Giving it One Last Go with Chandelure – Battle Roads Report

BulbapediaHeading into my last Battle Roads of the season, I was looking to definitely looking to score some major points to finish up the first part of the season strong before going into Regional Championships.

My initial play testing was with one target in mind, which was making a deck that could beat Hydreigon handily. I was originally planning on going to the Battle Roads in Columbia, MO, which had a very Hydreigon dense metagame. I had tested a Stunfisk/Terrakion/Bouffalant/Mewtwo anti-meta deck to good results, as well as a Terrakion heavy Ho-Oh deck for this tournament. Some car repair later, I didn’t really have much money to make the trip, so I just ended up staying local in St. Louis for the weekend.

This metagame is a lot more diverse, with a lot of different really strong builds of all the top decks, so I looked into a deck that could take on a diverse metagame. In my testing against it, Hydreigon seemed like it could win any matchup, even when you gear a deck toward specifically beating it, so I devoted most of my testing toward those difficult matchups.

I got the expert’s guide to running the deck from Clifton Goh, felt comfortable with all of the matchups, and really good about playing the mirror match as a result. The one problem was I wasn’t having any fun playing the deck. With some encouragement from some friends, I decided to play a deck that I would have a lot more fun playing.

I saw my national’s deck discussed in the latest Underground article by Andy Hahn, and I read that as “Challenge Accepted” in trying to succeed with the deck. This late in the week there wasn’t much time to do much testing, so I just built the deck on PTCGO, played three games to see if the deck could still setup in the current format and do well.

After winning three games against randoms on PTCGO, I came to the conclusion that the deck was still somewhat strong, and went ahead with playing it. Those three, non-intensive games were the only testing I did with the deck prior to the tournament.


pokemon-paradijs.comThis was the rogue deck that I ended up playing at U.S. Nationals this past summer. I came up with the idea while just looking through my binders, and realized what a strong concept it was. The way the deck worked, is that you would setup 1HKOs for Darkrai EX using Chandelure NVI’s Cursed Shadow and the snipe damage from Night Spear. Simply put, this is a damage acceleration deck that aims to overwhelm your opponent with damage very quickly.

I went 5-4 with the deck at Nats, and felt I made the right deck choice. Outside of a butt whooping from Chris Jester’s CMT deck that ran me off the board with a quick Terrakion, the rest of my losses were the results of various frustrating circumstances. My worst loss was to an Eelektrik deck, in which I forgot to use a Switch before playing my PONT, which made for a wasted turn that cost me the game.

Another loss was against a Celebi/Tornadus EX deck, in which I cut my opponent into the game winning Pokémon Catcher off his own one card N, it was his last Catcher in a pretty large deck. My last loss was getting donked by a Tornadus EX in the last round of the tournament.

Overall, I felt the deck was one of the strongest decks of last format, but my play wasn’t quite up to par to give the deck the glory that it deserved. In the past few days, after having expressed interest in playing the deck, Clifton sealed my fate of playing the deck, saying that I needed to give the deck some redemption for the shortcomings of Nats.

Here is the original decklist for the deck:

Pokémon – 10

3 Darkrai-EX DEX

2 Litwick BLW Promo BW27

1 Lampent NVI

2 Chandelure NVI

2 Smeargle UD/CL

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Juniper

3 Professor Oak’s New Theory

3 N


4 Junk Arm

1 Random Receiver

4 Switch

4 Dark Patch

3 Pokémon Catcher

3 Rare Candy

3 Dual Ball

2 Ultra Ball

2 Dark Claw

1 Super Rod


1 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 12

8 D – Basic

4 Darkness – Special

This list includes 16 cards that rotated out of the format last month. For some decks like Eelektrik, this wasn’t that big of a deal, but for this deck, I think it was a very big deal. I feel as though this deck lost a lot of really good cards that helped to make it the powerful deck that it was in my personal testing.

Smeargle – The loss of Smeargle would surely set this deck back a bit. Smeargle allowed you to get Darkrai EX up consistently on turn 1 or turn 2, as well as get a Chandelure evolved in short order. Most importantly, it allowed you to setup multiple Darkrai EX and get your effectively finished field altogether very early in the game, or charge up a Darkrai EX out of nowhere when your active Darkrai EX was Knocked Out.

Junk Arm This was a huge loss for this deck as well. This card allowed you to setup multiple Darkrai EXs with ease by re-using Dark Patch as well as getting D Energy into the discard pile. It allowed you to completely manipulate what you attacked into on any given turn by giving you access to extra Pokémon Catchers.

Special Darkness – Last, but not least is Special D Energy, which for the first time since being introduced isn’t part of our format. This is probably the biggest loss for the deck, just because of the magic numbers you hit. Between 30 Cursed Shadow damage and 30 snipe damage, a 180 HP Pokémon-EX would be left with 120 HP remianing. A Darkrai EX with a Dark Claw and a Special Dark attached would then be able to 1HKO any EX in the format after this damage was placed.

Without Special Dark, Darkrai EX maxed out its damage at 110, which is still enough to 1HKO stuff like Tornadus EX and Mewtwo EX, but not enough to 1HKO opposing Darkrai EXs and most importantly, Terrakion-EX, which is this deck’s primary enemy.

Adjusting the deck for the current format wasn’t too difficult for me. All of the replacements for the rotated cards were pretty clear logical replacements. Sableye DEX would have to replace Smeargle as your consistency booster/setup Pokémon, as well as replace Junk Arm to re-use Item cards. Being unable to Junk Arm for Super Rod anymore, I decided it was also best to fatten up the Chandelure line a bit.

Here is the list I ended up settling on for the deck:

Pokémon – 13

3 Darkrai-EX DEX

3 Litwick BLW Promo BW27

1 Lampent NVI

2 Chandelure NVI

1 Chandelure NXD 101

3 Sableye DEX

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

2 Bianca

3 Random Receiver


4 Ultra Ball

2 Level Ball

3 Rare Candy

3 Pokémon Catcher

4 Switch

4 Dark Patch

2 Dark Claw

1 Super Rod

Energy – 11

11 D – Basic

pokemon-paradijs.comSome notable features of this list. First, is that I split my Chandelure’s 2/1 between the NVI and NXD one. These are essentially the same card, but the Shiny Chandelure from Next Destinies is so pretty, and probably a little more intimidating to your opponent. So if you have one, I would recommend putting it into the deck to play the role of Kinglure, but if not, I guess you could probably get by just playing three of the Noble Victories variety.

The other card that I really want to spotlight is Dark Claw. This is a card I haven’t heard about a lot of players playing in the deck, but I feel it is one of the cards that really makes the deck work. The goal is to setup 1HKOs on opposing EXs using Cursed Shadow and Night Spear snipe damage, and the 110 damage with Dark Claw attached is enough to do it against stuff like Mewtwo EX, Rayquaza EX, and Tornadus EX.

While you can’t do the same against stuff like Darkrai EX and Terrakion-EX, if you are able to get off a turn with two Cursed Shadows, you can get those Pokémon within the damage range to get the 1HKO too.

Other than that, I just have to say that Sableye worked really well for getting the deck setup. The only problem I saw was that my deck was getting very, very thin by the end of the game, near deck out in some cases. While this is a good thing in some regards, as it allows me to hit those last Item cards I need for a given situation easier, it also is something that strikes a bit of fear as decking out will lose you the game.

St. Louis, Mo. Battle Roads – 9/29

Prior to the first round, I was joking around with John Roberts talking about how this would finally be the Battle Roads this fall that we end up playing each other. The pairings for Round 1 go up, and sure enough, Andrew Wamboldt vs. John Roberts.

Round 1 – John Roberts with Tornadus EX/Mewtwo EX/Stunfisk DRX/Bouffalant DRX/Terrakion-EX/Terrakion NVI

pokemon-paradijs.comI have never lost to John in a tournament game before, and have rarely lost games to him in a casual setting either, so I was hoping to keep this trend going. A large part of this is that in a lot of our games, he has been playing Klinklang decks, and I have a fairly good understanding of how to beat that deck. The other part is probably just luck in hitting the right cards to beat him. However, he is still one of the best players in the country, so it is always uneasy having to play such a strong opponent in round one, especially when they are playing a deck that should theoretically be a fairly bad matchup for you.

His deck was essentially a donk deck, that had a variety of different donk attackers that he could call upon in the given matchup. When he didn’t get the donk, Terrakion-EX and Terrakion were there to serve as a backbone for the deck, as they are both fairly strong against all the Darkness and Lightning decks that are in the meta. I knew to beat a deck with Terrakion-EX I would need to get a Darkrai EX setup fast and Night Spear the first Terrakion-EX and ko it before it can ko me, and then setup a 1HKO with Chandelure and the snipe damage on the next Terrakion-EX to take control of the game.

I start a lone Sableye to his Tornadus EX, and he goes first. This scenario seems pretty familiar…He plays down a PlusPower, plays a Supporter, attaches a DCE, but whiffs the Skyarrow Bridge, so he is forced to just hit into my Sableye for 40 damage, and then Knock it Out on the next turn.

pokemon-paradijs.comI couldn’t get a Darkrai up and going as fast as I would like, but I did get a turn 2 Chandelure and just began spreading damage to his Tornadus EX and Mewtwo EX to setup 1HKOs later in the game. This is okay, as his Terrakion-EXs didn’t hit the field right away in this game, so I had a little extra time to get my Darkrai EXs setup. I do manage to get 110 damage on his Terrakion-EX to set it up for the Knock Out next turn, but he hits a big Super Scoop Up flip to heal all of the damage off of it.

After some knock outs on both sides, he is leading the Game 4-2 on prizes. I see my only way to win the game is going to be to Catcher up his energyless Stunfisk and then spread damage onto his benched Mewtwo EX/Tornadus EX to set it up for a double KO with Darkrai EX. As I’m contemplating this move, time is called, and from there, my fate is sealed.

Not sure if my strategy would have been able to prevail with me getting the victory, as I would have had to hit a Switch and Pokémon Catcher combination, of which I only had I think one remaining of both in my deck, as he would have been able to Energy Switch some Fighting onto his Stunfisk to start using Rumble on my Chandelure.


Round 2 – Travis F. with Empoleon/Accelgor

pokemon-paradijs.comI go first in this game, starting a Litwick and Darkrai EX to his lone Piplup. I see that I may be able to get the turn one Night Spear as I can Ultra Ball two Darkness into the discard pile with Ultra Ball before playing an N for my Supporter for the turn, along with a Dark Patch in my opening hand. I whiff the second Dark Patch though, and come up just short of getting the donk.

For his turn, he benched two more Piplup, and attacked into my Litwick for 30 damage. I got the Night Spear this turn and Knocked Out his active Piplup while sniping 30 damage to another. He then evolves into Empoleon, and I think uses Emolga’s Call for Family attack to get some Shelmet on his bench.

I attach a Dark Claw to my Darkrai EX, evolve to Chandelure, switch into it, Curse Shadow his Empoleon, retreat back to Darkrai EX, Catcher up his Empoleon and take the double KO on his Empoleon and Piplup, clearing his field of all Empoleon lines by turn 3 in the game!

From there he locks me a bit, but I get a Switch and am able to Knock Out his Emolga and spread 30 damage to his benched Shelmet. The next turn, he locks me with Deck and Cover, but I hit the Switch and Pokémon Catcher combination, and take a double KO on an Accelgor and the Shelmet with previous damage.


Round 3 – Kelsey K. with Darkrai/Terrakion/Sableye with Hammers

This was a very, very slow game. I just remember her hitting an insane amount of Crushing Hammer heads against me, which turned my turns into using Sableye to bring back resources to re-charge my Darkrai EXs so they could attack. She had two Terrakion on her bench for a lot of the game, so my focus had to be getting rid of those things first, as a Terrakion using Retaliate or more frightening, Land Crush could end the game very quickly.

We are one of the last games, if not the last game, still playing, so a judge comes over and sits next to our game, which means that time is probably going to be getting called very soon. She is leading the Game 3-0 on prizes at this point, which means I need to make a quick comeback if I want to win this game, so I start accelerating my play to a rapid pace to try to get back in the game very quickly.

I take 3 Prizes this turn, Knocking Out her Darkrai EX as well as her Terrakion with Energy attached. She is forced to Junk Hunt on her next turn to grab some Dark Patch to power up more Darkrai EXs. Time is called midway through my turn. I Knock Out her Sableye and other Terrakion to take my fourth and fifth prizes. She hits into my active Darkrai EX, putting it up to 120 damage. I retreat to my other Darkrai EX, N her, and she is unable to hit into her last Pokémon Catcher so I am able to escape with the win.


Round 4 – Andy F. with Hydreigon/Darkrai

pokemon-paradijs.comI am able to get an early Darkrai EX, but whiff the Pokémon Catcher to Knock Out his only Deino, which allows him to evolve into Hydreigon, and I am forced to Night Spear into his Darkrai EX, which would later have that damage healed off with Max Potion.

I am able to get a couple Chandelure evolved, and eventually hit into the Pokémon Catcher to clear the field of Hydreigon. I am able to get a Knock Out on a Darkrai EX as well in the mid game, to take my first 3 Prizes.

He gets down to 2 Prizes, and I N him to try to prevent him from getting another Hydreigon evolved. He hits a Professor Juniper off the N, but misses the Rare Candy to evolve into Hydreigon. I Night Spear into his Darkrai EX and spread 30 damage to his Deino, setting up a double Knock Out for my last 3 Prizes on the next turn.

On my next turn, I work my hand out to zero while also using Ultra Ball to fish stuff out of my deck to try to maximize my probability of drawing the last Pokémon Catcher out of my deck to bring up his Darkrai EX and take the double KO. While I am working on these moves, my opponent says I have the game won. I take a look at the field, and realize he hadn’t retreated his Darkrai EX to his Mewtwo EX, and the double KO is there for the taking, so I just Night Spear for the win.

I had a fairly thin deck left, so I probably would have gotten the Pokémon Catcher off of my Bianca to get the win, but being left with the sure-fire win was much nicer. This was a really good game though that could have gone either way.


Round 5 – Steve Schoen with Rayquaza/Eelektrik

I had traded Steve a Shiny Rayquaza at league a few days earlier for his daughter to use in her deck, but she wanted to play with a different deck for the tournament, so Steve took the Rayquazas and used those in his deck, so my own Rayquaza would be coming back to attack me.

I get a very solid start to the game and am able to setup some Chandelure and was working on getting a Darkrai setup early, but after a very strong turn one Celestial Roar, he was able to Knock Out my first Darkrai EX on turn two.

I have to Junk Hunt with Sableye to get my Dark Patches back to setup another Darkrai. He Knocks Out my Sableye to take his third prize with Shred with Rayquaza.

Heading into my next turn, I top deck a Dark Patch, which allows me to triple Dark Patch to setup my Darkrai EX, while allowing me to manually attach to start setting up a third Darkrai EX to finish off the game with, with a manual attachment.

pokemon-paradijs.comWith the help of Cursed Shadow, I am able to Knock Out two Eelektrik this turn (one with Cursed Shadow and one with Night Spear), leaving him with only one left on his field. He responds to the 1HKO on my Darkrai EX with Dragon Burst for his fourth and fifth prizes.

I Catcher up his last Eelektrik, N him to one card, and then Knock Out his last Eelektrik. His only out to win the game is going to be to get a Pokémon Catcher and Dragon Burst my benched Litwick to win the game. I use Cursed Shadow to place one damage on his active Rayquaza and his benched Tynamo and take the double Knock Out for my fourth and fifth prizes.

He was able to use Dragon Pulse twice into my Darkrai EX to put it up to 80 damage on the turns after I Knocked Out his last Eelektrik and again after I Knocked Out his active Rayquaza, which meant that Darkrai EX would be in Knock Out range if he could get another energy to Dragon Burst for 120.

I Switch into Chandelure and retreat into another one to use Cursed Shadow twice to put both his Rayquaza and Rayquaza EX in Knock Out range for Darkrai EX, giving me the win on the next turn of the game if he isn’t able to take the last Knock Out before I can. He draws nothing, and I am able to escape with another narrow victory in another really good game.


Final Thoughts on Darkrai/Chandelure

Give Adam an opportunity to use this image, and he’ll run with it.

I am really glad that I ended up playing this deck for this tournament. It’s a deck I highly enjoy, and have a strong personal connection with after crafting it together for the National Championship this past June. It’s always nice to get a strong result from a deck that’s a little off the beaten path, and it’s hard to be too disappointed in a tournament performance when your only loss was to the National Champion.

This tournament will definitely be one I remember, and may have been one of the most skillful tournament performances I have had yet. I personally think this is a deck that takes a great deal of skill to play if you would like to do well with it, and I managed to play free of mistakes throughout the day.

I would be hesitant to play the deck again in another tournament. Most of my wins were by the slimmest of margins and one tiny misplay could have turned any of those wins into losses. With this deck, especially in this format compared to the Nationals format, the misplays that you can make aren’t immediately obvious and are just small things that can come back to bite you later in the game.

If you place your Cursed Shadow damage down improperly or snipe damage with Night Spear in the wrong places, you can shut yourself off from winning. This is especially hard to do, as you not only have to properly deal with the threats on your opponent’s board, but also anticipate what other threats your opponent could place down, as well as when they might set back the damage clock with heal cards like Super Scoop Up and Max Potion.

pokemon-paradijs.comIn addition to the damage placement, you also have to know when to use Junk Hunt to power up more attackers or pull off an important Chandelure play. With a deck like Darkrai/Hydreigon, I feel it is a lot more clear with what you should be getting out of your discard pile with Junk Hunt. With this deck however, while one card might be obvious, the second card you get with Junk Hunt isn’t always so obvious, so you just have to try to make the best decision and hope that it works out for the best.

I am not sure if I would be able to replicate the success that I had with this deck again. I know it’s a strong deck concept, but as I said, I was able to make all the right plays on this day, something I’m not sure I could repeatedly do when all the right plays aren’t so obvious.

This deck does have some inherent advantages on some of the meta decks though, which should not be ignored. It has a terrific Eelektrik matchup, as you can place Cursed Shadow damage on something like a Tynamo, or an Eelektrik in conjunction with Night Spear snipe damage, to setup snipe knock outs with Darkrai EX, which can clear your opponent’s fields of Eelektrik very quickly. Additionally, you can catcher lock an Eelektrik in the Active Spot, giving you the ability to Curse Shadow damage to your opponent’s attackers to set them up for knock outs with Darkrai.

I think it has a pretty solid matchup against opposing Darkrai decks as well, as you are able to accelerate the damage clock in your favor and just overwhelm your opponent’s field with damage very quickly. I don’t think it’s Hydreigon or Terrakion-EX matchups are all that great, but the deck is capable of beating both of those decks.

10/10, would not play again.

Season Update

digitopoly.orgComing out of Fall Battle Roads, I am sitting at 20 Championship Points. I picked up 3rd place finishes with Darkrai/Mewtwo/Terrakion and Darkrai/Chandelure, whiffed on kicker points on resistance with Ho-Oh EX, and had a blah 2-2 showing with Rayquaza/Eelektrik in my first Battle Roads of the season.

My final stats for Battle Roads are 20 Championship Points and a 13-6 record through four Battle Roads. Don’t know my final Elo yet, but it should be somewhere in excess of 1700 if I understand the new system correctly. Not the most beautiful stats ever, but they are still pretty solid.

At the beginning of the season, I outlined some goals on how I wanted my season to look like. Here is what my goals were for the Battle Roads portion of the season:

Play in 10:

1st – 2 x 15 points = 30 points
2nd – 2 x 12 = 24 points
Top 4 – 2 x 10 = 20 points
Total: 74 points

So far I Knocked Out those two Top 4 finishes, so now I just need to work on taking some Top 2 and First place finishes in the Spring, and I will be good on points from Battle Roads.

My next tournament will be Fall Regional Championships in Fort Wayne, IN. My goals for Regionals this season is to play in all three, and make Top 8 at one and Top 16 at another. Hopefully I can Knock Out one of those right away, and perhaps go even further than that and take home a massive pot of points (120 please!?!?!).


newsbomb.grFall Battle Roads were a lot of fun. I didn’t get to play in quite as many as I would have liked because of work conflicts, but hopefully before the start of City Championships I can find a new job, in which I don’t have to work weekends so I can play in a lot more events, as 1. It will help to put me in a better position to earn a World’s invite and 2. I really do enjoy playing in these tournaments and getting to see friends at these tournaments, so being able to do that more often would be awesome.

I will have an Underground article coming out next Tuesday, October 9th, in which I will be taking a look at how the metagame forms going from a smaller event series to a bigger event series, like a Regional Championship, as well as ranking the top plays for Regionals out of all the decks that saw some success at Fall Battle Roads.

From there, my next front page article will be similar to what I did with Dragon’s Exalted, which will be a set review for Boundaries Crossed, looking at how some of the new cards can affect and possibly shatter the metagame.

Next off is Indiana, hope to see some of you there!

Reader Interactions

6 replies

  1. Ziggmiceter

    There is no rare candy in the list that you gave and there were actually 33 trainers. I’m assuming those 3 spots were used for Rare Candy?

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