The Lurkers of Tier 2

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Easter bunny hiding easter eggs. (Maybe.)

Ahhhh, the month of March! Most people tend to care about this month because of college basketball or certain holidays (St. Patrick’s Day and the occasional Easter, right?). Not me, however.

I like March because it is the month of State Championships – some of my favorite tournaments of the year. State Championships keep the local feel of City Championships and Battle Roads while also bringing in an extra element of competition reminiscent of Regionals and Nationals. It is a happy medium and I love playing in them!

Last week Jay and Mark wrote two fabulous articles that started our Underground conversation on the 2013 State Championships. Naturally, I want to continue that conversation as we only have a few days before States begin. Jay focused more on general strategies for success while Mark focused on the Tier 1 decks for the format. They covered quite a bit of ground, so coming up with ideas for my own article was a bit tough. I think I came up with something good, however. I hope you agree!

I spent the weekend play testing with my good friends Brit Pybas, Zach Zamora, Edan Lewis, and Dema Boatman here in St. Louis. We played hours and hours worth of games. Lots of fun and lots of learning. I shared an overview of my results on Sunday at the Celadon City Gym, but I reserved some very detailed elements of my testing for the Underground.

Anyway, the Tier 1 decks right now are Darkrai EX/Lasers, /Eelektrik, and . Some may throw Tornadus EX/Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX into that bunch, but I am a bit underwhelmed by the deck. It certainly has a great deal of donk potential, but loses a lot of its steam after the first few turns of the game.

Jay and Mark gave you quality lists and discussion for these four decks, so I will not do that. I want to talk about the lurkers of the second tier: and Klinklang. Mark presented some lists for these two variants, but I think Garbodor and Klinklang should be taken in a different direction.

I will get to that in a bit but, before I do that, I need to address a question you may be asking yourself: why am I only writing about these two variants and none of the other Tier 2 decks?

The reason why I am writing about both Garbodor and Klinklang is because they share a very common theme. If any of the Tier 1 decks are not prepared for them, all three will probably lose to Garbodor and Klinklang. All three of them rely heavily upon EX’s and Abilities. If they cannot take advantage of their EX’s or their Abilities, they will likely lose.

That is probably obvious to all of you, so now I want to start getting into some of the less obvious ideas about these decks!

Garbodor

garbodor-dragons-exalted-drx-54pokemon-paradijs.comRegardless of the attackers paired with Garbodor (within reason), Garbotoxin is probably enough to annihilate Eelektrik and Blastoise variants (unless the lists are prepared for Garbodor). Darkrai EX is not as weak to Garbotoxin since Dark Cloak is not as crucial as Dynamotor and Deluge. Also, Sableye can really mess with Garbodor by reusing Pokémon Catcher and taking advantage of Garbodor’s large Retreat Cost.

Since Darkrai EX is a part of the best deck in the format, it would behoove the Garbodor player to select an attacker that improves this matchup.

The obvious choice is Landorus-EX. Landorus-EX improves the Eelektrik matchup even further and, with the help of Garbotoxin, is actually quite potent against Blastoise. Hammerhead is just an incredibly powerful attack and the threat of Land’s Judgement is always looming.

As implied by results from City Championships and Regionals, Landorus-EX works quite nicely with Mewtwo EX. Naturally you would include Double Colorless Energy if you decided to include Mewtwo EX. This non-Fighting Energy works quite nicely as the third Energy needed for Land’s Judgement so you do not have to discard three Energy and wait three turns to use Land’s Judgement again.

Mewtwo EX also gives you a strong response for any Keldeo-EX threats the opponent is able to put together. It is very possible for the Blastoise player to get set up before Garbotoxin comes into play, so the deck needs something to respond to these sorts of situations. Aside from the usefulness of Double Colorless Energy and Mewtwo EX’s strength against Keldeo-EX, Mewtwo EX is just an overall powerful force.

I do not believe any of the deck top three decks right now are playing Mewtwo EX (perhaps some Blastoise and Darkrai players are still liking him?), so Mewtwo EX wars will be far less likely to occur in the coming weeks. This gives an even stronger argument for his inclusion in our Garbodor variant.

So yes, the Garbodor deck I find to be the strongest is the Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX variant that rose to popularity during Winter Regionals. It was good then and is even better now with the release of Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym. Aside from Darkrai EX variants (and maybe some Tornadus EX based decks), Garbodor/Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX gained the most from these two cards.

Why do you ask? There are three reasons…

hypnotoxic laser plasma storm pls 123pokemon-paradijs.com1. With Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym, Landorus-EX can hit the active Pokémon for 60 damage on the first turn of the game. Now Landorus-EX can donk quite a few important Pokémon that he once could not: Squirtle, Klink, Piplup, Gible, etc. Basically any Basic that can become a Stage 2. Increased donk potential is always a good thing for decks.

2. Garbotoxin prevents Rush In and the occasional Busybody from removing the Poison/Sleep status conditions, making Hypnotoxic Laser that much more potent. Most of the time Hypnotoxic Laser just adds an additional 10 or 30 damage to attacks but, with Garbotoxin, it can do a lot more.

3. As mentioned in my last article on Virbank City Gym, Garbodor PLS 66 works quite nicely with the new Stadium (especially in combination with Garbotoxin). Fitting the Plasma Garbodor into lists already playing the Garbotoxin Garbodor will be a lot easier than fitting him into any other deck. Biosmog is a powerful attack when Virbank City Gym is in play and can be very disruptive.

Now that the introduction is out of the way, I would like to share a pretty complete skeleton list followed by some discussion on the deck!

Pokémon – 10

3 Trubbish NVI
2 Garbodor DRX
3 Landorus-EX
2 Mewtwo-EX

Trainers – 34

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
4 Skyla

 

4 Rescue Scarf

 

3 Pokémon Catcher

3 Hypnotoxic Laser
3 Switch
2 Ultra Ball
1 Heavy Ball
1 Level Ball
1 Energy Search

1 Escape Rope

1 Dowsing Machine

 

2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 11

7 Fighting
4 Double Colorless

…which totals up to 55 cards, leaving us with five spots to work with. Before I go into some discussion on what to include in these spots, I want to talk a bit about some of the 55 cards already in the list.

– I have always liked the Trubbish from Noble Victories even though we have gotten quite a few from the new set. The 60 HP trade-off is well worth it when you realize how many uses there are for Garbage Collection. I find myself having to use Garbage Collection in probably one out of every five games for a ton of different reasons.

Sometimes I need to put a Professor Juniper on the top of the deck in order to get out of a bad hand. Sometimes I need to reuse a Pokémon Catcher, Hypnotoxic Laser or Rescue Scarf. You may think you are in a losing position if you have to use Garbage Collection, but that is completely inaccurate. I have won so many games this season just because this Trubbish has such a valuable attack.

dowsing machine plasma storm pls 128Dowsing Machine is preferable to Computer Search because this deck relies on a lot of Trainer cards in order to function properly. Dowsing Machine can serve as an extra Tool after your Garbodor has lost his original Tool (either because he was Tool Scrapped or Knocked Out). Dowsing Machine can serve as an additional Switch that might help you get your Garbodor out of the Active position.

It can act as a third Virbank City Gym, a fourth Pokémon Catcher, another Supporter card… it is just so incredibly useful in here. Erik makes a more eloquent argument for this debate in his last article, so I would refer you there.

– I am not sure if this needs much discussion, but Rescue Scarf is the best Tool for Garbodor right now. It allows you to play a thinner line of Garbodor and more easily keep Garbotoxin online throughout the entirety of the game. If you can keep a Trubbish on your bench and your opponent is able to Knock Out your Garbodor with Rescue Scarf, getting Garbotoxin back online on your next turn is child’s play.

Although Rescue Scarf is basically useless on Landorus-EX and Mewtwo EX, it is good enough with Garbodor to solidify its place in the deck.

– It seems like a lot of people are dropping Skyla from their lists right now, but you cannot do that in Garbodor variants. You have to have her for so many reasons. Finding your Tools, finding your Virbank City Gyms, finding your Switch/Escape Rope after your Garbodor has been Catchered, etc.

Her inclusion is worth having a slower deck for the sake of certainty and reliability. Remember, your opponent will also be playing with a much slower deck as a result of Garbotoxin.

Tech Options

So now to talk about some of the options for the five card slots still available in the skeleton list I provided.

– If you want to increase consistency (always a good idea), you might want to add additional Supporters or Pokémon Search. I do not think Colress is a very good option for this deck (since there are only eight Basic Pokémon), so Bianca or Cheren are probably your best bets. There seems to be some disagreement in the community about which one is better, so use whichever one you like. I like Bianca more.

In regards to extra Pokémon Search, an additional Ultra Ball or Heavy Ball (or both) are good options.

Twelve Supporters is probably a bit low, so I would probably recommend adding at least one or two more. Four Pokémon search may be fine, it just depends on how much space you want to devote to non consistency Trainer cards.

garbodor plasma storm pls 66– I already talked a bit about Garbodor PLS 66, but did not include it in the skeleton list because it is not essential to the deck. I have been a fan of it in testing as it obviously works quite nicely with Virbank City Gym and can sometimes force that seventh Prize (something us Underground writers like to always mention!).

Garbodor PLS really shines toward the end of the game when your opponent has run of out many resources and has about 2 Prizes left. If you send this guy up and play an N, your opponent will have difficulty clinching out the rest of the game, especially if you can get some heads on Biosmog.

If you are comfortable attaching a Rescue Scarf to this Garbodor, you can reuse Biosmog quite a few times. I have yet to employ this strategy, but I can imagine situations where using this guy over and over could be very fruitful. Perhaps against decks that rely heavily upon Double Colorless Energy? Like I said, he is not a staple, but could be very powerful in a pinch.

– Additional counts of Hypnotoxic Laser, Virbank City Gym, or Pokémon Catcher (or all three) might also be a good idea. An increased count of Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym would increase the odds of opening with them and dealing that first turn 60 damage. Getting these cards on the first turn could be enough to win one or two games in the coming weeks, so it is worth considering.

Playing three Virbank City Gym will also solidify your dominance in the Stadium war. Stadium wars have become extremely important right now and having yours stick can lead to victory. When you only play two, you have to consider whether you want to play your Stadium first because it may be harder to keep yours in play.

Most decks that run Stadiums are running two right now, so if you play the first Stadium, your opponent will probably play the last Stadium (unless you are able to Dowsing Machine for Virbank City Gym, of course). Many decks are crippled without their Stadium cards, so a third Virbank City Gym certainly is a strong option.

A fourth Pokémon Catcher might also be a good idea as Pokémon Catcher is crucial for victory in many games. For example, the strategy against Blastoise variants is to Catcher up a Blastoise and use Hammerhead until the Blastoise gets Knocked Out. This allows you to place 150 damage on your opponent’s bench however you would like. The same strategy can also be employed against Darkrai EX variants (to some degree).

Why can you do this? Because these decks typically do not play switching cards and rely upon Keldeo-EX’s Rush In to change active Pokémon. They obviously cannot use this Ability with Garbodor in play, so that is why Pokémon Catcher is especially useful in this matchup.

Of course Pokémon Catcher is also very good at helping Landorus-EX rid the field of Tynamo and Eelektrik. Pokémon Catcher improves matchups against all three of the Tier 1 decks, so it is a very strong option indeed.

eviolite-noble-victories-nvi-91-no-watermark– Four Tool cards may not be enough for Garbodor’s Garbotoxin. I typically have used five or six when I played Garbodor back in the Fall. Of course Skyla was not in the format back then, so it was a lot harder to draw into them. Thus a higher count was certainly needed. Although four Skyla certainly does help pulling the Rescue Scarves out of the deck, she may not be enough.

I would love to be able to play additional Rescue Scarf, but we can only play four. So, if we want to add additional Tools, we will have to pick something that is not Rescue Scarf.

The best options are Eviolite, Exp. Share, and Rocky Helmet. It is hard to say which is better because I am not sure which other three or four other cards you may decide to include in your list. If you decide to add additional Attackers (which I will talk about next), Exp. Share could be very strong. Unfortunately, Exp. Share has lost some of its strength as a result of Hypnotoxic Laser (since a Pokémon Knocked Out from Poison will not share Energy with the bench).

Rocky Helmet gives some benefits to all Pokémon in this variant while Eviolite only helps the Basics. Sometimes you will have to attach a non-Rescue Scarf to Garbodor because it is the Tool you drew into. You would obviously prefer that Tool to be Rocky Helmet so you experience some extra benefit from Tool attachment.

However, if you are wanting to attach to your Landorus-EX or Mewtwo EX, Eviolite may be preferable (it would be preferable to me as I tend to be a more defensive player). Eviolite attached to a Trubbish can also increase the odds that the Trubbish will live long enough to evolve into Garbodor. It is tough to say which Tool is better. Fortunately it will hardly ever matter as all you really want is another Tool so Garbodor has more options.

– Three Landorus-EX and two Mewtwo EX may not be enough attacking options. An additional Mewtwo EX might be helpful, particularly in the Blastoise matchup. You might also consider adding Terrakion or Tornadus EX. Terrakion was a strong choice during the Winter Regionals as it added another Fighting element to the deck that was not weak to Water.

Terrakion has lost some of its strength as a result of Hypnotoxic Laser, however. So I am not so sure how helpful he will be right now as Darkrai EX can easily one shot Terrakion now (with Dark Claw and Hypnotoxic Laser+Virbank City Gym). If you do decide to include Terrakion, Exp. Share might be the Tool of choice as it works well with Retaliate.

Tornadus EX also seems like a natural option as you are already playing Double Colorless Energy and Stadiums. Tornadus EX increases the donk potential and also adds a Fighting resistance to the mix. I always find Tornadus EX very underwhelming (like Cheren), but a lot of people really do like him. The donk potential certainly is appealing, so he really is something you should consider.

These are the options that I would recommend. You could try adding another Switch/Escape Rope or a third Garbotoxin Garbodor, but the above suggestions are probably best. So now that you might have a list put together, let us talk about how this deck will fare in the coming weeks.

Matching Up vs. The Meta

tool scrapper dragons exalted drx 116pokemon-paradijs.comIf you are paired against any of the three Tier 1 decks – and they are not playing Tool Scrapper – you will probably win. Of course Blastoise players can do a lot in first two turns of the game before you get Garbotoxin online, but this is uncommon.

So, that is good! What about things that are not Tier 1? Since Garbotoxin turns off Plasma Steel, this variant will probably do pretty well against Klinklang variants. The rest of the matchups are a bit less positive.

Aside from Darkrai EX things, most Big Basic decks do not rely upon Abilities right now. Tornadus EX variants typically use no Abilities, which makes Garbodor a complete waste of space. Your list will be an inferior version of theirs.

Thus, you have a strong matchup against all the Tier 1 decks and one of the more promising Tier 2 decks with a not so positive matchup with almost all the other competitive decks that are likely to show up in the coming weeks. This simple analysis can become a bit more complicated if the variants you are facing have decided to fit in Tool Scrapper.

As you should already know, a well timed Tool Scrapper can completely turn the tables in this matchup. We tested a lot over the weekend with Tier 1 deck lists running Tool Scrapper and we frequently saw games still won by Garbodor. The one Tool Scrapper wasn’t enough in many of the games. It certainly did help, however!

Is all of this good or bad? Solid odds at beating Tier 1 variants and 50-50 if they are playing Tool Scrapper while hard matchups with almost every other competitive deck? Obviously that depends very much on your metagame and your individual pairings at the event. I will talk more about this toward the end of the article. For now, I would like to move on to the other lurker in the second tier!

Klinklang

klinklang plasma storm pls 90pokemon-paradijs.comAn interesting observation I made over the weekend is that while Garbodor (ignoring what attackers you pair with him) has a very strong advantage over Eelektrik and Blastoise, Klinklang (ignoring what attackers you pair with him) has a strong advantage over Darkrai EX and Blastoise. This may be why Blastoise has fallen a bit from the top of the mountain.

Anyway, why is there not as strong of an advantage against Eelektrik variants? Primarily because most of them are running a non-EX attacker. Historically in the form of Rayquaza DRV, but some are now switching to Victini NVI 15 (V-create). While Klinklang is still pretty good against these variants, his dominance is not as strict as it is against Darkrai EX and Blastoise who have a harder time coming up with non EX options.

Unfortunately, there are not any obvious choices for helping Klinklang improve the not as dominant matchup (unlike Garbodor’s obvious choice in Landorus-EX). You have to play all Metal Pokémon or your deck will lose the advantage gained by Plasma Steel. The best way of dealing with these non-EX attackers is a solid strategy focusing on Energy conservation (to be talked about more later on).

There does seem to be some disagreement within the community about how to best take advantage of Plasma Steel. Some are flocking around Durant NVI while others (including myself) want to focus on a typical, knock-out-their-Pokémon strategy.

I have done very little testing with the Durant variant, so I am by no means an expert but I am skeptical of its effectiveness. Without the disruptive help of Crushing Hammer/Junk Arm, I do not see how Durant can prevent a player from setting up just one non-EX attacker (one is all they need). It could be Rayquaza/Victini in Eelektrik variants or even Blastoise in Blastoise variants. I will concede that Darkrai EX variants will have a tough time coming up with something, but that is beside the point.

Furthermore, the Durant lists I have seen are not as consistent as I would like. Thin lines of Klinklang make it even harder to get Klinklang onto the field, especially considering Tropical Beach is not the ideal play on the first turn (you want to start Devouring). I am sure there will be lots of discussion on this point and I look forward to it.

Like I said, I am not an expert on Durant as I have not done much testing with it. So I will just talk about what I know and like.

There are not that many Metal Pokémon to choose from right now when it comes to attackers. The choice set consists of Cobalion-EX, Cobalion NVI, and Registeel-EX. That is really it.

Lucario PLS 78 has a ton of problems (Riolu is not Metal, Lucario is an evolution with only 100 HP, etc.) and the other Metal options are extremely below average.

The best of the bunch is most certainly Cobalion-EX. Righteous Edge and Steel Bullet are both very formidable attacks especially when Cobalion-EX is behind the veil of Plasma Steel. His potent attacks solidify him as the attacker of choice for offensive Klinklang variants. I will talk more about the others later on. Now, I want to present you with another pretty complete skeleton list!

Pokémon – 11

4 Klink DEX
1 Klang DEX
3 Klinklang PLS
1 Klinklang BLW
2 Cobalion-EX

Trainers – 33

4 N
4 Skyla

3 Professor Juniper
2 Colress

 

4 Rare Candy
3 Pokémon Catcher
3 Switch

2 Heavy Ball
2 Ultra Ball
1 Escape Rope
1 Energy Search

1 Super Rod

1 Dowsing Machine

 

2 Tropical Beach

Energy – 10

10 Metal

…and this totals to 54 cards! The only cards that might need some explaining are Klinklang BLW, Klang and Dowsing Machine. With the exception of Dowsing Machine, these cards are staples.

klinklang-black-white-blw-76Klinklang BLW was once the dominant Klinklang on the scene, but has now been overshadowed by his Plasma cousin. He is still very important for the functioning of Klinklang decks, however. In order to combat the threats of Victini (and Moltres NXD), you need to be able to employ a strategy of Energy conservation. Klinklang BLW is an essential part of this strategy.

The power of Victini and Moltres lies in their ability to potentially remove all your Energy from the field. Obviously they will try and target the Pokémon with the most Energy on your side of the field. Klinklang BLW allows you to strategically spread that Energy around and hopefully keep enough in play for when they try and make another non-EX strike.

Klinklang BLW also allows you to throw in some Max Potion to add some healing to the mix. Of course Gear Grind can also come through in a pinch if you like to put the game in somebody else’s hands.

– Blastoise variants dropped Wartortle a long time ago, so seeing a Stage 1 in a Stage 2 variant might seem a bit shocking. Klang is extremely vital, however. Without his help, getting out a second Klinklang PLS or your Klinklang BLW will be extremely problematic.

An over reliance on Rare Candy is risky and can prevent you from getting three Klinklang into play, which is the optimal number for this deck. You want a second Klinklang PLS in case the first gets Knocked Out and you want the Klinklang BLW for Energy conservation and potential healing.

With the protection of Plasma Steel, Klang is not nearly as vulnerable as the Wartortles from the City Championships format. He will most likely make it to his second stage. Poor Wartortle.

– Again, you should refer to Erik’s article on ACE SPECs for further discussion on the Computer Search vs. Dowsing Machine debate, but I like Dowsing Machine in here. As Erik pointed out, you can wait a little while for Klinklang to hit the field (it is not as imperative as a turn two Blastoise), so that is primarily why Computer Search is not as desirable. I like being able to reuse Super Rod, Tropical Beach, Pokémon Catcher, and Switch.

I have also been testing with Max Potion, so reusing that card can also be quite strong. I do not think your Klinklang deck would suffer by any large margin if you were to choose Computer Search over Dowsing Machine – it may even be better (I am skeptical of this, however).

And now to move on to some discussion on how to populate the rest of our Klinklang deck!

Tech Options

cobalion-noble-victories-nvi-84– Additional attackers are a necessity. Two Cobalion-EX is probably not enough. You could add a third Cobalion-EX, but that may be a bit redundant. Since they will be particularly challenging to Knock Out, two is probably enough to get you through a game (especially with Super Rod). I think it best to add some additional support that brings some different elements to the table.

The first support attacker to discuss is Cobalion NVI. Many of the lists I have seen use this guy for his Energy Press and Iron Breaker attacks. Energy Press brings a solid two Energy attack to the mix that is certainly lacking from the current attack set.

Iron Breaker can have its moments of usefulness (usually against things with big Retreat Costs), but Energy Press is the star of the show. Blastoise decks may try to load a ton of Energy on a Blastoise to Knock Out your Pokémon and Energy Press provides a formidable response.

Unfortunately, Energy Press does not one shot Victini (probably the most important right now), Moltres, Rayquaza, Terrakion or really any non EX attacker right now so Cobalion’s usefuless is limited as stacking Energy on a 120 HP Pokémon can be risky. Terrakion with a Virbank City Gym + Hypnotoxic Laser is enough to Knock Out Cobalion as is two Hypnotoxic Laser+two Confuse Ray from a Dark Clawed Sableye. Regardless, Energy Press is worth consideration.

The other support attacker worth discussion is Registeel-EX. Like Cobalion, Registeel-EX comes with two attacks – Triple Laser and Protect Charge. Triple Laser is particularly powerful against all evolution based decks (perhaps not Blastoise) but can also be useful at setting up knock outs for Protect Charge and Cobalion-EX.

In the past, Registeel-EX has primarily been used for his Triple Laser attack with hardly even a glance at the lower attack. Protect Charge is finally getting some use, however. With the exception of Victini, there are no easily techable Pokémon that can 1-shot a Registeel-EX after he has used Protect Charge.

The big one here is Moltres, which has gained some popularity in Blastoise variants as of late. What Registeel-EX lacks in speed (relative to Cobalion’s Energy Press), he gains in defense and stamina. A Registeel-EX using Protect Charge can live for a long time, especially when EX’s cannot attack him.

You should also note that Registeel-EX is searchable with Heavy Ball. A very big plus!

And, while not really an offensive attacker, you should note that there is another Metal support Pokémon worth considering: Durant DRX. For all the reasons I raved about Trubbish early on, I will rave about Durant here. Reusing critical Item cards, putting BLW Klinklang back on the top of the deck, getting out of a bad hand, etc. So many uses!

Although he has no place in a normal deck (Pull Out is not that wonderful of an attack), Durant definitely may have a place in a deck that makes him invincible to attacks from Pokémon EX.

max-potion-emerging-powers-epo-94– I already mentioned that Max Potion works quite nicely in here with Klinklang BLW, so there really is not all that much to say. Max Potion is not helpful when your opponent’s strategy is to rely upon Victini or Moltres, but it can be very helpful when the opponent is relying upon other means of dealing with your Metal Pokémon.

Darkrai EX variants will be relying heavily upon Hypnotoxic Laser + Virbank City Gym + Sableye to Knock Out your Klinklang PLS while others will be relying upon Terrakion, Blastosie, Bouffalant or Rayquaza. Max Potion is very helpful in these instances and will keep your Pokémon in play even longer than normal.

In addition to Max Potion, Audino BCR or Full Heal might also be a strong option for the deck. Hypnotoxic Laser + Sableye really can cause a lot of issues for Klinklang if the status conditions are able to wrack up damage. Since there are no free retreating options in the deck, a Switch/Escape Rope may not be the best way of removing status conditions (as you cannot easily get your attacker with all the Energy back into the Active position… again Klinklang BLW helps in these situations too).

This is why Audino or Full Heal might be a welcome addition. After using Busybody, you can put the Audino back into your deck with Super Rod to get even more uses of Audino. The problem with Audino is that you run the risk of opening with her and Full Heal is useless against everything but Hypnotoxic Laser (at least Audino can remove a damage counter and increase your bench size in a pinch for Colress).

– If you want to increase consistency, you might want to consider adding additional Supporters, Pokémon Search and/or Tropical Beach. I have tested with an additional Colress and Professor Juniper and have been pretty happy with the added consistency. The third Heavy Ball would also be very good idea as they are extremely helpful in the pursuit to set up a swarm of Klinklangs.

Additional Tropical Beach, while expensive, is useful on multiple fronts. It adds consistency, particularly in the early game, and helps you win the Stadium war. I talked a bit about the benefits of a third Stadium earlier, so I won’t reiterate those comments here. A third Tropical Beach is certainly a strong choice.

– In addition to all these cards, there are two Item cards that might be good candidates for inclusion: Exp. Share and Hypnotoxic Laser. The Exp. Share would be very helpful in the Energy conservation strategy that is so important against Victini and Moltres responses. Klinklang BLW combos quite nicely with the Tool card as well. If you can get multiple Exp. Share in play and Klinklang BLW, it will be tough for your opponent to overwhelm your board with these Fire techs.

The reasoning behind Hypnotoxic Laser is a bit less obvious. Why is this card useful? Throughout my testing, I oftentimes found myself 10 damage short of Knocking Out lots of Pokémon mainly because the math on Cobalion-EX is a little disappointing.

Two uses of Righteous Edge is not enough to Knock Out a Victini/Sableye, a Righteous Edge followed by Steel Bullet is not enough to Knock Out a Blastoise/Garchomp/Empoleon, two Ridgeous Edge followed by Steel Bullet is not enough to Knock Out a Rayquaza EX/Keldeo-EX/Tornadus EX, etc. There are lots of times when these combinations of attacks are just 10 damage short of Knocking Out key Pokémon.

That is why Hypnotoxic Laser might be a great inclusion in the deck. It also allows you to exploit the Virbank City Gyms your future opponents might be able to keep in play!

An additional Energy or two might also be a good addition, but the above cards are the ones that are probably most deserving of your consideration. So, how will Klinklang handle the metagame over the next three Saturdays?

Matching Up vs. The Meta

moltres animesquirtledogg.tumblr.com
Can you fight off the phoenix?

If you are paired against any of the top three decks – and they are not running Victini/Moltres – you will likely win those games. Hypnotoxic Laser can be tricky as can threats of Blastoise/Rayquaza/Zekrom attacks, but they can usually be overcome. Furthermore, Klinklang has a pretty favorable matchup with all the Big Basics decks right now too (where Garbodor loses a lot of its strength).

So how much does Victini and Moltres swing the matchup? Again, that is tough to say. It depends on how early you can get these fiery techs attacking and how quickly you can get them back into play after they get Knocked Out. While Victini can be Knocked Out by Klinklang and all the other attackers, Moltres cannot.

Unfortunately, Moltres must discard its Fire Energy after using Fire Blast. This means a Fire Blast on the next turn is not necessarily guaranteed if you cannot get another Fire Energy. If the Klinklang player is able to keep four or five Energy on the board, the threats of Victini and Moltres are significantly diminished.

If you want to play Klinklang for State Championships, you will have to do a lot of testing with this Energy conservation strategy.

Sometimes you must forgo a Steel Bullet (and 100 damage on some Pokémon) and only use Righteous Edge or Tropical Beach for the sake of guaranteeing multiple Energy in play on the next turn. Other times you have to go all out and hope your opponent cannot get a Fire attacker on the next turn.

It is hard to know exactly when you should perform which attack, so you need to prepare for these situations if you want to successfully play this deck.

Conclusion

garbodor anime roxiekyurem.tumblr.com
Ready to dispose of unsuspecting Tier 1 decks!

Garbodor and Klinklang add very interesting flavors to the metagame. They can both demolish unprepared Tier 1 variants (and even the prepared ones) and they have favorable matchups with very different decks in the lower tiers.

From what I can tell, every deck has two maybe three spots for techs. Should these spots be devoted to beating Klinklang or Garbodor? Can you tech for both? Should they even be used for improving these matchups at all? What about the mirror match? Should you be more focused on dealing with the Tier 1 variants for Week 1?

You probably cannot tech for both variants without bringing a lot of inconsistency into your lists. The cost of teching against Klinklang and Garbodor is the opportunity cost of improving all the other matchups. Consistency is helpful in every matchup, so there is always the argument for improving consistency. Even after teching in Victini/Moltres or Tool Scrapper, you may never even play against a Garbodor or Klinklang. How would you feel if you teched for Klinklang and only played against Garbodor all day?

Ultimately, you will probably only see one or two of these variants next weekend (if you face any at all). I believe most players will flock toward Tier 1 and Big Basics. They are solid and trusted. As a result, it may not be worth teching against these two decks at all. But who knows? Garbodor and Klinklang will be lurking in the lower tiers for as long as they are in the format.

Anyway, good luck this weekend. I look forward to reading your comments and hearing your thoughts on these lurkers!

~Colin


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