Hey everyone, I’m back and this month I’m going to be discussing one of the biggest developments out of XY: Aromatisse. If you’re not prepared to play against Aromatisse at States, you’re making a huge mistake; this card helps define the format right now. It’s the quick Energy manipulation of Aromatisse and the arsenal of Pokémon it can use that make it so dangerous.
The two most effective Aromatisse-based decks are the Fairy and Plasma builds. I’ll discuss both and suggest some options you might want to include in either version. You’ll notice that many of the options I discuss for one deck might also apply to the other. This is because Aromatisse manipulates Rainbow and Prism Energy so attackers of any type can fit.
This first list revolves around Geomancy. The Energy acceleration Xerneas provides is quick, it comes from a beefy non-EX, and it puts Energy onto the table that Aromatisse can shuffle around. One of the underappreciated values of Xerneas is that it can compensate for going second. Going first is a huge advantage in this format, and I recommend choosing to go first regardless of what deck you play—even if it’s this one—but Geomancy makes going second not seem so bad.
A friend of mine, Austin Cook, played this deck at two League Challenges a few weeks ago. He went 9-1, losing only to a Klinklang deck. He reported that he was very happy with how the deck performed and that his record was likely representative of just how good the deck actually is. But before I go into anything else, here is the list.
Pokémon – 8
Trainers – 25
Energy – 15
Open Spots – 12
By the Trainer line, the concept of the deck should be pretty clear. You’ll look to get a first turn Geomancy then build an Aromatisse or two and run with it. I’ve left the Pokémon line open so I can give you some options for the rest of the list.
- Balanced Build
- Dragon Slayer
- “The Landscaper”
This first option is probably the most obvious, but also the most underrated. With all the options this deck can accommodate it’s more appealing to pick a powerhouse attacker like Landorus-EX or Black Kyurem-EX PLS. The idea is that because you don’t have to play Fairy Pokémon, you shouldn’t.
The truth is that playing Fairy Pokémon gives you the most efficient use of your Energy. Relying only on attackers of different types means that the Fairy Energy you put into play with Geomancy will only account for the Colorless requirements on your attacks.
This means that attackers like Landorus-EX, Darkrai-EX, Rayquaza DRV, and Genesect-EX will only be able to use one of those Energies for their attacks. The problem is that losing an attacker with two multi-colored Energies on it might mean missing an attack. This seems silly to me when you’ve got 3-4 other Energy on the table, but no attackers than can actually use them.
So other than the fact that Xerneas-EX is a natural attacker for this deck, it’s a useful one as well. The card can snipe for significant damage and can hit 140 or 160 damage if you need it to. The attacks can compliment each other for easy knockouts. Xerneas’ second attack can also clean up damage dealt by both Darkrai-EX and Landorus-EX.
The biggest appeal of Xerneas-EX, for me, is that it’s resistant to Darkness. Yveltal-EX is a big part of the format right now. Yveltal-EX can 1-shot anything with the right number of Energy and it’s difficult to kill without an Yveltal-EX (or Mewtwo-EX) of your own. The idea behind Xerneas-EX is making it as difficult as possible for an opposing Yveltal-EX to score an easy KO. A Xerneas-EX with three Energies can deal significant damage and set up some late game knockouts all while holding Yveltal-EX to a pretty low output.
If your opponent should choose to invest all those resources into Knocking Out a Xerneas-EX, it’s likely they won’t have much to back it up after it goes down. The beauty of this “tanked” Xerneas-EX is that Max Potions keep it dealing a constant 60/30 if your opponent is playing a straight Darkness deck. With Muscle Band, Xerneas-EX hits damage similar to Darkrai’s but does it using Fairy Energies, letting you keep those valuable Prism and Rainbow Energies on your Bench.
I’d absolutely include at least one copy of this card in your Aromatisse deck, especially if it’s one focused on Geomancy as its Energy acceleration. If it makes you feel better, you can think of it as your “counter” to Darkness decks, the same way Victini-EX might be your counter to Virizion/Genesect or Rayquaza might be your counter to RayBoar or Blastoise.
Rayquaza is a pretty important component of this deck; without it, RayBoar and Blastoise go unchecked. For the same reason Hydreigon decks hated being 1HKO’d, Aromatisse needs as much 1HKO insurance as it can get. RayBoar and Blastoise are problematic because they can 1HKO tanked Pokémon-EXs, disregarding Max Potions entirely. Losing Energy like that usually means the game is over, especially if it happens twice over two consecutive turns.
Yveltal and Mewtwo can keep Keldeo and Delphox in check, but Black Kyurem-EX and Rayquaza-EX can easily draw 6 Prizes in 3 turns if there’s no easy way to deal with them. Here’s where your Rayquaza comes in. RayBoar and Blastoise players generally won’t go out of there way to deal with a Xerneas using Geomancy. The biggest reason for this is that it’s got 130 HP which is just really inconvenient to Knock Out. This means that the Xerneas player will have all the Energy in the world at their disposal by the time the late-game collision happens. Ideally, Rayquaza will be able to trade with a Rayquaza-EX or Black Kyurem-EX.
“Will this be enough to win the matchup?” Not necessarily. Will it help get closer to snagging 6 Prizes? It sure will. Especially with Super Rod, even just one Rayquaza could be enough to swing games. I’m not saying Rayquaza makes these matchups favorable, but it certainly helps. Additionally, I’m sure 2 copies of this card might actually make the matchup favorable.
The biggest reservation I’d have about including multiple copies of this card in your Aromatisse deck is that it’s a terrible Energy investment. 120 HP is really fragile, especially when you’ve got to throw three Energy onto it. Of course, it’s the best value when trading with an EX, but otherwise, the card is dead.
The last thing I’ll mention is that even with two, and even if you manage to get three Energy onto each, you might actually run out of Energy to draw the last 2 Prizes before Emboar or Blastoise drop the hammer. Just be cautious about this one. RayBoar and Blastoise are bad matchups. It’ll likely take a lot more than just Rayquaza to correct this matchup. That being said, here’s another option for those matchups.
Strafe. Retreat. Repeat. Palkia’s got a couple uses in this deck. Strafe is obviously the biggest appeal of Palkia-EX because it keeps your Energies safe on the Bench after every attack. This not only prevents 1HKO attackers from ruining your board, but it makes Yveltal almost completely useless.
Another bonus to playing Palkia in this deck is that it can optimize Max Potion if Aromatisse isn’t on the field for whatever reason. It’s very practical to Strafe into a big Pokémon-EX and let it take a shot before using Max Potion, attaching, and retreating.
Like I said in the previous section, Palkia is also a strong counter to Rayquaza. Now, Palkia shouldn’t be expected to 1HKO a Rayquaza-EX, but it can definitely soften one up. With a Muscle Band, Strafe deals 140 to Rayquaza-EX which puts it within range of Night Spear, Hammerhead, or Break Through. This also opens the opportunity to toss up a non-EX to take the blow from the Rayquaza-EX.
The best part? No one wants to attack a non-EX with a Rayquaza-EX, so they’ll likely retreat. But the Bench is exactly where you want that Rayquaza-EX because that means it’ll catch the ping damage from the Night Spear, Hammerhead, or Break Through rather than the big damage. In other words, it puts the RayBoar player in a pretty bad position.
The last upside to Palkia-EX in a deck like this is that it can 1HKO a Black Kyurem-EX or a Rayquaza-EX with its second attack. I wouldn’t recommend doing this in the middle of the game because of the value of Energy, but it’s certainly an option to end the game. Palkia-EX is the go-to addition if you want something to supplement your Rayquaza for those tough matchups. Even just in general, Strafe is a great attack.
Virizion is important for a few reasons. The first one that probably comes to mind is that it seals the Accelgor matchup. With Trevenant taking over as a quicker, more efficient Gothitelle, Accelgor decks should see more play. The only thing that might deter their use is the versatility of Virizion-EX, however. With Virizion and Aromatisse, just one multicolored Energy shuts down Accelgor’s attack.
The only way an Accelgor deck could potentially come up with a win against a deck with one copy of Virizion would be by Dusknoir KOing the Virizion. This is improbable and it takes a while to set up. For this reason, one Virizion should be sufficient to counter Accelgor decks.
The other appeal of Virizion is its use against decks with Laser. Specifically, straight Darkness decks based on Yveltal will use cards like DCE, Muscle Band, and Laser to hit really high numbers. With a Virizion on the Bench against decks like these, it makes it a lot less likely that Yveltal will be able to hit 1HKO numbers. This is particularly important for Xerneas-EX. The other thing Laser does is switch the damage to an odd interval. Preventing Laser damage is huge for 170 HP EXs against Yveltal.
Virizion is just too potent of a card not to include in this deck. It also prevents miscellaneous mishaps from ruining your game (sleep flips, etc).
Sealing Scream isn’t Spiritomb’s only appeal in this deck. With two Level Ball and the ability to move Energy around and retreat for free means that Hexed Mirror isn’t an unheard of option. Of course, Spiritomb’s Ability is still the chief reason it’s in the deck.
The biggest problem facing this deck is 1HKOs. This is because there’s no Energy acceleration late game and because most attackers in the deck require three Energy to do anything meaningful. This is actually one of the bigger differences between Aromatisse decks and the old Hydreigon version. Hydreigon at least had the option to Dark Patch and Junk Hunt to recur Energy, but with this deck, once you’re out, you’re out. Energy is far too valuable to throw away on weak attackers, ones that get taken care of in one hit.
The reason Spiritomb is in here is to keep G Booster off the table. Without G Booster, Virizion/Genesect decks will be unable to remove Energy without warning. This way, they’ll have to Megalo Cannon or Emerald Slash at least once to bring any of your EXs within KO range. Spiritomb gives you time to Max Potion, retreat, or rearrange Energy.
The difference between someone dealing 170 and 180 damage to this deck is critical, which is why it’s so important to remove the potential for a G Booster from this matchup. For this reason, Spiritomb earns its keep, especially in a metagame crawling with Genesect decks.
Vicitini-EX is another card with multiple purposes. Intensifying Burn is the most obvious reason Victini is good in this deck, but Turbo Energize shouldn’t be overlooked either. If you feel like Spiritomb isn’t doing the trick, or just that there’s too much Genesect in your area, Victini is another option.
Of course, the 200 damage for three Energy can be game-changing, but the biggest drawback of Victini is its low HP. Sometimes, you simply can’t afford to dump three Energy into an even Prize trade in the Virizion/Genesect matchup.
Now, of course, sometimes the Genesect player won’t be able to return the KO in which case you double your return on Prizes, but in a developed game, they likely will be able to. For this reason, I reserve from saying that Victini is the be-all end-all answer to Genesect, but it’s certainly an option. I’ll discuss a different, sturdier Fire option later on in the article.
Darkrai is an obvious addition to the deck; it’s necessary. Another multi-purpose card, Darkrai gives everyone free retreat and it opens up some nice options with Night Spear. 180 HP makes it one of the beefier attackers in the deck, and with less and less Fighting-types in the game, it’s difficult to 1HKO without an Yveltal. Night Spear’s Bench damage can set up KOs by Land’s Judgement or X Blast, and can even soften up Pokémon for an Evil Ball. Almost every time I can guarantee a free attack with a Darkrai, I take it. The damage it deals is so meaningful on each Pokémon it hits, and because Darkrai’s HP is so high, the opportunity presents itself often.
The other huge reason Darkrai’s in the deck is its synergy with Escape Rope. I love Escape Rope, as I mentioned in my last article, and Darkrai integrates Escape Rope into the deck perfectly. Instead of having to rely on Float Stones, just having Darkrai and Aromatisse on the table means that Escape Rope can act just like a Pokémon Circulator if you want it to. It also gets you out of Special Conditions if Virizion hasn’t made it to the table yet. Darkrai serves so many important roles in this deck it would be very imprudent not to include him in your list, and I’d even go so far as to say two are necessary.
At first, I had my reservations about Landorus, but the card grew on me. The fact of the matter is that Darkrai is still present, be it in straight Dark decks or in other Aromatisse decks, the card is still being played. This makes Landorus more justifiable, but it’s certainly not the only reason it’s in the deck. I’d say each of Landorus’ attackers are equally important. 100 with a Muscle Band 1HKOs Darkrai, 170 with a Muscle Band takes care of many popular EXs, and 150 without a Muscle Band can clean up Darkrai/Xerneas/Hammerhead damage from earlier on.
Land’s Judgement should really only be used to end the game because of how inefficient it is with Energy, but it’s certainly a good way to deal with big attackers, especially if you’ve got nothing in the deck for a particular matchup. Its Weakness is also pretty uncommon, but if a Keldeo should show up, you should likely see it coming and prepare accordingly—it’s hard to spring a Secret Sword out of nowhere.
Hammerhead is what put this card “over the top” for me. This attack is the only attack that deals meaningful damage for just one Energy. It’s really efficient in that regard, but the damage it deals is easily cleaned up by many of the decks other weapons. For this reason, I think Landorus earns its keep in the deck.
Evil Ball is a format defining attack. X Ball had a similar effect on the format when Mewtwo-EX was released, but there’s no “easy” way to remove an Yveltal from the table—it’s not weak to itself like Mewtwo was. I’d strongly recommend playing just one copy of this card in the deck as a sweeper and a counter. The deck has such strong early game acceleration that a game-ending six-Energy Evil Ball isn’t totally out of the question.
Yveltal also acts as a counter to opposing Yveltals. For example, if you choose to attack with a Xerneas and your opponent loads an Yveltal, without an Yveltal of your own, their Yveltal might just sweep. With an Yveltal of your own, however, you’ll be able to deal with theirs for probably only two Energy. This card is huge and a lot of decks can accommodate it. If you choose not to play it, you better include Mewtwo or two in the list just to keep up with all the Yveltals that will see play.
The skeleton list has twelve open spots. I’d recommend devoting most of them to Pokémon, but the list also doesn’t include any copies of Escape Rope or Tool Scrapper. I’d recommend at least two Escape Rope, but this is also one of the tightest decks in the game right now, so space won’t be easy to find.
Your Tool Scrapper count should really depend on the amount of Garbodor present in your area, but I haven’t found it to be all too important against anything else. It might be wise to include at least one copy for States just in case.
The second list I’ll discuss is an Aromatisse-based Plasma. This version relies on Thundurus to get Energy onto the table rather than Xerneas. The appeal of this version over the former is its access to Red Signal and the type advantage Thundurus has over Yveltal.
Pokémon – 11
Trainers – 27
Energy – 14
Open Spots – 8
Here are some options that this version of the deck can accommodate a little better because of the Plasma support. The big thing to notice about this deck is that it’s replaced Fairy Energies for Double Colorless and Plasma Energy. These Energies are not movable by Aromatisse so the deck plays a little differently—Energy drops matter more often and it’s not unusual to have to attack with a suboptimal Pokémon because you can’t get the right number of Energy to the preferred attacker; the first version virtually never has this issue because every Energy in the deck is movable.
- Balanced Build
- Darkness Destroyer
- Mirror Matcher
Lugia’s 3-Prize swing has been the focus of many decks in the past (Yeti, Cofagrigus, etc.), but in this deck, it’s just another option. Muscle Band gives Lugia the ability to hit 170 damage by itself, which makes it a whole lot more desirable. Unfortunately it takes almost an entire game’s worth of planning to actually get the combo off.
The thing about Plasma Gale, though, is that it’s usually worth it. Drawing half the game’s Prizes in one attack can be enough to change momentum entirely. And now with Aromatisse, it’s entirely possible to power up a Plasma Gale completely out of nowhere. The card presents a lot of options for cleaning up damage as well. With ping damage from Landorus-EX, Xerneas-EX, or Darkrai-EX, Lugia can pick up 3 Prizes even without all those Deoxys.
I think it’s fair to say that just one Lugia should suffice, but that one Lugia is a pretty important addition. Another thing to love about Lugia is that it’s one of few Pokémon to have 180 HP. High HP is always desirable in a deck like this because it makes Max Potion more likely to work and Energies more likely to stay on the field. Lugia also calls for Double Colorless Energy which works well in the deck anyway for other attackers like Palkia, Suicune, Snorlax, Xerneas-EX, etc. One Lugia should be in your list.
Both of these Pokémon should be used in conjunction with Strafe, but they also can serve their own purposes. If you’ve ever played Yeti, you know just how important Teampact was to the dynamic of the deck. I’ll concede that there are far fewer Plasma Pokémon in this deck than there were in Plasma, but with the right timing, Teampact can still seal the game.
Suicune, as an attacker, can also be used as another weapon to swing the RayBoar matchup. Delphox can become a crucial attacker for RayBoar when they realize Palkia is taking care of their Rayquaza-EXs. With three DCE in the deck, powering up a Suicune in one turn isn’t unreasonable, and it can be a quick way to deal with a Delphox in one hit. After the Delphox goes down, it’s a struggle to figure out what to attack the Suicune with next. Usually it’ll be a Reshiram, but even in that case, trading a Suicune for a Delphox is a huge win.
Palkia-EX is the real reason each of these cards is in the deck. Snorlax’s Block can pose real problems after a Strafe attack. A lot more decks are relying on Darkrai or Keldeo to get out of the Active Spot and these decks will fall victim to simple Strafe/Block plays. This is another reason I believe Escape Rope should be included in every deck, but I won’t go off on a tangent. Snorlax’s various applications as an attacker and metagame call are why it finds itself on this list.
Suicune can pose problems to any unprepared player or deck, especially if they’re not expecting it. With Catcher gone, the only way to deal with a Suicune is with a non-EX (or an Escape Rope). Some decks won’t have an efficient way to Knock Out a Suicune, especially when they’re taking 70-90 damage from Strafe each turn. This holds particularly true late game as players tend to dump resources they don’t believe they’ll need. Suicune is another multi-purpose card that would be justified in a deck like this.
Red Signal is one of the most appealing things about this version of the deck. Genesect means that Palkia will always be hitting a Ray-EX, or a Land’s Judgement will always be hitting a Darkrai, or a Pokémon with Energy will always be receiving the brunt of the damage from a Night Spear. Genesect’s Ability changes the whole dynamic of the deck. It can even drag up undesirable Pokémon for Snorlax to Block (this works really well after a late game N).
Another reason Genesect fits in the deck is that it’s a solid attacker. Megalo Cannon deals the same amount of damage as Night Spear, but the damage is a little heavier up front and it gets the bump from Deoxys.
G Booster is another reason Genesect can stand as an attacker in the deck. With Aromatisse on Bench, Genesect can constantly find Energy for G Booster while keeping the Energy on the Pokémon itself low (good against Yveltal.) I left the ACE SPEC spot on the list open for this reason. G Booster’s tested well and against an unexpecting opponent; it can steal the game.
Keldeo fits into both decks as another multi-purpose card. First, Rush In can provide another out to Status Conditions if Virizion is prized or whatever the situation might be. Keldeo also makes it so that your active doesn’t need to have a Special Energy on it it “repel” conditions. This is more likely to happen before Aromatisse hits the table, but even if Keldeo comes down in lieu of Virizion, it can do the job almost as well in certain situations. (It will not prevent Yveltal from getting the extra 30 from Laser, though.)
Keldeo’s second important characteristic is its beatstick ability. With all the Rainbows and Prisms, it can function almost the same way as an Yveltal except with higher base damage. Generally, a Secret Sword with multiple multi-colored Energies should be a game-ender just because of how many Energies it actually requires to hit a huge number with that, but even still, it’s not a bad option to have around.
Would I recommend both Keldeo and Virizion in the same list? Maybe. They each have their pros and cons. Virizion keeps Laser from reaching 1HKOs more often than Keldeo does, but Virizion also lacks the ability to deal real damage. It’s a give and take. If you have the room, Keldeo can certainly become the MVP if the conditions are right.
CAUTION: Secret Sword’s 1HKO power could potentially fall under the category of a “win more” attack. Just because it feels good to end the game with all of your Rainbows and Prisms on a Keldeo, it doesn’t mean it’s right to have Keldeo in the deck. Always think about whether or not you’d have won the game without it.
Heatran is the last Pokémon I’ll talk about for this deck. I mentioned that I’d talk about another Fire attacker later on in the article so here it is; this one’s definitely more conducive to a Plasma deck because its attacks actually can use Plasma Energy and because it gets the Deoxys bump. With Deoxys and Muscle Band, Heatran can deal the same 1HKOs to Virizion and Genesect as Victini-EX. The main advantage to Heatran-EX is that it’s got much more HP, so it’s more likely to keep Energy on the table.
Another really cool thing about Heatran is that its second attack can actually capitalize on all the ping damage this deck can put out. Even with just 30 damage already on a Pokémon, Heatran’s second attack can deals 110 base, plus the 30 already there, plus Deoxys and Muscle Band equals a KO on many Pokémon. It’s a little difficult to pull off, but it’s another way to “get there” with limited options.
Of course, 4 Energy is tough to pull off, but if you find yourself with a Heatran and 4 Energy, it’s really not the worst thing in the world to push it Active and let it swing at least once.
Remember that having 180 HP is a huge asset in this format. This is partly due to the fact that Bouffalant can only deal 170 with Muscle Band, but also because Yveltals will try to hit odd HP’s with the 30 from Laser. Basically, Heatran’s a tank and serves purposes outside of just the Genesect matchup. In this deck in particular, Turbo Energize becomes completely useless, so Victini gets a little worse and Heatran gets a little better with Deoxys and Plasma Energy. Ultimately, it’ll but up to you to decide between these two Pokémon as your Grass counter.
Well, there you have it. Aromatisse should definitely be in your mind for the upcoming weekends. I won’t be playing in any States this year because of conflicts with my rugby season, but I’m almost positive that if I were to attend States, this would be one of these decks in my hands during the players meeting.
The most important thing to remember while playing Aromatisse is that you can never be too cautious about avoiding 1HKOs. Make sure you don’t put your Energies at risk without good reason—always count out potential damage coming your way, otherwise you might end up with no Energies on your board and a silly look on your face.
Also, be mindful that Enhanced Hammer is still floating around. A big liability of playing this deck is that Enhanced Hammer can wreak havoc on your Energies if you don’t prepare for them. Thundurus is better at dealing with Hammers than Xerneas is, but if the Hammers are paired with Sableye, make sure the Sableye are Knocked Out quickly.
I hope you all enjoyed this article and it gives you some insight for the weeks to come—they’re important ones. And even if you’re not on the Aromatisse bandwagon, I hope this article has shown you how to play against Aromatisse just as much as it’s shown you to play with it. Thanks for reading!
…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.