Hey there UG!
Today, I’m going to get into the nitty gritty of what I’ve found from my playtesting in Plasma Freeze. I’ll be talking lists, matchup-specific play habits, and how Plasma Basics fits into the metagame in general. I’ll also introduce a new way to play an old favourite. This article will be like a very in-depth, updated version of my “What’s Up With The Format” article on TCG with Hats.
First, let’s just establish what we’re talking about here. The group shaking up the format is Team Plasma. Now… I don’t know about you, but the villainous organizations in the video games always seemed incredibly underwhelming. The grunts used terrible Pokémon, and their plans were always foiled by 10 year old children. But the game always builds them up to be the big baddies, and it seems like the rest of the world can’t simply stroll in and challenge them to a Pokémon battle like Jimmy Mc10YearsOld can.
Don’t get caught up in the same mentality as the random NPC’s of the video game. Team Plasma may have caught itself a Deoxys, Thundurus, Kyurem, Lugia, etc… But they’re still the same incompetent villainous organization they are in the video games.
By no means are these Pokémon going to absolutely dominate our format. I’m more than willing to take that gamble and state it outright. Plasma Basics (Thundurus EX/Deoxys-EX/others) is not going to be the straight up BDIF throughout Battle Roads like Darkrai was last year.
The deck is definitely Tier 1, and a potential BDIF, but don’t forget about all the other competent archetypes we have established right now! These decks are more than capable of dealing with the incoming Plasma Basics threat.
So, let’s talk a bit about the big decks of the format.
Table of Contents
Blastoise is a deck that has been a powerhouse since its introduction. I think many players became disenchanted with the deck last format, as the introduction of LaserBank made life very difficult for Blastoise. The pressure that extra 30 damage was able to impress was enough to make most people say “this deck is too high maintenance for me.” And I don’t blame them. I was strongly considering Blastoise entering Regionals, but decided against it for that exact reason.
Nonetheless, Blastoise had four Top 4’s in Spring Regionals, with 1 win to boot. I think Regional metagames/representation very much determined how well Blastoise could do. I know, for instance, that at BC Provincials, literally no one was playing Blastoise. But at Regionals, a couple strong local players picked up the deck, and one of them went all the way to Top 4 with Blastoise/Keldeo/Mewtwo. Another interesting development, especially considering Andy’s UG article last week which discussed the deck.
Either way, Blastoise is a deck that will continue to do well in the new format. Superior Energy Retrieval is a nice touch to help ensure that. The question on most people’s minds I think is how to split their Energy Retrieval/Superior Energy Retrieval lines. How about I give you all my answer to this question, with a deck list:
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 34
Energy – 14
This list is fairly standard, so I’ll touch on the important aspects.
Including my Scrapper for tournament play, I had to drop my 2nd regular Energy Retrieval. This makes me sad, but this is probably how things have to go. I’m an advocate of lots of Energy in Blastoise, so 14 is actually lower than I’d like it to be, but the format demands that space be taken up by something else.
The key behind taking advantage of Superior Energy Retrieval is having Energy in the discard as soon as possible. The best way to do that is to just have lots of Energy period. This lets you discard them via Ultra Ball, run into them easier as you load up your first attacker, etc…
The card is just too good to ignore. But honestly I feel like 3/1 as a split is a “high risk, high reward” type of play. When things go well for you, they go very well. Superior Energy Retrieval is a card that isn’t truly live until about turn 4 or 5, unlike Energy Retrieval which can be putting in work as early as Turn 2. Andrew’s article was in favour of going all-in with SER.
I feel like keeping 1 regular Energy Retrieval is useful alongside Skyla. Also, you don’t always want to discard all the cards in your hand just to hit your SER requirement. Blastoise can’t always drop 3 cards in order to recover Energy. You may need that Catcher, Candy, Supporter etc… on that turn or in your deck. If I went all-in with SER, I might actually recommend that crazy Exeggcute tech.
Float Stone is in the deck in place of the 2nd Energy Retrieval I crave. The logic being, if Float Stone conserves a Retrieval’s worth of attachments to retreat Keldeo, then it was just as good as Energy Retrieval. And anything that it facilitates beyond that is icing on the cake. I’m still not sure about this card, but I do like the idea of it. It is not uncommon to find it attached to Blastoise either.
The 1 Float Stone is pretty useful in the Garbodor matchup as well. If you load a Keldeo prior to Garbotoxin (or by taking advantage of Scrapper), then Float Stone ensures they can’t Catcher-stall a Blastoise as an out to dealing with your setup.
I’ll go up to 3 when Frozen City poses a serious problem. Kyurem + LaserBank may be enough of a reason to go up to 3 though. But running Dowsing Machine instead of Computer Search could suffice to help win the Stadium war when you need your “3rd” copy.
Blastoise vs. The Format
The interactions between Blastoise and the other Tier 1 decks remain largely the same. The deck gained no new attackers, and its only new tools are power-boosting cards. The only matchup that we all likely don’t have lots of experience with is Plasma Basics.
The important thing to keep in mind against the Plasma matchup is that Kyurem is downright scary. This is a matchup where Dowsing/3rd Beach to help win the Stadium war would be appreciated. Unfortunately, as Virbank is played on their turn, I don’t think it does enough to win you the exchange. Kyurem alongside 3 Deoxys-EX and LaserBank 1HKO’s Black Kyurem EX. That’s not a problem Blastoise is all too used to.
Kyurem is darned annoying, as any non-EX attacker is for Blastoise/Black Kyurem. Against Kyurem, Keldeo is the obvious response as it hits for 130 while retaining its 4 Energy. A response Deoxys could 1HKO Keldeo with LaserBank, so situationally Black Kyurem-EX PLS will be better. However, forcing Deoxys up as a response can be right up your alley.
Assuming you lost an EX to Kyurem, you get to switch their focus to Deoxys. This might lose you another EX and you’re likely down on Prizes 2-5 at this point (or 1-5 if you lost a Squirtle). This is where Superior Energy Retrieval shines. Hitting one of these allows a response Black Kyurem-EX PLS easily. Combine this while N’ing them to 1-2 and you have a potent threat to sweep the game from there.
This is the gameplan for if you’ve been outsped just a bit, so losing 2 EX’s isn’t going to just lose you the game. Unfortunately, the format is still one where power dictates victory, and whoever sets up their 1HKO faster is going to come out on top. Blastoise is the deck that falls prey to this inherent format character the worst.
The deck and your success live and die with how quickly you can set up. This is the reason for my 4 Ultra Ball and 1 Heavy Ball. I bet Jay would go one step further and run a Level Ball on top of this, cutting a Water in the process.
I don’t think Darkrai will ever die as a deck until it’s rotated out. But for once, Darkrai will not go it alone as the only Dark attacker this format. Absol is an incredibly strong inclusion in this deck. Honestly, I want 3 of them in my deck, and Starmetroid wrote an article recently which discussed Absol/Deoxys without Darkrai at all.
As long as Absol has LaserBank support, it’ll be very difficult to “play around” Mind Jack’s bench-powered attack. Consider that with 2 benched Pokémon, Mind Jack + LaserBank still does 90 damage to the opponent with only 2 Energy, not including Dark Claw damage. Good luck preventing Mind Jack from 2HKO’ing.
I think the most appreciated aspect of Absol is the fact that it only takes 2 Energy to charge up. It’s often easy to miss the T2 Night Spear due to the fussiness of that 3-Energy attack cost. But Absol is but a Patch + attach away from pouring on the pressure fast. Not to mention Energy Switch as an alternate way to fulfill this condition without requiring Absol to have been in play the prior turn.
Though Darkrai’s general gameplan hasn’t changed much since last format, its tools have become a lot more effective. Deck list time:
Pokémon – 9
Trainers – 40
Energy – 11
There are a couple interesting aspects to this list. The first is how it only runs 3 Darkrai EX. I’d like 4, but I also want room for 15 Supporter-outs. Fitting Enhanced Hammer in the deck is also a good way to make the Plasma Basics matchup a bit more favourable. With 1-2 Enhanced Hammer, I might look to add Skyla into the deck instead of a Bianca and a Colress, to make the most out of the tech cards.
The other note would be that I have only included 1 Colress. Absol tempts the opponent into avoiding benching their Basics. Colress is an incredibly strong card in the format, but starting with it spells disaster in this deck. Still, if you can have 3-4 cards on your bench by the time you run into your Colress, then you’ll likely be PONT’ing or better. I’m comfortable with 1 Colress as it’s my 15th Supporter out.
Darkrai vs. The Format
Darkrai’s gameplan stays pretty tried and true. The difference is that you have Absol to throw into the mix. Though it can be tempting to use Absol early to take cheap KO’s, make sure it’s worthwhile. The reason I have 3 Absol in my deck is so I can take these cheap KO’s, while also not making Absol a target too quickly.
Absol, being a non-EX attacker, throws a wrench into the Prize trade. It’s a great card to respond with when your opponent is going to be able to 1HKO back anyway. If they have an easy out to Black Kyurem EX, a massive Keldeo, Rayquaza EX or Kyurem PLF, Absol only loses 2 Energy attachments and only gives up one Prize. The more Absols you mix into the trade, the more attacks your opponent has to launch to win.
So while taking cheap Prizes early is fun, be sure that you’re not going to mess up your ability to respond with Absol late-game if needed. Be mindful of game state. Your personal deckbuilding tweaks might have you dropping the 3rd Absol, so if you do, keep in mind these tips on making the most out of the “Disaster Pokémon.”
I do miss my 3rd Sableye, but I find that Absol is more than a good enough reason to justify the cut. To be honest, I rarely use Sableye now.
Eelektrik is another deck that just won’t die until it’s rotated out. This format is definitely going to be kinder to the deck than last format. And last format, RayEels still had three Top 4’s at Regionals! A couple months back, I wrote a brief response regarding my bafflement of RayEels’ continued success. This response sums up my pre-amble for this deck.
With Big Basics taking a hit in playability, RayEels seems poised to continue its reign atop the metagame. Important cards that Plasma Freeze added to the deck are Float Stone and… Float Stone. Floatsy is pretty much the only important new card for the deck. But Float Stone will seriously facilitate this deck’s playability.
An interesting note regarding the deck in BLW-PLF would be how Victini-EX fits in. With Kyurem PLF hitting for 30 + 30 snipe on the first turn, Victini is actually fairly donkable against Plasma Basics. It only takes a T1 Kyurem with 2 Deoxys and a Laser, or 1 Deoxys and LaserBank to take the KO.
That’s a bit sacky, but I look at donk situations and remind myself that they can happen as mid-game responses as well, when some pieces are already in place, and I get uneasy. For instance, Victini-EX is a major target come turn 2 against Plasma Basics. And Victini-EX is also a major target against Absol come turn 2. Victini is also a target in the mirror. Victini-EX is more just a target in general.
While I love the pressure that a T2 Dragon Burst can offer, Victini-EX does not support getting your bench prepared, and it gives up two very easy Prizes. I feel like the opportunities for Victini in this format are few and far between, and I would rather use the deck space on preparing my late-game. With that said, let’s discuss a list shall we?
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 32
Energy – 13
I’m taking a bit of a radical stance here with RayEels. Starmetroid and I both feel this has pretty strong potential, provided Tool Scrapper isn’t prevalent (and even if it is). You may notice the complete lack of Skyarrow Bridge in the deck. The idea here is to bench a Keldeo quickly, and get a Float Stone on it ASAP. From there… you’re set. You won’t need Skyarrow Bridge, Switch, or anything else. It seems off, but it works pretty nicely.
The problem is, of course, if Tool Scrapper is running wild in your metagame (2+ as a tech). So this list is very much a metagame play. If you are worried about Tool Scrapper, a more standard list is definitely about just as good. In order to do this, I’d drop a Keldeo and a Rayquaza DRV/my own Scrapper, and add 2 Skyarrow Bridge. I might also go to a 2/2 split of Switch and Float Stone.
The first Float Stone is prioritized to Keldeo, but after that Eelektrik always makes a good target. It is a bizarre feeling to bring up Eelektrik in-between turns, but with Float Stone attached, there is no better Pokémon to bring up to start your turn. If you do face a deck with Scrapper, they likely don’t run 2, so just stagger your Tools so they can’t get two stones with one
Lastly, 4/4 on the balls. This deck has dropped Emolga. If you haven’t yet, I recommend you do. Remember that Emolga is weak to Lightning, meaning Thundurus has the easiest of times donking you. I really would not want to face the Plasma Basics matchup with 5 donkable starters. Emolga has always been more of an optional card than a requirement anyway, so it’s not a great loss.
RayEels vs. The Format
There’s not much new to say about how RayEels handles its matchups. The key points to touch on are against Absol and Plasma Basics.
Absol is a card that is powered up by your setup. Don’t forego benching Tynamos to prevent Absol from hitting particular damage outputs. However, it can be advised to keep from benching your attackers until they are necessary.
Again, with Float Stone in the deck, Eelektrik can become a free retreater so having a field of only Eels after a KO is not as big a deal as it once was. Don’t be foolish though. N is a potent threat, and you need to be sure to have a response available. Absol is going to be a quick attacker in the Darkrai matchup, so take note of key damage outputs when combined with Darkrai.
For instance, you likely can’t outright prevent Absol from setting up 2HKO’s, but you can prevent him from setting up easy snipe KO’s. Absol would need a Dark Claw attached, and you as the RayEels player to have a full bench to hit 140 without LaserBank. LaserBank also acts as a an alternate Claw in this calculation.
If you keep your bench to 3 Pokémon, Absol’s maximum damage output is 130 with everything going right for it. That’s 10 short of what it needs, and that style of play may be the right call in the moment. Another important note is to respond to Absol with your Victini NVI 15. Try not to let a Rayquaza take a bullet just to KO a non-EX.
Against Plasma Basics, RayEels uses its normal strategy. Kyurem is annoying as it requires you to discard 3 Energies to 1HKO. In the early game, utilize Tynamo’s Thunder Wave to place 10 damage on an opposing Kyurem. This will make it easier to KO with Rayquaza EX once you’re established. I say in the early game, because by the mid-game, you should be able to just Dragon Burst all over its face. 3 Energies isn’t too hard to come by.
An important card to note in the mirror is Deoxys-EX. If you were unaware of the official ruling, many people have been playing with Deoxys-EX incorrectly (myself included). Here is the official interpretation:
If it were self-referencing, it would say “This Pokémon,” as has been the template since BLW came out. The ruling: “When a Pokémon refers to itself by name, interpret that card as though the text reads “this Pokémon”. This has the practical effect of not including other Pokémon of the same name. If a Pokémon copies that text, it refers to itself, not the original Pokémon. (Apr 17, 2008 PUI Rules Team)” is outdated, and only applies to cards prior to the BLW expansion.
Deoxys can punish RayEels players who try and prep Rayquaza’s for future turns. However, for Deoxys to 1HKO with LaserBank, Rayquaza needs a full 4 Energies attached. So just be sure not to leave yourself open like that (rarely does that happen in a RayEels game).
It should be noted that prepping a 3-Energy Rayquaza does allow Deoxys to swing for 120, and potentially 150 with LaserBank. Kyurem could finish the combo while KO’ing an Eel or something, taking 3 Prizes in one turn.
Big Basics (Landorus/Mewtwo/Tornadus)
Though it’s true that this deck will not be the kingpin it was last format, I think players are reacting too extremely to the whole “Plasma Basics destroys this thing” mentality. Big Basics was the deck of choice for many players last format because it had a good-to-fair matchup against everything outside of Klinklang. Even Blastoise was about 50/50 if you had a strong Mewtwo/Tornadus/Bouffalant presence.
So while Big Basics likely won’t be the soft BDIF like it was last format, it is still a high Tier 2 deck, if not borderline Tier 1. If you weigh its matchups against the format, you can probably at least see that Big Basics this format is similar to playing say… Klinklang or Garbodor last format. In the right metagame, classic Big Basics will still thrive.
So, how does the deck adapt to the new format?
Pokémon – 9
Trainers – 39
Energy – 12
You can see that this is a fairly different style of list from what I would have built last format. This format, despite Thundurus EX being a presence, I would go Tornadus EX-focused. Landorus is a far greater liability in the Plasma Basics matchup than Tornadus EX is. Landorus is still very useful for its ability to snipe, possibly finishing off a benched Kyurem PLF. However you want the early pressure Tornadus EX can offer when the deck is focused around it.
The 1 Tropical Beach is an idea that I recall Kenny Wisdom playing in Cities. More recently, it was an ingredient in Bidier Jing’s Tornadus/Mewtwo rogue success at BC Regionals (Finals game 2 video here). I’ll be taking inspiration from that deck later in the article, but for now, I’ll just explain why Beach takes the 3rd Stadium slot.
You’re not guaranteed to get a T1 Blow Through or X Ball. Nor do you even necessarily want a T1 X Ball. Tropical Beach is in the deck alongside 4 Skyla as a way to have a stronger first turn when you’ve started out dead. It gives the deck a 15th draw out, without resorting to Computer Search (which would require you to give up Scramble Switch). It gives you a Stadium to shut off LaserBank with, and it also gives you an on-field out to preventing your opponent from an N comeback.
Normally, I like the idea of Computer Search in a DCE-focused deck, but I’m willing to accept the possibility of whiffing in this format, as I think Scramble Switch is much stronger mid-game combined with… most anything in the deck really. It also allows Max Potion the chance to shine.
That all said, this deck doesn’t need a “Big Basics vs. The Format” section. It pretty much plays out as you already know it to. It’s got a rough time against Plasma Basics, and works pretty much the same as always against Darkrai, RayEels, and Blastoise.
There has been a lot of discussion regarding Plasma Basics, as it’s the new kid on the block. As a whole, I unfortunately haven’t agreed with most people’s take on the deck as of yet. So here is mine:
Pokémon – 10
Trainers – 38
Energy – 12
As you can see, my approach is fairly different relative to the other UG writers. I want this deck to play only its strongest cards, and I want consistency. There are small things I don’t like about this list, but I am very pleased with how it plays. For this section, I’ll just go into my card choices, as matchups all play pretty much the same, and I’ve discussed strategies against this deck already.
This is the main attacker of the deck. Would you run any less than 3 of your main attacker? I want my Kyurems and I want them fast.
Though others’ opinions may differ, I feel Skyla is an aggressive card for Plasma Basics. Provided you have your rainbow attachment, Skyla turns into the combo completer for LaserBank, or the Colress Machine required for T1 Frost Spear, or just an Ultra Ball for the T1 discard and Deoxys boost.
Skyla is the new-age Junk Arm. It gives you the ability to search for key cards, giving you the most out of techs like Max Potion and Scramble Switch. It searches for Switch outs, Catchers, and Lasers. It’s Skyla!
3 Other Supporters
I’m really not settled on the Supporter counts for this deck. I would love 3 Colress, but I don’t think I can have that many dead opening Supporters. My build doesn’t have a ton of search, so I’ve gone with a more tame 2 Colress and 1 Bianca.
I don’t have this card in the list above, but I’ve been testing it a lot. I love having one extra Lightning in the deck. It’s a great card for finding breathing room against Cobalion-EX when you have a rough start. More importantly, it’s a 9th Lightning-type Energy. This deck may have 12 Energy, but its limitations are set by how its Energy requirements are so specific. More Energy allows an easier time finding what you need. It’s just tough figuring out where to find room for the Lightning from.
Raiden the Hype Rant
Everyone and their dog is raving about this deck. Deoxys-EX FA’s have even climbed to $65 on pre-order (and they were higher a few days ago). Please, please don’t pay that price for this deck. It’s not that good.
Don’t get me wrong, the deck is Tier 1 and a potential BDIF. But it really isn’t the only option in the format, nor is it overwhelmingly good.
Plasma Basics just slots into the metagame kind of like Darkrai, where most decks don’t hit it for weakness and vice versa. It has no bad matchups, but none too amazing either. The deck is also neutered by Garbotoxin, so it only adds one more deck to the field that will allow Garbodor to thrive. Meanwhile it even Knocks Out Big Basics, which was Garbodor’s biggest threat (outside of heavy Tool Scrapping).
The prices on this deck will tank. This isn’t going to be a repeat of Darkrai last year. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to find the deck failing to place in the Top 8 at Nationals. The heavy reliance on specific Energy types for its attacks, combined with the fact that they’re all Special Energies will probably bite players back during a long tournament like Nationals.
Either way, I’m not as ridiculously enamoured with the deck as everyone else seems to be. I just recognize it as good, and move on.
This is another thing that bothers me. There’s this ridiculous debate going on right now about how Kyurem and Absol leave Klinklang in the dust. Or how Cobalion-EX is going to decimate Plasma Basics. The silly thing is, both sides are right.
The problem with this debate, is that it stems from the state of the format. It’s all about the first turn and who has a stronger start. If PlasmaKlang goes first, it has an easy time keeping Plasma Basics in check. If Plasma goes first, it’s the other way around. That said, PlasmaKlang does need to adapt a little bit to the new format in order to make sure it can keep up with Plasma Basics. But the changes required are minor.
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 35
Energy – 10
I hate only having 2 Max Potion, but I still see it as being the best cut for the extra Basic. The important point is that an additional Cobalion NVI helps chase away those pesky Kyurem PLF’s. It is very easy to keep at least 1 Energy in play, as most of the time you’ll be using Righteous Edge to slow them down. This makes Cobalion NVI’s job very easy to pull off. It also makes the deck less donkable which is appreciated.
I’m toying with the idea of taking out Durant DRX for this reason, but it just breaks my heart to lose that integral piece of the puzzle. Otherwise, as you can see, the deck hasn’t changed much.
Quick note, watch out for Absol. Same rules apply as they did for RayEels, except this time you’re just worried about the 1HKO, not the potential for snipe to finish.
Raiden the Hype Rant II
It would not surprise me to find that the people who are pronouncing PlasmaKlang as “dead” are the people who never thought it was a good play to begin with. Don’t let yourself be swayed by internet opinion regarding this deck’s place in the metagame. The deck is not a simple “I set up and win deck.” It takes a lot of resource management to play the deck correctly, and is actually fairly skill-intensive. PlasmaKlang took three Top 4 spots at Regionals, despite the internet clamouring about how poor a play it was.
Not only that, but more importantly there were a fair few strong players who chose the deck as their play on the weekend (even I did). Our own Jay Hornung and Celadon City Gym’s Brit Pybas would be amongst them. And had Jay not dropped out in Top 32, we know he would’ve made Top 4. Jay Hornung settles for no less.
The point is, I encourage you to analyze the deck and the Plasma matchup from a clean slate. View it objectively.
I may never want to play RayEels, but that doesn’t make it a bad play. The same is true of Klinklang. If, afterward you genuinely find that the matchup is lopsided after about 10 games, I’d be interested to hear your experience. I have found it to be pretty even, but biased by whoever starts stronger.
Garbodor as a card has become much much stronger this format. Every definite Tier 1 deck relies heavily on Abilities. Without them, the decks are very underwhelming or fall apart completely. The primary competition Garbodor faced last Format was Big Basics, which as I’ve mentioned will become less prevalent. So Garbodor seems poised to become a truely powerful deck!
The problem is Garbodor’s recent success was found using a Landorus/Mewtwo-style build. So that deck is pretty much scrapped.
Do not despair! Today I’ll be revealing my pet deck of the format. Some form of this deck is going to become the standard way to play Garbodor in BLW-PLF. I just don’t know what form that is yet.
First, even if the deck isn’t too similar anymore, I want to give a shout out to my friend Bidier and his teammates for coming up with the crazily teched out version of Tornadus/Mewtwo. It’s inspirational to find that kind of ingenuity in such a stale format. I picked apart the deck list from his finals video, and I’m confident here is his Regionals-winning list within 2-3 cards:
Pokémon – 10
Trainers – 39
Energy – 11
As amazing a group of wizards Bidier, Curtis, Matthew, and Jit are, I feel like this deck is dead in the new format (in its current form). But man, despite it being really tight (and I’m not sure on the Catcher count, nor the Eviolite count), I would have totally played this deck at Regionals. The only tough matchup I see is Klinklang.
So how do you take Garbodor and adapt it to the new format? A mixture of philosophies between this deck, and classic Garbodor. Though Garbodor/Landorus-EX/Cobalion-EX/Cobalion NVI seems to be a relatively well known rogue brewing, if you want to get creative with the deck, here is what I’ve got going right now:
Pokémon – 11
Trainers – 38
Energy – 11
Now, this deck list seems a bit all over the place, so let me explain the counts.
Landorus-EX is the deck’s strongest T1 option against the majority of the metagame. It’s a powerful T1 threat against opposing Garbodor, Klinklang, RayEels, Darkrai (especially against Absol) and even Plasma Basics. Landorus is also very important for this deck’s functionality, as Landorus adds much needed snipe to provide the deck versatility in how you play.
Cobalion is your go-to card against Plasma Basics, and any remnant Big Basics. Cobalion’s Righteous Edge is an attack you can hide behind as you set up a Cobalion NVI or Landorus-EX. Without Power Connect, Plasma Basics hits for a piddly 30 damage per turn unless they managed to power up a Kyurem before you started Righteous Edging them. 30 damage makes me a sad plasma panda?
Just be sure to target Blends and Prisms with Righteous Edge, as replacing them is tough for Plasma Basics.
1 Mewtwo EX
Mewtwo is the deck’s best answer against Blastoise. It requires a turn of prep unfortunately, but hopefully you’ll have slowed them down to find the room for that turn. Without Mewtwo, the deck’s only good Blastoise attacker is Cobalion NVI, which can use Energy Press to hit anything that managed to set up, and Iron Breaker to annoy Blastoise under Ability Lock.
Iron Breaker is a frustrating attack as well, in a format where Keldeo/Float Stone is a great out to such a problem. Without Rush In, Iron Breaker can often leave the opponent without a good response. That said, it’s tough to actually charge it up in a game.
1 Thundurus EX
No, I have not misread Raiden Knuckle. I know Thundurus only attaches to Plasma Pokémon. Thundurus is in the deck alongside Team Plasma Badge to give the deck some mid-game accel when the action dies down. If you Plasma Badge your Landorus-EX, Thundurus can help charge it up for a Land’s Judgement the next turn, seemingly out of nowhere.
Thundurus can also provide the extra turn of attachment that Cobalion-EX would require to hit Steel Bullet, or Cobalion NVI would require for Iron Breaker. Or even the extra Prism that Mewtwo would require for Psydrive. Yeah I said Psydrive.
The point is, if you drop Thundurus mid-game and slap a Plasma Badge onto something, you suddenly jump ahead one turn’s worth of attachments while dealing 30 (possibly with Poison). This is like a tech’ed Enhanced Hammer in Big Basics. It has the power to swing a game around when timed correctly.
This is the Tool Drop Trubbish. You have 4 Prism in your deck, and can even slap a Plasma Badge on Trubbish pre-emptively to threaten a Garbodor. But, at the same time, you can accelerate a Special Energy onto Trubbish using Thundurus EX.
Trubbish’s Tool Drop hits for 20× the total amount of Tools in play. If your opponent is running Float Stone, they’ll be helping you out. Surprise Trubbishes can easily come in and swing for 80, 1HKO’ing Deoxys/Mewtwo alongside a Laser.
Trubbish is, in this deck, a non-EX attacker you can take advantage of. The 70 HP is also an important plus to prevent Thundurus/Kyurem from too easily donking you with any combination of Deoxys and Lasers.
I’ve explained the purpose behind Team Plasma Badge, and everything else in the deck is fairly self-explanatory. The Energy line might need some tweaking. I would take Mewtwo out for another Cobalion NVI if you aren’t concerned with Blastoise. The 5 Special Energies give you 7-8 outs to the first turn Energy you want to attach, despite the toolbox nature of the deck. Not to mention Skyla + Energy Search is still available. This is the main reason for 1 Lightning instead of an additional Blend.
That all said, this deck is most definitely still in its testing stages. You can focus the deck more around the Plasma Pokémon by introducing Kyurem and dropping some cards. I think the only card you absolutely want to keep in your attacking lineup is 1 Cobalion-EX as that strong out to Plasma Basics. Otherwise they charge up Kyurems too easily and things go sour very quickly.
Thundurus does help charge up Articuno-EX’s, giving Garbodor/Articuno a big boost in playability. Not to mention the upcoming prevalence of Float Stone, which will have players lowering their Switch counts.
Starmetroid wrote up a Garbodor/Articuno list on our blog TCG with Hats, so feel free to check it out there. If you’re curious about a more standard Garbodor/Landorus-EX/Cobalion-EX/Cobalion NVI deck, I can post it in the forums if you’d like.
Phew! Originally, I was planning on writing a more Plasma-focused article, picking out the faults of Plasma Basics and writing up how to beat the deck. But I looked at what I had and realized I was just discussing the format as a whole, and how it interacts with Plasma Basics.
However, I haven’t found myself quite agreeing with any of the lists/opinions currently posted about Plasma Freeze. So I felt it pertinent to give my take on the matter. Given that I have had a relatively different emphasis on card counts in a lot of these decks, I hope that having the UG offer opinions from both ends of the spectrum is useful for you as readers.
I am very interested to see how the format shapes up heading into Nationals. Canadian Nationals are going to be on June 22nd and 23rd, so this year we’ll be able to give the US a sneak peek at what a similar metagame looks like. Definitely something to pay attention to!
Don’t forget to comment in the forums! I think the most valuable UG experience comes from the specific, hands-on discussions that occur in the forums.
Also, don’t forget to rate the article!
P.S. TCG with Hats just hit 100,000 views. Party!
…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.
After 90 days, we open each Underground (UG) article for public viewing. New articles are reserved for Underground members.
Underground Members: Thanks for making this article possible!
Other Readers: Check out the FAQ if you are interested in joining Underground and gaining full access to our latest content.