BulbapediaSo for my first article for SixPrizes, I thought it would be interesting to give you all an overview of how I think this upcoming format is going to develop. I’ll go over a card I believe is one of the most influential in Boundaries Crossed, and a few ways to make good use of it. I hope you guys like the article and find it useful when trying to build your Cities decks. Enjoy!
The card I want to talk about is the highly-anticipated Blastoise from this set. Its Ability, Deluge, allows for Energy acceleration in form not unfamiliar to the game. Reminiscent of its predecessors Blastoise from Base Set, Blastoise ex from FireRed & LeafGreen, and most recently, Emboar from Black & White, it’s no surprise this card is receiving the kind of hype it is.
In each of these past examples, the capability to attach any number of Energy cards from one’s hand has been a tier 1 strategy, and has even been format defining. But, as was the case with these other “Rain Dance” Pokémon, this ability means nothing unless paired with a Pokémon who can abuse this kind of instant Energy acceleration.
For this Blastoise, Keldeo EX from Boundaries Crossed seems to be the obvious partner. It almost feels as though this Keldeo was made just for Blastoise. Its high HP, unpopular Weakness, and amazing Ability, not to mention an attack almost tailor-made for Deluge, make this deck a sure-fire hit. Here’s my take on a list for this deck:
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 35
Energy – 12
There are probably a few things about this list that aren’t standard, and with such a changing format, some choices are more obvious than others, so I’ll go over why I picked certain cards over others.
From what I’ve seen, Skyla is quite the controversial card. There are a few people who swear by it, while others think the card is trash. I personally feel that this card is somewhere in between. It’s not the kind of card you love to see when you’re really hurting for an explosive turn early on, but late game, this is a game changer. Cards like Tool Scrapper, Catcher, Eviolite, and Computer Search are all pretty huge cards late game, and being able to search for them exactly when you need them can be huge.
What makes me put this card into the list, though, is that it has greater early game implications in Stage 2 decks than it would in a faster deck like Darkrai or Landorus. The ability to search out Ultra Ball and Rare Candy can be just as good as getting an early Juniper, simply because most of the time, you’re looking for the missing piece to get out that second turn Blastoise.
Another really important reason why Skyla made the cut is that Energy Retrieval is such a critical part of this deck. Playing only two can only be justified by having at least two Skyla and a Super Rod. Having so much versatility early, mid, and late game is what makes Skyla a must in any Blastoise variant.
I feel like people underestimate how good this card is in Blastoise decks. Because the two EX attackers in the deck have only 170 HP, Eviolite is very important for keeping Energy on the field. 170 with an Eviolite also gives great numbers against Eels decks, because Rayquaza has to dump four Energies instead of three for a 1HKO.
Another reason this card shines in this deck is Kyurem. Because Kyurem is not an EX, having to put resources into KOing one is an unrewarding venture for an opponent. Its already-high HP supplemented with Eviolite can swing the Prize trade mid-game, which is a incredibly desirable in this blow-for-blow format.
Some might say that an Eviolited Kyurem doesn’t really take away any magic numbers, but in the upcoming format, being able to prevent the 30 bench damage dealt by Darkrai, and now Landorus, really ensures that Kyurem will be able to attack twice.
Unfortunately there’s only room for one Eviolite in this list, but higher quantities of this card is something to keep in mind as that “61st” slot.
There’s not too much to say about this choice. The sole reason for having 12 Water and one Energy Search as opposed to a 13/0 split is Skyla. I don’t think that this deck can go through 13 actual Waters, especially with two Energy Retrieval and a Super Rod, so having the versatility to search for an Energy with Skyla is an option not worth passing up on.
This card is one that I believe most Blastoise players will be including in their final lists for cities. Essentially providing +60 damage late game with a Keldeo, it can be the difference between a 2-shot and a 1HKO. The reason I chose only to play one is the situational nature of the card. The idea that this card is only useful after a full setup with Blastoise and Keldeo on the board at the same time makes it difficult for me to justify going higher than two max. The other reason to make this card unique in the deck is the already-high Supporter count.
Because having a high Supporter count was not really a problem through Battle Roads and Regionals, I believe a big mistake many inexperienced players will make is putting too many Supporters into a deck. Just a warning with this card, it’s got a lot of late-game potential, but be wary of stuffing your decks with Supporters, because you’ll start seeing some pretty clogged hands.
The Other Way to Play Blastoise
pokemon-paradijs.comAnother variant of Blastoise is one that focuses on healing and keeping Keldeo from being Knocked Out. This version of the deck makes great use of Keldeo’s Ability, Step In. Because the Blastoise player doesn’t have to worry about retreating, they can freely use Super Scoop Up to bring a Keldeo back to their hand, then immediately replay it and send it Active without having to have a free retreater or another Keldeo.
The Super Scoop Up version of this deck has its pros and cons. Its advantage over the other version is that with a little bit of luck, it can keep the same Keldeo and Energies recycling without ever giving up a prize. Because Grass is so underplayed with the exception of Shaymin EX, a Keldeo with an Eviolite is unlikely to get 1HKO’d by anything other than a Rayquaza with four Electrics on it.
By getting the maximum amount of attacks out of a single Keldeo, the Blastoise player is allowing himself a little extra time to set up, because once set up, this version will perform much better late game. This pocket of time in the early turns of the game, however, is also the deck’s biggest fault. This version of the deck will probably find itself struggling to set up early game, whether it be to losing Squirtles, or to falling so far behind that there’s no way to get around being Catchered for the remaining prizes.
The main concern for many high level players, though, is the flips associated with playing and relying heavily upon Super Scoop Up. Experienced players generally tend to stay away from cards that bring luck into the game, and SSU is the epitome of this kind of card.
By and large, the other version of this deck, which has a steadier early game, will most likely appeal to a larger group of players than the SSU version will. Regardless, without having seen any results in this format thus far, it is impossible to discount the potential of this deck, so here’s a list I’ve drawn up for this deck as well:
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 37
Energy – 11
It’s pretty apparent just from a first glance at this list that it’s much less consistent than the first list. Those four spaces for Super Scoop Ups, the extra Eviolite, and the Max Potion definitely take up a lot of the room that had previously been dedicated to supporters like Cheren.
Nonetheless, that’s what needs to be done to keep the important things in the deck, but keep in mind how much less consistent this deck is compared to the version without Super Scoop Up. Here’s some analysis of the cards in here that aren’t represented in the first list.
pokemon-paradijs.comThis card choice should make apparent that I am very opposed to having to flip coins for any reason, especially after I missed around 75% of my Hammer flips at Philly Regionals. Max Potion adds some certainty to a deck that is heavily reliant on Super Scoop Flips.
Assuming you start flipping tails, you can always rely on a Max Potion/Cilan/Energy Retrieval to keep you afloat until your next SSU opportunity. I think that having the 2nd Eviolite in the deck is what warrants Max Potion in this deck, because without it, Rayquaza 1-shots would be too devastating, and Max Potion would become too situational.
This card also proves to be rather versatile in that it can offset a Raikou’s 100 to a Blastoise. Having that kind of damage dealt/removed back and forth can really ruin an Eels player’s game. It also means that the Blastoise that took so long to get onto the board isn’t going anywhere unless they put a lot of resources into Knocking it Out instead of a tanked Keldeo or Mewtwo.
This is a must in this build of Keldeo/Blastoise. There’s no way around playing at least two of this card, if not three. When your goal is to keep big EX’s alive for as long as possible, Eviolite seems all too intuitive. Keeping both Keldeo and Mewtwo out of 1HKO range for Rayquaza is too important to pass up on if you’re looking to scoop it up later.
I also can’t stress enough that Eviolite will be a huge card in a format full of Landorus. Being able to prevent a Landorus player from putting 30 on a Mewtwo or Keldeo then 1HKOing it later on with Landorus’s second attack can be important for the deck. While Landorus is already a good matchup for Blastoise because of Weakness, Landorus will set up far more quickly, and getting 2 Prizes in the fashion described above can actually be game ending depending on what point in the game it happens.
Eviolite appears to me to be one of the only reasons a version of Blastoise reliant on SSU’s can function in the upcoming metagame.
pokemon-paradijs.comThe last big difference between the two decks is the energy count. While the first list plays 12 Waters and an Energy Search, this version plays only 11 total. The reason for this is simply that there’s no room. The space that was dedicated to Energy and Energy Support had to be cut back on in order to fit the healing cards.
While generally this does not seem like a good place to find space for potency cards like SSU and Max Potion, it is justified by the idea that Energies will leave play less often. By playing these healing cards, the Blastoise player ensures that each Energy that comes into play will get maximum usage before going to the discard.
This method of preserving Energies is one that works in theory, but depending on how quickly the first Keldeo is Knocked Out, it could mean trouble finding enough Energy to power a second attacker for a response. This is just one of the many weaknesses this version of the deck faces.
In this article I described two very different ways of making good use of Blastoise’s Deluge. The first concentrates on consistency and returning attacks, while the second focuses more on late game potency and Energy efficiency. While I don’t believe one is clearly better than the other, I do believe there is a medium at which bother versions can overlap.
For example, instead of playing four SSU and cutting back significantly on Trainers, one could play two or three SSU and incorporate the healing strategy into a consistent version of the deck. The thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to “pick” one way of running the deck, but rather by putting your own spin on the deck, you can keep the best aspects of both lists.
I hope everyone found this article useful, and I hope it provided some good insight as to why Blastoise will be making a splash come cities. Thanks for reading!