Hello SixPrizes Underground members! I’m happy to be back again just in time for Battle Roads. Recently Plasma Freeze was released giving us more cards to work with. I am very pleased with this set; it has more playable cards than most of its Black & White series predecessors.
In all areas across the country we have players that are insanely close to the 400 Championship Point threshold TPCi has set for us in order to qualify for Worlds. These Battle Roads will determine whether or not certain players will get their invite. Battle Roads are supposed to be the most relaxed event of the season, but given the circumstances, they could be more competitive than Cities!
In this article I will be going into detail about some decks I concocted during my testing process for Battle Roads and Nationals. All of these decks I believe to have potential, some more than others, but all are worth a shot.
Table of Contents
- The Importance of Spring Battle Roads
- Strange Brews
- Not Tier Twos
The Importance of Spring Battle Roads
Just for fun let’s take a look at how many players could potentially get their Worlds invite from Battle Roads. First let’s take a look at the Battle Roads prize structure:
- 4 Pokémon TCG booster packs
- A Gold Victory Cup promo card
- 15 Championship Points
- 4 Pokémon TCG booster packs
- A Silver Victory Cup promo card
- 12 Championship Points (if age division attendance is 4 or greater)
- 2 Pokémon TCG booster packs
- A Bronze Victory Cup promo card
- 10 Championship Points (if age division attendance is 8 or greater)
- 2 Pokémon TCG booster packs
- 10 Championship Points (if age division attendance is 8 or greater)
5th – 8th Place
- 6 Championship Points (if age division attendance is 32 or greater)
9th – 12th Place
- 4 Championship Points (if age division attendance is 64 or greater)
13th – 16th Place
- 2 Championship Points (if age division attendance is 64 or greater)
There are not too many prizes on the line, but the Points can definitely add up. Pokémon allows us a best finish limit of 6 Battle Roads. This means that you can potentially accumulate 90 Points, almost one fourth of your invite, from Battle Roads alone.
Zach Bivens is the closest person to getting his Worlds invite coming in at 398 Championship Points. I would say that everybody who has at least 350 Championship Points has the potential to make it into Worlds by competing in Battle Roads. There are some exceptions, like Jason Klaczynski for example who has 347 CP. He needs to win 5 Battle Roads to max out his best finish limit to earn his invite exactly. A mighty feat indeed, but he has accomplished amazing things before!
Given the cutoff of 350 plus Jason we can assume that about 27 people could make it into Worlds through Spring Battle Roads. What I am trying to illustrate here is how serious these Battle Roads will be to a portion of the player base. Getting a Worlds invite is a prestigious accomplishment for any player, thus I wish everyone in contention the best of luck.
Let’s get into talking about Battle Roads themselves now. I approached this new format differently than most since I have the luxury of not needing Points from Battle Roads (as I’ve already secured my Worlds invite).
Normally I would go with the flow and test potential tier 1 decks, tweak them, and make them as perfect as possible for the given tournament at hand. This time around I have thrown caution to the wind and concocted a bunch of wacky decks that could have potential. I normally follow the trends and play tier 1 decks, but now that I have breathing room it’s time to try something different. You can’t create a good rogue deck if you never try!
If everyone always went with what is fed to them to be tier 1 then there would be no creativity in the game. Just imagine if Ross Cawthon had never tried his strange brew at Worlds; I wonder how he would have done with a normal tier 1 deck.
I believe the key to creating a good rogue deck is to realize when a deck has potential and when you need to give up. Throughout this process I’ve had moments when I theorymon in my head and think the idea is genius on paper, but then it ends up being bad. This will happen and you must recognize when to stop wasting time with a dead end idea.
First and foremost I have to give a shout out to my friends like Dylan Lefavour for going through the process with me of testing against these decks. The reason I want to thank them is because sometimes you could be wasting their time. They will most likely never play against a crazy rogue deck similar to the one you are testing against them in a tournament, thus potentially wasting precious practice time, unless the idea flourishes.
All of these decks I will post have been tested and have potential. Now that I have rambled on enough, here is the first deck I tried out in the new format…
Pokémon – 10
Trainers – 38
Energy – 12
At first glance this deck looks a bit crazy, I know. But the list has been worked on a ton and has improved greatly from the original version. The point of this deck is to get one of the main attackers attacking with a Plasma Badge equipped and some Deoxys-EX on the bench. I will go over the card choices and explain the strategy more in-depth.
This is going to be your main attacker in most matchups. Your goal is to get a Plasma Badge on the Landorus, get some Deoxys on the bench, and start Hammerheading for major damage. Against decks like Plasma, a Hammerhead for 100 on a Thundurus-EX PLF and putting 30 on a Kyurem PLF is huge. Landorus-EX is also Resistant to Lightning, which some people forget, so Raiden Knuckle will do minimal damage early game to Landorus-EX.
Against Darkrai-EX if you can get a Hammerhead off for 80 due to Weakness on turn two the matchup can be a breeze. I believe Landorus will always be somewhat difficult for Darkrai-EX to deal with in most scenarios. The key to the Darkrai matchup is to limit your bench space because Absol can be a huge problem if you’re not careful.
Cobalion-EX is in here to help deal with Kyurem PLF. Kyurem is the bane of Landorus right now, so you need an answer to it. With this deck you need to react to what your opponent is doing. If they are setting up a Kyurem to attack, or are attacking with one already, you need to use Cobalion. With a Plasma Badge and two Deoxys in play Righteous Edge will do 100 damage to a Kyurem for one M Energy. Hopefully you have a Laser to go with that or Hammerhead damage from earlier.
The other strategy I find myself doing against Plasma is the Energy denial route. In order to do this you must first neutralize Thundurus-EX PLF so they can’t just get the Energy back. Next you start Pokémon Catcher’ing up whatever has Energy and using Righteous Edge to discard the Special Energy.
Most Plasma decks play very little to no basic Energy. Sometimes forcing your opponent to drop another Thundurus-EX in order to recover Energy can be deadly for them if you can set up a Landorus to Land’s Judgment KO it.
Deoxys is hands down one of the best cards in Plasma Freeze. Combine it with Plasma Badge and you can create some really unique decks like this one. In here Deoxys’ use is pretty obvious. He acts as a constant PlusPower for your two main attackers if they have Plasma Badge equipped.
Occasionally he can be used as an attacker as well, but if possible I would try to avoid Deoxys wars with your opponent if they are playing Plasma because the Plasma decks have an easier time setting up Deoxys than you.
1-1 Garbodor DRX
At first I didn’t have Garbodor in this deck, but I quickly realized it was needed thanks to some advice from friends. Without the option of getting out Garbodor your Blastoise matchup is almost unwinnable! Not to mention Garbodor can give Darkrai some troubles if it is timed correctly.
By this I mean you don’t want to just throw down Garbodor against Darkrai if you can help it. The reasoning is because the Darkrai player can use Garbodor to their advantage. If the Tool you placed on Garbodor is not a Float Stone the Darkrai player can Catcher spam Garbodor active and stall you out.
The correct time to place down Garbodor is when you have the opportunity to either Laser the Active Darkrai forcing them to retreat, discarding Energy, or take a massive amount of Poison damage. Or, when your opponent plays down one too many Darkrai and you see the opportunity to Catcher one up and start spreading damage with Landorus.
Colress Machine is in here to give you the rare opportunity to be able to power up a Land’s Judgement or Steel Bullet in two turns. This is your only form of Energy acceleration, but the deck is so tight on space I was only able to fit in two. There are only 3 Plasma Energy, so if you add more Colress Machine they could become dead cards once you run out of Plasma Energy in deck.
Now that I have gone over all that you need to know about this deck there are some issues I will address. First of all, this deck is pretty interesting to play and I had a ton of fun with it. I will probably try it out at Battle Roads just to see how it does in a tournament environment.
If Nationals were tomorrow I definitely would not play this deck because it was far too inconsistent for my liking but that is just the nature of the deck. There were games where you just hit everything you needed and that’s awesome, but it didn’t happen enough.
But the process of building this deck and testing it out gave birth to a new idea. The next deck I brewed up for this format stemmed from this deck idea, but has much more potential in the new metagame.
Pokémon – 11
Trainers – 37
Energy – 12
I have heard that people are unsure how Garbodor will fair in the new format. I am here to say that it does seem that there is hope. Even though he is literally garbage the deck isn’t so bad! The deck is similar to the Plasma Badge deck I just showed you but without the Plasma engine. Instead I opted to go with more consistency and up the Garbodor line while adding in techs. I will explain the card choices and go into detail more.
3 Landorus-EX, 2 Cobalion-EX
These Pokémon are still your main attackers just like in the other deck but are far less potent because they have no damage enhancers like Deoxys. Against Plasma decks I find myself using Cobalion mixed with Energy denial to 2-shot Kyurem and hope that they can’t KO with Blizzard Burn.
Garbodor mitigating Plasma’s damage output by shutting down Deoxys will help a bit. The trick to the matchup is knowing when you need to attack Thundurus and when you need to go after Kyurem. If you want to play this deck at a Battle Road I would test the Plasma matchup a bit.
3-2 Garbodor DRX
The description of Garbodor in this deck is basically the exact same as in the other. The only difference is you will get it more consistently. One thing to note is that I like the 70 HP Trubbish with Tool Drop to help negate getting donked. Starting with Trubbish is the equivalent of starting Sableye in terms of getting donked by non-Psychic Pokémon. It’s also pretty funny when you Tool Drop to 1HKO a Deoxys-EX to win the game!
Terrakion has surpassed my expectations in this deck. I think he is underrated right now. Against decks like Plasma and Darkrai-EX it forces them to play differently and try to score knockouts through Poison damage. If they allow you to Retaliate for 90 you can 1HKO a Darkrai-EX or Thundurus-EX. I won so many games during testing solely because of Terrakion.
Unfortunately the only way to power him up in one turn is to Scramble Switch two Energy onto him. Most of the time when you drop Terrakion and attach and Energy your opponent is forced to deal with it right then and there or attempt to KO through Poison.
Cobalion NVI was another consideration that I tested briefly over Terrakion which did a fantastic job at defeating Kyurem and dealing with a Keldeo-EX if it managed to get a massive amount of Energy on it. Even though Cobalion NVI tested well I still think Terrakion is the stronger choice.
The Trainers in this deck should be self-explanatory. The four Float Stone are the Tool you use to activate Garbodor’s Garbotoxin Ability. So far it has been working well, but I have considered cutting a card for a 5th Tool. The semi-high Skyla count usually ensures that I am able to grab a Float Stone when I need it for Garbodor.
The two Enhanced Hammer can be game changing against Plasma decks, but I have considered cutting them for possibly a Max Potion or two. This would make matchups like Darkrai a lot better while still helping against decks like Plasma.
This deck has pretty decent matchups all across the board in testing so far. It is much more consistent than its Plasma Badge counterpart. Having no acceleration kind of stinks, but luckily all of your attacks only cost one Energy attachment for the most part. Plasma decks with multiple Max Potions have been giving me the hardest time so far. Blastoise is a fairly easy matchup if they don’t play two Tool Scrapper, which I expect most lists don’t. I am definitely going to be playing this deck at a Battle Road and see how it goes.
On to the next deck! Once I was satisfied with how Garbodor was testing I moved on to my next project. What is the one deck that has been around since Cities of last season? You guessed it, Eelektrik NVI decks!
I have always been fond of Eelektrik NVI ever since it came out. It has gone through rough patches since the release of Landorus, but it still manages to prevail and put up strong performances. Every single format since its release Eelektrik has seen play. I don’t think the release of Plasma Freeze will change that. Here is my updated list:
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 33
Energy – 13
This deck is fairly straightforward. Try to get a turn one Shaymin BCR and Call for Family. Proceed to set up Rayquaza-EX and Dragon Burst for a knockout every turn. Same strategy that RayEels has had since it came out.
There are really only a few cards that need explanation in here. The lack of techs is because I wanted the main strategy to be as prevalent and consistent as possible. It is also hard to tech for an unknown format. If decks featuring Klinklang PLS will truly be played in this format I would add V-create Victini NVI. If Blastoise BCR is big in your area you can add Rayquaza DRV to help deal with Black Kyurem-EX PLS more efficiently while making the Prize trade math get thrown off.
Mr. Mime is an all-star in this deck for sure. His Ability prevents your Benched Pokémon from taking damage. That’s right, Night Spear and Hammerhead will no longer be sniping your Eelektrik off the bench!
In my opinion a huge problem Eelektrik decks had against Darkrai, Landorus, and now Kyurem was the extra 30 damage they do. Mr. Mime solves the problem! If you encounter a large amount of Darkrai or Landorus in your metagame I would suggest upping the Mime count to two so you almost always get one into play. Even if Kyurem is giving you trouble you could up the Mime count as well, I just have not had too much of an issue with Kyurem yet.
Either way, Mr. Mime will be key to winning those matchups. Mime might just be the most underrated card in the new set. His Ability is game changing and could be played in multiple other decks. I know Michael Diaz is respecting the Mime, as if he featured it in his last article, which by the way was fantastic and a must read if you have the time.
The change from Emolga DRX to Shaymin was a switch that is unfortunate due to Shaymin’s one Retreat Cost, but necessary. Why, you ask? Well, because Emolga is Weak to Lightning Pokémon. Thundurus-EX will be seeing play everywhere with all the hype Plasma is getting and of course Thundurus is Lightning type meaning it will most likely be able to donk Emolga on turn one. Shaymin’s Weakness to Fire shouldn’t be very relevant in the next format, so hopefully with a Shaymin start you will be able to make it past turn one.
As I stated before it is unfortunate that we have to make the change over to Shaymin because he has one retreat, but occasionally it can play to your advantage. The only scenario that this will be advantageous is when you go to retreat Shaymin with a L Energy after you have Called for Family. This will get another Lightning in the discard whereas normally it would have been stranded on the Emolga for the whole game, or until it was Knocked Out.
Also unfortunately you will give up on the chance to donk your opponent’s lone Swablu with Emolga’s Static Shock attack.
The use for Tool Scrapper is straightforward; it gets rid of Tools! The reason for still including this card as a singleton is because I am not sure just how much Garbodor there will be. Garbodor is a terrible matchup if they can get one online quickly, especially since this deck is lacking Victini-EX. (Victini-EX may be a good addition if Garbodor becomes big again.)
The one Tool Scrapper combined with Dowsing Machine just might be enough to deal with a random Garbodor deck you could face.
Although not featured in the list Bicycle is one of the unique cards that can speed up this deck given the right kind of hand. I would test 1-2 Bicycle in this deck to see if you like the idea or not. I have tried it but am not sure if I’m on board or not. It is not a bad addition to the deck by any means and could be the right card to help make RayEels that much faster in terms of setting up.
Mr. Mime is a wonderful addition to this powerful deck and will probably be the reason it will remain competitive. If you can get past turn one I can see this deck giving you a first place at any Battle Roads. That has always been the reason I have been shying away from any Eel based decks is due to the vulnerability of Tynamo getting donked. Some people just never seem to get donked and love decks like this.
While talking to my good friend Sam Chen, he taunted me about how often I get donked whenever I play Eelektrik based decks. In my first article I ever wrote for this website I described my sour grapes at Regionals because I was donked twice in a row. Donking is mostly luck based, but some formats are more conductive to donks, like this format and the previous one. This makes Eelektrik decks one of those high risk high reward decks.
Some players get luckier than other in this department. For example, Sam has played Eelektrik based decks in over 15 tournaments and has only been donked a single time. It’s all in the luck of the draw unfortunately.
Not Tier Twos
After doing some testing with decks that don’t appear as immediate tier 1 decks, I figured it’s time to start cracking down on what the true metagame decks are. This means Darkrai-EX and Blastoise BCR. Plasma is also on the list of true tier one decks but I will leave the limelight to some of the future articles that will be talking about this deck.
I have tried out Big Basics but it seems as though it can’t keep up with Plasma. Team Plasma decks may be the new Big Basics.
I will start with the deck and list I would play if Nationals were tomorrow:
Pokémon – 9
Trainers – 40
Energy – 11
This Darkrai list comes packed with techs and consistency. Most every card in this list has been discussed before in previous articles, so I won’t go over the card choices such as Absol, Keldeo, etc.
I prefer to play two Enhanced Hammers to help against the Plasma matchup. If you can get a turn where you can Catcher up a Deoxys or Pokémon with no Energy, then Junk Hunt for two Enhanced Hammers, you can completely disrupt your opponent’s board state.
Max Potion can completely swing games in your favor as well. It is also extremely good against Plasma if they can’t 1HKO Pokémon or against Thundurus damage. I would definitely consider trying to fit in another Max Potion, possibly instead of the second Enhanced Hammer.
Wait Ghetsis isn’t in this list? This is correct, I prefer to lean away from cards that have such high variance. I would rather get the guaranteed draw out of Bianca rather than the potential draw and disruption Ghetisis offers.
The only time I could picture myself playing Ghetsis in the future is if it performs incredibly well at Battle Roads or if it is in a deck where the variance factor is taken away. A deck that plays a card like Gothitelle EPO 47 which forces your opponent to have to hold their Items in their hand would be more conducive for Ghetsis.
Now you have seen my pretty standard looking Darkrai list. I do have another, more interesting Darkrai list I want to show you guys that is somewhat of a blast from the past. This deck was more popular around Cities this year and could be very good if your metagame is infested with Darkrai.
Pokémon – 10
Trainers – 38
Energy – 12
My old favorite pair Darkrai-EX and Terrakion, reunited once again!
As I stated earlier I believe Terrakion NVI is underrated right now. In a Darkrai-EX mirror match imagine how hard it can be to have your Active be KO’d by Poison. If we have Darkrai on Darkrai action I believe that the KO will come at the hands of a Night Spear, not through Poison.
If you are able to manage your bench correctly you should be able to avoid Absol PLF KOs by Poison as well. If a knockout is taken against you in the Darkrai mirror match without Poison or Night Spear’s Splash Damage, Retaliate’s clause triggers. This means for just a Fighting and a C Energy you can 1HKO a Darkrai-EX on your opponent’s board while only risking 1 Prize. With the high Energy Switch count you will also have the surprise factor component on your side.
The same strategy here would apply against a Plasma deck that has Thundurus-EX on the board. I think it may be wise to fit in a second Enhanced Hammer if Plasma is big. First off is the obvious Energy denial that you get when you combine multiple Hammers with Junk Hunt. The second and main reason is that you might force your opponent to play another Thundurus-EX on board to help recover lost Energy. By baiting them into playing another Thundurus on board that’s more free Prizes for Terrakion!
The list is lacking in some things that may seem more common in other lists, such as Dark Claw. The reason for this is space. You just can’t fit multiple Dark Claws here. Not to mention Dark Claw can’t be used on Terrakion. I might even cut it all together for the second Enhanced Hammer because I feel like a 1-1 split is not consistent at all. You will never hit the cards when you need them.
Dark Claw is strong on Absol and Darkrai of course, but I have been debating whether it is strong enough to warrant a spot in this list anymore.
The reason why I opted to go with Computer Search over the trending Dowsing Machine is because there will be moments when you really need to get a F Energy for Terrakion. Computer Search can do just that whereas Dowsing Machine can’t. If I were playing Darkrai/Mewtwo I would opt to play Computer Search for the same reason that it can get a Double Colorless.
With the addition of new attackers such as Absol and Terrakion I feel that you are relying a bit less on Darkrai EX thus you can get away with playing only 3. Maybe it would be better to cut Sableye, but then you would lessen your chances of starting it. On the other hand you still need a Darkrai in play most of the time for the free retreat.
Three Darkrai and three Sableye have been doing very well in testing for me, but if you find that you don’t get Darkrai into play consistently enough you might want to consider adding the fourth. Remember all of my lists are catered to my own personal preferences so feel free to tweak them as you feel necessary.
Time to move onto my old arch enemy, the turtle himself, Blastoise!
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 34
Energy – 14
Superior Energy Retrieval is the standout card from the new set that Blastoise gains. As it states in the card name it is definitely superior and gives Blastoise a lot more power than ever before. Although superior it may be, playing the card comes with the cost of discarding two cards from your hand.
For this reason I opted to play two Energy Retrieval. Sometimes you will not be able to afford to discard two cards, or you are forced to sacrifice resources you would rather keep. Although inferior to its superior counterpart, I believe at least one Energy Retrieval is good in Blastoise, and I prefer two.
The other new tool Blastoise acquires with the release of Plasma Freeze. The goal here is to get your Float Stone on a Keldeo-EX so you never have to waste Energy retreating a Keldeo if your opponent tries to Catcher stall you. Float Stone also allows you to get out of any Special Condition for free when you Rush In with a Float Stoned Keldeo-EX and then retreat.
It is definitely a nice luxury to have and it has been doing extremely well. A Float Stoned Keldeo mirrors last format’s Keldeo-EX with a D Energy while having a Darkrai EX in play.
With even more emphasis on Black Kyurem EX in this deck than Keldeo-EX you definitely want to consistently get them onto the field. Heavy Ball will help with not only that, but it can get Blastoise too.
I still believe that Computer Search will be the go to ACE SPEC card of any Stage 2 deck. I make this statement soley off of the basis that you can get your Stage 2 out more consistently if you have a Computer Search in your hand over a Dowsing Machine (where you may not have the card in your discard to help get the other piece of the Rare Candy/Stage 2 combos).
There are so many more cards I wanted to fit in this list that I think are important! Most notably would be a third copy of Tropical Beach. The reasoning is that Virbank will be as popular as ever, but more importantly you need an answer to Frozen City. If people start teching Frozen City into their Plasma decks that Stadium alone can spell doom for you. If Frozen City starts seeing play I would recommend adding a third Beach.
Typically I play 15 Energy in my Blastoise decks or 14 and an Energy Search, but with all the ways to retrieve Energy from the discard I figured I could sacrifice the Energy spot. So far it has been working out, but if you seem to not hit Energy as often as you would like cutting one Energy Retrieval for Energy or Energy Search might be the right thing to do.
I hope I have enlightened you all on what could potentially be the deck you decide to play at Battle Roads this weekend. Hopefully I didn’t reiterate what has already been said in previous articles too much and was able to bring some new strategy to the table for you.
Unfortunately I will not be attending Battle Roads this weekend for multiple reasons, personal and possibly health related. Hopefully I will be attending next week’s Battle Roads and be able to produce results with one of the lists I mentioned in this article.
I wish everyone the best of luck this weekend and as always please tell me how I did in the forums. Thank you for reading!
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