It’s good to be back and writing again, it seems like it’s been forever since I put out an article for you guys. Because this is my first article since Worlds I thought I’d give you guys a look at one of my personal favorite decks right now. With all the talk about Drifblim/Genesect, I thought it would be perfect to discuss a different twist on the deck that I also happen to believe is an incredibly strong way of playing it: Virizion/Deoxys/Genesect.
Genesect seems to only be discussed in terms of Drifblim as of late, and I’m here to convince you that this card is a superstar without that purple balloon. As my favorite way of playing the deck, I’ll cover some nuances of Genesect/Virizion/Deoxys. The idea behind this version of the deck is to get a Plasma Badge onto a Virizion and hit a T1 Emerald Slash.
Obviously, when this combo hits, it’s absolutely devastating for an opponent to handle. Staring down 4 Energy turn one can sometimes seem even insurmountable – you definitely don’t want to find yourself in that position. The likelihood of hitting this combo, however, isn’t exactly probable. While some people might dismiss this version of the deck as foolishly aggressive, I’d argue that the other advantages provided by Plasma Badge justify the low percentage Emerald Slash.
Table of Contents
First, here’s a decklist for you guys to chew on while I ramble about the deck. I’ll go into the concepts of the list after you get an idea of what exactly I’m talking about.
Pokémon – 9
Trainers – 38
4 Professor Juniper
4 Ultra Ball
Energy – 13
Hypnotoxic Laser and the G Booster Dynamic
Hypnotoxic Laser is a card that might be overlooked in this deck by a lot of people. After all, isn’t the idea to stream G Boosters to blow up EX’s turn after turn? After playing a considerable number of games with the deck, it wasn’t difficult to realize that this strategy wasn’t only unsustainable, but it wasn’t even especially effective either.
While dealing 200 every turn sounds very appealing, the fundamental issue with the deck is only bolstered by relying on G Booster, the issue being energy. Sinking 2 Energy into G Booster every turn leaves you very vulnerable to running out of Energy on the table, especially if you’re not getting 2 Prizes each time you do it.
Because it’s so uneconomical to dump those kind of resources into dealing with non-Pokémon-EX, Genesect runs into consistency issues. The problem at its core is finding the G Booster and an adequate amount of Energy to use it back-to-back turns, as well as ensuring your opponent has an EX active whether it be by Red Signal or Catcher. Not to mention, all of this has to be done all without your Genesect being Knocked Out, because when that happens, you have to compile Energy all over again.
So naturally, you’d think not to depend on G Booster as your absolute win condition. Because I believe relying on G Booster as your primary win condition is wishful thinking, I prefer to depend on Megalo Cannon. Because you’re relying on an attack that can only deal 100 up front, you need a way to bolster damage so you can find 1HKOs on occasion, the same way Darkrai does. This is where Laser comes in.
So how does Darkrai go about doing this? Well, simply enough, Darkrai uses its additional 30 snipe and Laser/Bank to set up double KOs or even just a 1HKO at some point. Why shouldn’t Genesect function the same way?
I’ll go a little more into the specific advantages of Laser a little later on, but I just wanted to make sure everyone’s on the same page as to why we might consider Laser as a option for a deck that is characterized typically as a deck that steals 1HKOs with the help of G Booster.
There are a few subtle differences in the natures of Darkrai and Genesect so there are adjustments that need to be assessed. The biggest difference is the Energy acceleration. Because Genesect does not have Dark Patch or Sableye, it needs to rely on Colress Machine and Virizion to get all of its Energy down.
Coincidentally, however, Virizion cannot only set up Energy, but it can set up KOs for Genesect to put away, the same way Sableye/Laser does. 50 damage doesn’t seem like much, but it can prove to be the difference maker when paired with the 100 coming off of Genesect’s Megalo Cannon.
In order to hit the magic 170-180 necessary to KO EX’s, Deoxys and Hypnotoxic Laser are essential. The biggest issue I take with Genesect/Drifblim is its inability to finish KOs in 2 or fewer attacks.
So let’s look at some quick scenarios where Laser might be the difference maker, even without Bank. In the event you’ve only got 1 Deoxys down, Laser puts the defending Pokémon up to 70. If that Pokémon is a 180 HP EX, Genesect comes through on the next turn, regardless of whether or not poison sticks, and finishes the KO, doing 110 with Power Connect. In the event that you don’t have Deoxys or Plasma Badge, Laser can certainly clean the damage, especially with Virbank.
In addition to the numbers Laser can put up without Virbank, let’s look at the advantages Laser can provide in the case that Bank is down. The most significant way to use Virbank in conjunction with your Laser is with a Badged Virizion. Emerald Slashing and 1 Deoxys in play. This combo means 90 damage and 2 additional Energy on the board. This is a great way to put up significant pressure and stabilize your board at the same time.
Another great thing to note about this 90 damage is that it’s a huge sweet spot for 2HKOs via Virizion. The way I look at it is if Virizion can trade two shots with another EX at almost any point in the game, cannot be in a terrible spot. This exchange not only trades your 170 HP EX with 2 energy on it for 2 Prizes of your own, but it also powers up 2 Genesects on your bench. The beauty of that is that now you have the opportunity to rotate Genesects and you should have enough Energy to last the rest of the game with these two consecutive Emerald Slashes.
If you can pull this combo off within the first 3 turns or so, you’re poised to win the game almost regardless of what you’re playing against, assuming no other Prizes have been taken.
Bearing the Badge
So, something players might not initially realize is how great Virizion can be in the middle of the game. Here’s where Plasma Badge earns its keep. This goes back to what I saying about 2-shotting EX’s with Virizion, but there are definitely some other huge advantages to switching gears to a Badged Virizion.
A lot of times, you’ll find that your opponent will overextend in order to clear your Energy off the board; normally this is what ends the game because, in most Genesect decks, there is no Energy acceleration without Energy already being on the board. Having the ability to get two Energy down in one turn for an emergency Emerald Slash can save the game for you.
This is only the first of multiple options Plasma Badge gives you in the deck. Other obvious ways Badge complements the deck are its synergy with Deoxys that nets you some significant damage over the course of a game, and its obvious synergy with Colress Machine.
To say that this deck doesn’t have a problem with Plasma would be a flat out lie. The biggest issue this deck has with Plasma is that Kyurem is a non-EX that can dole out 1HKOs for relatively few resources.
Another thing that works against Genesect here is that Plasma has moved away from Laser and instead plays Silver Bangle now. While this may not be the best option, it’s out there, and you need to be prepared to play against the version of this deck with multiple Bangles.
Plasma has so many weapons to 1HKO that loaded Genesect, whether it be by Bangle/Deoxys or just by cleaning up bench damage placed by Frost Spear. It is for this reason that people gravitate toward the Drifblim iteration of the deck, and I don’t blame them for it, it might very well be the most prudent way of playing the deck if you find that there’s a surplus of Plasma in your area.
Plasma, unfortunately, is a deck that will always see SOME play, so you can’t reliably count out seeing it, especially in a large tournament like Regionals. So what’s your plan of attack in this matchup then? Well, in the same way Genesect/Drifblim devotes 6-8 spots to counter the matchup, you’ve got 6 outs of your own: Laser Bank. While it’s a much softer counter to Plasma, Laser Bank is far better against every other matchup than Drifblim is. The idea would be to 1HKO Kyurems with 100 + 30 from Poison. You’ve also got the option of throwing 20 to it while it’s on the bench and finishing it with Laser sans Bank, or 1 Deoxys.
While this version makes it relatively easy to handle Kyurems, the problem remains that the Prize trade is unfavorable. Trading 1-1 with Kyurems is not the ideal goal however. The same way they try to run you out of Energy, you have to try to stop the stream of Blizzard Burns by dealing with them quickly. Another thing you’ve got going for you is Virizion’s Resistance to Kyurem.
This is a bad matchup. You’ve really just got to hope they got suboptimal starts in 2-of 3 games and hope to get early attacks on Kyurems via Catcher or Signal. Another potential way you might be able to combat Kyurem is by Emerald Slashing with 2 Deoxys and a Laser to time it so that Kyurem gets KO’d coming back to you. That’s a little difficult to pull off, but it’s not unreasonable in at least one of the three games of the match.
I’ll give you guys a few card options you might want to consider when building this deck for your projected metagame.
This is a card I really like in this deck because of its insane T1 potential. There are quite a few cards this deck can dump on the first turn, and with the amount of cards necessary for an explosive T1, you might need the addition 2-3 cards. I’ve tinkered with the card in my own personal testing and I can’t say I’m unimpressed.
While I do think the card has incredible potential throughout the game even, I wouldn’t go overboard either. I’d recommend playing no more than 1 or 2 copies of this card in the deck just because you need to keep the rest of your Supporters at a reasonable count as well. Bicycles interfere with that in this list specifically because you have to play Shadow Triad which isn’t really a draw card like Juniper or N.
For the same reason, however, the card is potentially better than cluttering the rest of your list with Supporters because it opens the door to having too many Supporters per hand. The problem with this, as I alluded to, is the space issue. You’ve got a lot of stuff crammed into this deck just so it can keep up with the format (Laser/Badge/Bank/Colress Machine) so finding room for addition draw support is really difficult without cutting into necessary cards.
It’s definitely something worth trying out, especially if you haven’t played much with Bicycle in the past.
This card is something that both the Drifblim version of the deck and the Plasma Badge version have in common. The reason for this is that the card is just plain good – it fits. Being able to accelerate Energy two at a time means that this card goes from being in your hand to being a threat all in one turn.
Another reason the card has so much synergy is that a lot of the time you can steal a non-EX KO without Virizion before the game even really begins, whether it be on a Sableye, a Trubbish, or what have you. Naturally, you’ll want Lugia to have a 3 Prize turn later on to balance out the uneven prize count you’ll inevitably end up with when your Genesect grabs 2 Prizes on an EX.
If you decide to go for the Lugia route with this deck, there are a couple other things you need to consider. First, you need to make sure you realize that Laser doesn’t have synergy with Lugia and that you’ll have to rely on bench damage and Deoxys to make the most of it as an attacker.
On another note, you might want to adjust your Energy line to accommodate Lugia. This means a DCE or two might not be a bad idea to ramp Lugia up without having to deal with Emerald Slashing onto it. An important thing to realize is that you might end up overpowering your Lugia if you attach DCE onto it, then Emerald Slash because you’ll need a Plasma Energy on top of that at some point, so be careful when making this card choice.
Editor’s Note: I believe you can choose to attach only 1 Grass Energy with Emerald Slash, so you can avoid overpowering your Lugia.
DCE is also great fodder for G Booster as it effectively functions as attaching two Energy because you can dump just the one DCE for the attack as opposed to setting yourself back two turns worth of Energy.
Tropius and Bouffalant
One of the issues this deck has is that once 3 of your Pokémon go down, the games done. One way of combatting that is by playing Max Potion. The problem with Max Potion is that you’ll most likely run out of Energy at some point afterward, even with all the emphasis this deck places on attacking with Virizion.
Another way to avoid the dreaded 3-and-out is by playing a non-EX, preferably either Tropius PLB or Bouffalant DRX. Tropius can put up serious damage for just two Energy and it comes out of nowhere with a Badge/Colress Machine. Tropius’ first attack is another tremendous upside for this card as it can dig you out of dead hands for just an Ultra Ball and an Energy.
Bouffalant is another great option as a non-EX attacker for this deck. If you decide to include DCE, Bouffalant seems to make more sense here. He can be a huge tank, and with Deoxys and Laser he can even potentially even handle EX’s by himself.
His Energy requirement also isn’t as clumsy as Lugia’s is. DCE and Colress Machine get this guy going in 1 turn, and if you decide to wait a turn and Emerald Slash onto him, you only need one additional Energy on the next turn, which means you might not even necessarily need to find the Badge for him.
The more I ask about Jirachi the more and more I hear people are starting to like it, and I tend to agree with them. Jirachi turns all your Ultra Balls into potential Supporters, and the beauty of it in this deck is that you play Shadow Triad. Because this deck plays an additional unusual supporter it Jirachi gives you more options than it might in any other decks.
While it does have a lot of upside, it doesn’t meant that there aren’t any flaws to playing this card in your deck. The most apparent of these flaws is the huge liability this card is on your bench. Because your opponent is looking to KO 3 EX’s, a lot of the time, when Jirachi is still on your bench after a long game, he winds up being your opponents last 2 Prizes.
The reason for this is that both Genesect and Virizion typically take 2 turns to KO whereas Jirachi gets KO’d in just one. This means that even if you’re winning the Prize race, a quick Jirachi KO can steal the game from you.
So is it worth it? It’s hard to say. While you might be thinking it’s absolutely not, I’d argue that having the option to Ultra Ball for a Supporter can put you into a game you might have otherwise lost due to a Supporter drought. The supplementary option of finding Shadow Triad is just a bonus. It’s up to you as to how risky you want to go with the deck, but you’ll find that Jirachi is a difference maker in almost every game, regardless of its downside.
Enhanced Hammer is the obvious card to go to when thinking of countering the Plasma matchup. The biggest problem I’ve run in testing Enhanced Hammer in any quantity is that you always seem to run out without having Sableye to back it up. While playing 2 Hammer would certainly have an impact on the Plasma matchup, I’d argue that it might not be enough to warrant the space.
As is, the list is already very tight just because of the fast nature of the deck. If you were to try to find to make cuts you’d probably have a tough time. Most likely, the first cards to go would be pieces of Laser/Bank and maybe a Virizion, depending on how many you’re looking to play.
I’d say that 3 Hammers might turn this matchup around, so you’re looking at devoting a pretty significant amount of room to this one matchup, in the same way Drifblim/Genesect does, except this is a much softer counter.
This is the last card I’ll go into detail about because I believe that any cards after this just aren’t on the same level of importance as the ones I’ve already mentioned. I’d like to start by saying I hate playing this card in any deck, but it definitely might warrant a spot in this deck for a few reasons.
The biggest reason is that Garbodor DRX can cause real problems for this deck by shutting off both Red Signal and Verdant Wind. Without both of those Abilities, Darkrai/Garbodor can stick Poison and cause real problems with just Sableye alone. On top of that, with Red Signal off, Garbodor and Darkrai are safe on the bench to accumulate Energy unchecked.
The other core reason for Tool Scrapper to find a place in this deck is Silver Mirror. With all the Badges in the deck, and Genesect being Plasma, you’ll have a hard time doing anything when a Silver Mirror hits the table if you’re not running Tool Scrapper. I’ve been on the receiving end of a Mirror lock and it’s definitely not a fun position to be in without Scrapper.
Wasting two turns worth of manually attaching to a Virizion just to get 50 damage on the board is really painstaking and often is just enough to put you far enough behind for your opponent to take over. Laser and Virbank help a little, but ultimately without Scrapper, you’ll find yourself in a hole against Silver Mirror.
That’s all I’ve got for this deck and I hope the article has helped you understand my infatuation with Virizion/Deoxys/Genesect.
I didn’t go into specific matchups other than the deck’s Plasma matchup because I believe this deck has a shot at beating every other deck in the format, regardless of what it might be. The deck’s speed and late game potency evenly match it with everything. Like I mentioned earlier, a T1 Emerald Slash is just hard to deal with, period.
The last new piece of information I’ll offer to this article is that Victini-EX is a real problem. While a lot of decks don’t play it naturally, it certainly is something that a lot of people are starting to consider it, especially with Victory Piece. When Victory Piece is a factor it’s almost impossible for Genesect to gain any traction and the game will end quickly. Other than Victini, and potentially the Plasma matchup, I believe this deck could be a real contender against all the other top decks.
I really hope you guys liked the article and hopefully I’ll be back to give you guys some new insight after Regionals are over. Thanks for reading!
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