Bangle All the Way: A Look at the Coming Format

boulder coming hill
The new format… it’s coming!

Hello everyone! My name is Matt, but you can call me “weakest.” I’m not much for introductions, but I thought I’d share a little about myself. I am a Masters player from the northeastern Ohio area going into my second season of competitive play.

I ended my first season with 24 CP and my greatest achievement was a second place finish at a Battle Roads in the fall with Terrakion/Garbodor. While they aren’t the most exciting credentials, I am very proud with how my first season turned out especially because I am still in high school and didn’t play too seriously for most of the season.

Now with the formalities out of the way, it is time to discuss the topic at hand: the upcoming format.

In order to properly analyse what is going to be good, it is important to look at what was good. With Worlds still coming up it is hard to tell if anything new will pop out of the woodwork, but we can look at what was good at Nationals and the Spring Battle Roads for a general understanding of what was good at the end of the season. Looking at the decks that did well at the end of the season, a tier list can be made. Here is mine:

Tier 1

  • TDK
  • Blastoise/Keldeo EX/Black Kyurem EX
  • GothGor

Tier 2

  • Big Basics
  • Garbodor Variants
  • RayEels
  • Klinklang
  • Darkrai

Tier 3

  • Quad Snorlax
  • Darkrai/Hydreigon
  • Garchomp/Altaria

Editor’s Note: This article was written before Worlds.

The backbone of TDK.

TDK obviously dominated the format since its inception, winning numerous Battle Roads in the US and doing well in most National tournaments as well. It was strong, fast, and could even survive in the late game thanks to Thundurus EX. However, it thrived early game and put pressure on everything it was put against.

Blastoise is another deck that was great since it came out and has been able to pick up a few new tricks along the way such as Superior Energy Retrieval and Black Kyurem EX. Even though it was easy to donk a Squirtle with TDK, Blastoise could make roaring comebacks in the late game.

Gothitelle is obviously very good when it sets up (good enough to win US Nats at least) and can beat even its worst match ups when put into the hands of a good player. However, if the lock breaks it can be devastating for the deck, which leads me to place it more toward tier 1.5.

These decks could be destructive when put into the correct hands, and they have earned a slot into my personal tier 1. Decks such as Darkrai and Garbodor are good as well, but fail to keep up with the speed and power of the decks in tier 1.

But what about these decks now? How do they fare with the shifting format and the newly released (at least in prerelease form) set, Plasma Blast? Well, we lost a lot more stuff than we may think.

Klinklang BLW and Cobalion NVI are both gone, severely crippling Klinklang at its core since it relied on slow set up and prize denial via Max Potion. Cobalion NVI kept Kyurem PLF in check and gave the deck a good match up against it.

Gothitelle was completely removed from the format, eliminating it from the metagame for now.

RayEels is gone with the removal of Eelektrik.

Darkrai lost one of its major assets in the form of Energy Switch.

In fact, the only deck to see the least crippling effects of the rotation was TDK which lost virtually nothing. However, the release of Plasma Blast has given the metagame a whole new deck in the form of Genesect/Virizion. Virizion-EX’s ability stops special conditions. Most notably it stops Hypnotoxic Laser, one of the driving forces behind TDK. That should hurt TDK too right?

Bangle all the way.

From Plasma Blast we also gain Silver Bangle, which gives TDK another powerful (albeit less powerful than LaserBank because Bangle only applies to EXs) tool for it to use to utterly destroy the competition. It became easier for Kyurem to take 2 Prizes T2 because you need half the cards to pull off T2 170-180 (Laser + Virbank as opposed to just Silver Bangle).

In addition to Silver Bangle, a tool called Silver Mirror was introduced, which is a great anti-Plasma card. That being said, it is not the greatest weapon against Plasma as many Plasma players can easily switch out their Lasers and Virbanks for Bangles and Tool Scrappers. This makes even Silver Bangle problematic because you are limited to 4 copies and they can be Scrappered away easily. I do think that Silver Mirror is still a very good card and will see play.

Back to Genesect for a minute. Genesect EX has an underwhelming attack for a bad attack cost that, while can be achieved T2, is difficult to get every time even with Colress Machine or using Virizion-EX’s Emerald Slash attack. Where Genesect can shine is in the form of the AceSpec G-Booster that allows it to hit for 200 damage for the same energy cost in exchange for discarding two energy attached to it. It’s like Black Kyurem EX, only with a lower cost. Sounds great right?


But in practice it is difficult to get T2 Genesect and G-Booster. Even if you do hit the jackpot and get it all going, Gensect can easily be 1HKO’d by Kyurem or the G-Booster can be easily Scrappered away because Tool Scrapper is going to be seeing a massive rise in play (or at least it should with all these great tools in format). While G-Booster is interesting and Virizion-EX’s ability is good, Gensect is tool slow to keep up with the likes of TDK.

Enough of what gets bad. What gets good? Good question! The answer to that is to look at old decks and see what they gain. Darkrai/Hydreigon, for example, gets better because of Virizion-EX blocking laser. Making it easier for whatever is on the field to stay alive thanks to Max Potion and Blend GRPD (as well as Hydreigon). I feel like this deck will become the Klinklang of the coming format as it behaves very similarly.
EXs will still inevitably be popular.

Another deck that may see some play is Terrakion BCR/Suicune PLB/Silver Mirror. This deck relies on keeping the opponent from hurting any of your Pokémon while Slowly killing them off with Terrakion NVI and Suicune PLB. This deck is decent because of its good attackers and good Prize exchange, but is nowhere near tier 1.

As for Blastoise, it gains and loses almost nothing. Suicune PLB could be an interesting tech, and a heavier Black Kyurem EX line may need to be introduced due to Keldeo’s grass weakness, but overall it remains good and may have a better TDK match up. I say this because without Lasers, it is harder to donk a Squirtle and it keeps Thundurus EX and Deoxys-EX from hitting the numbers they need to to Knock Out Keldeo, Squirtle, and Black Kyurem.

The final deck I wish to mention before I give my predictions for the tiers of the coming format is RayBoar. Now I’m not saying this deck is good (because it isn’t), but it may have a sliver of a chance because of the possible rise in play of Genesect during battle roads and the fact that Emboar can utilize Reshiram. That being said Tepigs can be sniped, are weak to water, and Kyurem exists (sadly) so RayBoar may be a one-time wonder.

Revised Tiers

And now it is time for the reveal of my predictions for the upcoming Battle Road format. Keep in mind that these are opinions and I will do my best to explain my reasoning for at least tier 1.

Tier 1

  • TDK
  • Genesect/Virizion
  • Blastoise/Keldeo EX/Black Kyurem EX

Tier 2

  • Darkrai/Hydreigon
  • Garbodor Variants
  • Darkrai Variants

Tier 3

  • Garchomp/Altaria
  • Suicune/Terrakion/Silver Mirror

TDK is still TDK and will be good for a long time.

I think it might actually be tier 2.

Gensect will be very popular for a while, allowing it to win more because more people will play it. However, I personally don’t think that the deck is good at all and would put it in tier 2 if I put my bias into it.

Blastoise doesn’t lose much and doesn’t gain much, but it really didn’t need anything. The deck is good and will stay good for at least this format.

Even though I believe their will be a rise in Tool Scrapper as the format progresses, I maintain that Garbodor will remain Tier 2. This is due to Silver Mirror being a viable tool to attach to Garbodor in addition to other great tools such as Float Stone and Rescue Scarf. Silver Mirror can also be used on non-ex attackers in the deck such as Sableye, Terrakion, or even Absol.

While the consistency of the deck may fall a little bit by an increase of tools in the deck, the lock will also be able to be maintained much longer. Consistency can also be maintained by an increase in search cards of the use of stadiums like Tropical Beach. However, since the deck can be donked (Deoxys is still a threat) and the lock can be broken by a single card, I expect Garbodor variants to remain tier 2.

Thank you all for reading! I’d appreciate any feedback and hope you all have a wonderful day.


P.S. Thanks to my friend Jacob for the title!

Reader Interactions

22 replies

  1. Tim Long

    I start reading this, see Darkrai in Tier 2 for the last season, and realize, Oh, not everyone watched worlds. Then I saw your little editors note.

    • Matt Price  → Tim

      Haha, I wanted to edit the article again for post-worlds, but it was too late. I did watch worlds, but couldn’t get around to editing. Thanks for the read!

  2. Twan van Vugt

    Darkrai Garbodor, which most japanese player played in worlds, doesn’t lose anything since that deck doesn’t run energy switch

    • Matt Price  → Twan

      I didn’t really know about Darkrai/Garbodor until after the article was written. I had heard about it before but didn’t know anything about it. Also, I don’t go by what won in Japan. I go for more US/Canada/UK results. But if I were to put it into a tier listing, it would go into 1.5. Garbodor is good, Tool Scrapper will be played, and it is better than most variants. We’l just have to see. Thanks for the comment!

      • Twan van Vugt  → Matt

        The main issue with the deck is indeed that many player will be running scrapper because of silver mirror and silver bangle :)

  3. Ryan Sheckler

    After playtesting with genesect/virizion and some tech attackers I dont agree with you that this deck will be tier two after the hype wears off. There are so many possibilities for this deck to evolve into to hit for just the right numbers for crutial OHKOs. With the use of bouffalant, tropius, lugia ex, and possibly even deoxys I think this deck has great potential. The other thing to keep in mind are the abilities that both virizion and genesect bring to the table. With genesects red signal ability being very similar to luxray’s lv x ability from lux chomp (but better as its a basic pokemon) and looking at the success that old deck had it is hard to believe that having the ability to have more than 8 catchers (potentially) won’t elevate the decks status. Otherwise great article and analysis.

    • Matt Price  → Ryan

      This seems more like a Plasma Tool Box now than Genesect/Virizion. I was referring more to the latter in the article, but I can see how all these other things can help. I have tested with multiple different methods and can say that straight Genesect just isn’t going to cut it. Thanks for the feedback and read!

      • Ryan Sheckler  → Matt

        Did you run double colorless in your build at all? I would argue that it is vastly different from plasma box as your focus is more on setting up Genesect and Virizion up for the right numbers to KO rather than speed and throwing damage around everywhere. I think people are looking for Virizion/Genesect to be a crazy speed deck just like plasma. I think the energy acceleration of Virizion and colress machine gives it the ability to be a quick set up machine, while at the same time being versatile with catcher stalling for late game and hitting hard for 3 turns to take all 6 prizes. I guess my point is the versatility of the combination of Virizion and Genesect is very interesting which is something I haven’t seen talked about too much. Most people either reference the huge attack power OR the speed (both in the early game) but I would argue the huge attack power AND the speed make the combo deadly (late game/early game and early game respectively). Also something of note is how much of a staple Keldeo + float stone has been to plasma box to stream kyurem blizzard burn which is put to rest with ease by Virizion/Genesect.

        • Matt Price  → Ryan

          I was referring to all the tech attackers as Plasma Tool Box. The core deck itself doesn’t seem to be all that fast imo. While you can set up T2 with Genesect pretty easily, getting the G-Booster on it also is difficult and 100 with 20 snipe is meh. Kyurem hits hard on T1 and T2 and can wipe energy off of the field. Double Colorless is interesting. But you aren’t going to be using it until the middle to late game unless you use something like Bouffalant. If you can get T1 Virizion, T2 DCE + G-Booster then it is fantastic. But in most cases you aren’t and Colress Machine works better. I have tested with DCE and it can be helpful sometimes, but taking a turn to attack with Virizion can lead to a turn where whatever you put energy on that turn into a Catcher-KO. Genesect can stall late game which can help, but there are always ways around it. To your point about all the Keldeo+Float Stone, it would be silly to continue to play it in Plasma for several reasons. 1. Genesect 2. Heavy Tool Scrapper. Heavy Switch works better because it gets out of poison and sleep while also not being susceptible to being discarded. I see your points but my testing has been not so good for Genesect, but it can be close.

        • Ryan Sheckler  → Matt

          All valid points. Do you see the plasma matchup as 50-50? or more like 60-40 in Plasma’s favor? I think the one thing with VirGen as well is the fact that it has a favorable matchup against blastoise, darkrai, and those tier 2 variants (especially the blastoise deck) that give it a decent edge IMO. Also do you think this deck gets better when energy switch is reprinted?

        • Christopher David  → Ryan

          The idea with double coloreless is to stream G-booster, by playing it down that hand and then discarding it.

  4. jet9855

    great article! its good to see not everybody get sucked in to all the hype talk. i did not watch worlds but i hope to watch some of the matches soon.

  5. Ryan An-hiding-gel

    I feel like people haven’t legitimately testing VirGen enough. Yeah, it can be ‘somewhat’ of a struggle to set up, but realistically all you need is a T2 Emerald slash. At that point you can literally stream G-Boosters the rest of the game unless they happen to run 2-3 scrappers and have them both in hand. Shadow triad the G-booster back. You can easily have 5 energy on Genesect Turn 3 ready to stream boosters. At that point sniping away their attacks for 200 is just too fast for your opponent to keep up assuming they didn’t get a god start. One Tropical Beach in this deck has worked wonders in my testing to really help accelerate at the beginning or middle. The deck is about setting up and sweeping.

    • Matt Price  → Ryan

      I have been testing Virizion ever since the scans came out. I tested it with Lasers, Plasma Badge, Absol, Deoxys, and even little Virizion NVI. My friends have tested it the same and one of my friends even used Bouffalant. They all ended up being subpar to Plasma. I didn’t need to have a Tool Scrapper because I could one-shot a Genesect with a Kyurem. Or I had the Tool Scrapper. Now I haven’t tested the deck in a tournament setting, but from what I played with it (which is a lot) it is good, but not good enough. I appreciate your comment, however! And only Battle Roads/Regionals will truly test this deck.

      • Twan van Vugt  → Matt

        Do you know which stadium will work for Plasma if they run anything at all? I litterally took out the 4 laser and 2 virbank out for 3 bangle and 2 scrapper but i cant decide what to do with the 6th slot. I could add more switch cards (but i run 3 float 2 switch and 1 keldeo :P) but what did you use in testing?

        • Matt Price  → Twan

          Frozen City is a good choice. It hurts Blastoise, Virizion (if they decide to attach to it w/o Plasma Badge), most Garbodor variants, and Darkrai as well. I haven’t tested with it, however.

      • Ryan An-hiding-gel  → Matt

        You don’t even need a booster to get rid of kyurem. Virizion + Cannon takes care of Kyurem. It’s really who gets a better start even though Plasma is definitely the more favorable match up. I won’t deny that from my testing Plasma has the most positive match up against the deck. Bangle also really really lays the hurt in Plasma against VirGen. I’m not really sure what percentage to put the win/loss ratio at between the decks, but I will definitely agree that Plasma is at the very least, slightly in favor over VirGen. I am excited to see what people can do with the deck, as I’m sure I am over looking things. Good write up though! Didn’t mean my original post to come off as snarky as it may have seemed :D

        @Twan, Frozen City works well in Plasma when lasers are gone for bangles. Hurts a lot of major decks, and that extra 20 damage goes a long way with Frost Spear + Bangle (120+30+20).

        • Matt Price  → Ryan

          It did seem snarky but that is okay, haha. I’m rather snarky myself so I just took it in. I appreciate all feedback! We’ll just have to see how the deck is played in the future. Thank you :)

  6. Brian Pattison

    Klinklang isn’t completely dead. It just won’t run the same way. I play Victini EX, which with Victory Piece (I also play that) can donk Virizions and Genesects. And if I don’t play against Genesect it will help get turn 2 Steel Bullet. I’m also considering playing Skarmory BCR96 just for Silver Bangle. I think Klinklang can make it to at least tier 2 or 1.5.

  7. daniel lynch

    virizion’s going to make blastoise tier two, the weakness kills it

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