automatoncardiologistWith all of the hype around the new Plasma Freeze set and all of the new Pokémon and new strategies it graces us with, it seems everyone has Plasma on the brain. With that in mind, I thought I’d write about an oldie but a goodie (and a personal favorit…ie?): Klinklang!
It’s been a while since we’ve last spoken (and I apologize for that, it’s been a busy time for me) and in that time I got 4th at Oregon States with Rayquaza/Eelektrik and, more importantly, 3rd at British Columbia Provincials with our man of the hour, Klinklang.
Funnily enough, I didn’t actually test at all for that event and was given a list by Brit Pybas the night before. After taking out some of the bad cards and getting very, very lucky, I ended up dying to a Darkrai/Hammers deck while playing for a spot at the final table. That’s life, I suppose.
Going into Battle Roads/Nationals though, I’m trying to get in more preparation than ever. I’m sitting at 307 Championship Points (after a disappointing performance at Winter Regionals and Washington States, as well as losing in the Top 16 of British Columbia Regionals) which means that a win streak at Battle Roads coupled with an impressive performance at Nationals could net me my ticket to Vancouver.
I’ve unfortunately never been lucky enough to be in this position before, and with my propensity for performing well under the pressure, I’m trying to do everything I can to ensure I can pull it off.
With that being said, today we’re going to take an in-depth look at the Klinklang deck. I’ll first go over all of the cards that are commonly played in the deck and why, give out a few different deck lists and talk about how each of them operates, and wrap up with a short section on how the common matchups play out.
I chose to write on Klinklang because I think it is a legitimately good choice and I felt the Underground staff as a whole had hammered out basically every other deck in the format. Even if you’re not a fan of Big Daddy Kling (it seems the community is largely split on him) I hope you can appreciate the fresh content being delivered from a different point of view.
- Table of Contents
- Gear Guys: The Cards of Klinklang
- Lists, Lists, Lists
- Gear Guys: The Cards of Klinklang
- Lists, Lists, Lists
Although it might seem like review to a lot of readers, I think that going over the cards commonly played in a deck is the best way to write a “Bible” article like this. Not only does it put everyone on the same page in regard to understanding how exactly the deck works, but it allows me to point out strategies and ideas that you may not have considered before. Reviewing how things work is of absolute importance.
Additionally, this is even more important during Battle Roads and other local-level tournaments, where metagame is more important than almost anything. Understanding exactly all of the applications of each card allows us to easier make decisions on which cards to include and in what numbers to maximize our chances at success.
Starting with the Pokémon in the deck only seems natural. I’ll go over the absolute essential Pokémon that make the deck tick, and then will include a section on cards that you could or could not play based on metagame and preference.
Klinklang is interesting, as its older iterations (before the PLS Klinklang) were able to act like Hydreigon decks and play a number of varied techs based on the situation as long as they fit the Energy requirements. With Plasma ‘Klang being the MVP of the deck now though, your options are severely limited both by which Pokémon are metal type and also attack with only Metal or Colorless Energy. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of Pokémon that fit into these requirements, but there are enough that you have some interesting options.
In this section I’ll go over the absolutely essential Pokémon that the deck could not function without, what versions of those you play, and why you play them. Those are Klinklang PLS, Klinklang BLW, Klink DEX, Klang DEX, and Cobalion EX.
Pokemon ParadijsAs I said before, this Klinklang is the only reason this deck functions as it does. Safeguard-like effects have always been strong, and this one happens to protect all of the Pokémon in your entire deck.
Additionally, its attack, while not exactly what you want to be doing, isn’t downright terrible and can be used in certain matchups in a pinch. 140 HP allows us to avoid dying from quite a lot of attacks, even when coupled with additional effects such as Hypnotoxic Laser or Dark Claw.
As with everything else in this format, it’s also very important that it’s not an EX Pokémon. Although ideally in this deck you’d like to eliminate all non-EX attackers and outright win the game, it’s important that if your opponent does find a way to KO your Klinklang, they’re only taking one Prize and are likely locking themselves into an unfavorable Prize exchange.
If you know me you know that I have an obsession with finding out the correct Basic and Stage 1 Pokémon to play in these types of decks. My specialty lies in thinking about weird corner cases and trying to maximize efficiency, even where it might not matter all of that much. It’s one of the little things I enjoy about this game very much, and ties into the idea of being able to go “over the top” of your opponent by making small, incremental decisions that maximize your decks consistency and chances of winning.
In this situation, however, it’s not very hard to see why we play this Klang. It’s searchable by Heavy Ball, which would honestly be reason enough to play it, it has an attack that brings back Energy, which can be very relevant and we’ll talk more about later, and its 80 HP, while not outstanding, does allow it to survive a number of early game attacks.
The inclusion of this Klink boils down to its ability to be fetched by Heavy Ball. I’m pretty sure that if this card was completely blank except for some irrelevant number of HP and three stars on its Retreat Cost, we’d still play this one every single time.
It helps that its attack is also very good for niche situations, allowing you to switch out. Obviously if your Klink is Active and has two Energy attached to it you’re probably in a rough spot, but having an out to that situation is important.
Pokemon ParadijsIf the Plasma version of Klinklang is the only reason the deck functions as it does, the Black and White base set version is the reason why the deck can succeed at the level it does.
Your goal in every single game should be to set-up both versions of Klinklang (although obviously you prioritize the Plasma boy first), so you can unlock what we in the industry call “Mirror Mode” aka “Oh God I’ve got two extremely powerful and synergistic Pokémon on board, how can I lose?”
As if being able to move your Energy around at will (therefore opening yourself up to get more out of your Max Potion plays, as well as being able to stay ahead on Energy even through unfavorable KOs) wasn’t enough, this guy also has a completely reasonable attack which has won at least one U.S. National Championship… so far.
The star attacker of the deck, Cobalion is important for the deck in a lot of ways. It’s almost as if it were designed to specifically interact with Klinklang!
Its first attack is both Energy efficient and allows you to put your opponent behind on Energy (especially if they’re playing some of the greedy Plasma decks I’ve seen lately who play exclusively Special Energy), which is very important as you’re a slow deck that is often weak to Energy removal. Righteous Edge puts you in a position to be able to compete even through a slow or otherwise not ideal set-up.
Its second attack Steel Bullet (also known as Shred) is important for being able to get through Sigilyph DRX, Eviolite, and opposing Klinklang decks. In general an attack like this is nice to have just in case the metagame shifts or new cards are released, as well, ensuring that your card/deck doesn’t necessarily get any worse even if the worst happens.
Energy Press is important for being able to punish your opponent for getting ahead of you. As I talked about in the last section, this deck can be slow, so any advantage you can get in a “come from behind” situation is very relevant. It also helps that there are a number of Pokémon in this format that will be loaded with Energy at any given time in the game (Keldeo EX, Kyurem PLF, Mewtwo EX, Rayquaza EX, etc.)
Iron Breaker is also very interested for two reasons. The first of which is that it’s a solid stream of damage. Both Cobalions have this built into them, that is, an attack that isn’t exactly amazing but does work well in a Klinklang shell as it’s a steady amount of damage that should win you the game while not taking too long (which can be a problem with these decks traditionally, that are slower and more plodding).
Additionally, cutting an opponent off of attacking isn’t super relevant in this format with all of the Switching/Rushing In/Float Stoning that happens, but can still be relevant given the right situation.
When I first started building Klinklang decks with Durant (I played it in my States top 4 list), I was under the impression that it was amazing. At its best it’s a Sableye that gets you one less card in a deck where one card can absolutely swing the tempo of the game, in addition to being unkillable given the right set-up, and having the ultimate Hail Mary attack.
Unfortunately, at its worst it’s a dead card that puts you a turn behind, is easily donked, and very susceptible to N.
Over ten rounds of play at BC Provincials I used Durant twice, once of which was on turn 1 and allowed me to put a Candy on top to set-up both Klinklangs on turn 2 and take the game very easily. The other time was in a moment of desperation mid-game where it was met by a timely N and and was knocked out, doing almost nothing for me.
The decision to play Durant or not is overall more up to the specific player. It’s just one slot in the deck and allows you to go very big, but can also be completely dead. It’s an interesting idea and adds to your consistency, but I don’t think it’s a must play by any means.
Registeel is a card that a lot of good players were on during the BLW-PLS format, but I think it was questionable then and gets even worse now. The idea, in addition to it being just another big Steel guy, is that you have the ability to spread counters onto things like Eels and Klinks (and active Squirtles, if you want to dream big) and wear down your opponent through that. Its second attack also takes care of that pesky Victini NVI 15.
In practice though, I just don’t think he’s as good as any of the other options I’ve listed. The deck is focused on eliminating their attackers entirely, meaning that you don’t need more attackers yourself and you certainly don’t need to include mediocre attackers like Registeel. It’s a cute idea and in the right format it could thrive, but I wouldn’t recommend giving it much consideration as of now.
In this section I’ll talk less about why the cards are important and more on the counts that you want to include and the ideas that you should take into consideration when coming to those numbers on your own. Although being a set-up deck means Klinklang is a little straightforward, there is plenty of wiggle room in deck building, especially in regard to consistency vs. teching.
PokeCa JapanProfessor Juniper is the best Supporter in the format and it’s not particularly close. I’ve seen a lot of talk about cutting to 3 Juniper in Klinklang (and other set-up decks in format’s past), with the idea being that you often don’t want to discard Rare Candies, Stage 2s, and other resources, and instead might want to focus on more shuffle + draw effects, or even just straight draw effects like Tropical Beach.
Although I don’t disagree with that idea in theory, my testing and tournament playing has proven (at least to me) that four copies of this card are a must. Cutting yourself off of drawing a completely new hand of seven cards is very rough, even if you only go down to 3 copies or so.
I’ve never found it worth it to take out Junipers, and I think any problems that arise from having too many resources can be boiled down to needing to develop smarter lines of play, or just downright getting unlucky.
N is an auto-inclusion of 4 copies and I’m not sure an argument can be made against that. Not only does it allow you to regularly get more cards than your opponent (unless you had a very aggressive start) but it doesn’t require you to discard anything and it can just completely shut down some decks in the late game.
Additionally, most of the struggle with Klinklang involves getting set-up in the first place; once you have Klinklangs and Energy on board you can afford to be N’d to low numbers as all of your action is on the board. Klinklang both uses N effectively and isn’t particularly weak to it. A+.
Probably the single most important card in set-up decks these days, I never want to see a Klinklang list with fewer than 4 of these. Like Juniper, some players have argued for cutting to 3, but unlike Juniper most of those cuts are made to accommodate non-essential technology, which is 100% the wrong way to go with this deck. The ability to fetch a crucial Beach on Turn 2 or a Heavy Ball, Ultra Ball, Candy, etc. at any time during this game is simply too good to pass up.
Pokemon ParadijsI had an interesting moment with this card at Oregon States this year. I went through a lot of personal change and chaos during the earlier portion of this year and didn’t have time to test for any of the States. My good friend and teammate Jacob Van Wagner (@JV_Dubs) sent me a Rayquaza/Eelektrik list the night before and, seeing as how I already knew how Eels worked and it was easy to play, I decided I’d go for it.
The only new cards were Colress and Dowsing Machine, which I figured were correct, powerful choices. It wasn’t until round 3 or 4 that I understood just how powerful Colress was though, as I had played out my hand to almost nothing, topdecked one, and realized that I got to draw 9 cards out of nowhere. Ever since then Colress and I have been pretty close.
Obviously Colress isn’t the correct choice for all decks, but between having to bench extra Klinklang parts and having few attackers, Colress is a no-brainer here. Not to mention that the format is looking like it’s going to see more full benches than ever (Absol in Darkrai, Deoxys in Plasma Basics, etc.). Because of its weakness in the early game I don’t think you can afford to run 4 of these, but finding room for 3 is pretty essential.
Counts of these are largely preference, although I’m a pretty big fan of a 3/2 or 2/2 split of Heavy/Ultra respectively. Heavy Ball is important as it fetches all our entire Klinklang line at no cost to you, and Ultra Ball is important as it gets all of those cards plus your attackers. Not too difficult to understand and obviously the issue here is trying to find the balance between consistency and being able to fit everything into 60 cards.
Very obvious inclusion in anything that’s running Stage 2s. Four of, always.
BulbapediaAnother card where you have some disagreement between how many is the correct number.
On one hand, Gust effects are probably the strongest thing you can ever be doing in the game, regardless of format. Being able to disrupt your opponent and get the KOs you need is ridiculously important (and very overpowered, if you ask me) as shown by Gust effects dominating in every format they’ve been legal in.
On the other hand, you aren’t doing a whole lot of one hit KOing in this deck, what with your 1 for 30 and 3 for 80 attacks. In addition, because you’re trying to fit things like Stage 2 lines, Candies, and Skyla, it’s often hard to fit Catchers. Also, Klinklang focuses on getting a “soft-lock” up, preventing your opponent from attacking altogether, which is another justification for running fewer than a playset.
As is typical with situations like this, there’s not a correct answer and it largely comes down to preference and metagame. I ran 3 in my States list and, as you’ll see in just a minute, I’ve been running 3 in most of my lists in the BLW-PLF format, but there’s definitely a justification for fitting a full set.
One of the most important cards for the BLW-PLF version of Klinklang is Float Stone. I’ll go over this more in the lists below, but here is a quick rundown of the possible switch options and their plusses and minuses.
Switch: Classic. I played 4 of these in my States deck, mostly because there weren’t a whole lot of other options. Clean and simple.
Escape Rope: Largely overrated, but has its applications. Now that Eelektrik is no longer in the format though, I think that its uses are even more few and far between, and wouldn’t recommend it unless you have a very compelling reason.
Keldeo EX: When Klinklang decks were first getting built I remember hearing rumblings about this guy and Darkrai EX being included as ways to retreat. I thought it was bad then and I think it’s bad now. The deck, in my opinion, cannot function with these free Prizes for your opponent. Resist the urge, my friends.
Float Stone: Float Stone seems absolutely nuts in here. Obviously it can be Tool Scrappered off and you likely can’t rely on running it as your ONLY switching option, having a permanent way to get out of bad situations and/or be able to retreat your guys after a KO where you need to find an attacker is incredibly strong.
Another very important component to the deck, Max Potion is an obvious inclusion for its favorable interaction with Klinklang BLW. Max Potion, like Pokémon Catcher, is one of those cards that you want infinite copies of, and only cut down on them to make everything fit neatly into 60 cards.
Between having few attackers, needing a lot of Pokémon (relatively) on board at all times, and, as I wrote about earlier, sometimes having to discard important evolution pieces off of a Juniper, Super Rod is an absolute necessity.
In addition to all of those uses, though, where Super Rod really shines is in its ability to bring back Energy to your deck. Klinklang decks run few Energy as it is, and are quite soft vs. Energy removal in the form of Crushing Hammers or opposing Cobalion EXs.
At the British Columbia Provincial I played the deck in, I was paired against Darkrai/Hammers twice. Once in the top 4 match that we talked about, where I got absolutely destroyed because of Hammers. The other time was in Swiss, where I was able to pull out the win after putting three Energy back into my deck with Super Rod, using Dowsing Machine to get Super Rod back and put three Energy back in once again, and using Klang’s attack at least once. If I had missed any of these steps it’s highly likely that I would’ve lost that game.
I know it’s obvious, but the importance of Super Rod absolutely cannot be understated.
As with any deck that doesn’t have an optimal play on Turn 1, Tropical Beach is an obvious inclusion. It performs here the same way that it does in Blastoise/Keldeo. You aim to get it as early as turn 1 if possible, and you activate it until you set-up, hoping for favorable draws and a lack of Ns on your opponent’s side along the way.
An important note about Tropical Beach in this deck though, and ultimately a contributing factor as to why Klinklang is the only set-up deck I like in this format: You do have other options on Turn 1.
In something like Blastoise/Keldeo there’s absolutely nothing favorable you can do on Turn 1 besides Beach, so missing the Beach often feels backbreaking, particularly if you already have a bad/Supporterless/Turn 2 Blastoise-less hand.
In Klinklang, however, a Turn 1 Righteous Edge is absolutely fine. While not being as good as Beach (you would choose to Beach 10/10 times where Cobalion doesn’t end the game then and there), it is absolutely fine and does put some pressure on your opponent, particularly if you’re setting them turns behind via Energy removal.
Additionally, I think a lot of players underrate Tropical Beach’s utility in the mid-game. There are plenty of positions you’ll be in that are not necessarily bad, but where Tropical Beaching is more advantageous than attacking. I’ve often found myself Beaching after getting N’d to a 1 or 2 in the late game, or simply activating it when I’m missing Energy for the turn or my attack is otherwise irrelevant. I also expect this to happen even more often in BLW-PLF, as Float Stone will allow you to send up an unkillable wall while you try to sculpt your hand.
Although not what I would call a staple, I’m a big fan of this card in decks with low Energy counts and costs. Turning a Skyla into an Energy can be very useful at times, especially in the face of aforementioned Energy disruption. Not much else to say as the card is very straightforward, but I try to include it whenever I can.
Your Choice of ACE SPEC
Pokemon ParadijsUnless you want to go deep with Gold Potion, go redundant with Scramble Switch, or prove that you’re an absolute wizard with Rock Guard, the choice in ACE SPEC is between Dowsing Machine and Computer Search.
Computer Search allows you to search your deck for any one card, allowing you more outs to Turn 2 Klinklang, a Turn 1 Tropical Beach, and a myriad of other best-case scenarios. It’s the ultimate consistency card.
Dowsing Machine, however, gets you back any Trainer card from your discard pile, ensuring that you can get out of sticky discard situations and allowing you to play a little bit loose with the counts on some of your cards.
Overall I think it’s more important to have a 4th Catcher, 2nd Super Rod, maybe even a 5th Rare Candy, etc. so I will include Dowsing Machine every time, but I wouldn’t fault someone for choosing Computer Search. It’s certainly suboptimal, but not actually bad, as no card that does something as powerful as these two do could ever be considered bad.
You ride a line of wanting to have as many Energy as possible as you have absolutely no acceleration and realizing that you don’t actually need that much Energy as your Energy costs are low and if your deck does everything it’s supposed to do, the rate at which you attack is unlikely to matter.
I’ve found that depending on the list you can fit between 10 and 12, and I think that’s pretty much where you want to be. I would never go under 10 and I think 12 is even a little bit too high, but I could see a situation in which you’d want that many.
Now onto the most important/fun part of any article, the deck lists! Unfortunately I’m not certain there are all that many unique or interesting deck lists I can show you for Klinklang, but I thought I’d go over a few schools of thought briefly before moving onto the matchups section.
Keep in mind that not all of these lists are fit for every metagame, and some might just be downright worse than others, but I’m trying to give you all a feel for all of the possible routes to take with this deck, in the hopes that maybe you find something that can crack your BR metagame, or take several of these ideas and mold them into something brand new all together!
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 38
Energy – 10
I feel like I explained most of the card choices in the above section, but if you’re wondering about any specific counts that I don’t mention here, please let me know in the forums and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.
This is the list I’ve been primarily testing this format with, and is very close to my Provincials one. I feel like this is the most standard list as it features pretty much everything you want without going to deep on anything or adding anything overly cute.
The only downside to this is that the deck has been around for a while now and people know what to expect in it, so with this version in no way are you going to next level any of your opponents. Ideally that won’t be an issue and they’ll all have actual 0 outs to a Plasma ‘Klang, though!
Float Stone has been an interesting card for me. As I said before, it’s very very good, but susceptible to Tool Scrapper. I think the important thing to remember when playing Float Stone is to never put 2 on board at any given time. Depending on your metagame Tool Scrapper may not be all that prevalent during Battle Roads (especially week one), but it will definitely be around and you don’t want to get yourself into a situation where you’ve spent all of your other Switching resources because you were comfortable with your Float Stones being on board, and then a Scrapper was drawn off a Prize and you have no outs to a bad situation. That’s just never where you want to be.
The other point of concern with this list is the lack of Tool Scrapper. The most heavily played Tools in the upcoming format are likely going to be Team Plasma Badge (which we don’t care about all that much) and anything that you can slap on a Garbodor (which we care about a lot). For Week 1 I would scope out your local metagame and see what is likely to be prevalent and make your decision then, but if you absolutely cannot do that I would probably go with the one-of Tool Scrapper just to play it safe.
3/1 vs. 2/2 Klinklang is definitely something to debate as well. I’ve always been a fan of 3/1 as I feel that Plasma ‘Klang is the most important thing you can be doing, and you have a few extra turns to actually set-up a BLW Klinklang, but from testing with this deck more going into the new format I know how devastating it can be to need a BLW ‘Klang and not have it. I’ll go over a more consistency based list in a moment, but for now I think it’s mostly preference.
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 37
Energy – 10
The only huge change that comes with trying to make a budget list is removing Tropical Beaches. In their place I’ve put in an extra Supporter and a Durant DRX. Both will increase your consistency and, while nothing is a replacement for Tropical Beach, I think both will be able to simulate it well-enough if you actually cannot get your hands on Beaches under any circumstances.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend bringing this to a ultra competitive metagame without the Beaches, but if push comes to shove this is likely the best replacement.
While I was talking about writing this article my BFF Matthew Oslakovic brought up that Pokémon Catchers are also very expensive and, while that’s true, I’m just not sure if it’s possible to compete in any sort of tournament without Pokémon Catchers right now. If you don’t have access to Catcher I’m honestly not sure what I would recommend (outside of just not playing the deck and/or selling some of your other cards to acquire Catchers). Regardless, if you have an UG subscription chances are you’ve got a stock of Catchers, so I’m not too worried about it.
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 38
Energy – 10
This version relies on the idea that you’re here to do exactly one thing: Get out a Klinklang, power up a Cobalion, and protect said Klinklang and Cobalion. Unfortunately, the list is already so tight that it’s hard to make substantial changes without taking away the things that the deck needs to function. However, there are still some things we can do, as evidenced above with the addition of extra Tropical Beaches and more Heavy Balls.
I won’t spend too much time on this list as I have not tested it as much as the Klassic one and I’m not sure that it’s the right choice, but I want to take this opening to talk a little bit about deck building.
If you know me then you know I’m not exactly one to build rogue decks. I like playing rogue decks and find a lot of value in playing something unexpected, but I’m almost never the one to originally come up with the idea, and I’m usually a voice of reason when my friends who are citizens of the roguer nations among us try to push for ideas that are a little too out there.
This comes from a belief of mine that there are categories of players, and an important part of being a part of any successful team or group is to identify what sort of player each person is, and make sure that they get the support that they need.
I feel like the main three types are Brewers (meaning that they are the ones that come up with the ideas and build the rogue decks), Tuners (meaning they are the ones that, when presented with a rogue deck, understand how deck building works well enough to suggest cuts and minor changes), and Players (aka those who don’t have a firm grasp of deck building, but know how to play the game well and give results-oriented information to the group).
Regardless of where you fall on this scale though, one thing that I’ve found that’s helped my game a lot is to, when building a deck for the first time (note that I mean coming up with a list or physically building any deck in the format, not necessarily a completely new idea), come up with a heavy consistency list – that is, one that puts in 4s of every important card, cuts even the most necessary of technology, etc., and an “all-frills” list, one that cuts to the bare minimum of what a sane person would play. I generally try to just note how many cards are in these lists, and then find a happy middle ground to get it to 60.
Note that these lists don’t have to be good or even something that you’d test, I just find that it’s important to get a feel for the absolutely maximum and minimum that you think the deck can handle, as I think it will not only improve your deck building skills, but it will also sharpen the parts of your mind you use to think about the game and show you what cards are actually necessary.
I’m rambling here, but this is a topic I’m very interested in and that I’m sure I could write an entire article about. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, let Adam know ASAP!
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 35
Energy – 10
Another thing that I like to do when it comes to deck building is to try and think of all the possibilities. Something I learned from Tyler Ninomura is to put 0 copies of a card in a list, to show that you’re considering the card but can’t find any cuts or are otherwise unsure whether it should be included. This keeps your mind open to possibilities and allows you to brew without running the risk of making the deck bad before the first time you ever test it.
My good friend Mia Violet was one of the first in our area to play Klinklang (she Top 16’d Oregon States with it two weeks before I played it, in fact!) to any success, and it wasn’t until the night before BC Provincials when I was borrowing cards for the deck from her that I realized that all of those lines of text on my iPhones Notes app that said “0 Hypnotoxic Laser, 0 Virbank” weren’t just me being insane! Someone else actually had these ideas too! For the very first time in my life I felt like there was someone else on this big blue planet of ours that actually understood me.
Unfortunately, Mia didn’t go as deep as we have above and only played a single copy of Hypnotoxic Laser to open herself up to being able to donk Tynamos. Although I think Eels is less relevant of a matchup now more than ever, it’s definitely still out there and Hypnotoxic can have its uses elsewhere, as well. Slowing down any deck (as long as you’re willing to believe in yourself to flip correctly and your opponents incorrectly) can buy you precious turns.
The inclusion of Registeel is mostly just to throw all of the ideas you can into the pot because if you’re going to go big you might as well go big, nahmean?
For this section I’m going to go over what I think the most popular decks will be and how Klinklang will fair against them. I’ll include a few bullet points with information to consider when going into each matchup, but overall I think that the format has largely remained the same, so this section might be quite brief. As always, if there’s anything you’re unsure about or would like more information about, please post in the forums and I’ll answer as soon as possible!
It’s also important to note that for the sake of this article I’m going to assume the format is going to look something like this: Deoxys/Thundurus/Kyurem, Thundurus/Kyurem, Hammertime, Big Basics, Blastoise/Keldeo, and Rayquaza/Eelektrik.
I know that a lot of players are under the impression that the matchup should be terrible because of Kyurem, but I’ve done my fair share of testing (although admittedly there is much more to do) and I’m not sure that’s the case. Kyurem is very good yes, and Kyurem can OHKO a Klinklang, yes, but I feel like some people are riding the Kyurem train a little too hard, and forgetting that it is OHKO’d by most of the things in Klinklang, as long as Klinklang is able to set-up.
Therein lies the problem, I believe. There are games where Kyurem is just strictly better than anything you’ve got going on and the Plasma Basics deck gets the nut draw and will be able to run through you. However, I’ve found that happens a lot less often than most people think and is not all that more serious of a problem than the older Big Basics deck getting quick, streaming Bouffalants was.
The matchup is even to slightly favorable because of this, as sometimes they’re going to have it and sometimes they won’t. The only things you can do are be aware of the potential of early Kyurems and try to build up your board state more than you’d ever consider doing against any other deck or in any other format. The more Klinks the better and the more outs you give yourself to setting-up multiple Klinklangs the better. If you expect your metagame to be filled with Plasma Basics I would likely play a 3/1 Klinklang line to up the chances of finding multiples.
The other piece of advice I would recommend is to not underrate the power of Cobalion NVI. While sometimes they’ll just have the Keldeo/Float Stone/Retreat play, when they don’t have that available this pretty much blanks their Kyurem for a precious turn.
I don’t have as much experience testing with this deck as I do most of the others on this list, but it’s safe to say that if Kyurem was a problem before, shedding everything except Kyurem and what makes Kyurem so powerful is going to present an even bigger problem. The matchup isn’t downright terrible as you still have outs and they’re still weak to you, but you’re likely going to lose, and the worst part is I’m not sure there’s all that much you can do about it.
About the only piece of information I can recommend would be to go aggressive Cobalion EX early, as they can’t really be powering up a Kyurem and keeping up with constant Energy discards via Thundurus at the same time. Along with this, be sure to put extra value on Pokémon Catchers, as those are going to be even more important in trying to find a hole in the Kyurem/Thundurus chain.
This is an interesting matchup. As we’ve talked about at length, Crushing Hammer isn’t fun for you. However, I’m not sure how many Darkrai/Hammers decks are actually packing any large number of Crushing Hammers. Most of the lists that I’ve seen have been leaning more on Enhanced Hammer to battle the Plasma Basic decks and their high Special Energy counts.
So that puts us in an interesting situation where they don’t have the main tool that they used against us before, but still have the Sableye + Hypnotoxic Laser + Virbank package that they’ve always had, and have another attacker in Absol, that can actually deal damage and present a threat after their Sableyes are gone.
I’ve labeled this matchup as unfavorable simply because I’m not sure what contemporary Darkrai lists are going to look like. If they’re still packing heavy counts of Hammers then you’re in for a bad time (read: likely an auto-loss) but if they’re not they’re just like any other deck but have the advantage of being able to buy back their Lasers.
Obviously your goal here is going to be to take out their Sableyes and Absols as soon as possible. I was debating this with a friend the other day and I think I’d focus on killing Sableyes before anything else, as being attacked by an Absol is one thing, but the Darkrai deck switching between dealing you actual damage with Absol and dealing you Poison damage/Sleep with Lasers is just strictly worse for you. Clean up their outs to infinite Lasers and you should be in a much better position.
I’m not sure how huge non-Plasma Big Basics deck will be, but assuming they’ll be around and assuming they’ll be packing the new Landorus Blister Promo, they’re something you should try and keep an eye out for.
I honestly don’t think the matchup changes all that much, though. They have the same stuff they had before + a Landorus, but, while you don’t gain anything, what they gain is likely negligible in the long run. As always, focus on killing their non-EX Pokémon and play your Max Potions wisely and you can be alright.
The biggest problem than the Landorus promo presents is its second attack, which deals 90 damage and prevents us from retreating next turn. Although not the biggest problem if you are aware of it and play accordingly, a Landorus-heavy metagame could be an indication to play more Switch over Float Stone.
I’ve always thought that this matchup was favorable, and with many contemporary lists omitting the Black Ballista package entirely (leaving them without a non-EX attacker outside of Blastoise and sometimes Kyurem PLF, which we’ll discuss in a second), I think the matchup improves on your side.
As I said, the only remaining problem is Kyurem PLF. We’ve already discussed that that card is good against us, and although Blastoise has an easier way to consistently power it up into Klinklang-killing range, I feel like the fact that not all lists are running him in addition to the fact that if they are running him, they are certainly not running more than a single copy (perhaps two) still puts the matchup comfortably in our favor.
As with any deck running Kyurem PLF, being aware that it’s there and trying to set-up multiple Klinklangs is going to be your best course of action. Don’t put yourself into a position where you get completely blown out if they draw a Kyurem, and try to diversify your attackers as much as possible.
I know all of this sounds like I’m just saying to “Play the deck real good,” but it’s honestly the truth. With set-up decks like these I find it hard to give matchup advice as it often comes down to “execute your gameplan.”
Like Darkrai, this is an interesting matchup, as Klinklang isn’t the most popular deck consideration out right now (although maybe this article will change things) so it’s possible that Eels decks decide to not play Victini NVI 15 anymore, in which case the matchup is essentially an auto-win.
However, if they still include the Victini it all comes down to whether or not they can get it out before it becomes irrelevant. I played against three Eels decks at Provincials (I know that that was a different format and has different considerations to keep in mind, which is why I’ve tried to not give anecdotal evidence from that event) and one of them got the Victini out when it was too late, one of them got an early Victini that I was able to race, and one of them was force to drop it before they had it powered up and I was able to kill it.
All in all I think the matchup is far from an auto-loss, but it’s certainly not fun, especially since, like Kyurem PLF in the Blastoise lists, it’s something that you’re not entirely sure they’re running and that you have to keep in the back of your mind the whole time.
Thanks for reading. I hope that this article conveyed to you that Klinklang is still a very real deck depending on your local metagame. As always, if there’s something I didn’t go over, something you disagree with, or you just want to leave a comment, post on the Underground forum thread and I’ll check it often and reply back the best I can.
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