Everything You Need to Know About Hydreigon

rocky2011-medHi everyone, I’m Stefano Conti (though people usually call me by my nickname, Balboa) and this is my first article!

First of all, I apologize for my English. I’m only 17 and I haven’t had a lot of opportunities yet to speak it as fluently as you probably do.

I’m from the beautiful Italy and I’ve been playing for four years, though this is only my second year in Masters. Last summer I decided that after a mediocre season – which really disappointed me – that as for the following season I’d get magnificent results.

The main reason for this is because I play this fantastic TCG to get as much satisfaction as possible, may it come either from victories or from well played tournaments.

Pushed by this ambition, I kept up for the whole month of August with the developments and the improvements of the decks that were most likely going to dominate the Fall Battle Roads, and after a careful analysis of all the cards in format and after reading dozens and dozens of threads in the forums I followed, I came to choose the deck that fascinated me the most.

Darkrai/Hydreigon

ghetsis_hydreigon_by_negativezerronegativezerro.deviantart.comThe most famous list, the one that The Deck Out divulged, but that now can be found almost everywhere, has been my starting point.

It’s very good – even now – and what struck me was the fact that Hydreigon was nothing but a copy of Klinklang BLW, which was a surprise last year at U.S. Nationals, with the only difference that now the Pokémon who moves the Energy in the deck can also attack, that you have Energy acceleration, and that Sableye makes everything faster.

Like I was saying, once I chose this list, I tested it for about two months, trying to make it better, changing numbers of cards in every possible way. I settled upon the following list:

Pokémon – 16

4 Deino DRX 93

1 Zweilous DRX 95

3 Hydreigon DRX 97

2 Sableye DEX

2 Darknessrai EX

1 Mewtwo EX

1 Shaymin EX

1 Keldeo-EX

1 Terrakion NVI

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

2 Skyla

3 Random Receiver

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Ultra Ball

3 Dark Patch

3 Max Potion

3 Rare Candy

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Computer Search

1 Super Rod

Energy – 11

7 Darkness – Basic

2 Prism

2 Blend GRPD

Card Explanations

At first glance, this may feel like an inconsistent cram of the all usable techs. It’s indeed a cram of all the usable techs, but it’s not inconsistent at all. The solidity given by 3 Random Receiver, 4 Deino, 4 Ultra Ball, and 2 Skyla let this deck set up almost all the times, getting over slow starts or early game pressure.

The various options this list has make it able to face every kind of deck, even the hardest ones. The only exception is /Eelektrik, which is a negative matchup, but in this case the problem isn’t the list – it’s the deck itself that is unable to withstand a stream of 1HKOs.

Why Don’t I Play Eviolite?

eviolite-noble-victories-nvi-91-no-watermarkpokemon-paradijs.comBecause it’s very useful, but not a game changer. Your opponent will always find a way to bypass it, with Pokémon Catcher, Tool Scrapper, or something else.

But I don’t play it also because there isn’t enough room. If I played them, there would be three at least, since two are too hard to draw and make you to vulnerable to Tool Scrapper, but how can you find three free slots in a deck like this?

I don’t disapprove who plays them, it’s a great card and it’s very annoying if played the right moment… but the build just doesn’t let you put them in.

What About Bad Prizes?

One of the things you have to be afraid of, even though it doesn’t happen often, is to have essential cards Prized. What can you do, for instance, against an aggro-Landorus-EX deck with your Keldeo-EX Prized?

Quite simple: attack with the attackers you have, and you can win. You don’t play Darkrai EX versus them, so no need to worry about the Weakness. If they Catcher you, just return the KO with Mewtwo EX, Terrakion, or Hydreigon.

Please keep in mind that all these techs are meant to help improve those matchups that aren’t so good, and also help you to come back quickly after a slow start (or a too fast start from your opponent).

This second reason is probably the one that let my deck win so much: often the opponent was ahead three to 4 Prizes, and almost always I came back and won the game.

But now, it’s time to explain all the single cards!

Pokémon

4 Deino DRX 93

deino-dragons-exalted-drx-93pokemon-paradijs.comDeino is one of the most important choices of all: playing the wrong Deino can cost you a whole tournament. It’s important, in fact, to point out a premise: Dragon Deino can’t stand Rayquaza/Eelektrik, and Dark Deino can’t stand Landorus-EX.

Both of the decks, in fact, can Knock Out a Deino from the first turn with a minimum effort, and the second turn another one, and maybe you could even not to be able to set up your Hydreigon, since you don’t have any more Deino left.

Playing 4 Deino is a choice that forces the opponent to have 4 Catchers during the first 4 turns if they really want you not to set up your Hydreigon. If I played 3, and besides one ended up Prized, managing a game with only 2 Deino becomes very difficult. Setting Hydreigon up as soon as possible is vital.

I chose Dragon Deinos especially for two reasons. In my metagame there aren’t many Rayquaza/Eelekiktrik, whereas there are quite a lot of Landorus-EX, and Rayquaza/Eelektrik is a negative matchup in and of itself – with Victini NVI 14 is almost an auto-loss – so in a sense I’d rather face an aggressive Shiny Rayquaza because it lets me use Sableye!

This Deino choice is also due to its attack, that is not to be underrated – Paralyzing your opponent may overturn a game. On the other hand, having the possibility to Dark Patch on the Dark Deino may help a lot the T2 Night Spear, for instance. But this is a very uncommon thing, and I believe it’s not worth the trouble.

So, my suggestion is if your metagame is full of Landorus-EX, go on the safe side with Dragon Deino; if it’s full of Rayquaza/Eelektrik, well, I guess this deck is not the right choice.

Joking aside, if you’re able to manage the Rayquaza/Eelektrik matchup, and Landorus-EX isn’t to be afraid of, then go for the Dark Deino. But if the decks are played equally, then go for the dragon Deino.

Remember that, after all, in a Landorus-EX deck there are about 3 Landorus-EX, while in a Rayquaza/Eelektrik usually only one Shiny Rayquaza. It’s not to be taken for granted to get a Knock Out at the first turn!

1 Zweilous DRX 95

zweilous-dragons-exalted-drx-96pokemon-paradijs.comThis time we have a lot less to talk about, since it’s not frequent at all to absolutely need Zweilous. It’s not a card I would cut because it does have its usefulness: it helps in case of a Rare Candy whiff (main reason), but it also gives Deino those 20 extra HP that protect it, for instance, from a Night Spear KO.

The Dragon Zweilous is KO’d by Shiny Rayquaza as well, but the matchup is already too negative to try to get it better with these arrangements.

The reason why I don’t play the Dark Zweilous anymore (but I’ve done it for a lot of time), even though Dark Patching on it is very useful, is Landorus-EX.

Having in play a Zweilous versus Landorus-EX means that, by using a Catcher, Landorus-EX will 1HKO it (because, when Zweilous was still a Deino, it’s probably been damaged from Hammerhead).

As for the Dragon Zweilous, instead, you’re safer, since Landorus-EX isn’t usually able to hit 50 at the second turn (below, by reading my Milan CC report, you’ll find out why I said “usually”).

So, for the Zweilous, I advice you to play the Dragon one with no fear.

3 Hydreigon DRX 97

hydreigon dragons exalted drx 97pokemon-paradijs.comThree is the perfect number for Hydreigon: playing only two means having only one available if the other one gets Knocked Out or discarded out with Juniper/Ultra Ball/Computer Search, whereas playing three means that you can afford to lose one of them because of this three cards above or the Prizes, and, of course, also drawing it faster, without wasting any Ultra Ball.

Its attack makes it a pretty good hitter as well: 140 damage is perfect, combined with 30 from Night Spear, against Tornadus EX, Keldeo-EX and Mewtwo EX, and having 150 HP means that basically you won’t get KO the following turn (and you won’t lose your Energy, above all).

It’s an attack that helps a lot even against less played decks, like Empoleon, for example.

2 Sableye DEX

Here it’s all about playstyle. With two, you don’t often start with it and most of the times you need to look for it with Ultra Ball; but you risk less dead-draws during late game as well. With three, you have more chance to start with it, but the risk is to have one in your hand all the time because of N.

I find Sableye not to be always essential during the early game, so I feel good with two. Another reason why I like two Sableye is that I never use more than two in a game, so, If I played three, I’d have one extra all the games.

If you want a piece of advice, don’t be afraid of losing a turn to attack in order to get important resources back during the late game, since either that Pokémon Catcher or that Max Potion may save your game.

2 Darkrai EX

darkrai ex dark explorers dex 107pokemon-paradijs.comWell, no, it isn’t a typing mistake! I guess this is the strangest thing in my list, and I also believe that very few people will try to play this way.

My conception of the deck is based on many premises. If you hit my Darkrai EX, I either have a Max Potion or the other Darkrai EX. If you hit my Hydreigon (what most of the decks aim to do), my Darkrai stays safe and sound. If I have two damaged Darkrai EX, I have a bunch of alternatives if I don’t have Max Potion.

If you KO my Darkrai EX, I can take it back with Super Rod whenever I want (Skyla, Computer Search, Supporters) and you’re going to suffer 90 damage from Retaliate (and to do this, I just need an Energy drop and a Dark Patch).

The main risk at playing 2 Darkrai EX is to find yourself unable to retreat your Pokémon: this almost never happened to me, and every time I overcame it without any problems, but it’s a risk you’ve got to consider for sure.

Then, the Prizes: having only a Darkrai EX available is very dangerous, but with all the options you have (and with all the reasons explained above) you usually draw it on time to win the game.

I’ve never lost a match because of a Prized Darkrai EX.

1 Mewtwo EX

mewtwoWho said Mewtwo EX is less played? Mewtwo EX is still around, and being able to counter it is not only useful, but crucial. Even affording Psydrives, so that you can 1HKO Mewtwo EX with no Energy as well, moreover, is a distinctive feature of this deck: remaining with two Energies on a Mewtwo EX means that you don’t usually risk to get KO the next turn.

One Mewtwo EX is a must, and not only against any other Mewtwo EX, but also against Darkrai EX. If Mewtwo EX has 3 Energies, it does the same as Darkrai EX. Against Keldeo-EX, do you really want to 1HKO my Darkrai EX?

Attach 7 Energies, the next time you’ll lost half of the Energy of your deck and you’ll need to attach the same quantity in order to answer to my KO (as long as a reaction from another Mewtwo EX doesn’t come, and in this case the thing gets a bit more complicated; but not even too much: Super Rod and, sooner or later, that Mewtwo with 3 Energies is going down) – and if you can’t, you lose; against Terrakion, which is one of the hugest problems for Darkrai EX.

Some prefer Sigilyph: I don’t like it. It doesn’t 1HKO neither Mewtwo nor anything else and forces you to pass a turn doing nothing, and if I need to pass a turn doing nothing I’d rather attack with Sableye. It forces your opponent to waste his or her Catchers, but I don’t think it’s worth it: in this deck every card is essential, and there isn’t room for too situational cards.

1 Shaymin EX

shaymin-ex-next-destinies-nxd-5pokemon-paradijs.comOne of the most arguable cards. Keldeo-EX would 1HKO it in return, Terrakion almost always goes with a Pokémon that gives Shaymin EX trouble (Bouffalant, for instance). I play it because, sometimes, really quick decks take risks to get ahead and I can’t afford the 2HKO on an EX in order to win the game, or because during the late game I don’t have enough resources left to do focused KOs or to heal my Pokémon, and I need to close the game as soon as possible.

Shaymin EX lets me demolish even the most frightful of the beasts, and by using only two Energies: during the late game you risk, in fact, to lose a lot of Energy, because of the lack of Max Potion and Dark Patch, but Shaymin EX can make the deck very strong even during this phase of the game.

Say nothing of its synergy with N: being able to preserve a N for when the opponent has only 1 Prize left, means that you have pretty much won the game. You can make huge comebacks with this trick.

Another very effective usage of Shaymin EX is versus Keldeo-EX, especially the ones with a lot of Energy attached: you just need to know that, if the opponent couldn’t answer to your KO the next turn (possible, if he’s lost half of the Energy and got a very poor N from you), you’d get a certain win.

1 Keldeo-EX

keldeo ex boundaries crossedtrollandtoad.comAnother very situational tech, like Shaymin EX, but that you can’t play without. Landorus-EX is a big problem for this deck and, taking advantage of the Prism Energy for Terrakion, now it’s possible to even 1HKO it (and it’s not uncommon at all).

However, a 2HKO is great as well, since, putting Keldeo-EX on the board the same turn you attack, you have the guarantee that it won’t be Knocked Out: it can take at least 150 damage, and the next turn you’ll have a Max Potion available for sure (I usually attack Landorus-EX with Keldeo-EX in the early game, as then usually comes Mewtwo EX, which I respond to with my own Mewtwo EX, or Darkrai EX, which I respond to with Terrakion).

Keldeo-EX is also a pretty decent extra attacker if you’ve finished your Darkrai EX, and it’s convenient in the early game when you start with Deino and you don’t want to leave it active, but you don’t have Darkrai EX and an Energy to retreat it.

It’s very useful against Raikou-EX/Tynamo/Deino DRX 93 too: if your opponent bases their game plan on that extra turn they would gain by paralyzing you, and you catch them with an unpredicted Keldeo-EX drop, you could move the match definitely in your favour.

1 Terrakion NVI

terrakion-noble-victories-nvi-73pokemon-paradijs.comA card I would never give up. Against Darkrai EX based decks you almost never lose, save bad luck or particular situations (like aggressive Hammertime with Terrakion, for instance).

Being able to do 90 damage with only two Energies is a quality that marks it from any other attacker, and it’s one of the reason I could never play without it.

Not to be underestimated, moreover, is the fact that it’s not an EX, which gives more protection against Sigilyph and can mess up your opponent’s plan.

As I said about Keldeo-EX, in a perfect world, which is not so rare a thing, you would attach two Prism Energy: I happened many times to draw 4 Prizes in two turns KOing two Darkrai EX, and when this kind of things happen, the outcome is usually brilliant.

Noteworthy is also the 1HKO to Bouffalant, huge problem for this deck, that is usually forced to attack with Hydreigon against it.

Supporters

4 Professor Juniper

Thanks to Sableye no loss is too serious, and this deck must be as fast as possible. Less than 4 Professor Juniper is a suicide.

4 N

n-dark-explorers-dex-96pokemon-paradijs.comI can’t see any reasons not to play less than four in every deck, I find it even implied here, with Shaymin EX. And, since the starts are hardly ever astonishing, using more times 2-3 cards N may take you to spectacular comebacks.

2 Skyla

Actually only one is essential during a game, the other one usually ends up being lost among Ultra Ball, Professor Juniper or Computer Search. The reason is quite simple: when you have in your hand two different Supporters, and one of them is Skyla, most of the times you tend to prefer the other one, because it gives you more variety and consistence.

I wouldn’t feel like playing less than two: being able to take the Computer Search to get the second Prism Energy, the Dark Patch to come back after a KO, the last Max Potion, the last Pokémon Catcher… With three Random Receiver you can get the best from Skyla (double entendre? What? I didn’t mean it!).

As much as I would never play more than two Skyla: I’ve seen lists playing even four, but I can’t get the point. The Skyla to get Computer Search and then Junk Hunt trick is very cool when you hit it, but it’s not essential at all! This deck has always set up even without Computer Search, and this new supplement is meant to improve it, not to revolutionize it! Also because starting with Sableye and Skyla in your hand is not so easy. Again: this deck needs a lot of Energy, Pokémon and Trainer: using Skyla the first turn only risk to make the situation worse, instead of better. I see that having the possibility to use Computer Search again and again the first turns thanks to Junk Hunt is alluring, but I suspect that it would make the deck too oriented on a counterproductive strategy.

Items

3 Random Receiver

random receiver dark explorers dex 99You’re actually unlikely to use three per game, most of the times just one or two, but with a deck like this you can’t afford a turn without playing any Supporters: three Random Receiver means drawing them often during the first turns, and playing it even if not needed (if I start with N and Random Receiver, I play Random Receiver and then N), getting this way the certainty that, thanks to Sableye, if you happen to be unlucky, the next turn you’ll be able to come back.

Moreover, I like not to be limited by the Supporter I have in my hand: if I don’t want to give my opponent an N, I’d like to get a Professor Juniper; if the cards N would give me aren’t enough to give me what I need, I’d like to draw 7 cards; if I need a particular card, I want to have the possibility to find Skyla, and so on.

During the late game, also, when the statistics influence much less, Random Receiver becomes great, letting you control the game more.

4 Pokémon Catcher

I play four of them but I use, on the average, about five each game. Being able to use them in order to slow down your opponent’s setup, and getting them back right away with Sableye, is a thing too cool to give it away. I’ve never thought of reducing their quantity.

4 Ultra Ball

ultra-ball-dark-explorers-dex-102pokemon-paradijs.comSome like a split with Level Ball or playing with only three Ultra Ball, but, as for me, I can’t do without the 4×. Level Ball is useful almost only during the early game and, playing two at the maximum, it’s quite difficult to get them often and soon enough.

And I already know that, if I played them, when I want to return a KO with Shaymin EX, Mewtwo EX or Terrakion, I will find a Level Ball in my hand –and I’ll cry.

With only three Ultra Ball you’re going to have an inconsistent early game, especially because of Deino: the best thing is to play two on your bench at the first turn. Also, with only two Darkrai EX, hoping too much in your top-deck doesn’t make any sense, so four Ultra Ball is a must. I also like the 4× to discard the Energy I will Dark Patch back.

3 Dark Patch

The most comfortable quantity for this list, since it has quite little Energy to get back. I don’t hide the fact that a 4× would arouse me a lot, but you can play with no problem without the fourth (and, by the way, there wouldn’t be enough room).

The fact that Sableye gets them back, anyway, leads you to actually have four of them. At large, moreover, few Pokémon with Energy attached get KO, so Dark Patch’s utility is very related to the context.

However, it needs to be said that, when you use it, it lets you come back hugely or afford Hydreigon’s attack.

3 Max Potion

max-potion-emerging-powers-epo-94pokemon-paradijs.comAnother card I’d surely play 4×, but the list is too tight. Playing skillfully, three are more than enough, the variety of hitters gives you also the possibility to leave damaged Pokémon in your bench and attack with the other ones.

Moreover, the variety of attackers leads to more 1HKO, which Darkrai EX wouldn’t be able to do on its own, and a 1HKO on a Darkrai EX or on a Mewtwo EX often takes your opponent to a slowing down: slowing down that means a non-attack or a weak-attack turn –and Max Potion won’t be needed.

Part of the necessary skill to play this deck lies also into the ability to manage your Max Potion: having a 90-damaged Darkrai EX and a Max Potion in your hand doesn’t imply you to use it necessarily; as much as you may happen to use it on a 30-damaged Deino.

3 Rare Candy

I used to play four before Boundaries Crossed, to get the maximum consistence. And it actually worked. But now there are Computer Search and Skyla, which may be considered like the fourth, fifth and sixth Rare Candy, and everything gets easier. The result is not only that you’ll more likely set up your Hydreigon faster, but also that you’ll have less dead-draws during the late game (and don’t forget that you won’t use more than two Rare Candy per game).

1 Tool Scrapper

The card I usually use the least. The problem is that you can’t do without it: in this case, in fact, some matchups become very knotty, some even unmanageable. variants are few but they do exist, and if you’re not prepared to them, you risk to compromise a whole tournament; against almost everything, you need Tool Scrapper to take that Eviolite out and make a nice 2HKO (or a Retaliate 1HKO).

No need to talk about the 30 damages of Night Spear and the 140 damages of Dragonblast, which 2HKO Tornadus EX, Mewtwo EX and Keldeo-EX.

1 Super Rod

super-rod-noble-victories-nvi-95-no-watermarkpokemon-paradijs.comMost of Darkrai/Hydreigon players think about it as an optional, not essential, card. I don’t. That’s because this list plays a lot of techs that sometimes you happen to discard, and since getting a tech Knocked Out and not being able to reuse it anymore is so counterproductive.

What makes this deck so strong is the fact that you can do almost everything: this list isn’t focused on anything, you just can do whatever you want, and it’s your skill that decides how and what you will do. Please, keep this in mind.

Say nothing of those Hydreigon, Zweilous or Deino which may be discarded or get KO, and the same for the Energy: Dark Patch are three, and if you have something like four Energies in the discard pile with only one Dark Patch left, it’s not so bad to shuffle some of them back into the deck.

And above all Darkrai EX: playing two means that if you lose one, then you have only one left, and if you lose that one as well, you’re probably done for (notice all these probably and such: nothing is obvious, no game is lost until your opponent draws their sixth Prize!). With Super Rod you work this problem out. It’s like Zweilous and Tool Scrapper: it’s not that without it the deck doesn’t work, but it has more limits and it ends up not being able to handle stronger decks.

The best card in format. How many setups achieved thanks to Skyla and Computer Search got back by Sableye, how many victories thanks to that missing card given by Computer Search. But also how many times got it back with Junk Hunt and then shuffled it back with N, to find it later and surprise the opponent with unpredictable tricks.

Computer Search gets Special Energies, Supporters and let you setup Hydreigon faster than ever. Neither the craziest of the players could ever take this gem out.

Energy

7 Darkness

Darkness Energy Diamond Pearl DP 129 Pokemon Cardpokemon-paradijs.com

The classic list plays eight. Since mine plays seven, it can’t use Dark Patch the best: but it’s also true that this isn’t the main goal for Darkrai/Hydreigon. Your goal is to play an Energy and never let it end up in the discard pile. With seven Darkness Energy you can do whatever you want, I find myself very comfortable.

2 Blend GRPD

The most played lists play even four. I’d never play so many, neither if I didn’t play Prism Energy as well: Hydreigon’s attack, if you use it, you use it once, at maximum twice a game, and usually Hydreigon doesn’t go down after attacking (so, the Blend Energy still remains).

As for Shaymin EX, if you use it, you use it once a game, but you usually don’t. So I think two is right, and I’ve never had any problems with it.

However, you can’t play generously: against decks which I know I will need them against, the first thing I do when I play Ultra Ball or Computer Search is making sure that I have both the Blend Energy (or Prism Energy, it depends).

2 Prism

Here two are enough as well, since Terrakion only needs one. Now I’d like to add another one to give Keldeo-EX more point, but I’m afraid that if I took another Darkness Energy out, then my consistence would get messed up, and I would be too exposed to Hammertime. A bigger number of Prism Energy would also help Land Crush and Psydrive, but I keep thinking that, with the right skill, two are well manageable.

Matchups

Mirror Match: 50-50 (Opponent with Terrakion), 70-30 (Opponent without Terrakion)

mirror forcecardshark.comThat’s a matchup that can be explained by itself, like every mirror matchup: with the same list, who starts first takes advantage, and who sets up first does as well. It’s very important to attack as soon as possible, so that you can force your opponent to use their Max Potion.

If the opponent has only one Hydreigon on the board (or one Hydreigon and one Deino), it’s worth to attack with your own Hydreigon, in order to slow the opponent down a lot; if there are, instead, two Hydreigon, or one with one Zweilous, it’s not worth wasting your time and Energy to get only 1 Prize.

Easy Prizes on Zweilous, Deino and Sableye are very useful, since you’ve got to remember that with Shaymin EX you’re probably taking two on a Darkrai EX. I don’t like aggro Darkrai EX play, since Max Potion is very annoying: I’d rather draw a lot of Prizes on weak stuff and then sweep away with Shaymin EX.

Thanks to Terrakion the matchup it’s almost an auto-win, just wait your opponent to KO one of your Pokémon and surprise them with it: anyway, even without the surprise effect, if the opponent isn’t able to KO Terrakion, they’ll be forced either to damage somebody (Max Potion time) or to waste a turn not attacking.

And, if everything goes the best, with a second Prism Energy you’ll be able to kill another Darkrai EX. After attacking with Terrakion, your opponent usually will attack with Hydreigon: no need to worry, KO their Hydreigon with your own (they’ll probably lose a lot of Energy with a Darkrai and a Hydreigon KO) and you have the game.

Anyway, taking off three Energies from a Darkrai EX means that your opponent won’t be able to do a lot to you, so don’t worry and win the game easily. With this list, I’ve never lost against Darkrai/Hydreigon (except for really bad luck or mistakes).

Rayquaza/Eelektrik: 35-65

rayquaza dragons exalted drx 123It’s the worst matchup for this deck. When your Darkrai EX are KOing again and again, you just don’t need any techs, you lose: no more Energy, no more attackers, no more resources.

I guess I’ve been too exaggerating though: if you start the game and hit a Eelektrik at the second or third turn, and the opponent doesn’t run too hot, the matchup gets easier. What I mean is that it’s not an impossible matchup, no matchups are impossible for this deck, that’s why I adore it!

It’s crucial to reduce the number of Eelektrik in play, so that, after being KO, you’ll have a free turn: and that’s that turn indeed that will probably take you to the victory, since you’ll force your opponent to play only one Eelektrik.

Another feasible strategy against Rayquaza/Eelektrik is attacking with Hydreigon: I know that a lot of people prefer this way, but it doesn’t persuade me; setting a Hydreigon is always demanding, and being KO back is what probably is going to happen. So, you would lose an Hydreigon and four Energy (in this case, one of the only two Blend Energy), and you won’t probably repeat this anymore.

A good idea, I found myself comfortable with, is to attack during the early game Tynamo and Eelektrik with Terrakion, forcing you opponent to play as much Pokémon Catcher and Switch as possible.

If the opponent, however, plays Victini, the matchup is pretty much an auto-loss: not getting any benefit from Sableye and not being able to attack Eelektrik (and they will likely setup three undisturbed) carries you to an almost sure defeat.

Keldeo/Blastoise: 50-50

blastoise boundaries crossed 31ebay.comIt’s all about your how you and your opponent start. I’ve seen / starting first and doing at least 130 damage from the second turn, and this is going to slow you down a lot: it’s not a lost game, of course, since what made Darkrai/Hydreigon famous is its capability to come back resoundingly.

It’s enough, in fact, to succede, by playing N (crucial), in preventing your opponent to 1HKO your Darkrai EX, and so hitting the first Keldeo-EX with Night Spear. The next turn, just heal and KO Keldeo-EX; the rest of the game is all about how many Prizes your opponent has already taken.

If you can’t afford to lose a EX Pokémon, then it’s advisable to attack with Hydreigon (taking advantage of Night Spear’s bench damage), and draw 2 Prizes this way; then, Shaymin EX will kill the last Keldeo-EX.

If you, instead, can afford to risk to lose 2 Prizes, then go on the safe side with Mewtwo EX, keeping a special Energy for the final Shaymin EX.

Get the most you can from Dark Patch, in this matchup it’s very crucial.

If you want a piece of advice, always ignore Blastoise, because, unless there is only one in play (and no Squirtle/Wartortle) and all the Keldeo-EX in play have one or two Energy, losing a Blastoise isn’t so dangerous for a Keldeo/Blastoise as losing a Hydreigon for a Darkrai/Hydreigon.

You’ve got to do three KO in all.

However, it’s necessary to look out for this deck, since a stroke of luck (and it often happens to this deck, unfortunately) may lead you to lose a big EX Pokémon when you don’t expect it. It doesn’t happen many times, and with a pinch of skill you can overcome it, but you have to be very careful.

Darkrai/Landorus: 60-40

prism-energy-next-destinies-nxd-93pokemon-paradijs.comAgain, if the opponent begins, with Landorus-EX, and starts putting one or more Deino into the KO range, the situation is not the best one.

But since the thing isn’t obvious (maybe you don’t start with Deino, for instance), and anyway you play Max Potion, once set up, the game is easier than it seems: the key card is Keldeo-EX, which, also with only Darkness Energy, 2HKO a Landorus-EX.

If you can put two Prism Energy on the board, it’s all done: you’re going to use them for Terrakion in order to KO Darkrai EX as well.

It’s very important the Tool Scrapper too: if you found youself attacking with Darkrai EX, since those 30 damages aren’t essential, consider the option to put 10 damages at a time on a Eviolited Pokémon; the Tool Scrapper is only one, and, with usually three Eviolite played by Darkrai/Landorus, one will remain free to be put on anyone.

Against this deck as well, ignore Sableye and aim to do three KO. In case there are two Sableye in play and you haven’t wasted any Pokémon Catcher, anyway, it’s not a bad idea to draw two easy Prizes.

Darkrai/Mewtwo: 65-35 (55-45 with Tornadus EX)

tornadus ex dark explorers dex 90pokemon-paradijs.comMewtwo EX doesn’t put you under pressure as much as Landorus-EX does, and no Pokémon in that deck can 1HKO Darkrai EX. Keep as many Tool Scrapper, Max Potion and Prism Energy as possible and return the KO with Terrakion and Mewtwo EX. A late Shaymin EX also gives you the certainty not to need to get back that lost Mewtwo EX or Terrakion.

The relatively low damage output of this deck gives you the possibility to Night Spear a Mewtwo EX and put 30 damages on a benched one, so that you can KO one with Night Spear and the other one with Hydreigon’s Dragon Blast (preserving Prism Energy for Terrakion or Shaymin EX). You have a bunch of possibility, usually the game goes pretty easily.

Talking about the Tornadus EX version, instead, things get worse: not being able to 1HKO it, in fact, is very dangerous. Aspertia City Gym is also very annoying, and forces you to attack with Darkrai EX and then Hydreigon.

Anyway, Tornadus EX is not conservative at all, since hitting a tails would mean using the Energy drop on it, instead of another attacker: this wasted turn is the one that, as the game goes by, is probably going to turn the tables: because, you have to keep in mind that, while the opponent loses Energy and Pokémon, you can change your hitter and lose only the pokemon.

Very important are the Pokémon Catcher to KO Mewtwo EX and Darkrai EX (especially Darkrai EX, because Terrakion is only worth a Prize and, if not 1HKO’d the next turn, can let you draw at least four).

Darkrai/Hammers/Terrakion: 35-65

enhanced-hammer-dark-explorers-dex-94pokemon-paradijs.comEnhanced Hammer takes your Prism and Blend Energy off, those Prism and Blend Energy that you should use to kill Terrakion with Hydreigon, Darkrai EX with Terrakion and anybody with a final Shaymin EX.

That deck has got all the requirement to defeat Darkrai/Hydreigon: the biggest problem is due to the fact that Terrakion is only 1 Prize worth and you 2HKO it, so, while you try to KO one, another one is coming. An aggressive Hydreigon play may work, but early game hammers are lethal.

It’s not an auto-loss, of course, it can be won, but you need a lot of skill to ration out the Energy; and it’s also very important an aggressive N play. Moreover, you can’t play without a lot of Pokémon Catcher and Max Potion; even losing one of them by Professor Juniper, Ultra Ball or Computer Search may lead you to a poor late game, that means defeat…

Anyway, I want you to know that I haven’t tested this matchup accurately yet.

I think the strongest version plays Terrakion, so I didn’t consider the one with only Darkrai EX and Hammers: against that, anyway, I believe it’s not difficult to win. Just keep the Prism Energy and kill Darkrai EX as soon as you can.

Landorus/Tornadus/Mewtwo: 50-50

landorus ex boundaries crossed 89It’s a very impetuous deck that, whatever it starts with, it puts pressure. Once you get over it, and you set up Hydreigon (it’s so uncommon not to setup Hydreigon that you don’t even need to think about it), the situation is really even: if you can play Keldeo-EX, with preferably two Prism Energy, once you take Landorus-EX out, you can give breath to Darkrai EX.

Otherwise, those 30 bench damages take your Darkrai EX on Land’s Judgement KO range, and losing a Darkrai EX with so little effort means that you even risk to lose the whole game.

This time is very important to play Mewtwo EX versus Mewtwo EX, always to combine with N (three Random Receiver help a lot) to shuffle back that Double Colorless Energy or that Energy Switch which could give your opponent the chance to 1HKO you back. The difference with Darkrai/Landorus/Tornadus is that this time there isn’t Terrakion, which is huge against Darkrai/Hydreigon.

A playable and winnable matchup, even though a slow start from you and a too fast start from your opponent can take you to lose.

Empoleon/Dusknoir/Landorus: 50-50

empoleon-dark-explorers-dex-29pokemon-paradijs.comThis is one of the most interesting matchups. Both the players need to be very skilled, because both the decks, in scrubs’ hands, are pretty mediocre. Again, I’ve got to say that I haven’t tested it yet, but I can say a few things after playing against two of the most skillful players of Italy.

A Night Spear on Empoleon doesn’t take you anywhere: Empoleon lists play Max Potion and, if they didn’t, they wouldn’t have any difficulties to set up a new Empoleon (or retreat the active one, forcing you to use Pokémon Catcher).

The best choice is almost always to KO Piplup or Prinplup, in order to interrupt the Empoleon chain and to be able to KO a damaged Empoleon later. Take care of Dragonblast as well, 140 damages are perfect here.

Landorus-EX is very painful, but Keldeo-EX, again, solves it; the fact Empoleon doesn’t play much Fighting Energy helps too. The opponent needs a lot their Max Potion because, if they can nullify your attack, then that extra turn could be very, very dangerous (for instance, allowing them to KO your Darkrai EX with Land’s Judgement).

Terrakion isn’t so useful, except for the fact that it forces your opponent to waste their Pokémon Catcher (they can’t afford to attack an almost harmless non EX Pokémon); neither Mewtwo, also because Empoleon decks usually play Mew-EX. A final Shaymin EX may help a lot, especially to kill a Landorus-EX, and don’t leave out the idea to use it for more turns: you need to be good at maths.

In fact, you need to do a lot of calculations: always ask yourself how much damage Empoleon can do, thinking about every Pokémon you are about to play in advance; and also calculate the damage you have in play, since they play Dusknoir.

Dusknoir is what decides the game, and the more your opponent is skilled, the more the moment they will play it down will be crucial: those 100 damages you didn’t heal with Max Potion, even if your opponent has gone off of Pokémon Catcher, may cost you the game.

That’s why you need to keep your Pokémon Catcher for Duskull –of course, if you don’t have a lot of damage in play, you’d better ignore that Duskull and hit that Empleon! And of course, always check your opponent’s discard pile: if they have no more Rare Candy, don’t let them bluff you.

Everything, finally, is very situational, and maybe this matchup is the only one won by the player who showed more skill.

Other

klinklang-black-white-blw-76pokemon-paradijs.comAs for the other matchups, keep in mind that this deck can overcome every kind of situation, and every kind of deck. You need to plan what you’re going to do against your opponent during the whole game. I’ll give you an example. You are against a Klinklang deck. They put down a Keldeo-EX, a Mewtwo EX and a Darkrai EX.

The first thing you need to do is to make sure you have all the resources to play a long game, so use and abuse Sableye; as soon as it gets KO (or anything else gets KO), use either Retaliate on Darkrai EX, or Shaymin EX on Keldeo-EX.

The second choice is the best when your opponent has only three Energies in play, and, knocking Keldeo-EX down, you’d let them without any Energy on the board. After you drew your first 2 Prizes, draw two elses on that Mewtwo EX (it’s not obvious that they will play one of them down, but it can happen – if it doesn’t, you can hit the second Darkrai EX, for instance; the opportunities are endless) by using your own Mewtwo EX’s Psydrive.

The last 2 Prizes will be either on the second Keldeo-EX or the second Darkrai EX. If it’s Keldeo-EX, the thing becomes more difficult, but not even so much after all… just N them, keep your Max Potion and hope they won’t be able to heal every turn; you can also play Super Rod and use Shaymin EX again; if it’s Darkrai EX, again, it’s Terrakion time.

This is just an example, don’t forget it! The options are unlimited, but just remember that both the decks love who starts doing KO, because both the decks usually play Shaymin EX and/or Terrakion.

So, your mentality has got to be something like this:

Look at what your opponent has in play and what they may play as the game goes by. Reflect about how to KO 3 EXs with just one hit each

Of course it doesn’t go always this way. For instance, a Tornadus EX is very hard to kill for a deck like this. But if you are against a Landorus-Mewtwo-Tornadus, you can catcher up a Mewtwo EX, hit it for 90, 30 on Tornadus EX, and then you will have a Tornadus EX in Hydreigon KO range, and a Mewtwo in Terrakion/Darkrai EX range.

I explained the list and the matchups the best I could, but in the end this TCG is a hands-on thing: now I have to show you that what I’ve just said is not a bunch of theorymoning. These are the reports of two Regionals Championships and a City Championship.

Editor’s Note: I apologize for the absence of images and rough editing the rest of this article. I’m kind of fried from editing long articles lately and don’t have the will within me to make this one up to the standards you’ve come to expect. Sorry.

Turin Regional – November 25th, 2012 – 52 Masters

Round 1 vs. Andrea F. (Garbodor)

Both of us set up quickly and I try to slow him down making him burn his Switches repeatedly catchering his Garbodor thanks to Junk Hunt. At some point we whiffs the Switch and I KO his first Garbodor with Mewtwo EX, followed by another Prize on a Trubbish on the next turn.

He sets up a Terrakion-EX in the meantime and Catcher-kills my Benched Darkrai EX, but I’ve been waiting for that for a couple of turns; so I Ultra Ball for a Shaymin EX and Skyla for a Tool Scrapper, 1HKOing his Terrakion-EX.

That leaves him with a lone Garbodor in play, but he still tries to struggle back pulling out a Mewtwo EX from the deck and using X Ball for 80 damage on my Shaymin EX. I retreat, Max Potion my Shaymin and Junk Hunt for Scrapper.

He whiffs an N and next turn I’m able to Scrapper off a Tool from Garbodor, move all my Energies to Mewtwo EX and 1HKO for the win.

1-0

Round 2 vs. Ivan B. (Darkrai/Hydreigon)

He gets a slower set up than me, but we both manage to fill up our fields fairly well. But still, I get the upper hand heavily damaging his Pokémon without KOing any (he plays Terrakion as well), which makes my late game easier.

He’s also forced to play a Mewtwo EX to boost a Bianca draw, which gave me my last 2 Prizes.

2-0

Round 3 vs. Andrea F.’s Dad (Darkrai/Hydreigon)

We both get a good set up, but I manage to establish 2 Hydreigon versus his only one, which puts me in a very good position as I succeed in getting out the Energy to KO it. He then kills my Benched Zweilous, but I can answer back with Terrakion 1HKOing his Darkrai e.

He promotes Sigilyph and tries to stall out with a N, but I’m able to pull of a second Prism Energy to kill the Sigilyph with Land Crush, and take out his second Darkrai e the following turn. Really an impressive feat for Terrakion, which gave me 5 Prizes for the first time in its “career.”

3-0

Round 4 vs. Aaroon D. (Rayquaza/Eelektrik)

That’s the matchup I fear the most, and on top of that I start off with a lone Mewtwo and no Supporters. My first draw is a Random Receiver, but it’s no help either as I hit a Skyla which I’m bound to play for a N.

Fortunately, I have the advantage that he runs a very low Supporter count in his deck: for 5 turns in a row after his first one he’s unable to play any, which gives me the time to set up and put the game in balance while I keep Catchering out his Eelektriks.

I’ll never forget the look on his face when I put down my Keldeo-EX to cure a Pokémon he Paralyzed with Raikou. Due to his hard luck, the game was overall a piece of cake… and I call myself lucky for that.

4-0

Round 5 vs. Sebastiano V. (Darkrai/Hydreigon)

We both set up pretty decently: he hits an annoying Crushing Hammer at the first turn which slows me down, but it’s all right after all. His list is much less consistent than the other Hydreigon lists, since he plays 1-0-1 Dusknoir and 2 Crushing Hammer, so I play a lot of annoying N in order to slow his game.

I give him a few Prizes but, once set up enough, I do a lot of KO in succession, also thanks to Mewtwo EX on his own Mewtwo EX (this time I haven’t even needed Terrakion).

5-0

Round 6 vs. Vincenzo S. (Darkrai/Landorus/Terrakion)

I fear his deck but being certain that I’m in the top cut for sure keeps the anxiety low. I know that, once set up, if he doesn’t draw too many Prizes early game, I won’t have trouble: against Darkrai EX I have Terrakion, against Landorus-EX I have Keldeo-EX.

And that’s how it goes, more or less, since I manage to put a little damage on Terrakion with Night Spear and to KO it the turn aftr, while he attacks me with Darkrai EX (but I have Max Potion). He KO a Sableye, and I surprise him with Retaliate (it’s so good to play this deck against people that don’t know which tech you have!!).

I get the Computer Search from these 2 Prizes, and the next turn I can hit his Landorus-EX with Keldeo-EX with two Prism Energy. He scoops.

6-0

Top 8 vs. Andrea R. (Darkrai/Hydreigon)

Game 1

He has a hard time at setting his Hydreigon and, when he plays his first Deino at the third turn, I have a ready Darkrai EX to 1HKO it. Then, he sets up Hydreigon, but I’m too ahead, and Terrakion finishes the job.

1-0

Game 2

The start is so so for both of us, the game is completely even. But everything changes when he Ns (5 cards): I get 4 Energies and a Rare Candy. Slowly he draws Prizes in succession, while I keep drawing Energy and Max Potion. I scoop.

1-1

Game 3

The best game of the three. Not bad or too good luck from neither of us. But the fact I play Terrakion, and he doesn’t, gives me a too huge advantage, and I win easily.

2-1, 7-0

Top 4 vs. Fabrizio B. (Keldeo/Blastoise)

Game 1

He starts pretty slow, while I have a common t3 Darkrai EX. I draw two easy Prizes on two Squirtle, and he hasn’t drawn any Prizes yet: Mewtwo EX and Shaymin EX let me win without any trouble.

1-0

Game 2

My start is bad, while he hits a t2 Blastoise and Keldeo-EX with three Energies. I’m scared, since I don’t have a lot of Energy on the board and he’s very ahead. Nevertheless, thanks to Mewtwo EX, that can 1HKO his Keldeo-EX with only two Energies, I can take away half of the Energy my opponent plays.

Then Mewtwo EX gets damaged, and I KO the second Keldeo-EX by using Darkrai EX, and in the meanwhile my Darkrai EX gets KO as well. To make sure I’ll win I play Shaymin EX with a Prism Energy attached, I leave a Blend Energy on Hydreigon and I leave the damaged Mewtwo EX in the bench.

If he KO my Hydreigon, I’ll attach an Energy to Shaymin EX; if he KO Mewtwo EX, I use either Shaymin EX or Hydreigon; if he KO Shaymin EX, I use either Hydreigon or Mewtwo EX (I have a lot of Energy on the board). He chooses to KO Mewtwo EX, and Shaymin EX gives me the game.

2-0, 8-0

Top 2 vs. Marco C. (Darkrai/Tornadus/Mewtwo)

Game 1

I thought this matchup was very positive for me: considering them on their own, those Pokémon can’t 1HKO neither Darkrai EX nor Hydreigon, so there isn’t anything I should fear. But the problem is its speed, a speed that I haven’t seen for seasons.

Anyway, this game goes pretty slow for him (he starts attacking only from the second turn, lol), but I start very aggressive and I manage to win by playing Mewtwo EX vs Mewtwo EX, Darkrai EX vs Tornadus EX and Terrakion vs Darkrai EX.

1-0

Game 2

My start is very, very bad, and he hits a t1 Tornadus EPO. He KO two of my Deino in two turns, and I don’t think I’ll win this time. But I also know that, once set up, I can get back. When I set up, in fact, after giving him 4 Prizes, I play a two-cards N, then I KO a Tornadus EX with Darkrai EX; after this, I KO Darkrai EX with Terrakion, and he still doesn’t do anything relevant.

From the Prize cards I get the second Prism Energy, that, with the Pokémon Catcher I have in my hand, makes me sure that the next turn I will win, by using Land Crush on another Darkrai EX. But he draws Skyla, and takes the last Pokémon Catcher!

1-1

Game 3

Another very bad start. It’s not often to start badly with this deck, but, weird to say, this happens always when I’m playing a top cut game. Who knows why. He attacks with the second attack of Tornadus EX at the first turn, leaving himself with only one card in his hand, but I draw an N that saves my game (and his one, I guess). Of course I have to play it.

Taking advantage of the fact he’s already used a lot of resurces, and of the fact that his setup is not dangerous at all, I do manage to setup as well and I make a huge comeback (although he’s ahead of 3 Prizes).

By using my Max Potion I draw 4 Prize cards not losing many, and by using a lot of Dark Patch I finally win: with a Mewtwo EX loaded up with six Energies, I KO a damaged Darkrai EX.

2-1, 9-0

During this tournament, what helped me a lot was the surprise effect: since Turin is three hours far from where I live, a lot of people haven’t ever seen my deck before, so I managed to surprise my opponents with Keldeo-EX and Terrakion. I’d really like you to notice how strong is this build against Darkrai EX based decks.

Now, my second Regional Championship report…

Venice Regional – December 2nd, 2012 – 60 Masters

Round 1 vs. Massimiliano F. (Zekrom/Eelektrik)

I have a good start with two Deino, but he slows me down with an N and KO a Deino with Mewtwo EX. I use Junk Hunt, but he plays another N and KO Sableye, since he doesn’t have the Pokémon Catcher for the second Deino. Those six cards let me set up Hydreigon and play Professor Juniper, so I’m now ready to play.

From this moment on, I 1HKO his Mewtwo EX with mine, two Eelektrik with Night Spear and Tornadus EX (damaged with Night Spear) with Hydreigon. This game is a very good example about what I said at the end of the matchups paragraph:

I’ve never tested against Zekrom-Eelektrik, it doesn’t make point anymore, but since I had a lot of Pokémon Catcher left and he had Tornadus EX and Mewtwo EX in play, I’ve always known what my 6 Prizes would have come from.

1-0

Round 2 vs. Federico Z. (Empoleon/Landorus/Dusknoir)

He’s one of my team mates, and meeting him at this point of the tournament is not good at all. We both start well, he has a t2 Empoleon and KO a Deino. I set up Hydreigon pretty fastly, and this is good since his damaged output is fairly low.

After a few easy Prizes he drew during the early game, I slow him down a lot with an N, and Empoleon’s two cards aren’t enough for him to come back. When I KO his only Empoleon in play his situation gets very dangerous, so he’s forced to attack with Landorus-EX.

A few turns ago I did a huge misplay, that is playing a Mewtwo EX (completely forgetting about Mew-EX), and if he didn’t misplay KOing Darkrai EX with Pokémon Catcher by attacking with Landorus-EX (instead of KO my active Pokémon, keeping the Pokémon Catcher), the turn after he’d have played an Empoleon and KO Mewtwo EX with Mew Prime.

We both mistook, but this time it went well to me.

2-0

Round 3 vs. Andrea C. (Blastoise/Keldeo)

I start and this thing gives me a huge advantage: he confides a lot on Tropical Beach and can’t be explosive, the first attack of the game is mine. Thanks to Tropical Beach I set up vry good, and I manage to KO three Keldeo-EX by using only Darkrai EX, not needing neither Shaymin EX nor Mewtwo EX.

3-0

Round 4 vs. Lorenzo M. (Landorus/Tornadus/Basics)

One of the worst matches I’ve ever ‘played’. I start with all the three Supporter cards I play in my hand, I choose Skyla in order to Computer Search for Deino (so that I can get it back later with Sableye). But the next turn he plays an N that gives me nothing at all.

He attacks and keeps attacking with Landorus-EX until I KO it with two Retaliate, and he never misses a Pokémon Catcher on the Deino I sometimes put down.

But those 30 damages my Terrakion had, were enough for his Tornadus EX to KO it and leave me with no Pokémon on the board. I’ve just haven’t played it, a very sad game.

3-1

Round 5 vs. Walter C. (Rayquaza/Eelektrik)

The deck I’d never like to play against, and he even starts with Shiny Rayquaza. He has a hard time at setting Eelektrik and at the third turn he misses the Pokémon Catcher on my Deino, so that I can set up Hydreigon.

In the meanwhile I played a lot of Energy on the board, and I 1HKO his Rayquaza Shiny with Mewtwo EX (Rayquaza had two Energies attached and there was Giant Cape on it, which I discarded with Tool Scrapper – one of the few times I needed it, but how could you take it away?).

The rest of the game is easy, I KO his Rayquaza before it becomes dangerous and I win. He didn’t have bad luck, his build just wasn’t fast enough, but too full of not so needed things (like Giant Cape).

4-1

Round 6 vs. Gaetano M. (Darkrai/Mewtwo)

I start and this is my best setup of the day. From the second turn I have Hydreigon and Darkrai EX with three Energies on the board. I win by using Retaliate on his Darkrai EX and Mewtwo EX on his ones.

5-1

Top 8 vs. Martina C. (Darkrai/Hydreigon)

Game 1

Tiredness is getting heavier and heavier and this fact takes me to do a very stupid mistake: meaning to get the Random Receiver back with Sableye, I forget I don’t have Darkrai EX in play and I finish my turn with Hydreigon as active Pokémon and no cards in my hand.

Nevertheless, I don’t consider myself a lucky player (not at all, to be honest lol), but this time I got exceed myself: I top-deck Professor Juniper. Martina, anyway, sets up pretty well, while I’m a bit slow and I bug her with a Terrakion which has a Prism Energy attached, like I’m saying: “Hey, catch that easy Prize on Sableye, but don’t forget my Terrakion!”.

Thanks to this advantage I can set up as well. I KO a Darkrai EX with my Terrakion which has 2 Prism Energy, but she responds with Mewtwo EX, with four Energies attached. These four Energies are the only one she has in play, it’s a very risky move. I use Dark Patch and N, hoping to get Mewtwo EX and almost win the game, but I don’t find it, and this disappoints me.

I have 4 Prizes left and she has three, I have no more Terrakion neither Prism Energy and I know that I can’t win it only Darkrai EX vs Darkrai EX. I do some calculation in order to understand how to win: since I still have 3 Pokémon Catcher, and she has two Sableye in play, I can draw two easy Prizes and finish off with Shaymin EX on her Darkrai EX.

I get the first two easy Prizes very fastly, and I don’t use my Max Potion in order to let her kill a Darkrai EX, so that Shaymin EX can hit for 180. She KO a Darkrai EX and I surprise her with a naughty Shaymin EX!

0-1

Game 2

I don’t remember with precision how this went, I just remember that, at a point, I got stuck with Hydreigon and almost nothing else on the board; once she KO my Hydreigon, I’ve never come back.

1-1

Game 3

This time she does have bad luck: she doesn’t find Deino during the first two turns and she’ll never set up Hydreigon, I win this with Land Crush when the time was almost up.

2-1, 6-1

Top 4 vs. Marco F. (Hammertime)

Game 1

I start with a very expensive Professor Juniper, and I’m not satisfied at all. He attacks with Darkrai EX at the second turn, and every turn he kills a Deino or uses N, so that I can’t play Hydreigon; I’ll do it only when he has already drawn 4 Prizes.

He also plays Terrakion, but this game has been too difficult for me since I gave up a lot of resources with the first Professor Juniper and other Ultra Ball and Computer Search.

0-1

Game 2

I start again with two Pokémon Catcher, a Max Potion and two Professor Juniper. I manage to set up and he’s less aggressive, once KO the first Terrakion he doesn’t play any Terrakion more. I damage a lot of Darkrai EX thanks to Tool Scrapper, but the first Professor Juniper was annoying and I can’t heal my Pokémon.

At the last turn I have a Blend Energy in my hand (can’t play it of course) and he plays N in order to find one Pokémon Catcher and win (two left). In my hand I have the Blend Energy and a Professor Juniper, in my deck two Random Receiver and a Hydreigon: with the 1-card N and the turn draw I’m absolutely sure I can setup Shaymin EX and win.

But he gets one Pokémon Catcher from the N and I lose a very close game.

0-2, 6-2

I end up fourth and I have to say that the most of the games I lost were because of bad luck. Not a thing I like to say, it’s a kind of unrespect toward my opponent, but this time I just have to say it – because it’s true. Hammertime is a very dangerous deck, but with some skill it can be overcome.

Now, my last report, a City Championship.

Milan City – December 16th, 2012 – 22 Masters

Round 1 vs. Stefano S. (Ninetales/Amoonguss)

I start with Shaymin EX, which gets KO in two turns. Once I put down Hydreigon, though, I win nimbly, leaving him without any foxes in play. Pokémon Catcher on Amoonguss were so useful to take time.

1-0

Round 2 vs. Simone S. (Empoleon/Dusknoir/Landorus)

I start with Keldeo-EX, I set up Hydreigon and Zweilous pretty fastly but I mistake the calculation and he KO my Hydreigon. I’m not used to this matchup and it needs a lot of skill in order to be managed (especially against a player like Simone), and this mistake costs me the game. The next turn, in fact, Zweilous dies too and I can’t get back (I also had two Pokémon Catcher in my Prizes, that I could slow him a bit with, but in this situation I’ve never had a break).

1-1

Round 3 vs. Aaron D. (Klinklang)

Huge bad luck during the first turns but he’s forced to give me an N that puts me back into the game. Then I’ll learn that I have three Professor Juniper in my last 3 Prizes lol. I setup and I use Retaliate on his Darkrai EX, leaving him without any Energy in play.

He attacked with Darkrai EX as he needed that extra bench damage. Then he does something else, very little actually, but you know, when Klinklang has no Energy on the board, it just loses.

2-1

Round 4 vs. Sebastiano A. (Darkrai/Hydreigon)

I set up Hydreigon at the second turn but, after that, I don’t draw anything useful, and neither he does. After five turns I draw an N, and both of us finally start to play for real. During the first turns, while I wasn’t drawing anything, I got two Prism Energies.

And what happens when you can attack a slow Darkrai- Hydreigon with Land Crush? I draw 4 Prizes in two turns and he scoops.

3-1

Round 5 vs. Marco E. (Darkrai/Mewtwo/Tornadus)

He starts attacking with Mewtwo and immediately kills my lone Deino. The next turn I find two other ones and I setup Hydreigon; even though he’s ahead of 3 Prizes, I’m sure I can come back.

I KO his Mewtwo EX with my own one, so that he loses a lot of Energy; one DCE is gone and another is on a benched Pokémon, and, after playing N, he gets stuck. Because of these reasons, I don’t fear a Mewtwo EX punishment.

Then, I play Tool Scrapper and 1HKO his Darkrai EX with Land Crush and, since I didn’t waste a lot of resources during the early game, I still have 4 Pokémon Catcher in my deck. This leads me to draw the last 2 Prizes pretty easily.

4-1

Top 4 vs. Simone S. (Empoleon/Dusknoir/Landorus)

Game 1

I do start, and pretty well too, but he’s slow: no Supporters and he just uses Emolga’s Call for Family. I put a lot of pressure KOing Roselia and Piplup during the first turns, but then he comes back and for my deck it’s very difficult to face big guys like Empoleon.

I KO a Landorus-EX with Keldeo-EX. He plays some tricks with Dusknoir so that he just needs to draw one or 2 Prizes, can’t remember, but I manage to draw the last Prizes by using Pokémon Catcher on Emolga and Piplup.

What I like of this matchup is that I always end up playing very few Pokémon Catcher during the early-mid game, and at the late game I always have three or four available.

1-0

Game 2

This time his start is great, while mine is worse. When he whiffs a Pokémon Catcher on Deino I’m able to come back, and since he’s already wasted two Max Potion because of Professor Juniper and Computer Search, I’m much more relaxed.

I come back KOing someone and healing in the meanwhile. He has a Empoleon in play, but can’t get Landorus-EX to put some damage that will be moved with Dusknoir on my Sableye later on, drawing this way his last Prize: but, if he attacks with Empoleon, I can heal with Max Potion.

He does and I clean, then I KO Empoleon with Hydreigon’s attack and he remains only with Roserade and Emolga on the board – and I still have two Pokémon Catcher. He scoops.

2-0, 5-1

Top 2 vs. Vincenzo S. (Landorus/Mewtwo/Tornadus/Bouffalant)

Game 1

I start very aggressive, and at the second turn I already have a Keldeo-EX with a Prism Energy attached on the board. I quickly KO a Landorus-EX and, since he’s already played a lot of Double Colorless Energy between Bouffalant and Tornadus EX (and he had to attach one to Landorus-EX), I KO a Mewtwo EX with mine, with no fear.

He plays PlusPower and Professor Juniper, in order to get both the last Double Colorless Energy and the last Energy Switch, ma he doesn’t. I still have two Pokémon Catcher available and I KO the other Mewtwo EX.

1-0

Game 2

He starts putting pressure with Landorus-EX. I have difficulty at setting up, and I have Keldeo-EX Prized as well: he has a Landorus-EX with two Energies on it, and if I want to get that Keldeo-EX I need to put a lot of Energy into play and draw some Prizes.

I KO a Mewtwo EX and I actually get Keldeo-EX: since I don’t have any Pokémon Catcher left, and he has only one (and if he draws it, he wins: I used all of my Max Potion and now I have many Pokémon damaged in the bench), I hit his Tornadus EX leaving it with 30HP, what Darkrai EX needs to give me the win.

Anyway, despite the N I played, he plays Professor Juniper and get a Max Potion. I have one card left in my deck and I lose.

1-1

Game 3

My start is really, really bad (the one and only during the whole tournamente). Of course it’s the last game of the finals lol. He’s, of course, very aggressive, and during my ‘draw your card-pass your turn’ phase I manage to set up a Zweilous.

But he plays Pokémon Catcher, double PlusPower and Hammerhead; this is when I realized that playing the dark Zweilous makes no point at all. But he used N in order to do this play, and I get two Deino and Computer Search: I take it back with Sableye and the next turn I set up Hydreigon.

But in the meanwhile he played Enhanced Hammer on my Prism Energy, and I know that I won’t use Keldeo-EX effectively; furthermore, I have Mewtwo EX Prized. This situation is too bad, and I can’t come back.

Maybe with Mewtwo EX in the deck I could have done something more: he had two Mewtwo EX on the board, and when the time was called, if I had Mewtwo EX, I could have killed two of them in two turns. And we’d both have had 2 Prizes left.

But having key cards in the Prizes happens, and you can’t do anything to prevent it.

1-2, 5-2

This time I gained a second place with a pretty satisfying outcome, he knew my list (I faced him at the sixth turn in Turin, he was playing Darkrai-Landorus) and he wasn’t surprised by my techs.

This time I want you to notice how the deck has been capable to fight against an unknown deck (Empoleon/Dusknoir, I knew something about it vaguely as some of my team mates were working on it): after losing a match during the swiss, it won two games in a row.

This shows that a Hydreigon deck played this way can really respond to everything. What’s needed from the player is not to make mistakes and, above all, to test a lot in order to understand the most common scenarios and never be caught in surprise. Then luck plays also its part, but you can overcome it.

Conclusion

I hope you liked this first article of mine and also that I haven’t been boring and/or repetitive. Thanks to this deck I managed to obtain the satisfaction I aimed to during the last summer, and, if across the computer screen there is someone as crazy as me to play a Darkrai/Hydreigon with two Darkrai EX and four techs, I’m sure that this deck will have to wait a lot before raising the white flag.

Because what makes it deathless, and I’m certain about this, is the fact that you can do whatever you want with it: any tech works and doesn’t hurt the consistence, and with Max Potion you can use the same tech to KO more Pokémon. This deck can destroy a difficult deck only by adding a card.

But please, keep in mind that this is not an easy deck to play, you need to stay focused and to think about every single choice: the only solution to this is playtesting a lot. I’ve never tested a deck as much as this, at the end of the last summer I dreamt it once or twice, but all those games made mechanical what I need to do against almost all the most common matchups.

And they built me solid basis that let me have a good time against unknown matchups, such as Empoleon/Dusknoir.

In the end, I’d like you to try this list, and, if you feel like doing it, give me a feedback, about the list, a matchup, anything. If there’s something not clear enough or that you’re not convinced on, feel free to ask me, I’ll answer to all of you. Thanks for reading, goodbye!

Reader Interactions

18 replies

  1. Joseph Baggs

    Awesome article man, i really enjoyed the read, your english is very good, i hope to one day see you with an underground article! thank you for a new look at Hydregion, i really like the tech choices, i have seen a few deck lists running 3 prism, and a Kyurem EX tech to 1hko Landorus, and knock out special energy, what so you think about this?

    • Balboa - Stefano Conti  → Joseph

      Thank you TechnoLegend!

      Well, you won’t believe it but… three days ago I participated to the SuperNova Blast (an SPE in Milan) and I actually played with the list above, but with 3 Prism Energy and Kyurem EX in place of Keldeo EX.

      If this article is appreciated, I’ll probably post the report of the SNB with the explanation of Kyurem EX and the three Prism Energy.

      As for now, I just say that IMHO Kyurem EX is overall better than Keldeo, mainly because it KO Landorus EX with the same amount of energy (a darkness energy more isn’t hard to get on the board), and not needing Tool Scrapper. And have you ever thought about discarding a DCE from a Tornadus EX which only has it attached to? Tornadus EX is dangerous for Hydreigon, but Kyurem makes it less and less painful.

      • Joseph Baggs  → Balboa

        Thats awesome! 1 more question Giratina EX? shoots right thru Siglyph even with an Eviolite attached, and it seems like you run enough Blend/Prism to have it work. also 1 shots rayquaza, and his second attack for 130 is really great at 1HKOs on Terrakion NVI’s and other similar hp pokemon. i think he also makes your fighting match up better, as it can 2hko anyone no mater what.

        • Balboa - Stefano Conti  → Joseph

          I don’t like Giratina EX, especially because of his second attack: you can’t afford to discard three cards from your deck, never. What makes this list work, is that every card is absolutely needed (the only exception are, maybe, the candies). Furthermore, 130 damage isn’t so huge a damage: Hydreigon does 140 anyway, if I needed to do a lot of damage.

          As for the RayEels match-up, yes, you KO their Rayquaza EX. But they’re KOing you back, and you’re losing four energies and a two prize worth Pokemon. Give up on the RayEels match-up, you’d need to play a list built on purpose to win that match-up, but that loses against anything else.

          As for KOing Terrakion, there’s already Hydreigon, that does it very well; I know that you discard two energies, but you can afford it. A mistake not to be done with a Hydreigon conception like this, is having too many ways to do the same thing: every card is essential, and you have to have as less dead draws as possible.

        • Joseph Baggs  → Balboa

          I see your point, but it is one of the better options agianst a Siglyph deck, but then agian they run 3 enhanced hammers, thats just not a good match up for any EX deck is it…

        • Balboa - Stefano Conti  → Joseph

          Sigilyph decks are so nonsense; since they need three energies to attack, and they do very little damage, you can do almost whatever you want. And if they put down Mewtwo EX, enjoy it. These is what you should follow:
          – play Blend Energy only when you’re going to attack with Hydreigon
          – play Prism Energy only when you’re going to withstand a KO, in order to Retaliate. If they don’t Hammer it, Land Crush the next turn

          You don’t have any energy left? Keep using Max Potion and when the time is up you’ll have the prize lead.

          Anyway, I’m not and I’ll never be about to tech against Quad Sigilyph. Can’t waste a slot for such a little played deck.

        • Grant Manley  → Balboa

          Well it’s not just against a Sigilyph deck, but also against any deck with Sigilyph. Giratina can also help against Dragons. Could be a useful inclusion, just saying.

  2. Grant Manley

    Very long.
    Very informative.
    All the grammer made me cry :
    I know it’s not your fault though.
    You had two Regionals in two weeks???
    Must be really easy to get the worlds invite…

    • Balboa - Stefano Conti  → Grant

      Two Regionals in two weeks but less than ten Regionals in all (more than half of them are more than four hours far from where I live).

      Anyway, even if Italy isn’t the greatest Pokemon country in the world, players’ level here is very high, more than you probably think. Italian good players are like American good players… They’re just much less than them…

  3. Beau LeBlond

    Did you ever play Ho-oh? Also I would like to know the matchup is against Ho-oh

    • Balboa - Stefano Conti  → Beau

      Yes, I did, but with so many Keldeo-Blastoise around, here in Italy they are less popular – so I didn’t consider it in my match-ups analysis.

      This match-up is like any other big basics deck match-up: set up your Hydreigon, play N and counter all of your opponent’s Pokemon on the board. Since Ho-Oh lists don’t usually play Enhanced Hammers, play a lot of Prism Energy and wait your opponent to Rebirth: two easy prizes with Kyurem/Keldeo EX, when you feel like drawing them.

      Of course Terrakion is painful, but you can work around it: attack Mewtwo EX with Night Spear, Dragonblast and Psydrive, and if you really can’t avoid Terrakion, kill it with Hydreigon. Never do a KO with Darkrai EX, and try to always use N before you do a KO, in order not to let them find the Catcher.

      Like any other big basics deck, N hurts A LOT Ho-Oh deck. Don’t worry if they’re 3-4 prizes ahead, you can still turn the tables. And it’s not a rare thing at all. Keep this in mind and you’ll have a good time against red birds decks ;)

  4. Franco L III

    I like this article. I agreed with a lot of things that you said with the matchups as I played Darkrai/Hydreigon for a time. I also learned a few things from this. I’m surprised at how well your list worked and I NEVER considered two Darkrai. Kudos to you for that! And congrats on the Regionals win! I don’t mind the grammar, the content was excellent.

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