Before we get started, I would like to ask for some feedback. Are these articles too early? You see, I feel they are very early. However, the vast majority of us are not going to Worlds and have nothing better (Pokémon related that is) to do than to look onto the next format.
Also, what decks would you like to see? I am currently looking at Empoleon, Gothitelle variants, Darkrai/Hydreigon, other Darkrai variants, Mew box, Troll, etc. Are those decks people are interested in?
Just as a brief recap, Eels was really good for a long time last format. It really performed well during Cities, even better during States, and dominated Spring Regionals. Then Dark Explorers hit the scene and Zeels took a back seat to Darkrai during Spring Battle Roads. Then towards the end of the Nationals season, Zeels started making a comeback and took second to Klinklang EX at US Nationals.
So, is it any good in the next format? Again, just as in the other articles of this series, I cannot give an answer with 100% certainty. However, I do think Eelektrik is going to stick around.
Let’s look at the engine of the deck. (Experienced players please bear with me here. New players are constantly picking up this game and I want these articles to be useful for them.)
This 90 HP Stage 1 premiered in Noble Victories and has been a mainstay since. What makes it so good? The key to the card is its Ability Dynamotor. Dynamotor allows you to attach a Lightning Energy to a benched Pokémon from your discard pile. A fundamental rule of Pokémon is that you are allowed to attach only one Energy from your hand per turn. Therefore, when a deck can bend (or break) that fundamental rule, there is an inherent advantage that may be leveraged.
Now, the fact that Pokémon put an acceleration Ability on an easily searchable Stage 1 is absurd. Add in that Eelektrik is an uncommon, and you have a powerful and easily available powerhouse. That means it will win because it is good and it is widly played.
Because Eelektrik is a Stage 1, you must play its basic form. Currently, there are four different Tynamo’s to test out. Tynamo NVI 39 has free retreat, but is almost automatically eliminated because it only has 30 HP. That means Darkrai EX, Kyurem, Registeel EX (presumed), etc. can OHKO Tynamo on the bench before evolving.
All the other Tynamos have 40 HP, and are the true consideration set. Immediately, you look to the attacks to try and differentiate between these versions because they all have the same Retreat, Weakness, Resistance, and HP. This leads to an exclusion of Tynamo DEX 44 because Charge Beam is inferior to the other two options. Ultimately, getting an Energy back from discard on a coin flip is not needed because Eelektrik is in the deck.
Thus, between Tyanmo DEX 45 and NVI 38 we have a virtual dead heat. Tynamo DEX 45 has Spark which allows you to spread 10 damage to your opponent’s bench, possibly setting up future knock outs, and Tynamo NVI 38 give you the chance to Paralzye. Both are good options, thus a split is likely. Although, going mono-either is not a terrible idea.
Now that we have the main stays of the deck out of the way, what about the attackers? This is another reason why Eelektrik shines, it has a ton of diverse attackers to utilize.
Zekrom is one of the two original “big basics” to really push the game into a new era (Reshiram BLW being the other). Zekrom is a 130 HP basic Pokémon with two attacks, CC retreat, and a Fighting Weakness.
It’s first attack, Outrage, was very potent in the past and can still be useful. For CC, Zekrom deals 20 damage + 10 more damage for each damage counter on Zekrom. That means Zekrom can max out at 140 damage pre-PlusPower. This is more than enough damage to 2HKO any EX, even with Eviolite in play.
Yet, Bolt Strike is the bread and butter of Zekrom. Bolt Strike deals an absurd (still) 120 damage for LLC. The drawback is that Zekrom does 40 damage to itself. If there were no way to counteract that 40 damage, Zekrom would not be a great option now because Mewtwo EX could simply use a DCE X Ball to get the return KO and Zekrom could be KO’d by a Night Spear.
However, Eviolite pairs extremely well with Zekrom. Because the recoil is damage (not placing damage counters), Eviolite reduces the 40 damage down to 20. That leaves Zekrom with 110 HP, and the opponent needs to deal 130 to KO Zekrom due to Eviolite. Therefore, Zekrom is a valid choice for an attacker in Eelektrik Decks.
Moving onto Zekrom’s big brother, Zekrom EX weighs in at a whopping 180 HP. It is an EX, so when Zekrom EX is KO’d your opponent gets to take two Prizes. To warrant inclusion, Zekrom EX it needs to do something other cards cannot. To be honest, I am torn on whether or not Zekrom EX is going to be worth it. I honestly believe Zekrom EX will be a meta game call in the next format.
For LCC, Glinting Claw deals 50 damage and 30 more if you hit heads on a coin flip. That is a decent attack (and may be powered up on turn two with DCE), but considering Zekrom does 120 for LLC, Glinting Claw is nothing special.
For LLCC, Strong Volt does 150 damage and you must discard two Energy. The nice thing about Zekrom EX’s second attack is that a single DCE satisfies the discard requirement. Well, 150 is a lot of damage, but is that enough to warrant inclusion.
There are going to be some likely uses for Zekrom EX. Garchomp, Hydregion, Mew EX, Mewtwo EX, and Ho-Oh are all likely targets for Zekrom EX. Conversly, Zekrom EX is particularly susceptible to Terrkaion. If the first set of cards see a lot of play and Terrakion does not, Zekrom EX may be a fine choice. If the inverse is true, Zekrom EX is a huge risk.
Previously, players had access to virtually eight Catchers per game. Thus, Zekrom + Catcher tended to be the preferred play over using Volt Bolt to snipe for 100. However, with Junk Arm rotating and a limited number of Catchers per game, a 100 damage snipe gains appeal. There will be many times where you whiff on Catcher and can use Volt Bolt to take a crucial prize in the mid to late game. It allows Eelektrik to threaten every card in play.
Just as Zekrom EX is highly susceptible to Terrakion, so is Raikou EX. However, Zekrom EX merely added a touch of power to Zekrom. Conversely, Raikou EX brings a completely different attribute to the equation. I would be surprised if Raikou EX does not make a comeback in the BLW-on format.
Thundurus is a 110 HP Basic that has seen its fair share of ups and downs. For C, Thundurus may use Charge to retrieve a L energy from your deck and attack it to Thundurus. Then for LLC, Thundurus can use Disaster Volt for 80 damage and an energy discard. Obviously, Thundurus is a self-accelerating attacker that may be almost guaranteed to attack on turn two. The question is: is attacking for 80 on turn two worth it?
The answer, as it has been for the last season, will be format based. However, I believe there will be a solid role for Thundurus. If Hydregion, Empoleon, Garchomp, Altaria, Sableye, Emogla, Gothitelle, Gardevoir, Accelgor, etc. are going to see play, there will be plenty of 80 HP or less targets on turn two.
Tornadus, another of the three Genies, also has 110 HP. However, this Pokémon is Colorless, resistant to Fighting types, and weak to Lightning types. That puts Tornadus EPO into an awkward position.
In the mirror match up, Tornadus EPO is vulnerable to a plethora of attackers. However, with most of Eelektrik’s attackers weak to Fighting, Tornadus EPO is a solid Fighting Counter because it swings for a decent amount of damage and it resistant to Fighting.
Furthermore, if your list runs a heavy amount of DCE, Tornadus will likely be able to attack for 80 damage on turn two. As with Thundurus, there will likely be viable prize targets on turn two for Tornadus to attack.
For CC, Blow Through does 30 damage and 30 more if there is a stadium in play. For CCC, Power Blast does 100 damage and if tails, you must discard an Energy card. In Eelektrik decks, discarding Energy is not a large concern.
However, similar to Tornadus EPO, Tornadus EX is in a precarious position. In the mirror, it can easily be OHKO’d by Zekrom (making it a dead card) and even 2HKO’d by Thundurus (or OHKO with PlusPower). Against Fighting Types, Tornadus EX is poised to be an even better counter than Tornadus EPO.
As a matter of personal opinion, the more I play with Tornadus EX, the less I like it. Originally, I was a huge supporter of this card. However, it just seems underwhelming the more I play it. It doesn’t really stand up very long against one of the better decks (Eelektrik). Its damage output is not spectacular with Eviolite running around. Zekrom can 2HKO any EX despite Eviolite. Torndus EX 3HKOs most EXs with Eviolite.
Ah, here is the blessing or bane of the past year, depending on which side of the coin you belong to. Either way, Mewtwo EX is a premier attacker (perhaps still the best attacker?) and will be until it is rotated.
Mewtwo EX is a beast with 170 HP, psychic weakness, and a CC retreat cost. Mewtwo is also blessed with one of the strongest attacks in the game, X Ball. This attack does 20 damage times the number of Energy attached to Mewtwo EX and the defending Pokémon.
This means the best Mewtwo EX counter is Mewtwo EX. That means Mewtwo EX wars often decided the outcome of many games. Also, because most Pokémon have large Energy requirements, Mewtwo EX is very good at doing large amounts of damage.
Furthermore, Mewtwo EX is very good at applying early game pressure with DCE + X Ball on set up decks. Plain and simple, decks without Mewtwo EX are often unequipped to handle decks with Mewtwo EX.
This is the Stage 2 of the Eelektrik line. Often times, the desire is to have Eelektrik on the field to get Energy back from the discard pile. However, this is an easy card to tech into Eelektrik decks to bring up bench sitters, while preserving Catchers. Under the Vileplume days, this was a useful tech. Without Vileplume, I doubt this will be that effective.
Terrakion was officially the FotM (Flavor of the Month) leading up to US Nationals. Terrakion is a 130 HP Fighting type with two attacks. The first attack, Retaliate, does 30 damage for FC and an additional 60 (for 90 damage total) if your opponent took a KO on his previous turn. Thus, Terrakion effectively deals 90 damage for FC. Additionally, for FFC Land Crush deals 90 straight damage.
Why would a Fighting type see play in a Lightning deck? Well, Darkrai has 180 HP and most Eelektrik’s attackers are weak to Fighting. Thus, a strong Fighting Pokémon was in a great position to succeed. Terrakion can work in Eelektrik decks because you can play down Terrakion, Dynamotor a Lightning energy onto Terrakion, and play a Fighting energy from your hand all in one turn.
However, at US Nationals three of the final four Eelektrik decks did not use Terrakion. Terrakion messes with the consistency and flexibility of Eelektrik decks, and US Nats showed you might not need Terrakion to make Eelektrik viable.
By this point in time, we are getting two some more farfetched possibilities. Obviously, Gigas EX was not a featured attacker in the previous format. However, I do feel the removal of Junk Arm may allow Gigas to be slightly more effective.
This colossus has a whopping 180 HP, a Fighting Weakness, two attacks, and a CCCC retreat cost. The first attack does 60 for CCC, and if you want to deal 20 recoil damage, Giga Power does 80 damage to the Defending Pokémon. If you run Eviolite, you can do 80 and take 0 recoil. The second attack deals 50 base damage for CCCC. However, Raging Hammer also does 10 more damage for each damage counter on Regigigas EX.
Historically, your opponent could simply Catcher around Gigas EX. With decks limited to only four Catchers, the ability to “avoid” Regigigas EX has diminished. That means more people will be forced to attack into this card. And that causes problems for your opponent.
Stunfisk NVI 68
This poor bottom dweller has often been a joke. People say things like, “what about Stunfisk… hahaha.” Anyway, I do not think that has changed much. However, having only 90 HP makes Stunfisk more easily searchable. With an Eviolite it does not get OHKOd by Darkrai EX, while 2HKOing Darkrai EX and potentially paralyzing the Defending Pokémon.
Ah, somehow this card is already up to $27 pre-order on Troll and Toad. I guess that is better than the $60+ Mewtwo EX and Darkrai EX reached, but we are getting this in a (likely) $15 tin. How these things continue to rise is just silly. I actually do not blame T&T one bit though. By now, I blame players who continue to out and pre-order these cards, knowing full well how T&T’s automated pricing formulas work.
Anyway, many people continue to hype the daylights out of Ray-Ray EX. I know that, essentially, for LLLR this can OHKO any Pokémon in the format with Dragon Burst. I also get that Eelektrik is the easiest way to get a lot of energy onto Rayquaza EX. However, we will have to see if Rayquaza EX is a needed card or a “win more” card, as I think it is.
So far, I have not found many decks where Zeels needed Rayquaza EX to win. It is a nice threat to have, but seems to be a luxury.
Bascially, this Rayquaza serves as an anti-Garchomp counter. For L, you get to deal 40 damage with a Dragon type. That will be enough to take several prizes early in the game against Garchomp decks. Since, we may not even get Rayquaza, I am not going to speak more on this.
I will likely try to fit Registeel EX into any deck I think it could work in during my early testing. It has 180 HP and a very favorable weakness. For CCC, you get to deal 30 damage to 3 different Pokémon. I think with Eelektrik powering up Registeel, you may be able to utilize this 30 spread to set up Pokémon for further KOs.
For example, against a deck like Darkrai/Hydregion you can spread 30 damage to Hydregion and then Bolt Strike for a KO on the next turn. Yes, they may Max Potion that damage off, but you still have 30 on two other Pokémon they will likely not be able to heal.
So, let’s look at the different takes on some Eelektrik lists.
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 31
Energy – 12
Open Slots – 3
This is a consistent version of Eelektrik that is predicated on applying early pressure through Thundurus, Mewtwo EX, or Tornadus. With five copies of those three attackers, 2 SAB, and 4 Switch it should be relatively consistent in getting 60-80 damage on the field by turn two.
Overall, this list consists of 57 cards, leaving three spots open for your teching pleasure. Let’s look though the Trainer lines.
Obviously, N is one of the more powerful Supporters in the game and decks that can run N to its full potential, while mitigating its drawbacks, should. Here, Eels can use N for early game draw and late game to its benefit. Also, because you can run the game off the board with Dynamotor, a late game N does not hamper Eelektrik nearly as much as other decks.
Personally, I think people will lose themselves a ton of games with Juniper. Its risk factor will rise with the rotation while its reward factor remains roughly the same. The problem is that the resources discarded are not exponentially more difficult to recover because Junk Arm is gone. However, in Eelektrik decks Juniper is more bearable because you need to discard the Energy to use with Dynamotor.
Cheren is a vanilla draw three card with no drawbacks. Obviously, this slot can be filled with Bianca also. However, when I start testing decks I tend to go with the most conservative option possible and that is undoubtedly Cheren. Moving into future testing I will likely replace these cards with Bianca and give that a go. So, please don’t crucify me for having Cheren over Bianca in here. It might change soon enough.
Level Ball is obviously very good at getting your Eelektriks into play quickly as they can search for Tynamo or Eelektrik with zero drawbacks. Ultra Ball is also very good in this deck to search for the rest of your Pokémon. Again, Ultra Ball offers a way for you to discard Lightning Energy
I do not anticipate Switch staying at this high of a count, but when you begin testing any deck you want to run the most consistent list possible. Basically, focus on doing what you do as consistently as possible. Then move onto tweaking your deck to attack specific opposing decks. Therefore, because Dynamotor requires your Pokémon to be on the bench, you need ways to get them to the bench. Switch is the easiest way to make that happen.
The inclusion of SAB is one of my biggest questions in that list. SAB was obviously very good with Smeargle in the format to be able to use Portrait aggressively. However, now SAB only gives Tynamo, Thundurus, and Tornadus free retreat. However, the difference between CC and C retreat costs is actually HUGE. So, moving Mewtwo EX and Zekrom down to C retreat cost can play a huge role in games.
From that starting list, I wanted to move to a list that includes one of my favorite cards Raikou “Thundercat” EX. I feel Thundercat EX will be a very valuable card in the coming format because Eel decks will be limited in how much it can use Catcher. So, let’s look at a list:
|Pokémon – 154 Tynamo|
3 Eelektrik NVI
2 Raikou EX
2 Zekrom BLW
2 Mewtwo EX
2 Thundurus EPO
Trainers – 34
Energy – 11
Pokemon ParadijsAfter testing the first list I really liked the early game pressure of Thundurus. There are (presumably) a vast amount of turn 2 targets for Thundurus to attack. That means I kept a solid count of the Lightning Genie.
The other notable difference are the exclusion of DCE. This deck focuses less on quick pressure with colorless attackers and more on pumping out the powerful Lightning type attacks. Thus, to save some space DCE was cut and the Lightning count was increased.
Skyarrow Bridge: The real key to using Raikou EX successfully is the ability to get Raikou EX out of the active position. With C retreat costs, SAB is the optimal solution to the problem.
Now, over all the strategy deserves some notice. The real key to utilizing Raikou EX in the BLW-on format is to give up on “streaming” Raikou EX. In the past people have talked about the ability to snipe for 100 nearly every turn. However, with only 4 Switch this is not a feasible option.
Thus, the real ideal is to hit for 80-120 damage with Thunudurus/Zekrom and then finish off the wounded Pokémon with Raikou. The point is to be able to threaten the entire board at any given time, despite only having access to four Catchers.
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 35
Energy – 11
Obviously, this list focuses more on getting Rayquaza into play.
One thing we should have learned by now is the superiority of Basic Energy over Special Energy when it is possible to utilize. This leads to the four Fire Energy and two Energy Search. That gives us six outs to getting a Fire Energy on Rayquaza when it is needed.
Also, notice the Mewtwo EX count. With a high Rayquaza EX count, Mewtwo EX becomes less needed as a big time hitter. One is kept just to provide another option to counter opposing Mewtwo EXs. However, this version of the deck does not want to get into M2EX wars.
This line of play also needs a high Switch/SAB count to get Rayquaza EX back to the bench and reloaded with Lightning Energy to continue taking KOs.
So, which type of Eelektrik deck is the best to continue working with? Well, ultimately I feel this cannot be answered with 100% certainty until the new format is developed. However, here is my current working list.
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 32
Energy – 12
2. I am currently at a 1/1 Raikou EX and Zekrom EX split. Raikou EX is obviously to put pressure on any Pokémon on the field in the mid to late game. Zekrom EX is my current answer to Hydregion and Garchomp. Yes, I know Zekrom EX can be a liability with Terrakion in play, but it is only one Basic out of 11 Basics. The odds that I get pigeon holed into playing it down are relatively low.
That means I can take out one half of the Darkrai/Hydro deck. Most people are focusing on taking out Darkrai EX, but taking out Hydregion works just as well. Also, remember that you can stream Zekrom EX attacks by discarding a DCE and then playing another one down the very next turn.
3. The high Switch + SAB count allows me to get Thundurus into the active spot early in the game on a consistent basis. This allows Eelektrik to put a lot of pressure on the set evolution decks.
4. Zekrom is still really good and so is Mewtwo EX. If your opponent fails to respond to one or the other, the game can quickly get out of hand.
These are the thing I would like to work into my list in testing.
1. Tornadus EPO/Toranadus EX
Pokemon ParadijsAgain, the more i play with Tornadus EX, the less I actually like it. However, the deck could still use a “hard” Fighting counter. As the deck stands, you have to rely on Mewtwo EX to combat Fighting types.
I really miss PlusPower, but I’m not too sure how viable it will be without Junk Arm. You need access to PP almost on demand. Without Junk Arm, that means you need to play 3 or 4 PlusPower. However, that is a lot of space to devote to a “plus” card.
I will be working on getting Emogla into the list. It is really good on turn one, but not so good later in the game. Again, that means you need to find a way to consistently get Emogla into play and active and with an Energy on turn one. Perhaps it is simply easier to focus on getting the turn one Charge off.
I hope this (very long winded) article on Eelektrik was useful for some people. I really tried to remember new players for the first half of this article. If you are an experienced player, I hope something in the later half was useful.