Kids Play the Darndest Things

What Has Won and What Will Win Next
victreebel anime
Philadelphia: Home of the Victreebel Liberty Bell.

The last weekend of Fall Regionals in the U.S. is right around corner along with a handful of internationals Regionals. Since I have my sights set on Regionals this weekend in Philadelphia and I’ll be focusing on the surprising decks that have popped up the past two weekends.

The format is certainly more diverse than everybody expected. Going into the first weekend everybody tested the “Big Four” decks: Darkrai/Garbodor, Genesect/Virizion, Blastoise, and Plasma. All the decks that popped up were designed to beat this predicted metagame and are important to analyze because they have now become part of the metagame themselves.

First I’ll be covering some of the details, strategies, and lists that were successful because understanding why a certain deck was successful is the first step in understanding what to play.

Table of Contents


This is the deck to beat going into this weekend after Israel Sosa’s amazing back-to-back Regionals win. Below is his list for those who haven’t yet seen it:

Pokémon – 9

4 Darkrai-EX DEX

3 Sableye DEX

1 Keldeo-EX

1 Mr. Mime PLF

Trainers – 40

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

1 Bianca

4 Random Receiver

2 Bicycle


4 Hypnotoxic Laser

4 Dark Patch

3 Ultra Ball

3 Pokémon Catcher

2 Enhanced Hammer

2 Dark Claw

1 Max Potion

1 Energy Search

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Dowsing Machine


2 Virbank City Gym

1 Frozen City

Energy – 11

11 D

Editor’s Note: Israel removed a Bicycle for a Ghetsis the 2nd weekend. You can read his Arizona report here.

It’s a pretty standard Darkrai list when everybody thought the deck was inferior to Darkrai/Garbodor without Energy Switch. However, when you think about the metagame at the time it’s easy to see why this deck was so successful.

Reasons for Its Success

1. It had an advantage against Plasma.

Darkrai proved it could take on Plasma at Worlds in the finals by reusing Enhanced Hammer with Sableye and using Night Spear to Knock Out the Pokémon with Energy. This allowed the deck to make comebacks since the Plasma deck could not keep up with Energy attachments.

The loss of Energy Switch didn’t change the fact that Sableye is a very strong card. Darkrai/Garbodor could also utilize the same strategy, but Darkrai is capable of beating Plasma without playing Garbodor.

These extra deck spaces allowed Israel to make his deck faster and more consistent with Bicycle balanced out with a couple extra tech slots. Getting an unplayable start against a favorable matchup is very bad for Darkrai because the deck doesn’t always attack with big Pokémon-EX every turn.

For example, against Plasma it might be optimal to sit back and Junk Hunt for Enhanced Hammer. This means that even if you, as a Darkrai/Garbodor player, scoop a 5-10 minute game, it could easily take 20-30 minutes to complete the second game, especially if your opponent is a slow player. This means that you might not even be able to complete two games in certain matchups since they play out slower due to the nature of the deck.

In this way Darkrai is superior to Darkrai/Garbodor simply because it is more consistent. The last thing you want is a tie against a favorable matchup.

2. Darkrai/Garbodor was hyped after the Klaczynski Open.

Darkrai/Garbodor was proven to be a strong deck, but it essentially plays a lot of unnecessary cards when facing another Darkrai deck. Garbodor is not completely useless because you can potentially turn off your opponent’s Dark Cloak on a crucial turn, but committing that much space to Garbodor and Float Stone puts the Darkrai/Garbodor player at a disadvantage against another Darkrai player.

3. Blastoise wasn’t going to be heavily played.

Blastoise was certainly a solid deck going into the first weekend and had already proven itself for nearly an entire season. However, the fact that Darkrai/Garbodor was being hyped didn’t make people shift toward Blastoise. At best Blastoise could play multiple copies of Tool Scrapper to make the matchup more even. Blastoise also had roughly even matchups against Genesect and Plasma. In addition, the deck could not be played optimally in very high numbers due to the limited availability of Tropical Beach.

Israel Sosa teched a single copy of Frozen City to make the Blastoise matchup slightly less unfavorable. The Frozen City tech worked sometimes because the deck can bait out Tropical Beaches through the use of Virbank City Gym. If the Frozen City counters your opponent’s last Tropical Beach, they are in a lot of trouble. This allowed him to stay consistent throughout the tournament against all his other matchups since he opted to not devote a lot of deck space to Garbodor and Float Stone to beat Blastoise.

This is a prime example of where consistency is more optimal than teching a lot for a specific matchup when the format is diverse. Israel Sosa made a great metagame call and it certainly paid off!


This deck caught a lot of people off guard and it’s hard to understand why it performed so well. It seemed that these “Big Basic” decks became unplayable after Plasma Freeze was released due to Kyurem, Thundurus EX, and Deoxys-EX hitting all of your attackers for Weakness in addition to setting up equally fast.

This deck was first played in California and then ended up winning British Columbia Regionals the following weekend, proving it is a top tier deck. Below is a sample list:

Pokémon – 12

3 Landorus-EX

3 Mewtwo-EX NXD

1 Tornadus-EX DEX

3 Trubbish DRX

2 Garbodor DRX

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Skyla

2 Colress


4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

4 Float Stone

1 Switch

2 Ultra Ball

1 Heavy Ball

2 Enhanced Hammer

1 Max Potion

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Dowsing Machine


2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 12

8 F

4 Double Colorless

The deck isn’t very teched out either since every deck needs to be consistent to perform well. Max Potion is very strong against Darkrai and Genesect as they usually don’t 1-shot your Pokémon-EX. Since you attack for low amounts of Energy, Max Potion essentially sets your opponent back a turn in certain matchups with little drawback.

Plasma is a difficult matchup due to Weakness, so Enhanced Hammer helps make the matchup slightly less bad due to Plasma’s reliance on Special Energy. Despite the difficult Plasma matchup, the deck still has what it takes to be successful.

Reasons for Its Success

1. Darkrai’s Popularity

darkrai ex dark explorers dex
Popularity comes with a price.

Landorus is able to take out Darkrai for low amounts of Energy thanks to Hammerhead and Hypnotoxic Laser because of Darkrai’s Fighting Weakness. Darkrai was expected to make up a fair portion of the metagame both weekends since Darkrai/Garbodor was hyped going into the first weekend and straight Darkrai gained popularity for the second weekend after winning.

If a player expected to see more Darkrai decks than Plasma decks, it certainly made sense to play a deck with a focus on Landorus-EX, rather than Drifblim. This is a good example of how correctly reading the metagame can lead to success, even with a deck everyone thought was gone.

2. It has answers to Blastoise.

One of the things that can draw people to play Blastoise is that there doesn’t seem to be any hard counters to it. Frozen City makes a matchup more difficult, but any matchup is winnable with a strong enough start. Even with an increase in Tool Scrapper, a large Garbodor line is still strong against Blastoise.

The deck is often able to attack on the first two turns and forces your opponent to target Trubbish and Garbodor with Pokémon Catcher. This means that all you have to do is 2-shot your opponent’s Pokémon-EX to stay even in the Prize trade. A Turn 2 Garbodor puts this deck ahead because it slows the Blastoise player down.

The ability to attack Turn 1 also puts this deck at an advantage if it gets to the point where both players are simply trading prizes. If they are targeting Garbodor, the deck gets to keep all of its Energy in play, making it slightly less vulnerable to N or missing Energy.

Overall, being one of the few decks that has a chance of dealing with a strong start from Blastoise makes it a good option.

3. Mewtwo was underrated.

It seemed Mewtwo got less and less popular every time a set was released because there were more decks with an answer to Mewtwo. However, nobody played any hard counters to Mewtwo so X Ball was certainly a strong attack when nearly every deck tries to accelerate Energy.

If Blastoise attempts to play down a lot of Energy after Tool Scrapper, Mewtwo can punish them. Mewtwo can easily trade with Darkrai when you don’t have Landorus since Night Spear takes three Energies. A Genesect deck is very vulnerable to X Ball because it leaves a lot of Energy on its attackers after Emerald Slash.

Even though the deck struggles against Plasma, Mewtwo EX and Hypnotoxic Laser can still be used to Knock Out a charged Deoxys or Kyurem. Mewtwo’s ability to apply both early pressure and to trade knock outs with popular EX’s make it a competitive card in this metagame. This makes it easy to see why the next deck could be successful…


This deck took up two spots in Top 8 the second weekend due to the strength of Mewtwo. The setup is very similar to a Virizion/Genesect deck, except you use either Mewtwo EX or Bouffalant as your attackers after Emerald Slash. I’ll briefly break down the strategy of this deck in some of the common matchups since it’s a deck you don’t want to be surprised by come Regionals.

Here is an idea of what a list looks like based on Karl Kitchin’s success the second weekend:

Pokémon – 8

3 Virizion-EX

4 Mewtwo-EX NXD

1 Bouffalant DRX

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

4 Skyla

4 Bicycle


4 Hypnotoxic Laser

4 Pokémon Catcher

3 Ultra Ball

3 Switch

1 Float Stone

1 Max Potion

1 Energy Search

1 Super Rod

1 Town Map

1 Computer Search


2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 14

10 G

4 Double Colorless


Vs. Plasma

hypnotoxic laser plasma storm pls
X Ball + Laser + Virbank = 130 to a fully-powered Kyurem.

A Genesect deck with a heavy Drifblim line will have a stronger Plasma matchup, but Virizion/Mewtwo is stronger than a Genesect deck without Drifblim. In this matchup it’s ideal to charge up Mewtwo EXs with Emerald Slash to prepare to trade with Kyurem and Deoxys-EX. With the help of Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym, Mewtwo EX can easily Knock Out these threats without committing too many Energy to one Mewtwo EX.

In theory your opponent can just respond to every Mewtwo EX with Deoxys-EX and win the game, but in practice if you play N after they Knock Out Mewtwo it is very difficult for them to draw Colress Machine and Prism Energy. It is also dangerous for them to simply attach to a benched Deoxys-EX since you can simply attach Energy to Mewtwo, target Deoxys-EX with Pokémon Catcher, and take control of the game.

By attaching Energy to multiple Mewtwo EXs with Emerald Slash early game, the deck is less vulnerable to N then a Plasma deck having their attacker Knocked Out every turn.

Vs. Blastoise

This is another matchup where I believe a normal Genesect deck is slightly better. Genesect’s ability to Knock Out Blastoise with Megalo Cannon makes the matchup difficult for Blastoise if they get a slow start. In this matchup the Virizion player will try and take a Prize lead with Virizion either by targeting down Squirtle or Knocking Out Keldeo-EX in two turns. After that the deck just needs to trade Prizes and play N late game so that your opponent might not draw the Superior Energy Retrieval for Black Ballista.

Bouffalant is very important in the Prize trade because it can deal 120 damage and it only gives up 1 Prize. By using one non-Pokémon-EX, your opponent is still forced to Knock Out 3 Pokémon-EX to win the game. Blastoise seems to be this deck’s most difficult matchup, but it is certainly still playable if Blastoise doesn’t get an explosive start.

Vs. Darkrai and Darkrai/Garbodor

I’ll group these two decks together since the matchups play out similarly. In these matchups I prefer the Virizion/Mewtwo deck over a traditional Genesect deck. As always Virizion-EX is used to power up Mewtwo EX and Bouffalant. Bouffalant is essential just like in the Blastoise matchup since it deals 120 damage and your opponent still has to Knock Out 3 Pokémon-EX to win.

It seems like this deck would be weaker because it lacks G Booster to do 200 damage to Darkrai EX. However, G Booster uses a lot of resources and is vulnerable to Tool Scrapper, making it hard to use more than once. Instead of taking a Prize one turn faster, Virizion/Mewtwo can simply deny a Prize with Max Potion.

In addition, Virizion/Mewtwo can put out even more damage since it has space for Hypnotoxic Laser. One problem with Genesect is that hitting Darkrai EX for 50 damage with Emerald Slash if often useless. However, playing Hypnotoxic Laser means that you can follow up Emerald Slash with X Ball to get a Knock Out.

Against a normal Darkrai deck, Virizion-EX’s Verdant Wind ability will block all of your opponent’s Hypnotoxic Lasers. Max Potion, Bouffalant, and Hypnotoxic Laser allow the deck to keep up with the bench damage from Night Spear.

Against Darkrai/Garbodor, the matchup is similar except your opponent can also benefit from Hypnotoxic Laser later in the game. However Trubbish and Garbodor are potentially easy Prizes for Mewtwo EX and your opponent’s deck may be a turn slower than a normal Darkrai deck.

In addition, Switch is also important due to potential Sleep Flips from Hypnotoxic Laser. If one player is unable to attack for even one turn, the other player gets a huge advantage. Bouffalant and Max Potion help sway this matchup similar to the normal Darkrai matchup.

Vs. Virizion/Genesect

They can’t usually KO it until turn 3 or later.

In this matchup you have to be careful about using too many Double Colorless Energies if they play Drifblim. In addition, you cannot carelessly drop Bouffalant if they play Lugia EX. This is because if Lugia EX Knocks Out a Bouffalant, then your opponent only needs to Knock Out 2 Pokémon-EX to win.

A Turn 1 X Ball is sometimes stronger than powering up Virizion-EX for Emerald Slash in this matchup. This is because the Genesect deck doesn’t threaten to Knock Out Mewtwo EX on the first couple of turns. This gives you plenty of time to Knock Out Virizion-EX with X Ball to take a Prize lead while attaching Energy to your benched Pokémon. And you can always target your opponent’s bench Pokémon with Pokémon Catcher and X Ball because they will have Energy attached after Emerald Slash.

Even if you start out with a Turn 1 X Ball, Virizion-EX is still useful to attach Energy to more Mewtwo EXs while using the 50 damage to Knock Out an EX or set up an EX for a Knock Out after X Ball. Virizion/Mewtwo can essentially trade attacks with a Genesect deck while also applying early pressure. You have to be careful of G Booster, but Max Potion sets your opponent back a turn to make up for the turn they gain with G Booster.

Vs. Landorus/Mewtwo/Garbodor

This is a matchup where you have to use Mewtwo EX very carefully. This matchup can easily degenerate into Mewtwo wars since Mewtwo EX is weak to itself. This is something that was a common occurrence when Mewtwo EX was first released. Bouffalant is very strong since your opponent still has to Knock Out 3 Pokémon-EX.

Your opponent will eventually set up Garbodor in order to play Hypnotoxic Laser. If you are able to take Knock Out a Pokémon-EX with a combination of Emerald Slash, X Ball, and Hypnotoxic Laser then you can simply try and trade Mewtwo EXs and come out ahead if you don’t draw poorly off of N.

If you fall behind in the Prize trade, the best option is simply to make sure that you can N your opponent to come back. Emerald Slash and Bouffalant also have the potential to Knock Out an EX without putting your Mewtwo EX at risk. The matchup is very close as both decks are featuring Big Basics with a decent focus around Mewtwo EX.

What’s the Metagame and What’s the Play?

Now that I’ve broken down why these surprises the first couple weekends were successful, it’s easier to understand pros and cons of each deck. This is essential when trying to choose a deck for a specific metagame. The format is very diverse and there are several decks that I believe have a shot at winning depending on what matchups they play.

I’ll go into detail about which decks you might see at Regionals, how to prepare for them, and what metagame they’d perform well in. I don’t believe there is one optimal deck right now, especially since the metagame in one area might be slightly different than the next.


This deck has proven to be the deck to beat and it would be insane to go into this weekend with a bad Darkrai matchup. The more this deck receives and the more this deck wins, the less optimal it becomes. This is because people will start teching against the deck that wins and fewer people will play decks with an unfavorable matchup. However, the deck has certainly proven itself, it is consistent, and all of its matchups are very playable.

Techs Against Darkrai

mr. mime hiding
The most obvious Darkrai tech.

The easiest universal tech a player can easily put in is a Mr. Mime. Preventing the 30 damage from Darkrai’s Night Spear is very powerful. This is because if your opponent Night Spears six times, that is already 180 damage Mr. Mime could have prevented!

Another option that is easy for decks to play is a Stadium counter. Tropical Beach, Frozen City, and even Skyarrow Bridge not only provide useful benefits, but they lessen the Hypnotoxic Laser damage.

Max Potion is strong against Darkrai in decks that can afford to discard the Energies. This is because Darkrai EX can’t Knock Out another Pokémon-EX in one turn. Max Potion essentially sets the Darkrai player back a turn as you made their last turn useless. Sometimes one turn is all it takes to turn a game around.

The Landorus Promo and playing more basic Energy cards are both useful options for a Plasma deck. Landorus can Knock Out Darkrai EX while committing one less Energy than Kyurem. Playing more basic Energy makes the deck less vulnerable to Enhanced Hammer. The matchup is still difficult for Plasma, but these changes are very important if you want a closer Darkrai matchup.

When is it optimal to play?

Darkrai decks thrive in a metagame filled with Plasma and Darkrai/Garbodor. Darkrai/Garbodor has cards that are useless against your deck, while you can take Plasma’s Energy out of play with Junk Hunt and Enhanced Hammer. Darkrai would not be optimal in a metagame where Blastoise, Landorus based decks, and Mr. Mime are everywhere.

I would not be surprised if Darkrai made Top 8 in this metagame because these matchups are far from auto-losses and it is still very consistent. However, it doesn’t seem worth playing if you believe everyone is prepared for Darkrai and the odds seem to be stacked against you.


Although this deck was very talked about after the Klaczynski Open, it seems to have fallen out of favor after the first two weekends of Regionals. However, the deck is still viable. The deck plays similar to a normal Darkrai deck, except it sacrifices some space and consistency to improve certain matchups.

Techs against Darkrai/Garbodor

tool scrapper dragons exalted drx
Shut off Garbotoxin.

Mr. Mime is slightly less effective because Garbodor’s Garbotoxin Ability will eventually turn off Mr. Mime’s Bench Barrier ability. However, counter Stadiums and Max Potion are both very strong in this matchup for decks that can play them. The Landorus Promo and a shift toward more basic Energy in Plasma are both also equally effective against Darkrai/Garbodor.

However, one of the biggest techs against Darkrai/Garbodor for an ability based deck is Tool Scrapper. Being able to use Abilities for a turn or two is game breaking and can allow a deck such as Blastoise back into the game when they had no Energy in play. Tool Scrapper allows Plasma to deal extra damage with Deoxys-EX’s Power Connect and lets Virizion-EX remove Poison and Sleep from Hypnotoxic Laser with Verdant Wind.

I think the increase in Tool Scrapper after its success at the Klaczynski Open led to this decks decline, but now the more people overlook it, the more potential it has.

When is it optimal to play?

The biggest reason to play Darkrai/Garbodor over Darkrai is for the Blastoise matchup. If you like Darkrai, but think that there will be a significant increase in Blastoise, Darkrai/Garbodor is the right play. The deck is also has a way to get around all the Mr. Mime techs.

The biggest factor against this deck is that it struggles with Darkrai, the current deck to beat. However, if there are enough people teching very hard for Darkrai, it may underperform and Darkrai/Garbodor could be strong play. The rise of Landorus/Mewtwo/Garbodor is also a slightly unfavorable matchup. I don’t see this deck declining in popularity after its success and its slight advantage against Darkrai.

Overall, I think Darkrai/Garbodor is risky to play. However, if you hit the right matchups and Blastoise is a larger part of the metagame then Darkrai/Garbodor can go very far.


Blastoise is a deck that seems to stay strong in every format. The ability to attach lots of Energy and Knock Out Pokémon-EX in one turn is what makes the deck so strong. This deck has proven it’s viable by making getting 2nd and even making Top 8 without Tropical Beach!

Techs against Blastoise
Stoise never likes to see Trubbish hit the field.

One of the reasons Blastoise is so strong is the fact that there isn’t a simple card to tech to significantly improve the matchup. If Blastoise gets a strong start it is hard to stop.

However, people have been teching copies of Frozen City recently to some success. If the Blastoise player doesn’t draw Tropical Beach, they are forced to either pass or take a lot of damage from just a Stadium. This can certainly help out as a tech in decks that would normally take two turns to Knock Out a Keldeo-EX or Black Kyurem EX.

The other option is to commit a lot of space to Garbodor. Even with multiple Tool Scrappers, no Blastoise player likes to see Trubbish on the bench. The biggest problem with this is that you are taking away from every matchup to improve one matchup. Sometimes it’s better to take the 50/50 matchup then sacrifice a lot of consistency. However, a deck like Landorus/Mewtwo has the space to play Garbodor since it doesn’t require much set up.

Finally, Mewtwo EX is an option if your deck has trouble dealing with Keldeo-EX and a ton of W Energy. Being able to trade a Mewtwo EX and a Double Colorless Energy for a Keldeo-EX and seven W Energies is very strong!

When is it optimal to play?

I think the appeal of Blastoise comes from the fact that if you get a strong enough start you can steamroll almost any deck. However, by the same token some players dislike Blastoise for the same reason. If it doesn’t get Blastoise out fast enough it can be difficult to come back. This makes the deck feel very “hit or miss” compared to the consistency Sableye brings Darkrai.

If Frozen City and Garbodor are everywhere Blastoise can still win with Tropical Beaches, Tool Scrappers, and some luck, but it is probably better to play a different deck. If Virizion/Mewtwo becomes popular, Darkrai’s popularity continues to grow and more people tech for Darkrai over Blastoise then Blastoise could be a strong play this weekend.


This deck seems very strong save a slightly difficult Blastoise matchup. However, I’m not sure how popular it will become. Some people are hesitant to switch decks a few days before a major tournament since it’s often better to play what you’re comfortable with. That doesn’t take away from the fact that the deck has a lot of potential and will at least have a decent performance.

Techs Against Virizion/Mewtwo

mewtwo first movie
You need to survive Mewtwo.

This deck is also very hard to tech against since it is very straightforward and consistent. The best way to prepare for the matchup is to be able to deal with Mewtwo. Blastoise has a natural answer with Black Kyurem EX. Other decks simply need to find a way to trade with Mewtwo, Bouffalant, Hypnotoxic Laser, and Max Potion.

Playing a Max Potion of your own could help if you can afford to discard the Energy. Counter Stadiums are also useful if the extra damage from Hypnotoxic Laser puts your Pokémon in range of being Knocked Out by X Ball.

However, the easiest way to Knock Out a Mewtwo will always be another Mewtwo. A Mewtwo tech could be used to deal with a Mewtwo that has a lot of Energy attached, but you have to have a response when they inevitably X Ball your Mewtwo in return.

When is it optimal to play?

If you plan on playing Virizion/Mewtwo after it had some success, I would advise playing out all the matchups. You don’t want to tie or lose because of a small mistake due to playing a deck you were less familiar with. If Blastoise is heavily played then Virizion/Mewtwo is risky to play.

Otherwise, it is straightforward, consistent, and overall hard to beat. Mewtwo EX has proven to be very strong at the moment and the deck is well equipped at dealing with opposing Mewtwo EXs.


I talked a lot about this deck in my last article and it has had its fair share of top cuts. It is a strong deck that will certainly be played, but as of right now Darkrai seems to be slightly out performing it. Virizion/Genesect is consistent, but if you get a slow start it can be very hard to come back since you don’t have Sableye to hide behind like Darkrai does.

Techs Against Virizion/Genesect

flareon exhibition trickBulbapedia
Flareon is not exactly a tech.

The hardest counter to this deck would be to play Fire Pokémon. Both Victini-EX and Flareon can cause a lot of problems for Genesect. However, both these Pokémon take up a lot of space and it would not be worth it unless you expect to see a large increase in Genesect.

Mr. Mime is a softer counter to prevent Megalo Cannon damage with Bench Barrier. It is not as useful as it is in the Darkrai matchup, but it’s a strong tech that is useful in multiple matchups. Plasma decks should try and play basic Energy if they want to improve their chances against Drifblim and Enhanced Hammer.

Lastly, Tool Scrapper is an important tech in order to remove G Booster from play. 200 damage is threatening to any deck.

When is it optimal to play?

Virizion/Genesect is strong against Plasma when playing Drifblim. It also has the tools to deal with Blastoise if they can’t stream Black Ballista with Black Kyurem EX along with Pokémon Catcher. However, if Blastoise gets a strong start or you get a slow start it will be very difficult to win.

If you expect a lot of Fire Pokémon teched in then I would strongly advise not to play this deck, but you can reasonably hope to avoid them if it’s only a few people. Virizion/Genesect doesn’t have any terrible matchups outside of that and it hasn’t won so it won’t get as much hate as Darkrai.

If you are considering playing Virizion/Genesect I would make sure that you are comfortable with your Darkrai matchup as well as Mewtwo based decks. It is a safe play that has the potential to do well, but no very favorable matchups outside of unprepared Plasma decks.


This deck keeps being played because it is fast, consistent, and has a lot of options. However, this deck is very easy to tech against. The best way to play Plasma is to prepare for the common counters, such as Drifblim and Enhanced Hammer, without sacrificing speed and consistency.

Techs Against Plasma

Can rise to the occasion against Plasma.

Drifblim and Enhanced Hammer are the two most effective techs against Plasma. The deck is naturally reliant on Special Energy. Plasma can play basic Energy to help alleviate the problem to an extent, but these cards will always be troublesome to deal with.

The other hard counter to Plasma would be Silver Mirror. Tool Scrapper counters this as well, but by playing down 1 Silver Mirror at a time, your opponent will run out of Tool Scrappers. In addition, Silver Mirror can be used on a Pokémon that blocks Items, such as Zebstrika, giving you a very strong Plasma matchup.

When is it optimal to play?

If the metagame is filled with 4-4 lines of Drifblim, 3 Enhanced Hammer, and Zebstrika/Silver Mirror then you’d be insane to consider Plasma. However, as Darkrai continues to perform well players may start taking out an Enhanced Hammer or running fewer Drifblim for a card to improve their Darkrai matchup. If players are playing lower counts of the common cards to counter Plasma, it is a strong play.

However, I would avoid playing it if you aren’t comfortable playing against Sableye Junk Hunting for Enhanced Hammer since it will certainly be played after its success.


This deck managed to make Top 8 the last weekend of Regionals, which shows that it has some viability. It probably will not be played in large numbers, but there is a chance that you could run into it. The version that made Top 8 featured Flareon, Leafeon, Stunfisk, Drifblim, Silver Bangle, and Frozen City.

Techs Against Flareon

It is difficult to tech against a deck which essentially tries to counter the metagame. In addition, each Flareon list could be slightly different. One might play Garbodor while the other opts for Frozen City. The best way to beat it is to counter their counters. Playing Stadiums to counter Frozen City, Tool Scrapper for Garbodor, and basic Energy for Drifblim is probably the best things you can do.

When is it optimal to play?

Flareon is a fun deck to play and is very versatile. However, it is very matchup based and usually teching for one matchup takes away from another matchup. It seems naturally strong against Plasma and Genesect. Stunfisk seems to make the Darkrai matchup close to even and it can be slightly favorable against Blastoise if you tech enough for it.

However, playing against Landorus/Mewtwo/Garbodor, which is gaining some popularity, will likely ruin your day unless you get very lucky. In addition, other Mewtwo based decks can prove to be close matchups. If you run into your positive matchups then you will perform very well. Otherwise, you will need to draw very well to be successful.


sabrina doll crystal
Who will have the most foresight this weekend?

Right now the format seems very diverse and if you accurately predict the metagame you can do very well. The best way to prepare for Regionals is to practice games with 50 minute time limits to get an idea of when to play out a certain matchup and when to scoop.

I haven’t thought that much about the new format as I’ve been very focused on Regionals, but that will change after this weekend. At a glance though, I am certainly optimistic about the new rules!

I hope this article served as some good last minute deck advice before this weekend as well as provided insight on the emerging decks. Feel free to comment and message me any questions, I try and answer everyone!

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