Still in a Trance: Hydreigon BLW–PLS UK Cities Report

jesse james team rocket
Taking a peek at the new format in action.

Hello 6P, its Matthew King here with a new article about my latest City Championship, the third of which I have now attended, but this time it’s a BLW–PLS tournament so we were able to get a decent view of what the new metagame would look like for the first time.

Most people won’t have attended an official BLW–PLS tournament so far, so the content covered in this article might be of interest to a lot of people who would be interested in seeing what the popular and powerful decks in the new metagame will be.

The Deck Choice

Having not completed a lot of testing with the new set due to the tournament being on the weekend after the sets release I was uncertain about what deck to bring with me to the tournament. I decided in the end that the best deck choice to bring would be something that I was comfortable with, and had done a lot of testing in the past with it I decided to opt for Darkrai/Hydreigon once more.

The Decklist

Pokémon – 16

3 Deino DRX 93
3 Hydreigon DRX 97
3 Darkrai-EX DEX
3 Sableye DEX
1 Keldeo-EX
1 Mewtwo-EX NXD
1 Sigilyph DRX
1 Terrakion NVI

Trainers – 31

4 Professor Juniper
3 N
3 Skyla
2 Colress


4 Max Potion
3 Dark Patch
3 Pokémon Catcher
3 Rare Candy
3 Ultra Ball
1 Super Rod
1 Tool Scrapper
1 Computer Search

Energy – 13

6 D
4 Prism
3 Blend GRPD

Background on the Deck

I am certain that most people are familiar with the basic game plan around Darkrai/Hydreigon, but for those who are not, the main attacker is Darkrai EX which aims to use its Night Spear attack throughout most of the game with Hydreigon DRX there to move Energies onto and off of Darkrai EX without needing to discard them for Max Potion healing. The other attackers are there to counter various different decks which are either bad matchups or are popular decks.

It is a deck that in its original form used to be a Tier 1 if not even BDIF deck around the time of Battle Roads, but since then has dipped in popularity a lot, in particular in the Masters and Juniors divisions.

It is still used by a number of people however and most people would rate the deck in between Tier 1 and Tier 2 at the moment, as it has no real auto-losses, and is decent versus most decks apart from Landorus-EX-Mewtwo EX variations and Garbodor decks.

There are two main variations of the deck that are popular now. The original version of the deck revolves around using Darkness and Blend Energies with Darkrai EX the main attacker, with Hydreigon DRX as the supporting attacker versus decks with attackers such as Terrakion NVI.

blend-energy-wlfm-dragons-exalted-drx-118pokemon-paradijs.comThe other is a new variation that appeared around the time that Cities started for the first time, this new variation focuses more on Prism Energies rather than Blend Energies, and runs a wider range of tech attackers to counter different matchups.

For example, Keldeo-EX is teched in to help Knock Out Landorus-EX in one hit, while Terrakion NVI helps in mirror matchups versus other Darkrai EX variations by Knocking Out their Darkrai EXs in one hit and turning the game around.

There are advantages of both variations. At first I felt that the Prism variation was better in general, however now I am running a 4-3 Prism-Blend line, compared to the 4-0 Prism-Blend line that I have used before at the start of testing the Boundaries Crossed legal version of this deck.

I felt that running 3 Blend Energies in order to use Hydreigon’s attack helped a lot versus the Blastoise matchup as it was able to Knock it Out in one hit with a Pokémon Catcher, and is also now a crucial attacker in the Klinklang matchup as I will explain later.

Other than the addition of more Blends into the list as I have continued to test, I have changed little of the deck. I decided to remove the Eviolites and Giant Capes I were running in testing due to the introduction of Hypnotoxic Laser and Cobalion-EX which both made them quite useless in keeping Pokémon alive.

I decided to replace them with a fourth Max Potion for consistent healing to attackers such as Darkrai EX now that all attackers would be Knocking them Out in two hits, and a second Colress for more draw support, as well as a third Blend attachment as mentioned earlier.

Apart from that, the list is almost identical to the list I used in the last BLW–BCR Cities event that I attended, as I am running an identical Pokémon line to the one which I used in the London Cities Championship were I finished fourth.

I was tempted to add one Victini NVI with the V-create attack, but I knew that it wasn’t going to be a terrible matchup for me, and I wasn’t certain on how popular the deck would be so in the end I decided to remain without it, and keep the Pokémon list identical to the one I used before.

The Tournament Report

The tournament was to be 4 rounds of best of 3 matches with a top cut of 2. As such I knew it was crucial to win the first three matches if I wanted to make the cut.

Round 1 vs. Alaa – Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX/Bouffalant DRX/Hammers

Alaa was my opponent in the last round of London Cities, where I lost to him and missed out on the top cut so I was looking for revenge here, but knew that he would be a tough opponent.

Game 1
Disappointing opponents since 2012.

We were both running the same decks as when we last faced each other so we both knew what to expect from each other. From what I remember he didn’t set up that well in the first game at the start and I was able to set up a decent board of attackers and Hydreigon DRX quite soon into the game.

He was however able to get some crucial Enhanced Hammers to get rid of some of my Special Energies, allowing him to start setting up his attackers, but it wasn’t long until I was able to start attacking with my Sigilyph DRX and Darkrai EX. A couple of crucial Max Potions later in the game sealed the win.

Game 2

This match was quite similar to the first, except he never got set up quite as well with his Bouffallant DRXs, and once I got my Hydreigons out I steamrolled through his main attackers and won the game without too much effort. With Max Potion available to heal off my attackers in the Darkrai EX wars, which were common on this matchup.

His Enhanced Hammers were once again problems to my attackers, this time nearer the end of the match, but I was able to get enough Energies out to resist them, and by then I had too large of a lead to be under a lot of serious pressure and the game was mine for the taking, as I had too large of a lead by the time he was set up.


Round 2 vs. Chris – Blastoise BCR/Keldeo-EX/Mewtwo EX

I hadn’t seen Chris for a while since Regionals, and I have battled him just once when I beat him in the second round of Horsham Battle Roads. I knew he was a tough match however, and that he was a former Worlds attendee too.

Game 1
Annoying opponents since 2012.

I started Sigilyph DRX and walled with it for a number of turns, with both of us having poor hands. I managed to set up a couple of turns later however, and with him still struggling to get set up I Knocked Out his Squirtles and by then the match was nearing completion, and he just scooped the game as there was little he could have done to win at that point.

Game 2

This game was quite similar to the first one, and he was quite upset to see another Sigilyph DRX start this game. I was able to set up better than before however, and even with his Tropical Beaches out he was still drawing dead. I Knocked Out a Mewtwo EX and something else before he scooped, and then decided to drop from the tournament.


Game 3 vs. GreenPepperKlinklang PLS/Cobalion NVI/Registeel-EX

I have never faced this person in a tournament before, but I have seen them around in multiple tournaments beforehand and in all the previous tournaments they have been running Speed Darkrai EX I believe. This time however it was a different deck, and the first of the new decks that I have seen.

Game 1

I managed to get off to a decent start and set up my board rather well. From what I can remember it took my opponent a while to set up their Klinklang and I was able to Knock Out a couple of Klinks with a Darkrai EX.

By the time my opponent had set up their Klinklang PLS I had enough Energies out to get an attack or two off with Hydreigon DRX, I was able to Pokémon Catcher out their benched Klinklang PLS and Knock it Out.

From then on a couple of crucial Max Potions on Darkrai EX allowed me to knockout a Cobalion NVI and Registeel-EX for the win I believe. It was a hard fought and important win.

Game 2

My opponent got set up a little better in this one I believe, and was able to get a Klinklang PLS and Cobalion NVI out attacking quicker than before. By the time I was completely set up I was a little behind in the match but it was still far from over.

I was able to get some Energies on the board and got off a couple of attacks with Hydreigon DRX Knocking Out a Cobalion NVI and Klinklang PLS. It was a tough match, but a couple of Max Potions stopped him from taking another knockout, and eventually he ran out of Energies to attack with and I won the match.


Game 4 vs. sibon Garbodor DRX/Mewtwo EX/Landorus-EX/Terrakion NVI

I knew this would be a tough match for me because this was a horrible matchup for my deck, but this particular game wouldn’t matter because even if I lost I was guaranteed a place in the top cut versus Sam.

Game 1

800px-RB25 garbodor mangaBulbapedia
A menace to society (and my deck).

Sam had terrible draws. I set up well and started attacking soon into the match with a Hydreigon DRX in play too. He failed to draw Energies for the first couple of turns and by then I had quite the lead.

Nothing really went his way the whole game, and even though he did eventually start attacking, it was too late by then to mount a comeback. And his Garbodor didn’t stick on the field for long at all.

Game 2

Sam had a better start this game, and although I set up quite well too, he managed to start attacking faster than before and was able to set up a couple of Garbodors too. He ended up taking the game without too much effort as there was little I could do once he was set up.

Game 3

This game was quite similar to the last one, except this time it was even better for him, as he set up two Garbodors with Tools and a number of attackers. He steamrolled my deck before I was able to get properly set up, and by the time I did it was too late for me to win.


The Top Cut

Deck Check

At this point in the tournament we had a deck check before the top cut match. I had never had a deck check before so I was a little nervous as my sleeves were not in excellent condition, due to some rather aggressive shuffling from an earlier opponent who was in a bad mood.

However I was fine and good to go (although I would have had to replace almost all my sleeves). My opponent however, who is one of my good friends, had marks in the top corner of a few cards.

The head judge claimed this was too significant to ignore so he was disqualified from the tournament, which is fair enough as he didn’t have too much of an option. Being a good friend of mine I know that he wouldn’t have cheated on purpose, but there was nothing I could do and I was given the tournament win. While I was pleased to win I was disappointed by how it ended up coming about after what had been a great day.

The Good

  • Winning a Cities Championship for the first time and the trophy.
  • Getting 50 Championship Points putting me up to 125 Points.
  • Winning Plasma Booster Packs for winning and decent pulls.
  • My friend getting Top 4 at Cities for the first time this season.
  • Learning about the new metagame and getting good testing.
  • Great trades with people.

The Bad

  • My friend getting disqualified before our top cut battle.
  • The weather was horrible on the trip back home.
  • Not being able to get a hold of a Black Kyurem-EX PLS.

Thanks for reading the article, please comment and rate.

Reader Interactions

13 replies

  1. Aidan Boyce

    Nice article and congrats on the win! I had a feeling that there wouldn’t be too many PLS decks, but it must feel nice beating a Klinklang deck!

  2. Mark Hanson

    Bu-wha!? Do you mean his sleeves had what could be seen as marks on them? That’s a pretty harsh penalty, even if Cities are a higher tier of tournament. That’s the first time I’ve heard of someone actually being DQ’d for marked cards after making top cut. Congrats on the win!

    • Matthew King  → Mark

      Yeah 3 of the cards had identical creases in the top corner, and those three cards happened to be his 2 Garbodor and 1 Computer Search. Still thought it was a little harsh, but I understand the judges point of view.

      • Ziggmiceter  → theo

        It was before top cut, not in a round. I think that the judge assumed they were creased the whole tournament and he had cheated, which was obviously not true. It’s interesting because sibon had won multiple Cities, and normally the better players don’t cheat. That was definitely a way too harsh call.

        • Matthew King  → Ziggmiceter

          He does know Sibon, and that he wouldn’t cheat. However the judge has to be as fair as possible and cannot show bias at all. Even if its a former world champion, they have to be treated the same as a complete noob etc. He is a knowledgeable judge who is in charge of almost all of the tournaments and he also had a team of other judges with him so I doubt he would have made a completely incorrect decision.

      • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → theo

        Before you question the judgement of the judge, you should know 2 things

        1. He is head of UK Pokemon, is invited to judge at Worlds every year, and is always scrupulously fair.
        2. The marked cards in question were the 2 Garbodor and CPU Search

        He would not have made that call unless he had no choice. You can think it’s harsh if you want, but it was absolutely by the book.

        • theo Seeds  → Jak

          Good judges make bad decisions. I don’t disagree that he’s generally a good judge, but I definitely don’t agree with the call.

          Especially if sibon was running Ultra Ball. 2 Garbodor and Computer Search aren’t the only outs to Garbodors.

          How big were the creases?

        • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → theo

          DQs are not given out lightly. In 6 years of playing, this is only the 3rd DQ I know of in the UK. The judge would not have done it unless he was very sure.

          I don’t know how you can sit there thousands of miles away, with second hand information, and think that you know better than one of the most experienced and careful judges in the world. Are you basing it on anything more than ‘I don’t believe this guy I know from a forum would cheat’?

      • John Rosen  → theo

        For one of my cities i had been playing with my older sleeves and had made top cut. During deck checks, one judge told me to replace my sleeves without giving a penalty at all. I guess someone was having a bad day.

        • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → John

          You do realise that there is a difference between playing with worn sleeves and having 3 crucial cards distinctively marked, don’t you? If not, I suggest you go away and think about it for a bit.

          Unless you know the circumstances, you have no business making snide comments about people ‘having a bad day’.

  3. Guest

    You can’t condone cheating in this day and age, its 2013, Pokemon has evolved to the point, that guilty parties will be caught instantaneously. its not hard to stack or mark and deck, your just pretty silly not to keep an eye on the conditioning of your sleeves if you have played at high level tournaments. The TO at this tournament is G!

  4. Nitish Doolub

    You can’t condone cheating in this day and age, its 2013, Pokemon has evolved to the point, that guilty parties will be caught instantaneously. its not hard to stack or mark and deck, your just pretty silly not to keep an eye on the conditioning of your sleeves if you have played at high level tournaments. The TO at this tournament is G!

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