Hello SixPrizes, this is Latte1504. I am a Senior Division player from the Jersey Shore (no, not that one). I enjoy playing Pokémon, obviously. I also enjoy learning about history, especially that of the Pokémon Trading Card Game. I have been playing since around the release of Plasma Storm and competitively since the beginning of last season.
The night before Philadelphia Regionals was “senior night” for the football team at my high school, and because I am in the band, I had to be there. This had the unfortunate consequence of delaying my bedtime until midnight and then I had to wake up at 6am to get down to Philadelphia on time. (I would have preferred to get at least nine hours of sleep.) I arrived at the convention center and met up with some friends while hiding my almost unknown rogue …
Pokémon – 19
Trainers – 31
Energy – 10
(Yes, I seriously played this.)
For any of you who care to know, this deck contains 17 one-of cards, including 4 different Tools and 6 different one-of Pokémon. All testing was done through theorymoning and nothing else.
4-4 Zebstrika NXD
These are your main attackers, and as such, run as many as you can. For those who do not know, Zebstrika is a Stage 1 with 90 HP and it has an attack called Disconnect, which prevents the opponent from playing Item cards during their next turn. I can almost guarantee that most of you are asking, “Why play this over Seismitoad-EX?” Well, my friends, as a Senior, how many of us remember or know what a card does that sees almost no competitive play? Especially when it was printed almost five years ago? That’s why. I went for the element of surprise. It also helps to have free retreat and the attack Lightning Crash, which is an 80-damage snipe that requires [L][L][C] and you to discard any Lightning Energy attached. With Wide Lens, this will OHKO Benched Shaymin-EX.
The Noble Victories Tynamo with Thunder Wave has historically been considered superior to all others due to its ability to stall. While still very potent, the Dark Explorers Tynamo has utility in the Yveltal match. If a Zebstrika Lightning Crashes a Benched Yveltal-EX with Wide Lens attached, this Tynamo can use Spark to finish off the Yveltal.
Eelektrik is your Energy acceleration and allows you to play a lot of fun and cool techs.
1-1 Galvantula STS
This was my answer to Greninja. See Round 5 for more.
These cards are extra attackers to fill in when needed. Kecleon is especially useful against Mewtwo, and it is okay against Yveltal too. It can work against anything with a single Colored Energy in its attack cost which can be fulfilled with our Prism Energy. Rayquaza is used to nuke stuff that is otherwise difficult to deal with, like Raikou BKT.
This card is most commonly used to find the turn 1 Ghetsis to prevent an Archeops from coming out and shutting us down.
With this deck, you do not want to over-aggressively discard cards, so a low Juniper count coincides with that goal. Colress is extremely potent because our Bench tends to fill rather quickly. N is the most consistent and good shuffle-draw Supporter in the format.
(Aside: Why was Professor Oak’s New Theory not reprinted in Evolutions?!?!)
A number of players have dismissed Karen unless the deck needs it. This deck uses Karen as recovery for our lines, and as a counter to Night March and Vespiquen.
Silver Bangle is included to be able to OHKO Mega Rayquaza with Lightning Crash. Muscle Band is used in order to OHKO non-EX Basics with Disconnect. Wide Lens is used to snipe-OHKO Shaymins. Float Stone is used to retreat Eels.
Even though Battle Compressor can take Energy out of the deck for Dynamotor, it is unnecessary. The Eelektrik are used for sustainability and not for setting up.
8 Lightning Energy
This deck does not require too many Energy to function. Of course, there are times where you will have an Energy drought, but that won’t happen often.
1 Prism, 1 Fire, 0 Rainbow
In hindsight, this should just be 2 Prism. The idea is that the basic Fire would power Rayquaza and Prism would power Kecleon. Rainbow Energy is a totally inferior choice. Attentive readers will notice that Zebstrika’s Lightning Crash requires only Lightning Energy to be discarded. Another thing that rarely comes up is that Prism only counts as “all Energy” on Basics. So, if I Lightning Crash with a Prism, I retain the Prism, but if I were to do the same with a Rainbow, I would discard it and I would take a damage counter.
Round 1 vs. Yveltal/Maxie’s
I went first and I used Jirachi to fetch Ghetsis and remove a card or two that would have allowed him to get the T1 Maxie’s for Archeops. I remember dead-drawing a little here but I can’t truly remember. I bench a Kecleon, planning for an Evil Ball KO, but I forgot that I discarded the Prism earlier. Oops! I kept it close, but end up losing.
Game 2 he dead-draws. I did the usual Jirachi for Ghetsis, and as I get the Ghetsis, he mutters, “If I had any Items …” This tipped me off, so I decided to Juniper. When you’re playing, make sure to stay cool-headed and not reveal information like this. Regardless, I end up winning in about five turns due to his dead draws.
By Game 3, we had about 10 minutes left, and I realized we have to play quickly. He, once again, ends up about one turn ahead.
Round 2 vs. Mega Mewtwo/Magnezone
Game 1, he missed all of his Spirit Links early and had to evolve 2 Mega Mewtwos without his Links. I set up some Eels, a Galvantula, and some Zebstrikas, and I knew I could use the Kecleon at some point. Early game, I used Galvantula to put 60 on 2 Shaymins. I then set up the Kecleon when both the Mega Mewtwo and Kecleon had 3 Energies and my Kecleon had the Silver Bangle for the OHKO. I then use the Zebstrikas to KO the Benched Shaymins.
Game 2, he started with a Pikachu-EX and I started with Blitzle or Tynamo and a Rayquaza. I attack the Pikachu for 10, and I finish it with the Rayquaza. Kecleon comes in again to OHKO a M Mewtwo, and I finish the game by OHKO’ing a second Pikachu-EX with Rayquaza.
Round 3 vs. Raikou/Eelektrik
You know how I was saying I had the element of surprise? Well, of course I run into one of the only people in the room who was well aware of my tactics. It turns out that he played my deck at Regionals in the NXD–LTR format. Even with his knowledge of the lock, he almost forgot to play out his Items, and he would’ve been stuck with a deck full of mostly dead cards. On top of that, this is a negative matchup. I can only Disconnect for 20, or 40 with a Muscle Band. I completely abandoned the idea of Disconnect in favor of Dragon Bursting for OHKOs.
I keep Game 1 close, but I deck out (Side note: Pay attention to how many cards you have left; I thought I’d won …). Game 1 took up a lot of time, so we had to play Game 2 quickly. I ended up Disconnecting 2 Tynamo for 2 Prizes, but that’s all I can do before time is called.
Lunch Break: By this point I was struggling hard. Almost all of my rounds had gone to time, I was on 6 hours of sleep and no caffeine, and I did not have access to very good food. At this point it was around 2pm, and I only had 30 minutes to get lunch. The local pizza place was too busy, so I had to settle for some 7-Eleven pizza (not recommended) and head on back.
Round 4 vs. Yanmega/Raichu
This deck seemed to be built for the Standard format, which was interesting. I do my usual thing, set up some Zebstrikas and Eelektriks, and I saw the value of using Kecleon to copy Circle Circuit. I end up copying the Circle Circuit for 2 or 3 Prizes and Disconnect or Dragon Burst for the rest. In Game 2, I lose track of my opponent’s Prizes and fail to realize she’s at only 1 left, and I lose. Time was called shortly after the beginning of Game 3, and the match ended as a draw.
Round 5 vs. Greninja
This is the one deck that I absolutely feared. If they set up, they will destroy me due to having the ability to efficiently snipe my low-HP Pokémon. Game 1 I set up Galvantula and successfully kept all Froakie off the board, forcing a quick concession. Game 2, I went second and found that my Galvantula is prized. I knew I was going to lose, so I played for time, and end up hitting 6 or 7 heads in a row on Thunder Wave before he can do much, and then I concede.
I went first Game 3 and immediately search for Joltik, not checking on Galvantula. He started lone Froakie with a relatively dead hand, and I go to search for the Galvantula, looking for the easy win. I look through my deck two or three times to make sure I didn’t miss it on the first look. It was prized! I decide to search out Blitzle instead to try to Disconnect with a Muscle Band for the win. He Startling Megaphone’s my Muscle Band, and I’m stuck with no way out.
I take it to time, but I still wasn’t feeling great, so I concede and decide to head on home. I feel that this was a smart move, since I can almost assure you that I would have woken up feeling sick the next day had I stayed, and the best I could possibly make was T64.
1. Kecleon is REALLY good.
No, no, no, not quad-Kecleon good! But it definitely deserves at least 2 spots in here and probably closer to 3 Prisms. If you look, out of my five rounds, I actually used the chameleon three times and tried to use it a fourth.
2. Evolution decks are viable in Expanded.
I’ve been scared to play any kind of Evolutions in Expanded since Yveltal/Maxie’s became a major archetype. Ghetsis will typically prevent them from getting the T1 Maxie’s, and possibly from getting one for the entire game. Now, granted, there are a host of other issues with this concept, including speed.
3. Be prepared for a long day and bring food.
I came into this tournament with 6 hours of sleep the prior night and not enough food in my system to maintain my thought. By Round 3, I felt terrible and wanted to take a nap. After eating, I felt better.
I hope that you have learned from my mistakes and been entertained my thoughts. I would like to thank my grandparents for transporting me to the event and my mother for getting me home. I would also like to thank my friend Spencer (@Phoenix15) for telling me that Zebstrika wasn’t a totally terrible idea.