Hello SixPrizes! Battle Roads are coming up soon (and may have already started depending on where you play) and we’ve just had a new set released to shake up the metagame. I’m here to post my thoughts about the upcoming format and the decks that make up the metagame heading into Battle Roads.
The Battle Roads format is different than regular tournaments. Like during Fall BRs, top cut has been abandoned in favour of ending the tournament early. This means you need to either go 7-0 or 6-1 with the highest resistance to win. With the entire tournament riding on each game you really can’t afford to have an auto-loss or lose a game to a dead draw. Winning Battle Roads requires a consistent deck that can beat anything the format throws at it. If you’re playing to win, you can’t leave anything to chance or have any liability in your deck.
This is the new deck in the format. I personally began testing this deck after States/Provincials as I knew I couldn’t take time off for Regionals, and my testing group joined me once Regionals were over. This deck will receive the most in-depth analysis as it is the new deck in the format and there hasn’t been a ton of information on it yet.
TDK has been solid in our testing and doesn’t have any highly unfavourable matchups. This deck seems to either go slightly favourable to slightly unfavourable against the other top decks, making it a solid play for Battle Roads. You’ll be able to win any game playing this deck so long as you play well and have some luck on your side.
This deck has two routes it can take; it can use the popular LaserBank combo to help achieve important OHKOs or it can use Frozen City to deal extra damage. Here is the Hypnotoxic Laser variant I’ve been testing:
Pokémon – 10
2 Thundurus EX
4 Deoxys EX
1 Lugia EX
Trainers – 37
Energy – 13
Lists are tight for this deck, which means every card in the list needs to put in work. The strategy of this deck is a very focused one: power up Kyurem with Raiden Knuckle and force my opponent to deal with non-EX attackers that hit like a truck. Deoxys EX is a backup attacker and deals with Keldeo EX and other Pokémon that have high Energy costs. The Pokémon and Energy lines reflect this mindset, all of which have a heavy count to ensure I’ll have enough of each to last through each game.
I’ve heard criticism over two Thundurus EX, but I don’t think three is necessary. You should never need three Thundurus EX in a game, so the only reason to run it is so that you can start with it and get the T1 Raiden Knuckle. The third Thundurus EX will do nothing in every game aside from giving you a higher chance to open with it. A deck this tight can’t afford to waste space and I’d sooner find room for more switch and search cards to improve my chances of getting it T1.
Fitting even a single Lugia EX and DCE is tough for this deck, however the space is justified if it means the deck can use Lugia EX. Lugia EX makes taking Prizes simple. If your opponent tries to hide behind non-EX attackers you can steamroll them and continue taking Prizes at an EX level pace and if you can KO an EX with Plasma Gale you’ll take a devastating three Prize cards. Lugia EX cannot be part of a bad Prize exchange so long as it gets a Plasma Gale off.
Pokemon ParadijsThe Supporter line is balanced between early and late game. Early game I need to ensure an Energy attachment and possibly a Colress Machine or Switch to allow for the correct attacker to be used. Four Juniper and N are a given, as their are unmatched at what they accomplish in the format.
What’s up for debate is the remainder of the Supporter line. Three Colress are used for their solid mid-game draw and amazing late game draw. The only reason I’m not running four is that it can be mediocre in the first couple turns.
Two Skyla are used because I have a number of one-of items such as Max Potion and Scramble Switch. I would use more Skyla but she doesn’t give me to ability to grab energy or pull off two card combos if I’m missing more than one card at the start of my turn.
The single Bianca is used so that I have another Supporter that is decent at any point in the game. Bianca is never ideal but I’d rather have her on the first turn over Colress or Skyla and late game she does get me out of low card hands. I’m not 100% sure this is the best Supporter line, but I am sure that I want at least fourteen and I’m using a variation of the five I’m currently using.
The Item counts are also difficult to settle on. This deck runs at its best with four Catcher, Laser, and Colress Machine and I wouldn’t lower the count of any of them. After that I also want four-five Switch outs, three-four Pokémon search, a Max Potion, and a Scramble Switch.
The differences between Switch and Float Stone as well as Ultra Ball and Team Plasma Ball are important to understand when building this deck. Switch is a one time use that gets you out of Special Conditions. Float Stone can be used multiple times and can be used before you draw into the Pokémon you want to Switch too, but will do nothing to get you out of Sleep. With Hypnotoxic Laser being an important card in the format Switch is the more important Switch card, but Float Stone is a nice compliment.
Float Stone also makes it easier to use Blizzard Burn twice in a row. For Pokémon search I favour Ultra Ball for its ability to discard Energy early on and include a single Team Plasma Ball as an additional search card that doesn’t require resources to use.
Here is the Frozen City variant:
Pokémon – 11
3 Thundurus EX
4 Deoxys EX
2 Lugia EX
Trainers – 34
Energy – 14
PokeGymWithout Hypnotoxic Laser this deck is missing out on the extra damage it needs to OHKO EX Pokémon. Frozen City can remedy this to an extent. The extra 20-40 damage the opponent receives while attaching Energy to their Pokémon can help you OHKO them. This card also wreaks Blastoise decks that attach all of their Energy from the hand.
The downside to this card is that it’s only useful on the opponent’s turn. These kinds of Stadiums often don’t work out as the opponent can play a copy of their own Stadium to get rid of yours.
Since I’m relying less on Poison damage and I’ve made room by removing Lasers from my list I’ve made the deck more focused on Lugia EX. The lack of Hypnotoxic Laser weakens your damage output and the extra Prize per KO Lugia provides is just what this deck needs to compensate.
So that’s my take on TDK. If you’re looking for a deck with good matchups overall and can track down all the cards needed for it, I’d recommend it as one of my two top plays for Battle Roads.
Darkrai EX was the top dog last year at this time, and the card is still going strong this time around. Absol PLF is a fantastic partner for Darkrai, providing a non-EX attacker the only needs two Energy to attack. Since Absol’s damage output is based off of the amount of Pokémon your opponent benches your opponent will need to decide if they want to weaken their own board or allow you to use Absol at full power.
Here is my list for Darkrai going into Battle Roads:
Pokémon – 9
3 Darkrai EX
1 Keldeo EX
Trainers – 40
Energy – 11
Absol fixes a lot of the issues I had with this deck. Because Mind Jack only costs [D][C] it is now easier to get a respectable attack off when you don’t have much Energy in play. Absol also provides the deck with a non-EX attacker that doesn’t require the list to change much to accomodate it.
This list is built with beating TDK in mind without sacrificing its other matchups to do so. Since TDK uses mostly 170 HP EXs, Dark Claw allows both Darkrai and Absol to reach important numbers.
I’m sure everyone is aware of the 90 + 20 + 30 + 30 combo from last format (Night Spear + Dark Claw + Poison + Snipe on previous turn.) This allows Darkrai to KO a 170 HP Pokémon each turn while setting up the next one with snipe and KOs 140 HP Pokémon without any previous damage.
The existence of Absol alone puts you at an advantage. You either get an cheap and powerful non-EX attacker or your opponent has to limit their bench. Decks like RayEels cannot afford to reduce their bench size which turns Absol into a terrifying attacker.
I’ve included a single copy of Enhanced Hammer into the list. Trying to spam Hammers every turn with Sableye isn’t a strategy I’d except to win games against TDK if they just play two Thundurus EX and keep using Raiden Knuckle and Hypnotoxic Laser until you run out of Sableye. However, a single well timed Enhanced Hammer on a Kyurem with two Energy will provide enough disruption in combination with a KO on another Pokémon to set the opponent back. Enhanced Hammer is also a dead card in every other matchup so running high counts of it is risky.
Everything Darkrai gained this format is enough to boost it from a solid deck that I’d consider but ultimately reject to one of my two top plays for Battle Roads. The deck will also be easy to make as most players already have all the cards outside of Absol.
nocoffeeplease.tumblr.comRayEels is a deck that will never die until Eelektrik is rotated. If Landorus EX couldn’t kill Eels then I doubt anything aside from a DEX-On rotation will be able to make it die. Using Eelektrik last format seemed suicidal with Landorus EX dominating as it did, yet players continued to use it and thrived.
The deck has been slowly evolving as new sets were released. Boundaries Crossed brought us Keldeo and Plasma Storm gave us Colress and Victini EX. WIth Plasma Freeze the deck gained Float Stone, which is amazing in combination with Keldeo EX. Since we’ve all seen a standard RayEels list before, I’m going to show a new idea I’ve been trying with the deck.
Here is the list I’m testing:
Pokémon – 15
3 Rayquaza EX
2 Keldeo EX
Trainers – 32
Energy – 13
If someone ever told you they played RayEels without Switch or Skyarrow Bridge you’d say they were mad right? If so you could say I’ve gone off the deep end with this one. Luckily, there is a floating pony to save me! During the Boundaries Crossed format Keldeo made its way into Eelektrik deck as a way to prevent Catcher stalling and to help put Dynamotors where you wanted them.
With the release of Float Stone, Skyarrow Bridge is a thing of the past. Why reduce the retreat cost of your Pokémon when Keldeo EX and Float Stone give you unlimited access to Switch that stays on board all game? Even if Tool Scrapper is used each Float Stone acts as a Switch by itself. So long as you don’t play every Float Stone you draw regardless of whether or not you need it at the time you’ll be fine.
The only problems with this system are Hypnotoxic Laser and Garbotoxin. If your opponent Catchers a lone Keldeo EX, Flips head on Laser and you flip tails for sleep then you’ll be stuck in the active slot unless you can play your second Keldeo EX. This is a risk I’m willing to take as it requires the opponent to be so desperate that they’d burn key cards in hopes of a 25% chance of stalling a turn. Garbodor on the other hand is still a problem, but the problem is mainly just you losing Dynamotor, as you still have four Float Stone to aid in retreating.
The other interesting choice in this list is using both Zekrom and Reshiram. Reshiram PLF is my Klinklang counter of choice as it doesn’t give me another donkable Basic and can take a hit from Cobalion EX.
The Energy cost is steeper but against Klinklang you shouldn’t have much trouble setting it up. Without Zekrom in play Reshiram can KO Klinklang but not Cobalion EX. Luckily this list also runs Zekrom BLW as a general non-EX attacker and a great out to Lugia EX.
There isn’t much else to say about the list. It’s focused on consistency and isn’t running Tool Scrapper, which I would consider making room for. Garbodor probably won’t be popular as the standard way to play it has lost a lot of ground to TDK, but innovative players will fine a way to make it work in the new format.
While both TDK and Darkrai seem poised to take advantage of Eelektrik’s 90 HP and Rayquaza’s 170 HP I know this deck isn’t going anywhere. This deck still has the ability to OHKO three EXs in three turns and Keldeo + Float Stone only makes this easier than before. This deck is a solid play for Battle Roads. The early game against TDK and Darkrai will be tough, but if the deck gets set up it can tear them apart with Dragon Burst turn after turn.
Pokemon ParadijsLike RayEels, this deck is also all about setting up and OHKOing three Pokémon EX in three turns. Instead of relying on multiple fragile Eels that are easy to set up and replace this deck uses the bulky Blastoise that is harder to KO but can be clunky to set up and difficult to replace. Plasma Freeze brought us Superior Energy Retrieval. SER makes it easier to stream Black Balista each turn.
While this deck has improved with the new set the meta is less favourable towards it. With Landorus EX on the decline RayEels and Darkrai have gotten better, which is bad news for Blastoise. TDK is also favourable against Blastoise as well. Any Klinklang and Garbodor decks running around will also present a challenge for Blastoise.
From my testing with Crawdaunt we’ve found Blastoise to be very underwhelming this format. Black Kyurem EX is far too high maintenance of a card and leaves you vulnerable if Blastoise is KO’d. To make matters worse both Darkrai and TDK will be sending up non-EX attackers against you to put them ahead in the prize exchange.
We decided that if we were to play Blastoise this format we wouldn’t use Black Kyurem EX but rather Mewtwo EX. If you set up a seven Energy Keldeo EX then your opponent can’t KO Blastoise as they allow a seven Energy Keldeo to remain on your field. If you play two Mewtwo with three or more Energy each then other Mewtwo and Deoxys can’t KO one without getting KO’d the next turn.
Here is my list for Blastoise:
Pokémon – 14
3 Keldeo EX
3 Mewtwo EX
Trainers – 32
Energy – 14
This version of Blastoise hasn’t seen much play since Boundaries Crossed. Last format when Black Kyurem EX was released everyone dropped their Mewtwo EX for BK immediately, and who could blame them? Black Kyurem EX OHKOs anything that stands in its way and doesn’t get revenge KO’d by opposing Mewtwo EX. Landorus/Mewtwo was huge last format and playing Mewtwo in Blastoise only gave the Landorus player another way to win.
With the release of Superior Energy Retrieval Black Kyurem EX only seemed like it could get better, but when I tested the deck with Crawdaunt we found the deck to be too high maintenance and would be left helpless if Blastoise went down. Kyurem PLF and Darkrai can OHKO Blastoise without much trouble and both force Black Kyurem EX to waste three Energy taking only one Prize. These factors caused the deck to flop for us and we gave up on it.
Going back to Mewtwo was an idea we had after this had happened. Instead of using Superior Energy Retrieval to get a Black Balista each turn we could instead charge a massive Keldeo EX and have Mewtwo to deal with other Mewtwo and Deoxys. If the opponent KO’d Blastoise we’d still have a six Energy Keldeo left to do as it pleases.
The list provided is all about that, piling a ton of Energy onto a Keldeo or Mewtwo and if your opponent manages a response you do it again.
To assist in the massive amount of discarding this deck uses, I’ve included an Exeggcute in the list. Exeggcute is a terrible starter and would most likely result in getting donked, but when that doesn’t happen you’ll be able to reduce the cost of Ultra Ball, SER, and Computer Search in half. This deck runs a total of nine Items that require you to discard two cards so one Exeggcute will put in a lot of work throughout a game. It can also be used for clutch plays like using SER off a two card N or increasing your Colress draw on the final turn.
Blastoise isn’t a deck I’ve been considering for Battle Roads, but like RayEels it’s still a deck to fear. Having the ability to OHKO anything you want every turn is nothing to scoff at even if the deck has its problems. So even if you don’t want to play the deck be sure to test against it as it can muscle its way through anyone unprepared for it.
Pokemon ParadijsKlinklang isn’t quite as good this format, but it is still a great deck. The main attacker of TDK is a non-EX meaning even once you have PlasmaKlang set up their primary attacker can still attack you. On the positive side Kyurem is weak to Metal and TDK plays all Special Energy cards which can be discard by Cobalion EX.
Darkrai now has Absol to help deal with you and can fall back on Catcher/Laser spam if Absol fails. RayEels will still a near auto-win against you if their Fire attacker isn’t Prized and Blastoise will lose if it doesn’t run a counter of some sort. Garbodor decks will continue to shut down PlasmaKlang unless PlasmaKlang has a high count of Tool Scrapper.
Playing Klinklang has always been a meta call, and while the deck is weaker than it was last format it can still do well.
Here is my list for Klinklang this format:
Pokémon – 15
3 Cobalion EX
Trainers – 35
Energy – 10
The list for this deck hasn’t changed much since the last format. But players of the deck will need to adapt to the new format.
Against TDK your biggest threat and biggest target is Kyurem PLF. You can slow down Kyurem with Righteous Edge, and while TDK is setting up a Blizzard Burn you need to get both Klinklang in play and as much Energy as you can.
The easiest way to defeat Kyurem is with Cobalion NVI’s Energy Press attack. Energy Press only costs two Energy and will OHKO a Kyurem with three Energy, possibly setting TDK back in terms of attachments.
This deck also needs to be able to replace PlasmaKlang if it goes down, as Kyurem will be gunning for it at every opportunity it gets. The final problem of facing TDK is that Klinklang is a set-up deck. You can get donked and be swept if you get a bad start.
Darkrai has gained Absol, which is tough to deal with but still manageable for this deck. The key is to limit your bench size to three Pokémon. With only three benched Pokémon Absol can only deal 100 damage with a Dark Claw, and even an added Hypnobank won’t allow them to KO a Klinklang. Early game you should try to have one Cobalion EX and three Klink in play and once both Klinklang are in play you can replace the third Klink with another attacker (assuming a Klink goes down, which it should). If you can keep three Energy in play and can draw into your Max Potions when you need them you will be fine.
Facing RayEels, Blastoise, and the mirror should play out the same way it has in the past.
Klinklang was a great deck last format and I don’t see it going away this format. Its TDK matchup isn’t as good as its Landorus & Pals matchup was and the Darkrai matchup has gotten a bit worse, but it’s still a strong deck in the right meta. Like RayEels, playing this deck is a risk that may or may not pay off. If you’re willing to take that risk then I wish you the best of luck as you walk the path of the righteous.
PokeCa JapanIf you look at the decks I’ve listed you’ll notice they all use Abilities, with TDK and Darkrai being the only ones that can get by without them (and even they don’t have a fun time without them). Many fringe decks also rely on Abilities like Weavile/Eggs, Gothitelle, and Empire. This makes Garbodor a powerful card this format.
The new “standard” partners for Garbodor appear to be Landorus EX, Cobalion EX, and Mewtwo EX. Landorus and Mewtwo handle the old decks the same as before while Cobalion is a big pain for TDK to deal with.
I haven’t done enough testing with the deck this format to post a list. The deck seems like a great play for the first week of Battle Roads if players aren’t fitting Tool Scrapper into their lists. If you look at all the lists I’ve given you’ll see I’ve included 0-1 Scrapper in each of them. If everyone plays low counts then Garbodor will be a strong play, but if players fear Garbodor and start using two Scrapper (which also has the benefit of discarding Float Stone and Dark Claw which are going to be heavily played next format) then Garbodor will fall apart.
I’d have a hard time either supporting or opposing Garbodor as a play without seeing the meta it was being played in. If you’re interested in playing this deck for Battle Roads then I’d advise seeing what your local meta is like and deciding from there.
I hope I’ve been able to help players who were unsure about what to run decide what they want to play for Battle Roads. We have a strong variety of meta decks, but some players will choose to play rogue/silly decks simply because it’s Battle Roads and not a lot of Championship Points are on the line.
Other players only need to secure a few Points to earn their invite to Worlds and don’t want to press their luck at Nationals, so Battle Roads will be a big deal for them, but everyone should remember to have fun!