The Complete Guide to CMT

Mark A. HicksIt’s the end of May and Summer is certainly starting to get into full swing. What this means for Pokémon is that we’re already into Spring Battle Roads and Nationals is just around the corner. Last month I took an in depth look at Zekrom/Eelektrik, and this month I’m going to take a look at another one of the “big 3” decks, CMT. Regardless if CMT is a deck you’re currently playing, considering to play, or just want to be ready for, it’s important to have a good grasp on both how the deck plays and different variations of the deck.

Having a good grasp of decklists is one of the biggest things when it comes to being successful at this game. If you can’t fully write out your complete 60 card deck without looking (go ahead and try to, it’s harder than you think), then that is something you need to work on. After all, how am I supposed to be aware of all my options if I can’t remember all of the cards I play or how many copies of each?

The same goes for my opponent’s deck, although I’ll never be able to know their decklist 100%, I should have a good grasp of it within a few cards. What I mean by this is if my opponent is playing Zekrom, I can safely assume he runs 3 Tynamo and 3 Eelektrik. Now I might not know if he runs the 4th Tynamo or not, but I’m going to assume he does until I know otherwise.

You have to make these judgment calls within reason of course. If my opponent has played 4 Junk Arm and 4 Pokémon Catcher already it’s pretty safe to assume that he can’t bring up one of my bench Pokémon. Sure, he or she could play Pokémon Reversal or perhaps Bellsprout TM, but at this point I’m coming up with scenarios outside of reason.

In the end though the better idea I have of my opponent’s decklist, the better I’m going to be at being able to knowing their options.

What Makes a Deck Successful

The big 4 decks in the format right now in my opinion are Zekrom/Eelektrik, CMT, Troll, and Darkrai EX. I want to start off by noting that all of these decks have some things in common that make them successful. First, they all have some form of energy acceleration (Eelektrik, Celebi, Dark Patch, Exp. Share) and are able to put early pressure on the opponent.

While these are traits that each of the 4 decks have, each one of them excels in one area. Zekrom/Eelektrik has the best energy acceleration of the 4 since it grabs its out of the discard every turn. This trumps (arguably) both CMT needing an energy in the hand and the 1 time use of Dark Patch for Darkrai EX.

CMT on the other hand has the highest probability of going off turn 1. There is a lot to be said about putting 80+ damage on the board turn 1, and even if you don’t donk the opponent, just getting a first turn Knock Out can end games before they even begin.

Darkrai EX has a pretty good balance of the first two. Dark Patch isn’t quite as good as Eelektrik, but not needing the energy in hand and being able to Junk Arm for it puts it ahead of Celebi Prime. It also doesn’t hit the turn 1’s as often as CMT does, but it’s certainly more explosive than Zekrom/Eelektrik.

Troll is a bit different. Sure, it has some energy acceleration thanks to Exp. Share. It also can occasionally get those hands that allow it to get a turn 2 Tornadus. However, it doesn’t excel at either one of those two the way the other 3 decks do. What makes Troll so competitive is the fact that it has excellent type matching and has very strong large Basic Pokémon.

Basically it’s the format that makes Troll good, rather than Troll being a good deck because of another aspect. Think of it this way: if all of the Pokémon in Troll were Colorless, do you think the deck would see as much play?

By understanding why a deck is competitive, it’s easier to determine “hot” cards in upcoming sets. It’s also a huge part of designing rogue decks and determining how metagame shift effect certain decks. Is deck A good because of reasons B, C, and D, or is deck A good because decks B, C and D are heavily played?


Everybody knows that through States and Regionals I was a huge fan of Zekrom/Eelektrik. However, CMT was always my 2nd choice and I had to be ready to play it at the drop of a hat. There are some things I love about CMT that Zekrom just doesn’t offer. Even though I just talked about it, I can’t begin to overstate just how big of a deal it is to be able to go off turn 1. Even if you don’t hit it consistently, it’s a major plus in any deck.

Another thing I really like about the deck is how well it matches up against Fighting decks thanks to Tornadus EPO and Tornadus EX. I certainly don’t think Fighting decks will dominate the format by any means, but I do expect them to be prevalent thanks to Darkrai EX.

The other thing I really like about it is just how techable the deck is and how easy it is to adapt it to different metas. If this is a deck you play at Battle Roads, you might take one version one week and then the next week you might take a completely different version that’s anywhere from 5-10 cards different. Before we get into looking at teching the deck for certain metas, let’s start off with a very standard CMT list.

Speed/Consistent CMT

Pokémon – 12

4 Celebi Prime

2 Mewtwo-EX NXD

2 Tornadus-EX DEX
1 Tornadus EPO
1 Tyrogue HS
1 Smeargle UD
1 Shaymin UL

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory

3 N


4 Junk Arm
4 Dual Ball
4 Pokémon Catcher
3 Switch
2 Eviolite
2 PlusPower
1 Energy Retrieval
1 Random Receiver


3 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 13

9 G

4 Double Colorless

As you can see the deck is really straight forward and built for speed and consistency while running no real techs. One of the big factors to note in this variation is that we are playing 3 copies of both Skyarrow Bridge and Switch. Playing 3 copies of both of these cards does a lot to maximize your chances at going off turn 1. I tested different variation of the counts, but I found I really noticed a difference between 5 vs. 6 copies total.

The other thing to really note is Tyrogue. Even though I’m not a huge fan of this card right now, I do like him in decks that try and put a lot of early pressure on the opponent. Some of the more teched out versions might run him, but many lack the room for him.


I think most people are familiar with this version of the deck. For those of you who aren’t, this would be an example of the Pokémon lineup.

Pokémon: 8

4 Celebi Prime
4 Mewtwo EX

The only Pokémon the deck runs are Celebi Prime and Mewtwo EX along with a whole host of Trainers. Esa took this deck to a Top 16 at the ECC and it saw play at both our State and Regional Championships here in the United States.

Personally I was never a huge fan of the deck due to the fact that you always had to play down the first Mewtwo EX. At the start of States this wasn’t as big because most people were only playing 2 Mewtwo EX. However, when 3 started to become more of the standard, it became much harder for the deck.

I don’t mention this deck because I think it’s a viable choice, rather the exact opposite in fact. With Darkrai EX in our meta, relying on straight Mewtwo just simply isn’t good enough anymore. I feel the deck had its 15 minutes and now is simply too outdated to considering taking to a tournament.


This version of the deck techs in Terrakion NVI to help against Darkrai EX and to a lesser extent Zekrom/Eelektrik. Many people think that Terrakion is a great counter against Zekrom due to the x2 weakness to Fighting. However, tech Terrakions usually aren’t as damaging to Zekrom as they may seem.

The reason for this is normally outside of a dedicated Fighting deck (Troll/Straight Terrakion) they are harder to set up due to only running 2-3 F Energy. This makes them more reactive than active, which normally results in a 1-1 trade off. These are the exact sort of tradeoffs a Zekrom player loves to make due to how easily they spam attackers.

Now don’t get me wrong. Terrakion is very strong in the matchup, but just don’t think because you dropped Terrakion the game is over.

Before we really start talking about the deck and its advantages and disadvantages over other variations, let’s take a look at my list.

Pokémon – 12

3 Celebi Prime

2 Mewtwo-EX NXD

2 Tornadus-EX DEX
1 Tornadus EPO
2 Terrakion NVI
1 Smeargle UD
1 Shaymin UL

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory

3 N


4 Junk Arm
4 Dual Ball
3 Pokémon Catcher
2 Switch

2 Eviolite
2 PlusPower
1 Random Receiver
1 Super Rod
1 Energy Retrieval
1 Energy Search


3 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 13

7 G

4 Double Colorless
2 F

pokemon-paradijs.comThe biggest thing that you should notice about this list is that it’s far more teched out than the speed version and not nearly as streamlined. This decreases our chance of hitting the turn 1 considerably, which is something the deck clearly acknowledges. Instead, when I’m playing this version I find myself far more rarely “going for it” and usually focusing on going off turn 2 instead.

I was also very tight on room, for this reason I very reluctantly cut 1 Celebi Prime. While I’m not fully sold on this switch, I just wasn’t hitting the turn 1 consistently enough, which is basically why you play 4 Celebi Prime. This may stay the same or I may switch back depending on how more testing goes.

As for the rest of the Pokémon line, it’s virtually the same; we just added 2 Terrakion. The Trainer lineup is also virtually the same, however I do find Super Rod and Energy Retrieval far more important in this version than I do in others.

The energy lineup on the other hand is where I feel the deck differs the most and honestly its weakest point. I usually like to play at least 2 F Energy for 1 Terrakion and 3 F Energy for 2 Terrakion. Due to the limited amount of room that we can devote to energy in the deck we have to make some hard cuts. Since Double Colorless Energy can be used with almost all of our attackers, it’s simply too good not to play 4-of.

This means we have to make the cut with the G Energy. Normally I like going 9 Grass and 4 DCE for 13 total Energy, but in this build I opted to go with 7 Grass, 2 Fighting, and then 4 DCE. While I would prefer 3 F Energy, I feel a combination of both Energy Search and Energy Retrieval let me get away with this play.

As I talked about earlier, this really puts less emphasis on Celebi Prime in the early game, but 7 Grass is still plenty to get a lot of use out of it. Especially taking into consideration both Energy Retrieval and Super Rod let me have more access to my G Energy once it leaves the field. To be blunt, I don’t like this energy lineup and I don’t feel it’s consistent, however I do feel it is the necessary energy lineup for this deck.

I’m honestly not fully sold on this build either, although I do feel that CMT with Terrakion is probably the strongest way to play the deck. My issues with the deck I feel come more from my build; it just doesn’t “feel” right when I’m playing it.

I also don’t find the list as consistent as I would like. I feel this may in part be due to the fact that I got so used to playing the speed version of the deck. Much of the consistency I found with that build aren’t possible with having to devote spots to Terrakion. However with Darkrai EX being such a huge threat in the meta, there might not be any way around this.

I find the Terrakions semi-useful against Zekrom/Eelektrik… what I mean by this is I find them useful enough to run, however they don’t swing the matchup as much as people believe. I would say you’re looking at a 50-50 matchup give or take, regardless if you’re playing the Speed version or the Terrakion version.

As for both the CMT mirror and the Troll matchups, I find Terrakion to be dead weight. They can still be very solid attackers, although a bit more situational. However, I find that in both of these matchups I would much rather have the Speed version of the deck. It’s less about the fact that I don’t want Terrakion in these matchups and more about the fact I need to be fast.

The Happy Medium?

Basically for this version of the deck I did my best to combine the best elements of the first two. I included Terrakion, but I also put a lot less emphasis on the card therefore it doesn’t hurt our speed or consistency nearly as much.

Pokémon – 12

4 Celebi Prime

2 Mewtwo-EX NXD

2 Tornadus-EX DEX
1 Tornadus EPO
1 Terrakion NVI
1 Smeargle UD
1 Shaymin UL

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory

3 N


4 Junk Arm
4 Dual Ball
3 Pokémon Catcher
2 Switch
2 Random Receiver
2 Eviolite
2 PlusPower
1 Energy Retrieval
1 Energy Search


3 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 13

7 G

4 Double Colorless
2 F
Just right!

I just want to do a quick recap of the changes that I made to arrive at this list. First off we dropped the Terrakion count down to 1 while upping the Celebi Prime count back to 4. This change alone makes a surprisingly notable difference in the number of games you open with Celebi Prime and the frequency at which you see G Energy.

The last and more question switch was to drop the Super Rod and add in a 2nd Random Receiver. I’m not fully sold on this switch and this 60th spot is still pretty up in the air for me. I was just hitting those hands without Supporters enough that I wanted a bit more consistency.

The other 2 options would be to keep the Random Receiver at 1 and then possibly go ahead and drop the Super Rod for a Revive. The last option I’m considering is simply dropping it and adding a 4th Pokémon Catcher. Although I’m leaning away from that option since Terrakion does make the deck a bit slower, so I feel the 4th Catcher is less needed than it is in the Speed variation.


We’ve now covered the 3 most popular ways to play CMT: Speed/Consistency, CMT/Terrakion, and a mix of both. I gave you my 3 personal lists for the decks, but as I stated before there are a ton of ways to tech these out. I really want to hit on some of the more common tech choices…


The deck has been really back and forth on this card since it was released. At first it was labeled flat out bad, but began to see more and more play during States. I personally considered it a near staple because it was just about the only way for the deck to deal with an early Thundurus EPO from a Zekrom player without making a horrible tradeoff. It also allowed the deck to have access to heavy hitter… sort of.

Regigigas-EX could hit for big damage, but it normally needed the opponent to hit it first. This allowed smarter opponent to more easily play around it. Despite being x2 weak to Lightning, I now feel that Tornadus EX is a much stronger play for the deck over all.

Sure it’s not a great option against Zekrom, but it has the same ability to KO an early Thundurus with a PlusPower (baring an Eviolite). Also this early in the game, it’s harder for the Zekrom player to respond with a 1HKO. Outside of this matchup I find Tornadus EX a far superior play.

Tornadus EPO/Tornadus EX

This is one of the biggest things I’m unsure of with in all of my CMT lists. As you can tell in all of my lists I went with 2 copies of Tornadus EX while only playing 1 copy of Tornadus EPO. Normally I don’t like to put all of my investment into 1 Pokémon (an EX no less) with a chance of losing my energy on a flip.

However, the major proponent of playing the Tornadus EX is the extra Hit Points (very valid) and the extra 20 damage (only situational useful). In many cases the extra 20 damage won’t even come into play and larger targets will be a 2 HKO regardless (at least in the early game).

The problem that I have had with Tornadus EPO though is it is too easily Knocked Out by opposing Tornadus EX. Even with Eviolite I at best 2 shot them and if they have Eviolite I’m looking at most likely 3 HKOing them. Tornadus EX on the other hand can trade with opposing Tornadus EX at 1-1. Considering the fact that CMT should be faster out of the gate this should give the edge to CMT.

A situation that I’m commonly finding myself in is I’m having a harder time diversify my energy by only playing 1 Tornadus EPO. By constantly putting all of my investments in 1 Pokémon at a time, I’m having a much harder time coming back in games that I’m down.

This has led me to question if I should flip these two numbers. I would love to run a 2-2 split of each, but this simply is not plausible based on the room that the deck has. For this reason I do feel comfortable with the 3 spots devoted to Tornadus and each has their own place in the deck.


While looking at the matchup section you can see that for nearly every matchup I advocate additional copies of Eviolite as a possible tech. You may begin to wonder why if I find Eviolite so useful, I simply don’t bump my count up to 3 or even 4. The reason for this is two-fold. The first answer is simply room.

I feel nearly every version of this deck I run is already tight for room and there are more important cards I would rather have than the extra copy of Eviolite. I also feel like in many of the matchups that an increase number of Eviolite is less about the higher number being needed and more about simply increasing your odds of drawing into the card sooner and more often.

Terrakion NVI

This is certainly one of the biggest debates that people are having with this deck. The two main questions are should I run Terrakion, and if so, how many copies? To answer the first question, I feel it’s really of judgment call based on your meta. As I discussed with the individual decks, running Terrakion literally kills your speed and consistency due to the number of cards you need to run to make him viable.

It’s less about the 1-2 spots you actually devote to Terrakion and more about the 2/3 spots you devote to F Energy in your energy lineup that hurt you the most. On the other side of the coin though, if you don’t run Terrakion, certain matchups become much harder, namely Darkrai. Personally I believe Terrakion is simply a necessary evil for the deck and there is simply no way around the hit to consistency.

The second part of the question is how many Terrakions should you run? I’ve tested builds with both 1 Terrakion and 2 Terrakion and I feel that 1 Terrakion is the stronger overall option against the field. I go this way because I believe this gives you the closest thing to the best of both worlds.

It allows you an answer to Darkrai EX while at the same time decreasing your odds of starting Terrakion and not cluttering your deck and overly messing with your energy lineup. This being said though, 1 Terrakion is just barely beating out 2 Terrakions in my opinion.

Energy Search

The card is simply amazing in the Terrakion variants as it allows you to search out G Energy or F Energy. I’ve done some testing and found that the deck simply doesn’t have room to go above 14 in the energy lineup including Energy Search.

I also strongly feel that your G Energy/Energy Search should never be below 8 and that your F Energy/Energy Search should not be below 3. This usually allows 1-2 copies of Energy Search to be played depending on how heavy of a Terrakion line the deck is playing.

Playing the Deck

pokemon-paradijs.comYour ideal opener is going to be Celebi Prime by a large margin, and this is the main reason that we run a full 4 copies of it in nearly every version. The only other Pokémon that comes even close is Smeargle due to the double Supporter or Torandus EX for the higher chance of hitting a turn 1 60. Opening with anything else usually means that you’re looking for a Bridge or a Switch to get a Celebi Prime active.

Depending on my hand and how likely I feel I’m going to get the turn 1, in some situations I might just go for Smeargle turn 1 and bank more on going off turn 2. This is one of the biggest decisions that you have to make early in the game. Not being aggressive enough early might end up losing you the game in the long run.

On the other hand though, devoting to many resources to trying to go off turn 1 and failing (or in some cases even succeeding) might also lose you the game in the long run. The real hard part about this decision is you might not even know if you made the right decision until the mid/late game.

To make this decision I’m usually looking at my hand and trying to determine what the odds are I’ll get the turn 1. The more cards I’m missing, the lower the chance I’ll be able to hit that turn 1. The other factor that I look at is how bad of a position will I be in if I go for the turn 1 and don’t get it. Factors such as how strong my hand is and will my opponent be able to punish me are the big two.

I’m not a math genius by any standard so I don’t come up with an exact percentage, “I have 76.8% chance of hitting…” More or less, I just look at the situation and ask myself the above questions. The more you play the deck and different matchups, the easier it is to know which call to make.

Early game I prefer to go for Tornadus EPO (1 active and an EX on the bench). This allows me to put pressure on my opponent, but at the same time I’m not risking all of my energy. Putting a huge investment in 1 attacker can backfire early game if your opponent is able to score a 1HKO (such as Mewtwo vs. Mewtwo) or even a 2HKO. You can easily find yourself trying to live from attacker to attacker against decks (like Zekrom) which can do it far more easily.

BulbapediaTornadus EPO on the other hand allows me to diversify my energy by moving them to different attackers. This allows me to really keep my energy spread out across my board and leave myself less vulnerable to KOs or to Pokémon Catcher. I also find in the early game the extra damage that both Tornadus EX and Mewtwo EX offer really isn’t as needed.

That being said though, in many situations it’s far easier to set up a Tornadus EX and DCE/2 Grass with Bridge in play than it is to get the turn 1 Tornadus EPO. Now while I do normally prefer to lead with Tornadus EPO, Tornadus EX normally finds his way into the Active Spot in turns 3-5 a majority of the time.

This usually isn’t due to my “game plan,” but rather due to the fact that the Tornadus EPO is either KO’d or isn’t able to hit hard enough to ensure a 1HKO or even a 2HKO.

Mewtwo EX in general is usually really bad to bench unless you’re ready to use it due to just how vulnerable it is to Pokémon Catcher and opposing Mewtwos. Tornadus EX on the other hand is far less vulnerable (unless you’re playing against Zekrom) to 1HKOs and the one Retreat Cost makes it near impossible to lock with Pokémon Catcher.

I just want to quickly mention if your opponent KOs one of your Pokémon, you should always bring up Celebi Prime or Smeargle as long as you have Skyarrow Bridge in play. Even if you’re sure you won’t use either one of them, sometimes your top deck could affect your decision.



Tornadus, Tornadus EX, and Eviolite are the real MVPs of this matchup since they both have solid Hit Points and Fighting resistance. For this matchup, you should stick to the basic strategy of going for the early Tornadus EPO opening and just keep diversifying your energy. Exp. Share can be a huge pain in this matchup, so I try and do my best to plan around it by using Pokémon Catcher to bring up attackers before they are ready.

What I want to avoid is getting into a straight up brawl where I’m 2HKOing their active and then they move all of the energy off of it to other attackers on their bench and then 2HKO me in response. So if I Catcher up a Terrakion for example and hit it for 80, this forces them to have a Switch. This is certainly not an unlikely scenario, but it is harder for him to have it consistently without wasting Junk Arms for it. Regardless of the fact if he has switch or not the Terrakion is now within 1HKO range.

So when I KO his active, sure that Terrakion might get a free energy, but if my opponent brings it up I Knock it Out in 1 hit. I find that this makes it harder for them to get ahead in the energy race, which is simply huge in this match up.

Tornadus EX is also a really good attacker in this matchup thanks to its high Hit Points, but the extra damage from the attack rarely matters against Terrakion since most of the time it’s a 2HKO anyway. However, I’m always looking to score that 1HKO on Landorus NVI or opposing Tornadus EPO. This is not an uncommon situation since you’re just 10 shy (PlusPower) and the deck has to play Exp. Share over Eviolite.

With Eviolite, Mewtwo EX might seem like a solid attacker in this matchup, however I normally try and avoid using him. He really isn’t very effective until I load him up with energy, which leaves him very vulnerable to opposing Mewtwos. What I usually try and do is let them play the first Mewtwo down. Normally the only time I’ll play him down first is if I feel like I don’t have any better options.


  • Go for early Tornadus EPO
  • Diversify Energy
  • Play Smart Eviolites
  • Watch for possible 1HKOs with Tornadus EX
  • Don’t play down first Mewtwo EX


  • 1-2 Tornadus EP
  • 1 Tornadus EX
  • 1 Eviolite


pokemon-paradijs.comThe biggest thing about this matchup is that it is extremely important to get up on prizes early. As I’ve discussed throughout this article and in my Zekrom articles in the past, once the deck gets rolling it just spams attackers with no effort. So if you don’t get a big enough prize lead early on, you can find yourself behind in energy drops resulting in Zekrom taking multiple unanswered prizes.

The most common strategy I see people use against this deck is to go after the Eelektriks early game in an effort to cut off their energy acceleration. Normally this is the strategy that I use in an effort to keep the deck at bay, but I do feel that there are some other things to keep in mind.

If your opponent gets an early attacker against you, you can’t always simply ignore it. Trading a Tornadus for a Tynamo is usually a very bad trade off to make, and one you certainly can’t make consistently. The most common play that a Zekrom Eelektrik player will make is to go for an early Thundurus. Not only will this get L Energy in their discard pile, it also 1HKOs both Tornadus EPO and Tornadus EX (with a PlusPower).

This is a threat that you have to deal with immediately. Best case scenario is that you are able to KO the Thundurus with a Tornadus EX and a PlusPower. I find the second best answer is to Tyrogue them for 30 and then KO them with Tornadus on the following turn. Probably your worst (but perhaps necessary) option is to put 80 on them with Tornadus, get KO’d and then KO them with another attacker on the following turn.

pokemon-paradijs.comMewtwo EX is also a possibility, but it’s much harder since they discard their own energy. Normally this will leave them with only 2, which means you need 3 (DCE + Grass) and a PlusPower to KO them. This leaves you very vulnerable to their Mewtwo EX, and they wouldn’t even need a PlusPower.

Once Zekrom/Eelektrik gets going, the worst situations that they can put you in is trying to get you to make these 2-for-1 trades. If you get far enough ahead in prizes, you can use Pokémon Catcher around and snag cheap prizes for your last few KOs.

Really be careful about late game N’s though; it’s not uncommon for a Zekrom player to be down multiple prizes, N a CMT player to a 1-2 card hand and then come back to steal the game. KOing early Eelektrik can help prevent this, but this is by far one of your biggest obstacles in the matchup.


  • Take early prize lead
  • KO Eelektriks
  • Be careful of late game Ns
  • Avoid making 2-for-1 trades


Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus (Mirror)

cardshark.comI normally like to lead mirror like I do with most of my matches, with Celebi Prime into Tornadus EPO. Your second best option is Celebi Prime into Tornadus EX, but I prefer the normal Tornadus opening, but only slightly. In my testing, how mirror plays out has so much to do with speed. If 1 person gets the turn 1 Tornadus, then it puts a lot of pressure on the opponent to answer with their own turn 1 Tornadus.

Even if the second player can answer that turn 1 Tornadus with their own, they are still a turn, an attack, and possibly even a prize behind. This isn’t always a bad thing if your opponent gets a cheap prize on a Celebi or something and then you get the first hit in on a Torandus vs. Tornadus war.

However, if one person does get that turn 1 Tornadus and the other play isn’t able to answer it with their own, the game can get out of hand very quickly. In these situations, your only two options are to hope to make better Prize trade-offs (Tornadus EX KOing EPO Tornadus) or locking them with a late game N. Basically if your opponent got a few unanswered attacks off, for you to win there needs to be a point in the game when you get a few unanswered attacks off as well.

Now what makes going for the early Tornadus EPO so dangerous in this matchup is the fact that your opponent can 1HKO it (with a PlusPower) with a Torandus EX. Normally this doesn’t put you in a bad situation since you already moved the basic energy off of it, but it’s not what you want.

If you think your opponent has a decent shot at KOing your Tornadus, you might want to not go for it and rather just go aggressive with your Tornadus EX. The presence of Eviolite however makes both of these plays much stronger and leaves you far less vulnerable to 1HKOs.

Normally I don’t like going for the cheap prizes unless I feel I can really cripple my opponent by doing so. My prize lead can very quickly diminish if I’m KOing Celebi Primes while my opponent is KOing Mewtwos and Tornadus. Since the deck has so much emphasis on energy, I like to go after my opponent’s energy attachments. Usually this won’t fully cripple them, but it does leave me in a much better board position heading into the home stretch.

I don’t want to get into a slugfest in mirror against an opponent who has a board full of energy. In many cases this will come down to who draws Junk Arms, Catchers, PlusPowers and Eviolites. Those are quite possibly the 4 most important cards in mirror.

pokemon-paradijs.comAnother thing I’m really careful about is watching how many cheap prizes I’m placing for my opponent on the board. There is simply no way around having to bench Celebi Primes and Smeargle, however I’m very careful to only bench as many as I think I’ll need in the game. Usually just 1 or 2 depending on how bad of a situation my opponent can put me in by playing Catcher and KOing a Celebi if I only have one.

So for the last few paragraphs I’m tried to hammer across just how important attacking your opponent’s board position is. While attacking my opponent’s board position, I’m always doing my best to protect my own. This usually comes from trying to diversify my energy and playing my Eviolites smart.

This brings us to the last big card in the matchup, which of course is N. One is always going to go off late game, either by you playing it or your opponent. By attacking their board position and protecting your own, you can put yourself in really good position. The big thing is it’s coming, be ready for it, and don’t forget about it.

Despite N being such a key card in CMT mirror, I really disagree with Kenny playing 4. The deck is so fast and takes prizes so early, there is good number of times when you’re using N only to draw a small hand and give your opponent a large one.

I’ve tested lower numbers like 1 and 2, but in those cases I just wasn’t finding N when I needed it. I really advocate 3 here as the correct number and have never regretted it. Even in mirror where the card can be huge, 4 is just too far over-the-top for a deck like CMT that needs to keep board position.


  • Celebi into Tornadus/Tornadus EX
  • Attack Energy
  • Protect your field/Energy (smart Eviolites)
  • Be ready for late game Ns


Darkrai EX

BulbapediaThis is a more interesting matchup since Battle Roads is the first place that we’ll really get to see it unfold.

A good portion of this matchup really comes down to speed and who gets out of the gate faster. Much like the CMT mirror match, if a player gets the turn 1/2 attack off, it puts a lot of pressure on the opponent to answer it. If the other player fails to answer it, you could find yourself in a very lopsided game very quickly.

In this matchup opening with Tornadus EPO can be very dangerous due to 110 HP not being much considering Darkrai hits for a base damage of 90. Dark Pokémon just have so many different ways to modify their damage and get that last 20 that they need (Dark Claw, D Energy, PlusPower). However, if I have Eviolite, I still prefer to lead with the EPO Tornadus as being able to trade non-EXs for EXs is huge in any matchup. If I don’t have the Eviolite, I have to lead with the Tornadus EX and hope to make a 2-for-2 trade with Darkrai EX.

That extra 30 damage from Darkrai EX is just so dangerous in this matchup, because they can use it to either take cheap KOs or wound other attackers. Be very careful placing support Pokémon on your bench, especially Celebi Prime. Making the 1-1 trade does very little if you’re giving up a free prize every other turn.

The real game changer in this matchup is of course Terrakion since it can 1HKO Darkrai EX. Also, thanks to Celebi Prime, you can drop a “surprise” Terrakion on them in one turn, without showing any hint of it on your board. I wouldn’t really say Terrakion has any sort of “surprise” factor in this match up since people just kind of expect it until they know otherwise. That being said though, Terrakion is still a major player in this matchup.

Like all other matchups, late game Ns can swing the game. As you’re heading into the home stretch, be aware that the late game N is coming and do the best to have your board ready for it.


  • Eviolites are key
  • Tornadus EPO with Eviolite
  • Tornadus EX if you don’t have Eviolite
  • Drop “surprise” Terrakion
  • Avoid giving up cheap prizes
  • Don’t bench excess “support” Pokémon


  • 2 Tornadus EX
  • 3-4 Eviolite
  • 1-2 Terrakion

Mail Bag

Reader Question:

With the release of Dark Explorers we finally get to know what could possibly be the cards in the format for Nationals (and possibly Worlds?). The distinct engine which has been gently sprouting since BW was released is the return of a Ball engine. At States we saw Zeels starting to run Dual Ball as opposed to Collector, and that seemed to have made a shift in the preference in setup cards (for some at least). Below are the listed Balls we have now (disregarding rotation):

My discussion question is this: what is the future for a Ball Engine? With the exception of Poké Ball, of course, what other Ball line would feature in Zeels, CMT, Dark.dec or any other meta deck at the moment?


Personally I really like the “Ball Engine” although I do feel sometimes people just slap it in decks without thinking. Thanks to Random Receiver I feel we’re really going to see more of a swing toward the ball engine both this season and certainly next. So let’s take a look at each of the different Balls that we have available to us and see how they stack up.

Poké Ball: Starting off though, I feel with Poké Ball there are too many other good options to search out a Pokémon that don’t require a flip, so I don’t think this card will ever see much competitive play.

Dual Ball: The reason Dual Ball sees play, even with a flip, is that you get two coin flips. You’re going to hit one heads a good portion of the time. In set up decks or in decks that need to search out multiple Pokémon at once, I still prefer Pokémon Collector. In decks that need to search out just 1 Pokémon at a time, I prefer Dual Ball.

Great Ball: The top 7 cards really just isn’t that many, even if you run 4 copies of a card you want to search out. Going along with this, it’s really just too random to hope to hit what you need in a given situation. There are so many better options out there I would steer away from this one.

Level Ball/Heavy Ball: Both of these are really deck specific and are obiviously going to shine in some decks and not in others. In a deck like Quad Terrakion, 4 Heavy Ball is a must, but in other decks with only 1 or 2 options that can be searched by it there are better choices. Basically if you’re thinking about including these in your deck, you need to ask yourself how much of your deck can it search out.

Ultra Ball: Ultra Ball isn’t quite as deck specific as both Level Ball/Heavy Ball, but it’s not far away from it either. The discarding can really hurt decks that either don’t have the resources to discard or can’t advantage of discarding cards. Something I am trying in some of my decks is to go ahead and play 3 Dual Ball and then 1 Ultra Ball. It’s taking away some of the randomness that Dual Ball has, but I’m not committing myself to a lot of discarding over the course of a game.

The way the format is going I definitely think we’re heading toward a Ball Engine format, not only in this format, but in the next one as well. A Supporter that says “search for 3 Basics” is being deemed too slow, so either the format is going to have to slow down or a Supporter better than Pokémon Collector is going to need to be printed to overthrow the Ball Engine.

I’m certainly hording my fair share of the Balls and I really suggest you do as well. The pull ratios seem to be pretty good, so I doubt they will ever get to the value that Collector had, but they’re cheap now and I certainly don’t seeing them go down. The only exception to this may be Ultra Balls when the “new set” effect wears off.


Mark A. HicksDespite only getting one new set, the format for Battle Roads is drastically different from that of States. What makes CMT still thrive is the fact that the deck is so easily adaptable and so easily techable. I was amazed how much my list was changing just from the testing and writing I did for this article. What this also means is that there really isn’t an overall “best” list for CMT, and rather there is a “best” list for a given day.

What I mean by this is the “best” list for me to take to my local Battle Roads might be drastically different than the “best” list you should take to yours, and then again from the best list to take to Nationals. What I wanted to get across in this article is to give you a better idea of some different CMT variations and techs.

I also wanted to give you an idea of how I played the deck and some different reasonings that went into my card choices. This way you could more easily tech and adapt the deck for a particular meta or more toward your own personal preference. If you want help or a second opinion on building or adapting CMT, feel free to shoot me an email.

On the opposite side of this, perhaps you’re a player that knows that you will never play CMT in a tournament. If this is the case, I hoped you found it useful to look at some different variations and techs that you might find yourself sitting across the table from. Personally, I also always find it very insightful looking at how somebody else plays the deck, so when I’m playing against the deck I can look at their board and know what I would do if I was them in their situation or what cards I would be looking for.

I know there is still a few more weeks left of Battle Roads which everybody is focused on, myself included. However, Nationals is just about a month away, so it’s important to not lose focus on the big picture. Perhaps you were having a bad day, or even a bad run at Battle Roads, but Nationals is the chance for anybody and everybody to redeem themselves.

At Nationals there are 4 fully paid trips to Hawaii on the line, that myself and everybody else has their eye on. I believe I’m the only Master in the United States that has had the last 2 trips to Hawaii fully paid for by Nintendo. While I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to cover in my June article, I will be sharing a few secrets with the readers of how I managed to pull the strong showings at Nationals and Worlds.

…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.

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