1st Place Regionals Report with Yveltal / Maxie’s and the Future of Night March

Hey everyone! Treynor here after a successful Regionals season. I hope you all had fun attending the event or at least checking out the coverage via Pokemon’s official stream. I’ve had a lot of time during my road trips to theorize the format for Nationals and the impact that Fates Collide will have. I’ve also had a lot of time during the Kansas City Regionals to playtest with my good friend and fellow writer, Steve Guthrie. This article will provide you guys with my many of my findings.

As some of you may know, I’m the Madison, Wisconsin Regional Champion for this season. I never would have dreamt that I would ever have the title of Regional Champion! Below, I will give a Regionals recap which includes my deck choice process, the list itself, and the path to winning Regionals. With Nationals on the horizon and some large changes going on in Standard, it’s only fitting that I discuss the future of Night March too, as well as ways to prepare yourself for the upcoming National Championships. By adapting the procedures that I had used to prepare myself for Regionals, you guys will be better prepared for the largest Pokemon TCG event of the season.

I’ve had some time to test Standard; Nationals is going to be exciting with the return of N! It will shake up the format and change how some of the best decks in the format will function. Before I begin to describe these huge changes, let’s take a look at my process to winning Regionals.

Wisconsin Regionals — Week 2

I haven’t done well at any Regionals in the last three years. My mindset during every Regionals was that I’d do my best and see what happens. Regionals are incredibly difficult tournaments. They take a lot of endurance to play out because of how many rounds there are. This requires you to keep your play on point the entire nine rounds or so that you play on the first day. It’s more difficult than it sounds.

This Regionals was no different as far as how my tournament preparation went. I did some extensive play testing of different decks and ultimately settled on a Dark list similar to Israel Sosa’s list that he piloted to a Top 8 finish at the Winter Regional Championships. I tested many other decks, such as Night March, M Rayquaza-EX, and Turbo Dark. Needless to say, I wasn’t satisfied with any of those decks, so I settled with my standby — a Dark deck that incorporates Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick, Silent Lab, and a two count of Yveltal. I liked the flexibility and versatility of the deck, as I knew that I would be facing a plethora of different decks. It’s incredibly hard to predict the metagame at Regionals since there are so many competitors; therefore, I went with the deck that had a great chance against just about everything.

Let’s discuss the deck first, and then I’ll break down how my weekend went in Madison.

The Winning Deck

 

Pokemon (12)

2x Yveltal (BKT #94)2x Yveltal-EX (XY #144)1x Yveltal (RC2 #RC16)1x Mewtwo-EX (NXD #98)1x Shaymin-EX (RSK #106)1x Jirachi-EX (PLB #98)1x Darkrai-EX (DEX #107)1x Keldeo-EX (BCR #49)1x Archeops (NVI #67)1x Gallade (BKT #84)

Trainers (37)

3x Professor Juniper (PLF #116)2x Lysandre (FLF #104)1x Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick (PRC #158)1x AZ (PHF #117)1x Ghetsis (PLF #115)1x Colress (PLS #135)1x N (NVI #101)4x Ultra Ball (PLF #122)4x VS Seeker (RSK #110)4x Dark Patch (DEX #93)3x Battle Compressor (PHF #92)3x Trainers' Mail (AOR #100)2x Float Stone (PLF #99)2x Fighting Fury Belt (BKP #99)1x Computer Search (BCR #137)2x Parallel City (BKT #145)2x Silent Lab (PRC #140)

Energy (11)

7x Darkness Energy (CL #94)4x Double Colorless Energy (PHF #111)

I’ve had a lot of seasoned players ask me what I would change in this list for Week 3, and I honestly couldn’t change a thing. This list is probably one of, if not the, most perfect list I’ve ever played in the game. It drew well at every opportunity and it had the right cards for every situation I found myself in.

The list went 9-1-4 after both days of Swiss. Three of those were intentional draws. If you count the three wins in top cut, the list went 12-1-4 for the weekend, with my one loss being redeemed during day two; I played the same player again and won.

Let’s break the list down in detail:

2 Yveltal BKT (Fright Night)

Oh my goodness, I love this card! This card was the huge MVP of the weekend for my deck. I couldn’t begin to describe the many uses this card has, but I’ll do my best to describe some to you guys.

It’s an incredible threat. This deck is all about setting up multiple threats for the opponent. Yveltal‘s Pitch-Black Spear attack lets you set up two of the opponent’s Pokemon for easy Knock Outs later in the game. This allows Yveltal-EX to clean up without devoting too many Energy to it. Additionally, it does all of this while putting the opponent on a clock — Knock Out this Pokemon or it will take two EX KO’s in three turns.

The Ability Fright Night has gives it even more utility. It practically pins Pokemon in place. I’ve made numerous plays using Lysandre on Keldeo-EX with a Float Stone on it to pin it in place while I softened up the opponent’s attackers. With so many players relying on a Float Stone’d Keldeo-EX for mobility, this card freezes them in their tracks.

The best part about this card is that it’s a single-Prize attacker that must be Knocked Out. This often forces the opponent to make a decision that will hurt them.

1 Mewtwo-EX

This addition got me a lot of questions from people, but its inclusion saved me in many situations. I can’t count how many instances in which I utilized Mewtwo-EX to do quick damage. This was originally an addition to counter Gallade in the mirror match, but this card found uses in plenty of other situations.

Since there is only one copy of the Yveltal with Oblivion Wing, there are few attackers that can attack for one Energy. Sure, there is Gallade, but that isn’t always a card that finds its way onto the field. In some matchups, the immediate goal is to attach a single Energy to do some quick damage, sometimes for a Knock Out. Mewtwo is such a large threat for the opponent to deal with because it can attack with only a Double Colorless Energy. As you can imagine, this can present quite the surprise.

On the downside, you can’t Dark Patch to Mewtwo; however, you can still threaten huge Yveltal-EXs in the mirror match with a Double Colorless Energy attached to your Mewtwo on the Bench. It’s especially easy to KO an Yveltal-EX when you use Mewtwo the same turn you put it into play. It is extremely rare that the opponent would foresee the inclusion of this card in your deck.

I’ve had Mewtwo come in handy against Seismitoad-EX decks in particular. The heavy Crushing Hammer count hurts Dark decks on occasion since it’s usually combined with a Quaking Punch that denies the use of Dark Patch. With X Ball now at your disposal, you’re able to attach a single Energy and do 80 damage to Seismitoad, and another Energy attachment the following turn will score you the Knock Out.

Starting with Mewtwo is great as well. With a DCE attachment, you’re already doing damage on turn one, which is rare for this deck.

1 Shaymin-EX / 1 Jirachi-EX

This deck doesn’t need to go crazy to get its game plan going. It consistently moves at a moderate pace with the single Supporter usage per turn. This deck also uses Silent Lab as a central strategy. For these reasons, cutting the Shaymin-EX count down isn’t a terrible idea. The Jirachi-EX exists almost solely to help get the Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick off easier.

The one Shaymin exists in case you need to dig a bit more, outside of a draw Supporter. With that said, Bench space is important in a deck that uses Keldeo-EX and Darkrai-EX, so you don’t want too many Shaymin on your Bench at a time. From my testing, one copy seems to be the ideal count.

1 Darkrai-EX

I never attack with Darkrai-EX; I feel like it’s underwhelming. The 60 base damage and 60 snipe damage dealt with Yveltal is far better than a Night Spear with Darkrai. It’s a great card to have on your Bench, though. Dark Cloak is super helpful in almost every matchup. Silent Lab shuts it off, but usually I replace Silent Lab with a Parallel City when I want to get the Dark Cloak Ability back online to get some mobility going.

I know some players included two copies of Darkrai. This would be acceptable if it was used as an attacker, but that’s not the case. The two Fright Night Yveltal do a majority of the attacking.

1 Archeops / 1 Gallade

Many players prefer two Gallade since this deck tends to beat decks that are hurt by Archeops anyways. The one big exception to this is against Flareon.

I wasn’t expecting much Flareon at Regionals, but I did play one in Top 8. Archeops was absolutely my MVP in that matchup since it made evolving so difficult for the opponent, even with copies of Wobbuffet in their deck. I chose to keep Archeops to stay with the versatile nature of the deck; I knew it would come in handy against some decks. Trevenant isn’t a difficult matchup, but with Archeops on the Bench, the opponent has a difficult time getting a Trevenant BREAK out. They have to promote their Wobbuffet in order to evolve, allowing you to use Items once again.

2 Lysandre

In a deck full of one-of Supporters, the two count of Lysandre may stand out. I liked being able to toss one of these with Battle Compressor while having the other to access via Jirachi-EX or drawing. Having one accessible in the deck without having to use a VS Seeker was advantageous in many situations. A lot of games are decided on how many Lysandre are left in a deck, so I found it important to play two copies.

1 AZ

The AZ is a tech card for the mirror, but it proves useful in a plethora of other situations. Getting Pokemon that are stuck in the Active spot is what I mainly used it for. Pokemon could be stuck Active by your own Silent Lab in play, and there’s a lot of instances in which my opponent wanted to stall me with Lysandre.

When it comes to the mirror match, it’s nice to recharge an Yveltal-EX that has been damaged. This can certainly save you at least two Prizes during that matchup.

1 Ghetsis

Ghetsis is one of the most game-changing turn one cards in the Expanded format. I’ve lost so many games from being Ghetsis’d to nothing before I even had an opportunity to draw a card. This card is even better with Shaymin-EX in the format since you can use the two in combination to draw more cards, even if you don’t get a big rip off of your opponent.

I played a single copy to deal with Night March decks. This card also synergized incredibly well with Silent Lab by locking the opponent out of the game. I’ve won tons games thanks to this card, and I wouldn’t play a deck without it in Expanded.

1 Colress

The Colress is nice late-game when you need to conserve cards, but need more cards than what N offers at that moment. Mid-game N isn’t an ideal draw Supporter, and you don’t always want to discard your hand with Professor Juniper. Sometimes you can draw more cards with Colress than you can with Juniper. These extra cards definitely make the inclusion worthwhile.

1 N

I’ve had a lot of players suggest the use of two N to help against Night March, but I always argued that Ghetsis often functions as a second N. If you’re trying to get rid of the “Lysandre for game” play, Ghetsis will remove the opponent’s VS Seeker. It is possible for the opponent to play around it, but it’s a decent option to have if your N is Prized. The chances of N being Prized is small (roughly ten percent), so I don’t let that bother me too much.

2 Float Stone

In most instances, attaching a Float Stone to retreat was far better than attaching an Energy to retreat. As a result, I went with a smaller Darkrai-EX line and ran more Float Stone to make up for it. The Float Stone had the advantage of being useful when a Darkrai wasn’t on the field. It could also be attached and used when a Silent Lab was in play. The two Float Stone was a for-sure inclusion in this deck due to the Silent Lab strategy and the one Darkrai.

2 Parallel City

I was debating on Reverse Valley versus Parallel City. I ended up going with Parallel City primarily due to the M Rayquaza-EX matchup. It also serves a secondary purpose of limiting the opponent’s Bench while not allowing them to go nuts with multiple Shaymin-EX. In decks that only play one stadium, such as Vespiquen / Flareon, it’s incredibly useful.

2 Silent Lab

This card was an amazing addition to this deck. It always felt great to watch the opponent discard Shaymin-EX early in the game because a Silent Lab was on the field. This card locked my opponents out of various different plays since their Abilities were lost.

Silent Lab was also central to my strategy against Primal Groudon-EX decks. It was paramount to shut off their Mr. Mime in order to get in a couple Pitch-Black Spears to soften them up.

7 Darkness / 4 Double Colorless Energy

I was pleased with how this Energy line functioned. I know some players played six Darkness Energy, but I found that I wasn’t drawing them frequently enough after having to discard one or two of them early in the game to get some Dark Patch off. In this situation, the count is a matter of preference. If you feel comfortable with six basic Energy, go for it.

The Tournament

I entered the tournament having little idea of what I would face. To make matters worse, Expanded has a more diverse metagame than Standard since there are many different sets to choose from. Here’s my round-by-round record which finally brought my Regionals drought to an end:

  • 1. Elan Simon (Turbo Dark) WL — TIE
  • 2. Jake Jensen (Seismitoad-EX / Giratina-EX) WW — WIN
  • 3. Kurt Gearhart (Toad / Tina) WW — WIN
  • 4. Christopher Headlee (Maxie’s Yveltal) WLW — WIN
  • 5. Shane Conley (M Rayquaza-EX) LWW — WIN
  • 6. Jason Klaczynski (Primal Groudon-EX) WW — WIN
  • 7. Austin Zettel (Primal Groudon) WW — WIN
  • 8. Nick Beaudry (Night March) LL — LOSS
  • 9. Eric Gansman (Trevenant) WLW — WIN

As predicted, I faced a plethora of decks, and there was no way I could have predicted the Toad / Tina appearance. Luckily, Yveltal-EX decks tend to have a solid matchup against that variant. Those rounds were instances in which Mewtwo-EX dominated and won me the games. Yveltal‘s Fright Night Ability also hindered their mobility, practically eliminating Keldeo-EX from the game.

Tying Elan early made me feel like I was going to have an unremarkable tournament. Nobody likes starting their day with a tie or loss. He played the matchup well. Game one was back and forth with both of us taking Prizes. Game two, I went second and was Ghetsis‘d to garbage and didn’t draw another Pokemon. In game three, we were exchanging Prizes, but he had the upper hand most of the game. I couldn’t get Gallade out for the life of me, and that is crucial in this matchup. Time was called, however, and we couldn’t finish the game.

Jason didn’t play a Mr. Mime in his version of Primal Groudon-EX, and it hurt him dearly. Austin Zettel did, however, but he Prized it during game one and I won on a fluke in game two. I had a situation where I had two Prizes left and I had to go through Hard Charm when attacking with Yveltal. I was so used to having the Wobbuffet Active that it didn’t occur to me that there was a Robo Substitute in the Active spot when I was attacking, and I was now doing the full 60 damage. Neither of us realized this until it was going into my turn and the judge forced us to correct the damage on Primal Groudon to 180 damage instead of 90 damage. This was huge since now he was only a Pitch-Black Spear away from being Knocked Out. He had a good chance of winning game two, but this mishap ruined it for him. I still feel as if this matchup is favorable against Dark, but my opponent still played well.

Night March is not a favorable matchup for this deck, as you can see by my one loss. It’s difficult when you play a lot of EX attackers. I tried to disrupt my opponent into awful hands with Ghetsis and N, but my opponent was able to either have a Supporter in hand or draw out of the N in both of our games.

I finished the first day at 7-1-1, which was comfortable for making Top 8. I only needed to win two games the following day.

Here’s my day two record:

  • 1. Jake Jensen (Toad / Tina) WW — WIN
  • 2. Nick Beaudry (Night March) LWW — WIN
  • 3. Jeremiah Williams (Vespiquen / Flareon) — INTENTIONAL DRAW
  • 4. Jason G (Turbo Dark) — INTENTIONAL DRAW
  • 5. Ross Cawthon (Accelgor / Wobb) — INTENTIONAL DRAW

Day two was relatively easy for me. I faced a couple of familiar faces during the first two rounds and, fortunately for me, won both rounds so I could draw my way to Top 8. I got redemption against the Night March player I lost to in Swiss. I was luckier with the Ghetsis plays, hitting a sweet Ghetsis for five in game two. In game three, I used N to force my opponent to draw garbage, and I managed to come back.

The rest of the day was intentional draws since I was already 9-1-1. I made it into cut as the third seed with a 9-1-4 record.

Here’s my top cut performance if you didn’t catch the stream:

  • 1. Top 8 – Owen Robinson (Vespiquen / Flareon) WW — WIN
  • 2. Top 4 – Jason G (Turbo Dark) LWW — WIN
  • 3. Finals – Eric Gansman (Trevenant) WW — WIN

My good friend Jay Young was also in the top cut playing Night March, and that was the matchup I was hoping to avoid. Fortunately, I faced Owen instead, who didn’t play a Wobbuffet in his deck. I managed to hit Archeops in both of our games. This made for an uphill battle for Owen.

The matches against Jason were far closer. Jason had an explosive game one, getting multiple Darkrai-EX going, along with eight Energy — all by turn two. I couldn’t keep up since my Gallade was Prized. I ended up falling behind quickly. His deck destroyed me in the damage department from Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym. In game two, my Gallade was Prized again and I thought it was over for sure. However, I caught him at a moment where he was dead drawing, so I used Yveltal to my advantage. This allowed me to break away and take the game. Jason took first turn for game three and had another explosive start, similar to his game one start. My Gallade wasn’t Prized for once, so I got it out swinging. It took four Prizes for me and swept his field, ultimately taking the game. Darkrai’s Weakness came through for me since I was able to destroy the 220 HP Pokemon with my single-Prize, single-Energy attacker.

My first game in the final round against Eric was my best game in the entire tournament. Eric played a super powerful denial game. Seeing as that his Pokemon’s Weakness would lose him the game if he tried the conventional approach, he didn’t have any other option. He led heavily with Wobbuffet since I had Archeops in play. We got to the point where I was up huge on Prizes; however, I was close to decking out. I misplayed by getting out my Gallade. I wanted the Premonition Ability, but it wasn’t worth the liability Gallade ended up being. Eric used Lysandre on my Gallade to trap it Active. Fortunately, I top decked a clutch Double Colorless Energy that I didn’t think I still had in my deck. In one instance, Eric felt that he could deck me out since I drew my last card. Little did he know, I had a Colress and was able to use it for four, forcing him to switch gears. There were quite a few moments I could’ve lost in that particular game, but I managed to come through every time. Game two was nothing spectacular; Eric wasn’t drawing what he needed and I was sweeping his field with Yveltal-EX.

Overall, this was a difficult matchup for Eric. He did an incredible job overcoming the odds in a close game one, though.

This deck finished 12-1-4 for the weekend, which I still find unbelievable. It had whatever it needed in any situation that it found itself in.


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