Hello again guys, Testi here. One of my testing partners James has started playing a new deck and has written an article on it. I am playing Darkrai/Hydreigon and I doubt everyone wants another full article on that, so I decided to submit his article and throw my brief write-up onto the end. Hope you all enjoy!
Hi 6P, my name is James and I am a Masters division player in Australia. I recently top cut at Australian Nationals, but didn’t get much further. I live in the same area as Vyse and I suggest you check out his YouTube channel for some cool videos with strange accents and good testing.
As we move into the new format, gearing up for the first new tournaments, many new decks have come out of the woodwork and are trying to make their mark on the metagame. One type of deck that has seen some reasonable success in the recent Japanese nationals has been Ho-Oh EX variants, my favourite of which is Ho-Oh EX/Tornadus EX which I have affectionately called Skittles.
BulbapediaHo-Oh EX is a Basic Fire attacker with a puzzling 160 HP (why no 180 HP love for Ho-Oh?). It also has a bad retreat cost of 2. Most of the disappointment of Ho-Oh is made up for by its Ability “Rebirth.” If you have a Ho-Oh in the discard pile, you may flip a coin, and with a successful flip you may bench Ho-Oh with 3 different basic Energies if there are any in the discard pile.
This is a very interesting Ability as it lets Ho-Oh essentially come out of nowhere fully charged for its one attack called “Rainbow Burn.” Rainbow Burn does 20 + 20 for each different type of Energy on Ho-oh for [C][C][C] (which almost an exact reprint of the earlier Ho-Oh ex, but with 10 more base damage).
The attack is kind of a blessing and a curse. The pros are that it does do 80 damage on a successful Rebirth right off the bat, and 100 if you manually attach to Ho-Oh that turn. Coming out of nowhere to do 100 damage? I like the sound of that.
But unfortunately, Mewtwo EX’s X Ball makes short work of any Ho-Oh that dares to cross paths, and the Energies to fuel Rainbow Burn need to all be different, making partners difficult for Ho-Oh.
Unlike Ho-oh, Tornadus is nothing new and has been a strong partner in many decks due to his Colourless typing. Tornadus has 2 very brutal attacks. First is Blow Through which for [C][C] does 30 + 30 if there is a Stadium in play and is one of very few legitimate donking options available after the rotation.
Tornadus 2nd attack for [C][C][C] does 100 damage with a coin flip to discard one of the Energy. That’s a good damage output in a format where 90 damage is a magic number, but it can be just short of the line where Eviolites ruin good maths.
Most of you either know why this is here or are going straight to the comment section to compliment me on my comedic prowess, but hear me out. Rufflet is a Basic 50 HP Pokémon whos purpose in life is to be a this deck’s Emolga DRX. Rufflet’s first attack for [C] searches your deck for 2 Pokémon with a Fighting Resistance and puts them into your hand.
This is important for 2 reasons. Both Tornadus and Ho-Oh have Fighting Resistance, and putting them into your hand is important where one of the goals of the deck is to get Ho-Oh into the discard pile early. That cannot be done from the bench (unless you are willing to give up 2 Prizes, in which case good luck).
Those are the Pokémon that make the deck work. But how does it work? What are the goals? These questions and more will be answered after this brief pointless sentence.
Skittles relies on early game pressure and mid game domination to disrupt the setup decks that are taking over the new format. The first question you have to ask is who to put down first? Well in my experience putting a Rufflet down will always be the best option possible.
If your opponent’s Active has 60 HP or less or is named Gible, Swablu, Tynamo, Deino, or Trubbish, searching the Skyarrow Bridge and DCE + Catcher is advised if you have a Tornadus handy. If your opponent starts with something bad, or something that scares Tornadus (like Zekrom BLW), then set up your Ho-Oh with Rufflet.
From here, use Ultra Balls and Professor Juniper to get Energy and Ho-Oh into the discard pile to set up for Rebirths while continuing to pressure with Tornadus.
The only obvious synergy between Tornadus and Ho-Oh is that Tornadus’ Power Blast can discard Energy to fuel Ho-Oh’s Rebirth.
It sounds so simple. And to be honest it is, but getting there can be tricky. Knowing what to discard and when with Juniper can be game changing. Hitting that early Skyarrow Bridge to set up Tornadus’ Blow Through rampage can be the difference.
Early game pressure was a defining feature of the format we have just left behind. People familiar with CMT builds will feel right at home with Skittles. Taking out Deinos, Tynamos, Gibles, and Swablus can seriously hinder some of the predicted top decks of the next format and continuing that momentum with Ho-Oh in the mid game can keep your opponent under the pump.
Pokemon ParadijsThe main disadvantage is that the deck, with only Tornadus and Ho-Oh, struggles against Eel variants. I’m not going to predict arbitrary matchups numbers, but I can tell you that Eels has a lot of answers for this deck due to Tornadus’ Lightning Weakness and Mewtwo’s advantages over Ho-Oh. I do not believe there is a simple quick fix to this, nor do I believe that it renders Skittles moot.
Terrakion EX will be tossed around as a possible solution with the added bonus of the EX accelerating Energy. However, with the random Energy requirements for Ho-Oh I’m not sold on the idea. The only other big disadvantage is that the deck fails to OHKO anything important, not hitting anything for Weakness. The tradeoff is Ho-Oh has a great Water Weakness that is fairly rare these days due to the prevalence of Lightning decks (bar the increasingly popular Empoleon DEX decks).
The other glaring weakness can be Garbodor DRX variants. Most of them can be dealt with using Tool Scrapper and Tornadus’ and Ho-oh’s Fighting Resistance for Terrakion; however this deck will fold to Garbodor DRX/Zebstrika NXD if you get off to a bad start and don’t have much early pressure before the Ability and Item lock.
As for techs, both Sigilyph DRX and both Bouffalants are good inclusions. Bouffalant DRX has an in built Eviolite and for [C][C][C] can do an easy 120 to any EX while Bouffalant BLW 91 can do 90 for a DCE if something was KO’d the turn before. Sigilyph DRX is bit more risky, while its Ability allows it to block EX’s all day it doesn’t stop Catcher, Raikou EX, or the rare Giratina EX. But if you manage to get a Psychic Energy, it can be a real thorn in Mewtwo’s side as it can hit it for Weakness and OHKO if the opponent has loaded it full of Energy.
Sigilyph is disappointing in that this time around instead of a Psychic Weakness like its predecessor that would have been great (the only real Psychic threats being Mew EX and Mewtwo EX) it got stuck with the crappy Lightning Weakness that Zekrom BLW and even Eelektrik NVI can exploit.
When possible, play down only 1 Rufflet. If your opponent is inexperienced he/she will target it for an easy prize. This however means he/she is in a situation where he needs to take 7 prizes because the EX attackers offer up 2 prizes. Taking out a Rufflet is a turn wasted when your opponent still needs to take down 3 EXs for the win. When you play down 2 Rufflet or are forced to use a Bouffalant or Sigilyph it makes it an even number of prizes and your opponent only needs to take out 2 EXs. And to reiterate, in the Darkrai matchup, try to Eviolite Rufflet to stop easy snipes.
Ask your opponent if you can keep your Ho-Ohs and Energy separate from your regular discard pile so that you can quickly check you are discarding different Energy – it makes things easier.
If you are stuck with a choice between an early game N or an early game Juniper, decide whether what you’re discarding is furthering your cause; for instance if you have no Energy and no Ho-oh in your hand, the choice I would make would be N. N can still net you an Ultra Ball with or without Energy and Ho-oh. It also preserves that Juniper for when it could be really useful.
Take out setup Pokémon where possible – KOing Deinos and the like before they become Hydreigons is just so vital to being in control.
Pokémon – 10
3 Rufflet DRX
3 Tornadus EX
2 Ho-Oh EX
Trainers – 28
Energy – 14
4 Double Colourless
1 Metal – Basic
1 Darkness – Basic
Open Spots – 8
The high count of Eviolite and Tool Scrapper are to stop Darkrai EX from Night Spear sniping Rufflets for cheap prizes and to stop Garbodor variants shutting down Ho-Oh EX. Feel free to critique the list as you see fit. Everyone has a different playstyle, but this seems to be working for me (Vyse, Testi, and myself will try to have some videos posted on Pokélife when we get time). Leave helpful suggestions in the comments section!
WikipediaSkittles are fine, but I’m more of a straight chocolate person…
Hi 6P, my name is Dean (Testi on here) and I am a Masters division player in Australia. I recently top cut at Australian Nationals, but didn’t get much further. I forgot to right Shaymin down still went 5-1 with CMT. I live in the same house as Vyse and I suggest you check out his YouTube channel for some cool videos with strange accents and good testing. (Yes I am that lazy and will steal other intros.)
Another deck we are getting from the new Dragons Exalted set is Darkrai/Hydreigon. It’s basically a better form of the US Nationals winning deck Klinklang EX, abusing Prize denial by being able to move Energies around and to use Max Potion with no drawback.
Most people have an idea of how this runs from the other articles (they are better read them first), so I will just give my list and impressions of how to play the deck and the ideas of techs you can employ.
Pokémon – 14
2 Deino NVI 77
3 Darkrai EX
1 Shaymin EX
Trainers – 34
4 Professor Junpier
Energy – 12
8 Darkness – Basic
A pretty much standard list, but with my own little twist on it.
Let’s looks at some of the pokemon in here a little bit closer
Pokemon ParadijsObviously the deck’s man attacker. Does 90 (110 with Dark Claw, more on this to come) to the Defending Pokémon and 30 to a Benched Pokémon. With rotation to BLW-on and the format slowing down Darkrai, only becomes stronger, being able to threaten with 2HKOs on all Defending Pokémon as well as setting up KOs on the Bench with multiple snipes or even setting up magic numbers later on.
2-1 Split of Deino
I use two Dark and 1 Dragon version of the Deinos for a few reasons. While the Dragon Deino’s first attack can be useful early game (flip for Paralysis for [D]) I don’t like giving up the a possible Dark Patch target early in the game.
I personally use the “Draw In” Zweilous. You never really want to attack with this Pokémon. In fact, if you never see it in play at any point in a game that’s not even a bad thing. It could possibly be a very situational play getting two extra Darkness Energy out in a turn where Zweilous would be safe from death (which is unlikely).
The guy(s) that make this deck work. Its attack for [P][D][D][C] does 140 damage, but you have to discard two Energy from the Pokémon. Its Ability allows you to move all Darkness Energy around as much as you like every turn. This means Hydreigon has some very good synergy with the deck for multiple reasons.
It makes you Catcher-stall proof. Just move an Energy to the active and Darkrai’s Dark Cloak will let you retreat for free and then you can move that Energy again. You can move Energy off of a Pokémon, Max Potion it back to full health, then move the Energy back. These are the obvious pluses for Hydreigon.
One of the not so obvious ones is that 140 is a seudo magic number in the new format. All of the Pokémon EX with 170 HP, notably Mewtwo EX and Tornadus EX suddenly become vulnerable to a Catcher KO after an attack from a Darkrai. The attack also helps blast away all non-EX Pokémon in the format.
Nothing does 180 damage as easily as Shaymin EX does, and it also deals with all Grass-Weak Fighting Pokémon after they have taken 3 Prizes.
Your preferred starter, mostly used for Junk Hunt to get back key Items. Don’t be afraid to sacrifice one mid game to get back Items.
A pretty straightforward lineup of Supporters and Items. The line will be very similar for most decks, but mine has a few small differences.
Dark Claw gives Dark Pokémon +20 damage on all attacks. I use these over Eviolite for a couple of reasons. The first one is 90 is the magic number for the format. Two hit KOs are where we are going. 90 damage is the cutoff point for two-hits (save Wailord DRX or a Giant Cloaked EX). Most people reaslise this and are running Eviolites to change two-hit KOs into three-hits KOs. Dark Claw turns these back into two-hits.
The second reason is 140 being the second magic number. There are going to be more Stage 2s in the format. A lot of these have 140 HP like Empoleon and Garchomp. 110+ a 30 snipe on the next allows you to set up double KOs.
For example, against a Garchomp deck you could do 110 to the active Garchomp DRX 90 and 30 to a benched Garchomp, then on the next turn Catcher up the benched one and do the attack again and kill them both. This also helps against the big Basics with 130 HP (Zekrom BLW and Terrakion NVI) where 90+30 doesnt cut it, but 110+30 does.
BulbapediaNothing sucks more then losing a Hydreigon. Nothing sucks more for the opponent then that Hydreigon coming back next turn. Rescue Scarf sends the Pokémon back to your hand if it is KO’d. This is good in a few ways. It can help save you only Deino early game. It’s really hard to come back without a Hydreigon early, every turn its delayed is a turn closer to defeat.
It also lets you attack with Hydreigon with much less risk. About as often as it not happening attacking with a Hydreigon is going to get it KO’d quick. Being able to put it back down (assuming you have Rare Candy and a Benched Deino or a Zweilous) next turn is a big plus.
You probably don’t want to run more and can’t really get away with running less.
Four of these guys they are what you use to cover the cost of Shaymin EX, Sigilyph DRX, and Hydreigon’s non-Darkness energy requirements.
Feel free to critique the list as you see fit. Everyone has a different playstyle, but this seems to be working for me (Vyse, James, and myself will try to have some videos posted on Pokélife when we get time). Leave helpful suggestions in the comments section! (Yes did it again)