Rogue Review: Klinklang, Quad Sigilyph, and Excadrill

Heading into Winter Regional Championships, a clearer picture of what the metagame will look like has developed. /Keldeo-EX, Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX, Ho-Oh EX decks, /Eelektrik, and various Darkrai variants appear to be the top-decks heading into the tournament.

So far, there has been a lot of Underground coverage on all of those decks, as well as more articles planned for those decks in the coming weeks, so with this article I want to take a look at some of the other decks in the metagame that you might see at the Regional Championships.

For various reasons which I will discuss, I don’t think any of these decks are the optimal play for the tournaments, but they are all good decks that you need to be prepared for and ready to beat if you would like to do well at the tournament.

Heading into a tournament like this, I try to make sure that my deck has means of not only beating the main contenders in the metagame, but also some of the more fringe decks in the format, which can have some advantages in their matchups against the top-decks in the format. If players do not properly account for these decks, they can and will do well, possibly winning the tournament.

The three decks that I am going to take a look at in this article are the Klinklang decks which have re-emerged with the release of Keldeo-EX, the Quad Sigilyph deck that won the South East Asian Regional Championship, and an Excadrill deck that has seen play in the Midwest.

Table of Contents

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Klinklang

I think most players should be familiar with the strategy of this deck, as this is just a rebirth of a deck that was played last spring and summer.

Klinklang is a toolbox deck utilizing Big Basic Pokémon, mostly EXs, that are strategically used depending on the matchup. The deck uses Klinklang BLW’s Shift Gear Ability to move around its Energy, allowing the Pokémon to be healed with Max Potion, while still conserving the Energy on the field.

In short, the strength of a Klinklang deck is its versatility in attacker choice and its ability to tank these Pokémon to deny Prizes.

There are actually a few different ways in which Klinklang can be played in this format. There is the techy version, which is reminiscent of the version that won U.S. Nationals, that plays mostly Special Energy and a wide array of tech attackers in an attempt to deal with the metagame.

There is a Terrakion-EX version of the deck which uses Terrakion-EX’s Pump Up Smash attack to accelerate Basic Metal and Darkness Energy onto the field. Lastly, there is a version that plays a high Metal Energy count, and uses primarily Metal attackers.

The Basics of Every Klinklang Deck

pokemon-paradijs.comThere are a few features that should be ever present in every Klinklang deck that gets played, regardless of what version is being played.

Darkrai EX and Keldeo-EX are absolutely needed to allow this deck to function properly. Keldeo-EX is needed for its Rush In Ability, which allows you to break Klinklang out of the Active spot, something that you couldn’t really do consistently last format, as you would eventually run out of Switches.

Darkrai EX is needed in the deck because its Dark Cloak Ability gives you the ability to free retreat Keldeo-EX after a Rush In, allowing you to easily switch between your attackers to choose the optimal one for the situation.

As Klinklang is a Stage 2 deck, Tropical Beach is highly recommended. Klinklang is a little more consistent than most other Stage 2 decks, as its entire line is searchable through Heavy Ball, but you still will heavily lean on Tropical Beach in most matches to get all the resources you need to get going.

The Teched Out Version

The reason one would like to play the teched out version of the deck is because it gives the player an abundance of options that can be called upon depending on the particular matchup, giving the player the best ability to counter other decks based on typing.

Pokémon – 17

4 Klink DEX

1 Klang DEX

3 Klinklang BLW

1 Klinklang EPO

2 Darknessrai-EX

2 Keldeo-EX

1 Landorus-EX

1 Kyogre-EX DEX (or Registeel-EX)

1 Black Kyurem-EX PLS

1 Sigilyph DRX

Trainers – 31

4 N

3 Professor Juniper

3 Cheren

3 Skyla

 

4 Heavy Ball

2 Pokémon Communication

3 Pokémon Catcher

3 Rare Candy

3 Max Potion

1 Super Rod (or Revive)

1 Computer Search

 

1 Tropical Beach

Energy – 12

4 Prism

4 Blend WLFM

4 Metal

This version of the deck has a variety of different options that can be called upon depending on the matchup.

Darkrai EX is just a solid attacker as usual in any deck. Night Spear is able to 2HKO any EX Pokémon in the format, and the snipe damage from the attack can be used to setup knockouts for your other attackers.

Keldeo-EX is really strong now that the metagame includes a variety of Water weak Pokémon. Against Landorus-EX and Ho-Oh EX decks, Keldeo-EX can be used to score an easy 1HKO. Against any other Pokémon in the format, with three Special Energy on it, Keldeo-EX is guaranteeing a 2HKO.

If you are able to build up a ton of Energy on your field, you can also use Secret Sword for some devastating 1HKOs to end the game.

Landorus-EX is used primarily in the Eelektrik matchup, as Hammerhead gives you an option to get off to an aggressive start and attempt to clear their field of Eelektrik, preventing them from getting a proper setup.

Against Darkrai decks, once you have an abundance of Energy on your field, you can end up in situations in which you can use Land’s Judgment for 150 twice in a row to score back to back knockouts.

Kyogre EX is a spread attacker that can be used to setup later knockouts for your other attackers by spreading 50 to two Pokémon with Dual Splash, as well as to finish up weakened Pokémon later in the game after your opponent has retreated them to the bench in an attempt to protect them from damage.

pokemon-paradijs.comRegisteel-EX and Kyurem NVI are other options for this role, but both can be heavily negated by Eviolite, and in the case of Kyurem, it has a low HP, which makes it vulnerable to a 1HKO, which this deck cannot really afford as it then loses all of its Energy.

Black Kyurem EX gives the deck a stall option with its Dragon Fang attack, which does 60 damage and has a coin flip for Paralysis. Its primary use in the deck is its Freeze Shock attack, which does 150 damage and score a Knock Out after damage is spread with Night Spear, Triple Laser, Dual Splash, or Hammerhead.

Additionally, you can use Rush In with Keldeo-EX to reset the effect of Freeze Shock (which prevents you from using the attack on consecutive turns) to swing for a repeated 150 damage.

Sigilyph DRX is primarily used in the deck as your counter to Mewtwo EX. A giant Mewtwo EX can pose problems for this deck, as it can score 1HKO after 1HKO, so having an option to get an easy 1HKO on the Mewtwo EX is really strong. Additionally, Sigilyph can be used against EX heavy decks.

Klinklang EPO gives the deck a source of Energy acceleration. Its Charge Beam attack does 30 damage and allows you to attach an Energy card from your discard pile to Klinklang. This card can be used to build Energy back onto your field against Hammertime decks to give you a fighting chance in the matchup.

Weaknesses of the Tech Version

The problem that I have with the super teched out version of this deck is that the deck attempts to do too much and can’t really fit in everything that it wants to fit in.

In my version of the techy version of the deck, I chose to go for more consistency, playing solid counts of Supporters, Pokémon search, and Energy cards, and chose to forgo some of the other cards that could be really strong for the deck.

pokemon-paradijs.comFor example, including Eviolite to reduce damage, and a fourth Max Potion to give the deck even more tank ability would be lovely inclusions for the deck, but there isn’t really much room for them while still maintaining a consistent setup.

I have seen some players try this version of the deck, while cutting Supporters and Energy cards to make room for this stuff, and while the deck can do well for a lot of the day, eventually they just lose because of Supporter droughts or whiffing Energy.

Additionally, this deck struggles mightily against Hammertime decks, as they can work on removing all of your Energy, and then start attacking your deck once they have removed all of the Energy from your field.

The Emerging Powers Klinklang is a cute tech in this deck, but once all four Prism Energy are removed in this matchup, the Klinklang player is forced to either attack with whatever Pokémon they currently have Active (or conversely, whatever their opponent catchers up) or use Keldeo-EX to attack (which will be difficult as it uses three Energy to attack).

Prism Energy cannot be properly restored onto the field (as Klinklang isn’t a Basic Pokémon so it cannot be moved to other Pokémon), so all it takes is one Pokémon Catcher to foil the Emerging Powers Klinklang strategy from coming to fruition, and the great thing about Hammertime decks is they have access to an infinite number of Pokémon Catcher thanks to Junk Hunt.

Terrakion-EX Version

Ganku_TerrakionBulbapediaThis version of the deck shares a lot of similiarities to the other versions of Klinklang, but there is a distinctive style of attackers used in this version of the deck. The deck plays Terrakion-EX, which can provide some Energy acceleration with its Pump Up Smash attack, allowing it to build up extra Energy onto its field.

This version has typically played attackers that can attack for only two Energy, which can make it less susceptible to being shutdown by Hammers.

Pokémon – 18

4 Klink DEX

1 Klang DEX

3 Klinklang BLW

2 Darknessrai-EX

2 Keldeo-EX

2 Terrakion-EX

2 Terrakion NVI

1 Shaymin-EX NXD

1 Sigilyph DRX

Trainers – 30

4 N

3 Cheren

3 Skyla

3 Professor Juniper

 

4 Heavy Ball

1 Pokémon Communication

3 Pokémon Catcher

3 Rare Candy

3 Max Potion

1 Super Rod

1 Computer Search

 

1 Tropical Beach

Energy – 12

4 Prism

4 Blend WLFM

4 Metal

 

pokemon-paradijs.comThe strength of this version of the deck is that it can use Terrakion-EX’s Pump Up Smash attack for a little bit of Energy acceleration to build up Basic Metal Energy on its field, allowing it more options for when its Pokémon do get Knocked Out.

Darkness Energy can also be put into the deck to give it more versatility in Retreating its attackers without Keldeo-EX on the field, but I would mainly attempt to just keep Keldeo-EX on the field as your main retreating option and forgo playing the Darkness Energy.

Another strength of this version is that it has a heavy reliance on two Energy attackers. Terrakion-EX can use Rock Tumble for two Energy, Terrakion NVI can use Retaliate for two Energy, and Shaymin EX can use Revenge Blast for just two Energy for some 1HKOs on your opponent’s Grass Weak Pokémon.

While these two Energy attacks will do little to help with the deck’s Hammertime matchup, which will still be near an auto-loss, it does give the deck more strength than the teched out version of the deck against non-Sableye decks that play varying counts of Hammers, as it will need less Energy on its field to execute attacks.

Weakness of the Terrakion-EX Version

As you can see, the bulk of this deck is built around countering Fighting Weak Pokémon, so while this version of the deck can enjoy a stronger non-Hammers Darkrai matchup, as well as a solid matchup against Eelektrik decks, it can suffer against decks that it isn’t built to counter, such as Blastoise-EX/Keldeo-EX decks, which can easily 1HKO all of its attackers.

The Heavy Metal Version of the Deck

One last version of the deck that I have seen floating around is one that plays a higher count of Metal Energy than normal, and relies more on Metal attackers than the other versions of the deck. Overall, this is the version of the deck that I have seen have the least success at tournaments thus far.

Pokémon – 16

4 Klink DEX
1 Klang DEX
3 Klinklang BLW
2 Darknessrai-EX
2 Keldeo-EX
2 Registeel-EX
1 Cobalion NVI
1 Black Kyurem-EX PLS

Trainers – 32

4 N

3 Professor Juniper

3 Cheren

3 Skyla

 

4 Heavy Ball

1 Pokémon Communication

3 Rare Candy

3 Pokémon Catcher

4 Max Potion

2 Eviolite

1 Computer Search

 

1 Tropical Beach

Energy – 12

4 Prism

1 Blend WLFM

7 Metal

This version of the deck attempts to tank more so than any of the other versions of the deck by using Registeel-EX’s Protect Charge attack in combination with Eviolite.

Registeel-EX’s Protect Charge attack does 80 damage, and then reduces the damage done to Registeel by attacks on your opponents next turn by 20 damage. When combined with Eviolite, that is a 40 damage reduction, which will make it difficult for a lot of Pokémon to knockout.

pokemon-paradijs.comThis gives Registeel-EX some great utility against stuff that is dependent on a 2HKO exchange at fixed damage. For example, a Darkrai EX would be reduced to doing 50 damage and scoring a 4HKO on Registeel-EX, which will of course be reset with Max Potion.

As Registeel-EX can spread 30 damage to three of your opponent’s Pokémon, I think Black Kyurem EX is a good inclusion in this version of the deck for scoring knockouts after you spread some damage around with Triple Laser.

Cobalion NVI is your non-EX attacker in this deck, which can be used as a Sigilyph DRX counter, and a counter to Landorus-EX decks using its Iron Breaker attack, forcing them to burn Switches if they would like to attack.

Additionally, the card can do major damage for just two Energy with its Energy Press attack against Pokémon loaded with a lot of Energy. It falls short against decks that can Switch Pokémon out of the Active spot using Rush In, Dark Cloak, or just free retreat with Skyarrow Bridge.

The Weakness of the Heavy Metal Version

The problem with this version of the deck is that Registeel-EX’s attacks just falls short against too many of the popular decks in the metagame. Registeel-EX is forced to 3HKO most opposing EX Pokémon, while taking four turns to power up its Protect Charge attack.

Blastoise decks can still 2HKO Registeel-EX with four Water Energy attacked to Registeel-EX, regardless of Protect Charge, and eventually run the Klinklang player out of Max Potions. Rayquaza/Eelektrik decks just need a fourth Energy discarded from Rayquaza EX to score the 1HKO on Registeel.

While playing Basic Energy certainly helps some against Hammers, the deck is still going to lose to Hammertime decks as it is limited to one Energy attachment per a turn, so eventually they will run you out of Energy.

An Aside on Klinklang

klinklang-emerging-powers-epo-76pokemon-paradijs.comThe three versions of Klinklang that I have listed above are Klinklang taken to three different “extremes,” and pushed to the limit to be shown as their own distinctive style of Klinklang. At the end of the day, however, these are all the same basic deck archetype.

If this is the deck that you want to play going forward, there is no set restrictions on how it can be built. For example, Terrakion-EX, Terrakion NVI, Shaymin EX, Registeel-EX, and Coballion NVI are all listed in other variants of the deck, but you can choose to include some of these Pokémon in the super teched out version of the deck as well (as well as some other Pokémon, such as Rayquaza DRX and Giratina EX).

This deck is just a conglomerate of Big Basic Pokémon, so you can choose the combination of these Pokémon, as well as Energy types that works to the best of your liking. I hope through showing all three versions of the deck that I was able to show everyone the utility that a wide variety of Pokémon can have in this deck.

The Verdict on Klinklang

Klinklang is the same deck that it has always been, and that is a deck that can succeed if it runs into all of the right matchups and avoids all the wrong ones. Before US Nationals, Esa wrote this about the deck, and I think this quote still holds true today:

If Klinklang succeeds in avoiding every single deck that runs a lot of Hammers, it can have a decent chance of winning a tournament.

With Darkrai/Mewtwo EX with Hammers, Darkrai/Landorus-EX/Terrakion NVI with Hammers, and just straight Darkrai/Sableye with Hammers all being popular and successful decks during City Championships, it is hard to see them not being played heavily at Regional Championships.

There are also some new realities of the game that Klinklang has to deal with now that it didn’t have to deal with in the summer format. That is Pokémon that can easily 1HKO its Pokémon, and wipe all of their Energy off the field. There are now two decks that specialize in this: Rayquaza/Eelektrik and Blastoise/Keldeo-EX, both of which can give Klinklang major problems.

800px-RB25 garbodor mangaBulbapediaAdditionally, Klinklang has a complete auto-loss to anything with in it, as long as the Garbodor line isn’t Prized. There just isn’t enough space in Klinklang to play enough Tool Scrappers to make it a formidable deck against any Garbodor DRX deck, and its slow setup (turn 3 before it can get off a strong attack) will give Garbodor decks plenty of time to get setup and establish a Garbotoxin lock.

I think this is a deck that will be highly tempting for a lot of players when making their deck choice for Regional Championships because of all the options it has, and the matchups where it just auto-wins if it gets setup, but I would strongly advise not to play this deck if you would like to win one of these tournaments.

If a Klinklang deck can avoid all of the Hammertime decks in top cut, and then pull off some upsets against Rayquaza/Eelektrik and Blastoise/Keldeo-EX decks in top cut, then it can win a Regional Championship. Is any of this likely? No, so it’s best to play something without a crippling auto-loss against one of the most popular decks in the format.

Quad Sigilyph

pokemon-paradijs.comThis is a deck that has really started to show up in some significant numbers at the last few City Championships I have been to, and if you have been following the City Championship results, it has been popping up in Top 4’s across North America.

The strength of the deck is that most of the metagame has been comprised of EX Pokémon, with very few non-EX Pokémon being played in decks.

When the deck first appeared, the main non-EX Pokémon seeing play were Terrakion NVI and Bouffalant DRX, both of which do a poor job of dealing with multiple Sigilyph DRX, especially when they are being played in low numbers, as they were mostly relegated to 1-2 spots in the decks they were played in.

The deck that started it all was Tham Kennard‘s that he used to take first place at the South East Asia Regional Championship. For those that don’t know, Singapore has a very strong player base, so being able to win a tournament there is a big accomplishment. If you want to read Kennard’s report, you can check it out here.

Here is the list he used to win the tournament:

Pokémon – 6

4 Sigilyph DRX

2 Mewtwo-EX

Trainers – 42

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

4 Cheren

2 Skyla

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 PlusPower

4 Crushing Hammer

3 Enhanced Hammer

3 Level Ball

2 Eviolite

2 Super Rod

2 Tool Scrapper

1 Ultra Ball

1 Computer Search

 

2 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 12

8 Psychic

4 Double Colorless

BulbapediaThe strategy behind the deck is fairly simple. You use Mewtwo EX to knockout all of your opponent’s non-EX Pokémon, leaving them with just a field of EX Pokémon that can do no damage against Sigilyph.

The deck uses Hammers to remove Energy from the opponent’s non-EX Pokémon in an attempt to prevent them from attacking as well.

The same weekend that this deck won the South East Asia Regional Championship, I also played the deck, taking it to a fourth place finish with a drastically different list.

Here is the list I used for that tournament:

Pokémon – 6

4 Sigilyph DRX

1 Mewtwo-EX

1 Cresselia-EX

Trainers – 41

4 N

3 Professor Juniper

3 Skyla

3 Hugh

 

2 Ultra Ball

2 Level Ball

4 Pokémon Catcher

3 PlusPower

4 Enhanced Hammer

4 Energy Switch

4 Eviolite

1 Super Rod

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Gold Potion

 

2 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 13

9 Psychic

4 Double Colorless

I decided against playing Crushing Hammer in my build of the deck, as I just can’t seem to hit heads very often with them, although the theory behind using them for Energy denial is still very valid.

After having played this deck in a tournament, the changes I would make to this list would be cutting a Hugh for a Cheren and cutting a Psychic Energy for a second Mewtwo EX.

Key Cards to Consider When Building This Deck

To understand how this deck can be successful, there are a few cards that I think can be very important to the deck’s success that are worth discussing a little more in depth.

PlusPower

pokemon-paradijs.comThis is important to the deck to help land knockouts on Pokémon with odd HP numbers. For example, against a Darkrai deck, PlusPower can be very important for adding the 10 damage needed to knockout a Sableye with either X Ball or Psychic.

As a general rule, unless you are going to otherwise discard it with Professor Juniper, PlusPower should be reserved for taking knockouts on your opponent’s non-EX Pokémon, as the EXs you will be targeting with Sigilyph won’t be able to knock it out, so it doesn’t really matter how many turns you take to knock those Pokémon out.

Eviolite

The most popular Sigilyph counters in the top two decks in the format (Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX and Blastoise/Keldeo-EX) are Terrakion NVI, Keldeo BCR 47, and Blastoise BCR.

By placing an Eviolite on Sigilyph, you make it so Terrakion NVI cannot 1HKO your Sigilyph without using a Tool Scrapper, and you force the Blastoise player to put five Energy on either of their counter Pokémon to score the 1HKO on the Sigilyph (or conversely a Tool Scrapper, although a lot of Blastoise players are forgoing this card right now).

This will put those Pokémon in Knock Out range for a DCE induced X Ball, and also can take away Energy used to build up a response against your Mewtwo EX.

Energy Switch

Energy-Switch-Stormfront-84I really like including this card in this deck, as it allows you to spread your Energy onto Sigilyph in the early game, and then use Energy Switch to immediately setup your Mewtwo EX or Cresselia-EX to respond to your opponent’s Sigilyph counters when they do get them setup.

Gold Potion

One of the most popular counters to Sigilyph being played was Bouffalant DRX when this deck first popped up, and it was forced to 2HKO or 3HKO depending on factors such as Eviolite and whether the Bouffalant player also played PlusPower.

Additionally, the card helps to give your Mewtwo EX and Cresselia-EX more staying power in the fight against your opponent’s non-EX Pokémon.

Cresselia-EX

Cresselia-EX gives you a better opportunity of beating non-EX based decks as it can stay alive for awhile thanks to its Sparkling Particles Ability (which heals 10 damage from Cresselia-EX between turns) and Gold Potion.

For example, I played against a Garchomp/Altaria deck the first round of the tournament that I played this deck. The strategy I used to beat that deck was getting Cresselia-EX setup while Knocking Out all of the Altaria.

Once all of the Altaria were Knocked Out, my opponent’s Garchomp could only hit into Cresselia-EX for 40 damage with Mach Cut because of Eviolite (and I prevented my opponent from using Garchomp’s second attack by discarding any Blends with Enhanced Hammer). In combination with Sparkling Particles, Garchomp was only really doing 20 damage a turn against Cresselia.

The one time my opponent got a big hit into Cresselia-EX with a lot of Altaria on the field, I immediately healed off with Gold Potion and took another knockout on an Altaria, further reducing the damage my opponent could do against Cresselia-EX.

Skyarrow Bridge

skyarrow bridge next destinies nde 91This card gives the deck its mobility. Both Sigilyph DRX and Cresselia-EX have free retreat when Skyarrow is in play, so you are easily able to move between your attackers. Mewtwo EX only has a one Retreat Cost with it in play, which makes Mewtwo EX fairly mobile as well.

Hugh

I really enjoyed playing Hugh in this deck, and the threat of Hugh was ever looming in a few of the matches I played with the deck.

As most decks aren’t built around using non-EX Pokémon, they will have to exhaust a lot of resources to getting their Sigilyph counters setup, and will often come near the point of decking themselves out.

Once they get to this point, you can force them to draw the rest of the cards in their deck with Hugh, winning by deck out.

The Weakness of Quad Sigilyph

This is pretty straight forward, but the weakness of Quad Sigilyph decks are decks that play strong non-EX Pokémon that can counter Sigilyph DRX.

Eelektrik decks are the most threatening to this deck, as they have a wide variety of Pokémon to counter Sigilyph at their disposal, and they can very quickly set them up. Zekrom BLW’s Bolt Strike for 120 will make quick work of any Sigilyph, and Rayquaza DRX’s Shred attack also takes the guaranteed 1HKO on Sigilyph.

Hydreigon decks can use Hydreigon to attack the Sigilyph, but as of late, I have seen some players playing Giratina EX to make quick work of Sigilyph, as its Shred attack gets through both Eviolite and Sigilyph’s Safeguard Ability.

I am not too sold on any of these Pokémon as being the greatest Sigilyph counters though, as they both need Blend Energy to attack, and once you remove all of the Blend Energy, they will be unable to attack with these Pokémon.

If the Sigilyph player plays conservatively, and makes sure to have Hammers available to remove all of the Blend Energy, they should win this matchup. It can be more difficult to win this matchup though if the Hydreigon deck is also playing Prism Energy, and thus has more Energy available to power up Giratina EX’s attack.

Blastoise decks can use Keldeo BCR 47 and Blastoise to counter Sigilyph. I think a well prepared Blastoise player will win this matchup most of the time, as they can easily respond to your Mewtwo EXs with their own Mewtwo or Keldeo-EX, and and Blastoise can be used to 1HKO Sigilyph, either by overloading them with Energy, or simply by playing Tool Scrapper to remove any Eviolite.

Lastly, Hammertime can also be a tough matchup for this deck. The Darkrai palyer can take up the strategy of hammering away all of the Sigilyph players Energy using Crushing Hammer and Enhanced Hammer, and then just using their Sigilyph counter (Bouffalant DRX or Terrakion NVI) to Knock Out everything on the opponent’s field unopposed.

Against a Hammertime deck, the best strategy one can use is to Knock Out all of the Sableye to prevent the opponent from endlessly looping hammers.

The Verdict on Quad Sigilyph

Once again, this is a deck that I would advise staying away from for Regional Championships. It’s too big of a stretch that you will be able to avoid playing against opponent’s playing sufficient counters through the entirety of a top cut or in Swiss to even make top cut.

I do expect this deck to see quite a bit of play though. The deck is cheap to build, its strategy is very straightforward, and it plays plenty of troll favorites like Crushing Hammer and potentially Hugh that surely a lot of players will be attracted toward playing the deck.

As other players will likely be playing this deck, it will be pertinent to make sure that you are playing a deck with an answer to this deck, otherwise you could be left with a frustrating auto-loss that you can do nothing about.

While I don’t think this deck will be able to win one of these tournaments, I would not write off Sigilyph as a card. I do think Sigilyph is a very strong card in an EX heavy meta, so Sigilyph being incorporated into some other archetypes could be a winning strategy.

Excadrill

pokemon-paradijs.comThis is a deck that has been popular at a lot of City Championships that I have played in, and with good reason; one of the main engineers behind the deck, Zach Zamora, is a player from my area.

He started playing the deck when Dark Explorers was first released, and has also played it in this format (where it is much stronger than it was before), taking the deck to multiple top cuts, and most recently, finishing as the No. 1 seed headed into top cut at our last St. Louis City Championship.

When I traveled for a pair of City Championships in Western Indiana, I saw the deck there too, and I’ve also seen the deck played in our area by people who are not Zach.

I’ve actually played against Excadrill decks more than I have played against Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX decks at City Championships so far!

After having gotten the opportunity to play against this deck more so than most other players, I have come to appreciate the strength of the deck, know what makes the deck tick, and can say that this is one of the more underrated decks in the format and is one that can deal you a match full of pain if you aren’t ready for it (and perhaps if you are ready for it too).

Pokémon – 12

3 Drilbur EPO 54

3 Excadrill DEX 56

2 Mewtwo-EX

2 Terrakion NVI

2 Bouffalant DRX

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Skyla

2 Cheren

 

3 Ultra Ball

2 Heavy Ball

1 Level Ball

3 Pokémon Catcher

3 Switch

2 Exp. Share

2 Giant Cape

2 Energy Switch

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Super Rod

1 Enhanced Hammer

1 Gold Potion

Energy – 13

9 Fighting

4 Double Colorless

Who Is Excadrill?

drilbur-emerging-powers-epo-54pokemon-paradijs.comTo understand how such a weird deck, with weird Item lines works, it is important to understand who exactly Excadrill is as a card.

Excadrill is a Stage 1 Fighting Type Pokémon that has 120 HP, a 3 Retreat Cost, a Water Weakness and a Lightning Resistance. Its first attack, Tunnel Strike does 30 damage to one of your opponent’s Pokémon for F. Its second attack, Dig Uppercut does 50 damage for FF, and lets you put ANY card from your discard pile back into your hand.

At 120 HP, and only needing two Energy for its main attack, Excadrill is a card that cannot be easily countered by Mewtwo EX (especially if you slap a Giant Cape on it to give it 140 HP), while being bulky enough to survive for a long time against most other Pokémon in the format that will fail to 1HKO it.

Dig Uppercut is the magical attack that makes Excadrill a serious threat to a lot of the decks in the metagame. The attack makes the deck super consistent by allowing it to retrieve Supporters, search cards, and Special Energy from the discard pile.

More importantly, Dig Uppercut allows the Excadrill player to play a variety of 1-of Item cards that are used to counter specific matchups by creating a Dig Uppercut loop.

Here are some quick examples of what a Dig Uppercut loop looks like against some of the main metagame decks in the format:

Against Eelektrik decks, Excadrill can setup on turn 2 for a Catcher KO on an Eelektrik. The Excadrill player can then Dig Uppercut the Pokémon Catcher, and repeatedly catcher KO Eelektrik until the opponent is out of Eelektrik, and then do clean up work on the remaining Pokémon on their opponent’s field with Mewtwo EX or Bouffalant.

Against Darkrai EX decks, the damage cap of Darkrai EX is set at 90 damage, so the Excadrill player can repeatedly Dig Uppercut for Gold Potion, and constantly heal off the 90 damage dealt by Darkrai EX, preventing the Darkrai player from ever Knocking Out the Excadrill, all while hitting the Darkrai for 100 damage.

Against a Klinklang deck, Excadrill can use the Enhanced Hammer to remove Energy from the Klinklang players field, and repeatedly use Dig Uppercut for the Enhanced Hammer to remove Energy from their field turn after turn.

In my list, I have 3 Skyla, as it is highly important for searching out those 1-of Item cards in order to start the Dig Uppercut loop.

There are two ways to break out of the Dig Uppercut loop if you are playing against this deck. First, you can N your opponent to try to rid them of whatever resource they’re using to attack your deck. This is a very soft counter, as they can draw into that card that they need, or use Skyla to search out for it (or Dig Uppercut for Skyla to search out for it).

The other way to break the loop is to knockout all of the Excadrill so your opponent is unable to use Dig Uppercut any longer.

The Supporting Cast

pokemon-paradijs.comWhile Excadrill is great in its own right, 50 damage is still only 50 damage (and even less against an Eviolited Pokémon, or a Pokémon with Resistance, or both!), so Excadrill does need some backup support.

While Excadrill may not be well suited for Knocking Out Pokémon that its Support Pokémon are needed to knockout, that does not mean that Excadrill cannot be important to that matchup.

For example, while Excadrill won’t be the greatest attacker in a matchup against a Tornadus EX based deck, looping Enhanced Hammer with Dig Uppercut to remove all of their Double Colorless Energy may be the right strategy depending on the game state.

As you already play Fighting Energy, Terrakion NVI is a strong inclusion in the deck. It can be used to get 1HKOs on Fighting Weak Pokémon such as Darkrai EX, Raikou-EX, and Regigigas-EX, but it also trades well with every EX in the format that doesn’t have Fighting Resistance (Cresselia-EX is also strong against Terrakion, even though it does not have Resistance), as it can easily trade 2HKOs, while often not being Knocked Out in return.

Bouffalant DRX is there to counter all of the EX Pokémon that Terrakion struggles with, and can similarly 2HKO an EX Pokémon while not being 1HKO’d in return. Bouffalant will be your go to support Pokémon against Tornadus EX, Ho-Oh EX, and Cresselia-EX.

Lastly, Mewtwo EX is there as a potential lead attacker against Blastoise/Keldeo-EX decks, and also to counter your opponent’s own Mewtwo EXs if your opponent were to have a Mewtwo EX which grew out of control.

The Weakness of Excadrill

pokemon-paradijs.comOne overwhelming, looming threat for Excadrill decks are Blastoise/Keldeo-EX decks which have exploded in popularity over the past few weeks. Excadrill isn’t very effective in the matchup as there isn’t much it can grab with Dig Uppercut that directly counters Blastoise decks (other than grabbing DCEs for its support Pokémon).

Against Blastoise decks, the Excadrill player needs to play the deck as a Mewtwo EX/Terrakion NVI/Bouffalant DRX deck.

While this strategy can sometimes prevail with a victory against Blastoise, oftentimes it will come up short, as the Blastoise player has unlimited Energy attachments and will be trading 1HKOs on your Pokémon for a 2HKO on their Pokémon (with the potential to deny KO’s with Gold Potion, Super Scoop Up, and Max Potion.)

As you are limited to one Energy attachment per a turn, eventually you will be unable to keep up with the pace of attacker refresh, and have turns where you cannot attack.

Additionally, this deck can have some problems with Hammertime decks, as it is limited to one Energy attachment per a turn. If you expect to play a lot of Darkrai decks with Hammers, it might be best to find room for a Landorus-EX and another Tool Scrapper to give you access to a cheap, one Energy attacker to knockout the Sableyes, as well as a Tool Scrapper to get rid of any Eviolites that might be on the Sableyes.

The Verdict on Excadrill

Excadrill is a very strong deck that can do really well in a metagame full of Darkrai, Eelektrik, and Special Energy reliant decks, but it is setup to do poorly in a metagame full of Blastoise decks.

If the Excadrill player can get away with avoiding Blastoise decks for most of the day, and play most other decks in the format, an Excadrill player can be poised to do well.

As Blastoise is one of the BDIFs, and one of the most popular as well, Excadrill probably isn’t a very strong play for Regional Championships, despite actually being a really strong deck.

Conclusion

I hope that everyone can find some use in this article. I know that these decks aren’t the best decks in the format, but they do all see play, and I expect all of them to have a presence at Regional Championships in a few weeks, so I think it is worthwile to discuss these decks so players can be prepared for some of the more fringe decks in the format that can be very troublesome if you’re not prepared for the matchup.

pokemon.comI’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. As far as Pokémon has gone, I have had a great 2012, making a lot of good new friends throughout the year. Hopefully 2013 will be only better.

As far as City Championships go, I have two more this weekend, one in Columbia, Missouri and one in the St. Louis area. I’m at my best finish limit now, so I’m hoping for some Top 4 finishes or better to replace my two Top 8 finishes.

I can’t believe that Regional Championships are already just two weekends away. My home city of St. Louis will be hosting one of the tournaments, so I will be playing there, and hope to do really well at it and help defend our home turf.

Remember to +1 or -1 the article if you liked it or disliked it to give Adam feedback, and as always leave any comments and questions in the discussion thread.

I hope everyone has a great 2013!


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