Everything You Need to Know for Cities

Hey there SixPrizes!

memegenerator.net
With the help of this article, you’ll be “lightyears” ahead of the metagame.

Today I’ve decided to try my hand at an Esa-like deck list article. With Cities starting in just 2 days, and a potential 200 CP up for grabs, I’m going to give you a rundown of the decks to know about and at the end include a couple of my own rogue-ish decks that could be strong contenders.

For each of these decks I’ll share my thoughts on how they run, their matchups against the field, and when applicable, what techs/changes from my lists you could consider. After swearing off long articles, I’ll be discussing a grand total of 18 different decks here today!

There will be a summary for each deck, followed by a discussion organized into three sections:

  • The Good: Strengths of that specific variant.
  • The Bad: Weaknesses of that specific variant.
  • The Verdict: How strong a play is this deck?

We’ve got a lot to cover, so without further ado let’s dive right in!

Table of Contents

(Click to be taken directly to that section and press back on your browser to return here.)

The Darkrai + Stuff Decks

en.wikipedia.org
Mars also has a solid core. Science!

It’s important to recognize exactly what constitutes a Darkrai + Stuff deck. There’s about a 45 card skeleton that acts as the core of all Darkrai decks. From this core you can build anything from Hammertime to Darkrai/Hydreigon. With such a solid core, it’s easy to understand why each of the decks below is an obvious Tier 1 contender.

The strategy behind Darkrai is effective and relatively simple. Use the best starter in the format (Sableye DEX) to give you access to more Items per game than other decks have. Couple this with an attacker that can efficiently spread its damage and be charged up quickly through Item-based Energy acceleration. And finish it off with a support strategy that covers any weaknesses that the metagame might exploit.

These support strategies range from a Fighting-type attacker to cover the mirror match, Mewtwo EX to be a diverse counter to whatever the format can throw at you, Hydreigon to just negate your opponent’s efforts, and Hammers to slow your opponent down such that you can always come out ahead.

There are fringe strategies like using Accelgor DEX, Chandelure NVI, or now Dusknoir BCR to support Darkrai’s core, and these are actually pretty respectable decks. But the proven contenders are as follows…

Darkrai/Landorus

Pokémon – 9

4 Landorus-EX
3 Darknessrai-EX
2 Sableye DEX

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Juniper
4 N

3 Skyla

2 Bianca

1 Random Receiver

 

4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Dark Patch
4 Ultra Ball
4 Energy Switch

3 Eviolite
2 Tool Scrapper

1 Switch

1 Computer Search

Energy – 14

8 Darkness
6 Fighting

Good Matchups: Eelektrik, non-Hammertime Darkrai decks, Garbodor
Bad Matchups: Blastoise/, Empoleon
Worthwhile Techs: Shaymin EX
Crawdaunt’s Rating: 8/10

The Good

Bulbapedia
Therian Landorus is a lion right? I shall call him “Simba.”

Landorus isn’t quite a proven contender since the format hasn’t been played yet. But if you’ve been testing Boundaries Crossed decks, then you know that Landorus is going to be big.

Hammerhead threatens Deinos, Tynamos, and Eelektriks very effectively. The ground genie also does a great job of applying pressure to any setup deck. Of course, Landorus isn’t just for Hammerhead. Land’s Judgement handily takes care of any Pokémon, including EXs (especially when coupled with Hammerhead snipes).

This is a deck that can charge up a Land’s Judgement over only 2 turns thanks to Dark Patch + Energy Switch. And against opposing Darkrai decks, a T1 Hammerhead can be followed up by a T2 Land’s Judgement for 80 (x2 Weakness) for a likely KO. Follow this up with a full-power Land’s Judgement for another KO on most anything.

The deck runs 1 Switch, which is searchable by Skyla to give you 4 outs. The Switch is primarily there to get an additional out for the T1 Hammerhead, but also offers protection against Paralysis from Tynamos.

Without Switch, the only way to get a T1 Hammerhead without starting Landorus would be to Dark Patch to a benched Dark Pokémon, Energy Switch to the active, bench a Landorus, attach a Fighting Energy and retreat. Switch just means you need to bench a Landorus, attach a Fighting and use a Skyla or Switch.

The Bad

mnh.si.edu
Lions hate water.

This deck is running a more divided Energy line for the possibility of a Land’s Judgment for 150. This diverts from the focus of Darkrai and Dark Patch. Landorus may be able to start swinging at an opposing Darkrai before the Darkrai can swing back, but the T3 KO is still determined by who goes first (barring a T2 Land’s Judgement).

A quick Eviolite really hurts Landorus’ potential. An Eviolite on a benched Pokémon doesn’t hurt Darkrai as much since you’re still hitting for 90 to the active. However Landorus is stuck with hitting for 30+10. Whiffing a Fighting attachment or losing an Energy to a Hammer really hurts Landorus’ potential for Land’s Judgement. Thankfully this deck is running a full 6 Fighting.

Lastly, Landorus is a major liability against Blastoise/Keldeo. This reason alone is probably enough to not bother running a dedicated Darkrai/Landorus variant. Blastoise/Keldeo will see a fair amount of play in response to the Landorus hype. Empoleon variants can also give you a hard time for this reason.

The Verdict

pokevault.com
Watch out! It’s aggressive!

Though Landorus can be a strong inclusion in a Darkrai deck, the deck’s focus on Landorus is not the most capable way to run a Darkrai variant, nor a Landorus variant. This deck concept’s faults lie in that it is really just shoving two good cards together and hoping they work out. Landorus and Darkrai share synergy in continual bench-snipe, but unfortunately their Energy lines are not very compatible.

Unlike Terrakion, Landorus-EX can’t attack for sudden big damage. This means that Landorus isn’t effective in changing the flow of a matchup. Its primary use is to aid in early aggression (something it does very well).

But Darkrai is already a very aggressive card, capable of attacking on turn 2 with great consistency. Thus I am hesitant to call a straight Darkrai/Landorus “the play” for Darkrai decks. The metagame that this deck would see great success in would be one where players hadn’t secured multiple copies of Blastoise and Keldeo.

Nonetheless, Darkrai/Landorus is one of my strong considerations for decks this format. The ability to get a consistent T2 or T3 Land’s Judgement is extremely threatening against any deck.

Darkrai/Terrakion

Pokémon – 9

4 Sableye DEX
3 Darknessrai-EX
2 Terrakion NVI

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Juniper
4 N

3 Bianca

3 Skyla

1 Random Receiver

 

4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Dark Patch
4 Ultra Ball
4 Energy Switch

3 Eviolite
2 Tool Scrapper
1 Energy Search

1 Computer Search

Energy – 13

8 Darkness
5 Fighting

Good Matchups: non-Landorus Darkrai decks
Bad Matchups: Eels, Blastoise/Keldeo, Landorus-EX
Worthwhile Techs: Switch
Crawdaunt’s Rating: 8/10

The Good

pokemon-paradijs.com
Can you grab a bull by the horns?

Terrakion NVI does a great job of covering the mirror match. The deck still focuses on a quick Darkrai, but now has the ability to swing the tides in your favour against opposing Darkrai decks (half the metagame). Terrakion forms a solid support attacker which can be charged up with only 2 energy cards.

In a pinch, Energy Switch allows you to swing back with Terrakion and keep the pressure up. Terrakion’s beefy 130 HP makes it difficult to 1HKO, which threatens a Land Crush on the following turn if they don’t do something about the bull.

Probably the best part about this deck is that you get so much coverage (as I mentioned, half the metagame) without delineating from the focus much at all. This deck is still running a wonderful 15 Supporters as well as 4 copies of every important card. It also has room for Energy Search, providing the option of a key Land Crush and allowing darks to be discarded via Ultra Ball easier.

Simply put, the deck is strong, consistent, and covers the mirror.

The Bad

While this deck is inherently very powerful, it does have difficulty with a few metagame decks. Blastoise/Keldeo takes advantage of Squirtle’s Shell Shield to help get Blastoise out. After this, the deck can load up a Keldeo to 2HKO through the Eviolite, or a Mewtwo to just power through and sweep.

inspiringbetterlife.blogspot.com
White Goodman did. That really happened.

In return, Darkrai can have a difficult time 2HKO’ing back due to Eviolite. Some variants also play Super Scoop Up to both heal and return Energy to hand. Though flippy, it just takes one heads to destroy the efforts of the Darkrai/Terrakion player.

Terrakion does very little to aid this matchup. The main hope of the deck is to just outspeed Blastoise/Keldeo and keep them on their toes. This isn’t a bad option, but it’s not one you want to rely on in a Top 8 match.

Eelektrik is also an annoying matchup. If RayEels can set up, then EX starts 1HKO’ing your attackers and quickly leaves you without a response. Terrakion can 1HKO Eelektriks, but so can Darkrai.

Once again, Terrakion is largely ineffective in this matchup. MewtwoEels creates the same conundrum. Powering up big Mewtwos can overwhelm the Darkrai/Terrakion player. Switch is primarily teched for these matchups to prevent Thunder Wave/Fang from giving the Eelektrik player that extra turn.

The Verdict

While a solid choice, I don’t feel like Terrakion alone does enough to bring the deck up to snuff. This deck has inherently good Darkrai matchups, but can have a difficult time against other Tier 1 decks. This isn’t to say these matchups are necessarily too unfavourable, but they can become uphill battles too often.

However, Terrakion is a highly effective card to have access to in the mirror. And against any matchup, Terrakion offers an easier response to an opponent’s KO.

Darkrai/Mewtwo

Pokémon – 10

4 Sableye DEX
3 Darknessrai-EX
3 Mewtwo-EX

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Juniper
4 N

3 Bianca

3 Skyla

1 Random Receiver

 

4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Dark Patch
4 Ultra Ball

4 Energy Switch

3 Eviolite

2 Tool Scrapper

1 Computer Search

Energy – 13

9 Darkness
4 Double Colorless

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deck list heavily influenced from Starmetroid’s list on TCG with Hats

Good Matchups: Garbodor, Ho-Oh
Bad Matchups: RayEels, Darkrai/Hydreigon, Landorus-EX
Worthwhile Techs: Switch, Keldeo-EX
Crawdaunt’s Rating: 7.5/10

The Good

Bulbapedia
I got this Pokémon tin and pulled an Emboar! It hits for 150 damage! So good!

Mewtwo is one of 3 cards chosen by TPCi to be so broken that it deserved a tin reprint. Once again this variant has not lost the ability to run 4 copies of everything you want to facilitate the T2 Darkrai. It really has the same strengths as Darkrai/Terrakion with respect to consistency.

Mewtwo allows you to counter opposing Mewtwos that are attempting to overrun you. Blaine’s cat can also be loaded up with Energy and become a “Hail Mary” sweeper, acccompanied by an N to 1.

Mewtwo provides much more neutral coverage against the metagame than Terrakion. Though it doesn’t swing any matchup too much in your favour, it can really cover the bases against a lot of decks.

In particular, Mewtwo EX in the new metagame is very useful for checking the Blastoise/Keldeo matchup. The strengths of Mewtwo EX have been beaten into our skulls so much now that further discussion is somewhat unnecessary. It’s Mewtwo EX, what’s not to like?

The Bad

pokemon-paradijs.com
Only 20 damage? My Emboar is way better!

Tynamos can be donked by Mewtwo EX, but RayEels is nonetheless a towering prospect. Again, once set up, Rayquaza EX destroys you. Mewtwo does even less in the matchup than Terrakion, lacking the Eelektrik KO and often missing the 2HKO on their EX attackers.

Darkrai/Hydreigon (HyRai is easier to type) is another deck that can similarly tank. HyRai has the tank ability to prevent both Darkrai and Mewtwo from doing any real damage. Not to mention choice techs in HyRai that decimate this deck (Sigilyph DRX, Cresselia-EX).

Landorus-EX is also extremely threatening. Hammerhead puts your EXs in range of Land’s Judgement. Afterward, Land’s Judgement KO’s Darkrai without discarding, and KO’s Mewtwo with discarding. Landorus is almost guaranteed to be faster, leaving Darkrai/Mewtwo playing catch up.

The suggestion to tech Keldeo-EX offers the deck a searchable out to Paralysis, as well as the ability to 2HKO Landorus. 2HKO’ing a Pokémon that pairs well with Max Potion is not exactly the way to go about things. But the combined strengths of a free Switch and a good Weakness make Keldeo-EX a worthwhile consideration.

The Verdict

Not to ignore Mewtwo’s benefits, but running a straight Darkrai/Mewtwo deck does not do enough to cover the metagame as a whole. If we look at the T32 results from Fall Regionals, we can see that of the 16 total decks using Darkrai with Mewtwo and/or Terrakion, there were only 4 straight Darkrai/Mewtwo decks, while there were 7 straight Darkrai/Terrakion decks.

The stats analyst inside me is yelling at me that these results aren’t enough to draw a conclusion off of, but nonetheless Terrakion covered the metagame better as a result of the prevalence of Darkrai. The new additions of Landorus-EX and Blastoise/Keldeo have to do enough to make Mewtwo the play over Terrakion.

Pictured above: Mewtwo and Terrakion

It’s true that Blastoise/Keldeo and MewtwoEels is well-checked by your own Mewtwo EX. And Mewtwo is slightly more effective against Landorus than Terrakion is. But the spoon-bending cat is very much a “jack of all trades, master of none” card in the current metagame.

That all said, a combination of the above 3 decks can make for a very powerful strategy. A fusion deck’s Energy lines to accommodate Mewtwo can be less consistent, but offer Mewtwo’s wonderfully neutral coverage. Landorus and Terrakion pair well together, offering different strengths to the same matchups.

If you’re interested in a Darkrai and Mewtwo/Terrakion/Landorus list in specific, feel free to ask in the forums thread! It’s a deck that really needs to be tailored to your playstyle, so I don’t really want to provide a list here.

Hammertime

Pokémon – 7

4 Sableye DEX

3 Darknessrai-EX

Trainers – 41

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Bianca

2 Skyla

1 Random Receiver

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Dark Patch

4 Ultra Ball

4 Energy Switch

3 Eviolite

4 Crushing Hammer

1 Enhanced Hammer

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Switch

1 Computer Search

Energy – 12

12 Darkness

Good Matchups: Fighting.dec, many “slightly favourable” matchups
Bad Matchups: MewtwoEels, Darkrai/Landorus, Landorus.dec
Worthwhile Techs: Terrakion NVI, Landorus-EX, Dark Claw
Crawdaunt’s Rating: 9/10

The Good

shirtoid.com
Sableye is clearly a carpenter.

If you fancy yourself a deckbuilder, Hammertime is very fun to put together. This deck has so much room, that I could max out my 4-of Items and still have about 2-3 free slots for tech choices. I’ve included a Switch to prevent any Thunder Wave/Fang or Deck and Cover shenanigans from killing my buzz.

The greatest part about this deck is that it’s got everything that a Speed Darkrai deck does, and is very capable of pulling off a T2 Night Spear. So if the matchup is best covered by just plowing through your opponent with Darkrai, then you can do just that. But the deck also uses what I feel is the best metagame-coverage tool for Darkrai decks to take advantage of.

There is no deck in the current format that appreciates having Energy removed. RayEels is running clutch Fire Energies, any deck with Mewtwo is running DCE, Darkrai/Hydreigon runs Blend GRPD, and Blastoise/Keldeo runs off of hand-based acceleration and thus does not appreciate having Energy discarded (it can’t always just replace it), especially when coupled with N.

The right tool for any job.

Hammertime is also best equipped to deal with the “Fighting” matchup by just stalling their Energy attachments. Simply put, Hammertime has all the tools to abuse a fast Darkrai, while also covering everything in the metagame.

The Bad

The problem is it runs on flips. Crushing Hammer is your primary Energy-discarding tool, and there’s not much you can do to change that. Darkrai/Terrakion decks can also power up Terrakions in one turn to quickly turn the tides of a matchup. Failing a key Hammer flip on the turn after can leave you facing a Land Crush.

Additionally, a deck like MewtwoEels can run without DCEs, and can power up big Mewtwo EXs relatively easily. If they can get their Eels set up, then your Hammers become useless.

Blastoise/Keldeo is not a very unfavourable matchup. Nonetheless, when they get a Keldeo-EX loaded up with 4+ Water energies it can be difficult to respond appropriately. The matchup needs to be played by ear, making it very difficult to pilot.

Then there’s Landorus-EX. If you can get an Eviolite on your Sableye and/or Darkrai, then Crushing Hammers can do a good job of keeping Land’s Judgement at bay. But if you fail to equip Eviolite quickly then Landorus can apply sufficient pressure with Hammerhead alone.

Darkrai/Landorus is the biggest concern, being able to Energy Switch a Dark Energy onto Landorus for a 2-turn charge. Landorus/Fighting isn’t as big a problem, but a Landorus start is intimidating (VGC pun).

The Verdict

loldailyfun.com
The Avengers know what’s up.

It is no mystery to me that Hammertime variants took 15 spots in the T32 of Fall Regionals, and even ended up winning one. This deck is inherently powerful and uses its tech slots to run the best all-around coverage option available to a Darkrai/Sableye deck.

The deck has even matchups or better across the board, aside from a select few. The Eels matchup can become heavily favourable with the inclusion of Landorus-EX and 3-4 Fighting Energies. The Darkrai mirror can also be handled quite readily with the inclusion of Terrakion NVI.

This deck has so much room that you really don’t suffer much in the way of consistency to include these Fighting techs, so in my opinion it’s well worth it.

A Hammertime variant is possibly my top play for Cities, which should speak to my faith in the deck.

Darkrai/Hydreigon

Pokémon – 14

4 Deino DRX 93

3 Hydreigon DRX 97

3 Darknessrai-EX

2 Sableye DEX

1 Shaymin-EX NXD

1 Mewtwo-EX

Trainers – 34

4 N

4 Professor Juniper

3 Skyla

2 Random Receiver

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Ultra Ball

3 Dark Patch

3 Max Potion

3 Rare Candy

2 Eviolite

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Computer Search

Energy – 12

8 Darkness

4 Blend GRPD

Good Matchups: MewtwoEels, Ho-Oh, Darkrai variants (not running Terrakion or Hammers)
Bad Matchups: Fighting.dec, Garbodor, RayEels
Worthwhile Techs: Terrakion-EX, Reshiram-EX, Cresselia-EX, Sigilyph DRX, Keldeo-EX, Landorus-EX, Virizion EPO
Crawdaunt’s Rating: 9/10

The Good

sailorclef.deviantart.com
Credits to SailorClef for the beautiful artwork.

Darkrai/Hydreigon was proving to be one of the BDIFs throughout Battle Roads. Come Regionals time, HyRai pulled off a very respectable 10 spots in the Top 32 of Fall Regionals. Once set up, the deck becomes near-invincible.

The theme of “tank with big EXs and heal with Max Potion” won US Nationals this past year, and won one of the Japanese Spring Battle Carnivals (prompting much hype for the deck). It’s not hard to see why the deck sees as much sucess as it does. The power to negate one of your opponent’s attacks last turn without any drawbacks is something every deck wants to have.

Picking up Skyla is not to be underestimated in the BLW-BCR format. Skyla is exactly what this deck needed, facilitating the T2 Hydreigon and giving you a buffer to grab your key Max Potion or key Catcher. It also pairs with Sableye for the T1 Computer Search. Skyla is just brilliant for this deck, and is an amazing upgrade compared to last format.

As you can see from my list of “Worthwhile Techs,” this deck is also able to include most anything to help out its matchups. If it doesn’t fit with just Blend GRPD, then you can use Prism Energy without much consequence. You’d have to watch out for Hammertime with an increase in Special Energies though.

Credits to 5ban Graphics for the beautiful artwork.

Most of the techs listed are self-explanatory, but I’ll go over some of my unique inclusions. Cresselia-EX is a bulky tank in a deck that focuses on healing. It has proven fairly effective in a wide variety of matchups, and saves you Max Potions while still countering overzealous Mewtwos.

Keldeo-EX works as a re-usable out to Paralysis, and can 1HKO Landorus-EX with a couple Prisms. Even if you don’t include Prisms, it still 2HKO’s Landorus and your deck doesn’t get 2HKO’d back.

Virizion EPO is my quirky inclusion. In the Blastoise/Keldeo matchup, Virizion EPO is bulkier than Shaymin EX, and can 1HKO through the Eviolite. It also can Giga Drain on T2 to KO Squirtles, and with an Eviolite, can try to avoid the Mewtwo + DCE return KO.

It takes 2 Blends to run, but is very effective in this fashion. It also functions extremely well against Fighting.dec, 1HKO’ing Terrakion (and EX) without getting return KO’d (again barring Mewtwo + DCE). Blastoise/Keldeo can be a difficult matchup, but Virizion EPO swings the matchup greatly.

If your meta is overrun with Blastoise/Keldeo, it is a genuinely worthwhile consideration. Just play carefully against Mewtwo.

The Bad

Like Hydreigon, but a cartoon train.

Darkrai/Hydreigon is a deck with nothing but positives… when it sets up. But the inherent clunkiness of a Stage 2 deck can limit HyRai’s effectiveness in a blazing fast format.

Fighting.dec is a serious concern with Landorus-EX in the mix. Terrakion-EX was already troublesome (but thankfully slow). But Landorus-EX is quick, prevents you from running Deino NVI, and still KO’s Deinos in two turns regardless.

If you can manage to set up then you have a decent shot at turning the game around. But Land’s Judgement still 1HKO’s Hydreigon. Keldeo-EX is the best counter the deck can run. With Prism Energies, you can even 1HKO Landorus.

Theorymon-wise Garbotoxin is very powerful against a deck revolving around Dark Cloak and Dark Trance. In practice, HyRai can just go aggro Darkrai and prevent Garbodors from setting up. You need to do your best to not play a Hydreigon in this matchup (unless you’re sure to prevent Garbodors), as it quickly becomes a Catcher-stall target.

Unfortunately, Landorus/Garbodor is likely to be the play, and any Garbodor/Fighting deck can give HyRai real trouble.

RayEels is a bit faster than HyRai, and runs attackers that 1HKO Hydreigons while only discarding 2 energy (or Rayquaza DRX which doesn’t discard anything). Annoying Tynamo Thunder Waves and Raikou Thunder Fangs also stall effectively to allow time for setup. Keldeo-EX is a great, searchable inclusion to deal with this.

pokevault.com
That’s a nice Hydreigon you’ve got there…

Lastly, Rayquaza EX can 1HKO all your Pokémon, which overcomes the whole philosophy of the deck.

In the Regionals Top 2: RayEels 4 – 0 HyRai speaks for itself, when the Top 32 had a 17 – 10 ratio.

The Verdict

Despite all that, Darkrai/Hydreigon is still one of the most solid plays for Cities this format. It can tank versus most of the format, and tech what it needs to to respond to the metagame. There was a lot to discuss with this deck, because the deck is just that versatile. And with Skyla out, it is also a lot more consistent at getting the T2 Hydreigon.

There is no matchup that Darkrai/Hydreigon has which is really too unfavourable. And by virtue of its tank strategy it has many matchups which are at least slightly favourable. Its bad matchup in RayEels is also well-countered by the Landorus-heavy metagame, leaving it with only Tier 2 strategies to be concerned about.

With such a glowing review, it should come as no surprise that this is another of my top plays for Cities.

The Fighting Decks

en.wikipedia.org
Linear equations can be… “intercepted.”

I will begin this discussion by openly admitting: “I am not a fan of Fighting.dec.” Fighting decks have always seemed very boring to me. Their strategy is incredibly linear, and the mental capacity required to run them is “Use card A to hit card B, hopefully for Weakness.”

I’m not saying that it doesn’t take skill to pilot a Fighting deck. There is still a lot of insight required to be successful running a linear strategy. You need to have knowledge of your opponent’s deck and how to disrupt it appropriately. What to Catcher, what to KO. It’s not as simple a game as I make it sound.

But it is still definitely simpler than other decks. When your deck works, it works. When it doesn’t, it doesn’t. There’s not much you can do to change that, and that’s probably my biggest reason for disliking these decks.

The ability to play through an uphill battle is one that a versatile deck has, thanks to the ingenuity of the player. And the ability to screw up a favourable situation is again a characteristic of a versatile deck, and again relies on the player’s skill.

Fighting.dec is overly linear, and neither of these situations are able to arise to the same extent as if you were playing a more versatile deck. And if you’re a good player, then you should trust yourself to be able to battle uphill, and not screw things up.

/My 2 cents

Of course, there is a new tool for Fighting decks in Boundaries Crossed. One which many players will find irresistible. Landorus-EX.

This card is going to take Fighting decks in BLW-on to places they’ve never seen before. First turn attacks, incredible early game pressure, instant KO options against most any Pokémon. Landorus-EX brings a lot of tools to Fighting decks.

The biggest question is how to best take advantage of Landorus-EX. Hopefully the decks below will help illuminate this. Additionally, I recommend reading Esa’s article “The Underground,” which went over Fighting decks in the new format.

Bouffalant/Mewtwo/Fighting

Pokémon – 8

2 Terrakion-EX

2 Landorus-EX

1 Terrakion NVI

2 Mewtwo-EX

1 Bouffalant DRX

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Bianca

2 Skyla

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 PlusPower

4 Switch

3 Energy Switch

3 Eviolite

3 Heavy Ball

2 Ultra Ball

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Computer Search

Energy – 14

10 Fighting

4 Double Colorless

Good Matchups: Eels, Garbodor, non-Hammertime Darkrai variants
Bad Matchups: Blastoise/Keldeo, Empoleon, Ho-Oh, Hammertime
Worthwhile Techs: Landorus NVI, Roserade DRX
Crawdaunt’s Rating: 6.5/10

The Good

foodhistory.com
Italian BMT

Bouffalant/Mewtwo/Terrakion (BMT) was possibly the best Fighting deck that players could choose in the BLW-DRX format. Of the 4 “straight Fighting” decks that Top 32’d in Regionals, BMT was one of the 2 to make it to the Top 4 (Terrakion/Mewtwo/Landorus NVI + Roserade DRX 15 being the other surprising Fighting.dec to make it to Top 2).

The deck’s strategy was as follows:

  • Power Fighting attackers up
  • Hit things until they die.

Pretty straightforward? Bouffalant DRX adds a nice touch thanks to Energy Switch or Exp. Share, allowing the deck to charge up a non-EX attacker to hit opposing EXs for a heavy 120 damage, while not being return KO’d.

With the new format, Landorus-EX opens up devastating options with the T1 Hammerhead. There are 4 Switch in the deck, and 6 ways to search Landorus-EX (Heavy Ball, Ultra Ball, Computer Search). It’s not a difficult task to Hammerhead on T1 whenever you want to, which is pretty much always. The intense pressure that Landorus-EX provides in the early game is enough to shut down Eels and non-Hammertime Darkrai.

Pumping up Smashes since August 20th

Additionally, Landorus-EX just makes a good card to power up with Pump-up Smash. In the last format Terrakion-EX rarely found it’s way into the deck. But now there are two ideal gameplans for this deck.

  1. Start Landorus and pressure the crap out of them.
  2. Start Terrakion-EX and Pump-up Smash to power up your Landorus-EX.

Obviously every game requires you to play with a bit of wiggle room in these strategies. But this deck has the tools to check most of the metagame.

The Bad

That all said, this deck still suffers from its linearity. Something as simple as a Tornadus EX with an Eviolite can ruin your day. Blastoise/Keldeo-EX also makes for a very difficult matchup you are not likely to win.

Lastly, Hammertime can still sit in front of you and Hammer away your Energies. Don’t forget that Sableye DEX isn’t weak to Fighting, which means it only takes an Eviolite for it to be able to sit in front of Landorus-EX comfortably as it Hammers away all your energy. No, Landorus’ quick damage potential with Hammerhead is not enough to overcome Hammertime’s Hammerspam.

The other problem with this deck is just a slow start. If you haven’t attacked by the 2nd turn, you’re probably not going to win. It’s really that simple. This deck relies on early aggression to win games. Without it, you’re just a deck full of Pokémon that are easy to play around. If your opponent has the luxury of playing their turns as they want, you’re just not going to win.

The Verdict

en.wikipedia.org
Stopped by Hammertime.

As far as a straight Fighting variant goes, I think this deck holds the most promise. Simply put, Fighting decks need Mewtwo EX to cover their bases. And Fighting decks always appreciate a non-EX attacker to force the 7th prize.

Some decks focus on Terrakion NVI for this purpose, but Terrakion NVI is a terrible start and severely underwhelming when your opponent won’t allow it to Retaliate for 90. Bouffalant DRX can attack for 2 Energy cards (just like Terrakion NVI), but its attack does a minimum of 60, 1HKO’ing most evolving Basics on T2. It will also 2HKO any EX (eviolited or not) while likely being 2HKO’d back.

When you start Bouffalant, you cry a little inside. But not as much as when you start Terrakion NVI. The disadvantage is that Sigilyph DRX in Darkrai/Hydreigon near-completely walls you if you’re running Bouffalant.

I’ll add that my inclusion of Terrakion-EX in this deck is still experimental. I have liked the results, but at the same time it’s not the standard way the deck was played last format. Thus my playstyle may not reflect the standard playstyle of this deck.

Landorus-EX/Terrakion (EX)

Pokémon – 7

4 Landorus-EX

2 Terrakion-EX

1 Terrakion NVI

Trainers – 40

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

4 Cheren

2 Skyla

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 PlusPower

4 Heavy Ball

4 Switch

3 Eviolite

2 Energy Switch

2 Exp. Share

2 Tool Scrapper

1 Computer Search

Energy – 13

13 Fighting

Good Matchups: Eels, non-Hammertime Darkrai
Bad Matchups: Blastoise/Keldeo, Empoleon, Ho-Oh
Worthwhile Techs: Energy Search
Crawdaunt’s Rating: 6/10

The Good

Bruno thinks you’re doing it right.

This is a deck that Esa talked about specifically in his article “The Underground.” My list is a bit different, but the deck plays pretty much exactly the same. Esa covered the deck in good detail so I won’t devote much time to this discussion.

I’ve gone with 4 Landorus-EX to increase the odds of starting with it. I hate Bianca in this deck since often you don’t want to burn your cards just for the sake of draw (even if you can burn your cards). I’ve gone with 2 Skyla to net you whatever you need in the deck.

I’m even contemplating dropping an Exp. Share or Tool Scrapper for the sake of 1 Energy Search. The deck’s simplicity mainly requires an attach per turn. If you can handle that, you’re in good shape. But frankly, I think that just playing a normal Supporter will serve this purpose better than the slot for Energy Search would.

The other positive of this deck is something I talked about as being why I’ll never play it personally. This is the perfect example of the type of deck I ranted about at the start of this section.

This deck runs itself so much that it’s hard to screw things up. This makes the deck a very good deck for inexperienced players to pilot. And as Esa mentioned, it is also a deck that can do better in a metagame like Juniors and perhaps Seniors.

The Bad

Of course… Bruno is wrong.

This deck has only 1 type. Tornadus EX says hi. Blastoise/Keldeo-EX say hi. Shaymin EX says hi. Eviolited Sableye with Hammers says hi. Simply put, the decks this deck tries to counter (i.e. the former Tier 1 meta in RayEels, Darkrai/Hydreigon and straight Darkrai decks) each have an out to this deck.

I could never justify playing a deck that can’t even guarantee wins against the decks its trying to straight-up counter. Not to mention how much this deck hates birds (Ho-Oh and Empoleon).

The Verdict

Don’t play this deck. If you are a member of the SixPrizes UG, I believe you have more potential than this deck can bring out. The only other time I would recommend this deck is if you were lending it a friend and they hadn’t played much. The only metagame where I would recommend this deck is in Juniors.

Imagine you’re 9-10 years old and your opponent starts abusing Hammerhead against you from turn 1. You’d probably beat them over the head with your playmat. (This actually happened at the Canadian Junior finals in 2011.)

The Eelektrik Decks

pokemon-paradijs.com
Quivering in his boots.

If you’re still playing these decks, I just want to be absolutely sure… you’ve heard of Landorus-EX right? These decks have solid matchups against the field, so they’re still very solid choices. But… you have heard of Landorus-EX right?

I actually don’t dislike Eels in this next format. In particular MewtwoEels, but also RayEels. MewtwoEels is more capable of teching Tornadus EX to counter opposing Landorus-EXs, which is a strong characteristic to have in an Eel deck. Mewtwo is also just a generally good attacker against the metagame, and that is unlikely to change.

RayEels is a different breed entirely. I don’t dislike it in the next format either. Landorus-EX is a major thorn in your side, and you don’t have any good way to play around it. But that shouldn’t completely discourage you from considering one of the undisputed BDIFs of last format.

RayEels

Pokémon – 15

4 Tynamo NVI 38

4 Eelektrik NVI

3 Rayquaza-EX DRX

1 Raikou-EX

1 Rayquaza DRX

1 Emolga DRX

1 Victini NVI 14

Trainers – 32

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Bianca

3 Skyla

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Switch

3 Level Ball

3 Ultra Ball

2 Super Rod

1 Computer Search

 

1 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 13

8 Lightning

5 Fire

Good Matchups: Darkrai/Hydreigon, Blastoise/Keldeo, non-Hammertime Darkrai variants
Bad Matchups: Landorus-EX, Landorus-EX, Landorus-EX, Garbodor
Worthwhile Techs: Tornadus EX, Mewtwo EX, Eviolite, Max Potion, Tool Scrapper, Potion
Crawdaunt’s Rating: 6/10

The Good

pokemondb.net
Bow before me puny Tynamos.

RayEels has solid matchups across the board and the ability to 1HKO any Pokémon even through Eviolite. That kind of unadulterated power is not to be underestimated, especially when it won 3 of the 5 Regionals this Fall. We’ve heard a lot about RayEels, so I won’t say much more.

All you need to know is that this deck can deal with near anything the format throws at it, and hit back for the 1HKO.

The Bad

Hi. Landorus-EX. Nice to meet you.

There is no way I would consider playing RayEels in the new format without Fliptini. Considering my love affair with Accelgor, I just can’t help but like the chance to stall out with Paralysis. There are 3 reasons to want this:

  1. Landorus-EX
  2. Landorus-EX
  3. Darkrai EX

I’m not just being cheeky. Fliptini has to be included because of Landorus for two reasons. The first is that Fliptini is just one more starter not named Tynamo. This deck still needs as many Eels in play as possible, and 4-4 Eelektrik is absolutely necessary. The second is that you have a very real reason to need Paralysis in the early game.

There are two strategies to facing the Landorus matchup. The first is to try and run your opponent out of Catchers, Super Rod your baby eels back into deck, search them, and mount an amazing comeback by streaming Dragon Bursts for 180+ damage. The second is to try and Paralyze Landorus and pray they don’t Switch out.

pokemon-paradijs.com
Also good for the Darkrai matchups.

The second reason doesn’t sound as compelling, but if you start with a lone Tynamo and can search for a couple Pokémon, you’re going to want another Tynamo and a Fliptini. Simply put, I think the first strategy for dealing with Landorus-EX is the game plan. And it won’t work if you’re leaving Tynamos in the active slot.

But in the event that you can’t pull it off, Fliptini is there to try and save your bacon. As long as you can set up, Landorus doesn’t pose too large a threat to your Rayquazas. But getting to that point is the tough part.

Garbodor is also a deck that gives you real trouble. My list above is designed to be a “pure” build, but teching Tool Scrapper is a necessity to deal with Garbodor. Simply put, you can’t do too much to Garbodor decks without it, and they will run right through you. Especially now that they’re running Landorus.

The Verdict

There are worse choices you could make to play this format, but RayEels is certainly not your best. Aside from facing off against Landorus-EX, the deck is still as dominant as ever. My only adjustment to the list is to include Emolga such that I can buffer Tynamo starts.

Emolga can also net me a Rayquaza EX if I am so inclined, and alleviates the need for Skyarrow Bridge ASAP. Unfortunately I never enjoy having 1 of my bench spaces taken up by Emolga all game, but it’s bearable.

Getting donked by Landorus-EX is not.

MewtwoEels

Pokémon – 15

4 Tynamo NVI 38

4 Eelektrik NVI

3 Mewtwo-EX

2 Tornadus-EX DEX

1 Raikou-EX

1 Emolga DRX

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Bianca

2 Skyla

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Ultra Ball

3 Switch

2 Eviolite

2 Max Potion

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Super Rod

1 Computer Search

 

2 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 12

8 Lightning

4 Double Colorless

Good Matchups: Blastoise/Keldeo, Ho-Oh
Bad Matchups: Landorus-EX
Worthwhile Techs: Fliptini, Tornadus EPO, Zekrom BLW, Thundurus EPO
Crawdaunt’s Rating: 7/10

The Good

pokemon-paradijs.com
Apparently known as “EelTwo

MewtwoEels has a lot going for it in the current format. Mewtwo EX is an inherently powerful card, and Eelektrik is the best deck to take advantage of Mewtwo wars. The need to Mewtwo war is nowhere near as strong as it once was, and decks are better equipped to play around a Mewtwo EX loading up energy.

But there is no better way to deal with an opposing Mewtwo EX than with your own. This deck aims to force your opponent into engaging a war they’ll likely lose. And if not, then you’ve got an attacker swinging for major damage that they have to deal with.

This is also the only Eels variant that stands a chance against Landorus-EX. I’ve included an Emolga DRX to act as an anti-Landorus starter that can help you set up in other matchups. If you can start with anything not named Tynamo or Raikou-EX, then you take it. Emolga’s free retreat is also appreciated more in this deck, as you don’t feel as much pressure to keep 3 Eels up all game.

This deck is very well equipped to deal with Blastoise/Keldeo by virtue of running a superior board position for late-game N’s, coupled with what is likely going to be more Mewtwos.

The Bad

Start with Tynamo? That’s a paddlin’.

Landorus-EX is still very, very bad. Landorus-EX can donk you with a near 100% efficiency rate when you start with a lone Tynamo. This is nothing like the T1 Mewtwo + DCE. This is a card that needs only one of 10+ energies in the deck to finish the game before it even starts.

Luckily, this deck is not dead in the water if facing an opposing Landorus-EX. An Eviolited Tornadus EX takes no damage from Hammerhead, while swinging back for as much as 60 on the first turn, and 100 on the second turn. Mewtwo EX can also swing for 60 on the first turn (provided they went first) and up to 120 on the second turn (provided they went first and attached again).

The fact that this deck runs such a heavy count of attackers that can be set up with DCE is a big positive when facing Fighting.dec.

That said, I still don’t want to be facing Landorus-EX.

The Verdict

I like MewtwoEels and its matchups across the board. It doesn’t have many great matchups, but it doesn’t have any true auto-losses either. It also focuses on the best attacker in the format. Unfortunately Mewtwo EX’s power is nonetheless dwindling from its glory days, and there are more non-Mewtwo answers to the card than back in HS-NXD.

Still, if I were to play an Eelektrik deck, I would play MewtwoEels solely because I wouldn’t auto-lose to Landorus-EX. I’d say that’s an important trait for a deck to have.

The Ho-Oh + Stuff Deck(s)

It’s not fun being a Tier 1.5 deck and having a direct counter introduced into the metagame. What’s worse is to share a weakness with a new Tier 1 card. For Ho-Oh, any Deluge-ons of grandeur have been shot down as this fiery bird is relegated to Tier 2 indefinitely (or worse).

Such is the case for Ho-Oh EX decks, with the release of Landorus-EX and Blastoise/Keldeo.

Ho-Oh/Fighting/Mewtwo

Pokémon – 11

4 Ho-Oh-EX

3 Mewtwo-EX

2 Terrakion NVI

1 Landorus-EX

1 Regigigas-EX

Trainers – 34

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Bianca

2 Skyla

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Switch

4 Ultra Ball

4 Energy Switch

2 Eviolite

2 Tool Scrapper

1 Computer Search

Energy – 15

5 Fighting

4 Double Colorless

1 Fire

1 Water

1 Grass

1 Psychic

1 Lightning

1 Metal

Good Matchups: Fighting.dec
Bad Matchups: Blastoise/Keldeo
Worthwhile Techs: Tornadus EX, Registeel-EX, Rufflet DRX, Ditto BCR, Shaymin EX
Crawdaunt’s Rating: 6.5/10

The Good

Yay! More discard outlets!

The introduction to this section might seem a bit grim, but I’m nonetheless writing up a Ho-Oh deck list here, so not all is lost… right? It’s true! Ho-Oh decks are nonetheless a serious threat to anyone, being the new-age “CMT.” This deck just aims to win by being faster than the opponent.

As a result, Ho-Oh doesn’t have many good matchups in the metagame, but it also doesn’t have many bad ones.

I advise running Regigigas-EX in Ho-Oh. I was playing with the card in my list in BLW-DRX and Regigigas-EX has only become more important with the introduction of Blastoise/Keldeo. Regigigas is just an unconditional 80 damage for 3 energy, something no other card in the deck can offer.

This is a 1HKO on Sableye, Emolga, Trubbish and Ditto, and of course still 1HKO’s any Basic with 60 HP or less. Ho-Oh wants the ability to T2 KO something if it can, so Regigigas delivers, without opening up a return Mewtwo.

One of the best aspects of Boundaries Crossed is the introduction of Landorus-EX. Ho-Oh is very strong against Landorus. Rarely does a Ho-Oh deck get to just swing with Ho-Oh out of the gate. But with a likely increase in Fighting decks, Ho-Oh does have some positives to look forward to in this metagame.

The Bad

Problem?

The main problem Ho-Oh has to face is Blastoise/Keldeo. Keldeo easily 1HKO’s your deck’s Energy accelerator, and has more efficient acceleration for waging Mewtwo wars. Simple as that, it’s your most unfavourable matchup.

Unfortunately, despite not listing them as “bad” matchups, Ho-Oh can have serious problems against any competent Tier 1-2 deck. Darkrai + Stuff, Eels, Garbodor, Empoleon, all of these decks can go toe-to-toe with Ho-Oh. It’s not that the matchups are bad, it’s that they are only about 50/50 at best.

The Verdict

Ho-Oh is a deck I expect to do well, but not amazing. Its tech options include Shaymin EX, which can aid the Blastoise/Keldeo matchup. Unfortunately, Shaymin EX is too easily return-KO’d to be very effective.

As I mentioned, its matchups aren’t bad. They just aren’t good either. The speed at which Ho-Oh operates is often enough to overwhelm opponents. Of course, with a near auto-loss to Blastoise/Keldeo, I wouldn’t run Ho-Oh.

The Blastoise Deck(s)

The new kid on the block is one of the 1st generation starters. Kind of odd when you think about it. Blastoise/Keldeo-EX is Boundaries Crossed’s Garchomp/Altaria in terms of hype.

So, is it likely to pull another Garchomp? Or does Blastoise/Keldeo have the stuff it takes to actually make a long-lasting impact on the metagame? That’s what I’ll be talking about here.

Blastoise/Keldeo/Mewtwo (HydroPony)

Pokémon – 14

4 Squirtle BCR

1 Wartortle BCR

3 Blastoise BCR

3 Keldeo-EX

3 Mewtwo-EX

 

Trainers – 32

4 N

4 Professor Juniper

3 Skyla

2 Cheren

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Rare Candy

4 Ultra Ball

3 Energy Retrieval

3 Eviolite

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Computer Search

Energy – 13

10 Water

3 Double Colorless

Good Matchups: Fighting.dec, Darkrai/Landorus, Darkrai/Terrakion, Ho-Oh
Bad Matchups: Eels, Garbodor
Worthwhile Techs: Kyogre EX, Kyurem NVI, Super Scoop Up, Switch, Registeel-EX, Gold Potion, Super Rod
Crawdaunt’s Rating: 8.5/10

The Good

trollandtoad.com
Seriously good artworks on the Full Arts.

Blastoise powers up Keldeo-EX, who has an unlimited damage output and an Ability that prevents Blastoise from being Catcher-bait. Sounds pretty good. A Grass Weakness is also very hard to take advantage of. Couple this with an Eviolite, and you have an attacker that’s very difficult to 2HKO, with the ability to 2HKO anything it needs to.

This deck obliterates Landorus-EX. Squirtle’s Shell Shield prevents Landorus from having any sort of dominating, early game pressure. The Blastoise is near guaranteed as a result. And once Blastoise is up it’s game over. Shell Shield is also a blessing against Darkrai decks, forcing the Catcher for KO.

This deck list is also well equipped to load up Keldeos for just powering through any matchup. Simple, yet effective. Especially when combined with a late-game N. The straightforwardness of this decklist has largely been influenced by my friend Chase (Seniors World Champ 2012).

There are various ways to finish off the ~50 card skeleton for Blastoise/Keldeo, but I find myself agreeing most with a build similar to his, dedicated to consistency. No fussing with healing or tricks. Sometimes the best way to navigate a matchup is to just hack through the bush with a machete (or in this case Secret Sword).

The Bad

pokemon-paradijs.com
140 HP is not enough to withstand me!

Darkrai/Hydreigon has an easy enough time tanking your attackers, while hitting back. Both decks operate at about the same speed, but unfortunately Hydreigon can 1HKO Blastoise for 4 energy, while Keldeo-EX needs 5 energy to 1HKO Hydreigon. Nonetheless, the speed tie is the major determinant in the matchup. Often times, Blastoise/Keldeo comes out on the winning side of things.

This is, however, the reason to use DCE instead of dedicating to all Water Energies. You can be swinging for KO on T2 using Keldeo-EX or Mewtwo EX to help prevent the Hydreigons from going up.

The Eels matchup is a nightmare. RayEels can 1HKO Keldeo, and has much more efficient Energy acceleration. Keldeo, in return, effectively can’t 1HKO Rayquaza EX. Mewtwo is a big problem, and MewtwoEels is the best deck to abuse it. Blastoise/Keldeo can’t deal with a late-game N like MewtwoEels can.

Kyogre EX is my tech of choice here. The ability to KO two Tynamos simultaneously is invaluable both in the early game, and mid-game to prevent your opponent from re-setting up. You have to remain wary of Raikou-EX though, as Volt Bolt can 1HKO through the Eviolite when Kyogre EX is active.

Garbodor is also not fun at all. Without DCE, you can’t even charge up a Mewtwo EX readily in response to an opponent’s. DCE is the best tech to deal with Garbodor, which will allow you to begin attacking without relying on Deluge. The deck has real problems with Catcher-stall once Garbodor is up, but can try to grab its Tool Scrapper at just the right time to take down the Garbodor player.

Again, Kyogre EX works in this matchup, 2HKO’ing two Garbodors simultaneously. But Mewtwo + DCE can 2HKO Kyogre, so the whale’s niche in this matchup is smaller.

The Verdict

How does Blastoise/Keldeo sum up?

This is a deck that uses hand-based Energy acceleration, which is good but not great. Its strategy is to hit harder than the opponent, and be impervious to stall tactics. It can do this very well against Catcher-stall. But in order for Catchers to be used for stalling, you need to be in the lead. This deck is pretty fast, but it’s not the fastest deck out there. Against a lot of decks, its matchup is determined by who sets up first.

At the same time, the matchups against Eelektrik and Garbodor are not heavily unfavourable. Blastoise/Keldeo may be on the wrong end of the split, but it is still very winnable. The greatest strength of this deck is that you have no really bad matchups. And your worst matchups in Eel variants are countered by Landorus-EX. This helps balance the metagame in favour of Blastoise/Keldeo.

So in the main metagame, these 3 archetypes will really be interacting in a Rock-Paper-Scissors fashion. None can get too overbearing or the counter-deck becomes obvious. And on the outside, straight Darkrai decks will keep solid matchups against whatever is currently heavily played.

Since I know everyone in the UG is very curious to hear the verdict on Blastoise/Keldeo, I’ll throw in my 2 cents. This is a potential Tier 1 deck. The hype is not misplaced. A rampant Keldeo-EX is very similar to a rampaging Mewtwo, but without a true counter. Just “throw an Eviolite on Keldeo-EX and go to town” is often all the deck needs to do to win a game.

pokemon-paradijs.com
Make a splash and have a whale of a time.

I do think Blastoise/Keldeo will take a few Cities, but it won’t be the dominant rival for the BDIF. As for my favourite tech inclusion, I’d give the title to Kyogre EX. Kyogre does a lot for the deck’s worst matchups, immediately KO’ing Tynamos (unlike Kyurem NVI), and applying pressure to multiple Pokémon against Hydreigon.

Kyogre is also fairly effective against Garbodor. Improving your worst matchups is what a tech is all about, and to me Kyogre EX is a no-brainer.

The other “best tech” I’m considering is Super Scoop Up. SSU is such a high-risk, high-reward card, and I’ve been seriously waffling over its inclusion. It’s game-changingly good, but without the ability to re-flip a bad result it’s just not something I want to bet on.

If you’d like to discuss other techs I’ve listed, feel free to do so in the forums thread!

The Garbodor + Stuff Decks

I think everyone has forgotten about Garbodor since it didn’t take any Top 32 spots at Regionals. A dangerous mistake to make. Garbodor had the 4th most Top 4’s (32) in Battle Roads from the very same format. It may not have had much success at Regionals, but there are still going to be Garbodors out there.

Don’t be caught off guard. Garbodor also picked up an ideal attacker in Landorus-EX, which gives it a whole new outlook on the metagame compared to last format.

Garbodor/Landorus/Mewtwo

Pokémon – 12

3 Trubbish DRX

3 Garbodor DRX

4 Landorus-EX

2 Mewtwo-EX

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

4 Bianca

1 Skyla

 

4 Eviolite

3 Rescue Scarf

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Switch

4 Ultra Ball

1 Heavy Ball

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Super Rod

1 Computer Search

Energy – 12

8 Fighting

4 Double Colorless

Good Matchups: Eels, non-Hammertime Darkrai variants
Bad Matchups: Fighting.dec, Blastoise/Keldeo, Empoleon, Ho-Oh
Worthwhile Techs: Tornadus EX, Registeel-EX, Max Potion
Crawdaunt’s Rating: 7.5/10

The Good

pokemon-paradijs.com
Trashing the competition.

This is an archetype that Esa talked about in his “The Underground” article. I agree with his conclusions, but disagree with his deck list. What this deck gains from past Garbodor variants is a strong T1 attacker. Landorus-EX hits hard out of the gate, and keeps it up.

Garbodor also helps cover for Landorus’ weakness by shutting down both Squirtle’s “Shell Shield,” and Keldeo-EX’s “Rush In.” The deck can further utilize Landorus to remove Blastoise from the game via Land’s Judgement.

Of course, Garbodor also stops Deluge, but that will not stop a Keldeo-EX from manually loading itself up to 1HKO Landorus in response.

That’s where Mewtwo EX comes in. And with Keldeo subdued, you can go back to using Landorus-EX. Landorus will also KO opposing Mewtwos via Hammerhead + Land’s Judgement.

Mewtwo is mainly used to avoid a rogue Mewtwo, not to wage Mewtwo wars. Landorus-EX already handles Mewtwo admirably, so don’t make the mistake of offering an active Mewtwo EX when you don’t need to.

Against straight Darkrai decks, the game can quickly turn to your advantage as Garbodor shuts down Dark Cloak, and Landorus picks off attackers as it sees fit. A Darkrai deck lacking free retreat is easily stalled long enough to power up Land’s Judgement for 1HKO’s thanks to Hammerhead damage.

The Bad

Works with trash.

Opposing Fighting decks are the biggest problem to deal with. These decks don’t use Abilities and thus don’t care in the slightest about Garbotoxin. Your deck is essentially a clunky version of theirs, playing with 9 less cards since Garbodor becomes dead weight.

Additionally, Blastoise/Keldeo decks running high (2+) counts of Tool Scrapper are going to absolutely destroy you. Against any deck, there’s always the risk that you just can’t get Garbodors out quick enough that it stops your opponent. But against Blastoise/Keldeo, this concern is magnified immensely. It’s also a serious concern against Darkrai + Stuff.

Empoleon near-perfectly counters Garbodor/Landorus. With Garby as your support, your bench will always be full enough for Attack Command to 1HKO Landorus. Despite shutting down Diving Draw, Empoleon is still well equipped to 1HKO Garbodors and 2HKO Mewtwos.

You may be surprised to see Ho-Oh in this section, but if you are then you clearly haven’t played the matchup. Ho-Oh runs ample amounts of Tool Scrapper (2-3) to take advantage of Rebirth on the turn it needs to. It is also based around a Fighting-resistant attacker.

Even if you remove Ho-Oh from the equation, the deck is largely the same as yours, playing big attackers that are powered up relatively easily. Ho-Oh doesn’t rely on Rebirth to deal with other decks, it just uses the ability to push it ahead and give it an advantage.

So the reason Ho-Oh is a hard matchup is the same reason Fighting.dec is a hard matchup. Only Ho-Oh is faster and forces you to set up Garbodors.

The Verdict

pokemon-paradijs.com
You thought you had me pegged.

Though I love Empoleon dearly, and have very much fun playing with the penguin, I wouldn’t recommend basing metagame choices around your Empoleon matchup (just yet). This leaves your only really bad matchups being Blastoise/Keldeo and Fighting.dec.

This deck is possibly the strongest Garbodor variant you can run, and certainly should not be discounted. But Tier 1? I see it sitting pretty around Tier 1.5. Its matchup against Eels and Darkrai is solidified by Landorus-EX. But against other Fighting variants, and Blastoise decks, it still has trouble.

So this particular variant is very much an anti-meta deck, capable of combatting Tier 1. But Tier 2 threats in Fighting.dec, Ho-Oh and Empoleon are going to hold it back from performing too well overall.

Garbodor/Landorus/Terrakion-EX

Pokémon – 11

3 Trubbish DRX

3 Garbodor DRX

3 Landorus-EX

2 Terrakion-EX

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Cheren

2 Skyla

 

4 Eviolite

3 Rescue Scarf

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Switch

3 Heavy Ball

2 Level Ball

1 Super Rod

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Computer Search

Energy – 13

11 Fighting

2 Grass

Good Matchups: Eels, non-Hammertime Darkrai variants
Bad Matchups:
Fighting.dec, Blastoise/Keldeo, Empoleon, Ho-Oh
Worthwhile Techs:
Terrakion NVI, Shaymin EX, Energy Switch, Max Potion, Gold Potion, Potion
Crawdaunt’s Rating:
7/10

The Good

pokemon-paradijs.com
Such a good card in this deck.

If there’s one thing a straight Fighting deck has problems with, it’s versatile decks that can play around its strategy. What Garbodor does is it completely shuts down your opponent’s ability to play around your Fighting attackers. This slows their deck down to your pace. And at your pace, you win.

Landorus-EX is a very strong attacker coupled with Garbotoxin. I just went over this. But rather than support Landorus with Mewtwo, if you support him with Terrakion-EX you end up with a deck that plays to the Fighting type’s strengths more.

Mewtwo EX opens up the field for an opponent to race against you with their own Mewtwo EXs. By using Terrakion-EX, you have an attacker that can generally take a hit and provide additional acceleration to boot. That Pump-up Smash acceleration is very important, as it allows Landorus-EX to become a lethal threat right as it’s benched.

2 Grass Energy. Why 2 Grass Energy Crawdaunt? You have Shaymin EX listed in your techs, but it’s not in the actual list. My 2 Grass energy serve as an off-energy for Landorus-EX’s Land’s Judgement. This allows you to Switch between Terrakion-EX and Landorus-EX to immediately re-power Land’s Judgement.

This is one deck where you could potentially manually power up 2 Land’s Judgements with the same Landorus-EX, thanks to Garbodor and Catcher-stall.

pokemon-paradijs.com
MUHAHAHAHAHA. What’cha gonna do!?

The Grass Energies also play mind-games with your opponent. The first obvious thought is Shaymin EX. Against the mirror Fighting.dec, they will KO warily until they can confirm that you don’t have Energy Switch.

Against Blastoise/Keldeo, it doesn’t do as much since their strategy remains largely the same, but it will have them on tilt.

Against any matchup, it can force your opponent to try and KO an EX for their last two prizes, rather than a couple Garbodors.

This can lead to over-investment in resources and misplays that you can take advantage of. That is the power of just 2 Grass Energies, and something you can take advantage of in top cut.

The Bad

By not running Mewtwo, you open yourself up to Mewtwo EX in a big way. Garbodor can try to prevent your opponent from loading up a Mewtwo EX in your face by preventing Abilities, but Ability-locking isn’t perfect. All it takes is 1 turn with Dark Trance or Deluge to power up an attacker that will take care of the rest of the game. And of course, Blastoise/Keldeo can also take advantage of Keldeo to KO Landorus.

And everybody gets one.

Speaking of “All it takes is 1 turn…” Ho-Oh once again factors heavily in the viability of this deck. And Tornadus EX once again stops you in your tracks. I might add that Tornadus EX is especially bad, as it can KO Garbodors with Power Blast while walling Landorus-EX.

Yaddy yadda, you’ve heard this shpeel. This deck has the same problems as Garbodor/Landorus/Mewtwo.

The Verdict

Is this variant stronger than Garbodor/Landorus/Mewtwo? Well that depends. I think the focus of the deck facilitates a more consistent gameplan. I think the deck does a good job of not turning an otherwise favourable situation into a Mewtwo war dictated by a good N.

I think the deck keeps a solid check to Blastoise/Keldeo by powering up Landorus-EX for future 1HKO’s using Pump-up Smash. But that matchup is still not good.

Overall, I would favour Garbodor/Landorus/Mewtwo. But if you wanted to take advantage of Terrakion-EX in Garbodor/Landorus/Mewtwo, you could easily run one in the deck in place of the 4th Landorus.

Garbodor/Hammertime

Pokémon – 12

3 Trubbish DRX

3 Garbodor DRX

4 Sableye DEX

2 Darknessrai-EX

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Skyla

2 Random Receiver

 

3 Eviolite

2 Rescue Scarf

 

4 Ultra Ball

4 Crushing Hammer

3 Pokémon Catcher

3 Switch

3 Dark Patch

1 Enhanced Hammer

1 Super Rod

1 Computer Search

Energy – 10

10 Darkness

Good Matchups: Fighting.dec, Blastoise/Keldeo, Ho-Oh, Eels, Darkrai/Hydreigon
Bad Matchups:
Landorus, non-Hydreigon Darkrai variants
Worthwhile Techs:
Mewtwo EX, Terrakion NVI, Landorus-EX, Keldeo-EX
Crawdaunt’s Rating:
8/10

The Good

Stop! Still Hammertime!

Without re-hashing my Hammertime discussion, what does Garbodor bring to the deck? It solidifies an otherwise shaky Eels matchup, and also greatly aids the Darkrai/Hydreigon matchup. These are two of Hammertime’s toughest decks to face, so this is actually a pretty welcome bonus!

Without Dynamotor to recover Energy and Dark Trance to heal effectively, both decks start sinking rather than swimming. The problems with Darkrai/Terrakion remain, but are greatly diminished by virtue of shutting down Dark Cloak.

The Bad

This deck has a very hard time against Landorus-EX. A very hard time. Essentially, you’ve lost consistency from standard Hammertime, and replaced it with Hammerhead targets. Landorus-EX will sit in front of your eviolited Sableye, hammering away at your bench.

And if Landorus isn’t being paired with an ability user, then that’s all the more reason to be concerned. Your best friend in the matchup is Eviolite, to prevent Landorus from quickly KO’ing Sableye. The more mileage you can get out of each Sableye, the better your odds become.

Non-Hydreigon Darkrai variants (i.e. opposing Hammertime, Darkrai/Terrakion/Mewtwo) are also well equipped to just run right through you before you have a chance. These decks are more consistent than yours, and function off an Item card to accelerate their Energy.

If you want to Hammer them, they can just use their own Sableye to continually recover Dark Patches until your flips run cold.

The Verdict

zeldadungeon.net
If only Sableye had “Din’s Fire.”

I really like this deck and it is a solid consideration for Cities. Everything I said about Hammertime before still applies. The only difference is that you’ve sacrificed some consistency for some real power. I view that sacrifice as well worth it, but when comparing the Garbodor and non-Garbodor builds, I would worry that my consistency problems might catch up with me.

An additional way to run the deck is to ditch the Darkrai and Dark Patches and use Mewtwo EX as your main Attacker. Mewtwo is still one of the best attackers in the format, but unfortunately opens you up to the return KO from opposing Mewtwo.

With DCE, the deck also can look to Keldeo-EX as a 2HKO check to Landorus-EX. Certainly something to consider.

The Empoleon + Stuff Decks

With Landorus in the metagame, Empoleon decks pick up a lot of potential. And frankly, I think they already had plenty potential. If I were to suggest a single deck-type that gains the most heading into the new format, it’s Empoleon.

Landorus single-handedly removes a large amount of Eels from the metagame (and near completely removes Lightning attackers as a result), while providing a beefy water-weak EX to 1HKO.

Bulbapedia
Pictured above: shnazzily dressed flippers

I don’t think a straight Empoleon deck is worth the discussion. Empoleon is an inherently strong card, and I love his shnazzily dressed flippers to death. But he can’t deal with the metagame at large on his own. Darkrai/Hydreigon tears him to pieces, Eels tears him to pieces and straight Darkrai decks can give him loads of trouble.

By itself, Empoleon is a Tier 3 deck. But with the right partner, Empoleon is easily a Tier 2 deck. And in the new, Landorus-EX-driven metagame, I think the Emperor Penguin has a real shot at stepping into the boundaries between Tier 2 and Tier 1.

A last important trait that Empoleon decks have picked up is Skyla. Simply put, Skyla is put to use better in Empoleon than in any other deck. It really facilitates the T2 Empoleon, and the deck’s draw potential isn’t snuffed as a consequence.

So a major consideration to make when contemplating Empoleon is… how strong is Skyla abuse? We’re talking about a deck that can draw and use Skyla in the same turn to get whatever you want. That sounds very… very good.

Empoleon/Landorus

Pokémon – 16

4 Piplup DEX

2 Prinplup DEX

4 Empoleon DEX

3 Emolga DRX

2 Landorus-EX

1 Mew-EX

Trainers – 34

4 N

4 Skyla

3 Cheren

2 Professor Juniper

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Rare Candy

2 Switch

4 Ultra Ball

1 Pokémon Communication

2 Max Potion

2 Super Rod

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Computer Search

Energy – 10

4 Blend WLFM

3 Water

3 Fighting

Good Matchups: Eels, Landorus.dec, Hammertime, Garbodor
Bad Matchups:
Darkrai/Hydreigon, Blastoise/Keldeo
Worthwhile Techs:
Roserade, Giant Cape
Crawdaunt’s Rating:
8.5/10

The Good

ebay.com
A deck that can still draw cards after using Skyla. Amazing.

Landorus-EX is the coverage attacker Empoleon has been waiting for. Landorus is so powerful, two is more than enough to swing the Eels matchup in your favour. The deck is also very powerful against opposing Landorus decks. Ho-Oh is a matchup determined by speed, but you often can come out ahead. And Garbodor not only often pairs with Landorus, but is also a deck that powers up your Attack Commands quite nicely.

Having both Landorus and Empoleon really shuts down Hammertime’s ability to stall out with Sableye. Both attackers are powered up with one energy, and Empoleon makes quick work of Sableye.

If there is one adjustment to make to further improve the Hammertime matchup, it would be to drop 2 Blend Energies and add one Energy of each type. You’d still have 6 outs to either Energy, which in practice functions quite well.

The Bad

Darkrai/Hydreigon can’t be entirely stopped by Landorus-EX. Hydreigons can 1HKO your Empoleons. And if they have a Hydreigon up, you have to deal with it before you can hope to KO anything else. In general, the overwhelming speed and consistency of Darkrai is enough to overrun you many times.

pokemon-paradijs.com
When on Empoleon, Darkrai needs to snipe 3 times and then hit a 90 damage Night Spear for KO.

This is also true of the other straight Darkrai variants. In the past, Empoleon simply couldn’t keep up. But with Landorus-EX, the deck has an easily-charged attacker hitting for big damage that can abuse Max Potion. Giant Cape is the techy defensive tool of choice for its utility supporting both Empoleon and Landorus.

That all said, Darkrai variants can still just overrun you and the matchups are touch and go. Landorus checks the Darkrai matchup, but it doesn’t solve it.

Then there’s Blastoise/Keldeo. The Blastoise player can limit their bench to reduce Attack Command’s power, keeping you 3HKO’ing through Eviolite, and can power up EXs to 1HKO your attackers. Mewtwo fortunately doesn’t aid the Blastoise player very much, but is at least checked by Mew-EX.

To best identify the problem here, the iron clad rule of the Pokémon TCG is: “You can’t trade Stage 2 attackers for Basic ones.” Yet in this matchup, it’s all up to Empoleon.

The Verdict

This is a very strong deck in the current format, and one I would say ranks close to the top of my considerations. With Landorus in the deck, the biggest wall holding Empoleon back (Eels) can be dispatched effectively. The Darkrai/Hydreigon matchup is still very winnable, albeit slightly unfavourable.

Against the entirety of Tier 2, Empoleon does a good job of trading favourably. So really, thanks to Blend WLFM, Empoleon and Landorus seem almost made for each other.

Empoleon/Accelgor

Pokémon – 18

4 Piplup DEX

1 Prinplup DEX

4 Empoleon DEX

3 Shelmet NVI

3 Accelgor DEX

2 Emolga DRX

1 Mew-EX

Trainers – 32

4 N

4 Cheren

3 Skyla

2 Professor Juniper

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Pokémon Communication

4 Rare Candy

3 Switch

2 Super Rod

1 Level Ball

1 Computer Search

Energy – 10

6 Water

4 Double Colorless

Good Matchups: Fighting.dec, All Darkrai variants, Garbodor
Bad Matchups:
Darkrai variants teching Switch or Keldeo-EX, Blastoise/Keldeo
Worthwhile Techs:
Landorus-EX, other consistency buffs
Crawdaunt’s Rating:
8.5/10

The Good

pokemon-paradijs.com
I know what it means to “hit the deck.”

I’m trying to remain unbiased about the deck I played through Battle Roads. To start this off, I would rank Empoleon/Accelgor in Tier 2 at best in the BLW-DRX format. However, with the introduction of Landorus-EX the format has shifted incredibly, largely in favour of Empoleon/Accelgor.

Don’t forget this deck picked up Skyla. This has made it easier to get the Empoleon when you need it. Accelgor makes a great attacker to set up 2HKO’s on Keldeo-EX, vastly improving the Blastoise/Keldeo matchup compared to Empoleon/Landorus. Against any Darkrai variant, their lack of Switch hurts immensely.

And against any Fighting deck, Ho-Oh or Garbodor, you force them to Switch and they don’t have as strong a play to follow it up with. Overall, the strengths of Empoleon coupled with the annoyance of Accelgor is very powerful, and together are not to be underestimated.

The Bad

RayEels hurts this deck badly. Landorus-EX is a powerful inclusion in Empoleon/Accelgor that can swing the matchup to 50/50 or better. But because of Thunder Wave/Fang spam, players are teching Switch into their Darkrai decks to make sure para-hax can’t ruin their tournament. Empoleon/Accelgor is caught in the crossfires, unable to do much about it.

When Darkrai decks are not running Switch, Accelgor tips any Darkrai matchup slightly in favour of Empoleon/Accelgor. When running Switch, it’s almost entirely the opposite. It only takes 1 well-timed Switch to take Empoleon/Accelgor down a peg. And with Skyla, it’s easy enough to search out.

pokemon-paradijs.com
The only Switch anyone should bother running.

The overwhelming advantage of the deck is countered so easily by just one turn. One Switch isn’t enough to save these Darkrai variants entirely. But these decks already hit faster than Empoleon liked to deal with. And now, when Empoleon is bordering on a comfortable lead, Switch can pull the matchup back into panic-territory.

The only straight-up deck that can give Empoleon/Accelgor problems is Blastoise/Keldeo. You may be able to hit for big damage with Accelgor (110 after Poison). But you still end up trading Stage 2s for Basics.

The Pokémon lineup in this list is tailored to using Accelgor for Deck and Cover more often than before for this reason. The matchup is very winnable compared to Empoleon/Landorus, but is still not one you can face comfortably.

The Verdict

Is Empoleon/Accelgor a significantly stronger play than other Empoleon decks? Yes. Is it more difficult to play around than something like Terrakion/Exp. Share or Energy Switch? Definitely. Is it stronger than straight Empoleon/Landorus? That’s another question.

As much as I love Empoleon/Accelgor, the prevalence of Switch in the current metagame puts it a little below Empoleon/Landorus on my overall ranking. The lack of auto-losses however make it a stronger consideration in my “Top Plays” list. And with Landorus-EX running amok, you can avoid dreading the Eels matchup.

It’s got all the right tools, the problem is that a timely Switch can really throw a wrench in your gears. Obviously not enough that I lose faith in the deck, but enough that it’s not my top play for anyone chasing CP.

The Fringe/Rogue Decks

I have a lot of decks I’d love to discuss here, but I think I really need to wrap things up. Here are my 2 favourite rogue archetypes in BLW-BCR.

Garchomp/Landorus-EX

Pokémon – 12

3 Gible DRX 87

2 Gabite DRX 89

3 Garchomp DRX 90

4 Landorus-EX

Trainers – 37

4 N

4 Professor Juniper

3 Cheren

3 Skyla

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Switch

3 Ultra Ball

3 Energy Switch

2 Rare Candy

2 Level Ball

2 Max Potion

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Super Rod

1 Computer Search

Energy – 11

7 Fighting

4 Blend WLFM

Good Matchups: Eels, Darkrai variants
Bad Matchups:
Blastoise/Keldeo, Empoleon, Fighting.dec
Worthwhile Techs:
Eviolite, Gold Potion, Potion, Exp. Share
Crawdaunt’s Rating:
8/10

The Good

pokemon-paradijs.com
Once you get past the Altaria hype, Garchomp is still a pretty good card.

Esa discussed this deck idea in his article “The Underground.” I’ve taken his ideas on board, but added a twist of my own.

Esa built his deck with room for 3 PlusPowers. I have instead built the list with Energy Switch to make Max Potion more powerful, and pull off surprise Dragonblades and Land’s Judgments. Retaining Energy retains board position, which is what this build seeks to do most.

A key strength of this deck is Garchomp’s Mach Cut, which does a good job of checking a lot of matchups in the format by removing Special Energies. Garchomp’s Dragon typing also works wonders against Darkrai/Hydreigon when Hydreigon sets up, while Landorus deals with all the Darkrai variants.

The Bad

This deck really doesn’t appreciate Blastoise/Keldeo, nor does it appreciate Empoleon variants. Let’s just say Landorus never took swimming lessons. Quick Ho-Oh decks can also be a pain to take down. Garchomp tries to cover cards like Ho-Oh and Tornadus EX, since you can Max Potion the damage away and remove DCE’s with Mach Cut. But it’s an uphill battle.

telegraph.co.uk
“That’s good. Keep treading water Simba.”

However big Fighting decks also pose an interesting problem, as you have almost no answer to their basic beat-down strategy. All the deck can hope to do is race against them and trade favourably by mixing in Garchomps. Dragonblade does serve as a powerful option to KO Pokémon at crucial moments.

The Verdict

A solid deck, and certainly one I would consider. It has yet to prove its mettle in a tournament setting, but it is a sound concept with good enough playtesting results that it deserved a respectable mention here.

Landorus/Garchomp essentially improves on the flaws of Garchomp/Terrakion, without losing any of the strengths of said deck. So we have a very capable successor on our hands.

Gothitelle/Accelgor/Dusknoir/Darkrai EX

Pokémon – 27

3 Gothita EPO 43

3 Gothitelle EPO 47

3 Shelmet NVI

3 Accelgor DEX

2 Duskull BCR

2 Dusknoir BCR

4 Ditto BCR

2 Emolga DRX

3 Mew-EX

2 Darknessrai-EX

Trainers – 26

4 N

4 Professor Juniper

4 Skyla

 

4 Rare Candy

4 Ultra Ball

1 Pokémon Communication

1 Pokémon Catcher

1 Super Rod

1 Computer Search

 

2 Tropical Beach

Energy – 7

4 Double Colorless

3 Darkness

Good Matchups: N/A
Bad Matchups:
Keldeo-EX
Worthwhile Techs:
Already running 27 Pokémon, what is this tech thing you speak of?
Crawdaunt’s Rating:
6/10

The Good

Daft! Daft they called me! Well who’s daft now!

Surprisingly, this is not the most congested deck list I have ever constructed in my TCG career. But it certainly takes 2nd place. This deck probably looks a bit like a mess, but the strategy is invincible.

If this deck can set up a Gothitelle with a Dark attached, a Dusknoir, an Accelgor, bench a Darkrai EX and have a Mew-EX or other Accelgor running, then it literally cannot lose outside of being foiled by N.

But part of the brilliance of this deck is that your opponent can’t kill your hand with N. I’ll explain. With these Pokémon, the strategy is to loop Deck and Covers, and move the damage off of the active Pokémon and onto the bench with Dusknoir, locking the same Pokémon active for the whole game.

Then, on the last turn, you move their damage counters around to take your last 4-6 prizes. Thus, throughout the whole game, they can only N you to 4 at worst. And provided you have thinned your deck successfully with Professor Juniper and Ultra Ball, hopefully it primarily contains Mew-EXs and DCEs.

Just make sure you don’t leave yourself open to decking out!

ebay.com
More versatile than even Mew-EX.

Ditto is the core of why this deck works. The strategy is to not bench a Duskull until you already have an Item lock up. And Ditto also serves as a placeholder for a potential 2nd Gothitelle if necessary.

Lastly, in such a bench-clogged deck, Ditto is amazing for allowing you to bench a basic that can evolve into what you need the next turn, without allowing your opponent to play around your benching strategy.

For example, in the old Accelgor/Chandelure/Vileplume variants, a smart opponent would never KO a benched Oddish, leaving you with one less bench space to work with. In this deck, you can bench a would-be Gothitelle, but turn it into a Dusknoir or Accelgor if it works better.

So yes, this deck pretty much can’t lose except to time (which shouldn’t happen thanks to Dusknoir’s efficient sniping ability) and to deck out (which shouldn’t happen if you’re smart about it).

The Bad

A visual representation of how congested this deck is.

27 Pokémon. This deck is running 27 Pokémon… holy moly. Inconsistency and difficult card management are the achilles heel, foot and leg of this deck. That’s all there is to it. If this deck sets up, it wins. If it doesn’t (because it is inconsistent) it loses.

Outside consistency problems, Keldeo-EX rushes in and the whole point of the deck is ruined. When you’re as inconsistent as this deck, Blastoise/Keldeo becomes a complete auto-loss. Thanks to Item-lock, you can actually try to prevent tech Keldeos in other decks from ever being searched, so they aren’t as big a problem. But they will still cause you to lose without a doubt.

The Verdict

If you’re confident that you can deal with the 6-7 rounds of Swiss combined with three best-of-3 rounds of top cut with this less-than-consistent deck, then you’re both crazy and I support it.

I’d add that the mental pressure of having to play each game perfectly can be very fun to deal with, but also extremely tiring. Oh, don’t forget to dodge Keldeo-EXs all day.

Conclusion

codinghorror.com
The end is near!

18 decks later… Still with me here? Holy moly, we’re done. As a final concise statement, here are my top 5 plays for Cities. If you notice any discrepancies regarding the ratings I’ve given vs. the deck’s position here, it is largely a consequence of whether the deck has auto-losses, even if it is better positioned against the majority of the metagame:

  1. Hammertime/Terrakion
  2. Darkrai/Hydreigon
  3. Blastoise/Keldeo/Mewtwo
  4. Darkrai/Landorus
  5. Empoleon/Accelgor

pokemon-paradijs.comI hope this article has been a useful insight into all sorts of decks we can expect to see this upcoming Cities season. I’ve tried to cover the most competitive variants of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 decks, while also discussing why I’m disappointed in particular versions of these decks.

In order to keep this article concise, I had to cut discussions on a few decks I would have liked to. Decks like Empoleon/Roserade, Klinklang/EXs, Lightning/Eels and a few rogues like Landorus/Salamence and Darkrai/Dusknoir.

But if you have any questions or comments on these decks, then you can both feel free to ask me in the forums thread, and to check my blog TCG with Hats for some discussion about the fringe of the format.

So thank you for taking this journey with me through this incredibly lengthy article! I’m really looking forward to this Cities season, and I’ll likely be able to head to something between 5-7 Cities.

Over the next month and a half, I’m very interested to see how the metagame shapes up and changes from week to week. It will also be interesting to see just how well decks like Blastoise/Keldeo and Empoleon variants can do with the introduction of Landorus-EX in the format.

pokemon.com

Here’s looking forward to a new format, a new season, and most importantly… a lot of fun!

Cheers

Crawdaunt Out

Feel free to follow my blog – TCG with Hats @ Blogspot.ca


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