pokemon.theirstar.comHello my loyal legions, fellow countrymen, and devoted disciples. Welcome to the Regionals format! Personally, I think that the format is the best it has been in a very long time. The balance of decks is at a good equilibrium and we’ve avoided the stale rock-paper-scissors type situations we’ve had in the past.
Ho-Oh EX, Hydreigon, Keldeo-EX, Tornadus EX focused decks, and decks featuring Landorus-EX have ascended to the top of the metagame with Eelektrik based decks and non-Hydreigon Darkrai decks not far behind.
I’m not sure about the status of Klinklang at the moment, but I’m one to think that deck won’t remain popular for long because it is extremely vulnerable to countering, much like the Quad Sigilyph decks running around.
Anyway, Jay is covering a broad scope of these decks on Thursday, so I’m saving the top tier of the metagame for SixPrizes’ most veteran writer.
Today I’ll be covering the exact Tornadus/Landorus and Hammertime lists I piloted during Cities to over 100 Championship Points, along with updates to make them better suited heading into Regionals. I’ll also share a Blastoise/Keldeo I did well with and give a few quick general tips about what to play for Regionals.
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I won one City with this deck, came in second twice, and made top 4 and 8 in others. This was the list I played going into week 1, so it isn’t quite as equipped for the current metagame, but I’ll explain how to amend it soon…
Pokémon – 10
Trainers – 38
Energy – 12
It’s solid and well-rounded. It uses Landorus-EX more frequently than Tornadus EX and that isn’t something I’d approve as strongly of anymore. I feel like Tornadus is more relevant than Landorus – especially as a starter. The metagame has turned against Landorus, as Keldeo-EX is a much bigger card than it was two months ago.
pokemon-paradijs.comIt plays Tropical Beach, which is odd, and by some assessments, crazy. It was intended to be a Stadium that also helped me late game when I needed to charge up Land’s Judgment or find a Catcher to win. This was also before Aspertia City Gym really caught on.
Originally I only played 2 Stadiums, but in later weeks I added a 3rd Stadium as I made this a Tornadus based deck and I generally stuck with Tropical Beach. I tried a 3rd Aspertia City Gym, but found it to be superfluous and unhelpful during the early game.
Being able to Skyla for Tropical Beach turn one and use it as a pseudo-Supporter to help replenish my hand – and to fulfill the requirement of Blow Through – is quite good. If you want, you can read my full analysis of Tropical Beach here.
pokemon-paradijs.comOne strength of the deck is its abundance of good starters. Landorus and Tornadus each put great pressure on the opponent as early as turn 1. With a combination of 5 genies in the deck, odds are favorable you can start with one of them, or get one out turn one.
Week one I felt Landorus was strongest, but now I think a more versatile attacker needs to be at the head of this deck.
Tornadus EX is better against both other Landorus-EX decks and Keldeo-EX, which is important since those cards have taken spots at the forefront of the metagame. While Landorus-EX is stronger against Darkrai EX, I find it easier to transition attacking from Tornadus to Landorus than vice versa. This is mainly because of the massive Retreat Cost of Landorus.
Starting Landorus or Terrakion can be pretty bad against something like Tornadus EX, or even worse, Keldeo-EX. You need to switch into another attacker for quickly or go down by as many as 2 Prizes by turn 3. Starting Tornadus against any deck Tornadus hates isn’t nearly as detrimental.
Because this version focused more on Landorus and Land’s Judgement, I felt like I needed more basic Energy. Originally I played 9 Fighting, but now I just think replacing one with a single Energy Retrieval is better, especially due to the abundance of Hammers and the ability to search for it with Skyla.
I also played 2 Mewtwo at the beginning but now I think there is no option to play less than 3 for reasons I will mention below.
Tornadus can attack legitimately into any attacker in the format, save for Sigilyph DRX or Zekrom BLW. Then if a Switch can’t be found, simply retreat into another attacker turn two (Landorus) and start using Hammerhead.
Having more Landorus than Tornadus just makes starting with Landorus significantly more probable. In many matchups, starting with Landorus isn’t as desirable. I’d rather more often lead with Tornadus and then transition into Landorus as needed than the other way around.
With these thoughts in mind, here’s my updated list.
Pokémon – 9
3 Tornadus-EX DEX
Trainers – 39
Energy – 12
pokemon-paradijs.com2 Ultra Ball? No, I’m not stupid, bad, or cray cray. I like two Ultra Ball because this deck is able to bench things as it gets them. Therefore it has less of a need for Ultra Ball late game. Computer Search can double as an Ultra Ball as well.
3 Mewtwo EX
Many people play 3 Mewtwo EX and I approve of this. It’s possibly the most versatile card in the game right now. The ability to Knock Out a Keldeo-EX is absolutely necessary in a deck that doesn’t otherwise have the ability to take down a massive attacker in one hit.
Ideally, you want to get the lead on Keldeo within the first two turns. Hopefully, Aspertia will make Knocking Out Tornadus EX impossible within the first four turns. Getting the lead allows you to (hopefully) trade Prizes using Mewtwo to eventually win.
Having three Mewtwo is clearly better than two in this scenarios, but I didn’t have to build my deck to beat Keldeo decks because it was never a big problem in New England. For Regionals, however, I recommend trying to fit three. The above list is one Mewtwo off what I won with.
The single Bouffalant was amazing for several reasons. Obviously it was quite good against Darkrai decks but it was also great against anything I could hit with Hammerhead twice. 120 on top of 60 was enough to Knock Out almost any EX. With Hammerhead support, this card is probably the strongest non-EX attacker in the format right now.
I’d even consider two because I love Buffalo just that much. However the reason I did not play a second Bouffalant (or a Terrakion) was that playing a single non-EX attacker forces the opponent to either ignore the single Bouffalant or play a seven Prize game.
As you’ve probably heard countless times, Knocking Out a non-EX attacker when the opponent has no intentions of letting you take a Prize off another non-EX attacker is a very bad idea.
It forces you to have 1 Prize left at some point, making you weak to N, and it simply wastes your attacks and time. Because I had no intentions of allowing my opponent to take more than one non-EX Prize, I only ran one non-EX attacker.
Terrakion can be very valuable, ESPECIALLY against Sigilyph where it is practically a necessity. But for the most part, Landorus gets the job done as a fighting type attacker. You can easily lose to Sigilyph anyway, so the way I see it, why bother.
Your Worst Matchup
Keldeo decks are the hardest matchup for this deck. The best way to deal with it is playing more Mewtwo. Play them early and play them often. Having them on your Bench gives you access to them even if you are hit with an N.
Missing a knockout against a Keldeo with something ridiculous like 7 Energy attached will often lose you the game.
However, you can trade all game with Keldeo and opposing Mewtwo and also still lose. Getting a quick lead with Tornadus EX, just like in the Mewtwo wars of last year, gives you a huge advantage if you can answer every one of your opponent’s knockouts.
Because you only play 2 Ultra Ball, you must account for needing Mewtwo at certain times in the Keldeo matchup. Like I said, the best solution here is to bench them. If an opposing Mewtwo knocks one out then a Keldeo could probably be doing the same thing to any of your Pokémon. You will sometimes be forced to trade unfavorably with an opposing Mewtwo, but taking 5 energy off the board is a decent prize too.
This, at least for me, is the most fun deck to play in the format. In his last article, Ray said he wouldn’t share our list for Hammers out of respect for me using it. While I maintain that it is more his list than mine, he said I am welcomed to share it. Here it is.
Pokémon – 8
Trainers – 40
Energy – 12
This list uses Terrakion to give you a huge advantage against other Darkrai decks, and it is very useful against RayEels as well. The City Championship I won with this deck was saturated with Blastoise, my own Tornadus/Landorus deck, and other Darkrai decks.
This is one of those decks that has close to 50-50 matchups against most of the format. Because of this, I really like Hammertime for Regionals.
It has a horrible matchup against Blastoise/Keldeo decks though, as it has no way to effectively deal with a gigantic Keldeo aside from early game pressure. Really, there is little advice I can give you there. Just try to win.
Don’t be afraid to use Terrakion either. In any matchup for that matter, even if it isn’t traditionally good. This is why I like Terrakion so much. There is no matchup where I want to discard Terrakion with Ultra Ball or Juniper.
Terrakion always has some type of use, even if just as an attacker that gives 1 Prize or as an attacker that can hold you over while you assemble the cards needed to power up a Darkrai.
Even if it means getting Terrakion Knocked Out after one turn of being Active, or attacking with Terrakion into something like, say, a large Keldeo, you will be wasting Energy, but don’t think of it as waste. Think of the damage you will be dealing as a way to set up a knockout next turn without risking the life of one of your Darkrai.
If they do have the Energy to take out your benched Darkrai in one turn, you can turn around and hit them again with Retaliate.
Terrakion is relevant against RayEels too. RayEels becomes a problem when they are able to Knock Out a Darkrai EX every turn. Terrakion allows you to hit a Rayquaza EX without sacrificing a Pokémon-EX.
RayEels can be made into a much better matchup with the addition of Landorus-EX. I’ll talk more about that option in a moment.
pokemon-paradijs.comSome people play Potion over Eviolite, but I don’t approve of that right now. Potion does heal more, but in the Regionals metagame with many more decks being played than in your typical local metagame, and some of those Pokémon are bound to include Rayquaza EX and Terrakion, both of which Potion is practically a dead card against.
Potion has its merits, but ultimately, Eviolite just does more. Eviolite is weak against Tool Scrapper, but your opponent has to actually get Tool Scrapper to use it. For this reason, try to play Eviolite the turn you see yourself needing to be protected. This forces your opponent to have Scrapper on one particular turn for it to be useful.
More Love for Terrakion
I won’t go super in depth on Hammertime, as it has been written about to death on SixPrizes. I will say that I would never play this deck without Terrakion. It gives you another attacker, it’s a Fighting type, and it is a way to play a “7 Prize” game.
Terrakion gives you outs to Hydreigon decks and mirror, something purely Dark Darkrai decks don’t have. Having another attacker is fantastic and Terrakion is arguably the best non-EX Pokémon in the game. I would never play a regular Darkrai deck without it.
Land Crush the Mirror
pokemon-paradijs.comIf you think you can, an early game Land Crush is the strongest gambit you can try in mirror. The only thing with this is, if something goes wrong and you don’t get the second Fighting by turn 3 at latest, you probably won’t be able to Knock Out any Darkrai preemptively.
When trying to Land Crush early, you can get a huge edge by taking down a Darkrai as early as turn 2 (more likely, turn 3). But don’t just go in blindly – be sure you can follow through. Many people play down Darkrai early because they probably need Dark Cloak and 180 Hit Points is considered pretty safe on the Bench.
Getting a fast Land Crush preys on these players. It’s a chore to get quickly (less so if you go first, as you have one more turn before someone can likely do damage to your Terrakion) but it can quickly blow out an unprepared opponent.
Careful with Benching Terrakion
One tip against the mirror is to never bench your Terrakion unless you need it that turn or you are benching it to avoid discarding it. Your goal is to set up Retaliate the turn an opposing Darkrai EX knocks something out.
Energy Switch is the card that makes this possible, so you always want to try to get the cards to Retaliate in your hand the turn before your Pokémon actually gets Knocked Out. Of course, never put all your eggs in one basket. Make sure Retaliate isn’t your only option, as an opposing N may be lurking.
Beating Tornadus and Sigilyph
pokemon-paradijs.comAgainst Tornadus with Fighting decks you want to employ a unique strategy. This is without a doubt the best way to beat Sigilyph decks too.
Just spam Crushing Hammers. Almost any deck with no Energy acceleration can be taken down this way.
A Sableye with an Eviolite is a much bigger threat to half the decks in the format than it looks. Tornadus decks (other than Ho-Oh) really have no way to take out Sableye for a very low amount of Energy.
By using Hammers every turn, you can hopefully prevent them from ever getting the Energy to knock anything out. Of course, this is the best case scenario. Eventually, Hammers will fail. Although, even if you do only get 50% of Hammers you use (plus, never underestimate Enhanced Hammer), you’re probably fine.
If you have a streak of bad luck, recognize that other than Hammers, Hammertime has few outs to Tornadus/Fighting decks. You have to be persistent!
Getting another Sableye and keep trying to Hammer is definitely the best idea unless your opponent somehow has an absurd number of Energy in play. Typically, if they have 4 basic Energy in play, you’re in trouble if you fail hammers.
This might sound like a shaky strategy, but you can usually get by flipping a lot of coins. The more the better. The law of large numbers states that when you have say, a 50-50 chance of something, you will get closer to a 50% average the more trials you do.
My point is if you try to Hammer out a deck, you can’t abandon your plan halfway through.
(Unless of course you flip 6 tails in a row and your opponent builds up something like 4 Energy in play by turn 4, Knocking Out every Sableye you throw in to Junk Hunt.)
If you need to save your Sableye, Max Potion it. They have to survive to keep doing their job, after all.
Typically, if you are holding Hammers when your opponent misses an Energy attachment and are unable to attack, you are in very good shape.
No Love for Tornadus Here
BulbapediaI don’t care for Tornadus EX in this deck much at all. I consider Hammers to be the main answer to Fighting here. The only real reason to play Tornadus is to combat Fighting, otherwise Darkrai is just better.
And because most Fighting decks play multiple Mewtwo or their own Tornadus, playing this card seems outdated.
Don’t Like Terrakion?
Mewtwo is a much better option if you don’t like Terrakion. It gives you an answer to your worst matchup (Blastoise/Keldeo). If you’re going to go this route, I recommend playing a full set of Double Colorless Energy and 3 Mewtwo to ensure you can use Mewtwo all game against Keldeo.
This is a pretty straightforward change (out with the Terrakion package, in with Mewtwo) unlike the Tornadus EX package which probably requires Stadiums.
A Word on Hammers
pokemon-paradijs.comHammer are great. You can play 3 or 4 and have them be effective. They give you a huge advantage against decks that don’t accelerate Energy, need specific Energy, and they are an excellent catch-all against random decks, but there is a case against them.
If you don’t like the flip for Crushing Hammer, you can take them out for other utility cards like Eviolite or Potion which are generally more powerful against a myriad of decks rather than being gamebreaking against a few isolated matchups.
However, you must make the distinction between types of “Hammer.” Enhanced Hammer is not nearly the same card as Crushing Hammer as it has a totally different use. Always include at least 1 Enhanced Hammer because you can take special advantage of it with Sableye’s Junk Hunt. Most decks run Special Energy and denying them can be huge.
Pokémon – 9
Trainers – 39
Energy – 12
This is my list that plays Landorus-EX too. It worked well in a metagame with more RayEels than Keldeo-EX. Now, I’ve heard people reject this version in favor of Straight Darkrai/Hammers or Darkrai/Terrakion due to it being so bad against Water.
Advantages of Landorus
Personally, I don’t think this has a matchup much worse against Keldeo-EX than the Terrakion focused list. This list is much more experimental and I have less experience with it.
It certainly has advantages over my more polished Terrakion focused list though, one of which is having the ability to Land’s Judgement. This can easily win a game near the end.
Obviously, the threat of an early Hammerhead is huge against RayEels. And Dark Cloak also works very well considering Landorus-EX’s giant Retreat Cost.
I included Gold Potion for several reasons. While I understand how powerful using Skyla into Computer Search turn 1 then following that up with Junk Hunt is, Gold Potion both serves as a substitute for Max Potion that works better with Landorus.
Max Potion works best on a Darkrai that is no longer attacking. Usually you energy switch off it and follow up with a fresh Darkrai. Then you obviously heal it completely.
Another case for Max Potion is being able to heal fully a Landorus-EX you are using early just to Hammerhead. An early game Landorus isn’t likely to be an investment on your board, so you’ll probably only be attaching a single Fighting Energy to it. Therefore healing it with Max Potion is in your interests in this situation.
But I still feel Gold Potion is much more versatile. It can effectively negate any attack at any point in the game. This is powerful because with it you can potentially swing the tempo of a game with one play while Max Potion has a downside and can only be used profitably in certain situations.
Gold Potion also is much easier to use on Darkrai. You can obviously just play it without having to plan a turn around playing one healing card. Max Potion is much harder to use on any given turn while Gold Potion you can play on the fly. It keeps your opponent guessing.
I feel Max Potion is the stronger choice, especially because it doesn’t stop you from using Computer Search. But just because Computer Search is obviously good doesn’t mean you should ignore Gold Potion entirely in Darkrai decks.
Overall, I think Hammertime is a very stable choice for Regionals, as is Tornadus/Landorus. The only thing is neither version has a real answer to Keldeo decks.
Deck choice in Regionals really depends on what you want your bad matchups to be in my opinion. Keldeo decks are going to be popular, but other than Keldeo, Hammertime has no really terrible matchups.
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 34
Energy – 13
I don’t have the most experience with this deck, but I definitely really like it. Keldeo decks were probably the most significant development during marathons. It’s easily the strongest stage two deck in the format.
Key to the Deck
ebay.comThe keys to running this deck are as follows. Getting a turn two Blastoise as frequently as possible, running enough Energy to consistently draw them early game without flooding your hand, and playing a significant amount of draw cards and Supporters.
4 Keldeo-EX is to both prevent problems with them being Prized, and to have a more consistent Pokémon you want to be starting with.
This deck has nothing remotely close to a traditional starter. Keldeo acts as a big card to sit Active while you set up. It’s easy enough to step in and attach a bunch of Energy to a new Keldeo as soon as you set up.
Even if your initial Keldeo is damaged, they have to spend a turn Catchering it off the bench to knock it out. This is fine really – your active Keldeo just gets to stay untouched for an additional turn, an additional turn for you to stick an absurd number of Energy under it.
I feel like 4 Squirtle is standard now. Previously with 3, you could have problems with them being Prized. Having to Super Rod Squirtle back was very awkward, and cost me a Cities win. Super Rod is absolutely not an ideal replacement to having access to another Squirtle.
I ran 3 Mewtwo, but I quickly figured out that was simply not the play. 2 is more than enough to give you an answer to a mid game Mewtwo. Sometimes, don’t count on it, but answering a Mewtwo with a Keldeo-EX is pretty possible. Six Energy isn’t a huge deal when you run 14 and 4 Energy Retrieval.
pokemon-paradijs.comSpeaking of Retrieval, It’s one of the best cards in the deck. In 80% of the game it almost acts as a Water type DCE. Getting two Energy for one card is extremely profitable and makes getting Energy much easier, especially off N.
I’d always play 4 in this. It also gives you the freedom to discard Water Energy early because you know you can just get them back the turn you need to use them. Energy Retrieval makes the discard like an extension of your hand as far as Energy resources go.
Sure, you don’t get the Energy back, but you won’t be using Max Potion on a huge Keldeo-EX. A Keldeo with 6+ Energy on it is better off active attacking until it goes down, that way you take the most Prizes with one Pokémon as possible. You want to be saving the smaller Keldeo, especially the one you start with if your opponent attacks it. Otherwise it just becomes a liability late game.
Not to mention that the deck can’t even fit several Super Scoop Up without infringing on space for the cards that make this deck so good in the first place.
Keldeo is the Focus
Try not to worry to much about your Blastoise once it’s in play. You can protect it by just attacking with Keldeo. Same advice goes for anyone playing against Blastoise/Keldeo.
If you don’t focus on the Keldeo in front of you, you open up a window for your opponent to stick more Energy under an undamaged Keldeo until it can Knock Out anything.
This should be your worst fear playing against Keldeo. If you don’t have a Mewtwo to answer it on the following turn, an undamaged Keldeo with 7 Energy on it can and probably will run through your deck.
To conclude, I’ll say I believe the notion that consistently is king. All the decks I covered today are very consistent and have put up strong results in Cities as well as my testing.
Don’t try to build your Regionals deck based on your local metagame. It will probably ultimately lead you to misconceptions in testing and give you a false sense of security going into the event.
This year, I don’t think there is “a play.” We probably won’t see the same deck sweep Regionals around the United States. This is the time where people who are incredibly skilled with consistent decks will do well.
This is a time to look at the metagame as a whole. Even though the cards are the same, expect the metagame at Regionals to be a sum of what was being played around the country during Cities.
I hope my lists gave you some insight into what has had success for me. They are built with consistency in mind and that’s what I expect to take home trophies. Oh wait… medals. Right.
Alas, our time together has come to an end my faithful readers. May the stars be aligned, your ducks in a row, and the odds ever in your favor. Keep calm and win Regionals!
Also, be a doll/friend/good samaritan and click the big green check will you? It pumps my ego.
Thanks for reading!
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