I’m sure most readers are just as excited for Regionals as I am, the first of which is on October 12th in Pleasanton, California. This year, Regionals will mark the beginning of the Premier Event circuit as opposed to the standard Fall Battle Roads we’ve all gotten used to.
In the past, Battle Roads had given players time to adjust to the rotation and new format as well as begin to define the metagame. PokéGym usually had a “Who/What Won” thread that helped most players find out which decks people in their area were playing, but now all we have to go off of are the Klaczynski Open results and speculation.
To make up for this loss of preparation I’m going to go over the decks I’ve found most potent in my testing.
Unlike my previous articles, which have been mostly overviews of decks with the help of a decklist or two, today I’ll be talking about more specifics like card choices and different ways of running the decks.
The lack of a Top 8 finish by Plasma at the Klaczynski Open came as a shock to me and many others. Plasma was one of the only decks to lose nothing in the rotation and with such strong showings last format it was clearly going to perform just as well this year… right?
Jay Hornung “found it to be the best deck in format” in his article published just a couple days before the Klaczynski Open and many others were quick to agree with him. However, the best deck isn’t always going to come out on top. Many factors can play into a deck’s performance in any given tournament, including…
- How many people are playing it
- The caliber of those players
- The metagame
Of course there are other factors, but these are the ones that are usually most relevant and quantifiable. I still find Plasma to be a great deck even with most people doubting it at this point, I’ve just had to make some changes to adapt to a format that is much different than the one I expected when writing my previous article.
I see Darkrai/Garbodor being vastly more popular than I predicted as well as Genesect (not to toot my own horn, of course). Both of these decks will give the standard Plasma list a rough time, but with the proper tweaks you can turn the tides for both matchups.
I first saw Landorus hit the scene around Nationals time. For some reason it was a hot commodity on HeyFonte Mart with its price being higher than the blister it came in. After some research I found out that there was some kind of issue with distributors and most North American stores didn’t get them as expected. Even though there seemed to be some hype around this card, I didn’t see any played at Nationals or Worlds.
Although Landorus wasn’t played last format it gets a boost in playability with the release of Silver Bangle. With only 2 Energy, a Silver Bangle, and a Deoxys you’re able to 1-shot a Darkrai EX.
This can really turn the tides when playing against Darkrai/Garbodor. Their usual strategy is to run you out of Energy with the use of Junk Hunt and Enhanced Hammer while they set up a Darkrai or 2. Landorus saves the day here, you can get him all ready to attack in 1 turn with a Colress Machine and Energy attachment of either Prism or Blend WLMF.
Being able to match hand sizes is usually quite doable with most of your deck being cards that you can burn whenever necessary. Getting that early Knock Out on a Darkrai will usually seal the game, and if you’re able to Knock Out two with the single Landorus there’s little hope for your opponent.
Even if you play against no Darkrai at all, it’s is still a great attacker in mirror and is able to 1-shot both Thundurus EX and Absol PLF. Landorus is surely worth a spot if you’re expecting Darkrai/Garbodor at your Regionals, which you should.
All of my articles so far have featured Plasma lists with basic Energy, two of which were covering our current format. I’ve always liked basic Energy in Plasma for a few reasons.
First of all you can throw in an Energy Search, which will come in handy with Skyla. Secondly, your basic Energy are safe from Enhanced Hammer and Drifblim PLB, both of which are well represented at the moment. Lastly, and this one kind of goes along with the last one, you hinder Drifblim DRX’s damage output. These factors all improve Plasma’s matchups and become a lot more relevant with Darkrai/Garbodor and Drifblim being played more and more.
I haven’t tested it for our new format, but the Kyurem/Deoxys/Keldeo deck that I posted in my Nationals article could be a great way to incorporate basic Energy into Plasma. I could see it having a lot of potential and it’s worth a look if you’re still struggling to find the deck that’s right for you.
Although basic Energy can be useful, there are also downsides to consider. As opposed to Special Energy, which can provide multiple colors, they are limited to one type. Shocking, right? This can sometimes put you in a tough situation when the basic Energy doesn’t fulfill the correct Energy requirement and leaves you wishing you had those good old Blend Energy back.
You also lose some ability to tech. It will be harder for you to run cards like Absol PLF and Landorus BW79 without enough multi-purpose Energy.
More Thundurus EX
This ties in very well with the topic of basic Energy. Both are intended to keep Energy on the board against Special Energy removal. Opening the game with Thundurus EX and a basic L Energy can yield a drastic improvement when playing against Special Energy removal of any kind.
You’ll always have your Thundurus to fall back on and attack with even if they target down any other Energy you get on the board. Drifblim will have to choose between getting rid of the Energy on the bench or getting Thundurus off the board and Enhanced Hammers won’t stop you from attacking.
I’ve bumped my Thundurus count up to 3 for the time being, although I’m having some space issues, so I am considering going back to the standard 2. I also feel that most Plasma will include Landorus BW79, which could be problematic with the higher count of Thundurus. I definitely need some more testing with this variation, though.
I’ve tried to find some sort of balance between the three tweaks. This list might seem a little unorthodox, but it works!
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 36
Energy – 12
Finding a perfect balance can take a lot of time and testing, but if you manage to find that sweet spot you should have smooth sailing with the rest of your testing. I haven’t given up on the deck just yet and neither have many of my fellow Underground writers, from what I can tell.
I’d also like to point out that although Plasma didn’t place in the Top 8 of the Klaczynski Open there were quite a number of players with a 5-2 record including Alex Hill, Alex Brousseau, Michael Pramawat, and many more. Despite its loss of momentum, with a few changes I expect Plasma to come back just as good as ever.
Team Plasma will also see more play with the release of the three Plasma tins. These tins will make Plasma one of the least expensive decks to build, which is always appealing for the player on a budget. Especially with entry fees for tournaments and people shelling out even more money to attend more Regionals, saving money is tempting.
I’ve received so many Facebook messages from you guys asking for the list that I piloted to Top 4 at the Klaczynski Open, and I decided to tell everyone it would be in my next article. (I think I even picked up a few subscribers for Adam!) Of course I will deliver, along with a quick overview of what I liked and disliked about the list and what the tournament taught me about the deck.
Without further adieu, here it is…
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 33
1 Tool Scapper
Energy – 13
I picked this deck up right after Worlds after talking to a few of my Japanese friends about it. It seemed like the perfect deck for me, so I decided to start testing it. Although we lost Energy Switch it’s still held its ground as a great deck, which is very promising for its future this year. If we get an Energy Switch reprint, and I highly suspect we will, the deck will receive an enormous boost in playability.
After playing a few games with the list you’ll realize how complicated this deck can be to use. There are so many options for attacks and Energy attachments and the option to use Tropical Beach, all of which could seem equally useful but will have drastically different outcomes a few turns down the road.
For example, Virizion-EX can seem useless and slow in the beginning, but it really helps you recover if you lose an attacker and have no other options. With the right amount of practice you should be getting great results in testing and realize how this deck shines.
4 Drifloon PLB, 2 Drifblim PLB, 2 Drifblim DRX
I’ve seen many people bash Drifblim as a complete waste of space in any matchup that isn’t Plasma, which isn’t true. You can usually get 1 Drifblim PLB on the field for its free retreat and as a possible staller. If your opponent Knocks it Out then they’re setting themselves up for a 7 Prize game, which is great for you.
I also use Drifblim PLB against Safeguard Pokémon like Suicune PLB and Sigilyph DRX. Neither of those cards will see much play, but it doesn’t hurt to have some sort of parachute if you happen to run into them. Finally, there are lots of other decks that run Special Energy, including the mirror, and it’s nice to have the ability to use Drifblim and Enhanced Hammers against them.
Float Stone was a double-edged sword in my testing and at the Klaczynski Open, so I feel like I should ramble about it for a little bit. I usually got more than 1 free retreat out of Float Stone which is why I liked it over Switch, but against Darkrai/Garbodor staying asleep was an issue that would often lose me a game.
I also didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t attach a Float Stone to my G Booster’d Genesect or vice versa, which could be very problematic in certain situations. Skyarrow Bridge solved that problem, but it also helps your opponent, can be countered by another Stadium (including your own Tropical Beach in moments of desperation), and doesn’t give Lugia free retreat.
Overall, I think you need to find a balance between Float Stone and Switch to make the deck run smoother, possibly even cutting all three Float Stone for Switch.
1 Lugia EX
Even though it might seem like it took a lot of testing to work in the card, I added Lugia to my list the night before the tournament. I was considering cards that could help against the random Tool Drop, Flareon, Garchomp/Altaria, etc., and also have a use against more relevant decks. Lugia fit the bill so I decided to throw him in. I played one game with it before the tournament, but wasn’t able to use Plasma Gale.
I’m still on the edge on whether or not I should keep Lugia in my list. It hasn’t turned out to be as useful as I expected and I would like some more room in the list, but it does serve a purpose and could be something I regret taking out. Lugia is overflowing with potential and I’d like to find some more uses for him in the deck.
After playing a large tournament with Genesect I was impressed by how well it did, but also disappointed by one of its matchups. I was able to 2-0 each best-of-three against two Blastoise, two Plasma, and one mirror in Swiss, but only beat regular Darkrai 2-1 and lost to Darkrai/Garbodor 1-2. In top cut I played against Darkrai/Garbodor both times, barely winning in Top 8 2-1 and losing in Top 4 1-2 to Lex, who I lost to in Swiss and who won the event.
This shaky Darkrai matchup has left me skeptical about the deck heading into Regionals. With Darkrai/Garbodor winning the K.O. I expect a lot of copycat players. This could change by the third weekend of Regionals based on what we see from the first two, but I still think that such a great deck that’s easy to build and quite cheap should have a good representation regardless of which Regionals you go to.
I think that Virizion/Genesect/Drifblim can be just as good as ever with the right tweaks and preparation for a more Darkrai filled format. Running more Switch and possibly cutting the Drifblim line down to a 3-3 could help, and I’m sure you guys could find a few more ways to improve the deck even more for your own area. This deck is very abstract, but I hope you find it as fun to play as I have!
Blastoise just never seems to die, does it? So much pure damage is nothing to scoff at, but neither is the price tag. The value of Tropical Beach right now indicates two things to me. One being that Blastoise is just as popular as ever and the second being that we’re going to see more Tropical Beaches at Regionals.
I know it seems kind of counterintuitive that if the price is higher more people will play it, but I expect my logic to hold true. A lot of players own Tropical Beaches and don’t use them at tournaments, but rather keep them just in case they need them in the future or for sentimental reasons. Now that the price has increased to around $180-200 though, more players seem to be selling their Beaches, with no shortage of buyers.
I’m sure that almost every person who is buying a Tropical Beach between now and Regionals plans on using it or giving it to someone to use. This means more of them will actually be out on the floor instead of at home in a safe or hidden away in a binder.
Here is what I have right now for Blastoise. There isn’t too much variation between lists, but I thought I’d share my current take. I talked a lot about why I use Jirachi EX in my last article if you’re wondering about its inclusion.
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 35
2 Tool Scapper
Energy – 12
Blastoise is, as always, a great choice for Regionals. Providing you can afford or own Tropical Beaches, of course. I would advise 2 Tool Scrapper for the time being to take care of Darkrai/Garbodor; it should do the trick nicely with the help of Dowsing Machine.
I’d like to point out that all three of the decks I’ve gone over are great choices in the 50 minutes + 3 turns best-of-three Swiss rounds that will debut at Regionals. This is something that everyone should take into consideration when choosing their deck, you never want to lose a game on time and if it happens all day it could ruin your tournament run.
While testing, try timing your games and doing best-of-threes to prepare yourself; this may change your opinion on which deck you want to play and save yourself from a wasted tournament!
Darkrai/Garbodor seems to get a big hinderance by this time limit, which could make for some interesting Regionals results, but we’ll have to see. Keep in mind that the Klaczynski Open had 75 minutes + 3 turns best-of-three for Swiss, Top 8, and Top 4 followed up by an untimed best-of-five finals. Twenty-five minutes is a lot and will often make the difference between finishing your match and not.
I Need Your Input!
While writing my articles I always wonder if I’m actually appealing to my readers. When considering things to write about I usually choose things that come to mind for me, but I want you guys to have some say in it! This can help me write longer articles and give you the opportunity to see the things that you want to see.
Anything from a deck analysis, decklist, tournament report, card overview, etc. I’ll be happy to do anything. I’ll see which requests I get the most of each month and try to work those into my upcoming article! You can either Facebook me or message me on the SixPrizes forums.
I’m also planning on doing “Eye on Japan” type articles in a few months. Starting in February we will have the same format as Japan at the same time! Although it isn’t the simultaneous TCG releases that most of you wanted it’s still a step in the right direction and could lead to closer and closer releases in the coming future.
I’ll be able to go over the format and what’s doing well in Japan a few weeks before the set releases in the rest of the world. This should give you guys a preview of what to expect and can help you not feel so lost when you pick up the new cards for the first time.
I did something very similar to this in my article “Step Right Up and Win a Prize!” – An Analysis of the Japanese Battle Carnival and got a resounding amount of positive feedback, so I hope you’ll all be interested in me doing more! The information just seems so much more relevant when you aren’t reading something about a format you won’t be playing for another few months.
As always be sure to say hi if you see me at a tournament! I’m only able to go to one Regionals this fall, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, but hopefully I’ll be going to a few more throughout the year. I hope you liked the article and thanks for the support everyone!
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