What is up everyone! Mikey Fouchet aka Magnechu back on the writing scene. I’ve been less involved in the game these past two years as I have revved up my education, but I have been keeping up for the most part. Quick update on my life, I guess: I graduated this past May with my Bachelor’s in Mathematics from Lehigh University and am now enrolled here as a graduate student pursuing my Master’s degree in Secondary Mathematics Education.
I will be done this May and will be looking to work in the education technology field or as a high school math teacher (but am open to any job in the education field or one that uses my Mathematics degree as well). So if anyone knows of any sweet jobs looking for someone that fits my profile, hit me up!
Back to the important stuff. I attended Worlds this year on a last minute whim and got more interested again. Though I have been following and playing randomly over the past two years, I haven’t done much serious testing. I didn’t think I would get involved too much this year, but I did go to Philly Regionals, where I played Darkrai/Garbodor and finished 5-2-2 and in the Top 64 (first Championship Points ever woot woot!).
Then the rule changes came! I knew the Catcher nerf and the first-turn rule change would allow for a lot more creativity and a slew of new decks being viable, so I just had to get to playing again. Since the beginning of November I have averaged around 12-15 games a week and have had the most fun playing Pokémon that I’ve had in a long, long time.
If you know me or have read my past articles, you know that I love playing weird decks. This includes rogue decks (see Magnezone/Vileplume/Scizor from a few years ago) as well as playing archetypes in slightly different ways (for example, Cessation Crystal in my Gardevoir/Gallade led me to a US Nationals Top 4 finish in 2008). For those that don’t know me, I’ve always been a fan of finding weaknesses in the big decks and building decks to combat them.
Many of my friends have influenced me to be this way, notably Jimmy Ballard and Ross Cawthon. Jimmy is one of the game’s most well-known rogue deck builders, and while I don’t play rogue just to play rogue like Jimmy often does, he has taught me a lot about building successful rogue decks. Jimmy and I worked on a bunch of decks back in the day, including Destiny and Ambush.
Ross and I have been friends for nearly as long and have been teammates since our “meeting.” We have worked on many, many decks together, most notably The Truth in 2011. Again, Ross is one of the most talented players and deck builders to have played the Pokémon TCG and I have learned a lot from him. I’d like to say that both of these individuals have learned something from me as well! I’ve also worked with many, many other players throughout my long career playing this game.
Now that I’ve re-established my credibility on this subject, let’s dive into the content of this article. I want to talk in depth about my main deck over the past couple of months: Accelgor/Garbodor. I’ll take you through the thought process of building a deck like this from the bottom up and detail how I’ve done in tournaments with it.
Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
The Early Phase
Here we need to build a base list and identify our strengths and weaknesses.
Both Accelgor and Garbodor have been around for awhile, but the first time I saw them played together seriously was at this past World Championships. Frank Diaz piloted it to a disappointing 0-3 drop while Zach Bivens saw some success, ending one win away from top cut. I thought the idea was cool, but didn’t see it being all that great with Gothitelle being popular and Catcher being in the format.
Once Catcher was errata’d, however, I took a big interest. It’s no secret that Garbodor is significantly stronger with Catcher on a flip. Though Tool Scrapper usage has risen since Worlds, I theorized that having high counts of both Tool Scrapper and Switch/Escape Rope was unlikely for many decks. This coupled with the fact that Accelgor loses very few resources when it gives up Prizes allows for long games to go on in which you will often win the resource war.
Zach hooked me up with his list from Worlds for me to start my work and for that I am very grateful! Here’s that list for reference:
Pokémon – 19
Trainers – 37
Energy – 4
I liked this list a lot but it definitely needed updating. The first thing I did from this list was to drop the Catchers and the Enhanced Hammers. With the Catcher errata, it seemed largely useless in a deck like this and Hammers due to the decline in Plasma.
Then I figured I could drop the Max Potion (it could go back in if I wanted it to) to go back to basics and cut to 2-2 Garbodor. Again, with the Catcher errata, Garbodor is much safer on the Bench. I also dropped the Audinos for the same reason as Max Potion and Switch. Finally, I took out Virbank City as it may or may not be useful for the math Accelgor wants to do. This left me with a nice skeleton:
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 26
Energy – 4
Open Spots – 16
16 spots! I was in heaven. Erik recently talked about how adding cards at a micro level can swing matchups. This was an opportunity like that, on steroids. I brainstormed a ton of stuff that could go in these spots. I think it would be helpful first to talk through some of the matchups that just the combination of Accelgor and Garbodor cover, as these two Pokémon alone are quite strong. Then we can look at some options to fill the rest of the spots.
Our Blastoise matchup is already very strong. Garbodor has always been a potent force against Blastoise’s Abilities and now with the Catcher errata, it’s even better. Unless the Blastoise player runs Catchers or multiple Tool Scrapper, your Garbodor will be shutting off Abilities all game. Add the fact that Deck and Cover + Silver Bangle 1HKOs Keldeo-EX, and you are already looking pretty good.
Finally, once we take into account that Blastoise needs to take 6 Prizes against you (unless you play down an EX… which you shouldn’t), we realize that Black Kyurem will have a difficult time doing that by itself. This forces Keldeo-EX to be played and giving you those 2 easy Prizes. We don’t really need to add much to make this matchup better.
Stand alone, this matchup isn’t great nor is it terrible. You can loop Sableye with Deck and Cover if Virbank is not in play and you 1HKO it otherwise. You can’t loop Darkrai EX, but you can 2HKO it with Deck and Cover + Silver Bangle.
On the other hand, they 1HKO pretty much everything in the deck. If they play switching cards, like Escape Rope as many Darkrai decks have fit in over Catcher now, this becomes even more difficult. Garbodor is useful and especially so if they run a Keldeo-EX, as many non-Garbodor Darkrai decks do. We’ll probably need something to make this matchup a bit stronger.
I’d say we’re in a pretty similar situation to our Darkrai matchup, though we need Garbodor out to ensure a lock. Genesect 1HKOs your whole deck, but Virizion only doing 50 can be quite good for you: if they don’t have a Genesect up and ready, you can send up another Accelgor after a Deck and Cover to take a hit from Virizion. This damage goes away and you’re ready to keep rolling.
In any case, just Accelgor + Garbodor won’t be enough to consistently win against what I consider to be the best deck in the format.
Another interesting matchup. Empoleon decks tend to run more switching cards than some of the other top decks, so that can prove annoying. If they do have a Switch or Escape Rope, your loop of Empoleon gets messed up. Garbodor can be helpful but not always necessary. It’s hard to prevent Empoleon getting 1HKOs on your guys because you need to play down a lot of basics (Shelmets specifically) in order to keep attackers going in a matchup like this.
Since Empoleon doesn’t run EXs, this can be harder to keep up in the Prize exchange than other matchups.
Plasma often plays the most switching cards out of any of the decks talked about so far, and this matchup relies heavily on how many they run. With only 1 or 2, we’re looking pretty solid; but with 3 or more, Kyurems can really take a toll on your set up. Their speed can also really take you down early in the game if you’re not careful.
In summary, the skeleton list above gives us a reliable way to deal with many of the popular decks, but we could use a helping hand against many of them.
The Building Phase
Here we start to fill in the gaps and analyze the interactions between our card choices.
Note: I’ve combined the testing phase/results in this phase for the sake of the article. Many of the decisions I came to in this section came from playing multiple games with different iterations of the list.
With all that in mind let’s talk through some of the options we have for the list. First, I talked a lot about how Deck and Cover + Bangle gives us a lot of coverage. Let’s immediately put in a healthy amount of those – let’s say 3. This brings our open spots down to 13 already.
We need to cover some of the weaknesses talked about above and still leave room for some flexibility as the metagame shifts. A deck like this thrives on being flexible, adaptive, and willing to change. This next step is critical but can be arbitrary and dependent on local metagame: prioritize needs.
As I mentioned above, I think Blastoise and Virizion/Genesect are the two decks to beat right now, with Darkrai a close third. Luckily we have Blastoise covered, so let’s move on to combating Genesect.
Fire is going to be our friend here. We have a couple options: Victini-EX, Flareon, and Ho-Oh EX have been the most popular because they are the most powerful and the most splashable. We can write Ho-Oh off pretty fast as it doesn’t really fit in with the theme of the deck – it has an Ability and requires many different types of Energy. That leaves us with Victini and Flareon.
We have a couple of factors to consider when weighing these two cards against each other: space each will take up, utility in other matchups, and ease of getting out when needed. Victini adds one other factor as well: we likely need to run Victory Piece as our ACE SPEC in order to get the most out of Victini.
- Space: Requires 1-2 Victini-EX, 2-4 R Energy, and Victory Piece (4-7 spaces)
- Versatility: May prove helpful in other matchups (e.g. Darkrai, Blastoise) to help with 2HKOs, but is more than likely a liability against these decks because of its low HP.
- Ease of Use: Victini-EX + Victory Piece is easy to get down if you have it. With enough Ultra Ball, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. You can also play down a Victini with a Fire and attach DCE whenever to get the 1HKO. If you can shut off Red Signal with Garbodor, you can more safely play the Victini down earlier.
- Space: Requires 2-4 Eevee, 2-3 Flareon (4-7 spaces)
- Versatility: While not in and of itself, if the deck is built with a Flareon focus in mind, Flareon can provide late game 1HKOs against even the biggest of Pokémon. It could easily take your last 2 Prizes against a Darkrai or even Blastoise deck with Silver Bangle. Flareon is a good card in general and could prove useful against random decks as well. Finally, if we really want, there are other Eeveelutions we can play.
- Ease of Use: The biggest difference between Victini and Flareon is that, of course, Flareon is a Stage 1. This automatically makes using Flareon a bit more difficult, but not to a huge degree. The other restriction on Flareon is that you either need 4 Pokémon in the discard, plus a Silver Bangle, or 7 Pokémon in discard in order to get the 1HKO on Genesect or Virizion. On the other hand, only requiring a DCE to reach this damage makes it easy to attack once all the other pieces are in place.
For these reasons, I ended up settling on Flareon. But I did try Victini out! My first list coming out of the gate included 2 Victini-EX, 3 R Energy, and Victory Piece. I found the space devoted to this too limiting in my other matchups and wanted the versatility of Flareon. Losing your ACE SPEC is also huge: Computer Search and Dowsing Machine are far too strong.
I should also mention that Reshiram NXD is an option. Reshiram with a Float Stone can act as a nice wall to send up after a Deck and Cover, and if they hit you with Genesect, Reshiram now 1HKOs any Grass EX they throw at you.
My issue is that they can smack Reshiram with Virizion and put it in range for a KO from Genesect and then Reshiram is stuck only doing 140 to a Grass EX. Your other option is to not play the Float Stone on Reshiram and leave the option to put a Silver Bangle on it after it takes an Emerald Slash. I doubt many players will walk into a 1HKO like that, however.
In my first iteration with Flareon, I opted to go with 3 Eevee, 2 Flareon, and 1 Leafeon. Leafeon further adds to your dominance of Blastoise while also providing another attacker for a single Energy. I will later drop Leafeon, but in terms of other Eeveelutions, it’s probably the strongest.
So, +6 to the card count. 7 spots still open! What’s our next challenge? Darkrai!
Darkrai provides a particularly difficult challenge to overcome. It has won the past two World Championships and has been a top deck since its release – and for good reason! There aren’t any really any hard counters that can be easily splashed into decks. Of course, though, my first thought was to add Fighting guys!
I’m going to lump the one Energy attackers together: Stunfisk is great especially if we play the high Bangle count. Landorus-EX is also good as a big guy that can take hits. Terrakion LTR and Terrakion-EX aren’t likely going to fit in this well since they take two Energy and that’s not really our thing here. Let’s analyze Stunfisk/Landorus-EX like we analyzed Flareon and Victini:
- Space: Requires 2-4 Stunfisk LTR/Landorus-EX, 2-4 F Energy (4-8 spaces)
- Versatility: The only thing really going for these guys in other matchups is their Bench damage. Without any way to manipulate the Active, the opponent can often pull back a heavily damaged Pokémon to safely sit on the Bench for the rest of the game. This is most prevalent in the Plasma matchup, where late game they have many Deoxys to stall with. I’m not sure 20 or 30 damage will do all that much, however.
- Ease of Use: Basics attacking for 1 Energy doesn’t seem too hard to get out. But if you run on the low side of the counts above – say 2 attackers and 2 F Energy – you will find yourself struggling to get out the Pokémon you need when you need it.
I haven’t been a huge fan of using Fighting guys in this. I think you have a decent enough matchup against Darkrai without them and unless you devote 7-8 spots in your deck to them, they aren’t all that useful. If you do want to run them, you need to consider what else you can’t run.
Mr. Mime acts as a buffer to combat a very quick Darkrai that can tear up not only your Active, but your Bench as well. If they do not run Keldeo, you don’t need to go for Garbodor and Mr. Mime can potentially help the whole game. Otherwise it will likely end up a sacrifice at some point. This inclusion will also help against Kyurem in Plasma.
Audino also helps twofold (threefold actually): against Darkrai it helps mostly with Laser. Sableye takes Laser to a whole ‘nother level, so Audino really helps here, even more so than other decks with Laser. Second, Audino helps fuel Flareon. Third, Audino helps against Gothitelle (which gained popularity again after I began making this deck).
The Last Four Spots
For our final list, let’s go +1 Mr. Mime and +2 Audino. This brings our total open spots to 4. These last couple of spots have been the most fluid in my testing with this deck. One card I am pretty convinced on is another seeming contradiction: Jirachi-EX. With six Balls in the list, this gives so many more outs to a Supporter and setting up. For a deck as fragile as this can be, this crutch is very helpful. At best it keeps you in a game you might just lose. At worst, it’s another Pokémon to fuel the fire for Flareon. Down to 3 spots!
Recently I have been running 2 Max Potion and a 3rd Audino in these last slots. As Gothitelle became more popular in the Northeast, I wanted a bit more help against that. Max Potions aid in a couple of problems: Mewtwo EX is often the Pokémon to send up after a Deck and Cover against decks that can’t 1HKO Mewtwo (Darkrai, Plasma most of the time, Genesect sometimes, Big Basics, etc.).
Max Potion gives Mewtwo another chance to take a hit if necessary. It also helps deal with Bench damage if Mr. Mime doesn’t make sense to get out. Specifically, if you have to play down Jirachi-EX, it can become a liability throughout the game, especially against Darkrai or Plasma. Max Potion helps mitigate this risk significantly.
Through testing, I made a couple other slight changes:
- 1 Tropical Beach over the 4th Bicycle. I like having a counter Stadium and Tropical Beach is still a consistency card. I’ve gone back and forth how useful this is without Skylas, though.
- 3rd Flareon over the Leafeon. Without basic Energy in the deck (which I had at one point), Leafeon becomes less useful because it still sucks up a DCE. Flareon is just usually hitting for more damage.
So, let’s look at what we have now!
Pokémon – 25
Trainers – 31
Energy – 4
This is the list I ended up playing at my last City. Many of the cards I talked about above and did not include have been tried and this is the list I have liked the most. Let’s explore some of the other cards I didn’t mention that I have tried throughout.
1. A couple of basic Energy have been in and out of the list since I started testing the deck. If you run Fighting guys, you obviously need to include these, but even without they can be useful. Flareon can take two Energy and not waste a DCE; Mewtwo can do the same or even get a 3-Energy X Ball off (most useful in Mewtwo wars); finally, if you run Leafeon, I think these are necessary so you don’t waste a DCE for a 1-Energy attack.
2. Super Rod has been in and out of the list as well. When I had basic Energy in the list I think it made more sense. You can safely drop down to 2 Flareon if you run a Super Rod. I dropped it because I had too many games where I drew it and it was a dead card and I became comfortable playing without it.
3. After a couple mediocre bouts with Plasma I thought about playing Silver Mirror. Often against Plasma you get to a point where you’re just looping Deck and Covers and they can’t really attack. However, they usually have access to a Kyurem to get their last KO or two if you try attacking with Flareon. With their resources depleted as well, a late Silver Mirror on a Flareon would safely allow Flareon to 1HKO or 2HKO for your last couple of Prizes.
As you’ll see in my tournament reports, the Plasma matchup is often really long and will come down to a tie, so being able to get these KOs safely late in the game would be a huge help.
4. After losing to Gothitelle this past weekend I can see the benefits of running Espeon DEX in here. An easy inclusion as an Eeveelution, this would give you a near auto-win against Gothitelle. If you can set up Espeon and just keep sending up Accelgor after Accelgor, looping Deck and Covers (and getting the DCE, of course), you will never be in lock and they won’t get a KO. I would probably run one of these over the 3rd Audino if I play in another City or Regionals.
No Designated Sender Upper
I’d like to address one other thing: why I don’t play a “designated” Pokémon to send up after a Deck and Cover (like a Reshiram NXD, Zekrom NXD, Sigilyph DRX, or something else). Mewtwo often acts as a wall after a Deck and Cover, but in general you send up either Float Stone Pokémon or another Accelgor (or Shelmet).
I’ve found that people are playing about 50/50 of Switch and Escape Rope. That means that after a Deck and Cover, if they have a switching effect (Keldeo/Float Stone is much less popular, plus we have Garbodor) at all, then there is a 50% chance that my designated Pokémon is sent to the Bench and I have to send something else up.
Then I’m down a Bench space and a potentially crucial Pokémon that wasn’t supposed to be hit. I’d rather just play another useful Pokémon on my Bench and have one of them potentially take the hit. With the 2-1 Prize trade off that EXs bring, against most decks, this strategy is fine because they often have to KO 6 Pokémon, and always 5, to win the game. Plus, these KOs fuel Flareon as well.
The beauty of this deck is that it has so many options and so much space for meaningful teching. In summary, my variant seeks to get a lot of Pokémon on the Bench fast, start attacking with Accelgor ASAP, and burn the deck to continue looping Deck and Covers. We don’t care too much about further preventing them attacking (through Pokémon like Sigilyph or Latias-EX) or taking hits from Pokémon like Reshiram or Zekrom (though I like this version; see Colin Peterik’s list).
Garbodor provides enough disruption in this sense. Flareon is included to help beat Virizion/Genesect decks, provide a solid attacking option mid game, and can often win games with a late Vengeance. The other Pokémon are for support and can be changed, but this is the combination I’ve had the most success with.
Blastoise – Very Favorable
As before, Accelgor + Bangle 1HKOs Keldeo. Garbodor shuts off Abilities. We can 2HKO Black Kyurem with Accelgor/Bangles or even throw a Flareon in there to help get the 2HKO. We can throw Leafeon back in if you need more help. This should be an easy victory.
Emboar/Rayquaza – ???
I’ve only played against Emboar once. I won pretty easily, but could imagine it being more difficult than Blastoise. However, they have to attack 6 times, which the deck is not really designed to do.
Virizion/Genesect – Favorable to Very Favorable
Flareon is your star, but you have to use him at the right times. Accelgor + Garbodor is still the route to go early game to cause disruption, force some KOs, and burn their resources.
But basically everything is a distraction to get Flareon 1HKOs. You only need 4 Pokémon in discard with Bangle and 7 without. You can pretty often hit these numbers early and the game becomes so hard for them to win. This is the matchup that makes me play 3 Eevee, though, with Genesect’s gusting.
Darkrai – Favorable
Go for Mime early, and get Garbodor out if they run Keldeo. As stated, I’m not convinced Fighting guys are necessary, but if you have them, obviously use them. If they play Virbank down that can both help and hurt you; help in that you can KO Darkrais easier, especially if you don’t get Garbodor out to block Keldeo, but hurt in that you can’t loop-KO Sableye then.
Flareon can step in to help with 2HKOs or get close to a 1HKO. If they run Garbodor you’re probably even better off. If you are worried about this matchup, check out Mark Hanson’s list that has a much heavier emphasis on Fighting guys and therefore probably has a very strong Darkrai matchup.
Plasma – Slightly Favorable
This is interesting because there are (at least) two variants: Lugia EX and regular. I think Lugia EX is more favorable than regular Plasma. Mime is more useful than Garbodor vs. the regular Plasma for the most part.
They can often just run out of Switch and you’ll win in a close game. As I’ve said, in a timed game, this can be difficult, because you need to hit Deck and Cover every turn in the late game to get a KO – otherwise they can keep sending out fresh Deoxys to take hits and prolong the game. If they run four or more switching cards, you will be in trouble.
Empoleon – Slightly Favorable
Dusknoir is pretty useless for them, but I have had games where they were dealing so little damage that (40-50) and I was lagging setting up and they KO’d a bunch of important things with Sinister Hand. You can loop Empoleons sometimes, but not all that often. Garbodor is helpful but not crucial, so I wouldn’t prioritize setting it up.
You need to focus on attacking with Accelgors, getting KOs (since you don’t trade 2-for-1 like most other matchups), and making them waste their Switches. Once they’re out of Switches you can control the game.
Gothitelle – Slightly Unfavorable
Even with 2-3 Audino and Garbodor, you’re still an underdog to Gothitelle. Dusknoir absolutely kills you. You can avoid getting in a lock only by sacrificing Pokémon, but you still need to Deck and Cover every turn as well. They have Mew to easily do this while you do not. Espeon DEX would turn the tables around and give you a good matchup.
There are plenty of other decks as well – like Big Basics, Tool Drop, etc. – and this deck goes toe-to-toe with all of them. Maybe I’m a bit optimistic with this deck, but I truly believe this has good matchups across the board and is the BDIF. My results might not totally agree with me though…
Before I took this to any real tournament, I recently played in one of the PPTCG round robin tournaments. This included top players like Mike Diaz, Dylan Dreyer, and Mees Brenninkmeijer. I ended up winning the tournament, mostly thanks to this deck (though I used some other decks in the qualifying rounds as well).
While I don’t remember the details of the games, as they took place over such a long period of time, I think the results are at least relevant. Each match likely had a card or two different, but all looked pretty similar to my list above. Each round was best-of-three, with the top cut also best-of-three. Here are the results:
2-0 in Top 4 vs. Virizion/Genesect (Mike Diaz)
2-1 in Top 2 vs. Plasma Lugia
Now onto the real tournaments!
Cedar Grove, NJ
Round 1 vs. Virizion/Genesect – Loss
He went first and got a T2 Genesect attacking. I forgot I played Jirachi-EX and played a Float Stone on my Garbodor before I Level Balled with no Supporters in my hand. Oops. I still stayed in the game until we were at 1-1 Prizes and we realized he used Long Distance Hypnosis and put himself to sleep a few turns earlier when I had Garbodor out. I got a Prize penalty and lost. Oops.
Round 2 vs. Darkrai – Loss
I started with Stunfisk and got one attack off before it was KO’d. I made misplay after misplay and simply lost myself the game.
Round 3 vs. Darkrai – Win
Round 4 vs. Plasma – Loss
I actually don’t remember anything about this game except that I prized 3 DCE and he ran at least 3 switching cards.
I dropped at 1-3. Not a good start for our heroes.
West Babylon, NY
Round 1 vs. Virizion/Genesect – Loss
Ugh, this was a frustrating game. He went first and got a T2 Genesect attacking. I had an okay start and setup, got Garbodor out, and started locking. He burned a Tool Scrapper early game and didn’t seem to run any switching cards. I was forced to make a weird play on the turn he Scrappered and played Jirachi-EX to get a Supporter. I got out two Flareons and took down an EX to start catching up, saving the second Flareon for my last 2 Prizes.
We were at 2-2 when I Deck and Covered his Virizion-EX with a Flareon on the Bench (not having enough Pokémon in the discard and no Bangle to get the 1HKO that turn), so I would win the next turn barring any crazy circumstances.
Round 2 vs. Tool Drop – Loss
I think I played this poorly, but my deck didn’t help me either this game. Early, he got Eviolites on his Trubbishes which made my Deck and Covers much less effective and also activated his Exp. Shares. Garbodor came out early, but I ran into a Supporter draught mid game and just fell too far behind to come back.
Round 3 vs. Random – Win
It was literally a theme deck.
Round 4 vs. Random – Win
This was slightly better than a theme deck.
Round 5 vs. Plasma – Tie (Loss)
We technically tied this game, but I gave him the win so he could have a chance to make cut (he started 2-0 while I started 0-2). It was an interesting game though because he played Virizion-EX, so I had to go for Garbodor immediately.
He made the mistake of playing 4 Deoxys (in addition to Virizion) in play so he could KO a couple 70 HP guys with his Thundurus EX, but this made him not able to power up any other attackers. He played 3 or 4 switching cards, but they didn’t matter so much.
It ended up coming down to me looping Deck and Covers and him switching between Deoxys when I finally whiffed one turn (he had Float Stones on almost all of them). Time was called with me at 3 Prizes and him at 1, but if we continued I’m confident I would have won.
Round 6 vs. Plasma – Win
Subtract the Virizion-EX from last round, and this deck was pretty similar. The game seemed to go a bit faster, though, so I actually won on turn 3 after time was called.
So, I did a little bit better, but I was still not where I wanted to be at!
I played my final list.
Round 1 vs. Darkrai/Garbodor – Win
I started Jirachi-EX; blah! We both had slightly slow starts, but he had a 3 Prize turn (off Jirachi and a Shelmet) and I N’d him next turn. He took a couple turns to get back rolling and ended up taking 2 more Prizes before I N’d him again and KO’d his only Darkrai. He couldn’t draw anything for the rest of the game. Flareon was doing 180 with Bangle and took my last 4 Prizes in three turns.
Round 2 vs. Zoroark LTR/Sableye/Darkrai – Win
This was a weird matchup. He Junipered away 3 Zoroark on turn 1, but had Super Rod to get them back a couple turns later. This was a close game and I don’t remember all the details, but Accelgor looped Sableyes because he didn’t run switching cards and Flareon 1HKO’d Zoroarks when they came out. I gave up Prizes along the way, but stayed ahead in the Prize trade.
Round 3 vs. Plasma – Tie
Like Round 5 Plasma in the last tournament, he went for Virizion immediately. He started Lugia and powered it up with Thundurus. He played one each of Switch and Escape Rope and had the right one at the right time for the things I sent up after Deck and Covers.
I notice he had used all his Blends and Prisms when we were at 1-1. I was Deck and Covering over and over, with him sending up Deoxys to take damage, and I missed one Deck and Cover for the win. Time ended up being called and I couldn’t win in +3, but I would have had the victory given another turn or two.
I didn’t realize this was a thing until I read Kettler’s last article. He started Tornadus EX and took two easy Prizes with Blow Through and Power Blast. I was very slow to set up, but stayed in the game with Deck and Covers. He only seemed to play one Switch, so most turns where I got an Accelgor online, I was safe. Max Potions 100% kept me in this game, as two times my Mewtwo had 100+ damage on it. (Chandelure was just waiting on the Bench!)
Time got called and we were at 2-2, with me having turn 0 and turn 2. I was in a weird situation: I had just Deck and Covered his Garbodor, but he Max Potioned it, so it had 10 damage on it. I could either X Ball his Garbodor for the KO (Poison KOs into his turn) or Deck and Cover and guarantee a tie.
My last Flareon was prized, but if I KO’d the Garbodor and ripped it, Flareon could 1HKO anything he sent out next turn and I would win the game. To add to the drama, he had a fully powered Chandelure-EX on the Bench, one more Laser left, and one more Virbank City Gym left in his deck. He only had a four card hand, but I knew he played Skyla as well.
I ended up going the safe route and taking the tie: he had no final switch card, so it ended up a draw. He did have the Laser + Virbank to win, so I made the right choice!
Round 5 vs. Mewtwo EX/Landorus-EX/Tornadus EX/Garbodor – Win
I don’t really know why this game went so fast, but it did. I think I drew really well. He played a bunch of switching cards, but his big EX’s don’t really do all that much to my Pokémon. I 2HKO’d three EX’s with Accelgor + Bangle and I think a Flareon Vengeance thrown in there. This was over within 15 minutes.
Round 6 vs. Gothitelle/Accelgor – Win
We both started out slow, but he started especially slow; as in a turn 6 Goth. This gave me time to set up Garbodor and a bunch of stuff and KO two Gothitas. He ended up having Tool Scrapper once he finally got a Goth out, but I was able to double Deck and Cover his first Goth and hit a DCE to get two on a Mewtwo EX to 1HKO his second Goth and leave him with no way to get another Goth out after that.
I was able to put another Tool on Garbodor then, but he was still in the game with his Accelgors and own Mewtwo EX. I forget exactly what the winning play was, but I know it included having my 3rd Audino for the win.
Top 8 vs. Gothitlle/Accelgor – Loss (0-2)
This match was against my longtime friend Christian Ortiz; we hadn’t played in years, but our first match was all the way back in 2004 at a Gym Challenge. Christian was running the exact same list as Angel, my Round 6 opponent.
He got a T2 Goth and I made a huge misplay by putting up a Mr. Mime to take a hit, but Christian played smart and just let it sit there while he set up. I realized I prized 2 DCE, so my only out to retreat was to burn one of those, which wasn’t going to happen after I played two Colress for 10 and hit no DCE. I scooped pretty quickly.
He got a T2 Goth again, but only after narrowly missing a T1 win: I started a lone Trubbish and he started Mew-EX. He Ultra Balled for his single copy of Mewtwo EX – but it was prized! I got an X Ball KO on his Mew the next turn. Unfortunately it was not enough, as I hit a wall setting up and missed a couple key cards at times. I took it down to 1-1 Prizes, but was one turn behind in the Prize exchange.
This was a much better tournament and I was pretty satisfied with my finish. I wish I played Espeon, but oh well! Playing in these tournaments taught me more about playing the deck, which is what it’s all about. My brain really hurt after that last tournament: this deck takes a lot of thinking.
I should emphasize that this is not an easy deck to play. It requires practice and pattern recognition more than many of the other decks in the format. I played upwards of 50 games with variants of the above list online before even taking it to the first City Championship and you can see I played far from perfectly. I’m sure I misplayed even more than I mentioned.
However, if you have the time and drive to test this thing out, I guarantee that you will see success with it. It’s really, really strong.
Anyway, that’s all I got folks! If you have questions about the deck, I’ll try to keep up with the thread on this. I hope to guest write again in the future, so make sure to hit “Like” on my article if you enjoyed it.
Till next time!
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