Hey everyone! My name’s Michael Slutsky (you’ve probably seen me on HeyFonte or something), and I recently did pretty well at the 2013 Madison Regional Championship with an “off the wall” Klinklang deck. The version I played isn’t really a secret or anything, it’s just surprisingly underplayed.
I’ll begin the article by explaining how I stumbled upon the deck, a quick recap of how I performed with it at Minnestoa States and learned its faults, an explanation of the Regionals list, and finally the tournament report. I hope you enjoy!
Pokemon ParadijsImmediately when Plasma Storm came out I began testing Klinklang, in both the straight Metal version and this version with multiple types. Way back then, this teched version was promising, but that’s because the meta hadn’t been completely defined yet, and I was finding myself testing against more BLW-BCR oriented lists rather than BLW-PLS ones, which was obviously counterintuitive.
I switched over to testing straight Metal Klinklang, and wasn’t as satisfied. The versatility was far lower, and the fact that the entire deck was gray bummed me out. I eventually gave up on Klinklang entirely, and went on to testing Darkrai and Big Basics.
After a disappointing 3-3 drop from Wisconsin States (Pooka and Ross made sure I wouldn’t be topping that day), I looked to a new deck, bored of Darkrai. Something fun and new, but still good.
Minnesota States was six days away, and I found myself actually watching a video of me playing in Top 2 of a Battle Road the season before, using CMT. It was one of the first weekends for Battle Roads, and my opponent, Andrew Taton, was playing Klinklang.
At the time, none of us in Minnesota knew what the deck was, and after a rather uninteresting match (we didn’t even play a second game), I took the win. As I watched this video, I realized that was the deck I was looking to play.
I played against my friend Omar a few times the week prior to Minnesota States, and he played different versions of Darkrai. Against the versions with Hammers, I just lost, because he kept grabbing them back. However, against any other variant, I’d pull back ridiculous comebacks pretty consistently.
The list went through some iterations, and against different decks, I was running into the same results. The Catcher/Laser stall plays a Darkrai deck would normally employ against KK wasn’t working because of the Keldeo I ran, and so I was still pretty apprehensive.
The night before MN States I built the deck that was COMPLETELY proxied, and tested a single set against Adam Keibler, and he beat me. I shelved the deck and decided to play Big Basics… until the next day, when I just said “YOLO” and played Klinklang. I went 6-1 (1st seed!), and lost to Rayeels in a close +3.
Even after losing to the only remaining auto-loss in top cut at MN States, I knew for a fact what I’d be playing for Regionals. I set out trying to find a counter. I tried everything. Mewtwo. Lapras. Cryogonal. All of those lowered the overall consistency of the deck, and I decided to just take the auto-loss if it came, and hope they prize Victini.
In my States list, I ran Black Kyurem EX and two Tool Scrapper. For Regionals, I dropped both of them and added a 3rd Heavy Ball and a 4th Metal. Black Kyurem was actually useless, and there’s no way I’d play against a Garbodor, right?
Anyways, here’s an explanation of some of the unique things about the list I used at Regionals:
2/2 Klinklang Split
Pokemon ParadijsTo be honest, the only reason that PlasmaKlang is in the deck at all is just to protect Shift Gear Klinklang. Without the Shift Gear, the deck falls apart.
An expensive count, but it ensures that I’m almost always on top of the Stadium war with Virbank, which is crucial against decks that run Bouff or Terrakion. Minimizing the damage output done to me is always good, and having higher a Beach count is how I went about doing it.
Yes, here’s the real clutch part of the deck. I can’t tell you just how many times my opponents would find themselves in the clear after they would check to find the Dowsing Machine and 3 of the Max Potions in my discard pile… only for me to Skyla for the 4th and set them back yet another turn.
Also, having a 4th Max Potion allowed me to burn one on a Keldeo that would have 30 damage against a Darkrai deck (knowing that they wouldn’t even be able to Catcher/Claw/Virbank/HTL). Yeah, it’s a lot of cards, but against my deck, I’ve found Darkrai players to hoard that combination of 4 cards for that specific, tiny opening.
I’ve also found the 4th Max Potion to be a Catcher counter, in that people try and Catcher up Darkrai or Keldeo and I just potion it and retreat, thereby negating the Catcher. Honestly, this deck wouldn’t work without 4. Don’t try 3. It won’t work.
Now, you’re probably wondering why I would choose this deck over regular Klinklang. Well, as I’ve said earlier, this deck is incredibly versatile. The Energy line allows you to play whatever Pokémon you want, and always be able to fall back into the unbreakable wall that is Cobalion.
The deck has a very positive mirror match, because I’m easily able to keep a single Cobalion alive, free of damage for two Cobalion prize trades, and by that time, I’m so far ahead that it doesn’t matter what they attack with. I’ve also found that with Keldeo/Darkrai/Prisms, you reduce one of your potentially harder matches down (Darkrai using Sableyes to stall).
One thing that’s worth noting is that the only reason PlasmaKlang is in this deck at all is actually just to protect Shift Gear. Most people seem to overlook just how crucial Shift Gear is to the deck and mistakenly target PlasmaKlang so they can attack with EXs again.
Even with Darkrai and Keldeo on the bench, they seem to think that PlasmaKlang is what’s keeping them from victory, when it’s actually the Shift Gear Klang. I tested the deck here and there without a PlasmaKlang, and decided that it was necessary just to keep Shift Gear alive, which is what allows me such a positive matchup against the mirror (since I can out-potion them guaranteed).
The inclusion of Darkrai and Keldeo does seem to negate the lock strategy of the deck, but I’ve found they actually strengthen the lock. With PlasmaKlang on the field and a Cobalion sitting active, players will Catcher anything they can that they can freely hit. In my deck’s case, that’s Darkrai or Keldeo.
When they Catcher it up and hit it, they’ve burned one of four resources to take a prize. If they Laser as well, that’s even more resources gone. Going into my turn, I generally Max Potion, then free retreat the Pokémon back to the bench behind a Cobalion wall.
Eventually, my opponent is out of resources to continue doing that, and unless they’re able to hit the bench, they will be unable to attack me at all, sealing my victory. Keldeo and Darkrai also work in tandem to completely negate Catcher stalling, as well as negating Lasers as a factor.
Pokemon ParadijsNow, there are definitely problems with the deck, and they are the same ones that the straight Klinklang deals with: auto-losses. Klinklang is a very strong contender, in my opinion, in that some decks just can’t do anything against it.
However, Klinklang still gets rickrolled by Garbodor (unless you run some ridiculous Scrapper counts), V-create Victini (in Rayeels, generally, because it’s far less consistent/reliable of a counter in anything else), and Hammertime (it’s a single Energy attachment deck, and so the Energy destruction strategy is a viable one against Klinklang).
In my States list, I found myself running a second Scrapper because I felt that would make my Garbodor matchup much better than the straight Klinklang (seeing as I can use Keldeo to attack and quickly speed up the prize race for me).
After MN States, I figured I could drop the Scrapper count down to one, because, I’d never see a Garbodor, right? Yeah, my deck is COMPLETELY shut down by it (more so than the straight KK, in my opinion), but no one is gonna be ballsy enough to play it in the Midwest, where the meta is heavy Darkrai (a 50-50 matchup, in my opinion, and others, I assume) and Big Basics.
Fast forward to the night before Regionals. I’m feeling really sick (I was before we ate at Olive Garden and, for some reason, ordered Spaghetti and Meatballs), and Mike Lesky just hands me my deck that I’ll be playing (all completely his cards, including the 3 Tropical Beach). He tells me to sleeve it in new sleeves, and after I complete that task, I decide to go to sleep and hope that I’ll feel better in the morning.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a Pokémon tournament without some struggles, and my night was a nightmare as I went from feeling incredibly nauseous to so hungry that I felt physically empty. I threw up a couple of times, but finally made it to the complimentary breakfast, where I wasn’t able to eat much. But finally… we’re on the road
to Viridian City to Regionals!
We arrive at the venue, register, deck check, and then Omar and I sit down and play some Sablelock versus DialgaChomp for fun (and it really was). After our set, some little kid is itching to play Omar with Sablelock and like, prove some sort of mettle, and show that he is very capable of playing the deck.
I go to the bathroom, throw up again, come back, and eventually rounds start. Now, my memory is gonna be a bit fuzzy, seeing as this was days ago and I wasn’t feeling terribly hot anyways, but, I’ll do my best. Onto the report!
Pokemon ParadijsRith is a player from MN. I played him at a Cities where he absolutely ROLLED me with Sigilyph. We flip and I win it, so I start. I believe I Heavy Ball/Ultra Ball, attach an Energy and pass. He Turbo Energizes on to a Sigilyph that he benches, and passes.
Basically… the match hits the “high point” when I bench a Darkrai to bait him, and he takes the bait instead of KOing my last Klink. He takes another prize off of a Darkrai (he’s taken 5 now), but a Keldeo, Cobalion, and 4 Max Potion grabs me that first W.
Basically, he catchers a Klink T1 but whiffs on the Laser to KO it with Lando, so I get PlasmaKlang up, and we just goof around from there as I demolish him. Easiest matchup if I can survive a donk.
Basically… I get 3 Energy on the board, KO the Articuno with Cobalion, then KO the Landorus with a Keldeo. Those were her only Basics and it took me maybe 5 turns total to win the game.
Pokemon ParadijsSo, I get off to a rockin’ start, and decide that Catchering his Terrakion turn 2 was the play, because there’s absolutely no way that he can charge it up, right? So on his next turn, he Junipers, nabs an Energy, double Energy Switch, and just starts bashing my head in with Terrakion.
He managed to get off a single Hammerhead on two Klink on his first turn, so both of the Klinklang are easy targets for Terrakion. He targets down the lone PlasmaKlang (I prized the other) and KOs it. I take it off prizes later, after I finally manage to eliminate the Terrakion (I’ve got Bouff to deal with now).
There’s a crucial turn where he gets another Terrakion (I think?) and I’ve got one turn left to get a PlasmaKlang out… and I whiff, and lose. Good game, man!
He prizes his two Bouff, but he has two Terrakion. I set up golden again (the deck’s consistent, what can I say), and he Exp. Shares a Terrakion. I KO Landorus active with Keldeo, and he sends up the Terrakion to fight now. I basically defeat both Terrakion, and he extends his hand to me. GG man!
There’s a short delay before the round starts, and we spend the entirety of it quoting Futurama (the best show on the planet). Then, during the match, we quote a bit more Futurama. I KO both his Bouff (I play the 4th Max Potion before KOing the 2nd Bouff due to a slightly slower start, and he comments on how I do in fact run 4 of them).
After KOing the last Bouff, he thinks for a long time before extending his hand, realizing there’s no way to win. After the match, we quote a bit more Futurama and that’s the game!
I kill two Bouff, and then I set it up so I can Night Spear and KO two Tornadus. Easy win.
Basically, I set up decently, but just draw dead from there, and he rolls me.
Top cut is announced, and I make it in at 26th seed. That’s all good, except now… I’ll be playing Isaac Soto again in Top 32. We go out to eat at Subway (it was all I felt I could eat), then go back to the hotel room. Eli and Toby both crash in there as well (Toby took a bath in the morning lol).
We get to the tournament venue at like, 9 so that Eli can go play VGC. Lesky and I play a bit more SP mirror, and then we do some chatting about my top cut match. If I can beat this Hammertime, I’ve got a legitimate shot at taking the entire tournament (provided the mass of Darkrai/Big Basics players can get rid of the few Rayeels/Garbodor left in cut…).
Eventually, the clock strikes noon, and it’s time to play!
Pokemon ParadijsI get off to a great start (PlasmaKlang T2), but I can’t seem to get my Shift Gear Klang up for a good few turns. By like, turn 5, I finally have it, but I had been forced to play down 2 Keldeo and a Darkrai to bide time, and was basically out of Max Potions.
I make a big comeback, but at the end, he knows he has the game when I can’t Max Potion 30 damage off of a Keldeo (which I can normally do, because I run 4), and on the next turn he draws his entire deck (just for fun), Catchers, attaches Claw, plays down the 3rd Virbank, and Lasers the Keldeo. Darn. Not off to a good start.
I get to start, and get off to a great start again. He Ns me, but that’s not enough, because I still get the PlasmaKlang up regardless. In this game, he goes for the Energy destruction strategy, but is constantly flipping tails. I kill some Sableye, before finally moving onto the Darkrai. I finish off both Darkrai and we move on to game 3.
He gets a decent start, and so do I. Unfortunately, he successfully gets rid of all my Energy for the first like, 3 turns, but isn’t attacking, so I’ve been able to set up. A crucial turn comes where he hunts for the double Hammers, and I attach + N. On his next turn, he can’t get Hammers to try and bounce my Energy, so I manage to get a 2nd on the field.
On the turn after, he double Hammers and whiffs both (which is HUGE). He grabs them again and I shuffle his hand away again. I’m attacking now, and whenever he Hammers, he only gets a single heads, so I can just attach and keep going.
A huge play comes where he’s out of Lasers and hits a Keldeo with 2 Night Spear snipes, but right as he’s declaring the 2nd one, time is called, so he’s turn 0. Going into my turn, I Max Potion it and keep just swinging with Cobalion.
He realizes he needed time to get called on my turn to try and keep it up (I assume he was hoping that I didn’t have a Max Potion), so he extends his hand and I win a very close set! Great games, Isaac!
Brad’s a good friend of mine. We traveled in the same Chicago Marathon group, and we’re both good friends with Mike Lesky. He’s play Jay Hornung’s Klinklang list, and I realize the matchup is very positive for me.
Basically, we both set up, but he only manages to play 2 Max Potion. Meanwhile, I play 5. That being said, I just manage to win the 1v1 Brs on Guardian (Steel Bullet, har har) easily. I kill 2 Cobalion and a Registeel.
We both set up quickly, and the 1v1 begins again. I prized a Max Potion, but still play 4 during the game (because of Dowsing Machine). He uses his DM to grab a Max Potion again, so he’s played a total of 3. I have to let a Cobalion die, but I’m still up on the prize trade.
I’ve got a second Cobalion now, and I’ve taken 4 prizes. The second Cobalion has 100 damage on it, though, so I end up going with PlasmaKlang to attack. I hit his active Cobalion for 70. He catchers my damaged Cobalion, takes 2 more prizes. I hit it again for 70. He retreats it and hits me for 80 with Iron Breaker.
I bench a Keldeo and a Darkrai, attach Prism to Keldeo, Rush In, free retreat back to PlasmaKlang, and catcher his damaged Cobalion for the game. Great games, Brad!
I go to grab some food with Brad and just chill with my friends while we get a (seemingly) unofficial lunch break. I can’t eat much, because I’m still feeling sick, so I just munch on a couple of chips. Top 8 begins.
Alright, so, this match was recorded, and is easily my favorite match/set of the entire tournament. My biggest fear against Blastoise decks is that they drop 8 Energy down on a Blastoise, Catcher a PlasmaKlang, and just take it out. Luckily, he never did that.
I start Cobalion, set up the Plasma and Shift Gear Klang, and proceed to fight his Blastoise with Cobalion. At one point in the game, he benches a Victini (I had not expected that), uses Deluge, retreats to it, and Junipers… and WHIFFS THE FIRE. It wouldn’t have been the game just yet, but, I don’t know if I could have afforded to lose a Cobalion just yet.
I KO the Victini, he draws… and it was a Fire Energy, on the next card! I sigh with relief and we keep going.
There comes a turn where he has 5 cards in his hand, and 2 left in deck, with 3 prizes left. He plays Ultra Ball, fails… and then uses N? So he realizes immediately after playing it that he decked himself out, and we go game 2.
I never expected this, and it was a very welcome way to win a game, but misplays happen, and I don’t let myself get cocky, because he won’t make that mistake twice. I know I need to win Game 2, because in Game 3, he can just dump down a billion energy and take the W. Here’s where things get interesting…
Pokemon ParadijsI start Darkrai (unfortunately). He eventually gets set up, while I do not. A crucial turn occurs where he Skyla’s for a Cilan, benches Victini and beaches. On my next turn, I evolve one of my Klink into Shift Gear, attach a Metal (I already had Prism on board).
Thinking about what I’m going to do next, I bench another Klink and a Cobalion, and eventually decide to retreat into the Cobalion, trying to bait him like I baited Rith in Round 1. I prized a Shift Gear Klang, which meant that if this Shift Gear died, I was going to lose.
I move both Energy onto the Darkrai (I was less worried about a Black Kyurem hitting the field and KOing the Darkrai, because that would have taken 6 Energy and a catcher (2 to retreat the Keldeo, and then for the attack cost).
Of course, on his next turn, he opts for the KO on Cobalion with his Victini, taking the bait, sparing the Shift Gear. On my next turn, I get another Cobalion into play, get PlasmaKlang, and KO that Victini. After that turn, he basically benches Black Kyurem, drops a Lightning and two Water, and then hides behind a Keldeo to beach.
Going into my turn, I attach again, and catcher the Black Kyurem, because that way, if he swings and KOs Darkrai, he’ll give up two prizes, and the prize count will be 3-2. However, on his next turn, he plays Super Rod, gets Victini back, and grabs it with an Ultra or Level Ball (I don’t remember which). He brings up Darkrai and obliterates it with Black Kyurem, bringing the prize count to 5-2.
At this point, I can’t KO the Black Kyurem, because if I do, I’ll lose. Instead, I bring up a Blastoise, and hit it for 100. On his turn, he attaches two Energy to it, and beaches (I believe). I realize again, that if I KO it, I’ll lose. I hit it for 30. On his turn, he does a few more things… and passes.
Going into my turn, I realize what must be done. I count both of our decks and realize that we’re both at 8, but he’s going to deck first. I’m out of N, but realize that if he doesn’t want to deck out, he’ll have to play his own N, thereby shuffling in the Victini again.
This gives me the opening I need, and I… pass. He draws, and passes. I draw, attach, pass. On his turn again, he realizes that he must attack now, so he plays his 3rd Energy Retrieval to nab two Water Energy back. He hits me for 100.
I assume here, that since he plays Super Rod, he runs a 3/1 split (I later found out he ran a 4/1, but that’s besides the point), which means he’ll need to have the Energy in hand now for a Victini play. He hits me for 100. I assume he’s got it because he’s got quite a big hand, but I stay focused.
I move the Energy away, play my 2nd Max Potion and pass. He hits me for 100, and I move my Energy over and Max Potion. I think for a while and realize I can’t keep doing this (because I prized my 4th Max Potion). I basically go with the YOLO play, bench my second Darkrai, catcher up his damaged Black Kyurem (my last Catcher as well), and KO both it AND the Blastoise, taking 3 prizes, tying it up now at 2-2.
Completely caught off guard by a number of factors, namely that he wasn’t expecting a 2nd Darkrai, and now that he’s lost two Pokémon instead of one, he can’t V-create, eliminating the Victini threat. He’s burned through almost all of his Energy as well now, meaning he’ll have to settle for two shot plays on my Darkrai. He sends up a Keldeo, and hits my Darkrai for 110.
Pokemon ParadijsI luckily ripped the 4th Max Potion off my prizes, and heal my Darkrai with it. He was shocked that I played 4, and I’m telling you (I jokingly mention this to him in our match), it’s for situations EXACTLY like this one. It MAKES the deck, and it can make or break games. So I hit both his Keldeo for 90/30. On his turn, he uses Rush In with the Keldeo that has 30, and I think he uses beach.
I realize that I could Gear Grind for the win, with double heads, but decide the safe play is retreating into Cobalion and just hitting that Keldeo for 100. He had previously attached the Fire to a Black Kyurem EX, so I knew Victini was no longer an option for him.
It comes down to the final turn, and he has 3 Energy on that Keldeo on the bench. He tells me the last two cards in his deck need to be Energy, and he uses Rush In, Catchers the healed Darkrai on my bench, and Junipers. The cards are Ultra Ball and N, and he flips over his prizes, revealing a water and the 4th Retrieval.
I extend my hand and we have a really good hand shake as I slouch into my chair and just take in all that has happened in this completely ridiculous game. I end up slamming my head down on the table in joy (ala Dustin Zimmerman, I suppose), and pull out an incredible W.
And so we realize now that there’s some serious prizes up for grabs here. Unfortunately, Casey Smith, my last remaining autoloss in the entire tournament is my next opponent, and I realize that this match will be almost impossible, seeing as I took out my 2nd Scrapper. They start Top 4 not even 5 minutes after Top 8, and I’m unable to fully collect myself.
Pooka asks if it’d be alright if they streamed by game, which I happily accepted. I’ve never been on stream before, and I thought this was a really cool honor! Hopefully, I’ll be able to play on stream once more some day! Anyway…
This… this is where I completely fell apart. I was still pretty shaken from such an intense Top 8 game, which didn’t help. I was still feeling sick and hungry, so I wasn’t completely there physically.
I was also playing on stream, for the entire world to see, so the only thing going through my mind was “Don’t misplay on camera, don’t misplay on camera, don’t misplay on camera. Shoot, did you just misplay on camera!?!”
Add to that the fact that I was a bit upset that once again, as with MN States, the only reason I couldn’t get the title was that the only remaining auto-loss in top cut was paired against me. Come on, Midwest, can’t you guys beat a Garbodor for me?
Anyway, the combination of all these factors meant that mentally, I was not prepared at all. I wasn’t confident, I was nervous, and I couldn’t suppress those feelings.
But I win the flip, and here we go… Both Bullados and The Top Cut recorded the game, but only Bullados’ version is online right now. When The Top Cut posts theirs, I’ll replace the links, because theirs will have commentary.
Pokemon ParadijsI get off to an incredible start, getting T2 double KK. Misplay #1: I bench a Klink and candy it into Shift Gear in the same turn. However, neither Casey nor I nor the judge watching our game, nor, I assume, The Top Cut caught it. I’ve been told that everyone on stream chat caught it, but who really cares.
Anyway, the best part? In order to achieve misplay #1, I perform misplay #2: using my Dowsing Machine for a Rare Candy, instead of just, you know, waiting next turn to Skyla. I don’t even remember what happened, but I basically just use my only Scrapper to get a KO on a Landorus.
Then he locks me down. I start attaching Energy to PlasmaKlang, because the two Garbo have 90/30 damage on each of them, so if I can kill them both in an attack (with a flip from Plasma), I can get the lock for another turn and potentially pull out the W with a Catcher/Gear Grind on a Mewtwo, with some luck.
I bench a Darkrai, and he Catchers, hits for 60. I check my deck, realize I’ve got 2 Metal left, and two Max Potion. I Potion, then attach. He hits. I attach… and then misplay #3: pass. So he hits again and that was it because I’d deck out. Ugh.
I don’t even remember. More or less the same. I KO a Landorus with a Keldeo and then just lose from there. I save my Dowsing Machine so I’ll have two Scrapper plays, but it doesn’t matter. Watch the video, I don’t even want to.
0-2, 9-3, 4th place
So, my spectacular tournament ended in a spectacular burnout as I lose in spectacular fashion to an auto-loss. Casey went on to win the entire tournament, so congratulations!
All in all, I’m very pleased with my performance. This is the best I’ve ever done at a tournament, and I’m proud of that. I’m very happy with my deck choice, and it was very consistent. I know I made the right choice for the tournament, because the meta was definitely heavy Big Basics and Darkrai, both of which are positive matchups for me.
Best of all, I have a lot of fun playing the deck, and am very happy that I decided to play it.
- 4 Max Potion!
- Shift Gear Klinklang!
- Baiting my opponents and succeeding.
- Dinner being bought for me afterward by my friends.
- Mike Lesky for building the deck for me completely. Like, they were all his cards.
- Losing in Top 4 to Garbodor, my last remaining auto-loss.
- Getting paired up against my last remaining auto-loss.
- Being sick.
Thanks for reading, and see you guys at Nationals! If anyone wants to play some games against this deck (that don’t involve Rayeels or Garbodor), feel free to hit me up on Facebook. My name’s Michael Slutsky. Hope you enjoyed the report!