Beep Boop

A Unique Shuffle, Early-Game Resource Management, Early-Spring Tier List, Decks, and Cards

What’s going on everyone! With the States season behind us, we’ve entered this transitional lull until Spring Regionals begin and the new set becomes legal. With my next article not scheduled until the third week of May, I want to go over my top picks for the first two weeks of Regionals and as well as my top 10 cards from Fates Collide. First though, I’d like to go over my various shuffling methods and a common mistake I see made amongst players of all skill levels, myself included.

A Unique Shuffle

rain man cards deck
“I’m an excellent shuffler.”

Underground subscriber @socery requested us writers discuss our personal deck shuffling habits and I’m thrilled to talk about mine as I follow a unique shuffling formula that I picked up from an article written in 2006 by Olav Rokne titled “Strength in Numbers: Stopping Shady Shuffles.” In the article, Olav discusses the shuffling method developed by statistician Ian Vincent which is a combination of pile, riffle, and hindu shuffles. (The hindu shuffle is my own addition.)

I take my deck and shuffle it into seven piles from left to right, then take the two piles on the far right and deal them out from right to left. I’ll then take the two far left piles and distribute them left to right until there are a total of three stacks remaining. I’ll assemble my deck starting with the far left pile on the bottom, middle one in the middle, and finally the remaining far right pile on the top. Finally, I’ll take the deck and riffle shuffle it about five or six times and perform a hindu shuffle five times.

This method might seem a little taxing, but when performed quickly I feel like it gives me the most efficient randomization I can reach.

On Early-Game Resource Management

A common problem you might run into when piloting most competitive Standard and Expanded decks nowadays is having early-game hands filled with VS Seeker and Professor Sycamore (or Juniper).

For an example, I’ll highlight the deck I played during the final week of States: Yveltal/Zoroark. I opened a game with 1 Yveltal XY and no other Pokémon. My hand consisted of 1 Professor Sycamore, 2 VS Seeker, 1 Ultra Ball, 1 Double Colorless Energy, 1 Reverse Valley, and my draw for the turn was Lysandre.

Since we’ve transitioned into heavy Battle Compressor, VS Seeker, and Professor Sycamore decks, I’ve noticed players opt to use Ultra Ball — discarding Professor Sycamore and Lysandre — in order to grab a Shaymin and fish for more cards using Set Up. Why do we do this? I believe the utility and strength of VS Seeker and Double Colorless Energy gets players “married” to particular cards in their hand.

At best, Set Up is going to net the player the Battle Compressor and 2nd Ultra Ball needed to make an amazing Maxie’s Hidden Ball trick combo — or more realistically access to N or Judge so they can conserve resources. At cost of benching one of the two Shaymin-EX in my deck (alongside the potential misfortune of missing another Pokémon to set up behind Yveltal if I draw dead off my end goal of N or Judge), was it really worth it?

It’s in the opening turns of a game where I believe players display their level of skill the most. Most high-level players look to maximize their setup while consuming the least amount of resources possible, but in doing so open themselves up to being punished by variance and clutter their hand full of resources they’ll need at the end of the game. Low-level players might think to themselves “draw as many cards as possible and get set up ASAP,” but in doing so put win conditions on the board (for their opponent) that weren’t completely necessary to reach their preferred board state.

For example, a player might opt to use Shaymin’s Set Up multiple times during their opening turn after already reaching an optimal game state — whether it be hitting their preferred Energy count, cards in their discard, or Benched Basics. I understand this is an extremely situational idea for me to discuss as some decks may be better equipped for these situations — like playing 4 copies of Battle Compressor or a heavy hand-shuffle Supporter line of Shauna or Professor Birch’s Observations that can correct a situation — but those even those decks can run into these unfortunate circumstances.

When presented with these type of hands, I usually end up thinking to myself: “Cut your losses, Ultra Ball for the next needed attacker, and play the Sycamore.” Doing the Shaymin play has occasionally ended with me drawing another Professor Sycamore, Double Colorless Energy, Super Rod, or even a VS Seeker which just puts me further behind on any plays I make during the mid to late game.

Aside: When playtesting I often like to put myself in what I consider awful situations with particular matchups and see if I can play my way out of them. I feel like doing so allows a player to evolve their understanding of the game, the resources in their deck, and the various ways at which they can seek win conditions.

With those thoughts out of the way, let’s get into tiers and decklists for the first two weeks of Spring Regionals.

Tier List for Week 1

Top Tier

Mid Tier

  • Sableye/Garbodor
  • Raikou/Eelektrik
  • Seismitoad/Crobat

Trevenant BREAK

Coming of its win at the Winter Regionals in Florida, this deck has taken the Standard and Expanded formats by storm. It is extremely consistent in Expanded through the help of Jirachi-EX, Level Ball, and Computer Search which is how it won Florida in convincing fashion. The deck’s ability to create a turn 1 Item lock while spreading damage with a 1-Prize attacker puts this deck at the top of my tier list. It has the ability to beat any meta deck if it wins the starting coin flip and locks the opponent out of ever playing Item cards.

Pokémon – 17

4 Phantump BKP

4 Trevenant XY

3 Trevenant BREAK

2 Wobbuffet PHF

2 Shaymin-EX ROS

1 Jirachi-EX

1 Mewtwo-EX NXD

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper

3 N

2 Wally

1 AZ

1 Colress

1 Lysandre


4 VS Seeker

4 Ultra Ball

3 Level Ball

2 Head Ringer

2 Bursting Balloon

2 Float Stone

1 Super Rod

1 Computer Search


4 Dimension Valley

Energy – 8

5 P

3 Mystery

This list is extremely close to the one that Aaron Tarbell won Florida Regionals with except for some added techs to deal with the pesky Shaymin-EX loop strategy. If you anticipate playing against a lot of decks that use Rough Seas, add Delinquent back into the build as it helps if you ever find yourself not drawing into your Dimension Valley. I added an extra N into the deck to help compensate with early dead-draws while conserving resources toward the end of the game.

Other Options

Weakness Policy If you anticipate playing against a flood of Dark decks, a few copies of Weakness Policy can help control the early game before you begin to sweep them with Wobbuffet.

Delinquent It’s always nice to have an extra counter to Rough Seas. Delinquent will also save you in awkward situations where you need to need to replace an opponent’s Silent Lab that’s holding back your combo or end the game in situations where your opponent Junipers and ends the turn with 3 or less cards in hand. I tend to draw rather poorly with this deck so I swapped the 1 Delinquent out from the winning list for 1 N but it could easily be brought back in.

Hammers/Red Card I’m torn on whether or not I feel this engine is sufficient to play after the increase in Groudon decks from Florida and Oregon. While Hammers should help against a majority of the field, I believe that consistently hitting your turn 1 Trevenant coupled with the damage output of Bursting Balloon and Silent Fear should be enough to not warrant the need for Energy removal against a majority of the field.

Aside on Attackers

I want to clear up some initial thoughts I see players having about how to play Trevenant. While Trevenant BREAK is the main attacker, Mewtwo-EX and Wobbuffet contribute to the success of this deck against a majority of the metagame. A Mewtwo with a Bursting Balloon is extremely threatening against an Yveltal deck considering Mewtwo’s Psy Drive can put Yveltal-EX in KO range with 1 Energy attached if Dimension Valley is on board.

While Yveltal can hit Trevenant BREAK for Weakness, if the BREAK is able to use Silent Fear two or three times throughout the game, Wobbuffet is then able to sweep every attacker Yveltal has to offer for only 1 Energy. I fell victim to this exact situation while playing my final round of Day 1 against Travis Nunlist in Florida. It was a treat to see how he goes about controlling Yveltal through Wobbuffet and Mewtwo while setting up two Trevenant behind heavy hitters with 1 Energy.


Primal Groudon — Favorable

Trevenant BREAK’s ability to spread damage hinders Groudon in a way that others can’t. Mr. Mime cannot block its damage and by the time Groudon is able to begin attacking it’s usually in kill range for Wobbuffet. This coupled with Trevenant’s ability to lock out Items can put Groudon in a tough spot if it is unable to get an ideal string of Supporters in the early turns of the game.

The Trevenant BREAK that placed 2nd in Oregon played a heavy amount of Energy removal and techs for control that in no way affect Primal Groudon, so I’m not surprised how that final played out. My recommended build seems to have no trouble with Primal Groudon from my first round of testing.

Sableye/Garbodor — Favorable

Sableye/Garbodor is built heavily around being to use Items, and with the latest variants including heavy counts of Puzzle of Time, this deck falls victim to Forest’s Curse unlike any other. If the Trevenant player wins the coin flip against this deck and gets a turn 1 Trevenant it’s pretty much all downhill for Sableye/Garb.

Seismitoad/Crobat — Favorable

Forest’s Curse is too much for this deck to handle unless it wins the coin flip and gets an amazing opening turn full of resources being discarded and multiple Bats drawn. However, Wobbuffet hinders this deck’s early-game speed meaning the Seismitoad player has to have a lot of things going for it and the Trevenant player needs to not open Wobbuffet as well as lose the opening coin flip and miss any kind of early control via Head Ringer or Wally.

Yveltal/Maxie’s — Even

Contrary to popular belief, I think Trevenant BREAK has a 50/50 matchup with the most viable build of Yveltal in Expanded. Considering the fact that most Yveltal decks will play a heavy line of Item cards for their Battle Compressor engine, I think losing the coin flip to Trevenant plus them getting a Wally and an Energy attached to a Mewtwo or Wobbuffet puts Yveltal in such an awful position that even type advantage won’t amount to much of a difference.

An ideal start would be opening an Yveltal-EX and having a sufficient number of Energy in hand to cope without Items during your upcoming turns, but this doesn’t always happen considering the number of Basic Pokémon the deck plays. In this position most players would opt to use Mewtwo-EX in combination with X Ball and Psy Drive to bring down the Yveltal-EX — meaning you could use these few turns without Forest’s Curse in place to burn through as many resources as you can and set yourself up for success.

Raikou/Eelektrik — Even

This is another matchup that comes to the opening turns of the game. Raikou/Eelektrik can pack a heavy amount of Rough Seas and that should be enough to swing the matchup in its favor given the proper setup. Again, if Trevenant BREAK wins the coin flip you put yourself in such a strong position if you’re able to hit a Wally and stop your opponent from ever using Level Ball, Ultra Ball, and Battle Compressor.

If the Raikou/Eelektrik is able to get down a Rough Seas and draw into a Hex Maniac to fish out its own setup cards then it can start to tilt this matchup in its favor. Mewtwo-EX cannot save Trevenant in this matchup since it cannot 1HKO a Raikou and the Raikou player can trade efficiently.


The good ole Dark deck that will never go away. With the ability to go at least 50/50 with close to every matchup in the meta, Yveltal is one of the safest and best deck choices to go with for Spring Regionals. The deck’s transition from Standard to Expanded is glorious with the readditions of Dark Patch, Keldeo-EX, and Jirachi-EX. I feel like the only time I’ll miss a turn 1 Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick is if I end up prizing a piece of the combo. While I do believe Turbo Darkrai/Yveltal is a strong deck, I think it pales in comparison to the utility that Maxie’s provides.

Pokémon – 12

2 Yveltal-EX

2 Yveltal BKT

1 Yveltal XY

1 Darkrai-EX BKP

1 Darkrai-EX LTR

1 Keldeo-EX

1 Shaymin-EX ROS

1 Jirachi-EX

1 Archeops NVI

1 Gallade BKT

Trainers – 37

2 Professor Sycamore

1 AZ

1 Colress

1 Ghetsis

1 Lysandre

1 Hex Maniac

1 Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick

1 N


4 VS Seeker

4 Ultra Ball

4 Dark Patch

3 Battle Compressor

3 Trainers’ Mail

2 Fighting Fury Belt

2 Float Stone

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Computer Search


2 Reverse Valley

2 Silent Lab

Energy – 11

7 D

4 Double Colorless

This list is 1 card off from the list that Bradley Curcio and I put together the night before Florida Regionals. He was able to bring home a Top 8 while I finished 9th as the bubble boy for the weekend. Our mutual friend Rudy Paras also finished in Top 32 using our same 60-card list. The only change I’ve made is replacing a Sableye DEX with a Hex Maniac to try and have better outs against Trevenant. Sableye’s soul purpose in the deck was to win the Sableye/Garbodor matchup and I only ran into that deck once during Day 1 of Florida Regionals.

This deck uses Fighting Fury Belt combined with Reverse Valley in order to generate proper numbers for KOs and allows us to open up spots for techs. We can avoid using Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym in the deck which I believe are unnecessary if you pilot the deck correctly and plot out your damage output to reach your win condition.

One of the other changes we made from popular Yveltal lists was playing 1 copy of Darkrai-EX BKP — instead of 2 Darkrai-EX LTR — which I’m happy to say was an MVP for Florida Regionals. It created a really powerful 1-Energy-attachment attacker against other Yveltal decks. My goal with Darkrai was to provide a big HP attacker for just a DCE and use my Dark Patches for Darkrai-EX LTR or Yveltal BKT.

Other Options

Sableye DEX This card wins the Sableye/Garbodor matchup when you have VS Seeker, Ghetsis, and Dark Patch in your discard pile. Other than this matchup, I haven’t found much use for it. Occasionally I’d grab Dark Patches or VS Seeker to fish back resources when I’m extremely far ahead in a game. I’d only play this if I anticipated playing against multiple Sableye/Garbodor decks.

2 Maxie’s/2 Gallade — Going into Florida Regionals, having never played Yveltal/Maxie’s before in a competitive event, I was extremely hesitant on keeping the thin line for Maxie’s of 1/1/1. Turns out it felt perfectly fine. I can say I only prized a missing combo piece during three games over the entire weekend. Sadly, two of these times were in the same match against Turbo Darkrai which I ended up losing to in Round 11. I hate not having a thicker line of the combo but I don’t see any other spots I would like to cut just to increase these chances.

2 Yveltal XY Another route to take with this deck is playing a 2/2 split of Yveltal XY and Yveltal BKT so you can have early attachments from Oblivion Wing. This helps against Trevenant BREAK as you can expect Yveltal XY to stay on the board for some time and get solid output against them.


Sableye/Garbodor — Favorable

If you play Sableye DEX in your build and don’t prize it during Game 1, this matchup feels incredibly easy. Ghetsis is amazing against the deck and combined with Sableye they just can’t keep up their control. If you don’t play Sableye, the game turns into a back and forth exchange of resources based on A) well-timed Ghetsis and B) if you can establish a solid game state with Yveltal XY. My thought process is I have to get unlucky for this matchup to go south.

Seismitoad/Crobat — Favorable

Yveltal BKT and Yveltal-EX absolutely shine in this matchup. If you’re able to establish an Archeops during the first turn it’s almost laughable. Playing around Dedenne FFI and Mewtwo-EX is crucial here as you don’t want to be punished for over-attaching Energy just to get a KO on a Seismitoad. I’ve found most Seismitoad decks play only 2 copies of Crobat and 3 Golbat allowing you to plan out an opponent’s damage output based on the Evolutions they’ve had to discard while establishing their early-game setup. Having a strong turn 1 with multiple Dark Patches being played also allow Darkrai-EX BKP to take over a game through constant 2HKOs on Seismitoad.

Primal Groudon — Even

This matchup is about 50/50 depending on how much damage you’re able to put on Benched Groudons with Pitch-Black Spear. Most Groudon decks should be playing Mr. Mime now, but it’s up to you to time your Silent Lab placements to counteract Bench Barrier. Playing a variant with Hex Maniac should help as well. I like to keep as many Pokémon-EX off my side of the field as possible and attempt to Prize race them off of early Wobbuffet KOs.

Trevenant BREAK — Even

I mentioned this earlier in the article that this matchup is fairly close but playing from the Yveltal perspective, I’m looking to capitalize on any turns I’m able to play Item cards by setting up future turns via VS Seeker for Lysandre/Hex Maniac. The next goal is to set up Yveltal BKT to begin adding Bench damage to Mewtwo-EX as soon as possible while dealing hefty damage to Trevenant BREAK.

Be aware of taking revenge attacks from Wobbuffet PHF off of Silent Fear + Bursting Balloon which can come down at any moment with a Dimension Valley and Energy attachment.

It’s frustrating to play under the lock but this deck is equipped with the utility to survive a couple of turns of Silent Fear in order to KO the real problematic attackers that would follow suit. Luckily since we have type advantage and Dark Patch our deck is able to get solid donks against them if your opponent opens poorly.

Raikou/Eelektrik — Even

While this deck is incredibly fast and threatening, if you hit a turn 1 Archeops or Gallade the matchup goes from unfavorable to about even. Most Raikou/Eelektrik builds are now playing Hex Maniac meaning they can set up around your control, but in doing so they hurt their speed and damage output as you can take as many KOs on Eelektriks/Raikous before they start to sweep your field.

I believe this deck will continue to be popular so keeping in the Hex Maniac I’ve added to the list should help controlling this deck a little bit more. Both Darkrai shine in this matchup and I tend to save my Fighting Fury Belt and Reverse Valley placements for when I begin to attack with them.

Primal Groudon

Sneaking up on us out of nowhere during Week 3-of Winter Regionals was the slow and steady Primal Groudon. Taking 1st place, 2nd place, and 4th place finishes, Groudon proved itself to be a powerhouse after the meta shifted to compensate for Sableye/Garbodor. I expect any players who have 4 Tropical Beach and no desire to play Trevenant or Yveltal to pilot this deck as it’s extremely fun and rewarding.

Pokémon – 12

3 Groudon-EX PRC

3 Primal Groudon-EX PRC

4 Wobbuffet PHF

1 Mr. Mime PLF

1 Bunnelby PRC 121

Trainers – 38

4 Korrina

3 Professor Sycamore

2 N

1 Lysandre

1 Cassius

1 Hex Maniac

1 Pokémon Center Lady

1 Xerosic


4 Puzzle of Time

3 VS Seeker

2 Focus Sash

2 Robo Substitute

1 Battle Compressor

1 Escape Rope

1 Float Stone

1 Switch

1 Mega Turbo

1 Professor’s Letter

1 Enhanced Hammer

1 Computer Search

1 Super Potion


4 Tropical Beach

Energy – 10

5 F

4 Strong

1 P

I tested a list similar to that of Michael Canaves’ the same week of Florida Regionals and I found playing 4 Puzzle of Time to be incredibly worthwhile. The decks that took 1st and 2nd did not play it but Mike played an incredibly well-thought-out build including 1 Battle Compressor to discard any resources he may need immediately and grab them back instantly with Puzzle of Time.

Originally the deck included 1 Regirock XY49 as a deterrent for Sableye/Garbodor but I feel like Bunnelby has a deserving place in the deck allowing Groudon to deck out an opponent — which is a solid win condition in the mirror match — or even toss back VS Seeker and Puzzle of Time to reuse healing cards over and over.

The 1 P Energy allows Wobbuffet to take a KO if a Primal Groudon fails to 1HKO an opponent, and it can always be attached to Primal Groudon as his attack does takes 1 C Energy.

Other Options

Regirock XY49 If you’re looking for a backup attacker and a nice way to retrieve Stadiums back in tough matchups like Trevenant BREAK then playing 1 copy of Regirock instead of Bunnelby is fine.

2 Enhanced Hammer Some decks tend to play only 4 copies of Double Colorless Energy or Double Dragon Energy as their only means of attacking. Playing 2 copies of Enhanced Hammer, 1 Xerosic, 4 Puzzle of Time, and Bunnelby allows you to deck them out before they take 6 Prizes against you. This is the deck’s game plan against Vespiquen variants.

Jirachi XY67 Similar to the Enhanced Hammer concept, Jirachi can help you deck out an opponent who is running a 4 Special Energy-card deck as a viable win condition.

Ultra Ball If you find yourself playing against a lot of decks where you need to hit Wobbuffet or Mr. Mime to stand a chance you should include a copy of Ultra Ball to fish them out via Korrina.

Max Potion/Scramble SwitchThis is an idea I tested back and forth with Groudon and I opted to play Computer Search due to its consistency off Korrina to hit Tropical Beach, but combining Max Potion and Scramble Switch has always been a power play available to Groudon decks. The latest boost is the inclusion of Puzzle of Time which means this combo can occur up to three times in one game.


Raikou/Eelektrik — Favorable

The combination of Wobbuffet, Pokémon Center Lady, and Hex Maniac makes this matchup a breeze. Groudon should be able to sweep through Raikou easily without even needing a Stadium in play, and using 4 Puzzle of Time, 3 VS Seeker, and 1 Hex Maniac means you can string Hex against them almost every turn once you begin attacking with Groudon.

Sableye/Garbodor — Favorable

Establishing a Primal Groudon and using Cassius on any Wobbuffet you might have opened with makes this matchup heavily favored toward Groudon. As long as you’re able to remove their deck-out win condition by having only 1 Primal Groudon on the field, this should be an easy deck to overcome as their control cards don’t affect you once you evolve into the Primal.

Seismitoad/Crobat — Even

Since the inclusion of 4 Tropical Beach and Mr. Mime in Groudon builds I believe the Seismitoad/Crobat matchup has improved to a point where Groudon can go 50/50 with the deck even if the Quaking Punch lock hurts the Groudon player’s starting hand. Cassius and Pokémon Center Lady should define most of this matchup but playing cautiously of Mewtwo-EX or Lugia-EX is critical toward the outcome.

Yveltal/Maxie’s — Even

As mentioned before this matchup comes down to how well the Groudon player can regulate the Bench damage from Yveltal BKT. Pokémon Center Lady and Mr. Mime are extremely powerful in this matchup and if Wobbuffet can control the Yveltal player from establishing their damage early then the Groudon player should have no problem sweeping the late game. The Yveltal player should be looking to bench the least amount of Pokémon-EX as possible but if they put 2 Pokémon-EX down you should be able to win the Prize race against them.

Trevenant BREAK — Unfavorable

This matchup is heavily favored to Trevenant as the Item lock breaks through Bide Barricade and the Bench damage done through Silent Fear breaks Mr. Mime. You could try using Suicune BKP for this matchup but I don’t see a way you’ll be able to get a Switch card or Float Stone on Suicune BKP after using an Ultra Ball to search your deck for it. If you play an AZ and another Hex that might be ideal but Trevenant BREAK could also just use Tree Slam to 2HKO Suicune and make the entire inclusion useless.

This matchup isn’t completely unwinnable but it’ll take some luck from the Trevenant BREAK player not hitting Trevenant early and the Groudon player drawing sufficient amount of resources before the Item lock comes online.

Top 10 from Fates Collide

alakazam pokedex
New Pokémon??

My top picks for Fates Collide are geared more toward the Standard format and the impact these cards will have on Nationals and Worlds.

10. Alakazam-EX

This will be my first time ever playing in a format where Alakazam is a card and the nerd in me is screaming with excitement. Sadly, his Weakness to Psychic and the current hype behind Night March will deter me from playing Alakazam-EX and his Mega form, but I won’t deny how insane Kinesis is. Paired with Devolution Spray this deck can make for some very interesting damage output alongside Wobbuffet PHF and Dimension Valley. His attack is currently undervalued due to the Standard format’s high reliance on Double Colorless Energy — which usually means your opponent only has 1 Energy card on the field at a time.

9. Umbreon-EX

This card art is absolutely gorgeous but more importantly Umbreon-EX’s attack End Game is a nice little boost that Dark archetype certainly did not need in the Standard format. I can see a combination of Max Elixir, Double Colorless Energy, and Umbreon-EX finishing games against unprepared opponents piloting Mega Rayquaza, Mega Manectric, and Mega Mewtwo variants. His first attack, Veil of Darkness, makes him a great Pokémon to open against Item lock decks such as Vespiquen/Vileplume or Trevenant BREAK, giving you a few more chances to fish for resources while dealing a bit of damage. I believe this will become a 1-of slot in some Turbo Dark variants depending on how the meta develops in the upcoming months.

8. Regirock-EX

Fighting got a Team Plasma Deoxys-EX! While Fighting not be the most popular deck at the moment, a combination of Carbink FCO 50, Carbink BREAK, Zygarde-EX, and Regirock-EX can make for an interesting rogue deck. His attack isn’t that impressive until paired with Carbink BREAK. Along with a Focus Sash or Fighting Fury Belt Regirock-EX can become a nice attacker against any deck. I’m looking forward to seeing what type of staple Regirock-EX will become in Fighting decks.

7. Glaceon-EX

Why, Pokémon? Why would you complete the Circle of Attack Lock? Not only is this card’s second attack a nice lockout condition against Evolution decks but the art is absolutely adorable. I’ve always been an advocate of playing pure Evolution decks but with this card being added to M Manectric-EX’s arsenal I don’t know if those decks can keep up with the control that’s bringing alongside Jolteon-EX. Glaceon-EX is a nice strong card that could see play as a 1-of in some hybrid decks.

6. Genesect-EX

Genesect-EX is back and sporting a new card color. I ranked Genesect-EX so highly due to his Ability Drive Change. Genesect-EX has so many options presented to him in Standard for Tool attachments like Bursting Balloon, Float Stone, and Fighting Fury Belt. His attack Rapid Blaster could pair well with Bursting Balloon, Muscle Band, and Fighting Fury belt to take quick KOs on Pokémon-EX after being loaded up with Metal Links from Bronzong PHF. I expect Genesect-EX to become a 2-of in most Metal decks after they’ve been optimized to support the play of Bronzong BREAK.

5. Carbink FCO 50

A 90-HP Basic Fighting Pokémon with the Safeguard Ability. Carbink, while not much by himself other than a Safeguarder, is insane because of his Evolution Carbink BREAK. Since he’s able to be Focus Sashed and only has a Retreat Cost of 1, he’s one the best pre-Pokémon BREAK we have.

4. Zygarde-EX

Zygarde-EX is a nice continuation of the three-attack Fighting Pokémon-EX trend that began with Lucario-EX — and it has whopping 190 HP. I believe players will be using a combination of Fighting Fury Belt or Power Memory paired with Carbink BREAK/Regirock-EX to attack with Land’s Pulse or Cell Storm for 2HKO against a majority of the field.

3. Bronzong BREAK

Bronzong BREAK adds a new flare to Metal builds which I think will make a decent impact on the Standard format. Metal seemed to have faded out of contention due to the speed of the format and lack of strong non-EX attackers as Heatran PHF cost too much Energy for the deck to keep up with Night March. Bronzong BREAK’s attack Gold Rain can make for great trades against Night March and even set up potential donk situations forcing a Night March player to bench extra Shaymin-EX or Mew when they ideally wouldn’t want to. The extra HP on top of the Bronzong PHF should prove helpful against Crobat and Mega Manectric variants as they’ll no longer have the option of taking quick KOs on Bronzong.

2. Carbink BREAK

The most exciting card in the set for me, Carbink BREAK, adds a new format of Energy acceleration to refuel the power of Fighting decks. Unlike Garchomp BKP, Carbink has a great Ability in Safeguard and its attack Diamond Gift attaches any 2 Energy cards, including Strong Energy, to a Fighting attacker all while being a Stage 1 BREAK. I’m looking to forward to what decks evolve from this Evolution and how players will use it in combination with Focus Sash to break the format.

1. Mew FCO

This is the most infuriating card being printed in the set. Mew gives another boost to Night March (as it has the past two years) but this time it’s a non-Pokémon-EX. Its Ability, Beginning Memory, can copy the Night March attack from Joltik and lets Night March decks no longer become reliant on attacking with Double Colorless Energy. Just as Night March decks did before we should expect them to play 4 Dimension Valley and a high count of basic Energy to capitalize on some of their Special Energy hate such as Giratina-EX, Aegislash-EX, or Jirachi XY67.


ash grass

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on the concept of navigating tough early-game scenarios. It’s tough at times to play well, conserve resources, and build optimal decks only to get hit with a streak of bad variance from this card game. Sometimes there’s just no hope in the cards you’re dealt and that’s when the frustration can reach new heights. I believe it’s okay to get annoyed and let off some steam but I try to compose myself then replay the events in my head to find any little mistake or different route I could’ve taken a hand in order to improve the outcome of a game. That way I’m always striving to improve my gameplay and I’ll never truly reach perfection as new concepts and outcomes can be presented to me during uncommon circumstances. It’s having that willpower and motivation to keep pushing and analyzing to raise my personal skill ceiling that keeps me going. I hope if you’re a competitive player you share a similar mindset and become a better player each time you pick up a deck.

The first two weeks of the Spring Regionals should look extremely similar to that of the results from Florida and Oregon with a few tech cards changed to help out the top tier matchups. Trevenant and Yveltal decks should flood the majority of the meta with a few Groudon, Mega Rayquaza, and Seismitoad splashed in every now and then. I’m looking forward to us getting back N in the Standard format for Nationals but it’s still looking like an Item lock vs Compressor deck format which in my opinion is toxic to play in.

Fates Collide doesn’t look it’s going to shake up the format too much other than providing Night March with Mew and giving Fighting and Metal decks that have fallen out of favor a chance at a comeback. I think it’s worth it to pick up any of the 10 cards I listed for upcoming tournaments as most of them should see some form of play within the next few months.

…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.

After 45 days, we unlock each Underground (UG/★) article for public viewing. New articles are reserved for Underground members.

Underground Members: Thank you for making this article possible!

Other Readers: Check out the FAQ if you are interested in joining Underground and gaining full access to our latest content.

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

You are logged out. Register. Log in. Legacy discussion: 15