Victory Road

The Journey to Finalizing Team Plasma and Trevenant Lists for States
james glasses pokeball lets do thispokemonscreenshots.tumblr.com
The season is heating up.

With only nine days and counting before the first weekend of State Championships in the United States, everyone is focused on how to maximize their success. States have traditionally been one of the most important tournament types when it comes to earning Worlds invites, right behind City Championships, and I expect this year to be no different.

So far in North America, 64 players are above 250 Championship Points — the halfway point to an invite — with only one person above 500 Points. I expect to see many more players finishing off their invites in the coming weeks, which will go to show the importance of S/T/P’s.

I’ve been doing a lot of testing with a variety of decks, so today I’m going to go over my thought processes from first draft to final list on a couple of them. I hope that along the way I can help everyone learn more about the development phase of a deck, which is a very important part of mastering the game.

Although XY brought very few cards that I found game changing, overall it had a huge impact on the metagame. I’ve seen so many new ideas and variants of the same deck, which should make for some very interesting States. This also means people should strive for consistency over teching for a certain matchup. There are too many possibilities in this format to expect one archetype to be the most played, and I expect a healthy diversification in what will be played as well as what will do well in the coming weeks.

Table of Contents

TEAM PLASMA (WITH A TWIST)

palkia magnaBulbapedia

The first deck that caught my attention with the release of XY was Team Plasma. The ability to use Lugia-EX along with Muscle Band and Deoxys-EX to do up to 180 damage and 1-shot an opposing EX is what made Plasma so appealing to me to begin my testing.

I usually like to start out with a deck that has been popular for a while and gained something new with the most recent set. This is a great way to gradually add new cards where you see use for them, and also helps ensure you don’t jump the gun and miss out on an older deck that is still able to compete against the new archetypes. “In with the new” doesn’t always mean “out with the old!”

Here is the list I started out with for an NXD-XY format Team Plasma.

Version 1

Pokémon – 13

4 Deoxys-EX
3 Lugia-EX
3 Thundurus-EX PLF
1 Genesect-EX

1 Snorlax PLS
1 Palkia-EX

Trainers – 34

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
3 Colress

3 Bicycle
1 Shadow Triad

 

4 Colress Machine
4 Ultra Ball
3 Switch
3 Muscle Band

2 Max Potion
2 Tool Scrapper
1 Scramble Switch

Energy – 13

4 Prism
4 Plasma
4 Double Colorless
1 L

For the most part I made very few changes to the list I had last format. Frozen City has been replaced with Muscle Band and I’ve added Palkia-EX, which has gained traction with the addition of Muscle Band.

Palkia-EX was used last format by a few Plasma players, but I never found it to be useful enough because you needed to have 4 Deoxys-EX in play to 1-shot a fresh Black Kyurem-EX PLS or Rayquaza-EX. Equipped with a Muscle Band however, you only need 2 Deoxys-EX in play, which is much easier accomplish and gives Palkia-EX a greater impact on the Blastoise and Emboar matchups. This also justifies the subtraction of Frozen City, which was primarily used to help against Blastoise and Emboar.

Muscle Band has also made up for a lot of the early steam that Team Plasma seemed to lack in previous formats. Thundurus-EX’s measly 30 damage, possibly aided by a Deoxys-EX or two, was never enough to put serious pressure on the opponent while building your side of the field. Now with the +20 damage boost available it’s much easier for Thundurus to pick off low HP Basics and give your opponent something to worry about in the early game. This boost in damage also makes Thundurus-EX more justifiable to use in the late game to come back from a KO that leaves you low on Energy rather than scrambling (or Scramble Switching) to muster up a new attacker.

As I started to test this list I found it struggled against Yveltal-EX’s high damage output, as well as against Blastoise and Emboar despite the addition of Palkia. The most recurring flaw was the overcommitment of Energy needed to take care of opposing threats, which was sometimes ameliorated by Scramble Switch, but relying on an ACE SPEC not named G Booster is something I try to stay away from.

I also struggled against Trevenant/Accelgor. The lists I tested against ran Silver Mirror to counter Plasma and without any non-Plasma attackers I had a rough time trying to break the lock. The speed you have as well as Thundurus-EX’s ability to 1-shot their Basics right away helps a lot, but if they can get set up before you’ve established your board it can be an uphill battle.

Possible Additions

Kyurem PLF

Kyurem has always been a great attacker in Team Plasma and is a good option to start doing lots of early damage alongside Thundurus-EX. The 30 snipe damage can help place damage where you’ll need it most later in the game and can conserve Energy by dealing damage to threats when they hit the field. Having another high damage attacker that isn’t an EX is usually a good thing.

Yveltal-EX

Yveltal-EX is easily the strongest card in XY in my opinion and it fits very effortlessly into Team Plasma to combat Trevenant/Accelgor or any deck that might run Silver Mirror. I saw a few players running Mewtwo-EX for this purpose last format including Brandon Smiley, and I think Yveltal-EX is just a little bit better for the current format because of the fact that it hits Trevenant for Weakness.

Not being able to attack for only a Double Colorless is a downfall, but for the most part I found myself attaching 3 or more Energy before attacking anyway, which makes it less of a problem. Scramble Switch can also create game-winning plays alongside Yveltal if you’re able to move a few Energy as well as attach a Double Colorless and a Muscle Band; you can take care of almost anything you’re up against, which is always a great out to have.

Virizion-EX

Another great counter for Trevenant/Accelgor is Virizion-EX. Although it doesn’t address the issue of Silver Mirror it does take out their ability to Paralyze you, which can help you get set up and make it easier to use Genesect-EX’s Red Signal as your Silver Mirror counter. I found Virizion-EX to be a much harder counter to the deck, while Yveltal-EX was usable in other matchups as well, which made it all around more useful. I’m not sure how much Trevenant/Accelgor to expect for States which is why I prefer Yveltal-EX.

Aromatisse XY

randomon.tumblr.com

A great answer for the Energy problem is Aromatisse. Adding in a small line can eliminate the need for Scramble Switch and allows you to have much more versatility with the deck. Aromatisse also makes it harder for your opponent to eliminate all your Energy off the board, as Aromatisse allows you to spread them out and power up any attacker you need the turn it hits the field.

As I tested my original Team Plasma list I came across an Aromatisse toolbox list that has become very popular in Japan. The results of a smaller sized tournament about the size of a City Championships showed the Top 3 all playing a very similar build. Here is the 1st place list.

Version 2

Pokémon – 16

2 Spritzee XY

2 Aromatisse XY
2 Landorus-EX
2 Genesect-EX
2 Darkrai-EX DEX
2 Thundurus-EX PLF
1 Black Kyurem-EX PLS
1 Virizion-EX
1 Keldeo-EX
1 Mr. Mime PLF

Trainers – 31

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
2 Skyla
2 Colress
2 Bianca
1 Shadow Triad

 

4 Ultra Ball

1 Level Ball

3 Muscle Band
3 Max Potion
2 Tool Scrapper
1 Escape Rope
1 Super Rod
1 Dowsing Machine

Energy – 13

4 Prism
4 Rainbow
4 Plasma
1 L

The other two lists ran different techs including Cobalion-EX, Suicune PLB, Giratina-EX, and Kyurem PLF, but all the lists operated on a similar Trainer line and strategy. I picked up the deck, made a few tweaks to it, and started testing it. One thing was very clear within the first few games; the techs were for a much different metagame.

As we saw last month, Japan has a different format than we do, mostly focused on Rayquaza-EX/Eelektrik NVI which isn’t legal in the rest of the world. The Landorus-EX wasn’t doing enough for me and I had a tough time getting set up, so I decided to change the list up.

When the set was first revealed, Aromatisse caught my eye as an interesting basis for a toolbox deck. Unlike Hydreigon, which is played as a slower deck focusing on healing and preventing damage, Aromatisse has much more room to play a variety of attackers focused more on dealing damage than preventing it. After making a few changes to the list here is what I came up with.

Version 3 (Final)

Pokémon – 18

2 Spritzee XY

2 Aromatisse XY
3 Thundurus-EX PLF
2 Yveltal-EX
2 Genesect-EX
2 Deoxys-EX
1 Virizion-EX
1 Kyurem PLF
1 Landorus-EX
1 Palkia-EX
1 Snorlax PLS

Trainers – 31

4 Professor Sycamore
4 N
3 Skyla
3 Colress
1 Shadow Triad

 

4 Ultra Ball

1 Level Ball
3 Muscle Band
2 Max Potion
2 Tool Scrapper
1 Dowsing Machine

 

3 Fairy Garden

Energy – 11

4 Prism
4 Rainbow
3 Plasma

genesect-ex-plasma-blast-plb-97-full-art
Red Signal is quite important.

I made quite a few changes from the original list, so I’ll go over my reasoning behind them. First of all, the deck needed more Team Plasma Pokémon to make Thundurus-EX a viable attacker for Energy acceleration. Without a higher count of Plasma Pokémon I often wouldn’t be able to use Raiden Knuckle’s effect right away, which slowed the deck down and made it much clunkier.

I found Genesect-EX to be one of the most useful Team Plasma Pokémon in the deck, which is why I included 2. Red Signal can be incredibly helpful when you have so many different attacks to deal with practically anything your opponent has on the field.

I added two Deoxys-EX to help boost damage output as well as add a great counter to Yveltal-EX if your opponent tries to load tons of Energy onto it. Kyurem PLF has been added as an attacking option as well if I can’t start using Thundurus-EX right away.

To counter Blastoise and Emboar I’ve added Palkia-EX, which works perfectly with Muscle Band and Deoxys-EX and is the biggest reason for Snorlax’s inclusion as well. Teampact can be useful at times, but I’ve found that I seldom have enough Team Plasma Pokémon in play to make it a worthwhile attack, using Bench space for Aromatisse and Yveltal-EX.

As I said before, Yveltal-EX is an amazing attacker and with the ability to move Energy around as often as you want it’s an obvious inclusion to the deck. Finally, Darkrai-EX has been replaced by Fairy Garden as a counter Stadium to Virbank City Gym as well as to conserve Bench space, which can become very tight as the game progresses.

Possible Additions

G Booster

With the inclusion of 2 Genesect-EX, G Booster has crossed my mind as a possible addition to the deck. In theory it seems very interesting and could be potentially game changing. The biggest issue with it is that Landorus-EX’s Land’s Judgement along with a Muscle Band already does 170 damage, so G Booster would only be there to make the difference between 170 and 180, which can be very crucial, but I’m not sure if it’s worth it when the deck already covers so many Weaknesses to begin with.

Dowsing Machine is such a versatile card and I’m skeptical on how much use G Booster would actually bring compared to it.

Y Energy, L Energy

Basic Energy can always play a very important role in Special Energy dependent decks, as Enhanced Hammer dampens this deck a lot and basic Energy can help keep you running until your opponent runs out of Hammers or you’re able to take care of their Sableyes. I wasn’t able to find room for them though, and also have seen Enhanced Hammer on the decline recently with decks focused more on damage output, but if you feel the need to add basic Energies these are always an option.

Overall this is one of my favorite decks in the format because of its versatile and unique play style. A similar deck just won the Singapore State Championships this past weekend and I expect some great results from Team Plasma variants as well as Aromatisse in the United States.

TREVENANT/ACCELGOR

gliscor lv.x legends awakened la 141 official
The effect of this Poké-Power looks familiar…

Lock decks have always been my favorite play style, from Gardevoir SW/Gallade SW to Gliscor LV.X/Spiritomb SF and Mew Prime/Accelgor DEX/Chandelure NVI/Vileplume UD, I always enjoy any deck that focuses around preventing your opponent from performing a crucial game action.

Last format during Cities I had the most success with Gothitelle/Accelgor, but had to stop playing it after Virizion/Genesect picked up more popularity. With the addition of Trevenant to the deck we’ve gained much more room to add techs to combat Virizion-EX, which is why I chose to pick the deck back up.

Another obvious reason for the increase in playability of the deck is that Trevenant is a Stage 1 compared to Gothitelle being a Stage 2. This makes him easier to get out, preferably on turn 2. It also allows you to set up multiples very quickly.

One issue I had with Gothitelle was the fact that your opponent could set up very quickly and Knock Out Gothitelle faster than you could set them up, giving them access to Items and most likely giving them the win. With Trevenant it’s much easier to fill your Bench with Phantump and evolve them quickly to counter a fast setup by your opponent.

I took into account all the downfalls that I found in last format’s version of the deck and put together a new list to begin testing. Here is what I started with.

Version 1

Pokémon – 21

4 Phantump XY

4 Trevenant XY
3 Shelmet PLB

3 Accelgor DEX
2 Eevee PLF 90

2 Flareon PLF
2 Mew-EX
1 Keldeo-EX

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
4 Skyla
1 Colress

 

4 Ultra Ball
3 Level Ball
3 Float Stone
3 Pokémon Catcher
2 Silver Bangle
1 Silver Mirror
1 Tool Scrapper
1 Super Rod
1 Dowsing Machine

 

3 Tropical Beach

Energy – 4

4 Double Colorless

This list is much different than my Gothitelle/Accelgor list from last format, and I found it to function very differently as well. Firstly, Flareon is a viable counter to Virizion; alongside Pokémon Catcher it can get the job done very well. Flareon also doubles as a potential main attacker late game. If your opponent has Knocked Out all your Trevenant, you’ll be able to do quite a bit of damage with Vengeance.

I’ve also added Keldeo-EX and Silver Mirror, which do a great job against Team Plasma decks. Keldeo-EX is a great card by itself in this deck; if you get it on the Bench with a Float Stone you can continually use new Trevenant without worrying about getting a Float Stone or running out of Float Stones. With the extra Bench room the deck has gained Keldeo-EX is much more justifiable than last format. I highly considered it as a possibility then, but it would always end up filling my Bench too quickly.

Finally, I’ve taken out Dusknoir. The two main reasons for this are space and ease of setup. I wanted to be able to fully commit to the Flareon and Pokémon Catcher strategy, which wouldn’t have been possible if I kept in Dusknoir. I didn’t have any other cards I could cut to make the room, so I decided to get rid of Dusknoir.

Pokémon Catcher can actually do a good job of making up for Dusknoir at times. You can bring up something that allows for perfect math on a knockout going into your turn, which eliminates the need for Dusknoir altogether.

The second reason for Dusknoir being cut was that it was so much harder to get out after Rare Candy was cut. Running a 1-0-1 Dusknoir was easy in the past when you had 4 Rare Candy to make sure you could get it out when you needed it, but running a small line with either Dusclops or 1-2 Rare Candy just isn’t reliable enough to warrant the room.

Possible Additions

Muscle Band

Along with Silver Bangle and no Tool at all, Muscle Band helps you achieve perfect math on more denominations of HP than before. This helps cushion the loss of Dusknoir even more and can make for interesting plays. It’s also good to have the option to use with Mew-EX or alongside Flareon if you need to deal more damage with Vengeance to a non-EX. Muscle Band is all-around too good of a card not to consider in practically every deck.

Jirachi-EX

jirachi-ex-plasma-blast-plb-98-full-art
With 7 Ball cards, it’s a wise inclusion.

Just like with any Item lock deck, Jirachi-EX can always play a great role in helping with setup. Being able to search for a Supporter when you only have an Ultra Ball or Level Ball can be very helpful in getting out of a dead hand. The only downfall to Jirachi-EX is Red Signal being able to pull it up and take 2 easy Prizes.

P Energy

I saw this idea in Sam Liggett’s article and found it pretty interesting. Phantump’s attack can be fairly useful in the beginning of the game for hindering your opponent’s setup. More Energy can also help when you only have 4 Double Colorless and need to attack almost every turn. Especially with the addition of Flareon Energy can be scarce, so adding in a couple basic Energy could be something to consider.

Dusknoir BCR

Even though I don’t like Dusknoir, I’ve seen others play it with success, so it’s always an option to try out yourself. I think adding Dusknoir would mean changing the deck a lot, as in dropping the Flareon and Pokémon Catcher as well as adding in some other kind of Virizion counter (possibly Garbodor). Dusknoir is still a viable option for this format and is worth testing.

Ninetales DRX

Ninetales crossed my mind as a possible replacement for Pokémon Catcher, but I found it to be too much to set up on my side of the board. I would need all four Stage 1 lines out to make the strategy work against Virizion/Genesect, which is just too much for me. For the most part, a tails on Pokémon Catcher isn’t going to lose the game for me, so I decided against Ninetales.

Version 2 (Final)

Pokémon – 21

4 Phantump XY

4 Trevenant XY
3 Shelmet PLB

3 Accelgor DEX
2 Eevee PLF 90

2 Flareon PLF
1 Mew-EX
1 Keldeo-EX
1 Jirachi-EX

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
4 Skyla
1 Colress

 

4 Ultra Ball
3 Level Ball
3 Float Stone
3 Pokémon Catcher
2 Silver Bangle
1 Muscle Band
1 Silver Mirror
1 Tool Scrapper
1 Super Rod
1 Dowsing Machine

 

2 Tropical Beach

Energy – 4

4 Double Colorless

Very little has changed from the original list to the final list. The first list tested very well and I decided not to change it too much. The addition of Muscle Band is very helpful along with Jirachi-EX. I would like to add another Muscle Band if possible, but I’m not sure what to cut.

I chose not to include a Jirachi-EX in my first draft of the list because of the fact that the deck is easier to set up than before, but found that Jirachi-EX was still incredibly useful in testing. Against Genesect they have to focus on the Eevee instead of Jirachi, which makes its downside much less relevant.

Overall Trevenant/Accelgor should see a lot of play at States and I expect it to perform very well given the right metagame. There have been many different variations on the deck talked about and I’m excited to see which one does the best.

CONCLUSION

hgss victory roadBulbapedia

I hope I was able to give you some insight into the format for States as well as some help in perfecting your lists. I’ve spent a lot of time on the format and I’m still not sure what to expect next weekend. It will be very interesting to see how the format plays out in the coming weeks and I hope to see the decks I covered come out on top.

As for my own State Championships, I’ll be at Indiana and Kentucky for sure and I’m still working out my plans for Week 2, but I’ll most likely attend Illinois. If you guys are going to be at any of these events be sure to come say hi and give me feedback as always! I’m writing for the readers, so if I’m doing anything you think I could improve upon I’m always open to your ideas and criticism.

Until next time,

Henry


…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.

After 45 days, we unlock each Underground (UG/★) article for public viewing. New articles are reserved for Underground members.

Underground Members: Thank you for making this article possible!

Other Readers: Check out the FAQ if you are interested in joining Underground and gaining full access to our latest content.


Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

You are logged out. Register. Log in. Legacy discussion: ?