It began when I simply did not have enough cards to build a decent deck for Regionals, thus giving up any hope of making to top cut.
Knowing that Pokémon with Abilities were everywhere, I then decided, the night before, to build the most troll deck I could think of, and came up with a lock deck centering around shutting down any form of Energy acceleration and Hammering away every Energy that came down.
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 36
Energy – 10
Yes, it’s horrible. It almost looks like something Pooka might build for Bad Deck Monday when he has an actual bad day. For some strange reason, I decided to be a little more sane and threw in some attackers in anticipation against Keldeo-EX and Darkrai EX. Not to mention that Double Draw is pretty cool in helping with the set up.
I also told my friends that the deck was so bad, if I got even two wins, it would be a miracle in itself.
The Regionals Report
pokemon-paradijs.comA friend of a friend who just got into a game, and was using my loaned Empoleons to boot. Both Empoleon and Garchomp are bad matchups due to their high damage output using only one Energy.
Surprisingly, I was actually able to run him dry of Energy using both Crushing Hammer and Biosmog, who doubles as the deck’s other form of damage output. Unfortunately, owing to the slow nature of the deck, I lost when time was called with him leading by 2 Prizes.
Quad Rayquaza seems like a legitimate deck, especially with Victini-EX to charge up Energy in the early game. Like my previous match, I was also to maintain a steady pace alternating between hammers and Hammerhead, running him dry of resources.
I have to be honest though, losing by these comeback combos have haunted me so often I’m numb by now.
Round 3 vs. Darkrai EX/Lasers
This match was surprisingly straightforward. I proceeded with the usual plan of Hammering away all the Energy by locking one Darkrai EX active, but along the way I somehow found the time to build up Landorus-EX enough to pull of Land’s Judgement. This game was especially funny because Sableye’s Confuse Ray actually created the turning point when my opponent flipped tails.
After Knocking Out two Darkrai EXs, time was called, and I won with a comfortable 2-Prize lead.
Round 4 vs. White Tea/Ho-Oh EX
pokemon-paradijs.comThe game plan proceeded as usual, but the matchup was pretty poor as any of their attackers could attack with a single Energy, so Hammers could only do so much. Near the end of the game, he managed to gain access to Tool Scrapper, but kept flipping tails for Rebirth, and at that point was dry of Energies.
Unfortunately, time was called and I lost by a single Prize difference.
Bouffalant DRX/Ho-Oh EXRound 5 vs.
This match was incredibly easy. For some reason, he mainly had Bouffalant DRX as his main attackers and relied heavily on DCE. With Afro Guard and Rebirth out of commission, Hammerhead gave me a clean sweep of all 6 Prizes.
Landorus-EX/Tornadus EXRound 6 vs. Lugia EX/
It looked like an auto-win from the beginning as the moment I gain access to Enhanced Hammer, all his DCEs and Plasma Energy went down the drain. It didn’t prevent my opponent from taking Prizes though as he skillfully timed his N drops to slow me down and spread damage with Landorus-EX. Unfortunately, playing too many Special Energies proved to be the deck’s undoing as I easily sweeped all his Energy away.
Unfortunately for me however, he also plays heavy counts of Eviolite AND Aspertia Gym, and combined with Resistance, made killing them an incredibly slow process. Time was called as I was still playing catchup, losing by 2 Prizes.
Round 7 vs. PlasmaKlang
Like my previous round, this should have been a piece of cake. PlasmaKlang generally runs no acceleration whatsoever, and Gear Shift is shut down by Garbodor. It does, however, resist Garbodor’s Biosmog, and Max Potion doesn’t make things easier. And once again, I lost by a single Prize difference.
I was generally happy as I actually managed to pull of the “miracle” of obtaining two wins. A friend even told me to write a report on 6P, and told him I would if I could get more than ten likes on Facebook. I should have said twenty.
That Eureka Moment
As I was typing down my notes, it suddenly dawned on me that the deck, while pretty horrible, had a solid concept. I lost four games out of five due to time because of a lack of damage output, but otherwise I was winning rather comfortably. The idea of locking out Energy while still being able to take Prizes suddenly wasn’t so bad after all.
That got me thinking, “What if I could turn it into an actual competitive deck?”
There was a Cities tournament in two weeks, so I used that one weekend to try and improve the deck. The Virizions were the first to go obviously, and in their place were a pair of Hypnotoxic Lasers. I also replaced the Skyarrow Bridge for a Virbank Gym, and tested with Emolga DRX and Dark Claw to try improving speed and offence.
At this point, it was starting to feel like a proper deck, but something still felt missing. For one, the Landorus-EX just seemed underused, even for sniping. I replaced it with Stunfisk DRX for the added bonus of locking the Active and preventing an easy 2 Prizes, but honestly it did not feel any different from Landorus-EX.
On the morning of the tournament, I decided to go streamline and simply dump the whole sniping idea.
Pokémon – 10
Trainers – 41
2 Hypotoxic Laser
1 Super Rod
Energy – 9
Lock out all Energy acceleration with Garbodor and recycle Hammers while Laserbank deals the damage or confusion to seal the attackers. Simplicity at its best with disruption at its worst.
While simple on paper, the deck is harder to run than it looks. Getting access to the Hammers is tricky without having to burn through your entire deck to get them.
pokemon-paradijs.comThis is obviously your preferred starter since it is, quite literally, what makes the deck. A full set ensures that I can keep a steady stream of disruption until my opponent runs out of steam. Losing Sableyes early game is only natural, and it’s common to be down by 4 Prizes before your opponent loses steam.
The reason why the deck does not play any other attackers is because I simply cannot afford not using Junk Hunt throughout the game besides the rare situations where I have to use Confuse Ray.
No more Biosmog, although I still miss that guy. Three is a good number for easier set up, and in the rare case I get three in the field, Tool Scrapper no longer poses a threat.
A single Virbank Gym is simply not enough, so I had to cut something to make room for it. As I was no longer running the other Garbodor, cutting a Trubbish was easy enough, as it also lowers the chances of starting with it. The only matchup where Garbodor is not needed is against Big Basics, where I simply played it as Quad Sableye.
Don’t get me wrong, I still do not trust Bicycle to use more than a pair in any deck. But with three Skylas, the chance of opening with no other Supporter warrants its inclusion. Colress acts in place of N when I need to refresh my hand but not my opponent’s. Cheren is just to make up the numbers, and because Bianca and Junk Hunt simply do not go hand in hand.
Besides making up the tool count for Garbodor, it allows Sableye to deal a whopping 90 damage with Laserbank by the end of my opponent’s turn, allowing a nice 2HKO on all EX-Pokémon while still maintaining the lock since the KO happens at the end of my opponent’s turn. It is also a more efficient way of dealing with strangely numbered HP, which I will explain later.
pokemon-paradijs.comThis is the only way the deck takes its Prizes. It abuses the fact that, once the lock is in place, I only have to use HTL once and the damage will stack by itself. That means, for at least two turns, I don’t have to use Junk Hunt to recover HTL. The math for any EX-Pokémon is equally advantageous to the lock, barring Giant Cape or Aspertia Gym.
When Virbank City Gym is in play, HTL deals 30 damage between turns starting from my turn. This means that, by the end of my opponent’s turn, it does 60 damage. Multiply this by three turns and any EX-Pokémon is conveniently KO’ed at the end of my opponent’s turn, allowing me to Catcher up any target of my choice and continue the lock.
The downside is that the HP for most evolutions like Blastoise and Klinklang do not fall into this category. This is where Confuse Ray comes in to whittle the HP down to the right amount. Dark Claw lessens the effort needed to deal this damage, since Confuse Ray + Dark Claw deals 30 damage, enough to put any Pokémon into the magic number.
Of course, Switch and any forms of healing will mess up the math just the same. In these cases, there’s no other way than to either abuse Confuse Ray or allow the lock to be broken for a turn. Breaking the lock early game, and sometimes mid game, is not as bad as it sounds, as every Pokémon only ever gives up 1 Prize each.
The reason why there is only a pair of each is because of space issues. A pair of Virbank Gyms is the minimum needed to access them, while I can get away with only two HTL due to Junk Hunt, as is the case with Switch and Catcher as well.
This is what a combination of stress and lack of sleep can do to you. Tool Scrapper was useful when I had another attacker to get rid of Eviolite, but I somehow forgot to remove it for Max Potion before the tournament. It’s a repeat mistake of my past Nationals all over again, one that should not have happened.
Like the previous tournament, I gave myself another win target; this time, a minimum of three wins. With that, I began seven rounds of Swiss.
The Cities Report
Round 1 vs. PlasmaKlang
pokemon-paradijs.comIt seems this deck was everywhere that day, and even I had contemplated playing it if not for my fear of Garbodor. Anyway, this matchup was a near auto-win after my inclusion of Laserbank. As it turned out, I didn’t have to use them much as my opponent burned away his resources trying to access his Energy in order to stop Sableye.
He decked himself out after taking 4 Prizes, while I did not even need to take a single one.
Round 2 vs. Darkrai Lasers
I recognized Darkrai EX as one of the two decks I had the worst matchups against, mainly because the Energy acceleration is Item-based, and also because Sableye can repeatedly Junk Hunt for Dark Patch and Tool Scrapper. The key to this match was to prevent Sableye was using Junk Hunt at all.
I can’t remember how many Prizes I took this game, but I did succeed in almost bleeding him dry. He played Prism Energy for Keldeo-EX, and unfortunately, my Enhanced Hammer was Prized. Like the previous game, he was decking himself out as I managed to keep his Sableye stuck on the Bench.
With five minutes left on the clock, he had a grand total of three cards left in his deck and 1 Prize left to take, with two Energy cards on his benched Darkrai EX and a naked one locked Active. He used Ultra Ball to check his deck, then passed.
Using N at this point of time was obviously a bad choice, so I just used Hammers, hit double tails, and used Junk Hunt to get them back, confident by then that he did not run Switch even if he had another Energy.
On his turn, he attached his last Energy, used Scramble Switch and took his last Prize. Epic WTF moment.
Round 3 vs. White Tea
Oh joy, the other bad matchup. The problem with this matchup was the lack of Abilities AND the lack of need for Energy acceleration, thanks to Landorus-EX. That Max Potion would have been real useful here.
Anyway, I ditched the whole Garbodor line and played pure Quad Sableye. As luck would have it, one Crushing Hammer was Prized while another played hide-and-seek, forcing me to play with a single Hammer the entire game. The spread damage was of no help either.
Because my opponent had already seen my deck in action previously, he deliberately slowed the game down and conserved his resources to prevent a deck out. While I did manage to bleed him dry for most of the game and N’d him down to one card, he managed to topdeck a DCE to X Ball for the last Prize.
As it turns out, before that last turn, he only had a single F Energy and two DCE left in his entire deck, which was nowhere near decking out.
Round 4 vs. Blastoise/Keldeo/Black Kyurem
pokemon-paradijs.comThe key to this match depended on whether I got Garbodor up first or my opponent got Blastoise up first; win the race and you are almost home free. I won the race. By mid game, he had taken 3 Prizes and I two, but I also had the lock perfectly set up.
I Catchered up a previously damaged Blastoise, used HTL and continued the Hammer spam, confident in the math. Several turns later, however, for some strange reason, the Blastoise was KO’ed at the end of my turn.
I was pretty confused at this point, and the stress of the game and stuffiness of the room didn’t help. As I tried to replay the game in my head, I dumbly took a Prize, and my opponent sent out a fully powered Keldeo and used N.
At that point, I was brought back my senses and stopped the game immediately and called a judge. Unfortunately, the judge ruled that we shared equal blame for not keeping track of the damage and allowed play to continue.
That one misplay cost me two Sableyes, and although I managed to tie the game with some help from Garbage Collection when time was called, I whiffed the Energy to power up Sableye after a Super Rod and Colress, forcing me to use Garbage Collection again. But the damage was done; the lock was broken, and he retreated for his Keldeo-EX for the last Prize and game.
I was pretty pissed off at this point. The difference between playing for fun and playing to win makes a very big difference in one’s mental state, and mine was literally torn to pieces by that one single misplay and my chance at top cutting, especially when that misplay turned a game already won into a lost game.
Round 5 vs. Garbodor/Big Basics
I’m all buzzed up after the last game, but suffice to say I won this game.
Round 6 vs. Empoleon/Accelgor
I have to feel sorry for my opponent. He made several misplays that led him into a zero-card hand without Empoleon in play, which further led him into an almost Supporter-less game. He also made the mistake of dropping every Energy that came into his hand, allowing me to Hammer everything away. Add to the fact that both Shelmet and Piplup hit the magic number 60 HP and you get a lost game.
He did manage to pull of one Deck-and-Cover for a single Prize as consolation.
As it turns out, the organiser made a mistake when announcing the number of rounds. With 64 participants, there were only six rounds, not seven. Even so, I doubt my resistance would have been high enough to get into top cut with a 4-3 record.
The winner of the tournament, as it turns out, ran Zebstrika/Garbodor/Big Basics for an even worse lock than mine, albeit at the cost of speed and consistency. He mentioned that he may want to write a report here, so I’ll leave the report to him.
pokemon-paradijs.comAside from replacing that darn Tool Scrapper for Max Potion, a friend of mine (round 2 opponent) suggested I replace an Energy for an Energy Search for consistency because of Skyla, or maybe Energy Retrieval to make up for the lack for Energy.
Also, because of the current format, it might be better to ditch the Enhanced Hammer for another Crushing Hammer instead to better your chances of a double hammer. I feel that this is more of a personal choice between the choice of a guaranteed but limited hammer and a more consistent hammer list. It’s very painful to have your hammers washed back into the deck by N, leaving only one very lonely hammer in the discard pile.
I still plan on using this deck for fun events (there’s one next week) or maybe for Battle Roads, where the pressure to win is not as great as Cities or Regionals. The format will change in two month’s time anyway where word on the street is that Lugia EX/Deoxys-EX/Thundurus EX will be the force to beat. That will definitely be the time to play heavy Enhanced Hammer for some serious disruption.
To all players who still have tournaments to go to, I wish you all the best. For those who don’t, give the deck a try. You’ll be surprised by how sadistically fun the deck can be.
Thanks for reading!