pokemon.theirstar.comHello again everyone, I hope that you all had an enjoyable time at Regionals this past weekend as well as a safe trip back home. Now that Regionals are over it is time once again to review a new set in preparation for State Championships.
But first, let’s take a look at some of the interesting decks that emerged this weekend and examine why they were able to perform so well.
To begin with let’s go over my deck choice. Not much is new about this deck; it has been around since even before our first block of Regionals but one thing that has not changed is the strength of Rayquaza EX.
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 31
2 Random Recevier
Energy – 12
My list could probably be considered bizarre when you compare it to any “standard” Rayquaza/Eelektrik build. Emolga and Tool Scrapper are not completely unheard of in this deck but Ditto and Energy Retrieval however are very unconventional.
BulbapediaI got the idea of playing Ditto from watching Aaron Curry play at the Georgia marathon. The idea is that it lets you keep more Basics on the field at all times. The only times that I was losing to Darkrai decks or Blastoise decks during my testing was when they were able to rid my field of all Eelektriks.
Ditto solved this problem because it was was very tough for my opponents to Knock Out all of my Tynamos and Dittos. If they KO’d a Tynamo from my bench then I would simply transform Ditto into another Tynamo then evolve straight into Eelektrik the same turn. My double Super Rod count allowed me to keep a constant setup of multiple Dittos and Eels thoughout an entire game.
Energy Retrieval played a huge role in my games at Regionals. I used it as a way to access a 5th or even 6th R Energy but also get back a L Energy when I needed it. This card proved to be especially useful against Hammertime and Garbodor decks.
I do not regret playing only three Pokémon Catchers. I still feel like it was a wise decision to cut one for the sake of needing more room in the decklist. I never needed a fourth Catcher in any of my games largely because Rayquaza EX can knockout anything in one attack.
I escaped the Swiss rounds with a 7-2 record, losing very close games to a Garbodor deck round 2 and a Hammertime deck in round 7. Unfortunately my run was ended in top 32 when I was paired against Dylan Bryon’s Hammertime/Garbodor deck.
Not only was I crippled by the loss of my Dynamotors but he was able to Hammer away the Energies that I manually attached.
If I could go back and start over I would still play this deck with only one change, dropping a Shiny Rayquaza and adding either a second Tool Scrapper or a Fliptini. I felt like this was a very strong play for Regionals because of how well it performed against Blastoise and Hammertime decks.
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 39
Energy – 9
plaidcushion.deviantart.comWhile I was in Virginia this weekend I saw a ton of Garbodor decks. I even had to play against them during my first and second rounds and in top cut. This particular Garbodor variant is the only one that I ever considered playing for Regionals.
My reasoning behind this being the only viable Garbodor option is simple. Any deck without Energy acceleration takes an auto-loss to Hammertime and I felt that Hammertime was way to good to ignore.
This deck was effective because of how prevalent Abilities were at Regionals. There is not much in the Pokémon TCG right now that compares to being able to shut off Abilities such as Deluge, Dynamotor, and Dark Trance.
The biggest reason that I chose not to pilot this deck myself at Regionals is its weak matchup against all other Darkrai decks, even Hydreigon. Gold Potion however can be enough to sometimes swing a Darkrai matchup in your favor.
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 35
Energy – 12
Honestly this seems like a great deck for Regionals; big Mewtwos and Sigilyphs counter Blastoise/Keldeo-EX decks very well. Mewtwo EX is so strong on its own with a lot of Energies attached that it can honestly compete with anything that you throw at it.
Players have laughed at the thought of Mewtwo/Gardevoir being a viable deck since its release in Next Destinies. James Proctor saw the potential that not many others did, taking his overlooked deck all the way to top 8.
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 37
Energy – 9
pokemon-paradijs.comPerhaps the most suprising deck to appear at Regionals was played at both Florida and Virginia by two big name players. Aaron Curry piloted this deck all the way to the Top 8 of Florida Regionals crushing many Blastoise decks along the way. Curran Hill also played this deck in Virginia but did not make it into the top cut.
Once again the strength that Garbodor provides is almost to obvious. This time Garbodor is supported by a Pokémon that a lot of players including myself always hoped to avoid playing against last season. Accelgor plus Garbodor form a highly annoying yet effective team.
This Garbodor variant has an easier time then most others against Hammertime because Accelgor attacks for just a Double Colorless and sends the Energy safely back to the deck.
One more thing to note is how great this deck functions against Blastoise/Keldeo-EX by abusing their Grass Weakness.
For those of you that have not yet seen any Regionals results posted I’ll fill you in with the information I have found:
1) Andrew Krekler – Blastoise/Keldeo-EX/Keldeo BCR 47
2) Jando Luna – Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX/Garbodor
3/4) Dan Richard – Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX/Garbodor
3/4) Kevin Forbes – Blastoise/Keldeo-EX
1) Brent Siebenkittel – Blastoise/Keldeo-EX
2) Harrison Leven – Blastoise/Keldeo-EX
3) Daniel Lopez – Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX/Bouffalant
4) Justin Sanchez – Tornadus EX
1) Trevore Read – Rayquaza EX/Eelektrik
2) Matthew Chin – Rayquaza EX/Eelektrik
3/4) Chase Maloney – Rayquaza EX/Eelektrik
3/4) Karl Angeles – Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX/Bouffalant
1) Alex Gardner – Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX/Tornadus EX/Terrakion
2) Sammy Sosa – RayquazaEX/Emolga/Eelektrik
3) Matt Gaudet – Blastoise/Keldeo-EX
4) Stefan Tabaco – Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX/Bouffalant
(Did anyone else think about baseball when they saw the results for California?)
1) Ray Cipoletti – Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX/Bouffalant
2) Dylan Bryon – Darkrai EX/Sableye/Garbodor
3) Michael Skoran – Blastoise/Keldeo-EX
4) Azul Garcia Griego – Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX/Bouffalant
Now that we have covered Regionals let’s jump straight into our soon to be newest expansion – Plasma Storm. After looking through all of the Japanese scans and translations I am really excited to get my hands on the new cards. In this section I will quickly go over my thoughts on some of the new cards that I expect to make an impact on our new format.
BulbapediaLugia EX has the same Ability that Rayquaza & Deoxys LEGEND had which allows you to take an extra Prize card whenever Lugia Knocks Out one of your opponent’s Pokémon. This Ability is undeniably strong, however Lugia does not come without some glaring weaknesses. A simple Bolt Strike from Zekrom BLW will 1HKO any Lugias brave enough to cross its path.
Lugia’s high Energy cost along with the necessity to discard a Plasma Energy every time you attack with Plasma Gale means that it likely needs the aid of other Pokémon to combat high Hit Point Pokémon.
This card has already received a ton of hype, but will Lugia EX actually live up to it? My answer is that we may not see its true potential until after States. Lugia EX will get a huge boost whenever Thundurus EX is released outside of Japan. For now players will have to find more creative ways to get the most out of Lugia’s stellar Ability.
A lot of players seem to think that Metal Pokémon will make a strong showing at States this year led by Plasma Storm Klinklang protecting all of their Pokémon from EXs. While I see the potential I am not yet convinced due to Metal Pokémon lacking any form of reliable Energy acceleration aside from Colress Machine and Ether.
This strategy can also be countered by teching a V-create Victini into your deck.
Cobalion-EX’s success will largly depend on the viablilty of the new Klinklang. A one Energy attack that can discard Special Energies is a nice asset to have when paired against decks that heavily rely on them.
BulbapediaWhen I first saw Magnezone’s translations I was very excited. The advantage you gain over your opponent by playing two Supporters a turn is huge. Unfortunately Magnezone does not have many good qualities other than its Ability.
Magnezone’s Stage 2 status will likely keep it from seeing any competitive play for quite some time. Stage 2s can be inconsistent and take up a lot of deck space.
Thankfully due to Magnezone’s built in consistency I could see it following the same foot steps of Magnezone Prime. Magnezone Prime was awful when it was first released in our SP heavy format but later turned out to be possibly the strongest card in the entire card pool for Nationals and Worlds.
Since the beginning of my Pokémon career removing Weakness from a Pokémon is something I have seen countless players strive to achieve. Primarily it has been attempted through Stage 2 Pokémon such as Exploud SV or Leavanny NVI. These attempts have rarely been met with success mainly because it requires you to set up a Stage 2 Bench-sitter.
Plasma Frigate is a much more feasible option for removing Weakness. This only requires 1-2 deck spaces and can easily be searched out by cards like Skyla. None of this comes with out a price though as this is strategy is counter easily by simply replacing Plasma Frigate with another Stadium.
In our current format there are already a number of decks that could benefit in some way from this Stadium card such as:
- Lugia EX + Tornadus EX losing their Weakness to Zekrom BLW and Raikou-EX
- Darkrai EX losing its Weakness to Terrakion NVI and Landorus-EX
- Plasma Klinklang losing its Weakness to V-create Victini
- Mewtwo EX losing its weakness to itself
Colress Machine + Plasma Energy
BulbapediaAccess to Energy acceleration of any form is never a bad thing. Lugia EX seems to be one of the Pokémon that benefits the most from this combination in our current format. Klinklang decks can also make use of the extra Energy attachments.
Ether is a great form of Energy acceleration when paired with Pokédex or Lunatone PLS. What makes Ether so unique is that it is not type specific like nearly all other acceleration we currently have access to. Ether should make a lot of Big Basic decks playable that would fail otherwise.
I fully expect to see Ether played in numerous decks come State Championships time.
Expect to see this card played at States – it is useful for many reasons. Just like Warp Point in the past, Escape Rope provides players with a flexible Trainer card. Escape Rope can act as a Switch, a 5th Pokémon Catcher, or even both at the same time.
Having a draw card in the form of a Trainer is not a luxury that I can ever remember having in my somewhat short Pokémon career. Bicycle is a great card, however its usefulness is quite limited considering it only allows you to draw until you have 4 cards in your hand.
Hypnotoxic Laser + Virbank City Gym
BulbapediaThe combination of Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym is extremely powerful. Think of it like a triple PlusPower with the potential to put your opponent to sleep, then if they don’t change their active Pokémon your Laser just acted as six or even nine PlusPowers!
I expect nearly every Big Basic deck to include several copies of this card because they generally have a lot more free space than Evolution decks.
Many Darkrai decks will use this combination to help counter benched Terrakions. With a Pokémon Catcher and a Hypnotoxic Laser a Terrakion will be Knocked Out even if it manages to go back to the bench thanks to Night Spear’s bench damage the following turn.
It is also helpful to know that if you are able to Knock Out one of your opponent’s Pokémon with Poison damage from a Laser, it does not trigger Retaliate’s effect. Retailate only does extra damage when a Pokémon is Knocked Out by damage from an attack.
I have been waiting for Colress since I first saw the scan. We need as many playable Supporters as we can get right now. Even though Colress can net you a ton of cards once both you and your opponent have set up it is important to realize how weak Colress can be during the first few turns of a game, meaning that decks will likely only opt to include 2-3 copies.
Scramble Switch + Dowsing Machine
Both of the new ACE SPECs will surely see a lot of play but how should one choose the right ACE SPEC for their deck? Well, until playtesting and tournament results are in it is hard to say. Gold Potion is great in speed Darkrai decks, Scramble Switch is good in Big Basic decks, and Computer Search/Dowsing Machine is great for any deck.
Dowsing Machine vs. Computer Search
There has been a lot of debate going on about which one of the two consistency ACE SPECs are better. I honestly could not tell you which one is the best yet, but I can point out the advantages of both.
BulbapediaEarly game Dowsing Machine is clearly outclassed by Computer Search’s ability to get any card you want from your deck. Since Dowsing Machine is limited to only getting a Trainer card back from your discard pile it does not provide a lot of flexibility like it could later in the game.
Mid to Late game
Dowsing Machine’s time to shine is mid to late game after you have already used up a good chunk of your resources so that you have a wide range of options to choose from. Mid to late game Dowsing Machine is going to be the better card in a lot of situations. For example, you would always want to reuse a Professor Juniper from your discard pile instead of having to take one from your deck.
Another advantage for Computer Search is that it can search out more than just a Trainer card. Sometimes all you need to do is get a Blastoise out of your deck to complete your set up, or maybe you need a Double Colorless Energy to attach to your Mewtwo EX, Dowsing Machine is not much help in those situations.
So while Computer Search is good at all stages of a game and provides more versatility, Dowsing Machine is better at conserving valuable resources. I think it is safe to say that Dowsing Machine is worth the $12 price tag that Troll and Toad has given it.
New Decks with New Cards
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 35
Energy – 11
BulbapediaThe strength of this deck comes directly from Klinklang’s Ability that prevents Pokémon-EX from damaging your Metal Pokémon.
Cobalion NVI adds another level of disruption to your opponent with its Iron Breaker attack, forcing them to switch their Pokémon.
Cobalion-EX applies pressure to you opponent’s Pokémon very fast, dishing out damage starting from turn one. Cobalion-EX also removes Special Energies from play adding yet another level of disruption to your arsenal.
This deck loves Escape Rope because it needs a high number of Pokémon Catchers and Switches. Escape Rope can help act as either one of those cards while saving valuable deck space.
Both Level Ball and Team Plasma’s Poké Ball were included as 1-ofs to improve consistency and also to make Skyla even more valuable. With both of these cards Skyla can now directly search for either Klink, Klinklang, or Cobalion-EX without having to discard resources with Ultra Ball.
Colress Machine helps this deck in a big way by attaching an extra Energy to your Cobalion-EXs. Another, possibly better way to go about getting Energy acceleration would be to simply the deck and fill the spots with extra M Energy as well as Lunatone/Pokédex and Ethers. That version of the deck would look something like this.
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 34
Energy – 13
Closing Thoughts on Plasma Metals: In my opinion this deck feels like a stronger version of Quad Sigilyph. In theory this deck should be very strong against a majority of the metagame but take a very hard matchup against Hammertime, probably even an auto-loss.
Lugia EX + Friends
Pokémon – 9
Trainers – 35
1 Plasma Frigate
Energy – 16
pokemon-paradijs.comThe strategy behind this deck is to start out with Tornadus EX using Blow throw with a Stadium in play to drop Pokémon-EX’s HP down to 120. Once Lugia EX has enough Energy attached it will come in and finish off your opponents EXs giving us an extra prize for each knockout.
This deck is able to take advantage of two different forms of Energy acceleration, Colress Machine for Plasma Energy and Ether for basic Energies. We can also abuse Double Colorless Energy which is roughly the same thing as attaching twice in one turn.
V-create Victini was added as an answer to the new Klinklang decks as well as providing us with another attacker that can dish out a solid amount of damage.
I chose to go with Scramble Switch over the other options so that I can keep my early aggression going for as long as possible by switching out my attackers and Energy.
Pokémon – 11
3 Tornadus-EX DEX
Trainers – 36
4 Professor Juniper
4 Pokémon Catcher
3 Hypnotoxic Laser
1 Computer Search/Dowsing Machine
Energy – 13
BulbapediaThis Big Basic deck completely revolves around speed. Our preferred starter is Tornadus EX giving us a turn one 90 damage in a high percentage of our games.
With our high Mewtwo EX and Hypnotoxic Laser count we are never scared of entering a Mewtwo war.
This deck is very consistent for two major reasons.
- We need very little resources to immediately and consistently put out huge amounts of damage.
- Pokédex brings another level of consistency to decks in our states format. Not only does Pokédex help us get our basic Energies to the top of our deck but it can also be used to hunt for Supporters. Even if we do not have any Supporters, if we are able to do 60 or more damage on our first turn then we are still in good shape.
Terrakion and Bouffalant give us very strong attackers against Klinklang decks as well as any Darkrai decks.
This deck is in a great position to do well at States.
Pokémon – 7
Trainers – 34
4 Professor Juniper
4 Ultra Ball
3 Energy Switch
Energy – 12
BulbapediaThis deck aims to pump out a ton of damage as soon as possible. With quad Dark Patch, quad Ether, and triple Energy Switch this can even happen as early as the first turn.
A turn one or two Night Spear paired with a lot of extra damage from Hypnotoxic Lasers will tear through an opponent’s setup in a matter of turns, taking Prizes faster than any other deck out there.
I could even see myself removing the Lasers and adding even more cards that contribute to the turn one Night Spear because it really is that devastating.
I went with Gold Potion this time to gain an advantage against other Speed decks and other Darkrai decks. Computer Search would however work extremely well by putting our D Energies in the discard pile for Dark Patch and getting us any card that we may need to achieve our turn one Night Spear.
Personally I feel like this is currently one of our top decks. There is not a single deck in our format that can easily handle a turn one Night Spear, especially if they are forced to go second.
A few key notes to keep in mind while your testing the new format:
- Knocking Out a Pokémon with Poison damage does not activate Retaliate.
- Pokédex makes all decks more consistent.
- Experiment with a wide range of attackers in Big Basic decks; Ether opens up a lot of options we have never had before.
- If Klinklang decks become popular then it is a good idea to have enough non-EX attackers in your deck so that you can attack Metal Pokémon.
- Practice with all of the ACE SPEC cards so that you can see which one works best for you.
- It is tempting to play four Colress in decks but it lacks much needed early game consistency.
- Keldeo-EX and counter Stadiums are great techs with all of the Hypnotoxic Lasers that will be around.
pokemon.theirstar.comI hope you are all as excited as I am test begin testing with our States metagame. Plasma Storm seems to be very promising set, giving us even more new decks in an already versatile format.
If you liked this article please remember to click the “Like” button at the bottom and please let me know if there is anything that you think I could improve on in the future. I will be sure to report back with all of my testing results soon.
In the meantime be on the lookout for a ton of new and exciting decks brought to you by other Underground writers in the coming weeks.
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