Teching Through the Format

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Adam’s favorite tech of all time.

Hello everyone! As you can see from the article’s title, I will concentrate on techs today. I’ll especially concentrate on Pokémon techs and not so much on Trainer techs.

If you’ve read my articles and blog you know that I love consistency. But I’ve said this before and will say it again – no big tournament has ever been won with a techless deck.

No matter how far back you look at the World Championships winning decks (in the Masters division), there have always been tech cards in them.

Granted, City Championships aren’t Worlds, but unless you are playing in a very low-competition area, you’ll need to tech your deck in order to win. As I’ll discuss, techs are especially important in the mirror matchups.

The reason for this is pretty obvious – if identical decks and skill level players are playing against each other, nothing else matters but the opening coin flip and luck of the draw. However, with right techs you can win the mirror even if you don’t go first or get the best draws.

The decks whose techs I’ll take a look into are the most popular decks of Cities (result-wise, thus far). Of course we have only 2 weekends of results to work with and the metagame will probably still change a little, but it’s still a good starting point:

BulbapediaI’ll provide a skeleton of each of these decks and then give you a plenty of options for filling the open spots.

After discussing the most meta-centric decks, I’ll take a deeper look at some interesting tech choices that work in almost every deck, but which are usually underrated, considered “61st cards” or might even be unknown at the moment.

I believe that we have more than enough topics to discuss, so let’s roll!

Hydreigon/Darkrai EX

By looking at the first two weeks of Cities results, we can see that Hydreigon/Darkrai EX is still a dominant force in the format. It may not have won the most Cities, but it has Top 4’d the most Cities. And in the case of Cities results, quantity matters over quality because the levels of competition may vary a lot from City to City.

Also, it seems that Hydreigon/Darkrai EX is the most played deck at the moment, so…

A. You’re probably playing it.
B. You’ll probably face it.

Let’s take a look at the skeleton.

Pokémon – 12

2 Deino DRX 93

1 Deino NVI

1 Zweilous DRX 96

3 Hydreigon DRX 97

3 Darknessrai-EX
2 Sableye DEX

Trainers – 31

4 Professor Juniper
3 Skyla

3 N
2 Bianca
2 Random Receiver

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

3 Ultra Ball
3 Dark Patch
3 Rare Candy
3 Max Potion

1 Computer Search

Energy – 12

8 Darkness
4 Blend GRPD

Open Slots – 5

How to fill the slots?

pokemon-paradijs.comAs you can see from the Hydreigon’s skeleton – it’s full. So full that there isn’t too many right choices to fill the available spots.

Ok, so obviously we need some techs into the deck, but what else? The list completely misses Tool Scrappers, so you need to add 1-2 Tool Scrappers there if you want to have a fighting chance against variants (which surprisingly have decreased lately).

Also, since we run Juniper and lots of Ultra Balls and Computer Search in the deck, we’ll probably need a Super Rod here. After we have filled these slots, we only have 2-3 spots for tech cards.

However, if you are a risk lover you can choose to play neither Tool Scrapper nor Super Rod, which gives you 3-4 spaces for the techs. So, what techs will you need in order to make the most out of Hydreigon/Darkrai EX?

Tech Options

1. The Grass Tech – Shaymin EX / Virizion EPO

The once controversial Shaymin EX has become the only real staple tech for Darkrai/Hydreigon after Boundaries Crossed. There are many reasons for this. First of all, it’s resistant to Fighting, which is really this deck’s only problem. Landorus-EX does almost nothing with Hammerhead to Shaymin EX and since Terrakion NVI and Terrakion-EX are both weak to Grass, Shaymin EX is the ultimate Fighting counter.

pokemon-paradijs.comEven though Fighting has gained even more popularity thanks to Landorus-EX, there is still another card that has forced Hydreigon players to play Shaymin EXKeldeo-EX. Everyone is probably familiar with the /Keldeo-EX concept, which has done – in my opinion – surprisingly well early on.

Well, their only legitimate attacker against Darkrai/Hydreigon is Keldeo-EX. (Or is it? We’ll find that out when I get to that deck.) And once again, Keldeo-EX weak to Grass, so after they have drawn 2 Prizes you will be able to 1HKO them with Shaymin EX.

I often hear people say that Shaymin EX isn’t good against Keldeo-EX because Blastoise will just load another Keldeo-EX and 1HKO Shaymin EX easily back. In most cases that is true, but it doesn’t make Shaymin EX any less better against Keldeo-EX.

Exchanging 2 Prizes for 2 Prizes isn’t usually a problem for Darkrai EX/Hydreigon because the deck has unlimited resources. However, losing a 3+ Energy Keldeo-EX is never a piece of cake for Blastoise.

There is a huge difference of be able to load your Energy accelerators from discard pile and move them as you wish compared to the clunky strategy of Blastoise, where you have to attach all the Energy from your hand.

Blastoise’s strategy is a lot more easily disrupted by cards like N, so resource-wise exchanging Shaymin EX for Keldeo-EX is a good deal for Hydreigon. Not to mention if your opponent isn’t able to 1HKO Shaymin EX back – in most cases that means you’ve won the game!

pokemon-paradijs.com

It’s also important to remember just how good Shaymin EX is always in the late game. With 2 Energy it’s able to hit 180 damage if your opponent has 1 Prize remaining. It’s not only a metagame counter, but also a game-changer.

On the other hand, Virizion EPO is a bit more controversial in terms of Grass teching. It’s even weaker than Shaymin EX and requires 3 Energy (which 2-of them need to be Blend Energy) in order to 1HKO cards like Keldeo-EX or Terrakion-EX.

Even though Shaymin EX is a Basic EX with 110 HP, I would still prefer it over Virizion. Virizion isn’t even good in theory and when you play it, you’ll notice just how horrendous it is in the end.

2. The Psychic Tech

There are three options for this spot – Mewtwo EX, Sigilyph DRX, and the newcomer Cresselia-EX. Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of each of them.


Mewtwo EX

Bulbapedia+ Mewtwo EX counter
+ The best card in the format
+ 1HKO factor
+ Good against Energy acceleration strategy-based decks like Blastoise
+ Great HP and Weakness

– It’s an EX Pokémon
– Easily 1HKOable for your opponent’s Mewtwo EX
– Doesn’t really combo with Hydreigon’s healing play style
– Once you load the Energy to it and attack, you’re almost 100% certain to lose those Energy


Sigilyph DRX

Bulbapedia+ EXs (80% of the current metagame’s attackers) can’t touch it
+ Is a Psychic-type Pokémon
+ Never gives a free Prize to your opponent

+ / – 1HKOs a Mewtwo EX with 4 Energy

– Doesn’t really 1HKO anything
– You can’t play solo Sigilyph because you’ll never know if your opponent has something like Meloetta BCR in their decks
– The Ability does nothing 80% of the time (your opponent will just snipe / Catcher something else)


Cresselia-EX

Bulbapedia+ Has no Weakness when attacking
+ 1HKOs every Psychic-weak Pokémon in the format
+ Combos with the tank strategy of Hydreigon/Darkrai EX

– Is very risky against anything but Psychic-weak Pokémon
– Is an EX Pokémon
– Requires 4 Energy


After looking at these pros and cons, don’t get me wrong – I don’t hate Sigilyph. Quite the opposite in fact. I would love to see Sigilyph playable one day, but the fact that it’s bad is something you can’t run away from. Ok, maybe word “bad” is too much, but it isn’t nearly as good as Mewtwo EX or Cresselia-EX.

So, I believe the decision should be between Mewtwo EX and Cresselia-EX. But which one is the right choice? There is no correct answer for that. It depends very much on your Hydreigon-build and playing style.

If you’re Prize-racing with your Hydreigon deck, Mewtwo EX is the play, but as mentioned, if you’re keen on keeping your Pokémon alive with Max Potions, Cresselia-EX is your play.

I believe I should also mention that if you’re going with Cresselia-EX, Eviolite is a good addition to the deck as well. In the end, a 4 Energy Cresselia-EX isn’t an impossible 1HKO for Mewtwo EX or EX and losing 4 Energy always hurts.

3. The Rest

BulbapediaDoes Hydreigon/Darkrai EX even need any other techs than those mentioned above? In my experience, it has done just great with Shaymin EX and the Psychic addition, but if you’re a tech-lover and still have space in your Hydreigon after these techs, you can try my favorite techs for Hydreigon, which are:

Before trying these 2 techs, I suggest getting your deck more consistent and getting all the required cards in your deck list. If you have space for Dusknoir in your Hydreigon, you’ve probably made some very questionable card choices with your build.

Rayquaza/Eelektrik

Rayquaza/Eelektrik has taken Cities by storm. I believe that most players are fairly surprised at how well it has done the past couple weeks. There were some people telling me prior to Cities that Rayquaza/Eelektrik is no longer a Tier 1 deck and loses to everything Fighting and doesn’t stand a chance against Landorus-EX.

However, It seems that Rayquaza/Eelektrik has overcome these obstacles and its techs are big reason why.

So, how does its the skeleton look?

Pokémon – 11

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

Trainers – 26

4 Professor Juniper

4 N
4 Bianca

 

4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Switch

3 Ultra Ball

2 Level Ball

1 Computer Search

Energy – 13

8 Lightning

5 Fire

Open Slots – 10

How to fill the slots?

pokemon-paradijs.comThis time we have a lot more slots to fill than in Hydreigon variant, but not all of them can be given to Pokémon techs. The most interesting question is “3 or 4 Eelektriks?”

I hugely favor 4 Eelektrik just due the consistency reasons, but I’ve seen most U.S. players playing with 3, so this skeleton has 3 Eelektriks as the “standard” U.S. version I’ve seen.

No matter how much I want to believe 3 Eelektriks is enough, I always get frustrated when playing with 3 Eelektriks and in my opinion 4 is the only real way to go.

Once again, there is also discussion about Tool Scrappers and Super Rod. I believe 2 Tool Scrappers is optimal for this deck since the deck lives and dies with its Abilities. Not to mention just how good Tool Scrapper is if your opponent happens to play Eviolite or any other Tool and not just Garbodor.

Also, 1 Super Rod should be a staple as it gets your attackers and all-important Fire Energy from your discard pile back to your deck.

We’re down to 6-7 slots. That’s still lots of space.

Tech Options

And when it comes to the tech options, things get very interesting. So far, I’ve found 2 very good tech builds for Rayquaza/Eels, but I’m not sure, which one is the better one. I think it pretty much depends on your meta.

Version 1.0

Pokémon – 16

4 Tynamo NVI 38
4 Eelektrik NVI

2 Rayquaza-EX DRX
2 Rayquaza DRV

2 Raikou-EX

1 Mewtwo-EX

1 Tornadus-EX DEX

Trainers – 31

4 Professor Juniper

4 N
4 Bianca

 

4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Switch

3 Ultra Ball

2 Level Ball

2 Tool Scrapper

1 Super Rod

1 Computer Search

 

2 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 13

8 Lightning

5 Fire

(Additions italicized.)

Ok, so these techs makes the list look like a normal Rayquaza/Eels. Probably the only thing worth mentioning is the addition of Tornadus EX. It’s so good against Fighting decks in the late game and it gives your Rayquaza EX time to get charged up.

Every Fighting Pokémon has trouble 2HKOing Tornadus EX and it usually buys enough time for Rayquaza EX to become an 1HKO machine with the help of Eelektriks. If you give too much time to this deck, it will run over you.

Version 2.0

Pokémon – 19

4 Tynamo NVI 38
4 Eelektrik NVI
2 Rayquaza-EX DRX
2 Rayquaza DRV

2 Keldeo-EX

2 Raikou-EX

2 Mewtwo-EX

1 Tornadus-EX DEX

Trainers – 28

4 Professor Juniper

4 N
4 Bianca

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

3 Ultra Ball

2 Level Ball

2 Tool Scrapper

1 Super Rod

1 Energy Switch

1 Computer Search

 

2 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 13

8 Lightning

5 Fire

(Additions italicized. 4 Switch removed.)

pokemon-paradijs.comOk, so I just took out all the Switches. What the heck? I don’t know if this build has yet gained any popularity, but in my testing, it has been very competitive.

The idea is to use Keldeo-EX as your Switches. With Skyarrow Bridge Keldeo-EX has a retreat of one, which is very low.

So, whenever your opponent Catchers Eelektrik or anything else for the stall, you can just simply use Dynamotor on Keldeo-EX and use Rush in to retreat the Keldeo-EX from the Active spot. This not only gives you more space into your deck, but also gives your deck one additionally potential attacker.

If you want to take the Keldeo-EX strategy one step further, you can easily tech in a few Prism Energy instead of Fire Energy. This way, Keldeo-EX not only becomes your permanent Switch, but a potential attacker against things like Landorus-EX. And remember, with only 2 Prism Energy, Keldeo-EX is able to 1HKO Landorus-EX.

It’s also good to remember that Keldeo-EX doesn’t require any Water Energy for its attack, so even if you decide not to run Prism Energy in your deck, you can still use Keldeo-EX as the attacker in emergency situations. This will prove to be useful especially in the late game situations when your opponent has run out of Catchers.

Keldeo-EX is so good.

“Standard” Eelektrik

Pokémon – 11

4 Tynamo NVI 38
3 Eelektrik NVI

2 Raikou-EX

2 Mewtwo-EX

Trainers – 28

4 Professor Juniper

4 N
4 Bianca

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Switch

3 Ultra Ball

2 Level Ball

2 Max Potion

1 Computer Search

Energy – 13

9 Lightning

4 Double Colorless

Open Slots – 8

How to fill the slots?

The techs in standard Eels are pretty much the same as in RayEels, so I’ll go through the cards that I didn’t yet discuss in the RayEels part. However, once again, first 2-3 spots should be for Super Rod and Tool Scrappers. That leaves us with 5-6 spaces for the actual techs.

Tech Options

1. Zekrom-EX

The reason why Zekrom-EX is a very good option in standard Eels is that it’s able to 1HKO Hydreigon, which is one of this deck’s most important matchups.

Zekrom-EX also is one of the only attackers in the format that gets a huge boost with the help of DCE. Without DCE, Zekrom-EX would be just bad.

But even though it’s still a viable choice against the most played deck of the format, most people will never play it. It has too big a Retreat Cost and its first attack is close to horrendous. Not to mention its lovely Weakness to Fighting.

2. Ditto

Ditto can also be used in RayEels, but as the mechanic of Ditto is the same in both Eels, I decided to analyze it only once. The reason why Ditto is so good in Eelektrik decks is that Eelektrik decks often have a large variety of attackers in their decks.

ebay.comNot only is Ditto good because you can load Energy to it and turn it into a fearsome attacker, but you can also play Tynamo on it and evolve it immediately to Eelektrik, which may screw up your opponent’s calculations on how many Energy you’re able to attach this turn to your Mewtwo EX/Rayquaza EX.

This ability is especially good if you have run out of all of your Tynamos/Eelektriks – use Super Rod and combine it with Ditto’s Ability. This concept by itself will win you games. For more about how good Ditto is, be sure to read my Ditto article!

3. Tornadus EX

Tornadus EX is obviously good in Eelektrik decks because it’s Fighting-resistant, but it’s even better in the standard Eelektrik than in RayEels just because this deck has DCEs and is able to play even 3 Stadiums!

If you are able to go first and attack with DCE + Skyarrow Bridge, you’ll put immense pressure on your opponent. That alone will win you games, so there is no point of not playing Tornadus EX in standard Eels.

Tornadus EX is easily the best tech for any Eelektrik variant against Fighting decks, and is there a bigger problem for Lightning decks than Fighting decks? Not really.

4. Keldeo-EX Build

trollandtoad.comIf we want to get Keldeo-EX working in standard Eels, the changes we need to do are pretty similar. I won’t once again go through the changes what can be made because I already went through them once.

However, I want to emphasize that getting the 3rd Skyarrow Bridge would be great in Tornadus EXs point of view.

Also, if you are able to find space for 3 Skyarrow Bridges, I would suggest playing 2 Tornadus EXs as well. As stated earlier, it’s so good in the early game.

Playing Keldeo-EX in standard Eels is also less risky than in RayEels variant. The possible Ability-lock won’t ruin your strategy completely because you still have DCEs as your backup Switchers if your opponent decides to Catcher Eelektrik. Thanks to DCEs you’re also a single Energy attachment away from being able to retreat Keldeo-EX if you don’t happen to have Skyarrow Bridge in play.

Even though it’s riskier to play Keldeo-EX in RayEels, I believe that you don’t really need it in the standard Eels. 4 Switches and 4 DCEs are more than enough to retreat through the whole game, but if you want some more space into your deck, you can also try the -option in the standard Eels.

Blastoise/Keldeo-EX

pokemon.comNext up is the deck I’ve already discussed quite a bit in this article. Any deck with almost unlimited Energy acceleration is always a good subject when it comes to techs and that’s one of the main reasons why Energy acceleration decks have always been a force to reckon with. This rings the truth especially in the current format, which is full of Energy acceleration decks.

With quick Energy acceleration, you’re able to abuse the great EXs in this format and sometimes surprise your opponent in the process.

First, the skeleton.

Pokémon – 11

3 Squirtle BCR
1 Wartortle BCR
3 Blastoise BCR
4 Keldeo-EX

Trainers – 26

4 Professor Juniper
4 Bianca
3 N
2 Skyla

 

4 Ultra Ball
4 Rare Candy
4 Pokémon Catcher

1 Computer Search

Energy – 14

14 Water

Open Slots – 9

How to fill the slots?

pokemon-paradijs.comTwo words: Tool Scrapper. At this point, I should probably explain why Tool Scrapper isn’t in my skeleton, but I’ll bring it up with every single deck. The reason for this is that Tool Scrapper isn’t a must card – even in decks that live and die by Abilities.

Garbodor is the only Ability-locking card in the format and it has only 100 HP, so you are able to 1HKO it with a lot of Pokémon. Also, Tool Scrapper is a dead card way too often.

If you want to go consistent, always play at least 2 Tool Scrappers in your Ability deck, but if you like to play risky, drop Tool Scrappers and figure out something better to play.

After all, what’s consistency all about? A deck that has dead cards that help otherwise bad matchups or a deck that doesn’t have dead cards at any point of the game, but takes a risk knowing that something like Garbodor is a very bad matchup? You choose.

It’s also good to remember that some spots may be reserved for Super Rod or Energy Retrieval depending on how many Energy you’re running. My current skeleton runs 14 Energy, so there isn’t a real need for Energy Retrieval, but if you run less than 14 Water Energy in your deck, Energy Retrieval is a card to consider.

Rest of the spots are reserved for Pokémon techs and possible consistency boosters for Blastoise lines (like adding more Pokémon to the Blastoise line or a card like Ditto).

pokemon-paradijs.comIt’s also very important to remember that Blastoise/Keldeo-EX relies very much on healing cards as well, so you will have to make the decision between Max Potion and Super Scoop Up. I’ve even seen Gold Potion to be played in Blastoise/Keldeo!

However, I don’t won’t analyze the healing options in this article because they don’t belong in the “techs” section. Let’s just assume that the final list will include 3-4 healing cards.

And that leads us into 2-4 open spaces. Once again, I’ll go through the techs beginning with the best one.

Tech Options

1. Mewtwo EX

This big guy is tailor-made for Energy acceleration decks like Blastoise. At any point of the game, you can drop Mewtwo EX from your hand on the bench, attach X amount of Energy to it and start wreaking havoc.

Not only is Mewtwo EX a very good second attacker in the deck, it’s also still the best Mewtwo EX counter in the format.

If you didn’t play Mewtwo EX with Blastoise, you would probably have difficult time dealing with your opponent’s Mewtwo EXs, because they do the more damage, the more you attach Energy to your Keldeo-EXs.

And as you do more damage with more Energy on Keldeo-EXs… well, you know the result. Mewtwo EX is a very good card against every deck that has heavy Energy cost attackers.

2. Tropical Beach

funscrape.comTropical Beach is at the moment one of the most underrated cards in the format. However, if you aren’t a Skyla fan, you’ve probably missed Tropical Beach for a reason – it works well only with Skyla-inclusive decks. If you don’t have Tropical Beach in your deck and run a massive amount of Skylas, she will become a very irritating Supporter to have on T1.

However, when you’re able to search for Tropical Beach on T1 with Skyla, you make Skyla even more powerful than Bianca would be in that situation. Tropical Beach is a viable option especially in Blastoise deck, because it doesn’t have a proper starter like Hydreigon has Sableye.

You don’t even lose anything if you aren’t able to attack in your first turn – after all, your only goal is to get Blastoise up by T2.

If you decide to put Tropical Beach in Blastoise, I suggest increasing the Skyla count to 3 or even 4. Yes, I suggest increasing your Skyla count! I promise it will never happen again.

3. Kyurem NVI / Keldeo BCR 47

pokemon-paradijs.comIt’s always good to have a non-EX attacker in your deck since you don’t really want to attack with Blastoise as it’s so difficult to setup Stage 2 Pokémon in the current format. Water offers you two good options for these non-EX attackers – Kyurem and Keldeo.

Kyurem is the best option if you’re looking for deepening your deck’s strategy. With Glaciate you’re able to make your opponent’s Pokémon a bit weaker and after Glaciating once, you should be able to 1HKO everything with Keldeo-EX or Mewtwo EX.

Kyurem makes a very solid early game attacker, but when it comes to the late game, it’s often completely unusable.

Keldeo on the other hand is a more versatile attacker than Kyurem because you can use it at any point of the game. With Keldeo, you’re able to deal 90 damage with only 3 Energy, so you’re still able to 1HKO any Water weak Pokémon.

It’s also a nice addition if you’re looking for something to counter cards like Sigilyph or Scizor. I think it’s good to have a non-EX attacker in every deck, but it’s not a must.

4. Ditto

filb.deLast, but not least from the really good techs, there is Ditto. I said it all in my Ditto article, so if you don’t understand why it’s so good – especially in this deck – then read up!

5. Cilan

Just kidding!

I don’t recommend running Cilan here even though it does sound tempting. Once again, no, no and no to Cilan. No matter the situation, no matter the deck.

Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX

Pokémon – 6

3 Landorus-EX
3 Mewtwo-EX

Trainers – 29

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
4 Bianca

4 Switch
4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Energy Switch

3 Ultra Ball
1 Heavy Ball

1 Computer Search

Energy – 13

9 Fighting
4 Double Colorless

Open Slots – 12

How to fill the slots?

pokemon-paradijs.comSince this deck is a pure Basic deck without any Abilities (except for Bouffalant’s), you don’t have to play Tool Scrapper here. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play it. As long as your opponent plays Tools, Tool Scrapper is a very good card.

Tool Scrapper’s usability is emphasized especially in mirror-like matchups because Basic decks like this tend to play Eviolite or Exp. Share. Speaking of Tools, that’s the next addition to the skeleton. I think the best play is simply putting 2-3 Eviolites into every single big Basic deck.

When it comes to the Items, there is one more – PlusPower. A lot of these decks’ well-doing can be credited to PlusPower and how effective it is, especially in the early game. T1 Landorus-EX can hit for 40 damage with one PlusPower while getting damage on the bench at the same time. In many cases this 10 damage in the early game can make all the difference in the late game.

Also, even though the power creep has made Basic Pokémon in this format very strong, they still need PlusPowers to become Tier 1. I would advise playing 4 PlusPowers in every single Basic deck like this.

After these cards, we’re down to 4-5 free slots. Time for techs!

Tech Options

1. Tornadus EX and Bouffalant DRX

Ok, to be honest, these cards could be considered staples with Landorus-EX and Mewtwo EX, but I know that there are people running this deck even without these cards. Tornadus EX’s reasoning in this deck is quite simple – it gives you a great advantage in the mirror match.

Landorus can’t really touch Tornadus EX and even Mewtwo EX isn’t that good against Tornadus EX thanks to Tornadus EX’s 2nd attack, which may “allow” it to discard an Energy card. This forces your opponent to attach 3 Energy to their Mewtwo EX in order to be able to 2HKO Tornadus EX.

And there is nothing better than an opponent’s Mewtwo EX with 3 Energy since it’s so easy to 1HKO with your own Mewtwo EX.

pokemon-paradijs.comIf you add Tornadus EX to the list, you may also consider two different Stadiums – the oh-so obvious Skyarrow Bridge and also the most hyped Stadium of the moment – Asperta City Gym. In fact, Aspertia City Gym is so hyped that Underground will be getting its own article about it in a week!

Skyarrow Bridge is good in this deck, but it’s a fact that since most of the Pokémon in the deck has such high Retreat Costs that Skyarrow Bridge isn’t at its best in this kind of deck.

Aspertia City Gym on the other hand is very interesting as it makes Bouffalant a real pain in the butt for your opponent’s Pokémon EXs. However, Aspertia City Gym also makes Tornadus EX a real tank while still fueling its first attack, so it’s a card to consider carefully.

But I won’t go too in-depth with Apsertia City Gym here as like I said, you’ll be getting a comprehensive article on it soon.

2. Terrakion NVI

pokemon-paradijs.com

While Tornadus EX and Bouffalant are played in the deck to give it more versatility with typing, Terrakion makes the deck look like a lot more traditional. If you add Terrakion to the deck it’s just a Fighting deck with Mewtwo EX – nothing new.

However, Terrakion is still a decent choice even though it’s been played forever together with all kinds of cards. It’s still the only Pokémon in the format that 1HKOs Darkrai EX with only 2 Energy. That alone justifies the play of Terrakion in any deck and especially in this deck.

While Darkrai EX and other Fighting-weak Pokémon aren’t really a problem for this deck, I believe that adding 1 Terrakion to the mix doesn’t hurt you either.

(That is if you don’t open with it and no Switch in your hand…)

3. Druddigon NVI

Lately, I’ve been playing around with Druddigon. Druddigon is a very interesting addition to this deck mainly because of its Ability and attack. Clutch is very frustrating for any Hydreigon player not playing Keldeo-EX or Switches because you can lock everything, beginning with Hydreigon to the Active position.

After that your opponent has two choices: killing Druddigon with Hydreigon and sacrificing 4 Energy with it, or let Hydreigon be KO’d in the Active spot. None of these options is a good one for your opponent, which makes Druddigon very good.

On the other hand it’s good to remember that as I’ve been discussing in this article, Keldeo-EX is a decent choice for many decks. I’m very sure that the amount of Keldeo-EXs in the deck will increase as people realize its full potential, which then makes Druddigon less playable.

However, if Keldeo-EX isn’t popular in your area, Druddigon is a superb play in this deck.

4. Terrakion-EX

I really never liked Terrakion-EX that much and now that Landorus-EX was released, it has completely stolen Terrakion-EX’s spotlight. You don’t really need Terrakion-EX for anything at the moment.

I believe Terrakion-EX will see the light on the horizon when Ether is released, but for now it’s almost completely ditched to the abyss. It doesn’t have any special qualities that this deck needs and there are better Fighting type Pokémon in the format at the moment.

5. Ho-Oh EX

Ho-Oh EX has been popping up in Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX deck discussions everywhere. It’s good for two things – it accelerates Energy and is a Shaymin EX counter. However, the reason why I think it’s questionable to play Ho-Oh EX in a Basic deck like this is that you would need to play another type of basic Energy as well.

Since Ho-Oh EX only gets 3 different types of Energy from the discard pile, it really isn’t a suitable Energy accelerator if you only run Fighting Energy and DCEs in your deck.

Hammertime

Pokémon – 7

4 Darknessrai-EX

3 Sableye DEX

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Juniper

4 N
4 Bianca
2 Random Receiver

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

1 Computer Search

Energy – 10

10 Darkness

Open Slots – 10

How to fill the slots?

pokemon-paradijs.comI’ve been neglecting Hammertime for a long time ever since I won Nationals with it and that’s why I’ve been happy to see just how well it has been doing in the early stages of Cities. I think one reason behind Hammertime’s success is Landorus-EX based decks.

Even though Landorus-EX hits with just 1 Energy, it’s unable to accelerate Energy from the discard pile, which gives it trouble in the late game. And if the Hammertime’s Sableye has an Eviolite attached to it, Landorus hits for only 10 damage per turn.

That’s more than enough time for Hammertime to get rid of every single Energy of the Landorus-EX deck. Hammertime still has near auto-win matchups against any decks that lack Energy acceleration.

As previously discussed, you need Eviolites in order to take care of Landorus-EXs with the unlimited Hammer strategy. Eviolite is also good on Darkrai EX since Darkrai is one of the most tankable EXs in the current format.

I have always believed in the force of 2 Eviolites because if your opponent runs Tool Scrappers, they will be useless no matter how many you run (as Landorus hits only 2 Pokémon), but with 2 you’re still very well covered even if your opponent doesn’t run Tool Scrappers.

Two is a great number since it isn’t a dead number – which 3 or 4 could be – if your opponent runs Tool Scrappers.

Tech Options

1. Tornadus EX

pokemon-paradijs.comI played Tornadus EX in my first variant of Hammertime. It was a last minute addition, which ultimately won me the whole tournament. I heard many people saying that it’s pure nonsense to play Tornadus EX without DCE and without Stadiums, but that isn’t true.

Tornadus EX is a very good card even if wasn’t able to hit 60 damage with one energy. In the end, the things which make Tornadus EX good are its HP, type, and Resistance.

With Tornadus EX you are able to deal with all of the Fighting Pokémon of the tournament and in the current format, especially with Landorus-EX. Since Landorus-EX hits with 1 Energy, it’s a real nightmare for Hammertime if you aren’t able to continuously nail heads from the Hammers.

However, with Tornadus EX, you are able to 2HKO Landorus-EX and they do almost nothing back to you. With Tornadus EX + Eviolite, even Land’s Judgment becomes a horrible attack.

I have put Tornadus EX in the tech section because it isn’t a staple in all of the Hammertimes. Nonetheless I believe it should be a staple in every Hammertime. It counters the main weaknesses of Hammertime, so I see no reason not to play it.

2. Landorus-EX / Terrakion NVI

pokemon-paradijs.comSince these cards are more than optimal for this deck, I left some space in the Energy lines of the skeleton. 10 Darkness Energy is probably too much if you’re running more than 1 Terrakion or Landorus-EX, so you need to cut some Darkness Energy in order to get enough Fighting energy to the deck.

Prism Energy is also a possibility, but I don’t think it’s such a good idea since Energy Switch plays an important role in making the deck mobile enough to use both type of attackers efficiently.

If you feel like you want to run Terrakion, I would advise going with 3 Darkrai EXs and 2 Terrakions. If you prefer Landorus-EX, I would play either 3-3 or 3-2 Darkrai EXLandorus-EX line. Landorus-EX is pretty darn good starter, when you can at the same time disrupt your opponent with Hammers.

This is especially effective strategy against Hydreigon/Darkrai EX in the early game, because they already have lots of cards going into the discard pile.

Terrakion usually works as more of an backup attacker since you don’t really need it to do anything else but to kill any anti-EX Pokémon or Fighting-weak Pokémon. In the end, Darkrai EX is such a good attacker that it takes cares of 90% of the current format’s attackers by itself.

The only card that can claim to be better than Darkrai EX is Mewtwo EX, and against Mewtwo EX Terrakion is useless.

If we look into the Energy lines with 2 Terrakions or 2/3 Landorus-EXs, they would look like this:

2 Terrakion Build

1 Energy Search

9 Darkness

4 Fighting

2 Landorus-EX Build

1 Energy Search

9 Darkness

4 Fighting

3 Landorus-EX Build

1 Energy Search

1 Energy Retrieval

8 Darkness

4 Fighting

1 Prism

Energy Search and Energy Retrieval are pretty important in dual-type decks because you need to get the Energy when you need to get them. In the 3 Landorus-EX build 1-2 Skylas may also work very well to increase the chance of getting the right energy in the first turn.

Skyla can also search for Hammers. I’m not a fan of Skyla here, but the more versatile the builds get, the more playable Skyla gets.

3. Keldeo-EX

trollandtoad.comKeldeo-EX has become one of my favorite techs, no matter what the deck. And it also works in Hammertime very well. It can not only be played in this deck due its Ability, but because of its type.

Once again, Landorus-EX is weak to Water and since Landorus-EX is the number one nemesis of this deck, there is nothing better than a card that can 1HKO Landorus-EX.

However, it’s good to remember that Keldeo-EX isn’t really a replacement for Tornadus EX. Tornadus EX is still better against many other cards and decks – attack-wise Tornadus EX is more versatile.

But no one is stopping you from running 1 Tornadus EX and 1 Keldeo-EX. This is completely possible because Tornadus EX and Keldeo-EX don’t require any of their own Energy types. The Energy cost of Keldeo-EX is an interesting thing to discuss because with only 2 Water Energy it’s able to 1HKO Landorus-EX.

The question then arises: Is it worth playing Water / Prism Energy in Hammertime? I don’t think so. Getting the right Energy at the right time is very difficult since Hammertime is a Hammer-orientated Darkrai EX deck, not an attacking orientated Darkrai EX deck.

In a more straightforward version, I would gladly welcome Water Energy, but not with this strategy.

The Tech Compendium

Toxicroak BCR

I’ll say it right here – Toxicroak is by far one of the most underrated tech cards of the format. Especially with Ditto BCR, it can be a real killing machine. It reminds me bit of the infamous Toxicroak G which didn’t find its space in SP decks until the U.S. Nationals. And even then not everyone played it!

It should be no surprise that it reminds me of Toxicroak G because once again Toxicroak is all about revenge.

For one Colorless Energy (which is the it factor in this Toxicroak), it hits for 90 damage as long one of your Pokémon were Knocked Out by damage from an opponent’s attack last turn. Toxicroak is a Psychic Pokémon, so you get the point.

You’re able to 1HKO your opponent’s Mewtwo EX with a non-EX Pokémon and for only one Energy. It’s so good and surprising because you can play Toxicroak in every single deck.

I promise that it will completely mess up your opponent’s calculations when you 1HKO Mewtwo EX with a non-EX Pokémon. Heck, just how many Pokémon (EX or not) in the whole format can even 1HKO Mewtwo EX? Well, Toxicroak can so it’s pretty sick.

I haven’t yet seen widespread play of Toxicroak, but I expect it will see more play the more the metagame develops. Psychic will probably stay one of the most important Weaknesses of the current metagame for a long time, so be sure to remember Toxicroak when struggling with Psychic-weak Pokémon.

Munna BCR & Musharna NXD

trollandtoad.comMunna is pretty much only a premature version of Poison Hypnotic Beam, which will be released in the next Team Plasma set and has taken the Japanese metagame by storm.

Ok, Munna can’t Poison your opponent, but it can put your opponent’s Pokémon into Asleep. And as you know, there are some decks that don’t bother playing Switch because they have free retreat thanks to Darkrai EX. However, this is where the things get interesting.

I’ve discussed Keldeo-EX in this article and will discuss it more later on, so the question is just how played Munna will get and how popular Keldeo-EX will get at the same time. In my opinion, Keldeo-EX is a cheap insurance in case of Munna’s heads since one Asleep tails with Darkrai EX can easily cost you the game.

To keep things realistic, it’s good to remember that Munna only has 60 HP and can quickly become a free prize against Darkrai EX decks. However, that’s where Musharna steps in.

Musharna NXD is Uxie LV.X with a bad attack and slightly worse Ability. However, at the same time, it gives your Munna an additional 40 HP, which will make it difficult for Darkrai EX to KO it on your bench.

Once Munna evolves into Musharna, your opponent’s Darkrai EX doesn’t even want to target the bench damage to it and they just wasted one 30 with their Night Spears!

It may seem like a small thing, but 30 damage can make or break the game.

In my opinion, Munna and Musharna work hand-in-hand. Munna is a great disrupter in some situations, and by evolving into Musharna, it can turn into a consistency-factor for your deck.

Both the Basic and Stage 1 version of this Pokémon will add your deck something that your opponent doesn’t have and that’s why I think that playing at least 1-1 line of Musharna can and should be considered if you can find space for them.

Dusknoir BCR

Dusknoir is an interesting tech, but I don’t know if it’s playable in the current format. A correctly timed Dusknoir can turn the whole game around, but it’s difficult to time playing down Stage 2 Pokémon correctly.

If it was a Stage 1 Pokémon it would be better, but as is you will need Ditto, Duskull, Rare Candy, and Dusknoir all at the same time to achieve the surprise, which is asking a lot.

I love the card, but at the same time I must admit that in competitive play Dusknoir is an oxymoron.

Roserade DRX 15

Roserade is probably one of the most interesting tech choices out there. It flew a long time under the radar until it popped out during Fall Regionals. Roserade lets you search your deck for any card when you put it in the play. So, it’s pretty much only once a game.

That doesn’t seem that much, but you should never underestimate how big “any card” is. As you already probably know, Computer Search is pretty god-like and it also searches for “only” one card from your deck.

Probably the biggest thing in Roserade is that it gives you a Supporter and a consistent start even if you only have Pokémon searching cards in your opening hand. It decreases the chance of bad opening hands a lot since as long as you have cards required to search for Roserade, you’ll have a Supporter on turn 2.

Roserade is a Grass type Pokémon, but since its attack is pretty mediocre (okay without Fliptini it’s plain bad), it’s only used for its Ability.

Even though Roserade has been played in the winning decks of some very big tournaments, I’m not too keen on it.

Especially after the release of Computer Search. Sableye with Skyla and Computer Search is so good at the moment that Roserade is horrible compared to them.

And even in decks without Sableye, I think Computer Search does the job of Roserade just fine. Consistency is great, but I think that in this format there are better ways of adding your consistency and searching for the certain cards than Roserade. A good example of this would for example would be playing 2 Skylas instead of 1-1 Roserade line.

Keldeo-EX

pokemon-paradijs.comI already discussed Keldeo-EX in few decks, but I wanted to say a word or two about it in general as well. It’s that good and I really want to emphasize to anyone who hasn’t tried it yet, try it!

It’s almost a must in every Darkrai EX deck. It’s good in decks with Skyarrow Bridge and it can even be good in situations where I can’t imagine it’s good at! Playing 1-2 Keldeo-EXs can free up the spots of Switches and as long as your deck has space on the bench, it’s a great play.

Terrakion NVI

Just like Keldeo-EX, I already discussed Terrakion in some decks, but once again it’s worth discussing more. The reason for this is that Terrakion can also be played in every single deck.

It’s still the Darkrai EX counter of the format and since almost 40% of metagame decks include Darkrai EX, it’s never a bad play.

It can easily be played in Eelektrik with some Prism, Blend WLFM, or Fighting Energy and if you’re crazy enough, you can even try it in a Darkrai/Hydreigon. Terrakion is easily one of the best non-EXs of the format and since it’s so easy to tech into any deck, it’s a card you should never forget when building your tournament deck.

Eelektross NVI & Eelektross DEX

Both of the Eelektross in the format are very interesting. However, the NVI one is a lot worse. Hitting for 90 isn’t enough since the Water Pokémon in the current format are weak to Grass. If Keldeo or Blastoise were weak to Lightning, Eelektross NVI would probably quickly become a staple for Eelektrik deck.

Since that isn’t the case though, the NVI Eelektross is just an interesting addition to Eelektrik decks that will probably never be interesting enough to really be worth the space.

The more interesting Eelektross is the one from Dark Explorers. Its “Drag Off” attack (Slurp Shakedown) requires 4 Energy, but Drag Off is Drag Off and ever since the release of Drag Off, the attack has been one of the best attack mechanics in the game.

However, Eelektrik decks already play Raikou-EX and Catcher, so it’s easy for them to inflict bench damage, but Eelektross could still be a good addition the deck. There can really never be too access to bench damage, disruption, and easy Prizes.

Zekrom BLW

I was going to leave Zekrom out of this article because it really isn’t worth the space in Eelektrik decks. If you’re looking for a non-EX attacker for an Eelektrik deck, I suggest looking for something else than Zekrom.

Thundurus EPO

Thundurus is one of the strangest cards I’ve ever encountered. It’s just like economy – it has its up and downs in the format. In one format, it can be one of the most played cards in Eelektrik decks, but when a new set is released, it can once again completely disappear from the deck.

However, after the next set is released, Thundurus can once again be fashionable. At the moment it seems that Thundurus is in a downward trend much like Apple’s stock. However, if you are choosing between Zekrom and Thundurus, always pick Thundurus.

Scizor BCR

If you’re looking for an anti-EX card for your deck, forget Sigilyph DRX! Scizor is your new favorite anti-EX card. It can fit any deck since it attacks for 2 Colorless Energy and it even has more HP than Sigilyph. Not to mention it can hit for 100 damage, something that Sigilyph almost never achieves!

Ok, to be completely honest, the current format’s EX-counters are pretty ridiculous. Negatively ridiculous. They’re ridiculous because they are near unplayable. In fact, I’m pretty upset by this, but it’s the truth.

The main problem with both Sigilyph and Scizor are that they don’t deal heavy damage. Scizor hits for 40 and Sigilyph 50 or more. Ugh.

If you’re looking for an anti-EX card and not a complete EX-counter deck, play Bouffalant DRX.

It hits heavy damage to EXs and is difficult to 1HKO. In the end, Bouffalant is better than Sigilyph and Scizor even if EX-Pokémon can damage it.

First Ticket

trollandtoad.comFirst Ticket is one of my favorite techs in the format. It’s so useless, but at the same time it can win you the tournament. How is it even possible that there can be such card?

You can tech any number of First Tickets into your deck and the more of them you play, the more interesting things get.

With one, you’re probably drawing it to your opening hand once per tournament. Is it worth it? Well, if you draw it in the game where you are going first either way, it doesn’t matter, but if you draw it in the 3rd finals game, where you would be otherwise going second… it’s very possible that you just won the tournament thanks to the one First Ticket.

There really is no correct way to play First Ticket. It’s a completely luck-based card, and even though you could make calculations for the probability of it being useful, the probabilities don’t really matter in a single tournament.

First Ticket is a very interesting card and whether you play it or not is completely up to you. There is no one who will know if playing First Ticket will be good for your tournament result.

Food for thought indeed.

Enhanced Hammer

pokemon-paradijs.comI like teching Enhanced Hammer in the current format than teching Lost Remover in the any previous formats. Almost every deck in the format plays 4 Special Energy and Enhanced Hammer can seriously unbalance their game strategy.

However, it would be unwise to play more than 2 Enhanced Hammers. In fact, I would advise going with 1 Enhanced Hammer because there are still decks in the current format that don’t play any Special Energy cards (e.g. Blastoise and RayEels).

But if you have especially good matchups against those two decks and struggle against the rest, playing 2 may be a great idea.

Aspertia City Gym

Aspertia City Gym is one of the most discussed techs of the moment. However, I haven’t yet fully discovered all of it depths and the reason why it’s so good. But no reason to worry my fellow Underground members – you’re in for a treat once Mike Diaz writes a FULL Underground article about it on Tuesday, December 4th.

If you are as interested in Aspertia City Gym as I am, be sure to check it out!

Tropical Beach

Tropical Beach is a great tech in almost every deck as long as you play Skyla. Tropical Beach is the only card in the format that can turn Skyla into a draw Supporter at the same time. The combo of Tropical Beach and Skyla is especially good in decks without a proper T1 strategy, but it can also work in decks that have the so-called “starter.”

A good example would be Hydreigon/Darkrai, where Skyla is a natural addition to the deck list. If you have Deino as your active Pokémon and have no way of attacking with Sableye on T1, getting to draw cards from Tropical Beach is more than great.

Tropical Beach isn’t the best suited tech for fast Basic decks, but pretty much any evolution deck can play it. However, it’s important to remember just how good Tropical Beach is for example after a late game N:

A fast Basic deck can take an advantage of the opponent’s Tropical Beach after a late game N.

That’s one good reason why Basic decks could play Tropical Beach as well, but in the end Skyarrow Bridge and Aspertia City Gym are more suitable for the current Basic builds of the format.

Conclusion

And that’s just about everything you need to know about the techs of this format! I tried to cover all the possible (and impossible) techs out there, but it may very well be that I missed one or two.

If you there is a tech you think I missed, let me know in the comments. I’m more than interested in discussing techs I may have missed in this article for some reason.

The reason why I wrote this kind of article at the beginning of the Cities season is that the metagame is still developing, and to be able to adjust your deck to the possible metagame changes, you should be aware of every single option that your deck has.

I’m pretty sure this article will be useful for you during the whole Cities run and probably even after Cities. If you agree with me, remember to give the article a Like!

pokemon.comThere have been some very high-quality articles in the SixPrizes during the past few weeks and I hope this article was at least on-par with them. Of course my goal is to develop my article quality with each article, but I guess that’s a complete impossibility. You know better, so let me hear your opinion!

Anyway, as always, feel free to comment or ask anything regarding or not regarding to the article. My Cities will start this weekend and I’m completely lost of what I should play. In my last UG article, I told you that I was going to play Tornadonk, but it failed SO miserably in my play testing.

Well, I have 4 days left to figure it out… I hope you’re in a better spot than I am after reading this article!

Thanks for reading!

Esa Juntunen

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