Hydreigon and a Perfect World

In a perfect world, Hydreigon/Darkrai EX would be the best deck in the format.

Why is this? Well, as Andy pointed out in his previous Underground article, Hydreigon players can effectively tech against any deck by choosing to include attackers and other techs useful for that matchup.

This would imply that Hydreigon variants have the ability to create favorable matchups across the board. This would further imply that Hydreigon variants, if teched properly, would be the strongest variants across the board.

Of course, we do not live in a perfect world. We cannot predict a metagame with 100% certainty and there will always be the issue of playing a Stage 2 deck in such a fast metagame. So where does that leave Hydreigon and the players longing to play him?

Some of them are probably wandering around aimlessly in a ‘Dark Trance’ while others are trying to get us closer to that perfect world. I like to think I am in the latter group. Although we will probably never get to that perfect world, the closer we get, the better Hydreigon variants will become!

So how do we get closer to perfection? The answer is finding the right balance between consistency and techs. We can always make room for consistency by cutting things like Max Potion, Dark Patch, Pokémon Catcher, Mewtwo EX, Shaymin EX, Sigilyph, and so forth for Supporters and Pokémon Search – but would that increase our likelihood of winning?

No. Why not? Because simply getting out a Hydreigon and Darkrai EX is not sufficient for a win condition. We need those other cards that we cut for Supporters and Pokémon Search in order to compete!

On the contrary, why don’t we just cut out the consistency cards for additional techs and other cards like Max Potion/Pokémon Catcher? Because we would never get out a Hydreigon or Darkrai EX! What is the point of using Pokémon Catcher or Dark Claw if you will never be able to attack? There is none.

Hydreigon, like all decks, needs to find the right balance of consistency cards and techs. The primary aspect of deck building that separates Hydreigon from the rest is that the odds of winning any given matchup can change drastically with each tech.

Including a Mewtwo EX could swing the matchup against deck X from 40-60 to 60-40. Conversely, taking something out in order to fit in Mewtwo EX could swing a different matchup from 60-40 to 40-60.

The point of this article is to discuss many of these techs. Andy and Esa both do a great job presenting many ideas on this topic in their last articles. I want to expand upon what they discussed and hopefully arrive at some interesting conclusions.

The logical starting place for an article of this nature is a skeleton list. This is the bare bones of the deck with the minimum acceptable amount of consistency. As previously implied, I am not here to talk about ways to improve the consistency of a Hydreigon deck.

I think it is generally accepted that the minimum amount of Supporters (or ways to get a Supporter) a deck should play is 14. If your standards are lower than that, feel free to add something else you think is preferable.

Pokémon – 13

3 Deino
1 Zweilous
3 Hydreigon DRX 97
3 Darknessrai-EX
3 Sableye DEX

Trainers – 30

13 Supporters
4 Pokémon Search
1 Computer Search
3 Max Potion
3 Dark Patch
3 Pokémon Catcher
3 Rare Candy

Energy – 12

8 Darkness
4 Blend GRPD

Several things to note before we go any further…

pokemon-paradijs.com– Although I talked about how Max Potion, Dark Patch, and Pokémon Catcher are “techy” in nature (i.e. they do not help with consistency), they cannot be taken out of the deck. They are almost as important as Energy cards. A Hydreigon deck without these three Items will not find any success – even in a perfect world.

– The Supporter lineup I tend to favor is 4 Professor Juniper, 4 N, and 4 Skyla with a Random Receiver. I am certain that 4 Skyla is absolutely essential. She is too good with Sableye and all the Items necessary for set up in this deck.

Additionally, 4 N is optimal due to the slower nature of the deck. The opponent will be ahead by 2-3 Prizes quite often at the beginning of the game – a time ripe for the Ns and hand disruption.

– The Pokémon Search lineup that I am now favoring is 3 Ultra Ball and 1 Level Ball. Level Ball helps immensely when setting up a Hydreigon in the first few turns. You can read some more about why I love Level Ball in a recent tournament report, if you’d like.

– Most people are using 3 Sableye and I have generally always used 3 as well. However, I am not sure this is absolutely necessary. Aside from increasing the odds of opening with a Sableye, there is very little reason to play 3.

The additional Sableye does not do that much to increase the odds of opening with one. Although I have not done much testing with 2, I suspect that it will be fine. I could be wrong, however.

pokemon-paradijs.comI tend to prefer running 4 Deino instead of 3 – so that is what I am now filling the extra spot with that was gained from dropping a Sableye. For sake of this article, I will stick with the standard 3/3 split without loss of generality.

– I am also using 7 Darkness Energy and 1 Energy Search in my list. This seems optimal due to the presence of Skyla in the deck. Using your Supporter for the turn in exchange for a guaranteed Energy can be a very wise move.

So, that leaves us with five spots to fill! I am going to spend the rest of the article talking about the possible combinations of cards that will bring Hydreigon closer to a perfect world. Hopefully, by the end of the article, we will have picked the best five cards to fill up these spots.

In order to pick these five cards, I am going to discuss five of the most important matchups that all players should be concerned with. Taking data from Crawdaunt’s thread over on PokéGym and using some of the analysis performed by Andrew over at The Charizard Lounge, it is apparent that the decks we should be concerned about are as follows:

They are showing the most promise so far across the country and deserve the most attention when it comes to picking these five cards. So let’s begin our analysis!

Teching Against Blastoise/Keldeo-EX

I am pleased to see that a new Stage 2 deck has entered the top tiers! I was pretty pessimistic about Stage 2’s this time last month (see previous Underground Article), but I am a bit more optimistic now. Skyla has helped Stage 2 Pokémon significantly!

The battle of the strongest Stage 2s – Hydreigon vs. – is an interesting one. Although Blastoise has no Sableye equivalent, a lot of Blastoise players have decided to include Tropical Beach as a supplement for the first turn of the game. Using Skyla on the first turn for a Tropical Beach can be very fruitful!

Without Tropical Beach, I am confident that the Hydreigon variant will enjoy a faster setup than the Blastoise variant on average. Sableye is just that good.

Some players have tried adding Terrakion and Blend WLFM to their Blastoise lists in order to combat Darkrai EX decks. I question the effectiveness of this Fighting tech, however. I am confident that including Terrakion would cause additional consistency problems for Blastoise variants – and I don’t think they need any more inconsistencies.

Mewtwo EX

One of the strongest counters to Keldeo-EX, Mewtwo EX is the first of our possible techs included to swing the Blastoise matchup in the favor of Hydreigon. In the battle between Keldeo-EX and Darkrai EX, many Blastoise players may be tempted to load their Keldeo-EX with Energy to try and 1-shot the menacing, Darkness-type EX.

If the Keldeo-EX is unable to 1-shot a Darkrai EX, the damage they place on Darkrai EX will quickly be healed with Max Potion.

If a Keldeo-EX does 1-shot a fully healed Darkrai EX, they will need to have seven Energy – eight if Darkrai EX has an Eviolite. Either way, a Mewtwo EX with two Energy will 1-shot the Keldeo-EX in response!

Of course this does leave the Hydreigon’s Mewtwo EX open to a one hit knock from the Blastoise’s Mewtwo EX. Regardless, removing seven or eight Energy from play is a great move and a well timed N will decrease the odds of an opposing Mewtwo EX response.

Eviolite

As previously mentioned, Eviolite decreases the chances of a 1-shot on your Darkrai EXs from Keldeo-EXs. However, if the Blastoise player is playing it safe and only putting three Water Energy on their Keldeo-EX, Eviolite does very little to keep Darkrai EX alive since Keldeo-EX will be swinging for 110 – 20 = 90… enough for a 2-shot.

However, many Blastoise players will try and load more than three Energy on their Keldeo-EX because five Energy is needed to 1-shot a Hydreigon. With that many Energy already on a Keldeo-EX, the two more Energy needed for a 1HKO on Darkrai EX is only an Energy Retrieval away.

Eviolite can be very helpful in keeping Darkrai EX alive when Keldeo-EX grows above the normal three Energy strength.

Shaymin EX/Super Rod

pokemon-paradijs.comShaymin EX was in the initial Japanese Hydreigon list, but it decreased in popularity as time went on here in the U.S. It is a very situational card and only really shined in the previous format in the final few turns against Fighting variants. Now that we have a very popular, Grass-weak deck, Shaymin EX is gaining popularity once more.

Once a Blastoise player grabs 2 Prizes, all of their Grass-weak Pokémon are in 1HKO range for Shaymin EX for only two Energy. If the opponent is unable to Knock Out the Shaymin EX in return, they will most certainly lose the game. Returning the Knock Out on Shaymin is not that difficult, however. A Keldeo-EX only needs the standard three Water Energy to do the 110 necessary to Knock Out Shaymin EX.

Even though Shaymin EX will likely just trade 2 Prizes with a Keldeo-EX, it is still a very good tech option since you can control when that trade will happen and there is some probability of Shaymin EX living for the next turn.

Furthermore, in the Prize trade, you might be able to Knock Out a Keldeo-EX with more than three Energy. Thus you are trading a Pokémon and two Energy for a Pokémon and three to seven Energy. The Hydreigon player is clearly winning that trade.

Whenever a deck plays Shaymin EX, it is generally a good idea to run Super Rod as well. Why? Because Shaymin EX is generally very bad at the beginning of the game – you do not want to have Shaymin EX enter your field until you are ready to attack with it.

Shaymin EX is so easy to Knock Out. A benched Shaymin EX has the biggest target on its head. Oftentimes, you will find a Shaymin EX in your hand in the first few turns of the game and you have to play a Professor Juniper.

Do you lay down the Shaymin EX on your bench (where it will surely be Knocked Out over the next few turns) or discard it and hope you do not need it this game?

Well, if you play Super Rod, you can discard the Shaymin EX and get it back later in the game when the Grass EX is more useful. So, if you choose to put Shaymin EX in your Hydreigon list, I think you also have to put in Super Rod.

Pokémon Catcher

pokemon-paradijs.comAlthough there are already 3 Pokémon Catcher in the skeleton list, the 4th one would be particularly helpful against Blastoise variants. Whenever a deck runs Bench-sitters (Eelektrik, Blastoise, Hydreigon), Pokémon Catcher shines even more so than it normally does.

Just like Hydreigon decks need Hydreigon to function, Blastoise decks need Blastoise to function. If you are able to bring up the Blastoise with a Pokémon Catcher and remove their Energy acceleration from the game, the Hydreigon variant will be in a good position.

Since Squirtle has that ridiculously good Ability, Pokémon Catcher becomes even more necessary. Since Darkrai EX cannot rack up Night Spear bench damage on Squirtles, you have to use Pokémon Catcher on the Squirtles in order to remove them from the game and prevent future Blastoise from entering the field.

Dark Claw

The Darkness Tool helps significantly in this matchup. It is almost as if Dark Claw was made for this matchup – it manipulates the damage output so perfectly for this deck. After putting 30 damage on a benched Blastoise with Night Spear, the Blastoise has 110 HP left – which is obviously equal to 90 + 20 which is the exact amount of damage a Darkrai EX will be swinging for with a Dark Claw.

pokemon-paradijs.com

Over two turns, a Darkrai EX can Knock Out two Blastoise by putting 110 on the active and 30 on the bench one turn and then playing a Pokémon Catcher on the benched Blastoise, hitting it for 110 and the other Blastoise for 30. In this case, both of the Blastoise will have taken 140 damage and be Knocked Out!

Furthermore, after putting 60 damage on a benched Keldeo-EX with Night Spear, the Keldeo-EX will have 110 HP left. Yes, that perfect number again. Dark Claw certainly makes the math quite nice for Darkrai EX.

Of course, if you have Dark Claw on your Darkrai EX, you cannot also have Eviolite. Which Tool is better – something we have been asking ourselves ever since Dark Explorers was released.

Sigilyph DRX

In addition to Shaymin EX, Sigilyph was also included in the original Japanese Hydreigon list. Like Shaymin EX, Sigilyph has also lost much of its popularity as time has gone on. Of course Keldeo-EX and Mewtwo EX cannot attack Sigilyph, but they can play a Pokémon Catcher and knock something else out.

trollandtoad.comFurthermore, many Blastoise players are running the non-EX solely for the ability to deal with Sigilyph. Also, Blastoise can easily Knock Out Sigilyph with just two Energy.

If you happen to get paired against a Blastoise player that is not running a Sigilyph counter, then Sigilyph would be quite strong. Unfortunatley, I would not bank on this happening very often – if ever.

Which Five Cards to Pick to Maximize the Chances of Beating Blastoise/Keldeo-EX

Let us pretend you are entering an event and you will only be paired against Blstoise/Keldeo-EX… obviously you would want your deck to beat Blastoise/Keldeo-EX.

So, which five cards should you choose to include if such an unlikely situation were to arise? Here is my recommendation…

2 Mewtwo EX
1 Pokémon Catcher
1 Dark Claw
1 Eviolite

I decided to include two Mewtwo EX because this will increase your chances of winning the Mewtwo EX war that will surely start after you Knock Out a Keldeo-EX with your own Mewtwo EX. Naturally the Blastoise player will try and Knock Out that Mewtwo EX with their Mewtwo EX. They will then have won the Mewtwo EX war if you do not have the ability to Knock Out their Mewtwo EX.

I decided to not include a Shaymin EX because I think Mewtwo EX is a better Keldeo-EX counter. He is far less fragile and including two Mewtwo EX will surely allow you to win the Mewtwo EX war and probably the game after that has ended.

Teching Against Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX

In addition to Blastoise/Keldeo-EX, this is the new deck that has hit the scene as a result of the Boundaries Crossed release. Landorus-EX is an incredibly powerful card that has completely shaken up the metagame. In addition to having the type advantage on Darkrai EX, Landorus-EX can 1-shot a Hydreigon with Land’s Judgement.

Neither of these things are good for Hydreigon players. However, we have five spots to play around with! Surely we can come up with some effective strategies for winning this matchup. Shall we?

Cresselia-EX/Eviolite

Cresselia-EX can be very helpful in this matchup. In addition to 1-shotting Mewtwo EX’s with a small chance of being 1-shot in return, Hammerhead is a very weak attack against her. She will never be targeted on the bench with Hammerhead because the attack only nets 10 damage on Cresselia-EX – and that is without Eviolite! This is a pitiful amount.

With Eviolite, Hammerhead will net 0 damage on Cresselia; Land’s Judgement will net 40 without discard and 110 with discard. Shining Particles is a great Ability and particularly helpful against Landorus-EX.

To be effective with Cresselia-EX, you have to be very strategic. The best time to play her is after your opponent has taken several Prize cards. Once they are ahead, the best thing to do is to Catcher a benched Mewtwo EX, play an N, and Knock Out the Mewtwo EX.

This will hopefully make it near impossible for another Mewtwo EX to immediately threaten Cresselia-EX with a double Pokémon Catcher play. After your opponent has used up most of their Pokémon Catchers, Cresselia-EX really shines because she can more safely heal on the bench after taking a hit from a Landorus-EX or some other Pokémon while the Hydreigon player continues the attack with some other Pokémon.

Once Cresselia-EX has naturally healed as a result of Shining Particles, she can continue the attack. This saves you a Max Potion that can be used on something else!

Cresselia-EX, like Shaymin EX, comes in a package deal with another Item. This time it isn’t Super Rod – it is Eviolite. She is good because of her ability to tank with Eviolite. Without this Tool, her ability to tank is significantly lessened – to the point of uselessness. I would not play her without Eviolite in any deck.

Mewtwo EX

Mewtwo EX pops up yet again! Really, Mewtwo EX is very good against any deck that runs their own Mewtwo EX. Without a way to Knock Out opposing Mewtwo EXs, most decks will surely fail.

If you are going to include Mewtwo EX, there is a strong argument for including additional Pokémon that can end Mewtwo EX wars aside from just Mewtwo EX (i.e. Cresselia-EX and Sigilyph). The more ways you have of Knocking Out Mewtwo EX, the better.

Keldeo-EX/Max Potion

trollandtoad.comI have seen quite a few Hydreigon lists featuring Keldeo-EX. This is partially due to its ability to deal with Status Conditions that may be affecting your Pokémon. However, Keldeo-EX also gives you a relatively strong counter to Landorus-EX.

Although there are no Water Energy in the skeleton list, Keldeo-EX still swings for 100 on Landorus-EX. That is enough for a 2-shot without fear of being 1-shot in return.

If you are going this path, I would probably opt to play an additional Max Potion too because you will want your Keldeo-EX to stay alive for the long haul. Once Keldeo-EX goes down, you will be left with no Pokémon that cannot be 1-shot by something (Land’s Judgement and X Ball will get all of your Pokémon).

I have seen some people throwing Prism Energy into their lists in order to try and get the 1-shot on Landorus-EX (two Prism Energy lets Keldeo-EX do 90 x 2 = 180). I am not an advocate for this, however.

In order to make room for the Prism Energy, you will have to drop the Blend Energy… and then you will have no way to attack with Hydreigon. That is not a good trade in my books – Dragonblast is a very good attack.

Shaymin EX/Super Rod

BulbapediaShaymin EX may seem tempting because it was once good against Fighting variants. However, the format has changed and Shaymin EX is less useful against these Fighting decks. Why? Well, Landorus-EX is not weak to Grass, so the opponent will have to have taken 5 Prizes before you can 1-shot a Landorus-EX.

Secondly, Landorus-EX can 1-shot Shaymin EX as can Bouffalant DRX – a very popular addition in all these Landorus-EX variants. I would not recommend adding a Shaymin EX for the sake of improving this matchup – even though it may seem like a good idea at first.

Sigilyph DRX

As implied by the name of this deck ‘Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX,’ there are a lot of EXs in this deck. Obviously Sigilyph could really punish this deck if they are unable to effectively counter Sigilyph. The most common Sigilyph counters will come in the form of Terrakion NVI and Bouffalant DRX. Terrakion is a good counter but Bouffalant is not.

Since this deck is limited to only 4 Pokémon Catcher (unlike any deck with Sableye), you could really wall with a Sigilyph if you are able to deal with the opposing Terrakions.

Some options for dealing with Terrakion would be to include Eviolite (make them need to have a Tool Scrapper to 1-shot a Sigilyph with Terrakion) or somehow prevent Retaliates from happening (knock them out on the bench with Hydreigon, disrupt opponent with N, etc.).

Dark Patch

pokemon-paradijs.comIncreasing the Dark Patch count to four would be a good idea against any deck with Fighting Pokémon. Why is this? When Darkrai EX is threated by Fighting Pokémon, Hydreigon has to come in and do more work since he is not weak to Fighting.

Your Hydreigons will have to do more attacking than they are used to and they will need more Darkness Energy in play to fuel their Dragonblasts.

Dragon Weak Deino

Lastly, if you will be expecting a lot of Landorus-EX at an event, it would be wise to use the Dragon-weak Deino instead of the Fighting-weak Deino.

I do not like giving free wins to my opponents and I am sure you do not like it either!

Which Five Cards to Pick to Maximize the Chances of Beating Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX

Again let us pretend you are entering a tournament that has a very monotone metagame – this time everyone is playing Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX. What five cards should you play in order to maximize your chances of winning the event?

1 Mewtwo EX
1 Cresselia-EX
1 Sigilyph DRX/Dark Patch
2 Eviolite

Cresselia-EX really is your best chance of winning. With the support of Eviolite and Mewtwo EX, she can go a long way against Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX. In regards to the 5th spot, I am not certain whether a Sigilyph or 4th Dark Patch is the best way to go.

The Sigilyph will improve your odds of winning any Psychic wars and may prove to be a very effective wall if the opponent is unable to get a Terrakion on line. However, Sigilyph is not foolproof and may be Retaliated way too quickly for it be of any use.

Another Dark Patch will allow you to use Dragonblast more efficiently. I would suggest trying both ways to see whether Sigilyph or the 4th Dark Patch is the best path to take!

Teching Against Darkrai EX + Fighting and non-Fighting Stuff

There are so many different ways to play Darkrai EX. Some people combine it with Landorus-EX or Terrakion. Some people combine it with Mewtwo EX or Keldeo-EX. And some people just play it with Sableye and Hammers. The techs to include in a Hydreigon list will vary a bit with each Darkrai EX variant.

There will be quite a bit of overlap between some of the discussion in the Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX section and this section. I will try not to be redundant.

Mewtwo EX

fanpop.comAlthough many Darkrai EX variants are running Mewtwo EX, many are not. Regardless of whether or not they are running their own Mewtwo EX, it is a good idea to be running your own Mewtwo EX.

If they are not running Mewtwo EX, you can just go all in with your own Mewtwo EX. Of course you never really know if your opponent is running Mewtwo EX until they either drop it down or until they tell you after the game.

I believe we are entering a time in which Mewtwo EX wars will become more prevalent – like they were a few formats ago.

Cresselia-EX/Eviolite

I have already said much of what I have to say about Cresselia-EX in the last section. Along the same lines as Hammerhead, Cresselia-EX is not a good target for benched Night Spear damage since most of that damage will be healed.

Cresselia-EX is a less powerful attacker against Darkrai EX due to the Psychic Resistance. With an Eviolite, Darkrai EX only takes 50 damage from Psychic Protection. You really want to save your Cresselia-EX attacks for Landorus-EX, Mewtwo EX, Terrakion and other non-Darkrai EX defenders.

If the opponent is only running Darkrai EX and Sableye – then Cresselia-EX will probably not be that useful.

Keldeo-EX/Max Potion

These cards are really only useful if your opponent is running Landorus-EX in their lists. Otherwise it is not very good. Again, much of what I have to say about Keldeo-EX is in the previous section.

Shaymin EX/Super Rod

pokemon-paradijs.comAlong similar lines to Keldeo-EX, Shaymin EX will only be truly useful if your opponent is running Terrakion or their own Keldeo-EX. Otherwise… it is not very good.

Dark Patch

Including a 4th Dark Patch would be a good idea if your opponent is running Fighting Pokémon with their Darkrai EX. Again, fueling your Hydreigons is very important.

Furthermore, against Hammer variants, additional Dark Patch can be very useful in retrieving those removed Energy.

Dragon-weak Deino

If the opponent is running Landorus-EX in their list, you will want to play the Dragon-weak Deino. However, if they are not running Landorus-EX, the Fighting-weak Deino is much better in my opinion simply because you can target this guy with Dark Patch. That alone makes the Fighting-weak one that much better.

Sigilyph

pokemon-paradijs.comFor all the reasons Sigilyph was good in the Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX matchup, Sigilyph is seems to be good in the Darkrai EX + Stuff matchup. However, there is a big difference between these two decks: one has Sableye and one does not.

Creating a Sigilyph wall will be very challenging against decks with Sableye since the Sableye player can get off at least two Junk Hunts before being taken down by a Sigilyph.

During these Junk Hunts, the Sableye player can retrieve Pokémon Catchers (which would break the Sigilyph wall) and other important Items that can lead to a victory.

So, although Sigilyph may seem just as good here as it is against Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX – it really is not.

Which Five Cards to Pick to Maximize the Chances of Beating Darkrai EX + Stuff

Picking the five cards for winning the Darkrai + Stuff matchup is tough since each variant presents a slightly different challenge. Of course Shaymin EX would be more useful against Terrakion but how useful would it be against the other variants? Probably not very helpful.

Here is the list I would recommend…

1 Mewtwo EX
1 Cresselia-EX
1 Dark Patch
2 Eviolite

The list is almost identical to the one presented for the Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX matchup. This is largely because most of the Big Basic decks that are out there are very similar in nature (this is mainly why I am not devoting a section to Ho-Oh EX analysis).

The ones that have Fighting Pokémon present the same type of problems as all the other ones that have Fighting Pokémon. The ones that are not playing Fighting Pokémon also present the same problems as all the other Big Basic, non-Fighting decks (these problems are not very severe). If a big Basic deck cannot 1-shot Darkrai EX, then it most likely will not be able to win against Hydreigon.

From what I can tell, most of the Darkrai EX variants out there are playing Fighting techs – either Terrakion or Landorus-EX. So there can be some problems for Hydreigon. These five cards will, on average, help the most in these matchups.

Teching Against Rayquaza/Eelektrik

pokemon-paradijs.comThe king of the previous format has taken a tumble thanks to Landorus-EX. Eelektrik and his little friends are still around, however. They have performed rather well at City Championships thus far and will continue to have a presence for a very long time.

In the previous format, the Eelektrik vs. Hydreigon matchup was usually very close. It turned into who could not Knock Out the opposing Bench-sitters faster. How many Eelektriks could be taken off the board before Hydreigon was Knocked Out?

Toward the end of the last format, a lot of Eelektrik players began to tech in Victini (Fliptini) in order to increase the odds of a paralysis lock via Raikou-EX or Tynamo. This paved the way for /Eelektrik to become the dominate variant.

The fundamentals of this matchup have largely gone unchanged. The only major changes to Eelektrik and Hydreigon lists have been the inclusion of Skyla and Computer Search (although Hydreigon does have some more tech options now).

Furthermore, most Eelektrik lists have since dropped Victini because now there are more options for breaking the paralysis lock. There is now Keldeo-EX (and Audino BCR – to a much lesser extent). We are now back to the ‘who can Knock Out the Bench-sitters faster’ war.

Pokémon Catcher

pokemon-paradijs.comIn order to win the Knocking Out Bench-sitter war, you will need Pokémon Catcher… as many as you can possibly get. Therefore, you will want to play as many as you possibly can.

Play your Pokémon Catchers, Knock Out Eelektriks and prevent Rayquaza EX from doing massive amounts of damage.

Dark Patch

Inevitably, your Hydreigons will be Knocked Out in this matchup and your Darkrai EXs will be forced to fend for themselves. In a world without Energy manipulation via ‘Dark Trance,’ Energy acceleration via Dark Patch is a suitable substitute.

The extra Dark Patch will also increase the odds of a turn two Night Spear – although I never bank on that ever happening (it rarely ever happened for me when Junk Arm and Smeargle UD were legal… why would it really start happening now?) .

Keldeo-EX

As previously discussed, Keldeo-EX is a great option for breaking the paralysis lock. However, most players have dropped Victini from their lists and abandoned that strategy all together.

If Eelektrik players are not using Victini, there is very little reason for Hydreigon players to use Keldeo-EX in this matchup.

Eviolite

pokemon-paradijs.comAlthough many Eelektrik players are running Tool Scrapper, Eviolite can prevent knock outs on your Darkrai EXs or force your opponent to discard more Energy for Dragon Burst.

Even if the Eelektrik player is not running Eviolite, Rayquaza’s Shred will still get through the protection of Eviolite. Eviolite is not as good as it once was, but it still can be very useful.

Fighting-weak Deino

Unlike many other decks, Eelektrik variants do not play Landorus-EX – they play Rayquaza. In this matchup, playing the Dragon-weak Deino would be most unwise. Again, giving free wins to opponents it not something I like doing. Use the Fighting-weak Deino here!

Which Five Cards to Pick to Maximize the Chances of Beating Rayquaza/Eelektrik

Picking the five cards that will most help this matchup is actually pretty easy. This is the case primarily because the optimal attacker in this matchup will always be Darkrai EX (unless you are able to 1-shot Rayquaza EX with your Hydreigon).

There is no reason to try and tech in Cresselia-EX, Shaymin EX, Mewtwo EX, etc. Night Spear is the best attack for this matchup! So the five cards you should use are as follows:

1 Pokémon Catcher
1 Dark Patch
2 Eviolite
1 Supporter or Deino/Sableye

pokemon-paradijs.comThe first three cards are pretty self explanatory but the other option may need some explanation. Basically, since there are no other ‘techy’ cards that would greatly improve the matchup – the best way to improve the matchup would be to increase consistency.

Since your Bench-sitters will be heavily targeted in this matchup, it may be wise to thicken your Hydreigon line. If you are already playing 4 Deino, then you should probably increase your Sableye count or add a Supporter to increase the odds of getting out an early Hydreigon.

Of course, if you are worried about paralysis lock, the 5th card you add should probably be a Keldeo-EX!

Teching Against Hydreigon/Darkrai EX (Mirror)

Ah, the mirror match and the last matchup I will be discussing with you today! Aside from having a stronger set up, how can one improve the odds of winning the Hydreigon mirror match? The mirror match is very similar to the Eelektrik matchup – the general strategy is to Knock Out the Bench-sitters (i.e. Hydreigon).

The variant that can keep a Hydreigon in play for the longest amount of time will most likely be the winner. So how can we do that? We can focus on Knocking Out their Hydreigons or focus on getting as many of our Hydreigons in play as possible.

Pokémon Catcher

pokemon-paradijs.comFor the same reasons it is extremely useful against Blastoise and Eelektrik, it is useful in the mirror match. Killing Bench-sitters is king. Knock Out their Hydreigons by hitting them with two Night Spear 30’s and then a 90 or 1-shot them with your own Hydreigon!

Dark Patch

Dark Patch is particularly useful in this matchup since you will likely be attacking with Hydreigon a fair amount.

Again, fueling Dragonblast is very important here. Make sure you run the Fighting-weak Deino so you have more targets for Dark Patch!

Max Potion

In most cases, the object of the mirror match is to Knock Out the opposing Hydreigon. However, if both players are able to get out two or three Hydreigons, it is unlikely that this strategy will continue. Once a player is established with multiple Hydreigon, targeting them is less effective.

The game then becomes a war of attrition between Darkrai EXs. The player that can heal the most will likely be the winner if the matchup turns out this way. Thus, you will want as many Max Potion as you can possibly get!

Mewtwo EX Counter

zackules.deviantart.comIf you are not running a Mewtwo EX counter, the opponent can easily load all of their Energy onto their Mewtwo EX and Knock Out whatever Pokémon you present to them. Even fully healed Darkrai EXs are not safe from a massive Mewtwo EX.

In order to prevent the opponent from making a large Mewtwo EX, you will need to play a Mewtwo EX counter. I recommend either your own Mewtwo EX or Sigilyph. Cresselia-EX is probably not as good in this matchup since Darkrai EX resists her.

Remember that Sigilyph is not as useful in matchups with Sableye… but she can still be very good at drawing out an opponents Hydreigon or walling for a little while.

Eviolite

Again Eviolite is very good in this matchup. It makes your Darkrai EX live longer against opposing Night Spears. Keep in mind that a Night Spear followed by a Dragonblast will Knock Out an Eviolited Darkrai EX.

Attacking with Hydreigon when you are not 1-shotting an opposing Hydreigon can be very risky, however. You should always be thinking about keeping your Hydreigons in play or keeping their Hydreigons out of play.

Which Five Cards to Pick to Maximize the Chances of Beating Hydreigon/Darkrai EX

If all of your peers decide to follow your lead one day and turn up with their Hydreigon lists at an event, you would be wise to play these five cards. They will surely increase your chances of winning in a Hydreigon infested field!

1 Pokémon Catcher
2 Eviolite
1 Deino/Sableye or Supporter
1 Sigilyph

pokemon-paradijs.comFor the same reasons you wanted to thicken your Hydreigon line in the Eelektrik matchup, you want to thicken your Hydreigon in this matchup. Get as many Hydreigon in play as you possibly can! I decided to opt for Sigilyph in this matchup since she could serve a purpose beyond Mewtwo EX counter.

Although unlikely, it is possible for her to provide effective walling capabilities in certain situations.

The argument for playing Mewtwo EX really is only valid if your opponent is not playing a Mewtwo EX counter. In such a matchup, just load all your Energy on Mewtwo EX and go to town.

However, I assume most Hydreigon players will be playing some form of Psychic counter either in the form of Mewtwo EX, Sigilyph, or Cresselia-EX. As a result, the “all in” benefit of Mewtwo EX is non-existent.

Which Five Cards to Pick to Maximize the Chances of Winning

So, we now that when we enter a tournament we will be playing against more than one deck. We will not only be playing Eelektrik variants or Landorus-EX variants. We should expect to play against all five of these decks and then some. It is my hope that the “then some” decks will be subdued by the inherent strengths of Hydreigon and Darkrai EX.

So which five cards should we pick to bring us closer to that perfect world? Here are those techs that will bring us closer to perfection…

1 Pokémon Catcher
2 Eviolite
1 Mewtwo EX
1 Cresselia-EX

BulbapediaHonestly, the way I picked these was to just go through the other five five-card sets and choose the ones that showed up the most frequently. Pokémon Catcher, Eviolite, and Mewtwo EX were in practically all of the sets.

Cresselia-EX is here because of the help she brings in the big Basic matchups and the benefits of having an extra Mewtwo EX counter. I think these two qualities make her extremely useful.

If there was room for a sixth card, I think that would have to be another Dark Patch. If you are comfortable playing 3 Deino and 2 Sableye, a 4th Dark Patch would probably be your best bet for the 60th card. I, however, really like the 4th Deino…so I am going to stick with that.

Speaking of Deino, which one-should you play? If you really have no idea what to expect at a tournament, I would encourage you to play some split of both. If you opt to play 4 Deino, then a 2/2 split is probably a good idea.

I would encourage you to do some kind of scouting and see if you can determine if there will be significantly more Landorus-EX than Rayquaza or more Rayquaza than Landorus-EX.

If there is hardly any presence for either one of these decks, I would probably max out on the Deino that is best suited for that metagame.

Conclusion

BulbapediaI know a lot of us writers have been talking about the more technical aspects of decks as of late and I apologize if that is not what you are interested in.

I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about Hydreigon and really wanted to systematically hash out my ideas/observations. This article has really helped me gather my thoughts on the deck and logically put together a set of cards that has the best chances of winning!

It is my hope that I have awakened some of those players in a ‘Dark Trance.’ I also hope that I have brought to your attention the promise and potential of Hydreigon. A lot of players have been playing Hydreigon as of late and making the Top 4 at various City Championships only to lose out in Top 4 or Top 2.

I suspect the reason this is happening can largely be attributed to failing to properly tech their lists. Hopefully this article will prove instructive in figuring out the best way to tech out your own Hydreigon lists!

And with that, I will bid you farewell. Please don’t forget to +1 or -1. :)

~Colin


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