Hello SixPrizes! The first Regionals of the season has just finished and Orlando is fast approaching. In Phoenix we saw old decks resurface, such as Sableye/Garbodor and Raikou/Eelektrik. The deck that ultimately saw the largest surge in popularity was Greninja. It impressively took three of the top eight spots at the tournament. Another deck that made a splash at the tournament was Rainbow Road. Coincidentally, this is the same deck that I decided to play for Phoenix, and it ended up giving me a decent Day 2 placement.
I’m going to begin this article by going over my tournament run at Phoenix where I ended in 11th place. I will talk about my card choices, the future of this deck in Expanded, and a potential play for Philadelphia Regionals. The remainder of the article I will spend focusing on what to expect at Orlando and my top three choices going in. I have a lot to cover so let’s jump right in.
Phoenix Regionals Report
Phoenix was the very first Regionals of the season. Everyone expected a mix of the same decks from past Regionals with a Vileplume Toolbox deck or two thrown in here and there. I arrived in Phoenix early on Friday morning to get in some test games with friends and get a read on what everyone was playing. The majority of people I talked to were playing some kind of Yveltal variant. This made me lean heavily toward Mega Rayquaza but I was very wary of having a terrible Night March matchup. Mega Rayquaza’s poor Night March matchup ultimately eliminated it from being a possibility.
I did post in my previous article how I thought Ninja Boy and Ho-Oh-EX were waiting to be explored. Rainbow Road does have a chance versus Night March and great Yveltal matchup. Let’s take a look at the list I ended up playing for the tournament.
Rainbow Road (11th Place)
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 36
Energy – 9
This is the Rainbow Road list I played to end 6-1-2 Day 1. I was the 14th seed of the tournament on Day 1. I ended Day 2 with a final record of 9-3-2. Let’s get into the matchups that I faced and see my progression throughout the days.
- R1: Greninja (2-0)
- R2: Vileplume Toolbox (2-0)
- R3: Yveltal/Maxie’s (2-0)
- R4: Night March (0-2)
- R5: Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX (2-0)
- R6: Yveltal/Maxie’s (ID)
- R7: Trevenant (2-0)
- R8: Vileplume Toolbox (1-1)
- R9: Raikou/Eelektrik (2-0)
- R10: Yveltal/Maxie’s (2-1)
- R11: Night March (2-0)
- R12: Sableye/Garbodor (0-2)
- R13: Seismitoad/Crobat (0-2)
- R14: Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX (2-0)
Unfortunately I hit one too many rough matchups Day 2 in order to make Top 8. In the end though I was happy with my performance and how things turned out. Now let’s take a look at my reasoning behind running some of the cards that I did.
I was not completely sold on this deck’s ability to consistently beat Night March. I felt like I would only be able to make the series go 1-2 in a lot situations. I would have to draw well to be able to keep up and take a game off Night March. Latios-EX, however, may help this situation by stealing a game with a quick donk. Contrary to popular belief, Latios is not only useful in the Night March matchup — take a look at this list of commonly played low-HP Pokémon:
- Combee AOR
- Eevee FFI
- Exeggcute PLF
- Froakie BKP
- Joltik PHF
- Mew FCO
- Oddish BCR
- Phantump BKP
- Pumpkaboo PHF
- Shelmet PLB
- Trubbish NVI
- Tynamo NVI 38
- Zubat PLS 53
As you can see, Latios-EX has a use in almost every matchup other than Yveltal. Also, if your opponent knows you play Latios, they may be forced to play suboptimally. For example, a Night March player goes second and their only Basics in their hand are Shaymin-EX and Joltik. They may be inclined to start Shaymin or bench it before the game starts just to avoid getting donked.
By Day 2 everyone knew I ran Latios. I was never actually able to hit a donk since the games I went first my opponents either benched multiple Pokémon, the lone Pokémon had too much HP, or a card I needed in order to complete the donk was prized.
The day before the tournament these cards were not in my list. I later included them in order to be able to Knock Out those 60-HP Basics. In order to Knock Out a 60-HP Pokémon, you need most of the following combination of cards:
If Skyla, Jirachi-EX, or Hoopa-EX are prized then it becomes very difficult to pull off the combo since you need to be able to use Jirachi’s Stellar Guidance to find Skyla to then find Muscle Band. Hoopa-EX is also somewhat needed to find Latios-EX, Jirachi-EX, and a Shaymin-EX since you need so many cards to pull this off. Having Hoopa makes it much easier to accomplish if you get half of your pieces immediately.
Knocking Out a 50-HP Pokémon is much easier than a 60-HP Pokémon since you have now have three ways in your deck to hit that extra 10 damage. You will likely not have to search for one of those cards specifically and instead draw one off of a Set Up with Shaymin-EX.
Looking back on the tournament, I am not sure if I would still run these cards. If I were to not run Latios I would replace the Skyla and Muscle Band for a second Float Stone and another Professor Sycamore. As for the Latios-EX and Psychic Energy, I am not sure exactly. It would be meta dependent for sure but I might even go as far as adding an Archeops or Gallade and Maxie’s. I would not go below the amount of Energy that I have now though so another cut would need to be made.
I did not include this card until the day of the tournament. The spot was originally devoted to an Yveltal-EX but I decided to include Aegislash instead since I saw two people testing the Vileplume Toolbox mirror and another Vileplume deck a couple of tables down. I am very glad I did decide to include it though since it single-handedly won me two games as well as tied another.
Vileplume decks as of now only run Special Energy so they are unable to deal damage to an Aegislash-EX outside of Jolteon-EX’s Swift attack. If the Vileplume deck resorts to using Swift then a timely Ninja Boy into a Xerneas can ruin their day. This one card makes the matchup from go from a near auto-loss to very favorable.
Aegislash-EX is also very strong in the Night March matchup. It can take Night March multiple turns to deal with if you are able to Fury Belt it quickly. You are able to hit those 60-HP Pumpkaboo thanks to the one Metal Energy in the deck.
This was my favorite addition to the deck and I do not think I would have even made Day 2 if it were not for this last-minute inclusion.
Overall, this deck was extremely powerful and consistent. I had a blast playing it as it carried me to a 11th place finish. I do think this deck does become a little stronger with Karen’s release since Night March should see a bit less play. I would watch out for this deck at Philadelphia Regionals since I do think it will be a top contender at the tournament.
M Manectric-EX/GarbodorExpanding Ahead:
Speaking of Philly, let’s take a look at a deck I think will get much better with Karen’s release.
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 34
Energy – 9
BulbapediaThis will be one of the main decks I will be testing in Expanded now that Karen is legal. One of this deck’s main weaknesses was its struggle with both Night March and Vespiquen variants. Karen will now take care of those pesky decks once and for all.
Mega Manectric hits a very good number of 110 damage. This may not seem great at first glance but this 2-shots most EXs with a Fighting Fury Belt attached. We run cards such as Rough Seas and Pokémon Center Lady so our Mega Manectric do not get 2-shotted. Mega Manectric’s free retreat makes it easy to cycle between them with ease to get the most out of our Rough Seas.
The deck also runs 4 copies of Wobbuffet PHF to slow down our opponent. We do not want our opponent to even get one turn of Abilities since we are typically the slower deck. Our goal is to start Wobbuffet and then by turn 2 have a Garbodor and Mega Manectric set up and ready to go. There are 3 Psychic Energy in the deck not only to attack with our Wobbuffet but to perhaps get a surprise Tool Drop for big damage from Trubbish.
Overall I think this deck is a very strong choice going into Philadelphia and it could catch quite a few people off guard.
The Standard Format and Plays for Orlando
Alright, enough Expanded talk. Let’s get ready for Orlando and go over what I have been testing.
Another Way to Rainbow Road
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 34
Energy – 14
There have been a couple of different takes on how to run Rainbow Road. Some prefer the Max Elixir version while others prefer the Exp. Share version. Some even play a mixture of both. Mine is the Max Elixir version with a little twist. My friend Max Armitage originally gave me the idea of Foongus in a test game of ours. I run four copies of Poké Ball and two Foongus STS. In my three years of playing I have never come across anyone playing Poké Ball in their deck but I think now is the time. This deck’s biggest hurdle to overcome in Standard is Parallel City. Foongus and Poké Ball help greatly with this. When you Karen you may have all of your Pokémon back but you may also have trouble searching for them since many of your Ultra Balls were used earlier in the game. Foongus helps keep the succession of Pokémon throughout the game.
I do consider this one of the better decks in the format with the inclusion of Foongus. If you are testing Rainbow Road for Florida then you should consider testing out Foongus and Poké Ball in your list.
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 39
1 Town Map
Energy – 4
I have heard many rumors of people saying this is a secret deck for Florida but I think word has gotten out. Gyarados has the fastest, most consistent damage output in Standard in my opinion. Gyarados can easily be hitting 150 or 210 damage per turn very consistently. The problem with this deck is not that it is hard to set up but to keep consistently rolling. You need to have 2-3 Magikarp on your Bench at all times while also having a Gyarados with a DCE ready to go. In order for us to keep the stream of Magikarp and Gyarados going, we run a 2-2 Octillery. Like I keep saying, we need quite a bit to keep us from fizzling out.
We run 4 copies of Buddy-Buddy Rescue to be able to consistently stream our Magikarp as well as 2 copies of Super Rod. There is 1 Town Map in the deck just in case we prize a Magikarp. The deck relies on your Magikarp being on your Bench so it is very important that we do not prize any. If we do happen to prize them then it is important that we find them as quickly as possible.
It may seem a bit odd how I am stressing about needing to draw a lot and requiring so many cards in play … but at the same time there is also Garbodor in the deck. Garbodor is for the Greninja matchup and the Greninja matchup only. We just ignore the fact that it is in our deck the rest of the time and do not set it up in other matchups.
This is how I see Gyarados’s matchups playing out:
- Mega Mewtwo … 70-30
- Rainbow Road … 30-70 / 60-40
- Volcanion … 80-20
- Yveltal/Mew … 60-40
- Mega Scizor … 60-40
- Vespiquen … 50-50
- Mega Rayquaza … 60-40
- Greninja … 60-40
- Vileplume variants … 10-90
- Giratina variants … 30-70
pokemonscreenshots.tumblr.comThe deck reminds me somewhat of Night March because of its ability to hit large numbers quickly and its non-EX trading. This deck has great matchups across the field if you think about it since there are few things in the meta that target the Bench. The deck does have a glaring weakness to Vileplume since you need so many Items to keep consistently doing damage. Giratina-EX can also be troublesome since they can replace your Stadium and keep you from doing damage as well as attaching Energy. You may not have the luxury of playing Pokémon Ranger and getting a knockout since you do need so much in order to reach one.
The reason I put Rainbow Road at 30-70 and 60-40 is because there are so many ways to run the deck. If the Rainbow Road deck opts to run Galvantula STS then matchup becomes very unfavorable since they can pick off two Magikarp at a time at some point. If it is the Max Elixir version then the matchup is favored for Gyarados since we are less reliant on Pokémon-EX and can get ahead on the Prize trade through a Lysandre.
I think this is one of the biggest sleeper decks going into the tournament. I will be testing it extensively over the next couple of days.
Mewtwo Strikes Back
Pokémon – 11
Trainers – 37
Energy – 12
Most of the Mega Mewtwo hype has died down but I still think it is as strong as ever. I am now opting to play the deck without Garbodor. Garbodor makes the deck much clunkier and inconsistent in my opinion. I included a copy of Wobbuffet so we can get our full setup while our opponent is hindered as early as turn 1. Wobbuffet helps by throwing off the Prize trade as well. A lot of the time we can wait for it to get Knocked Out before we start attacking because our opponent will still have to Knock Out three Pokémon-EX to win. Even if I were running Garbodor, I may opt to play a Wobbuffet just to get that turn 1 Ability lock. A turn 1 Wobbuffet can sometimes make your opponent do nothing but pass since so many decks are reliant on Shaymin.
I am also running a very high Shrine of Memories count since many people are saying that the way to beat Mewtwo is to win the Stadium war. Mewtwo does very well against things that do not have the ability to 1-shot it because of Damage Swap/Shrine of Memories.
The only thing I worry about by taking out the Garbodor line is running into Greninja. Greninja becomes a struggle for almost any deck in this format without Garbodor. I am not sure how heavily played Greninja may be though. It did just win Regionals in Expanded so it may be receiving some additional play from that.
I do think that Mewtwo has solid matchups across the field though and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it make a deep run in Orlando.
Well, that’s all I have for you guys today. I hope you enjoyed what I had to say. Some last-minute thoughts of mine are Greninja and Gyarados are both things to watch out for in Florida. We may even see a few more unexpected plays as this is the first large Standard tournament of the season and the meta has yet to be defined. If you have any questions or comments, leave a message down below. If you see me at Orlando, feel free to say hello. I am very excited for Orlando Regionals and hope to see some of you there.
Until next time,
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