Hello SixPrizes! State Championships recently ended, which means that we are in the transitional period leading up to Spring Regionals. This is the time of the year during which players are accumulating as many Championship Points as possible to finish off their Worlds invites or push toward a top 16 finish. With stipends being handed out to the top 100 players in the United States, every tournament from here on out becomes a little more important.
One thing that I have noticed about playing Pokémon with two different formats is the difficulty that comes with testing for both. It’s not just about grabbing a deck and slightly modifying some cards to prepare for the next tournament, but instead switching up entire strategies. For example, playing a Vespiquen-based deck in the Standard format would simply involve a good amount of consistency cards and adding in possible techs to counter what is expected in the metagame. This could include adding a Zebstrika BKP line to hit for Weaknesses against Mega Rayquaza and Yveltal-EX, playing a Bronzong PHF line to assure Energy for attackers, and maybe using a Gallade BKT to serve as an attacker and added consistency. When switching back to the Expanded format, the entire deck must be changed. All of the tech attackers become a 4-4 Flareon line, the entire Bronzong line can be effectively substituted for just one card (Blacksmith), and multiple Wobbuffet PHF must be added to counter opponents that use Archeops NVI. From constantly having to change cards back and forth between these formats, it honestly gets hard to remember what preparations must happen during deck building!
For this article, I decided to look through every piece I’ve written for SixPrizes and figure out what worked the best for readers. It looked like the best response (in terms of likes) came from the articles that focused on a heavy amount of diverse lists. As I’ve said before, I always feel that the best way to get ready for Regional Championships is to try out every possible deck idea and consider every possible option before making a final decision on what to play. Being prepared for Regionals means being ready to see nine different rounds of decks and confidently sit across from each of them.
Based on this reasoning, my article is going to focus on nine different decks that could see play in this Expanded format, along with providing some insight into their strengths and weaknesses. At the very least, this should give everyone a good starting point toward testing and rebuilding Expanded decks that have been taken apart. The decks will be split into three different sections:
- Decks focused around hitting big damage and utilizing Jolteon-EX to lock out opposing Basic Pokémon
- Decks focused around setting up for big attacks with Grass Pokémon
- Decks focused around taking Prize cards quickly through speed-based draw engines
It is also important to note that most of these decks don’t include many cards from the new set, Fates Collide. During my testing so far, the new Supporter and Item cards just aren’t better than the options we already have in the Expanded format. Also, attackers like Zygarde-EX and Genesect-EX need to have entire decks built around them to perform well, which makes it difficult to casually throw a copy or two into an archetype for testing purposes.
I decided to just focus on decks that have shown good success, along with the changes that I’ve made to switch for the upcoming Regional Championships. Don’t be too focused on making new cards work for these big tournaments, especially when we’ve already seen good results from decks in the past.
Enough introduction. Let’s get started!
It seems that nowadays, the topic of shuffling comes around more and more in the Pokémon community. This could relate to not shuffling enough, shuffling for too long and wasting time, or just overall bad habits. I don’t really mind how my opponent shuffles, as I will always give their deck a couple of riffles myself. When I’m playing against a good friend, I actually don’t even shuffle their deck most of the time and just trust that they wouldn’t try anything tricky. Overall, it’s never a bad idea to shuffle an opponent’s deck, though.
For my own shuffling habits, I always pile-shuffle my deck before each game and follow that with some riffle shuffles until it is completely randomized. During actual gameplay and searching the deck, I just do a good amount of quick riffle shuffles and let my opponent cut the deck. In most cases, I just shuffle in a quick manner to save as much time as possible for gameplay. In my opinion, as long as the cards are thrown around and riffled enough to completely lose track of a card’s placement, it’s random enough to start a game.
“Struck Me Down Like Lightning”
With every section of this article pertaining to a certain theme, the central idea of this section is going to be an inclusion of the card Jolteon-EX. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Jolteon-EX is the main attacker, but the unique locking capability of this card certainly helps against many matchups in the current metagame.
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 36
Energy – 7
Many readers have already seen lists similar to this for the Standard format, as it has won numerous State Championships over the past couple of months, but there hasn’t been an Expanded version that includes Jolteon-EX just yet.
With a complete lack of Supporter cards and reliability on using Pokémon Abilities, this list may look strange to people that have not yet played the deck. Through using multiple Hoopa-EX, Shaymin-EX, and Jirachi-EX, a player can draw through a large portion of their deck without even playing a Supporter card. The point is to go through a heavy amount of the deck while getting completely set up with multiple M Rayquaza-EX and a full Bench to hit for maximum damage. Once Lightning Energy have hit the discard pile, they can be brought back onto M Rayquaza-EX using Mega Turbo which can lead to a first turn attack for 240 damage!
After the first M Rayquaza-EX starts to swing for damage, there becomes a turn to attach Energy cards onto Benched Pokémon, which is exactly when to start setting up a Jolteon-EX (if the matchup is good for shutting down opposing Basic Pokémon). The combination of swinging for huge damage and threatening to shut down attacks from Basic Pokémon is very powerful, which is how this deck was able to win multiple State Championships. Let’s look at the strengths and weaknesses.
- Without a doubt, the biggest strength of this deck would be the power behind each attack. Swinging for a massive 240 damage with relative ease on the first or second turn of the game is just insane to deal with. Unless an opponent is playing Wailord-EX, expect to see knockouts happening at the end of each turn.
- This deck is also able to utilize Hoopa-EX in a way that has never been seen before, which is why there are 2 copies of the card in this build. Searching out 3 Pokémon-EX is extremely powerful toward thinning the deck, evolving into M Rayquaza-EX, filling the Bench to swing for more damage, drawing cards off of Shaymin-EX, and grabbing a switching option through Keldeo-EX. The self-proclaimed “Mischief” Pokémon certainly can pull off some sneaky combos in this deck and fits perfectly with the strategy.
- Ability-blocking in the form of a Supporter card every turn can completely shut down the strategy of an opponent’s deck, which would certainly make dealing with a M Rayquaza-EX much harder. Notable matchups where this comes in handy would be Raikou/Eelektrik, Greninja, Yveltal/Archeops, and much more.
- Having room to play 4 Puzzle of Time allows this deck to discard vital resources on the beginning turns of the game, as a player can just use 2 copies simultaneously and retrieve whatever is needed at some point in the future. This can allow for added turns of using Hex Maniac, grabbing extra Double Colorless Energy that have been discarded, or possibly even to just grab another attacker that was Knocked Out.
- I refer to this deck as having a serious “snowball effect,” which can happen from playing just 1 Item card. If a player starts with just 1 Trainers’ Mail in their opening hand, that can find an Ultra Ball, which grabs a Hoopa-EX, which grabs attackers and Shaymin-EX, which draws through the deck into another Ultra Ball and more resources, etc.
- If an opponent is able to block Abilities, this deck can’t perform at all. Without Shaymin-EX, there just aren’t enough Supporter cards to properly cycle into attackers and Energy cards. This can come in the form of an opponent starting Wobbuffet, getting out a Garbodor, or playing down a Silent Lab.
- Decks that focus around discarding Energy cards are difficult to deal with. From previous Regional Championships, HexRay decks found their worst enemies in the form of Sableye/Garbodor, which was able to discard all of their Energy cards and force them to deck out. I’m not sure how prevalent Energy-denial decks are going to be in the upcoming Regionals, but they are usually not fun to deal with for this build.
- Item-locking is also difficult to deal with when going second, as this deck needs to cycle through resources and get properly set up. If this build can go first, it can shut down opposing Item lock through playing a Hex Maniac every turn of the game, which would effectively stop any Trevenant or Vileplume decks. Without going first, opening hands usually consist of many Item cards that can’t be played under a lock.
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 35
Energy – 11
M Manectric-EX has been a powerful card since the day it came out. With an attack that charges up Benched Pokémon, it can set up for future attackers to be used later in the game while also damaging an opposing Pokémon. Having a massive 210 HP and no Retreat Cost is also very useful toward surviving after attacks, as a M Manectric-EX can retreat to another attacker and start healing through the use of Rough Seas. With Jolteon-EX now involved in the game plan, opponents can be forced into terribly awkward positions of not being able to attack while this deck casually heals off previous damage that was done.
Through also playing 2 copies of Assault Vest, this deck is based completely on surviving attacks and rotating between Pokémon. After damage has been done, the optimal play would usually involve retreating to a M Manectric-EX, using a Max Potion to heal off the damage, and then re-attaching the Energy cards through Turbo Bolt. Playing copies of AZ and Parallel City are also forms of denying easy Prize cards from damaged attackers, which allows this deck to casually grind down an opponent and survive until the game is over.
- Being able to constantly refuel Energy through using an attack is extremely powerful during the course of a game. Max Potion becomes very easy to play, as the Energy cards can just be immediately attached to another attacker after being discarded. This strength also makes it difficult to find a time during the game in which an attacker isn’t ready to go, as there should always be plenty of Energy on the field.
- Playing a large amount of healing options is very good at denying an opponent easy Prize cards. Decks that focus around hitting for big amounts of damage become very annoyed after not taking Prizes. Denying Prize cards is the name of the game, and this deck has no problem doing that.
- Jolteon-EX provides a unique purpose in this deck, as it can be charged up through a Turbo Bolt and then allows for a possible turn of no attacks from the opponent. If they can’t find a way around the Jolteon-EX that turn, this allows for multiple turns of healing off damage and can make a big impact. Flash Ray can also serve to straight-up win matchups, as some decks don’t have a counter to this attack.
- This deck uses a large amount of free-retreating options, which is very underrated nowadays. Being able to freely promote a Pokémon after each knockout can be crucial toward forming a game plan for upcoming moments.
- Without a fast M Manectric-EX, this deck can struggle to deal with fast-paced opponents. There needs to be multiple attackers out very quickly in order to survive, which can be game-ending without a Turbo Bolt attack coming down. With the only form of Energy acceleration being Mega Turbo, an opponent can effectively shut down the strategy of this deck by wiping the board clear of Energy and preventing a Turbo Bolt.
- Although this deck does focus on preventing an opponent from drawing Prize cards through surviving attacks, it can provide easy Prizes through accessory Pokémon-EX that are on the Bench (Hoopa-EX, Jirachi-EX, Shaymin-EX). It’s crucial to not over-bench liabilities during the course of the game, as that can lead to 6 easy Prize cards for an opposing player.
- This deck also comes with an inherent weakness to Fighting-type Pokémon, which have just grown in strength from Fates Collide coming out. I’m not sure how relevant that weakness will be though, as many players may not even try out the new Fighting attackers.
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 33
Energy – 11
This deck is currently one of my favorites at the moment, as it incorporates some new attackers into an effective strategy. Eelektrik has proven to be extremely powerful throughout the years, even resulting in a Regional Championship win for myself in 2012. The updated version in 2016 involves using multiple non-EX attackers in the form of Raikou, which is done to effectively go up on the Prize exchange throughout the game. By using non-EX attackers to take Prizes on opposing Pokémon-EX, this deck allows a player to draw 2 Prize cards for every 1 Prize being taken by an opponent. From using extremely complicated mathematical equations, we can tell that 2 is a higher number than 1. This means that throughout the game, this deck will draw Prize cards faster, go up on the Prize exchange, and win each game before an opponent even has a chance to come back.
Jolteon-EX once again provides an interesting purpose in this deck. Aside from being a fantastic Lightning-type attacker, this Pokémon also allows for a free-retreating option in the deck. This is a welcome site, as Dynamotor can be used much more effectively with a free path toward getting that Benched Pokémon to the Active Spot. Not only that, but Jolteon-EX is a relatively good counter toward opposing decks that play Archeops. If an opponent is playing Archeops, it can be assumed that their deck relies on Basic Pokémon attacking. Jolteon-EX stops Basic Pokémon from attacking and can shut down an opponent to allow time to draw the copy of Hex Maniac (to shut down Archeops for a turn).
- The best part about playing this deck is going to be the Prize exchanges. Opponents will usually have to use multiple attacks in order to Knock Out a Raikou that has a Fighting Fury Belt attached, while a Raikou can 1-shot just about anything by having a large amount of Energy. These uneven Prize exchanges help to slowly grind out the game and finish ahead on Prize cards. Almost every opponent will bench a Shaymin-EX at some point, so there is always going to be a chance to get ahead on the exchange.
- Similar to the M Manectric-EX deck, this build also focuses on playing Rough Seas to help heal off the damage that is being done. Through cycling between attacking Raikou and constantly re-attaching Energy with Eelektrik, this strategy can become a nuisance to any deck that can’t hit for enough damage.
- As mentioned before, Jolteon-EX is a good counter to decks that rely on playing Archeops, which is due to them playing all Basic attackers. With just one attack from a Jolteon-EX, some of these decks can actually just lose the game from not having enough an answer. With these big tournaments that involve nine rounds of playing, it’s always nice to find an easy win.
- If this deck can get properly set up with multiple Tynamo down on the first turn of the game, attacking Raikou can start swinging for big damage from turn 2. After the first Raikou attacks and multiple Eelektrik come down, the cycle should never stop with Energy acceleration being abused during each turn.
- Opposing decks that can shut down Abilities are very hard to deal with, especially since the entire point of this deck is to use Dynamotor as much as possible. Even with just one Hex Maniac, an opponent could halt Energy acceleration on a crucial turn of the game and even up the Prize exchange. Stopping Abilities for just one turn isn’t exactly game-ending, but it is very annoying to deal with.
- Another weakness that comes to mind would be opposing Archeops-based decks. If an opposing player can hit a fast Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick and stop Evolutions from being played, Eelektrik/Raikou begins to struggle and can’t set up attackers. There are ways to deal with this problem, as can be seen from the Hex Maniac and Jolteon-EX, but they must be drawn and effectively used.
- With most decks that rely on evolving Pokémon, a big weakness would also come with not drawing Tynamos during the first turn of the game. Most of the time this wouldn’t be a problem, especially with such high amounts of consistency cards and forms of searching out Tynamos, but I feel like it must be mentioned to stress the importance of finding these Basics.
“Don’t Go into the Tall Grass!”
This section of the article is going to focus around Grass-type Pokémon that can hit for huge amounts of damage after setting up on the previous turns, which comes in the form of Vespiquen AOR and Genesect-EX PLB attacking.
Pokémon – 27
Trainers – 29
Energy – 4
This first deck has been rising in popularity over the past couple of weeks during State Championships and has even taken home some 1st place finishes. Vespiquen/Vileplume is able to effectively cycle through most of the deck on the first turn of the game while setting up a Vespiquen to hit for big damage and also locking an opponent out of Item cards through Vileplume coming down. This strategy is almost impossible to deal with when going second, as there is nothing that can be done (aside from starting with a Wobbuffet to shut down Abilities).
Most players in the Pokémon community are complaining nowadays because of the fast-paced Standard format that involves Night March decks running rampant, with Item-locking strategies being implemented to slow down the game. This was one of the decks being used to slow down Night March, which also gained the hatred of the Pokémon community by not allowing players even a turn of Item cards. When playing against Seismitoad-EX, the toad couldn’t attack on the first turn of the game and allowed opposing players to have at least one turn of Items. Since Vileplume can shut down Items through an Ability, that one turn of free Item cards isn’t even a factor anymore. Let’s look at the strengths and weaknesses.
- As I’ve heard from plenty of people in the community, this deck doesn’t even give opponents a chance to play Items. There is literally nothing that can be done to stop the first turn Item lock, aside from starting with a Wobbuffet. With most decks using a fairly large amount of Item cards, drawing dead becomes very realistic and can lead to quick games.
- This deck uses a good amount of consistency cards and can draw through a large portion of the deck on the first turn of the game. This is important toward performing the intended strategy of the deck, which relies on thinning out excess Pokémon and Item cards before locking down a Vileplume. With all this consistency, the chances of Item locking on the first turn are more realistic during each game.
- Thanks to the extreme thinning of the deck with multiple Battle Compressors during the first turn, there are usually just vital resources left in the deck afterward. This leads to fortuitous draws for the remainder of the game.
- Through using multiple copies of AZ, this Vileplume/Vespiquen deck can also manipulate the timing of Item-locking. After playing an AZ, vital resources can be grabbed out of the discard pile by playing Puzzle of Time, and then the lock can be re-established to assure no Items from an opponent. This is an extremely powerful manipulation to hold over an opponent.
- As with most decks that rely on setting up a strategy, if the main purpose of the deck isn’t achieved, the game almost always ends in a loss. This goes to say that if Vileplume doesn’t come down on the initial turns of the game to shut down Items, the game is usually lost. This also speaks toward properly thinning out the deck before locking down Item cards. Without discarding all excess Pokémon and Item cards, this deck can’t function and hit for enough damage.
- Since this deck relies on discarding many resources on the first turn of the game, there may be some terrible hands drawn that can possibly lose the game. This isn’t as much of a problem when compared to other Vespiquen/Vileplume decks, as this deck does play the Puzzle of Time and can get back those resources.
- Prize cards can also be a big game-changer, as many of these resources are very important toward finishing the game. This deck relies on the 4 Double Colorless Energy, 4 Forest of Giant Plants, 3 Vileplume, and 2 Float Stone, which can be extremely difficult to see prized. This deck can play around many weaknesses through being very flexible, but it is still difficult to set up with vital resources being prized.
Pokémon – 28
Trainers – 25
1 Life Dew
Energy – 7
This deck is another blast from the past that saw a good amount of success at Regionals this year. If you remember from my previous article, I was actually able to make Top 8 at Ft. Wayne Regionals with a deck extremely similar to this build. Vespiquen/Flareon focuses on discarding Pokémon through Battle Compressors and Ultra Balls to take 1HKOs on opposing Pokémon-EX. Just like with the Eelektrik/Raikou deck, the strategy of this build is to go up on the Prize exchange through unfavorable trades with opposing Pokémon-EX. Through using a Life Dew, Vespiquen/Flareon puts a huge emphasis on racing an opponent toward drawing all 6 Prizes, which is easily done if an opponent must waste time to KO an attacker without taking a Prize.
Overall, this would be one of the lists that I am most comfortable toward playing, as I believe that it can stand up to just about any opposing deck. Through playing multiple Wobbuffet and Energy Evolution Eevee, there is a counter for opposing Archeops-based decks. Through playing Blacksmith, there is a way to get around Special Energy denial (such as Giratina-EX). With playing a Life Dew, this build can effectively keep up with Night March, which is one of the fastest decks this game has ever seen. Based on previous finishes at Regional Championships and an overall effective strategy to use, don’t overlook Vespiquen/Flareon as a possible deck choice for Spring Regionals.
- One of the best possible strengths is also seen in this deck, which is the ability to make favorable trades with non-Pokémon-EX that are Knocking Out opposing Pokémon-EX. Once again, advanced mathematical computations show that if I take 2 Prize cards for every 1 Prize card an opponent is taking, that means that I’ll reach the number 6 much faster. Go math!
- There is a huge amount of attackers in this deck, with a 4-4 line of both Vespiquen and Flareon. This helps to assure that an attack will come down every turn of the game from one of the Pokémon, which is surely needed to keep up on the Prize exchange. With other Evolution decks, there is usually just one main attacker, which isn’t the case for Vespiquen/Flareon that can effectively use either one.
- Since this is another deck that relies on thinning out Pokémon through Battle Compressors, that usually means only vital resources are in the deck to draw into during the later stages of the games. With higher chances of drawing important cards like VS Seekers and Double Colorless Energies, games will become much easier to manage.
- Since Flareon is a Fire-type Pokémon and can use Blacksmith, attacking becomes easier through not having to waste a Double Colorless Energy on each Pokémon. This will save a vital Energy for later stages of the game that may require an extra DCE.
- With such a thin Supporter line being played, Prize cards can become a major liability with this deck. In previous versions, I used a Town Map to assure that vital Supporter cards wouldn’t elude me in the Prize cards, but this list is much tighter and doesn’t have the space. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but could eventually be game-changing if something like the Lysandre is the very last Prize card.
- With so many Pokémon to discard or use throughout each game, there are also plenty of bad starters. This can become very annoying if something like an Unown is stranded in the Active Spot for an extra turn and can’t be retreated. Going up on the Prize exchange is much harder to do when this deck can’t attack quickly.
- Over-benching Pokémon-EX can also be game-ending if an opponent can just take easy Prize cards off of multiple Shaymin-EX. Make sure to not over-bench liabilities that may cost you the game unless it is absolutely necessary.
Pokémon – 11
Trainers – 35
Energy – 14
Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX is one of the most reliable decks that Pokémon has ever seen. This build is extremely consistent, performs an intended strategy each and every game, and is hard to deal with. Any Pokémon with 1 Retreat Cost would be the desired starter for this deck, as a Virizion-EX would hopefully be on the Bench to receive an Energy from Max Elixir. If this combination is lucky enough to happen on the first turn of the game, along with a Skyarrow Bridge for free retreat, Virizion-EX can start pumping out Energy cards and juicing up Genesect-EXs. This deck just becomes much stronger in general with the addition of Max Elixir, which can cause a G Booster attack to come out of nowhere. Even though it isn’t as strong as a M Rayquaza-EX, 200 damage is still powerful enough to Knock Out many threats.
Another big reason for why this deck works so well would be the Abilities of each Pokémon. Thanks to Virizion-EX, Hypnotoxic Laser can’t effectively be used to cause Special Conditions and stall for any number of turns. Although this is important toward the success of this build, the greatest Ability is from Genesect-EX, which can be used as a pseudo-Lysandre whenever a Plasma Energy is attached. This is very powerful in regard to picking off easy Prize cards or taking big knockouts on threats that are being charged up on the Bench. Although this deck hasn’t been discussed very much, just remember that Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX had two Top 8 finishes at the Winter Regionals this year.
- Consistency is the greatest strength of Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX. This deck almost has too much consistency with the addition of Max Elixir, which can charge up any Benched attackers. With multiple copies of Skyarrow Bridge and plenty of resources to get out Virizion-EX with enough Energy, it is very surprising to see a missed turn 2 Emerald Slash.
- Unlike other decks that are being played currently, this strategy isn’t too complicated. There isn’t a lengthy setup process that revolves around cards being drawn at the right time and vital resources being avoided until the late game. Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX focuses on getting out a Virizion-EX to power up multiple Genesect-EX to be used later in the game. An effective strategy that can be done in a consistent way.
- As mentioned before, the ability to bring up opposing Benched Pokémon with Genesect-EX’s ability is a huge strength. This allows for anything to be a target on each and every turn of the game, while not taking up the Supporter for that turn.
- Another upside to playing this deck comes with getting to use Skyarrow Bridge again in the Expanded format. Without this Stadium card, each Pokémon must discard an Energy to retreat and momentum is lost, which isn’t the case with a Skyarrow Bridge in play.
- With such a predictable strategy, an opponent is able to accurately see what will happen in future turns. There isn’t much of a surprise factor with this deck, aside from an unexpected Max Elixir combo, which isn’t a 100% guarantee to work. The strategy of this deck is very simple and relatively easy to follow, which also applies for your opponent.
- There are no good ways to heal attackers, which can be annoying to deal with. In some matchups, just 1 copy of AZ won’t be enough to stop an opponent from Knocking Out damaged attackers that have been retreated to the Bench. Previous versions of this deck have used Max Potion to counter this problem, but I just couldn’t find the room without giving up vital consistency cards.
- This deck can have a big problem toward decks that can effectively do more than 210 damage, which is the HP of a Virizion-EX or Genesect-EX that has a Fighting Fury Belt attached. If these Pokémon are Knocked Out with ease, the matchup usually isn’t very good for this deck.
“Speed Defines Everything”
With this section of the article, I’ve decided to focus on some of the faster decks that could be used in the Expanded format. One of these decks is very well known, which is obviously going to be Night March. The other two aren’t as well known, but are based on flooding the board with Energy cards to swing for more damage.
Pokémon – 11
Trainers – 38
Energy – 11
The first of these Energy-flooding decks is going to be a Turbo Darkrai-EX build, which uses both Dark Patch and Max Elixir to get down as many Energy as possible. Darkrai-EX BKP can then swing for huge amounts of damage, which is based on however many Dark Energy are on your Pokémon. Although this deck doesn’t really have an elaborate strategy to incorporate, it can hit for huge amounts of damage and only requires 2 Energy to use the main attack of the deck. This can help lead to some big swings of damage on the very first turn of the game.
The main point of these turbo-based decks is to catch an opponent off guard before they are ready. With enough speed to attack on the first turn of the game, knockouts can happen faster than expected and opponents may not be ready to strike back just yet. If you are looking for a deck that can win in a couple of turns, Turbo Darkrai-EX is a good choice to pick. Let’s talk about some of the strengths and weaknesses.
- As mentioned before, this deck has a lot of speed and can catch an opponent off guard. Without a proper response to a fully-loaded Darkrai-EX that can hit for a large amount of damage, the game will soon just slip away from an opponent during the opening turns. It’s very hard to deal with a 220-HP Darkrai-EX that can swing for nearly unlimited damage.
- Thanks to this deck being focused around Dark-type Pokémon, Dark Patch can be used along with Max Elixir. With both of these to use as Energy acceleration, it becomes very easy to get Energy to stick on the board.
- Darkrai-EX LTR is a great secondary attacker to have in this deck, which also allows for every Pokémon with a Dark Energy to have free retreat. This helps with the transition from a Benched Pokémon that is getting Energy from Dark Patch and Max Elixir to becoming Active. Anything that helps an attack come out faster is an important strength for Turbo Darkrai-EX.
- If an opponent can Knock Out an attacker in one shot, this deck doesn’t really have a good response. With losing Energy to weaken Darkrai-EX’s attack, the damage output can start to decline after each and every knockout that occurs. Although it is very difficult to KO a Darkrai-EX that has a Fighting Fury Belt attached, there are some matchups where this could occur.
- This is another deck that focuses on hitting for big damage while leaving vulnerable Pokémon-EX on the Bench. If an opponent can’t effectively hit for 220 damage, they will just KO a Benched Shaymin-EX or Hoopa-EX, which can be a liability at the end of the game.
- Since this deck relies heavily on playing Item cards to accelerate Energy, it would come as no surprise that Item-locking decks are difficult to deal with. Although this build has some strong attackers that can help under Item lock, they sometimes just aren’t enough and games can begin to slip away.
Pokémon – 15
1 Mew FCO
Trainers – 39
Energy – 6
I don’t feel like there is much to say about this deck. Night March is a strong archetype that has been around for a long time, which has now gotten even stronger through the addition of Mew from Fates Collide. With an Ability that allows it to copy attacks from your Basic Pokémon, Mew can utilize Dimension Valley to attack for just a single basic Energy card. This now ends the dependency of Night March decks to just use Double Colorless Energy, which also relieves a major weakness that was being exploited.
Overall, Night March was able to grow in strength with the release of Fighting Fury Belt, which can help to prolong the attackers in this deck. Although we didn’t see many Night March decks with strong finishes during the Winter Regionals, I’m expecting to see a decent amount for the upcoming Regional Championships. I would at least be prepared to play against one of these decks in the expected nine rounds of tournament action.
- This deck is extremely fast and can end games very quickly. When compared to the Turbo Darkrai-EX deck, Night March has an even easier time attacking on the first turn of the game and can reach knockouts on opposing Pokémon-EX with ease. Another upside to consider for these speed-based decks would certainly be the lack of tying that will happen during each round, which can ruin a tournament record.
- Night March is another deck that focuses on using consistency cards to burn through the deck and save vital resources for later use. With a deck that is full of important resources after thinning, turns become easier to manage and games become easier to win.
- Trading and going up on the Prize exchange is another upside to playing this deck that is based around attacking non-Pokémon-EX. Whenever a Joltik, Pumpkaboo, or Mew can Knock Out an opposing Shaymin-EX, they are taking more Prize cards than they are giving up.
- Through using Puzzle of Time, vital resources can be re-used and Night March Pokémon can be discarded to hit for maximum damage without any regrets. Even if the last Night March Pokémon has been Knocked Out and there are no more in the deck, Puzzle of Time can just grab one or two right out of the discard pile.
- With the addition of Mew, there isn’t such a large reliability on using a Double Colorless Energy with each and every attack. Games can become more relaxed in terms of Energy use.
- With a deck that relies heavily on playing Item cards to set up any attacking power, this strategy can’t deal with a first turn Vileplume or Trevenant. Attacking won’t even do any damage without Night March Pokémon in the discard pile, which is a big problem.
- This deck can also be extremely weak to damage-spreading attacks, as everything has a relatively low amount of HP. Fighting Fury Belt helps to alleviate that weakness, but there isn’t a copy of this card for each and every attacker being used.
- With Mew being utilized as an attacker now, the deck can’t effectively incorporate a Hex Maniac while attacking for that turn. A Night March Pokémon must be used for that turn of Hex Maniac, which would require another source of Energy to attack.
Pokémon – 10
Trainers – 38
Energy – 12
This may be a deck that comes as a surprise to most readers. A similar version of this Turbo Flareon-EX deck was able to get a Top 4 finish at Indiana States, which was very surprising to see at first. I just couldn’t comprehend how that deck was able to keep up with the fast-paced format, which was until I finally decided to test the deck out myself. Turbo Flareon-EX is just as fast, if not faster, than almost every deck in the Standard format and reminds me of the Entei deck that was popular during City Championships of this year. Through incorporating a strange draw engine that relies heavily on using Scorched Earth and Shaymin-EXs, this deck can attack for a relatively large amount of damage on the first turn of the game.
Similar to the Turbo Darkrai-EX deck, this build attempts to rush down an opponent before they are ready to fight, which can honestly happen on the first turn of the game. Most players aren’t ready to have their opening Pokémon Knocked Out that quickly and require a little more time to prepare themselves. With Turbo Flareon-EX, Energy is flooded onto the board and shifted to the Active Spot, knockouts are taken very quickly, and opponents usually struggle to deal with a 220-HP Flareon-EX that comes out so fast.
- Just like the other decks in this category, Turbo Flareon-EX is extremely fast and can catch an opponent off guard. Without any proper response, an opening Flareon-EX can just wreak havoc until something can finally stop it.
- Since this deck is focused around Fire-type Pokémon, it can effectively utilize Scorched Earth and Blacksmith to accelerate Energy cards. With Max Elixir also being added into this deck, there are plenty of ways to get Energy on the board and hit for big amounts of damage.
- Entei provides a great non-EX attacker that can punish an opponent for over-benching Pokémon. Since this attacker can be charged up in an instant with a Max Elixir or Blacksmith, it is also very hard to expect.
- Just as the Turbo Darkrai-EX deck, this build has no response toward if a Flareon-EX is Knocked Out instantly. Any deck that can consistently hit for 220 damage or more would have a great matchup against this build.
- Starting with the one Hoopa-EX can also be a big weakness of this deck, as it is extremely difficult to get out of the Active Spot with just 1 Float Stone. Since Turbo Flareon-EX relies heavily on speed, getting a useless Pokémon stuck in the Active Spot without attacking would definitely be considered a weakness.
- Another flaw that comes with this deck would be the reliability toward Pokémon-EX, which can allow opponents to go up on the Prize exchange. This build tries to help with this weakness through playing 4 Fighting Fury Belt to assure difficult knockouts, but the main attacker of this deck still gives up 2 Prize cards after being Knocked Out.
Thank you to everybody that read through this article and hopefully got some ideas from the material. I do spend a lot of time testing out these decks to assure that they work and can provide each and every player the same experience. Just remember, even if none of these decks interest you, it’s never going to hurt your chances if you build some of these decks to test against. Playing in a Regional Championship can mean playing against any number of strange decks that aren’t Yveltal/Archeops. And don’t forget, if you would prefer to find some different lists that weren’t in this article, make sure to check out pieces that were written by other great SixPrizes writers like Russell LaParre, Grant Manley, and others. I try to focus on different builds that haven’t been covered before, which could mean the deck you want is in their articles.
Good luck to everyone that is going to any Regional Championships! Hopefully everyone can get enough Championship Points to qualify for Worlds in California, or maybe even to get that coveted top 16 finish. Feel free to message me with any questions or comments that you may have after reading this article!
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