinklang, since the deck isn’t super secret anymore. You know…”Shift Gear”….driving…Initial D…yea

  5. Dave Enzo

    Deck and cover is the coolest rouge deck ever i really liked ur article lol..i especially like ur lists with mew prime and now mew ex has a pupose with me lol

  6. sam woofter

    “Darkrai looks kinda like a pirate, so now the deck has both pirates AND ninjas. That is, in itself, a win condition.” too true, too true; and AWESOME!

    BTW I found ultra balls work a bit better than pokecom in most cases

    • Mark Hanson  → sam

      Not a bad suggestion. The deck does like thinning itself to make D&C loops more consistent. But Comm works just fine for search since over 1/3rd of your deck is pokemon. That, and you’re only using it to set up Item Lock, so once that’s done, it’s a dead card. The big thing about that is that with Ultra Ball, you’d have to discard cards BEFORE you set up Item Lock, which isn’t too big a deal, but that turn would probably leave you with a pretty small hand. And like I said, Comm works nicely :)

      • sam woofter  → Mark

        I also found that if you only have grass types in your list and some trouble with snipers, vespiqueen UD can save your bench a bit.

  7. Helge

    What about in a BW-on format? Play in like they did in Japan? I’m curious about the trainer line.

    • Mark Hanson  → Helge

      Yeah, I’m not too sure how they handle it. I think there’s a lot more emphasis on decking yourself with Gothitelle than there is with vileplume. Musharna draw helps do that nicely.

  8. bowser

    very good article, unfortunately deck and cover is way to complicated a deck for me… and with all your great analysis you really made my head spin! I can’t say i read it all, but you did a thorough job, good luck

  9. Isaac McClintock

    I feel like you should have added yanmega prime into the article. A really good friend of mine made the deck with Yanmega and it is so good. You should definitely try it out.

    • Mark Hanson  → Isaac

      Ooh… I hadn’t really thought of yanmega… I’m just trying to think of how the damage stacks up because of yanmega…

      I don’t think yanmega adds much to the loopability… But it does add a free retreat starter which is nice. If your friend used Gothitelle then it would make perfect sense to me. In vileplume though… It would probably just take up space and give free prizes, since I can only really see it being used like I use my tyrogue.

        • Mark Hanson  → bowser

          Yeah, and even in Gothitelle, it’s more just that it can finish a game or something, and also provides a free retreater.

  10. atj

    Hey its Julian,
    i hadnt played vs accelgor before but I have played against different vileplume variants. My opening hand had something along the lines of smeargle, tornadus ex, tynamo x3, level ball and catcher. my t1 smeargle was to see how good your hand was. you had seeker + collector + pont in your opening hand and i was absolutely confident you were going to use collector turn 1 so i decided to not use the pont since i had level ball + catcher when going first (honestly how could i possibly want more in zekeels?). i would then save portrait for pont next turn to get going. i didnt need to use playground because i already have tynamo/tynamo/smeargle/tornadus. i then ko’d your sunkern first since you had 2 oddish and if you topdecked twins you were going to make plume anyway. i was not aware how big the tornadus heal was but i knew there was little harm using a free heal vs a lock deck like yours haha.

    • Mark Hanson  → atj

      Always. :P Your game was the one that made me wish I had teched Carnivine. It may have only been good for one prize or something, cause once you know you’ll just be pro-active, but I bet at the right time it could have made things interesting.

      How’d you do anyways!? 4-2?

        • Mark Hanson  → atj

          Agh…. sucks. But we needed a minimum of 5-1 to make Top Cut so doesn’t matter if you had good or bad resistance. That was kind of nice actually, there was no bubble. Makes it easier to accept :P

        • atj  → Mark

          haha its fine, just battle road. i played as well as i could in the 2 losses so im fine with it

  11. hiroprotagonist

    I love this article and I love this deck. I have been testing extensively a similar build, but had not thought of the groudon/ darkrai, which I really like. I have been using 2 tyrogue for a 50/50 favorable exchange, plus I have a black belt which works perfectly with 2 deck and covers to kill a darkrai at the end of its turn with poision. A Zeels with 1 Raikou is fairly manageable, but 2 is certain death unless the zeels player really screws up. As he stated in the article, the most important thing is managing your bench space. Smeagle is a great card to ohko with 1 deck and cover, as it dies from poison after its turn, which means you get a fresh defending pokemon to paralyze.

    • Mark Hanson  → hiroprotagonist

      Man! I don’t know why I never thought of that! Black Belt is perfect! And it even works through trainer lock. You are wonderful :P There’s no way you won’t come across a turn in a game where black belt will be important.

      But man, even one Raikou EX being handled by a good player is a death sentence : The only way you can win is to D&C it after it snipes, but good luck since they’ll only snipe when they’re sure you can’t D&C it next turn :(

  12. Helge

    You talk about a healthier format, all though the format is going to be more predictable BW-on. In Japan there are basicly 4 decks running around:
    – Eels /with EXs and techs
    – Empoleon /with variations
    – Dragons (Garchomp + Altaria)
    – Darkrai EX + friends

    On the other hand, even though it’s going to be predictable – it’s still going to be better than the current one.

    Loved the article! Cheesy puns and hilarious captions. Great work.

    • Mark Hanson  → Helge

      Healthier than HS-NXD was the main idea.


      rare ReshiPhlosion

      Darkrai Variants

      rare ReshiPhlosion
      Klinklang + EX’s (should die out by nationals)

      The list gets a bit longer :) I’m of course not including the random rogues that placed here or there. Thanks!

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