The Hawk’s Nest: Battle Roads Results, Report Cards, Tier Lists, and a Season Opener

Hello Underground. The new season is under way and information is rolling in. How does this information stack up? Did the hype train kill any decks? What decks are good and what decks are bad? Continue reading if you want to find out. There are lists and tips galore.

Again, thank you for supporting me last month. Your 37 votes gave me the opportunity to write this article. I am grateful and humbled. Thank you!

Battle Roads Results Through Week 2

Unfortunately, The ‘Gym is becoming slow in getting threads up. For Battle Roads I went ahead and volunteered to run the thread, but it did not get approved until last Monday. This has caused other sites (HT, 6P, & TTC) to run their own “What Won Battle Roads” threads. Because there are now multiple places reporting results, it is becoming more difficult to get everyone to report to the same location.

That leads to different counts from each source. These counts are difficult to condense because it can be difficult to decipher what has and has not been reported at the multiple locations, etc. However, these results are the ones from The ‘Gym thread as of Monday night around 10 PM. I apologize for not having more recent results; I needed to get started on this article, but I trust the general trends will remain consistent.

Deck 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Darkrai EX/Hydreigon 13 11 8 10 42
EelBox 11 10 9 9 39
Rayquaza/Eels 9 8 3 7 27
Garbodor 1 1 11 6 19
Ho-Oh 6 5 1 1 13
Garchomp 0 4 6 2 12
Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX/Terrakion-EX 3 2 4 2 11
Darkrai EX/Sableye 4 3 1 1 9
Terrakion-EX/Mewtwo EX/Bouffalant 2 3 1 0 6
Empoleon 3 0 1 1 5
Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX 1 1 1 2 5
Empoleon/Accelgor 0 1 1 2 4
Mewtwo EX/Terrakion 0 2 1 1 4
Accelgor/Gothitelle/Mew-EX/Darkrai EX 0 1 1 1 3
Klinklang EX 0 2 0 0 2
Darkrai EX/Groudon EX/Terrakion-EX 1 0 0 0 1
Virizion/Sigilyph/Terrakion/Terrakion-EX/Mewtwo EX/Tornadus 1 0 0 0 1
Terrakion/Shaymin EX 1 0 0 0 1
Terrakion/Terrakion-EX 1 0 0 0 1
Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX/Zoroark 0 1 0 0 1
Tornadus/Mewtwo EX 0 1 0 0 1
Stunfisk/Mewtwo EX 0 1 0 0 1
Aggron 0 0 1 0 1
Landorus 0 0 0 1 1
Dakrai EX/Chandelure 0 0 0 1 1
Six Corners 0 0 0 1 1

As I’m sure you noticed, not all of the decks posted on The ‘Gym are listed here. I took the liberty of further condensing the categories.

Deck Report Cards

mrbernia.comThis section is purely based upon how these decks have performed in reported events compared to the amount of pre-Battle Roads hype the same deck received. Here is a general breakdown of the grading scale I will utilize.

A = The deck had minimal hype coming into the Battle Roads, and the deck outperformed expectations.

B/C= The deck has mostly lived up to its pre-Battle Roads hype.

D/F = The deck had significant hype coming into Battle Roads, and the deck has largely underperformed expectations.

Finally, remember these are simply reports at the halfway point. There are plenty of tournaments left to be played and the decks may improve, or sink, their grades by the end of the Battle Roads season.

Garchomp: F

BulbapediaWell, the hype train derailed extremely quickly. Everywhere from SixPrizes to HT to The ‘Gym people were all aboard the Garchomp train. Here is what I wrote in my last article:

“Simple decks are always exploitable. When a strategy gets too linear, it can easily be countered and lose to more skilled players/decks. Garchomp is no different.

Additionally, as Hydreigon and Eelektrik based decks evolve, Garchomp will struggle to keep up. The inability to 1HKO big time Pokémon (Mewtwo EX, Zekrom-EX, Darkrai EX, etc.) may also catch up with Garchomp.

Finally, for a non-control deck, attacking on turn three is actually one turn too slow. Garchomp may get online turn two (especially if you run 4 Rare Candies), but turn three is the most likely turn. Unfortunately, attacking on turn three will often put you into a one or 2 Prize deficit.

Ultimately, it was difficult for me to include this deck [in the top four to be prepared for]. To be honest, the more I test the less effective this deck becomes. I think early in the season this will be played by a lot of people; however, by Regionals I would expect this deck to see a bit less play.”

To be honest, I am thoroughly surprised the deck fizzled out of the format so quickly. I honestly thought it would have won a few more events here and there. Perhaps it did and they were simply not reported to The ‘Gym. However, I have to go with the information I have available. That information states one clear thing: Garchomp is not a great deck.

Sure, it is nice to be extremely consistent and not falter too much game to game. But, the lack of big time firepower appears to have caught up to the deck. Simply put, the deck’s consistency is not enough to overcome its lack of firepower.

Garbodor: D

I’m sure this grade will be very controversial. The archetype does boast the fourth most Top 4 finishes, but it only has one win. Garbodor was everywhere prior to Battle Roads. There were articles and threads about The Trashman on HT, 6P, The ‘Gym, CCG, etc. The card was supposed to trash our dreams. People claimed it feasted on Hydreigon and Eelektrik decks.

It seems that was mostly hooey. Now, Garbodor is definitely not a terrible card; it just failed to live up to its hype. I also suspect Garbodor has largely failed the first two weeks because there is no standard decklist developing. Some people play Garbodor with Zebstrika, some with Registeel-EX, and the combinations really go on.

Decks tend to go through initial periods where they develop. Then once a standard list is out there, the list can be refined. This process can completely change realized results because the deck gains focus and more players pick up the refined list.

Although the initial grade is poor, this is one deck I could see improving as the season rolls on.

Empoleon: C

It pains me to give our kingpin a C. I actually believe Empoleon with Stunfisk DRX is a very solid deck. However, just like Garbodor, everyone talked up Empoleon coming into the season. People debated whether Garchomp or Empoleon would be the best Stage 2 deck in the format. Empoleon was the toast of the town.

Two weeks in and Empoleon has a respectable three reported wins. However, Empoleon only has a few other Top 4 slots. For a deck that was supposed to be a forerunner for evolutions, its results have been lacking.

Terrakion-EX Based Decks: C

pokemon-paradijs.comDecks based on Pump Up Smash were largely hailed as simple, powerful, and consistent. That trio of characteristics should thrive in the low round, winner take all Battle Road tournament structure. However, Terrakion-EX powered decks only have four or five (depending on how you classify decks) wins and a handful of Top 4 placements. For one of the more anticipated cards in Dragons Exalted, it has shown up with a thud.

All that being said, I believe Terrakion-EX has potential. Therefore, I would not be 100% surprised if Terrakion-EX finishes stronger than it started, and its next grade could be pushed higher.

Hydreigon/Darkrai EX: B

If you keep Rayquaza EX based Eelektrik decks separated from non-Rayquaza EX Eelektrik decks, DarkDragons has more wins than any other deck in the format. It certainly has performed extremely well.

Yet, since the Japanese list leaked, many claimed DarkDragons to be the undisputed BDIF (best deck in the format). It was supposed to be dominant. It is not dominant. It is very good and has won its fair share. But, it has been played to a near stalemate by non-Rayquaza Eelektrik decks and the Rayquaza based Eelektrik decks have stuck their noses in the conversation as the best deck.

Overall, the deck is extremely good if you can keep Hydreigon on the field and hit your Max Potions. DarkDragons has performed admirably given its hype.

Eelektrik Based Decks: B

There will be endless debate (see The Top Cut’s Battle Road Results comments) about clumping all Eelektrik decks together or separating them out into distinct categories. Then the people who want to break Eelektrik decks into categories will never agree how to break the decks up. Some want the categories to be based upon the Pokémon: Raikou-EX, Registeel, Zekrom, Rayquaza, etc. Others want the categories to be based upon the Energy lines: Double Colorless, Fire, Blend, Mono-Lightning.

I will simply divide Eelektrik types in two: 1. Rayquaza EX focused builds and 2. non-Rayquaza EX builds. I may eventually add a third category of EelBox (Eelektrik decks that utilize more than two types of Energy, such as Kettler’s Eelektrik deck).

However, I feel all distinctions of Eelektrik decks are in the B range. Rayquaza EX initially received a ton of hype, but thankfully, that hype settled down before Battle Roads began, making it easier to live up to the hype. Rayquaza EX is an inherently powerful card that can 1HKO any Pokémon in the game with enough Energy. However, sitting in third place is merely an affirmation of its pre-season ranking, not exceeding it.

Non-Rayquaza Eelektrik decks deserve a B+. I honestly feel the card designers had no idea what they were creating when Eelektrik was designed. Making an Energy recycler a Stage 1 uncommon was clearly an overpowered move. Darkrai EX was supposed to put a stop to Eelektrik, but the little engine just keeps chugging along with no real end in sight.

Additionally, Rayquaza/Eelektrik was supposed to become the clear cut best way to run Eelektrik (well according to many people). Yet, non-Rayquaza decks have outperformed Rayquaza decks, and non-Rayquaza decks are clearly the second best archetype, with a shot at being the best.

Non-Hydreigon Darkrai EX Decks: A
Do we have the tins yet?

Wow, we are either a quick forgetting or easily distracted community (or at least I am). Darkrai EX is good, period. I know it lost Junk Arm, and losing Junk Arm makes Dark Patch less monstrous. Yet, Darkrai EX, without Hydreigon, has won eight Battle Roads in various forms. Winning that many events clearly surpasses the non-existent hype. Here are the different variants performing well:


I must admit, I did not like Hammertime last format and in testing liked the deck even less in this format. Boy was I wrong about this deck. It is clearly not the BDIF, but it is very good. Any deck that can abuse Sableye in a meaningful way has a shot at being good now. Hammertimes abuses Sableye as good as any other deck out there.

DMT (Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX/Terrakion NVI)

The game is not 100% healthy and this is a deck that demonstrates why. Hear me, I believe the game is in a good space right now, just not perfect. Without Shaymin UL, this deck was expected to fall apart. Yet, it still simply puts together three of the best attackers in a single deck and good things happen. I suppose this deck has the infrastructure (Dark Patch, Energy Switch, DCE) to make this hodgepodge stick together.

Ho-Oh EX: A

Ho-Oh went through an interesting transition period. When the card was first seen, it received a little attention. Rebirth has always been cool. However, it did not take long for its critics to emerge. “Ho-Oh is too fragile with 160 HP;” “Flips are no good;” “There are not a lot of good attackers to pair it with;” “Loses to Empoleon;” etc. The deck was quickly booted off the front page of many forums.

Then boom, Ho-Oh EX went X-0 for three straight days in the same location. That will get anyone’s attention. When a deck goes X-0 for one day, it can be written off as pure luck. When a deck goes X-0 for a second day (with the same player pool) the reality of its viability begins to set in. When a deck goes X-0 for three straight days, it tends to show a deck is at least solid to good. By the third day, I’m sure players were teching or choosing decks to beat Ho-Oh. Yet, it continued to win.

Ho-Oh EX may never become the BDIF, but it certainly has made a name for itself. I expect this deck to be played more in the coming weeks. More people will want to explore this fun toolbox before Regionals.

Tier Breakdowns and Decklists

Now, the report cards compared each deck’s pre-season hype to its midway progress through Battle Roads. The report cards are not 100% indicative of how innately good each deck is. The following tier list orders the decks in a power ranking. The lower the tier number, the better the deck.

I will also give my most current lists for the decks I have been working with. I will not go in great depth with these lists. I will merely address the more unusual choices. If you have any questions concerning any of the lists, please ask in the comments.

Tier 1

Darkrai EX/Hydreigon

This bad boy has survived the hype train and produced results at a solid clip. Many extremely hyped decks can die due to all of the hate decks.

Pokémon – 15

3 Deino NVI
1 Zweilous DRX 96
3 Hydreigon DRX 97

3 Darkrai-EX DEX
2 Sableye DEX
3 More Attackers*

Trainers – 32

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
3 Cheren/Bianca/Random Receiver**


4 Ultra Ball

3 Rare Candy
3 Max Potion
3 Pokémon Catcher

3 Dark Patch
2 Tool Scrapper
3 Meta Items***

Energy – 13

9 D

4 Blend GRPD* Obviously the deck has many options going for it. Against Eelektrik heavy metagames, Registeel-EX is an excellent option. Against Klingklang decks and Registeel decks, Reshiram-EX and Entei-EX are excellent choices. Against Mewtwo EX heavy metagames, Sigilyph is an excellent option. Against Rayquaza and Sigilyph, Giritina EX is solid. Against Terrakion (EX) heavy metagames, Shaymin EX is indispensable. Finally, you can simply go with more Darkrai EX and or Sableye to get Darkrai EX rolling earlier.

** Personally, I like Cheren and Random Receiver. I want consistency cards in this deck because the deck can be inconsistent. Bianca is by definition an inconsistent card. Cheren is a consistent card, even if it’s underwhelming at times.

*** There is room for techs in this deck. Against Stunfisk, Accelgor, Lilligant, etc. Switch is a crucial resource. Against Terrakion (EX), Eviolite is valuable. Or you can always go with a heavier Supporter line.

Non-Rayquaza Eelektrik (i.e. Zeels)

This category of decks is very unpredictable because there are tons of options. You can see my RegistEEL later in this article. The following is a Thundurus/Raikou-EX version.

Pokémon – 15

4 Tynamo NVI 38
4 Eelektrik NVI
2 Thundurus EPO
2 Mewtwo-EX NXD
2 Raikou-EX
1 Zekrom BLW

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
5 Cheren/Bianca*


4 Pokémon Catcher
3 Level Ball
3 Ultra Ball
2 Max Potion
1 Super Rod
4 Meta Specific Items**


3 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 12

9 L

3 Double Colorless* I like a current breakdown of three Cheren and two Bianca. Cheren is more consistent, but underwhelming. Additionally, you want the option to use Bianca latter in the game after an N. I have found a 3/2 split to work nicely.

** Eviolite is always a solid option. More Max Potion works with the strategy of the deck. Tool Scrapper is good against everything, but crucial against Garbodor. Switch always aids the consistency of any deck and may be vital if Accelgor becomes more popular. Switch also gets you out of sticky situations where Eelektrik is stuck forward.

You may also want to experiment with Zekrom-EX in the deck. However, the list is tight and fitting it in a Raikou-EX version is difficult.


A deck with unlimited output can be scary good. Beware, this list is one of my less tested offered in this article.

Pokémon – 14

4 Tynamo NVI 38
4 Eelektrik NVI
3 Rayquaza DRX
3 Rayquaza-EX DRX

Trainers – 34

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
5 Cheren/Bianca


4 Pokémon Catcher

3 Switch*
3 Ultra Ball
3 Level Ball
2 Super Rod
4 Meta Specific Items**


2 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 12

7 L

5 R* This deck is extremely vulnerable to getting stuck with Eelektrik active. That is death for this deck. Rayquaza needs Eelektriks to stay alive to function. Switch is crucial to keeping Eelektriks out of harm’s way.

** The most obvious Items to include are Max Potion and Eviolite. You want to reuse Rayquaza EX as much as possible. Therefore, keeping them alive is crucial. Again, Tool Scrapper might be crucial if Garbodor is around a lot.

Tier 2

I know many people will debate to no end about the existence of a Tier 1.5. Normally, I fall in the “Tier 1.5 exists” camp. However, I want to see what life is like without a Tier 1.5. Tier 2 consists of decks that have won multiple events and are powerful on their own. Not all decks in Tier 2 are created equal. I believe some of the decks could challenge the Tier 1 decks but are simply underplayed.

Some people would argue one should solely rely on personal testing when building tier lists, however, I prefer going off mainly tournament results with personal testing mixed in.


Esa’s solid concept has transformed from a much ballyhooed concept to an under the radar contender. Abusing Sableye is a clear draw for any deck.

Pokémon – 6

3 Darkrai-EX DEX
3 Sableye DEX

Trainers – 42

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
2 Bianca
3 Random Receiver


4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Ultra Ball
4 Dark Patch
4 Crushing Hammer

2 Enhanced Hammer
3 Eviolite

2 Tool Scrapper
1 Super Rod
5 Meta Specific Items*

Energy – 12

12 D

* Possible Items include: Eviolite, Super Scoop Up, Dark Claw, Max Potion, or thicker lines of the existing Trainers.

Ho-Oh EX

There are certainly multiple ways to run Ho-Oh EX. Is Ho-Oh a main attacker? Is it a supporting Pokémon? What do you pair with Ho-Oh? You can see my thoughts on Ho-Oh in my tournament report section below (spoiler: I played Ho-Oh).

Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX

Two great attackers under one roof.

Pokémon – 8

3 Darkrai-EX DEX
3 Mewtwo-EX NXD
2 Sableye DEX

Trainers – 39

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
2 Random Receiver

3 Bianca


3 Eviolite
4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Ultra Ball
3 Dark Patch
4 Energy Switch
8 Meta Specific Items*

Energy – 13

9 D

4 Double Colorless

* This deck ultimately has a lot of room to operate. The potential candidates for these open slots are Tool Scrapper, Switch, more Supporters, Super Scoop Up, or Recycle. Really the options here are endless. You could even go up to 4/4 Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX if you really wanted to.

Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX/Terrakion

To be honest, I have not logged any games with this deck. I would assume most of those eight open spots from Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX would be filled with Terrakion, F Energy, Exp. Share and/or Switch.


I honestly believe the best version of this deck includes Stunfisk. Stunfisk allows you to Catcher-stall your opponent at crucial moments.

Pokémon – 17

4 Piplup DEX
2 Prinplup DEX
4 Empoleon DEX
4 Stunfisk DRX
2 Emogla DRX
1 Mew-EX

Trainers – 32

4 N
4 Cheren
2 Professor Juniper
2 Random Receiver


4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Rare Candy

2 Pokémon Communication

2 Tool Scrapper

2 Max Potion
2 Switch
2 Level Ball
1 Ultra Ball
1 Super Rod

Energy – 11

5 W

4 Blend WLFM
2 F

Obviously this decklist is very tight. I suppose Max Potion could be considered a Meta Specific Item, but I honestly feel this is the way to run this deck. I can see the Energy lines being a bit too thin, but I struggle finding room for more.


pokemon-paradijs.comI believe this is a Tier 2 deck, but just barely. If it were down to my personal testing results, this deck would be relegated to Tier 3 status, but it has enough Top 4s to warrant a spot in Tier 2. To be honest, this deck has not changed much since the original Japanese list surfaced. I recommend reading Jay’s article to see that list, and a different view on the subject.

Tier 3

Tier 3, for purposes of this article, are all of the decks that have taken down a Battle Road but lack the power of the previously listed decks.

Terrakion-EX/Mewtwo EX/Bouffalant(s)

It amazes me how time and time again we over look the afro buffalo. In reality both of the Bouffalants are actually quite good cards. One goes toe to toe with EXs and the other mops the floor with Eelektrik.

Darkrai EX/Groudon EX/Terrakion-EX

It makes sense to use Groudon EX with Darkrai EX. Night Spear sets up Giant Claw.

Virizion/Sigilyph/Terrakion/Terrakion-EX/Mewtwo EX/Tornadus

This is anti-meta to its core.

Terrakion/Shaymin EX

Quad-Terrakion always needed a late game finisher, perhaps someone figured out how to make Shaymin EX work.


Octo-bulls anyone?

Deck Dilemma – My Options for Battle Roads Weekend 2

After watching the results from the first weekend pour in, I knew I was going to play one of two decks: Ho-Oh or RegistEEL.

Ho-Oh EX

BulbapediaUndoubtedly, one of the surprises from the first weekend was the success of Ho-Oh EX. In Arizona, a Ho-Oh deck went X-0 for three straight days. I have also heard through the grapevine that Ho-Oh won a couple events in Texas and placed well in Cali, although those results were never officially posted on The ‘Gym “What Won” thread. Judging by week two, it seems many other people also decided to pick up Ho-Oh EX and start building lists.

Through some clutch detective work (aka reading threads on multiple websites), I discovered the most successful variation of Ho-Oh included Registeel-EX and Mewtwo EX. There are conflicting reports about the inclusion of Terrakion, but I believe it was in there and it only makes sense for it to be included.

Here is the skeleton list I rushed home and put together after I saw the first weekend’s results:

Pokémon – 9

3 Ho-Oh-EX
2 Mewtwo-EX NXD
2 Registeel-EX
2 Terrakion NVI

Trainers – 30

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
2 Cheren
2 Bianca


4 Ultra Ball
2 Heavy Ball
4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Switch
4 Energy Switch

Energy – 12

8 Basic Energy

4 Double Colorless

Open Spots – 9
Hide yo Eels, hide yo Tynamos.

When I began testing this type of deck, I wanted to focus on Ho-Oh EX. However, that is not how the games began playing out. The games felt more like Registeel-EX/Mewtwo EX/Terrakion with a support system. I personally think that is the more accurate way to describe the deck, or at least my version of the deck.

In reality, you want to attack with Registeel, Mewtwo, and Terrakion more than Ho-Oh. Ho-Oh became more like a super Jirachi CL. In the past year, Jirachi was often paired with Magnezone Prime and Yanmega Prime as a method of accelerating energy to the field. This allowed you to get off Lost Burns out of nowhere.

Well, this deck does not have a Lost Burn type of attack, but Ho-Oh EX fills a similar role. Ho-Oh EX is there to accelerate energy onto the field from seemingly out of nowhere. Combine Rebirth with Energy Switch, and you keep your opponent in a constant state of “what will he do next.”

That alone gives you a significant mental edge. The deck can be very unpredictable. Thus, your opponent will be less sure of your line of play. When your opponent is unsure of how your turns will play out, he or she has a more difficult time determining what his or her correct line of play is.

Additionally, Ho-Oh EX is a fine alternative attacker in its own right. Rebirth + one Energy drop from your hand and you will swing for 100. One hundred damage is enough to 1HKO, Altaria, Emogla, Sableye, Deino, Prinplup, Piplup, Tynamo, Sableye, Zweilous, Eelektrik, etc. Additionally, 100 damage 1HKOs Shaymin EX and Registeel-EX due to weakness.

Rebirth + 2 Energy drops or 1 Energy drop and 1 Energy Switch pushes Ho-Oh to 120 damage. That amount of damage can KO Garchomp and Empoleon after a single Triple Laser. Additionally, 120 damage can KO Mewtwo EX and Rayquaza EX after two Triple Lasers.

The deck also has good type coverage and a solid counter to most of the meta decks. Mewtwo EX deals with other Mewtwo EXs. Registeel-EX is very good against Eelektrik decks. Terrakion is very good against Darkrai EX.

The skeleton list above has nine open slots and an undetermined Basic Energy line. Here are my leading candidates to fill those spaces.

Tornadus EPO

The deck lacks a utility non-EX attacker. Tornadus can fill that role nicely. It conserves Energy and can actually take a nice pounding from many decks in the current format.

Sigilyph DRX

This is an alternative to Mewtwo EX. However, to effectively use Sigilyph, you need multiple P Energy. Since I want to focus on Terrakion, and the F Energy it needs, I do not believe I have room for Sigilyph. However, I am playing DCE which works nicely with Sigilyph.

Exp. Share

Any deck with Terrakion should automatically consider Exp. Share as a possible card. Retaliate just pairs with Exp. Share extremely well. The ability to get Energy onto Terrakion quickly is just too good. Additionally, the deck wants to keep as much Energy on the field as possible. Registeel-EX and Mewtwo EX are very Energy intensive to be effective.

Tool Scrapper

pokemon-paradijs.comTool Scrapper pairs well with Rebirth and Registeel’s Triple Laser. Against Garbodor decks, Ho-Oh EX is DOA without Tool Scrapper. Being unable to use Rebirth severely cripples the deck. Additionally, Triple Laser is only effective when you get to do 30 damage to any target you wish. Eviolite cripples Registeel’s effectiveness and Tool Scrapper neutralizes Eviolite.

Enhanced Hammer

Special Energies are still very popular in many decks. Enhanced Hammer removes those cards from play. For example, against Darkrai EX/Hydreigon if you can remove the Blends, you limit the deck to merely attacking with Darkrai. Limiting the deck’s ability to use Shaymin EX, Sigilyph, Reshiram-EX, Hydreigon, etc. makes the deck very one-dimensional.

Battle City

Getting draw power off a Stadium is very good. However, symmetrical cards (ones that help your opponent as much as it helps you) usually should be avoided. Still, getting an extra card here and there can be huge for this deck.

Super Scoop Up

The deck already gambles a bit, why not gamble a bit more. Registeel and Terrakion can be very difficult for your opponent to 1HKO. Thus, the ability to pick up those damaged Pokémon can be huge. Picking up a damaged Registeel-EX is particularly game breaking because you preserve the Double Colorless Energy from the discard.


I believe Andrew did an excellent job defending why Recycle is not a terrible card. In speed decks, especially ones like Ho-Oh where you will be discarding resources at a rapid pace, Recycle can be almost as game breaking as Super Scoop Up. Getting a crucial Item or Supporter in the late game can be extremely potent. Try it, if you have not.


Simply stated, the entire deck consists of big Basic Pokémon. Eviolite is extremely good on Basic Pokémon. Do I really need to elaborate more?

The Energy Lineup

Obviously, Rainbow Burn wants as many different types of Basic Energy possible. Therefore, initially we start with one of every type of Basic Energy. However, we need at least two F Energy to get good use out of Terrakion. Two F Energy is the base I can see people trying; however, I believe three F Energy is the minimum you can get away with.

Additionally, we want to be able to abuse Triple Laser and X Ball. Double Colorless Energy makes those two attacks tick; thus, four Double Colorless Energy will be in the deck.

With all of that on the table, here is what my final list looked like

Pokémon – 10

4 Ho-Oh-EX
2 Registeel-EX
2 Mewtwo-EX NXD
2 Terrakion NVI

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
3 Cheren
2 Bianca


4 Ultra Ball
2 Heavy Ball
4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Switch
4 Energy Switch

3 Exp. Share
2 Tool Scrapper

Energy – 14

4 Double Colorless
3 F
1 M
1 D
1 R
1 L
1 P
1 W
1 G

pokemon-paradijs.comI wanted one of every Energy and three F Energy. That means I play 14 Energy, and it has worked pretty well. I could see myself removing one of the single count Energies to increase my F Energy to four.

Finally, prior to any tournaments with the deck, I was considering moving to three Registeel-EX and three Ho-Oh EX. Registeel-EX is very good in the early game against almost any deck out there. However, getting Ho-Oh EX into the discard pile in multiple counts is very important. You desperately want to reduce the influence of variance on your games. Getting to flip multiple times with multiple Rebirths goes a long way in reducing the decks variance. Running four Ho-Oh EXs accomplishes this goal nicely.

Many will claim that when playing four, you open with Ho-Oh too much. Well, in my list you should open with Ho-Oh EX 40% of the time. With three Ho-Oh EX you would open with it 33.3% of the time. I will take that 6.7% chance of opening with Ho-Oh EX for a better odds at getting Ho-Oh in the discard early.

There are other variants of Ho-Oh EX out there. I have zero experience playing with them, but I figured I should make you aware of some other options.

One version of the deck plays features Virizion NVI and Sableye DEX. This style focuses on getting back crucial resources you discarded while getting Ho-Oh EXs in the discard pile. Virizion is there to cover your Water Weakness. With Eviolite and Resistance, Water types will surely have a difficult time getting through Virizion and Leaf Wallop.

Another version is one that utilizes Rufflet DRX. Rufflet is a Basic Pokémon that allows you to search for two Pokémon with Fighting Resistance. Well, Ho-Oh EX, Tornadus EX, and Tornadus all have Fighting Resistance. Thus, Rufflet works well with versions of the deck that focus on those three attackers. I feel this version of the deck is lacking because you want to get an attack off on turn one or two. Rufflet eats energy attachments and bench space.

pokemon-paradijs.comAdditionally, you may see versions that focus on Tornadus EX and then use Ho-Oh EX to get secondary attackers rolling and Energy onto the board. Yet, another version runs Rayquaza to counter Hydreigon and Garchomp. The key is this: there is no established, frontrunner version of the deck… yet.

Overall, there are things the deck (almost any version) does well, and things the deck does poorly. Here are the positives to playing Ho-Oh:

  • You will not be donked. In Battle Roads, you cannot lose a single game to take home first place. Getting donked is the worst way to lose your shot at winning the tournament.
  • The deck can be extremely forgivable. Getting an attacker out of nowhere can completely turn a game on its head. Rebirth facilitates some extremely fun plays.
  • The deck has answers (almost like Six Corners) to the best decks in the format.

The main negatives are:

  • Variance in the coin flips. Even if you have four Ho-Oh EXs in the discard pile, there will be times where you hit four tails in a row.
  • The deck has zero auto-win matchups. Conversely, you have virtually no auto loses. However, in a long tournament it is normally good for a deck to have at least one very favorable matchup against a meta deck.
  • Interestingly enough, the deck actually struggles against good Accelgor builds. The problem is that Ho-Oh EX tends to be reliant on EX attackers. Unless you go up by 3+ prizes, Accelgor decks will trade favorably with EX attackers. More non-EX attackers could fix this problem.


Colin is bringing us an in-depth look at the multiplicity of Eelektrik based decks next week, but I want to get a few words in on my favorite version of the deck. I do not know if it is the best version, but it has traits I value. In addition to Ho-Oh EX, this was the second deck I considered playing in my first event.

RayEels has more top end power and Zeels has more toolbox attackers. However, neither can consistently match the consistency of RegistEEL.

Pokémon – 14

3 Tynamo NVI 38
1 Tynamo DEX 45
4 Eelektrik NVI
2 Mewtwo-EX NXD
2 Zekrom BLW
2 Registeel-EX

Trainers – 34

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
2 Bianca
3 Cheren


4 Pokémon Catcher
3 Leval Ball
3 Ultra Ball
4 Switch

3 Eviolite
2 Tool Scrapper
1 Super Rod


1 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 12

8 L

4 Double Colorless

This deck plays in a significantly different way than a normal Zeels deck that has Raikou-EX or a Rayquaza EX based deck.

In most Eelektrik based decks, Eelektrik is crucial to the success of the deck. Eelektrik is crucial to Rayquaza EX and Raikou-EX because you need to reload energy almost every turn. This deck does not have any attackers that discard energy. The lack of discarding energy from the field makes this version extremely stable and consistent. It is OK if you lose your Eelektriks because your attackers should have energy on them. With this version, the real goal is simply to get 3-4 Dynamotors off in a single game. Anything over that many is a pure bonus.

This makes the deck feel a lot like CMT. The deck really aims to simply “skip” ahead in energy attachments, opposed to purely cycling energy. I really like CMT, and thus I really like this deck.

The only real change I would consider, right now, with the deck is trading one Eelektrik for one Registeel-EX. Opening with Registeel-EX is extremely strong against virtually any deck, and since RegistEEL does not cycle energy, you can suffice to only play three Eelektriks. However, without Junk Arm you can barely afford to discard multiple Eelektriks when you only run three.

Max Potion is an infinitely popular tech card in most Eelektrik decks. The theory is sound: Max Potion keeps Pokémon alive and discards Energy; Eelektrik gets that Energy back. However, Max Potion adds inconsistency to the deck and consistency/stability is the defining characteristic of this deck. It is not for me in here.

Ultimately, the combination of Zekrom and Registeel is simply overpowered. Getting EXs to a point of trading one for one with Zekrom is almost unfair. Last week at league I was playing against a Raikou-EX based Eelektrik deck. In that game, my opponent used his Raikou-EXs to 2HKO the Mewtwo I had placed on my bench and an Eelektrik.

I simply got one Triple Laser off and then used Zekroms to do 120 damage to two Raikou-EXs and to take a prize on an Eelektrik. At that time, I was down 5 Prizes to one. I simply played an N and Triple Lasered two turns in a row on the damaged Raikou-EXs and the damaged Eelektrik to come back and win the game.

My First Tournament of the Season – Edwardsville, IL

graphicontent.blogspot.comOn Sunday, the ninth, I attended a Battle Roads in Edwardsville. Going into the event, I honestly felt my RegistEEL deck was one of the best in the format. However, I had been playing RegistEEL the last several weeks at league and I was ready to try something else.

I fear this is one of the biggest side effects of having information from Japan. Sunday was the first event of the season for me, but I was already tired of playing one of the better decks (RegistEEL).

That means, I decided on playing my Ho-Oh EX deck. I was torn between playing it safe and “going for it” in my first event of the year. Ultimately, I decided to play Ho-Oh EX and learn more about the deck in a competitive setting.

Round 1: Bye

I actually enjoyed my bye. I would have preferred to play, but I will take the free win and good resistance. Also, my brother played in his first ever event. During this round, I got to watch most of his match. To be honest, he was at a disadvantage the whole time because he did not have any Catchers. Yet, he should have won his match, but he did not know the rules concerning Stadiums. He ended up gift-wrapping his opponent a win.


Round 2: Garchomp/Altaria

This round I was paired up against a friend that loaned me one of the Ho-Oh EXs for the day. I currently only own two, so he graciously let me borrow one (our very own Colin lent me the 4th Ho-Oh).

This game the deck performed beautifully.

I opened with Registeel-EX and began spreading damage on turn two. Getting an early Registeel with DCE is very good against every deck, but particularly against Empoleon and Garchomp. Both of these Pokémon are difficult to 1HKO without some prior damage. Against EX focused decks, you can simply trade 2HKOs for 2HKOs. However, against the beefy Stage 2 attacker decks, you cannot afford to trade 2HKOs for 2HKOs. Softening your opponent up is crucial.

My opponent got up Altarias and Garchomps going at a nice pace early. Fortunately, I got off two Triple Lasers before he KO’d my first Registeel-EX. That allowed me to KO his first Garchomp with Mewtwo EX and two Double Colorless Energies.

Then my opponent discarded a DCE and hit Mewtwo for 80 with Garchomp. Then I attached another DCE and Catchered up an Altaria for a KO.

After my opponent KO’d Mewtwo EX, I nailed a Rebirth, attached another energy, and Energy Switched a fifth type of energy onto Ho-Oh EX to get the KO on his last Garchomp, because Garchomp had 30 damage from Triple Laser on it.

At that point he only had Emogla and Altaria, and he scooped.

Ho-Oh EX worked very well, and the deck ran strong.


Round 3: Eelektrik/Mewtwo EX/Zekrom/ Raikou-EX

pokemon-paradijs.comMy opponent opened with two Tynamos and one Raikou-EX. I opened with something random, but I went first.

On my first turn, I got two energy into the discard along with a Ho-Oh EX. I also got a Switch, a Registeel-EX, and an Energy. My opponent got an energy on Raikou-EX and passed.

On my second turn, I got the Double Colorless Energy and Triple Lasered his two Tynamo and Raikou-EX.

On his second turn, he got two Eelektrik into play and Paralyzed Registeel with Raikou-EX.

However, I was fortunate enough to hit the Switch. Then I also hit a Rebirth and Energy Switched the energy to my active to manually retreat the new Pokémon. That allowed me to Triple Laser for a second straight turn.

My opponent did not get much going on his turn, except getting a Zekrom out. He also failed to hit heads for Paralysis. This let me get a third Triple Laser off, and clear his board of Eelektriks. Before I attacked, I also managed to get two F Energies on Terrakion. On his turn he simply attached and attacked, I do not recall if it was for 100 or the 30.

On my turn, I got a third Energy on Terrakion and took out Raikou-EX, effectively sealing the game.


Round 4: Tornadus EX/Terrakion/Garbodor?

My opponent was very kind, and by the end of this frustrating game, his kindness was appreciated.

My opponent opened with Tornadus EX and Terrakion. He attached a Double Colorless Energy and played a Stadium to Blow Through for 60 damage.

I opened strong with Mewtwo EX and a DCE. Then I played N, and I got nothing.

For the next five turns, I did not see a single Supporter. Not a one. My opponent simply continued to beat away at my Pokémon with Power Blast and Blow through and hitting Super Scoop Ups when I would get damage on his Pokémon with Registeel-EX and Mewtwo EX. By the time I got another Supporter, he had taken 4 Prizes.

At that point, I played my Cheren and the last card I drew was Professor Juniper. After playing my cards, I had Terrakion active and a damaged Registeel-EX on the bench.

My opponent ended up playing his hand down to one and playing Cheren. On his second to last card drawn he shows me the Catcher and it is good game. I was very frustrated because the next card on my deck was N.


Lessons Learned

  • Sometimes any deck can simply crap out on you. More Supporters is always a good idea.
  • Always be a good sport. It was very refreshing to have civilized conversation with someone, even when things were going against me.
  • Otherwise, I do not think I made any misplays, but then again I did not get the opportunity to misplay. My opponent even mentioned how it was an unfulfilling win due to the terrible draw pass turns.

Round 5: Darkrai EX/Accelgor/Karrablast/Mew-EX/Darkrai EX/Registeel-EX/Sableye/Dark Patch/Max Potion

pokemon-paradijs.comI really want to make Accelgor work. I have tried Accelgor with many different things. However, without Chandelure it is difficult to always get Knock Outs going into your turn. Well, I feel this deck is very close to getting the equation right.

With decks (not running Sableye) limited to four Switch, this deck simply threatens with Registeel-EX or Darkrai EX and Pokémon Catcher. Once the deck’s opponent runs out of Switch, it becomes safe to begin the Accelgor loop. Alternatively, you can loop Catcher with Sableye to force your opponent’s to burn his or her Switches.

The other purpose of Registeel-EX and Darkrai EX is getting the damage numbers on the correct sequence. With Triple Laser or the 30 damage from Night Spear, numbers such as 100, 130, 160, and 190 become accessible for the lock. This version of the deck does not quite replicate the perfect lock of yester-format, but it comes fairly close.

Anyway, I open this game with another hand of zero Supporters, Ho-Oh EX, and some energy.

My opponent opened with Sableye and got a Shelmet into play. On my next turn, I hit a Catcher (top decked) and a Double Colorless Energy. That allowed me to target my opponent’s Shelmet with Ho-Oh EX and take the first prize.

My opponent stayed cool and simply got another Shelmet out and Catchered up my Regsiteel EX. For each of the first few turns, my opponent utilized Junk Hunt to get Catchers, Level Balls, and Dark Patches back. On my Supporter-less turn, I managed to get a Switch and Catchered up another Shemlet and took another prize.

pokemon-paradijs.comOn my opponent’s turn he placed another Shelmet, this one with a DCE attached. He simply used the Catcher from the last Junk Hunt and Catchered my Registeel-EX.

My following turn was the turn I started to play poorly. I had a Catcher in hand and two Switch in the deck (or so I thought). I chose to Catcher the Shelmet up before playing the Bianca I top decked. At the time I was thinking that if I could remove a third Shelmet, my opponent would have a difficult time getting set up.

I was not fortunate enough and whiffed the Switch. Burning that Catcher proved to be very costly. After a couple turns with Registeel stuck active taking Poison damage and two Triple Lasers to my Terrakion, my opponent Catchered Terrakion. He used Darkrai’s Night Spear to KO Terrakion and Registeel-EX and leapfrog into the lead.

Before my opponent took these 3 Prizes, I had an opportunity to get Registeel-EX out of the Active Spot with a combination of Energy Switches and DCE; however, I failed to factor in Darkrai EX and left Registeel active. Registeel was on pace to be KOd coming into my turn through the Poison and Deck and Covers. I was content to let that happen and then get a return KO on his damage Registeel with Ho-Oh EX or Darkrai EX with Terrakion. That was a huge mistake on my part and my opponent played it perfectly.

Eventually, my opponent took out my second Terrakion to go down to 2 Prizes. At that point, I promoted a clean Mewtwo EX and hit his Darkrai EX for 100 with X Ball.

pokemon-paradijs.comHe eventually used Deck and Cover with Mew-EX against my Mewtwo EX. I tried to dig for a Switch and Catcher to take out his Darkrai EX, but I could not get the proper resources in hand.

So, on his turn he promoted Darkrai EX and KO’d my Mewtwo EX for the last 2 Prizes.

After the game, I confirmed my fears. My four remaining prizes were Double Colorless Energy, Double Colorless Energy, Switch, and Pokémon Catcher. No wonder I whiffed my “out” cards.


Lessons Learned

  • More often than not, I play conservatively. However, in this game I decided to spend a lot of resources to aggressively go after Shelmets. I should have let the game come to me a bit more. Some resources I burned early, on failed plays, were crucial wastes.
  • I got a little sloppy with my mental game projections. I failed to consider Darkrai EX’s 30 damage for Night Spear in my Accelgor math. I am not sure, but I may have been able to prevent a couple of the KOs. Or, I should have been more prepared to respond to the knock outs.

Takeaways from the Tournament

Overall, I was very happy with how Ho-Oh EX (Skittles) performed for my first tournament. The previous list is not perfect, but I feel it is a very good start to a deck building and refining process. I hit one very long Supporter drought (can happen to any deck) to lose one game. The second loss was mostly from not knowing the matchup as well as I should. Not knowing the matchup is squarely on my shoulders as a player.

I feel I played well, but not perfectly. My misplays most likely stemmed from not knowing my deck inside and out. I had only been playing around with Ho-Oh EX for a week. I might have performed better with RegistEEL simply because I know that deck inside and out. However, it was merely a Battle Road tournament and I was thrilled to play Ho-Oh EX and make progress on that deck.

A Virzion/Tornadus version of Ho-Oh EX ended up winning our event. I personally believe our event was ripe for the taking by Colin and his Empoleon, but the winner played well in their match and Colin was a bit unlucky.

The previous section chronicled what I thought about Ho-Oh EX prior to Sunday, what do I think about my list after Sunday?

pokemon-paradijs.comThe next evolution of the deck may be to remove the Exp. Shares for Eviolites. I only used Exp. Share successfully twice the whole tournament. Then again, I did not play any Darkrai EX/Hydreigon decks and I foresee Exp. Share being very important in that showdown.

I also may want to try adding a solid non-EX attacker. The leading candidate is perhaps Tornadus EPO. Tornadus does a solid amount of damage and conserves energy. It might be worth a try.

I also may try out the Virizon/Sableye version of the deck. I feel the Virizion version may have fared better in round five. Having options to use more than four Switch would have been very handy.


In sincerely hope you enjoyed my mid-season article. I thoroughly enjoyed writing it for you. As always, I am humbled to write for the UG. I was even more humbled by your gracious response to my last article. If you would like to see how these decks and others that pop up grade out at the end of the Battle Roads season, please remember to like this article. With your likes, we can make it happen.

Twitter: @airhawk06

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