Well, it’s over, folks! The 2015 Pokémon Masters TCG World Champion has been crowned, and it’s none other than Jacob Van Wagner. Not only is he perhaps the tallest World Champion ever, he is also likely the most ginger. Jacob’s previous claim to fame was winning Oregon Regionals in back to back years (2014 and 2015). He piloted Archie’s Blastoise to the win, culminating in an exciting finals match to watch. Congratulations, Jacob! A+
Jacob’s list has been published on Pokémon.com, but I’ve included it here for reference:
Energy – 1111 W
I love Jacob’s list, so I’m going to go over it.
This list doesn’t mess around with any kind of Kyurem, whether it be the Black Ballista or Frost Spear variety. Its goal is to quickly stack Energy onto either of these efficient attackers and go to town. The high Energy count helps set this into motion.
2 Blastoise, 2 Shaymin-EX, 2 Jirachi-EX, 2 Exeggcute
Of course, none of this could be achieved without the help of Deluge. All of these Pokémon are focused on achieving the T1 Jacob’s Ace in the Hole — oops, I mean Archie’s — and the addition of multiple Energy to the board at once. Jirachi helps get that Archie’s into the hand, and Shaymin and Exeggcute do their best to manipulate hand size.
1 Wailord-EX, 1 Articuno
Both of these Pokémon are excellent techs against Night March. The Wailord is extremely hard for NM to KO, and can provide at least a turn of stalling if needed. With Articuno’s ability to take an extra Prize card upon a knockout, only one heads flip is needed to take 2 Prizes on a Joltik or Pumpkaboo. If you’re feeling especially lucky, or are just in a tight spot and looking for a Hail Mary play, you could attempt to flip three heads on a Mew or Shaymin.
This deck runs a little light on the Supporters for my taste, but it plays so many cards in the first turn that it’s likely not as big of an issue as it might seem.
This level of consistency makes me so happy. This list isn’t messing around: It’s going to get Blastoise on the floor during the first turn no matter what. The maxed out counts of these cards help make it rain.
This is simply a really great Stadium for any deck using either Water or Lightning Pokémon. Having a counter for Silent Lab is particularly important in this deck, but more than two aren’t needed, due to the sheer amount of Energy this deck can push onto the field in one turn.
Float Stone is extremely helpful when playing 3 Keldeo, because one can simply sit on the Bench and be used only to Rush In when needed. Muscle Band allows Articuno to take a Joltik KO without flipping any heads. It also provides the same function as an Energy, and you can play it down T1 before using Archie’s to lower your hand size. However, only one copy of each is played because they aren’t essential to the deck’s functionality.
At any rate, I can’t wait to see this officially printed in stores!
Down the Rabbit Hole
As I mentioned in my previous article, this was my first time playing in Worlds. My team (Henry Ross-Clunis, Dylan Dreyer, and Jimmy Pendarvis) and I playtested quite a bit before the event. We were working on a Bunnelby deck.
I know, what? Well, I lost to a version of the deck played by Harrison Leven and Mike Canaves at Nationals, and was very curious about it afterward, so I built my own version. Credit definitely goes to them for the crazy original idea; I was very impressed by it. I don’t think that they put a version online, but Squeaky/Team Fish Knuckles made a video about the deck that contains a somewhat similar list. Here is his version:
3 Head Ringer
This list is already different from the one that Harrison and Mike played, but it’s kind of close. They both used Cobalion-EX and M Energy to combat Seismitoad-EX, and played Slurpuff to enhance draw power. When I played against it at Nats, I got the impression that it was spread a little too thinly. When I made my own version, I focused on a high level of consistency overall. Here is my version:
Trainers – 444 Professor Juniper
3 Head Ringer
Well, this is the deck’s main “attacker.” I say attacker for lack of a better word, because I’m not sure if what Bunnelby does can really be called attacking. But whatever it is he does, he can do it twice in a row. Normally, in the beginning of the game, I like to use Burrow to try and discard my opponent’s crucial resources early. Mid-game I usually switch to Rototiller in order to begin re-using my own resources, such as Crushing Hammers and Trick Shovels. At the end of the game, Burrow makes a return to finish off the deck-out.
This deck primarily uses the deck-out strategy, complemented by locking the opponent into bad draws and forcing them into terrible board positions. Game 1 usually takes a very long time to finish, unless your opponent isn’t familiar with Bunnelby and runs through their deck early, and that’s how the deck survives a best-of-three series.
4 Shaymin-EX, 4 Double Colorless
I look to Shaymin to provide the deck’s main draw engine. Since Bunnelby can return resources to your own deck, there is minimal risk of decking yourself out, even if you run through your deck very quickly. Because of this, I like a maximized Shaymin count to make it easier to draw the disruption card you need for the turn. Shaymin can always be re-used by attacking with Sky Return for a DCE, although that isn’t usually the ideal thing to be doing in the deck.
1 Virizion-EX, 3 Grass
Instead of Cobalion-EX, I decided to mirror the way I had played Exeggutor and Night March. When your main Basic is small and easily KO’d by Quaking Punch, it’s helpful to turn those 1HKOs from Toads into 2 or 3HKOs. The Grass can always be recycled and used by multiple Bunnelby.
Besides Shaymin, Juniper is the other main draw power. However, when we first made the deck, we only played one N. Usually, you wouldn’t want to give your opponent a new hand, but sometimes it can be an effective strategy to force them to draw cards. For example, if they have a dead board and only a 2-card hand and you N them up to 6, that’s the equivalent of four Burrows.
Lysandre is a really important part in the deck, so I play two copies. Only one is needed, but if one is prized it most likely will never be drawn. Bunnelby never really takes any Prizes, save for maybe a Shaymin KO on a Joltik. At any rate, pulling up a hefty EX from the Bench to strand it in the Active while Bunnelby Burrows away is the main objective of the deck.
Another very valuable card in the deck. I always like to have at least one in the deck at all times, so if I see that all 4 have been used, it will most likely become my target for Rototiller.
TFG is the true MVP of this deck. There are games where you can just sit back and re-use it for multiple turns before your opponent catches on, and even if they attach to the Bench, they’ll likely have to retreat at some point. Xerosic is nice for removing Energy from the Bench and removing Tools under Item lock. Similarly to Exeggutor, Energy attachments are the bane of Bunnelby’s existence, so Crushing and Enhanced Hammers help to keep the Energy at bay.
These cards work together with Lysandre to allow the deck to stall by dragging an unwanted EX to the opponent’s Active Spot. Even if they are crafty and discard an unwanted Jirachi or Shaymin or Groudon, you can bring it back from the graveyard and all the way to the Active. Do they have a Keldeo-EX with a Float Stone on the Bench? Just Megaphone that off, Head Ringer and Lysandre that pesky guy.
This is my favorite card in the deck! One of the first decks I ever played involved using Slowking to rearrange the top three cards of my opponent’s deck. I think the concept of hand and deck control is a very interesting aspect of Pokémon that is often underutilized. I like to bring games with Bunnelby into a Trick Shovel lock, whereupon if I notice that my opponent isn’t drawing the resources they need, I will use two or more Trick Shovels and then Rototiller them back in rather than Burrowing cards blindly. If my opponent is about to topdeck an unhelpful card, like another EX, I will allow them to draw it instead of discarding in order to keep hand control.
These counts are maxed out in order to ensure timely gathering of resources. They’re primarily used in the setup phase of the game, and don’t need to be put back in the deck with Rototiller later.
This is such a strange Stadium. Harrison and Mike played it in their version, I believe, although Squeaky plays Silent Lab instead. I think it’s necessary, because, for example, if I have my opponent’s Keldeo or Shaymin stranded in their Active Spot with a Head Ringer on, it could still be retreated with a single DCE. Team Aqua’s Secret Base makes it so that’s not possible unless they have a counter Stadium, and hopefully I’ve been paying close attention to what’s in their hand and discard.
1 Life Dew
Although hopefully your opponent never has enough Energy on board at once to pull off an attack, that’s still going to happen sometimes. A Bunnelby or two, or even (gasp!) four may be KO’d. This is where Life Dew comes in (if it’s not prized …). You can force your opponent to Knock Out sooooo many bunnies by using Rototiller to put Life Dew back in the deck.
The list ended up looking like this after some extensive playtesting:
3 Head Ringer
At first, BunnyLock’s Metal/Bronzong matchup seemed fairly solid. However, more and more people began to include AZ in their lists, and this ruins the strategy of trapping something in the Active. Metal players could just set up Bronzong on the Bench, re-use their Energy from the discard, then AZ their Active when they were ready to attack. If the Bunny player flips too many tails on Crushing Hammers and can’t keep up, this can spell disaster for the deck. To attempt to combat this, my team added a thin Garbodor line. It’s only 1-1 because it’s really not needed in any matchup but Metal, and against everything else, Shaymin and Virizion’s Abilities are preferred.
As much as I hate to lose these cards, we determined that they were the least valuable resources to cut for the Garbodor line, since they are a bit of a luxury.
Mad as Rabbits
So in the end, I put a fair amount of work into this deck. However, the rest of my team and I decided not to play it, and this is why:
- Metal decks. Even after adding the Garbodor, it sometimes wasn’t enough to beat Metal decks that had gotten a strong first few turns. If the Bunnelby player’s Crushing Hammer flips aren’t on point, it’s very difficult to shut these decks down.
- Other Bunnelby. Since Wailord’s popularity at Nationals, many decks were adding a Bunnelby or two into the mix themselves. This usually doesn’t present too much of a problem, but the one deck that it became very irksome in is Groudon. If the Groudon player gets Bunnelby into the Active in the early game and a Primal Groudon onto the Bench, it becomes near impossible to run them out of Energy.
We all felt that these two decks were going to be popular at Worlds. Although Bunnelby has very solid matchups against Manectric, Seismitoad, Wailord, and Night March decks, we felt that these two poor matchups might make it too much of a risky play.
I had a lot of fun working on and playing with this deck leading up to Worlds, and who knows? It might have its time to shine at some point in the future.
I Might Narch One More Time
When I decided not to play Bunnelby in the weeks leading up to Worlds, a slight panic ensued. I didn’t think I had time to come up with a really sneaky play, and I didn’t want to play something I had never touched before. I thought that Manectric/Toad/Bats/Rock Guard could be a strong play, but I had never played the deck. I felt that Groudon would have too big of a target on its back, and besides, it couldn’t beat Night March. Speaking of Night March …
Night March is a deck that I’ve played before, at Virginia Regionals to a 6-2-1 finish on Day 1. If it got me through that tournament, could I win 5 rounds with it at Worlds? Spoiler: The answer is no. Regardless, the deck had been doing well at League Challenges in my area recently, and initially seemed to have positive matchups against the popular decks: Groudon, Manectric variants, Metal, and Toad variants. It seemed slightly “broken” without the opposition of Lysandre’s Trump Card and with the addition of Trainers’ Mail and Shaymin, pulling off a devastating T1 180 damage almost every game. My old version of Night March can be found here, as well as my initial thoughts on a new list. Here is what we started with:
The OG: Initial Testing List
4 Joltik, 4 Pumpkaboo, 4 Lampent, 2 Mew-EX
The squad is all here. Maxed out counts of all the Night March fam is what you need. Lampents are there to dump with Battle Compressor, and Joltik and Pumpkaboo are your non-EX attackers. Which one is better depends on the situation, of course. They both have drawbacks: Joltik has 30 HP, Pumpkaboo needs Dimension Valley or two attachments to attack, and they both require a DCE. Joltik, of course, allows Mew to attack for only one Energy. Be wary of attacking with Joltik when facing either a Toad or the mirror match, because Toad easily KOs Joltik with Quaking Punch, and Mew can copy Sky Return to KO Joltik.
Night March obviously benefits from an explosive start, and multiple Shaymin help you to draw more cards and make it all the way to the T1 180. They can always be picked up with Sky Return, so having them on the Bench isn’t even too big of a deal.
After Wailord dominated Nationals, we felt that one of these guys was needed. That matchup becomes simply an auto-win with the addition of the bunny. Also, if you have too many prized Night Marchers or energy, Bunnelby can help out in that department as well. It’s just good insurance to have, and only takes up one spot in the list.
Juniper is the deck’s main draw, and it’s usually fine to dump your hand early game as long as you aren’t holding all the deck’s energy. Only one copy of N is included because Night March usually takes Prizes very early in the game, and N isn’t as useful here. 2 Lysandre helps to take relevant KOs quickly, as you don’t want the game to progress through too many turns or waste time and Night Marchers Knocking Out something unimportant.
For the most part, it doesn’t matter to me what I have to discard in order to achieve the right setup. Maxing out these counts helps the Night March player run through their deck very quickly, usually in just one turn. For example, I usually play all of the Items I can on my first turn when I’m facing an Item lock deck like Toad or Trevenant. There are only 3 Acro Bike for the sake of space.
Muscle Band is necessary to achieve 1HKOs without having all of your Night Marchers in the discard, as you’ll need a few left in the deck to attack with. If any are prized, it becomes even more essential, especially against decks using Mega Evolutions.
Even though all the Pokémon in the deck retreat for only one Energy, it’s useful to have an out to Poison or just attacking. Additionally, if your opponent pushes up a non-EX but has a Bench full of them and you have already used a Supporter for your turn, Escape Rope can help you finish the game more quickly.
Revive is nice because it can let you get more usefulness out of one Night Marcher. For example, if you need to KO a Mega Manectric, but doing so would leave you with no attacker next turn, you might be in a bit of a pickle. If you know that Revive is in your deck, you can feel secure in taking the KO using a Night Marcher for +20 extra damage. Just bring it back to life next turn!
A lot of Night March lists play Computer Search, but I think Dowsing is the superior choice for the deck. Due to the sheer speed with which you will be discarding your deck, the ability to dig in the pile for the Revive or Rope or extra Lysandre is extremely useful.
A full playset of the Stadium ensures that you can pretty much always attack with only one attachment, whether it be on Joltik, Pumpkaboo, or Mew. That’s important because as heavy as this deck hits, the attackers are still very fragile and have low HP. It’s also very important to counter other Stadiums like Silent Lab.
4 Double Colorless, 3 Water
4 DCE is self-explanatory, as it is going to be the Energy you want most of the time. We elected to use Water for the typed Energy, because if for some reason you don’t get enough damage before Toad uses Quaking Punch, you can use Grenade Hammer to finish it off for a DCE and one Water with Dimension Valley out.
Hitting Stride: Day 1 List
After some testing, we collaboratively changed the list to this version, and this is what we ultimately played on Day 1 of Worlds. Henry, Jimmy, Dylan, and I all played this exact same 60 cards.
Shortly before Day 1, we got the feeling as though there may be a lot of Night March. But what could we do in the Night March mirror? Well, consistently returning the KO is extremely important in that matchup, as if you whiff once you will likely be behind in the Prize exchange. Putting Teammates in the discard with an early Battle Compressor helps ensure that you can easily get a DCE for the return KO and an N for next turn.
While playing, I felt that I often used both Shaymin in the early game, and was still wanting one left in the deck for late-game draw. Additionally, if I started one, or one out of the two was prized, it severely crippled my setup. Therefore, we added a third and I felt that this made the deck run much more smoothly.
+1 Float Stone
However, the addition of another Shaymin gives the deck one more unfavorable starter, so I added another Switch out in the form of a Float Stone. I actually got this idea from Andrew Mahone, who played one in his list. At one point in the tournament, I actually used the Escape Rope + Float Stone combo in one turn to get out of an unfavorable Prize exchange when I had already attached my Energy for the turn.
-3 Acro Bike
In the end, we opted to cut Acro Bike entirely. It seemed like every time I played the dang thing it gave me two Energy, two VS Seeker, or some other thing I couldn’t discard one of. It seemed better to just go with the Trainers’ Mail and Shaymin strategy.
Considered but Cut
I felt before Day 1 that Water was not going to be a particularly useful type of Energy to have, as its use is very niche, but I could not really think of something better. Dylan came up with the idea of trying one Latios-EX, mainly for the mirror. Attacking Turn 1 with an already very fast deck seemed good to me, so we did try it. Latios allows Mew to Knock Out almost any Pokémon in Night March T1 (except Shaymin), and theoretically, it’s busted. The reality is that it’s pretty hard to achieve, but if we had spent more time building the list upon this concept I think it had the potential to be really strong.
1 Life Dew
I adored this ACE SPEC in Bunnelby, and I remember when it was extremely effective in Ryan Sabelhaus’s 2nd place Nationals Plasma deck. I also think it might have had the same potential in this tournament, as trading for example, a Joltik that gives zero Prizes for a Shaymin which gives two is very favorable. I didn’t play it because there were games I lost in playtesting that Dowsing Machine would have saved me in.
This was my other option for the tech and Energy line. It protects the fragile attackers from Poison, and wakes up Mew if it happens to stay Asleep under a Quaking Punch, potentially forcing you to miss an important KO. This is what we played at Virginia Regionals, but in the end, I decided that this situation was rarer now than it was at that point and thus didn’t merit inclusion in the list.
Running It Back: Day 2 List
For Day 2, we didn’t change too much about the list. Everyone was tired, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Water was a bit underwhelming Day 1, as predicted, but the idea to switch to Lightning was made obvious by the sheer amount of Manectric at the top tables. As a small bonus, Lightning allows you to Gnaw with Joltik in the mirror match.
-1 Bunnelby, +1 Xerosic
Bunnelby was cut for Day 2 since there didn’t seem to be much Wailord floating around. Xerosic allowed the deck to better deal with Focus Sashes, which were a huge problem for me personally when I played against Squeaky’s Hippowdon deck Day 1.
The Little Deck That Could: Our Collective Results
In case you are interested in how the deck finished, 3/4 of us made Day 2, with myself being the only exception. That’s just how it works sometimes. I lost a Game 3 to a donk, played against a very unfavorable matchup, and was stalled into a tie. Here is the breakdown of our lists’ performances by team member and round:
Night March 2-0
Night March 1-1
Night March 2-0
Night March 2-0
Night March 1-2
Night March 2-1
Night March 1-1
Night March 2-1
Night March 1-2
Night March 2-0
Night March 1-2
Night March 2-0
Overall, the deck went 70-36 at Worlds and took 14th, 18th, and 20th place.
I am very happy with my team’s performance at Worlds and the deck we made together. I had a great time hanging out with them, seeing old friends, and meeting new people. I can’t wait to see everyone next year in San Fransico!!
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