The season is nearing its close with just a few more Regional Championships and League Challenges to go, and Nationals are on the horizon.
Today I’m going to be discussing a rather unique deck that most people are without a doubt aware of, but one which is hated by many to play against. That deck is of course, Trevenant/Accelgor, running on the same pre-established concept as the old Gothitelle version from a year ago, except now even more consistent with a little bit of extra room for added consistency or techs.
For those who are not familiar with Trevenant/Accelgor, the basic aim of the deck is simply to try and lock the opponent’s Active from attacking or retreating with Accelgor DEX’s “Deck and Cover” while building up damage to move around with Dusknoir BCR and locking out Items such as Switch with Trevenant XY. The ultimate aim is completing a “perfect” lock.
This strategy may seem too good to be true, and that’s because in some ways it is. Virizion-EX which prevents Special Conditions is prevalent in our metagame and it causes the deck some major obstacles to the point where if the opponent plays multiple Virizion the matchup is virtually unwinnable.
Having said that, a consistent list can get a powerful turn two Item lock most games, and by setting up the full Accelgor lock by turn three or four it should turn every other match into an uphill struggle for the opponent. The polarized matchups might well put many off of this deck, but in the right metagame it should certainly not be counted out.
Today I’m hoping to break down the basic concept of the deck with a simple list similar to that which I used in a recent Regionals tournament (with a few minor changes) and break down the individual matchups the deck will commonly face, and how you could play against them, or potentially tech against them if need be.
Pokémon – 20
Trainers – 36
Energy – 4
Against most decks (e.g Yveltal/Garbodor, Rayboar, Flareon, etc.) you want to be following the same basic strategy of completely locking the opponent out of the game, and using Dusknoir to move damage around before taking all your remaining Prizes in a single swoop at the end of the game.
Your goal in every matchup will be to try and set up a turn two Trevenant, and another one on the Bench, and then after that you will want to set up a couple of Accelgor and a Dusknoir.
Then the deck just needs to stream Deck and Cover with either Mew-EX (using its Versatile Ability) or Accelgor itself, depending on what is easier and more appropriate in the situation (keep in mind to always leave at least one Accelgor in play when possible). Sending up Trevenant with a Float Stone attached at the end of each turn will maintain the Item lock, preventing the opponent from playing cards like Switch.
You should generally avoid taking knockouts until you are about to win, in case of a late game N bringing your hand down to just a couple of cards and potentially breaking the lock.
If you do ever need something from the Prizes, or if you are unable to get a Dusknoir into play, then you should try to use Town Map if possible to see what is prized, guaranteeing that you get the cards that you need.
This blanket strategy works against several decks, and as long as you can set up quickly you should be able to beat these decks most of the time. As such this deck is very good in a metagame containing heavy numbers of decks like Yveltal/Garbodor and Rayboar.
However there are several decks that can cause Trevenant/Accelgor some problems and have ways to break the “perfect” lock that the deck tries to set up. To make things simpler I have decided to break down some of the more complicated matchups and give some suggestions of how to play them out and techs you could improve the matchups if you are worried about facing a particular deck.
Your first aim with this matchup should be to focus on getting a turn two Item lock with Trevenant. If you can get out the Item lock before Blastoise comes into play then the matchup becomes a lot easier, and you will have several extra turns to focus on getting your attacking Accelgor into play as the Blastoise player won’t be able to set up an attacker like Keldeo-EX until at least the third turn.
Your main goal in this matchup regardless as to whether they set up Blastoise or not is to remove any Keldeo-EXs from play as soon as you can. If they have a Keldeo-EX on the Bench with one or two Energies invested then you want to be able to Knock it Out as soon as possible, otherwise the “Rush In” Ability can remove the Special Condition effects doled out by Accelgor and prevent your lock, allowing them to attack freely.
To do this you will want to either use Pokémon Catcher to bring up a Keldeo from the Bench, or build up damage and avoid taking knockouts in order to move the damage around with Dusknoir and take knockouts as and when you need to on their Keldeos.
Most variants of the deck run 2-3 Keldeo-EX, so if you are able to knock a couple out then you should be able to finish the game pretty quickly, particularly because the Item lock prevents them from playing cards like Ultra Ball and Superior Energy Retrieval, greatly slowing them down.
I would consider the matchup to be positive, but if you are worried about Keldeo I would recommend playing a pair of Silver Bangle and three Pokémon Catcher as listed above. You could also potentially increase the Accelgor line to 4-3 or 4-4 if Blastoise is going to be a large metagame presence, as it will enable you to stream Accelgor more easily.
As I touched on earlier Virizion-EX is a real obstacle, so any deck that is running three to four of them is going to be too much for the deck to handle, particularly as their deck also has access to Red Signal on Genesect-EX to bring up any Benched Pokémon they choose.
If you are expecting to see this deck as a heavy presence I would recommend choosing another deck, however if you expect that you might only face it once or twice but still want to try and give yourself a way to beat the deck then there are a few options available to you.
I feel the most viable option for the deck is to try and fit in a 2-2 Flareon PLF line, as with Silver Bangle Flareon is already doing 100 damage to Virizion/Genesect, so with just four Pokémon in the discard pile it can get a 1HKO on both of them. This a pretty viable target considering the deck is already running about 20 Pokémon.
This would require dropping a little consistency, but there is room for dropping four cards if needed, and having a Super Rod and a Dowsing Machine would give you a reasonable chance of getting three Grass EX knockouts in a game with the help of Catcher.
Garbodor DRX is also a popular option as it enables you to still take advantage of Accelgor’s extra Poison damage and maintain a soft lock (although a Tool Scrapper or Switch will instantly remove the Special Conditions).
It’s certainly an option to consider, but I fear with a thin line the opponent could play a Tool Scrapper and then Red Signal up the Garbodor before KOing with Genesect-EX. If they only run a single Scrapper or none at all then the combination is more useful, but if they are running multiple Scrapper I find that Garbodor is only a temporary solution, and will not significantly improve the matchup.
The main problem with both cards (Flareon and Garbodor) is that when one or two of those cards are prized in the key matchup then you have no real out to win, and they are almost exclusively useless outside of this matchup in this sort of deck that is very focused on a specific concept.
Alternatively for more of a soft-lock option the Silver Mirror + P Energy combination could slightly improve the matchup (although it is still in their favor). By attacking with Trevenant and preventing their strongest attacker (Genesect-EX) from attacking you could potentially give yourself a chance to win. This combination is also somewhat useful against Plasma decks as well, as I will explain onto later.
This is an interesting matchup because although they generally have access to Virizion, it is normally only a single copy which means if played correctly the matchup is definitely still winnable.
If you can set up a turn two Item lock before they set up a Virizion-EX then the matchup will be much easier as it will be difficult for them to draw into just a single card from the whole deck. However if they do play it down your focus should be on setting up a Dusknoir quickly, and getting multiple Phantumps and Trevenants ready for opposing attackers.
Using Silver Bangle you should be able to get enough damage on the board from three attacks to use Dusknoir’s Ability and Knock Out a Virizion-EX. Then, once it is Knocked Out as long as you don’t miss many turns of attacking the opponent is normally out of options to win, unless they are able to pull out a big play with Genesect-EX’s Red Signal in a Plasma version of the deck.
If the opponent cannot 1HKO your Trevenant then getting rid of their Virizions shouldn’t be too difficult, but if they are able to then you will need to preserve your Super Rod and ensure that there are always multiple Phantumps/Trevenants in play.
The most you should ever need is four Trevenant, so as long as you have Super Rod out of the Prizes the matchup can still be winnable even if they do get an explosive start, although it will be an uphill battle to hit everything you need.
This matchup is relatively positive, but it can also be quite complicated to play it out correctly. There are a few different ways to play this matchup and techs that can be used to improve it if you feel that Plasma will be a heavy metagame presence, and you want to shore up the matchup.
Generally the opponent has two major tactics against this deck. They want to try and be aggressive with Lugia-EX/Thundurus-EX early on with the hope that you won’t be able to get a lock and they can just find a way to take Prizes quickly and win easily.
If they can win the first game then they will attempt to try and bring up a Benched Pokémon like a Duskull (or potentially even a Trevenant) and then just sit with Snorlax PLS in the Active, using its “Block” Ability to prevent you from retreating. Most Trevenant builds do not play Switch (although I ended up choosing to use it at a recent tournament I attended), so if the Plasma player can set up a lock with Snorlax they can normally just stall for the win.
If they don’t see any way of winning the game then they might well just decide to settle for using Snorlax’s “Block” Ability anyway if they are content with a draw. If you are expecting to face a large number of Plasma decks with Snorlax and Genesect then there are a couple of cards you can play to aid your matchup.
One option which is popular at the moment amongst many players is devoting a few spaces to a couple of Silver Mirror and P Energy. Theoretically if you were to start with a single Phantump this could give you a free win against any Plasma deck, as a turn two Trevenant with Silver Mirror could block all of their attackers from attacking, and you could just use Trevenant’s attack until you have taken all your knockouts.
The biggest issue with this is that some Plasma decks are using a single non-Plasma attacker like Landorus-EX or Mewtwo-EX, which could potentially break the Silver Mirror lock and bench you out as you won’t have any Benched Pokémon due to the risk of Red Signal + Block breaking the Silver Mirror lock.
Having said that it is highly improbable that the opponent would be able to set this all up in a single turn, and as such if you detect the threat of an opposing attacker like Mewtwo-EX you could just bench some other Pokémon and start setting up normally.
Alternatively you could use a Trevenant to KO Mewtwo-EX with Silver Bangle, and then use Tool Scrapper and/or another Trevenant to attach Silver Mirror to, in order to re-establish the lock afterward.
The P Energies are also useful even when trying to follow the normal Accelgor strategy. If the opponent ever tries to use Block to stall out the game after you have already started using the Accelgor strategy you can set up a Trevenant and attack with it. Then after a few turns you can use Dusknoir to take out knockouts on any opposing threats like Genesect and the Snorlax.
The damage from Trevenant is a surprisingly large amount as with Dusknoir it is effectively 100 damage every turn for just two Energy attachments (a DCE and Psychic) and with a Snorlax stranded in the Active without a Float Stone you would have at least a couple of turns to build up damage.
I personally haven’t spent a lot of time testing with the Silver Mirror variant, as I ended up devoting space to a second Tool Scrapper and a little added consistency for a heavy Darkrai/Garbodor metagame. However should you be expecting to face a lot of Plasma you should certainly keep it in mind.
I ended up in 14th place with the deck at London Regionals, although due to the rule changes limiting top cut to Top 8 I was of course unable to play in the top cut and get any extra prizes, though I still gained 45 Championship Points for my efforts and some much needed experience before Nationals.
Overall I was happy with my deck choice and it worked quite well for me as I faced mainly the matchups that I expected. If I had more time before the tournament I would have liked to have made myself more comfortable with some of the matchups like Blastoise, but ultimately there wasn’t a lot more I could have done.
London Regionals ended up being the largest Regionals of the season so far, and the largest Regionals ever in the UK as far as I know (certainly in the two seasons I have been playing). The higher attendances are great to see and I hope we will continue to see some growth in the game in the UK.
I wish everyone good luck at any remaining tournaments before Nationals and with their testing with the upcoming set. Thanks for reading the article, and if you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to ask.