Hey there SixPrizes Underground readers it’s almost that time of year again… yes, it is time for City Championships! My name is Raymond Cipoletti and this is my first time writing an article for Underground. I had previously written a short Regionals report not too long ago that included a brief introduction of myself, but I’ll elaborate slightly more here.
I do not have as many accomplishments as some that write for Underground, however I do still know a thing or two about this game. With last year being my first year of competitive play I was able to accomplish a lot, especially during this time of the season.
Around this time last year I was able to win two City Championships, Top 2 two City Championships, and Top 4 the rest of the City Championships that I attended. Unfortunately I was never able to attend a marathon, so I only went to the 8 City Championships that were closest to me.
This is really where I started to pick up Championship Points last year and I hope to do the same again this year. Now that I have introduced myself, let’s get to the article!
Cities are one of the most important times of the season if you are planning to try to get a Worlds invite. The reason is because of how many Championship Points are at stake. Here is what the point structure for Cities looks like:
Placement – Points – Kicker
1st – 50 CP – 0
2nd – 40 CP – 4
3rd-4th – 30 CP – 8
5th-8th – 20 CP – 32
9th-12th – 10 CP – 64
13th-16th – 5 CP– 64
17th-32nd – 3 CP – 128
For those of you who don’t understand the kicker concept, it’s quite simple. Kicker means you need at least that many people attending the tournament to receive the Championship Points listed. So if there are 32 players in your division and you finish 8th, you will receive 20 Championship Points.
Cities have a best finish limit of four, which means only your four top placements count for Championship Points. You can still go to as many Cities as you want though. If you win four Cities you will get 200 Championship Points. This means that you could potentially get half of the points necessary to qualify for Worlds just through Cities!
Before we start exploring new decks, let’s first discuss what a metagame is so we’re all on the same page. Metagame, metagaming, and the meta are all phrases you will often hear while you play the Pokémon TCG, but the terms become especially important during City Championships.
For those of you who don’t know what I am referring to when I say the word metagame, here is Wikipedia’s definition of the word:
Metagaming is a broad term usually used to define any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed ruleset, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game.
Metagaming is especially important during Cities, even more so than a typical series of tournaments, because during Cities because if you are able to call the metagame correctly, you have a good chance at earning first place.
But it can be even more difficult to metagame during Cites than any other series of tournaments, and this is because of the sheer number of Cities we have, with most of them in close proximity to one other across a short time frame.
This means you won’t have much time to adjust your deck for the next tournament’s meta. You will often see a shift in the meta with each tournament because new techs and decks could appear every week. You will need to pay attention to these things so you can adjust your deck to beat them.
If you are not on top of things, there will be somebody at that Cities who is because this isn’t your average Battle Road. Top players from all around will travel to Cities because of how important they are to your Worlds invite and you can bet they know what they are doing. You don’t want to be the guy playing an all EX deck with no counter to Sigilyph DRX when a Sigilyph deck won the day before.
Around the third Cities I suspect that this format will start to define itself and your local metagame will start to form. In simple terms, your local metagame is what the players in your area are playing. Metagaming is what you do to help stay one step ahead of everyone else. I believe another word for metagaming would be referred to as teching.
How does this all affect you though? Well, staying one step ahead could be just what wins you a City Championship!
In order to be able to metagame and stay one step ahead, you need to game plan. Winning a City Championship can involve a lot more than just the playing at the actual tournament and play testing. There should be a lot of preparation beforehand.
Let us say that you knew what everyone in the room was playing. Then you could potentially give yourself a better chance of winning before the tournament starts. Unfortunately knowing what everyone is playing before the tournament starts is impossible (unless you have superpowers like Arceus).
In my opinion, metagaming for a tournament is like taking an educated guess on what you think everybody will be playing.
This is all relevant because if you know the metagame then you can tech for what you will be playing against. You could even take it a step further and play a whole new deck in general! In order to win a City Championship, you are going to have to pay close attention to what is winning because you just might need to tech for the deck that just won the week before.
I feel like this is especially important at marathons as many of the same people will be attending each tournament (and will likely be playing the same decks), but I was not fortunate enough to attend one last year.
Let me give you a recent example of what can happen if you properly prepare for a tournament and call the metagame correctly. Recently we saw Ross Cawthon win Indiana Regionals with Ray Eels. One unique tech that Ross had in his list was Victini NVI 14 (aka Fliptini).
Why did Ross play Victini though? He played it because he knew it was very good against Darkrai EX decks that played little to no Switch. I watched Ross use Victini to help carry him to Victory against Darkrai EX decks thanks to The Top Cut’s coverage. Ross knew that he would be facing a lot of Darkrai EX based decks that played sparse amounts of Switch because he did his research.
Ross likely paid attention to what was doing well during Battle Roads and knew which decks people were talking about, and knew Darkrai EX based decks were big. Darkrai was a large part of our metagame at the time and he was able to identify an unexposed weakness of the deck – Paralysis.
Ross was doing what I just mentioned above. Ross was metagaming – or making an educated prediction – when he decided to tech a Victini in his deck to help him beat Darkrai EX matchups. This idea of teching cards for specific matchups is exactly what you might need to do to win.
A more extreme form of metagaming would be playing an entirely different deck to counter the meta. We saw this when Ross Cawthon played The Truth and got second at the World Championships. When Curran Hill played Quad Terrakion to win States last year, that was another form of countering the metagame because Eelektrik decks were rampant and had an inherent weakness to Fighting Pokémon.
Last year I was able to win a City Championships with an unknown deck that countered my local metagame – Lanturn Prime / Eelektrik. I chose to play this deck because the week before The Truth had won back-to-back at our local City Championships.
The main idea of The Truth was to set up a lock with Reuniclus BLW and Vileplume UD. Once you had both of those out, you would simply send up a heavy hitter like Donphan Prime and whenever it got damaged, move the damage off with Reuniclus and have the Donphan Prime never get Knocked Out. I felt like The Truth would be played a lot that week since it had swept the previous weekend.
Lanturn Eelektrik was a direct counter deck to The Truth and you had a fairly easy matchup there if you played it correctly. You simply sent up Thundurus EPO and used Charge until you had enough Energy on board to 1-shot everything with Lanturn Prime.
Lanturn also had a decent Reshiram BLW / Typhlosion Prime matchup which was popular in my area too. Had I not chosen to play a counter deck for that tournament I might not have beaten the Ross deck I faced in Top 4 or the ones I faced during Swiss rounds.
However, the biggest problem with playing a counter deck is that you could predict the metagame incorrectly and hit bad matchups all day. If you are going to play a counter deck you need to be confident in your decision that whatever deck (or decks) you are trying to counter will be popular. If you never play against the deck(s) you are trying to counter, things could end poorly for you during that tournament.
If you call the metagame incorrectly and you are only playing a 1-of tech like Victini, then one dead card might not mean the end of the world. As my teachers always told me in school, do your homework and you should be fine. Same rules apply here to some degree, although there is more luck in the Pokémon TCG than school.
knowyourmeme.comNow it is time to actually talk about what will be popular during these upcoming Cities. Most decks that will be played during Cities will be old archetypes we already know about with Boundaries Crossed twists added in.
However, we are given one completely new deck! With the release of Boundaries Crossed we are silver-plated two cards that appear to be made for each other. Those two cards are Blastoise BCR and Keldeo-EX, and with them spawn the possibility for a new tier one deck.
I will spend a lot of time talking about this deck because it’s the deck we know the least about, and is a brand new archetype that needs exploring.
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 32
Energy – 13
Alright so I know what you’re thinking… “Squirtle is not a choice!” I agree that you have to play Squirtle obviously, it is a Blastoise deck after all! However I do feel like Squirtle needs a little respect. Squirtle is easily one of the best cards in this deck. Why Squirtle though? What is so special about this Squirtle that you actually want to talk about it?
Well this little guy is what makes this whole deck playable! Without Squirtle’s Ability Shell Shield I feel like this deck would be completely unplayable at a competitive tournament. Shell Shield states:
As long as this Pokémon is on your Bench, prevent all damage done to this Pokémon by attacks (both yours and your opponent’s).
The reason why this Ability is so amazing is because this means that your opponent can no longer Catcher a benched Squirtle and attack with Landorus-EX’s Hammerhead doing 30 damage to the active Squirtle and 30 to a benched Squirtle to set up a double knockout on your Squirtles the following turn.
This also prevents double knockouts on Squirtle with Darkai EX’s Night Spear attack. If your opponent is able to take a double knockout on Squirtle then that can – and likely will – completely ruin your setup.
It also prevents your opponent from being able to use Raikou-EX’s Volt Bolt attack to take an easy prize or two on a benched Squirtle to end the game. Giving Squirtle the Ability Shell Shield was a very smart decision by PCL because it gives us the ability to play Blastoise decks, thus adding another possible tier 1 deck to our metagame and making the format a bit more diverse.
Who would have guessed that just a little Squirtle could have such a big impact on the metagame?
trollandtoad.comNow we get to talk about the true all-star of this deck! Every support Pokémon like Blastoise or Eelektrik needs a partner in crime. Eelektrik has Pokémon like Rayquaza EX, Mewtwo EX, and Zekrom BLW which are very strong and can hit big if given the chance to be powered up by some Eelektriks.
Blastoise’s partner in crime happens to be this pony – or maybe horse… possibly unicorn – we refer to as Keldeo-EX. Keldeo was meant to be with Blastoise at one point and time, like they were soulmates, and now they are finally together.
Keldeo-EX is good in Blastoise for so many reasons. One, it is the deck’s main attacker. We will start with his (or her) attack Secret Sword. Secret Sword costs 3 C Energy to use, and has a base damage of 50. However, for each W Energy that is attached to Keldeo-EX, Secret Sword does 20 more damage.
The ideal way to use this attack is to have 3 W Energies and attack for 110 damage. Doing 110 damage means that in just two attacks you can Knock Out any Eviolited Pokémon-EX in the format (sans healing methods). This on its own is very strong, and while the ability to increase the damage output can be very good, it can also be very risky.
For example let’s say you’re playing against an Eelektrik deck and you were able to Glaciate at the beginning of the game with Kyurem NVI putting 30 damage on a Rayquaza EX. That Rayquaza EX is now sitting on the bench with 140 HP.
Now let’s fast forward to a later point in this game where you have a Keldeo-EX with 3 W Energies on your bench. All you have to do is attach 2 more W Energies, use Keldeo-EX’s Rush In Ability, play Pokémon Catcher on Rayquaza EX, and now you can KO the 140 HP Rayquaza EX in one hit.
From that point forward if your opponent can’t kill your Keldeo-EX, then you can just power it up with even more W Energies (if you have them available) and 1-shot their whole deck. The downside to going “all in” on one Keldeo-EX is that if your opponent has the ability to Knock it Out then you could potentially be left with no Energies on board or ways to attack.
Keldeo-EX’s Ability Rush in is one of the best Abilities of any Pokémon from Boundaries Crossed. Rush In states:
Once during your turn (before your attack), if this Pokémon is on your Bench, you may switch this Pokémon with your Active Pokémon.
This Ability has so many uses and can even be played in decks outside of this one I’m sure. Rush In is especially useful and abused in this deck because it allows you to be able to have any Pokémon you want active to be immediately switched with a Keldeo-EX that will be able to start attacking.
It also is the reason why there are no Switches in the deck. With Keldeo-EX being in the deck, there isn’t much of a need to play Switch because you can’t be stalled by having your opponent Catcher up another Pokémon. If your opponent would Catcher something like a Blastoise you would simply just Rush In making Keldeo your active Pokémon and start attacking with it.
Rush In also prevents your opponent from Paralysis locking you or gaining any advantage from any Special Condition. If your active Pokémon becomes Paralyzed just Rush In to Switch it out of the Active Spot, thus removing the Special Condition. Keldeo-EX existing in the metagame could scare away decks reliant on Special Conditions, like Accelgor DEX based decks, because they have a very difficult time dealing with Keldeo-EX.
As I said earlier, this deck plays no Switch which can be an issue. Why is it an issue though? You can’t be affected by Special Conditions or stalled by Catcher because of Rush In right? Well this is all true, but there are some flaws here.
Let’s say that you get something Catchered up, but you don’t actually want to attack with Keldeo-EX. This problem doesn’t occur very often because you usually will be attacking with Keldeo-EX; however there are certain situations where you would like to attack with other Pokémon.
For example say you are playing against an Eelektrik deck and you have the ability to get a turn two Glaciate off. Pulling this off could just win you the game; unfortunately you can only get a Keldeo active and have only enough energy in your hand to power up Kyurem (and not retreat Keldeo).
This same type of scenario can occur when you really want to Knock something Out with a Mewtwo and not use Keldeo. Situations like these are where you would want a Switch or two.
The good thing about this deck is that you do have the option to attempt to Super Scoop Up, hit heads, and have that act as a pseudo Switch. Unfortunately that is dependent on a coin flip, and SSU could be better utilized later in the game when you have damaged Pokémon with energy attached.
Kyurem is in this deck for many reasons; one is to help you beat Eelektrik based decks. If you can get an early Kyurem out Glaciating against an Eelektrik players board contain at least two Tynamo you can devastate their set up and pretty much defeat them on the spot if they don’t have an answer.
Glaciating on turn two or three will force them to evolve their Tynamo into Eelektrik right away or they will lose their Energy acceleration. If you can get an Eelektrik based deck to the point where they have no Eelektrik in play you are probably going to win that game.
Glaciating also helps in many other ways, some of which I explained earlier on. Glaciating any Pokémon-EX, or higher HP Pokémon such as Terrakion, can help set up knockouts for Keldeo-EX to pick up later in the game.
Although Glaciate is the main reason why Kyurem is in the deck, his Outrage attack can be very helpful as well. Outrage forces your opponent to have to play more carefully when facing a Kyurem in the Active Spot. If your opponent attacks Kyurem for a lot of damage without Knocking it Out you can simply just attach a Double Colorless Energy and use Outrage.
If you are able to Outrage for a good amount of damage while only dedicating one Double Colorless to your Kyurem you save a lot of resources, most likely saving energies for a later attacker, and still put pressure on your opponent.
A good example of when this will happen is when you are facing down a Darkrai EX using Night Spear and you have a slow start. If you are able to get a Kyurem in the Active Spot you force the Darkrai EX player to have to use a Pokémon Catcher or get Outraged for 110 on your turn.
Now you’ve just set up a Darkrai to be killed by almost anything in your deck! Even a Keldeo-EX with only one W Energy and a Double Colorless Energy doing 70 damage could Knock Out the damaged Darkrai.
Outrage is also a big deal when facing a Landorus deck. When a Landorus-EX faces down a Kyurem they need a Catcher or it is not even worth attacking. Landorus can’t hit Squirtle when it is on the bench so the 30 damage is almost never that relevant early on.
If the Landorus-EX player does decide they want to attack into your Kyurem for some reason then you can simply attach a Double Colorless Energy and Outrage them for 100 damage because of weakness. This means you get to two shot a Landorus-EX without using any resources!
Most of the time the Keldeo-EX Blastoise decks should defeat Landorus-EX based decks anyway, but horrible starts do occur and this is one way to help you out when it does happen.
Ah Mewtwo EX, possibly one of the best cards ever printed. Mewtwo EX is playable in nearly every single deck, this one included. Mewtwo EX is good in this deck because other decks play Mewtwo EX. You always need to have an answer to an opponent’s Mewtwo EX, and there is no better way to combat it than to fight fire with fire.
You also already play Double Colorless Energy, making it that much easier to power up Mewtwo EX. Mewtwo can be good against just about every deck because of X Ball’s ability to do massive amounts of damage.
During a tournament like a City Championship, by the time you get later into the tournament you could face somebody whose deck you have seen. If you know for a fact that your opponent plays no Mewtwo EX you have the ability to try to go for a big Mewtwo EX and sweep them. If your opponent has no way to 1-shot a Mewtwo EX you can pull off some crazy tactics.
You play the second Mewtwo EX because it is helpful if you find yourself getting into a Mewtwo war. I would try to avoid these though because you do only play two Mewtwo EX. Also, it is key to being able to pull off these “crazy tactics” I mentioned earlier.
Imagine you are playing an opponent who has no shot at being able to 1HKO your Mewtwo EX and you know this. You have an active Mewtwo with 4 W Energy and your opponent just used Darkrai EX’s Night Spear on you. Here is what you would do if you know they can’t counter a Mewtwo EX.
pokemon-paradijs.comPlace down a second Mewtwo EX onto the bench, play Super Scoop Up. If you are lucky enough to hit heads you pick up your damaged Mewtwo EX send up your other Mewtwo EX and go crazy. Attach as many Energy as possible and go for the sweep.
Of course this is all assuming you have Blastoise in play. Using this strategy you can potentially get to the point where you are even able to one shot Darkrai EX.
Typically I would not recommend doing crazy things with Mewtwo EX unless you are 100% certain they have no way to Knock it Out. I would mainly use your Mewtwo EX to counter other Mewtwo EX.
Having Double Colorless in the deck also means that powering up Mewtwo EX to do damage could be easier than a Keldeo-EX. A Mewtwo EX with a Double Colorless and water energy is most likely doing more damage than a Keldeo-EX the same thing.
If you start with a Mewtwo EX that could be very beneficial as well. You have the ability to attach Double Colorless and start attacking on turn one putting on some pressure that you normally wouldn’t be able to do. Once you are able to power up Keldeo-EX simply use the ability Rush In and start doing even more damage with Keldeo-EX.
pokemon-paradijs.comSuper Scoop Up is a card I have been referencing a lot so far in this article, so I will try not to repeat myself to much. The biggest controversy to Super Scoop Up is that it is a flip. Most players try to avoid coin flip cards as much as possible, trying not to rely too much on luck to win.
But In my testing with this deck I have realized that the chance you take is well worth the reward for flipping heads.
Flipping heads on a Super Scoop up both acts as a pseudo Switch and Max Potion. It acts as two cards in one, and can even be better in a lot of situations. Super Scoop Up has been better than Max Potion because your energies are far too important to discard. With a Blastoise in play, flipping heads on Super Scoop up to pick up a damaged Pokémon acts as a Max Potion with no energy discard!
Playing two copies of each attacker also gives you the option to bench your second copy, flip heads on Super Scoop Up, and send up the benched copy. Now with no damage you can be fully charged (with a Blastoise in play) and you are good to go.
Eviolite is very clutch in almost every single matchup – if it doesn’t get Tool Scrappered. With two Skyla in the deck you can search it out easily in certain matchups. Rayquaza EX is forced to have 4 Lighting Energies to be able to one shot a Keldeo-EX.
pokemon-paradijs.comIf you play against a Darkrai EX based deck, you turn a 2-shot on one of your EX attackers into a 3-shot. And with the ability to Super Scoop Up you could just ruin a Darkrai player’s day by picking up a Keldeo-EX with 140 damage on it.
Most people play more than just a single copy of Eviolite in this deck and I may soon find myself doing that as well. As of now I can see cutting a Kyurem if Eelektrik decks don’t turn out to be popular in order to add the second copy of Eviolite.
Playing Cheren over Bianca is another controversial subject that I often find myself talking about with people quite often. I prefer Cheren because I find myself often having a larger hand size early game.
Even though I play Ultra Ball I still find myself only drawing 3-4 cards on at most with Bianca. Rarely do I ever draw more than that. I would rather just consistently draw three cards with Cheren than risk having a Bianca that could only draw me one or two cards early game.
Early game is usually when I am digging for a Rare Candy or Blastoise so I can get going. In almost all of my decks where I play a Stage 2 I prefer Cheren over Bianca.
With the testing I have done with this format so far I am not sure yet I am falling for the hype of this deck. I am however falling for the hype of Landorus-EX. I believe that Landorus-EX is one of the best cards in the new set. Blastoise / Keldeo gives Landorus-EX a rough time if you can get a Keldeo-EX attacking. If you encounter a deck based around Landorus-EX and get a Keldeo-EX set up you will be able to roll over them.
I can see this deck having a lot of problems if your opponent can get a fast Darkrai EX. Darkrai EX could prove to be a problem for Blastoise decks if they get out a turn two Night Spear, or if you flip tails on Super Scoop Up. A turn two Darkrai EX Knocking Out a Squirtle or damaging anything but a Kyurem puts a lot of pressure on you.
In a perfect world if you get turn two Blastoise powering up a Keldeo-EX and flip a heads on a Super Scoop Up or two you can beat Darkrai decks with ease. However we don’t live in a perfect world and this deck is not that consistent. I never seem to be able to get turn two Blastoise and be able to power up an attacker consistently, but it can happen.
The Rayquaza Eelektrik matchup can go either way. I think it comes down to who sets up first. If you can get a Kyurem Glaciating their field on the second turn of the game you are probably going to win. However if both decks get setup well the Eelektrik deck has the advantage because Rayquaza EX can 1HKO your Blastoise and Keldeo-EX.
I would not put this as a favorable matchup for you. Luckily I don’t see Eelektrik decks being nearly as popular as they were this last format due to the existence of Landorus-EX. Landorus does work against Eelektrik decks but I will talk about that later.
I feel like the biggest issue this deck will have is actually being able to consistently get a Blastoise out. If somebody could find a way to get turn two Blastoise every game and attack on turn two this could be a very strong Tier 1 deck.
The other issue will be keeping Blastoise in play against Darkrai EX based decks. Against Eelektrik based decks they have the capability to 1-shot Blastoise with Rayquaza EX. How Darkrai decks will be able to deal with Blastoise is one topic I will cover soon.
Adjusting for the Metagame
pokemon-paradijs.comWith each passing week you will find that the metagame changes, and you will have to adjust accordingly. There is no possible way that I can give you a version of this deck that will be best in your metagame because every local metagame is different and constantly changing.
I can however give you some advice that could be helpful when trying to adjust your Blastoise / Keldeo-EX deck for your next tournament.
Blastoise Keldeo can make some pretty unique changes to add powerful techs to this deck. You could start by cutting the Double Colorless Energy and a Water to add 4 Prism Energies. This gives you the option to take advantage of a wide array of attackers. Choosing which attackers you want to play is what could be difficult.
I will give you an example of how changing this deck might look like. Let’s say Darkrai EX decks are just dominating everywhere and you only have the cards to play Blastoise Keldeo, or just love the deck, but you are constantly losing to Darkrai EX.
What is one of the best cards you can possibly play to help counter Darkrai EX? Terrakion!
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 32
Energy – 13
It’s as simple as that. Here we just removed a Kyurem and Mewtwo, two attackers that are mediocre against Darkrai and replaced them with Terrakion. Of course these might not be the only changes you want to make as you test your new version of the deck, so always be sure to add your personal touch to it.
Another possible tech you might consider using throughout Cities is Shaymin EX. Placing Shaymin EX in this deck could potentially help with the mirror match as long as you don’t start with it. Shaymin can get one shot by a Keldeo-EX with three W Energies on it, however you one shot them as long as they have taken 2 Prizes.
Shaymin uses up less resources than setting up a Keldeo-EX does in most situations, so it could prove to be useful. Shaymin EX is also very good if a lot of Terrakion-EX decks start to pop up as well.
There are just so many different ways to play this deck I could spend days just talking about it! The last card I want to talk about for this deck is the lack of Tool Scrapper. Tool Scrapper is not played in any of my lists because I feel like you don’t really need it and the spot could be put to better use. With or without Eviolite, most Pokémon-EX will be a two shot for a Keldeo-EX with three W Energy attached.
The most important thing Tool Scrapper could be used for is discarding Exp. Share or Dark Claw. Even Garbodor doesn’t give you that much trouble because you can easily Knock it Out with a three energy Mewtwo EX or Keldeo-EX. You just have to be careful of what you bench against Garbodor because you might have to rely on Super Scoop Up to be able to retreat.
As of now I’m not sure where I see Blastoise decks being in the metagame. I am certain there will be many of them being played because of how much hype the deck is getting, but I’m not sure how they will do. If we see that Blastoise decks end up winning many City Championships then it will live up to the hype. Only time will tell if this will happen so we just have to wait and see.
Darkrai EX Variants
pocketmonsters.netLast format we saw a wide array of different Darkrai decks ranging from straight Darkrai EX / Sableye / Crushing Hammer to Darkrai EX / Garbodor DRX / Sableye / Crushing Hammer. We also saw Darkrai EX paired with Shaymin EX, Terrakion NVI, Roserade DRX 15, Mewtwo EX, and of course Hydreigon. Darkrai EX was everywhere and I’m sure that won’t change in this new format.
Here are some lists for the most popular Darkrai variants updated with Boundaries Crossed.
Darkrai Shaymin Hammers
Pokémon – 8
Trainers – 40
Energy – 12
Pokémon – 9
Trainers – 38
Energy – 13
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 33
Energy – 12
Pokémon – 7
Trainers – 42
Energy – 11
These are all Darkrai decks that existed previously. The closest thing to a new deck we have here is the Darkrai Landorus deck. Landorus-EX is incredibly strong, especially when paired with Darkrai EX. If you can attack with a Landorus for the first two turns and then start swinging with a Darkrai EX your opponent could be put under a lot of pressure.
Landorus-EX is good in so many ways and I would explain it more, but I feel like Esa covered Landorus pretty well in his last article so I won’t echo him.
Darkrai Hydreigon List Explanation
Darkrai Hydreigon has gained some neat new tools and could continue to make itself known throughout Cities. This deck, and all Darkrai EX decks, have gained Skyla and Computer Search. If you can get a Skyla on turn one for a Computer Search and Junk Hunt back your Computer Search with Sableye you’re in a very good spot.
The only problem that can occur with Junk Hunt is that you can get N’d and have to shuffle whatever you got back into your deck.
I have chosen to go with all Dragon Deino over the Dark Deino because I’m predicting Landorus-EX to be everywhere. I feel like Landorus-EX will see more play than Shiny Rayquaza. Therefore, I would rather go with Dragon Deino (instead of Deino NVI) to avoid getting donked by Landorus-EX.
The Dragon Deino also has the potential to Paralyze your opponent if you flip heads on its attack. Against a Darkrai mirror Paralysis could be huge.
Sigilyph was played in this deck on occasion, but it can shine now more than ever. It is mainly my Mewtwo EX counter with a twist. In all these Darkrai EX decks you may notice a similar pattern; most of them play very few non-EX attackers.
If you get paired up against a Hammertime and have a lone Sigilyph I could see a Darkrai player being forced to just attack you with Sableye’s Confuse Ray! Now if they don’t play Dark Claw or if you can Eviolite your Sigilyph we could get into some very comical situations where games could last forever.
Dark Claw Explanation
pokemon-paradijs.comAs you may have noticed I included Dark Claw as a tech in most of my lists. I feel like the power of Dark Claw against cards like Terrakion was already demonstrated by Ryan Sabelhaus. Ryan rode Dark Clawed Darkrai EXs to a Regionals win under the watchful eye of The Top Cut’s cameras when he defeated Gino Lombardi in the finals.
Dark Claw has a new use in Darkrai decks now with the birth of the new Blastoise Keldeo deck. Playing Dark Claw gives Darkrai EX the ability to night spear a Blastoise for 110 damage and then Knock it Out the next turn with 30 splash damage and hit something else for 110. The math works out perfectly!
Dark Claw can also allow you to Knock Out any Eviolited EX in two turn so you don’t have to Tool Scrapper the Eviolite. If Terrakion decks, decks with Eviolite, and Blastoise decks all become non-existent I can see not playing Dark Claw, but until then I feel it is a strong tech.
Darkrai EX has always been top dog seeing tier one play ever since it came out and I’m sure that won’t change now.
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 31
Energy – 13
Ray Eels is the last deck I will be discussing in this article. Eelektrik decks have been my go-to decks ever since Cities started last year. I have loved playing Eelektrik and played it at nearly half of the tournaments I attended last season, including Worlds! I’ve even played it most of this season at Battle Roads and Philly Regionals.
As much as I love Eelektrik decks I feel like I might have to shy away from them now. Why would I want to give up on a deck I have loved for so long? It’s simple really, I’m just too afraid of Landorus-EX being big. I have had enough of getting donked by Shiny Rayquaza this season I don’t want to miss cut due to being donked by Landorus twice in one tournament.
Getting donked is just bad luck most people say. I would have to agree some bad luck is involved in getting donked but there are things we can do to help prevent getting destroyed by Landorus-EX besides hoping we don’t start Tynamo.
The biggest way to help out against Landorus-EX is to play 3 Emolga. Emolga is very strong to start with against an opposing Landorus-EX because they can only hit it for 10 damage due to Resistance. As much as I love the Resistance and Emolga’s attack, Call for Family, I still feel like Landorus-EX will give Eelektrik decks a rough time.
If Landorus dies down a little bit I would strongly consider picking up an Eelektrik deck and playing it at a Cities. Eelektrik decks are still very powerful and Rayquaza EX is arguably the most powerful attacker in the game right now. Just be aware you’re going to struggle against Landorus-EX if you decide to pick up an Eelektrik deck.
Also, Eelektrik based decks have gained very little with the new set. The best playable cards you gain are Computer Search and Skyla. I don’t even like Skyla very much in Eels.
Hopefully I will be proven wrong and Eelektrik decks perform phenomenal during Cities. Anything can happen in Pokémon and for all I know Landorus-EX could bomb and end up not being played that much. If that occurs I can see a window where Eelektrik will rise again, if they ever fall.
Mark A. HicksI hope you enjoyed my first ever Underground article and thank you so much for reading it! Good luck to everybody playing in any City Championships! I wish you all the best.
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