Getting that Extra Edge: Sabermetrics Applied to Pokémon

arcade-museum.comWe’re nearing the finish line in the Championship Point (CP) system’s inaugural season, and most of us have a clear idea of what our last push for a World’s invite will be like. Some have already resigned to putting all their eggs into the Nationals basket, while others are ready to grind Battle Roads for the last few points needed to clinch a spot.

Personally, I don’t feel the need to focus too much on winning BRs, as I currently sit at 51 CP (12th in North America), after States and Regionals despite a very uneven run to the tune of 10 point at events I took part in (3-3 drop, top 2, top 8, top 8).

First I’d like to say that while it has had its share of criticisms, the CP system has been a great improvement over previous invite structures, and I feel like Pokémon USA is going in the right direction in terms of its organized play system. I have no doubt they will continue to tweak and improve upon it, and provide us with an even better organized play experience in the future.

Since everyone has beaten the Dark Explorers deck content to death the past few weeks, I’d like to try something different first, and give insight on taking your game to the next level with some important reflections on what I learned while locking up my invite. Of course, I will also go into deck ideas for the BRs and Nationals coming up, as should be expected.

How the Game Has Evolved

beyondtheboxscore.comI like to compare Pokémon to baseball. Both games are very statistically oriented, where a series of numbers and probabilities determine the winner and loser. Shifts in these probabilities can change the outcome of a match or a tournament immensely.

In the 2000s, baseball underwent a huge transformation in terms of peoples’ knowledge of the game, with the advent of Sabermetrics, statistics that were more much more predictive and skill relevant than what was traditionally looked at and analyzed before. With that came the ever expanding pool of information and numbers that are now at our disposal on the internet, and eventually, the adaptation of this knowledge by major league teams which led to the release of the best-selling book (and movie) Moneyball to the public, putting what was once a very unknown subject into the mainstream media.

The statistical revolution in the last decade completely shook up the way baseball was looked at from a competitive point of view, and 150 years of general wisdom and history was being questioned in a way it never had before.

The biggest problem with the lessons being taken from Moneyball is that many people didn’t understand how to correctly interpret them. Moneyball is about how Billy Beane, the General Manager of the Oakland A’s was able to cobble together competitive teams on a limited budget, by taking advantage of market inefficiencies that other GMs were too closed-minded at the time to catch on to.

At the time, the market inefficiency being exploited was On-Base Percentage (OBP). GMs were overpaying for traditional attributes and stats such as RBIs, Defense, Speed, and Batting Average when Beane correctly realized that OBP had a much higher correlation to winning games than those traditional statistics did relative to the money spent to acquire them.

Doing this, he was able to create an advantage of a few percent by leveraging his resources correctly, and that few percent is the difference between a winning and a losing ballclub.

A few years down the road, the A’s lost the advantage they had in that market inefficiency, because OBP was no longer being misevaluated! GMs nowadays have perfect knowledge of how OBP contributes to winning, and people started talking about how Moneyball was “wrong.” People didn’t realize that Moneyball was about taking advantage of inefficiencies and using those to give yourself the X% edge you need to separate yourself from the pack; it was not about “finding fat guys that can get on base” like many people thought once the baseball market began to correct itself.

In fact, the new inefficiency in the past couple years has been great defensive players with limited offensive value, which is a direct contrast to the big bulky high-walk sluggers that were undervalued in the “Moneyball era.” Versatile defensive players like Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays have been locked up to dirt cheap contracts in relation to the value they provide their teams, as opposed to sluggers like Ryan Howard of the Phillies being drastically overpaid.

And of course, all that said, in a few years, there will be a new market inefficiency, and whoever finds it first will be whoever gains the edge.

Now you’re probably thinking, how does this relate to Pokémon?

It relates PERFECTLY to Pokémon because the last couple of years, the competitive Pokémon scene went through a very similar transformation to baseball’s statistical revolution.

Four years ago, when I last played before this season, I was the owner of an 82% win rate, one of the best in the history of the game. I was able to do this because at the time, most players didn’t fully understand the importance of consistency, and I leveraged that lack of knowledge into repeated X-0 and X-1 tournament wins.

pokemon-paradijs.comMy deck choices back then were always setup decks that had end game power, but I devoted all of the deck space to make them as freakishly consistent as possible. I felt like I was able to set up, I would win a game, so everything revolved around the speed and frequency of that setup over multiple games.

The lack of knowledge regarding constructing a Trainer engine came to a crescendo with the “TRUK Engine” gag myself and some other top players played on PokéGym, causing many people to go crazy trying to figure out the contents of a non-existent “universal Trainer engine.”

One of the biggest jumps in competitiveness a player could make in that era, was when they realized how and when to utilize deck space for consistency, and they usually saw their tournament results shoot up in the process. Essentially, consistency was the “market inefficiency” in Pokémon that good players were constantly taking advantage of!

Today’s game is drastically different however. With the opening up of Pokémon strategy forums and websites such as SixPrizes and HeyTrainer, nowadays everyone has the knowledge and resources to build a consistent trainer engine, and have a deck that runs consistently. It has become a buzz-word of sorts, in which I hear players of all levels using the word and talking about it when building or discussing their decks.

You have new players who haven’t played a tournament in their life showing up for States and talking about how they think they can make their deck more consistent. Due to this factor, most decks you will face will be consistent and you cannot simply win tournaments on a regular basis simply by having a deck that does what it’s supposed to do consistently, like you could in the past.

In other words, extensive knowledge of consistency is no longer as much of an advantage, just like awareness of OBP doesn’t give a big edge to baseball teams anymore.

Keep in mind that I’m NOT trying to say that consistency is not important anymore – it is still the most important thing you need to keep in mind when building a deck. What I am saying is everybody knows that now, and what this means is to get to the top and stay there, players need to find other ways to gain an edge in other ways given your limited deck space. What it really means is consistency is not longer a market inefficiency, just like OBP stopped being one when everyone caught on.

The Different Sides of Value

pokemon-paradijs.comThe biggest mistake I see people making right now is not taking an impartial view of the value a certain card adds or subtracts to a deck. They usually only see what they want to see, whether it be positive or negative, and make their decision only based on what they see in front of them. I call this effect “tunnel vision,” and it is something even the best of us subconsciously do sometimes – it’s human nature.

One big example of tunnel vision in this format, one that relates entirely to consistency as I just went through, centers around one of a previous format’s all-stars – Pokémon Collector. In a vacuum, Pokémon Collector is a very good card and the kind of effect it provides has been a recurring staple of decks in every era ever since the creation of Supporters. Many people didn’t realize until later on that last format (SPT and Regionals), but it was simply a bad card in almost all the top decks!

Most of the reasoning I hear regarding playing it was because “I don’t like flipping for Dual Ball” or “I want my deck to be consistent,” and those views would be true; a deck like Zekeel or CMT is more consistent at doing what it’s supposed to do when you play Collector… but does that consistency lead to more wins?

It’s not always the case, because many less experienced players don’t see the other side of the coin – games that you lose on tempo by 1 or 2 Prizes because you used a supporter turn playing Collector while your opponent got to draw an extra 7 cards off a Juniper and still tutor for the basics they need through Dual Ball and Level Ball!

Losing a game by flipping tails twice on a key Dual Ball is something that you usually remember when it does happen to you, but it happens way less than games where you lose by a prize and wonder why your opponent got the upper hand!

The last format was one dominated by tempo, speed, and exchanging quick KOs, and it makes early card draw to maintain a steady stream of resources (Junk Arm, Catcher etc) a must to keep up with your opponents.

In Zekeel mirror for instance, the player playing Dual Balls and Level Balls can get 2 draw Supporter opportunities early on to find the Catchers they need to start taking out opposing Tynamos or Eels to disrupt their opponent, while the Collector player gets just one shot to use draw Supporters. In a format where games can easily end by turn 10-15, occasionally giving up 15-20% of your turns to search out Basics with Collector is a huge deal, and it took until the end of the NXD format for the majority of people to finally realize that.

One point that has been brought up is the fact that playing Collector with Smeargle UD allows you to get around that restriction of having a turn without drawing cards, but that option isn’t as reliable as you would think. First of all, the obvious problem is that Smeargle still relies entirely on your opponent having something you can use, and whiffing on it can easily lead to a wasted turn, which is a huge deal.

Secondly, if you are already playing two draw Supporters a turn, you already should be drawing enough Basic Pokémon or Dual Balls/Level Balls to fill up your bench, and really don’t have a need for Collector beyond maybe the first turn. Smeargle is better served as a tool to get through your deck twice as fast, rather than make up for an inherent weakness in another card such as Collector.

Collector itself is a study in diminishing returns – the more cards you can draw early and set up your bench, the faster the card becomes absolutely dead and obsolete, so there really is no advantage to running it simply because you are running Smeargle.

I’m not saying it is wrong to play Collector in all decks, what I’m saying is sometimes the format and the decks at the top of it make a certain card more or less viable. There are certain decks that do need to run Collector, but they weren’t on top of the format the last few months.

Singleton Trainers

Another example of tunnel vision that some people have due to the presence of deck space constraints is playing situational or early game non-searchable singleton trainers or supporters in a deck. An example of this is when some people play a single Lost Remover in a deck such as Zekeels or CMT.

When you ask for the rationalization, they explain it by talking about the time they LR’d a DCE off a Tornadus and their opponent couldn’t draw anything next turn, wasting an attack, or they talk about hypothetical situations where you can remove multiple Special Metals off Durants and stall them a turn or 2 in the process. Or they simply say “I like having it in there, it’s nice to have.”

What they don’t look at is how a singleton of a non-searchable, highly situational card is not the best way to get the most use of your deck space. In this format, deck space is at a premium, and getting the most out of every slot is the key to creating that edge.

Most decks have a 50-55 card core that can’t really be changed that, for the most part, is accepted by everyone attempting to play the deck. That is the nature of archetypes, and the difference between a good and bad list usually comes down to the last 5-10 cards. Those slots are usually used for techs or added utility/consistency, and its where players today will gain an edge in the deck building phase of the game.

All this doesn’t mean all singleton Trainers are bad, however. With Junk Arm in the format, cards like Super Rod, Revive, and Energy Retrieval make excellent utility cards. The reason why these work and cards like Lost Remover or a single Pokémon Collector in CMT don’t are because these are late game cards, and it doesn’t hurt you much to pitch them to discard effects when you get them early since you can Junk Arm them later on.

Usually by the time you need them, the card is either in your hand or in the discard so they usually don’t end up losing value.

In summary, these are how viable every useful Trainer in the format that people have considered as a single if they’re down to the last couple card choices in a list, in my opinion:


  • Super Rod – You never need it until late game, and it’s an easy pitch early.
  • Revive – Same as Super Rod, although it is generally played earlier.
  • Energy Retrieval – Mid-late game utility in decks that need it, can be pitched early, and makes a fine Junk Arm target late.
  • Pokégear 3.0/Random Receiver – Useful at any point in the game. It is never a bad choice for a 60th card unless you are running Item lock.


  • Draw Supporters – They are useful at any point in the game, and there isn’t really a disadvantage to running a 1-of a certain Supporter if you’ve maxed out the slots of each more deck appropriate option.
  • Dual Ball – In very limited decks that run max Collector and still need Basic search, it could act like a 5th Collector that lets you find techs and work as Super Rod recovery late game. Most decks wouldn’t use it, but I could see situations where it would make some sense.
  • Switch – It has utility throughout the whole game, making it ok sometimes to run one when your deck doesn’t absolutely rely on it.


  • Level Ball/Pokémon Communication/Ultra Ball: These are more strictly setup cards than Dual Ball is, and you’re either running multiples if your deck needs it or 0 if your deck doesn’t.
  • Lost Remover – Usually only impactful early game, and you can’t bank on drawing your one copy when you need it.
  • PlusPower – A highly situational card, it’s much better in multiples in decks that can use it, while it is definitely not impactful enough just sticking it in as a 60th cards in decks that don’t take full advantage of it.
  • Pokémon Collector – It’s a setup card. Using it to find your tech late and not being able to draw for a turn is the kind of play that makes you fall behind in tempo matches. It’s either a 3-4-of in certain decks or a 0-of in others.
  • Defender/Eviolite – Again, decks that want this will pack 2-3. These are used to play with numbers, usually to buy an extra turn making them highly situational cards and you can’t count on finding a single copy when needed. It is also more powerful early game when your opponent has less options, and a dead-draw when the math doesn’t work out or your opponent can simply play around it.
  • Crushing Hammer – Probably the worst possible tournament worthy card you could have as a 1-of.

Please note that by no means am I saying these are bad cards. What this means is if you build a deck and find yourself with 1-2 slots, if you can’t make use of decent singleton card, it is probably better to add a tech Pokémon that’s searchable or extra draw for consistency, rather than put something in your deck that is going to be a dead-draw more often than not.

In today’s game where information flows freely, it’s important to leverage any advantage you can get, and it’s usually the 55-60th cards in a deck that make a difference between good and bad lists.

Summarizing the Idea of Value

raysindex.comIn baseball, all the stats that a player produces can be nicely summed up into a figure that can be used to compare any position: Wins Over Replacement, or WAR for short. WAR takes all batting stats and defensive stats for batters, normalizes them to eliminate the luck factor and produces a number that can be compared to the normalized pitching stats of pitchers to give a general idea of how valuable a player is in terms of the only thing that matters: how many wins that player adds to a ball club over a replacement level one.

In Pokémon, statistics haven’t been developed to the point where creating a tell-all stat is possible, but it is very possible to put yourself in the mindset to think about how much a card adds in terms of wins. When I evaluate cards and add techs, I have a rough idea in my head how much value a certain utility card or tech is adding to my deck taking into account the matchups I’m likely to face across the board.

Getting out of the habit of tunnel vision and evaluating cards from all angles is the key to creating lists that get the most out of each and every one of the 60 slots allowed, and creating the little edge that lets you win more games over an extended period of time.

Now that I’ve gone on enough about general strategy, let’s dive into some decks!

The Darkrai Rises

The most hyped card in Dark Explorers has proven so far that it was definitely worthy of the praise and intrigue it received prior to the first week of Battle Roads and certain Nationals. Darkrai has established itself as a force in the metagame to be looked at.

The great thing about Darkrai is its versatility. A viable deck utilizing Darkrai can be built in many different directions, with different strategies in mind. Due to the existence of Dark Patch giving it energy acceleration, many different variants using Darkrai become instantly viable.

Unlike Mewtwo EX, it isn’t a simple auto-inclusion in every deck, and decks that do run it are decks that use it as a vital part of the strategy rather than just a good card that fits anywhere the way Mewtwo does. Another place where Darkrai differs from Mewtwo is the fact that it is not a counter to itself, creating a different dynamic from the Mewtwo era.

Darkrai is weak to Fighting, and while it seems like that is bad in a metagame where the previous dominant deck (Zekeels) is also weak to that type, I don’t believe this will be a huge problem just like it wasn’t for Zekeels. Here are some ways to run Darkrai, and the pros and cons of each version.


Pokémon – 15

4 Zorua DEX 69
3 Zoroark DEX
3 Darkrai-EX DEX
2 Sneasel UD
2 Weavile UD
1 Sableye DEX

Trainers – 33

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Professor Juniper
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory
2 N
2 Sage’s Training


4 Junk Arm
4 Dark Patch
3 Pokémon Catcher
3 Dark Claw
2 Ultra Ball

1 Random Receiver

Energy – 12

8 D

4 Special D

BulbapediaLet’s start off with the pure dark version, the one that takes advantage of the other aggressive dark card in the set, Zoroark. The cool part about this version is that it is the only variant that can really take advantage of Dark Claw as it can easily get early 1HKOs off weaker Pokémon while setting up 1HKOs with Darkrai’s residual damage for Zoroark.

With Dark Claw and Special D Energy, it isn’t hard to put enough damage on a large EX to put it into KO range for Zoroark, who can fairly easily hit for a robust 150 for just 2 energy, allowing him to 1HKO any EX that has taken 30 from a Night Spear.

Ascension has always been a very good move every time it was printed on a decent basic, and it gives the deck a consistency that many decks don’t have, making it nearly certain you are either attacking with Zoroark or Darkrai by turn 2, allowing the deck to come out hitting strong and fast.

The problem with this deck is that sometimes it runs out of gas too easily, as Zoroark only has 100 HP and is easily KO’d by many threats in the format. A turn 2 Zoroark can be taken out by a Tornadus EX or a Zekrom BLW quite easily, putting you far behind if you aren’t able to set up your bench fast enough.

It is also pretty much forced to run Collector, as it is fairly hard to fill up your bench with Darks early enough to hit big with Brutal Bash using just Dual Balls, and the deck needs the option of hitting hard with Zoroark turn 2 to be effective.

All in all, Zoroark/Darkrai is a solid variant, but not the best in my opinion. It is a fun deck to try out, but it needs a push and some innovation to become truly viable.

Control Darkrai

Pokémon – 12

4 Sneasel UD
3 Weavile UD

3 Darkrai-EX DEX
1 Tornadus-EX DEX
1 Sableye DEX

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory
2 N
2 Sage’s Training


4 Junk Arm

4 Dual Ball
4 Dark Patch
3 Pokémon Catcher

3 Super Scoop up
2 Level Ball
2 Eviolite

1 Random Receiver

Energy – 13

7 D
4 Special D

2 Double Colorless

pokemon-paradijs.comThis is a more controlling build, using Weavile UD to pick apart your opponents hand. This list is able to take control of Super Scoop Up to not only reuse Weaviles, but Scoop Up damaged Darkrais tanking with Eviolite. Sableye is very good here as it allows the reuse of SSU as well as other utility cards like Dark Patch and Catcher. Tornadus EX acts as an answer to Fighting Pokémon and can also be used with Eviolite and SSU to tank in certain situations.

The weakness of this deck is its overreliance on Weavile as disruption. Decks in today’s game run a very hefty Supporter count and many times you end up hitting a hand that has multiple Supporters essentially voiding the usefulness of Weavile. Even if you do manage to strip an opponent’s only Supporter, a Darkrai based deck isn’t able to take advantage of N enough to really increase the chances of your opponent drawing dead – you want to take multiple KOs with Night Spear, not deliberately avoid it.

While this kind of deck definitely has potential and can prove effective, again, I don’t believe it is the best variant out there.

Darkrai/Tornadus EX

Pokémon – 11

3 Smeargle UD
3 Darkrai-EX DEX
2 Tornadus-EX DEX
1 Tornadus EPO
1 Mewtwo-EX NXD
1 Shaymin UL

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Oak’s New Theory
4 Professor Juniper
2 N
2 Sage’s Training


4 Junk Arm
4 Dual Ball

4 Dark Patch
3 Pokémon Catcher
2 Super Scoop up
2 Eviolite
2 PlusPower

1 Random Receiver


2 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 13

9 D
4 Double Colorless

BulbapediaAnd here is the variant that I believe is the strongest at the moment. Darkrai EX and Tornadus EX compliment each other nicely in terms of the scope of cards they are strong against, and Smeargle makes a perfect consistency and setup partner for the Dark Beast. I believe in playing a Tornadus EPO to force your opponent to take 7 Prizes rather than allowing them to have the option of taking 6 off 3 EX kills.

Super Scoop Up and Eviolite give the option of tanking. I believe running all Dual Balls is better than running Ultra Balls in this deck, as you play all basics and there are plenty of discard outlets in the deck. 4 Juniper, 2 Sage and 4 Junk Arms make it fairly easy to get Darks into the discard pile early game, and running Ultra Balls here seems like a waste of resources, as you end up having to discard more cards than you want – Ultra Ball is also not very good with Junk Arm, as rarely you have a hand where you are ok with spending SIX cards to find a Pokémon.

With the focus of the deck not just on Dark Pokémon, the unfortunate thing about this variant is that it can’t take advantage of Dark Claw or Special Dark effectively. 4 Double Colorless is a must if you want Mewtwo and Tornadus EX to consistently contribute and Shaymin UL is a very good option as it was in CMT. Overall, the deck is very powerful and has taken over the deck to beat status from Zekeels for now.

Other Variants

Other variants that have been seen that I have not had the chance to look at too much myself include All-in Darkrai and Darkrai Terrakion.

All-in Darkrai

All-in Darkrai’s focus on getting Darkrai up and running turn 2 allows it to win many tempo games simply by outspeeding everything else in the format. The use of max Smeargle and extra Trainer slots make this possible, and the deck is certainly a highly viable option.

I believe that the Tornadus variant is better, as it is less prone to getting swept by a Fighting deck, but people have goten All-in Darkrai to work and it deserves mention as a deck to look out for.

Darkrai Terrakion

On the other hand, I don’t believe in Darkrai Terrakion at all. I think that the two cards really don’t compliment each other that well, as Terrakion doesn’t really cover any weaknesses for Darkrai – it simply seems like mashing together two good cards and trying to make it into a deck.

Also, the energy in the deck is a nightmare, as you are forced to run a heavy count of Fighting Energy for Terrakion, making it harder to consistently be able to Dark Patch. Tornadus EX seems like a much more logical partner for Darkrai, and I don’t think we’ll see too many Darkrai/Terrakion decks at the top of tournaments in the future.

Other Dark Explorers Cards

Empoleon DEX

Empoleon has the kind of Ability that screams potential, and a VERY aggressively costed attack, but its status as a Stage 2 will keep its impact on the metagame low until the format shifts away from the basic dominated one we see today. Most people have taken to pairing Empoleon with Terrakion, but I think Groudon EX makes a better partner because Groudon is a better early game attacker than Terrakion is.

Still, being weak to Lightning in a format that is still very much eel infested, as well as being a Stage 2, will keep Empoleon on the sidelines until the format changes a bit.

Groudon EX

BulbapediaSpeaking of Groudon, Groudon is a card that looks like it has potential in the current metagame due to its stats and typing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t play out as good as it looks due to its first attack’s damage output being too low. In an older format where people were playing evolutions and Jirachi UL could be abused, maybe Groudon would have been a better card, but in today’s format, using an attack to do 20 or 40 to the active and 10 to each bench doesn’t have the same kind of impact that it would have had in the past.

While Groudon can be a solid attacker in various mono-fighting decks and “Troll” variants, I don’t see it being that big a factor in the metagame.


Raikou-EX is a card that I see to be overrated. People are jumping to include it in new versions of Zekeel, but I don’t see the point in running it when you have cards in that deck that can easily accomplish the same thing. Even Zekeel will have energy problems dumping 3 energies at once, and it also creates another EX target for your opponent to take advantage of.

I don’t think Raikou adds enough value to the deck to offset the weaknesses, and I still think the only real gain Zekeel got from DEX was Ultra Ball.

Last Format’s Stars

With the release of Dark Explorers, there might be a new BDIF, but some old favorites still remain viable. Zekeel and CMT did gain a few small things but the general core of the decks won’t change much, and the decks still remain very much viable in the new format with some tweaks to adapt to the new metagame.

Here’s a new way to look at Zekeel:

Pokémon – 15

3 Tynamo NVI 38
1 Tynamo NVI 39

3 Eelektrik NVI
2 Zekrom BLW
2 Thundurus EPO
1 Mewtwo-EX NXD
1 Terrakion NVI
1 Smeargle UD
1 Tornadus-EX DEX

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Juniper
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory
3 N


4 Junk Arm

4 Dual Ball

3 Pokémon Catcher
2 Random Receiver
2 Eviolite
2 PlusPower

2 Ultra Ball
2 Switch

1 Super Rod

Energy – 12

9 L

2 Prism
1 F

pokemon-paradijs.comThe core of the deck stays the same but the techs have changed up a bit. With Darkrai establishing itself as the new BDIF, Terrakion seems like it is needed to help Zekeel fight back against it. In the previous format, I’d much rather have the consistency provided by running DCEs and only one type of energy but the deck lags in the Darkrai matchup without sacrificing some of that consistency for a way to fight back.

Tyrogue HS isn’t nearly as it was before because Zekeels won’t be the most popular deck anymore, and most people stopped running the 30 HP Tynamo anyway to avoid making the Darkrai matchup even worse. Tornadus EX is good even without DCEs, as it gives a solid attacker against the many Fighting type threats in the format.

The other notable gain from the Trainer side is Ultra Ball, which adds an additional discard outlet and broadens the search that Level Ball provided in those slots prior to DEX’s release. All in all, while weaker than last format, Zekeels still is a viable threat at any tournament right now, and is a deck that needs to be prepared for.


On the other hand, CMT has lost alot of power due to the rise of Darkrai. While the deck does gain a great asset in Tornadus EX, the fact that Mewtwo isn’t good against Darkrai is a huge hit on the deck’s future viability. I don’t see CMT being nearly as effective as it was in the past until the Darkrai usage slows down.

While Tornadus EX does add a powerful dimension to the deck in the form of an easy turn 1 60 with nearly no setup, the deck lacks the late game power and typing to race Darkrai, and teching fighting in CMT is many times harder than teching it into Zekeel because CMT relies on Double Colorless a lot more than Zekeels does, and absolutely cannot live with cutting down on it.


pokemon-paradijs.comDurant has also gotten weaker, but not because of Heatmor DEX. A narrow counter such as Heatmor doesn’t effect the viability of Durant because most people won’t bother to run it in the face of the Durant’s waning popularity. The reason why Durant is worse is actually because it has no answer to a much more common threat:


Teching Mewtwo won’t help against Darkrai, and there is really nothing the deck can do to counter the best deck in the format. Unless the metagame drastically changes, Durant won’t be a viable option in the upcoming events.

The Coolest Deck Ever!

Finally, I’m gonna end with what looks like the coolest deck I’ve ever seen! Created by former world champion Jacob Lesage, this is the troll deck to end all troll decks and the amazing thing is it’s actually pretty close to legit despite being in the developmental stages! I present to you:


Pokémon – 23

4 Mew Prime
2 Accelgor DEX

3 Gothita EPO 43
3 Gothitelle EPO 47

3 Magnemite TM
1 Magneton TM
2 Magnezone Prime

3 Doduo UD
2 Dodrio UD

Trainers – 27

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory
4 Sage’s Training


4 Pokémon Communication
4 Rare Candy

3 Dual Ball
2 Pokégear 3.0

2 PlusPower

Energy – 10

6 P

4 Double Colourless

BulbapediaIf it wasn’t obvious from the list, the main strategy of this deck is to use Mew Prime to see off Accelgor to give it access to its Deck and Cover ability. The deck follows this up by setting up a Magnezone as card draw to get the rest of the strategy up. What the deck is meant to do is use Mew to Deck and Cover, while promoting a Gothitelle in its stead to block the opponent from switching out of the Paralysis!

This allows the deck to maintain a permanent Paralysis on the opponent no matter how powerful the opponent’s Pokémon is while using PlusPowers to manipulate the damage so that you get a fresh Pokémon to paralyze in between turns. Dodrio allows you to retreat the Gothitelle for free, and Magnezone further helps to draw back into Mews and DCEs required to keep the lock up.

Instead of using Vileplume as a lock, this version allows you to take advantage of cards such as PlusPower and Dual Ball that the other version can’t, which leads to a more refined strategy that has so far in testing been surprisingly competitive against many of the top decks in the format.

This deck is still in the developmental stages but with tweaking, it could very easily become a legitimate tier 1.5 deck, so try it out, I know you’ll have a blast with it!


As always is when a new set comes out, some things change while others stay the same. Remembering the general lessons that apply to the game in general is what lets you prep and succeed in all formats. The metagame might change, but as long as you work to keep that edge, you can always stay ahead no matter how different things get!

…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.

After 45 days, we unlock each Underground (UG/★) article for public viewing. New articles are reserved for Underground members.

Underground Members: Thank you for making this article possible!

Other Readers: Check out the FAQ if you are interested in joining Underground and gaining full access to our latest content.

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

You are logged out. Register. Log in. Legacy discussion: ?