Hey SixPrizes, been a long time. In this article I will cover everything I have to offer regarding Keldeo-EX/Blastoise and will throw in a super short recount of my Top 8 experience with the deck at a recent Cities tournament.
pokemon-paradijs.comAccording to PokéGym, Blastoise/Keldeo have taken a good chunk of Cities at first place. As Jay Hornung tells us, these results do need to be taken with a grain of salt. In the very least, however, we shall have a little more discussion on the deck here and perhaps offer some further insight on this deck.
I immediately knew I was going to play Blastoise/Keldeo-EX as soon as I first saw the cards, primarily due to my passion for Water decks such as Base Set Blastoise (which I still play to this day) and my Feraligatr Prime/Vileplume UD/Kyurem NVI deck from last format.
I built the deck with one thing in mind: pure aggression – 1HKOs being the targeted mark. As Lieutenant Pulling quotes Lord Nelson in Master and Commander, “Never mind the maneuvers, just go straight at ‘em!”
I playtested the deck for a few months online and took the deck to a local modified tournament to see how it would play out live. I ended up with sub-par results and realized I needed to make some serious changes. Before I explain the changes, allow me to share something about Keldeo/Blastoise:
In essence, I strongly suggest the deck runs either SSU and/or Max Potion/Energy Retrieval for that additional oomph in a tournament setting to ensure consistent wins. Otherwise the plain straightforward power of the deck is not simply enough. From my own experiences, I cannot stress the importance of these cards.
SSU negates your opponent’s handiwork on a beefy EX such as Keldeo or Mewtwo and allows you to reassign that scooped Energy as you see fit, not to mention provide a free Switch. Max Potion/Energy Retrieval works the same way, though you exchange the flippiness of SSU for the need of two cards to pull off the general strategy.
Either way, Energy Retrieval is a must in the deck for the reassignment of Energy. Ole Stognief piloted a Regional’s win with SSU/Tropical Beach that you can read here if not already familiar. Great job man!
Since I hate flippy cards with all of my hate, I went the Max Potion/Energy Retrieval route. After my first tournament I realized that the DCEs I was running were not really necessary (all they really offered was the T2 Keldeo attack or a T1 Mewtwo attack and help with manually retreating if necessary – nice, yes, but mid to late game they become rather unnecessary and clogged the deck).
I am aware Blastoise can 1HKO Sigilyph, but often found that afterward my Blastoise was returned KO’d as they stalled with Sigilyph and built up a Mewtwo or Hydregion.
If you do not have another Blastoise ready to rock, losing that turtle along with that Energy on the field can be disastrous. Shaymin EX is just scary all around – simply hope to 1HKO that bad boy before things get out of hand. Here is what I took to the tournament:
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 35
Energy – 13
This also serves as an additional way to move Energy around the board (and if no Max Potion, you can always manually retreat), as well as an easier way to utilize your hand such as dropping two Energy with Ultra Ball or Computer Search, placing down a Keldeo, then using Retrieval to just pull them right back and attach.
You can also thin your deck out more comfortably with Professor Juniper knowing you can easily get that Energy right back. Lastly, the 4 count Energy Retrieval also negates some of the impact of losing a Keldeo or Mewtwo that has a large amount of Energy on it.
It is a great moment when your opponent triumphs for a moment after KOing your Keldeo with six Energy on it only to see 4 of the Energy come right back into your hand and onto another Keldeo with 2 Energy Retrieval drops.
The Pokémon count here is relatively standard. The fourth Squirtle is absolutely mandatory – despite his amazing Ability you will always want to drop two at a time, much like the required two-Oddish-drop for Vileplume UD in last format.
If you let a lone Squirtle get KO’d by the likes of, say, Tornadus EX/Aspertia Gym/DCE combo on T1, that one extra turn it now takes to get out Blastoise can cost you dearly (assuming you drop another Squirtle that doesn’t die next turn).
4 Squirtle and 1 Level Ball have served me fine in every matchup – never a problem there. Oddly enough, I often found myself wishing that Squirtle could do 10 damage for one Energy – it would have helped secure several games… a boy can dream. The Rare Candy/Blastoise in hand, however, can sometimes be elusive. More on that later.
After testing both with and without Wartortle, I decided I didn’t need him as I very rarely ever actually used him. What would end up happening is it was always more useful to keep a Squirtle on the bench who is invulnerable to any damage short of being Catchered up than risk evolving and simple tacking on 20 more HP. 80 HP is simply too easy to 1HKO in this format to warrant the risk.
Plus, this deck needs all the room it can get – one of the greatest downfalls of this deck is the need to run a strong Stage 2 line along with so much Energy – that many cards can really cost you a good hand. More on that later as well.
The Bouffalant is explained above which also explains the lonely and regrettable Mewtwo count – I would certainly now have run 2. Not only is Mewtwo running rampant (particularly in my local meta), but it is key for countering the Mewtwo that pulls off the 2KO or even 1HKO on your fully loaded Keldeo.
If this happens and your lone Mewtwo is Prized (as happened to me), you really regret not playing that second count. Unfortunately I started with a lone Bouffalant 4 times… bit scary when you see a Landorus-EX across the board.
Some Keldeo/Blastoise decks run a single Kyurem NVI or Kyogre EX to help finish off benched damage-sitters when you can’t pull off the single 1HKO (Kyurem also provides a nice Sigilyph counter as well and can put early pressure on other Stage 2 decks).
Looking back, there were actually many games where a Mewtwo or Darkrai EX were retreated with only 10 HP and thus required me pulling up another Catcher for the game.
Before the tournament it was a tough decision between Bouffalant or Kyurem – I would suggest testing with both and seeing if one or the other suits your play style more (or if neither do!)
First thing is first – you likely notice the lack of Tropical Beach. This was due to me not having the time and funding to get my hands on some – I personally would have run 2 for several reasons.
First, if the Stadium gets Prized, suddenly you find yourself only relying on your rather low Supporter count to get you through the game. Considering how a deck like Blastoise/Keldeo plays, this is suicide.
With this being the case, even if you get out Tropical Beach, the chances are high that it just immediately gets discarded for another Stadium with no way for you to get it back.
Anywho, for those of you not familiar, allow me to stress the extreme importance of Tropical Beach in this deck – as briefly mentioned above, when you run a thick Stage 2 line along with an absurd amount of Energy (compared to most other decks in the format), your deck is already becoming rather crammed with cards that can be very un-useful in certain scenarios.
This can result in you drawing hands that simply do not offer what you need in the moment. While you can certainly run thick Supporter lines, as I did above, to try and ensure consistency, often consistency is not so much the problem with Blastoise/Keldeo as is what exactly you are pulling from your hand.
Thus, Tropical Beach resolves this problem beautifully, allowing you to sift through more cards for that greater chance of, say, pulling the Rare Candy along with a sudden three Energy to drop next turn.
Since usually you are not attacking for the first two or three turns anyway (depending on when the turtle hits the bench or just manual Energy attachment), utilizing a high count of Skyla and the lone Computer Search to ensure Tropical Beach comes out is a beautiful route to go.
Additionally, one of the most important things to remember regarding Tropical Beach is this: the raw power and unlimited potential of Blastoise/Keldeo/Mewtwo means that your ability to draw up to seven cards when you choose not to attack is far more advantageous to you than your opponent’s ability to do so, regardless of their deck, thus justifying the play of Tropical Beach.
The lack of Tool Scrapper is explained in that I simply drop an additional Energy to counter the Eviolite. It certainly would be useful to make easier 1HKOs, but this deck is already super tight and there is just not enough room.
Additionally, my Garbodor matchups usually run smoothly in that I can easily 1HKO Garbodor anyway with manual Energy attachment and a Catcher (if forced to – often I would get setup before the ability really hurt me all that much in both testing and the few I faced in tournaments).
Personally, due to the extreme high amount of Tool Scrappers running rampant in my local meta, I would still opt not to play a high count of Eviolite. Consistency with Max Potion and Energy reattachment is more important in my mind than what could possibly avoid a 1HKO if not Scrappered.
I cannot stress the importance of the fourth Pokémon Catcher. From my experience it is an absolute must. As you will read below, two games actually boiled down to me simply drawing into my fourth Catcher for the win. Granted, had I a means of dealing damage to the bench (Kyurem) this may not have simply just been a Catcher for the win.
The 4 count Energy Retrieval is explained above. Nothing too much else to comment on here – 2 Skyla worked for me, though I would up it to 3 had I been running Tropical Beach – great for pulling out the Rare Candy or Ultra Ball to secure a Blastoise evolution.
Random Receiver was a lifesaver in many scenarios – while some may question the use while running Skyla, my pretty thick Supporter lines almost always ensured I had a way of adding or replenishing my hand.
Random Receiver often acted as an additional means to increase my options, usually using it even when I had a Supporter or two in hand to see if I could nab the other that I really needed in the moment. This was often done several times to actually nab a Skyla in order to nab a Rare Candy.
The straight Water route is explained above. I settled with 13, though if I was running Tropical Beach would have brought this down to 12 due to an easier ability to nab the Energy.
Cilan also becomes possible to run with Tropical Beach as you require less Supporter draw for more Energy fishing, but I personally find 4 Energy Retrieval to be enough Energy draw and they do not require using up my Supporter for the turn, usually which is more reserved for needing to pull a Catcher/Max Potion/Rare Candy, not necessarily Energy.
Here is what I am currently testing:
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 35
Energy – 12
Anywho, on to the tournament. Please excuse the lack of names, I did not take down any notes. There were 38 Masters total. After my first lackluster live performance, I knew Blastoise/Keldeo could redeem themselves…
(Play this music while reading on, imagining Keldeo sparring/pumping iron/sprinting around while Blastoise barks out inspirational advice in a crusty voice)
First Game – Klinklang/Registeel-EX/Darkrai EX/Others
Win – My opponent never really gets quite set up and the game ended really quickly as I just kept Catchering his poor little Klinks.
Lose – Three Mewtwos eventually hit the field. I pull off an easy 1HKO on Landorus, however, do not get a Blastoise out until mid game and thus lose. Basically, I fail to set up quickly enough.
Third Game – Landorus/Terrakion NVI/Mewtwo
Win – Another easy 1HKO off of Landorus then a 1HKO on Terrakion for an early game win.
Fourth Game – Garbodor/Mewtwo/Terrakion NVI
Win – By T2 I have a Blastoise out, a Keldeo out with 3 Energy and a Bouffalant (my lone starter) out with 3 Energy. Even though he drops a Garbodor by T3 it doesn’t matter and the game ends pretty quickly.
Fifth Game – Darkrai/Mewtwo/Hammers
Win – Finally! The first real match not based on just setting up quickly and winning (or lack thereof and losing). This was perhaps one of the best Pokémon matches I have played in a long time and easily the highlight of the day.
After some crazy strange plays I was forced into such as 2HKOing her Darkrai with my Blastoise, the game boils down to me needing to topdeck my last Catcher for the win (on my last turn after time was called). Somehow I miraculously do.
Top 8 First Game – Roserade/Mewtwo/Darkrai
Lose – Another incredibly close game. I take a 4 Prize lead, however, after dropping all 3 Max Potions and negating 90 damage each time, I begin losing steam.
We end up in a Mewtwo war with me needing to draw into my fourth Catcher or a Skyla to nab his hurt Mewtwo off the bench for the win. Unfortunately, I am not so lucky this time and he takes it.
Lose – Setup is much slower this time around, hurting me a bit. What essentially costs me the game, however, is that my Mewtwo is Prized. By the time I get it out and ready to roll, I have blown through most of my Energy and Energy Retrievals. Yuck.
Thoughts and Conclusion
Ultimately I was very pleased with the deck. Definitely needed to run 2 Mewtwo for my local meta. As stated before, Max Potion/Energy Retrieval were both absolute lifesavers in the deck. I was satisfied with the 3 and 4 split.
Without Tropical Beach, however, the deck often felt sort of like a coin flip – on heads you set up and dominated right away, drawing into just the right stuff. On tails you sort of floundered and set up slowly, played catch up, and then would get N’d and/or get into a dead hand and lose.
pokemon-paradijs.comThat feeling, however, seems to sort of stretch across a lot of decks in this format. I cannot tell you how many players I saw lose simply by getting N’d to one card, active KO’d, drawing dead, and poof, done. Or draw into a dead six card hand early game, fail to setup as quickly as their opponent, and lose.
I often tell people that this format is a fallback to the first generation style of cards, as is obvious in what we see printed, except that while first generation decks had weaker cards and incredible consistency (4 Professor Oak, 4 Bill, 4 Computer Search, 4 Item Finder), this format has incredibly powerful cards with very limited hand draw/refresh currently available.
Thus, the outcome of a game can literally boil down to you topdecking just right (getting N’d to one card then drawing into a Professor Juniper). Regardless, you cannot blame luck or the format too much – ultimately it really boils down to deck building and skill. Altogether it was a fun deck, great tournament, and nice people.
Anywho, I hope this article helped you in some way or was at least entertaining. Thanks for reading and please comment any thoughts/suggestions below.