All’s Well That Ends Well

Jay’s 2014 Wisconsin and Iowa States Reports
pokeball return
“Invite, I choose you!”

With two weekends down, we’re well into State Championships and thus the 2013-2014 competitive season. Many players are closing in on their Worlds invites, so this is an important part of the year for those who hope to play at the big tournament in Washington, DC this August. Even for those that do not have such aspirations, the prizes are still noteworthy at these large events, so everybody wants to do well.

I always try to be transparent when writing in hopes of helping everyone, including myself, to become better a player. It’s easy to write a report when you do well at a tournament, but much harder when you perform badly. The events you fail at are probably the ones you learn the most from, and self-reflection is a key part of growing as a player.

This is going to be an interesting article because I get to discuss Wisconsin States where I finished a disappointing 4-3. I’ll talk about my Plasma list and, despite my losses, why I still really like my unique Plasma build. I’ll also discuss some of the inherent flaws I feel are currently impeding Plasma.

On the flip side, I then get to discuss my Iowa States experience where I took a big gamble and piloted a Trevenant/Accelgor deck to a 1st place finish. The deck was risky, but it provided me the most fun I’ve had playing Pokémon all year. My list is extremely consistent and has answers to many of the issues facing decks in the current format.

As always, I will be giving full lists for both decks (not just skeletons) and then breaking them down and discussing my card choices and numbers. I’ll also talk about some cards that didn’t make the final 60.

Table of Contents

The Road to States

path road

I was quickly drawn to Plasma as I thought Muscle Band took the deck to a whole new level. The deck was able to simply put so much early pressure on the opponent that it was common to overwhelm them before they could ever get a foothold in the game.

My list started out the same way that most people’s did, built around the strategy of attaching a Muscle Band to Lugia-EX and then 1HKOing opposing EXs with 4 Deoxys in play. In theory this seemed very easy to do, but in reality the deck really struggled to pull this off consistently. Bench space is tight and devoting four spots on the field to Deoxys-EX was not always feasible.

I began branching off the standard list and making the deck more and more teched out. Eventually my list changed so much from it original version that I was afraid I lost the base concept somewhere along the way. Thus, I decided to build two different Plasma lists; one designed around the original strategy of taking fast 1HKOs with Lugia-EX, while the other was my constantly changing and evolving Plasma list.

I’ll discuss my teched out list later in the article, but first I want to share my “Speed Lugia.”

Speed Lugia

Pokémon – 9

4 Deoxys-EX
2 Thundurus-EX PLF
2 Lugia-EX
1 Kyurem PLF

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Juniper

2 N
4 Skyla
4 Colress
1 Shadow Triad


4 Team Plasma Ball
4 Muscle Band
4 Colress Machine
4 Switch
2 Pokémon Catcher
1 Tool Scrapper

1 Computer Search


2 Tropical Beach

Energy – 14

4 Double Colorless
4 Plasma
4 Prism
1 L
1 Blend WLFM

Overall the deck is extremely streamlined, starting with the Pokémon. It’s near impossible to play a large Pokémon lineup in this sort of build. One reason is you need the deck space, and the other reason is you should plan on devoting 4 Bench spaces to Deoxys, 1 to Lugia, and the last to probably a Thundurus. There isn’t room to put much else in play.

I debated staying at only 8 Pokémon, but decided I could devote 1 spot to a tech. I strongly considered Palkia-EX as I felt RayBoar and Blastoise were really tough matchups. However, the choice I went with was Kyurem PLF. In the back of my mind Kyurem was a Safeguard counter (Suicune PLB and Sigilyph LTR had seen minimal amounts of play), but the bigger reason I liked it was that it gave the deck a non-EX attacker, making it harder for RayBoar or Blastoise to simply “run through” me. Kyurem also had great synergy with Lugia, setting up KOs, especially if I had a Deoxys prized.

A lot of speed Lugia lists I see are based around deck thinning Items like Bicycle and Roller Skates. The problem with this is people seem to then skimp on Supporters. Roller Skates is a questionable flip card, and Bicycle often conflicts with the deck’s hand size. I feel these “luck” based cards also make the deck considerably weaker to N. I just don’t see how I could free up 8 cards in my current list and have a deck I would be comfortable with.

Yeti… Or Maybe Just “Hornung Plasma”

Plasma was the first deck I really started testing for States and it was horrible. I was losing game after game and absolutely hating it. Even against weaker decks with bad lists I was narrowly eeking out wins. I was getting really frustrated; I just couldn’t figure out why I was doing so badly. My list was really close to everybody else’s, but my opening hands were often horrid and I was always getting N’d into garbage.

I wanted to give up on the deck, but just as I was about to I came up with a revelation… the list I was testing wasn’t mine. Sure it was “my list” (I didn’t netdeck), but I built it based off “common perceptions” on what a Yeti list was supposed to look like.

I headed back to the drawing board and basically scrapped the idea of running “the Yeti” and instead started building my own personal list of “Hornung Plasma.” It took a lot of testing and tweaking, but I finally found a list that I really liked… and I finally found a list that was winning.

I’m not writing this to say that “Yeti” is a horrible deck and mine is so much better. What I am saying is I built a deck I didn’t like, and instead of giving up I took it, rebuilt it, worked with it, and most importantly tested it until I found a list that I liked and worked for me. The point I’m trying to get across is you can’t always copy what’s popular. What works for one person might not work for another, but if you’re willing to put in the time and effort you can find a list that works for you.

Let’s take a look at my Plasma list:

Pokémon – 11

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

1 Palkia-EX
1 Kyurem PLF

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper
4 N

3 Skyla
4 Colress
1 Shadow Triad


4 Team Plasma Ball
4 Muscle Band
4 Colress Machine
4 Switch
2 Tool Scrapper


1 Computer Search

Energy – 14

4 Plasma
4 Prism
3 Double Colorless
3 Blend WLFM

When looking at this deck I want you to keep in mind the card optimization that we talked about earlier in the article. One of the biggest problems I found I was having with the deck is that I would very early Knock Out an EX with Lugia and then get N’d into garbage right away or at some point in the game. I’d even have games where I’d be absolutely dominating and then a well-timed N would leave me with a dead hand for a few turns and my opponent would come back and steal a win in a game that I had a large lead. This is why when I rebuilt the deck I had a very strong “turn and burn” concept.

The main idea is when you draw (i.e. turn) a card you’re immediately able to play (i.e. burn) it. A majority of the Trainer lineup is straightforward 1-for-1 cards (Team Plasma Ball, Colress Machine) or cards that can be played right away (Muscle Band). I run very few situational cards (Shadow Triad). This concept doesn’t work in every deck, but I like how quickly Plasma can burn through itself. With a more streamlined Trainer selection I found myself dead-drawing off N significantly less.

While the turn and burn concept was something I had in mind, it wasn’t the only reason for many of my card choices. I wanted to create certain game states extremely quickly such as T1/T2 Lugia-EX or a Thundurus-EX hitting for 60/70 damage on opposing Basics. This is why I maxed out on certain cards like Colress Machine, Muscle Band, Team Plasma Ball, and Deoxys-EX.

Excluded Pokémon

The Pokémon lineup has been messed with a lot and I’ve tried just about every card you can think of. The number of Pokémon I ran varied from 11-13, but I found them getting clogged in hand at higher numbers. Toward the end of my testing I became pretty dead set on playing only 11 Pokémon. I do want to briefly touch on what didn’t make the cut.

2nd Kyurem PLF

I liked the second Kyurem in the deck; it just became redundant. There were usually only 1 or 2 points in the game where I really needed it and I never needed the 2nd copy.

1 Landorus BW79

I wanted the deck to have a non-EX answer to Bouffalant DRX and this seemed to be the best option. It was also great against Darkrai-EX and Thundurus-EX. This was definitely my “12th” Pokémon.

1 Landorus-EX/1 Mewtwo-EX

I wanted the deck to have a Silver Mirror counter if possible. Mewtwo-EX fit the deck best considering I didn’t run Scramble Switch, but outside of countering Silver Mirror it really wasn’t that great. In many situations where Mewtwo-EX would get a KO Deoxys could do the same thing.

I actually really liked Landorus-EX as the early 30-30 could be huge. The problem was that’s all it did; it just wasn’t plausible that I’d get 3 Energy under it. If I had ran Scramble Switch I’m convinced I also would have played Landorus-EX.

Noteworthy Inclusions

1 Shadow Triad

I think I’m kind of on my own here, but I never found the card as useful as everybody made it out to be. You had to have it in your hand when you needed it and play it over another Supporter in your hand. The 1-of played quite nicely, but I never really found myself needing a second or third copy like most players play.

4 Team Plasma Ball

I know most people opt for a very high count on Ultra Ball and then only tech 1 or 2 Plasma Ball. However, it’s important to fill your Bench early and you don’t always want to discard cards from your hand. I never really found myself in a situation early where I was relying on an Ultra Ball discard to get Energy in the discard pile. This didn’t look good on paper, but in testing it played extremely well and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

1 Computer Search

This is probably where I’m going to get the most questions as Scramble Switch seems to be the “given” ACE SPEC in Plasma. It’s very clear when Scramble Switch is good and you hear all the time “I Scrambled Switched into Lugia-EX for the win.” The uses for Computer Search are far more subtle, like searching out a Supporter, a Colress Machine, a Plasma Energy for Genesect, etc. In many different situations I would be forced into needing “card X” otherwise the balance of power would certainly shift. These were the situations where Computer Search really shined.

Obviously you want to play the ACE SPEC that is going to result in winning more games. I tested both Computer Search and Scramble Switch and then weighed the pros and cons of each. The conclusion that I came to is Scramble Switch won games while Computer Search stopped me from losing them.

In the situations that I talked about earlier, where I needed to hit card X that turn, in many situations if I didn’t I would inevitably lose the game. I felt these situations were more common than situations where I would need Scramble Switch to win. I also really like how Computer Search is more versatile and never a dead card.

I never regretted playing Computer Search during States, and in fact it saved me several games.

3 Double Colorless Energy

It seems like most Yeti lists play a full set of 4 Double Colorless Energy. The 6 total Prism/Blend Energy I started with felt low in testing and I really wanted a 7th. Playing Computer Search gave me a little bit more flexibility here, and 3 Double Colorless Energy played really well. I was really happy with the Energy lineup and how it played.

Hello, Wisconsin!

wisconsin farmcbertel

Normally Wisconsin States is nice long 6 or so hour drive from Iowa, but since I live in Minnesota now it was only about a 2 ½ hour drive. My group and I decided to drive over the morning of since we all got off work really late. This had us leaving at 5:30 in the morning, which meant I was up at 4:45 AM to get ready, shower, and then drive about 15 minutes to meet with the rest of our group. I only ended up getting about 3 hours of sleep.

I know we all joke about playing tournaments on little to no sleep (which was basically Chris Fulop‘s motto), however it really isn’t fun, and as much as I’d like to say it doesn’t make a difference to me, it really does. Over the course of the day I noticed myself making little mistakes here and there. They were all minor and none of them cost me a game, but it bothered me a lot that I was making little misplays.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to sleep then I really suggest you do so. Even 6 or 7 hours can be a good night; anything below 5 hours and you’re in for a rough day.

R1 vs. Darkrai/Yveltal – LL
R2 vs. Dusknoir/Gourgeist – WW
R3 vs. Fairies – WW
R4 vs. Darkrai/Yveltal – LL
R5 vs. Darkrai/Yveltal – WW
R6 vs. Darkrai/Yveltal/Sableye/Garbodor/Silver Mirror – LL
R7 vs. Virizion/Genesect – LWW

My losses came from different things, but none I can be bitter about. I lost two Game 1s on sleep flips from my opponents’ Hypnotoxic Lasers. Another loss came off poor N draws. One loss I was up 3 Prizes when time was called and couldn’t steal my final 2 Prizes in two turns. I had several games where my opponent needed to hit different outs like DCE and Energy Switch or Energy and a Laser, and they did.

I’m not saying this to complain, so I really hope it doesn’t sound like I am. After all, my opponents had multiple outs to the key cards they needed. If they run 4 DCE, 4 Laser, and 2-3 Energy Switch, can I really be that upset they hit the combination that they needed?

As for the sleep flips during the tournament, 5 of the 7 rounds I played against decks that used Hypnotoxic Laser. Out of my 11 games against those decks my opponents probably played Hypnotoxic Laser against me 20+ times. Staying asleep while not having a Switch was bound to happen. I think players complain about stuff like this an awful lot when in reality it’s much easier to remember the times that you came out on the short end of these occurrences rather than the instances your opponent whiffed on them. While unfortunate, these situations do happen.

Over the course of the day I ended up hitting T1 Lugia three times. Ironically, two of those times were Games 2 and 3 in the last round of Swiss. Thankfully I had a nice opponent who, while frustrated, was still very friendly during and after our match.

On Running Hot

I don’t like how a huge amount of this game right now is based on “running hot.” Certain things you can account for in deck building, like playing a higher Supporter count to deal with late game N and running Keldeo-EX to deal with Laser flips, for example. It’s more about things the opponent does you can’t prepare for, like a T2 Black Ballista for 200 damage.

I had one round where my opponent opened Computer Search to Enhanced Hammer and then proceeded to attach DCE and play two Dark Patches over the course of his turn along with a 2 Bikes and a Juniper. Clearly this makes my opponent a good player, right? On the flip side, me hitting T1 Lugia also makes me a good player, right?

The point isn’t to complain about the format as much as it is to recognize these things. Some you can combat and other you just kind of have to accept as part of the game right now.

In Retrospect

The only change I would probably make to my list is to go back and try to include 3 Frozen City. The little added damage output would be nice, but more importantly it’s really helpful to have a Stadium to bump Virbank. I never really thought of including Frozen City originally because I felt Muscle Band covered extra damage pretty well and I thought Plasma was going to see more play than it did.

The cards to drop to make room for them would be a tough choice… a Muscle Band would probably have to be one card, then another spot would have to come from the Supporter lineup. The last spot would be the most difficult, but most likely a Tool Scrapper, which basically then gives you an auto-loss to Silver Mirror and makes Garbodor tougher. The list is really tight on space.

Hawk, I

iowa hawkeye stadiumjfravel

After Wisconsin States I was really frustrated and had no idea what I wanted to play Week 2 at Iowa. I have some amazing friends and Ray Cipoletti messaged me his Darkrai/Garbodor list that he made T8 with at Rhode Island States and Jeremy Jallen messaged me his that he used to make Arizona finals. Both Ray and Jeremy worked on the deck together and their lists were really only a few cards off from each other.

To put it simply the list looked great, despite being a bit light on Supporters for my liking. I don’t want to steal any of Ray’s thunder, but absolutely make sure that you check out his article on Thursday; in my opinion his list is close to perfect. Also make sure to check out Jeremy Jallen and On The Bubble; hopefully they have some recorded games from States with the deck in action.

Despite loving the deck that both Ray and Jeremy sent me I kept stressing over the list and asking myself if it was really the right play. I actually expected a lot of straight Darkrai/Yveltal decks in Iowa. A combination of my frustration with the format and uncertainty in deck choice found myself more on edge than usual and the decision was constantly on my mind.

I finally realized how stupid I was being. I was taking a hobby of mine that I enjoyed and I wasn’t making it fun anymore. I said heck with it; I was going to play a “fun” deck in Iowa and not stress about it the rest of the week. Now let me be clear and say that I’m a pretty competitive person, so my definition of a fun deck is a competitive deck that I enjoy playing. I really don’t think I could walk into a tournament with anything less.

Despite knowing how bad of an idea it was, I decided to play Trevenant/Accelgor because I enjoyed playing the deck. It also let me play a lot of cards that I liked, but never got to play. I always hate sitting across the table from lock-based decks, so I figured it would be fun to put my opponent in the same position.

The real decider for me though was that the luck factor was so much less with Trevenant/Accelgor than any other deck in the format. I should win the games I’m supposed to win and lose the games I’m supposed to lose. I shouldn’t ever lose to Laser flips, bad N draws, big starts from my opponent, and with 17 consistency cards bad hands weren’t very common.

Let’s start out with the list:

Pokémon – 19

3 Shelmet PLB
3 Accelgor DEX
3 Phantump XY
3 Trevenant XY
1 Munna BCR
1 Musharna NXD

1 Duskull BCR
1 Dusclops BCR
1 Dusknoir BCR
1 Mew-EX

1 Sigilyph LTR

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
4 Skyla
2 Colress


4 Level Ball
4 Ultra Ball

1 Heavy Ball
4 Float Stone
2 Pokémon Catcher
1 Tool Scrapper
1 Super Rod
1 Town Map

1 Silver Bangle

1 Dowsing Machine


3 Tropical Beach

Energy – 4

4 Double Colorless

I really wish I could tell you this list was the result of countless hours of playtesting, but the reality is I built this deck when XY came out, played one game, got stomped, and didn’t pick it up again till Round 1-of Iowa States. I didn’t even have the right Shelmet (from Plasma Blast) so I had to play with the Dark Explorers ones, which I’m sure Dustin Zimmerman would protest.

The thing is though that one test game actually taught me a lot about the deck. I originally ran a very teched out Pokémon line including a 2-1 Flareon PLF and a Jirachi-EX, but in that one game against Darkrai/Yveltal I learned just how tight Bench space is and you can’t afford the dead weight. I ultimately ended up losing that game because my opponent got a fast start and by the time I actually got the lock up and going I had sacrificed too many resources. If only my opponent had a few more Prizes or I had bought myself a turn some how I might have had a chance at winning.

The Tournament

The tournament was held in a pretty decently sized gaming store, but was still a very big change from the previous week that was held in a large convention center. However, they did have a vending machine that sold bottles of Arnold Palmer for $1, which is something I’ve never seen before. Perhaps this overly impressed me, but it’s something that made the 4 hour drive and little sleep better. I believe I drank 5 of them over the course of the day.

R1 vs. Darkrai/Garbodor – W
R2 vs. Plasma – WW
R3 vs. Plasma/Fairies – L
R4 vs. Darkrai/Garbodor – WW
R5 vs. Virizion/Genesect – LL
R6 vs. Darkrai/Garbodor – WW
T8 vs. Virizion/Genesect – LWW (Sudden Death)
T4 vs. Fairy Toolbox – W
T2 vs. RayBoar – WW

Note: I feel bad about the Top 8 because I really wasn’t taking the matchup seriously. It was so horrid I wrote it off as an auto-loss and was actually only playing so I could have something to do while I waited for Mat Price (my friend that I rode down with) to play his T8 game. I joked around the whole time and told my opponent how bad the matchup was for me.

Considering I won I’m sure I came across as a jerk when I truly didn’t mean to. The matchup really is like 95-5, I just somehow hit that 5% chance in Game 2 and stole a sudden death Game 3 on a small mistake by my opponent. If you’re reading this I’m seriously sorry if I came across like a jerk. I certainly didn’t mean to.

Note: I found it really interesting how a lot of players would repeatedly use Evil Ball when in quite a few situations Y Cyclone was the stronger attack. Week 1 in Wisconsin I even saw some players use Evil Ball when Y Cyclone actually did more damage! Just something to watch for when you’re playing the deck.

Card Choices

3-3 Accelgor DEX

accelgor hooligan mangaBulbapedia

I originally had planned on playing a thinner 3-2 Accelgor, which was popular last year. The extra spot had been devoted to an Evosoda because the idea of 10 search cards was just so appealing to me. I ultimately went with the 3rd Accelgor because the fear of prizing two got to me. I ended up having one game where I prized 2 Accelgor and another game (in the finals) where I prized 1 Accelgor along with my Super Rod and was forced to Juniper a 2nd one away in my opening hand. Also I found myself drawing into it so much more regularly. It was really nice and 3 felt perfect.

1-1 Musharna NXD

A lot of people don’t seem to like playing Musharna and I don’t understand why. In so many games it’s crucial to keeping the lock going and I almost always found myself going for it early.

1 Mew-EX

I actually considered dropping the 1 Mew-EX because I always found myself using Accelgor with Bangle. The 1 proved really nice in certain situations and having the Psychic type was also helpful. I certainly wouldn’t play 2, but the one copy probably needs to stay.

1 Sigilyph LTR

The one copy of Sigilyph probably stands out a little bit in the Pokémon lineup, as I really don’t think it’s a very standard choice. The purpose of the card was twofold since early game I could use it to stall a turn or two until I was ready to start the lock, and late game it could be used as a Hail Mary play if all else failed.

Basically the opponent has a very limited about of time to play Items and attack, and in that small window I can force them devote resources to deal with an inconsequential non-EX that takes me very little effort to promote. It’s a situational card, but singlehandedly won me 3 games at States.

4 Professor Juniper, 4 N, 4 Skyla, 2 Colress

I honestly wouldn’t change the Supporter lineup for this deck in any way. You really need a high Supporter count to make sure that you can constantly cycle through Accelgors and I never had a dead opening hand all day.

4 Level Ball, 4 Ultra Ball, 1 Heavy Ball

heavy ball artwork

I tried 8 search cards before bumping up to 9 by adding a Heavy Ball. I was able to tell a difference between 8-9 search cards and the 9 really added another level of consistency. I know most people like to play Evosoda in the deck, but I was pretty dead set on playing 4 Level Ball and 4 Ultra Ball.

I went back and forth on Heavy Ball and Evosoda. In most situations it made very little difference since both cards could grab Musharna, Dusknoir, and Trevenant. The question for me was would I rather be able to grab Shelmet or Accelgor and Dusclops? I thought searching out Shelmets would be a bigger deal, so I went with Heavy Ball and never really regretted the choice.

4 Float Stone

I originally had 3 since that’s what everybody played last year, but with a huge increase in the number of Tool Scrappers that are seeing play along with the fact that Trevenant gets KO’d much easier than Gothitelle does I feel it’s really important to play a full 4 copies. I even had several games where I had to use Dowsing Machine to get a “5th” Float Stone.

1 Tool Scrapper

Garbodor is one of the deck’s best matchups, however it can quickly turn into a loss if they manage to get a Trubbish and a Tool down before you are able to get Trevenant active. The 1 Tool Scrapper allows you to pace yourself a bit differently in the matchup and you can drop the lock when you’re ready. You just have to make sure you time it right because you only have 1 Tool Scrapper and 1 Dowsing Machine. When you lock them you have to make sure they are never in a position to play another Tool down again.

1 Town Map

This was more of a tech last year, but I consider it a staple this year. The deck plays a lot of 1-ofs that are important in certain matchups. It also has a lot of synergy with Dusknoir, so you can take key Prizes only when you need to keep the lock in place. Another nice little thing I noticed is after I played Town Map, by simply looking at my discard pile and then checking my face up Prizes, I could tell if the card I was looking for was in the deck before I committed a card like Skyla to get it.

1 Silver Bangle

A second copy of Silver Bangle was my 61st/62nd card in the deck. It makes for really good math with 170 HP EXs, it 1HKOs Keldeo-EX, and there is a lot of synergy with Dusknoir being able to get extra damage on the board.

Note: A Deck and Cover followed by a second Deck and Cover with a Silver Bangle will result in a 170 HP EX getting KO’d coming into your turn.

1 Dowsing Machine

dowsing machine artwork official

The debate for the ACE SPEC always seems to be Dowsing Machine vs. Computer Search. Normally I almost always play Computer Search because of the added consistency boost, but the deck honestly feels extremely consistent already with such a high Supporter count. What I found is that in the mid and late game I would need additional copies of key cards; a 5th Float Stone, a 3rd Catcher, a 5th Juniper, etc. Also the deck played so many turn and burn Item cards I never had to discard Dowsing before it was useful and I always managed to get something with it.

Possible Additions

Overall Trevenant/Accelgor was kind of a bad call for the meta, but it panned out for me in the end regardless. The deck’s strongest matchups are Blastoise, RayBoar, and Garbodor variants. However, the deck is much weaker against decks that play Virizion or Genesect. I’ve worked on some different ways to try and counter those two cards.

2-1 Flareon PLF

I originally had Flareon in the deck since I felt it gave me a pretty decent Virizion/Genesect matchup, but I ultimately dropped it because of Bench space if you happened to start Eevee. Also it really only worked against straight Virizion/Genesect decks. Against decks that tech a Virizion, like Fairies, it doesn’t do much.

I would play a 2-1 line rather than 1-1 because if you throw down a lone Eevee they might simply Red Signal and KO it. You have to bench both at the same time.

1-1 Garbodor LTR

This might be the overall best answer to some of the problems the deck faces. It already runs 5 Tools and plenty of search cards. Not only would it shut off Virizion’s Ability, but also the format is full of other Abilities to shut off (which is kind of why Garbodor is so popular right now). While this would work better against Ability decks and decks that tech Virizion, I do feel it’s a much weaker counter against straight Virizion/Genesect decks than Flareon would be.

Other than those two changes I haven’t really considered much. The list played perfectly for me and I would like to try and only make minor changes here and there.

Playing the Deck

1. Use the Clock

I’m going to be very careful how I word this, but I want to be perfectly clear that I never stalled any of my opponents. The deck simply has so many searches and actions it can perform that it eats the clock like crazy just playing a normal game at a normal pace.

Normally I know within 15-20 minutes if I’m going to win Game 1, however it’s normally not clear to the opponent until later. Most of my Game 1s took 30-40 minutes before I either won or my opponent scooped up their cards. This is a really big advantage to me if I know I need to scoop within 15 minutes and my opponent doesn’t know if they need to scoop till about 30 minutes. Also unlike most meta decks, my opponents were only taking 1 Prize at a time so they had to KO 6 Pokémon to win a game. It was extremely common for me to win a long Game 1 and then simply not have Game 2 finish. If I won Game 1 the absolute worst case scenario is I would tie the series.

Don’t focus on trying to rush to play 3 full games, simply focus on playing 1 or 2 full games. Being aware of time and knowing when to scoop is extremely important if you’re playing or playing against the deck.

2. Be Mindful of Bench Space

Bench space is tight, but my ideal setup was 2 Trevenant, 1 Dusknoir, 1 Musharna, and 1-2 Acclegor/Mew-EX. You don’t have to set this up all at once and it’s important to remember to pace yourself. You only need to create this set up before your opponent can draw all 6 Prizes. The Trevenant and Accelgor are the two biggest parts and then I would go for Musharna next and Dusknoir last. This isn’t always what happened, but rarely would I search out Duskull before Munna.

3. Determine Your Prizes

When performing your first deck search there really is a lot you need to check for, like the Dusknoir line, Musharna line, Trevenant and Accelgor lines, Silver Bangle, Super Rod, and Dowsing Machine. As the game progresses there might be other things you need to check for, but the deck plays so many search cards it’s not hard to get a peek at your deck.

4. Keep Damage on Board

If your opponent plays Virizion or Keldeo as a tech it’s important to rush Dusknoir and try and leave as much damage on the board as possible. I even used Pokémon Catcher a few times to avoid KOing a Pokémon just because I wanted the damage on the board.

5. Learn the Little Tricks

The more you play the deck the more you will see all of the little tricks it can do. The biggest thing I would say is always double-check you have everything you need. The deck involves a lot of little combo pieces and as dumb as it sounds it’s easier to overlook one than you might think. I tried to retreat twice without a Float Stone, for example. You just have so many things you have to worry about it’s easy to forget about one piece.


ash badges phone

All in all this past week has been pretty good to me since I won a State Championship with a slightly non-mainstream deck that I really enjoyed playing. I also got to write an article about the deck and hopefully mix things up in Underground a little bit. I suppose the main message is always try and think outside the box a little bit, even if you are playing a mainstream deck, and most importantly enjoy the game regardless of what you play.

Any questions or comments I would love to hear in forums. This coming weekend I plan on playing in the Minnesota State Championship and then Wisconsin Regionals come April.

If you enjoyed the article please remember to “Like” it. A lot of time and effort goes into writing these articles and it honestly is a rewarding feeling to see that effort pay off and know that people enjoyed what you wrote.

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