Hello again SixPrizes! The third week of Regionals are over and National Championships are beginning to happen around the world. The Pokémon world has been going crazy the past couple of days with the banning of Lysandre’s Trump Card and I’ve been able to gather some key information about our community … Everyone’s REALLY confused about what’s good now. With US Nationals on the horizon within the next month, players are usually working out the kinks for their favorite decks and preparing themselves for the largest tournament of the year. Instead, with a key card in each deck now banned, it seems like everyone is still trying to figure out what they like at the moment.
I’ve decided that I’m going to begin my article by going over my tournament performance at Georgia Regionals in which I took 18th place. I’ll go over my Primal Groudon-EX/Wobbuffet PHF deck that carried me to Day 2 and explain my thought processes behind choosing the deck as well as certain card inclusions. The Empoleon PLF/Magnezone PLS 46/Wailord-EX deck that I utilized for Day 2 will also be highlighted.
Since everyone seems to be very confused about which decks are good and how they should be built now, I’ve also decided to focus a large part of my article on moving forward toward Nationals without Lysandre’s Trump Card. I know it seems like everyone won’t stop talking about the removal of this card from the format, but it truly shaped every part of our tournament experiences. Everyone had to play the card to stop powerhouse decks like Night March and Flareon, which allowed other decks to flourish and abuse useful Trainer cards over the course of multiple Trump Cards. Seismitoad-EX was able to dominate the metagame for the longest time, which became even more powerful with Shaymin-EX ROS coming out to run through a player’s deck with more speed. Trevenant XY showed very strong performances in the third week of Spring Regionals, including a Regional-winning performance in Georgia. Without Lysandre’s Trump Card, the entire format is going to be completely detached from our recent tournament experiences.
I’ve chosen to include decks with different play styles so that hopefully I can reach every individual reading this article. Everyone has a different play style that they like to incorporate when they choose decks, so hopefully one of these choices will apply to you. Enough talk, let’s get into the article!
Just Peachy: Georgia Regionals Experience
Leading into this tournament, I was very confused about what decks would actually perform well with Roaring Skies just coming out. Shaymin-EX ROS would definitely show up in large quantities because the card is simply amazing. The ability to draw through your deck so quickly just can’t be ignored. I assumed there would also be a massive amount of Seismitoad-EX decks, along with many Trevenant XY/Shaymin-EX decks following behind.
Based on my prediction, along with previous success with Primal Groudon-EX in some tournaments, I decided to play a very straightforward Primal Groudon-EX/Wobbuffet PHF deck. Primal Groudon-EX can handle all of the Item lock decks very easily, and Wobbuffet is extremely useful for shutting down opposing Shaymin-EX. With opponents struggling to set up without drawing multiple cards every turn, I would have enough time to get multiple Primal Groudon-EX ready for a battle most players couldn’t handle.
Day 1: Primal Groudon-EX/Wobbuffet (12th Place)
Pokémon – 10
3 Primal Groudon-EX
Trainers – 36
Energy – 14
This is the Primal Groudon-EX deck that I used for Day 1 of Georgia Regionals. I ended the day off at 6-2-1, with my losses coming to Jose Marrero playing M Rayquaza-EX ROS 76/Shaymin-EX ROS and Andre Elliot playing Raichu XY/Leafeon PLF/Crobat PHF. Let’s go over some of the reasoning behind my card choices for this deck.
My brother and I decided that the most important part of playing this deck was going to be setting up Primal Groudon-EX behind Wobbuffets, along with hitting a Stadium card after each Gaia Volcano to take multiple EX knockouts. After taking the initial KO on an Pokémon-EX, you go down to 4 Prize cards. Since one of those main worries for this deck are hitting a Stadium card after each big attack, Professor Birch’s Observations is essentially the same thing as an N but now has a 50% chance of drawing 3 more cards.
This card proved to be extremely clutch throughout the day and actually allowed me to keep my stream of Gaia Volcanoes going in multiple games.
As stated in the previous paragraph, one of the biggest worries for the deck is making sure to hit the Stadium cards after each KO. With playing 4 Scorched Earth, it only makes sense to play more Energy to abuse this powerful Stadium card, which also helps us to use Mega Turbo as soon as the Primal Groudon-EX hits the board. Making sure to win the Seismitoad-EX matchup also involves hitting an Energy card to attach every turn, which I was expecting to see in heavy numbers.
I obviously would have liked to play more Focus Sash than just the two, but the decklist was a little tight for fitting everything in. That also forced me to play zero Spirit Link, which honestly wasn’t missed very much. You aren’t attacking with this deck until about Turn 4 or Turn 5, which makes it very easy to just end your turn by Mega Evolving. After the tournament is now over, I still wouldn’t change the counts of either of these cards since it worked out very well for me.
Overall, Primal Groudon-EX worked very well and brought me into Day 2. I ultimately played against ZERO Seismitoad-EX decks throughout the day, which led me to the conclusion that Primal Groudon-EX can stand a chance with just about anything in the format. After that long day of playing, it was time to plan for the second day and switch things up a bit.
Wailord-EX (18th Place)Day 2: Empoleon/Magnezone/
Pokémon – 22
Trainers – 33
1 Town Map
1 Life Dew
Energy – 5
This is the Empoleon/Magnezone/Wailord-EX deck that I used for the second day of Georgia Regionals. I will admit that this deck choice was definitely a risky play, but I felt that it had good matchups and could stand up to almost anything. All I needed to do was win my last round of the tournament and I would have made it into the Top 8, but unfortunately I hit the worst matchup possible for myself (Speed Lugia).
My two losses for Day 2 went to the Speed Lugia deck in the 14th round, along with a Quad M Manectric-EX deck run by Arron Sanyer (which also happened to be an extremely bad matchup). Let’s go over some of the card choices and reasoning behind them.
“Ok, woah … There’s a Wobbuffet in this deck … Doesn’t that shut off all of your Abilities??”
This is definitely one of the weirdest cards in the list upon first glance. Wobbuffet was added in to simply be a straight counter against Archeops NVI, which would have shut down my entire deck from evolving. With a Wobbuffet in the Active Spot, I could play all of my Evolution cards and set myself up to evolve into Empoleon with a Wally (which also gets around Archeops’ Ability).
“Alright, now what’s with the Wailord-EX?”
My boy. The biggest wall in the entire trading card game. With a massive 250 HP, this giant wall helps the deck to set up against Seismitoad-EX decks. With 2 Pokémon Center Lady, this whale can survive for a very long time and allows you to get multiple Empoleon into play and stand a good chance. Wailord-EX was definitely the most annoying card to see for my opponent’s throughout the day.
Again, two of the biggest worries that I had going into the second day were Seismitoad-EX decks with Item locking and Archeops shutting me down from evolving. The easiest way to solve these problems was to buff up the Evolution lines with more Prinplup and add in some Wally to get around Archeops. The multiple Wally and Prinplups worked wonders against the Yveltal-EX/Darkrai-EX/Archeops deck that I ran into.
I honestly believe that I could have made it very far in the Top 8 of this tournament if I hadn’t hit my two worst matchups throughout the day. Quad M Manectric-EX and Speed Lugia-EX were completely one-sided matchups in which I got destroyed. Every other matchup throughout the day involved me controlling the tempo throughout the series and using vital Supporters multiple times each turn to win. I guess the Top 8 of a Regional Championship just wasn’t ready for Wailord-EX yet …
Reset Button: Post-Trump Card Deck Choices
With Lysandre’s Trump Card gone, there are some pretty obvious changes that are going to happen with this format. Before delving into decklists, I’d like to outline what I believe will be the popular trends in LTC’s absence:
1. Seismitoad-EX decks will no longer rule the format. They will still be around, but in much smaller doses due to the inability to abuse powerful Trainer cards and get Energy back from Lysandre’s Trump Card. I believe that Seismitoad-EX will continue to be featured as a tech card in some decks now, but it will be much less likely to have a deck centered around it compared to the format prior to the banning of Trump Card.
2. Hatred of Special Energy cards will be at an all-time high during the coming month. Without Seismitoad-EX as the powerhouse dominator of the format, useful Item cards can come back into play and have a major effect on the game, such as Enhanced Hammer. With no way of getting back Double Colorless Energy, discarding Special Energy cards will be very good to incorporate into the strategy of almost every deck.
3. Shaymin-EX will not be as heavily used in decks and could be seen with 2 or 3 copies, instead of the 4 Shaymin-EX that was most common with Lysandre’s Trump Card. Players will learn that they need to slow down and not just discard everything since there won’t be a way of getting back those useful resources later. Expect to see lower amounts of Shaymin-EX in the future, but definitely don’t expect to see zero Shaymin-EX.
4. Flareon and Night March will rise in popularity, but the deck that benefits the most out of these two will certainly be Night March. Everyone seems to love Night March right now and you should definitely expect to see plenty of these little critters running around during US Nationals. Be prepared to face this deck.
5. Donphan decks will attempt to make a comeback but will inevitably fail to compete in the upcoming format. The deck just can’t handle the pure strength and speed of this format, and it is also too slow compared to other options. Donphan can certainly beat Night March, but will probably not be seen in large quantities for US Nationals.
6. Expect to see a decline in cards such as Crushing Hammer and Battle Compressor (aside from decks relying on things in the discard pile). Previous, some decks would utilize Battle Compressor as a way of getting important Supporter cards in the discard pile or for just thinning out options, which is a strategy that will likely not be seen now that Lysandre’s Trump Card is banned. Running out of cards and decking out will be a realistic option for the game now, which will be a big surprise for players that are only used to the recent format.
Remember, these are just my predictions from playing the game for a long time. They aren’t destined to happen by any means, but should be more likely to happen if the community realizes the relative strengths and weaknesses that come from the banning of Trump Card.
With those predictions in mind, I’ve decided to share five decks that will hopefully reach everyone reading this article in their particular play style. Some players like speed decks, while others like to have more control of the board. Others love playing decks that set up a huge attacker to sweep the game. There are also some that enjoy denying an opponent from playing certain cards to halt a strategy from happening. And the final play style that I will be trying to reach is going to be the players that are just playing for fun and looking to incorporate an interesting strategy to try and win. Here are the decks!
Need for Speed: Night March
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 36
Energy – 8
This deck is certainly the epitome of speed. With Battle Compressors, Trainers’ Mail, Acro Bike, and Shaymin-EX ROS to help run through the deck, this list will hit for huge amounts of damage during the first couple of turns and should be able to sustain that amount of damage throughout the game. Without Lysandre’s Trump Card to worry about, your deck will always be low amounts of semi-important cards (if utilizing Battle Compressors correctly). This build can still struggle against certain other decks, such as Seismitoad-EX and Primal Groudon-EX decks, but has much more room to flourish in this new format with the discard piles secured in place.
I chose to play Dowsing Machine in this build because the deck focuses on speed and sometimes involves discarding important Trainer cards, such as Revive or Muscle Band. With Dowsing Machine instead of Computer Search, there are plenty more options in the late game to help seal the deal. Night March has always had a very strong opening game, which is especially true with Shaymin-EX here to help now. The addition of this different ACE SPEC just helps strengthen the late game that can sometimes be lacking for this deck.
Pokémon – 11
Trainers – 45
1 Pal Pad
Energy – 4
With the loss of Lysandre’s Trump Card, Seismitoad-EX decks will need to slow down and focus more on forming strategies to win. They can’t rely on playing Shaymin-EX after Shaymin-EX until they deck out anymore. With the addition of Milotic into this deck, useful resources can be gathered back from the discard pile and used to help you win. This Ability can be abused multiple times throughout the game with the help of Super Scoop Up and AZ, which are cards that can also pick up damaged Seismitoad-EXs.
Upon building this deck, I originally thought it was just a gimmick, but it has proven to be pretty strong over the multiple games that I’ve played with it. If you seem to be losing a lot with this deck, make sure that you are getting back the correct cards with Milotic, as that can be the difference between a win and a loss.
Item locking is just too strong of an option in any format to ignore. Even without a way of shuffling everything back into your deck, cycling through some of these powerful Trainer cards with Milotic can carry you to a victory. This deck obviously struggles against Virizion-EX, as Poison damage is a very large part of this deck’s strategy and needs to be incorporated to win. Aside from Virizion-EX, a Primal Groudon-EX would be the hardest counter toward this deck. If a Primal Groudon-EX hits the board and gets enough Energy to attack, I can almost guarantee that game is not going to end with a win. Speaking of Primal Groudon-EX …
The Big Hitter: Primal Groudon-EX/Wobbuffet
Pokémon – 10
3 Primal Groudon-EX
Trainers – 36
Energy – 14
If you’re looking for something that can hit for huge amounts of damage and sweep the board, you’ve found the dream for Pokémon players right now. This list probably looks a little similar to the one used for Georgia Regionals Day 1, but it worked very well for me during a large-scale tournament and I only made minor changes to up the consistency. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it! I decided to test the deck with some Trainers’ Mail and without Professor Birch’s Observations, but haven’t really come to a final conclusion yet. Sometimes it works out great and the Trainers’ Mail can hit exactly what I need, but on other occasions I find myself missing the chance to draw 7 cards after a big KO.
With 14 Energy and Scorched Earth, the list has plenty of drawing options and ammunition for Mega Turbo. It is extremely consistent and proves to be very annoying against anyone that is attempting to abuse Shaymin-EX. With both myself and my brother finishing very well during Day 1 of the Georgia Regional Championships with Primal Groudon-EX, along with other named players like Dylan Bryan, I can only expect good results to come from this deck.
Aegislash-EX/Dialga-EX/BronzongThe Denial Game:
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 32
Energy – 12
Denying an opponent the ability to attack can be game breaking in this format. Without any way of getting back Double Colorless Energy, Cobalion-EX can completely handle Seismitoad-EX decks. They lose their speed and ability to lock Items because of just a M Energy attached to Cobalion-EX.
Not only can we discard their Special Energy cards to prevent attacks, but we can also deny EXs from attacking with Dialga-EX’s Chrono Wind attack. For just a DCE and a M Energy, Dialga-EX can help slow the game down so that we can play it on our terms, which can be extremely annoying to deal with for opponents.
To finish off the triple feature of denial for this deck, Aegislash-EX can be the ultimate shield against decks that focus on only playing Special Energy cards. With the ability to slow games down to a crawl, Aegislash can allow us to set up big attacks and multiple Bronzong to perform our desired strategy.
Steel Shelter can prove to be helpful against opposing Hypnotoxic Laser and can also replace Sky Field when boards become dangerous against Raichu and M Rayquaza-EX decks (assuming you don’t get out an Aegislash-EX by then). AZ can help to deny Prize cards by scooping up damaged or vulnerable EX cards as well. I’ve chosen to play multiple copies of Battle Compressor as well to help with VS Seeker targets, along with thinning the deck out for good draws in the late game.
A deck similar to this performed very well at the Czech Republic National Championships recently, where Jakub Rajchl got 2nd place with his Metal build. His version was very close to the list that I’ve been working on, aside from some Pokémon differences and myself playing Battle Compressor. Either way, Metal decks can prove to be extremely annoying from denying an opponent the ability to attack for a couple of turns, which can usually result in a win.
M Gallade-EX/DusknoirShayblades (Let It Rip!):
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 34
Energy – 10
For any viewers of the SabelStream, which comes on every Tuesday and Thursday at 9 PM EST, you can certainly vouch for me when I talk about how fun this deck can be. These cards are never utilized in the metagame for Pokémon, but they can actually win the game in an amazing fashion. I actually have an undefeated record against Colorless M Rayquaza-EX decks, which had proven to be a relatively big force in the game until this recent banning. Regardless, if your play style of Pokémon is just about having fun and playing an interesting deck with strange win conditions, you should certainly give Shayblades a try.
The basic strategy of this deck is to set up behind the Deoxys to draw cards for zero Energy with the help of Dimension Valley. Wait until your opponent gets down a relatively large Bench and then evolve into Forretress to spread damage counters to everyone. Then use M Gallade-EX’s attack to hit the Active for 110 and each Benched Pokémon with damage for 30 more. Dusknoir can help to clean up the board by spreading damage to anything that you would like to be KO’d. This deck works especially well against decks that rely on large Benches and multiple Shaymin-EXs coming down, such as Colorless M Rayquaza-EX decks.
Thank you to everyone that enjoyed my article and I hope that I’ve reached each and every reader with the decks I’ve chosen to feature. With stipends now out and official for US Nationals, fantasy drafts are coming around again, which should also be very fun to watch in the upcoming weeks. Hopefully I will see all of you at the US National Championship coming up next month, along with getting to hang out on the SabelStream every Tuesday and Thursday night. Good luck to everyone at their respected National Championships and feel free to message me with any questions that you may have.
– Ryan Sabelhaus <3
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