With Dragons Exalted about to be released next month, many players are already taking the time to figure out which decks they want to play in the new BLW-on format. The Sporprise (oh no, the puns are coming back) of this article is to explain another Status Condition deck (for those who remember my VVV article) known as Ninetales DRE/Amoonguss NXD.
Let’s take a Bright Look at the card that really ignites this deck.
BulbapediaNinetales is a Stage 1 Pokémon with 90 HP, a X2 Weakness to Water, and a one Retreat Cost. The 90 HP means it can be searched out by Level Ball, but at the same time, Darkrai EX can 1HKO it. Water-type Pokémon aren’t dominating the format at the moment, so the Weakness is good. The one Retreat Cost is really helpful if you ever need to get Ninetales out of the Active Spot without wasting a Switch.
Ninetales also has a neat Ability called Bright Look. When you evolve into Ninetales, you can switch the Defending Pokémon with one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. A Pokémon with a built-in Catcher Ability? With decks not being able to spam Pokémon Catcher through Junk Arm, Bright Look can give you a big advantage over your opponent.
Then we move on to its attack, Cursed Flame. I feel that this attack would be better suited on a Chandelure than a Ninetales, but that doesn’t matter. For one R Energy, Cursed Flame does 20 damage plus 50 more damage for each Special Condition affecting the Defending Pokémon. If the Defending Pokémon has two Special Conditions affecting it, then you Cursed Shadow does a nice 120 damage for one Energy.
Costing only one Energy, Ninetales can easily abuse Max Potion to heal off any damage it has taken, and continue searing your opponent the very next turn.
Now we move on to the fox’s mushroom-Poké Ball-looking partner in crime.
pokemon-paradijs.comAmoonguss is another Stage 1 with 90 HP, but has a x2 Weakness to Fire, a -20 Resistance to Water, and a two Retreat Cost. 90 HP means you can sprout your fungus (didn’t think I could make a plant joke, well think again) out of nowhere with a Level Ball. A two Retreat Cost is annoying, and Amoonguss with be a Catcher target for your opponent similar to how Eelektrik NVI always gets hunted down. A Fire Weakness and Water Resistance aren’t very helpful, but not at all bad.
Amoonguss’s attack, Rising Lunge, for a Grass and a C Energy does 20 damage + 30 more if you flip heads on a coin flip. Again, I think this isn’t a great name for an attack because when do you see a plant uprooting itself right out of the ground and assaulting you? I know Pokémon doesn’t abide to the rules of human nature, but this doesn’t seem like a good name. Anyway, this attack isn’t why you use the deck, because it’s too flippy to be a reliable attack and this deck doesn’t even run Victini NVI 14.
Amoonguss is really used for its Ability, Sporprise. When you evolve into Amoonguss, your opponent’s Active Pokémon is Confused and Poisoned. Not only does this Ability let Ninetales hit for 120 damage, but your opponent might not be able to attack the next turn due to Confusion. Poison damage can also accumulate and slowly rack up to do more damage, enough to KO Zoroark BLW, Reshiram BLW, Kyurem NVI, and Terrakion NVI just to name a few.
So now that you understand the general idea that ignited this deck, here is a sample decklist I cooked up.
Pokémon – 19
Trainers – 31
Energy – 10
Here is an explanation behind each of the cards in this deck:
BulbapediaMew-EX is used as a Mewtwo EX counter, but requires much less Energy to attack. Its Ability, Versatile, allows you to use the attacks of all Pokémon in play; you just need the correct Energy for each attack. If the Defending Pokémon was just poisoned and confused by an Amoonguss of yours, Mew-EX will do 240 damage to a Mewtwo EX without an Eviolite.
Emolga, which will be a staple in nearly every deck, allows you to search your deck for two Basic Pokémon and put them on your bench for one C Energy. Since Pokémon Collector and Dual Ball will be rotated out of the format, Emolga is here to get a quick setup. Having a high count of Emolga reduces the chance that you start with Foongus, which are susceptible to a Mewtwo EX donk.
Emolga even has free retreat, so you don’t have to waste an Energy attachment to move it to the bench.
Sableye DEX is in this deck for its second attack, Junk Hunt. For one D Energy, you can dig thorugh the trash (discard) for two Item cards, and put them into your hand. Since Junk Arm is no longer with us, Sableye is the next best way to reuse Trainers, and its attack will only cost a Blend GFPD Energy.
pokemon-paradijs.comMoving on to the Supporters, and we have a combination of Professor Juniper and Bianca. N is not a good idea in this deck because you want to keep your hand full at all times. Random Receiver makes sure that you consistently draw into these Supporters when you need them.
Devolution Spray is a card that lets you return the highest-Stage Evolution card from one of your Pokémon back to your hand. Both Ninetales and Amoonguss have an ability that activates upon evolving, so Devolution Spray lets you reuse their Abilities over and over again.
Super Scoop Up lets you flip a coin and if heads, you can put one Pokémon and all cards attached to it back into your hand. This card is also used to reuse Ninetales and Amoonguss’s abilities, or it can be used to simply remove damage.
pokemon-paradijs.comSwitch is a necessary card in this deck because Amoonguss will be one of your opponent’s prime (Pokémon joke) Catcher targets. Amoonguss has a hefty two Retreat Cost, so Switch gets it out of the Active Spot so Ninetales can continue attacking without wasting energy drops.
Rescue Scarf is a Tool card that states when your Pokémon is Knocked Out, you can put it back into your hand. It is much easier to keep firing up (it never ends) Ninetales this way than to having to keep searching them out of your deck with Level Ball.
Because Ninetales only has 90 HP, it will be Knocked Out very easily, meaning you need a way to put them back in your deck to use again. This is why you use Super Rod.
Tool Scrapper is another card that will become a staple in every deck. This allows you to discard two Pokémon Tool cards that are attached to either you or your opponent’s Pokémon. The reason I think this card is specifically needed in this deck is because Ninetales’s attack will only do 120 damage per turn.
While this is powerful, many EXs won’t take too much damage when an Eviolite is attached, and Ninetales needs to Knock Out the Defending Pokémon as quickly as possible. Otherwise, it will be a constant game of searching for Ninetales in your deck.
Ninetales’s attack only costs one R Energy, so 10 Energy should be enough to keep attacking. Blend GFPD is used so you can Junk Hunt for Trainers later on in the game or use some other techs.
Here are some techs to consider using in this deck:
Elgyem NVI 55 and Beheeyem NVI
pokemon-paradijs.comElgyem NVI 55 is a good starter for any deck, but doesn’t have a free Retreat Cost, so most people will prefer to play Emolga over Elgyem. Its first attack, First Contact allows you to search your deck for two Basic Pokémon and put them on your Bench. This isn’t only a good starter, but evolves into Beheeyem NVI. Beheeyem and Elgyem are both searchable by Level Ball.
Beheeyem would be used for its first attack, Synchronoise. For one P Energy, you do 20 damage to the Defending Pokémon and 20 damage to each of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon that share the same type.
One of the problems with Amoonguss is since it doesn’t Paralyze or make the Defending Pokémon Asleep, it can still retreat to the Bench and get rid of the Status Conditions. Pokémon that spread damage like Beheeyem can help to finish off Pokémon that retreated or Switched to the Bench and set up other Pokémon for KOs.
If your opponent is constantly 1HKOing your Ninetales or Amoonguss with an EX, Sigilyph can help you recover. Sigilyph’s ability, Safeguard, prevents all effects of attacks, including damage done to Sigilyph by Pokémon-EX. This can stall your opponent while you setup Ninetales and Amoonguss on your bench, and Sigilyph is even searchable by Level Ball.
Shedinja could be good in this deck for its attack, Cursed Drop. For one P Energy, you can put three damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon in any way you like. Similar to Beheeyem, this will help finish off any Pokémon that weren’t already KO’d by Ninetales. Also, if Shedinja gets KO’d, your opponent doesn’t take any prizes. Its attack can easily be powered up by one Blend GFPD Energy and with a pathetic 60 HP, you can snatch Shedinja from your deck through Level Ball.
Simisear’s first attack, Flame Burst, does 20 damage to the Defending Pokémon and 20 damage to two of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. This attack can be used with one R Energy, snipes off Pokémon that are already damaged, and Simisear is searchable by Level Ball.
pokemon-paradijs.comMandibuzz is a card that is, searchable by the one and only, never before mentioned in this article, Level Ball! Its first attack, Blindside, does 50 damage to one of your opponent’s Pokémon that already has damage on it. This, again, can be powered up by one Blend GFPD, and is a good sniping attack.
Big Cloak is a Tool card that gives the Pokémon that it’s attached to an extra 20 HP. This card could be extremely helpful against Darkrai EX decks. Since Darkrai’s Night Spear does 90 damage (not regarding PlusPower or Dark Claw), Big Cloak can put you out of range for a 1HKO by Darkrai. Terrakion NVI will only hit for 90 damage (not regarding PlusPower) as well. When you aren’t 1HKO’d by your opponent, you can retreat to the bench and send up a new Ninetales or heal the damage off with Max Potion.
Because you never want to have anything less than a full hand, Battle City helps to keep drawing. Battle City lets each player flip a coin once per turn, and if heads you can draw a card. This can also act as a counter-Stadium to decks that use Skyarrow Bridge.
This deck is a rare case where you don’t actually need four Pokémon Catcher, since Ninetales already has Bright Look. However, if you don’t want to constantly Devolution Spray or Super Scoop Up to keep using Bright Look, you can include a few Pokémon Catcher in this deck as well.
Max Potion is a card that lets you heal all of the damage off of a Pokémon, but you must discard all of the Energy attached to that Pokémon. This isn’t a problem for Ninetales because its attack only costs one R Energy. You opponent attacks Ninetales without 1HKOing you, then Max Potion all of the damage, attach an Energy for your turn and keep roasting your opponent (just when you thought they were over).
Cheren is a decent Supporter for this deck. It allows you to draw three cards, which isn’t anything great, but in a deck where you want to keep your hand full, this card can be really helpful.
pokemon-paradijs.comThis deck is similar to the matchups of VVV. It will struggle a lot against decks with Pokémon that can 1HKO Ninetales, which include Zekrom/Eels, Darkrai variants, and Terrakion NVI, but will do well against decks that can’t.
Unlike VVV, however, this deck doesn’t have any sort of Trainer Lock or Paralysis. This means if your opponent can retreat, whether it’s through Darkrai EX or something else, this deck will struggle. Also, if your opponent runs a high amount of Switch, it will make it hard for Ninetales to finish off the Defending Pokémon.
The fact that Ninetales has a weakness to Water isn’t terrible, but it makes me think of one penguin in particular, Empoleon.
Not only does Empoleon hit Ninetales for Weakness, but it can abuse Max Potion as well. This will make 2HKOs into 3HKOs, and even more depending on if Empoleon Switches to the Bench. Empoleon will definitely rise in popularity because the format will slow down a good bit.
BulbapediaThis brings me to another deck, Garchomp/Altaria. Garchomp can attack for just one F Energy, which means it can use Max Potion very easily. Again, this makes it very difficult for Ninetales to KO anything.
This deck doesn’t have any Energy acceleration, so decks like Hammertime Darkrai EX could destroy it, if you whiff on the Energy you need to keep attacking. This isn’t uncommon for a deck that runs 10 Energy or less. Unlike Zekrom/Eels or Darkrai variants, you can’t recycle Energy through the discard pile, so you have to rely on Super Rod to get it back, which isn’t nearly as efficient.
What’s worse than a Stage 2 with 140 HP? How about an EX that has 180 HP, gives other Pokémon free retreat, and can be paired with Hydreigon DRE to move D Energy around? Darkrai EX/Hydreigon DRE is the deck that won Japan Nationals, which means the deck should become quite popular once Dragons Exalted is released.
If you try to attack with Ninetales, Hydreigon can simply move all of the Energy off of Darkrai EX, heal any damage taken by Max Potion, and continue attacking. What’s even worse is that Darkrai EX can abuse Eviolite and give free Retreat to anything it attaches a D Energy to. If you are against a Hydreigon/Darkrai deck and are using Ninetales/Amoonguss, just tell your opponent you’re going over to sit in a corner and cry until time is called.
Despite all of the negative remarks I just made about this deck, Ninetales DRE/Amoonguss NXD is still a hot deck that is very cheap to make. I think this deck will see a good bit of play, so it’s good to know how this deck functions, but I don’t believe this will become the BDIF anytime soon. Just remember, you can’t tech Espeon DEX into the deck this time because Espeon prevents Status Conditions from attacks, not Abilities.
Good luck to everyone going to Worlds, the rest of us are just preparing for the new format and are only slightly jealous.
Thanks for reading the article and please comment if you liked that I was sticking to my puns (I never thought they would become this bad), and any other suggestions you have so I can improve future articles.