Heating Up

The Emergence of Pyroar and Analysis of 11 Competitive Decks

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Since last week, we have experienced another development in the metagame. With a few National Championships remaining, as well as the World Championships, I think it is time to go over a large array of the competitive decks and assess what problems they face, how many of the them can be solved, how to solve them, and if they are problems worth solving. At this point it is necessary to do so because the format keeps shifting. In fact, last weekend alone, two players rocked our world in Singapore and the Czech Republic by winning National Championships with Pyroar/Charizard and Pyroar/Landorus/Mewtwo respectively.

It has come that time spent speaking about the minutia of gameplay or how controlling your habits can make you successful won’t help you in time for the big events. All that can be done to create the maximum amount of benefit is to produce as much information on one page as possible. I encourage other writers to write about their takes on the metagame as well. The important thing to take away from this article will be to see which things most people agree on. This will save you a lot of time if your testing is in its infancy. Finding out where you stand on the disagreements of others is of utmost importance for your ability to perform well at any event, especially one in such a developed metagame as ours.

Previously, Pyroar had seen almost no success. People were starting to doubt the card, but everyone wanted to include something that evolves for some peace of mind. However, this proved not to be enough when a few players used a thick line and some Bench-dragging mechanisms to defeat these counters. Cards like Charizard-EX, Mewtwo-EX, and Landorus-EX, for example, have proven capable of getting past these counters with ease.

Since it is clear that it will not be possible to give you my projections for which deck is going to win, given that there are still more events to oversee along the way to US Nationals, I will try instead to be thorough and give a small analysis of each competitively-viewed deck, as well as my thoughts on how I expect each to perform.

Table of Contents

Yveltal/Garbodor

It suffices to say that this deck deserves to be spoken about first. It has been widely hailed as the best deck by many. The topic has been beaten to death by writers and players alike.

This deck and its variants will cover a massive portion of the field for obvious reasons, namely that it is a safe play. This deck will top cut. It has few terrible matchups. It is quick, consistent, and has an unlimited damage capacity. For some players, the debate will be less about which deck to play, but rather which cards to pair Yveltal-EX with.

Pokémon – 12

3 Yveltal-EX

2 Trubbish LTR

2 Garbodor LTR

1 Yveltal XY

1 Bouffalant DRX

1 Sableye DEX

1 Druddigon FLF

1 Darkrai-EX

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Colress

2 Skyla

2 Lysandre

 

3 Float Stone

3 Muscle Band

 

4 Ultra Ball

4 Dark Patch

1 Dowsing Machine

 

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 12

8 Darkness

4 Double Colorless

There are very few things done differently in this list than others. As many others are beginning to realize, the Random Receiver/Bike engine is becoming less and less effective. This deck fills the Bench quickly, as every Basic in the deck is a desirable card to have in play. Additionally, cutting Random Receiver allows the use of Lysandre, which is a little less maneuverable than Pokémon Catcher, but a whole lot more guaranteed. Often, that can mean everything in a drawn-out game.

One big weakness of these decks is that lists will all be very generic. Surprises will be rare, and after a game against your opponent in best-of-three you are likely to know almost every count in their deck. Just make sure that you are certain of a count in someone’s deck beyond reasonable doubt before you make a play accordingly.

Overall this deck is an extremely competitive play due to its massive arsenal of attackers and the power that it offers. I’d recommend this deck to anyone, but I’m not the only one and as such Yveltal/Garbodor has a massive target painted on its head.

Yveltal/Raichu

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Yveltal/Raichu is another developing deck that amazingly has gone unplayed on a popular level for too long. Upon the release of Flashfire, Druddigon became the bane of RayBoar and Blastoise’s existence. It made the need for Garbodor in Yveltal decks questionable. While the lock created by Garbodor has other applications, Yveltal’s biggest enemy became itself when the “Rain Dancers” got their death sentence.

So what better way to win the Yveltal mirror than by teching for it?

Pokémon – 15

3 Yveltal-EX

3 Pikachu XY

3 Raichu XY

1 Yveltal XY

1 Bouffalant DRX

1 Sableye DEX

1 Druddigon FLF

1 Darkrai-EX

1 Keldeo-EX

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Colress

2 Skyla

2 Lysandre

 

4 Ultra Ball

4 Dark Patch

3 Muscle Band

1 Dowsing Machine

 

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 12

8 Darkness

4 Double Colorless

As you can see, the core of the deck remains the same, but a thick Raichu line and a Keldeo-EX take the space of Garbodor and Float Stone. With this, Yveltal/Garbodor has a hard time keeping up when the Raichu version can use a non-EX attacker to KO anything in it.

Another cool thing to note is that the Lightning-type edge comes in nicely against a lot of other decks as well, including but not limited to Empoleon and Lugia. It adds to the arsenal a Pokémon that can retreat freely without needing Darkrai-EX’s Dark Cloak.

I think that one misconception about the deck’s matchup against RayBoar is that it would perform in a lesser fashion simply due to the lack of Garbodor. While the matchup may be a few percent back toward RayBoar’s favor, Yveltal/Raichu would still have the edge. The key for this variant would be to avoid using Yveltal-EX unless to bait out a Rayquaza-EX, and only in a scenario in which you would be knocking it out. This causes the RayBoar player to remain vulnerable in the trade throughout the entire game. In fact, if RayBoar Prizes a Fennekin in this matchup, it’s usually pretty one-sided.

Pyroar/Charizard

This deck makes the list because it has been sorely underestimated, as Jit Min of Singapore has shown us. In fact, I was able to approach him about his experience with the deck. His answers to my short online interview are below:

There are a few reasons for my choosing Charizard.

I saw that Charizard wasn’t performing well at the other Nationals thus far and I wanted to prove that I could build a solid Charizard list, when others couldn’t, and win with it.

Additionally, this format, in terms of tournament structure, is one of the most tiring to play as you are playing 3 times the amount of matches, so it’s mentally challenging; and Pyroar/Charizard is one of the best decks to strain out your opponent and leverage on their tired mistakes.

I saw that most winning lists of Yvetal/Raichu don’t run Super Rod, so against those decks, taking out 2 or 3 Raichus and sending out Pyroar would have won me the game; which is a simple winning condition to achieve. Charizard also easily wrecks another meta deck: Virizon/Genesect.

Also I was confident that everyone who had tested the Japanese Charizard winning lists or variants would not be able to keep up with the speed of my Charizard and be caught off guard.

Lastly, I predicted that some people would simply give up their Pyroar matchups, so why not be the one to go pick up those free wins?

I wasn’t afraid of any deck as I ran techs to cover the entire meta. I was really hoping to play against Yveltal as I tech more for that, and testing with Dylan Bryan and Tito Santoso, I didn’t lose a single match against it. However, I only ran into one of them.

Before top cut, the meta was mainly Yvetal and Virizon with a few Blastoise here and there.

Sami was telling me the day before Nationals not to play this and I was considering switching to a list which my good friend Joey finished 3rd with; but with encouragement from Dylan Bryan, Yas Sekoum, and Joey I decided to risk it with Charizard, so I am really happy. After 3 times finishing 2nd at Nationals, I finally won with a rogue deck.”

I’d like to thank Mr. Jit Min for his time to answer my questions and congratulate him on an obviously well-deserved win. However, I think his deck it what is really catching everyone’s eye. A talented player like Jit surprises few when he finally wins after so many top finishes.

As you can probably tell, Jit has decided to keep his list under wraps. Typically anyone who puts as much work as he did into a deck would choose to keep it a secret as long as possible. It doesn’t hurt to take a stab at it, but the best lists are ones that have been extensively tested. As Jit referenced in his interview as well, he found that a lot of his in-game play affected the outcome of the game, as his opponents would make mistakes that he saw before they did.

Pokémon – 10

3 Litleo FLF 18

3 Pyroar FLF

3 Charizard-EX FLF 12

1 M-Charizard-EX FLF 13

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

1 Colress

2 Lysandre

3 Blacksmith

3 Bicycle

2 Fiery Torch

 

4 Ultra Ball

3 Switch

3 Muscle Band

1 Super Rod

1 Computer Search

 

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 13

9 Fire

4 Double Colorless

While my list here is rough, and I have no testing with this deck, I think that Pyroar/Charizard opens up a serious discussion. Pyroar deserves attention. Any deck that can win simply by KO’ing an opponent’s techs is a lethal one.

The way most players have prepared for Pyroar is by either including Latias-EX, Garbodor, or Raichu, granted that they all have utility in other matchups. Jit has proven that this may not be enough. He won his event with relative ease and confidence. This serves as a huge wakeup call for the rest of us. You should either be very well-versed against different Pyroar decks, or playing one and be very well-acquainted with all of the possible counters.

Frankly, I think this is what we needed. Many players have complained that the format has become narrow and stale. Pyroar blows it wide open. Many decks will have merit to players simply because they offer an escape from the fear of being locked out of a game by Pyroar. Jit’s variant is just one of many.

Pyroar/Landorus/Mewtwo

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A similar deck to Pyroar/Charizard, the Landorus/Mewtwo version seems to be geared at targeting the threats that are intended to deal with Pyroar in a different fashion. I assume that one big threat in the Czech Republic he intended to counter was Kangaskhan, but the deck was nowhere to be found. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared, it seems. That being said, there are probably a million sets of attackers that Pyroar can take advantage of. This one is another example of a successful one. Below is an attempt at the list.

Pokémon – 11

4 Litleo FLF 18

3 Pyroar FLF

2 Landorus-EX

2 Mewtwo-EX

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

2 Colress

3 Skyla

3 Lysandre

 

4 Ultra Ball

1 Level Ball

3 Muscle Band

3 Switch

1 Professor’s Letter

1 Super Rod

1 Dowsing Machine

 

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 13

4 Double Colorless

3 Rainbow

3 Fire

3 Fighting

Pyroar can get away with running weird lines because of the minimal number of things it needs to handle once set up. Once Pyroar is down, the only thing the pilot player needs to do is focus on thinning out the irrelevant cards and getting Pyroar to start taking the free Prizes offered by your opponent as he tries to set up his or her tech Stage 1 line.

It’s hard to say a lot about these decks. They all do the same thing in different ways, trying to end the game in a one-sided lock. It is reminiscent of Klinklang PLS during Nationals and World Championships last year. It gave anyone not playing the deck a big headache.

Congrats to the Janous brothers for the win and top 4 finish in the Czech Republic Nationals!

Plasma: Lugia

Plasma is going to be around until it rotates. It has proven itself over and over again, but has slowly been seeing less success since its amazing finishes at US Nationals and the World Championships in 2013. When Muscle Band was released, we all had a hard time imagining anything but Lugia-EX winning an event. Time and testing showed something very different, and Lugia sank behind the flock of Yveltal arriving on the scene.

However, that is not to say Lugia should not be considered a threat. Recently, Sebastian Lugo was able to take an event with his Speed Lugia deck, teching only a Latias to combat Pyroar. Winning in two attacks is still nothing to scoff at. Below is a vanilla list, not teched for anything in particular.

Pokémon – 13

3 Lugia-EX

4 Deoxys-EX

3 Thundurus-EX PLF

1 Genesect-EX

1 Virizion-EX

1 Kyurem PLF

Trainers – 34

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Colress

3 Skyla

 

3 Ultra Ball

2 Team Plasma Ball

4 Colress Machine

3 Switch

3 Muscle Band

2 Startling Megaphone

1 Max Potion

1 Scramble Switch

 

1 Tropical Beach

Energy – 13

4 Plasma

4 Double Colorless

4 Prism

1 Blend WLFM

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Pyroar can cause it major problems.

This is not a deck I could see myself playing. I have been in love with Plasma decks all year, playing them at almost every event to get my Worlds invite, but I love to win more than I love playing this deck at this point. Lugia has a large laundry list of things to counter at this junction – Pyroar sets it back, M-Kangaskhan-EX’s 230 HP gets outside of Lugia’s “OHKO” range, and Yveltal decks are now just as likely to run Raichu as Garbodor, arguably the only thing that could have worsened Lugia’s matchup against Yveltal.

The merit it does have, however, is that it can tech for a lot of these problems. While Yveltal is by no means too unfavorable to make it not worth playing, Pyroar needs to be addressed. Personally, I think that a Kangaskhan-EX line would make the most sense, as it is able to abuse Double Colorless Energy and cleave through a couple Pyroar before going down. The reason this would work is because Lugia, especially if going first, is entirely capable of rushing and taking 2-4 Prizes before Pyroar becomes the only thing on its own side of the table. Overflow allows you to get far enough head while hopefully devastating your opponent’s setup to allow a safe entry for your counter.

My problem with the Latias tech in here is that it doesn’t cover the possibility of a Druddigon at the wrong time. Some lists of Pyroar will inevitably run the card, being mindful of Latias-EX. If you take a KO on Pyroar with damage from Latias-EX, you could not only lose your only counter to the lions, but you will experience an unfavorable trade at the hands of their counter for yours.

As for the shaky Yveltal matchup, the best you can do is keep a smooth list and figure out what builds you want to be prepared for. If Garbodor is the big threat in the meta you expect, then 2 Startling Megaphone may be all you need to take the game. The scary part is knowing that Raichu, combined with Lysandre, could eliminate a nearly charged Lugia-EX. The strategy against this type of build would probably be to forget about Lugia altogether and try to get 4 Deoxys in play and a Muscle Band on your Thundurus. The last Bench slot in this scenario would either be a Thundurus-EX, a Virizion-EX to deal with the Lasers, or Genesect-EX.

Ideally, you’d be able to KO anything named Raichu or Yveltal in one hit. Deoxys-EX is able to deal with Bouffalant, and with a Muscle Band it also can knock out a responding Druddigon with relative ease. If you can’t get 4 Deoxys out for Prizing reasons, try using Kyurem to spread the damage to the right places to get the same result. Kyurem being knocked out is irrelevant since it just creates an odd-Prize scenario.

The decision to play Lugia would have you teching for some tough matchups, but the result would be a lot of 50-50 games. Frankly, in an increasingly predictable metagame, you can do better. Lugia is not the only Plasma deck to consider.

Plasma: TDK (Thundurus/Deoxys/Kyurem)

This is another deck that I have admittedly been overly attached to the last few months. I have been through 3 different builds, but the one below is pretty close to my final list for the deck.

Pokémon – 12

3 Thundurus-EX PLF

3 Deoxys-EX

3 Kyurem PLF

1 Genesect-EX

1 Virizion-EX

1 Latias-EX

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

4 Colress

2 Skyla

 

3 Ultra Ball

2 Team Plasma Ball

3 Colress Machine

3 Switch

3 Muscle Band

1 Computer Search

 

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

3 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 12

4 Plasma

4 Prism

3 Rainbow

1 Blend WLFM

Before I talk about the deck’s outlook, I suppose I need to explain a few of my choices in the list. When looking at it, you will notice right off the bat that I chose to run only 3 Deoxys-EX. This is because the damage output this deck achieves with Hypnotoxic Laser, Muscle Band, AND Deoxys-EX is often excessive, and for that reason I devote only 2 spots on the Bench to Deoxys in a typical game instead of the often-standard 3. This allows for more attackers on the field, which is important, especially when a lot of matchups require no use of Red Signal, which means good news whenever you draw a Colress Machine.

Another choice was the lack of Startling Megaphone. Between Laser, a 1-Prize attacker in Kyurem, and Thundurus with Muscle Band, I found that Yveltal/Garbodor was actually a very decent matchup without the use of Abilities. Kyurem doesn’t need Deoxys to OHKO an Yveltal-EX anyway.

Finally, some would argue that Dowsing Machine would fit well in here, and a Virbank could then be cut for something else. I stand by Computer Search due to its ability to be useful at any point, and its ability to grab any of the Energies in the deck, which proves valuable in many games, namely against Empoleon/Miltank, when you want to always have a Plasma Energy to keep Empoleon off the board. 3 Virbank City Gym allows for a counter to things like Tropical Beach and Skyarrow Bridge, which provide a lot of utility to their respective decks RayBoar/Blastoise and Virizion/Genesect. Furthermore, it is always helpful to have a Virbank City Gym in play the turn you play your first Laser.

Overall, I think the deck has a lot of matchups that are slightly in its favor. You may have noticed that I disagreed with the use of Latias-EX in Lugia, but in TDK, it has a sound line of logic. When using it to KO Pyroar, a Muscle Band, Laser, and Virbank City Gym can be use to deal with Pyroar and get away scot-free from punishment at the hands of Druddigon (Poison ignores its first attack). There isn’t really anything else that a typical Pyroar deck could run that would surprise you. If you see it on the Bench preparing to attack your Latias, you have all the tools in your deck to knock it out before it ever can.

Beyond its potential against Pyroar, the deck obviously handles Yveltal variants pretty well, usually beats Empoleon/Miltank, and possesses the speed to out speed the other Stage 2 decks. It also beats Virizion/Genesect a majority of the time you get a turn 1 or 2 Frost Spear off. I would be wary of Pyroar still, every build of it is going to be looking to counter anything that only runs a tech for its main attacker.

RayBoar

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Last week, Chris Fulop mentioned that the format is shifting in a way that is conducive to RayBoar’s large-scale return to the format. I must say that I disagree. In testing, my partner Chris Murray and I found a very consistent RayBoar list that we adapted from Jimmy Pendarvis’s. For those who don’t know, Jimmy has been very successful with Stage 2 decks for over a year now. Despite finding a list we felt confident in, we found that every single deck that we used against it was able to beat it at least a couple times. More importantly, every variant of Yveltal that was used against it was able to beat RayBoar over 75% of the time. Between Druddigon in the Raichu variant and Garbotoxin in the Garbodor version, RayBoar just can’t have fun against such a steep disadvantage.

I can’t recommend this deck to anyone at the current moment. Unless something happens to Yveltal to make it a significantly less desirable play, then RayBoar should seem unappealing to most, as at least half the field will be below 50-50. For a while, I could have seen the deck returning to the limelight when Virizion/Genesect began to show signs of life with the utter lack of Pyroar. That is no longer the case.

If you really wanted to play the deck, the optimal build would have at least 2 Startling Megaphone and 2 Lysandre to attempt to deal with Garbodor, and still remain consistent. It’s not impossible, but it is definitely less likely to produce desirable results. It’s still a Stage 2 deck in the Juniper format: anything can happen.

Empoleon/Miltank

This is a deck that self-revived due to the release of Miltank FLF. Empoleon had won numerous City Championships this year only to die off at the hands of Plasma decks overpowering them with Weakness and Darkrai/Garbodor being able to shut them down with ease. Now that Plasma is seeing a lull in play for the most part, and Empoleon has become more able to cope with Ability lock with a more low-maintenance attacker, the deck could see a resurgence in play.

Below is a sample list:

Pokémon – 19

4 Piplup DEX

1 Prinplup DEX

4 Empoleon DEX

2 Duskull BCR

1 Dusclops BCR

2 Dusknoir BCR

4 Miltank FLF

1 Exeggcute PLF

Trainers – 34

3 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Colress

4 Skyla

 

3 Level Ball

3 Ultra Ball

4 Rare Candy

3 Muscle Band

2 Startling Megaphone

1 Switch

1 Escape Rope

1 Super Rod

1 Dowsing Machine

 

1 Tropical Beach

Energy – 7

7 Water

Alternatives in this list include running Silver Bangle in place of some or all of the Muscle Band. This deck’s goals are straightforward: get an Empoleon down with a few Miltank and get damage into play while working on Dusknoir to take control.

I am torn on whether or not this deck is going to be, or even should be popular as the format matures. At first glance, it has everything: It can utilize control, Miltank’s Fighting Weakness is hard to leverage, and the deck runs itself once an Empoleon hits the table. It creates early pressure on the field and Dusknoir makes it perfectly efficient.

My biggest issue with the deck is that all of its best matchups are poor plays for US Nationals. Based on recent results, the best decks are Yveltal/Garbodor and Yveltal/Raichu, with a couple outliers. While Empoleon would likely have a field day with Pyroar, its matchup against the Garbodor decks is shaky at best, even with Megaphone to help eliminate Garbodors. Furthermore, Raichu creates all kinds of problems for Empoleon. Finally, the deck suffers greatly against Plasma. Thundurus-EX combined with Genesect-EX or Lysandre keeps Miltank from being useful by allowing the smooth KO’s on Empoleon at any given point in the game. Lugia undoubtedly has an even more one-sided matchup against the penguin and cow.

I’d hold off on playing this deck deck if you are considering it. It seems the threats to this deck have been growing since the set came out.

Flygon/Dusknoir/Accelgor

This deck never seems to get a lot of popularity, but it seems that every time a good player picks it up, he or she makes top cut. The deck seems appealing in that, like many currently successful decks, it runs primarily on non-EX attackers. It differentiates itself by being a spread deck.

Pokémon – 19

4 Trapinch BCR

1 Vibrava BCR

3 Flygon BCR

2 Duskull FLF

1 Dusclops FLF

2 Dusknoir BCR

3 Shelmet PLB

2 Accelgor DEX

1 Mewtwo-EX

Trainers – 37

2 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Colress

4 Skyla

 

4 Ultra Ball

4 Level Ball

4 Rare Candy

3 Float Stone

2 Max Potion

1 Startling Megaphone

1 Super Rod

1 Dowsing Machine

 

4 Tropical Beach

Energy – 4

4 Double Colorless

flygon boundaries crossed bcr 99 official
Many don’t know how to play against it.

In all honesty, this deck could be a contender. However, I personally think that a large portion of this deck’s success has come from the lack of knowledge a player has of the matchup. Having watched a few streams, there have been gaping misplays at the beginning of each game and a close finish. What this tells me is that Flygon doesn’t really have what it takes to win numerically, but a player making a mistake and essentially punting a game against it with a competitive deck makes the spread deck look significantly more glamorous than it is.

Put simply, all that a straight Yveltal needs to do to beat this deck is get a gamestate where only Keldeo-EX, Darkrai-EX, and 1 Yveltal-EX are in play early game. This allows for the deck to get around the Paralyze caused by Accelgor, while only taking a total of 60 damage between turns across all 3 Pokémon. And that’s assuming that the Flygon player can actually stream Flygons once Yveltal reaches knockout potential. Given the early Prize or two Yveltal would take against Flygon, in addition to the inevitable Prizes from the Mewtwo-EX that will be forced to handle Yveltal-EX, the matchup seems pretty lopsided.

Plasma can cope by knocking out the essentials in the deck whenever a Duskull hits the table. If all the damage is left on different Pokémon, there isn’t much Flygon has to work with. The combo only works well with both Stage 2s in play.

I think the deck is worth testing. You probably won’t get very far from the list above, but the deck’s performance will be largely based on precision not only of the user, but of the opponent as well. It reminds me of Gengar/Nidoqueen back in 2009: it was only good until the level at where players were able to play around the gimmicks.

Kangaskhan/Fairies

Everybody loves a tank. A big question for this format is whether anyone loves this one enough to try and overcome a sea of tricky matchups. Kangaskan finds its best matchups in decks that can not knock anything out in one hit. That is the case for a lot of games: Virizion/Genesect and most Plasma variants are incapable of the one-hit. Yveltal even requires an absurd amount of resource to take just one of the moms down.

Pokémon – 15

3 Spritzee FLF

2 Aromatisse XY

2 Kangaskhan-EX

2 M Kangaskan-EX

1 Xerneas XY

1 Virizion-EX

1 Sigilyph LTR

1 Xerneas-EX

1 Yveltal-EX

1 Darkrai-EX

Trainers – 34

3 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Colress

3 Skyla

1 Lysandre

 

4 Ultra Ball

2 Level Ball

3 Muscle Band

3 Max Potion

2 Startling Megaphone

1 Escape Rope

1 Super Rod

1 Dowsing Machine

 

3 Fairy Garden

Energy – 11

7 Fairy

4 Rainbow

Kangaskhan has potential, but it is quite possible that its potential is reserved for another format. As it stands, Yveltal does seem to beat this deck, as shown by National Championships results. The limitless damage Yveltal can do and still be able to follow up afterwards is absurd. The fact that this deck struggles with Yveltal alone should be grounds for dropping it as a choice. However, if that does not convince, it also still loses to Rayboar, which might see a fringe amount of play.

I am still testing with the deck. I am a big fan of the versatility Aromatisse now offers and the security against Pyroar is also something that is very welcome. I’m pretty sure at this point that it beats Plasma, or at least the traditional builds.

Virizion/Genesect

I’m not going to sugarcoat it – the outlook for this deck is pretty bad. Pyroar is an auto-loss. There are no guarantees against Yveltal as shown by previous results, even if Raichu is a factor. Rayboar is a pretty poor matchup still. TDK can jump it, only needing a quick Frost Spear to take full control. As consistent and powerful as this deck has always been, I am no longer a fan even if the deck had the smallest glimmer of situational playability.

Below is a list geared around getting a G Booster into play and KOing 3 EXs with it. The Mime is a hedge against your terrible TDK matchup.

Pokémon – 12

4 Virizion-EX

3 Genesect-EX

2 Roselia DRX 12

2 Roserade DRX 15

1 Mr. Mime PLF

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

2 Colress

4 Skyla

2 Shadow Triad

 

4 Ultra Ball

1 Level Ball

3 Muscle Band

3 Energy Switch

1 Professor’s Letter

1 Super Rod

1 Town Map

1 Tool Scrapper

1 G Booster

 

3 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 13

9 Grass

4 Plasma

I chose Tool Scrapper in order to be able to remove a Muscle Band from Genesect-EX, however situational that may be. Most players don’t ever let you take 3 Tools with Startling Megaphone anyway.

If Pyroar is something you are comfortable losing to at your Nationals, then by all means this deck has a significantly better chance at winning if you focus on the right things. Another interesting thing to try is to use Abomasnow PLB, a Stage 1 Water Pokémon that attacks with Grass Energy. For a Muscle Band and 2 Grass, the monster can OHKO a Pyroar. I’m not sure that this would produce the best results, but if you really want to play the deck, it is worth a shot for sure.

Conclusion

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After having taken a look at a lot of decks in this article and observed what they are weak and strong against, there are always going to be frontrunners. To pick a deck, I’d recommend using your knowledge of the metagame and deciding what you’d feel the most comfortable spending all day using against your “Big Three” or even “Big Two.” For me, it is rapidly shifting to a “Big Two.”

I think that the big guys at US Nationals will be Yveltal and Pyroar. Together they should take about two-thirds of the field, if not more. It’s not hard to see why, either. Everyone wants to make it back to the next day at the big 3-day event. Many will default to the safer plays because they know it carries the best odds of getting them there. This is a sound strategy, as anything can happen when your nerves and mind will be drained for the weekend.

I wish you all the best of luck at the event and hope that you all remember to take care of yourselves. Don’t forget that the deck you bring in is only a piece of your performance. This is your tournament and your mind is a muscle; it needs food, water, and a workout regimen long before the big event. Don’t be the one who comes unprepared.

As always, feel free to PM me if you have any other questions. I usually check them every couple days and respond immediately upon seeing them. If you need someone to bounce ideas off of, don’t hesitate!

Sincerely,

Jon Bristow


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