The Hawk’s Nest: Eelektrik BLW-on

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 toward 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.)

The Motor

Eelektrik NVI

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 L 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 1HKO 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.

The Attackers

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 BLW/NXD

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 2 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 metagame 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.


The Thundercat EX received a ton of hype pre-DEX. Then, its hype died down and most people opted not to play Raikou-EX. However, in the next format I suspect Raikou-EX might have an added importance.

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 EPO

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 EPO

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.

Tornadus EX

This is a 180 HP EX that has two useful attacks. Each of the attacks are fulfilled with C energy, and may be powered by Eelektrik.

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 1HKO’d by Zekrom (making it a dead card) and even 2HKO’d by Thundurus (or 1HKO 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.

Mewtwo EX

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.

Eelektross DEX

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 NVI

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 1HKOd by Darkrai EX, while 2HKOing Darkrai EX and potentially paralyzing the Defending Pokémon.

Rayquaza EX

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 1HKO 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.

Registeel EX

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.

Early Pressure

Pokémon – 14

4 Tynamo
3 Eelektrik NVI
2 Zekrom BLW
2 Mewtwo-EX NXD
2 Thundurus EPO
1 Tornadus EPO

Trainers – 31

4 Professor Juniper

4 N
4 Cheren


4 Pokémon Catcher
3 Level Ball
3 Ultra Ball
4 Switch
3 Eviolite


2 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 12

8 L

4 Double Colorless

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.

Ultra Ball/ Level Ball

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 L 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.

More Balanced

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 NXD
2 Thundurus EPO

Trainers – 34

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
4 Cheren


4 Pokémon Catcher
3 Eviolite
4 Switch
3 Level Ball
3 Ultra Ball
2 Super Rod


3 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 11

11 L

pokemon-paradijs.comAfter 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 Spot. 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.

Top End Power

Pokémon – 15

4 Tynamo
3 Eelektrik NVI
2 Rayquaza EX
1 Mewtwo-EX NXD
2 Zekrom BLW
1 Thundurus EPO
1 Emogla DRE

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
4 Cheren


4 Pokémon Catcher
3 Level Ball
3 Ultra Ball
4 Switch
2 Energy Search
1 Super Rod
3 Eviolite


3 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 11

7 L
4 R

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 R Energy and two Energy Search. That gives us six outs to getting a R 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 L Energy to continue taking KOs.

Which way is better?

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

4 Tynamo
4 Eelektrik NVI
2 Zekrom BLW
2 Mewtwo-EX NXD
1 Raikou-EX
1 Zekrom-EX
2 Thundurus EPO

Trainers – 32

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
4 Cheren


4 Pokémon Catcher
3 Ultra Ball
3 Level Ball
4 Switch
3 Eviolite
1 Super Rod


2 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 12

8 L

4 Double Colorless

The Positives

1. It has four very strong early game attackers in Thundurus and Mewtwo EX that can immediately threaten the board.

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.

Left to be Desired

These are the thing I would like to work into my list in testing.

1. Tornadus EPO/Toranadus EX

pokemon-paradijs.comAgain, 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.

2. PlusPower

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.

3. Emogla

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.


Reader Interactions

34 replies

  1. Jen Badamo

    These articles aren’t too early. I’ve been testing BLW-on since Nationals trying to get used to the format before the next set drops. I’ve only been playing competitively for a year so I feel like I have to re-learn how I play. Keep the articles coming!

  2. Jason Shook

    I also agree that now is not to early for these articles, normally maybe but I think this rotation is going to bring a very big change in the meta game, so early analyses can be very helpful to many of us trying to get acclimated.

    One opinion I have to add on the Riakou version, I disagree with you about the importance of streaming Raikou’s attack’s every turn, the snipe helps to disrupt opponents set up but with so many basic drops needing to be two hit I dont think you can afford to let up on the pressure. Also a note on Tornadus EX I agree he is somewhat less necessarily if Fighting becomes less prevalent (A big if) but his one retreat cost really lets him fit right into the streeming of attacks and with Tool scraper he 2HKO’s everything again, so I think he is still a good play. But this is the fun part now to test and see if I am right.

    • airhawk06  → Jason

      I think I did not communicate the point well. At maximum you can only stream Raikou EX for four turns in a row (limited to four Switch). That is assuming you can hit a Switch for four consecutive turns. That will almost never happen. Therefore, you need to think in terms of Snipe, attack w/ Zekrom (or whatever), Snipe, attack w/ something else. You simply are not going to be able to stream snipes all game, and failing to stream snipes does not equal letting up the pressure.

      • Jason Shook  → airhawk06

        Ah I see your point. I guess I run It differently, I always work to get two Raikou (is this the correct plural?) in play, then I dont need switch at all, this is why I run 3(or maybe 4) instead of 2 and also why I like Tornadus EX, I think. With SAB I can retreat into a freshly powered attacker every turn.
        One other thing, I noticed you arnt running Max potion in your build, I think Klingklang proved how powerful that card can be and Raikou runs it extremely well. But then my version dosent have space for the early pressure of Thunderous, so fun things to test in the next couple of months.

        • airhawk06  → Jason

          I completely see where you are coming from. I would rather alternate between an EX attack and a non-EX attacker to keep pressure on. So, Raikou EX and Zekrom.

          About Max Potion, the goal with these early builds is to get the deck as consistent as possible. That means high counts of Switch and SAB with low counts of cards such as Max Potion and PlusPower. In the furture there is a large possibility of adding Max Potion.

  3. Oliver Barnett

    In my opinion these articles are fine, (not to mention a consistent high quality) since people will be looking back on these from now until Battle Roads to get an idea of what is good tbh.

    I personally wouldn’t mind seeing your take on Empoleon just to see what you would put in that deck

  4. Benjamin Bolival

    OMG your lists are similar to…just joking =p

    I encourage you to write more BW-on articles whether they be Empoleon variants, Gothitelle variants or Darkrai variants.

    Now on to the article…

    Btw do you still think eviolite is relevant with the advent of tool scrapper? Wouldn’t it better to use other cards like Max Potion or Random Receiver in place of eviolite in BW-on Eel variants?

    Lastly isnt 3 skyarrow bridges too much? I am sure with the amount of draw supporters you have you’ll have no problem drawing out a bridge even if you only have 2.

    Btw your pokemon count in your Top End Power list is 14 not 15.

    • airhawk06  → Benjamin

      Those are some great questions!

      Eviolite: I do think Eviolite is still extremely crucial to Zeels that feature Zekrom for a few reasons. First, most lists I’ve seen tossed around with Tool Scrapper only play 1-2. That means if you have 3-4 Eviolite you will out last the “tool war.” Additionally, the ability to draw into a card, which you only play 1 or 2 copies, tends to be fairly low in this game. So, I think the threat of Tool Scrapper is slightly less than most people think. Second, Eviolite is crucial to reducing the recoil on Zekrom. You still get to control that. You can play Eviolite down on your turn and then Bolt Strike and be left at 110 hp and 110 hp is a HUGE difference from 90 hp.

      SAB: First, these lists are meant to be “introductory to the format lists.” When you are coming into a new format, you want to build the most consistent list possible. That means high counts of cards like Switch and SAB to make sure you can do what you want when you want. Secondarily, I’m whiffing draw supporters with 12 in the deck. So, having higher numbers of desired cards make it more likely that I get what I want.

        • airhawk06  → theo

          I don’t think Garbordor is actually that good. It is a Stage 1, meaning it optimally gets out turn two, but will most likely get out turn 3/4. It only has 100 (120 with the Cloak). That is relatively easy for things to Catcher + OHKO. The list of bad things kinda go on and on for Garbodor.

          If it gets popular, then Tool Scrapper is nice.

        • theo Seeds  → airhawk06

          But imagine not being able to use Dynamotor/Dragon Call/Dark Trance/Phoenix/Battle Song/Sporprise/Bright Look…

          Shuts off about 2/3 of the meta if not more.

          It’s a Stage One, so playing 3-3 means you should get one T2 and you can get a second out on T3-4 to avoid catcher issues.

          I know 3-3 seems a wee bit thick, but Vileplume was 3-1-2 or 3-0-2 with 4 Candy in everything Vileplume.

        • airhawk06  → theo

          I imagine we might end up agreeing to disagree on Garbador, but I just do not think it will see wide spread play because it is simply not good.

          There are no natural attackers to pair with Garbodor. If you try to jam 6 cards into established decks it will mess them up.

          Garbodor is also not a good attacker on its own. Because the cost is PPC and not PCC, you will have to take three turns to power it up. Mean while I can manually power up Darkrai, Registeel, Zekrom, Thundurus, Tornadus, Tornadus EX, etc. in the same amount of time and then just manually lay the beat down on Garbodor.

          It’s a really neat ability, but I fear the body it got attached to is just not worth it. I would much rather have it on a 140 hp Stage 2 with some PPC (or PCC) for 80/90 damage attack than on the Stage 1 body is has.

  5. Chuck Rancor

    I really like this article just because I’m trying to figure out what hope Zekeel has. Also I never recognized the variety this deck can have :o

  6. Mario Solis

    Yeah agreed, these articles aren’t early, we all have nothing to do for this following format! If you can do a Gothitelle, Gardevoir, and Reuniclus BW-on deck, that’d be awesome! I already made mine, so if you want a skeleton list for it I’d be more than happy to give it to you.

  7. Joe Navratil

    Fantastic article. I’ve been testing BW-on since BRs ended (no Nats or Worlds for me), and I have several Eels decks that I’ve been working on — so this article is really well timed, IMO. I’ve been struggling to find an answer for Hydreigon (Raikou EX tears up Altarias, so Garchomp isn’t much of a threat) and I’m afraid that Zekrom EX might be the way to go for that matchup… or sticking to Zekrom and running about twelve PPs. Oh wait.

    I’ve also been struggling with Supporter/RR counts (and a related inability to draw into anything that isn’t a 4-of); at League last weekend, a friend suggested that a high supporter count without RR was the way to go, and you seem to be advocating the same thing. Definitely some food for thought. Thanks!

    • airhawk06  → Joe

      Yeah, from what I understand Zeels, Darkrai/Hydro, and Garchomp/Altaria are three of the biggest decks in Japan. However, in Japan Zeels has Rayquaza to deal with Dragon Type basics before they set up. Without Rayquaza, I think Zekrom EX is the best way to deal with the high hp Dragon Types.

    • Benjamin Bolival  → Joe

      The Nagoya winner had Zekrom EX in his/her list. So yes Zekrom EX is a legitimate way for such match-ups. It had no Rayquazas in the list. But the Osaka winner used Rayquaza EX in his/her list. As for supporter counts, the Nagoya list had 12 Supporters + 2 RR whereas the Osaka list had 14 Supporters.

  8. Colin Moll

    Our lists are actually pretty similar. I too agree that Thundurus will have a very important role in future Eel variants. It will be the replacement for Smeargle as the optimal starting Pokemon!

    Well done! I think your article is perfectly timed. I don’t even think many Worlds competitors want more information on our current format :P

  9. Grant Manley

    Well done! As for the question at the beginning, it is a little too early IMO. You forgot to mention Emolga donks Swablu which helps against “Fluffychomp Lv. X”. In early pressure Zeels I think you should have 4 Thundurus.
    Anyway +1

  10. theo Seeds

    I’m glad these articles are coming, I was testing BW-on long before Nats.

    The lists look good, and the articles were good. Most Zekeels players don’t like most Zekeels lists they see other than their own (same with most decks), but these look legit. Awesome. +1.

  11. Twan van Vugt

    Really good article and I don’t mind about the timing at all. Since only the people who go to worlds will play with HG-SS on means that the rest of the playerbase needs to wait for the BW-on season to start. The litst looks good and my current Eels build comes close to it. I am thinking of cutting the Switch line and remove 1 Eel for some other cards, which I still have to think about. 3 Eviolite seems the play though since we don’t have Junk Arm anymore and Zekrom is still powerfull.

    Raikou EX will get more popular, for the sniping of course. What could be devastating is dragging up a high retreat up with cather and then proceeding to snipe the bench with Raikou. I will definitely try to get a copy of that ;)

    I do have a question though: Where or how do you test BW-on? I can’t seem to find a good website to test.

    Again, good article and definitely write more of them. I would like to see Empoleon and Darkrai/Hydreigon myself. +1!

    • airhawk06  → Twan

      I test two ways. First, on PlayTCG. I just come up with a list of cards to use as proxies and then only play prearranged games where my opponent has agreed to play with the proxies. Second, I play with proxied cards in real life. I write on extra energy what each card is supposed to be. Grass is used for Trainers and Psychic for Pokemon.

  12. James Poole

    Emolga has 2 uses in Eel Decks: 1) call for family to bench 2 basics AND 2) free retreater you can move to the active spot while you dynamotor to a more desirable attacker.

    • airhawk06  → James

      Great points. However, after testing I really believe a turn one Charge with Thundurus is the optimal play again. So, I see less value in Call for Family. Also, with high SAB counts and plenty of single retreat cost basics getting in and out of the active spot is not difficult.

  13. Matt

    Great job, and your articles are not too early. Most of us not going to worlds are testing/working-on the BW-on format. I think both your lists and concepts are well thought out and communicated clearly. Your effort is appreciated.

  14. Chris DiNome

    I don’t think that it’s too early either. And thanks, I’ve been working on a Raikou EX deck, and this really helped! Thanks a bunch!

  15. Chris DiNome

    I don’t think it’s too early either. And thanks, I’ve been working on a Raikou EX deck, and this really helped! Thanks a bunch!

  16. Aaron Minjoot

    Thoroughly enjoyed this article, and our working lists seem very similar, only just 2-4 cards off. Some thoughts:

    Cheren vs Bianca will be the mainstay Supporter dilemma, I’m sure. In testing I’m leaning towards Bianca right now as it serves as a much better hand refill compared to Cheren, but lacks the depth Cheren gives when finding pieces of a combo. Maybe a split of both?

    On streaming Raikou EX: I think its possible, to stream at least two to three turns of Volt Bolt, provided two Raikou EX are in play and attached with DCEs to reduce the discard to just two Lightnings (with SAB in play). I have yet to try this out though, just ended my first week of BW-on testing.

    I somehow still feel Tornadus EX deserves a look. Going aggro Mewtwo EX on Fighting types doesn’t really do much other than to open up the Mewtwo wars that you’d rather not do (although I’m not sure how Fighting decks will respond easily with Mewtwos anyway now). The EX-2-prize-rule may swing me back to regular Tornadus EPO though.

    I’m not so convinced about Emolga. I tried having three in the deck initially and it became deadweight later on, even after a T1 CFF. It takes up valuable bench space and gets one Energy stuck on it after attacking. It may prove useful somehow, but for now I’m with you regarding the T1 Charge being the most valuable opening for a Zekrom/Eels build.


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