The biggest tournament of the year (US Nationals) has come and gone, and now, people are starting to make plans for the next most important event of the year: the World Championships. A new set will be released in mid-August, and if you’re not competing in Worlds or the LCQ this year, then Furious Fists is probably all that’s been on your mind. Since this was my first season getting back in the game and I’m a college student, I have neither the time nor funds to travel to DC.
That being said, I want to spend a majority of this article discussing some of the new cards that will arrive with Furious Fists and how they will fit into our meta. I’ll be going over how the new set meshes with some of our current decks and discussing the potential impact of big players like Seismitoad-EX and Landorus-EX. I would have really loved metagaming and figuring out “the play” for Worlds, but Raymond did a fantastic job covering that just a few days ago, and who doesn’t love analyzing the potential strategies that could come from a new set?
Table of Contents
- Nationals Report (and What I Should Have Played)
- Landorus vs. Seismitoad
- Revamping Established Decks
Nationals Report (and What I Should Have Played)
I came to US Nationals with 309 Championship Points and needed a pretty good run at either the main event or one of the Championship Point Challenges to earn an invite for Worlds, but to my dismay, neither of the tournaments panned out for me. The days (and even weeks) leading up to Nationals were a very confusing time for me since I honestly had no clue what to play. I had been testing Virizion/Genesect extensively, as I thought it was one of the most consistent decks in format, leading me to believe that it would have a good showing at US Nationals.
However, everything changed when the Fire types attacked. I had read on a Facebook page that Pyroar FLF/Charizard-EX FLF 12 had just won Singapore Nationals, and then all of a sudden, my fantastic play for US Nationals immediately became a lot less fantastic.
I was unsure how many people would actually follow suit and try Pyroar out at US Nationals (turns out it was a large number), but I started to look at other deck choices just in case. I tried everything from Plasma to Pyroar/Charizard itself, but nothing really seemed to light up for me.
I knew the time was ripe for a rogue deck to sweep the event, as the meta was so up in the air right up to the minutes before the tournament. No one really knew if Pyroar was going to see significant play. If someone could make the right prediction, a rogue deck could really shine.
Just a week before the tournament, I ended up throwing together a list that I thought had a ton of potential to do very well at US Nationals: Pyroar FLF/Ninetales DRX/Raichu XY. As I talked about in my last Underground article, Pyroar and Ninetales have great synergy together, provided by the ability to Bright Look any potential threats to Pyroar’s lock and seal up a game by eliminating any Evolutions from the field. Raichu was added just for good measure, since I expected there to be a ton of Yveltal-EX variants.
One of the main problems of the deck was the plethora of Stage 1 Pokémon, making it clunky. If you’re unable to evolve from the right Basic (on the right turn), your hand can become clogged with unhelpful cards.
Here is the decklist for the deck I should have played at US Nationals:
Pokémon – 18
Trainers – 32
Energy – 10
The biggest downfall that the deck had in my mind was occasional inconsistency. For example, if you N on the first turn and draw into 3 Stage 1s, that’s now 3 useless cards in your hand until you can evolve them. I really wish I had gotten more testing in with this list because it had everything I could have wanted: fantastic matchups across the board (as long as it could get going), substantial damage output, Pokémon-based support with Musharna, and even the ability to attack with Ninetales when I wanted to.
Ultimately, I had to decide between the deck that I was most comfortable with in Virizion/Genesect and the risky rogue deck that I really thought had a shot to go far. Unfortunately, I chickened out and went with Virizion/Genesect, which when looking back was the most logical choice. I had minimal testing with Pyroar and instead went with what I was comfortable with. It turns out there was a ton of Pyroar/Charizard at the tournament, and I think I would have had a pretty decent shot to beat most of them. I only wish I had more playtesting with the deck, so that I would have had more confidence to play it and opportunity to perfect the list.
Things happen though, and I know I am definitely going to follow my gut next time I want to take a risk by playing a rogue deck, as it certainly paid off for me during States! Speaking of States, I had a first round bye from my win in Arizona, so here’s how my matches went throughout the day:
R1: Bye (1-0-0)
R2: Yveltal/Darkrai/Raichu – Win (2-0-0)
R3: TDK – Loss (2-1-0)
R4: ??? – Tie (2-1-1)
R5: Yveltal/Garbodor – Loss (2-2-1)
R6: Virizion/Genesect – Loss (2-3-1)
R7: Empoleon – Win (3-3-1)
R8: Virizion/Genesect/Raichu – Win (4-3-1)
R9: Virizion/Genesect/Raichu – Win (5-3-1)
82nd place in my pod
Overall, I didn’t do as poorly as I thought I was going to. Once I heard that Pyroar was well represented, I instantly regretted my decision; however, I ended up not running into a single one.
I started to regret my decision even more when I hit two consecutive losses in rounds 5 and 6. Both of those matches were definitely winnable, but I drew completely dead during both series. I had come to the tournament playing the most consistent deck in format, so it was pretty frustrating when it dead-drew and cost me two of my rounds. I played 14 Supporter cards as well as 4 Ball cards with Jirachi-EX, but it happens. I’ve come to realize that it was most likely the universe saying, “I told you so.”
Landorus vs. Seismitoad
The format will be shifting to Boundaries Crossed-on starting September 3rd. This is also the date that Furious Fists becomes tournament legal, so there will be no overlap in formats this season.
The first thing I know was on everyone’s mind once this was announced was, “Landorus is going to be broken.”
This thought immediately caused an incredible spike in price from about $10 for a regular art Landorus-EX up to around $20-25, with the full arts being sold for up around $50! I think a lot people, including myself and Jay Hornung, were really expecting the format to shift to Plasma Storm-on, hoping that TPCi would see the incredible strength that Landorus would have with the release of the new set. Boundaries Crossed-on was always a possibility, but I never thought it would actually happen. Just to demonstrate how much damage Landorus will be able to actually do, I’ll go ahead and channel my inner Erik Nance and provide you all with a wonderful diagram:
Landorus-EX is essentially reaching Night Spear levels of damage for just one Energy. Considering this can all be achieved by the first turn relatively often, it’s no wonder this card is getting a ton of hype. Something else to take into consideration is that the Strong Energy attached to Landorus can also stack, but that’s only relevant after the first turn.
Lucario-EX was projected to be very good in the upcoming format, but now that the format is BCR-on, I think Lucario will get completely overshadowed by Landorus. This is without even mentioning that Landorus has a devastating second attack that can essentially 1HKO most things in format for 3 Energy.
Much like Yveltal-EX dominated much of our format this year, I expect Landorus-EX to be a king as well. But also just as Raichu started swarming the meta because of Yveltal, there will also be the rise of Water Pokémon due to Landorus’ projected popularity. The difference here is that there are many more viable Water Pokémon to counter Landorus, whereas Yveltal’s main enemies were Raichu and the occasional Manectric DRX 43. One of Landorus’ biggest threats in the past was Kyurem PLF, who is certainly hurt from the loss of Prism Energy and Blend Energy WLFM, but definitely still a contender. With the new Eevee from FFI, even Vaporeon PLF can now be a threat to Landorus starting turn 1. But wait, who else would become more powerful due to Landorus’ popularity?
Oh, that’s right.
What was already an incredibly hyped card now gets even better because of the rotation. I’ll go ahead and repeat what Raymond said in his previous article because I think he is exactly right: Seismitoad-EX will live up to its hype. Not only does have type advantage against one of the big kings of next format, but it also has the ability to lock your opponent’s Item cards, starting turn 1, which is something even Trevenant XY couldn’t do. We all saw how powerful Gothitelle and Trevenant were when they got their lock up turn 2. We also saw the crazy strength of Dragonite PLF’s lock with Garbodor LTR when it managed to get set up. Seismitoad is better than all of these for two reasons:
1. It locks Items through an attack rather than an Ability.
This makes Seismitoad even better because now it can use Garbodor as a main partner. Under Item lock, there is no way for your opponent to get back their Abilities for the turn, since they cannot use a Startling Megaphone. Even if they use Lysandre to bring up Garbodor, they have to spend their turn attacking into Garbodor, giving you a chance to set up another one going back into their turn. This also means that Lysandre isn’t as much of a threat to Seismitoad as it is to Gothitelle and Trevenant since it doesn’t need to be Active for the Item lock to stay in place.
2. It is a 180 HP Basic that can attack for a single Energy attachment.
This is the part that makes it even better than Dragonite’s Item locking attack. Seismitoad is a Basic Pokémon. It really is so consistent in locking the opponent turn 1 if you go second. If you go first, you can effectively get the Item lock and Ability lock into play before your opponent even gets a chance at a second turn. If you thought turn 2 locks were annoying, then get ready for the turn 1 lock. One of the ways to beat Dragonite was to outspeed them, but unfortunately, it is going to be a lot tougher to outspeed a bulky Basic Pokémon that can attack for 1 Double Colorless.
By itself, Seismitoad’s Quaking Punch attack is alright. Sure, it locks Items, but it would only do 30 damage at a time, meaning the games would go by quite slowly. But with Muscle Band and Hypnotoxic Laser in the format, Seismitoad can deal quite a lot of damage all while stopping Items. With a Band and Laserbank, it can effectively 2HKO most things as long as they stay Poisoned. Alongside a Garbodor that can no longer have its Tool removed, this card is going to be a monster. I’m predicting that the mirror matches are not going to be fun, as that would make my first statement become true. No Muscle Band or Hypnotoxic Lasers being able to be played means for quite the long mirror match, just dealing 30 damage to each other at a time. Boy, and I thought Yveltal mirror matches were bad.
Another thing I want to note before moving on is that I believe this card in conjunction with all of the damage modifiers and Garbodor will effectively wipe out the viability of Stage 2 decks. I know this is a bold statement, but I just cannot see any Stage 2 decks doing well against something that is shutting off Rare Candy by turn 1 and all Abilities by turn 2. (R.I.P. Politoed.)
The only thing that might be able to challenge Seismitoad would be Virizion/Genesect, but even then, it’s iffy, but more on that later.
In my playtesting, just seeing how strong Landorus-EX and Seismitoad-EX are makes me believe that they will come to dominate a lot of the upcoming metagame for Fall Regionals. However, I’m always in favor of that because that gives a wide opening for an awesome rogue deck to come into play; after all, no matter how good a card may be, it always has its weaknesses, even if some of those weaknesses may literally be their Weakness.
Revamping Established Decks
I’m sure a lot of fun and awesome, new decks will come out of Furious Fists, but I think the most success will come from revamping some of the decks that have already been doing well. I’ll be covering the three decks this time that I believe will be popular and have kind of a rock-paper-scissors relationship with each other. I’ll also be going through what the deck gains and loses from the new set and the rotation. First one up will be:
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 35
Energy – 12
I will admit that I took Pram’s second place Nationals list and adjusted it to how I could see it adapting to the new format. Unfortunately to say, rebuilding this decklist hurt part of my soul; to see such a nice, consistent rogue list have to change so much because a couple cards were rotating broke my heart.
This may not even seem like the deck loses a lot because of these two cards, but I have to say it really does. These counts were part of the backbone of the deck, and without them, a lot of things had to change, with some of those changes hurting the consistency of the list.
Without Tropical Beach, I tried to find cards that could be used in a similar way. Brad Curcio did very well at the National Championships this year with a Pyroar/Charizard/Electrode list, so I tried to build off of that idea. Of course, another thing that hurts this list as well is the loss of Level Ball.
Part of the strength of Pram’s list was being able to Level Ball for a bunch of Litleo early in the game. With it rotated, we have to switch to a more Supporter-heavy style list. I added 2 Pokémon Fan Club, as they still allow for multiple Litleo to be brought onto the field in one turn, but this is at the cost of using the Supporter for the turn.
Overall, the rotation of Tropical Beach and Level Ball make this deck a bit more inconsistent, but I still believe it will be strong in the upcoming format due to it having a favorable matchup to most things not named Seismitoad.
Gains: Training Center
I hesitate even putting this card on the list as a gain, as it hurts the deck more than it helps it in my opinion, but I wanted to at least say this deck gained something from the new set. I could see Training Center maybe being played in a couple of lists, but if you do decide to play it, just be wary that this will also increase the HP of your opponent’s Garbodors. That’s the main reason that I was hesitant about Training Center in the first place is that it takes your opponent’s Garbodors outside of Pyroar’s KO range. If your Pyroar has to 2HKO a Garbodor, I don’t think you’ll be winning that game.
One of the reasons that I think this deck will still be in favor despite the release of Seismitoad is because of:
Pokémon – 9
Trainers – 38
1 Pal Pad
Energy – 13
I think this is the deck to lose the most out of the rotation. It’s lost its main Stadium card, potential tech card, Energy recovery card, a searching card, and even one of its main partners in crime. Seeing as it loses so much, the Virizion/Genesect archetype will have to adapt a lot, and I could see it being played the most in the above way. I believe it will have to reincorporate Hypnotoxic Lasers into the list, as they set up a lot of perfect numbers for Virizion-EX.
However, losing Skyarrow Bridge is still a tremendous blow to the deck. Without it, the deck will have to use more switching cards to more consistently get of the turn 2 Emerald Slash, which is especially important against Seismitoad, but those switching cards are the exact same ones that will get shut off by Quaking Punch. Virizion/Genesect will still have a fantastic Seismitoad matchup in my opinion, but these are definitely things to think about. Without switching cards, it isn’t unlikely that you’ll have to aim for a turn 3 Emerald Slash at best.
I added 2 Pokémon Catcher to the deck, in addition to Plasma Energy and Lysandre since getting rid of Trubbish early on is now even more important than ever. Without Garbotoxin to shut off Verdant Wind, Seismitoad-EX will have a miserable time against Virizion-EX and Red Signal will help to keep you in control of the matchup even more. I don’t think that this matchup is in auto-win for Virizion, but I believe it definitely can be favorable.
Gains: Beartic FFI, Dragonite-EX
Again, this deck doesn’t really gain a whole lot from the new set, but if I had to pick a couple, I could see Beartic as a strong counter to Landorus-EX and Dragonite-EX as a potential attacker in the deck in general. Beartic can 1HKO both Pyroar and Landorus-EX with a Muscle Band, so it is definitely something to be considered. As for Dragonite-EX, a complete revamp would most likely be in order, but it does aid in the Pyroar matchup.
Overall, I believe Virizion/Genesect will have its place in the format to keep Seismitoad-EX in check. And speaking of Seismitoad, the next deck I want to cover is:
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 37
Energy – 10
This is the list that I see Seismitoad having the most potential in. I’m sure we will also see solo Seismitoad/Garbodor decks popping up as well, but with two fantastic cards arising in the format with Landorus-EX and Seismitoad-EX, I have to quote the Old El Paso Tacos girl, “Why don’t we have both?”
Unlike the other two decks, I really had to struggle to think about what this deck actually lost. It really doesn’t lose anything that is essential to its consistency like Pyroar did, but it at least did lose a few luxury cards. Enhanced Hammer was always nice against the Plasma matchup, and Level Ball was a nice addition to get a Trubbish early in the game. To replace Level Ball, I just added a third Trubbish which will also help against the Pyroar matchup.
This deck seems to benefit way more than the other two decks that I mentioned. This deck probably gains as much as Virizion/Genesect loses. With the introduction of Strong Energy and Seismitoad-EX, Big Basics has such greater depth now. Its damage output through Landorus-EX will be much higher, and it has a lot more versatility thanks to Seismitoad-EX. There is no doubt in my mind that this deck will be incredibly strong.
Korrina adds even more consistency to the deck with being able to search out both a Landorus-EX and an Item card, and though I didn’t include it in this list, I still believe Fighting Stadium is a viable option over Virbank City Gym, though it doesn’t help Seismitoad as much. Super Scoop Up doubles as both a switching card and a Max Potion, so it definitely deserves a spot in here as well.
Unfortunately, poor Lucario-EX didn’t even make the final cut. I tried it out, and it was nice to have sometimes, but Landorus-EX just puts in so much more work. I could see Lucario-EX making the list as a 1-of since it isn’t Weak against Water types, but I still preferred more emphasis on Landorus and Seismitoad.
Overall, I think this upcoming format will be very interesting to say the very least. I believe the current meta decks will have to adapt a lot to be able to handle Seismitoad-EX, but I’m excited to try and figure out what exactly the best changes will be.
I can definitely say for certain that this BCR–FFI format will be one to watch out for as there are a lot of strong contenders and new cards that will have a chance to see play, and I can’t wait to get started on any potential rogue deck that could come up!
As always, I hope you guys enjoyed the article! It was a lot of tough work to test out the new format, but at the same time, incredibly fun. Good luck to everyone competing on the global level! You guys might even see a couple of contenders from A Roll of the Dice, so be on the look out.
Please be sure to like the article, as it helps me out a ton, and also feel free to leave a comment in the forum, and I’ll try my best to get back to you. Thanks so much guys, and I’ll see you next time!
– Andrew Zavala
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