The Freeze is ON

AkihabaraBulbapediaHello everyone! Today’s article discusses something that I’ve been itching to write about for a few months now – the format that has the biggest meaning for me personally, the National and World Championship format. I’ve been testing BLW–PLF excessively for over 2 months now, so the only problem I had with this article was choosing what to concentrate on!

In the end I decided to focus on what I feel will give you a head start on the new format – how to avoid the pitfalls of deck building with the new set and what decks you should concentrate on while preparing for Spring Battle Roads and Nationals.

There may very well be some thoughts that you might not believe at first glance and if you don’t agree with something, feel free to ask me questions and test things out for yourself. I’m especially interested in findings that differ from mine. I know that there are people just like me who have been testing extensively for Nationals as well, so I would like to hear your thoughts.

Before I get into deck building tips and new decks, I want to point out that Plasma Freeze is the most influential set of the season. It shifts the balance of the format a lot and it will create whole new Tier 1 decks as well as a lot of really competitive Tier 2 decks.

In this article, I will concentrate on the most competitive decks of the new format and of course one concept deck of mine (which is by far my favorite of the format).

Table of Contents

The Future of the Metagame

Turn 1 is More Important Than Ever

deoxys-ex-plasma-freeze-plf-53Turn 1 was one of the most important and scariest moments for many decks in the past metagame. But this is about to change thanks to Plasma Freeze. From Plasma Freeze onwards, the first turn will have even more of an impact on the game’s outcome and it’s even scarier for many decks.

Thanks to Hypnotoxic Laser, Virbank City Gym, Colress Machine, Kyurem PLF, Deoxys EX, and Thundurus EX you are surely being donked if you open with a low HP Basic (see 60 or less). Even if you don’t have a weak Basic, the pressure all the good Basics in the format are able to put on you T1 can be too much to handle – if you don’t have a good opening.

Stage 2 decks are at a huge disadvantage in this future format if they don’t go first. And even if they do go first, they need the optimal opening hand in order to survive early pressure.

If the previous Nationals and Worlds format was favorable for Basic decks, it’s very favorable for them once again. I don’t believe a Klinklang-like miracle will be possible this time around.

Keldeo-EX / Switch / Escape Rope / Float Stone

Now that Float Stone is released, every deck has a myriad of switching cards to choose from. If you have been playing Darkrai EX, you know just how handy it is to have Keldeo-EX on your bench with a free retreat thanks to Dark Cloak. It will get rid of any Special Condition or attack’s effect, and now thanks to Float Stone this same trick is available for any deck. Say goodbye to Hypnotoxic Laser flips deciding the game’s result!

What I have noticed while testing was that the switching option you choose greatly affects a deck’s matchups. First, I was enchanted by the versatility of Keldeo-EX + Float Stone. However, whenever I started testing against Garbodor variants, the Keldeo-EX became completely useless and I lost the games due to my deck’s immobility (and Laser flips).

After that I started teching Tool Scrappers back to my decklists and noticed that not only did my Garbodor matchup get better, but my mirror matchups as well because I was able to discard my opponent’s Float Stones.

I then tried the same deck with Switches and it worked perfectly against mirrors AND Garbodor. I was pretty shocked by my finding – in the end, I did a full circle only ending up with the original Switch card.

What I’m trying to say is that the final decision of switch cards should be made based on your thoughts about the metagame. And if you are unsure what kind of metagame you will be playing in, Switch is ALWAYS the correct play. It works against everything since Item lock isn’t around at the moment.

One last thing I want to point out from the switch cards. As Warp Point was one of my favorite cards of all time, I have tested Escape Rope in every deck a lot and noticed that there is only one deck where it is really worth playing. That deck is Darkrai.

With most decks, you don’t want to Switch your opponent’s Active Pokémon because it’s their main attacker, but often I have noticed that Escape Rope as the 5th Catcher is game-winning in Darkrai EX thanks to Night Spear. Try it out, you won’t be disappointed!

Special Energy are BACK

prism-energy-next-destinies-nxd-93pokemon-paradijs.comAfter a long time, these cards will be making a huge comeback. Mainly, this comeback is due to Team Plasma decks and since they will be the dominating force of the new metagame, so will be Special Energy cards.

What does this mean for decks? Well, this means it’s Hammertime! Enhanced Hammer will also make a comeback and even just 1 Enhanced Hammer will make or break the games in the upcoming format.

Of course this will strengthen Darkrai EX decks as well, because Darkrai EX decks can abuse Hammers the best. However, other Basic decks also want to play Enhanced Hammer because Plasma decks will overpower EVERYTHING unless they are disrupted.

If (and when) Enhanced Hammers get more popular, it will give an opening for Eelektrik and Blastoise decks that don’t run Special Energy. However, they still have a lot of trouble against Plasma decks, so the metagame triangle will once again be in play.

Landorus/Mewtwo is Tier 2

You can quote me on that. Landorus-EX is weak to Kyurem PLF and Deoxys-EX 1HKOs a 2 Energy Mewtwo EX. Without Lasers, Mewtwo EX won’t get a revenge KO on Deoxys-EX, which is huge. Not to mention that Kyurem (a non-Pokémon-EX) 1HKOing Landorus-EX is pretty ridiculous.

Big Basics decks won’t disappear, but they will see a decrease in play and need new solutions against the shifting metagame.

One of the ideas I’ve been playing around with is Tornadus EX/Bouffalant DRX/Garbodor DRX/Cobalion NVI/Terrakion NVI/Mewtwo EX, but eventually I noticed that it ran into trouble against any decks running Enhanced Hammers to nullify your DCEs.

Klinklang is Dead

You can quote me on that too. And Klinklang players, don’t take offense. The problem with Klinklang is that Kyurem PLF will tear Klinklangs apart in 4 turns. And in 6 turns the one Kyurem will have drawn 6 Prizes. In some games it will draw the Prizes even faster! And Plasma decks with Kyurem will be very popular.

Another reason for this is the Absol that is also released in Plasma Freeze. It’s the perfect tech for Darkrai decks that crave for a non-EX attacker.

Ghetsis is Overhyped

ghetsis-full-art-plasma-freeze-plf-115When Ghetsis was first released in Japan, discussions like these started to pop up.

Thankfully the hype has calmed down. Probably because people have started testing Ghetsis and noticed that… well, it’s mediocre at best. I hadn’t tested Ghetsis and really thought it would be very good. Then I started examining the Japanese decklists and noticed that none of them played Ghetsis. I was puzzled.

However, as soon as I started playing Ghetsis, I noticed just how bad it actually was. Even though about 40% of decks are Item cards, hand sizes are very small in the current metagame. Why is that? Because Items are played immediately when you get them.

The only cards you may be able to shuffle back into your opponent’s deck are cards like Dark Patch, Hypnotoxic Laser, and Catcher. But they are the cards they want to use, so it’s pretty good right? Well, not exactly. Often you’ll end up HELPING your opponent with Ghetsis.

This happened to me too often: My opponent had a Juniper, 2 Catchers, and a Laser in their hand, which they don’t want to use. I used Ghetsis, shuffled the Items back into their deck, drew 4 cards, and noticed that they were left with a single Juniper.

My plan was to disrupt them, but in the end, I saved their most important Items and gave my opponent an opening to continue drawing without sacrificing important resources.

And what did I get? 4 cards. And usually I only got 2-3 cards. However, this is to illustrate that the more you get to draw cards, the more you probably help your opponent.

Plasma is the New SP

You don’t have to be a nuclear scientist to deduce this. If you were playing back during the days of Pokémon SP, you remember how dominating they were, especially during the full LuxChomp season.

It will take time for Plasma to get to each player, due to the cost of the cards and since Nationals are the last tournaments for everyone, but I expect 50% of the Worlds metagame to be Plasma. Plasma’s popularity will steadily increase from that point on.

The Fresh Five

Now to five new and updated decks which I feel are the most interesting ones at this point of the season. Ok… to be exact, 4 important decks and 1 personal favorite.


Blastoise is the only Stage 2 that can at least somehow keep up with the quick pace of the metagame. With Plasma Freeze, Blastoise is better than ever and can make its way back to the top of Tier 1. Here’s my current list with an emphasis on consistency and beating the most popular decks of the format.

Pokémon – 13

4 Squirtle BCR
4 Blastoise BCR
3 Black Kyurem-EX PLS
2 Keldeo-EX

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Juniper
4 Skyla
3 N
1 Bianca
1 Colress
1 Cilan


3 Ultra Ball
1 Level Ball
1 Heavy Ball
4 Rare Candy
3 Pokémon Catcher
3 Superior Energy Retrieval
1 Energy Retrieval

1 Dowsing Machine


2 Tropical Beach

Energy – 14

11 W
3 L

Card Explanations

4-4 Blastoise

Since the current format is so fast, 4 Squirtles is a must. The only debatable thing in the Blastoise line is whether to run 4 Blastoise or 3. If you only happen to run 3 Blastoise, you might want to test the Plasma matchup. It’s ridiculous how easily Plasma 1HKOs Blastoises with Kyurem or Lugia EX. You should always have an access to 2 Blastoises at the same time in order to win in the upcoming metagame.

If you don’t like running 4 Blastoises, I highly recommend running Super Rod or even a 6th Ball in your deck in order to maximize the chances to draw Blastoise T2 and onwards.

3 Black Kyurem EX

black kyurem ex plasma storm pls 95pokemon-paradijs.comBlack Kyurem EX has seen some play in the current Blastoise decks, but thanks to Plasma Freeze it will become a staple card for Blastoise decks. The one and only card Black Kyurem EX can thank for becoming a staple is Super Energy Retrieval. With Super Energy Retrieval, you won’t ever miss Black Ballista and can easily hit with it 3 turns in a row.

What’s the difference between Keldeo-EX and Black Kyurem EX then as attackers since Super Energy Retrieval is super good with Keldeo-EX’s attack as well? Mewtwo EX and Deoxys-EX. They both hit harder the more Energy you have attached.

A 5 Energy Keldeo-EX is easily 1HKO’d by both Mewtwo EX and Deoxys-EX. However, since Black Kyurem EX discards 3 Energy, Deoxys and Mewtwo are both pretty useless against it. And most decks are in deep trouble if they have no answer Black Kyurem EX.

2 Keldeo-EX

The deck doesn’t really need Keldeo-EX. The only reason why Keldeo-EX is in this deck now is for its Ability, which gives the deck more mobility. Over 70% of the games you will be crushing your opponent with just Black Kyurem EX and Keldeo-EX just sits nicely on the bench giving you the option to use it when necessary.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Blastoise decks that don’t even run Keldeo-EX in the future, but instead rely upon Switches and Escape Ropes.

3 Ultra Ball, 1 Level Ball, 1 Heavy Ball

Ultra Balls are still the best way to search for Pokémon because they can search for anything. I also really like Level Ball here because there is no way you can miss the T1 Squirtle. You NEED the T1 Squirtle so bad.

And Heavy Ball is also a new staple for the deck because it can search for the two most important cards of the deck – Blastoise and Black Kyurem.

At the moment I really like the 3-1-1 split because Ultra Ball is so good and Level and Heavy Ball a bit too situational. But since it’s always nice to have any of these balls up for a grab with Skyla, you should play at least one of each.

3 Super Energy Retrieval, 1 Energy Retrieval, 1 Dowsing Machine

Super Energy Retrieval is the new black – at least for Blastoise. You can reload Black Kyurem EX over and over again with it, but you must remember that you can’t get the cards back which you discarded with Super Energy Retrieval.

This ruling is very interesting because in the past you were able discard 2 Energy cards with SER and get them back immediately. However, this isn’t a much of a problem because Black Kyurem discards 3 Energy cards and you will always discard some Energy with Ultra Balls and Juniper as well.

However, the main question is how to live with N’s? Well, this is how the game usually goes (ceteris paribus).

  1. Attach Energy to Black Kyurem EX and attack (draw 2 Prizes).
  2. Your opponent N’s you to 4.
  3. Use Skyla or SER or any other Supporter to get 3 Energy and attach them again for Black Kyurem EX (draw 2 Prizes).
  4. Your opponent N’s you to 2 cards.
  5. You will struggle drawing the correct cards.

The last turn always has the most impact on deciding the outcome of the game. Here are some very important tips you should always have on your mind when playing and building your own Blastoise.

1. Run 1 copy of Energy Retrieval.

energy-retrieval-black-white-blw-92pokemon-paradijs.comSome people feel like 4 Super Energy Retrieval will be a staple, because hey, it’s better than Energy Retrieval! But once you take the deck and start playing with, you will notice that you miss Energy Retrieval way too often.

2. Run Dowsing Machine.

I ‘m not usually a fan of Dowsing Machine, but for this Blastoise variant, it’s one of the most crucial cards in the deck. You can get any Item with it and sometimes you can even get the earlier discarded Cilan with it, which will surprise your opponent completely.

It also increases the chances to draw the Energy from the 2 card N, because you can either search for discarded Energy Retrieval with it or use a Supporter with it. Dowsing Machine will win you a lot more games than Computer Search will.

3. Never go down to 1 Prize unless absolutely necessary.

It should be obvious. When your opponent N’s you to 1 card, the only card, that can save you is a Supporter or an Energy Retrieval. Super Energy Retrieval is completely useless after a 1 card N and this alone justifies playing at least one copy of Energy Retrieval in your deck.

4. When going down to 1 or 2 Prizes, distribute your Energy wisely.

You don’t usually want to attach extra Energy to Black Kyurem EX before attacking, but when you are going down to 1 or 2 Prizes with Black Ballista, it’s good to look at all the options. Can you attach 5 Energy to Black Kyurem EX and still be out of the KO range of your opponent’s Mewtwo EX/Deoxys-EX?

In some matchups you are able to just attach 7 Energy to Black Kyurem EX if you know that your opponent doesn’t run Deoxys-EX or Mewtwo EX (see Darkrai EX decks) and thus just run through your opponent no matter what they do. The Energy drops of the (hopefully) second to last turn of the game make all the difference.

Team Plasma

Before taking a look at this decklist and card choices, be sure to first read my article about the basic mechanics of the deck to understand how it actually works.

Pokémon – 10

3 Thundurus-EX PLF

3 Deoxys-EX
2 Kyurem PLF
1 Lugia-EX
1 Keldeo-EX

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
3 Skyla
2 Colress
1 Bianca
1 Team Plasma Grunt
1 Shadow Triad


4 Colress Machine
4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Hypnotoxic Laser
2 Float Stone
2 Switch

2 Ultra Ball

1 Team Plasma Ball
1 Scramble Switch


2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 12

4 Prism
4 Plasma
3 Blend WLFM
1 Double Colorless

Card Explanations

3 Thundurus EX

thundurus-ex-plasma-freeze-plf-38Thundurus EX is your favorite starter because it can Energy accelerate all of your attackers. However, one of the most important things to keep in mind with this deck is that even though Kyurem often feels like the better starter (as long as you have the Colress Machine in your opening hand), Thundurus EX is still the best starter.

Why? Since it makes the deck less vulnerable to Hammer disruption.

2 Kyurem PLF

This is your Klinklang and Sigilyph insurance. At the same time it’s able to 1HKO any EX with 3 Deoxys on the bench + the Poison combo. Not to mention it’s a superb first attacker which hits on the bench as well.

Kyurem is probably one of the most underrated cards of this deck and once you start playing with the deck, you’ll notice that you would like to run solo-Kyurem deck. I have seen some solo Kyurem decks in Japan, but the problem with them is that they don’t have a real way to accelerate Energy, which makes them too vulnerable against Darkrai EX decks that can damage you and at the same time get rid of your Energy.

1 Lugia EX

My current list runs only one DCE, which emphasizes Lugia EX’s viability for the late game, but if you happen to be a fan of Lugia EX, you can easily put more emphasis on Lugia EX for the early game. There is nothing that puts pressure on your opponent like a T1 Lugia EX drawing 2 Prizes.

What I think is very important to watch is if the metagame develops toward Lugia-aggressive decks then Darkrai EX decks will think twice before opening with Sableye. Opening with Darkrai EX will become a good option because you can absorb Lugia EXs attack with it, Max Potion the damage away, and then retreat to Sableye.

However, no matter how the Plasma decks develop, Lugia EX will be a staple. So, as the price of Lugia EX has dropped a lot lately, I suggest everyone to get their hands on 2 Lugia EXs before the price starts soaring again. Lugia EX will become a staple for over 50% of metagame decks, which will surely increase the price of Lugia EX in the near future.

1 Keldeo-EX, 2 Float Stone, 2 Switch, 1 Scramble Switch

switch-expedition-ex-157pokemon-paradijs.comAs Plasma ranks among the fastest decks in the format, you want to keep it mobile throughout the game. So far I have had the best success with the combination of Keldeo-EX and Switch. Switch is a must if you happen to run into a fast Garbodor and it’s also nice to have if your Keldeo-EX gets stuck to the Active Spot.

Too many decks rely solely on Keldeo-EX or Switch, but as the deck has a lot of space, it’s worth taking an advantage of. Scramble Switch can also work as an emergency Switch when needed, but I highly recommend saving it for the late Lugia EX which will be your last attacker in many games.

1 Team Plasma Grunt

I have been a huge fan of Bianca ever since it was released, but when I started playing Plasma, I quickly realized that Bianca just wasn’t a great fit for the deck. The deck has a lot of cards it wants to use only at some point of the game and it also has cards like Colress Machine that you will never use all copies of during the game.

I ran Cheren for a while until I remembered that Team Plasma Grunt existed. And it was probably one of the realizations I’ve made. I could get rid of a useless Thundurus EX or Colress Machine in the mid game and draw 4 cards all at once.

At the moment I have saved one spot for Bianca and I’m still arguing whether I should replace it with another Team Plasma Grunt.

1 Shadow Triad

Shadow Triad isn’t officially confirmed yet, but it’s safe to assume that it will be released in Plasma Freeze. And I really do have a place in my heart for this card. Why? Since it’s one of the only cards in the game that can give me the precious 5th Hypnotoxic Laser!

Although Shadow Triad is a Supporter, it’s sometimes really worth the space. There are times when you don’t want to play Lugia EX on the bench. Well, with Shadow Triad, you can discard Lugia EX with Juniper and still get it back when you most need it. Shadow Triad is one of those cards that increase the deck’s versatility so much that you don’t want to miss it.

4 Colress Machine

colress machine plasma storm pls 119pokemon-paradijs.comFour or bust. Even though the deck only runs 4 Plasma Energy, Colress Machine is such an important part of the deck’s success that you want to play 4 of them. It increases the speed of the deck a lot and is as important to Plasma decks as Energy Gain was to SP decks.

4 Prism, 4 Plasma, 3 Blend WLFM, 1 Double Colorless

Energy lines are surprisingly tricky to get right with this deck. The biggest problem is the scare of Enhanced Hammers, which will greatly inbalance the deck if your Energy lines aren’t prepared for them. This deck only runs Special Energy cards and to be honest, I think it’s the best option.

I have played around with different basic Energy cards, but as all the basic Energy are situational, there really isn’t anything that can beat the versatility of these particular Special Energy.

The current Energy lines are fine, but if you want to put more emphasis on Lugia EX, you need to add at least 2 DCEs for the deck. But where to find the space for it? I haven’t figured that out just yet.


My favorite deck, Darkrai, has also gotten a complete makeover thanks to the metagame shifting toward Plasma decks and even further away from Stage 2 decks.

Pokémon – 8

3 Sableye DEX
3 Darkrai-EX DEX
2 Absol PLF

Trainers – 42

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
3 Bianca
1 Skyla

2 Random Receiver


4 Ultra Ball
4 Dark Patch
4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Hypnotoxic Laser
3 Dark Claw

3 Enhanced Hammer
1 Max Potion
1 Energy Search
1 Escape Rope

1 Scramble Switch


2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 10

10 D

Card Explanations

2 Absol

This little guy will become a staple for Darkrai EX decks. There are few reasons for that.

1. It will auto-win versus Klinklang, which will still be surprisingly popular.

Klinklang needs an almost full bench to work well and even with 3 Pokémon on the bench, Absol hits for 80 damage. With Laser, Virbank, and Dark Claw you can augment this damage to very high amounts.

However, the biggest for Klinklang is that Absols aren’t techs but a staple attackers for the deck which will be featured in 80% of Darkrai EX decks. There is no decent answer to an early Absol for Klinklang, thus Klinklang can be announced as a dead deck.

2. It is able to 1HKO Thundurus EX and Deoxys-EX.

It’s pretty ridiculous, but it’s a fact. Plasma decks will always have their benches full or at least that’s their best-case scenario. With 5 Pokémon on their bench, Dark Claw attached to Absol, and with Laser and Virbank, you are able to reach the magical 170 damage for only 2 Energy and with a non-EX attacker at that! That’s legit if I do say so myself.

Of course people will eventually adjust to playing against Absol and consider their bench size more carefully, but I’m pretty sure that during the Battle Roads you will be able to catch your opponents by surprise with Absol’s damage output.

3. It’s a non-EX attacker.

Not only it’s good against Klinklang, but being non-EX helps you to control your opponent’s Prize count and thus force your opponent to 2 and even 1 Prize in the same game! Usually you are only able to force them to 2 or to 1, but not both since you only have EXs on the field and non-EXs that can’t attack.

It’s also good to mention that as you can see from the list, there are only 3 Sableyes. Donking Sableye isn’t a difficult task in the upcoming format, but you really can’t donk Absol thanks to its 100 HP. The more you high HP Basics you have, the better.

No Keldeo-EX, 1 Escape Rope, 1 Scramble Switch, 1 Max Potion

I’m a huge advocate of no Keldeo-EX in Darkrai EX decks. That’s mainly because I have found that Escape Rope does win you games and Scramble Switch enables you to make huge comebacks, especially in Darkrai EX mirrors with the help of Max Potion. When carefully played, these cards are enough for the situations, when you want to get rid of Special Conditions.

It’s just too frustrating when your opponent is able to put your Keldeo asleep. You hit tails from the sleep check and lose the game because of that… Yeah, I want to avoid those scenarios.

3 Dark Claw

dark-claw-dark-explorers-dex-92pokemon-paradijs.comThese cards are the shortcut to happiness in all the important matchups. Dark Claw gives you the magic number with Absol + Poison to all the 170 HP EXs and it gives the 110 or 140 to Darkrai EX, which is enough to 1HKO Blastoise and KO 170 HP EXs after one 30 from the Night Spear.

A long time I played a 2/1 Dark Claw/Eviolite split, but in all honest Eviolite didn’t really have a function in the deck, whereas Dark Claw has its moments in every single matchup.

3 Enhanced Hammer

These are mainly used against Plasma, but they are also super viable against random Lugia EX decks and against Big Basics which rely on Double Colorless Energy. I tried Crushing Hammers, but noticed that whenever I flipped tails, I would just long for Enhanced Hammers.

In the toughest matchups one Crushing Hammer heads won’t usually make or break the game, but multiple Enhanced Hammers can change the direction of matchups completely (especially against Plasma decks).

The Anti-Meta Deck

As you can see from the name of this deck, this deck is designed specially to combat the metagame I have predicted to see in upcoming tournaments. These decks include (in order of popularity): Team Plasma, Darkrai, and Blastoise.

Pokémon – 12

3 Sableye DEX
3 Darkrai-EX DEX
2 Mewtwo-EX NXD
2 Bouffalant DRX
1 Keldeo-EX
1 Victini-EX

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
3 Bianca
3 Skyla


4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Hypnotoxic Laser

3 Ultra Ball
3 Dark Patch
2 Enhanced Hammer
1 Energy Switch
1 Dark Claw
1 Max Potion
1 Energy Search
1 Escape Rope

1 Victory Piece


1 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 11

8 D
3 Double Colorless

Cards that Didn’t Make the List

This deck is one of the decks I’m most proud of since I have spent tens of hours testing and perfecting it. Every single card has a purpose. There are two Pokémon I tested it the deck but didn’t make the cut – Leafeon PLF and Cobalion NVI.

The idea of Leafeon was to counter Keldeo-EX, but when I noticed that Blastoise/Black Kyurem is a lot better than the standard Blastoise/Keldeo, I ended up scrapping Leafeon.

Cobalion was one of the cards that inspired me to develop this deck (to counter Kyurem), but in the end I noticed that keeping the deck monotype would be a lot wiser, because consistency is still king in the current format and Mewtwo EX does a fine job countering Kyurem.

Vs. Team Plasma

Countering Plasma was the main focus when I was building the deck and it probably shows from the decklist. The key cards for beating Plasma are as follows.

1 Victini-EX

victini ex plasma storm pls 18pokemon-paradijs.comVictini-EX is the attacker you want to have available as soon as possible if you don’t Prize your Victory Piece. Before playing Victini-EX down against Plasma, make sure you have an access to your Victory Piece as soon as possible, because it isn’t fun to give 2 free Prizes to Kyurem.

Victini-EX inflicts damage to any of your opponent’s Pokémon-EX, while you can load your other attackers at the same time. And against Plasma, your primary attacker is…

2 Bouffalant

Plasma is an EX-heavy deck, so it’s natural that you are using anti-Pokémon-EX against it. Bouffalant isn’t the greatest attacker against Kyurem (which is the most pain in the butt Pokémon against this deck), but against anything else it’s superb.

PoisonCombo + Gold Breaker does 150 damage to Deoxys-EX. This puts it in range of Darkrai EX’s bench damage. As Darkrai EX is your best bet against Kyurem, it’s not rarely seen that you are able to draw 3 Prizes with only one Night Spear in the early game, while crippling their setup completely with the help of…

2 Enhanced Hammer, 3 Sableye, 1 Max Potion

I have discussed Enhanced Hammer a lot and I won’t stop yet, because it’s the only way of countering Plasma that can be applied to any deck. With Sableye-based decks Enhanced Hammer is even better, because you can keep up the infamous “Hammerspam” strategy, while setting up your own attackers.

If you are a fan of Hammertime, you will feel very comfortable with this deck because the strategy is quite similar.

Vs. Darkrai

When Opening with Victini-EX

Victini-EX is your golden ticket in this matchup. You need to gain advantage with it in the first few turns otherwise the game will turn into a standard Basic EX mirror match, which will be pretty brainless. It’s also worth mentioning that thanks to Keldeo-EX and Escape Rope, you won’t get stuck with your Keldeo-EX, which is HUGE in Darkrai EX mirrors.

When Opening with Sableye

If you happen to open with Sableye, I would advise trying to get the advantage in the matchup by setting up your Bouffalants. There is nothing Darkrai EX hates more than Bouffalants, especially if they don’t have Virbank City Gym in play.

It’s wise not to play Virbank City Gym down in this matchup unless extremely necessary, because the 20 additional damage will make or break whether your opponent is able to 1HKO your Bouffalant or not, and the whole game can come down to that.

Vs. Blastoise

There are two ways to approach this matchup.

1. Get 6 Prizes from 3 Pokémon.

bouffalant-dragons-exalted-drx-110pokemon-paradijs.comBouffalant and Victini are once again the key cards to succeed. If you are able to get Victini-EX in the early turns, start aiming at your opponent’s Black Kyurem EXs. With the additional 100 damage and possible 2 Prize lead you are able to get with Victini, it is possible to win the game with the help of the other attackers.

Bouffalant is also priceless against Blastoise because it’s a non-EX that can still 2HKO Black Kyurem EX.

With the help of Bouffalant, you are also able to force your opponent down to 1 Prize, which is huge against Blastoise. They can’t neglect attacking the Bouffalant because otherwise their attackers will be KO’d too quickly and you will win the Prize race.

2. Destroy their setup.

Well, this is probably the most obvious strategy against Blastoise no matter what deck you are playing with. Blastoise is the slowest deck of the format and KOing those Squirtles isn’t a difficult task if going first. The best cards for KOing Squirtles are Victini-EX (once again) and Mewtwo EX.

Lately, Mewtwo EX has gotten a lot less love than in its glory days and the trend will probably stay the same due to Deoxys-EX. However, if Blastoise occasionally happens to drop a bit too many Energy on their Pokémon, Mewtwo EX is always ready to take advantage of that.

AggroHammer v. 13.04.23

Yes, it’s back. You may remember me introducing the original version of this deck in one of my past Underground articles and also on my blog.

Pokémon – 16

4 Aron DRX
4 Lairon DRX
3 Aggron DRX

4 Sableye DEX
1 Darkrai-EX DEX

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
2 Bianca
2 Skyla
2 Random Receiver


4 Ultra Ball
1 Level Ball
3 Devolution Spray
3 Pokémon Catcher

2 Crushing Hammer
2 Enhanced Hammer
1 Tool Scrapper
1 Super Rod
1 Revive
1 Town Map

1 Hypnotoxic Laser

1 Life Dew

Energy – 9

9 D

Problems Fixed from the Original List

Problem: Prizing too many key cards.
Solution: Town Map and Hypnotoxic Laser

If you happen to Prize 2 Aggrons, you are in trouble. However, thanks to new sets, there are cards that are able to help you overcome these situations. Of course Town Map is a very crucial card for this, but before you weren’t able to draw any Prizes even if you happened to know that you had cards in your Prizes because there was no way of doing enough damage to Knock something Out.

However, things have changed thanks to Hypnotoxic Laser. With the help of HTL, the deck is able to draw Prizes and stall your opponent even more! Hypnotoxic is the one single card that has helped this concept to become competitive once again and I would put 2 of them in the list if I could find the space.

Problem: It’s too easy for your opponent to take 6 Prizes off Sableyes.
Solution: Life Droplets

life-droplets-thunder-knuckle-bw8-50pokeca-japan.ocnk.bizIn one of my games during the Battle Roads I ran into a serious problem. I faced a T2 Thundurus EPO and couldn’t hit Hammer heads. The one Thundurus killed all my Sableyes in just a matter of turns.

This is where the main concept behind this deck steps in – Life Droplets is my favorite Pokémon card of all time. What’s not to love with a card that makes a non-Pokémon-EX a Prize-less one which can be recycled infinitely with the help of Junk Hunt?

Thanks to Life Droplets, your opponent has to kill 9-12 Sableyes while their deck is being discarded in order to win the game. Good luck with that!

Problem: Not drawing into what you need.
Solution: Skyla

Relying your strategy on cards like Life Droplets would be just stupid if Skyla wasn’t around, but thanks to Skyla, you are now able to access any one copy cards of your deck like Life Droplets and Town Map.

Problem: A solo tanked attacker from your opponent, without any Benched Pokémon to Catcher.
Solution: Hypnotoxic Laser

The tragedy which I faced in Battle Roads can’t be repeated because of Hypnotoxic Laser. No deck can afford using only one Pokémon in play because it will be Poisoned and in the best case scenario, put to Asleep.

Your opponent will need Pokémon on their bench in order to get rid of Special Conditions and this suits your strategy very well, because the more they have Pokémon on their bench, the more you have things to Catcher, which will help you with stalling.

Note on Life Droplets

Ok, so I must admit that even though I love the concept, I really need to playtest it even more in order to have guts to play it in the World Championship. However, the point of the review of this particular deck was not to hype Sableye/Aggron, but to give food for thought on how Life Droplets can be abused the best.

I’m sure that we’ll see very creative ways of using the Life Droplets/Sableye combo and I can’t wait to see what people will come up with. Being able to give up 9-12 Prizes per game is truly remarkable.


Christopher animeBulbapediaEven though this article was simply a look at the most important aspects of the upcoming metagame, I think I was able to give you pretty clear picture of just how much the metagame will change and what kind of deck building and play style adjustments this will require from players.

I expect Plasma to become the dominant metagame figure, and even though this will make the metagame a bit more stale, I think it’s still a move in the right direction skill-wise. I myself have already decided my Nationals deck, so all I can do from now on is to test it more and more to make it perfect.

I hope this article gave you a lot insight for the upcoming metagame and that it gave you the head start you need, so you don’t have to concentrate on reinventing the wheel, but to tuning it. I sure hope the hundreds of hours of playtesting I have done shows in this article and that you enjoyed it.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the article, remember to leave me feedback so I can improve my articles for the future. I’m open for all kinds of discussion about Plasma Freeze because it’s very interesting to talk about the newly developing metagame!

If you thought the article was enlightening and that the experience really showed from the article, remember to “Like” the article, so I’ll know what you thought about it!

Thanks for reading!

– Esa Juntunen


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