Mapping Out a Route to Victory

A Top 4 Maryland State Championship Report

Hello SixPrizes! I’m Stephan “Mayer” Blake, a first year Master. I’ve been playing Pokémon since 2008 with the release of Majestic Dawn, and I’ve been playing competitively since 2010. I’ve had a few decent placings, including placing 2nd at my first event, a City Championship, with Scizor Prime/Flygon RR/Glalie AR. I never performed overly well after that with a couple exceptions, such as winning a Battle Roads last year with Stunfisk DRX/Garbodor DRX. But I have had a fairly decent season this year, racking up 177 Championship Points so far.

But that’s not what you’re here to read.
The flag of Maryland.

I’m here today with a report from the Maryland State Championships. I had gone to the Virginia State Championships the weekend before, and I had played Darkrai/Yveltal/Garbodor, going 3-1-3. I knew I had to play something faster for Maryland, but I still really liked Darkrai. So, after a bit of testing, I decided to play speed Darkrai/Yveltal (without Garbodor).

After a couple days of playing Speed Darkrai/Yveltal, I played a couple games against Dane C.‘s Plasma with Cofagrigus PLF 56. The Cofagrigus’ Ability allows you to Knock Out Cofagrigus and place three damage counters on your opponent’s field in any way you like. That got me thinking. If a Cofagrigus can improve Plasma’s math like that, could there be something to do the same for Darkrai?

I thought, and I had remembered seeing Darkrai/Dusknoir doing fairly well before XY came out, and everyone kind of forgot about it because Yveltal was the only Darkrai variant that anyone paid any attention to now. I’ll give you my list and explain some of my card choices, including why I settled on using Dusknoir.

Pokémon – 12

3 Yveltal-EX
2 Darkrai-EX DEX
2 Yveltal XY
2 Sableye DEX
1 Keldeo-EX

1 Duskull BCR
1 Dusknoir BCR

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
2 Shauna

2 Random Receiver


4 Dark Patch

4 Hypnotoxic Laser
3 Muscle Band
3 Energy Switch
3 Ultra Ball
2 Pokémon Catcher
1 Professor’s Letter
1 Town Map
1 Rare Candy

1 Computer Search


3 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 10

10 D

Card Choices

1 Keldeo-EX

I decided to run a Keldeo-EX because I had seen a lot of Hypnotoxic Laser being played the weekend before at Virginia States. It turned out to be a great play.

1-0-1 Dusknoir, 1 Rare Candy

dusknoir plasma blast plb 104 official
Makes use of all your early damage.

My reasoning behind running Dusknoir is that you also run Yveltal XY. The idea is simple; you get a lot of damage on the field early with Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym plus Oblivion Wing and Muscle Band, and then you use Sinister Hand later in the game to move all of that damage around and set up all your knockouts like that. In the matchups where you don’t have time to do that, you don’t usually need Dusknoir anyway.

I decided on a 1-0-1 Dusknoir line because my goal was to discard Rare Candy as soon as I saw it, hopefully by Rare Candying into Dusknoir, but if not I tried to discard it using Ultra Ball. That way, I could Junk Hunt for it as soon as I needed it. Junk Hunt was the only reason I played Rare Candy over Dusclops.

As such, I decided to go with only one Rare Candy because of Sableye. Computer Search also gave me an out to it, and in testing one was plenty.

1 Town Map

Town Map is an extremely underrated card. It allows you to take any card you need from your Prizes after a KO, without having to guess which one it is. So many times during States I knocked a Pokémon out and took the Prize card I needed to win the game. It combos extremely well with Dusknoir. I can seriously say that I would not have top cut without Town Map.

3 Virbank City Gym

I decided to run three Virbank City Gym because I saw a lot of Blastoise, and winning the Stadium war against that deck is crucial.

No Double Colorless Energy

A lot of people were confused about my decision to not run DCE. My reasoning behind it is simple: my deck is going for sheer consistency. Running more D Energy instead of Double Colorless Energy makes Yveltal-EX do less damage with Evil Ball and makes Y Cyclone harder to power up, but it also makes every other attacker in your deck more consistent while not taking that much away from Yveltal-EX.

Tournament Report

I went down to the store and bought 3 Yveltal tins the night before so I could play Yveltal. Then I tested all night, and my mom and I left at 1 AM. I got about two hours of sleep in the car, and showed up around 6 AM. I watched a couple YouTube videos on my phone while I waited for my friends to show up, and when they did we played a couple games before registration. I turned in my decklist, chatted with some people, drank my fourth cup of coffee, and waited for the round one pairings. They went up soon enough, and I found my seat.

Round 1 vs. Drew Weaver with Aromatisse Toolbox

Game one, we both got decent starts. He got an attachment and two Spritzee. I got a LaserBank and an attachment, and it continued like this for a couple turns. After a bit, he had a bunch of Energy on his field, a bunch of damage, and an Aromatisse, so he kept moving his Energy around and using Max Potion. He ended up getting up in Prizes fairly quickly. I finally got a Dusknoir out, and with the help of Dusknoir and a Night Spear took 5 Prizes in one turn. But he had the Landorus-EX waiting, and managed to take his last 2 Prizes with a Land’s Judgement.

The next game, I had a decent start, but my Prizes were terrible. I prized three Dark Patch, and without Dark Patch I couldn’t accelerate very well. I couldn’t get the big five Energy Yveltal set up, which is what I really needed to get to have a shot at the game because he got an intense start. I ended up losing, mostly because I prized pretty much everything that could have won me the game.


Round 2 vs. James Williams with Yveltal-EX/Scizor BCR

scizor boundaries crossed bcr 94 official

Before I start the report on this round, I’d like to mention that I really like the concept of this deck. The idea behind Scizor is to force Blastoise to have to attack you in the Blastoise/Black Kyurem-EX matchup. Its first attack does 40 damage and Scizor cannot be attacked by a Pokémon-EX the next turn. And it has 120 HP, so Blastoise has to have six Energy to 1HKO it.

Game one, he got a terrible start. He managed to take a couple Prizes, but I took the game by storm.

Game two was a bit closer, but I got a better setup and crucial Catcher-KOs to seal the game. He took a few Prizes again, but I just got the faster setup.


Round 3 vs. Michael Branch with Klinklang PLS/Aromatisse XY

Game one was interesting. I got a couple hits off with an Yveltal-EX before he got Klinklang set up, and then when he did I switched focus to Yveltal XY. I did a bunch of damage with Yveltal XY and Hypnotoxic Laser before getting Dusknoir out and using it to Sinister Hand and clean up my last 4 Prizes.

Game two, I got Dusknoir out before he got Klinklang out. I used Sinister Hand to move damage to Klinks and KO them before they became Klinklangs, and without Klinklang his attackers couldn’t keep up with mine.


Round 4 vs. Jimmy Pendarvis with Blastoise/Black Kyurem-EX

Game one was such a fast paced game. I went second and got a turn 1 Y Cyclone. He got a turn two Black Ballista. I followed up with an N and an Evil Ball knockout. He had to Beach for a couple turns while I took Prizes on two Squirtle. Then he got Black Ballista. I promoted my little Yveltal and used Oblivion Wing, starting to power up a Darkrai. He KO’d my Yveltal with Secret Sword after evolving his Voltorb into Electrode. The next turn, I had a LaserBank Dark Claw Night Spear, after an N to one for him. If he had whiffed the Superior, I would have won, since I only had 2 Prizes left and he had a Keldeo with 140 on the Bench. But unfortunately, he got the Superior.

Game two was similar; he got a T2 Black Ballista and I hit back pretty hard. We both went down to 1 Prize. I N’d him to one, and would have won if he didn’t hit the Superior off of his Magnetic Draw, but he hit it.

Overall, it was probably the closest series of the day, even though I lost 0-2.


Round 5 vs. Sam Estes with Weavile PLF/Exeggcute PLF


I’d like to say that I think this deck was a good play for the day. It’s a pain for Blastoise to deal with, and there was a lot of Blastoise.

Game one, we both got great setups. He got a Villify for knockout on my Yveltal-EX turn three, and I retaliated with an Evil Ball KO. He got another Villify KO, going down to 2 Prizes. I promoted Yveltal and used Oblivion Wing, attaching a D Energy to my Benched Darkrai-EX after a Dark Patch to it. This did two things: got my Darkrai powered up, and made it so that he had to go down to 1 Prize card. He did Villify for the KO, going down to 1 Prize. I promoted my Darkrai-EX, used an N and Night Spear for KO. He didn’t manage to hit another Weavile, and I just took the rest of my Prizes with Night Spear.

Game two, we both got decent setups again. I took 2 Prizes, he took five, I N’d him and Knocked Out his only Weavile on board. He drew the Dowsing Machine for Juniper this time though, and was able to Juniper for everything he needed for his last Prize.

Game three, I got a Darkrai and Dusknoir up. I used Sinister Hand to KO threats before they became threatening. I Catcher-KO’d stuff. Everything went right, and I 6-0’d him.


Round 6 vs. Mustafa Tobah with Blastoise/Black Kyurem-EX

I sat down knowing that I was probably going to lose this game. I knew exactly what my opponent was playing, and it was Blastoise/Black Kyurem-EX.

Game one, I used Yveltal XY and Hypnotoxic Laser to put damage on the field, and Dusknoir to spread it out. I think I had like 270 damage on the field after two Yveltal had been KO’d. After that I just did a bit of Sinister Hand damage manipulation, then cleaned up with a couple of Night Spears with Muscle Band and Hypnotoxic Laser. He still took 4 Prizes, so it was pretty close.

Game two, I started with the same strategy: use Oblivion Wing, get damage on the field, and then use Dusknoir. It worked, but he used Pokémon Catcher on my Yveltal-EX and used Black Ballista for KO. I N’d him to four and used Oblivion Wing, and he was stuck using Beach the next turn.

After a little bit, my opponent was down to 2 Prizes and I still had four, and I had a little Yveltal active. I put Mustafa in a position where he had to Superior Energy Retrieval (and he had already discarded 3), Deluge 4 Water to Keldeo, Rush In, and KO my little Yveltal, but if he did I would Evil Ball KO. If he didn’t Rush In and he just used Black Ballista, I’d Evil Ball for KO on his Black Kyurem.

Either way, he’d be left with no Energy left against a three Energy Yveltal-EX, a three Energy Darkrai-EX, and a Dusknoir. Seeing that there was no way to win, he conceeded.


Round 7 vs. Westin Lee with Darkrai-EX/Yveltal-EX/Bouffalant DRX/Yveltal XY/Sableye DEX

n dark explorers dex 96 official
N to 4… for the win?

Game one, I went first. He started Keldeo. I hadn’t seen what he was playing yet, so I was scared. I got a T1 LaserBank, an attachment to my Active, and a Dark Patch onto my Benched Darkrai. He got a Sableye benched, and was forced to retreat with a Double Colorless Energy after a Dark Patch to Sableye. I got a great start, which involved a Night Spear on T2, but he used Evil Ball the next turn, after a DCE + Dark Patch, retreat, Muscle Band, and Energy Switch, he pulled off an Evil Ball KO.

I returned the favor after benching Duskull. I started getting damage on his field, but could never finish the KOs. Eventually, he had 150 on a Benched Keldeo-EX, 140 on a Benched Darkrai-EX, and a fully powered Darkrai-EX active. He had 1 Prize left, I had four. I only had an N, but needed a Rare Candy + Dusknoir off of it. N to four… and… Computer Search and Rare Candy plus two other useless cards. Computer Search for Dusknoir, Rare Candy into Dusknoir, Sinister 140 off of his Benched Darkrai to his Active and Night Spear for KO on the active Darkrai and KO on his benched Keldeo-EX for game.

Game two I don’t remember much of. I recall that it was similar to game one, but I whiffed the Rare Candy + Dusknoir, and he won.

Game three was… well, short. After a couple turns, I was up on Prizes, and time was called. My opponent knew he couldn’t win, and that tying would cost both of us cut. Turn three, I was up in Prizes, and I had won game one, so he gave me the win. This, right here, is what Pokémon is all about. The great community, the spirit of the game. He could have tied, made top sixteen and got packs and points, but he gave me the win.


After the round, I talked to a few friends; we were all psyched that I potentially made cut. After a few minutes, Top 8 went up. The seeds were…

  1. Steven Varesko (5-0-2)
  2. Michael Pramawat (5-0-2)
  3. Dean Nezam (5-1-1)
  4. Dylan Bryan (5-1-1)
  5. Jamal Moultrie (5-1-1)
  6. Russell LaParre (4-0-3)
  7. Jimmy McClure (5-2-0)
  8. Stephan Blake (5-2-0)

So, I squeaked in at 8th seed. Got my deck sorted, turned it in and went to play my Top 8 match.

Top 8 vs. Steven Varesko with Darkrai-EX/Yveltal-EX/Bouffalant DRX/Yveltal XY/Garbodor LTR

Game one, I got a terrible start with no Supporter, a Virbank but no Hypnotoxic Laser, and four Energy. I started Darkrai-EX, he started lone Trubbish. I Ultra Ball two D Energy for an Yveltal, Dark Patch to Yveltal, attach to Darkrai, and pass. He used a Juniper and whiffed a Basic, and passed. I topdecked Dark Patch, Dark Patched to the Benched Yveltal, attached to it, retreated, and used Darkness Blade for game.

Game two is a bit fuzzy. I remember getting a decent start, though he got a little bit better of a start. In the end, he had an Yveltal-EX with 150 in the Active and no Energy. He also had an Yveltal-EX with thirty on the Bench. He had 1 Prize remaining. I had a fully powered Darkrai with 120 and a Muscle Band on the Bench. I also had a Hypnotoxic Laser in hand. I had to get a Catcher heads to win. Both of my Catcher were discarded.

Thankfully, I had a Sableye active with a Darkness. I was able to Junk Hunt for two Pokémon Catcher. The next turn, he drew, counted his deck and played a Juniper. He had one card left in his deck, and it was the DCE that would have won him the game that turn. He was forced to pass. The next turn, I drew, played the first Catcher… tails.

I was starting to get worried. I played down the next Catcher and prepared for the most intense flip of my season… heads! I pulled up the Yveltal-EX with 30, played the Hypnotoxic Laser, retreated Sableye and used Night Spear for 110 + Poison for KO on his Active and 30 to the Yveltal-EX with 150 for my last 4 Prizes and the game.

I was so psyched up at this point. Top 4 at a States, and the only Blastoise in cut had been Knocked Out. I went into the next round feeling fairly confident, at least 50-50 with the matchup.

Top 4 vs. Jamal Moultrie with Cobalion-EX/Landorus-EX/Yveltal-EX/Garbodor LTR

Game one, my deck decided to perform what me and my friends have dubbed “the dance of the yodeling cebu lips,” which is where it gives me no Supporters, no Energy and cards that only work well with Supporters and Energy, like Dark Patch, Muscle Band, and Pokémon Catcher. I only hit two Energy the entire game, and only one Laser. I lost that one.

Game two, I got an allright setup, while he got an explosive setup. I just wasn’t able to keep up, Dusknoir did nothing because of Garbodor, and he just got way too much board position on me. It was a lot closer than it sounds; I flipped two tails on Catcher, which lost me the game.

Had I had another turn, I would have won, but I was just one turn behind. I just couldn’t deal with four-Energy Yveltals with Lasers and Muscle Band and one-Energy Hammerheads for 100 on my Darkrai when I was struggling to get a two-Energy Yveltal, due to bad Prizes and bad draws.

Overall, I can’t say that I’m bitter about losing to dead-draws. I was playing to have fun, and even if I did dead-draw to lose Top 4 of a States, it was still one of the funniest games I’ve had in a while. Everyone (the judge and spectators included) was cracking jokes and it was more laid back than the top four of a few Cities I’ve been to. I had an amazing day, and I can’t complain at all.


  • My mom for getting up at midnight to drive me there.
  • Alex S., Dane C., and Trevor M. for helping me test the deck.
  • Town Map for being the best play.
  • Dane for suggesting Town Map.
  • My first trophy.
  • An amazing box of XY.
  • A Froakie hat.
  • Top 4.
  • Hanging out with friends.
  • Getting to meet some of my online friends.
  • Friends making top cut.


  • “The dance of the yodeling cebu lips” in Top 4.
  • Spilling a Fanta all over my pants on lunch break.
  • Alex S. for missing cut because his opponents lucksacked him.

That’s about it.

I hope you guys have enjoyed reading this, and I hope to write more articles for you guys again soon!

– Stephan “Unflappable Mayer” Blake

Reader Interactions

9 replies

    • Stephan Blake  → Jonas

      Absol’s damage output is unreliable in my opinion. Had Yveltal XY not been released, I would have run one copy, but I just feel like Yveltal XY outclasses it by a long shot as a non EX attacker.

    • Stephan Blake  → Brandon

      Random Receiver and Skyla don’t mix well. This was also meant to be a fast deck, and Skyla isn’t fast.

  1. Darksripe2

    It hurts after a rr play to try to refresh your hand

  2. Alex Snape

    Great report, I loved the irony when you said ” I was going for consistency” ( Runs a 1-0-1 Dusknoir with 1 rare candy”

    • Stephan Blake  → Alex

      Dusknoir wasn’t the main focus of the deck. It was more of a tech, and I never found myself wanting a thicker line, both in testing and in tournament play.

  3. nerdballer

    I would have loved some personal opinion/insight into your choice of Shauna over Colress for your deck. Whether it was a metagame call, if your deck just didn’t bench many mons, or if you didn’t like having the dreaded turn 1 Colress.

    • Stephan Blake  → nerdballer

      Colress is more risky than Shauna. T1 Colress is never fun, and a lot of other decks were running Colress as well. I tried to limit my bench space, which in turn limited their draws off of Colress, while still getting consistent draw with Shauna.

      Another thing I found with the Colress version is that either you don’t draw enough, or you draw to much and deck out. Shauna helps with that, I’m usually less worried about decking out with Shauna than with Colress.

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