Klinklang vs. Hydreigon: A Battle of EX’s, Non-EX’s, and Energy Manipulators

pocketmonsters.netThe crowd has grown quiet and the lights have dimmed. From the left side of the stadium emerges a indestructible and unyielding Klinklang. The crowd bursts into cheers as the now familiar face (or whatever Klinklang has) moves into his position. What could possibly topple this metallic force they wonder.

Suddenly, even more Pokémon can be seen entering the stadium from where the Klinklang just made his entrance. An odd procession of legendary Pokémon are making their way toward the Klinklang. First there is a chilly looking Kyurem followed by a resilient Cobalion. The crowd gasps as they see a Groudon and Kyogre somehow managing to keep their cool as they approach the Klinklang. “They’re supposed to be enemies” says the spectators to one another.

A low thud becomes audible as the murmurs of the crowd begin to die down. It grows in intensity and soon the whole stadium begins to vibrate in unison with the sound. The crowd leans in to get a better look at what Pokémon is about to show themselves. From the dark corner they see flickering red lights as a giant Registeel tromps his way closer to the Klinklang. Slowly but surely he makes his way to the group of formidable looking Pokémon. The challenge has been made. What Pokémon could possibly contend with this fearsome bunch?

Slowly the heads’ of the audience turn toward the right side of the stadium. A loud roar pierces the silence and as people begin to put their hands over their ears a Hydreigon pokes one of his three heads out of the shadows. A burst of fuchsia-colored flames illuminates the corner revealing the giant girth and strength of the Hydreigon. His giant wings propel him into the now warm air and bring him to his opening position in lightning fast time.

pocketmonsters.netFollowing the Hydreigon is another odd procession of Pokémon. Out of the shadow emerges a devilish Sableye with glinting eyes. Then the crowd observes a Sigilyph surrounded by an eerie light making his (or her) way to where the Hydreigon has settled. A sudden chorus of feminine “awwwwws” envelopes the arena as a Shaymin flits through the air and eventually finds his (or her) way to the Hydreigon.

And just when the crowd believes the battle is about to start, the lights suddenly go out. The temperature begins to drop and a deep rumble begins to resonate from the east. The lights slowly return to their normal level and the crowd stares in wonder at the powerful Darkrai that has suddenly appeared to the left of the Hydreigon.

The Darkrai stares down the Registeel and the Klinklang sizes up the Hydreigon. The Sigilyph’s eerie glow seems to be keeping the Kyurem, Kyogre and Groudon at a distance as the Cobalion patiently awaits for the battle to begin despite the taunts of Sableye and Shaymin. The stage has been set and, with the sound of the bell, the battle begins.

Sorry to bring you back to reality, but we have work to do here! As evidenced by the introduction, I am going to be discussing Klinklang and Hydreigon today. Klinklang has gotten a lot of attention recently due to John Robert II’s victory at the U.S. National Championships with his Klinklang deck. Hydreigon has also gotten a lot of attention recently due to Hydreigon/Darkrai EX’s fantastic performance in Japan!

Credit: Kinneas64

Both of these decks are very similar. They take advantage of Shift Gear and Dark Trance to move Energy off of damaged Pokémon and then use Max Potion to heal all that damage without losing any of the attached Energy. Both Klinklang and Hydreigon are subpar attackers (Hydreigon is definitely better, of course), so both decks want to include Pokémon that are stronger attackers.

The use of different attackers is the primary difference between the decks aside from the use of D Energy versus M Energy. As a result, this article will give most of its focus to analyzing these different attackers.

Here is an outline for what’s to come.

  1. The Attackers of Klinklang
  2. The Attackers of Hydreigon
  3. Other Differences between Klinklang and Hydreigon Decks
  4. Lists for Both Decks
  5. Matchups for Both Decks
  6. Which Deck is the Best

So let’s begin!

The Attackers of Klinklang


As a result of the rotation, we are forced to make drastic changes to the type of Klinklang deck that John Roberts II used at U.S. Nationals. Here is a breakdown of what has happened.

1. Due to the loss of Rainbow Energy, there is no way to give Klinklang a free Retreat Cost with Darkrai EX anymore (unless you’re playing actual D Energy…and that’s just silly). Benched Klinklangs will be sent to the Active Spot more often than you would like with Pokémon Catcher, so the deck has to fit in a lot of Switch.

2. As implied by #1, the deck benefits a lot less from Darkrai EX than it used to. It will be hard to power up Darkrai EX without Rainbow Energy. The deck will still run Prism Energy…but it will be hard to get 2 of them on Darkrai EX when there can only be 4 in a deck. Also, since Darkrai EX does not have a 3 Retreat Cost, it cannot be searched out via Heavy Ball. However, he might still be a good choice for inclusion. I’ll talk more about him later.

3. It will be more challenging to get the proper Trainer counts now that we are without Junk Arm and Professor Oak’s New Theory. We will not be able to use Max Potion more than 4 times nor can we play Professor Oak’s New Theory- a Supporter that was so important to the functioning of the HGSS Klinklang deck.

4. We are now without Special M Energy, so we can’t add extra protection to our Metal Pokémon in our decks anymore.

BulbapediaFortunately, that is all that has really happened with the deck. The loss of Rainbow Energy and Darkrai EX is pretty big and it does put a significant constraint on the deck that it was once not subject it. However, with some creativity and a willingness to make some changes, this new constraint can be largely mitigated.

The release of the new Blend Energies has created a great divide between Klinklang and Hydreigon decks. Since the Blend Energy that provides Metal also provides Fighting, Water and Lightning; the Klinklang deck can most easily fit in Pokémon that require these 4 types of Energy. This energy will be refered to as Klinklang’s Blend Energy

The Blend Energy that provides Darkness also provides Grass, Psychic and Fire which implies that the Hydreigon deck can most easily fit in Pokémon that require these 4 types of Energy. This will be refered to as Hydreigon’s Blend Energy. As stated earlier, it will be challenging to fit in Pokémon of other Energy types into these decks if they don’t match the Energy on the corresponding Blend Energy because 4 Prism Energy will usually not be sufficient to pay for the attacks on these Pokémon.

So now to begin my discussion on the possible attackers to include in a Klinklang deck.


pokemon-paradijs.comPerhaps the strongest Pokémon-EX in Dragons Exalted (my favorite at least), Registeel-EX is the first Metal type Pokémon-EX to be released in the Black and White expansions. Unlike all of the other decks that are trying to tech in Registeel-EX, this deck actually allows Registeel-EX to use his second attack, Protect Charge. Although Triple Laser really is the shining point of Registeel-EX, Protect Charge is also quite strong and very useful. After hitting a Garchomp DRX 90 or an Empoleon DEX (or anything with 140 HP or less) for 60 with two Triple Lasers, Protect Charge puts them in 1HKO range.

Protect Charge, in combination with Eviolite, makes Registeel-EX very hard to Knock Out. With continued use of Protect Charge, he becomes a 4-shot for Darkrai EX (instead of 90+90, Night Spear does 50+50+50+50).

Triple Laser wrecks havoc on set-up decks and other decks that have lots of bench warmers such as Eelektrik and Altaria. Against Eelektrik decks and Garchomp/Altaria the best strategy is to start hitting the Tynamos, Eelektriks, Swablus and Altarias. Not only are they easy prizes, losing these support Pokémon knocks these two decks off of their legs.

A major criticism of Klinklang in the new format is its susceptibility to losing Energy when attacked by Garchomp’s Mach Claw. However, if you play enough M Energy, you can do all of your attacking with Registeel-EX without having to put any Special Energy on your active Pokémon.

I most certainly think Registeel-EX should be the main attacker in any Klinklang variant.


Kyogre EX

Ah yes, the Water Pokémon that John made popular at U.S. Nationals. I quickly had to buy a few after his victory because I had sold all of mine when I got my Dark Explorers cards (most unwise of me).

Kyogre EX takes full advantage of the new Blend Energy and Prism Energy. So, is Dual Splash as helpful this format as it was for John last June? Yes! Since there are a lot more set up decks in the new format, Dual Splash has become even stronger. You can Knock Out 2 Swablus and 2 Tynamo at the same time!

Dual Splash is also a bit better at setting up 1HKOs for your other attackers than Triple Laser. After being hit by one Dual Splash, all of the 130 HP Pokémon (Terrakion, Reshiram, Gothitelle, Zekrom etc.) are within KO range of Protect Charge. After being hit by two Dual Splashes, ALL Pokémon (except ones with Eviolite and Sigilyph) are within KO range of Protect Charge.

Furthermore, Kyogre EX is particularly helpful when Klinklang is paired against any Fire deck. Obviously Registeel-EX is not as helpful in these types of matchups so the burden of damage spread is shifted to Kyogre EX. Of course Kyogre EX still has that terrible weakness to Electric. However, we have the next Pokémon to help deal with that!

Groudon EX

pokemon-paradijs.comGroudon EX is perhaps the best opening Pokémon for a Klinklang deck. A turn 2 Tromp is pretty strong and helps set up long term KOs for the deck. In combination with Triple Laser and Dual Splash, Giant Claw is able to do 120 damage quite frequently! With the help of Registeel-EX and Kyogre EX, Groudon EX is able to 1HKO a lot of Pokémon (not just Fighting weak Pokémon!).

The general strategy of the deck is to begin the attack with Registeel-EX, take some early prizes on Support Pokémon and then clean up with Groudon EX. When the Defending Pokémon has been damaged, Giant Claw is an extremely powerful attack with no downsides.

With 180 HP and a resistance to Lightning attacks, Groudon EX can live for a long time. Groudon EX along with Registeel-EX and Kyogre EX are probably staples for any Klinklang deck in the new format. The inclusion of the next few Pokémon in a Klinklang list will largely depend on how the metagame shapes up in the next few months.

Kyurem EX

I know John Roberts II tried out Kyurem EX last season and quickly took it out of his Klinklang list. I largely agree that Kyurem EX was probably not too good last format. However, this big Water dragon may be useful for BLW-on.

In my testing, Kyurem EX has been relatively useful against opposing Mewtwo EX’s and other Pokémon that take great advantage of Double Colorless Energy and other Speical Energy. In combination with Kyogre EX, Fire matchups are made a lot more winnable. A lot of people have been trying Ho-Oh EX out here in St. Louis which has been troublesome for Klinklang. However, after I threw in Kyurem EX, those matchups greatly improved.

Kyurem EX would be much, much, much better if his second attack did 130 (or more). As is, 120 for 4 Energy is pretty bad. I don’t think I’ve used Hail Blizzard once actually…it is that bad.

If Fire is not popular in your area, Kyurem EX would probably not be very helpful. Although he can help against Mewtwo EX’s, there may be better options against Mewtwo EX such as…


Cobalion NVI

I do not really like Cobalion all that much. It isn’t searchable with Heavy Ball, has a low amount of HP and, without Special M Energy, is an easy Knock Out for lots of Pokémon. Of course there are times when it’d be nice to have a non-EX attacker or an attacker that only requires 2 Energy.

The case for Cobalion was much stronger in the HGSS format because big Mewtwo EX plays were far more common due to the presence of Shaymin. Fortunately, that card has been banned. Now, it is a lot harder to pile 6-8 Energy on a Mewtwo EX. In a format without Shaymin; Cobalion just isn’t as needed against opposing Mewtwo EX’s. However, I encourage you to test out Cobalion if you aren’t a fan of Kyurem EX or one of the other attackers included in my Klinklang list.

Darkrai EX

So, as stated earlier, Darkrai EX is a lot less powerful in modern Klinklang lists due to the loss of Rainbow Energy. My original lists did not run Darkrai EX and most of the games I lost were due to not having a Switch or some other way to change my active Pokémon. I decided to add in Darkrai EX to see if that would help at all…and it really has! Keeping 1 Prism Energy in play really isn’t too challenging. This means your Basic Pokémon should always have a free retreat if you can keep a Klinklang in play. This is huge! Although it can be tough getting 2 Prism Energy in play, 1 Prism Energy still gives the deck a lot of flexibility.

pokemon-paradijs.comI would strongly recommend including at least 1 Darkrai EX in any modern Klinklang list. Without Darkrai EX, I was often stuck with an undesirable Pokémon as my Active – even with 4 Switch! Even though he won’t attack too often, Night Spear can still be very useful once you get 2 Prism Energy in play.

I want to point out that there are quite a few other Pokémon that could also fit into a Klinklang deck such as Bouffalant DRX, Mewtwo EX, Terrakion NVI and Terrakion-EX. In regard to the last two Pokémon, Groudon EX is probably a much stronger Fighting type Pokémon unless you are able fit in a high count of PlusPower or Tool Scrapper into your Klinklang list. Without these two cards, you cannot one shot an Eviolited Darkrai EX (which makes these Fighting Pokémon far less desirable).

Bouffalant is way too fragile of a card to include into a deck such as Klinklang. One of the deck’s primary objectives is to keep as much Energy in play as possible. Even with Bouffalant’s Ability he is still too easy of a Knock Out.

Mewtwo EX is also a pretty fragile card. John did not include Mewtwo EX in his Nationals list for this very reason even though a Mewtwo EX stacked with Energy is a problem for Klinklang decks. However, it is a lot harder to pile a lot of Energy onto a Mewtwo EX without Shaymin. As a result, there is even less of an argument for the case of Mewtwo EX in modern Klinklang lists.

The Attackers of Hydreigon

There are far fewer choices of attackers in Hydreigon decks due to the types of Energy included on his Blend Energy. There aren’t a lot of strong Fire or Grass EX’s, aside from Shaymin EX (and perhaps Entei-EX…but he has no synergy with Hydreigon at all). Also, the Hydreigon deck needs to run a higher count of basic Energy relative to the Klinklang deck in order to take full advantage of Dark Patch.

Thus, it is a lot harder to fit Prism Energy into Hydreigon lists which means it will be a lot harder to attack with Pokémon that require more than 1 non-D Energy to Attack.

This does not mean that Hydreigon’s attackers are subpar, however. Let me introduce you to them!

Darkrai EX

pokemon-paradijs.comThe backbone and main attacker of the Hydreigon deck. Darkrai EX with Hydreigon is analogous tp Registeel-EX with Klinklang. There isn’t too much to say about Darkrai EX that hasn’t already been said before. Dark Cloak and Night Spear are both disgustingly good.

Sigilyph DRX

I have greatly missed Safeguard Pokémon. I am so glad that we finally have one again! EX’s are running rampant and Sigilyph is here to help. Sigilyph has many wonderful qualities. He or she is a strong Mewtwo EX counter, meaning Hydreigon doesn’t need a Mewtwo EX to counter opposing Mewtwo EX’s. Although Psychic isn’t the strongest attack, you will learn to love Psychic when your opponent cannot perform any profitable attacks.

I want to point out that Sigilpyh would probably not have been as strong last format due to Junk Arm. Of course opponents can still play Pokémon Catcher to avoid attacking into Sigilyph with Pokémon-EX. However, in the HGSS format, they could do this 8 times as opposed to 4 in the new format. This means that once your opponent has played 4 Pokémon Catcher, Sigilyph can sweep up the rest of the game if the opposing, attacking Pokémon are all EX’s.

Since Sigilyph only requires 1 P Energy to attack and can be searched out with Level Ball, this Psychic bird is very accessible. All Hydreigon decks should play this card!

Shaymin EX

Although Shaymin EX was seen a little bit in the HGSS format, this cute Pokémon was not very popular. However, Shaymin EX has found its niche deck this season. With the ability to abuse Hydreigon’s Blend Energy and Knock Out opposing Fighting Pokémon, Shaymin EX fits quite nicely into any Hydreigon deck.

Although Terrakion-EX focused decks can be very problematic for Darkrai EX centered decks, Shaymin EX helps significantly with these matchups. The primary downside to Shaymin EX is, of course, the 110 HP. Unfortunately this means that Shaymin EX is easily Knocked Out by many Pokémon including the new Bouffalant DRX (which is Shaymin EX’s newest and worst enemy).

Regardless of the low HP, Shaymin EX should probably be in all Hydreigon lists. Although I think Sigilyph is probably better than Shaymin EX, the cute Grass Pokémon can still provide lots of support for Hydreigon.

Sableye DEX

pokemon-paradijs.comSableye is probably the only reason that this deck is good. Without the support of Junk Hunt, Hydreigon would have too many problems setting up and lasting a full game. In the beginning of the game, Junk Hunt allows you to recover cards thrown away via Professor Juniper and Ultra Ball. Early Junk Hunts allow you to reuse Level Ball to get more Deinos, Sableyes, and Zweilous’ into play.

The deck can also aimlessly play Pokémon Catchers to provide some early disruption because they can be easily fished out later with Junk Hunt. Most decks should probably not do this anymore because the cap for your Catchers has drastically decreased without Junk Arm.

During the middle and ending phases of a game, I find myself using Junk Hunt in order to reuse Max Potion and Pokémon Catcher. If your opponent has no Pokémon Catcher left (or just 1), you can usually Junk Hunt pretty comfortably without fear of them dragging up a hurt Darkrai EX or some other Pokémon that you wish to heal.

You should also note that I have profitably used Confuse Ray numerous times. Again, the loss of Junk Arm makes attacks like this more useful because it is harder to Switch out of status effects and it is harder to Catcher around Sableye. Sableye has really gotten much better with the rotation.

If you’re playing Hydreigon, you must play Sableye. There is no question. Like Darkrai EX (and probably Sigilyph), Sableye is a staple in these types of decks.

Like Klinklang, the Hydreigon deck can also make use of several other Pokémon that may not be as necessary as the previous few cards. Of course you could play Bouffalant and Mewtwo EX but I would probably advise against these for the same reason I advised against them in Klinklang. I definitely would not play Mewtwo EX because Sigilyph performs a similar function (Mewtwo EX counter) – just better.

The Hydreigon deck could also take advantage of Registeel-EX. However, I don’t think including Registeel-EX in your Hydreigon list would be very wise. Without the ability to use Protect Charge, Registeel-EX is just vastly inferior to Darkrai EX.

Other Differences Between Hydreigon and Klinklang Decks

Other than the Energy and Pokémon, there are several other differences between Hydreigon and Klinklang decks. Here are the most important ones!

1. Pokémon Search

pokemon-paradijs.comI spoke pretty extensively about the Pokémon Search available to us in BLW-on in a blog entry over at CCG. Basically it says to run Pokémon Communication if you can and then fill in with Heavy Ball, Level Ball or Ultra Ball. Unfortunately, none of the lists I have come up with have enough Pokémon to effectively use Pokémon Communication. So, we must use the other three search cards!

Since every Pokémon except for Darkrai EX and Cobalion have a 3 Retreat Cost (or more) in Klinklang, Heavy Ball is an extremely strong choice. I tend to play 6-7 Pokémon Search cards in all of my decks, so the other 2-3 spots should be devoted to Ultra Ball.

Level Ball is a better choice in Hydreigon since it can search out Deino, Zweilous, Sableye and Sigilyph. This leaves the rest of the Pokémon Search cards open for Ultra Ball.

In the Pokémon Search department, Klinklang is much stronger. Since you can Heavy Ball for practically every Pokémon in the deck, it is pretty easy to get your Pokémon out on the field. Sableye does help Hydreigon quite a bit in this area, however. Sableye will let you reuse your early Level Balls and Ultra Balls.

2. Starting Pokémon

Klinklang doesn’t really have one nor have I felt the need for any. Sableye is the optimal starter for Hydreigon, of course. If there was a Sableye for Metal Pokémon, then naturally I would try and make room for it (Durant is no where near as good as Sableye).

Hydreigon naturally has a better opening game than Klinklang due to the presence of Sableye. However, the better Pokémon Search capabilities puts Klinklang on an even playing field with Hydreigon in regard to the first few turns of the game.


3. Energy Acceleration

Klinklang doesn’t have any unless you throw in that Klinklang from Emerging Powers (not that this card is bad…you’d just rather have the other Klinklang out). The ability to use Dark Patch gives Hydreigon a distinct advantage over Klinklang.

I will say, however, that when playing Hydreigon, Dark Patch isn’t as useful as it was in Darkrai EX decks during the HGSS era. This is the case for two reasons. The first is that we no longer have Junk Arm which means it is harder to get D Energy in the discard pile and we can’t reuse Dark Patch as easily (we can still reuse with Junk Hunt, of course). The second reason is that the goal of this deck is not to give up Prize cards. You want to heal your Pokémon so that they and their Energy are not sent to the discard pile. This implies that there will be less Energy in the discard pile (so there is less opportunity to use Dark Patch) and that there will be less of a need to attach extra Energy on your turn.

The only really useful times for Dark Patch are when it allows Darkrai EX to attack a turn earlier than it normally would be able to. However, this does not happen often because the first few turns are devoted to fishing out your Pokémon – not preparing for Dark Patch attachments.

It probably sounds like I’m not a big fan of Dark Patch. This is not the case. I am just explaining why it is a lot less useful in this deck than it was in all the Darkrai EX decks from HGSS-on. Dark Patch is still quite good with Darkrai EX and should be in Hydreigon lists.

4. Supporters

pokemon-paradijs.comThe major difference between the Supporter lines in each deck is that Hydreigon decks can and should take advantage of Professor Juniper while Klinklang decks cannot. Why you ask? Sableye. In the first few turns you do not have to worry about playing Professor Juniper in a Hydreigon deck because you can retrieve the important cards (Pokémon Catcher, Max Potion, Dark Patch, etc.) that may have been discarded with Professor Juniper. Klinklang cannot make such discards. Klinklang is limited to only 4 Max Potion, 4 Heavy Ball, 4 Pokémon Catcher, etc.

I talk quite a bit about the Supporters in BW-On in this entry on CCG. I generally do not like playing Professor Juniper in decks with Stage 2s, but Hydreigon is an exception because it runs Sableye. However, I have had to discard 3-4 Blend Energy and 2-3 Hydreigon with Professor Juniper a few times. It is hard to win games when things like this happen.

5. Other Items

The other differences between Hydreigon and Klinklang decks lie within the Item selection and counts. Since Klinklang can never have a free retreat, those lists have to run high counts of Switch. If you’re not playing Darkrai EX in your Klinklang deck, you need to be running 4 Switch.

Eviolite belonged in pretty much every deck that ran Basic attackers in HGSS-on. However, now that Tool Scrapper is around, deck builders have tough decisions to make regarding Eviolite. Should you devote space to Eviolite when many people could be playing Tool Scrapper? Could that space be better used? These are all questions I am asking myself now and I still don’t have answers.

I have been testing both Klinklang and Hydreigon lists with and without Eviolite. I’ve found that I like Eviolite in Klinklang more than in Hydreigon. I suspect this is the case because I frequently attack with Sableye and Sigilyph in the middle and ending parts of a game. This means that I am not strictly attacking with Darkrai EX which implies that Eviolite is giving less of a benefit than it would if I was only attacking with Darkrai EX.

BulbapediaWhen playing Klinklang, you often pick the EX that is the best attacker for the matchup and put all of your resources into it. This means that Eviolite is generally more useful in Klinklang decks than in Hydreigon decks because you want this attacker to be attacking as long as possible.

This observation implies that Klinklang is more susceptible to Tool Scrapper than Hydreigon (assuming both decks are playing Eviolite). It also implies that Klinklang is more dependent on Eviolite than Hydreigon. Of course, if nobody is running Tool Scrapper, this also implies that Klinklang gains more from Eviolite inclusion than Hydreigon does. Unfortunately, I don’t have a straightforward answer in regard to Eviolite in these decks. I largely think it belongs in Klinklang variants even if Tool Scrapper is relatively popular. Whether it belongs in Hydreigon most likely depends on your play style and the presence of Tool Scrapper in your metagame.

Pokémon Catcher is almost the reverse of Eviolite – it is more useful in Hydreigon decks than Klinklang decks. There is a fundamental difference in the approach each deck takes- Klinklang is more defensive whereas Hydreigon is more aggressive. The Klinklang deck spreads damage in order to set up multiple knock outs while the Hydreigon deck tries to two shot everything while setting up other knock outs with Night Spear’s +30 to the bench.

Naturally, Pokémon Catcher is more useful in a deck that doesn’t focus on spreading damage. Of course Pokémon Catcher has its uses in Klinklang – it just isn’t as necessary. As a result, the Klinklang list can probably play fewer Pokémon Catcher than the Hydreigon list. I do need to point out that 4 Pokémon Catcher is probably not necessary in Hydreigon lists because they can be retrieved with Junk Hunt…3 is probably a good number.

Super Rod is in pretty much every deck I play. However, I have taken it out of my Klinklang list. I just rarely had a use for it. Important Pokémon and Energy are not sent to the discard pile very often (they live a long time and I don’t play Professor Juniper). It has been very helpful in Hydreigon, however, because I play Professor Juniper and because Sigilpyh and Shaymin EX are pretty fragile (thus they can get Knocked Out pretty easily). Also, it can be reused with Junk Hunt. I have had to reuse Super Rod multiple times in a few games – especially when I have been close to decking out.

Lists for Both Decks

And finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for – my current decklists for both Klinklang and Hydreigon!

Pokémon – 15

4 Klink DEX
2 Klang DEX
3 Klinklang BLW
2 Registeel-EX
1 Groudon-EX DEX
1 Kyogre-EX DEX
1 Kyurem-EX NXD
1 Darkrai-EX DEX

Trainers – 32

4 N
4 Bianca
2 Cheren

3 Random Receiver


4 Heavy Ball
3 Ultra Ball
4 Max Potion
3 Switch
3 Rare Candy
2 Eviolite

Energy – 13

5 M

4 Blend WLFM
4 Prism

You will notice that I am not playing any Pokémon Catcher. During most of my testing, my list had 2-3 Pokémon Catcher. However, they were not very helpful. A large portion of your attacks are focused on spreading damage. When making these types of attacks, Pokémon Catcher isn’t useful. When you do want to make a large direct attack, usually you want to attack the active Pokémon.

I would really like to fit Pokémon Catcher in here…but the Eviolite are more important and I need a lot of Supporters/Pokémon Search. I’m sure I’ll get some criticism regarding the elimination of Pokémon Catcher…but I’m just following the lessons my recent testing has taught me.

Pokémon – 15

3 Deino NVI
1 Zweilous NVI
3 Hydreigon DRX 97
3 Sableye DEX
3 Darkrai-EX DEX
1 Sigilyph DRX
1 Shaymin-EX NXD

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
1 Bianca
4 Random Receiver


4 Ultra Ball
2 Level Ball

4 Max Potion

3 Rare Candy
3 Pokémon Catcher
3 Dark Patch
1 Super Rod

Energy – 12

8 D
4 Blend GRPD

The major difference you’ll see between my Hydreigon list and others is the elimination of Eviolite. I’ve cut these in order to play more Max Potion, Sableye and Random Receiver. Random Receiver on the first turn is a great play because it can be immediately picked up with Junk Hunt and used on the next turn. I love Random Receiver with Sableye!

You should also note that I am playing the Darkness-type Deino and Zweilous. Their attacks are worse but they have a better Weakness (cannot be hit for double damage by the new Rayquaza DRX) and can be attached to with Dark Patch.

Matchups for Both Decks

Now I’m going to discuss how each of these decks does against several of the decks that should be pretty popular during Fall Battle Roads and perhaps Fall Regionals. I will talk about how each deck handles the matchup and which deck has the stronger matchup in each case.

Eelektrik Variants

pokemon-paradijs.comThere are a lot of Eelektrik decks floating around right now. There are variants that focus on Raikou-EX and others that focus on Zekrom BLW/Zekrom-EX. There are also variants that focus on Registeel-EX and others that focus on Rayquaza EX. I’m sure there are probably some more…but these are the main ones.

I honestly haven’t tested at all with the Rayquaza EX variant – but I do have a fair amount of experience with the other three. I have probably played the most against these variants than any other decks with both Hydreigon and Klinklang. Unfortunately, it has been tough figuring out which decks have the advantage. I am pretty sure that the matchup is 50/50 between Hydreigon and Klinklang and all of these Eelektrik variants.

The matchups largely depend on how strong of a start each deck gets. If either deck struggles to get set up, then that deck will probably lose. Unfortunately, I have not had any games where both starts were “equally good.” If this were the case, I suspect Klinklang and Hydreigon would have the advantage.

The general strategy against these Eelektrik variants is to Knock Out Eelektriks with Darkrai EX or Registeel-EX spread damage. Of course, if the opponent is able to keep Eelektriks in play and get a lot of Energy on Mewtwo EX’s or Zekroms – Klinklang and Hydreigon decks will have a lot of issues healing the damage caused by these Pokémon

Unfortunately, most of these games have been complete shut outs one way or the other. Either the Klinklang deck annihilates the Eelekriks and the rest of the benched Pokémon or the Eelektriks get lots of Energy in play and obliterate the EX’s in the Klinklang deck.


In the case of Hydreigon, either the Darkrai EX’s sweep up the Eelektriks or the Eelektriks destroy the Deinos and Hydreigons which eliminates the usefulness of Max Potion (and the point of the deck). My Klinklang list plays a heavier Stage 2 line than my Hydreigon deck, so usually the issues occur with the EX’s – not the Klinklangs. Conversely, the Hydreigon deck has issues with the Stage 2 line – not the EX’s.

I will say that Eviolites are very useful for each deck in these matchups. If you can attach Eviolite to your EX’s, you will immediately be given an advantage. If the Eels deck can attach Eviolite to their Zekroms, Raikou-EX’s, Mewtwo EX’s or Registeel-EX’s, they’ll be given an advantage. In either case, the Eviolite can usually turn 2-shots into 3-shots. Of course this is much better for the deck with the Eviolited Pokémon! If you are very concerned about this matchup, you might want to consider finding room for Eviolite in your Hydreigon list.

Groudon EX is naturally good against many of the attackers in Eelektrik variants. If you’re playing against a heavy Zekrom or heavy Raikou-EX variant, then you should have a slightly easier time of things with Klinklang. Kyurem EX can also be quite helpful at reducing the amount of Double Colorless Energy in play. Registeel-EX is also very good at setting up knock outs on their attackers and reducing the amount of Eelektriks in play.

For this reason, I will say that Klinklang probably has a marginally better Eelektrik matchup than Hydreigon lists. I’m not sure if this is the case against the Rayquaza EX variant, however. Sigilyph might be extremely useful in that matchup. If this is the case then the advantage would be given to Hydreigon lists.


BulbapediaThis matchup is very interesting for both Klinklang and Hydreigon. I generally think both decks have the advantage over Garchomp/Altaria. The general strategy is to take out the Altarias before the Garchomps. This can be done via Registeel-EX and Kyogre EX damage spread or through Catcher + Night Spears. Once the Altarias are Knocked Out, the opposing Garchomp won’t be able to swing for very much damage and will be pretty easy to deal with.

In the case of Klinklang, issues can arise if Mach Cut is able to remove a lot of your Energy from play. The primary goal will be to get as many M Energy in play as possible and launch the assault with Registeel-EX for most of the game. After 2 Triple Lasers, Garchomp will have 80 HP left – just enough to be Knocked Out via Protect Charge!

In the case of Hydreigon, issues can arise if the Garchomp player can Knock Out your Hydreigons. Since Hydreigon is weak to Dragon, Mach Cut does 160 with one Altaria in play. Of course if you cannot heal your Darkrai EX’s, winning the prize race against swarming Garchomps will become much tougher. It is critical that you get out as many Deino/Hydreigon in play as possible in this matchup – that is the primary goal!

Against both decks, if the Garchomp/Altaria player is able to Max Potion 2-3 times over the course of a game, additional issues can arise. Max Potion can keep Altarias in play for additional turns and also allow Garchomps to attack for an extra turn or two. I’m not sure how many players are actually putting Max Potion into their Garchomp/Altaria lists, however…but I don’t think it’s the vast majority.

Anyway, in my games, none of these issues presented themselves very often. I won most of my games against Garchomp/Altaria with both decks. I do think Hydreigon has a marginally better matchup than Klinklang against Garchomp/Altaria. If you’re playing Klinklang, and you are worried about this matchup, an easy remedy is to drop a Blend Energy for another M Energy (or find some other things to drop for additional M Energy).


Terrakion-EX/Bouffalant DRX/Mewtwo EX

I haven’t tested this matchup all that much. However, I am confident that Klinklang has a stronger matchup than Hydreigon against these decks. Even with Eviolite, Darkrai EX is way too susceptible to Terrakion NVI and Terrakion-EX. The lists I have seen play relatively high counts of Tool Scrapper and PlusPower – both negating the protection offered by Eviolite for Darkrai EX. Of course Shaymin EX can help in these matchups- but Bouffalant is a very strong Shaymin EX counter.

The best strategy for Hydreigon decks against Terrakion-EX variants will be to attack with your Hydreigons. Unfortunately, these aren’t very strong attackers. As a result, I don’t think this is a very winnable matchup for Hydreigon.

In the case of Klinklang, this matchup is much better. The spreading capabilities of Registeel-EX and Kyogre EX will allow for some strong attacks from Groudon EX. Kyogre EX really shines in this matchup. If you are able to fit Pokémon Catcher into your list, you can easily gust up benched Pokémon that aren’t loaded with Energy and hit the bench with Kyogre EX or Registeel-EX. Kyurem EX may also be quite helpful by reducing the amount of Double Colorless Energy in play.

I can foresee some issues if the Terrakion-EX list plays several Enhanced Hammer. If they are able to remove 2-3 Energy over the course of a game, the matchup will become a lot harder. Also, since these lists generally run Tool Scrapper, you cannot overly rely on the protection of Eviolite. Finally, you should not bench Darkrai EX unless it is absolutely necessary. Of course the benched Darkrai EX will just be an easy 2 Prizes for the opponent.

Regardless of these problems, the Klinklang deck definitely has a stronger matchup than Hydreigon against Terrakion-EX variants. I would say it is probably 55-45 in the favor of Klinklang.

Accelgor DEX/Mew-EX/Gothitelle EPO 47

pokemon-paradijs.comThe later the opponent gets an active Gothitelle, the better. If they are unable to get a Gothitelle until turn 3-4, you should be able to do pretty well. However, a turn 2 Gothitelle (especially if the Accelgor deck goes first) means lots and lots of problems. You cannot search out your Pokémon or play Rare Candy which means getting a Stage 2 out will be almost impossible. If you are able to get your Stage 2 and several attacking Pokémon in play before a Gothitelle is active, you should be ok with either Klinklang of Hydreigon.

A very strong strategy is to save your N’s until the end of the game when the Accelgor deck has 2-3 Prizes left. The Accelgor lock can be easily broken if you are able to capitalize on late game N’s.

I think both decks have pretty good matchups against Accelgor. The Klinklang deck can take advantage of the spreading capabilities of Registeel-EX and Kyogre EX to Knock Out the Musharnas and Accelgors that are so important to the functioning of the deck. If you are able to put an Eviolite on Registeel, Mew-EX will not be able to hit Registeel-EX for very much damage (an Eviolite on Darkrai EX creates the same scenario).

This means that they will have to fish out a Mew-EX and a Double Colorless Energy 6 times before Knocking Out the Registeel-EX…and that is a lot of turns! It is very probable that they miss at least one of these cards at some point over these 6 turns. This means the lock should end at some point before Registeel-EX is Knocked Out.

While the Hydreigon deck doesn’t have the same spreading capabilities as Klinklang, Sigilyph can be quite helpful since Mew-EX cannot attack him (or her). Unfortunately this does not create an auto-win for Hydreigon because the Accelgor deck can Pokémon Catcher around the Sigilyph. Also, the Accelgor deck can actually attack the Sigilyph with Accelgor (also Gothitelle with a Blend+DCE 1-shots Sigilyph). Although attacking with Accelgor means it is likely that you can’t Deck and Cover next turn…it is still a good play against Sigilyph in many cases.

Like I said, they both are pretty good against Accelgor. Hydreigon is marginally better for three reasons.

youtube.com1. Hydreigon has 150 HP. This means that if Deck and Cover is used against Hydreigon twice, it will be Knocked Out coming back into your turn. If Deck and Cover is used against Klinklang twice, Klinklang will be Knocked Out going into your opponents turn (Klinklang only has 140 HP) – which allows the Accelgor deck to continue the lock without being attacked between knock outs. Of course the Accelgor deck could play a PlusPower while attacking Hydreigon to make the Hydreigon die coming back into their turn.

2. Hydreigon can be given a free Retreat Cost. This doesn’t matter too much; but if the lock is broken before a second Deck and Cover is used against Hydreigon, he can easily be retreated for another Pokémon. Klinklang will still be stuck in the Active Spot in such a situation because Switch cannot be used while Gothitelle is active.

3. Hydreigon 1-shots Gothitelle more consistently than Klinklang does. Of course you can flip two heads with Gear Grind, but Dragonblast will always 1-shot Gothitelle. This can be useful every once and a while. You don’t want to use Dragonblast very often, however, because you cannot get the energy back with Dark Patch against Gothitelle.

As a result, those discards can be pretty harmful for the deck. You also, generally, want to keep your Hydreigons in play, so you’d rather do the attacking with a Darkrai EX, Sigilyph or Shaymin EX.

These three points really are not that big of a deal but, for the sake of this article, I will name Hydreigon the superior deck against Accelgor/Mew-EX/Gothitelle.

Darkrai EX/Hydreigon

pokemon-paradijs.comIn the case of the mirror match, I don’t have too much valuable insight to offer. I am well aware that a lot of players are not playing 4 Max Potion in their Hydreigon lists and I think this is incredibly unwise. I strongly believe that you should max out on Max Potion! It is true that you can reuse them with Junk Hunt. However, many times you cannot interrupt your Darkrai EX assault with an attack from Sableye without taking great risk. In fact, I would play 5-6 Max Potion if I could!

The 4th Max Potion should give you an advantage in the mirror match. Otherwise it will be typical mirror matchy things – who gets a better start, who draws the cards when they need them, who is more skillful, etc. Be very mindful of opposing Shaymin EX plays toward the end of the game. N + Shaymin EX could spell disaster in the mirror match.

So now to continue with our epic battle described in the introduction – what would happen if our Klinklang and Hydreigon decks were paired with one another? I have played this matchup quite a bit and have learned that Sableye gives Hydreigon a significant advantage for two reasons. The first is the ability to use more Max Potion over the course of the game. With Junk Hunt you can easily use Max Potion 6+ times during a game. Obviously this gives Hydreigon a distinct advantage over Klinklang.

The second is the ability to spam Pokémon Catcher. Since Klinklang can never be given a free retreat, it is easy to get a Klinklang stuck in the Active Spot. If the Hydreigon player is able to access a lot of Pokémon Catcher during their game against Klinklang, they can completely destroy the support offered by the Metal Pokémon.

Of course the Hydreigon deck will not win all of the time against Klinklang. The Klinklang deck still has Groudon EX to hit Darkrai EX for Weakness and the ability to take out Deinos and other support Pokémon with Registeel-EX and Kyogre EX. Ultimately, the matchup is probably 60-40 in the favor of Hydreigon. So yes, the Hydreigon, Darkrai, Sigilyph and Sableye would most likely win against the Klinklang and his plethora of legendary support.

Which Deck is the Best

masterofgeckos.deviantart.comThe observation that Hydreigon usually beats Klinklang does not imply that Hydreigon is definitely the better choice. However, Hydreigon is probably the better deck due to the presence of Sableye and Professor Juniper. If Hydreigon lists could not include these two cards for whatever reason, Klinklang would probably be the better deck.

Sableye provides the deck with such an amazing amount of support. He helps you get set up and helps you last the full game by allowing you to reuse Max Potion, Pokémon Catcher and Dark Patch. He is perhaps the most broken card we have available to us right now in the BW-On format.

Any deck that can play Professor Juniper immediately has an advantage over decks that cannot play her. She adds a significant amount of consistency to any deck that can fit her in. Of course there is also the added benefit of getting D Energy in the discard pile for Dark Patch.

So, yes, with the help of Sableye and Professor Juniper, Hydreigon is a cut above Klinklang. However, if your area is infested with a lot of Terrakion-EX or other such counter decks, Klinklang is probably a better choice. Of course there are some other matchups that Klinklang is better at than Hydreigon (such as other Fighting variants and perhaps Garbodor DRX decks). If these decks are popular in your area, Klinklang may be a better deck choice.

Regardless, Klinklang is still a very strong deck – perhaps Tier 1.5-2 (Hydreigon is most certainly Tier 1). If your play style caters more to the Klinklang deck, then play it! You will definitely be able to win tournaments with Klinklang.

In Conclusion

Mark A. HicksNow that Hydreigon has been crowned the victor, I’d like to congratulate all of the players that competed at the World Championships last weekend. You should all be very proud of your accomplishments in the 2011-2012 season. This has been a tough year (particularly all of the events after City Championships). The Pokémon-EX added a very harsh element to our game. However, the harshness will be mostly gone in BLW-on due to the loss of Smeargle UD, Junk Arm and Shaymin UL.

I am very excited for the 2012-2013 season. I really love the format we have right now. So many things have the potential to win! Tournaments are a lot more fun when there is an array of decks that can win. I encourage you to try out as many possibilities as you possibly can. I am having such a blast!

Speaking of blasts…if you had one while reading this article, please let me know! I look forward to hearing what you have to say about Klinklang and Hydreigon.


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