Episode 2 here we go! With a new format yet-to-be-played, and a tournament structure different from Japan, that allows multiple different kinds of decks to strive when before they had no chance (ex: Garbodor DRX), there’s nothing more enjoyable than trying to find the hidden gems of strategy that everyone has overlooked.
Due to the release structure of Pokémon, we in North America have a stagnated imagination. Months before we get our cards, we have already tested our decks and are ready to hit up our first premier tournament series with a top-tier deck list already constructed, and proven to be effective. That… is a bit silly. I mean, before we even have a chance to be creative, many of the best archetypes have already been refined to a large extent.
However, as I hinted at above, there is a key difference between our tournament structure and Japan’s. In Japan, time constraints are so harsh that any setup deck will take far too long to make sure you can get into the top cut. However in North America, losing one game won’t end your whole tournament (although it will now prevent you from winning Battle Roads). Thus, slower, more intricate strategies are exploitable.
So let’s move on with a couple decks themed around being a little more complex in setup, and a little more disruptive in strategy.
Garbodor is a deck that had a whole (well-written) article recently published here on SixPrizes, so I don’t imagine I need to explain much of what Garbodor does. Below is the Garbodor/Terrakion list I built, which is pretty similar to one of Kennan’s.
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 35
Energy – 12
As far as I’m concerned, Trubbish NVI is a pretty obvious inclusion. Neither Trubbish is protected from the Mewtwo donk, and Tornadus EX is not so large a force that you should really remove the versatility that a T1 Garbage Collection for [C] can offer.
However, the big difference in my list to Kennan’s is the omission of Terrakion NVI entirely, and the inclusion of Bouffalant DRX. Though I can understand wanting to have a non-EX answer to your opponent’s EX, they will likely already be Catcher-KO’ing Garbodor at least once in a game. This means that you’re not really forcing your opponent to take seven prizes by playing a non-EX attacker.
Since your EX attackers are already pretty capable of handling their own, and Garbodor shuts down Sigilyph DRX, I say leave it to them. Terrakion NVI is certainly a worthy tech, but if you notice my list, you’ll actually see it’s only 57 cards.
The remaining three Trainer cards I would love to include but can’t decide on are Energy Retrieval, Super Rod, Energy Switch, a second Cheren, and Potion. The problem being that you really can’t just include a 1-of of any of these techy cards, since that will just prevent you from any sort of consistency. You could potentially remove a Fighting Energy for Energy Retrieval itself, but I don’t see Energy Retrieval being the top of the list.
Energy Retrieval: This deck already runs three Exp. Share, so you should likely keep enough Energy on board that Energy Retrieval is useless. But Terrakion EX’s Pump Smash attack is too inviting to not want to try and take advantage of it.
Energy Switch: Energy Switch would provide some very important and interesting shenanigans for the deck. The ability to preserve Energy via Exp. Share and then move it where you want is very good. Energy Switch also lets you drop cards like Bouffalant from your hand as a surprise to OHKO your opponent’s Shaymin EX.
Cheren #2: More consistent Supporter line. Cheren is the weakest Supporter in the deck, but I’m still just uncomfortable going as low as 12 without supplemental draw, and 13 is still a bit iffy but I could make peace with it. Nonetheless, a 14th Supporter would be nice to have, just for the sake of having it.
Potion: Potion is one of the reasons I want to play without any Terrakion NVI. Pump Smash may be able to give a Terrakion NVI a quick charge, but it is still going to get KO’d quickly by Hydreigon, Shaymin EX, Zekrom + PlusPower, and also effectively gets OHKO’d by Accelgor DEX. Potion can give my Terrakion EX the chance to turn a 2HKO from something like Darkrai into a 3HKO, which would be a nice “seal the deal” type of card. Potion also works to throw shenanigans into your opponent’s careful planning, just like Energy Switch.
That said, I don’t really know what I’d want to include. If I had to fill the list in, I would like go with one Super Rod, one Energy Switch and one Potion. That would provide me the one-time shenanigans I crave. Still, with so many 1-of cards, they’re bound to be discarded by Juniper before they can get used, and Juniper is too essential to setup to ignore. So if I were to exercise some self-constraint, I would probably just include two Super Rod and one Energy Switch.
Just as in my last article though, I won’t just leave you with a deck list, we really should look at some other options for Garbodor. This pile of trash has been left unexplored by the Japanese metagame, so we should really leave no stone unturned (at least in the thought tank).
Garbodor alongside Crushing Hammers and Enhanced Hammers will absolutely destroy Darkrai/Hydreigon. Think about it this way. They can’t move Energy to the Active, so their Dark Patch target has to be on the bench. Then they have to retreat from the Active slot while retaining the ability to attack that turn. The concept of hammering them ought to just completely destroy their setup, giving you time to methodically complete yours.
Sableye also forms the core of how you would counter Terrakion/Mewtwo, denying them any energy attachments the whole game through. This matchup would likely be tough, but the only Pokémon that can immediately attack you would be Mewtwo, and it would need a PlusPower for the KO on Sableye. Provided you could get Sableye out and annoying before they get too many energy on the field, I can see this deck having answers to the most direct counter to Garbodor.
The other important matchups I guess one should discuss would be Eels (Rayquaza and non) and FluffyChomp. Well, FluffyChomp is dead in the water as soon as Garbodor has his Tool attached, and Eels without the ability to recover Energy would not appreciate Hammertime. I seriously think this deck has one of the greatest potentials of the Garbodor decks out there, so even though normally I would just discuss the idea, I’ll throw down a list for people to test with for this deck. It shouldn’t be treated as an afterthought, this should be on the forefront of Garbodor development, alongside Terrakion/Mewtwo (Big Basics).
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 36
Energy – 11
11 Darkness – Basic
Depending on what you want to prioritize, I might play around with the Item lines a bit, or even throw in a 4th Sableye DEX. But what’s kind of interesting about this option for Hammertime is that Trubbish NVI serves as an alternate Hammertime condition! Beyond that, Trubbish can actually get Supporters back from the Discard Pile on your first turn, while Sableye can get Random Receivers (alongside your Hammer of choice, or maybe a Catcher/Dark Patch).
Hammertime’s potential is only strengthened by the inclusion of Garbodor, and what’s even better is that if they ever Catcher-KO your Garbodor, you can bring out Sableye to free retreat (provided Darkrai is in play, and Sableye has energy attached), and then use a Dark Patch or two onto Darkrai (or vice versa if you’re going for Hammers + Sableye), and then evolve into Garbodor and re-lock.
This theme of “get around my own lock” was something that a few adventurous Vileplume UD players (myself included) liked to toy around with a bit using Seeker Shenanigans. In my EX Truth lists, I ran 2-3 Seekers and 1-2 Eviolites, such that I could heal damage off of my board effectively, and even Eviolite my EX during the brief moment my lock was down. This provided me with an even bulkier and more difficult attacker to OHKO when facing down Mewtwo EX.
In this spirit, we can move on to the next idea…
Eels N’ Trash
Eelektrik is undeniably the best Energy accelerator we have in the format, and the power that charging up your attackers in one turn brings to a deck is unparalleled. This is best evidenced by ZekEels being the only deck in the last few formats to actually retain its spot in Tier 1 for… more than two formats. We have literally had such a crazy last few sets that the only deck that can really compete with ZekEels for staying power would be ReshiPhlosion, which is a deck that got significantly worse in the metagame, but just hung around hovering in Tier 2 for a while before being rotated finally.
Well, as I mentioned, your opponent will likely be gracious enough to KO your Garbodor for you, and then let it be your turn. This means that you can conceivably use Dynamotor on your turn before re-evolving/Tooling another Garbodor, giving yourself an option to accelerate your Energy mid-game. This acceleration won’t be as efficient as a standard ZekEels list, but I would say that you will likely use Dynamotor about as often as CMT used Forest Breath.
And we all know that having access to Forest Breath even just 3-5 times a game is enough to apply some serious pressure on your opponent (though Celebi Prime could use it on the first turn, but I digress).
The question then really becomes, what do you include with Eels N’ Trash? I would say you can’t really expect to get two Eels on board, since you’ll need two bench spots for Garbodor at a minimum. Thus your standard 4-3 Eel line is probably overkill. You probably also want one spot for some sort of free retreater to effectively use Dynamotor (Emolga DRX makes a great example, but Skyarrow Bridge can open up options for you). Thus, we’ll have about two spots free for attackers, one in the Active and one on the Bench waiting to be charged.
Therefore, you’ll likely be restricted to attackers with only two Energy card costs. I might recommend Thundurus EPO though, to pull Energy out of the deck and apply quick pressure. Colourless attackers to consider are Mewtwo EX, Tornadus EX, Registeel EX and even Regigigas EX (haven’t heard that name in a while have you). However, if you want to include Prism/Blend Energy, a couple more attackers become viable.
Shaymin EX becomes a powerful finisher, Terrakion NVI becomes a strong anti-meta choice. Additionally, any EX with an attack cost of two specific Energy and one Colourless could be charged over the course of two turns, which is very possible considering they will need to deal with Garbodor, the Benched attacker and your currently-set-up attacker simultaneously. One of those three has to be put on the back burner, and it’s likely to be the thing that isn’t ready yet.
Entei EX won Canadian Nationals, proving the deck was at least pretty solid in the top tiers. Well… Entei’s time is likely past now… or is it! Entei is a big, bulky, two-shotting and getting two-shotted EX that can accelerate Energy from the discard. That sounds absolutely wonderful for a deck that wants to slow down a fast paced metagame. Entei can OHKO Eelektriks and Zweilous, while also at least 2HKO’ing everything in the format.
The problem really comes with what to pair Entei with, if anything at all? Reshiram EX makes a decent argument. It can be charged by Entei relatively quickly, hits like a truck, and has a 50% chance to have no drawback for OHKO’ing whatever with 150 HP or less. Then there’s the 50% chance that you do damage to yourself, putting you in a precarious situation.
Eviolite can mitigate this, and running Potion to heal Enteis and Reshiram EX’s could also be useful. The question then becomes… is Reshiram EX really worth it? It has potential? I feel like it does, but I’m not sure it would be better than just straight Entei.
The other option is to just use cards like Mewtwo EX and Registeel EX to supplement Entei. I would say Mewtwo is a good inclusion, especially with Mewtwo no longer being a definite inclusion in every tier 1 list (although every tier 1 list does have a way to deal with Mewtwo).
The main idea would be that with Garbodor support, you’re the only one with energy acceleration, which ought to put you in a good position to win Mewtwo wars. But charging Mewtwos a turn prior isn’t the greatest way to Mewtwo war, so you’d probably have to combo the charging turn with a well timed N.
The other, and less thought-out option is Blaziken DEX. Blaziken can dish out 130 damage every turn after it’s set up, has a respectable 140 HP, and is generally a very good card overall. That said, Garbodor has space issues due to the necessary Tools to be included, so including a Stage 2 line would be difficult to say the least.
Garbodor has one of the more powerful game-changing abilities available, and is not a Pokémon to be underestimated. However, Garbodor never did see much play in Japan. It’s true that the Japanese format doesn’t favour setup decks… but Garbodor really isn’t THAT slow. It’s not a deck that tries to go behind in prizes or anything. I’ll give the Japanese players credit on this one and say that they didn’t all just miss out on an obvious tier 1 contender. I’m sure that some of the better Garbodor lists possible were constructed, and just didn’t quite make it to any Battle Carnival top cuts.
Still, I’d say both the Terrakion variants and Hammertime variants hold a lot of promise, and are worth considering for Battle Roads. I wouldn’t let your deck choice be influenced by the matchup though, unless it really takes off.
Pokémon – 19
2 Giratina EX
Trainers – 30
Energy – 11
4 Darkness – Basic
So this deck list is clearly based around the same philosophy of Darkrai/Hydreigon. Heck, it’s really just a teched Darkrai/Hydreigon. But both Giratina and Leavanny bring something to the deck that is highly desirable.
Giratina’s Shred attack is actually the more interesting option. Shred will 2HKO every Pokémon in the format regardless of Eviolite, and will OHKO Rayquaza EX, Hydreigon and Garchomp. Giratina also can’t be walled by Sigilyph DRX, and will OHKO Eelektriks, which covers most all of the bases of the current metagame. Of course, the problem with using Giratina is that every Dragon he can OHKO, can also OHKO Giratina thanks to Weakness. That’s where Eviolite comes in.
Just kidding, that’s a bad idea. Leavanny is what can save Giratina’s chances at being used in the current format. What’s great is that Leavanny also protects Hydreigon from being OHKO’d by other Hydreigons, Garchomps and Rayquaza DRX’s. Rayquaza EX also has a harder time OHKO’ing Hydreigon, while Giratina EX can drop in out of nowhere and OHKO back.
Leavanny also serves as a counter to Mewtwo/Terrakion, preventing terrakion from OHKO’ing Darkrais. Leavanny will protect everything in your deck from everything. A heavy 3-0-3 line will provide you with your Leavanny when you need it.
Considering this deck is really just an alternate way to run Darkrai/Hydreigon, I won’t go over a list of potential decks you could also run this strategy with. What I will say is that the way you actually run the deck is probably more similar to Klinklang EX than Darkrai/Hydreigon. You don’t need Dark Patches, and you’re using so many Pokémon, Pokémon Communication can be your efficient form of search instead of Ultra Ball. A couple Heavy Balls round out the list to search for Giratina, Zweilous and Hydreigon.
The one strategy I would consider against FluffyChomp is to try and get as many Basic Dark energies in play as soon as possible, allowing you to use Darkrai as your attacker. Leavanny can protect your Hydreigon from being KO’d provided you have an Energy on it, but you do have to worry about getting outsped. With so many Special Energies in the deck, you might want to consider a fifth Dark Energy and drop one Prism.
But Giratina will serve as an attacker that can OHKO their Garchomps, and provided they don’t get the Energy you’ve attached in the first two turns, you’re set up to just attach per turn to keep up with their discarding potential. Thanks to Hydreigon, you can attach your Energies anywhere, so you can hopefully avoid letting them go to waste.
So I hope you’ve enjoyed this article! We’ve got over two weeks before we actually experience the BLW-DRX format first hand, so we might as well at least be having fun with it beforehand. These lists aren’t tested heavily against the metagame, I’ve more just refined them to the point that they are at least functional decks, which have a respectable shot at the metagame.
True testing at this point is pretty difficult to come up with since it’s mostly limited to within friend-groups. I know PlayTcg.me has updated with DRX scans, but there’ll be a while yet before the metagame is fully defined.
So throw down and have fun with some of the ideas I’ve posted here. Or, better yet, hopefully I’ve even inspired you to test out your own rogue deck/strategy! This has been the 2nd in what is becoming a series of rogue articles. So if you do want to see more, be sure to give this a +1!