Night March No More

Powerful Plays for a Fun-Filled Future Format
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Let’s look ahead to a future without .

Hello everyone! This year’s rotation to PRC-STS is right around the corner, and for once I am glad to see a rotation that presents significant changes to the game. I am going to talk about what I think are some of the best decks for the next format, though with Worlds coming up most of my testing has been focused on that. However, the Worlds format has been talked about quite a bit, and everyone knows that Night March is better than everything else and the only other relevant decks are things that can Item lock.

I really don’t have much to add pertaining to the Worlds format. I am not looking forward to playing against a bunch of Night March and Item lock but I certainly am excited to visit San Fran. While we don’t exactly know how the tournament schedule will look after Worlds, I think it is safe to say that the PRC-STS format will be somewhat relevant. When I talk about the decks I will not go with the traditional section about matchups because in an unknown format it’s impossible to tell what decks will become dominant. I will however explore alternatives for each of the decks so there will be more options than just the 60 cards presented in each list.

The Rotation’s Impact

The first thing to do after a rotation is to take stock of everything that was cycled out of the format. In this case, every one of the top four decks suffered a fatal blow. Night March loses everything. Trevenant is no longer playable without Trevenant XY and its Item lock. Vileplume/ loses Battle Compressor. Seismitoad-EX is forced out of Water Box. Bronzong PHF and M Manectric-EX are gone too. We lose some other relevant Trainers such as Xerosic, AZ, Korrina, Sacred Ash, Dimension Valley, and a few more.

For more on the rotation, check out the previous analyses from Russell LaParre and Ryan Sabelhaus.

The next step is to look at what decks were previously held back by the decks that no longer exist. Basically, the format is now wide open. I like to think of this format as a clean slate. It seems that, without a defined meta, just about anything can succeed. Personally, I think that Mega Pokémon are poised quite well going into next season. Let’s take a look at M -EX, which is notorious for its auto-loss to Night March and otherwise solid matchups spread.

Mega Rayquaza

Pokémon – 16

4 Rayquaza-EX ROS 75

4 M Rayquaza-EX ROS 76

4 Shaymin-EX ROS

2 Hoopa-EX AOR

1 Bunnelby PRC 121

1 Jolteon-EX

Trainers – 37

3 Professor Sycamore

2 Lysandre

1 Hex Maniac

1 Pokémon Ranger

1 N

 

4 VS Seeker

4 Puzzle of Time

4 Ultra Ball

4 Trainers’ Mail

3 Rayquaza Spirit Link

2 Mega Turbo

2 Escape Rope

1 Float Stone

1 Super Rod

 

4 Sky Field

Energy – 7

4 Double Colorless

3 Lightning

As you can see, Mega Rayquaza does not lose much from the rotation. You have to go without Sacred Ash and Battle Compressor, but that is fine. Rayquaza has seen success before and it’s even better now that it doesn’t have to worry about Night March or Item lock. It can 1HKO just about everything from the get-go. It actually functions a lot like Night March in that regard. The differences are obviously that Mega Ray is a lot bulkier and it is an EX. Speaking of bulk, I really don’t think much will be able to deal with its massive 220 HP next format. Let’s look at some of the other cards in the deck.

Key Cards

1 Bunnelby

Bunnelby is your 7th-Prize attacker and serves as an additional Basic for Emerald Break. It is a great option for a non-EX because it can recover any two cards from the discard for just one Energy. Since it is the only non-EX in the deck, your opponent will gain nothing from KO’ing it and your N’s will become stronger. Rototiller is particularly useful in this deck because you will typically burn through heaps of cards while setting up. If you discard anything important that you need later, you can simply use Rototiller for almost no cost. Burrow is also a win condition if your opponent ever has only one or two cards left in their deck.

1 Jolteon-EX

First of all, Mega Ray has to run some type of basic Energy, and you may as well include something that can take advantage of a particular type. While I’m not sure if Jolteon is the best way to do this, I think it’s still a decent tech, if only for odd situations. There will probably be some decks that are weak to it. You’ve heard the pitch before. It’s got free retreat and the incredible Flash Ray, which makes it invincible against Basic Pokémon. If Pokémon Ranger becomes popular then you might want to cut it for another consistency card.

1 Hex Maniac

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Crazy good for flying out to an insurmountable lead.

Honestly it’s a little difficult to justify techs in a format where you really have no idea what is going to be played. Additionally, it is increasingly difficult for 1-of Supporters to be accessed without Battle Compressor. However, Hex Maniac is been a mainstay in Mega Ray since its release and for good reason. The turbo nature of the deck and high counts of Trainers’ Mail allows it to access Hex as consistently as possible.

People are hyping because there’s little leverage to disable its Ability lock. The same logic can be applied to Hex Maniac. Hex has always been powerful because it shuts off Abilities such as Set Up and Giant Water Shuriken. It also helps against Giratina-EX. Such a card complements Mega Ray’s speed by simultaneously slowing other decks down. This allows the deck to pull quite far ahead sometimes which helps mitigate the disadvantages of relying on Pokémon-EX.

1 Pokémon Ranger

Ranger is a situational card but it’s helpful against a variety of threats. Giratina-EX, Jirachi XY67, and Regice AOR are all cards that can cause this deck difficulty.

2 Escape Rope, 1 Float Stone

With so many Pokémon that don’t belong in the Active slot, switching options are needed. Float Stone is usually the best option, but I still run higher counts of Escape Rope. Float Stone can’t be attached to a Rayquaza with a Spirit Link, so Escape Rope can cycle a Ray back to the Bench if you ever need to do that. Escape Rope is also good early-game to switch a bad opener to Rayquaza.

Because of Rayquaza’s speed, opponents will send some Pokémon Active to absorb knockouts while they establish their board. Escape Rope counteracts that by forcing more important Pokémon up. I’ve long since decided that Escape Rope is better than Switch, and it certainly makes sense to include them over more Float Stones. Escape Rope functions as a pseudo-Lysandre AND a switching card! That is a powerful package for just one Item.

Other Options

Ninetales PRC

One of the ways to counter Rayquaza is to get rid of Sky Field. This prevents Rayquaza from hitting for more than 150 damage at a time unless you can find another Sky Field and replenish your Bench at the same time. This becomes a real issue if people start playing Parallel City. Since Sacred Ash is no longer available, a single Parallel City drop can be difficult to recover from. Two Parallel Cities will wreck Ray.

Ninetales alleviates this problem because its Ability locks Stadiums from being played. It is highly unlikely that your opponent will be able to remove its Ability and drop an effective Parallel at the same time twice. Should you find yourself wanting Ninetales you can easily trim the Rayquaza line. You can also cut Jolteon and/or a Sky Field.

Teammates

Teammates is decent in this deck because there are a lot of specific pieces you need to pull together an attacking Mega Rayquaza. You need the Basic, the Mega, a DCE, a Mega Turbo (or another Energy), a bunch of Basic Pokémon, and usually you’ll also need a Spirit Link and a Sky Field. Teammates can pull specific resources in the middle of the game when you need to get a return KO. Teammates is also fantastic with Puzzle of Time. You can search for a missing Puzzle piece or outright search for both of them.

Special Charge

special charge text

Special Charge definitely makes sense in this deck. I don’t think you absolutely need it because you will usually only attack with three Rayquaza and you have Puzzle of Time to recover DCE. This deck can be volatile with discarding resources though so a single copy of Special Charge could make its way into the list.

Different Basic Energy Types

You can run any type of basic Energy with Mega Ray if you want a tech other than Jolteon-EX. If you wanted you could run Water Energies. This would let you include Manaphy-EX and even Regice AOR. You could also run Dark Energies and Yveltal XY. Right now I think Jolteon is the best option but the deck can be run just as effectively with other basic Energies.

For more on Mega Rayquaza, check out the variants from Brandon Cantu and Ryan Sabelhaus.

Rainbow Road

Pokémon – 14

4 Xerneas BKT

2 Volcanion-EX

2 Shaymin-EX ROS

1 Hoopa-EX AOR

1 Flygon-EX

1 Umbreon-EX

1 Celebi XY93

1 Jirachi XY67

1 Carbink FCO 49

 

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Sycamore

2 N

1 Lysandre

1 Pokémon Ranger

 

4 VS Seeker

4 Max Elixir

3 Ultra Ball

3 Trainers’ Mail

3 Fighting Fury Belt

3 Float Stone

1 Super Rod

 

4 Sky Field

Energy – 13

9 Fairy

4 Double Colorless

This rogue works a lot like Mega Ray but I like it more because it has a bunch of weird stuff in it. Rainbow Road saw a little bit of play but it was always just a worse version of Night March. It struggled to beat pre-rotation heavyweights such as Night March and Trevenant, but with those threats gone Rainbow Road can claim as many kills as it does in Mario Kart. For this list I went with an all-Basic lineup, and I included every single type except for Lightning. This is because there are no Lightning Basic Pokémon that would work in here. The best thing I came up with was Pikachu-EX. Yeah.

Xerneas has an attack called Rainbow Force, and it does 10 plus 30 more damage for each different type on your Bench. You probably knew that already, but that explains why there’s all those different types and why the deck runs Sky Field. Unlike Mega Ray, you need to use Max Elixir to accelerate basic Energies which is arguably more difficult than Mega Turbo. In a nutshell, you use Rainbow Force over and over to kill everything in one hit. Simple and effective. What’s not so simple is all of the interesting card choices in the list so let’s look at those.

Key Cards

2 Volcanion-EX

Volcanion-EX is the only tech which I decided to play two of. Being the only available dual-typed Basic, you want one Volcanion on your Bench at all times. This alone gives Rainbow Force a boost of +60 damage and it’s better than every other Bench-sitter by far. It can’t do anything else for you unfortunately, but it’s still incredible for this deck.

2 Shaymin-EX

Shaymin is the obvious representative for Colorless and it is still a staple in post-rotation land. I don’t run more than two because the deck doesn’t need to go super fast and there’s no huge rush to burn through the deck. You also want to avoid having more than one Pokémon of the same type on your Bench whenever possible.

1 Hoopa-EX

Scoundrel Ring may as well have received an errata to: “Search your deck for 120 damage and now you don’t have to draw into all of your different types.” Hail Hoopa, this card is incredible. One Ultra Ball turns into FIVE different types for Rainbow Force if you don’t already have Volcanion in play. An early-game Scoundrel Ring will usually get Volcanion, Shaymin, and either or Umbreon, all while adding 150 damage to Rainbow Force.

1 Flygon-EX

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“Voice of the Sands” … ?

Flygon is honestly the best Basic Dragon-type I could find that also goes well with Rainbow Road. Don’t worry though, it’s not completely terrible. While you definitely won’t be attacking with it, its Ability forces your opponent to switch their Active with a Benched Pokémon of their choice. It’s no Lysandre, but it is a free optional effect every time something of yours gets KO’d. Since Flygon has to be Active to use the effect, you can promote Flygon-EX with Float Stone every time a Xerneas gets Knocked Out. It’s not a game-breaking play most of the time, but an extra disruptive option can always come in handy.

1 Umbreon-EX

Just like with Flygon, I had to start scraping the bottom of the barrel to find a Basic that is compatible with this deck. Umbreon-EX can actually be used as a consistency crutch. Veil of Darkness can be used for just a Fairy Energy, and it does 20 damage. Additionally, you can choose any number of cards from your hand to discard and draw that many cards. You can use it every now and then, but for the most part Umbreon is another Bench-sitter to power up Rainbow Force. You might also have some fun mind games with Umbreon’s Endgame attack. After all, they don’t know you don’t run Dark Energies.

1 Celebi XY93

Celebi is just a Bench-sitter and it doesn’t do anything else. Your opponent will probably leave it alone and allow it to constantly feed you +30 damage. Theta Stop blocks Giant Water Shuriken and Garbotoxin. Celebi’s Ability, Leap Through Time, lets you flip a coin whenever Celebi is Knocked Out. If you get a heads, it returns to the deck and your opponent doesn’t get a Prize. It can stall in a pinch.

1 Jirachi XY67

Jirachi is my Metal type of choice. Stardust is always a strong disruptive option against decks with Special Energies.

1 Carbink FCO 49

Carbink is this deck’s Fighting-type. Its Ability makes it impossible for all of your basic Energies to be removed. It’s the best option for Fighting. If anyone tries an Energy-denial strategy, which can actually work in this format, Carbink is the perfect counter.

1 Pokémon Ranger

Since everything in the deck is a Basic you have no way of dealing with Jolteon-EX besides Pokémon Ranger. Ranger is an easy counter. All you have to do is play it once and 1HKO the Jolteon. Chaos Wheel can also be a huge problem by locking Sky Field, DCE, and your Tools. Ranger helps with that as well.

3 Float Stone

The Float Stone count seems a little high but you definitely want to run them. Only 10 of your 14 Basics can attack, so odds are you have to retreat whatever you start with. Additionally, you need free retreat with Max Elixir. Oftentimes you won’t have a fully-loaded Xerneas to promote after a knockout, so you have to use Max Elixir to charge one up. It is important that you be able to retreat into that Xerneas on the same turn.

1 Super Rod

As a rule of thumb, Super Rod is good with Max Elixir. It puts back Energies later in the game so you can consistently hit Max Elixir whenever you draw it. Super Rod can also recover Xerneas in case you need more of them to attack with.

Other Options

Stage 1’s

There are tons of options you can explore with this deck if you are open to running Evolutions. Zoroark BKT, Raichu XY, Zebstrika BKP, and Ninetales PRC are all great options to have. Ninetales would unfortunately create type redundancy with Volcanion-EX, but it would help Rainbow Road in the same ways it helps Mega Ray. If you wanted you could try running Zoroark for its infinite switching effect, as the deck already runs Float Stone. It’s a fantastic attacker as well, though you’d definitely want to get rid of Umbreon-EX.

Raichu’s Circle Circuit has obvious synergy with Rainbow Road, and it provides Lightning-type coverage. Zebstrika could be an option too because of its Ability and non-reliance on Sky Field, however Raichu will almost always do more damage. You might also want to consider the new dual-types: Galvantula STS and Bisharp STS.

4 Ultra Ball

Honestly the list is super tight on space, so there’s not much I can imagine adding to the deck. I definitely want to fit a fourth Ultra Ball because it is outstanding with Hoopa and it helps the deck so much. I have absolutely no idea what you could cut for it but it is certainly my 61st card and something to keep in mind.

For more on Rainbow Road, check out Russell LaParre’s take on the deck from earlier this month.

Twin Lock

Pokémon – 17

3 Jolteon-EX

2 Regice AOR

1 Glaceon-EX

1 Lugia-EX AOR

1 Manaphy-EX

3 Shaymin-EX ROS

2 Oddish AOR

2 Gloom AOR

2 Vileplume AOR

Trainers – 31

4 Professor Sycamore

3 N

2 Lysandre

2 Ninja Boy

1 Olympia

 

4 Ultra Ball

4 Trainers’ Mail

3 Acro Bike

3 Float Stone

1 Revitalizer

 

4 Forest of Giant Plants

Energy – 12

4 Rainbow

4 Double Colorless

2 Lightning

2 Water

Vileplume/Jolteon is not a new concept, but a lot of people probably won’t expect Item lock to be played so early on in the new season. The usual partner with Vileplume is Vespiquen which no longer has access to Battle Compressor, and AZ is rotated. This is good not only because of the surprise factor Vileplume might have, but also because there isn’t much opposing Item lock to deal with. In the 2016 season, Vileplume decks suffered when forced to go second in mirrors or against Trevenant.

The idea is to use a suite of disruptive attackers to lock your opponent out of the game. Jolteon, Regice, and Glaceon are used for specific matchups. Together they block damage from just about every kind of Pokémon. You want to use Vileplume to limit your opponent’s uses of Pokémon Ranger and Lysandre. While Item locked, opponents do not have the resources needed to deal with your attackers, and they get walled out of the game. This is a fragile setup but for the most part it works incredibly well and Item lock is still as strong as ever.

Key Cards

3 Jolteon-EX

I run 3 Jolteon because it’s a little better than the other walls and it is the best thing to start with because of free Retreat. I expect a lot of decks to attack with Basics and Jolteon covers those with its ability to use Flash Ray over and over. It is extremely for difficult for opponents to scramble together enough resources to deal with Jolteon under Item lock if they are susceptible to Flash Ray. Flash Ray also deals a respectable 70 damage which is enough for your opponent to feel the pressure of the timer you put them on.

2 Regice AOR, 1 Glaceon-EX

regice-ancient-origins-aor-24These serve the same purpose as Jolteon-EX except for different matchups. Against Megas, Pokémon that are both EX and Evolutions, you can use either of these to counter them. Usually it depends on the matchup. For example, Mega Rayquaza can deal with Glaceon by attacking with baby Ray but none of their typical attackers can deal with Regice.

1 -EX

Lugia is extremely helpful for the deck because without it your damage caps at 70. Lugia can be the part of some epic Ninja Boy combos. Just when your opponent is least expecting it, you can use Ninja Boy on one of your attackers with Energies and deal huge damage with Aero Ball or Deep Hurricane. This has potential to catch your opponent off guard big time. Even without the nutty Ninja Boy plays, Lugia is still a strong attacker.

1 Manaphy-EX

Manaphy offers an easy way to retreat Vileplume if you can’t get a Float Stone on Oddish before it evolves. Of course Manaphy works on everything else with a Rainbow or a Water attached to it too, so it can provide a clutch way to remove something like Regice from the Active spot. Mineral Pump isn’t the worst option in the world as it does 60 damage and heals 30 from everyone on the Bench for only two Energies. I don’t expect it will be used much though.

1 Olympia

olympia generations text

Olympia is a worse version of AZ for Vileplume but she gets the job done. In case you are unfamiliar, Olympia is a Supporter that allows you to switch your Active Pokémon and heal 30 from it. It is used like AZ but unfortunately does remove Vileplume from play so you cannot use your Items. On the flip side it doesn’t require you to have Forest of Giant Plants in play to reestablish Vileplume, as Vileplume doesn’t leave play. It also heals 30 damage if you ever need to heal 30 damage for some reason. I only play one because usually Float Stone and Manaphy-EX suffice as Vileplume support, but it’s still a good card.

2 Ninja Boy

Ninja Boy is fantastic in this deck. If you don’t have the optimal attacker to start the game, you can power up whatever you have with Rainbow + DCE and eventually use Ninja Boy to swap into the correct attacker for the matchup. It also creates a nice combo with Lugia-EX which I mentioned above. This play can sweep games if you catch your opponent with a susceptible board state. Ninja Boy also works as a Switch under Item lock because you can switch to Jolteon-EX, which has free retreat. It doesn’t work on Vileplume though.

1 Revitalizer

Since there’s no Battle Compressor or AZ, your opportunities to use Revitalizer are extremely limited. It is a precautionary inclusion in case you are forced to discard Vileplume pieces from your opening hand. Revitalizer recovers those pieces and makes it just a little easier to achieve a T1 Plume. Revitalizer also lets you reestablish Plume when it gets Knocked Out.

Other Options

Alternate Attackers

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“What big teeth you have …”

Since this deck runs Rainbow and DCE, you can play just about any Basic you want. The possibility for crazy Ninja Boy plays are endless. Here are some of my ideas for neat techs. Yveltal-EX has a stronger version of Lugia’s first attack but lacks Deep Hurricane. Umbreon-EX can feasibly come out of nowhere and take 4 Prizes with Endgame. Its first attack can also get rid of dead Items to draw more cards while dealing a little bit of damage.

Giratina-EX has an Ability that protects itself from Megas and adds disruption with the powerful Chaos Wheel attack. Shutting down Special Energies and Stadiums in addition to Items can cripple some decks. Kyurem-EX AOR has an attack that is the same thing as Silent Fear, and we all know how good that is with Item lock. Hydreigon-EX can pierce opposing walls with Shred. Sharpedo-EX’s first attack is a Lysandre and 30 damage. Its second attack, Jagged Fang, is a bit costly but it deals 100 damage and gives you the option to discard an Energy from your opponent’s Active. If you wanted to make room for any of these cards, I’d recommend slightly lowering the counts of Acro Bike, Float Stone, Revitalizer, or Jolteon-EX.

Magearna-EX

Magearna-EX has a quirky Ability called Mystic Heart. Mystic Heart prevents all effects of attacks done to each of your Pokémon with a Metal (or Rainbow in this case) Energy attached to it. This is interesting because both Jolteon and Glaceon only block raw damage, but are otherwise susceptible to effects. Magearna will only be a worthwhile inclusion if the meta shapes up in such a way that there are relevant Pokémon with potent effects of attacks. Magearna also has an attack that does 120 damage for a decent cost, though it only does 60 for each consecutive use after that.

3-3-3 Vileplume

Thickening the Vileplume line would obviously make the T1 Plume more consistent. It would make the deck just a little more deadly and it would make you less susceptible to bad discards or Prizes. It would also let you recover more easily from a Vileplume being Knocked Out. However I don’t know if I can justify cutting three cards to make the Vileplume line bigger. I’d have a hard time making the cuts, but it’s certainly something to try out.

For more ideas regarding Vileplume locks, check out the recent articles from Brit Pybas and Brandon Cantu containing XY-STS concepts.

Greninja

Pokémon – 20

4 Froakie BKP

4 Frogadier BKP

4 Greninja BKP

3 Greninja BREAK

3 Jirachi XY67

1 Remoraid BKT 32

1 Octillery BKT

Trainers – 32

4 Professor Sycamore

4 N

2 Fisherman

1 Ace Trainer

1 Lysandre

 

4 VS Seeker

4 Trainers’ Mail

4 Dive Ball

3 Evosoda

3 Super Rod

2 Level Ball

Energy – 8

8 Water

A lot of people seem to have been forgetting about the one major deck that doesn’t get murdered by the rotation. I have not forgotten about the froggy fiend that is Greninja, and once again I have to advocate the amphibian as a fantastic option for next format. Greninja only loses the Greninja from XY, which arguably wasn’t that big of a deal anyway, and Sacred Ash. Otherwise, the deck remains mostly unchanged. Greninja still wants to play its slow game and set up as many Greninja as possible. Once this happens, it can sweep even the most fearsome boards with Giant Water Shuriken and Moonlight Slash. Greninja certainly puts opponents on a timer and once it is set up there is no stopping it.

Key Cards

3 Jirachi XY67

Jirachi is admittedly weaker now that opponents have two popular options to remove it, with those options being Lysandre and Pokémon Ranger. However it is still very possible that your opponent cannot get enough resources to muster up an attack and a counter-Supporter on demand, especially in the early stages of the game. With the new format looking to be very reliant on Special Energies, Jirachi can still help Greninja stall and disrupt opponents while you get set up.

1 Octillery BKT

octillery bkt ebayebay.comThis deck seems to have a lot of space now that Rough Seas is no longer necessary (as Trevenant is not a threat). With all the extra space I had I wanted to go for maximum consistency because inconsistency is Greninja’s main weakness. Octillery helps with consistency because it provides a steady flow of drawpower which facilitates Giant Water Shurikens turn after turn and assists with streaming Greninja.

Octillery also can be an accelerant. If you have two of any combination of an Octillery piece and a search card, Octillery can provide early drawpower if you whiff on a T1 Supporter. The main problem with Octillery is that it can be Lysandre-stalled, but this isn’t too big of a deal. If your opponent is Lysandre stalling you, you can take that time to set up even more. After all, Greninja’s ideal board can wipe out anything else’s.

1 Ace Trainer

Ace Trainer is in many ways a stronger version of N, yet I play 4 N and only 1 Ace Trainer. This is because Ace Trainer cannot be used very early in the game, which is when Greninja struggles most. It would be a 5th N if that was allowed, but Ace Trainer is a suitable substitute. At some other points in the game however, Ace Trainer is superior. While Ace Trainer is powerful it is also very situational which is why I only run one.

1 Lysandre

The argument can be made for two Lysandre, but I only think one is necessary. Greninja doesn’t need Lysandre all that often because Giant Water Shurikens can attack the Bench quite well. If Garbodor becomes popular, then a second Lysandre and maybe Muscle Band will become necessary to deal with that threat.

4 Dive Ball, 3 Evosoda, 2 Level Ball

All of these search cards are used in an effort to bolster consistency. Sometimes opponents will be able to take continuous KOs on Greninja even when you are set up, and it is important to get multiple Greninja into play and recover them when they get Knocked Out. Evosoda is a great tool for this and in many ways the 3 Evosodas feel like running 7 Dive Balls. Level Ball is just a little inferior to the other search cards because Water Duplicates already does Level Ball’s job but better. Level Ball is still good for finding an early Froakie, Jirachi, or Octillery though.

3 Super Rod

In my opinion, Sacred Ash was a bigger loss for Greninja than Greninja XY. However this is easily remedied by playing 3 Super Rod. Super Rod can recover three of anything besides Trainers. That effect is ridiculously powerful. I think three is necessary to save you when you have to discard a bunch of Evolutions at the start. Super Rod also lets you recover Greninja and stream them easily.

Other Options

Talonflame STS

talonflame sts aero blitz 1

Some people are hyping Talonflame in this deck. Its Ability lets you start with it if it’s in your opening hand, but if it’s not in your opening hand then it will be a dead card for the rest of the game. This is a little risky to run because it will get stuck in your deck now that Battle Compressor is gone. However if you do open with it then it can really pay off for you. Its first attack lets you search your deck for any two cards and it does 40 damage for just one Water Energy! This really helps Greninja set up. The problem I have with Talonflame is that if you are attacking with it then you aren’t attacking with Water Duplicates. Maybe you could run a Rare Candy- and Talonflame-focused version of Greninja?

Wally

Wally functions similarly to Evosoda but it is a Supporter. Wally’s uses are a little obscure but when you go second and get Froakie + Energy + Wally it lets you set up a whole turn faster. It can also allow Frogadier to evolve to Greninja BREAK in one turn, which can be a nasty surprise.

Olympia and/or Float Stone

Olympia can be used as a switching card and a healing card that can be reused with VS Seeker. Its main use would be getting Octillery out of the Active spot but it can also be used to create absurd triple Shuriken plays. If you manage to get three Greninja BREAK out, you can use one Giant Shuriken, retreat and use the second one, and use Olympia to get the third one Active. Unfortunately that play is incredibly rare and if you have three BREAKs out you will probably win anyway. Float Stone is probably the better option if you don’t like Octillery being stuck Active.

Other Tools

Greninja has been played with almost any Tool you can think of at some point. You can play Muscle Band to add a bit of damage and to 1HKO Garbodor with Moonlight Slash. You can try Bursting Balloon to create tricky traps and add a lot of potential damage. You might even want to use Assault Vest to make Greninja BREAK have essentially 210 HP, which is absolutely monstrous for a non-EX.

Stadiums

Rough Seas has been a staple in Greninja decks but without the threat of Trevenant BREAK it is no longer necessary. Its effect is still great and it functions as a counter-Stadium against other decks, so you could still play it. However, the main Stadium I would consider is Silent Lab. Silent Lab can completely wreck your opponent if you draw it early and if they cannot find a counter-Stadium. It still shuts of relevant Abilities like Set Up, Steam Up, Scoundrel Ring, Kinesis, and Bide Barricade.

For more on Greninja, check out Brandon Cantu’s Talonflame version of the deck.

Closing Thoughts

thought wave machine neo destiny art sharp 1ebay.com
Thought Wave Machine (Neo Destiny)

Something I don’t do too often in my articles is share opinions and thoughts on current events regarding the game, but I want to take the opportunity to do that now. First of all, it is kind of sad that the powers that be are allowing Worlds 2016 to be played in such an awful format. The decision to make Steam Siege legal was a poor one as there isn’t a card in the set that hinders Night March. Night March just becomes even more powerful. This in turn makes Item lock an appealing choice, and the fact that Item lock can win in such a decisive and cheap way is quite annoying.

I am fine with Item lock existing, but I am not fine with turn 1 Item lock being as common as it is. Half of the games played with or against an Item lock deck aren’t really games at all. Normally I wouldn’t mind such a predictable meta, but there’s really no way to solidly counter Item lock as it can always cheese you out of wins. The obvious solution would be to play a deck that can function completely without Items, but then you suffer a loss to every deck that isn’t Item lock (basically Night March). This entire season has been a watered down version of the current Worlds format. I hope that TPCi learns from this and tries to move the game in a better direction.

As for the rotation, it looks to be spot on. PRC-on is absolutely the best possible option and I’m super excited to start playing in the format. I really love all of the decks that I shared with you guys today and the format is at least looking more like Pokémon again. Night March, V/V, Trevenant, and are all gone and it looks like clear skies ahead for 2017’s Standard format. At the very least the format is certainly wide open and I expect to see a variety of decks pop up during League play and tournaments early in the season.

The final topic on hand is the new tournament structure. Like I said, we don’t know exactly what everything is going to look like, and I am trying to keep an open mind. At first glance, I am disappointed that States are no more. I liked States a lot because they were fun, they had fairly large prize payouts, they were easy to travel to, and I historically did well at them. I also think the new structure favors certain areas heavily. Those with local TOs and an abundance of participating game stores are at even more of an advantage than they previously were.

Honestly, I can see the new tournament structure being a complete train wreck, and I can also see it working incredibly. This coming year I’ll be quite busy as I finish up high school and apply to colleges, but I still plan on attending as many events as I can. I guess we’ll just see what happens. Thanks for reading! Please leave a like if you enjoyed the article, and let me know your thoughts on the article and the upcoming season in the comments!


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