BulbapediaI want to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my Pokémon TCG journey, I would not be the same caliber player I am today if it wasn’t for the help of every single member from Team Missingno, including Candace Hyatt, Johnathan Everette, Erik Nance, Kevin Nance, Paige Nance, Guy Bennett, Ryan Turner, Matt Mitchel, and Phillip Matthews. There are so many other people that have helped me in some way that I feel like I could go on for hours listing them and still likely forget some names.
I would like to introduce myself for those of you that missed my first article talking about my 34-5 Battle Roads record. I have now played two full Pokémon seasons with this being the first season that I have received an invitation to compete in the World Championships. I do not yet have the amount of experience that the other Underground writers have, but I am very proud of the tournament results that I have achieved so far.
My accomplishments include:
- 8× 1st Battle Roads
- 1× 2nd Battle Roads, 1× 3rd Battle Roads
- 3× 1st City Championships
- 1× 2nd Cities, 6× 3rd/4th Cities, 3× Top 8 Cities
- 4th 2012 States
- 16th 2010 Regionals
- 3rd 2011 Regionals
- 8th 2012 Regionals
- 4th 2012 Regionals
- Top 64 2012 US Nationals
- 14th place NA Masters 2011-2012 season with 56 Championship Points and 1911.00 Elo
In my first Underground article I will be talking about a variety of different topics starting with a very brief summary of my Nationals experience, tips on how to survive the Last Chance Qualifier, and reveal a few of my top choices for Worlds.
After discussing everything that pertains to Worlds I would like to dedicate the remainder of this article to get readers prepared for the upcoming 2012-2013 season. Included in this portion of the article will be everything from what you need to consider when approaching tournaments with no top cut to discussions about BLW-on decklists.
My Nationals Experience
pokemon-paradijs.comTwo days before Nationals the Nance brothers told me that they were unsure of what deck to play however when I arrived and started play testing with them they started to really like the Mewtwo EX/Raikou-EX/Eelektrik NVI deck that I was going to play. Although I was already confident with the deck, I would be lying if I said that having players as phenomenal as Erik and Kevin Nance feel the same way did not boost my confidence even more.
All of the Team Missingno members that attended Nationals this year piloted this deck with the exception of Guy Bennet. We also all reached the top cut with a 7-2 record or better. Kevin got 2nd, Ashon got 5th, Erik made it to the Top 32, I made it to Top 64, and Phillip made it into the Top 128. Guy also made it to the Top 64 with an Accelgor DEX/Sunflora HS/Vespiqueen UD/Vileplume UD deck.
Throughout Nationals I was lucky enough to meet so many great new people such as SixPrizes’ own Jay Hornung. Jay is an incredible player and an even better person. Jay took down both me and Ashon before Kevin finally ended his run in top four.
Overall I have very few complaints about my Nationals experience; it turned out to be an incredibly enjoyable weekend that I would not trade for anything.
Surviving the Last Chance Qualifier
Picture this for a moment, you are in beautiful Hawaii to get one last chance of claiming one of the few coveted Worlds invites. You enter with a deck that you and your friends have discovered that is seemingly unbeatable by any deck that the current metagame can throw at you. You have managed to win round after round of the grinder with ease as no one yet has had what it takes to stop your rogue deck.
Now you are so close to a Worlds invite that you can almost taste the satisfaction that comes along with it; only one final match stands between you and the big tournament you have always dreamed of. You check the pairings to see that your last opponent is none other than a famous Japanese player you have heard so many stories about.
After two intense games time has been called in a grueling game three when you are both tied in Prizes. On your last turn before sudden death you miraculously pull off the win with an incredible play that your opponent never saw coming.
Chances are that to any Pokémon player that is serious about the game, this would be a dream come true. After all, making it through what is arguably the most brutal, unforgiving tournament of the year is a prestigious achievement regardless of how you finish in the actual tournament taking place the following day.
Of course the reality to this dream is that very few of us are lucky enough to attend the Last Chance Qualifier especially when it is held in Hawaii, and a very select few of us ever actually see this dream of grinding into Worlds come true.
While this section of my article is partially dedicated for the lucky players participating in the LCQ, this also very much applies to the next season. Both the LCQ and 2012-2013 Battle Roads will not be featuring a top cut meaning that for any player to win they must not lose a single match.
I cannot think of a better way that I can help LCQ players than if I allow them to “take a step into my mind” to see just how I would prepare if I were in that situation myself.
Due to the nature of the LCQ as well as future Battle Roads they must be approached differently than the tournaments that we have all become accustomed to.
Step 1: Assessing the Projected Metagame
It is of upmost importance that you have a very clear understanding of the decks that you are most likely to find yourself paired against. Whenever you are faced with a matchup you expected to see you will know how to successfully approach the game maximizing your chances to win.
Of course there is no way that you can be prepared for everything an opponent could throw at you, but familiarizing yourself with as many decks as possible will only improve your chances of grinding in.
Here is a list of decks I would practice against:
- Mewtwo EX/Raikou-EX/Eelektrik
- Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX/Shaymin UL/Max Potion
- Darkrai EX/Terrakion/Mewtwo EX
- Darkrai EX/Tornadus EX (with and without Mewtwo EX)
- Hammertime (with and without Weavile UD)
- CMT (with and without Terrakion)
- Mew Prime/Accelgor/Chandelure NVI/Darkrai EX/Vileplume
- Accelgor/Sunflora HS/Vileplume
- Vanilluxe NVI/Victini/Vileplume
- Mismagius UL/Vilelpume/Techs
- Quad decks that include Mewtwo EX
And to a lesser extent…
- Empoleon DEX/Terrakion
- Quad decks without Mewtwo EX
Step 2: Deck Choice
blog.ufpi.comOnce you have a good idea of what decks you expect to play against you can start constructing a deck of your own. Deck choice is never more important than in a single elimination tournament. Typically one could enter a tournament with a deck that fares well against a majority of the metagame even if it is very weak against a certain portion of the field.
For example, Curran Hill cruised to a first place finish at Virginia States with his Quad Terrakion deck due to the metagame being so infested with Eelektrik based decks. Curran likely knew that while he still had a chance of winning, he had a relatively poor matchup against CMT.
After assessing the projected metagame for week one of States, Quad Terrakion seemed like a fine choice because it could afford to lose a few games to CMT during the Swiss rounds. If States would not have had a top cut then Quad Terrakion probably would not have received as much attention because it would have been a much riskier play.
When choosing a deck to play for the LCQ, the time limit of each round should play a huge role in you decision. Thankfully a miracle in Pokémon news has just been revealed: rounds at the LCQ will be 60 minutes long this year. Last year rounds only lasted 45 minutes long for a best 2-of 3 series, turning many games into nothing more than a luck fest. While this time limit may still be far to short at least it is not near as absurd as 45 minutes was.
With that being said, I recommend that you dedicate all of your play-testing to timed best of 3 series. I cannot stress enough how important it is to practice using a 60 minute limit. This will teach a number of valuable skills such as what tempo to play at, exactly when you need to scoop game one if you are losing, and when to continue playing game two (after winning Game 1) even if you will certainly lose. This will also lead you to the conclusion that several (otherwise very strong) decks are no longer viable simply because of the limited time allotted.
pokemon-paradijs.comVileplume decks are perhaps among the strongest decks during the Swiss rounds a of tournament, but when it comes time for top cut, suddenly the tables are turned and they actually become very vulnerable. The slow nature of the deck makes it often succumb to the pressure of actually completing enough games before time expires.
Item locking decks have a history of struggling to win 3 games within 60 minute best of 3 series, so you can imagine how I feel toward playing a Vileplume variant in the grinders. If you are using an Item lock deck in a top cut match and lose game one, chances are you have already lost the match simply because there will not be enough time left to finish two more games. Even if you win game two, slow decks are severally outclassed when it comes to sudden death.
I certainly would not be shocked to see a player grind in with a Vileplume deck, but it is not something that I would be comfortable playing myself.
If I was entering the LCQ I would want to be piloting a deck that has a solid chance of defeating anything. Although 50/50 matchups are not desirable, for the LCQ I would choose a deck with a lot of 50/50 matchups instead of a deck with a few 65/35 matchups, but also a few 35/65 matchups. Also my deck would have to have the ability to function within the timeframe given for each match.
Personally, I would likely stick with my Nationals deck if I was playing because it has a great shot at beating anything including the pesky Vileplume decks that many standard archetypes struggle against.
Later on in this article I will include the exact list that all of Team Missingno used at Nationals which carried Kevin Nance all the way to the finals. Websites such as The Top Cut have attempted to recreate our list but they have all been about ten cards off from the correct list.
Step Three: Practice, Practice, Practice
We have all heard the saying “Practice makes perfect” right? This is very true in the Pokémon Trading Card Game. I owe a lot of my success this season to staying dedicated to my play-testing. Before a tournament I always learn all of my common matchups inside and out. I learn what the correct plays are throughout different stages of the game. I figure out the best actions I can make when my opponent plays their decks in different ways.
Theorizing and talking to other players about decks and ways to approach different situations is a great way to improve your skills, but nothing can compensate for the experience that you get from taking the time to play real games both through independent testing and with others.
So many times I have felt like I have thought of everything and came up with a perfect decklist, only to be proven wrong when I sit down to play a few games. All to quickly I start to realize that certain cards are not near as useful as I thought they would be and that certain matchups are not as easy to beat as I pictured in my head. Circumstances often come up in a real game that I would have never thought of by simply theorizing.
Step Four: Enjoy Yourself!
The worst that could happen is that you are knocked out of the LCQ and are forced to enjoy an amazing vacation in the paradise that is the state of Hawaii. That is a consolation prize I would be happy to accept. Be thankful that you had this incredible opportunity that so many others may never have a chance at. There are so many side events and league games that you could never get bored. Last year I even won a Worlds playmat just by winning some league games.
Choosing a Deck for the 2012 Pokémon World Championships
If you have earned an invitation then congratulations! Whether you qualified through a high placement at your National Championship, surviving the Last Chance Qualifier or via Championship Points you certainly deserve to be competing in Hawaii to reward you for all that you have achieved this season. Your hard work is not yet finished though, there is one final test of your skills.
Without further ado, let’s jump straight into a few of the decks that I am considering for Worlds this year.
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 32
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 15
1. CMT is known for being one of the fastest tier one decks in the format; it is even capable of doing 100 or more damage on the first turn. This deck often pulls off turn one knockouts on Tynamos, Smeargles, Oddishes, or nearly any other Basic with 70 HP or less. I have won many games with this deck simply because the deck I was facing could not keep up with the rate at which I was taking prizes. Against Eelektrik decks I will happily trade my Tornadus EX along with 2 Prizes if it means that I was able to Knock Out Tynamos on both turn one and turn two.
2. Terrakion brings a lot of strength to this deck by providing another way to take out Tynamos fast as well as providing an option to 1HKO nearly every Pokémon in an Eelektrik based deck. Terrakion is also the best in the business at taking out a Darkrai EX in just one attack.
3. The speed of this deck gives it a very strong sudden death game. If game three in a top cut match comes down to a 1-Prize sudden death then this is the deck I would want to be using.
1. CMT is considerably weaker to late game Ns than most other decks because all its Energy must come from the hand instead of the discard pile.
2. CMT is very weak against Item-locking decks. In a typical game, CMT will get off to a blazing start taking a Prize every turn for its first three or even four turns, but then the Vileplume deck will seize control of the game never allowing the CMT player to take their remaining Prize cards.
Cards I Would Like to Fit in the Deck
pokemon-paradijs.comMany players criticize Espeon for its difficulty in getting on the field once we have our Items locked. Some players have come right out saying that Espeon is not a feasible answer to status condition decks. Some say it solves nothing because Chandelure NVI can take it out in no time.
Everything that has been said about Espeon is very true to a certain extent. Espeon can be extremely tough to get out when paired against Vileplume decks and it can be taken care of in three turns by Chandelure’s Cursed Shadow.
I feel like Espeon still has potential through all of the negative criticism it receives. I have actually tested CMT with a 1-1 Espeon tech recently and the results were quite pleasing. I was 5-0 against VVV, 3-0 against Accelgor/Sunflora/Vileplume, and 3-2 against Mew Prime/Accelgor/Vileplume/Chandelure/Darkrai EX.
Eviolite would help in a ton of games:
- Terrakion could no longer be 1HKO’d by a Bolt Strike + PlusPower combination.
- Terrakion can not be killed from the bench with a Darkrai EX.
- Celebis gain a lot of protection from bench damage via Darkrai EX.
- Tornadus EX turns into a 3HKO for Darkrai EXs lacking Dark Claw, multiple Special Darks, or multiple PlusPowers.
- Opposing Mewtwo EXs with two Energies no longer have to option of playing a single PlusPower to 1HKO our Mewtwo EX that has only two Energies and an Eviolite attached.
There are a few more scenarios where Eviolite helps us, but these are just the most common.
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 32
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 12
My top three choices for Nationals consisted of this deck, ThunderBulls, and Mew/Accelgor. I loved ThunderBulls, but it has major issues with Item lock. Mew/Accelgor is a great deck, but struggles with time constraints. Eventually I settled on this deck because it has a chance at beating any deck while maintaining consistency.
3 Mewtwo EX
I chose to play three Mewtwo EXs in an attempt to gain an edge over a large portion of the players at Nationals. With three Mewtwos I was much better equipped to fight a Mewtwo war than a deck that has only one or two copies available. I decided I would play 3 Mewtwos with 4 N in hopes that I could get a lot of Mewtwos on my field, start the war then turn after turn apply constant pressure with Ns to make my opponent miss the cards they needed somewhere along the way to return the knockouts.
Before Kevin took second place at Nationals, this card received almost no recognition mainly due to its awful Fighting Weakness.
Raikou is the best attacker this deck has when playing against any deck that does not include Terrakion. The synergy between Raikou-EX and Max Potion is unparalleled. Max Potion was a big sleeper card at Nationals that few players expected to see and virtually no one expected in the quantity that Team Missingno used.
Because of the surprise factor, players at Nationals often passed up the chance to 1HKO an Eelektrik from my bench with a Pokémon Catcher to instead Night Spear my Raikou-EX for 90+ damage. In this situation I would promptly Max Potion away all of the damage, effectively rendering most of their last turn useless.
Raikou-EX shines against Item lock by taking cheap Prizes off of their bench often Knocking Out important Pokémon such as a Lampent, greatly setting back their desired set up.
Quite different from standard decklists, I chose to only include one copy of Zekrom. I did this because most of the time I wanted to be attacking with either Mewtwo EX or Raikou-EX, so I felt that one Zekrom would suffice.
This card was added to help against Vileplume decks. Eelektross is a very strong tech against Vileplume decks, especially at Nationals when nobody expected it.
Eelektross provides us with a non-EX attacker capable of taking an easy Prize from our opponent’s bench. With Eelektross we also have a chance of Knocking Out Vileplume if they can not get it out of the Active Spot and stop our Eelektross from attacking on the following turn.
Surprisingly Eelektross is useful in a lot of circumstances. Darkrai players often try to knockout a benched Eelektrik in three turns by placing 30 damage on it every time they use Night Spear. If I am not able to use a Max Potion on an Eelektrik that has 30 Hit Points left then I will often evolve it into Eelektross to deny my opponent that Prize card.
Time was called during game three of my Top 128 match when neither of us had taken a prize. On turn three I took the only prize of the game by using Slurp Shakedown on a benched Celebi.
Shaymin turned out to be a very useful card in this deck. Shaymin is often used against Darkrai decks to combine all of the Energies from two separate Mewtwos onto one Mewtwo giving us a 1HKO on a Darkrai EX.
Shaymin is also used to power up a Raikou-EX in our Active Spot that attacked the previous turn.
When the opponent tries to stall by Catchering up an Eelektrik, Eelektrik can Dynamotor to the bench and Shaymin can push the energy to Eelektrik for retreating.
pokemon-paradijs.comI maxed out my N count to disrupt my opponent during Mewtwo wars and also so that I would get a fresh hand without having to play a Supporter when my hand was Portraited.
Max Potion is the card that made this deck so successful. Whenever one of my Pokémon-EX took damage I would use Max Potion and either attach a Double Colorless to Mewtwo, Switch back to the bench for Dynamotor, or send out a new attacker. Max Potion was also important for preventing Darkrai EX from getting extra knockouts on my bench Pokémon.
Since the last round of Regionals I have always played three Switch in my Eelektrik decks because it is a stronger card than Skyarrow Bridge. Switch makes multiple Portraits a turn possible as well as attacking with Raikou-EX multiple turns in a row. Switch also bails us out of being stuck with Eelektrik active, whereas Skyarrow would be utterly useless in this situation.
Pokémon – 23
1 Gloom UD
1 Unown TM
1 Pichu HS
Trainers – 26
3 Professor Oak’s New Theory/N
Energy – 11
Mismagius/Vileplume is an immensely powerful deck that a lot of players are still somewhat confused about.
This deck focuses on swapping out attackers dependent on the matchup it is playing against. The purpose of this deck is to use an attacker that the opponent is not able to 1HKO, then retreat for free, send up a new attacker that they cannot 1HKO, Magical Trans an Energy off of the damaged Pokémon, and then use either Seeker or Pokémon Center on your damaged Pokémon.
1 Mismagius UD/CL
You probably noticed that my list lacks Mewtwo EX. I wanted to stray away from the Mewtwo version on this deck because it does not at all fit into the core strategy. If I counter a Mewtwo EX with my own Mewtwo EX then all I am doing is handing my opponent two easy Prizes as they will surely respond back with another Mewtwo EX. I will almost certainly be behind a few prizes by the time I have achieved my desired set up so mindlessly entering a Mewtwo war does not make much sense to me. Instead I want to go a different route by countering back with a Poltergeist.
Considering we establish an Item lock before we ever start attacking with this deck, Mismagius’s Poltergeist is sure to hit for a ton of damage at almost any stage of the game. To 1HKO a Mewtwo EX our opponent only has to have three Item, Supporter, or Stadium cards in their hand.
Mismagius UD is useful in a plethora of other situations as well, such being one of the only Pokémon in our deck that can damage a Scizor Prime in the mirror match.
Most list I have seen do no include any Glooms; however, I like it for the games when you are not able to get a turn two Vileplume. Gloom helps to get Vileplume out a little more consistently.
1-1 Scizor Prime
Scizor is a tech that I first saw Jason Klaczynski using at Nationals this year. It is very strong against a lot of current decks that heavily rely on Special Energy cards such as Klinklang or Mew/Accelgor.
1 Unown CURE
Unown CURE, Scizor Prime, and Seeker is an ingenious combo for fighting off status condition decks. This combo has its flaws of course, but it is much more consistent then Espeon could ever be in a deck that already plays two Seekers.
1 Kyurem EX
Kyurem EX is a great inclusion in my opinion for a few reasons.
1. It is another powerful card against Klinklang decks or the mirror match.
2. It is capable of doing 120 damage.
3. A very select few Pokémon that are currently used in the HS-DEX format are capable of 1HKOing Kyurem EX.
You may be surprised to see less than four copies of such an important Supporter card, but since we have Pichu in the deck as well as four Pokémon Communications to search out Pichu, we do not need the fourth Pokémon Collector.
3 Collector + 1 Pichu + 4 Communications is similar to having 8 ways to use Pokémon Collector turn 1.
4 Pokémon Communication/4 Rare Candy
pokemon-paradijs.comI chose to go with maxed out copies of each because I am a consistency freak when it comes to clunky Item lock decks, plus who does not love getting turn two Vileplumes? The deck can however function off of three copies of each.
This card is very good because we will be sending damaged Pokémon to our bench quite often. Pokémon Center can also help us preserve our Seekers. I went with two copies to both avoid Prize issues and so that we can play another one down if our first gets replaced with a Skyarrow Bridge.
4 Rainbow/4 Prism/3 Psychic
While four Rainbow and four Prism Energies are standard for this deck, three Psychic however probably is not. I went with three Psychics over Rescue or Double Colorless Energies because:
1. Misdreavus’s Dual Draw attack requires a Psychic. (This is useful when you are struggling to set up or for decking out your opponent.)
2. Basic P Energies allow us to damage Scizor Prime.
3. Consistency with Magical Trans. Neither Rescue or Double Colorless can be moved with Mismagius’s Power.
The biggest reason that will likely hold me back from playing this deck at Worlds is the 60 minute time limit for top cut matches. I believe that this is a great deck for making it into the top cut, but once there its strength drops significantly.
Mew Prime/Accelgor/Darkrai EX/Chandelure/Vileplume
Pokémon – 25
1 Gloom UD
1 Pichu HS
Trainers – 26
Energy – 9
This deck stormed US Nationals making multiple appearances in the top cut as well as taking two spots in the top sixteen.
Once set up, it is almost impossible to stop this deck. Accelgor, Chandelure, and Vileplume create a perfect lock preventing opponents from ever attacking again without either evolving your Paralyzed Pokémon or using something such as Unown CURE or Espeon.
pokemon-paradijs.comWhy would we play a card that have never seen competitive play before? There are two reasons actually.
1. Relicanth boosts consistency. Relicanth contains the best qualities of both Cleffa HS and Virizion NVI comprised into one card. Like Cleffa, Relicanth draws more cards than Virizion but also comes with more HP than Cleffa does to avoid giving up such an easy Prize to Darkrai EX.
2. Relicanth provides another option for getting Accelgor into the Lost Zone.
I prefer the Lampent from Noble Victories because Luring Light could be used to stall if needed by dragging up an Eelektrik or Terrakion.
Shaymin is in the deck for turns when we need to both attach a dark to our active to retreat and attach a Double Colorless to Mew to use Deck and Cover. With Shaymin, Energy can be pushed from Chandelure or any other Pokémon on the bench so that we can retreat and attack in the same turn.
Seeker is a card that I could easily see being cut, but it can be very useful for reusing Shaymin, denying Prizes from Darkrai, or when you need to free up a bench spot.
Getting in Gear for BLW-on
Now that I have discussed everything about this years World Championships let’s jump straight into our next format, BLW-on. To be completely honest I have not tested the new format as much as I would have liked to before writing this article because I have been so zoned in on preparing myself for Worlds, but I have been able to get in about a dozen games with a few Team Missingno members as well as reading a lot about Japan’s recent tournament results.
In this section I will be talking about a few decks that I have created for Battle Roads and of course i’ll be including the decks everyone has heard of by now such as Garchomp/Altaria and Darkrai/Hydreigon.
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 33
Energy – 13
BulbapediaThis is easily one of my favorite decks so far; Registeel-EX is a steel wall. Other than using Sableye’s Junk Hunt (which ends their turn!), players can no longer fish their Pokémon Catchers from the discard pile, effectively limiting most decks to only four per game instead of the possible eight that Junk Arm allowed. If Registeel is not Catchered around, then on your next turn you can switch it back to the bench, use Max Potion, charge it back up with ease then send it into battle once again.
Registeel is particularly very strong against Eelektrik and Garchomp/Altaria decks simply because you can put a lot of pressure on your opponent’s support Pokémon. Both Eelektrik and Altaria get Knocked Out after three hits from Triple Laser. Having to attack three times just to kill a support Pokémon sounds like a very bad strategy, but when you take into account that most of the time you will be Knocking Out three Pokémon all at once or Knocking Out two while weakening a bigger threat this suddenly sounds very appealing.
Registeel is not only good for picking off weak Pokémon, he also wears down Pokémon-EX quite nicely. Below is a list I compiled of common Pokémon that Triple Laser brings into 1HKO range for either Zekrom BLW or Zekrom-EX after a single Triple Laser:
- Zekrom-EX can 1HKO any Pokémon in the entire format other than Pokémon-EX that are equipped with an Eviolite or Giant Cape.
- Zekrom BLW can 1HKO the following common threats:
- Garchomp DRX 90
- Hydreigon DRX 97
- Zekrom BLW
- Reshiram BLW
- Terrakion NVI
- Also any other Pokémon that previously had 150 HP or less without an Eviolite or Giant Cape.
After two Triple Lasers:
- Zekrom-EX can 1HKO any Pokémon in the entire format other than an EX that was equipped with an Eviolite before both Triple Laser attacks or a Sigilyph from Dragons Exalted.
- Zekrom can 1HKO any Pokémon in the entire format other than Pokémon that have a base HP of 130 or more that was equipped with an Eviolite before both Triple Laser attacks or Pokémon that have a base HP of 170 or more equipped with a Giant Cape.
Odds are most readers are surprised to see Zekrom-EX in my decklist. This card has vanished from seemingly every single Zeels deck largely due to Terrakion’s presence in the current metagame. Though Terrakion has not gone anywhere I decided to include Zekrom-EX for a few reasons.
Even when Next Destinies was first released, I felt that Zekrom-EX should not be used in most Eelektrik decks simply because it achieved little more than a regular Zekrom could while discarding Energies and giving up 2 Prize cards.
However, Dragons Exalted brings us a few Pokémon that will surely see competitive play that Zekrom can not 1HKO. Zekrom-EX can 1HKO both Garchomp and Hydregion, making him a great asset to have at your disposal.
Synergy with Registeel-EX
Zekrom-EX loves the support that Registeel brings to the table. Like I previously mentioned, Zekrom-EX is capable of 1HKOing almost any Pokémon after just a single Triple Laser. I would love to have that kind of power in every deck that I play.
Emboar BLW 20/Reshiram BLW/Rayquaza EX – Unfavorable
Perhaps Regitsteels biggest downfall is his glaring weakness to anything that can 1HKO him.
Reshiram/Emboar has long been considered a tier two or even worse deck, however now that Junk Arm is gone and Rayquaza EX has been introduced, there may be a few more opportunities for Reshiram to step out of Zekrom’s shadow. Pokémon Catchers are now harder to come across repeatedly during the early turns of a game meaning that Tepigs are now much safer sitting on the bench until they can evolve into an Emboar.
The combination of Registeel’s Fire Weakness, the likely inclusion of Rayquaza EX, and the fact that our list contains zero PlusPower should turn this into a matchup that we can only hope to avoid sitting across from at a tournament. No amount of Max Potions can help you if your Pokémon are 1HKO’d.
Garchomp/Altaria – Very Favorable
BulbapediaGarchomp/Altaria is the deck that I have done the most testing against. Typically I would be using Triple Laser by turn two or three, spreading damage to Swablus and Gibles. Usually whenever my fourth or fifth turn has been completed I have Knocked Out two to three Altarias/Swablus/Gibles and damaged multiple Garchomps.
When Registeel has fulfilled his purpose I send him to the bench and let Zekrom get in on the action to knockout all of the Garchomps that have been hit by a Triple Laser. Who do we call upon when we did to Knock Out a Garchomp that still has it’s full 140 HP? Zekrom-EX of course!
I am currently 4-1 against this deck which I am very happy with considering that Garchomp/Altaria will be one of the most used decks at Autumn Battle Roads.
Darkrai/Hydreigon – Even
Again I start the game off by getting in early Triple Lasers trying to knockout any Deinos that I possibly can, but usually settling for just softening up Darkrais and Hydregions.
I use Zekrom-EX to 1HKO any Darkais without an Eviolite that have been hit by a Triple Laser. Regular Zekrom takes out Hydreigons that have been hit by a Triple Laser.
Our own Eviolites and Max Potions are crucial in this matchup, turning our EXs into 3HKOs as well as preventing Zekrom from being 1HKOd after a Bolt Strike. Max Potion is also useful for saving an Eelektrik that has taken 60 damage from Night Spears.
So far this matchup seems considerably harder than Garchomp/Altaria because Deino is the only low hit point Pokémon and they play Eviolites. I am not entirely sure which deck is the favorite, the Registeel deck is faster since it does not have to set up a Stage 2 and runs off of Double Colorless Energy, but once the Darkrai deck gets setup it has superior healing options.
Currently I am sitting with a 2-2 record against Darkrai/Hydreigon.
Zekrom/Eelektrik – Favorable
BulbapediaTo be honest I have only tested against a very consistent Zeels list that did not include Rayquaza EX. Like any other game with this deck I start off throwing a few Triple Lasers my opponent’s way, spreading to all of their Tynamos and Eelektriks. Generally after three Triple Lasers all of their Eelektriks on the field have been disposed of making their deck much weaker. Zekrom-EX can 1HKO anything in their deck and Zekrom is capable of 1HKOing everything outside of an Eviolited Zekrom.
In theory this matchup should get more challenging if they have Rayquaza EX in their deck since Registeel hates being 1HKO’d. After all, Registeel thrives in games where he can pump out a few Triple Lasers before falling back to the bench to let the Zekrom brothers finish up the job.
With that said I would like to point out that we probably would get in at least two Triple Lasers from our first Registeel courtesy of Rayquaza needing a combination of either a R Energy with three L Energies (four if we have Eviolite!) or a Prism Energy and two to three L Energies. They will almost certainly have to place Rayquaza EX on their bench the turn before they plan on attacking with it since there is very little chance they can get four energies on it in one turn, by turn two or three for that matter.
Here is an example of why I say we could still win if we get in two Triple Lasers. We get 60 damage on two Eelektriks and their Rayquaza EX, on their turn they use Dragon Burst discarding three Lightning for the 1HKO on our Registeel. We then promote our second Registeel-EX to knockout both Eelektriks and place 30 damage on a Tynamo. Now we are in a great position unless they respond with another Dragon Burst 1HKO.
If they do somehow miraculously get Rayquaza EX back to the bench, attach three more L Energies and get him active again to knockout our second Registeel then we simply respond with a Strong Volt on their weakened Rayquaza for another 2 Prizes. It will be hard for them to answer to our last move, especially if we were able to play an N before taking the knockout.
Although Rayquaza EX can be an annoyance on my Registeel deck, we still have a fighting chance against that Eelektrik variant. So far in my limited testing me and Registeel have had our way with Zekrom/Eelektrik decks that do not have Rayquaza EX achieving a solid 3-0 record.
Terrakion-EX/Terrakion/Mewtwo EX – Unfavorable
pokemon-paradijs.comWith so many Fighting Pokémon in their arsenal we must have very good reasoning behind putting our Zekrom-EX on the field because it is a very easy 2 Prizes for the opponent. Registeel-EX combined with Eviolite and Max Potion would be strong in this matchup if they did not play so many Eviolites and Potions in their deck.
The one game that I won was because my opponent played all three of their Eviolites on the field and I was able to target two Mewtwo EXs and a Terrakion-EX that were only equipped with Exp. Shares. I fell far behind before I was able to take 6 Prizes in one turn after six Triple Lasers, needless to say it was very epic. After the first game my opponent learned that he could limit his field to little more than three Eviolited Pokémon, meaning there really was not much I could do.
For this matchup as well as every other tool reliant deck I feel that I must find a way to fit in a few Tool Scrappers. I was 1-2 against Terrakion-EX/Terrakion/Mewtwo EX.
Final Thoughts on the Steel Wall
I feel comfortable with the list, but I would like to fit in a couple Tool Scrappers and possibly a fourth Catcher. This does not need Catcher as much as most decks because we are spreading to the bench and 1HKOing whatever they put active, but a fourth would still be nice so that we have more opportunities to Catcher big retreaters and snipe around them.
I am not yet convinced on the legitimacy of this deck, but it has had good results so far. I hope that I am able to take this to at least one of my Battle Roads because I greatly enjoy seeing the look on my opponent’s face when I take 6 Prizes in one turn.
Pokémon – 8
Trainers – 39
Energy – 13
BulbapediaFor anyone who have not heard much about this deck, it is meant to be a counter to both Eelektrik and Darkrai decks. Recently this deck won a major tournament in Japan.
Before ever playing a game with this deck I could immediately point out some major flaws.
- I am worried about this deck being able to put up any kind of fight against a deck that focuses on Rayquaza EX.
- Just by looking at the decklist it looks like it could have a tough time against Garchomp/Altaria.
- I beat this deck 2-0 with Darkrai EX/Hydreigon, a deck that it is meant to counter.
If there were Tool Scrappers in this list then it might have had a chance of beating my Hydregion deck, so it is possible that I was playing this wrong; it was only two games after all.
If this does indeed have a good matchup against Eelektrik and Hydregion, then that alone will probably vouch for its legitimacy, however I do not see myself playing this at Battle Roads if it has some shaky matchups, due to the need to win every single match in the new BR format.
Pokémon – 20
1 Munna MCD
Trainers – 32
Energy – 8
pokemon-paradijs.comSince its release in Dark Explorers, Accelgor has seen success at both Battle Roads and US Nationals. Unfortunately for Accelgor, it will be losing two of his best partners when our rotation occurs in September. Vileplume made it possible to promote a Chandelure as your active Pokémon after every Deck and Cover forming a perfect lock once the deck was completely set up. Mew Prime allowed the deck to consistently stream Deck and Cover attacks turn after turn without missing a beat.
Luckily there is some good news for Accelgor players: Mew-EX is being released in our next expansion – Dragons Exalted. Mew-EX will closely fill the role that Mew Prime once did and Gothitelle EPO can help to compensate for the loss of Vileplume.
I have not been able to do any extensive testing with this deck yet, so I will refrain from posting about how it matches up against other decks in the format.
Musharna is a very interesting card for this deck. Once Musharna is on the field you will be effectively drawing two cards a turn instead of just one, a luxury any deck would gladly except if they had the chance. Musharna is often criticized for its three Retreat Cost that turns it into Catcher bait, but with a deck that focuses on denying your opponents Item cards it can safely sit on your bench providing an extra card every turn.
With this deck we will be aiming to send up a Gothitelle everytime that we use Deck and Cover to prevent our opponent from playing Item cards such as Switch.
Ultra Ball is possible in this deck because once the deck is set up there are plenty of excess cards that are much better off in the discard pile than clogging up our deck. Ultra Ball serves three purposes: it searches out any Pokémon that we may need to setup our field, it discards cards that are no longer needed in our deck, and Ultra Ball also allows us to draw many more cards with our Biancas.
Pokémon Communication used to be one of the most used Items, but with the recent popularity of big Basics decks have been playing far to few Pokémon to use Communication reliably. Pokémon Communication actually fits quite nicely in this deck because we play 20 Pokémon.
Level Ball is an option to consider over Communication because it can search for a decent portion of the deck without having to shuffle back a Pokémon from our hand.
Pokémon Catcher’s inclusion may or may not come as a surprise to you. Catcher is extremely strong in this deck for a few reasons. The biggest reason why Catcher is so good is because it allows you to choose which of your opponent’s Pokémon you will be Paralyzing every turn.
The goal of Accelgor decks is to have your opponent’s Pokémon get Knocked out Out from Poison damage at the end of their turn meaning that they will have to promote a new active to become locked by your Paralysis. This denies them any opportunity to attack.
Deck and Cover does 50 Damage and 10 more damage at the end of both players turn which basically means 70 damage when it comes back to your turn again. Due to the way that our damage calculations work out we want to be attacking Pokémon that have either 70 or 140 Hit Points whenever possible. (HP of 50, 100 or 150 if they resist Psychic.) Whenever we attack Pokémon that have the desired number of HP we prevent out opponent from attacking even though we are Knocking Out their Pokémon.
Pokémon Catcher helps us to drag out our opponent’s Pokémon that have the magical number of HP such as benched Emolgas, Altarias, or even the new Bouffalant DRX thanks to its Ability.
Pokémon Catcher is also useful for targeting down a threat from their bench such as a Mewtwo EX or Rayquaza EX before they are able to 1HKO your Gothitelle.
Historically, Juniper has often been frowned upon when considering Supporters for an Item locking deck. However, as I briefly mentioned earlier, once this deck has achieved its desired setup the only cards that we actually want to be in the deck are Mew-EXs, Double Colorless Energies, Pokémon Catchers, and Super Rod. Juniper is one of the best card in the format for thinning out a deck of unwanted cards.
Bianca works very well with both Ultra Ball and Pokémon Communication. Since we include maxed out copies of both cards, Bianca is a natural four of in this deck.
Final Thoughts on Accelgor
As I previously mentioned I have only played a few games with his deck, so I do not feel comfortable talking about its matchups yet. This deck is however very favorable against Garchomp decks due to both Garchomp and Altaria having the perfect amount of HP.
I am not yet sure of the legitimacy of this deck simply because it requires an elaborate setup and Gothitelle can be 1HKO’d by a lot of Pokémon. Although I am not quite sold on this deck, it is certainly something that I would prepare for before attending Battle Roads.
Pokémon – 21
Trainers – 28
Energy – 11
BulbapediaFor the sake of getting the most out of my limited BLW-on play testing time before writing this article I decided I would stick with a Garchomp list that has already seen a lot of success. The list displayed above is card for card the list that Yuta Komatsuda used to earn an invitation to the 2012 Pokémon World Championships.
What I love the most about this deck is its consistency. I have not yet played a game that I could not get multiple Garchomps and Altarias on my field. Gabite has a ton of built in consistency with his fantastic ability Dragon Call. I am confident in saying that without this Ability I would never consider playing this deck even at an even as small as Battle Roads.
In a typical game my bench will contain at least two Gibles and one Swablu by the end of my first turn thanks to my opening hand, playing a Supporter, the use of Level Ball, and Emolga’s Call for Family. If I do not have a Rare Candy for a turn two Garchomp I will evolve into Gabite, Dragon Call for another Gabite, then Dragon Call for an Altaria, finishing my turn with another Call for Family.
On my third turn I usually have either a Garchomp, second Altaria or a Level Ball in my hand. When I do have one of these cards I can use both of my Dragon Calls to get the other two Pokémon I need to complete a full set up by just my third turn.
In my opinion this level of consistency is unmatched by any other deck in the upcoming BLW-on format. This alone is likely the reason why Yuta was able to earn his Worlds invite with this otherwise underwhelming deck.
Zekrom/Eelektrik – Even?
Throughout my testing of this matchup, there has not yet been a clear favorite. The games have been really back and forth, with both decks winning an equal amount. Garchomp usually seems to get the first attack off, taking out low hit point bench Pokémon. Then Zekrom/Eelektrik comes storming in to reclaim the lead. If all Altarias are eliminated then Garchomp is no longer capable of 1HKOing an Eviolited Zekrom.
I’m sure that one deck has an advantage over the other, it just has not yet shown in my testing.
Registeel-EX/Eelektrik – Unfavorable
So that I do not have to bore you with stating the exact same reasons I did when I was writing about Registeel-EX I will simply copy and paste from that section:
“Garchomp/Altaria is the deck that I have done the most testing against. Typically I would be using Triple Laser by turn two or three, spreading damage to Swablus and Gibles. Usually whenever my fourth or fifth turn has been completed I have Knocked Out two to three Altarias/Swablus/Gibles and damaged multiple Garchomps.
When Registeel has fulfilled his purpose I send him to the bench and let Zekrom get in on the action to knockout all of the Garchomps that have been hit by a Triple Laser. Who do we call upon when we did to Knock Out a Garchomp that still has it’s full 140 HP? Zekrom-EX of course!
I am currently 4-1 against this deck which I am very happy with considering that Garchomp/Altaria will be one of the most used decks at Autumn Battle Roads.”
Darkrai/Hydreigon – Even?
Hopefully I can test this very extensively when I return from Worlds and report my results to everyone in a future Underground article, but for now the only information I can give is that this matchup is far from easy.
Garchomp has a few things going for it here. Garchomp usually gets the first attack off due to it only requiring one F Energy. Garchomp can easily 1HKO Hydreigon limiting the Darkrai players healing options. Garchomp is capable of 2HKOing a Darkai even if they have an Eviolite attached. Darkrai can only 2HKO Garchomp unless Night Spear was able to hit it twice while on the bench, and this creates a very favorable Prize exchange for the Garchomp player.
The biggest problem results from the constant need to eliminate all Hydreigons from their field. If Hydreigon is allowed to stay on their bench then they have the luxury of Dark Trancing all of their Energies around to abuse Max Potion. If you do not draw enough Catchers to kill all of their Deinos and Hydregions, then you will rarely knockout a Darkrai EX.
If that was not bad enough, you also have to dispose of all their Hydreigons in a very timely manner or you could find yourself with too many damaged or Knocked Out Pokémon to compete with the Eviolited Darkrai EXs staring you down.
Emboar/Reshiram/Rayquaza EX – Favorable
pokemon-paradijs.comGarchomp is much faster and far more consistent than any Emboar I have played against. If they are only able to get one Emboar on the field then it is quite easy to dismantle with a couple of Pokémon Catchers. However once they finally get everything situated it will be a tough battle. Reshiram can not 1HKO Garchomp, but Garchomp can 1HKO a Reshiram for two Energies if we have two Altarias on our bench. Emboar players do however have a chance to Catcher out our Altarias and 1HKO them.
If they start with Rayquaza EX or ever put it on their bench then we get a very easy 2 Prizes. The speed and consistency of Garchomp/Altaria is why I favor it over Emboar decks. I am currently 2-1 against Emboar/Reshiram/Rayquaza EX.
Mew-EX/Darkrai EX/Accelgor/Gothitelle/Musharna – Very Unfavorable
This matchup seems almost too one-sided. All of our Pokémon have the perfect number of HP so that they will die from Poison at the end of out turn, giving them a new Pokémon to lock up with Paralysis. If we try to send up a low HP Pokémon such as a Swablu so that they will 1HKO it giving us a turn to attack, they will just use a Catcher to drag up something with 70 or 140 HP.
Whenever I tested these two decks against each other, Garchomp was completely blown out of the water. It felt like I was playing with a pile of sixty Magikarps while my opponent had six Mewtwo EXs all with Eviolites on the field.
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 33
Energy – 12
BulbapediaI also took a successful Japanese decklist for Darkrai EX/Hydreigon just so that I would be able to get in as much testing as possible before writing this.
I really like this deck so far. It is similar to my most recent Battle Roads deck where I used Shaymin UL to save my Energies before playing a Max Potion. I very rarely lost a game with my Battle Roads deck and that I how it has been so far with this deck.
If your opponent allows your Hydreigon to stay on the field and they do not have anything to 1HKO your Darkrais then you will be claiming an easy victory.
Hydreigon solves our otherwise terrible weakness to Rayquaza EX and is also a decent option to fight against Terrakions with. Shaymin EX with an Eviolite is a life saver against Terrakion-EX decks, winning me both games I have played against Terrakion-EX/Terrakion/Mewtwo EX.
Remember how insanely good Junk Arm was? Well this little diamond-eyed creature can create a nice advantage for this deck by recovering two Items at the cost of an attack. Recovering Items is still as strong as ever, but now very few decks have this option, so use it to your advantage.
If I had to choose right now between Darkrai EX/Hydreigon or Garchomp/Altaria I would have to go with Hydreigon as the superior Dragon.
As I have mentioned throughout my article I hope to be able to bring you much more in depth discussions about decks in the BLW-on format in future Underground articles, but for now I hope that the information I could provide was able to help each and every reader in some way.
For those of you making the trip out to Hawaii, travel safe and if you happen to see me at Worlds then please come up and introduce yourself. I love meeting people that share the same passion for the Pokémon TCG as I do.
Until next time thanks for reading my first Underground article, please let me know how you think I did!
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