A Look Both Ways

A Review of US Nationals, Projections for Worlds, and a Peek into Furious Fists

A month ago, the format was once again shaken up by a large event. The last time I wrote, I was simply trying to make sense of international National Championships results to help those attending upcoming Nationals in the US and other countries. I predicted that Yveltal and would be the big decks. While this somewhat turned out to be the case, we also saw a ton of different decks, which I did not anticipate entirely. It’s now time to prepare for Worlds.

The US Nationals metagame, the largest one of the year, had a decent showing from all of the following decks:

  • Thundurus/Deoxys/Kyurem
  • Yveltal variants
  • Virizion/Genesect
  • Pyroar variants

However, what also struck me was the number of different unexpected decks being played, including but not limited to , Landorus, and Aromatisse decks. I am pretty certain, actually, that Flygon had the greatest amount of success when weighed against the small number of people who played it. Perhaps that added to the increasing feeling that these decks were being played in large numbers. I am unsure of how many Flygon were played overall, but I remember at least four of them being played on the second day.

I Was a Member of Team Pyroar

team pyroar us nationals 2014facebook.com

As the US Nationals event has probably been beaten nearly to death by now, I will try to keep my recap brief so as to spare you what a lot of you probably already know.

At 11:50 PM the night before Nationals, I walked into my hotel room to check on my friend, Chris Murray, to find that he had masterminded the final changes to a Pyroar deck that had been put in the works by Michael Pramawat and Steven Varesko. Uncomfortable with my choice in Flygon as a play for the next day, I took one look at the deck and copied the list down, card for card, trusting my friend’s confidence in the deck. Nervous with the amount of flips required to function in the deck, I worried that I would just flip some tails and go back to the hotel by 5 PM the next day.

Chris did not let me down. I finished the first day at 5th seed in my pod, and 1st after the second set of Swiss rounds. My matchups, not necessarily in order due to fuzzy memory, were the following:

Day 1

R1 vs. Kangaskhan/Aromatisse – W
R2 vs. Yveltal/Raichu – WW
R3 vs. Landorus/Raichu – WW
R4 vs. Yveltal/ – LL
R5 vs. Yveltal/Darkrai/Hammers – WLT
R6 vs. Plasma/Fairies w/ Giratina-EX – W
R7 vs. Yveltal/Raichu – WW
R8 vs. TDK w/ Latias-EX – W
R9 vs. TDK w/ No counter – W

Day 2

R10 vs. Virizion/Mewtwo/Genesect – WW
R11 vs. -EX – WW
R12 vs. Plasma/Fairies w/ Giratina-EX – WW
R13 vs. Plasma – ID
R14 vs. Pyroar – ID

In top 16, I lost to Tristan Macek, playing the exact same list, card for card. This was probably the most painless loss I have had deep in an event the size of US Nationals. Game 1 I awkwardly sputtered out by missing flips. Game 2, I Prized 3 Pyroar, but I won because all he had in play was a Mewtwo-EX. Game 3 he returned the favor. I was laughing the entire time and my roommate and friend got his invite for beating me. It would have been nice to have gone farther, but there is no saying that I would have had any better luck against Isaiah than Tristan did. Props to Tristan, who probably deserved the win more because he actually put some of the work into helping Chris refine the list.

While the field was splotched with a variety of decks, I truly expected a lot of certain ones to drop off and leave a uniform field by day 2. That was not the case, however, as even by top 8 there were at least 6 different decks still around. At this point, the most productive thing I can do is review each of these decks, explain why they must have done well, and talk about what I expect to see out of them at the Grinder and Worlds.

Table of Contents

Top 8 Decks

landorus explosionwillfosho.tumblr.com

Landorus/Raichu/Garbodor

This deck came as a shock to me, and frankly, I am still shocked by its victory. Ironically, it was built to beat the two decks I predicted to be biggest, but it suffered from poor matchups against everything else. Brandon’s victory of this deck is reminiscent of John Roberts II’s win with Klinklang back in 2012. At the time, a lot of deck lists included Lost Remover, but there were also a lot of Hammertime decks as well. These together consisted of about 40% of the field, and somehow John was able to sail past these decks. As a person who had to play against three different Hammertime decks that year, I was a little jealous of his good fortune. Similarly, I am jealous of Brandon’s good luck on the Fourth of July weekend.

Having admitted bad matchups against Thundurus/Deoxys/Kyurem as well as Virizion/Genesect, decks that were played in bulk quantities, I can say that the odds were stacked against this deck. Below is Brandon’s list for reference:

Pokémon – 14

3 Landorus-EX

2 Mewtwo-EX

2 Pikachu XY

2 Raichu XY

2 Trubbish LTR

2 Garbodor LTR

1 Druddigon FLF

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper

3 N

1 Shauna

3 Skyla

2 Lysandre

2 Bicycle

 

3 Ultra Ball

1 Level Ball

3 Muscle Band

2 Switch

2 Float Stone

1 Enhanced Hammer

1 Professor’s Letter

1 Computer Search

 

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 11

7 Fighting

4 Double Colorless

Pyroar

It’s always exciting being able to talk about a friend or teammate in an article. Another member of “Team Pyroar” (I swear that’s not going to stick), Michael Pramawat made his way to the finals with a list 1 card different from the majority of us. His Catcher/Lysandre split favored Catcher. Since it already seemed absurd to me that I was playing any flip cards at all, I can say in hindsight I would not change anything in that department of my list. However, by even flipping 25% of his flips the right way, Pram had the advantage as Pokémon Catcher is always infinitely more useful than Lysandre when you hit heads. You also don’t need to worry about hitting the Supporter off of a Roller Skates or Bicycle as often.

Michael met an unfortunate matchup in the finals. It was probably the only deck that could have taken him down comfortably in top cut. In reaching top cut, he Knocked Out a Flygon deck in top 16, a Virizion/Genesect deck in top 8, and a Thundurus/Deoxys/Kyurem deck in top 4. If his finals match had been against Yveltal/Garbodor, he may have had an extremely easy path to the title, given any luck at all.

His list is also on Pokémon.com, but I will leave it here for your reference:

Pokémon – 10

4 Litleo FLF 18

4 Pyroar FLF

1 Mewtwo-EX

1 Charizard-EX FLF 12

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Juniper

2 N

3 Blacksmith

2 Lysandre

4 Roller Skates

3 Bicycle

 

4 Ultra Ball

2 Level Ball

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Switch

3 Muscle Band

1 Computer Search

 

2 Tropical Beach

Energy – 12

8 Fire

4 Double Colorless

The Outlook

I think that Pyroar can be a strong play for the Grinder and possibly the main event as well. In the Nationals metagame, it had by far the strongest matchups of any deck. The question remains, however, if people will underestimate the deck yet again and fail to properly counter it. I know I have had many thoughts of playing Plasma and just hoping not to see Pyroar.

What it has going for it, however, is that Pyroar is one of the easiest decks I have ever played. Evolve. Kill threats. Switch out of Hypnotoxic Lasers. Opponent scoops. This is one of the things that makes Pyroar an attractive play, especially for the Grinder. I can only imagine that at least a quarter of the Grinder’s field will be full of players who just didn’t click with a deck ever since Flashfire came out. This deck might be their answer. Whether you play this deck or not, make sure you know where you think it stands before doing any serious testing.

If you keep changing how much you think your deck needs to beat Pyroar, you’ll never find something you’re comfortable with.

Yveltal/Garbodor

The success of this deck surprises me very little. At least one of these decks had to break through, no matter how much hate there was for it. It is just too powerful not to have done well. While pretty heavily countered by the combination of Landorus-EX and Raichu, a lack of either gives this deck the opportunity to take swings at an opponent’s board while locking Abilities. Once again, the list is below for reference:

Pokémon – 12

3 Yveltal-EX

1 Darknessrai-EX

2 Trubbish LTR

2 Garbodor LTR

1 Yveltal XY

1 Sableye DEX

1 Absol PLF

1 Jirachi-EX

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

2 Colress

1 Lysandre

2 Bicycle

 

4 Ultra Ball

4 Dark Patch

3 Muscle Band

3 Float Stone

1 Switch

1 Professor’s Letter

1 Dowsing Machine

 

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 12

8 Darkness

4 Double Colorless

Can it succeed again?

garbodor shocked animegayvangelion.tumblr.com
Depiction of the Yveltal/Raichu matchup.

I think that Yveltal/Garbodor is going to be one of the more prevalent decks both at the Grinder and the day after. It attracts less-experienced players, due to the sheer power and simple concept of the deck, as well as many veterans, who seem to be taking this deck to the next level.

Personally, my biggest fear toward playing this deck was having to play the mirror match against the Raichu variant of this deck. This just isn’t fun as you have to walk on eggshells with no guarantee of victory throughout the game, even if you are the stronger player. However, what might drive people away from the Raichu variant is the added strength against Pyroar the Garbodor version has. The problem with Raichu is that it has to be Active to attack a Pyroar. This is terrible for its situation, as the Pyroar player can cut Catcher/Lysandre out of their equation and just build 3 Pyroar and respond to one of the KO’s with a Mewtwo/Muscle Band. If Garbodor sets up early, Pyroar could be a lot more manageable. That being said, both matchups are pretty well within Pyroar’s range of favorable matches.

This deck is going to be around come Worlds time. Test accordingly and consider playing it.

Thundurus/Deoxys/Kyurem

The fourth member of the top 4, Calvin Nordberg’s Plasma deck cruised its way to the top with speed and a little bit of versatility. I have always been a fan of this deck, and am barely surprised at all to see this deck near the top. The theory behind this deck for a lot of players is that it has a field day with Yveltal variants and Virizion/Genesect. Since that’s what many people expected to see at the event, they chose TDK. I almost did the same thing.

Below is Calvin’s list:

Pokémon – 11

4 Kyurem PLF

4 Deoxys-EX

2 Thundurus-EX PLF

1 Genesect-EX

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

2 Colress

1 Shauna

1 Skyla

1 Lysandre

1 Bicycle

 

3 Team Plasma Ball

1 Ultra Ball

4 Switch

3 Muscle Band

3 Colress Machine

2 Startling Megaphone

1 Computer Search

 

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

1 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 13

4 Plasma

4 Prism

2 Blend WLFM

2 Water

1 Lightning

Can the villains stay relevant?

My answer is yes. Plasma is fast, consistent, and contains multiple overpowered counters to the format. Having Weakness on Yveltal and Landorus can’t possibly be a bad thing. Thundurus/Deoxys/Kyurem struggles terribly with Pyroar, however, and just adding a Latias-EX is a terrible response to the issue.

Most people considering Plasma for the Grinder/Worlds will expect little to no Pyroar. They will enjoy strong matchups against most of the other decks, including Flygon, Yveltal, Landorus, and any other surprise decks we may see that don’t aim to counter it. Being able to spread or build board position on turn 1 is nothing to mess with. Built-in Pokémon Catcher, potential to abuse Virizion-EX, as well as a plethora of tech options is just icing on the cake. It’s probably even possible to make this deck beat Pyroar, though not without adding a little unwanted “clunk” to the deck.

Keep an open mind with this deck. It can be the deck you wish you played, or your worst nightmare in the main event. No one will know until it does or doesn’t show up on Worlds weekend, but one thing is for sure: it needs to be part of the playtesting process. Don’t forget about Lugia-EX, either. I’m sure Ryan Sabelhaus didn’t. He was one of several Lugia variants alive on day 2.

Virizion/Genesect

virizion-ex-plasma-blast-plb-96-ptcgo-1
The deck is very consistent.

Virizion/Genesect took a spot in top 8 at US Nationals. It feels weird to say. I’m not really sure what this deck had going for it, both before and after the event. It was on everyone’s radar, countered in some way in every Yveltal build, not a favorite against TDK, and miserable against Pyroar. It also suffers from a 50-50 matchup against Flygon. So what does it beat?

While I could be completely missing something, I think what put the pilot of this deck deep into cut was the ability to never cease to set up. Yveltal, for example, is one of those decks that can just have a terrible opening and do nothing for a couple of turns. This is most frequent when the player misses an Energy drop. Given just a couple turns to get an Emerald Slash off, Virizion/Genesect has no problem winning every game with a slight handicap. The same goes for Plasma and Flygon.

With this being the case, it becomes a matter of setting up every game and dodging Pyroar. This helps keep the Virizion/Genesect player relevant, and it seems that that is exactly how things played out. This deck would have earned a top 4 spot if it had been lucky enough to be paired with the Landorus deck that won or with some luck against any of the other decks in top 8 except for Pyroar.

Here is a sample list that is smooth and would probably give you the same chances as the one in top 8 had, if not better:

Pokémon – 9

4 Virizion-EX

3 Genesect-EX

1 Mr. Mime PLF

1 Jirachi-EX

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

2 Colress

4 Skyla

2 Shadow Triad

 

4 Ultra Ball

4 Energy Switch

3 Muscle Band

2 Tool Scrapper

1 Professor’s Letter

1 Super Rod

1 Hypnotoxic Laser

1 Enhanced Hammer

1 G Booster

 

3 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 14

10 Grass

4 Plasma

Will Worlds be green?

No. Pyroar is about to reach its highest level of uncertainty in terms of speculation ever. Your other matchups are not good enough to compensate you for this. I would definitely not recommend this deck for anyone hoping to grind into the main event or win it. Go second a few times against the wrong people and you will see yourself become a spectator long before you want to be one.

Unless you are on a whole different level with this deck and can consistently beat Plasma, Flygon, and Yveltal, including their different variants, I would advise you to stray away from this deck. It definitely doesn’t hurt to play a few games against it just to help build comfort in case someone else makes the leap of faith and plays it.

Flygon

This deck took a few people by surprise, but not because no one knew about it. In my last article, I spoke about how I found this deck to be one that you need only to be prepared for to beat. Henry Prior among several others piloted this deck to a large amount of success in a very messy field. The blanket strategy employed by this deck definitely helps a seasoned player overcome opponents as if they all played the same deck. I’m also sure that the pilots of Flygon got to enjoy the presence of a 4-5 Pokémon opposing Bench a couple times as well. This must have been extremely welcome.

I think this deck succeeded due to the high caliber of the people playing it, the experience gap between those who lost to it and those who beat it, as well as the overall soundness of the deck itself. Even with a soft counter in every opponent’s deck, like Keldeo-EX in Yveltal, Flygon has a good amount of 50-50 matchups, which is music to the ears of good players.

Below is the list I am currently messing around with. It sets up nearly every game, and I’m not sure I can ask for much more than that.

Pokémon – 18

3 Trapinch BCR

1 Vibrava BCR

3 Flygon BCR

3 Shelmet PLB

2 Accelgor DEX

2 Duskull FLF

1 Dusclops FLF

2 Dusknoir BCR

1 Mewtwo-EX

Trainers – 38

2 Professor Juniper

4 N

2 Colress

4 Skyla

 

4 Ultra Ball

4 Level Ball

4 Rare Candy

3 Float Stone

1 Switch

2 Startling Megaphone

2 Max Potion

1 Sacred Ash

1 Dowsing Machine

 

4 Tropical Beach

Energy – 4

4 Double Colorless

Will Flygon be at Worlds?

You bet. This deck has everything it needs to both entice players to wield it as well as convince them to keep playing it. Almost every time I open up a stream on Twitch I see one of the players using Flygon. People want to play this deck because it is proven to have a high rate of success. It also has never ceased to keep its players interested in it. Spread is exciting. However, there is one misconception that gives players added comfort with this deck:

This deck does not always beat Pyroar.

Having an Evolution deck might mean nothing to a Pyroar player if those Evolutions can be KO’d every turn. By using Catcher/Lysandre to take out Shelmets every turn, a Pyroar player will get ahead on Prizes almost every game, and to make matters worse, Charizard conveniently 1HKO’s Flygon without even bringing Muscle Band to the table. This is what allowed Pram to overcome his opponent in top 16.

Take that with a grain of salt and you could be successful with Flygon if you wanted to. Just be sure to practice a lot with this deck – it suffers from the clock if you lose Game 1 and can’t be played perfectly at a faster pace. For reference, Henry Prior’s top 8 match went to time when each player was at/around 2 Prizes in Game 3. They had played 2 full games before that. This puts them at around 25 minutes per game, which allows you to win a best-of-three 50 minute game if you know when to scoop. The longer the game goes, the better your chances are of winning if you know what you’re doing.

What’s the Play?

Considering the fact that we have 6 different decks in the top 8-of what is typically our benchmark for the Worlds and Grinder metagame, I’d say this is a tougher question to answer this year than in previous years. However, I can talk about a few picks, why I think they are smart, and how they can be augmented to win. I will also speak about how I see people reacting to their success.

Plasma

team-plasma-grunt-anime-640zthezorua.tumblr.com

As you may have been able to tell from earlier analysis, TDK has some pretty good matchups when you take Pyroar out of the equation. It has a field day with most Yveltal builds, uses spread to stay in control against Virizion/Genesect, and can be a favorite against Flygon with the right techs. Sounds like a no-brainer, right?

It might be worthwhile to find a way to take down Pyroar, or at least KO a couple of them.

As you have been able to see, running Evolutions is far from enough. They need to be able to withstand a hit from Pyroar, and you’d also probably benefit from being able to favorably take a KO on Pyroar without getting Knocked Out right away. This is a problem for Thundurus/Deoxys/Kyurem. Mega Evolutions come to mind, but they are unwieldy and 3 turns of attaching and evolving to set them up is beyond problematic.

Here is my more vanilla list, that just focuses on what it can beat, without sacrificing an array of 60-40 matchups to claw back some points from a 20-80:

Pokémon – 11

4 Kyurem PLF

3 Deoxys-EX

2 Thundurus-EX PLF

1 Genesect-EX

1 Virizion-EX

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

4 Colress

2 Skyla

 

3 Ultra Ball

2 Team Plasma Ball

4 Colress Machine

4 Switch

3 Muscle Band

1 Computer Search

 

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 12

4 Prism

4 Plasma

2 Blend WLFM

2 Rainbow

It’s all about Frost Spear…

Despite the hype surrounding Thundurus and his ability to KO Yveltals in one hit easily, not every deck will be centered around that strategy. It is for this reason that you may want to consider keeping Kyurem the focus. An early Frost Spear puts your opponent’s board in a disheveled state more often than not. Even 30 damage can make a 180 HP Pokémon-EX undesirable to attach to. You can certainly capitalize on this. After all, you’re only losing 1 Prize if your Frost Spear doesn’t do what you need it to. Even in the Yveltal/Garbodor matchup, however, you will benefit from making sure that Darkrai and Yveltal are all safely in KO range. 60 damage on either of those guys is a death sentence once they become Active.

… isn’t it?

However, this isn’t the only way to play Plasma. Lugia might have more potential after all. By suffering a weakened matchup against anything with Enhanced Hammer as well as a little more risk (55-45 vs. 60-40) against Yveltal/Garbodor, you can play Lugia and have an extra out to beating Pyroar. By taking just 3 Prizes early on, you can force your opponent into a terrible position with Toxicroak-EX. When you Poison and they struggle to respond, they are going to need Mewtwo-EX to deal with the threat, putting your last 3 Prizes on the board. Kangaskhan-EX could also potentially splash its way into the deck.

Pokémon – 11

3 Lugia-EX

4 Deoxys-EX

3 Thundurus-EX PLF

1 Druddigon FLF

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Juniper

2 N

3 Colress

3 Roller Skates

3 Bicycle

 

3 Ultra Ball

2 Team Plasma Ball

4 Colress Machine

4 Switch

3 Muscle Band

3 Pokémon Catcher

2 Startling Megaphone

1 Computer Search

Energy – 12

4 Plasma

4 Lightning

4 Double Colorless

The above build is built for speed only, similar to the ones we saw at Nationals. Cutting much of the overall speed for some extra stable draw and your desired Pyroar counter would be the way to go. For example, cutting the Skates and Bikes for N’s, a 1-1 Kangaskhan line, and a Colress or two may be the way to go.

Another issue you face by playing Lugia is the small chance that Raichu menaces you once more. While this is never fun, the threat itself is mitigated by the fact that Lugia actually wins the trade if it takes 3 Prizes before being Knocked Out.

Yveltal/Garbodor

This is another smart play for both the main event as well as the Grinder. As hard as people try to counter it, there is only so much one can do with locked Abilities and an unlimited damage cap staring him or her down. Raichu is predictable at best, and Thundurus is exponentially less dangerous without Ability support from Deoxys-EX. This is the variant that has the best chance against the meta.

Pokémon – 13

3 Yveltal-EX

2 Darknessrai-EX

3 Trubbish LTR

2 Garbodor LTR

1 Yveltal XY

1 Keldeo-EX

1 Jirachi-EX

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

2 Colress

1 Lysandre

3 Bicycle

 

4 Ultra Ball

4 Dark Patch

3 Muscle Band

3 Float Stone

1 Dowsing Machine

 

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 12

8 Darkness

4 Double Colorless

The reasoning for the third Trubbish is that it is the one of the greatest splash answers to Pyroar out there. Making it 50% harder for the Pyroar player to wipe your board of Garbodor is killer. With Switch, you can put even more pressure on decks like Flygon while you keep them locked. This deck has answers for the decks that beat it during US Nationals.

This might become a better meta call if the number of Yveltal/Raichu players drops off due to the fear of Pyroar and lower expected need for a Lightning-type attacker.

Flygon

I think this deck will be everywhere at Worlds. It has the ability to take down Pyroar, the blanket strategy to keep it competitive against the field, and it can make adjustments to beat some of its tougher matchups.

The decks that Flygon lost the most often to were Plasma and Virizion/Genesect. This variant attempts to deal with those situations a little better.

Pokémon – 18

3 Trapinch BCR

1 Vibrava BCR

3 Flygon BCR

3 Shelmet PLB

2 Accelgor DEX

2 Duskull FLF

1 Dusclops FLF

2 Dusknoir BCR

1 Mewtwo-EX

Trainers – 38

2 Professor Juniper

4 N

2 Colress

4 Skyla

 

4 Ultra Ball

4 Level Ball

4 Rare Candy

3 Float Stone

2 Silver Mirror

2 Startling Megaphone

1 Max Potion

1 Sacred Ash

1 Dowsing Machine

 

4 Tropical Beach

Energy – 4

4 Double Colorless

At first glance, the inclusion of Silver Mirror might seem counter-productive, as it prevents the use of Float Stone. However, if all you need is a Flygon in the Active position going to work, what’s the problem? As long as Flygon takes little to no damage, it will put out 60-120 on your opponent’s side, per turn. In the case of Plasma, your opponent will almost always need 4 or more, which means that 3 full turns of Flygon is a near death sentence, as you will be in control from that point on. The same applies to Virizion/Genesect, as Genesect is still a Plasma Pokémon.


Those are 3-of my favorite picks for Worlds, both for the Grinder and for the main event. I think that we will see enough Pyroar to be a concern, and the three choices reflect different levels of risk aversion to that situation. I think that Flygon, Yveltal/Garbodor, and Plasma will all have a piece of the pie. That being said, we did see a lot of rogue decks last year…

Honorable Mentions

ninetales fence approach appearpokemontime.tumblr.com

Pyroar/Ninetales

This deck, piloted by top performing players such as Justin Sanchez and Jason Klaczynski, is the other variant of Pyroar that saw a fair amount of play at US Nationals. I personally was testing this deck with friends around a month before the event, but couldn’t find a list that we didn’t find to be fairly clunky.

Below is one of the lists we were tossing around before dropping the deck. The strategy is amazing and having Ninetales to ensure KO’s for a single Energy is extremely helpful.

Pokémon – 13

3 Litleo FLF 18

3 Pyroar FLF

3 Vulpix DRX

3 Ninetales DRX

1 Mewtwo-EX

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

1 Colress

2 Blacksmith

1 Lysandre

4 Bicycle

 

4 Ultra Ball

3 Level Ball

3 Muscle Band

3 Switch

1 Startling Megaphone

1 Dowsing Machine

 

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

1 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 11

7 Fire

4 Double Colorless

As you can see, the deck struggles to fit everything. It was fairly clunky and as a result, none of us felt comfortable playing 9-15 rounds of best-of-three with the deck. It usually got the job done, but results speak for themselves in the case of Ninetales vs. Catcher/Lysandre.

Aromatisse/Plasma

This was a deck that hounded me all weekend. I played against 3 Aromatisse decks throughout the event, and despite my fortunate wins, they are not the type of deck you want to be facing when you are playing Pyroar without Druddigon.

I am not sure how I feel about these decks and their matchups. Not only is it grueling to play this deck for upwards of 28 games, but it also faces a format that lacks a true damage cap. Here is an adaptation of the deck I played against on day 1 and then again on day 2, narrowly pulling out wins both times:

Pokémon – 16

3 Spritzee FLF

2 Aromatisse XY

3 Thundurus-EX PLF

2 Genesect-EX

2 Yveltal-EX

1 Giratina-EX DRX

1 Landorus-EX

1 Darknessrai-EX

1 Virizion-EX

Trainers – 32

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Colress

3 Skyla

1 Shadow Triad

 

4 Ultra Ball

2 Level Ball

3 Muscle Band

3 Max Potion

1 Sacred Ash

1 G Booster

 

3 Fairy Garden

Energy – 12

4 Plasma

4 Prism

4 Rainbow

The versatility of the deck is exciting to me. What I noticed in my games against Alex Fields, the pilot of a similar deck, is that it had a lot of setup issues. Between less than stellar starts and missing attachments, Alex’s problems were numerous. The games I barely won could have easily been losses had his start not been as bad as mine each time.

Overall, the deck gets an honorable mention because of its ability to tank a long Game 1 and play the clock a little better than other decks have managed historically.

That’s all for my Worlds predictions and analysis. I’d like to take a moment to talk about something none of us can help but peek at every now and then: Furious Fists.

Furious Fists & Conclusion

seismitoad-ex furious fists 106 ebayebay.com
TOAD-ally ridiculous.

Having had only a look and a couple hours of thought about the new set, I can say I am intrigued. I was planning to limit my play to only the larger events next season, such as Regionals, but I really do want to find my way to a few League Challenges to see the new cards in action with Points on the line.

The cards that stand out to me the most are the obvious ones, Seismitoad-EX and Strong Energy. I want to experiment with the Grass counterpart (Herbal Energy), but the real merit lies in what the Fighting Pokémon community will be getting. Being able to do 100 for one is absolutely ridiculous. Being able to do 50 and lock Items with a Muscle Band is ridiculous.

Do you know what is even more ridiculous? Let me tell you what is even more ridiculous.

What is more ridiculous is how exposed every Fighting Pokémon and Seismitoad-EX are to every single type in a typical Plasma list. Between Kyurem, Deoxys-EX, and Genesect-EX, there is nothing in the decks resulting from the new set that can’t be 1HKO’d by Plasma builds for a couple Energy, thanks to Weakness. What’s more is that Enhanced Hammer is supposedly out of the picture. Your move, new decks. It will be anything but simple.

In all seriousness, I love what the new set is bringing to the table. The Item lock sticks out as the most interesting to me, as we very well could have another on our hands. No one wants to play without Abilities or Items.

A cool place I see fitting in is in decks that already run Double Colorless Energy. Using a tech of the Toad could mean auto-winning certain Stage 2 matchups by preventing Evolution via Rare Candy. All in all, it will be refreshing to see Dark decks finally die and new ones come out of the woodwork. I don’t have much else to say at this moment, but I’m sure I will after Worlds when Flashfire stops being the ceiling under which all of my deck ideas go.

As always, feel free to message me on the BBS if you’d like an opinion or further advice on anything. I’m happy to help, and I enjoy constructive criticism as well!


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