Jay’s Gym: The Smell of Victory

volny.czWorlds this year was an unbelievable experience and I never fully realized how popular SixPrizes is around the world. I had people coming up to me from countries all over the world telling me they enjoyed reading the articles. I think most writers dream of being able to say they wrote something that was read around the world, so it’s a really cool feeling to know that you have. Being able to say that you know and have met people from all over the world is also a really cool feeling, so thank you to everybody who came up to me and introduced themselves.

I think it’s fairly safe to say that when it comes to my Pokémon career that I am in my old age. I’m 23 years old and the only thing separating me from graduation is a bit of red tape from the university. This has led me to take the last few weeks and really reflect on the last 9 years of my life. I realized over the years I have made so many amazing friends and memories it would be near impossible for me to simply walk away from this game.

While my intent is to hopefully make it to Nationals or Worlds every year, it simply won’t be possible for me to attend events like I have in the past. Don’t take this as a resignation letter from me quite yet, rather this is just me looking ahead toward the future and reflecting on my past. Everybody dreams of getting to go out on top and I’ll be happy to say I did.

My look into the future aside, I still have an article to write here. I’m going to do a short recap on my Top 4 Worlds run and then the rest of the article will be devoted to BLW-on. The new format is simply full of possibilities and I want to talk about a few different ideas I’ve been exploring.

Worlds

pokemon-paradijs.comThis summer I was taking 3 condensed classes and working, so my summer didn’t have the same “summer” feel to it like it has had in the past. I felt like I did a pretty good job keeping up on the meta through sources like SixPrizes and The Top Cut, but as far as playtesting goes I did very little. I started testing for Nationals I believe on the Tuesday before the tournament and I started testing for Worlds the Monday before the tournament.

This is by far the exact opposite approach to the one that you should be taking. While I did end up with very good showings at Nationals and Worlds with my lack of playtesting, I do feel it limited my options (deck wise) and I could have been burned by it far worse than I was. Coming into Worlds I focused all of my testing on mirror and Eelektrik. I played a total of zero games against Accelgor or really any Vileplume based deck in general.

When you have “real life” pressures pushing you from all sides something has to give and in this case it was my testing time. I did however feel familiar enough with lists and concepts that had I run into the matchups I could have “theorymoned” my way through it. The other approach I took is I talked the deck and matchups over with people who had more experience with the deck than myself like Ty Smith.

Once again I took about the worst approach to take at this level of play, however it is far more applicable at lower level tournaments like Battle Roads and Cities. Especially in a diverse format you might not have the ability to test every matchup as much as you want. Having a good idea of lists, concepts, and how the matchups should play out will pay dividends if you wind up across the table from it.

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I get in to Hawaii on Wednesday afternoon, but am so jet lagged I really don’t do anything except go swimming and relax at the resort. Thursday was a different story and I actually playtest quite a lot, mainly with Ben, Goeff, and Sydney. I test both a slightly modified version of my Nationals deck and a slightly modified version of the Kevin Nance Eelektrik deck.

After my experience with Eels at States I felt like I knew how to play it, but the deck just wasn’t my play style in this format. I would get hands that would make me love the deck, and hands that would make me cringe. I felt like the deck could deal with a late game N better than any other deck in the format, which I really liked. To be honest though I don’t think I ever strongly considered Eels and deep down I knew I would be playing some sort of Darkrai variant.

I panic last minute and almost switch to Speed Darkrai, basically taking Tom Dolezal’s list and adding in 3 Lost Remover. I get as far with the deck as thinking it’s a good play at 8 AM Saturday morning. I play three test games with Thomas Arena which he wins 2-1. Deep down I think I was honestly hoping he would win, as I needed just a little boost for me to stick with Darkrai/Mewtwo.

I sit down next to Ben, Geoff, and Sydney and start filling out my list hidden behind a backpack. A Senior comes over on the other side of the table and goes to a lot of trouble to steal a peek at my list. I half freak out on him, which gives Ben and Goeff a good laugh.

More or less I mention this because I just wanted to make the point that it’s rude and bad etiquette. If somebody is just sitting there playing a game and you want to watch fine, but if they’re filling out a list and they are going to some trouble to hide it, have a bit of respect and leave them alone. It’s a little thing, but that mutual respect among competitors is something that you see a lot among top players.

“The List”

Pokémon – 11

3 Darknessrai-EX
3 Mewtwo-EX
3 Smeargle UD
2 Shaymin UL

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper
4 N

1 Professor Oak’s New Theory

3 Random Receiver

 

4 Junk Arm
4 Dark Patch
4 Ultra Ball
3 Eviolite
3 Pokémon Catcher
2 PlusPower
2 Switch

 

1 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 14

10 Darkness [Basic]
4 Double Colorless

pokemon-paradijs.comThe deck was the same as I used at Nationals with just the little switch of dropping the Max Potion for a 10th Dark Energy and the Dual Ball for a 4th Ultra Ball. While these changes might seem minor they were very deliberate and impactful. Throughout the entire course of Nationals I never felt like Max Potion made a huge impact in a game. The Shaymin/Max Potion combo was simply not reliable enough to pull off consistently and oftentimes I found the card to be dead weight.

The other issue was I often found myself going to a lot of effort to get a T1 Dark Patch off only to miss the T1 Energy drop. I felt the 10th Energy would be a more live card all around and help me hit the Energy drop every turn. This decision also made switching the lone Dual Ball to a 4th Ultra Ball far easier, a decision I was trying to talk myself into for a while.

The basic idea was that I wanted a Darkrai/Mewtwo deck that could play like a Turn 1 Darkrai deck that ran Mewtwo. I felt these decisions were impactful in both of my Top 16 match against Aaron Curry (where I hit T1 Darkrai game 3 as time was called) and my Top 8 match against Stefan Tabaco where I hit Turn 2 Darkrai (and had a nice stream of Energy throughout the game).

Both the hands against Harrison in Top 4 were extremely subpar from the standpoint I never saw Dark Energy early and I was forced to Juniper in bad situations (once when I had 2 DCE in hand and 1 in the discard and the other where I Portrait into a Juniper when I’m holding 2 Shaymin).

pokemon-paradijs.comThis brings to me to the last point of the deck; it varied greatly from Brett Brander’s version which made Top 8 (Ian Brander posted the list on HeyTrainer). They favored PONT to Juniper, as they preferred to conserve resources such as Shaymin and DCE. My thinking heading into Worlds is that most decks would be playing a large Mewtwo EX count. This would make for much faster games.

In my mind this made preserving resources less important in a game. My goal was to burn through my deck as quickly as possible and discard dead cards often (which the 4th Ultra Ball helped with). This might mean at the end of a game I only have 1 or 2 Junk Arm left, but when your deck is less than 10 cards you have a much higher chance of hitting it off a late game N.

In fact in many cases I drew very well late game simply because I didn’t have many cards left. This strategy was very effective for me over the weekend, but my Top 4 match was a prime example of the risks of this sort of strategy.

I would also like to note how little card changes and your mind set can dramatically impact how a deck is played. I only changed 2 cards in my deck from Nationals, but my mindset with the deck heading into Worlds was more…evolved.

The Tournament

I won’t bore you with a long tournament report in a format most of you forgot about a few weeks ago. Instead I’ll just give a quick rundown and hit on some high notes.

  • Round 1: Win vs. Japan with Terrakion/Mewtwo EX/Techs
  • Round 2: Win vs. Switzerland with Eelektrik/Terrakion
  • Round 3: Win vs. Singapore
  • Round 4: Win vs. US with Zekrom/Eelektrik (I caught some really lucky breaks.)
  • Round 5: Loss vs. Argentina with Darkrai/Mewtwo (I open really well, but prized 2 Darkrai, Mewtwo, and a Shaymin so my lead disappears quickly.)
  • Round 6: Win vs. US with Speed Darkrai
  • Round 7: Win vs. US with Terrakion/Tornadus/Techs (He draws passes the whole game.)

I finish Swiss at 6-1, which at the time I didn’t full realize how important that was. However the next day resistance is what decided who got 3rd and who got 4th between Diaz and myself. Had I lost this game I would have came in 4th and missed the trophy card. I feel like I caught some bad luck in my round 5 loss, but had some extremely good luck in a few of my wins so I can’t complain.

Heading into Top 16 I took a very different approach than I normally do. Usually I just try and relax the night before a big game, but instead we went back up to the room and I played a half dozen games against Eels. I played enough against it where I felt good about what I was doing, but not so much I felt like I became complacent in the matchup.

My goal was to go into Sunday with a “playing against Eels” mindset and I think it really worked. This is probably a strategy that I’ll try and employ in the future.

Top 16 Aaron Curry with Eels

Game 1

pokemon-paradijs.comHe flips really badly on Dual Ball, which gives me the little extra time to get a lead on him. Due to this early lead he can’t really go aggressive with Mewtwo EX, which is key in this matchup.

1-0

Game 2

Aaron has a much stronger start this game and gets the early lead this game. He also does a great job of mitigating my bench damage with Max Potion. This makes me trying to steal a double prize near impossible. I hang with him in the tradeoffs and I feel like I have a small chance of winning off a late game N. I don’t exactly remember how he won this game, just that he did.

1-1

Game 3

Aaron mulligans once, which is never good going second against a Darkrai deck. He sets down a lone Basic and I start running cards when he flips it over though he reveals a Zekrom-EX. It was a card I knew he ran, but I don’t believe I had actually seen it yet in the matchup. Time is called very early on my first turn, so thankfully my hand was the best I had all tournament.

After 2 Portraits and my own Supporter I manage to hit a T1 Darkrai and put 90 on the Zekrom-EX (Turn 0). Aaron didn’t have the Max Potion or anyway to get the Zekrom-EX out of the active spot, but he does get 3 Tynamos on the bench (Turn 1). Next turn I KO the Zekrom-EX and put 30 on one of his benched Tynamos (Turn 2).

I get a bit worried that I did the math wrong when he starts playing around with cards in his hand. I figured even with a Mewtwo EX, DCE, Shaymin (he had 1 Energy in play) and 3 Eels he would be 20 shy. I hadn’t seen a PlusPower yet so I figured I was safe, but a random tech 1 might have not come up yet.

He spends a few minutes looking over options, but finally offers the handshake. I think he was a bit bitter about time being called, not that I blame him. Another 10 minutes and it could have been a very different game.

2-1

Top 8 Stefan Tabaco with CMT

pokemon-paradijs.comI actually did very little testing against CMT and I knew it could be teched so many different ways. Honestly I wasn’t sure how the matchup was going to play out since I didn’t know all of his techs. My strategy going into the game was to never take a Prize unless I had to because Terrakion could Retaliate. He had very easy outs to both of my main attackers, so I needed to take 2 Prizes with each Darkrai.

I was only going to use my Mewtwos against his Mewtwos and possibly Terrakion if I felt the risk was worth it. The big thing was I knew I couldn’t make 2 for 1 trades with him, which is something his deck excelled at.

Game 1

The game went picture perfect for me hitting Turn 2 Darkrai while his hand was pretty bad. I stuck to my strategy though and refused to get cocky. I knew that one good Terrakion could completely shift the game in his favor. He keeps drawing dead though as I draw exceptionally well.

1-0

Game 2

It went a lot like the first as Stefan opened with Terrakion and proceed to have some pretty bad draws most of the game.

2-0

Stefan was an amazing sport about the whole thing, which I have a lot of respect for. I was happy to pick up the win, but I know that the hands he got both games didn’t at all reflect the strength of his deck or give him the ability to play like the amazing player he is.

Top 4 Harrison Leven with Darkrai/Mewtwo

I’m actually not going to go into a ton of detail about this now since I feel like I went into a lot of it earlier discussing the deck building process. Both games I was really banking on late game N’s and he was able to draw out of it both times.

The second game was really rough, but I would have had it if he would have whiffed on Potion/Max Potion. I knew he played at least 1 of each, but the second Potion through me for a loop. It also left me less bitter knowing that he had 3 outs to hit.

The New Format: Tackling Black & White-on

pokemon-paradijs.comI think BLW-on is going to be a very good format and considerably better than we had last year at this time. I finally feel like I’m playing Pokémon again now that Rare Candy and evolutions are seeing playing again. I also feel the format is going to be slower than we’ve seen the past few years which opens a considerable amount of new deck options.

This format is also a bit different from the standpoint that we never before have had deck lists from major Japanese tournaments. While I certainly don’t think the Japanese variations are not the only way to play the decks these lists are certainly well tested and tournament proven. I think many of the list you see at Battle Roads are going to be similar to the ones that the Japanese played.

This can be seen as both good and bad depending on how you look at it. Everybody has access to good lists, but at the same time if you’re sitting across from a Garchomp deck you probably have a pretty good idea what the list looks like.

I think these are 2 huge advantage for players who don’t have a ton of time to test for Battle Roads. It’s also just another advantage for those who are able to test for Battle Roads a lot because you’re not starting your testing from nothing. By having concrete lists they give you something to test as well as a standard to test your new decks against. If your new deck isn’t holding its own against the Japanese lists it probably time to go back to the drawing board.

Speaking of Battle Roads, we’re only a couple weeks away, but we still don’t have all the details of how Battle Roads are going to work. Pokémon seems bound determined to return them to the small local events they were originally intended to be. Regardless of how Pokémon goes about accomplishing this goal, it most likely means that players will be less willing to travel to Battle Roads. This will open the doors for new players to perhaps get some tournament success as well.

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Solving the Puzzle

Regardless if you liked the old format or not I think it’s pretty safe to say that everybody gets excited about a new format. Personally I see deck building like a puzzle that’s always changing and I have to put it together. I was really excited to get a look at some of the Japanese lists and start putting together some of my own. I pretty quickly realized though that I need to take a step back and really look at how the rotation and the cards we lost were going to effect our new format.

The mindset I had been using for the last year wasn’t going to be effective in this new format. The rotation obviously really affects what decks are going to be playable as well as how decks are built. So I really want to start out by discussing some of my “observations” or thoughts about our new format and how they’ve effected my mindset.

I really don’t think players quite fully realize yet how much not having Junk Arm is going to effect both playing and deck building. When I started looking at different decks from the new set this is one of the biggest things that I had to come to terms with. For the last year and a half when we had Junk Arms I would play decks very aggressive and attempt to speed through my deck as fast as possible. This would cause my discard pile to become a lot like a toolbox for my Junk Arms. I easily got away with lower counts on Item cards than I normally would because I could easily get them back with Junk Arm. Prime examples of this are Eelektrik decks only playing 2 Switch, Darkrai decks playing only 1 Max Potion, etc.

pokemon-paradijs.comWhat this means in our current format is that in most cases you’re rarely ever going to see Item cards played in copies of 1 and instead most Item lineups will be filled with 3’s and 4’s with the occasional 2’s. It’s important to keep in mind this is more of a soft rule than a hard one, but I do believe this is going to be the trend moving forward.

There are lot of cards I would love to work into my decks like Tool Scrapper and Enhanced Hammer, but the honest truth is these cards aren’t worth running in high numbers and the 1 of copies you won’t see enough to be worth playing. The only common exception I seem to have to this rule is I have a handful of decks running only 1 Super Rod.

The loss of Junk Arm is also going to effect how you play the game. Between 4 copies of Junk Arm and the normal number of copies of a specific Item you already play (like Switch or Pokémon Catcher) a majority of the time your opponent would have the “out.” Situations where you simply hoped your opponent didn’t have the Pokémon Catcher or Switch were rare and more often than not you would get burned on the times you gambled on it.

This is simply not the case in the new format where (with the exception of Sableye DEX) if an Item card is in the discard pile it’s most likely going to stay there or at the very least your opponent won’t have an easy way to get it back. This means you can make far more calculated plays and gambles depending on many Pokémon Catcher, Switch, etc. your opponent has in the discard.

The last thing I really want to note about this format is that I feel it’s going to be slower than previous formats. It reminds me a lot of the format of 2008 from the standpoint decks won’t really get going till Turn 3 (with exceptions) and in many cases it’s easier to punish early aggression.

I think that slower formats really have longer and more back and forth skill-based games. This is of course just my opinion from the testing I have done. I could certainly be wrong especially as the format develops with new sets, but I really hope I’m not.

Choosing Your Supporter

Despite having such a limited pool of Supporters to choose from this is a decision that I seem to struggle with in a lot of my decks. I want to take a moment to look at the Supporters we have available to us, how I feel about them, and which decks I feel they are best suited for.

Random Receiver

pokemon-paradijs.comWhile Random Receiver might not be a “real” Supporter, most people treat it like one. Last format it saw a considerable amount of play because everybody was trying to “hide” their Supporter from Smeargle. I had played with this mindset for so long it was something I needed to rethink moving forward.

I’ve discussed this before, but when you play Random Receiver you’re eliminating 2 “Supporters” from your deck (the Random Receiver itself and the Supporter you get/play from it). For this reason outside of Sableye based decks I simply can’t come up with a good reason to run RR over more Supporters. The argument could be made that RR is good in decks where I wish to hit 1 Supporter over another, but I just simply haven’t found this reasoning strong enough to justify running it in most of my lists.

Early on in Sableye based decks I found myself running 4 Random Receiver in the hopes of always having 1 available to me to get back with Sableye. I quickly found however that I wasn’t always able to attack with Sableye and when I was I didn’t always want to grab back a RR. This is why I really think the Japanese had it right with 2 RR in there Sableye decks. I find it popping up enough I see it when I want to, but I’m not running so many copies I feel like I’m not running enough Supporters.

Professor Juniper

While Juniper seemed to be a nearly staple last format I don’t think it will have the same reign this format. The reason for this is that it’s nearly impossible to get back resources once they hit the discard. Combine this with the fact that we’re seeing a lot more Stage 2 decks that will often have resources in hand that they don’t want to discard (evolutions, Rare Candies, etc.).

The discarding doesn’t only effect Stage 2 decks; major game changing resources like Pokémon Catcher and Switch will be lost forever once discarded. For these reasons I believe Juniper will see a healthy amount of play, it just won’t be that automatic “4 of” it was in this format.

I’m still a big fan of Juniper in decks that like to get cards in the discard such as Eel and Dark based decks. I’m still heavily on the fence on Juniper being in decks like Garchomp and other Stage 2 decks. Sometimes I will be so happy to see Juniper, and then other times I just want to cry as I toss resources I can’t afford to lose.

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Bianca

I prefer to play Bianca in decks where I run a lot of discarding cards like Ultra Ball or in decks that I feel can play their hand down. If you’re not hitting above 3 cards a majority of the time I would most likely go for Cheren since I feel it is an all around safer play.

The biggest thing I really do like about Bianca is how good it is off late game N’s. When you have a deck that runs 4 Juniper and than 3-4 Bianca hitting a Supporter off of N to 1 or 2 will normally net you a new hand again. This simply is not the case for Cheren when drawing the 3 cards normally makes little difference unless you already have a hand to pair the cards with.

Cheren

The last Supporter that we have to look at is Cheren and at first I really didn’t like the card, but after playing some games with it my viewpoint has changed completely. Originally I just never saw how 3 cards was enough to make a difference. I think this mentality mainly comes from playing in a format where every Supporter you played netted you a brand new hand.

However, after playing again in a format full of Stage 2s I realized I had to change my thinking. Oftentimes I would find myself only 1 card shy of “going off.” I would have a Rare Candy and be missing the Ultra Ball or the Stage 2, or I would have the Stage 2 and be missing the Rare Candy. In these situations Cheren would let me draw new cards without forcing me to give up pieces of my “combo” which would make me start over.

I think many of the Supporters we are forced to choose from right now are subpar, but it’s important to work with what we have. Choosing the right Supporter lineup for your deck is huge and something a lot of players don’t think about enough.

Garbodor

BulbapediaOriginally was a card I quickly read and then threw it aside since I accidently read the Ability as only working when the card was active. Once I realized my mistake I instantly started working on ideas that would exploit the card. After all heading into the new format the big 3 decks appear to be Garchomp, Hydregion, and Eels which are all heavily reliant on Abilities that Garbodor can shut down.

When I first sat down with the card I also quickly realized just how many different directions I could go with the deck and how many different choices I could make. The first big question that I needed to answer was “should Garbodor be an attacker in the deck or simply a bench sitter?” By making Garbodor an attacker I would be forcing myself to run Psychic Energy and severely limiting the number of Pokémon I could partner with it.

On the other hand though if I made Garbodor nothing more than a bench sitter I knew that it would be under constant threat of Pokémon Catcher and a Garbodor stranded in the active spot was a major concern of mine. The second question was “which Tools should I run with Garbodor and how many?”

The answer to the first part of the question I think is mainly based on the rest of the deck. The answer to the second I’ve found to be in the range of 5-7. I want enough Tools I’m going to see them early, but not so many that I find them to be dead cards. Keeping all of the questions in mind I’ve come up with a few different ideas I’ve been working on.

Garbodor/Mewtwo EX

Pokémon – 12

3 Trubbish NVI
3 Garbodor DRX

4 Mewtwo-EX
2 Registeel-EX

Trainers – 34

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
3 Bianca
3 Cheren

 

4 Exp. Share

2 Giant Cape

 

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

Energy – 14

10 Psychic
4 Double Colorless

I like Mewtwo EX because of how much early pressure you can put on the opponent and how hard it is to KO out of your opponent using their Mewtwo EX. Ideally you go up 2 easy Prizes then simply trade Mewtwos with your opponent, which leaves you on the winning end of the trade off. The Registeel-EX is simply an idea I’m testing right now and something I’m not completely sold on. I feel the deck needs another attacker besides just Mewtwo EX and Garbodor isn’t strong enough on its own. The Registeel-EX lets you pull off some pretty interesting plays and fits in well with our 4 DCE and 4 EXP Shares.

I haven’t used it a lot, but this deck has also made me remember that Mewtwo EX has a second attack. It’s useful in situations where 120 damage would KO a Pokémon outside of X Ball range or to drop 2 Energy off of Mewtwo EX to avoid retaliation KO’s by opposing Mewtwos.

The Supporter lineup I’m still tweaking just as I am in all of my other decks as well. Since the deck only runs large basics and a Stage 1 the discarding from Juniper is pretty manageable. The deck also seems to “live” off of the field pretty well with cards like Exp. Share so the 4 N are test well to. The Bianca and Cheren I keep debating if I want to do a 4-2 split, but right now I’m leaving it at 3-3. The total of 14 Supporters seems to play about right in the deck. I feel like I have a Supporter when I need it yet I’m not running so many that it’s clogging up the deck.

Looking at the Tools, the 4 Exp. Shares do an excellent job of helping me keep my Energy in play. The 2 Giant Cape help since a lot of decks in the format (namely Garchomp) can easily do 100 damage. This makes the extra 20 HP from Giant Cape critical in keeping Garbodor alive.

pokemon-paradijs.comOur Ball choices were pretty limited here as Level Ball would only search out Trubbish and Heavy Ball couldn’t search out our main attacker Mewtwo EX. This left me with running 4 Ultra Ball. The 4 Pokémon Catcher are to help get up the early 2 Prizes which are key if the game degenerates into a Mewtwo war. The 3 Switch are to help avoid an opponent stranding an EX or Garbodor in the active position. I feel this is such a strong play an opponent can make that I am seriously considering going up to 4 Switch.

The last 3 cards here I’m not entirely set on and they are just what I’m messing around with right now. The 2 Energy Switch lets you pull off some really cool (and unexpected) combos with Mewtwo EX and Registeel-EX. They can also really screw with your opponent’s math. Many opponents might expect a PlusPower, but an Energy Switch for an extra 20 damage from Mewtwo EX isn’t as common. The issue I have with the card is it’s very situational and can often be dead weight.

The last card is a single copy of Super Rod to help deal with the discarding of both Juniper and Ultra Ball. The biggest issue I’ve had with the card is finding it when I need it and then once again getting back out the cards that I shuffle in. It’s not that the card is bad, it’s more I’m just wondering if the spot couldn’t be used for better options. The other obvious option to go with would be Rescue Scarf, but right now I’m going with Super Rod because I feel it’s so important to get the basic energy back in the deck.

I went with 14 Energy because it was so important for me to get an Energy drop just about every turn. I also felt that having at least 10 basic Energy was extremely important if I wanted to make the most use out of my 4 Exp. Shares.

Note: Attaching Energy to Garbodor can be very dangerous since even with only 1 Energy on it opposing Mewtwo EX can KO it with a DCE. I feel this less of an issue in this variation since we run our own Mewtwo EX, but it is something to take into consideration in other variations.

Garbodor/Terrakion

Pokémon – 12

3 Trubbish NVI
3 Garbodor DRX

4 Terrakion-EX
2 Terrakion NVI

Trainers – 34

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
4 Cheren
2 Bianca

 

4 Eviolite
2 Giant Cape

 

4 Ultra Ball
4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Switch
1 Energy Retrieval
1 Super Rod

Energy – 14

14 Fighting

BulbapediaThis deck has a very similar strategy to the Mewtwo EX variation in the sense that both lists focus heavily on putting early pressure on the opponent. I think 4 Terrakion-EX is overkill, but it is the best starter in the deck by such a large margin. The 2 normal Terrakion are in the deck to hopefully force your opponent to KO more than 3 EX’s to win the game. I desperately wanted Terrakion EPO in here as well, but I’m still testing it as well as what I should drop for it.

The Trainer lineup is virtually the same with just a few small changes. The first is I went 4 Cheren and 2 Bianca. The reason for this is I find it a more reliable way to draw extra cards, which is very useful when I want to try to find additional energy so I can drop it with Terrakion-EX. I also dropped the 2 Energy Switch and added in a 4th Switch to avoid stuff getting stuck in the active position and 1 Energy Retrieval to help get the most out of Terrakion-EX’s second attack.

The largest issue I’ve had with this deck is against decks that run a lot of healing like Entei-EX and decks that can put a large Mewtwo EX on the field. The deck also obliviously has problems against grassed based decks and decks that run Shaymin EX. This is why I’m leaning less toward this variation than the first. I feel the deck is very strong against Darkrai based decks, but cards like Tool Scrapper and PlusPower could also be considered to help deal with Eviolite.

Note: You can attach Eviolite to Garbodor, although it won’t have any effect it will still count as a Tool.

Entei-EX/Garbodor

I haven’t built or tested this deck yet, mainly because I can’t come up with a list I like, however it is a concept that I want to discuss. Entei certainly gained some attention after its win at Canadian Nationals this summer. I think Entei helps deal with the issue of late game Shaymin EX and its Energy requirements allow the deck to play DCE. I’ve been trying to come up with some sort of Entei-EX/Mewtwo EX/Garbodor deck.

The issue I’ve been running into is not having enough room. I feel the deck should run some sort of healing cards, but the deck space is tight. This makes what healing cards I run very limited. I would love to have some sort of combination of a high Potion count and additional Max Potions, but once again the issue is coming up with room.

I’ve toyed around with lowering the Garbodor count, but the problem I have with that is I’m afraid that if I take away to much emphasis from Garbodor then I’m taking away from the core of the deck and about the only reason we run so many Tools. Keeping Garbodor in play is huge against decks that rely on Abilities, which is much tougher with a smaller line.

Conclusion

pokemon-paradijs.comThis article felt a bit all over the place since part of it was a Worlds report and another part of it was discussing the new format. I felt like I hit on the two variations of Garbodor I’m testing right now, but I really want to stress the card has so many options. I’ve seen variations that run Entei-EX (as I mentioned) and Tornadus EX and I feel there is so many other possibilities as well. I’m sure that future sets will also open up other options for Garbodor to consider.

The other big thing I hopefully got across in this article is that lists very similar to the Japanese are going to be all over the place at Battle Roads. While I think it would be crazy to ignore these lists or the success they’ve had, I also feel its very important to not limit yourself to lists and archetypes that have been popularized in Japan. Battle Roads will most likely see a great deal of variation, but by the time Regionals rolls around will probably have a more concrete format.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and take some risks during Battle Roads. Battle Roads are low-level tournaments and the real goal should be doing well at Regionals. If by taking some risks at BRs your able to gain an advantage at Regionals then it all pays off.

As of right now I’m not quite sure how many BRs I’ll get to play in. I would hope 1 or 2, but if something has to give in my life it will probably be Pokémon. I would also much rather miss a few Battle Roads if it meant I got to go Regionals, but all of this is still a while out. Regardless of what I end up doing I do want to take a moment and wish all of you good luck as Battle Roads starts in just a couple of weeks!


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