With no Battle Roads before the start of Fall Regionals the Klaczynski Open played a major role in giving us a predicted meta. If you missed the live stream I’m sure The Top Cut will have their recorded games up soon. There were a few really great matchups so I highly suggest watching some of them. These videos will also be the only insight that we have of the format heading into Fall Regionals.
Just to quickly recap the event, the Top 4 was 2 Darkrai/Garbodor, 1 Blastoise, and 1 Virizion/Genesect/Lugia. The Finals was Darkrai/Garbodor versus Blastoise and the former came out on top. I was very happy to see so much variation and such an open meta.
As I discussed in my last article I want to spend this article looking at the strongest decks in the format and my lists for them. I’m hoping this will give you some insight into the decks you’re testing for Fall Regionals as well as what lists look like for other meta decks. The Klaczynski Open really made me rethink some of my card choices in my lists.
Below is the list of decks I plan on covering in this article…
I feel like this season is going to have so much thinking outside the box. Some decks are going to have a lot of room to be creative with, while others are going to be tight on space and teching in more cards will kill your consistency. The ability to be an innovator while at the same time balancing between teching and consistency is going to be a huge challenge for deck builders. I enjoy deck building and formats where you can be creative, so from everything I’ve seen so far this is definitely going to be my type of format.
Quick Worlds Recap
I’m sure everybody is looking to put Worlds in the past and focus on the new format, so I won’t spend much time discussing it. However, I would like to quickly share my lists from Worlds and The 2013 Top Cut Invitational.
Pokémon – 10
Trainers – 39
Energy – 11
The list was very similar to the list I played at United States Nationals, however after the huge showing from Gothitelle I expected it to be a big deck at Worlds. The 3rd Keldeo EX and the 2nd Colress were changes made to further improve that matchup.
Looking back, the deck was perfect for the meta we were expecting. The Goth matchup was extremely favorable, Plasma was slightly favorable, and mirror was 50/50… and slightly better if they didn’t play Bike. The only thing I would change (based on the information I had at the time) would be to drop the Max Potion for Mr. Mime. Looking back not playing the Mr. Mime was an extremely obvious mistake.
My friend and I both played this list card for card, however sadly we both went 4-4. My 4 wins came from 1 Blastoise, 2 Plasma, and a no show. My 4 losses came from 1 Darkrai deck and 3 Plasma build. All my losses managed to end up as real games, but in all 4 I was drawing dead for large portions of the game.
It was very frustrating to spend all this time preparing for an event to only sit there and draw/pass. I really don’t know what more I could have done for consistency since I already ran 12 Supporters, 3 Bike, and 1 Computer Search. I’ve said it before, but the format desperately needs some sort of Pokémon consistency card. Smeargle UD was perfect last year and I was sad to see it go. To be fair though, in all my wins my opponents drew/pass for at least part of the game as well.
The Top Cut Invitational
As for The Top Cut Invitational I decided to stick with Darkrai, however I went with a list much closer to Jason K’s winning list. I almost played straight Klinklang, but just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I had played Darkrai all season and couldn’t ditch it for the last tournament of the year. I really want to thank Mike Lesky and Justin Sanchez for lending me cards for the event.
Pokémon – 10
Trainers – 39
Energy – 11
In the first round I beat Josh as he drew/passed, in the second round I lost a very close game to Edmund Kuras’ RayEels, and in the last round I had to play Josh again where he T1 N’d me into no Supporters and I drew/pass a majority of the game.
Overall it was a great experience, but as I said before I should have played straight Klinklang as I had auto-wins against 5 out of the 8 decks, a 50/50 matchup against Sami’s Plasma, an unfavorable matchup to Yamato’s Darkrai/Garbodor, and I’m assuming an unfavorable matchup against Jason K’s Dusknoir/Empoleon.
The New Format
Enough of recapping Worlds and discussing BLW-on; let’s go ahead and jump right into the current format. In this section I’m going to discuss several decks and give my lists for them. I will wrap each deck up by discussing strengths and weaknesses of the deck as well as some things to keep in mind while playing it.
Ross’ recent success with the deck at the Klaczynski Open is proof the deck is Tier 1 now more than ever. The deck also plays really well in a best-of-three format, which a majority of this season will be played in.
With the loss of Energy Switch the format has really changed from a T2 format to more of a T3 format. This slightly slower format is something that I feel Blastoise can really easily capitalize on. The deck is also so easily techable for individual metas. Even though the new set didn’t really bring Blastoise anything special, the shift in the meta I believe will work out to Blastoise’s advantage.
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 35
Energy – 11
2 Keldeo EX
Only 2 Keldeo EX might seem really low, but if the format shifts the way I think it will we can expect to see a lot less Special Conditions. Without Item lock I expect Accelgor to see next to no play and if Virizion EX becomes big many top tier decks will put less emphasis on Hypnotoxic Laser. Non-EX decks will most likely just switch to Bangle.
With less Special Conditions running around the deck can put less emphasis on Rush In and run fewer copies of Keldeo EX.
1 Jirachi EX
Last year was the first year that we have ever had where we didn’t have a Pokémon consistency card. In 2012 we had Smeargle UD, in 2011 we had Cleffa HS, 2010 was Chatot MD, and I could continue this trend all the way back to 2004.
When I say Pokémon consistency card I mean a Pokémon that is searchable (Ultra Ball, Level Ball, etc.) thats allows a deck to get out of a bad opening hand. Jirachi to Skyla to Computer Search allows you to get any card out of your deck. This becomes extremely useful in the late game when you’re usually 1 SER away from winning the game.
Now I understand Jirachi EX can also be a huge liability basically forcing you to play with 4 Prizes to your opponent’s 6. However, I would like to point out a couple of things. The deck runs 9 other Basics, so the odds of starting lone Jirachi are low plus I would much rather start lone Jirachi than a lone Exeggcute.
Second, just because you run Jirachi does not mean you have to play it down. Many games you might end up just discarding it without even playing it. The idea is it brings a new level of consistency to one of the most inconsistent decks in the format. If everything is running smoothly and you don’t need Jirachi then simply don’t play it down.
One of the things I love most about Blastoise right now is I feel like it is so easy to tech the deck differently depending on the meta that you expect to see. I want to talk about 3 different Pokémon techs I have in mind and in what meta I feel they would be the most useful.
If you expect a lot of mirror matches the single copy of the regular Black Kyurem can easily be enough to swing the matchup. However, outside of playing a lot of mirror matches the card really doesn’t have a ton of uses.
3rd Keldeo EX
I know a lot of people are going to find my 2 Keldeo EX very low. I can completely understand that and would honestly really like to have a 3rd copy of Keldeo EX in the deck. The 3rd copy of Keldeo EX would make the deck less vulnerable to Hypnotoxic Laser and would also decrease the odds of the deck starting with lone Jirachi EX.
I found a lot of success early in Cities last year by playing a Blastoise deck that hid behind Sigilyph and its Safeguard Ability early while it set up. Suicune can bring the deck the exact same benefits, but with the added advantage of not forcing the deck to run a separate Energy type.
The downside is outside of being a great wall the card really does nothing that the rest of the deck can’t do better. The 3 Energy for 70 attack is pretty bad when compared to Keldeo EX who does 110 for the same 3 Energy.
I do feel the card might be worth the spot in a meta where you expect fast EX deck and you need to buy yourself that needed turn or two to set up. However, Suicune is bad in metas where you expect a lot of non-EX Pokémon or decks like Virizion/Genesect that between Catcher and Genesect ability easily get around the Safeguard Ability.
2nd Tool Scrapper
The Klaczynski Open has really showed just how popular Darkrai/Garbodor will be. It’s sure to be a major player at Fall Regionals and it’s important to be ready for the deck. The 2nd copy of Tool Scrapper will help if 1 is prized, give the deck 2 turns to use Abilities, and make it easier to draw into.
I feel the deck is very strong in the best-of-three format and has solid matchups across the board. Garbodor can be a very hard matchup, but still highly winnable if teched right. The deck can also come back in the mid and late game even if it is down several prizes.
The deck plays 10 Basics and 4 of them are donkable (Squirtle) and 1 more of them you hate to open with (Jirachi), which really leaves the deck only 5 “safe” Basics to open with. I really don’t like the idea that I have a 50/50 shot of opening with a “bad” Basic.
The deck at times can also be inconsistent and very combo-based. Without Blastoise in play the deck really can’t win (early game or late game). If you struggle to set Blastoise up early game or if your opponent is able to remove Blastoise from the field late game they can steal a win.
Things to Remember
- Be careful discarding resources.
- Different metas will have a huge impact on how you build and tech the list.
- Try to place extra Energy on a second attacker to reduce the chances of N hurting you.
- Try to set up a second Blastoise ASAP, and at the very least bench a 2nd Squirtle to threaten a Blastoise.
- Use Black Kyurem EX against EXs and Keldeo EX against non-EXs to help preserve resources.
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 33
Energy – 14
I’ll give Henry Prior a lot of props for doing so well with the deck this past weekend. He thought outside the box, came up with a really interesting take on the deck, and has a T4 finish to show for it. The biggest thing I think people should really take out of this is that the deck really needs to have some strong secondary options outside of just Virizion and Genesect. Hopefully we’ll see Henry’s deck list in a future article from him, but until then I’ll post my take on it with a few changes.
Kyle said that Henry only played 1 copy of Tropical Beach in his deck, but I think a higher count of the card might be the right way to go. The deck has no first turn plays, so the ability to Beach T1 sets up some big T2 plays. It makes the deck less vulnerable to late game N.
Lastly I also really like Tropical Beach to act as a counter Stadium. If Darkrai/Garbodor does become extremely popular it’s going to be important to be able to keep the Virbank City Gym off of the field as much as possible.
I know for a fact that Henry played Enhanced Hammer in his list while I don’t have it in mine. I would really like to find room for 1 tech one to basically buy myself a turn from a Kyurem or Lugia EX, but I’m not entirely sure what I want to drop. If you’re expecting a lot of Plasma then 2 Enhanced Hammers might be the way to go. Not only does it slow down your opponent’s set up, but it also help to boost the damage output of Drifblim.
No Drifblim PLB
I didn’t include the other Drifblim in the current list because the 70 damage (even if it’s free) is pretty underwhelming. However I can see a lot of synergy with the Drifblim DRX and even more synergy with Enhanced Hammer. Discarding 2 Prism/Blends off of a Kyurem or Plasma Energy off of a Lugia EX could create huge swings in the game.
This is probably the thing about the deck I would like to rethink the most. I don’t know if a 4-3-1 or a 3-3-1 split would be better.
I really like all the synergy that goes hand in hand with the deck. Virizion gives the deck outs to Special Conditions, Genesect has a built in Catcher Ability, Virizion gives the deck Energy acceleration, and Genesect with G Booster gives the deck 1HKO potential. The Drifblim doesn’t really fit in with this strategy, but really shows how teching just a few cards can really swing a tough matchup for the deck. I don’t think Henry’s list is going to become the standard list, but I think it was a great meta call for the event.
The deck is really slow for this current format. You really need a strong start to even be able to attack T2 with the deck. The deck also requires you all game to constantly switch between Virizion and Genesect. Some of Henry’s techs like Lugia EX give the deck more options, while Drifblim is a solid low cost attacker for the Plasma matchup. This makes the deck less reliant on constantly switching back and forth between Virizion and Genesect, but they are still the main focuses of the deck.
The other thing I really don’t like about the deck is that you are forced to run G Booster as your ACE SPEC instead of a consistency card like Computer Search. G Booster is also extremely vulnerable to the widely played Tool Scrapper which then forces you to run the subpar Supporter Shadow Triad. However there is really no way around this and just something that you need to accept when playing the deck.
Things to Remember
- Virizion EX only shuts off Special Conditions for Pokémon with a Grass Energy attached.
- Attaching a Grass Energy to a Pokémon with a Special Condition will remove the condition.
- By attaching just one Energy to a Genesect EX you can threaten a G Booster on the following turn. It’s a great bluff even if you don’t have the cards for it.
- Hitting an EX T2 for 50 with Virizion EX allows the deck to 1HKO a 170 HP EX on T3 with Lugia EX.
Pokémon – 10
Trainers – 41
Energy – 9
After testing and testing against the deck I really consider it to be at the higher end of Tier 2. Normally I don’t like to really spend much time discussing Tier 2 decks, but the deck’s Plasma matchup is actually extremely good.
Henry’s list from his last article was extremely good and only a few cards off from where my list is at now. I only have 3 small changes from his list, which I’ll discuss below, but I feel these small changes can have a dramatic impact on how the deck plays. Even as a Tier 2 deck, it is extremely fun to play and something I would strongly consider bringing to your local league. It might even be something to consider for League Challenges if you’re expecting a lot of Plasma in your area.
1-1 Masquerain PLB
You can pull off quite a few tricks with the 1-1 line. Small things like dropping a Float Stone to free retreat and then replacing it with Silver Bangle or spreading out your Tools safer can win you games. The opponent is always going to have better targets for Pokémon Catcher, so the Masquerain usually gets left alone.
The main reason to play this deck in any sort of competitive tournament would be its good Plasma matchup. Running less than 4 Silver Mirror just doesn’t make sense to me.
I opted not to play Colress in the deck because I wanted straight and consistent draw power, especially when I play a high Random Receiver count. Both Juniper and N allow you to draw large amounts of cards in the early game and by the time you’re drawing small hands off of N you should already have everything you need in play.
The number 1 goal of the deck should be to burn itself as fast as possible getting as many Pokémon Tools in play as possible.
The last difference between my list and Henry’s is that I opted to play 9 Energy, while Henry only played 8. Ideally I would like even 10 Energy in the deck because getting the T1 Energy drop is huge. Once you get a few Energy drops in play and the Exp. Shares down, the deck can just start to roll. It’s the first few turns that are the scariest and making sure you hit an Energy drop every turn is huge.
The deck has a slightly favorable Plasma matchup. The deck is also a lot of fun to play; it’s cheap and relatively easy for new players to learn (though the deck has a lot of little plays that can be hard to see).
The low HP of Trubbish and Surskit combined with Sigilyphs weakness to Lightning scare me that I might not even get a turn. Also if you miss some early Energy drops the deck falls behind easily. The opponent can also create some big plays (especially late game) where they can Catcher a Sigilyph, Tool Scrapper 2 other Tools, and then N you before getting the KO on Sigilyph. Big turns like this can drop your damage output dramatically and leave you bad situations.
Things to Remember
- Early Energy drops are huge.
- Burn through the deck as fast as possible.
- Spread Silver Mirror out in the Plasma matchup.
- Spread your Tools out as much as possible (don’t leave one giant Catcher target).
Pokémon – 10
Trainers – 40
Energy – 10
Until the deck won the Klaczynski Open I really underestimated it. I figured the format would be heavy with Plasma decks and they would all be running at least two copies of Tool Scrapper. However, after two DarkGarbs made the Top 4 I really started to look at the deck and realize why it’s such a good deck in the current meta.
Without Energy Switch in the format Darkrai EX is much slower. The deck doesn’t focus on trying to get a T2 Night Spear from Darkrai. Instead the deck plays much more like a control version of the deck, opting to hide behind Sableye and Lasers early game, shutting off Abilities with Garbodor, and at the same time building a Darkrai EX.
The deck might go down a few Prizes, but always remains in firm control of the game. We saw a great example of this in the Top 4 when Henry Prior got off to a fierce start by taking 4 unanswered Prizes. Lex on the other hand was able to remain calm and play a control game with Sableye and Hypnotoxic Laser. Eventually he was able to get a huge N off and storm back for the win.
This is a very interesting deck to play and it’s very important to understand the control aspect of the deck as well as the strategy of hiding behind Sableye in the early game.
My list comes from a combination of Dustin Zimmerman’s Worlds list, Yoneda’s Worlds list, what I saw Lex play, as well as some of my own personal choices. A few of my more interesting choices I’ll discuss below.
In this version of the list I wanted to really focus on drawing through the deck as quickly as possible. Since I’m playing 3 copies of Random Receiver I really wanted to make sure that I would always hit a draw Supporter. However, I would like to incorporate Skyla in the deck so I have access to the exact Trainer card I need exactly when I need it. It’s important to hit cards like Enhanced Hammer (in the Plasma matchup), Virbank City Gym, and Hypnotoxic Laser early in the game.
I would really like the 4th, but the idea is a majority of the game you’re just going to be attacking with Sableye so it’s very easy to simply recycle the 3 copies.
3rd Enhanced Hammer
Pooka commented that Lex ran a full 3 Enhanced Hammer. I personally think that 2 copies is enough to win the Plasma matchup, but the 3rd copy would throw the matchup even more into your favor.
Being able to completely heal one of your Pokémon can be extremely useful for a control deck. Prize denial is also a very important aspect for control decks. Max Potion is going to be the most useful against Plasma and the mirror match.
It really is your ideal starter so playing a 4th copy will increase your odds of starting with it. Also when you only play 3 Sableye prizing 1 can create issues in the mid game.
The deck is extremely well-rounded and has solid matchups across the board. The control aspect of the deck also allows the deck to play from behind. While it might not look like it on paper, the deck also has quite a few options and can tackle different matchups with different strategies. Sableye also gives the deck an important level of consistency.
The deck runs a lot of tech cards to counter different matchups while in other matchups you can find yourself with dead cards. Great examples of this are Enhanced Hammer and even Garbodor itself. Also since the deck doesn’t currently run Skyla it has no way to search out key Trainers that help to establish the control element like Tool Scrapper and Enhanced Hammer.
However, if you replace Bianca/Colress with Skyla then you run the risk of using Random Receiver and hitting a Skyla when you desperately want to hit a draw Supporter. There are pros and cons to running or not running Skyla. The differences in lists and personal preference will ultimately make this decision for most people.
Things to Remember
- Using Tool Scrapper on Float Stones, Catchering something that can’t attack, and then using Garbodor to shut off Keldeo EX and other abilities is a great way to control and lock your opponent.
- Against a Plasma player doing this combo while repeatedly Junk Hunting for Enhanced Hammers can run them out of Energy.
- Garbodor shuts off your own Darkrai EX Ability. However you can Tool Scrapper your own Tool on Garbodor, free retreat and then attach another Tool to reactivate Garbotoxin.
- Junk Hunting for 1 Item and 1 Dowsing Machine will give you a greater degree of flexibility on what Trainer to get back on the following turn as well as not telegraph your play to your opponent.
- You can Dowsing Machine for Supporters and Stadiums.
- Remain calm even if you’re losing. The control aspect of the deck allows it to come back and win even if it’s down multiple prizes. Just constantly look over options and search for a way to win.
Tackling Plasma Again
A few days to sit back and reflect on what went down at the Klaczynski Open has given me time to rethink my Plasma deck. While I still really like a majority of my card choices there have been some minor changes to my list to reflect the changes in the meta.
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 36
Energy – 12
While I only made a few small changes to the deck overall, the changes I have made make a dramatic difference in a few key matchups.
1 Landorus Promo
The card offers the ability to 1HKO Thundurus EX in the mirror, 1HKO Darkrai EX in the Darkrai matchup, 1HKO opposing Absols. Seeing the insane run that Darkrai/Garbodor had at the Klaczynski Open has made me realize it is worth the spot.
I considered the card originally, but decided against it figuring its only real use was to KO Thundurus EX in the mirror. I also saw the card as a subpar version of either Absol or Kyurem in most matchups.
The thing that makes it so playable is really the 2-Energy attack versus the 3-Energy attack of Kyurem. Playing against a deck that plays a high count of Enhanced Hammer (Lex played 3) it’s much easier to set up a Pokémon that can attack for 2 Energy. There is a lot of synergy in the deck like the high Colress counts make it much easier to match hand sizes.
The card was mass released overseas and areas like the UK and Canada got flooded with them, but here in the United States they can be pretty scarce. I got lucky and actually ordered some off eBay (which seems to be about the best place to find them) before Nationals hoping to turn a good profit, but never got motivated enough in Indy to really try and sell them.
My advice would be to proxy the card and test a few games with it. If it’s something that’s testing well and you want to run I strongly suggest ordering your copy early. It might take a few weeks to get to you through the mail.
The last decision I was going back and forth on in my Plasma list was 4 Float Stone or 3 Float Stone and 1 Switch. With Darkrai/Garbodor being a top deck, Hypnotoxic Laser will see play. This is why I’m convinced that 3 Float Stone and 1 Switch is the better option. The 1-of Switch is easily searchable and leaves the deck less at the mercy of a bad sleep flip.
Enhanced Hammer saw play in heavy counts in 3 of the Top 4 decks. Now the deck can deal just fine with Enhanced Hammers, but the problem is when the opponent is able to recycle them with Sableye. In these situations it’s very important to be able to immediately attach another energy to Thundurus and Raiden Knuckle again.
Playing 4/0 instead of 3/1 slightly decreases your odds of whiffing the attachment and it plays better with Landorus Promo. I really do like the 2nd Absol though and may consider going back to 3/1 and then switching my attackers up to 2 Kyurem, 2 Absol, and 1 Landorus Promo.
The 1 card that I would really like to make room for in the deck is a copy of Max Potion. The card is extremely good against Darkrai and can also be extremely good in the mirror. Playing 3 copies of Skyla makes the card easily searchable when needed.
I was never really a fan of Enhanced Hammer outside of any deck besides Darkrai. Without being able to recycle them with Sableye it’s impossible to run your opponent out of Energy. However, the 1 copy can be very useful in mirror to stop a Kyurem from being able to Blizzard Burn on the following turn or a Lugia EX from stealing the game.
The deck is extremely versatile and has about 50/50 matchups against the board. It also has a lot of different options available and is great for people who enjoy playing toolbox type decks. Cards like Promo Landorus, Max Potion and Enhanced Hammer make it very easy to tech the deck for different metas.
There are a lot of cards out there that specifically counter Plasma, like Enhanced Hammer and Silver Mirror. If the meta is filled with Plasma deck you’re sure to also see counter-Plasma cards. However, these type of cards usually aren’t very good against the rest of the meta, so if we continue to see a very diverse meta these cards will probably see a drop in play.
Deciding whether or not to play Plasma at a tournament will largely depend on how much Plasma hate you are expecting.
Things to Remember
- You need Promo Landorus, Silver Bangle, matching hand sizes, and 1 Deoxys EX in play to 1HKO Darkrai EX and Thundurus EX. (It is easier to do than it sounds.)
- Against a deck using Sableye and Enhanced Hammer use 1 Thundurus EX to attach an Energy to a benched Thundurus EX. By getting 2 Energy in play per turn it’s much harder for the opponent to “lock” you.
- Burn dead resources in the later stages of the game like useless Colress Machines.
I’m hoping after reading this article you have a much stronger grasp of what the meta looks like as well as some interesting twists on decks. Fall Regionals are still over a month away, but I’m sure they’re going to sneak up on us fast.
Without Battle Roads results to look at it’s going to be more important than ever to do a lot of testing as well as use resources like recorded matches from The Top Cut and high quality articles on SixPrizes. Using these resources to your advantage will put you ahead of the competition.
I also highly recommend using the forums here on SixPrizes to discuss decks. The Underground forums are a bit more private than other websites and you get to discuss decks with great players. Also any questions about my articles, decks, or even Pokémon related questions in general feel free to message me. I answer all messages I get on the forums and several people message me often to help them get ready for major tournaments. I’m always happy to help out!
Lastly if you enjoyed the article please remember to give it a Like!
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