Prospective Objective

Predicting and Dissecting the Top Decks of States
thevilegarkid grant birthday pikachu
It’s also Grant’s birthday today. (Have a good one, buddy!)

Hello everyone! This is Grant Manley here with a last-minute prep for States article. S/P/Ts (henceforth referred to as States) are coming up just around the corner, and there are four rapid-fire weekends in a row of these challenging tournaments. Like everyone, I am trying to figure out the meta for States and what deck will be the key to the best performance possible. While smaller tournaments favor consistent meta decks, I believe that rogues or odd versions of meta decks are always the optimal play for larger events. Normal lists are rarely, if ever, the strongest decks to play for States and bigger tournaments.

Historically, States have been the most successful tournaments for me. While Seniors accomplishments can sometimes be discounted, I finished 1st and 2nd at both of the Masters States I’ve been to. In each of those tournaments I played an odd deck with a wide variety of favorable matchups. Meta decks are ok at best for these tournaments. I won’t criticize someone opting for a “safe” call like Night March/Milotic, but rarely you will catch me running something like that at a large event.

In this article I am going to attempt to figure out what decks will be popular based on our results from Cities and BREAKpoint Regionals. I have also accumulated a little bit of information from all of the time I’ve spent on PTCGO. However, States are the first series with the XY-BREAKpoint format and the Generations set is also thrown into the mix. Something unexpected is bound to pop up in this new format. While the meta does shift a bit from week to week, there will always be a healthy representation of the top 3-5 decks. After I analyze the past results to guess the metagame, I am going to dissect the expected meta decks and look at their strengths and weaknesses.

Past Play, Future Sight

mega alakazam
By the power of induction I will attempt to peer into the future …

With a brand-new format, it can be difficult to predict what is going to appear. I am going to look at results from Cities, the ECC, the Week 3 Regionals, general hype, and PTCGO to help us determine what we will encounter in the XY-Generations format.

Standard Results

States are all going to be Standard, and the most recent tournament cycles that used Standard were Cities in the US and the ECC in Europe. While these tournaments did not include BREAKpoint or Generations, there’s only so much the meta can change with the release of one and a half sets. To get a basic idea of what Standard contains, let’s take a look at the results from Standard Cities and the ECC.

According to The Charizard Lounge’s Power Rankings, the top decks to come out of Cities across North America are as follows:

  1. Night March
  2. Yveltal-EX/Zoroark
  3. M Manectric-EX
  4. Entei/Charizard-EX
  5. Manectric-EX/Crobat
  6. Raichu/Crobat
  7. Lucario-EX/Crobat
  8. M Mewtwo-EX
  9. Dragons/Bronzong
  10. Seismitoad-EX/Crobat

Here are the top eight decks from the Masters Division of the European Challenge Cup:

  1. Night March
  2. Seismitoad-EX
  3. M Mewtwo-EX
  4. Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX
  5. Manectric-EX/Crobat
  6. Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX
  7. Manectric-EX/Crobat
  8. Manectric-EX/Crobat

The first thing that pops out to me is that Night March is first on both of these lists! This does not surprise me, as I already thought that Night March was the best deck in the format. What shocks me though, is that 2, 3, and 4 on the Power Rankings do not appear in the top eight of the ECC. Yveltal-EX/Zoroark, M Manectric-EX, and Entei are all solid decks, so it is interesting that they did not perform well in the ECC.

The next deck from Cities that appears in the ECC results is Batman, which takes 5th in both lists as well as three total top eight spots from the ECC. While it didn’t break into the top four, Batman still put up an impressive showing. Batman was an incredibly good deck in that format, but its matchups seemed to be so polarized. In my experience, it had either a very positive or a very poor matchup against most decks. 6, 7, 9, and 10 from the Power Rankings did not show up at all in the top eight of the ECC. This doesn’t surprise me because I don’t think any of those four decks were any good.

The final deck from Cities is M Mewtwo-EX, which made an impressive top four at the ECC. I am not clear on the details of this deck, but I am assuming it is the mixed Mega version with Shrine of Memories and the Damage Swap Mewtwo-EX. I know some people ran that variant at Cities. Additionally, three Seismitoad-EX decks made the top eight in the ECC! Mewtwo and Seismitoad are both decent decks. Without much experience playing them, I don’t feel too strongly one way or another about them.

Expanded Results

Normally it wouldn’t make any sense to look at Expanded tournaments to predict the Standard meta, but there aren’t any other concrete sources to look at concerning the addition of BREAKpoint.

Here’s the top eight of Florida Regionals:

  1. Trevenant BREAK/Bursting Balloon
  2. Primal Groudon-EX
  3. Seismitoad-EX/Crobat
  4. Primal Groudon-EX
  5. Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX
  6. M Rayquaza-EX
  7. Yveltal-EX/Maxie’s
  8. Raikou BKT/Eelektrik NVI

Oregon’s top eight are as follows:

  1. Primal Groudon-EX
  2. Trevenant BREAK/Bursting Balloon
  3. Yveltal-EX/Maxie’s
  4. Darkrai-EX BKP/Max Elixer
  5. Seismitoad-EX/Crobat
  6. Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX
  7. M Rayquaza-EX
  8. Landorus-EX/M Mewtwo-EX

Mad props to Andrew Wambolt for compiling all of this tournament information. The two top eights from these Regionals are strikingly similar. They both featured a Primal Groudon vs. Trevenant BREAK finals, and only two decks in the top eight are different from each other. Florida has Eels and another Groudon in place of Oregon’s Turbo Darkrai and Landorus/Mewtwo.

Unfortunately, only three of these decks can carry over to Standard without losing too much. They are M Rayquaza-EX, the Dark variants, and Trevenant BREAK. Primal Groudon loses Tropical Beach and its advantages against Sableye and Seismitoad are not as useful in Standard. The rotation of Hypnotoxic Laser, Genesect-EX, Landorus-EX, and Eelektrik prevents any of the other decks from seeing play, besides perhaps a nerfed version of Toad/Bats.

Projected Tier List

Based on the results of these tournaments, here is my projected tier list for Week 1-of States. Minor adjustments may have to happen based on how the meta evolves.

Tier 1

Tier 2

Tier 3

  • Manectric-EX/Crobat
  • M Rayquaza-EX
  • Vespiquen/Vileplume
  • Garchomp/Hawlucha
  • M Mewtwo-EX

Before going any further, I want you to take note that this tier list is a mixed projection of the popularity and the inherent strength of the decks. If I think a deck is strong enough to be in Tier 1 but I don’t think it will be incredibly popular, I put it into Tier 2. I don’t think that YZG deserves its Tier 1 spot, but I’m certain that it will see copious amounts of play. The order of the decks within the tiers were given some thought but don’t look into that too much.

There is no shortage of relevant decks here. Within the first two tiers we have a whopping 10 decks! This means that some metagame guessing and straight-up luck will be needed to face winnable matchups across an entire tournament in this format. I hope to find a deck that can go even or better against everything, but that may not happen and some matchups will always be worse than others.

Now I am going to review the top two tiers because I believe they will be the most relevant decks at States. I am going to briefly explain why these decks are placed where they are on my tier list and go over their strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully this will help us understand in depth what we will be up against.

You can use this knowledge to create or tweak your own deck based on what you want to counter and what you think will be popular at the tournaments you plan on attending.

Top Guns of Tier 1

tom cruise top gun
“I feel the need … the need for speed!”

Night March

Reference Lists: Christopher Schemanske, Alex Hill

Night March is first on the list because it is coming off incredible Standard runs at both the ECC and Cities. It is a fast and powerful deck and it will win a straightforward Prize race against any deck. This makes it objectively the best “beatdown” deck whose only objective is to take a KO with every attack to end the game in 7 turns or less. It applies unparalleled amounts of pressure and has no terrible matchups. Since Night March is one of the decks that I have plenty of recent experience with, I feel compelled to share a sample list that I used to win a League Challenge recently.

Pokémon – 19

4 Pumpkaboo PHF

4 Joltik PHF

4 Lampent PHF

3 Shaymin-EX ROS

2 Feebas FLF

2 Milotic PRC

Trainers – 37

3 Professor Sycamore

1 Delinquent

1 Hex Maniac

1 AZ

1 Lysandre


4 VS Seeker

4 Ultra Ball

4 Battle Compressor

4 Trainers’ Mail

3 Acro Bike

2 Fighting Fury Belt

2 Pokémon Catcher

1 Float Stone

1 Target Whistle

1 Town Map

1 Startling Megaphone


2 Dimension Valley

1 Parallel City

Energy – 4

4 Double Colorless

I include this list primarily to highlight the impact of the new set on the BDIF and also because I am hesitant to post an article devoid of decklists. Notice that I kept Milotic instead of including Puzzle of Time. Frankly, Puzzle of Time is underwhelming. On the off chance you find two at a time, you get two cards back from your discard. The effect is incredible, but it is difficult to trigger. You only get this effect when you play the combo, and I highly doubt you will use it twice in a game even with Town Map’s help.

Compare this to Milotic. A 2-2 Milotic line takes the same amount of space as a playset of Puzzle of Time, and Item lock is more common that Ability lock right now. Milotic is undoubtedly easier to use, though it only gets one card per use. The benefit of Milotic is that since it’s easier to use, you can be more specific with your timing of getting back crucial cards. With AZ, you can theoretically use a single Milotic up to six times. Feebas also detracts the focus of your opponent away from your attackers and Energies.

I concur that Delinquent appears out of place in this fast-paced deck that normally wouldn’t worry about disruption outside of Hex Maniac. This brings me to a whole new point however:

Delinquent is a pseudo win condition all on its own.

If your opponent ever, at any time, has a hand of 3 cards or less, they likely lose the game. A 1-of Delinquent in any deck that runs Stadiums makes a whole lot of sense to me just because of its game-breaking potential. Alex Hill went a bit deeper into this concept in his last article. I’m sure it won’t take astute players long to realize this if they haven’t already.

Fighting Fury Belt is a huge buff to Night March! When discussing Night Marchers, most players associate them with being frail, low-HP Pokémon. They are glass cannons. With a Fighting Fury Belt, Pumpkaboo has an astounding 100 HP! Fury Belt allows both Marchers to survive a Belt-boosted Oblivion Wing, and it also makes Joltik less vulnerable to Sky Return.


Night March is the fastest deck in the format. Accompanying its speed is frightening power and longevity to back it up. Night March can pack techs to deal with just about anything, and no matchup is outright terrible from the start. This makes it one of the safest plays you can ask for in such a diverse meta. Fighting Fury Belt makes this deck even more powerful by adding a small semblance of bulkiness to its attackers. 100 HP on a non-EX is nothing to scoff at.


Night March’s matchup situation goes both ways. While it doesn’t have any clear losses, it also doesn’t have many obviously favorable matchups. Its best matchups are probably MegaMan and MegaRay, both of which can quickly go downhill if too many Night Marchers are prized.

Although I keep bringing up the fact that Night March doesn’t have any highly unfavorable matchups, Trevenant would have to be its worst one. If the Trevenant player runs Head Ringer or Trevenant BKP to stop Shaymin-EX, it will take some clever play and luck to win. Item lock and spread damage pose an enormous threat to Night March. Bursting Balloon doesn’t do the deck any favors either.

Since Night March will win an even Prize trade against everything due to its speed, the only ways to beat are to disrupt it or have a way to take multiple Prize cards per turn. Trevenant does both. Playing Bats is another way to spread damage. The Bite Abilities alongside Skill Dive and Swoop Across can take some games against Night March. Unfortunately, sometimes Night March will string together Hex Maniac plays to render this strategy less effective. The same logic applies to Greninja decks.

Seismitoad-EX with Fury Belt is also annoying but not devastating to Night March. Item lock provides effective disruption while Night March will rarely hit for 220 when Items are disabled. Giratina-EX plus Hammers is a free win if the Night March player does not run Enhanced Hammer or Xerosic. If I were to decide on Night March for States, I would include 1 Enhanced Hammer. My LC list doesn’t have it because I correctly guessed that there would be no Giratina.


Reference List: Christopher Schemanske

fighting fury belt breakpoint bkp 99
AKA: Make your own Mega.

YZG is the most well-rounded deck in the format. It earned its Tier 1 spot simply because of how many players flock to the deck, though that doesn’t mean it’s without merit. This deck already dominated Cities and had a decent Regionals showing, and it gets nothing but boosts with the new set. Two important Trainer cards came out that affect this deck positively: Fighting Fury Belt and Max Elixir. It can also utilize the new Darkrai-EX as a bulky and powerful attacker.

I discussed Fighting Fury Belt with Night March, and it appears in this deck as well. Since Fury Belt doesn’t work with Zoroark or Gallade, perhaps some mix of Fury Belt and Muscle Band will have to be negotiated. In any event, the special sash brings Yveltal-EX’s HP up to the level of Mega Pokémon. Yveltal already had plenty of health, but now it is a 210-HP Basic! Yveltal XY, one of the bulkiest non-EXs, can now have 170 HP, which is what Yveltal-EX normally has! In addition to YZG’s natural versatility and power, it now has tanks for attackers thanks to Fury Belt.

Max Elixir is a quirky Item that has not been solidified as a mainstay in all Dark decks yet, though I can easily see that happening. Max Elixir doesn’t have to compete with Dark Patch like it did in Expanded, so there are no longer as many conflicts that can result from Max Elixir’s use. One of the things keeping YZG in check in Standard was its somewhat slow speed. Now it has Energy acceleration and can begin firing off Y Cyclones as early as T1! Elixir eases the pressure of finding a response attacker if you haven’t had time to build Energies on your field yet. It can also allow Evil Ball or Pitch-Black Spear to take surprise KOs which they wouldn’t otherwise pull off.


First of all, the deck is versatile. Between Yveltal-EX, Yveltal BKT, Yveltal XY, Darkrai-EX, Gallade, and Zoroark, there is an abundance of options to use as you see fit. Having so many attackers makes the deck less vulnerable in general. Max Elixir adds speed and power to the natural flexibility of this deck, and Fighting Fury Belt adds bulk. As far as matchups go, it is slightly favored or better against Trevenant and Toad/Tina. This is nice because you won’t have to worry about the annoying disruption decks.


On paper, there is nothing wrong with the deck besides possibly its inability to hit for 170+ damage consistently. When you consider the surrounding meta for Yveltal, it suddenly becomes less appealing. Night March and the mirror match are toss-ups at best. If you stop there, everything is fine. Yveltal is favored against half of the top tier, and even against the other half. However, against just about everything else that exists, Yveltal has a hard time.

Yveltal fares poorly against Entei. It also struggles against Manectric decks because of Flash Energy and the inconsistency of Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick. While the deck can sometimes set up a Maxie play, it’s not built around it and won’t always find it when needed. MegaRay and Greninja are more bad matchups.

Yveltal can lose against decks that use only non-EXs. While Gallade and Zoroark are reliable for a few Prizes, you will inevitably have to attack with one of your Pokémon-EX. Hardly a game goes by where you aren’t using Yveltal-EX at some point. This can make it difficult to trade Prizes against non-EX decks.


phantump art
The ascent of this deck is no coincidence.

Reference Lists: Brit Pybas, Christopher Schemanske

Trevenant BREAK hasn’t been around long, but it has made quite the impact. At the only two BREAKpoint-legal tournaments, Trevenant got 1st and 2nd. And these were Regionals, mind you. Aside from this, Trevenant is receiving loads of hype. If you play just half an hour of PTCGO, you will almost certainly run into a Trevenant deck or three.

BREAKpoint provided three key cards for this deck which not only catapulted it to Tier 1 but also rid the deck of its need for Gengar-EX. They are Trevenant BREAK, Phantump, and Bursting Balloon. First off, Trevenant BREAK can be seen as early as T2 thanks to Phantump’s Ascension and Wally. It has 160 HP and spreads 30 across the board for only two Energies. If you have Dimension Valley in play, Trevenant’s Silent Fear can be used for only 1 P Energy.

Bursting Balloon helps to solve the main problem the deck previously had: it didn’t do much damage. Bursting Balloon is a one-turn Rock Guard, but the deck usually plays 3 or 4 copies of it. Thanks to the Item lock provided by Forest’s Curse, Bursting Balloon is difficult to play around. It cannot be removed with Startling Megaphone and opponents cannot play VS Seeker to find Xerosic or Lysandre while Trevenant is Active.


Item lock, man! Item lock is too disruptive, especially when all of the top decks run 20-30 Item cards. Ascension all but guarantees a T1 Trevenant if you go second, and that alleviates the pressure of finding a Wally on your first turn. Silent Fear is an incredible attack and if your opponent cannot find ways to effectively dispatch multiple Trevenant BREAKs under Item lock, they will quickly succumb to the relentless damage spread.

Busting Balloon and Wobbuffet PHF provide the deck with ways to not only be disruptive but also powerful. Wobbuffet can turn off Abilities, sure, but it can also attack at crucial moments for a lot of damage. We’ve seen how effective the combo of Rock Guard and Seismitoad-EX is, and Trevenant uses an identical concept. Forcing your opponent to take damage on their turn adds a whole new level of disruption. Trevenant also boasts a better Night March matchup than all of the other top decks.


YZG, while winnable, cannot be called favorable. Fright Night Yveltal is devastating to Trevenant. While hitting for 120 with Pitch-Black Spear, it can also set up KOs on Shaymin-EX, as Trevenant has no way to 1HKO Yveltal! In addition to single-handedly setting up 3-Prize turns, Yveltal BKT shuts down Trevenant’s main defense to Dark. Bursting Balloon cannot activate while Fright Night is in effect!

Since Trevenant relies on spreading damage and cannot take 1HKOs, healing poses a major problem for it. Fortunately for Trevenant, M Manectric-EX and Greninja decks with Rough Seas are the only healing threats in the metagame. Champions Festival can be a worthwhile card to include in some decks. If you plan on filling your Bench against Trevenant regardless, Festival will allow you to suffer a little less because of it. Pokémon Center Lady and AZ are also troublesome for the phantom tree.

One minor thing for Trevenant is that it cannot consistently get a T1 Trev when going first. Jirachi-EX is not in the format, so this slightly diminishes the effectiveness of the deck. If you are playing against Trevenant, make sure to get the most out of your Items in the few turns you have to play them! Hex Maniac and Lysandre are also useful to allow Items for a turn.


Reference Lists (XY-BKT): David Roodhof, Christopher Schemanske

Once again, I find myself talking about a deck that gains strength with Fighting Fury Belt. Fury Belt buffs Toad up to 220 HP and brings Giratina up to 210. This math is helpful against Night March because it likely cannot OKHO. It is also helpful against Yveltal and Trevenant. Some variants are trying to incorporate Slowking BKP, but I believe that route is inferior to the disruption of multiple Trainer cards.

Between Team Flare Grunt, Hammers, Xerosic, Head Ringer, and Quaking Punch, this deck is more disruptive than even Trevenant! Toad/Tina proved itself last format at the ECC, and it is looking to be a popular deck at States. Additionally, it is seeing abundant amounts of play on PTCGO. I think it deserves its Tier 1 spot right now based on strength and predicted popularity, but only just so.


As I’ve said, the deck is incredibly disruptive. It can be difficult to even attack multiple times against it let alone enact any sort of game plan. Since Toad specializes in Energy disruption, and everything runs Energies, Toad can effectively disrupt every deck in the format to some degree. Of course, Item lock adds another layer of difficulty on top of Energy denial.

While Toad doesn’t do much damage on its own, Giratina-EX is an excellent backup attacker that can pick up the slack and still lock in its own way. Giratina helps Toad with otherwise troublesome Mega Pokémon like Manectric and Mewtwo. Giratina also provides more Energy disruption by preventing Special Energies from being played.


Seismitoad-EX doesn’t do all that much damage. Although Giratina is a solid attacker, it still doesn’t swing for enough damage to 1HKO anything big. As such, the same healing cards that work against Trevenant will work against Toad/Tina, besides Champions Festival because Toad/Tina doesn’t spread damage like Trevenant does. Rough Seas, AZ, and Pokémon Center Lady are all excellent options.

Toad thrives on Energy locking. Greninja’s Moonlight Slash is a natural answer to this because it does 80 damage and returns the Energy back to the hand, safe from removal. Normally you would have plenty of Energies anyway, but Item lock makes this a valuable option. Ways to recover Energies such as Yveltal’s Oblivion Wing, M Manectric’s Turbo Bolt, and Bronzong’s Metal Links work well against Toad/Tina. Toad has finite removal cards, while those Pokémon theoretically have infinite Energy recovering capabilities. Omega Barrier is a nice counter to Energy denial as well. Relevant Omega Barrier Pokémon are Primal Groudon-EX, Regirock XY49, Electrike PRC 60, and Magcargo PRC 24. If you think you can effectively use any of those in your deck, you will have some help against Toad.

Seismitoad is weak to Grass. An easy-to-include Grass-type is Vespiquen. For just a DCE, you can use Bee Revenge for bunches of damage against Seismitoad. If you have 7 Pokémon discarded, you can 1HKO Seismitoad with Vespiquen. If your opponent does not have a response Chaos Wheel at the ready, Vespiquen can potentially mow down multiple Toads.

Wrecking Crew of Tier 2


“So hot right now.”

Reference List: Alex Hill

What a surprise! Another deck that reaps the benefits of the appealing new Fighting Fury Belt is Entei. One of the ways to previously get around Entei was to use basic Energies, which ignored the defense of Assault Vest. Fighting Fury Belt makes that no longer an option while still providing 40 more HP. If Entei has just 1 Fury Belt, it is on the level of EXs with 170 HP. Of course, with Theta Double, Entei can have 210 HP! And it’s a non-EX! In case you hadn’t noticed, I think that makes it quite a threat.


Entei performed well throughout Cities, and it only improves with Fighting Fury Belt. Forcing opponents to grind through non-EXs with 170 or 210 HP is brutal and intimidating. Entei might not be the most talked about deck right now, but it can surely succeed at States. In addition to bulk, Entei has speed. With the turbo Blacksmith engine and Double Colorless Energy, Entei can frequently use Heat Tackle on T1 for 130+ damage. It has a great YZG matchup too!


Everything special about Entei comes from its Tools. Startling Megaphone spells doom for Entei. Startling Megaphone is splashable and it is also useful against other decks. Many of my decks have started to include 1 or 2 copies of Startling Megaphone. After a Megaphone use, Entei is a Basic with 130 HP and a 130 damage cap. While that is still decent, it is not the monster it would be otherwise.

Tools are Items, so Item lock works well against Entei. Item lock is even more effective when you consider that Entei’s engine relies on Items. Without its Items, it cannot move nearly as fast nor can it use Blacksmith consistently. As another bonus, Seismitoad hits Entei for Weakness. Entei suffers natural unfavorable matchups against Toad/Tina and Greninja, which isn’t a surprise because it is weak to Water.

One final thing is that Entei isn’t the heaviest hitter in the meta. It caps at 170, and it can only get that high if both of its Tools are Muscle Bands. This isn’t common given how helpful Fighting Fury Belt is. You can abuse this fact in tandem with Entei’s trouble with using Lysandre consistently in order to deny Prizes on your high-HP EXs by retreating them. Watch out for the surprise Giovanni’s Scheme though!


Reference Lists: Brit Pybas, Alex Hill

greninja-xy-41-ptcgo-1As one of the newest and most discussed decks, I found Greninja underwhelming in my testing. That said, the potential benefits will be too appetizing to pass up for some players. In the games where Greninja actually sets up a desirable board state, it wins against everything. Greninja variants have been used as fringe concepts in the past, but this time it is legitimate.

BREAKpoint bestows this deck with a full line of quality family members, from Froakie to Greninja BREAK. Froakie is nothing special, though Bubble is occasionally useful early game. Frogadier is incredible. Its Water Duplicates allows the player to search for more Frogadiers and bench them directly. This makes it easy to get multiple Greninja into play and rids the deck of the “Stage 2 syndrome.”

Greninja BKP is a fantastic main attacker. For one Energy it can swing for a solid 80 or use Shadow Stitching for 40 and Ability lock. If Greninja survives the turn, it can evolve into Greninja BREAK, which has the best Ability in the game in my opinion. While Greninja BREAK is Active, you can discard a W Energy from your hand to put 60 damage anywhere! If you have 2 Greninja BREAKs in play on top of 2 Greninja XY, you can potentially do 180 damage with Abilities alone. With proper recovery cards, this deck can spam Water Shurikens in addition to Moonlight Slashes to outpace all other threats.


When Greninja gets an ideal setup, it is favored against every other deck. Night March cannot stand up to the sniping because everything has such low HP. Greninja doesn’t mind a Fighting Fury Belt or two, especially when it can use Startling Megaphone. YZG has a hard time even KOing Greninja and will rarely 1HKO the BREAK. Entei is weak to Water. Toad/Tina doesn’t do enough damage to keep up and its disruption doesn’t work as well as it does against other decks.

In a nutshell, Shuriken spam is too strong.


Notice how I’ve been saying how good Greninja is “when it sets up.” Greninja is indeed a huge threat when it sets up, but that doesn’t seem to be too often. I have been playing Greninja quite a bit recently and it is far too inconsistent. I frequently draw dead hands, and even when I don’t I have a hard time getting multiple Greninja set up. Greninja would be an excellent play for States if you can make it consistent because it performs well against the top tier threats, but I just don’t see it being consistent. Not running the staple Shaymin + Ultra Ball engine hurts it.

It is vulnerable to additional bad variance because you do not want to see any Frogadier missing in the Prizes or winding up in your hand early game. This makes Water Duplicates a poor attack and the deck peters out if it cannot Duplicates for at least 2 Frogadier.

Well, what beats Greninja? When it sets up, nothing. When it doesn’t, everything. Greninja is a deck that simply beats itself. Even when it does set up though, Ability lock is a nuisance to Greninja. Hex Maniac, Wobbuffet, and Garbodor diminish the effectiveness of the deck.


jolteon-ex 16-9
The addition of Jolteon gives Manectric more bark.

Reference Lists: Brit Pybas, Christopher Schemanske

This deck is being talked about quite a bit. The partnership is obvious and Jolteon-EX theoretically solves Manectric’s problems with Night March and Entei. M Manectric-EX has always been a relevant card because of its balanced traits and Energy acceleration. I haven’t actually encountered any of these decks on PTCGO yet, though that is probably because of Jolteon’s rarity. Of course, this doesn’t mean that people are not testing Manectric/Jolteon.


An often overlooked perk of Manectric is the Mega’s free Retreat Cost. This provides mobility along with its powerful acceleration effect. Jolteon-EX comes with free Retreat as well, which provides a “buffer starter” of sorts because opening Jolteon is essentially the same as opening Manectric, which is desirable. Manectric with Flash Energy works well against YZG and Trevenant. Jolteon can handle Toad/Tina, Entei, and Night March. With the natural answers to the popular decks, ManJolt is an appealing anti-meta play.


Manectric’s weaknesses are the most difficult to exploit, and that is why I think it is the best option for States that I’ve covered so far.

However, Jolteon is not the catch-all solution to Night March that many players think it is. Night March can Lysandre around it and use Target Whistle to take 6 Prize cards. It isn’t the easiest thing to pull off, but it certainly is doable. The fact that Pumpkaboo with Fury Belt survives Flash Ray is a small detail but it is relevant.

ManJolt lacks firepower. Assault Laser is the strongest attack in the deck and it only does 120 damage. Prize denial by retreating, switching, and healing is a great tactic to employ against Manectric. Be aware that Manectric can do the same thing with its free Retreat and Rough Seas.


That will conclude our discussion of the top threats to expect at States. But before I go, I would like to share a little something I’ve been working on. This is a deck that I am favoring going into the first week of States, and I don’t have any better options at the moment. It can serve as an example because it incorporates many of the concepts and counters that I’ve shared so far in this article.

Pokémon – 28

4 Combee AOR

4 Vespiquen AOR 10

4 Zubat PHF

4 Golbat PHF

3 Crobat PHF

2 Yveltal BKT

1 Yveltal XY

3 Unown AOR

3 Shaymin-EX ROS

Trainers – 24

4 Professor Sycamore

2 Lysandre


4 Battle Compressor

4 Ultra Ball

3 VS Seeker

2 Trainers’ Mail

2 Startling Megaphone

2 Escape Rope

1 Super Rod

Energy – 8

4 Double Colorless

4 D

This is not the most original deck but it counters the meta. Vespiquen deals with YZG, Entei, Manectric, and Toad. Bats take care of Night March and supply extra damage against anything else. The Yveltal trio is mainly for Trevenant, which would otherwise be a difficult matchup. The Startling Megaphones help against Entei and other random Tools. I only play 3 VS Seeker because there are only two different Supporters to get and I don’t know if anything can be cut for a 4th one.

Thanks for reading guys! I hope this was helpful and aided in your preparation for States. Definitely expect each of these decks to appear! If you have any comments or questions, feel free to share them. Good luck at States!


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