What’s the Play?

Spring Battle Roads Metagame Guide

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.

Battle Roads Tournament Format

The Battle Roads format is different than regular tournaments. Like during Fall BRs, top cut has been abandoned in favor 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.


The Spiral Nemesis

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 favorable 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 1HKOs 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

3 Kyurem PLF

1 Lugia EX

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Colress

2 Skyla

1 Bianca


4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

4 Colress Machine

3 Switch

2 Ultra Ball

1 Team Plasma Ball

1 Float Stone

1 Max Potion

1 Scramble Switch


2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 13

4 Plasma

4 Prism

4 Blend WLFM

1 Double Colorless

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.

In addition to all of this, Kyurem PLF is still an excellent opener. With four Colress Machine Frost Spear isn’t difficult to pull off on the first turn and sets up Blizzard Burn on the second turn.

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 3 Prize cards. Lugia EX cannot be part of a bad Prize exchange so long as it gets a Plasma Gale off.

switch-expedition-ex-157pokemon-paradijs.comThe 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 1-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 favor 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 Kyurem PLF

2 Lugia EX

Trainers – 34

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Colress

2 Skyla

1 Bianca


4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Colress Machine

3 Switch

2 Float Stone

2 Ultra Ball

1 Team Plasma Ball

1 Max Potion

1 Scramble Switch


2 Frozen City

Energy – 14

4 Plasma

4 Prism

4 Blend WLFM

2 Double Colorless

frozen-city-plasma-freeze-100pokegym.netWithout Hypnotoxic Laser this deck is missing out on the extra damage it needs to 1HKO Pokémon-EX. 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 1HKO 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 DEX

3 Absol PLF

2 Sableye DEX

1 Keldeo-EX

Trainers – 40

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

4 Bianca

1 Colress

1 Random Receiver


4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

4 Dark Patch

3 Dark Claw

3 Energy Switch

3 Ultra Ball

1 Enhanced Hammer

1 Max Potion

1 Computer Search


2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 11

11 D

Its all about mind over matter.pokegym.net
Its all about mind over matter.

Absol fixes a lot of the issues I had with this deck. Because Mind Jack only costs DC 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.


rayquaza vs. deoxys croppednocoffeeplease.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

4 Tynamo NVI 38

4 Eelektrik NVI

3 Rayquaza EX

2 Keldeo-EX

1 Zekrom BLW

1 Reshiram PLF

Trainers – 32

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Colress

2 Bianca


4 Ultra Ball

4 Level Ball

4 Float Stone

3 Pokémon Catcher

2 Super Rod

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Computer Search

Energy – 13

8 L

5 R

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 1HKO 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.


blastoise plasma storm pls 137pokemon-paradijs.comLike RayEels, this deck is also all about setting up and 1HKOing 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 favorable toward it. With Landorus-EX on the decline RayEels and Darkrai have gotten better, which is bad news for Blastoise. TDK is also favorable 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

4 Squirtle BCR

3 Blastoise BCR

3 Keldeo-EX

3 Mewtwo-EX NXD

1 Exeggcute PLF

Trainers – 32

4 Professor Juniper

4 Skyla

2 N

2 Colress


4 Ultra Ball

4 Rare Candy

4 Superior Energy Retrieval

3 Pokémon Catcher

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Computer Search


3 Tropical Beach

Energy – 14

14 W

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 1HKOs 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 1HKO Blastoise without much trouble and both force Black Kyurem EX to waste three Energy taking only 1 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 1HKO 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.


klinklang plasma storm pls 90pokemon-paradijs.comKlinklang 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

4 Klink DEX

1 Klang DEX

2 Klinklang PLS

2 Klinklang BLW

3 Cobalion-EX

2 Cobalion NVI

1 Durant DRX

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

4 Skyla

2 Colress


4 Heavy Ball

4 Rare Candy

3 Switch

2 Pokémon Catcher

2 Max Potion

1 Float Stone

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Super Rod

1 Dowsing Machine


2 Tropical Beach

Energy – 10

10 M

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 1HKO 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.


garbodor-thunder-knuckle-bw8-56pokeca-japan.ocnk.bizIf 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!

Reader Interactions

32 replies

  1. Bella Brown

    +1 but i disagree about Blastoise decks, they are still great and Black Kyurem EX just made them better! Also I tested mewtwo is my Blastoise list and I found myself never using it! But thanks for the good read!

    • Joseph Lee  → Bella

      I think the reasoning given for the changes made to your typical Deluge deck are shakey, though my end conclusion is more grim than Max’s; this is not a tournament for Deluge. Getting donked just once can keep you from winning, and twice will guarantee it. I also think the concern over Kyurem [Plasma] is only partially warranted.

      • Piplup_isPimp  → Joseph

        Agreed. Battle roads aren’t the place for Blastoise, a setup deck, being that there isn’t a top cut, the place where Blastoise thrives.

  2. Piplup_isPimp

    You talk about consistency in TDK, but you only run one dce to go with you 1 lugia and one team plasma ball with the two ultra ball? Yep, real consistent. That being said, so many more things I disagree with compared to the things I agree with in this article, just don’t want to waste my time spelling them out to you. Hopefully other people will.

    • Mark Hanson  → Piplup_isPimp

      To be fair, I actually rather like that. Think about Big Basics dropping to 3 Ultra Ball. Do Plasma decks really need 5-6 balls?

      • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → Mark

        Big Basics didn’t need to fill the Bench with Deoxys.

        The Garbodor/Big Basics decks, which did need to bench stuff played 4-6 Balls.

        I’m comfortable with 4 in a Plasma deck, personally.

      • Piplup_isPimp  → Mark

        Mario pretty much said it all, but if you didin’t get it, Big basics doesn’t need to fill it’s bench with support pokemon, and unlike TDK, they don’t need to have certain pokemon (lugia) on the bench so that they can accelerate energy (raiden knuckling a dce/plasma to the lugia).

        • Mark Hanson  → Piplup_isPimp

          I more imply that the “need” to fill the bench might be a bit oversold. The deck has laserbank too. Deoxys is good, but are those extra balls “win more” cards that could be something else that works more effectively in the deck.

          I just wouldn’t dismiss the idea off-hand. Not immediately at least.

        • Joseph Lee  → Mark

          The list in Max’s article runs two Thundurus EX and two Ultra Ball; Raiden Knuckle scoring an Energy attachment first turn can’t be that important. Yes, you also have Professor Juniper to potentially set-up for a first turn Raiden Knuckle, but as the article points out Kyurem [Plasma] is a great opener as well.

          So why not focus on running more Team Plasma Ball and thus getting the Deoxys EX you need to make that opening small hit even more relevant? When three Deoxys EX are combined with the damage from Hypnobank, both Raiden Knuckle and Frost Spear hit that key 90 points of damage to 2HKO anything relevant that isn’t being healed, protected, or boosted.

          It is me; I am asking because I really don’t have the answers, so if I’ve missed something, let me know. It just seems like if you are serious about wanting to run minimal search, Raiden Knuckle should be the secondary opening strategy. It isn’t like Thundurus EX wouldn’t still be worth using for when Professor Juniper enables that first turn extra attachment, or for being sent up after an opening Kyurem [Plasma] when it would be worth it, and even for the occasional Type-matching.

          I also wonder if four Colress Machine is a bit much? It is an important card, but much like that third Thundurus EX is overkill, how often will you be able to make use of four Colress Machine? If we aren’t messing up the rest of the Supporter line, I could even see making it into a Shadow Triad for those few times when you need a fifth Hypnotoxic Laser, fourth Colress Machine, fifth Plasma Energy, or spare of any Team Plasma Pokémon.

        • Mark Hanson  → Joseph

          So then I come back to the point,

          Landorus/Mewtwo did fine off of just 4 Lasers, 2 Virbank. The “need” to get Deoxys out is a tad silly. Deoxys is another donk condition, but filling your bench on turn 4 instead of turn 2 isn’t that detrimental. However, having a full compliment of key items may be more worthwhile.

          And Deoxys letting you hit 90 is unimportant in this deck, especially with a Kyurem focus. 90 Isn’t a magic number for this deck, because Kyurem’s massive damage output doesn’t require 90 numbers. A simple 30 suffices for Kyurem to later KO anything it needs on the next turn most of the time.

          And to be clear, I’m not saying this is how I would build the list personally. But more defending the author as the knee-jerk response of the crowd seems to be coming from a position that feels 3 Deoxys is essential… for some reason.

        • Joseph Lee  → Mark

          “Full compliment” is a matter of opinion, though you did say “may”. Again, you are correct; an extra turn or two to set-up the full compliment of Deoxys EX in the deck may not make much difference. As the same time, your example of Landorus EX/Mewtwo EX begs the question “If that sufficed, why run Plasma Basics at all”?

          Deoxys EX is a part of the whole “Team Plasma” package that makes this deck worth running. Sometimes it has more favorable Type-matching, but having enough Deoxys EX to ensure a KO is huge. The fewer you run, the more you encounter the same problem of not running a full count of certain Items; you probably don’t need all four, but if you just run two or three then one being Prized can cost you the game (let alone two).

          Also remember, my main question was if you aren’t fixated on opening with Thundurus EX, why not just skip Ultra Ball? Though after your explanation, I do think you aren’t giving enough other decks enough credit/giving Frost Spear set-ups too much.

        • Mark Hanson  → Joseph

          Because Big Basics gets destroyed by Kyurem. It’s not an inherent strength of Deoxys EX that makes it a superior play to Big Basics. It’s a matchup thing. Big Basics is a fine play for the metagame if it weren’t for Plasma Basics having perfect counters to everything Big Basics has, along with Energy Accel in the form of Thundurus EX and Colress Machine.

        • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → Mark

          I’d like to think my response wasn’t a knee-jerk one, but oh well.

          It’s a minor disagreement as I said elsewhere.

        • Mark Hanson  → Jak

          Absolutely. I like the fact that the article’s list went to 3, because that encourages this discussion and the proposal that Balls aren’t as important as people are declaring them to be. I think I would be comfortable at 4 personally. You’re one of the most reasonable voices sixprizes ever has commenting on articles ;)

        • Piplup_isPimp  → Mark

          Ok then, but how do you deal with decks such as darkrai’s lasertime, or Blasoise, or even klinklang? In games where even little amount of damage can mean the difference between winning a game, its always more sensible to run a good amount of the card tha can preform such a task without taking away as much deck space as possible. While some people say, “Yeah max out the Deoxys so you do max damage”, three should be the prefered amount. This way your less likely to start a lone or mutiple Deoxys or even fill your bech up too quickly without leaving room for other important pokemon such as lugia or even more thundurus and kyurem. What I’m trying to say is that run too little (or no) Deoxys and you end up putting out too little damage to keep the game in your favor, but put too many Deoxys and you overpower yourself to the point of getting only minimal attacks per turn.

        • Max Douglas  → Joseph

          To me Raiden Knuckle isn’t the only optimal T1 attack. Getting a Frost Spear off with an attach and Colress Machine is just as good. The best T2 attack you can get is a Blizzard Burn and getting T1 Frost Spear helps with that just as much as Raiden Knuckle can.

          Four Colress Machine is more than you need to use in a game, but I’m trying to draw one within the first two turns so four is useful for that. I’m really not a fan of Shadow Triad. If Pokemon Catcher and Switch were Team Plasma cards I could see myself running 1 copy but it just doesn’t do enough for me as is.

          The reason I’m okay with a low amount of ultra/plasma balls is because the three Deoxys on bench doesn’t need to happen in the first few turns. If you get one out T1 Raiden Knuckle and Frost Spear deal 40 damage and Blizzard Burn follows up for 130. This should be enough for the first KO (and you can add second Deoxys or Laser for 180 HP EXs.) By mid-late game the deck will be able to draw into more Deoxys EX while looking for other cards.

        • Joseph Lee  → Max

          I am actually entertaining this notion of a T1 Frost Spear, but my question then becomes “Why run Ultra Ball over Team Plasma Ball”?

        • Piplup_isPimp  → Mark

          Well, you don’t take three prizes on an ex if Lugia KO’s it with the help of a just-played-laser, now do you?

        • Mark Hanson  → Piplup_isPimp

          No, but you also usually don’t get a T2 Lugia KO on an EX without Lasers anyways.

          So as long as you’re focusing on Kyurem, you can just it Kyurem deal the initial damage with Frost Spear + Laser etc…, and then just use Lugia to clean things up. Different decklists afford different playstyles and means to the same end.

        • Piplup_isPimp  → Mark

          So, you’re basically saying the deck doesn’t need Deoxys? In that case let me piont out one thing; without Deoxys, not only does Kyurem not one shot everying in the format (minus tools and abilities) with blizzard burn, but you will be relying on 5 cards (1virbank and 4 lasers) as your replacement for the Deoxys. This means that if your opponent plays a different stadium, you can kiss that 30 extra damage good bye. On top of the fact that you are going to have to either draw into them or search for them via skyla and shadow triad when you can always just bench Deoxys and do 10+ damage every turn regardless of what your opponent does (minus tools and abilities), is just a waste of effort.

        • Piplup_isPimp  → Mark

          No, but you been implying that the deck should be more focused on lasers before Deoxys which should have been my original argurement. I didn’t mean to say what I did in that comment being that it was late and I wasn’t thinking clearly. I apologize for doing so and will be removing the comment since it has no further use for explanation.

        • Gerardo Del Toro  → Piplup_isPimp

          That came out of nowhere… He never implied that Deoxys is irrelevant in the deck… He is simply stating that you can set up a KO for your incoming Lugia with Kyurem and LaserBank (60 on the active) and finish it off with Lugia (no Deoxys needed). This could even be done on your T2, if you’re lucky. This is just a scenario where you don’t need a bench full of Deoxys and that you can achieve a good amount of damage without it. You are not limited to one sort of play with this deck, now are you?

          And LaserBank was never implied to be a replacement to Deoxys… You are the one making that assumption. And Kyurem can’t one shot the major EX-Pokemon even with Deoxys… You need a combination of both Deoxys and LaserBank to achieve that… And if you are focusing on Kyurem, like Crawdaunt said, you are already spreading the damage for easier KOs down the road.

          And I don’t know why you are making LaserBank seem like a waste when you can deal 30 extra damage (potentially more) for just two cards. It isn’t the only combination of cards this deck can use, but it certainly is a useful one…

  3. Ziggmiceter

    “With Float Stone, Skyarrow Bridge is a thing of the past” Is something wrong with your head? Absol just wrecks if you can’t counter Virbank, and so does Kyurem.

    • Joseph Lee  → Ziggmiceter

      To be fair, even if the deck needs a Stadium does it have to be Skyarrow Bridge? Otherwise your concern about the Hypnobank combo is seconded. I do wonder if some of the answer comes from having two non-Pokémon-EX Basic attackers; Rayquaza EX goes down to Mind Jack against full Bench + Dark Claw + Hypnobank (two Prizes), but itself goes down to Reshiram or Zekrom in one hit.

      If the Darkrai EX player doesn’t take them out in one hit, especially with a second Absol, a spare Rayquaza EX should be ready once either or both of Reshiram/Zekrom have finished trading Prizes to OHKO the eventual Darkrai EX. Eventually the Darkrai EX deck is going to be hurting for Energy as well.

      Not sure about the Plasma Basics match-up.

    • Max Douglas  → Ziggmiceter

      Its true that a counter stadium would be nice, but I don’t see a need for Bridge when I can run Float Stone. If you want a counter Stadium for Ray-Eels you should probably go the way of Blastoise and run Tropical Beach to help set up early game.

  4. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    +1 because despite minor disagreements over lists (which are inevitable), this is a very solid and helpful article.

  5. Ross Gilbert

    I like this article but how can you play rayeels without mr mime!? That makes the deck a LOT better. Still +1 mind you. I’m also intrigued by your blastoise list, I like the logic

    • Max Douglas  → Ross

      I would try to use Mr. Mime but my optimal field is Rayquaza EX, 3 Eelektrik, 1 Keldeo EX, and 1 spot left for another attacker to replace the first Rayquaza EX when it goes down.

      • Ross Gilbert  → Max

        Fair enough. In my testing i have been absolutely wrecking Rayeels (90% win+) with Landorus-based decks but that’s been dropping to under 50% if they play Mime. It makes that much of a difference.

        Then again, with all the Blastoise and Kyurem, maybe Landorus isn’t bound to do well at Nats, in which case it’s less relevant (though you still have the residual damage from Kyurem and Darkrai to consider)

  6. Joseph Lee

    Overall a good read. I’ve got some areas of confusion (most of which are already part of the comments section as replies to other comments), but mostly what I think your article needs is… just a bit more polish, where clearer wording might be the only really needed thing.

    Of course, I may be overly generous because I am pleased to see Reshiram PLF being used.

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